Lions and Tigers and Media, Oh My!

Last week I went to the Nebraska Humane Society where Creighton journalism alum Elizabeth Hilpipre talked about running a social media strategy for the shelter. She touched on how she uses metrics and the good and bad of social media.

Walking into the presentation, I was unsure of exactly how a social media person spends their day. I understand now that this is a job that can require a whole team to do. I was immediately struck by the huge amount of work her job actually is. I think a common misconception made by a lot of people is that social media isn’t very much work. I mean, how much time can a few posts a day really take? The fact of the matter is that Elizabeth spends her time strategically planning each post. She looks at all of the analytics, carefully words each sentence, times out her posts throughout the day, and makes sure she targets the right people.

Elizabeth uses metrics to determine how many people her posts are reaching. If a post does well, she will do something similar again. If a post does not have many impressions then she will go back to the drawing board. Something interesting that she does is reply back to all comments, negative or positive. I can’t imagine how much time that must take. This is used to her advantage though because it makes the organization very transparent. They aren’t hiding anything and people are probably very grateful to hear a response back.

A lot of the ideas Elizabeth comes up with are humorous. Everyone loves a good laugh and a cute kitten picture. She talked about the time that she posted a picture of a sheep named Gage with a Christmas sweater on. The post quickly became viral and soon the entire country was talking about it. Through the “magic of the internet, Gage was reunited with his family.”

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to listen to her. If I only walked away learning one thing, it’s definitely that social media has more uses than the conventional ones. It can be used to raise money, awareness, reunite animals with their families, or sell a dog that’s been abused. Whatever the problem is, social media can aid in the solution.

Socially Stressed Out

According to a recent study done by the Pew Research Center, social media is not to blame for the stress in people’s lives. Surely active users of social media are more informed about stressful situations around the world or within their own community, however this does not create a direct correlation. The study proves that “there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others,” and therefore induces the “cost of caring,” making stress contagious.

When I think about the results of this study and its implications in my own life, I disagree with the conclusion. Social media causes more stress than it’s worth. Users including myself are constantly comparing themselves to others. The fact of the matter is, people only post the highlights of their day. This creates a false representation and allows for others to think of themselves coming up short.

Watch this video by Mr. Stress Management for a more in depth analysis.

Another important aspect to look at in deeming social media as stressful or unstressful are specific case studies. When Facebook launched their “Year in Review” feature last year, stress for Eric Meyer became unparalleled. The feature allowed users to create a video of the most popular posts from the year and share it with friends. While this seems like a good idea, Facebook’s algorithm left out the humanizing aspect. For Meyer, memories of his 6-year-old daughter dying of brain cancer surfaced.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media! However, the day I created my first social media account in 2008 was the day I entered a stressful zone of unending FOMO (fear of missing out), addictions to checking my push notifications, and an unhealthy desire to measure up to my peers.

The 2015 GRAMmy Awards

McDonalds vs. Taco Bell. If you ask me, both are a solid choice for a 2 am munch run. But who instagrammed it better? Which company can claim final bragging rights when they are basically equal in everything they do? Let’s take a closer look:

picstitchIf we’re talking numbers, Taco Bell has roughly a hair more followers than it’s competitor. However, McDonalds at least has the decency to follow people back. Only 50 people but still. Taco Bell boasts over 650 posts compared to a mere 174 by McDonalds. Generally, Taco Bell will post everyday while McDonalds only posts roughly once a week. Taco Bell holds strong with 18-27k likes per post while McDonalds falls short again with only 11-16k. In a purely statistical/numbers battle, Taco Bell wins the GRAMmy award.

But likes and followers aren’t everything. I just broke the hearts of millions of teens around the country with that line. After reading TrackMaven’s report on Fortune 500 companies using Instagram, I can tell you that much more goes into these posts than promotional material for customers. Companies must connect with customers and create content that is interesting to every follower. Both companies capture images that are appealing to they eye and interesting to look at. Posts can involve promoting a product, however both companies do so artfully and tastefully. Not many hashtags are used on the two accounts. Although, a lot of Instagram users do use hashtags in regards to the two companies so they are still getting the mass exposure that they need.

