It’s Been Real :)

After 10 weeks of strenuous work, long days, and impossible projects (KIDDING!) my time at Ingenex has come to a close. It’s been so great to work in such a fun work environment, learn valuable skills that I can take with me for future jobs, and get a taste of what a job in digital marketing might be like. I can’t say enough good things about this opportunity–it’s been everything I expected and more! Even though I still would like to pursue a career more focused on public relations, I’ve loved all of the work I’ve done here, and I know that that will be useful to me in a potential PR internship in the future. Luckily, I still have two years left of school, and potentially even grad school after that, so I’m not about to rush into getting a job quite yet. I would love to move to a big city following graduation and work at a big PR firm, and possibly even go back to school after working a few years and study law. If not that, maybe travel the world, who knows! All that I’m sure of is that this internship has gotten me one step closer in achieving my goals and landing a job that I truly love!!

Thanks for everything, Ingenex!!! :)

Eco Interns To Volunteer This Afternoon

The Eco Interns are taking their words and putting them to action! Caroline, Stacey, and Kyla are taking the afternoon to volunteer for an organization called Avalon Housing. Avalon Housing is a community-based, non-profit organization that was created in 1992 to develop, own, and manage affordable housing. Their mission is to provide permanent, affordable, and supportive rental housing for Washtenaw County’s lowest income households. Their priority is with those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and have a mental or physical disability. Through that organization, Stacey set us up with an opportunity with “Edible Avalon”. This is a community gardening program that provides fresh, organic produce to tenants. The gardens are located at thirteen of their properties, and each year they provide programming to tenants that helps them improve their health and nutrition, learn about gardening, and enhance their leadership skills. Today, the interns will be planting lilies and weeding at one of these gardens, which will benefit the organization as a whole and the tenants who use the garden frequently. The interns are very excited for this opportunity, and hope to pass on their passion for volunteering to future interns! 

New Website Can Prove You’re Ahead of the Curve

Ever since the social media boom, internet users who consider themselves early adopters look down on those who were late to the game. Website developers took notice of this phenomenon that has been popularized on the internet, and created a website that shows users just how “cool” they are compared to everyone else in the world.  Idego.co, a new website that can literally tell you how ahead of the pack you were in adopting new social media sites, has begun to gain popularity. The site has the ability to track your personal accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Github. It first asks for authorization to your account, then it spits out where that account exists, in percentage points, compared to all other accounts created up to the current date. This website does much more than just fuel our innate desire to know things before everyone else does, but it’s also a useful benchmark for how quickly a person adopts new applications as they come off of the virtual assembly line. This can be very useful for someone who is involved in an industry that leans on social media use, because it can give you a very accurate idea of where you stand compared to everyone else. If you’re in the bottom 5 or 10%, that tells you you might want to stay more on top of your game if you truly want to call yourself “social media savvy”.

One of the big flaws of this website; however, is that the numbers are all crunched behind closed doors. Just because the website says you’re in the first 15% of people to adopt a twitter account doesn’t meant hats necessarily true. For all we know this could be completely made up just to create a buzz. Another major flaw is that it requires authorization of your social media accounts, which, when used for novelty purposes, isn’t always the smartest idea (you just never know!)

Theoretically speaking, all the website needs to do is gain access to an account’s unique identification to figure out where in the grand scheme of accounts it exists, but that certainly doesn’t mean that’s all it will do. As with all things available on the internet today, you take a certain risk with it, and users need to decide whether or not it’s worth it.

HOW TO: Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics Online

New this time around for the Olympics is online streaming–where anyone with a computer can log on and watch the Olympics right from their laptop or home computer! This may seem like a minor change, but in fact, it just adds to the increase in communication that the world has experienced since the last summer Olympics in 2008. The entire way the game’s highlight events and key moments have been shared is changed, and much faster at that! The combination of online streaming, twitter, facebook, and youtube has made the Olympics seem much closer to home than they actually are–halfway across the the world in London!

Now that the Olympics have all-around become a more digital and global experience, it seems only appropriate to put together a guide to streaming the Olympics, so that you too can be in the loop with the eventful (no pun intended) Olympic games!

Here are some guidelines to (legally) streaming the games live online or on your phone or tablet!

You need to have Cable!

Most online content in the US is only accessible if you have subscribed to cable or satellite. NBC streaming of the olympics is no exception. The good news? NBC has managed to work with almost all cable and satellite providers out there, so there should be no hitch in getting access!

If you don’t have cable, have no fear! You can always access the highlights on the NBC Olympics YouTube page.

