Eco-Friendly Ideas to Recycle Old Electronics

Photo By David Morris

Photo By David Morris

Most of us have a bunch of unused gadgets laying around, whether they no longer work or are simply out-of-date. Much of the time, we don’t properly dispose of old phones or other electronic devices every time we upgrade. Maybe it’s the fear of not having a backup, but let’s face it, we’re probably not going to use that old flip phone from 2008 anymore. According to DoSomething.org, between 80-85% of electronic devices were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release toxins into the air. Instead of throwing away used electronics, there are several eco-friendly alternatives to consider.

 

Donate to Nonprofits/Charities

Cross off your good deed for the day and get those unused electronics off your hands. Donating to charities or nonprofits is a great way to know your old gadgets are being put to good use. You can drop off old tvs, computers and other electronics at Donation Centers for stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. There are tons of good charities to donate those old cell phones to as well. Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides soldiers a cost-free way to call home from wherever they may be stationed, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which uses the proceeds from the sale of refurbished phones to support programs to end domestic violence, are just two great organizations to choose from.

Sell or Trade-In

If you want to take the for-profit route, you can always sell or trade-in your old electronic devices. Most electronic companies offer trade-in programs for rebates on newer products or gift cards to the store. For example, Amazon has a trade-in program that offers you Amazon gift cards in exchange for your eligible electronics. Other companies offer cash for your used electronics. Glyde in a marketplace for selling used phones, tablets, games and more, and it compares what you will get on their site with other competitors such as Gazelle, Amazon and Apple. They will even sell the broken phones you no longer have a use for

Repurposing for DIY Projects

Why not give those unused gadgets new life by using them differently than what they were made for. There a lot of cool DIY ideas for repurposing old electronics into useful products for the home. Sites like Pinterest have more ideas than you’ll know what to do with.  These ideas from Mashable may be just what you need to get you started with a new project.

Next time you upgrade your electronic devices, take this eco-friendly advice to heart and remember to recycle or repurpose them instead of throwing them away!

 

Managing your Social Media Footprint in the Digital Age

In an ever competitive job market, your online presence is becoming an important part of the interviewing process. Employers aren’t necessarily trying to “dig up dirt” on you as much as they are trying to make sure you’re the right fit for the company. Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success,” told MSN News, “Over 90 percent of recruiters use social networks to review candidates’ backgrounds.”  It goes to show just how important your online reputation is. Follow these easy steps to make sure you’re marketing yourself correctly:

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Google Yourself
Start out looking at what employers would see if they searched you. Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. search your name. It will give you a good feel for what kind of digital footprint you’re leaving behind, whether it be positive or negative. If you can’t find you, then chances are recruiters are going to have a tough time too. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing; you want to be found in search results, for positive reasons of course. Searching yourself will give you a look at how much work you have ahead of you to clean up your image and make yourself more searchable for all the right reasons.

Clean It Up
Delete inactive social media profiles. There’s probably no reason to keep that Myspace from middle school, completely stocked full with embarrassing pictures. Once you determine what profiles you want to keep, and you realize they aren’t as professional as you’d like them to be, you might have your hands full. One useful (and free) tool students can use is SimpleWash. This application looks through your Facebook and Twitter and shows you everything from photos, to things you’ve liked or tweeted that have questionable content. You can also search specific words for the app to scan through. After it finds everything, you can sift through and delete things you don’t want employers to see.

Facebook Privacy Settings
They may be a pain, but they are important to keep up-to-date on so what you don’t want people to see, stays private. Facebook’s Privacy Settings are often changing, so you need to keep up with it. There are a lot of handy features to manage your profile. One of my favorites, Timeline Review, allows you to approve or hide tagged photos or posts before they are seen on your timeline. Gone are the days where you have to worry about quickly untagging yourself from an unprofessional (or just flat out unattractive) photo your friend posted from a night out. If there is anything questionable, you have have the ability to decide what can be seen.

Twitter
There are a lot of ways you can use Twitter, however some of them are better than others when it comes to getting a job. It might seem funny to tweet from the bar, but it won’t seem that funny when you can’t find a job after graduation. If you lack the self-control that so many college kids do, consider protecting your tweets. People will request to follow you, giving you the control over who sees your tweets. If you have your tweets public, remember who your audience is. Have an objective and make sure your tweeting relevant information.

