Bye Forever – except no, not really

Whoa, summer sure goes by quickly. Sometimes I think it all went too fast with school, work, and fun, but really SO much has happened in 4 months. I haven’t been here for just summer time though – I’ve been hanging out with the Ingenex crew since March! The beauty of social media is that I can look back on our memories pretty easily. There are tons of inside joke tweets, hilarious shared Youtube videos, pointless timeline Facebook posts, and too many filtered Instagram photos to count.

I can’t wait to use all the things I’ve learned about social media for the groups and organizations I’m involved with outside of this internship. Also, I have this new-found appreciation for blogging and sharing on the internet. Even if I don’t get a comment, like, or reply, I know others have seen what I’ve shared and I’m happy enough just knowing the internet has allowed me to pass what I deem “important information” along. Mostly, I’m excited to leave here with confidence in the power of any and all things digital.

I can’t believe I got the chance to help rebrand the internship – designing the cover photo, logo, and new twitter background (oh hey, right now would be a great time to check it out twitter.com/ecointernship). We also got to volunteer with Avalon Housing, a non-profit roviding affordable housing in Ann Arbor. Hearing their story was great, and reminds me about all the awesome people right here in AA and all the other awesome people you could find, well, pretty much anywhere.

I dislike saying goodbye and knowing that this internship is over, and I especially hate realizing school is creeping right around the corner. As I’m saying “bye forever” to my co-workers and co-interns, I know it’s not a goodbye at all. It’s a “bye, I’m leaving the office, but will be sure to reply to your tweet and/or like your Facebook post as soon as I get home.”

Keep sharing and passing it on. Do good.

Club Wolverine’s Splash Bash on July 31st

Club Wolverine (CW), a swim club based in Ann Arbor, Michigan is hosting an end of summer party on Tuesday, July 31. The club is inviting the Washtenaw swim community to Splash Bash – an evening of swimming, food, and fun. Attendees will be able to watch Olympic swimming on a big screen at the University of Michigan’s Canham Natatorium. From 5:30 to 9 PM, swimmers, families, and friends can bring their favorite floaties and enjoy the Olympics from the pool.

I know I’d love to spend a night floating around the pool and relaxing with my friends. All that floating around can really make you work up an appetite, but they’ll have pizza and drinks too, so all the attendees will be well fed.

What’s really awesome is the opportunity to watch former CW swimmers like Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt compete in the Olympic games. Swimmers at the club are known for their hard work, and the hard work obviously pays off . The club has had a very successful history and continues to train swimmers who are working towards their own Olympic medals.

CW trains a lot of experienced swimmers, but also has programs at all skill levels, even if you’re just a beginner.  Swimmers interested in joining Club Wolverine can be evaluated and placed into groups at Splash Bash. The evaluation and placement is a way to match swimmers up with the program that will best fit their skill level and help them reach their goals.

Splash Bash will be a night full of fun, and all are welcome and encouraged to bring friends. Check out Club Wolverine’s Facebook for more information about the Splash Bash, and be sure to invite you Facebook friends. You can find details about Splash Bash on the Club Wolverine website as well.

The Internet, Land of the Free

Everyone can remember the Wikipedia blackout earlier this year, bringing awareness of internet freedom to browsers all over the country. Wikipedia joined many other well known names on the internet like Google and Reddit to protest the SOPA and PIPA acts. While websites and online services that people use several times daily started taking a very visible stand in favor of internet liberties, it became hard to ignore the issue. With services like Wikipedia down, you start to realize how dependent you are the magical powers of the internet and just how precious your internet freedoms are. The freedom of the internet, or lack thereof, could drastically change the role of the digital marketing agency. With this budding feeling of personal investment, you begin to think that maybe you should take a stand on the issue as well.

The internet has thrived for so long largely because no governing bodies have intervened, but now members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations organization, are pushing for more regulation. Many proposals are focused on more control and potential economic gains that can be a realized through this international regulation. The issue obviously gets more complicated than just the worrisome idea that Russia and China are looking for the United Nations to take control of the internet and steal all the control from unsuspecting citizens. No reason to freak out just yet, just an opportunity for the internet to further develop since these issues should be dealt with sooner or later. Some suggest that a dialogue between proponents of internet freedom and internet regulation advocates would give all parties an opportunity to voice their concerns. Some reform to the internet could be made, but it’s pretty unanimous that moving the internet towards a bureaucracy would do much more harm than good. For the digital marketing agency, internet freedoms would be best left alone to ensure an open line of communication between both the client and its audience.

The United Nations has declared that internet access is a human right, but this increased regulation is still up for international debate. It should be an interesting line of stories to follow because not all countries’ experience with the internet have been created equal. Countries with different levels of development and countries with different politics really will bring diverse opinions to the discussion.

