Twitter Will Increase DM Character Limit, Among Other Changes

Twitter is known for their 140-character limit, both for tweets and direct messages (DM). Other social network apps, like Facebook and WhatsApp (recently acquired by Facebook), have upped the bar by increasing their message character limits. Is Twitter stepping up to the challenge?

Twitter’s development team has been working on increasing the DM character limit from 140 to 10,000. Along with the increase in characters, users will also be able to create groups within the DMs, receive messages from people who do not follow them, and upload videos. The changes are set to begin in July.

Another adjustment to begin July 1 is Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stepping down. In his place, Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and chairman, will serve as interim CEO. Costolo, who will remain on the Board of Directors, did not give a reason for his departure.

Costolo states, “I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the Company. We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities. There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition.”

Amidst the changes to leadership and DM features, the 140-character limit on tweets will remain the same.

SAT Error Frustrates Test-takers

Students across the country complete standardized tests multiple times a year.(Photo Credit: via ccarlstead)

Students across the country complete standardized tests multiple times a year.(Photo Credit: via Flickr from ccarlstead)

There are big changes in store for the SAT in 2016, but what about now? During the June 6 testing date last week, there was an error printed in Educational Testing Service (ETS) booklets across the country. The error said to allow students 25-minutes on two of the sections instead of the actual allotted 20-minutes.

The Monday after the exam, CollegeBoard emailed June 2015 testers, notifying them  of the error, explaining the two sections would not be graded, and the test-takers would still receive accurate scores and would not need to re-test.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 4.28.55 PM

Some test-takers, however, pointed out some unfairness in the CollegeBoard’s plans. What if a student scored well on the mislabeled sections, better than the sections that will be graded? By not grading the mislabeled sections, they are actually missing out on points they would have received. Some argued that a make-up should be mandatory or at least optional.

Bob Schaeffer is the public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing and a known critic of the CollegeBoard. He does not see the June 2015 testing error as an isolated problem. He argues, “If reliable and valid scores can be generated from June 6 exams despite a missing section, why do students at other SAT administrations have to spend the additional time answering questions that the test-makers now say are unnecessary?”

Indeed, there are changes coming to the SAT in less than a year, but what about those who will take the exam during the 2015 fall and 2016 winter quarters? Will they have to take these additional two sections even though their scores can be graded without them?

The redesign of question content, no guessing penalty as well as other changes to the SAT will be released in Spring 2016. When the CollegeBoard first announced these implements, I reported on high school counselors’ and college admissions officers’ plans for the new test and if they would implement new procedures as well.

Just recently, Khan Academy announced free online SAT prep for students is now available. In addition to the new changes to the test’s format, CollegeBoard is also partnering with Khan Academy in order to give more students access to preparation materials. The CollegeBoard hopes these changes will create a more level playing field for students, no matter their means available for test prep.

Senior Summer: Clean Your(Online)self Up

Back in the olden days, people used resumes and work samples and maybe a few word-of-mouth connections here and there to get jobs. Today, however, employers want to be absolutely sure the person they’re hiring is the person they’ve presented themselves to be in interviews. And for that, they get a little help from this new-fangled invention called the internet.

It’s more than just good shopping these days as employers use social media to check up on you. Here are some tasks you, a potential job candidate, are employed to work on this summer:

  • If you don’t already have one, get a LinkedIn profile. If you do already have one (and if you followed the first sentence, you should!), improve it and make it even better. There are tips here.
  • Next up, all other social media accounts. We’ve heard the trite advice of not posting compromising pics and petty comments, but what about the type of blog you run? Your Profile settings? The apps you play? They may need to be adjusted some and here’s how.
  • Lastly, make yourself heard…in the right way. When you do post online, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress, make sure you’re respectfully yet interestingly grabbing your reader’s attention, formatting your communication in the most effective way possible, and most importantly, presenting yourself as, well, you. Be funny, passionate, intelligent, whoever that may be, and let your online presence show that.

With this advice in mind, you’re well on your way and hopefully, won’t be rejected for a position (summer or otherwise) again.

