Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Home Stretch

So, there are only three more weeks of this semester left. It's actually pretty stressful. It seems like the less time we have left the more work that keeps piling up! I have so many presentations, portfolios, tests and projects due before it's even finals week. Honestly though, the transition to semesters has seemed pretty beneficial. Yes, the classes seemed to drag on, but the material was really able to sink in. There seemed to be more opportunities to bring grades up or to work on semester long projects. I also really enjoyed getting to know my professors. I'm excited for the semester to end though so I can start up my classes for next semester. It doesn't help that the weather outside is dreary and cold and damp. I hate this kind of weather because all it makes me want to do is sleep. I just want to crawl under my covers and hibernate until these next three weeks are over. Obviously, this does nothing for my determination to get things done. I'm pushing through though and I know that everything will turn out OK in the end. I've kind of learned in these past few years that there is no reason for me to get stressed about school or projects or my life. I know that if I plan everything out and work hard, I'll get done what I need to and to the best of my ability. So, I'm just going to try to relax, get my work done, attend my DZ events, get PR practicum hours and hopefully make it out alive!



Lauren


food for thought: "Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also."- Carl G. Jung

woah, that's neat: www.foodporndaily.com << Absolutely and utterly obsessed with this website. It's just picture after picture of delicious looking food!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Putting it into Practice

So, I have the privilege to be the account executive for one of our Firm's new campaigns and I am so excited. It is a campaign called Theatrics and we have to try to get a certain percentage of our school population to upload videos to a website. Whilst brainstorming with the Firm and setting our course of events/action plan one of my peers brought up how important it is that we measure the metrics for this campaign. Other schools are larger than we are and will have a greater number of entries. While our percentage may be higher, the fact that they have more entries may look better. There are so many other things that we need to measure because we are a smaller school with a completely different population than say Florida State. It is necessary that we show the progress we made through views of the videos, uploads and actual numbers of entries posted. We should also see how well our messages got across, maybe send out a survey to the student body asking whether they even heard about our campaign. These steps are so necessary to the implementation of this campaign because we can use the results for future projects. Even if it isn't the Theatrics campaign, it would still be beneficial to know what audiences we reached and how well we communicated what we wanted. If we aren't successful in this campaign our metrics will hopefully help us to reach out to those that we didn't target last time.... But I already know we're going to win so that isn't even a problem. :p



Lauren


food for thought: "If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want."-Elbert Hubbard

woah, that's neat: www.lonelyplanet.com << A really neat and informative travel website!

Freedom of Internet

So, recently in the United Arab Emirates a young blogger and four other activists were sent to jail. The five were said to be "insulting the UAE's rulers and endangering national security." The five activists signed a petition in March that called for political change in UAE and this led to their arrests. Along with this petition, Mansour (the main defendant) was arrested for having a website that spurred others on this political activism. People were given a platform to discuss the government they want to see in UAE. This story has already created a social media buzz, even with it's own Twitter hashtag: #UAE5. I think that this is an amazing story about the changed social media has had in our lives. All across the world we are seeing more and more protests, and I think that social media is starting to play a larger role in this. It is harder for those in countries without laws on their freedom of speech or freedom of the use of the internet. We are so lucky in America to have the right to speak our mind, even if it is against the government, and to use the internet. However, even  in America the government is trying to stifle the use of the internet. Recent bills have been sent to Congress to give the government control over the internet and the ability to censor it. It seems that the internet is posing some threat everywhere because no one truly owns it. The internet, and social media, have the capability to cause revolution and camaraderie around certain groups of people. This is why Mansour and his four companions were arrested. They were using their blog to try to change their country, and the government in UAE was not happy about it. It's amazing to think how far we've come in the political arena too. We've gone from town forums to televisions debates and now to blogs. People are able to gather together online and express their opinions in what seems to be a safe environment. I personally am very sad for the five that were arrested because the internet should be free for everyone's use. However, I know in other countries freedom of speech is stifled and it is up to the people in those countries to change it. I just hope that someday in the future everyone will have the free access we all deserve and will not be imprisoned for simply owning a blog.