I think as a person growing up in this digital age (especially in America), it’s hard not to see the value in internet freedom. In my opinion all the good that the internet can do easily trumps the scary feeling that political leaders must feel when the internet is used against them as one of many tools of freedom of speech. The internet has been an outlet for fun, health improvement, increased communication, and the source of new jobs. The digital marketing agency depends on an open and free internet to optimize its clients’ performance. I also have a soft spot for entrepreneurs and social justice advocates. The internet has given people pursuing these types of careers a way to mobilize their causes in a way that was no where near possible 20 years ago- heck even 5 years ago.

As always, there’s more than one side to every story. So, is internet access a human right or not?

Tumblr, GIFs, #WSWCM

If you’re in the younger community that populates the social media world, you’ve been exposed to some form of a “What Should We Call Me” blog post. What started as a tumblr blog to keep two friends in touch as they traveled to opposite ends of the country is now a social media cultural phenomenon.

Tumblr has long been a popular platform, but it’s an unspoken sort of popularity that differs from that of Facebook or Twitter. Although the “What Should We Call Me” (WSWCM) culture has been around for a few months now, it still gains more and more fans and of course, imitators as well. WSWCM tumblr pages have popped up within tons of communities ranging from universities, tv show fans, student groups, and more. No matter which blog of GIFs you may find you’re bound to end up laughing- and wasting a solid chunk of time procrastinating.

The WSWCM movement is just another amazing way that social media can blow up without much effort. It makes me wonder, what will the next big viral phenomenon be?

Is the Lip Dub Back?

Lip dub videos got a lot of hype a year or so back, but with this most recent trending marriage proposal video, I have to ask- is the lip dub making a comeback?

In the video Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal, Issac has set up an elaborate marriage proposal to his girlfriend including guest appearances from family and friends. I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty jealous. Amy, Isaac’s girlfriend now fiancee, is one lucky girl, and her surprised and ecstatic expressions have been filmed throughout the entire video. This is definitely a tribute to love, meaningful relationships, and the rest of that lovey-dovey stuff, but also, a little less obviously, it’s a tribute to social media.

Video is a powerful social media resource and it’s importance seems to just keep growing. First it was the rise of YouTube, then Google’s acquisition of YouTube, then the popularity of Vimeo, and now Socialcam is a mobile app starting to make an appearance on the social media scene and an app to continue to watch as it gains even more users. This particular lip dub video has been uploaded to Vimeo which allows viewers to share the videos through social media. At this time, this video has over 2.5 million plays, 340,000 Facebook likes, 8,145 Tweets, 151 +1’s, featured on countless news outlets across TV and the internet, and it’s only existed on the internet for a week! This is the beauty of the internet and the potential of going viral- you can spread your story fast, far, and for cheap.

Don’t miss out on this viral video, make sure to watch the incredible video below.

If Only I Could Be As Smart As Google

Google won me over pretty easily and pretty early. For as long as I can remember, Google has been my homepage on my browser, beginning with my family desktop computer growing up. Now I’ve grown up a little, and adopted more than just the Google search engine into my life. I’d be lost without Google products – I’m not kidding, I’d actually be lost without Google Maps. I’m pretty directionally-challenged and I rely on Google Maps to help me find my way. My current obsession is with Google Music since I require listening to music at all times including during my walks across campus, my study sessions at the library, and hang outs with my friends. Other products, like Chrome, Gmail, Drive, and Reader have become integrated into my daily life.  Obviously, Google doesn’t need my praise to prove how amazing their work is, but I want to officially declare my love and allegience to Google right now.

I’m so impressed by the people at Google: the engineers, computer techs, innovators, designers, and leaders. Being a part of that intelligent team has to be exciting, and of course I would love to be as smart as any of them. But now I want to be as smart as their most recent technology that Google announced. This new development makes Google  Search even smarter and even more human-like. The new technology, The Knowledge Graph, is going to change the results you’ll receive after a search. Instead of treating your search query just as keywords, your search will be treated as things.

Um, treated as things? What does that even mean?

That’s probably what you’re thinking at this point. Google Search is taking on the challenge to connect words with their real world meanings to give you the results for which you’re actually looking. So, let’s say you searched “Ryan Gosling.” Along with the usual links associated with your search, there will also be a summary of items like his date of birth, his work, his awards, and other information Google’s research for most relevant/most searched information on the actor.

Google already seemed pretty smart, but now it’s going to “know” things. Well, searching never seemed so easy. The Knowledge Graph is officially added to the long list of reasons why I love Google.

Lightfair International

Lightfair International (LFI) is an architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference with both education programs and  manufacturer exhibits. LFI attracts various professionals from around the world, ranging from engineers to architects to urban planners. Lightfair 2012 will be in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas convention Center from Wednesday, May 9 to Friday, May 11. This year there will be over 475 domestic and international exhibitors and will include 5 unique pavilions.

These 5 unique pavilions cover nearly 200,000 square feet and are a place for manufacturers to showcase their many products. Some of these products include ballasts, contemporary lighting, control devices, lampholders and switches, led light resources, mounting devices, and exterior luminaires.  Companies are separated by category into the 5 pavillions: Building Integration Pavilion, Daylight Pavilion, Design Pavilion, Global Light + Design Pavilion, and the New Exhibitor Pavilion. Each of these pavilions offer a unique look at current projects, products, and technology that are innovating the world of lighting, energy efficiency, and design.

