Monthly Archives: April 2013

*~*~*~*Group Projects <3*~*~*~*

If I had to pick my favorite thing about school, it would be, without a doubt, group projects. Everything about them is great. Great, great, great! The following is a list of the best things group projects have to offer:

1) Late nights! –Who wants to leave the library at a reasonable time? The fun happens when everyone leaves and you’re the only one there downing energy drinks until 3:45am on a Thursday night finishing your project that’s due at 12 the next day! Added bonus: If you were to leave at a normal time, more people would see you when you wipeout in the middle of the hallway and your books fly everywhere! Talk about perks.

2) Differing personalities! –Where’s the fun in working with people that you get along with well and creatively mesh with? I prefer a challenge. Let’s see who can get more people on their side of the debate! YEAHHHH!

3) Long hours!–I love spending 8 hours at the library only to get 2 pages worth of work done. It really gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I bet if I were working alone from home I would only get like…a paragraph done. Tops.

4) Peer Evaluations!–These are fun. Who did all the work? Who didn’t do any? Who’s feeling nice? Who’s feeling mean? Who’s gonna be honest? So many questions! Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!

5) Presentations!–I love public speaking! If anyone can BS a BS’er, it’s me! I can talk for days! My favorite thing is when I get stuck and am not allowed to have notecards to look at. Or when someone else gets stuck and there’s just dead silence for an extended period of time. Man, those times are great.

Being an advertising student, pretty much every semester is dedicated to group projects. I’ve been in some good groups, some bad groups, and some downright crazy groups. While this post is clearly satirical, I do appreciate everything I’ve learned from each group. I’ve been beyond stressed, angry, and sad at times, but also, happy, competitive, and proud at others. Advertising is an industry that I’m excited to get into and I know working in groups can often bring out the best and most creative work I have to offer.

But I’m seriously tired of spending my nights in the library.

Here’s my Campaigns group. If we don’t win, I will cry.

Dang, guuurl. Where'd you get dem shoes?!

Dang, guuurl. Where’d you get dem shoes?!

How we feel 2 days before our final presentation...

How we feel 2 days before our final presentation…

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#BostonStrong

On Monday morning, in my social media class, we had a lecture about “Crisis Communications.” On Monday afternoon, the Boston bombing happened.

Talk about eerie timing. I was at work when the actual event occurred, and was therefore able to follow it online in real-time through news outlets and on Twitter. Especially on Twitter. It is insane how much social media has changed the way news is reported. In the days following the bombing when the 2nd suspect was still on the run, people were tweeting pictures from their homes in Watertown like this one:

tweet

Seeing pictures like this on my newsfeed makes everything seem so much more real. I wasn’t just hearing about it from news anchors or newspapers the next day–I was hearing about it from people just like me WHILE it was happening.

Here’s a picture that went viral on Facebook:

bostonbombing

A story about the man in the cowboy hat ran alongside the picture as it made its rounds on Facebook. He had lost two children in recent years and decided to become a peace activist to help spread the word. When the bomb went off, he rushed to the aid of a severely wounded victim (who was running in memory of the kids from Newton, CT) and did everything he could to help. He is a hero.

As horrific as the bombings were, social media allowed people to see the heroes that arose during such a tragic time. It provided an opportunity to come together as a country. It even helped the police to discover the suspects, as people were able to post personal photos online from the event and draw connections using others’ photos to compare.

I’m proud of these heroic people and wish I could thank each and every one of them. In a time when such atrocities can happen, it’s nice to be reminded that there are still genuinely good people out there.

#BostonStrong

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Ultimate Frisbee…What’s That?

About an hour ago I got home from my final Ultimate Frisbee tournament of my college career. We went to Statesboro, GA, where we competed against teams like Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and apparently every other college in Georgia. (Why there were no other Tennessee teams in our ‘Sectionals’ tournament is striking me as odd as this moment but I’ll just go with it..) But back to the point. We had a team of 10 make the 7 hour trip, making use of the school’s minivan rental policy. (Side note: I have decided that minivans are, in fact, amazing. Stow-&-Go seating! Smooth ride! So roomy! Now I see why all the cool moms have one.) While we didn’t do as well as we could’ve, it was an incredibly fun tournament. My teammates are my best friends, and the people who probably know me the best at school.

Muh team minus a few

Muh team minus a few

As unknown as the sport is currently, it’s about to become much more widespread. USA Ultimate just reached a deal with ESPN to cover the most important championship tournaments and games. Pretty exciting stuff for the Ultimate world.

For those of you who have no idea what Ultimate Frisbee is, it can kind of be described as a cross between soccer, football, and basketball in terms of rules. Basically you have two endzones that you try to score in and you are not allowed to run with the disc. (I just got really distracted trying to find a decent video on Youtube that could show kind of the basics but they all had horrific soundtracks and weren’t very visually appealing…so just try to picture it.) You have a designated position on the field and different offensive and defensive strategies.

Our team has designated on-field personality traits, too. We have the Positive Pollys, who are just excited to be playing and rarely get frustrated. They increase morale and make it fun for everyone. We also have the strategists, (generally our two captains), who call the plays, the emotional players who get mad at themselves anytime something goes wrong, and finally, we have the vocal players. Who can guess what I fall into?

Positive Polly!

Haaaaaaaaaaaaa jaykay. I am by far the most vocal player on our team. I will call travels and fouls until the cows (see what I did there?) come home and argue pretty much anything called against me that I feel is incorrect. I like to win… “Second is first loser,” amiright?!

Anyway, this post isn’t really social media-related, but it is a glimpse into my “personal brand” which, as I learned at Social Slam is important to define and retain. Mostly, I just want to give a shout-out to my team for putting up with me for 3 years. I’ve loved being El Presidente and can’t wait to see what y’all do next year! I’m officially passing the baton.