Here is where I found the article so you all can read it: http://thenextweb.com/me/2011/11/27/uae-blogger-sentenced-to-3-years-in-prison/

Lauren


food for thought: "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."- Chinese Proverb

woah, that's neat: http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/1/cyber-monday << It's cyber monday y'all!! Go here to find some sweet deals :]

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Pinteresting Thanksgiving

So, I get to go home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I can't wait. Seriously, every holiday is so much fun for me. I love to go home and see my friends. I love spending time with my family. I love attending church. I love to eat good food. Everything about this time of year is perfection. And, Thanksgiving melds right into the Christmas season. I am so excited to go eat a ton of delicious food and sit around. I just want to relax, at least for one day. I do have some homework to do over the holidays, but it shouldn't be too intensive. I also am excited to use some of the great ideas I've found on Pinterest to make Christmas gifts. I'm not going to say them on my blog, but I'm stoked to make these handmade gifts for my family. I think a handmade gift means so much because you took the time to ACTUALLY make it and to think the idea up. I hate giving useless Christmas gifts that will never ever be used. So this year I'm hoping to make something beautiful and functional for each of my family members. Thank God for Pinterest. So, my Thanksgiving is going to be filled with love and good food and crafting. Sounds like a perfect week to me :]



Lauren


food for thought: "Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures"- Jessamyn West

woah, that's neat: http://anniespandex.com/diy/how-to-make-tank-tops-out-of-t-shirts-without-touching-a-sewing-needle/ << A really great DIY :]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Katie Paine: Measurement Genius

So, we finally finished Katie Paine's book Measuring What Matters. This is probably one of the most helpful and insightful books for my future in PR and my future in general. Paine goes all over the map in measurement from social media, events, crises to academia. I think this is a great example that nothing is impossible and you actually have to do work to be successful. I feel like people in companies often get so bogged down in their day to day work that they don't see the impact it makes on the company. In the same respect, executives often do programs or have yearly promotions because it is "just what they do." Rarely do these executives do the measurement that is required to see if these programs actually WORK. The seven steps that Paine sets out for each set of measurement are simple to follow and the more you use them, the more you get used to following these steps. Paine shows that measurement is a necessary process that we must all do to make sure that we are enacting programs that are profitable, saving money, engaging our target audiences and coming out of crises somewhat unscathed. Measurement helps with everything and every company would be smart to use Paine's tips.


Lauren



food for thought: "Ability is of little account without opportunity." - Napoleon

woah, that's neat: www.nastygal.com << I'm seriously in love with some of the clothes on this website!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catvertising: The Future of Social Media


So, I love this video. It is a great take on the future of social media and how it has already changed our lives. Cat videos are so popular on the web and this agency took a prime opportunity to turn it into another web phenomenon. This is a funny take on how people are trying to get viral videos to get their name out there. I love cat videos and think they are always so entertaining. Websites like "kittehroulette" feed into peoples love of cats. This agency is so hilarious and their work environment must be so fun. I think this is a great idea not only for the agency to get their name out to the public but to also show us our social media habits. I just wish I had come up with this hilarious idea first!


Lauren


Food for thought: "The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing"- John Powell

woah, that's neat: www.kittehroulette.com << I know I mentioned it in this post, you have to go to this website and have a great time :]

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Conduct of ONU Students and the Treatment of our Native Wildlife

So, there have recently been some events on our campus that I have found unsettling. I recently wrote a letter to the editor of our newspaper, below is the article that I wrote.

Normally, I would consider the students on Ohio Northern University’s campus to be a high-standing, educated, mid-western kind of a bunch. I imagine the students on this campus to be the kind of people with hearts of gold and love to play corn hole after a long day of work. But a week ago an issue was brought to my attention that worried me about our student body’s conduct and the fate of our native birds on campus.

This incident entailed a student terrorizing one of the black swans on our lake. The student grabbed the swan by the neck and violently shook him whilst bragging to his friends, as if holding a prized goose. The swan had made no indication of attacking the student. In the past there have been no cited incidents of native wildlife attacking our students. I wonder why this student felt the need to terrorize something that poses no threat to him.

You may think I’m silly or overreacting to this issue, but the birds on our campus are a part of our culture at ONU. Everyone on campus seems to have some story regarding the multitude of ducks, geese and swans that we encounter on an almost daily basis. However, there are stories passed down that refer to our mistreatment of these birds. We are all aware that there are only three black swans on campus. When I was a freshman, I was told that one of the original four swans was run over by a truck. Some people have even heard that the bird was stoned to death. When people hear these stories the usual reactions seem to be sad, however many times people seem to react to the birds negatively. The black swans are referred to as mean individuals who only want to attack us. It seems sad that our few precious black swans on campus have a bad name. They are constantly referred to as “evil” and “scary,” often causing groups of freshman to run in panic when the trio starts to make their way over or cause noise.

