Last Day of Class…

Over the last semester, we’ve done a lot of different things. From blogs to LinkedIn to Social Media Strategies, all of these things have somehow worked together to form a coherent, cohesive class which I have enjoyed very much.

This class wasn’t what I expected. That wasn’t meant to come out in a bad way and, honestly, this class was better than I expected. I signed up for it expecting to just learn about when each social media site was formed and how various companies use their accounts, things like that. While that made up some of the content for the class, we did things that I didn’t expect.

Visiting the Humane Society (which may have become an issue because now I send photos from their Twitter accounts to my boyfriend once a week asking if we can adopt a cat) and creating a social media strategy for Creighton Recent Alumni are things that I never thought that we would do in this class. That being said, they ended up being my absolute favorite parts of the semester. That and pie day.C9Os2nBV0AAfzCx

If I were to change one thing about this class, it might be just the amount of lectures. I don’t think that the lectures are boring or anything like that (This is coming from one of the only people who seem to actually take notes during them), I just think that some people might get slightly bored with listening to a lecture and looking at a PowerPoint every single class. Maybe making some lessons more hands-on might relieve this? I’m not entirely sure. However, this is the only thing I can think of to change in terms of this class.

Overall, I really enjoyed this class. I enjoyed basically every topic that we talked about, I liked the projects, the blog posts have caused my writing skills to improve. I can’t really think of one thing I didn’t like about this class. Good job Carol!

Last Day of Class…

The Bad Side of Social Media… Well, One of the Bad Sides

Social Media isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. It isn’t just sharing photos and looking at cool cooking videos shot from overhead; sometimes, social media and the Internet in general can hurt people. Going all the way back to the 1990s and even as recent as a few weeks ago, there are several potent examples of how social media and people across the Internet have ruined the lives of individuals.

The first case I want to look at is one that I remember seeing as it unfolded around me. Justine Sacco is the ex-senior director of corporate communications at IAC (a media and internet company) who became the center of an internet witch hunt after she posted a polarizing tweet to her 170 followers before getting on a plane from London to Cape Town, South Africa.Justine Sacco

The response was immediate. As soon as she landed and looked at her phone, she was trending on Twitter, her company had tweeted about her, she had basically become a public icon without even knowing about it. Someone even came to the airport to see her land in order to respond to the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet.

The reason this case is the one that I want to touch on first is because it was the first time I remember a normal person blowing up in this way. Someone who seemed so… common (not in a bad way) basically became a celebrity for something as simple as a tweet. Do I think the tweet was in poor taste? Yes, absolutely. But do I think that it caused her to become, for a day or a week even, the most hated woman in America? Not really.

The next case I wanted to cover was one that my parents actually remember, and by remember I mean that they were paying attention with both eyes open as it literally unfolded around them. That is the case of Monica Lewinsky.

While the initial incident itself was noteworthy with all the backlash it drew towards Lewinsky, I want to comment mostly on her TED Talk and how she prepared for that.

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While I was reading the article, one of the biggest comments that stuck out to me was this one: “Feminists who had stayed silent on the first go-round were suddenly defending her, using terms like ‘slut-shaming’ and ‘media gender bias’ to do it.” That was something I never actually thought about, how some of the people who stand by Lewinsky now were the people who tore her down or stayed silent during her initial thrust into the media spotlight. It made me kind of… sad? I honestly felt bad for her, which I had never done before in all the years I knew her story.

More recently, the last story I want to touch on is about John Higgins, a referee who incited the wrath of Kentucky fans after making some ‘bad calls’ during a NCAA Tournament game.  The instance I want to touch on is how the Kentucky fans found and subsequently destroyed his companies Facebook page, resulting in Higgins being forced to remove the page in its entirety. Not only that, according to ESPN, fans “found his home phone number and it has been “ringing off the hook.” People on the other end of the line have been calling in with death threats towards Higgins, causing him to be panicked over the whole ordeal.” While the coach of Kentucky came out and indirectly tweeted about the ordeal, it did little to reverse the damage that had already occurred around Higgin’s feet.

