Wiki-style. It explores design blogs and other forms of social media, how they are assuming a more prominent role over print magazines in recent and coming years, and how they are changing design. You, yes YOU, are instrumental in this project. Well, much like Wikipedia, you will “Write My Thesis” (hence the clever title). Here’s the gist: I post a question regarding the topic, you respond, witty discussion ensues, done. It’s essentially discussing social media while using it. This format eliminates one of the problems associated with print: outdatedness. By acting as mediator/discussion generator/editor I can quickly add (or delete–watch out!) the latest information. Participants are encouraged from all walks of life, but a special call to people in the creative fields are encouraged. I will be posting a series of interviews I’ve been conducting with magazine editors, bloggers, and designers as well as all the latest research. If you have some of your own, do share. The day Domino magazine folded in January of 2009, I thought my world had collapsed.

No more monthly eye candy on beautiful, glossy paper. Domino, however, wasn’t the first time my life plan had been upset. It was the last straw. Over recent years my magazine subscriptions have rapidly stopped arriving at my doorstep: House and Garden in 2007, Blueprint in 2008, and more recently Southern Accents in September of this year. The question is, where are they all going? Or ARE they going anywhere? Are they being replaced by blogs? Or, like they claim, are they just losing their advertisers? And to whom are they losing their advertisers to? The next generation of design magazine readers has been brought up on both print and the web and expect different things from their news/inspiration sources. What do they (we!) expect now? And who is in charge of creating it? That’s just what WE are going to find out. How does Warhol figure in? Andy Warhol was the quintessential artist businessman (or businessman artist, you decide). He realized the importance of social events, via his Factory parties, in generating new art and drew a variety of creatives including painters, musicians, designers, filmmakers. Collaboration was key. Eventually he started Interview magazine as a voice to express the people involved and create buzz. Blogs, in a sense, are a 21st century Factory party: an online social venue to collaborate and create the buzz Warhol was so adept at creating. Please, take a look through the site, write your thoughts, sign your name in the guestbook, pass on the link, oooo and gawk over pictures as I attempt my own online Factory party. Go to the main page to get started.

It’s uncomfortable for the competitors and for the judge(s) and no one will appreciate it more than if you break the ice by lightening the mood with humor. Another problem orators face is getting creative in the body of the speech. It becomes a “fact and statement” time for most orators which is the equivalent of a research paper recitation – BORING! Liven it up. Catch your audience off guard. Place well-timed jokes in some of your more serious points and you will get your audience to lose it. I’m not kidding. I’ve had judges who have had water come out their noses because I caught them off guard by exaggerating something or by making fun of myself in the middle of my own speech. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should incorporate shock value into your OO piece. Some of the dumbest forms of humor include profanity and crudeness. First of all, it takes no talent to be crude and swear and in all truthfulness, it makes a competitor look foolish. Secondly, judges won’t normally enjoy this type of humor and may dock you points for it.

The last “boring” point for orators comes in the conclusion. Although I would never suggest ending your speech with humor, I would suggest that you start your conclusion with humor. Once again, if you do this, you will lighten the mood one last time and it will be the perfect segway for you to bring home you major points and leave a “killer” impression on the judges. In conclusion, do yourself a favor and take this advice when drafting your next oratory speech. Trust me, I have competed at the local, state and national level (19 rounds at the national level)in oratory and I know what it takes to win because I have done so myself. I will even go out on a limb and make one last bold statement. You CAN’T win unless you have humor in your speech. Look at every speech that makes it far at nationals.

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