Time to hang these puppies up.

Time to hang these puppies up.

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Macklemore: A Game Changer

“That guy that sings ‘Thrift Shop’?”

macklemore

Macklemore, ladies and gents, is on the up and up. He is a rapper that is changing the entire music industry, so get on board now before you have to admit that you were a ‘late adopter’.

But let’s start from the beginning.

In the past few months, Macklemore has seen an insane rise in popularity due to his hit song “Thrift Shop.”

The single has sold more than 5. Million. Copies. That’s a hella-big number. (What’s that even called? Penta-Platinum?) It has also allowed Macklemore to break a huge record. Two days ago it hit its 12th week as the #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 Hip Hop/R&B chart. According to the Billboard website:

“DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One,” featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, previously held the record with 11 weeks in 2011 and is the only other rap song to post double-digit weeks at the top.”

“But,” you ask, “is he just going to be a one-hit-wonder?”

No. No. No.

He and his creative partner, Ryan Lewis, released an entire album entitled “The Heist” that has hit after hit. (Listen to it in its entirety here. It’s worth it.) The majority of the songs have much more poignant themes, ranging from Macklemore’s recovery from addiction (to ‘Lean’ or ‘Sizzurp’ as some people Lil’ Wayne call it), homophobia and gay rights, gang violence, as well as other controversial topics. His voice is strong and his lyrics stronger.

And what’s even more incredible, they released this album sans a record label. Why? They wanted to be able to retain complete creative control which they found to be in question every time they met with a recording company. It’s not that record labels didn’t want them, they very much did, it’s that they knew they could do it on their own.

In a world where artists (or really anyone who wants to) can promote their work using social media (even Myspace is making a  comeback), will the need for professional record labels with marketing teams continue to be necessary? Highly doubtful. The music industry is going to need an overhaul to keep up. It has been far too slow in making adjustments to mp3s, iTunes, etc. and is suffering greatly because of it.

Maybe Macklemore is the exception to the rule, but regardless, he’s the man.

And he tweets funny things like this:

tweet

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Social Media Mania: The Top 10 Suggestions for Success

This week has been a social media frenzy. First, the 2nd annual UT Social Media Week, an event my classmates and I have spent the entire semester promoting via online outlets, finally came to fruition. Then, yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Social Slam, one of the biggest social media conferences in the nation which took place here in Knoxville. Needless to say, I learned so much that my mind practically went into overload. But am I going to keep all of that knowledge to myself? No! Because I love you guys, I’m going to share the top 5 things I learned at each event in hopes that they will help you at some point (aaaand also so I can have them in writing in case I forget them...).

UTSMW

SMW%20Official%20Logo

Last year was the first year for UTSMW and, while it was successful, it had quite a bit of room for improvements this year. There was a better idea about when and how it should be promoted. As a class, we were divided into 3 teams–one to promote the event via a blog and mobile site, one to promote it via Twitter and Vine, and my group, which selected Facebook and Instagram. We spent the month leading up to the event sharing information, pictures, and updates about what would be going on. We had speakers from all over the country including executives from Nike, Dunkin Donuts, Erwin Penland, The Tombras Group, the Atlanta Falcons, McCormick Spices, SHAPE Magazine, and so many more. It was overwhelming, but every session that I had the chance to attend was enlightening. Here are my 5 main takeaways:

1) Nostalgia=Engagement–You must get your audience to care if you want them to engage with your content.

2) Don’t put ONLY industry-relevant experience on your resume–Experience of all types can help you get a job. If you’ve worked in a restaurant and gained customer service experience, put that! It can set you apart from other applicants who have similar industry experience to you.

3) Snarky is not good for the social space–to which I say, “Whoops.”

4) To connect with your audience, you must be a good storyteller–Kevin Kirksey of Nike said “Great storytellers broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and ulitmately, connect us.”

5) I will never, in my life, win a raffle. I went 0 for like…25 raffles. #HARDLYFE

Social Slam

socialslam

This year was the third annual Social Slam. It is a huuuuuuuuuge conference in Knoxville that attracts the biggest and best social media professionals from all of the world. (Yes, world. I heard speakers from Australia, Ireland, and England, not to mention the ones I didn’t have a chance to hear from. #accents) Anyway, I was fortunate enough to get a ticket, thanks to my teacher and a very kind attendee who had set up a scholarship fund for students like myself to be able to attend. This. Conference. Was. Cray. There were over 500 people there, with rows upon rows of chairs, all with outlets for phone, tablet, and laptop chargers because people were blogging and tweeting away. (Yet again, I lost multiple raffles, but that’s neither here nor there.) But anyway, I tweeted away and met some great people throughout the day. But on to my 5 major nuggets of knowledge:

1) Start. Don’t wait to be perfect–This point is primarily targeted towards blogging. There will never be a “perfect time” or a “perfect post.” You just have to start and grow and evolve with it. It will take time to find your voice.

2) Find a passion–If you’re looking to gain a substantial audience on your blog, don’t have too broad a topic. If you’re all over the place, people will stop coming back.

3) You don’t have to be on every social media network. Just be strong on those you do choose to be on–This goes especially for companies. Rather than dedicating time and effort to continually join the newest platform, ensure that the ones you have have a strong voice and point of view. Instagram may work better for some companies, while Twitter or Pinterest is best for others.

4) Add your personality to your blog–If all you write are dry, informative posts, no one is  going to read them. People want to know that you’re human and that you’re relatable.

5) If you want 100 comments on your blog, you must make 100 comments on others’ blogs–This one seems pretty obvious, but is often ignored. If you prove that you have good, quality thoughts on other blogs, the writer’s will be more inclined to see what you have to say on yours.

So that’s what I’ve got for y’all. #SocialMediaOrBust

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