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All of this begs the question, what does public shaming mean for social media in general? Does it reward people for being horrible, or is it possible for the entire span of content to get more positive? The authors of the stories I touched on earlier had many good points about this, points that made me think about these situations more. The first one came from the author of the Justine Sacco story, Jon Ronson, who talked about how these public shaming campaigns have become much more prevalent it seems like in the recent past. He wrote:

“As time passed, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive… It almost felt as if shaming were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script.”

Social media as a whole is built, at least in some aspect, on public shaming. This is because, as Ronson says, “Social media is so perfectly designed to manipulate our desire for approval.” People love to see other people fail, and as horrible as that sounds, basically anyone can relate to this. Remember that show America’s Funniest Home Videos? You can’t tell me you didn’t laugh every time someone faceplanted into a tree or fell off a chair, no matter how embarrassing the situation was for the individual in the video. Web sites and social media take that feeling and twist it into a different type of ‘laughter’. To quote Jessica Bennett, the author of the New York Times piece about Monica Lewinsky, “…shame and humiliation have become a kind of ‘commodity’ in our culture- with websites that thrive on it, industries created out of it, and people who get paid to clean up the mess.”

Do I think social media needs to become a more compassionate place? Yes. Do I think it will happen? That’s a completely different issue. With how much people love to watch these types of situations unfold around them over Twitter and the like, I don’t think that they will ever really stop. They should, especially because these types of things can have lasting negative effects on the individuals who, most of the time, just made a simple ill-timed mistake ( a great example is Lewinsky who still suffers from PTSD from various aspects of the Clinton scandal or how Sacco couldn’t get a new job for so long after her ordeal, only to get critized yet again when she finally did.)

Public shaming is not a good part of the social media culture. However, as much as it pains me to admit it, it is very much a part of that culture, and I don’t know how much we can do as a society to change that. I don’t think there is a person on the internet who didn’t wish, at least in some part, that public shaming would go away, but because of how popular the fall out usually is, I doubt it ever will.

The Bad Side of Social Media… Well, One of the Bad Sides

Woof. Meow. Tweet… but not the way you think

In my experience, non-profit organizations don’t tend to have the best social media presence. It’s not that they don’t try, it just always seems like they don’t reach the audience they are trying to with what they post. The Nebraska Humane Society, however, seems to have found its niche. Over the variety of platforms it finds itself on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat) it seems to reach exactly who it is targeting and does it in just the right way.

Take their Twitter account for instance. They post things that come across with much more humor and ‘sass’ than anything they post on their Facebook because the audience they draw is different between the two sites. The demographic of people who use Twitter is much younger than those who use Facebook (see here) so the ability for that humor to come across better on Twitter is definitely there. Elizabeth Hilpipre, a Development and Communication Specialist at the Nebraska Humane Society, knows this and plans her Social Media Strategy around this information.

She also uses the analytics given to her across the various social media sites in order to tailor what she posts and what she promotes. Facebook rewards you if something you promote does better, and what I mean by rewarding you is that say you promote a post about older cats and it does well. If that happens then other posts that you posted about older cats will show up more on people’s timelines. This has helped them in the past because prior to promoting these posts, things shared about older cats and dogs did not do well. Since they learned about the rewards and have begun promoting them, they have done much better.

Another social media account that the Humane Society uses to their advantage in Snapchat. They aim their content at younger individuals (think preteen), and, apparently, they do it very well. Of the last several animals they have posted on their social media accounts, all of them have been adopted! Also, when she posted about needing camp counselors for their summer camp, she ended up needing to take down the applications because she got too many people wanting to apply. If that isn’t showing that they are using the account to their advantage, and using it well, I don’t know what is.

