Tweeting for a Cause

United Way Color

As the main focus of my eco-friendly internship I am assisting with and updating the  social media accounts for United Way of Washtenaw County.  As an intern with Ingenex, I am currently focusing on the Twitter and facebook accounts for this excellent cause.  United Way, as a whole, has roots dating back to 1887 and has been assisting with community needs by helping to cope with challenges throughout the Great Depression and World War II.  The organization has had several different names over the years, but has maintained the goal of building communities and motivating people to help others.


United Way of Washtenaw County began around 1920 when the Arbor United Charitable and Community Service was organized.  For over 89 years UWWC has worked to improve community standards collectively by directly impacting critical issues.  UWWC partners strategically with local non-profits that provide human and health-care services in order to actively assist with high-priority issues in the community.  UWWC re-evaluates each of its partner non-profits with each years campaign to ensure that they are on topic, financially stable, and reporting benefits to the Washtenaw community through their efforts.  To see this years community partners for United Way Washtenaw visit their website.

Each Year United Way launches an active campaign around Labor Day, incorporating local employers and over 1,000 volunteers, which runs through the end of December and .  United way accepts donations year-round, but the largest concentration of promotional efforts to improve the lives of everyone in the community is during these annual campaigns .  This years campaign for UWWC focuses on on improving five critical issues for Washtenaw County:  shelter and housing, health-care, early childhood care and education, alleviating hunger and aging in place.  The campaign slogan is Give, Advocate, Volunteer.  Live United.


If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or just learning more about what United Way Washtenaw does visit them on Twitter, facebook, and their website!  Live United!

Branding Linked to Global Warming?

bottled water

I’m no environmentalist, but consider a thought process I developed the other day while reading for my advertising class.  I was studying for ADV475  “Advertising and Society,” when I discovered an interesting point in my text.  The section I was reading dealt with the history of the advertising industry and was discussing the emergence of branding.

What struck me as interesting is that it wasn’t until the late 20th century that manufacturers began to put brand names on various consumer products like soap, oats, and etc..  This opened up huge opportunities because it allowed advertisers to build brand awareness, loyalty, and eventually equity.  This opportunity to put brand names anywhere and everywhere is witnessed tenfold in today’s society.  I started to wonder then: what if brands were never put on product packaging?  It almost seems today that brands and manufacturers use as much packaging as possible just so they can have excess material with their name on it.  Why can’t companies only put their brand name on in-store displays?  In the very least, brands should use the minimal amount of packaging and only put their name on it once.  If someone really cares about which kind of soap they use, then they will most likely consider this at the time of purchase.  The only thing that should really matter to brands then is that their potential consumers know exactly which brand they are selecting at the time of purchase:  in the store!

Since this internship focuses on being eco-friendly, I thought this concept was relevant.  This leads me to my next point:  the development of our consumerist society and branding mentality has gotten so out of control that is pretty much the norm to buy bottled water.  What should be a commodity, water that actually already comes from a tap pretty clean, is branded and marketed under hundreds if not thousands of different brand names.  If you were to try to sell someone from the 50’s a bottle of water what do you think they would say?  I bet they would think you are crazy.  An argument my Grandpa has is “Why would you want to buy in in a bottle?  You already pay bills to make it come out of a tap?”

Even worse than the consumerism and branding of bottled water is the environmental impacts that bottled water has as a social norm.  According to The Container Recycling Institute “Plastic water bottles produced for U.S. consumption take 1.5 million barrels of oil per year, according to a 2007 resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. That much energy could power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year, according to the resolution.”  The sheer oil that is used to create and transport millions of plastic bottles is insane, not to mention most of these bottles are not being recycled.  The Container Recycling Institute also states “Around 636 thousand tons of PET plastic beverage bottles were recycled nationwide in 2006, but more than three times as much PET was wasted: 2 million tons.  Something isn’t right here.

landfill 2

I think we need to make a change.  If our society is so good at branding maybe we should focus on PUR water filters and Brita for our sources of filtered water.  Who knows, their filtered water could be cleaner anyway.

Informality of the Intenet age, or just plain rude?

First off,  hi everyone my name is Jonathan Ciani and I am a new intern with Ingenex.

A recent article from USA Today discusses how the “informality of the Internet age”  is contributing to incivility in our modern society.  As many of you may know, there have been several “in-civil” acts that have made mass media as of late.  First off the Republican Republican Representative of South Carolina, Joe Wilson, blatantly called Obama a liar at his address to congress.  Then there  was the issue of Serena Williams physically threatening a line judge at the U.S. Open semifinal.  Lastly, we have Kanye West’s brutal interruption of Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech.  Kanye ran on stage just as Taylor Swift was making her acceptance speech and  interrupted her by saying that Beyonce should have won.kanyeswiftx-large

The USA today article explains that this recent incivility is thought by many to be due to the “informality of the Internet age” with which we live.  P.M. Forni, author of The Incivility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, told USA Today “American society is among the most informal in the world, and often that informality crosses over into incivility.  Now, you can add the informality of the Internet to this culture, and all bets are off.  It’s an age of total disclosure and total expression, with very little concern for the feelings of others.”  Jerry Bowles, co-founder of, also added “The ability to comment about others from a distance and with anonymity is the Web’s hallmark and its poison.”

I think most of us can agree with these claims, but as the article states, these issues individually would have been much less exposed by the media if they hadn’t all occurred within such a short period of time.  I think that this article brings up an interesting point, that we all need to realize when it is appropriate to use certain language, behavior and etiquette.  As for Kanye’s disruption, I’d like to think that his arrogance is definitely more to blame than “the Internet age”.  Kanye ended up apologizing to Swift in his blog admitting what he did was wrong.  However, he also included the cocky and childish statement in the blog “I’m just real.”  Shortly after this article Kanye also gave Taylor a personal apology over the phone.  Maybe he realized that he was losing a lot of credibility for his childish behavior.

What do you think?  Is the Internet age primarily to blame for incivilities in our society?  Or are individuals to blame for their lack of etiquette?