If you’re in the US

In the US, NBC is the official broadcast partner of the Olympics. Therefore, NBC will air the Games on NBC and NBC-owned cable stations as well as stream more content online in real-time than they ever have before. But as usual, there’s a catch. You not only need to be a cable subscriber, but also you need to get MSNBC and CNBC. If you meet this criteria, then all you need to doo is head to NBCOlympics.com/LiveExtra and click on “Click here to get ready”. Then, follow the instructions, and you’ll be set to go!

If you can’t get to a computer, there’s always the option to watch the live streams from your iOS or Android device with the mobile NBC Live Extra app for iOS and Android. The great thing about this app is that you can use a four hour “guest pass” to the Games in case you don’t know the username or password for your cable provider.

If you’re in London

BBC is providing livestreams of the Games via the BBC Sport website and mobile apps. If you’re in the UK, you have access to every sport for up to 24 live HD streams!

BBC also has apps for iOS and Android to watch these livestreams. In addition to the livestreams, BBC will also feature results, news stories, and daily highlights for users to look over when in a hurry.

If you’re in another part of the world

Freecast.com has a streaming and TV guide for olympic coverage in over 150 countries! Also, the IOC has an official Olympic channel on YouTube that will be broadcasting the games live in territories in Asia and Africa that lack broadcast partners. This channel will also offer clips, replays, and highlights of the events.

Turns out that no matter where you are in the world, you too can be a part of this year’s “digital games”!

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Campaign Encourages Bale to Visit Victims of Batman Shooting

Batman fans were eager to watch a movie where good trumps evil; however, what they got that unfortunate Thursday night was just the opposite. The mass killings that occurred at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado were a powerful reminder that villains exist in the real world, and not just on the big screen. James Holmes, a 24 year old student from the University of Colorado, allegedly burst into a packed theatre and opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd, killing 12 and injuring an additional 59. This tragic event left the numerous victims, friends, and families of those affected crying out for an answer, and a hero.

How do they find this hero? They turn to social media.

Facebook pages, videos, and petitions have been circulating the web in hopes of getting Christian Bale, the actor who plays “Batman” in the film, to visit the victims of the shooting, dressed in his Batman costume. One Facebook photo that has gained hundreds of thousand shares is a note that states, “I propose we (as in all of facebook) should make enough noise asking Christian Bale to visit these kids in the hospital dressed in the real Batman outfit. They need to know Heroes can be real too, not just the bad guys. If you read this, share it on your wall. If you want to go the extra mile, post it in other sites as well. Show the kids there really are heroes.” On this past Friday, the hashtag #BaleOutAurora also called for the star to visit the injured children in the hospital.

Many of those who were hurt were children and teenagers who were huge fans–and many believe that this would, at the very least, brighten their day. Bale released the following statement regarding the shooting, omitting a direct response to the request: “Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loves ones, but my heart goes out to them.”

The Summer Olympics: Being Reshaped by Social Media

What’s the first thing I did when I found out one of the University of Michigan’s own Samuel Mikulak made the US Olympic gymnastics team? Added him on Facebook of course! The 2012 Olympics are being named by some as the “first social Games”. There’s no doubt that social media drives conversation and newl, and it’s only grown more influential in the past four years. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will likely play an exceptional role in how information is distributed from London, and how the conversation is driven throughout the Games.

So what’s the difference between this year’s games and the summer Olympics before it? Four years–and that’s an eternity in Interntet time! Social media has truly exploded, as well as general web use. In 2008, there were approximately 1.5 billion internet users globally, and that number has swelled to 2.3 billion users this year. That’s one third of the the worlds total population!

For more of an idea on just how and why social media will reshape the Olympics as compared to 2008, we’ll take a look at the top 3 social media networks out there, and see just how much 4 years has changed them.

FACEBOOK

2008: Facebook reached 100 million users, and passed Myspace in popularity (Wow, was 4 years ago really that long ago..?!) The chat feature was also introduced this year, while simultaneously taking over AIM and other chat sites with it’s convenience.

Today: Facebook claims more than 900 million users–that’s a growth of 900% in a mere 4 years! The network’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, becomes a global celebrity, while Facebook becomes a publicly traded company.

TWITTER

2008: This was a year of explosive growth, and they finished the year with 6 million users, and 300,000 tweets a day.

Today: The network now has 500 million users, who collectively send more than 400 million tweets every day! News breaks on the network regularly, and it’s a prime marketing channel for many athletes. Likely London 2012 conversation among media and fans will take place on this network as well.