Be Smart and Think Before You Post
Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there for good. Don’t post something if you are unsure of how it may be received by the public. Try to stay away from anything controversial. You don’t know the beliefs and values of recruiters who may be looking at your profile, so don’t say anything that could potentially offend them. Refrain from posting about politics, religion or anything illegal. “Posting while emotional” is another trap some fall into. We all say things we regret when angry or upset, but don’t share it with your entire online community.

Manage Your Friends and Followers
We’ve all heard it before, but don’t accept friend or follower requests from people you don’t know. Know who you are connected to and what you’re sharing with them. You can classify your friends into groups and share content that is specifically for them. As you get older, you might want to go through and manage your friends and followers to make sure they’re still relevant connections.

It’s important to keep yourself professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to sound like a robot in the process. Be yourself! Employers want to see your personality and the positive accomplishments you’ve had. Sprucing up your social media profiles may seem like a daunting task, and it may take you a few days to look through all those pictures from your college years, but it will be well worth it when your profiles are recruiter ready.

Lessons Learned at the National Advertising Conference

Photo by Rachel Keeton  Networking at big industry events, like the ADDY Awards, pays off.

Photo by Rachel Keeton.
Networking at big industry events, like the ADDY Awards, pays off.

This past week I had the opportunity to go to Admerica, the American Advertising Federation’s national advertising conference, in Phoenix, AZ. I was able to attend not only the Addy Awards Ceremony, but various forums, networking mixers and keynote speeches from the likes of Pete Cashmore (Mashable), Susan Credle and Lisa Cochrane (Leo Burnett/Allstate Insurance) and so many more. Being around some of the most creative, award winning industry professionals and ad agencies was an incredible, eye opening experience, especially as college student trying to get into the industry. It’s easy to get intimidated when you’re rubbing elbows with so many people who are “famous” in the advertising world, but you have to remember that these heavy hitters were once in the same position. Everyone I got a chance to network with was genuinely interested in what my future plans were and had great advice on how to get there.

The best advice the students received at the Admerica conference was from AOL’s Digital Prophet, David Shing, to “embrace change and take massive risks in your careers when you’re young.” He went on to tell the crowd about the pressure of figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, and to instead start with what you don’t want to be doing. By simplifying a process like that, it allows you to spend more doing what you love. This advice is applicable across all industries, and should be something that students take to heart.

Students and young professionals need to remember to take advantage of networking events around them. College career services offices can sometimes be the best source of information on upcoming events, and they are always more than willing to help alumni. The old saying, “you reap what you sew” holds true when talking about networking. The effort you put into making new connections will pay off in the future, when you’ve graduated and are actively seeking a job. So get out there when you’re still young, and it’ll make the job hunt a lot easier when the time comes!

—Rachel Keeton

 

 

Branding in Six Seconds or Less

Recently Twitter introduced us to Vine — a mobile app that allows users to share simple and fun looping videos with a maximum length of six seconds (think of it as the Instagram of short videos). It didn’t take long for brands to become part of the conversation, but will these GIF-like videos stick around or be a quickly fading social media trend.

Photo By Esther Vargas

Photo By Esther Vargas

Many brands have been active on Twitter and have developed successful strategies for effectiveness. Similarly, a strategy must be made for Vine, determining the personality and brand voice to be used. Here are just a few examples of how digital advertisers have been successful on Vine:

Teasers
When promoting a movie or a new product launch, the six second time limit works to its advantage, only capturing a few brief moments. Rolling Stones Magazine does an awesome job engaging with their audience to guess who is featured on the cover. For its April issue, Rolling Stones teased the cover, with cigarettes covering the mystery celebrity. 

Have no idea who it could be? Don’t worry, Rolling Stones released a Vine the following day uncovering none other than Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. 

Highlight Product
Vine’s short time limit means it’s necessary to show the product or brand throughout the video. This short clip from Malibu Rum shows you don’t have to make an elaborate video to tell a story and get the point across.

Special Offers
Flashing a quick coupon in a Vine is a great way to gain attention for the account and increase views, but it also promotes the brand. Peanut Butter & Co. uses this particular Vine to showcase their coupons. The clip stays consistent with the brand personality and is relevant to consumers.