Instagram is a great marketing tool to appeal to the younger crowd. Maybe this is why so many students swear by Taco Bell as the patron saint of college life. Not only for winning the Instagram contest by the numbers, but for also providing my dinner, snacks, and late night munchies for last 3 days.. congratulations Taco Bell. You have won the 2015 GRAMmy Award for best Instagram Account!

The Queen of Procrastination

It’s 12:3o pm on a Sunday afternoon. I was going to wake up early and be productive today but since I was up all night surfing the internet, following links that interested me, taking Buzzfeed quizzes, and “wasting time online” I was not able to drag my sleepy body out of my bed this morning. Fast forward 4 hours. I still haven’t done anything today. Why do I always do this to myself? All I’ve done today is waste more time online. I can’t start my homework now because the Superbowl is about to start, and what’s my plan during the Superbowl? Spend more time online watching the live Twitter feed. It’s currently 10:00 pm on a Sunday evening and I am just now getting around to this blog assignment. I always have the best intentions to get my homework done early but for some reason I seem to get distracted for hours on end every time!

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 10.08.11 PMYou’d think that all of this procrastination is a bad thing and that I need to start limiting my time online. I see it differently. Yeah, I spend a lot of time in front of a screen but it’s not all useless time. While I am distracted from my actual work I’m learning so much and gaining so many new insights, perspectives, and tidbits of information to relevant topics in today’s world. If it weren’t for my procrastination all weekend I wouldn’t have watched 3 Ted Talks. I wouldn’t have researched Superbowl statistics that oddly seem to hold true. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have had a break from the seriousness of school to allow my mind to relax so that I can put my best foot forward in my assignments.

I think Alexis Grant hit the nail right on the head when she refers to the fact that some of our best ideas stem from wasting time online. So instead of beating myself up next time for not following through with my too high of goals to actually do homework all day, I will proudly accept the fact that sometimes procrastination is key in gaining inspiration to finish those said goals. There is no reason we should be limiting our time online when online is the future.

 

An Entire Life’s Mission in ONE Sentence

My grandpa, bless his heart, really stepped up to the plate and became the stable father figure in my life that I needed growing up. Only living a block away from my home, I could literally throw a softball into my grandparents’ yard from my front porch. That is, once I grew up and became more serious about the sport and was able to throw long distances with ease. I remember spending long summer evenings tossing a ball around the yard with my grandpa only resting for a quick popsicle break. He was my first teacher, my first role model, my first friend. I was his student in everything from softball, to math homework, to climbing trees. He picked me up from school each day while my grandma would start preparing dinner for the three of us.

Reflecting upon the years that I spent growing up and essentially learning everything I know about life, I’ve come to realize that the person that I’ve become is the person that my grandpa taught me to be. I strive every day to empower others around me and see the good in them just like he does. I would consider my top three strengths to be ones that I learned from him: creativity, innovation, and the ability to think outside the box. While these skills were learned and more outwardly visible in his more simple activities of yester-year, I see myself proving these strengths as my own in my day to day life as a Millennial immersed in a digital world. I am seeing more and more that these strengths are timeless and can be applied to things past and present.

Above all, my biggest values always have and always will be honesty and integrity. These are things that my grandpa drilled into my head from a young age. During my grandpa’s years as a United States Marine, he learned these core values as well as his life motto: Semper Fidelis, meaning ‘always faithful.’ I can never think of a time when he wasn’t faithful to a person, commitment, or his relationship with God.

So with that, I’ve decided to create my own personal mission statement. This is a statement of all that I have learned to do and all that I strive to be because of my grandpa:

I hope to infuse passion and drive into those I’m surrounded by, to be creative, pioneering, and innovative, to be honest and uphold the highest integrity, to work hard and stick faithfully to commitments, to enjoy life, and to, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” 

I chose to end it with a quote from St. Ignatius because I truly believe that this quote encompasses all that I hope to do in the future. I want to take the world by storm, just as my most important role model did. Now I urge you, no mater how old, young, tired, or energized you are, think about your sentence. What defines you as a person and what do you want others to remember you by?