YOUTUBE

2008: By fall of this year, users were uploading 10 hours of video/minute. This site emerged as the “it” site for video sharing, and had been bought by Google in 2006, which just increased it’s popularity. They also launched their mobile site this year.

Today: It’s no doubt that the most memorable Olympic moments will go viral on this network the moment they are aired on television. The company receives over 800 million unique vistis per month, and those visitors watch over 3 billion hours of video per month, while also uploading 72 hours of video/minute. The growth here is truly iconic.

So what?

After looking at the top three social media sites, one may wonder what that has to do with the Summer Olympics. Well-everything! This summer, expect to receive the latest Olympic news not from your favorite TV reporter, but instead from a social media network just as soon as it happens. The moments of this years Olympics will live on as was never possible before thanks to social media.

Who knows what the Summer 2016 Olympics will bring, but for now, enjoy all of the convenience and fun social media has to offer, because it’s events like this where it really matters!

Pinterest For Business

In the spirit of Ingenex’s Digital Chat this Friday, it seems relevant to discuss exactly how Pinterest can be a successful part of a business’s social media strategy. Here are 3 helpful tips for businesses to leverage the popularity of this successful market in ways that will make them stand out!

Tip #1: It’s not about you.

You don’t need to be glaringly obvious that you’re trying to sell something–after all, slow and steady does win the race! Subtlety is always far more effective when it comes to Pinterest for business use. If you try to post pins that are still relevant to your business, but also interesting enough that people won’t feel like you’re only interested in their money, you’re far more likely to generate traffic through your page. An example: Oreck. They’re a vacuum cleaner, air purifier and carpet cleaning company–and although that sounds like a bore of a pinterest page, think again. If you visit their site,  you’ll see that they feature boards of  cute animals, gorgeous blue interior designs, pictures of fun party decorations, and many more. Although these boards aren’t all about vacuum cleaners, they still relevant and do relate to a clean home, but most importantly, they’re iNTERESTING! Nobody wants to go on Pinterest to be sold a vacuum cleaner, but if you’re site is appealing, they’ll be far more likely to go to your page and get your company exposure.

Tip #2:  Everybody loves a story

Look at your market. What do those people want to hear about and see? Define that, and show it! For example, Nordstrom has many fashion boards, with one of those being from New York Fashion Week. You’ll notice that many of the photos are actually from backstage, but the photos feature links that will take you to their website to view the clothes and purchase them. Fashion-lovers want to see what happens behind the scenes, because it makes the model’s look seem more real, and within grasp for themselves as well. By telling a story, from backstage chaos to poised on the runway, customers can relate and will ultimately purchase more from your store.

Tip #3: Have a showoff board!

You don’t have to bury your brand on your page, it’s okay to brag a little! A great example of this is with Vineyard Brands. This wine importer business has an extremely exciting Pinterest page, with creative boards such as “The Art of Wine” where they feature beautiful artwork that is centered around wine and winemaking, “Amazing Wine Apps” that show some fun and helpful tips such as recipes for cocktails, reviews of different bottles, and more! And tucked in their page is a board entitled “Our Wine In The News”, that show reviews and articles that feature their brand. This is a great way to show customers not only that wine drinking is a cultural sensation, but that their wine is THE best wine out there. This will draw customers in and give your brand the positive image it needs to be successful.

With so many potential customers using Pinterest, it’s vital to draw attention to your business’s Pinterest page in the right way. Stand out without being overbearing, tell and story, and don’t be afraid to show off a little–after all, people need to see that your business IS the best!

 

 

Olympians Say “Get Fit!” On Facebook

There’s nothing more motivating than having an Olympic athlete encourage you to exercise–let alone getting that motivation through a social media outlet that you use on a daily basis. Facebook has partnered with GE to launch a new app just in time for the Olympic games, called “Healthy Share”. This application is designed to provide users with different challenges that will help them achieve better health. Even better, people can track it publicly on Facebook to help motivate friends as well as hold themselves accountable.

The digital marketing director at GE shared that the partnership with Facebook was a natural fit. Because Facebook revolves around sharing and connecting, it can be a powerful source of motivation when applied correctly, especially regarding physical fitness and health. They decided to use this power of friends and people supporting each other online to motivate users to get healthy. Once you get the app, you can undertake various challenges, and that update will show up on your news feed. If you click on that particular story, the app’s landing page will pop up, which will then show other friends that are using Healthy Share while also providing more details on its use.