Not only are the black swans on campus important, but there are also multiple other groups of fowl on our campus that need attention. We have geese with broken wings, a native flock of ducks and a new pair of white farm ducks that love to be around people. These animals are what make our campus unique. Rarely do I hear of friend’s school’s having a population of birds, or any other group of animals that make such an impact on their campuses. We have stories surrounding these animals. We have a history with them. These animals need to be protected so that we can prevent harmful or poor treatment in the future. Our lake has become a haven for different types of fowl and I can’t believe no one has had the thought of taking care of them or noticing them before. I am not only shocked by the inherently evil action of our peer, but worried about the welfare of our native wildlife to campus. Is there a representative for the animals that live on our lake? Would this be a good program for the biology students or environmental science students to take on? I think we as students at Ohio Northern have a very prime opportunity to become even more proactive in our environmental and leadership efforts. Something must be done to protect our animals from harmful students again.


Lauren



I am shocked and appalled by the actions of my fellow students. Another incident occurred like the first one today of all days. It involved two students throwing rocks at our poor black swans. This harm needs to stop and I hope the letter I wrote to the campus newspaper can help out in some small way. My friends and I have also contacted thought leaders on our campus, and the president of student senate to see what can be done about this matter. I'm sure that people will laugh about the cause I am supporting, because they probably don't think our animals are that important, but I'm an environmentalist at heart. These animals have done nothing to harm us and cost our university tons of money (at least the black swans did). I just hope the future is bright for our animals and that our students learn to stop acting like them.


Lauren


food for thought: "Once you choose hope, anything is possible." - Christopher Reeve

woah, that's neat: www.retailmenot.com << A SWEET online coupon place, most of the time their online codes work!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Event Planning

So, I never real thought about the impact that events or a sponsorship have on a company until we read a chapter about it in Katie Paine's book Measuring What Matters. I find it so amazing that this woman can literally measure anything and everything that can affect a companies ROI or engagement with the public. Events and a sponsorship are no different. It's important to measure these events in tandem with everything else your company does to make sure you aren't wasting money or time by participating in these events. Paine puts together a simple seven step plan for companies to use to measure their participation in events or a sponsorship. The plan goes as follows:

1. Define your objectives
     Your company must come together to have consensus on what your goals on holding a booth or participating in an event are. You must be specific with your objectives and if there are multiple audiences involved make sure that you have different lists and objectives for each.
2. Determine your measurable criteria of success
3. Decide upon your benchmarks
     You need something to compare your results to. You could pick another company or even pick your own company from years past. The benchmarks must be defined on the decisions you need to make.
4. Select a measurement tool
      The most reliable way to measure your results from an event is through an in-depth phone survey using the Grunig Relationship Survey, however the next best options are a post-show online survey or creating a hashtag on Twitter.
5. Define your specific metric
     Depending on what your goal is, you will have specific metrics you will want to measure for.
6. Choose a measurement tool
     There are numerous online tools and tools that you can use in your booth or at a sponsorship.
7. Analyze results
     You need to determine what specific elements from the event engaged people with your brand. You also need to look at the big picture and determine if events are even the best way to go about doing things.

I think this is an awesome and pretty simple way to determine if you are getting your bang for your buck out of events. Some companies just sponsor events sometimes or get booths at expos because it is what they have always done. However, it's important to measure the success of these events because they may be using up money that could be better spent elsewhere. Katie Paine's book is an awesome help to those of us who are just starting out in PR because it gives us the ideas that we need to use for measuring in the future.


Lauren


food for thought: "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong"- Voltaire

woah, that's neat: www.livingsocial.com << If you don't already know about this web-site... you should. You can find awesome deals in all of the major cities surrounding you or the one you live in!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Growth of Facebook

So, I know I always find files on TheNextWeb.com, but I seriously find the coolest articles there. This neat article that I found is about the growth of Facebook and their global reach. Not surprisingly, Facebook expects there largest market to soon be India. Facebook has the largest imprint on the US market, where a fourth of the company finds its users. However, India is predicted to soon move into the number two spot. What is so amazing about this growth is that most of the users in India are not using desktop computers for the social media site. The article states that "More than twice as many people login to Facebook from mobiles than desktops globally." To me, this doesn't seem like such an amazing statistic in America, but overseas I can see how this is a really cool concept. Most of my friends have smart phones with the capability to access the internet and other social media sites through applications. Overseas they are just now starting to see a mobile boom. They are making cheaper phones with more capabilities so that people in lower income areas can interact just like those over in America. Facebook has also done great PR over in India, making sure that they have the governments approval to work in the country and teaming up with other companies to ensure that they have a positive image in India. I think that this article not only speaks to the great image Facebook has set up for itself but also Facebook's success at becoming a global company and playing into the new mobile trend. Who knew that a small networking site for college students would become all the rage worldwide? Facebook is changing people's lives and now cell phones are too. I've heard multiple times that mobile is the future, and I'm starting to believe it. I use my phone to type notes, to write reminders, to keep a calendar and to use social networking sites. This is not just a local phenomenon, because mobile phone usage is increasing world wide. People will start using their phones for a myriad of reasons. I think it's great that Facebook has found a successful market in India and I am also glad that they have seen the trend of mobile phones becoming more popular. This shows that Facebook is a perceptive company that wants to stay current.