Season Caught-Up/Series Complete: Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra

(Finally finished! I sincerely miss the drawing styles of Michael Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko, who also created my all-time favorite series, Avatar: The Last Airbender; seriously, Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series)

Book Read: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

(Not my pic; GeekGirl 's pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(Not my pic; GeekGirl ‘s pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(The last book in the Traveling Pants series left me with more tears than laughs and was tough to read at times, but overall, a good book and a comfortable ending to the series as well. Definitely a book about friendship but in a different way than in the previous books in the series.)

Senior Summer: Maybe I Can Actually Get Stuff Done This Summer? Maybe?

There’s no good time to make and keep a goal…except maybe during a three-month vacation? Short of launching a multi-billionaire entrepreneurship or being employed as a teacher (and even the former isn’t likely to take breaks, giving how tech is innovated these days), a three-month vacation isn’t likely to ever happen again.

So why not take advantage of it? Some scientists say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. That pretty much means that you have three tries to get it right this summer.

Keep it simple. Don’t be super ambitious like run 5 miles everyday if you haven’t even broken in a pair of sneakers. Maybe just running three times a week. If you want to enhance your photog skills, learn how to use free apps and take an artsy photo everyday. Tackle a Buzzfeed challenge. Start off small.

And once you have a goal (or goals, maybe you are ambitious!), here are some tips to help you reach it.

As for me, I have been woefully remiss on my leisure activities this year. Surprisingly, being an English major doesn’t allow me a lot of time to read for fun or watch for fun, so I’ll be tackling (fingers crossed) a book and a show a week–either catching up on a current show or finishing the series of a cancelled show. (Below are this week’s:)

That said, I also, finally learned how to use the app I bought over a year ago. You can get Gif Brewery through the Apple Store. I finally had fun with some old videos:

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

Good luck on your goals, guys!

Season Caught-up/Series Complete: Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix

(Great series but so violently graphic at times, I had to cover both my eyes and ears)

Book Read: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

(Dessen is very predictable when it comes to romance; that said, I wish it would have ended a bit more realistically)

Senior Summer: So You Didn’t Get That Internship, Now What?

A M Montgomery 2014

A M Montgomery 2014

What has two thumbs, no summer job prospects, and a much needed break? This girl!

I apologize for the delay in posting (though in my defense I have been updating my other blog). Since I’m now covering the majority of my expenses (everything except tuition and part of room and board), it’s been difficult to juggle class, work, sleep, and free time. I hoped to gain some paid experience this summer and applied to over fifty internships and jobs. Some I made it into the first round of interviews, but nothing after that. Long story short, I didn’t get a single internship I applied for. So what do I do now?

Good news: The amount of money I hoped to earn is taken care of through some prizes I won (see here).

Bad news: Even if I didn’t have my little brother to baby-sit some days, I still need to do something, not only for my resume but also for me (I’m that kid who assigned herself workbook pages during the summers).

So what should I do this summer? If you search in any search engine, the results are always articles that say you should “get an internship,” “get a job,” or “volunteer” (I kid you not) as well as some other options you may not be able to afford like traveling, exploring, and paying for additional courses. Well, if I actually had those options, I wouldn’t exactly be searching for something to do on Google, now would I? It’s the same thing in the results year after year…

Because I start my senior year in the fall, this is my last official free summer. I have a few ideas, but stay tuned this summer to find out exactly what they are.

Journal of a Junior Pt. 2: SurPrize

Sorry for the crickets. Here’s a bit what I’ve been up to!
I won some awards in English and Journalism!

Monty's Mayhem

It’s been an interesting two weeks.

I apologize for my absence last week. I was struck suddenly by what was most likely strep throat. For the first time all semester, I actually missed class. It was a bit of a bummer since the last two weeks of class are usually more relaxed than the ones prior, in the humanities majors at least.

Still under the influence of my sickness, I trooped out to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Don’t worry, you won’t see any spoilers here (just that I thought it was amazing!). In going to see it, I crossed an item off my checklist: see a movie alone.

