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Southern Style: Blow after Blow

Page 10 November 17, 2010

http://snews.southernct.edu/

New messenger service ‘Kik’ reaches Southern Alyssa Diglio Staff Writer

Kik, a new mobile messenger service, has skyrocketed since its launch less than three weeks ago. In only 15 days, according to its website, over one million people have become users of Kik Messenger. Students like junior Joseph D’Ambrosca said it is quickly gaining momentum among college aged students. “I heard about it through Facebook,” he said. “Everyone was posting it so I looked it up on Google to see what it was all about. Then I downloaded it.” D’Ambrosca, a business marketing major, said he likes it because he switched from a BlackBerry to a Droid and the one thing he missed about his BlackBerry was BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM . “Kik is an application that allows you to communicate with others in real-time messages, similar to an instant messaging program,” he said. “It allows you to see if a person has read the message you sent them, so you know if they are ignoring you or not.”

He said a lot of his friends use Kik but he still uses text messaging more because he’s not used to it yet. “Once I get used to it and remember that I have it,” he said, “I will use it more often.” D’Ambrosca said he thinks the main reason why Kik has become so popular is because people are putting their usernames as their Facebook statuses, which compels their friends to check out the application. Kik also syncs with your Facebook friends; it goes through your friends list and suggests people you may want to add to your contact list. “It’s convenient, it’s fun, and it’s new,” he said. In a press release, Ted Livingston, President and CEO of Kik Interactive, Inc. said, “The sudden surge in Kik’s popularity is driving what may be the fastest-ever growth of any mobile app.” He said the continuing rush of new users is overwhelming, yet thrilling. Senior Jordan Napolitano said he found out about Kik through his roommate and he jumped right on the bandwagon and downloaded it. “It seemed safe enough,” he said,

“and it didn’t cost me anything.” Napolitano, an athletic training major, said only a few of his friends are using it as of right now so he still uses text messaging more than Kik. “I like it a lot because it’s fast. It doesn’t lag much,” he said. “And as far as I know, it’s free.” He said he thinks Kik has been so successful because texting is such a popular means of communication. “With Kik, you don’t have to worry about going over limits and being charged fees,” he said. Jessica Proctor, a communications major, said she heard about Kik from some of her friends. She just recently downloaded it and hasn’t really explored it yet, but she said she likes it so far. “I don’t know too much about it yet,” she said. “It seems pretty cool though. I like how when I set it up, it listed people that I might know, which made it easier. I didn’t have to go and search for people.” Proctor, a junior, said a lot of her friends are using Kik and she hopes to use it more often once she gets familiar with it. “It’s a trend and everyone wants to

know what it’s about,” she said. “If it is a convenience, people will use it.” Marketing professor Robert Forbus said he heard the hype about Kik through his students. “Students tell me about new, cool applications for the iPhone because they know I am an iPhone user,” he said. “Consequently, I checked out the details of Kik at the iPhone store, and then at the Kik website.” However, he said he doesn’t use Kik because he doesn’t need it, nor is he interested in it. He said he is increasingly turning off his iPhone more in order to avoid constant interruptions, so he doesn’t need to add to the list of things that consume all of his time. As a marketing professor, he said he doesn’t think the Kik team has done a good job promoting it thus far. “The application is in its infancy, as far as its product life-cycle is concerned,” he said. “If the firm hopes to increase brand and product awareness, marketers will likely spend a great deal of resources on promotion. The application is free, so the price is right. But more buzz about Kik is needed.”

Forbus said he thinks Kik was created for heavy users of text messaging, which is the younger generation, and to some extent, middle aged people. “College students are often among the early adopters of technology,” he said. “Kik has several things going for it, including the following: relative advantage, which is how much better consumers perceive an innovation to be relative to previous generations; compatibility, which is how easily assimilated the technology or idea is perceived to be by the consumer; complexity, which is how complicated to use consumers perceive an innovation to be; and trialability, which is how easily consumers can try out a new idea or technology.” He said although one million users may sound impressive, it might not be compared to the adoption of Twitter when it was released to the public. “If Kik follows the diffusion of innovations model,” he said, “we’ll find that one million users in 15 days in relatively unimpressive in comparison to the total number of users the application will have once adoption reaches critical mass.”

Writers series brings variety to reading Students rethink food

choices after screening

Robin Glynn Staff Writer

Sean Meenaghan | General Assignment Reporter

Alan Michael Parker, author of five collections of poems, reads to a room full of students last Tuesday in Engleman.

Sean Meenaghan

General Assignment Reporter

As part of the Fall 2010 Visiting Writers Series, sponsored by the MFA and undergraduate Creative Writing Programs, renowned poet Alan Michael Parker brought many of his latest works for a 90-minute reading that had the crowd laughing and applauding all night. Professor Tim Parrish, who helped coordinate the event, said it is vital for students. “We want it to be good entertainment,” Parrish said. “Give exposure to different styles, subject matter and ideas. Alan (Michael Parker) is a thoughtful writer, important to student writers and professional writers.” Parker read from numerous publications, including two books and a fiction manuscript of poems. Many of Parker’s poems are comical due to the ironic situations he writes about. Parker said he doesn’t always write with anger; a lot of his works are about small town life, politics and some satire. He said he is greatly influenced by real life occurrences. He said he has come up with a few

