Eco-Friendly Phone Charger by AT&T

Ahhhh, our beloved phone chargers – we all have them.  Some of us probably have more than one to leave at home, at the office, etc., and chances are, most of us leave our phone chargers plugged into the wall 24/7 (guilty as charged). Leaving our cell phone chargers constantly plugged in (when we’re not actually charging our phones) is obviously a huge waste of electricity.  We all have our excuses as to why we do it: we don’t have time to unplug them when we are rushing around getting ready, we forget to unplug them, we are too lazy, whatever.  No matter what your excuse may be, fear not – AT&T has what they call the ZERO charger – an eco-friendly phone charger!

The charger works by cutting off the power supply from the wall socket to the charger when the charger automatically senses if a cell phone is plugged in or not (how awesome is that?).  This five-star efficiency rated charger comes packaged from 100% recycled paper and is nearly universally compatible with any device including bluetooth headsets, iPods, and more. This device is great because it not only saves the environment, saves us money on our electric bill, and saves our conscious from feeling too guilty about harming the environment, but AT&T makes it compatible with a variety of devices so that we can all do our part to cut down on overusing resources.  Does anyone have this phone charger?  It’s definitely something very worthy of checking out!

For more on this topic, check out Mashable’s “AT&T Intros Eco-Friendly Phone Charger”

Learning About Google AdWords Certification

Today (December 15th, 2010) signifies the one-month mark that I have been with Ingenex for the Eco-Friendly Internship, and yes, the saying is true – time really does fly when you’re having fun! The number of lessons I have learned thus far are countless, and one of the most meaningful and interesting things I continue to learn about on a daily basis is Google. The specific area of interest for this post however is Google AdWords Certification. With a Google AdWords certification, a company or an individual can exhibit their expertise in AdWords. This “stamp of approval” is not only globally recognized, but it allows individuals to showoff their vast knowledge of the latest AdWords tools while practicing their newly mastered techniques.

Photo Credit: Google

In order for an individual or professional to become AdWords Certified, he or she must pass the “Fundamentals” exam as well as one of the three advanced exams. Google has added the “advanced exams” to give individuals a way to study for exams that are more related to his or her role or interest, as a way of differentiating the mastered skills. Ingenex’s very own Digital Strategist Grant Heitkamp has recently been Google Certified in Ann Arbor, an accomplishment that everyone here at Ingenex Digital Marketing is very proud of! When a company becomes certified, Google refers to this accomplishment as becoming a “Google Certified Partner.” In order for a company to be certified, they had to have managed a minimum of $10,000 spend over 90 days (which should be counted from the day that the AdWords account is linked to the MCC account (MCC is Google’s “My Client Center” which exists to handle multiple AdWords accounts). The company must also have at least one employee who is individually qualified to meet the requirements for certification.

Aside from some obvious bragging rights, being Google AdWords Certified, either individually or a company, is a really powerful tool to have. Those who become certified receive a badge (if you are a company) or a certificate (if certification is received individually) that shows their qualification. This qualification is also impressive to prospective clients who may be trying to find the perfect person or company to take them to the next level with Google AdWords.

Cartoon Character Facebook Friends Team Up to Fight Child Abuse

Have you looked at your Facebook page lately and wondered when (and how) you became friends with a bunch of cartoon characters?  When I started to see my friends’ profile pictures suddenly changing to Madeline, the Rug Rats cast, Doug Funnie, and even Scooby Doo, I couldn’t help but think there was a virus making its way around the site.  However, to my very pleasant surprise, I found out that a virus was not the case. Instead, a new campaign had surfaced in which Facebook users were asked to change their profile picture to a picture one of their most beloved childhood cartoons in order to raise awareness of child abuse.  The campaign’s Facebook page promotes the effort under the campaign page title Campaign to End Violence Against Children – Childhood Cartoon Faces.

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The idea behind the campaign was to flood Facebook with happy memories of our childhood instead of human faces, with the goal of eliminating violence against children.  Along with changing profile pictures, users were also asked by the undetermined campaign creator to share information about the campaign in their status by saying, “Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood.  The goal? To not see a human face on FB till Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against child abuse, copy & paste to your status and invite your friends to do the same.”  The campaign does not present itself as being affiliated with any sort of official organization, so the origins of the campaign are yet to be determined.  Regardless of how the campaign was started, or just how effective the campaign was, the campaign definitely caught on throughout Facebook and shed some light on an important movement.  Who did you change your picture to?

