It goes beyond college..

There is never a day that goes by that I don’t check my Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account. I’d have to admit that my social media sites have become somewhat of an addiction. When I signed up for this class, I was excited to expand on what I thought I already knew about Facebook and Twitter. However, we learned more than I ever imagined was possible to know about the up and coming social media platforms. We set up a Google+ account, created additional Pinterest boards and analyzed my social media scores using Klout and SocialMention.

I think what I learned most was the means to analyze social media sites. I had never heard of Klout or SocialMention previous to taking this class. At the beginning of the class, my Klout score was 7 and now my score is 47 based on increased use of my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If it came down to it, I think I have used Twitter more than any other platform in this class. By tweeting at my followers and retweeting others’ tweets, my Klout score has drastically increased. To reinforce what we learned on day 1 was that social media is all about being social. The fact that this class pushed me to tweet more and engage on my social media pages has really helped me to understand the impact that social media can have socially.

Lastly, this class has taught me the importance of having consistency among all social media sites. When I was job searching, I never realized the importance of making sure I presented myself in a positive light on all platforms. My Facebook has always been a more personal site but I have made an effort to make it appear professional and reflect me in a positive way. Thank you Carol for having us Google ourselves because it was a great reminder that everything we submit online is there forever. This class will prove to be invaluable in my future career no doubt. Because social media goes well beyond college..

The Kony Legacy

The Kony 2012 campaign went viral earlier this past spring with the hopes of uniting the nation’s youth to ‘Cover the Night’ on April 20th. However, I haven’t come across any confirmations that this idea was successful.  Beyond my own opinions about the campaign and its administration, I came across this article with a video to counter the Kony movement.  A group of young  Ugandans activists created the “Uganda Speaks” campaign at the same time that Invisible Children was promoting its “Cover the Night” event.

These young Ugandans believe the following:

1. Kony 2012 has oversimplified what is really happening in Uganda and lacks real stories of the Ugandan people.

2. Kony presented the war in Uganda as a one-sided story that ends with a plea for donations.

3. Critics have stressed that donations to Kony2012 don’t even help real Ugandans but have covered administrative and campaign costs. This organization would give 100% of donations to “Uganda Speaks” to the people.

There is one thing that is very reputable about this organization of young people. First, it’s very influential to see young people harness their media skills to reflect the current realities in Uganda. Their campaign is not only about increasing awareness but giving a voice to the people of Uganda. Their goals are simple : “The first part of the project gives Ugandan storytellers the opportunity to share how they’re working to rebuild their region in the film #Uganda2012. The second goal is to grant writers a chance to publish stories about how activists are making a meaningful difference with regard to such critical issues as dam relief and nodding disease. The group says that it will use funding it receives to support Ugandans interested in telling their story via whatever medium they choose.”

As a journalism major and having studied the war in Uganda in an International Mass Communication class, my views of ways to bring the issues to the international community coincide with this group more than Kony. As much as Kony empowered thousands of teens to make Kony famous, I was disappointed by the fact that they stressed donations as a means to increase awareness. I remember receiving a Facebook invite to ‘Cover the Night’ in Omaha, and I can’t say I’ve seen one sign around the city after 4/20. How successful was that campaign? I would much rather donate to a group of Ugandans who know the truth of the matter and give voices to those who should be heard.

Take the time to watch this group’s video. It gives you a different perspective on the political and social issues occurring in Uganda.

Social Media’s Impact on Job Hunting

Social media is a vehicle for communication in today’s society.  In an economy where jobs are limited, social media has proven to be a determinant for employers and human resource departments. It has enabled both applicants and hiring professionals the ability to network with each other during the hiring process. But how successful can social media be in today’s job hunt? A Forbes article confirms the importance of keeping your social media profiles clean because employers use social media as a way to make hiring decisions. According to a CareerBuilder.com survey, 37% of employers screen potential job candidates on social networks. That means about two in five companies browse your social media profiles to evaluate your character and personality.

I can attest to the fact that social media can positively impact a job search. I began networking through family members to expand my professional network this past December. I created a LinkedIn profile so that my resume could be online for possible employers to view. What I did not realize was how easy it was to connect with professionals in your ideal city and profession. Beyond the contacts I was given from my parents network, I was able to find professionals through my sorority’s LinkedIn account, Creighton University’s account and advertising/marketing professional society’s pages. Networking was the very reason that I landed my first job at Encore Unlimited. My position will involve me ‘networking’ with several of Encore’s current clients, along with conducting new business. That fact that social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook allowed me to get in contact with various professionals was invaluable. I know that whenever I met with a new contact, I would always check out their LinkedIn profile and Facebook to see who they were and what they were about.

Read the rest of this article to learn more about ways to utilize social media to your advantage while job hunting!

Where are you news?

