Hello, I am Michael Gizzi; I am a professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University. I am a political scientist by training and have long been a student of what I call “information technology and politics,” and as a result, I was drawn to social media fairly early in the game. I am originally from upstate New York, went to college in Vermont, grad school in New York, spent thirteen wonderful years teaching in Western Colorado, and I am beginning my fourth year here in Normal, Illinois. While it is flat, and is what I describe as “terrain-deprived” compared to Colorado, I have really enjoyed living in this community.
How do you walk the talk re: social media?
I walk the talk with social media in many ways. First, I use Facebook as a way to stay in touch with old friends – thanks to Facebook I have rekindled friendships with people from high school and college and have deeper relationships with them now than I did then; I also use it to make new friends; and to stay in touch with what soon will be a generation of students I have taught.
I am relatively new to twitter, but have found it to be the perfect compliment to Facebook. I walk the talk with twitter by using it to stay current with the news, to follow my favorite sports teams, and to build local connections here in “#BloNo.”
I also consider my active participation in http://www.satelliteguys.us, the internet’s largest satellite television and home theater information source to be a valuable form of social media. I am a moderator and site admin in a community with over 160,000 members; we engage in discussions on a wide range of topics, often having little to do with “satellite tv.” Out of virtual conversations have developed “real world” friendships, and visits.
What one practical tip can you recommend regarding the use of social media?
I think the most important thng is to use social media in a way that you are comfortable. And to be smart. If you use Facebook, recognize that you need to be aware of the privacy settings, and make your own informed choices as to how much of your world you share with others
With twitter, I’d say begin small; collect a list of say 100 individuals or groups that you want to follow, and then begin to reach out to others. Find a niche. The #BloNo tag is a great way to learn and meet others in Central Illinois.
What do you think is the perfect age?
Tough one. I wish I had the body of a 21 year old, but the maturity of someone in their 40s. Maybe 35 is the perfect age. The body still works when you want to pound the pavement running, but you have the maturity to make good decisions. I know, not really a great answer.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Technology gadgets. If there is a new gadget I have to have it. I actually own both a Android Galaxy Tab tablet and an iPad! I love technology through and through, and am lucky that my wife has put up with my vices. As she says, “at least you are not out drinking.” And I guess another guilty pleasure would have to be dark chocolate.
What are you really good at?
Name one thing you will never understand.
How the roads maps are designed in Utah.
Share something on your mind lately.
My wife and I have begun a faith journey leaving the Catholic Church to find a new home in the Presbyterian Church, and that has been on my mind a lot.
And on a far-less weighty level, the fact that our supply of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate nonpareils are gone, and it is time for a trip to the Chicago suburbs to replenish the supply.