For more on this topic, head on over to Mashable’s “Facebookers Changing Profile Pics to Cartoon Characters to Fight Child Abuse”

Using My New Media Drivers License

It is already December, and I am having a very hard time believing that the end of the semester is already here!  What’s more, the end of the semester signifies the completion of my public relations M.A. program at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and provides another exciting opportunity to wear a cap (which, by the way, have not become any more fashionable since my graduation from Albion College in 2009, or even from my high school graduation in 2005) and gown. As I look back on my program, one of the most prominent memories is my wonderful experience in the New Media Drivers License (NMDL) course, taught by Derek Mehraban, CEO of Michigan Internet marketing firm Ingenex, at Michigan State University.  This class, offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level, strives to teach and train students in digital marketing and new media. I easily deem it as one of the most beneficial classes of my graduate career, considering our lessons revolved around topics like social media monitoring, blogging for business, online video strategy, Google AdWords, blogger outreach and Google Tools, just to name a few.  And while I honestly enjoyed each topic of discussion, one of my favorite lessons was about search engine optimization or SEO.

With search engine optimization, certain words on an organization’s website, blog, or other form of online presence are discovered by search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, (insert favorite search engine here). The premise behind SEO is making the most of a website by using links composed heavily of keywords, while constructing “search engine friendly” content on the page.  The primary goal of search engine optimization is to attract more traffic to a website, while increasing the page rank of that site on search engine pages.  David Meerman Scott provides a very worthwhile discussion about search engine optimization in his book (our class textbook) called The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

If I had to pick out one overarching lesson from our discussion of SEO in class and in the book, it would have to be that using really broad and general terms when developing “keywords” will never work to an organization’s advantage when it comes to search engine optimization.  When we are thinking of “keyword rich links” for a site, it is important to remember that a lot of the time when conducting a search online, consumers typically look up information by phrases based on the information they are looking for (for example, “New Media Class at Michigan State University”). Having key words that are unique and special to the organization will provide more of a chance for consumers to find just what (or who) they are looking for in an effective and efficient search.

Classes coming to an end, especially the New Media Drivers License course, is bittersweet.  But I can say with all confidence that I look forward to applying all of the very worthwhile concepts from NMDL into real life situations.  If you are a student interested in public relations, marketing, advertising, etc. or you are an individual looking to become a master of all things social media and digital marketing from a personal or business standpoint, I highly recommend that you get your New Media Drivers License!  You will not regret it!

‘Tis the Season for Facebook Break-Ups

As we fully enter the holiday season, most of us are busy thinking about our annual festivities: attending parties, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, surviving family gatherings, etc. The last thing that crosses most of our minds is worrying about our personal relationships during the “most wonderful time of the year.”  But, according to graphic designers David McCandless and Lee Byron, going into the holiday season may be a time where we should be worried about our relationships after all.  The two conducted research that focused on understanding the times of year people (mainly Facebook users) were presumably going to break up.

McCandless and Byron searched over 10,000 Facebook status updates that contained terms related to breaking up, and they found some interesting results.   For example, the fewest splits seemed to happen on Christmas Day, but the weeks leading up to Christmas were one of two strongest peaks that happen every year.  Spring was another time for relationships to fizzle out, as some people may have kept the spring-cleaning going from their closets and into their love life.

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Using social media marketing, McCandless and Byron also looked at the reasons why people on Facebook break up and the means by which they end their relationships. As for why, “Non-Approval” (from parents and friends) seemed to be the least popular reason for breaking up, “Distance,” “Cheating,” and “Lost Interest” filled out the middle, and “Other/Complicated” was the most common reason for Facebook users to go their separate ways.

McCandless and Byron listed the ways in which users went about calling it quits, and split the category into two parts: “Those born before 1975” and “Those born after 1984.”  With the first group, the most common way of breaking up was “In Person” at 74% with “Phone” at 16%, “Email” at 4% and “Facebook” at 4% trailing behind and “Instant Messaging” rounding out the bottom at 3%.  With the second group, breaking up “In Person” was still the most popular at 47% with “Phone” following closely behind at 30%, and “Email” at 4% and “Facebook” at 5%.  What differentiates these two groups the most (aside from more people in the second group using the phone to take care of business) is that 14% of those born after 1984 find “Instant Messaging” their significant other a perfectly acceptable way of kicking them to the curb. Ouch.

What can we learn from all of this?  Well, for whatever the reason (and no matter what season), Facebook break ups are bound to happen.   Chances are, those who have the decency (and courage) to pick up the phone to say goodbye probably had more of a meaningful relationship than those willing to throw in the towel with a text.  Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather hear someone’s voice than be :( over a text saying, “We r over!  C U l8r!”

For more on this topic, check out the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Break-Ups: ‘Tis the Season