Now, there was one topic that Elizabeth talked about that I really enjoyed, and that was those stories that go viral. She did say that these stories don’t happen very often, but when they do they are very special. My personal favorite that she talked about was the sheep wearing the Christmas sweater.

UnknownAs you can see in the image above, there was a sheep that was wondering around Omaha in this Christmas sweater and they posted a picture of the sheep on their Twitter and Facebook. This post got picked up by EVERYONE! I’m talking New York Daily News, Gawker, Buzzfeed, Times, just to name a few. There was a point where Elizabeth was on the phone with Time while her boss was on the phone with CNN, which I thought was very cool. The sheep was eventually reunited with its owner, but the very fact that it turned into such a media spectacle was so cool to me.

Overall, I really liked the presentation from the Humane Society. I learned more about how organizations use metrics in a real world scenario as well as finding a nonprofit with a social media presence that I actually enjoy. I’m not saying all nonprofits have bad social media presences, I’m just saying the Nebraska Humane Society does social media really well. They have the perfect blend of humor, information, and cute pictures. And I don’t think there is a person on this planet who hates puppies and kittens.kitten and puppy sleeping

Woof. Meow. Tweet… but not the way you think

Thanks Obama (Seriously, Thanks)

Let me start off this blog post with this: I love Obama. As a fellow Illinoisian, Barack Obama is, without a doubt, my favorite president. Now, with that in mind, I can say that even if he wasn’t my favorite president, I would have loved Obama’s Farewell Address.

For those of you who are reading this and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, Barack Obama gave his Farewell Address on January 10th, 2017 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. The speech lasted about 50 minutes, and within that time, there were several memorable moments (at least they were memorable to me)

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First moment I found memorable: When President Obama talked about ‘Selective Sorting of Facts’. He basically talked about the blatant uneven-ness (that’s a word, right?) of how people in this country sometimes act towards things. Here’s the actual quote:

“How can elected officcals rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschools for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in out own parties but pounce when the other party does the same thing?”

The reason I liked this quote is because it put into words the way I believe people in this country have a tendency to act towards each other and not always intentionally. Sometimes people, and when I say people here I’m mostly talking about the two prominent political parties, are so focused on their party and making sure their party wins or is right that they don’t see the other side of the situation.

Next part I enjoyed: Obama mentioning the troops. Say what you will about Obama (and no this is not an open invitation for you to post political opinions in my comment section) but the man loves the troops.

Case in point about how much he loves them is this quote from about 20 minutes into his speech:

“To all who serve or have served, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your commander-in-chief”

That quote, in my opinion as a girl who has friends currently overseas in the Army, meant a lot because you could tell he meant it. There has never been a moment in Barack Obama’s presidency that I felt like he could care less about our men and women overseas defending our country, and that comment there did a very nice job summing that up, at least to me.

Second the last point (Sorry, I know there are a lot, just bare with me). I’m not even going to explain myself on why I like this one, I think it speaks for itself:

“So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.”

Wow…. that’s all I can say about that.

Last moment, the moment that made not only myself and everyone watching at home emotional, but Barack Obama even wiped away a tear at the very mention of his wife. Michelle Obama (don’t even get me started about her or we will be here for another 700 words, at MINIMUM) was sitting there watching with one of her daughters, smiling whenever the camera glanced at her. The crowd even gave her a standing ovation!

“Michelle LaVaughn Robinson of the South Side… for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for. And you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style, and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud.”

I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT!

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Overall, I loved the speech a lot more than I thought I would. As you saw I actually, for the first time I can remember, had favorite sections like this one:

“And to all of you out there — every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town, every kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change — you are the best supporters and organizers anybody could ever hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because you did change the world.”

So, with that, I’m going to leave you with the end of Obama’s speech, because it actually made me cry and I hope it makes you feel all the emotions it made me feel.

“My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.

Yes, we did”

Yes, we did Barack.

Yes, we did.

