Why You Should Become a Blogger

So, you want to break into the field of digital media? It can take time, but a great way to gain experience while still in school or working in another field is to start blogging. Choose a specific topic to write about, but try to not keep it too narrow. Maybe you will write about a hobby or passion you have, or maybe it will be a blog about trends in social media, anything that excites you. Once you decide on a category, the next step is to chose a platform.

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

There are many free platforms you can choose like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. WordPress and Blogger are more traditional styles while Tumblr is more visually oriented. If your hobby is an outdoor hobby that can be accompanied my many photos, you may to use Tumblr. If your topic is more professionally orientated, Blogger or WordPress may be a better choice.

After that it is time to build up a community on Twitter. If you are not already on Twitter, set up an account. If you are, start following similar users and start reading their blogs, commenting, and retweeting and replying to their tweets. Think of similar bloggers as your allies, not your competition they may be your only audience for a while. Many seasoned Twitter experts  advocate for using your own name and having your profile picture be of yourself. It makes it more personal that way, people will be more likely to engage with a person, rather than an icon image.

Getting an audience takes patience and time, but does pay off. The trick is to publish often and regularly. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Once you are established, guest posts are a great way to get more exposure. I was lucky enough to land a guest post on a popular blog with a large readership and my post was re-syndicated on the PR Daily. This would have never happened if I published the same piece on my own blog.

So go ahead, let the world hear your voice speak with authority on a topic you know about. You may enjoy it even more than you though, and it might even land you a job.

Explore the Digital World of Marketing with MSU’s New Media Driver’s License

If you’re interested in the rapidly growing world of online marketing, this is the perfect class for you! With Michigan State University’s New Media Driver’s License, you will learn all about the different aspects of online marketing from the experts. Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, shows his students the many facets of the digital world in a fun, easy to learn way.

One of the greatest things about this class is that you are learning brand new things, but a lot of it is just expanding your knowledge of media you already use. Not everyone blogs, but it’s a pretty simple thing to do and you will learn the little extras that turn your good blog into a great blog. Most of the students who take this class already have accounts on at least one social media platform. Learn how to use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to their full advantage.

Some things you may know little or nothing about are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and Google and Yahoo! search rankings. When you successfully complete this class, you will have an understanding of these things and just how great of an impact they have on a business.

Another great thing about this class is that it is (mostly) online. From experience, I can say this is one of the most enjoyable and most useful classes I have ever taken. I loved the convenience of being able to do my work when it worked best for me.

Sign up now for the Fall 2011 New Media Driver’s License (ADV420) course!

 

THE NEW MEDIA DRIVERS LICENSE IS PROVIDED BY The Michigan State University Advertising, Public Relations & Retailing Deparment in Partnership with Derek Mehraban.

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

A Taste of Ann Arbor – Seva

It’s restaurant week here in Ann Arbor! That means gourmet food at phenomenal prices. Megan and Lauren are both on vacation, so Eric Rodriguez (our Client Services Manager) and I decided to take on A Taste of Ann Arbor.

Seva is nestled into the heart of downtown on E. Liberty St. As a fully vegetarian restaurant, Seva takes pride in creating new, tasty, and organic dishes. Eric chose the Burrito con Elote stuffed with butternut squash, corn, beans, and cheese (which can be modified into a Vegan dish) while I munched on a Quinoa-Spinach Salad. Both were served by friendly staff that smiled as they passed and never let our water glasses go dry. 

Seva offers as many organic and local products as possible. In keeping with the eco-friendly theme, the restaurant offers biodegradable items, such as little paper cups of salsa and guacamole instead of plastic. If you are looking for a natural pep, try one of their juiced drinks. I decided to order a Ginger Shot. The ingredients are simple: ginger, which is known for its healing properties.

The vegetarian hot spot offers reasonable prices, but during Ann Arbor’s Restaurant Week, Eric and I enjoyed our entrees for $12 and found a new place to frequent.

FIFA World Cup 2010 for the Struggling Sports Novice

Soccer, or football, is in season. This means, if you are a sports novice, you must struggle to maneuver through workplace conversations, small talk, and Facebook threads without revealing that your silent nods are really a desperate attempt to not let anyone know how clueless you feel. You wish you could scream, “I have no idea what round Brazil is in!” or “why does the United States refer to it as ‘Soccer’?” Fellow novices, choose to suffer in silence no longer, for today, I Googled it.

Property of FIFA

A quick search clarifies the soccer vs football query; the sport’s full name is Association Football. The US shortened it to Soccer from “asSOCiation.” But whether you call it “soccer” or “football” it is a sport that ultimately unites. Mike M. from Ann Arbor writes, “[Soccer] is a sport that everyone around the world plays, really, the only one.” The world coming together as one is something every one can get into; so, let’s get into it.

The Essential Facts:

  • FIFA stands for Federation International de Football Association
  • The World Cup occurs every 4 years
  • The 2010 World Cup runs one month: June 11th- July 11th
  • South Africa is hosting the event this year among 10 cities within the country
  • 32 countries are competing for a top spot
  • Soccer can tie and the completed games receive points:

Easy ways to get connected:

Although you may still be a FIFA World Cup beginner, you now have a few talking points at the water cooler. Enjoy and relax, Soccer is for everyone.

NMDL: Back in the Driver’s Seat

new-media-drivers-license1

Michigan State University is now offering, to both undergraduate and graduate students, a new course on social media entitled “New Media Drivers License.”

The New Media Drivers License course, or NMDL for short, provides students with a comprehensive overview of new media and digital marketing, and the relevance and importance of each for today’s businesses.  The course is taught by Ingenex Digital Marketing CEO and MSU alum, Derek Mehraban, as well as professor and Chair of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing at MSU, Dr. Richard Cole.