(Not my pic but such a good movie)

With all the projects and papers and sickness, I’ve been spending more time alone, but I was glad I got to spend a bit of time with my friends today. If…

View original post 616 more words

Onslaught of Book to Movie: Review of “The Spectacular Now”

"The Spectacular Now" by Tim Tharp (2008) Photo Source

“The Spectacular Now” by Tim Tharp (2008) Photo Source

Tried and true, I read the book version of The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (2008)before watching its movie counterpart. Unlike most of the books I review, I had high hopes for the movie version to be different for one simple reason: I absolutely detested the book.

If you read last week’s Monty’s Mayhem, my sentiment should come as no surprise. As an English major, I am often confronted with the question–“Did you really hate the book or was it the narrator?” For Invisible Man (1952), it was the narrator. For The Spectacular Now (2008), it was a bit of both. If you’ve actually read it (or are feeling gutsy enough to peruse a copy), you’ll find that the narrator, Sutter Keely, is not too much of a bad guy. He enjoys a good time, likes to tell stories and make people laugh, and he hates math. Seems like a typical, non-threatening teenager, right?

Well, what bugged me the most about Sutter is that he is drunk. All. the. time. He drinks first thing in the morning, he drinks before going to work and school and his sister’s fancy dinner party, and he drinks behind the wheel. Let’s ignore the fact that he is underage and try to assume that his boss, classmates, and family actually like the “buzzed” Sutter. Let’s, for the sake of argument, try.

Despite all of that, he is still driving under the influence and with the influence. Not only is this incredibly irresponsible in terms of his own health (he adamantly denies that he is an alcoholic), but also dangerously reckless with the lives of anyone near him or riding with him. I suppose that is where my main problem with Sutter stems from.

I can handle him being so unmotivated that he flunks math and misses graduation. I can handle him being so lost that he lies about where his father is yet jumps at the chance to see him. I can even handle (albeit barely) him messing with Amy, when it’s obvious her feelings overpower his (and don’t even get me started on her). I can handle what he inflicts on himself and on those who choose to be around him, but subjecting strangers to the aftermath of your actions is sickening.

“The Spectacular Now” Starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller (yes, they were both in “Divergent” as well) (2013) Secondary Photo Source

If you’re wondering how the movie (2013) differs, I make two time-saving suggestions to you. You can read the book, then skip the first eighty-six minutes of the movie and be caught up. The other option is to watch the movie all the way through (this way you can avoid reading the book) and realize the main difference between the movie and book occur after the eighty-six minute mark. Obviously, there are some major differences throughout the course of the film, such as

  • Sutter’s stepfather does not exist
  • The friendship between Ray and Sutter is less pronounced
  • Amy’s sister is located in Philadelphia instead of New Mexico
  • Sutter and Amy don’t go to the prom after-party

However, for the most part, the book and movie coincide very closely. Usually in book-to-movie adaptations, this is a good thing. I was just really hoping the screenplay would pull a Percy Jackson and not be like the book at all.

So what happens after the eighty-six minute mark? Unlike Book Sutter, Movie Sutter realizes the error of his ways. He works to get his well-to-do sister and mother reunited. Instead of just leaving Amy high and dry in Philadelphia alone (after he promised to go with her then bailed “for her own good”), Sutter goes there to surprise her and the film ends with Amy looking surprised but pleased. Considering that Sutter is the reason Amy became a heavy vodka drinker, had to get a cast on her arm (after she got clipped by a car on highway after he told her to get out of his car), and he abandoned her, I’m not sure if this ending is much of an improvement (for Amy at least).

Of course, almost anything is an improvement over Book Sutter going to get drunk, drive in swerves, fade into oblivion, and calling his life “spectacular.” Please, oh goodness, do not read this book and don’t see the movie. If you feel differently, please defend your position in the comments. I’m very curious to read your argument.

Trends in Journalism: Social Media Coverage

This past week was huge in terms of updates in media. Lately, the U.S. has been concerned with events in Syria, Gaza, Palestine, Ukraine, and other overseas locations, but there were some pretty big shake-ups on the home front too. In terms of coverage, generations of Americans are grieving the loss of comedian and award-winning actor, Robin Williams. Traditional media sources such as cable news networks, newspapers, and radio stations, have been updating facts surrounding the star’s death on a daily basis.