As an active consumer of all things media, it has become quite apparent that the ways in which we consume our news is changing dramatically. I will always remember how my grandpa would tell me about his years in the army when he would receive all news through his crystal radio set. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism proves that those means of communication are long gone. We have now moved into the digital age where everyone accesses news online or on their smart phones. This is the trend that I have been seeing in the recent years. Statistics have shown that the majority of Americans access their news from either their smartphones or tablet devices such as iPads, Kindles or other tablet brands. Both of these offer convenience, which is incredibly appealing to someone on the go.

Smart phones have become a necessity in the world we live in. That is the primary form of communication in this digital era. According to the Pew Research Center’s report,  44% of adults own a smart phone, and the number of tablet owners grew by about 50% since the summer of 2011, to 18% of Americans over age 18. I would say that I get the majority of my news from my phone via Twitter or internet. On Twitter, I follow the large news stations and newspapers such as CNN, BBC, New York Times, and several others. I can read the headlines of the most recent stories and click on the attached link to read more on the story. It allows me to pick and choose what news I am interested in learning more about.

If I could foresee the future, I would guess that in the coming years, the majority of Americans will gather news from their smartphones and tablets. I wouldn’t be surprised if usage of computers and laptops decreased due to the fact that smartphones and tablets allow for users to access news wherever they may be. I’m excited to see where this digital age takes us!

#Kony2012

The STOP KONY 2012 viral campaign grabbed at not only the attention of millions of viewers worldwide, but tugged at their heartstrings. This video, created by Invisible Children, was intended to bring awareness to Joseph Kony.  And it did just that. This video that Invisible Children produced has surpassed all original intentions by the group itself. It has reached millions of viewers and empowered youth around the nation (and world) to take action to ‘Make Kony Famous’.

It was over our spring break at the beginning of March that this video went viral. I remember seeing countless people tweet about this “Kony2012” video and the impact it had on them. I had never heard of this man, Joseph Kony, before viewing the video. The way in which the producers created this video made it very personal for viewers, especially American youth. Even if the viewer had no idea who Joesph Kony was prior to viewing the video, they were left with a simple picture that he is evil and has been brainwashing and kidnapping thousands of children in Uganda. He must be stopped and this video is helping expand awareness worldwide to hopefully gain increased government support and citizen support to take down the LRA.

This video got over 100 million views on YouTube in a handful of days. To be able to reach that many viewers is truly incredible and Invisible Children should be commended for this campaign. Yes, there will always be people attacking the cause itself and the group’s intentions, but no one can argue that this campaign wasn’t successful. The strategy implemented in this video is what sets it apart from other activist movements. They aim to unify people around the globe to come together to fight against the LRA. Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children, tugged at the heartstrings of viewers when he included footage of his young son in the video. He used lame-mans terms to describe Kony and the LRA movements in Uganda. This made it very easy to understand. The campaign also utilized celebrity endorsements to expand social reach. The use of celebrities and politicians was strategically smart and I believe was a primary factor in the response they received from the video being shared on various social media platforms. Because this video was aimed at youth, the call to action was well-received. It has become apparent to me that any campaign involving ‘change’ or ‘social activism’ will appeal to the youth in America and become incredibly successful, especially through the use of social media.

No matter what you believe about Invisible Children, take the time to watch this 30 minute video because it is very important that Joseph Kony is found and charged for his crimes against thousands of children and citizens of Uganda. I will forever be impressed by this campaign. It spread like wild fire and continues to intrigue and excite the youth around the world to make change!

The Art of Networking

As a soon-to-be college graduate, I am constantly bombarded by the concept of networking from career professionals, academic advisers and family members. Many students are turned off by this idea, however, I have really enjoyed the networking process. As a Minnesota native, it has been somewhat hard for me to network in the Twin Cities from Omaha, NE. It has come down to dedicating my time over breaks to networking and setting up meetings with professionals all over the Twin Cities, hoping to gain insight and possible future entry-level opportunities. In this economy, I’ve come to realize just how important it is for college graduates to master the networking process.

The more and more I think about it, it really is all about making professional ‘friends’, people who will support you in your job search. If you are even a tiny bit personable, you won’t have  a problem networking. I have already met a wide variety of people in all different sectors of marketing and advertising and have enjoyed every minute of it. I firmly believe that the first job I get will be through networking. I always hear how  many jobs are not advertised but are sought out through a person’s professional network. I would never have imagined the support I have already received from individuals that I have met once for coffee and the lengths they are willing to go to pass my name and resume around. If nothing else, I have met some incredible professionals and learned a lot of about each of their careers. Plus, I can now confidently say where my favorite coffee shops around the Twin Cities are! Dunn Bros would have to be one- great networking location.

For anyone that wants some networking tips, check out this website!

Don’t have a life plan? Get a Pinterest!

