Hacking is the new pastime.

On Friday, September 9 a hacker group called “The Script Kiddies” took control of the @NBCNews Twitter handle posting false reports that Ground Zero had been attacked days before the 9/11 ten-year anniversary. Though this was not the first time that a news agency’s Twitter account has been hacked, it is the first time that the hacking was considerably alarming due to the significant terrorist attack 10 years prior.

Recently, hacking groups have targeted organizations and the government to spread false information and/or hacked confidential information.   These hackings underscore the importance of social media security.  A brand’s and/or product’s credibility and reputation can be greatly affected if hackers are able to take control of their social media feeds/accounts and post malicious statements. It is increasingly important to maintain a secure online presence as to not jeopardize brand equity.  Advertisers/marketers must keep in mind that social media is a great way to engage their audiences, but if it falls into the wrong hands it can damage a brand’s entire reputation in a matter of minutes.  The take-away: Brands must be selective when allowing access to their SM feeds and must monitor them regularly to be abreast of any unusual or malicious activity.

Mashable:  Hacked NBC News Twitter Account Issues False Reports of Ground Zero Plane Crash

Skype CAN be educational!

According to an article, published by Mashable.com, Skype launched a network in March 2011 specifically for teachers called: Skype in the Classroom. The teacher network now boasts 15,000 teachers worldwide sharing/collaborating projects and video-conferencing with other classes and professionals in their prospective fields. Tony Bates, the CEO of Skype, sat down with Mashable to discuss the impact that Skype in the Classroom has on education. His positive outlook of the teaching network emphasizes the importance of a video-conferencing tool in classrooms.

The article is particularly interesting because there are many positives that can come out of the teaching network. As the article mentioned, teachers are able to collaborate on school projects and share their work with others that would normally be inaccessible.  Skype in the Classroom is invaluable because it allows students to work with others and/or have personal experiences with various teachers and professors across the globe.  Specifically advertising/marketing classes can collaborate in more specific ways with the use of Skype. The platform can also enhance students’ learning and global perspective rather than restricting them to only one regional or national perspective.

It is important for educators from the advertising/marketing world to engage their students with this type of experiential learning.  It can also help students by providing them with a mode of connecting with industry professionals that would otherwise be out of reach.  Instructors should implement these professionals into their classroom instruction whenever possible to enrich classroom learning.  Additionally, teachers in all disciplines and fields should embrace this technology and innovate new ways to use the platform for better classroom engagement. This initiative is of great significance for education overall and even more for higher education. West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism would benefit from outside professional and academic collaboration. Personally, I would have enjoyed my advertising and communication classes more if Skype and other engaging platforms would have been used more often.