TBT: Jon Zmikly
Throwback Thursday – To commemorate the 10th year of SXTXState, each Thursday we’ll be featuring past participants in the project. Check back each Thursday until SXSW to find out what SXTXState alumni remember from their time with the project and what they are up to now.
Jon Zmikly participated in the first SXTXState team project in 2008 when he was a graduate student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The following year he worked directly for SXSW and every year after he has participated in the SXTXState program as a faculty member.
Zmikly is a now a Senior Lecturer teaching Web Design and Publishing, Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media and some digital short courses. He recently taught a 360 Video/Virtual Reality Class at the Meadows Center. When he is not teaching on campus, he also runs social media, the blog and manages the web content for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Outside of his many roles at Texas State University, Zmikly recently started his own company based out of Austin which is focused on digital content, logos, websites and video productions. Zmikly also works with his local church as a youth pastor.
Zmikly came to Texas State University for his Master’s of Mass Communication in New Media. As soon as he moved to San Marcos from Michigan, he got an assistantship in the School. During his graduate studies, he took some of Cindy Royal’s classes and took Ray Niekamp’s Digital Media Issues class.
“My interests were piqued immediately, and it was very exciting because it was looking at media in a whole new way. It made me start thinking about new platforms like Pandora and what that meant for the music industry, social media, and what that meant for the news industry. All these different industries were being upturned by social media and by the internet,” Zmikly said.
“It was a very exciting time to be in the media. I learned how to build a website in Cindy Royal’s Web Design class, and it was the first website I ever built,” Zmikly continued. Now he teaches Web design.
Attending SXSW was a whole new world for him and opened up the opportunities he now has in his academic career. “Everything at SXSW was all new. Sitting in on a panel and hearing about Dreamweaver and templates, I had no idea what Dreamweaver was at all or what a template was, but I just sat in and listened because I was so interested.” In the years that Zmikly has attended SXSW, he’s watched the emerging tech trends of Twitter, location-based services like Foursquare, the rise of virtual reality and drones and a range of conceptual, legal and ethical issues associated with digital media.
Zmikly has some wisdom for first time SXSW goers. “There are people that I’ve met that were not huge celebrities but are people that I respected in the industry like NPR or New York Times. You get to hear from people that don’t usually get the world-renewed fame, but they are important. There have been so many moments where I’ve gotten to interview somebody on the way to a panel or just met somebody and followed them on Twitter and continued that conversation online,” Zmikly said.
Hear more about Zmikly’s experiences at SXSW in the video below.