The Digital Demographic

What I’m assuming is fairly obvious is the way that almost everyone is using social media these days.  Literally everyone.  From companies to newspapers to small businesses, everyone seems to be promoting their work in some way online.  As a result, it was not a shock to be after reading the Pew Research Center’s “The State of the News Media 2012” article.

The article essentially summarizes how newspapers and their companies are becoming more digital and catering to the younger crowd, if you will.  The Pew Research Center discusses the uses of Facebook and Twitter to promote stories as well as how the use of mobile and tablet devices are becoming the norm.

I can’t say I’m shocked at all.  I own both an iPhone and an iPad and probably use them more than my laptop.  They are so much more compact and easier to carry around with you.  I literally don’t go anywhere without my iPhone so that right there is a sign of how much I use it.  Personally, I tend not to go directly to news websites for stories, but instead follow the newspapers on Twitter.  If a story that they tweet sounds interesting, then I’ll click the link to read it, but other than that, I don’t find myself reading the news at all. 

I feel that this is exactly how my generation works.  I don’t know many people who read the news regularly, much less read an actual newspaper!  All of our content is now online, making it so much easier and accessible to almost anyone. 

For the future, I feel that eventually everything will go digital.  It’s sad, but there really isn’t a need for a tangible newspaper anymore and I think paper companies are starting to see that the money they use on newspapers isn’t worth it.

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Giving Animals Another Chance Through Social Media

Last week, we visited the Nebraska Humane Society.  It wasn’t to play with the dogs or adopt a new pet, it was to learn about how Elizabeth Hilpipre uses social media to give these animals a new family. 

The usage and success of each social media site is dependent on how much content, user usage and the user market.  By taking in all of these aspects, Elizabeth has found that Facebook is the best way for the humane society to convey the stories of the rescued animals.  Multiple times a day, Elizabeth posts photos and videos on the NE Humane Society’s Facebook page.  Along with the visuals is the story of how these animals were rescued, where they came from and the type of home they’re looking for.  The community has been very responsive to these types of posts made by the humane society.  However, when Elizabeth first started working for the humane society a few years back, their social media existence was next to nothing.  Since then, Elizabeth has boosted the reach and impact that the humane society is having on the community.  She learned many things by making mistakes as well.  For example, don’t ask for funding from the community until you have user loyalty!  Before you have built yourself as a brand, don’t expect the community to be responsive to your requests.

Below is a screen shot of a post made on Facebook.  It gives just enough information with a cute photo of the dog.  Also, note how many people ‘like’ it.

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Kony 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, social media has been blowing up over Joseph Kony.  On March 5, Jason Russell released a video titled “KONY 2012,” which he hoped would bring attention to the Invisible Children and lead to the arrest of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Russell got what he asked for.  His video has received over 83 million hits on YouTube and more on Vimeo.

I remember the release of this video because my Facebook was nearly all status updates about stopping Kony and many reposts of Russel’s video.  At the moment, I intended to watch the video, but was on spring break and only had limited access via my iPhone.  Honestly, I had forgotten to watch it when I returned from break, but am glad that we talked about it in my social media class as a reminder to myself to watch it later.

I just finished watching the video and all I can say is “wow.”  The video is so well-done and Russell tells the story in a way that is easy to follow, yet brings to light an alarming need to stop Joseph Kony.  I had previous knowledge of the LRA and Kony, but not enough to really understand what was going on.  I think Russell is right.  If we bring attention to this issue, he can be stopped.  I was really impacted by Russell’s quote, “Where you live shouldn’t determine if you live.”  No one has a choice in where they are born and I was blessed to be born into a loving family in a stable community in America.  The children in Africa shouldn’t have to fear for their lives just because they were born there.

Already, I have seen KONY 2012 posters on campus here at Creighton.  My hope for this campaign is that Kony is captured by the end of the year.  The only question I have is will that really stop the madness?  Will someone else step in and take Kony’s place if he is arrested?  That’s something we will just have to wait for.

 

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“A Mint of Manly Things”

If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, there is no doubt in my mind that you have an account on Pinterest (I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it).  It’s a great way to organize the things you love into categories to come back to later.  A lot of women even plan their weddings on Pinterest!  However, is it possible that men are jealous that women have such an awesome site to hang out on?  Apparently it is.  As of late, it was drawn to my attention that a “Pinterest for men” now exists called Gentlemint.  I was extremely curious to see what it was all about so consider this somewhat of a review.