Attending Lightfair is a chance to see new ideas, listen to speakers, and network with thousands of professionals. Not only can you visit the exhibits and network with your peers, but you can attend the conference to take accredited courses. You can learn a lot from talking with others, but you can take advantage of the opportunity to take part in educational programs. Lightfair is a the best place to be to learn more about everything new in lighting technology and design.

YouTube Helping Nonprofits Do Good

Some of my friends can spend hours on YouTube. They may start on one video about parents stealing their children’s Halloween candy and could end on another video of Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez lip-syncing and dancing with their friends. How they travel from one side of the YouTube world to the other always baffles me. I don’t have this innate skill or the patience to peruse YouTube for hours. I find most of my favorites are the trending videos, band updates, and some Jenna Marbles comedy. I am also subscribed to a few nonprofit organizations on YouTube and knew there was a special search section for nonprofits, but completely underestimated YouTube’s dedication to these organizations.

YouTube recently launched YouTube Next Cause, a program  to help nonprofit organizations do the good that they’re already doing –  but even better.  After an application process, 20 organizations were selected for their commitment to change and their previous use of YouTube as a platform. These chosen few will attend a day long summit in San Francisco on April 2. The summit will serve as an opportunity for consulting and training, all in hopes to make their organization stronger and more effective.

This is a part of a larger program, YouTube’s NextUp Program, aimed to promote talent already on YouTube, not necessarily to find the next big thing. YouTube will invest money in some of its selected partners, in addition to providing them with resources in disciplines like videography and production.

And here I was thinking YouTube was just a place for cute cat videos. Man, was I wrong. So many other social media tools can be used for nonprofits too. It’s so cool to think about the support that one organization can provide for another. That sure seems like an effective way to create change – bonding together and satisfying one group’s set of needs with another’s set of resources. The size, growth, and passion of the communities that can be built amaze me. And all the communities, the change, and the action all start with small stories like the ones spotlighted in YouTube’s Next Cause program.

So much for getting any work done – I know what I’ll be watching while I procrastinate for the rest of the week. Check out these 20 awesome organizations’ videos.

A Blank Canvas

The transition from the tangible world to the digital sphere seems inevitable. This switch can get a bad rep, since it’s changing the nature of certain professions and most web content seems to breed a short attention span in its audience, but I think this digital transition is an awesome opportunity for creativity. As a student at the Ross School of Business, I’m hoping to pursue a career in advertising and marketing, and the digital world is becoming an ever increasing influence in the marketing game. Don’t get me wrong, I love newspapers, books, print advertisements, and grass roots marketing campaigns and would never want the digital age to completely consume the world of the printed word and image. There is an undeniable art in creating the printed world, but still, there is this unavoidable truth in the efficiency and effectiveness of the digital tools being developed and improved every day. And of course, many organizations are looking to cut costs (the business student in me is now acutely aware of any way to save money) and oftentimes digital tools are the perfect affordable solution.

I’m all for the digital transition, and I’ve always taken a liking to technology. One of my brothers used to be a huge computer nerd, and of course, if he thought computers were cool, I better think they’re cool too. I’ve especially found a passion for graphic design and typography. Remember AOL instant messenger? Remember the buddy icons that would show up on the side of your instant message window? Yeah, I used to design those. And when MySpace took over the world, I found another opportunity to test my design skills – creating the background images for my friends’ and my pages. The digital world is full of these chances to get creative and to personalize your own corner of the web.

As the world settled down after its MySpace obsession and continued on to its other forms of social media, I was right there waiting. I was the first of my friends with a Facebook and a Google+. One day I went overboard and made sure I had every type of social media account that I could think of– YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Delicious – and needless to say, it was too much. A lot of these accounts don’t get my full attention, and I feel like this happens to a lot of organizations as well. They try to diversify, but they don’t know why. They jump on the bandwagon because that’s the “cool” thing to do but never utilizing these tools for what they’re intended. So instead of picking what tools work best, they end up with a bunch of dead end links that they’d be better off without.

Again, I’m fascinated by graphic design and fonts, so it goes without saying that I admire the endless amount of creativity that goes into developing digital tools and content. In addition to my admiration, there are so many creative outlets that I want to explore for myself – like videos, photos, and blogs. I think the digital world is like a giant blank canvas just waiting for inspired minds to add color. Many people (mainly people like my parents and my teachers) are upset by what seems to be a shortened attention span for this digital era. This seems like any marketer’s dream – being on the edge of innovation, deciding what is going to capture this audience’s attention next.

This really is a new era of influence, tastes, and communication, and I love being caught up in the middle of it. This internship is going to give me a chance to entertain my creative mind and to see what and how digital content can make an impact. I’m excited to learn more about website development – from creating its design to measuring its traffic. Through my experiences at Ingenex, I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about all the components of a successful marketing campaign. Hopefully, with a little experience, I’ll be able to add my own color to the digital canvas.