There were other events that deserved more attention than they actually received this week as well. Last Saturday, in Ferguson, Missouri, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer. I’m not here to discuss the rights and wrongs and morality of the incident–that is up to each individual person to decide for him or herself. Instead, I wish to discuss how powerful the tool of media was (or could have been) during such an event.

If you’re not familiar with the event, educate yourself. Outrage over the shooting and handling of the late Michael Brown’s body prompted protesting from Ferguson citizens as well as increased police force, involving restricting the limits of the town, military-grade weapons and tear gas as a means of crowd control. Citizens began looting overnight. It was pure chaos. And yet no one knew.

The police even restricted journalism outlets from reporting there, and in some cases, arrested journalists. Most of the news of the Ferguson situation came from social media. As a journalist, I often hear from more experienced reporters that the advent of online technology, social media, and the blogosphere makes for a decline in real journalism as well as increase the struggle of actually getting paid. When I think of the dwindling newspaper industry, I can’t help but agree. Coverage in Ferguson, however, renewed my belief of journalism.

The sole goal of journalism is not “How can I get paid for this story?” The goal of journalism is to inform the public of what is happening in their world. Period.

Events from Ferguson gave us powerful informative reports by the people who were there. Forget about trying to make the words sound pretty. Just tell us what is happening. That is real journalism.

A range of emotions captured in a single image.

 

The parallels drawn between now and the history we seem doomed to repeat.

Updates on a dynamic situation.

 

That is real journalism.

I am not looking forward to the job hunt after college in my chosen field. At times, it seems only to favor those with money to spare. But as far as being concerned about the state of journalism, the problem isn’t that it is dying; the problem is being overwhelmed with the possibility that is growing bigger. And believe me, there are worse problems to have.

Making the Most of Summer? Tips Here

July is almost here! Sorry for the delay. I’ve had this post typed for a while but getting sent to the ER and recovering definitely set me back a bit on posting (more on that on Monty’s Mayhem). I’ve had a whirlwind of a summer so far, but still not much to put in my portfolio, which, for some odd reason, in my generation means I’m wasting my summer? Well, summer’s not over yet. There are tons of tricks of the trade to do during the summer that not only can help you get ahead as a journalist and go on your resume, but for some of them, you don’t have to leave your house!

 

  • Get an internship. It doesn’t have to be paid. It doesn’t have to be in-person. Internships are great ways to improve/learn skills such as AP Style, finding stories, etc. while getting experience in different types of journalism. Good places to search them include sites like mediabistro or, if you’re in school, check out your college’s career center. As always, there’s no better place to look than the place you’re interested in. If you already have a place in mind, check out their website for info or call proving their worth and potentially create your own position!
  • Volunteer. Most news places, especially local ones, are in need of free labor. You can learn some tricks of the trade, get your face in people’s heads, and it’s no pressure. Most volunteering is done on your own schedule, unlike an unpaid internship. In fact, volunteering may be better for you personally than an unpaid internship and before you accept an internship, look at these guidelines first to make sure it’s right for you
  • Start a blog. Yes, you can put blogging on your resume. It’s a great way to keep an online portfolio and keep your writing skills up-to-date with opportunity for feedback. But what should you write about? It depends on what you’re interested in. If you have a lot of authority on a subject like anime or digital photography, recap shows or examine new techniques and products. If you want to try something new this summer, like cooking or skateboarding, start a blog to keep yourself on track and meet others who are experts or novices like you. Whatever you decide, your blog should stay within its theme and a lot of places like wordpress and blogger let you host them for free.
  • Prepare for next summer. If your current summer is not all that you hoped it would be, get determined to make the next one even better. Look at applications for jobs and internships you missed out on due to poor scheduling or lack of seniority and start drafting your responses. If you’re not in school this summer, you have a better chance of not getting distracted and finishing your applications early.
  • Take some classes. You can enroll in courses for credit or no credit at local schools, but also keep in mind, there are some courses online. They range from expensive to free, lasting weeks or lasting minutes, and are on a wide array of subjects. It’s pretty easy to search for them online (Poynter offers a lot in journalism).
  • Learn some skills. Have you ever wanted to add a skill to your resume but never had time to learn it? Well, now’s the time! If it’s a foreign language, get your Rosetta Stone/Pimsleur/Duolingo kits and practice everyday. Practice AP Style with mini-guides online. Get some coding basics under your belt. Learn how to use your devices (computer, smartphone, mp3 player, etc.) to their fullest potential by looking up tips and making your life easier. If you want to become an expert on anything, now’s the time to do it.
  • Get a job. If you can’t find any work in journalism, there’s no shame in getting a job outside your field. It’s still work experience and you can use the money to save up for a new computer that can handle video and photo editing software, that crazy expensive video and photo editing software, kits, tape recorders, cameras, or journalism conference fees. In other words, use your non-journalism job to further your journalism career.

