Technology and Alumni

This week in Interactive Journalism we had a guest speaker named Hunter Homistek. He is an alumni of West Virginia University who writes professionally for FloSports, in particular FloCombat, which covers MMA fighting. Hunter came to speak to us about how he came to be where his is in his life right now.

He told us that his favorite way to market himself was Twitter. This would not have been the answer of someone giving this talk 20, or even 10 years ago. wrote an article about how alumni keeping in touch with their schools is no longer via phone call, but almost all over the internet. I can guess that Professor Britten follow Hunter on social media and frequently reads his work for FloCombat.

Seeing as Hunter was one of Britten’s former students, he likely wants to keep up with him and what’s he’s been dog since school. Britten most likely reached to Hunter and had him come speak to our class because he saw how successful he was from the skills he learned in this class.

This is how alumni keep in touch with their schools now because of the technological advances that our world has. The technology that we have today gives us advantages like these and many more.


One T.V. Show’s Influence on Our Technological World

Netflix has recently released a new “Netflix Original” called Black Mirror. The show has a sic-fi spin and incorporates new technology, even more advanced than our world today.


Most of the characters in the show have an interesting piece of wearable technology. It’s called a grain, and it allows the characters to rewind and re-watch any part of their life that has taken place with the grain implanted in them. The grain is imbedded in the skin right behind the characters ear, and they can watch scenarios from their life through their eyes. The first 4 and a half minutes of this episode show this pretty well.

Imagine a world where this is actually possible; where we can re-watch any part of our life. In episode 3 of the show, two of the characters are fighting and they use the grain to enhance the argument by going back and proving their points through watching certain parts. Our world is so quickly advancing in terms of technology that I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually was a thing sometime in the future, and I’m not the only one.

Black Mirror is definitely the current Netflix craze, and if you haven’t watched it yet I highly recommend that you start it sometime soon. It’s a great sci-fi thriller that does a great job of displaying the technological abilities that our world possesses. It’s futuristic and keeps you on the edge of your seat at the same time. And who know, maybe in the future we’ll actually be able to do things like this. I mean, the show is definitely sparking some ideas for people.

Phones Are Our Lifeline

Recently, I broke my phone. I’m talking dropped it, shattered, and screen was completely black and staying that way. I was without a cell phone for 2 days, and let me tell you that I did not realize how much I relied on it until I had to go without it.

The thoughts going through my head when my phone wouldn’t turn on were:

  • How am I going to wake up in the morning without an alarm?
  • How am I going to answer emails when I’m away from my laptop?
  • How am I going to communicate with the various group members that I have for group projects this semester?
  • How am I going to get to places I’m unsure of where they are without my GPS?

All this, aside from not being able to talk to my friends and family was racing through my head when my important cell phone suddenly was out of use for me.

In this moment, it became more apparent to me than ever before how much I rely on my cell phone. And I know I’m not the only one. The chart below was made from a study by the Mobile Movement and displays how most people use their smart phones.


The number one cause of cell phone use is to check and send emails, which wagon of my high concerns when I dropped my cell phone and broke it. In another study done by the Pew Internet Project, results show that:

  • 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
  • 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.
  • 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.”

Americans, including myself, rely deeply on their cell phones in order to function properly daily. Maybe it was good for me to be without my phone for a couple days, even if it was unintentional. It was a bit of a digital detox, and I may start to purposely detox more often now.


Mobile Sports Updates for the 21st Century

Gone are the days of waiting until the next day to find out who won the game you missed the night before, and they have been gone for quite some time now. There are hundreds of sports apps available to smart phone users in today’s advanced world.

Being a West Virginia college student who loves her hometown sports teams, this especially impacts me. Living in west Virginia for 9 months out of the year makes it challenging for me to follow the Cleveland Indians, my favorite sports team. Not may of the Indians games are available on T.V. out in West Virginia, this is where the mobile sports apps come in. img_9873

I specifically use a mobile app called “At Bat.” With this app, you can choose the teams you want to follow and receive updates for. I like it because the alerts you get for each team tell you exactly what happened. I know right away when someone for the indians hits a home run, or when the other team we’re facing makes a play against us.

img_0234The app not only updates you on the current game being played, but also allows you to see scores from past games played as well. It’s great because you can see other teams scores without getting updates from the game they played, you only get the updates for the teams that you choose to follow.

Lastly, the app isn’t just a way to stay updated on your favorite teams, but it also serves as a great way to keep up with all sports related news. The app organizes your news feed according to the teams you follow. This includes top stories that involve your teams players, injuries, and accomplishments of your teams. However, the app also shows you breaking sports news whether it involves your teams or not. With the growing world of technology today, there are hundreds of ways to get your news rather than a newspaper. This is a great advantage for all sports networks, according to the Huffington Pots.