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Thanks Obama (Seriously, Thanks)

Visual Beauty on Social Media

If you are an organization that relies heavily on visuals and the sort, then I wholeheartedly believe you should have an Instagram page for your organization. Personally, I love Instagram. It’s probably one of my top three favorite social media sites, and on that site, I even follow a few brands and nonprofit accounts that I think use Instagram to their advantage.

In terms of brands, there are a few that come to mind as using Instagram and sites like it to their advantage. A few that come to mind include National Geographic, Saturday Night Live, and HomeGoods.

Some photos from the mentioned Instagram pages (left: HomeGoods, SNL, National Geo)

There are two brands that I think go above and beyond when it comes to Instagram: NoYourCity and Ballet de l Opera de Paris.

First, NoYourCity is an account that shares photos of New York City. The photos are so beautiful! I’m talking professional grade beauty right here. I think this site does a really good job of showing the positive parts of New York. It also does a good job of showing that the images you post on Instagram don’t necessarily need to have a bunch of things happening in them. They can be super simple but still get the point you intended across.

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The other brand that I think does a very good job of using Instagram is Ballet de l Opera de Paris. This one also has images that are more simple in concept, but are still beautiful! I don’t about you, but I can’t fly to Paris at the drop of a hat to take in a ballet, so I appreciate this account because it shares images of the productions they put on. One of the other things I LOVE about their account is they use up the whole ‘three photos a line’ aspect of Instagram. It’s hard to put into words what I mean, so I’ll just show you.

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You see what I mean?

Now, apart from brands that I follow, I did happen to come across a certain nonprofit account that I think does a very good job at using the account. That account belongs to NeverThirst. This account belongs to an organization that… well I’ll let them explain it. “We are called to bring clean water, health and hope to those who lack access to what many of us take for granted every day” This account is very nice because it does a number of things via their photos. The first is that it shows the crisis for clean water by showing what the water looked like before filters were installed.screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-44-32-pm

It also posts pictures showing the people who are helped with the clean water, which does a good job of emotionally connecting with the followers. This photo that I found is one of my favorites for that exact reason

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Overall, I think that all the accounts I talked about in this post do a very good job of using Instagram for their advantage. Not every brand that has an account, nor every nonprofit, does a very good job at getting their message across with their account, but these do. Personally, I don’t follow many brands except for the two I said were my favorite, but some of the other ones I listed I might actually follow now because the pictures they post are just so enticing. Honestly, some of these brands have better Instagram accounts that I do… maybe I should have been taking notes.

Visual Beauty on Social Media

One Sentence…. Only One???

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard about the prompt for this week’s blog post, I thought it was going to be easy. Me? A girl who writes on her laptop more than she does anything else, come up with a single sentence? Easy! But now? Now I wish the prompt was literally ANYTHING else! Seriously, this prompt has caused me to just stare at my computer for hours on end just wondering what I could write.

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Now, for those readers who have no idea what this ‘one sentence’ thing is about, you can check out this video for a better explanation. Basically, it needs to be a sentence that explains what my personal brand is, and if you have no idea what that concept is either, go ahead and click here.

When it came time for me to draft my own single sentence, I went through a sort-of worksheet that was supposed to help me. Here is a cut-down version of that worksheet (meaning here are the aspects of it that I found most helpful in drafting my final copy)

  1. My top three personal strengths:

          -Family oriented

         – Creative

         – Hard Working

Ok, so we have a handful of skills I think I exceed at, now what? I mean, these skills are things that you can find in any Cosmo or People personality quiz, how are they going to help me? Well, let’s look at the second question:

2. My top three talents:

            -Music

            -Writing skills

            -Multi-tasking ability

Now, these? These I can work with… well kind of. Basically, the main get away from these last two questions is that I’m obviously a creative person (ignoring that I wrote ‘creative’ as a personality trait) I listed two of my top three talents as something creative: music and writing. But my sentence can’t just be something like ‘I’m a creative person’, that’s lame. So what else could I put?