The app features many healthy living tips, such as how to eat healthy and get more physical activity in your busy day to day life. More uniquely; however, 2012 Olympians give specific challenges to participants. Once you complete a challenge, you can check it off and let your friends see that you’ve completed it for both encouragement and motivation.

Although this app features 2012 Olympians, it’s geared to last much longer than this summer’s games. Many Facebook employees believe the combination of Facebook’s large user base and the culture of sharing will incentivize people to follow through with their fitness goals. After loging in and trying it out, it’s an absolutely phenomenal app and very well put together. There’s no doubt in my mind that this app will be a huge success–it already boasts over 500 members in less than a day!

The Digital World-Embracing Change

I’ve never thought of myself as a very tech-savvy person, but then again, I never really considered social media “technology”. It’s something I’ve grown up with, and I’ve become accustomed to using on a day-to-day basis. Although my friends laugh at my obsession with Facebook, I wouldn’t consider myself a digital junkie–yet. Although I enjoy working with people, it’s becoming increasingly harder to deny the impact the digital world is having on businesses, and even broader, human interaction in general. I’ve always loved to embrace change, and this is exactly that.

When I decided on the University of Michigan, I knew I wanted to be a communications major. At the time, I thought I was going to be a news anchor in a big city; however, that idea quickly was changed when I read more about the not so glamorous, very stressful side of being a journalist. After a little more research, I realized public relations was a growing area that looked really interesting to me. I decided to stick to the communications major and minor in writing, as a new dream formed. I wanted to move to New York City and become a public relations specialist for a major PR company. Although this is still a dream I have today, that job is not the same as it used to be 20 years ago. Much of what I would do as a public relations specialist would revolve around the digital world, and I’m eager to learn all that I can about it. I may not be a wiz at every social media site there is, but I’m definitely willing to learn.

Beyond this internship, I hope to take the skills that I have learned and become an accomplished businesswoman, whether that be in public relations, marketing, or something completely different. These abilities are only going to become more vital with time, and I’m so thrilled to have this opportunity to intern at a company that truly cares about my success.

Facebook: How Young Is Too Young?

 

When’s the last time you got a friend request from someone under 13?
For me, it was less than a week ago. And she was only 8.
How can this be? An 8 year old girl that I used to babysit suddenly had access to my Facebook account. Being a college student, statuses and pictures are not filtered to the likes of children that young–my Facebook friends are primarily college aged and older, and the content reflects that. Although it’s easy to deny a friend request from a child, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult as more kids join Facebook and gradually shift the audience.
Facebook has been looking into a way for children under 13 to use Facebook, which has been difficult due to Federal restrictions. Law requires that companies obtain parental consent before collecting information about children under 13. Everything about Facebook breaks that law–from statuses to pictures, that content is considered “information”, and that could get Facebook in a lot of trouble. So how do they skirt around it? Well, they simply give children the option to link their account to a parent’s. Although it hasn’t been followed through with quite yet, Facebook has certainly been experimenting with it.
Although it’s alarming at first, it’s not all that big of a change. Children under 13 are already using Facebook by lying about their age with the aid of family and friends. Often times parents allow their children to set up Facebook accounts because “everyone’s doing it”–and that’s not necessarily false. More than 7.5 million children under 13 had Facebook accounts last year.
Facebook has made it no secret that they are well aware of the dangers of children having access to their website prematurely. For one, there are digital footprints created long before children even understand what that means. Additionally, ads push spending on games and other services, and they only get more pronounced with time. There’s also the concern of cyber bullying, which is reminiscent of similar issues with past technologies like AIM and Myspace. Finally, one of the most concerning issues deals with the fear of inappropriate content being easily accessible.
If the change were to be made, Facebook has made it clear that they would assure these accounts would be much safer than adult and teen accounts. Their privacy would be automatically set to “Friends Only”, which is a step better than the preset “Friends of Friends” that teen accounts (13-17) are given. In addition, parents would ultimately have the say in who their children accept as “Friends”; and therefore, who they interact with online. This could help stop cyber bullying, and the overall audience they interact with online. Lastly, Facebook has thrown out the idea of having a “no ad” policy for under 13 accounts, therefore eliminating the issue of targeting young audiences too soon (whether or not that would actually be followed through with is certainly questionable).
So is it all that bad? It’s hard to tell quite yet–who knows, it may even decrease the amount of privacy and bullying issues due to parent’s inclination to sign their kids up as their real age, not a fake one. But one things is for sure, Facebook has come a long way since its college-only days.