“revenge poems” because he feels no one really reads poetry. One “revenge poem” featured his mail carrier, because he said he felt she was very chatty. Parker also read a couple list poems he recently wrote. Parker said he tries to do these types of poems because he is not good at them. “I try to do things I can’t do,” Parker said. “I want to figure out why I can’t do them. I crawl inside things that are impossible and figure out how to do it to help myself and it works.” Parker, who usually writes prose, which essentially has all the elements of traditional poetry written in verse and traditional poems, said he never knows which type he is writing when he starts. “For myself, I cut from poems and add to prose,” Parker said. “When I edit I can tell what type of writing I am doing.” Parker said he grew up in Long Island, NY in a small town and went to college in the midwest. He came back to Long Island even though he said he hates small towns. Parker said he has a new book that is going to be published in a couple of months that consists of flash fiction and his own

illustrations and diagrams. For the entire reading, the audience was very engaged and interested in each and every poem Parker read. The subtlest details were caught by the audience, which are put in many of the poems Parker read. Parrish said the series has been going on for 16 years and that writers really like coming to do readings at Southern. “Writers want to promote to a different audience,” Parrish said. “We have a well-attended, respective audience at Southern.” Parrish said he hopes more funding can be instituted into the reading series. “We are always in talks,” Parrish said. “The dean of arts and sciences is very supportive; grateful to have money because people are longing for jobs but we would like to have more.” Parrish said the MFA tries to book different writers but it is difficult. “The MFA program gets requests for different writers,” Parrish said. “We are able to accommodate but we have little budget. The reading series is remarkable for the available funding. A big part is the large generosity.”

Students like Jen Fengler never thought about how meats and vegetables are processed and brought to stores and restaurants. “I never thought about what I eat,” said Fengler, a sophmore. “But after watching this I am going to start watching what I eat.” On Nov. 10, students watched documentary film “Food, Inc.”, focused on corporate farming. In the first of this two-part event, students attending learned about America’s industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health issues related to meats and how animals are treated before being slaughtered, worker’s rights and genetic engineering on foods. “I will definitely start watching what I eat a lot more,” said Fengler. “I will cut back on eating McDonald’s.” “I know that America’s industrialized food system is having a major effect on our environment,” said Heather Contreras, a public health major. “There is a high percentage of greenhouse gases that come from slaughter house factories alone, as well as from the maintenance and care for the animals waiting to be slaughtered. If the production of meat is cut in half it will greatly reduce the greenhouse gas omissions.” While watching the film, students witnessed the living conditions in which many animals live; cows standing in their own filth and chicken coops filled to capacity. Students also learned many farmers are in debt and they sell part of their farm to companies like Tyson in order to pay off their debt, but

companies see this as a business opportunity. According to the film, companies take chickens and genetically alter them to be matured in 50 days rather than three months; many people see this process as being inhumane and dangerous to both animals and people. “It’s all a science. They got it figured out,” one farmer in the documentary said. “If you can grow a chicken in 49 days, why would you want one you gotta grow in three months?” “I think it’s one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: the right to know what’s in their food, and how it was grown,” said Joe Salatin, a farmer interviewed in the documentary. In 1996, the topic of whether or not we should clone animals was a big issue because Dolly, a cloned sheep, was born. “Genetic engineering is a complicated issue,” said Contreras. “There are definitely ethical questions involved with whether we should even be cloning animals. There is the new Pacific salmon that has been genetically altered and is being determined by the FDA whether it is safe to eat or not.” Today, the FDA says that meats from cloned cows, pigs, and goats are safe for consumption. “On Nov. 17, part two of Food Inc. will be shown,” said Brian Townsend, president of the Media Studies club, “followed by a discussion with CitySeed Outreach Coordinator Maeve Rafferty.” Rafferty’s discussion will explain how CitySeed Outreach works with Connecticut farmers and the community to grow a local food system that promotes local economic development.

Associate professor displays man-made and natural art

Laura Gomez Staff Writer

Jeff Slomba, an associate professor of art at SCSU, is starting the dialog about the existing tension between the natural and man-made world through his art, he said. His objective has been to synthesize his experience of these now merged worlds in order to inquire about the potential danger and promise this inevitable relationship poses. His current exhibit at Wave Hill Public Garden and Gallery in the Bronx, called “Alternating Currents,” explores how these two worlds engage and how people navigate between them. “This project in particular is focused on the Long Island Sound as an expression of the natural environment and a very built, industrial environment, and my impressions of living in that tension between the natural and the built worlds,” said Slomba. The project, which has been in the making for two years, is concerned with invasive species and their effect on local flora and fauna in a globally trading world, he said. His inspiration came from living in West Haven close to Long Wharf, where he said he can barely tell the difference between ocean sounds and highway noise.

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“Standing in my backyard I heard this wshhhh, and I though to myself, ‘oh, that’s nice, I can hear the ocean from my house,’ but what I was actually hearing was I-95, the noise of the highway. Sometimes I let myself believe that is actually the natural sound,” Slomba said. The invasive species depicted in this project is called the Vein Rapa Whelk, which is a sea snail native of East Asian seas that has “hitchhiked” to Virginia, Slomba’s home state, on shipping vessels, taking over the Chesapeake Bay, decimating oyster beds and disturbing the ecosystem. This species poses a thread to the Long Island Sound as it has been predicted it could migrate north in search of food and warm waters as global warming progresses, Slomba said. Roxanne Fleming, a graduate from the University of Oregon with an environmental science degree, said invasive species can be an inconspicuous, but serious threats to the environment. “Invasive species are dangerous because they have adapted to a completely new environment, which means they are likely to eat a wide range of aliments. Also, because they are foreign to

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Catherine Groux | photo editor

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Writer series bring variety to reading