Then, my eyes lingered a bit on the first personality trait I wrote down: Family oriented. For those of you reading this who don’t know, I’m the oldest of six kids, the youngest being ten/almost 11-year-old triplets. I would do anything for my siblings, my family in general. And when I say family, I don’t just mean those who I’m biologically related to. I mean my friends, my roommate, my fellow pep band members, sorority sister, you name it. If we are close in any sense of the word (except proximity… I’m hoping you get what I mean by close here), chances are I will do whatever it takes to make you happy and help you if you need it.

At that moment, my sentence came to me. Well, a version of my sentence came to me, which I tweaked more times than I can count until I came to rest on the following 15-word phrase that I think describes me perfectly:

She puts people before herself while trying to make the world a more creative place.

One Sentence…. Only One???

The Voice of Generation: A Good Voice or a Bad One?

There are SO MANY social media sites out there today. Seriously, when I was in high school, there were only the two big ones: Facebook and Twitter (and Snapchat in later years but we will get to that later). Now, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I feel like every time I go home for breaks, my younger siblings try to convince me to join yet another social media site which, most of the time, I refuse. The sites I myself use include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. I have a Tumblr and a LinkedIn, but I don’t really use those sites all that much, or as much as I used to. Back in freshman year of college I was obsessed with Tumblr, I would be on that site more than any other of my social media sites, and I think the reason for that was that I had never seen a site like this before. But now? Now I rarely go on it. Actually, I’m fairly certain I deleted my profile on that site, that’s how much I don’t use the site. The other sites though (Facebook, Twitter, and all the other ones I mentioned that I have profiles on? Yeah those), I go on those FREQUENTLY. We’re talking several times a day, probably if I’m on my phone I’m on each of the sites once every two hours, and if I’m on my computer I check Twitter every half hour with Facebook just being constantly open.

Even though my habits regarding social media have changed over the years, my overall feelings about them have, for the most part, stayed the same.

PROS:

 -Gives me the ability to keep up with friends and family who I’m not with 24/7 (AKA anyone back in Illinois)

-For the most part, it’s how I get my news, especially when it just happens (This is referring mostly to Twitter, but sometimes Facebook is pretty good about keeping me informed with more developed news)

-Allows me to keep up with what my favorite social media stars/celebrities/ overall famous people are doing (…that doesn’t make me sound too stalker-ish, right?)

– It’s entertaining (THIS IS A HUGE PRO! These sites are so good at giving me something to do when I’m bored, it’s unbelievable.)

CONS:

FAKE NEWS! This didn’t use to be a problem, and on Twitter I don’t see it quite as much as I do on Facebook, but now? Now I can’t log into my account without seeing at least one or two of these fake articles online. And they are things that are CLEARLY fake if people bothered to Google them! Ok, I’m going to stop because if I don’t the rest of this post will just be me complaining about this, and I don’t think anyone wants to read that.

-Having to see every opinion one of my friends/relatives have and their reasoning about why it is clearly superior my own. This has just gotten worse since the elections, but it’s always been bad, though maybe that’s just with my family? Anyway, I have found myself just blocking certain people because I can no longer read their posts about politics, their opinion on current events (Planned Parenthood funding, shootings, BLM, you name it they have an opinion on it), or anything like that. I don’t want to hear about that! It’s not why I got social media in the first place! And most people feel the same way!

Overall, I love social media, don’t get me wrong. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion, though only slightly. The sites I use the most (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) each have their own pros and cons, but overall they each do a good job at their intended objectives, and the overall objective each has as a whole which, in my opinion, is to entertain. Most people go on social media because they are bored and are looking for something to pass the time. There are exceptions, such as if you are using social media for work or such, but for the most part it seems like an entertainment tool, a way to stay connected to individuals around the world, and things like that.

The Voice of Generation: A Good Voice or a Bad One?