Informing
Lowe’s videos offer useful home improvement tips, in only six seconds! Their current tagline of “Never Stop Improving” is supported with these playful clips that show you how to make tiny adjustments to make your projects that much easier. #LowesFixInSix is a great example of using social media for branding.

Contests/User Generated Content
Brands can gain a lot of positive attention from user generated content, and Vine is a perfect outlet for this. The Cavendish Hotel held the first vine-only contest to see who could make the most romantic #ValentineVine. The winner won a free night in the hotel, complete with drinks and dinner.

 

Brands have to be cautious to not fall into the trap of trying to include too much content in a brief six seconds. Vine is still a relatively new marketing tactic for brands, but there is potential if done correctly. We will have to wait and see if Twitter’s Vine will bear fruit for digital advertisers.
 

— By Rachel Keeton

Google I/O 2013

This past week, Google wrapped up its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco, Calif., giving us a look into the future of one of the most powerful companies. Google I/O features highly technical, in-depth sessions geared towards developers. Over 6000 developers on-site, 460 I/O Extended sites in 90 countries and millions around the world tuned in to the live-stream  indicating just how popular Google is and the excitement surrounding their big announcements. The Keynote speech offers a look into product and platform innovations Google has planned for the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick summary of what you missed at the 2013 Keynote:

Google+
Google+ is being updated with 41 new features. The most significant being the content feed. The new design was unveiled, and appears to look like a combination of the Facebook timeline and Pinterest. This new interface allows for easy content exploration and places an emphasis on images and links. Each photo flips over to reveal more information about the subject. The new Google+ is hyper-intelligent, with its automated hashtags, letting you find relevant content that much easier. A significant update to Google+ is the new automatic photo enhancement feature and the new highlight view for albums. Based on a variety of factors, Google can stop duplicate images from appearing, emphasize photos with friends or know landmarks, and even filter out blurry pictures. Google+ Hangouts also got an upgrade, streamlining your online conversations to any device or platform.

Android
Google announced 900 million Android activations and 48 billion app downloads to date. They will be releasing a stock Android Galaxy S4, rather than the Samsung interface. The phone will be available for purchase in the Google Play store on June 26, but it won’t come cheap — the price is set at a steep $649.

Google Play
An obvious update to Google Play is the store’s visual appearance, but behind the scenes there have also been improvements. You can now get suggestions based on your personalized preferences, chosen by Google. In addition, Google introduced Google Play for Education, a store specifically for educational institutions. Google Play Games has added the ability for cloud gaming, so if you stop playing on one device, you can seamlessly pick back up on another device. Lastly, Google Play Music is offering a new $9.99 monthly streaming service, similar to Spotify and Rdio. Google Play Music All Access is radio without rules. Google is offering a free monthly trial, and if you sign up before June 8th, you can use the service for only $7.99 a month.

Maps
Google Maps continues to stay one step ahead of the competition, and this big update will ensure they do just that. Maps has been redesigned to be fully interactive and tailored to you. The service gets better the more you use it as it adapts to your preferences and is able to suggest restaurants you may enjoy or even the fastest route home. With the integration between Maps and Google Earth, you will be able to explore cities in 3D and view “3D Photo Tours” for a virtual sightseeing experience. Google added several new types transportation, including a flight search, they improved public transit information significantly and are including live traffic reports. You will also have the ability to compare different modes of transportation to see which one is best for you. To be one of the first to try to new Google Maps, you have to request an invite.

Glass
Glass has the potential to be “the next big thing” in technology. Although not part of the keynote, Google Glass was a big topic for day 2 of the conference and stole the show. During the I/O, Official apps for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Evernote were debuted. Glass sessions focused on product development and building “glassware.” There was also a Q&A period that covered privacy implications and government restrictions. Google Glass is most likely the first step on a long journey of wearable technology. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s received by the general public when it becomes available at the end of the year.

If you would like to view the Keynote in its entirety, it’s available on YouTube (warning: it’s three and half hours long). Google never ceases to impress the world with their advances in technology. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what Google comes up with next.

 —Rachel Keeton