I will always remember the day a friend of mine was scrolling through this website full of pictures of ‘girly’ things. I was immediately intrigued. What was this site and how do you use it? I was informed it was called Pinterest. This new social trend has become overwhelmingly popular. It all comes down to the concept of ‘pinning your interests’, hence the name. Unlike any other social media site, you have to be invited in order to create a profile. Once I gained access to a profile, I couldn’t stop pinning. I’ve planned my future wedding, gathered some yummy recipes, fashion trends, and created a fitness board as I train for the Lincoln Half Marathon in May; essentially a fake lifestyle. It is as simple as pressing the ‘Pin It’ button.

Beyond my ability to sit on my computer and pin all day long, overwhelmed with creative ideas, Pinterest has caught my attention by its impact on social referring and marketing. Pinterest has allowed me to ‘pin’ something and link it back to a company page I probably haven’t visited before. This has enhanced awareness of several large and small brands. The response from Pinterest referrals has continued to increase. Several businesses have begun to create company Pinterest boards showcasing their products. According to Mashable.com, Pinterest is becoming one of the top traffic drivers for retailers. This article states that Pinterest is even driving more traffic than Google+.  This is a pretty impressive statistic considering Pinterest has only been around for 2 years. From an internet marketing standpoint, it is recommended for businesses to look into creating a Pinterest profile to showcase products and increase sales through traffic to their website. As I learned in my International Mass Communication class, you must always appeal to your audience. Clearly, Pinterest is not lacking in appealing to new users.

I’m interested to see how long Pinterest stays around and how businesses utilize this social media platform to increase awareness and sales. Now onto pinning…

Oh, the things you Stumbleupon!

I often receive various emails from my mom linking me to websites that she thinks I would find interesting or relative to my studies. Some are better than others, however, she sent me one that she found on her Stumbleupon profile. I know it’s crazy that my mom has a Stumbleupon. She is incredibly tech savvy for a woman her age!

Every year during the Lenten season, Catholics take the time to reflect on their faith during the 40 days of Lent. Many people choose to give up certain things, like Facebook or sweets. Some may choose to do random acts of kindness or work towards a personal goal. My mom forwarded me to a website called Busted Halo, an online magazine for spiritual seekers. Within this site, they are featuring a Lenten calendar, unlike any one I’ve seen. It encompasses the ideas of Fast, Pray, Give. At first glance, I immediately thought of Eat, Pray, Love. Not sure if there is any correlation between themes..

This calendar provides the reader with a daily quote from a celebrity or spiritual role model, along with a thought-provoking reflections under the categories of Fast, Pray, Give. What I love about this calendar is that it is not overly religious. It allows for personal and spiritual reflection each day of Lent. It has been my goal this Lenten season to refer back to this calendar everyday to reflect on the daily quote. Today’s reflection seems to be especially fitting because it a reflection by Steve Jobs.

Feb. 27th:

Here is the quote: “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Fast: from over-commitment — say “no” in order to simplify your life.

Pray: for help in simplifying and clarifying your thinking about a problem.

Give: away something that adds clutter to your life so that you can live more simply.

It is so important for us all to take 5-10 minutes out of our busy lives to ourselves, especially during this Lenten season. This reflection is so evident in our lives because we are so busy and often over-commit ourselves. Social media can oftentimes clutter our lives and distract us for hours. This really made me think about what I can do, as a young adult, to simplify my life.  I was so impressed with this Lenten Calendar: Fast, Pray, Give and look forward to seeing what reflection is to come the next day. I encourage everyone to check it out! Enjoy!

Social Media 4 Good

As part of my Social Media class, two classmates of mine helped facilitate a small event called ‘Social Media 4 Good’. This was an event intended to provide local non-profits with educational information about social media and ways in which they can apply social media to network and improve their businesses. According to my professor, Carol Zuegner, “Social media is social.” This event was just that and more!

Social media has become a huge part of how individuals and businesses can network. It continues to change and improve, allowing for continual learning. This event was led by several speakers, several being employees or alumni of Creighton University. Brittany Mascio, who currently works for Silicon Prairie News, discussed the ways in which Twitter has become a huge part of her job as an events coordinator. Twitter seemed to be the topic of discussion for all that attended the event. One point that Brittany made was the fact that social media is about creating conversation among individuals. You may have to put away all of your old PR ways, in order to be open to expanding your brand socially. Also, if you are advertising an event via Twitter, it was recommended that live-tweeting at events can create more interaction with followers and get them excited about the specific event. It also allows the group to link to alternate social media platforms such as Facebook and blogs to create optimal awareness of the event. As a previous events management intern at Creighton University, learning ways to utilize social media to create awareness and attract followers was very informative.

On a final note, one particular depiction of social media struck a chord with me; Social media is not a 9-5 job. This concept wasn’t something I had ever thought about until this event. As I think more about it, I realize that I am constantly logging into my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts at all hours of the day. I will wake up in the morning to notifications from my LinkedIn that were sent in the middle of the night. What I took away from this is that for an individual or company to effectively use its social media, you must use social media when your audience is there.

This was a great seminar. Solid conversation and live-tweet coverage!