When you get to the homepage, it looks almost exactly like Pinterest, but with manly photos.  Square boxes fill the screen and there’s a button where you can request an invite from Gentlemint so you can get started.  Some of the things on here are completely random and actually quite funny, but that’s probably how men view Pinterest as well.

A review made on App Storm says that Gentlemint is a great place to share manly things, but they seem skeptical as to if it will take off or not.  “…there is more to be desired in this site and I believe that it has great potential if it is able to make the right moves going forward.”  It seems there may be a few bugs to work out, but that the site will be popular if they’re fixed.

It seems to me that men may not want to join for fear of being “unmanly” by having a Pinterest-like account online.  However, perhaps once they join Gentlemint, they will see the joy and understand why women love Pinterest so much.

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What Happens if Social Media Stops Working

That’s the title of the article I just read on Daily Finance.  I read the article and there were a lot of interesting statistics that just came out indicating that users are becoming more private with their information online.

In a report done by the Pew Research Center, 63% of the 2,277 adults polled reported “defriending” someone on their Facebook profile and 37% reported untagging themselves from photos.  I personally feel that this is due to the fact that it seems everyone is growing more worried about professionalism.  Today, it’s not unusual for an employer to ask for your Twitter handle on an application or ask you to pull up your Facebook profile in an interview.  I know that I definitely did this just a few weeks ago.  I had an interview set up at a start-up company in Omaha and found myself deleting tweets and removing photos I was tagged in just in case they asked to see my profiles.  Professionalism is a growing concern for everyone and I’ve definitely noticed that more and more just within the last year or so.

So, what if social media users start clamming up too much and these sites become obsolete?  I don’t think this will happen anytime soon, but I do think it’s on it’s way there, especially with Facebook.  Facebook has the most information about you and people are less willing to make their private lives that public.  However, if social media does become less effective, what does that mean for businesses using social media for marketing?  I guess we will have to wait and see.  It’ s very interesting consideration social media is the “hip” way for marketing and advertising right now.  Will that continue?

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Social Media a Distraction? Never.

I’m guessing you sensed my hint of sarcasm in the title of this post.

As I’m sitting in my apartment on this beautiful day trying to get work done for midterms week, I find myself getting completely distracted by everything social media.  Let’s see, already I’ve checked my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ account and this blog.  Even though I’ve already checked my Facebook and Twitter multiple times, I can’t help but think, “wait, what if something else has happened since the last time I checked five minutes ago!”  Is this a sign of an addiction?  Or just that I don’t want to get real work done?  Hopefully the latter.

I feel like I may be a bit too attached to my social media profiles.  That’s not a problem, right?  It is when I have actual homework I need to be getting done. And yet here I am again, on my blog, posting about how distracting this all is when I should be doing homework.  Oh, the irony.  I guess it doesn’t help that I’m taking a class on social media.  I think because of this, I’m tricking myself into thinking that by constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, that I’m doing something productive.  “But this is for class, I swear!” is what I keep telling myself.

Anyways,  I just thought I would share that so that I can get it out of my system and hopefully get the rest of my homework done now.

 

#SM4G

Last week, our social media class attended a discussion called Social Media for Good (or #SM4G – the Twitter hashtag for the event).  It’s only fitting that we tweeted during a social media event, right?!

Being young and taking a social media class, I consider myself already pretty social media savvy, but it was still interesting hearing some of the things that the speakers had to say.  For example, did you know that Facebook could be the least effective way of branding your company?  Yeah, neither did I.  It’s kind of shocking considering Facebook is probably the most used social media outlet.  Once I thought about it, it makes sense.  Recently, people have started leaning towards Twitter rather than Facebook for information about events, companies, etc.  I haven’t seen someone “like” a Facebook fan page in a really long time.  I feel like because Twitter is more personal, it’s also less formal and I think people gravitate towards that.

Another interesting thing that was said was that social media is not simply a 9-5 job; whenever your audience is present is when you need to be there.  If you work in social media, you’re giving your audience what they want and since your audience really never goes away on social media, you have to constantly be on.

Overall, the Social Media for Good event was very interesting and I got a few good tweets on it to document what I learned.  I think something like this would be extremely useful for those adults who aren’t as social media savvy and want to start branding their company in another way.