A Millenial’s Testimony to Social Media

Everyone remembers their first email address. You know, the one they created in 7th grade without their parents permission in order to create an MSN messenger account and MySpace profile? Mine was softball.lova12@live.com. I feel like you can tell a lot about a person by examining their first email account. Some people used kitty_luver95 or soccerroxmysox.36, but whatever it might have been, that was the beginning of it all.

I’ve had a variety of social media accounts throughout the last 7 years; Bebo, MSN Messenger, Myspace, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. I seem to go through ebbs and flows with each site. In middle school I was that rebellious pre-teen who got a Bebo and eventually Myspace without her mom’s permission and spent hours each night chatting with classmates using God awful acronyms such as ROFL, G2G, BRB, and TTYL. Eventually I grew out of that phase and officially switched to the “dark side” and became a Facebook user. Originally, I got a Facebook account because I kept getting Farmville requests from my friends. After months of using Facebook I decided to delete my Myspace account in 2009 because I thought it was too difficult trying to keep up with 2 social media sites. Boy, I wish I still had that mentality! 

Today I use multiple social media outlets AND have access to all of them at my fingertips all hours of the day. Long gone are the days that I only had a pink Motorola razor phone and limitedIMG_0976 access to the family computer each night. I am completely immersed in a digital world all of the time and I cannot imagine even looking back for a split-second. Here you can see a screenshot of my iPhone6 and the social media apps I use on a daily basis:

I use social media for all aspects of my life. Whether it’s to make plans with friends, inform others of cool events coming up, express myself through artsy pictures, get ideas for projects, read news articles, stay in touch with family across the country, or promote myself professionally, social media has so many more applicable uses to my life today than it did just 5 short years ago. It is a little concerning that social media is literally tied to almost every aspect of my life but I kind of like that. I feel as if I wouldn’t be as informed of things going on around the world or in people who are important to me’s lives if I took myself off the grid.

I am excited for this JRM327 class to learn about all of the positive benefits to social media in promoting business or my “personal brand.” Social media is the future and it is refreshing to take a course that is so relevant to the now.

The End is Near, but the Future is Bright.

In the thoughtful words of Miley Cyrus, “In the end we’d be laughing, watching the sunset fade to black, show the names, play the happy song, yeah.” The picture of myself paddling into the sunset at the top of my blog is finally relevant. The only difference is, this is the end of this journalism course and I don’t see any sunsets. I’ve trulypelican sunset MGD© enjoyed this course and I’m sad to say that this is my last blog post.

That being said, there are a number of takeaways I’ve internalized as a result from my learning this semester. The biggest is an anticipation for the future. There ‘s so much to come in the years to come with journalism. There is so much room for growth, change, and new ideas. While this is exciting, whatever is to come in the future will definitely be ground breaking and change the way journalism operates as we know it.

As a result from this class, my decision to be a journalism major has been solidified. I like everything about this class especially the random Youtube videos, Buzzfeed quests, conversations about Snapchat, etc. It’s so refreshing to have classes that deal with topics revolving directly around our generation. And it doesn’t stop there. The youth generations  of today are already facing very different issues that their parents couldn’t even imagine 20 years ago.

The fate of journalism is unknown; the future is coming. I’m confident that the Journalism, Media, and Computing Department at Creighton will continue to prepare it’s students for what lies ahead.

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

It’s funny how a random picture taken on an 8 megapixel iPhone camera can have the same or even elevated effect to news media as a professional shot taken in the wake of war zones can. It’s kind of exciting that someone can be the lucky one to be in the right place at the right time and get that viral shot. Citizen journalists are the future.

With the current craze of social media and smart phones, photojournalists are everywhere. While the majority are not trained professionals actively seeking out breaking stories, citizens do offer a different perspective to the everyday American. Generally a simple iPhone photo will not speak to an audience in the same manner as one carefully crafted by a photographer. However, citizen journalists oftentimes connect more personally to stories and can tell them in a deeper way, making it easier for audiences of all types to relate.