There are tons of ways to get ahead in your career, some you don’t even have to leave your house for! Let me know if you end up starting a blog by leaving the url in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

An Explanation for My Absence and Other Tips From a Public Radio Internship

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been updating as of late. For those of you who don’t know, I am a college student, and have just completed my sophomore year at Amherst College. This semester was also filled with assignments from my internship at New England Public Radio. At the risk of possible conflict of interest, I refrained from my usual media blogging.

However, with the end of a school year also brings the end of my internship. This, however, is the beginning of tips from my first journalism internship.

  • Do keep up with schoolwork If you happen to have an internship during the school year, wanting to prove yourself as vital member of the news team, not just a college intern, is natural. But letting your schoolwork slip is not the way to do it. When I’ve had too many assignments and just under so much stress, I have taken off time off from work. Your bosses will understand as long as you give them enough notice and make up your hours.
  • You don’t have to know everything before you start. Internships are learning experiences, and for someone who goes to a school with no journalism program, I’m super grateful for all that I learned on the job. Just try to pick up skills and get the office’s routine down and you should be fine.
  • In broadcast, tape is key. A hard lesson I learned while working in radio was you could do all the research you wanted and do some rockin’ interviews, but unless you get it on tape and find some suitable sound bites for your story, you don’t really have anything. I was quick to learn this even though it’s such a stark contrast to the print journalism I did prior to my internship. There are always possible derailments to getting tape in radio–the subject doesn’t call back before your deadline, they call back but they don’t want to talk to you, or, they are willing to talk but they don’t want to be recorded. In radio, you have to find ways around these mishaps, most of the time, depending on the story.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. I feel like this statement is true in life, but especially in radio. Yes, be serious when conducting interviews by staying on topic or when writing up your script (I have made a few mistakes myself). But also be yourself and relax. You get some of your best tape from interviewees when they feel you’re having a conversation, not interrogation. The best stories don’t necessarily sound like straight-up news reports, but more like the voice of the story is talking to you, explaining something like a friend would (this took me a long time to learn as well). Also, while dress code ranges from workplace to workplace, as you continue to work, you’ll learn what you may be able to get away with.

Take it from me. My first day, I was dressed like this:

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

 

And by my last day, I was more laid-back.

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

Prop. of A.M. Montgomery 2014

 

  • Lastly, keep in touch. Okay, so remember how I said “Don’t take yourself too seriously”? While that’s still important to keep in mind, it’s very possible to not take yourself seriously and maintain competency. This is important. Take your job seriously–do a great job, have a good attitude and respect your co-workers. It could pay off in the long run, in terms of asking for advice or other tasks that could open up at the office after your internship is long over.

For the final assignment of my internship, I completed a feature about the recent changes to College Board’s SAT. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the program because I got to pitch the topic, traveled across western Massachusetts to do interviews, and voiced a longer piece than my usual cut-and-scripts and spots. But don’t take my word for it. You can listen/read all my assignments from the links on my Resume page.

Are there any tips you have journalism internships or working in general? Share in the comments below!