Lauren



food for thought: "Computing is not about computers any more.  It is about living."-Nicholas Negroponte

woah, that's neat: www.behance.net/gallery/Pictogram-music-posters/1834313 << Great pictures made from songs!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grocery Shopping, Or How I Became a Big Kid

So, I think I have kind of realized that I am an adult now. I know I turned eighteen almost two years ago... but I was just a baby then. I was in high school living a spoiled and rich life. My dad was retired when I was a senior in high school, so I had it pretty good. Every morning I would wake up to breakfast and a packed lunch. I never did my laundry or took out the trash. My father always did all that stuff for me. Sure I made my bed every day and would take my dog on a walk every now and then, but that really is nothing. Now, I'm in college and reality is hitting me square in the face. I have to do the dishes now. I have to go grocery shopping. I have to make my bed, do my laundry and make sure I fill my car up with gas. I don't have my parents coming into my room at 10:30 every night to tell me it's bed time (yes, 10:30 was my bed time until my senior year of high school). I have grown up, or would like to think I have. Not only are these petty tasks starting to pile up on me, but the tough decisions of life are starting to face me too. Will I get into law school? Will I be able to provide for a family in the future? Will I make enough money to not have to live at home? Even in the face of life decisions, I'm still just a kid. I have so much ahead of me and so much to learn about life. I've started to learn to not sweat the small stuff, to focus on the bigger and happier picture of my life. Now, I just need to get that pile of laundry out of the corner before I run out of underwear!


Lauren



food for thought: "Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes." - Panchatantra

woah, that's neat: http://www.seatguru.com/ << Find the best seats on your next flight!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Content Analysis

So, as I've been learning, measuring social media is a difficult task. You have to determine specifically what you want to measure and make sure that you set actual measurable goals. One of the ways to measure goals is through media content analysis. This is nothing new to the public relations field. PR professionals have done media clippings for years, analyzing the times a company is named in an article and how much space the article measures. But, in an online world there is so much more content to measure. There are now multiple sites that companies need to consider monitoring. You may have great face time on Facebook, but almost no presence in the blogosphere or on Twitter. Quantity isn't the most important thing to measure however. Companies also need to be aware of the quality of the messages that are being posted about them. Are they being mentioned in a positive tone? Are they prominently featured in the article?Are their key messages communicated? Is the source of the article a prominent person in the companies sphere? These are all questions that need to be accounted for and measured. It is also necessary to not rely on computers. Computers can only help us so much. They can find the articles, but when it comes to measuring the quality of the articles they fall short. Computers do not understand colloquialisms such as "wicked" or "sick." This is why a combination of computers and human readers is the best combination for a media content analysis. I think this is a great way for companies to figure out their image online and the type of presence they have. This kind of analysis is telling of the steps a company needs to take to make a more positive image for themselves.



Lauren


food for thought: "A dream is a wish your heart makes"- Disney's Cinderella

woah, that's neat:  www.whatshouldireadnext.com << A great website that suggests what you should read next based on past reads

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apple

So, I am really excited by this announcement that I received from TheNextWeb. The article reports that Apple is planning on making major changes to the next generation of iMac, iPhones and Macbook Airs. Apparently, the company will be releasing Macbook Airs with a fifteen inch screen, a major change to the device. There are also rumors going around that an Ipad 2 and Ipad 3 are in the works. I am so excited about these changes. I personally don't have an Apple device but this provides an opportunity for me to get a smart phone that actually works for a change. I will be able to access all of my social media sites that I love and I can keep up to date on news through apps and Twitter. I think this is great PR for Apple as well. The company is still making sure to stay current and updated in lieu of Steven Job's death. The company took a sad ordeal, dealt with it well and are making sure that the company still lives up to the original computer genius's memory. Apple has always had high standards for themselves, and I am so excited to see the new updates to all of their products. I'm hoping that I can actually afford one in the near future!


Lauren


food for thought: "Courage is the power to let go of the familiar"- Raymond Lindquist

woah, that's neat: http://thebeautydepartment.com/ << A wonderful beauty blog that I found!