“While verification can be a minor obstacle for photojournalists using social media as a resource, it lies at the heart of the ethical and aesthetic issues of crisis reporting.” – Jared Keller

Yes, the validity of photojournalism is often called into question. However, we can’t forget how it gives a story a face, or a setting, or a bigger picture. Consumers are enabled to see for themselves what is going on. News media would be completely different for the worst if photojournalism wfile000912201749as to do away. A good photo can tell a story without words but we must not forget supplementary photos to breaking stories that also aid in our visualization of an event.

 

 

There is nothing that can replace the feelings that one feels when given a lens to see the world for its true self.

An Interview with a Public Relations Professional

Careers in public relations involve an impressive amount of versatility. Not only does one have to know the inner workings of PR, but one must also possess skills and knowledge in related fields such as marketing, advertising, and communication. In a recent interview with Sarah Lukas, Director of Engagement and External Relations in the Creighton University Alumni Office, she described her work as “conducting an orchestra” to make sure that every person is doing their piece to make sure the project, event, or program comes together. Sarah Lukas is a prime example of the versatility needed to go far in the PR world.

While maintaing two titles, Ms. Lukas conducts herself with poise. Ms. Lukas plans events and oversees projects and programs on a daily basis in the Alumni Relations Office and as a Freelance Event and Wedding Planner for S.Lukas & Company, she is tasked with a leadership and organizational role over all vendors and details, while offering consultative advice for clients. Both positions allow for a great amount of variety and a chance to work with many different types of people.

Sarah Lukas thoroughly enjoys her job and expressed many positives to the positions. She states, “I get to utilize my skills and talents while working with a lot of different people.” She also gets to travel quite a bit and has been provided with great networking opportunities.

My interview with Ms. Lukas one hundred percent affirmed my desire to go into the PR field. She told me that it takes a positive attitude, the ability to multitask, think quickly on your feet, and communicate effectively. The event planning portion of Sarah Lukas’ job appeals to me the most. I am the kind of person that likes to make sure every detail is in order and work behind the scenes. I thrive in group projects and I love sharing ideas with other people.

It’s exciting to see that there is so much versatility to her job. She knows how to do so many different things and I’m sure no two days are the same. This interview allowed me to broaden the scopes of what I can do with a PR degree. The fact of the matter is, the lines are so blurred between PR, marketing, communications, etc. that I really do need to be able to be flexible. Ms. Lukas is such an inspiration for what I would hope my future career path to look like.

So what exactly is PR you ask? Check out this video for an idea.

The Growing Nose of Journalists

Call me crazy, but you should definitely believe everything you read on the Internet ornose-351746-m see on the news. I mean, why would the very people who’s jobs it is to provide us with information lie to us? Just kidding, when browsing through headlines online or flipping channels on the TV you should probably put your skeptical spectacles on. Generally, good sources to believe are those which include something about the who, what, when, where, why, how, and so what of a particular story. However, even then I would advise you to put your critical contacts in. News is considered credible when all of the facts can be proven. Although, in this age of a cluttered Web, how are we even supposed to go about checking evidence?

“Seeing is believing.” That statement couldn’t be any more wrong. Elf Judy put it perfectly when she explained to little Charlie in the 1994 Santa Claus film that “Seeing isn’t believing, Believing is seeing.” Although she was referring to the North Pole in her quote, we can apply this to today’s television news media. As Kovach and Rosenstiel put it, “Seeing is not knowing. Distinguishing between fact and truth involves knowing how to weigh the value of different facts.” We must know how to evaluate evidence that news reporters present us with. Just because we see something on the news doesn’t mean it wasn’t shown completely out of context, in a different order than the true chronology, or edited to fit the constraints of the show. This happens far too often.

This video shown in class illustrates my point perfectly. The 4 year old child is misquoted by the news to sound violent. Watch the video to it’s entirety to see for yourself.

If I really had to know something for it’s whole truth and nothing but the truth, I wouldn’t even know where to turn. Because news journalism has become so biased, edited, and commercialized, it’s hard to find truth amongst webs of lies or half-truths. I suppose I would use Google to come up with an answer. But even then, think about how much non-credible crap I would have to sift through in order to find my diamond in the rough. A lot.