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Professional vs. Personal

When Google+ first came out, I remember thinking that it would definitely be the end of Facebook as we know it.  Google+ was introduced and everyone loved the idea of having to be invited to join – the exclusivity factor.  It was supposed to be a more sophisticated version of Facebook, but with new features like “hangouts.”  Google+ was projected to be the newest social media trend; however, that hasn’t happened and I, myself, am still a Facebook supporter.

I guess the reason that I don’t like Google+ is because:

A: no one is really using it.

B: no one really knows how to use it.

Because of these two factors, I have no reason to use Google+.  All of my friends are already on Facebook and know how to use it.  Easy as that.  No one wants to learn how to use a new social media outlet that no one even uses and cares to use when they already have one that works just fine.

Even though I am a Facebook supporter, I can see many benefits to Google+ if it were to finally take off.  It’s  a little less personal so the people in your circles don’t know every detail about your life like they would if they looked on your Facebook profile.  Hangouts on Google+ can also prove to be beneficial if you need to conduct a work meeting with coworkers across the country or even chat with your cat-impersonating classmates like we did in our social media class last week.  Overall, Google+ seems to be a bit more professional than Facebook.

Even though I don’t have anything I’m ashamed of on my Facebook, I know I probably wouldn’t want my employers looking at my personal life that closely.  If I somehow get myself to start using Google+ regularly, I know I would make that my professional profile.

For those of you who still can’t seem to figure out Google+, I found an article that may be able to help you out.

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How to quiet the noise

After reading an essay in the New York Times, I thought about how quieting the noise in your life is so important.  Every day, we wake up, check our email, Facebook and Twitter.  We may turn the TV on to get the morning news.  We may text our friends to see if class has been canceled that day.  We may whip out our iPhones to catch up on our latest Words with Friends game.  There are countless other media outlets that consume our everyday lives and it’s nice to just turn it all off sometimes.

Everyone has their own way of “turning themselves off.”  Some will forget their cell phones at home, as the essay says.  Others will simply turn off all electronics and meditate in their rooms.  My favorite thing is going to my cabin in the summer.  I know this is only about three months out of the year, but nothing can beat the way I feel once a weekend on the lake is finished.  Our cabin is in Northern Minnesota and cell service is next to none.  We have a television, but never use it since we’re busy doing things outside.  I take this time to sit outside and be alone with my thoughts or reading for fun.  I also take this time to legitimately talk to my family and friends who are with us at our cabin.  Having a real conversation is completely different than having a conversation over text message, which is how I usually communicate with my family while I’m away at college.  This time for me is truly time to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  I legitimately feel completely refreshed once the weekend is finished.

As I said before, this time only pertains to those beautiful days during the summer and I have been searching for a way to get that same feeling during the cold winter months.  Just last week, during one of my classes, we went to St. John’s church and just sat for a half hour.  We silenced all of our electronics and were alone with our thoughts.  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself since I’m practically attached to my iPhone.  However, I found this time to be calming.  I got to think about things that I don’t have time to think about, but still felt some anxiety that I could be missing an important text message from a friend or an email from a professor.  Once the half hour of silence was up, I had no notifications on my phone and I realized that the world doesn’t have to be as stressful as we make it seem.

I think I’m going to try to make a habit out of this.  Perhaps not sitting in the church, but turning off all of my electronics and just being alone with my thoughts.  I’m hoping I can stick to this 🙂

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One sentence? That’s it?

In an effort to make a sentence about myself in response to Daniel Pink’s video, I found it difficult to come up with just one sentence.  Being a college senior, I feel like my life is still changing too much to come up with one sentence and be completely sure about it.  I almost feel like this sentence is so final and I keep wishing that I could have more than just a tweet’s-worth of letters.  Once I thought about it in that social media aspect though, it seemed to become a little easier, considering I tweet all of the time.

At first, I thought it would be smart to make my sentence about the academic/college aspect of my life.  However, the more I thought about that, the more it bored me.  I figured the academic sentence would make me seem boring as well (I, personally, don’t find myself boring, but who really knows).

I began to think of myself as a person and came to realize who I am and want to be as well as how I live my life.  I am someone who appreciates culture.  I try to live in the present and learn from the mistakes I’ve made in the past.  I don’t like planning my future too much in an effort to conserve the mystery that my life will bring, that’s the fun part, right?  Above all, my favorite thing would have to be seeing others who are truly happy, especially when I can contribute to their happiness.  

Those are only a few things about me that hopefully will give you a sense of who I am and why my sentence is…

“She is constantly seeking to be the light in another’s day, while maintaining a positive outlook on her own life, no matter what the circumstances.”

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