NMDL shows students how to take social media, like Facebook and Twitter, normally used to communicate with friends, and turn it into a valuable commodity for companies and clients.  In addition to social networks, the course covers the use of blogging, podcasting, search engine optimization, and a number of other digital marketing areas, including the never-ending uses of Google.

Paul Kanan (me), an MSU alum and a passenger on the maiden voyage of the NMDL ship during the 2009 Spring semester, says of the course, “This class rocks!  I recommend it to anyone going into public relations, advertising, or simply wants to have their finger on the pulse of the future.”

This summer marks the second offering of NMDL at MSU with three full sections.  The class meets at the beginning and end of the semester at Walsh College in Novi, MI, with everything in between taking place online.  For more information on the class, the course site can be found at http://newmediadl.com or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

So that’s the official Eco-Friendly word, but like I said, this class rocks!  And another thing, it’s long overdue, so check it out!

The Internship: New, Improved, and No Longer Just for (College) Kids

It’s that time of year again – the annual rite of passage when new graduates begin to lose their minds because they’ve entered into one of life’s no-man’s lands – the time between the end of college and the beginning of a career.

This time in one’s life can best be described as being somewhat like purgatory. You know you’re not quite in Hell because you’re relieved from the stresses of finals, proud of yourself for getting that degree, and happy to return back to Ma and Pa’s for a bit once the lease is over to hang with all your leftover high school friends while you search for gainful employment (true story).

But about one month in you realize something isn’t right, you can’t shake this gnawing feeling, and you finally realize what it is – you don’t get to go back to school in the fall.  “There are no more excuses.”  “This is your life.”  “A new chapter is about to begin.” A dozen other clichés. You have no answer for everyone when they ask that unbelievably annoying and patronizing question, “So what’s next?”  It’s even worse when you realize that employers aren’t just going to knock on your door because of your fantastic college resumé and that the job market is way down due to the recession. To be honest, it sorta feels like this:

So what’s a college grad to do, short of searching for Mrs. Robinson?  Well the answer for some may be right in front of them.  Just as graduates are beginning to look for jobs, current college matriculators (is that a word?) are also beginning another rite of passage – the summer internship (or their third or fourth such position for the ambitious).  The internship used to be seen as a way for college students to get experience and credit while employers scout the talent and take advantage of inexpensive labor.

Not anymore, my friends.  The internship is now for everyone.  With the current job market as tight as it is, an internship can be the cure for the occupational blues.  For current students, it’s still the tried and true way to get a leg up on your peers while putting to use what you’re learning in the classroom.  For the newly graduated, it provides a plethora of positives.  For starters, it’s a morale boost for those who haven’t yet found the career their looking for.  It’s also another notch on the resumé belt and an opportunity to show your stuff to an employer for when they eventually (and hopefully) resume the hiring process.  And, perhaps most importantly, it can serve as a bridge over troubled water stirred up by the recession.

An especially beneficial opportunity is that of the digital internship. The digital internship (especially the Eco-Friendly Internship – no hyperlink necessary.  You’re already here!) combines the best of traditional internships past and the necessary skills of the future (which is really now).  With the digital internship, you still head down to the office once in awhile, so your office social skills remain primed, but a lot of what you do can be virtually accomplished (and you save gas, which is Eco-Friendly).

In a digital internship (yes, I realize I’ve said “digital internship” quite a bit, but it’s important) (and I’ve used an abundance of parentheses, but I like them) you learn the crafts of blogging, social media as a business tool, podcasting, Google, and the innumerable other spheres of the Internet that are being introduced to the lexicon of businesses on a daily basis.  Becoming versed in these techniques will give you a leg up on the competition for jobs over those who don’t possess the requisite technical abilities of the future.  Not to mention you can deepen your writing and communications skills, which has been a growing complaint of employers regarding the lack thereof amongst college students and recent graduates.  Oh and so as not to end this paragraph on a boring note like writing skills, digital internships are super cool and fun.

The bottom line? Digital internships are where it’s at!  Fun times, job skills, way of the future, resume placeholder, occupational peace of mind…whatever you’re looking for, they fit the bill.  So quit sitting on the couch, playing PS3 and Wii (guilty) or acting like mowing the lawn is grounds for a successful day (again, guilty), and start scouring the Internet for one.  Oh yeah, and as this blog entry began, a regular internship is cool too…just not as cool.

Ann Arbor Local Blog: Edward Vielmetti’s Vacuum

While scanning several years’ worth of blog posts to Edward Vielmetti’s Vacuum, I gained a new respect for blogging and its impact on the information age. Born in 2003, Vacuum chronicles the experiences and thoughts of the author over the last five years, on topics such as productivity, farmers’ markets, wikis, and spiders (see here for a summary of sorts). The dedication of Vielmetti to this blog show that with time and hard work, a blog can yield very rewarding results – for readers as well as for bloggers.

Vacuum is most definitely unique, and offers up an interesting perspective on living, working, and raising a family in Ann Arbor, as well as documenting Vielmetti’s ongoing quest for increased productivity. I appreciate that any advice offered is based from personal experiences, including home recipes, exploring new web apps, and raising his children. This blog is true to life, helps give a sense of Ann Arbor, and also features some niche information that could definitely prove helpful. Vacuum doesn’t strive to be overly reader-oriented; Vielmetti lives his life, writes about it, and readers can glean what they may from his experiences.

My favorite entry thus far? Right here, in which Vielmetti proves to be not only a fascinating source on a variety of topics, but also a compelling writer. As someone who is not an expert in any of Vielmetti’s most mentioned themes, I have a lot to learn from reading his blog. Vacuum’s range continues to amaze me, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with its evolution.