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The Digital Detox

According to a study done by The University of California, San Diego, and published in The Huffington Post, 61% of respondents cannot ignore their device if they’ve received a text, email or call, 73% of participants feel that technology contributes to their stress, and 3 out of 5 people spend more free time on their computer than with their spouse.


With the world being so consumed by technology, some people just need to take break from it. That’s where the digital detox comes in. According to, a digital detox is cutting yourself off from some or all technology for a set period of time. The length of time does not matter, but a digital detox could have some really positive effects on your body, mind and lifestyle.

These effects include:

  • Blossoming relationships
  • Improved posture
  • A better night’s sleep

However, because our minds and bodies are so used to technology, going through a digital detox could possible have some negative effects as well. These might include:

  • Forgetting important details that your phone normally remembers for you, ex; meetings, notes etc.
  • If your brain is focusing on trying to remember the important details that your phone usually remembers, it could be using up all that energy and not have enough left to regulate your emotions, causing your body to go out of whack.


While technology is bringing us great advancements that change the way we live our lives, it is important to not rely on it too much, and to take a step back and detox when we need to.

Online Banking: Pro’s & Con’s

With the advancing technology in today’s society, a significant amount of daily activities are moving towards an online medium. Banking is definitely one of these activities. Almost all banks across America offer the option to bank online.

My dad still writes all his transactions down in his ledger. He keeps track of everything he spends, withdraws and deposits into his bank account. He has always tried to get me to do the same thing, but I told him that I didn’t see the point when the website does it for me. With the ability to bank online through PNC, all my transactions are documented on my account when I log in to their website.

That being said, there are both pro’s and con’s to online banking. Chron Small Business wrote an article examining the risks and advantages of online banking and makes some great points when examining online banking.

Some of the risks that come with online banking include identity theft and phishing. You are at a much higher risk for identity theft when using online banking because all that information is available for hackers. A simple user ID and password will not keep your account and personal information as safe and an institution with a state-of-the-art security system. Phishing is when hackers create emails that are sent to people who use online banking. The email contains a link that, when clicked on, appears to be the homepage of your bank. In actuality, this link steals your log in information, giving criminals access to you online banking account.


Online banking does more bad than good though. According to an article wrote in Business Insider as to why online banking is better than traditional banking, all the risks of online banking can be proved invalid.

Business Insider makes the point that, even traditional banks store your account information in an online database. So what’s to say the hacker doesn’t get into the bank’s database in order to gain access to many accounts, not just yours? Basically, as long as you’re smart about it an always log into you account on a secure and trusted wifi, and never share your account information, the risk of getting your information stolen is equal in both situations. And if for some reason your account does get hacked, any account through an FDIC backed bank will cover you losses up to $250,000.

Some of the advantages of online banking include smaller fees. Most online banks offer free checking, along with smaller depositors because their monthly balances typically aren’t as high as traditional banks.

24/7 access is of high convenience for online bankers. With online banking, you have access to your account 24/7, 365 days a year, can pay your bills and eDeposite money online at any time you wish, and have constant access to online customer service. This is a way for banks to accommodate to everyone’s busy schedules.


The convenience and accessibility that online banking offers is accommodating with the changing and advancing society of today. Technology is running our society and every smart business is changing to adapt to that.

The LG Pocket Printer


LG has introduced a portable pocket printer that has changed the way we print and share photos. The 72x120x24mm Pocket Printer not only allows you to print photos anywhere, anytime, but also allows you to edit and customize your photos.

This revolutionary piece of portable technology dismisses the need to run to the store and wait an hour for your photos to be printed and ready. The Inquirer and LG named the Pocket Printer “the smallest and lightest mobile photo printer available.” It’s many functions include:

  • Instant mobile printing
  • Printing 2x3in images
  • Easy bluetooth connection
  • Smart NFC connection which allows you to instantly run the application associated with the printer
  • Customized editing
  • Adjustable photo filter
  • Posting the D-days, in other words, making notes to remember important dates
  • DYI Photo frame
  • Photo split function
  • “No need ink” feature

The Printer ranges from $100.00 to $160.00 and can be purchased at various locations including:

With all these incredible features, it almost doesn’t make sense to print photos in any other way. LG brought us a new and advanced technological piece of equipment that makes our photo sharing lives easier than ever before. Similar to most other companies, LG is making strides to adapt to our advancing technological society.