About Nate Erickson

Nate is a senior and avid sports fan at Michigan State University focusing on advertising management. There's more to advertising than just a study track, and he loves working as the creative director for Hubbell Connections, a student PR firm at MSU. Nate is also heavily involved with PRSSA and the American Advertising Federation, and this semester, he is participating with the eco-friendly internship with Ingenex Digital Marketing in Ann Arbor, MI. He has a knack for writing and design, and hopes to participate in the digital marketing revolution. He dreams of working in a major city someday and loves warm weather. Ultimately, he hopes to go back to college when he's older to teach. On top of all that, he sings, loves grape pop, and looks great in a suit.

Omegle – Talk with Strangers?

First of all, is it me or are domain names getting weirder and weirder? The internet needs some kind of moderator to wipe out all the unused/idle domains so we can start over fresh. Oovoo, Twitter, Bebo, Hulu… nonsensical sounds and words that people have to use because all the regular words are taken up by domain squatting idiots. Not that I’m bitter about nateerickson.com, or anything. But I digress.


We’re coming a long way in social media, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re moving too fast for the “social.” Are we still looking to build relationships, or are we just firing off as many links as quickly as we can before the rest of the clutter catches up? We’ve gone from World Wide Web to 2.0 to 3.0, Twitter became the new Facebook, then Facebook became the new Twitter, and it all changes so fast that you’re never quite sure what you’re “supposed” to be doing online anymore.

Well, Omegle takes all of that and throws it out the window. It’s barely a social networking site, if you can even call it that. It strips these interactions down to their base level — strangers talking to strangers. It’s a chatroom. Are we back to the World Wide Web again?

Omegle is the work of Leif K-Brooks, a teenager from Vermont. Who says teenagers never do anything constructive?

The interface looks like an old instant messenger (you kids remember what that is, right?) window — the only names on the screen are “You” and “Stranger.” Go ahead and talk to some strangers, if you dare. Anonymity does some weird things to people.

It’s interesting because you have the choice to reveal as much or as little about yourself as you want. The conversation can last for 3 hours or 3 seconds. It’s either participant’s call. I tried it out and read some things that made me smile, some things that made me laugh, and some things that made me worry about the future of the human race.

What’s your take? Worth it? What’s the point? Waste of time?

It’s certainly no LinkedIn, but catch the right person at the right time and maybe you can get something valuable.

Hunting the Eco-Bounty

In the interest of eco-friendliness (naturally), I bring you this update from an unlit bedroom with the power of my laptop’s battery.

So much of what we hear lately is about going green. As a Michigan State student (and lifelong fan), I’ve been yelling “Go Green!” as long as I can remember. Fortunately, the agricultural history of America’s first land-grand institution backs that phrase up, and with the help of the estate of Nick Drake, combined for a beautiful ad for the university and a reminder of who’s been going green from the start.

So what does it take to “Go Green?” My boss, Derek, recently let me know about a really great piece from trendwatching.com, a site that gives some great insights into trends across all industries — in other words, a goldmine for entrepreneurs. The article, Eco-Bounty, is part of their monthly trend briefing, a detailed profile of whoever or whatever is making the most buzz.

The key bit of information the article provides for marketers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else feeling the eco-friendly movement starting to gain speed is laid out in a very simple way: being green isn’t just nice to Mother Earth — it’s where the money is. Want green? Be green.

Eco-consciousness is becoming a status symbol. Excess is out and cheap is chic (you have to wonder if Steve and Barry are wishing they’d not overextended themselves to the point of bankruptcy last year — I can imagine Starbury Shoes are probably looking pretty good to a lot of families right now). From solar-powered boats to grass-covered roofs, there are a lot of ways that individuals and businesses can make themselves stand out in a way to showcase their brand as trendsetting, young, and conservational all at once. Greenwashing is already becoming a concern for eco-conscious consumers, so companies who want to claim their eco-friendliness had better be prepared to back it up.

With a recession in full-swing, there’s no better time than the present to start thinking about conserving, whether you’re a college student trying to stretch out that food budget for the week, or a CEO looking to save on energy costs — making an investment in green now will keep you from going in the red later.

Nate Erickson

What’s your Social Media Story?

Who am I? Who are you?

It’s an important question from Rishad Tobaccowala, CIO at Publicis Groupe Media (PGM) out of Chicago. He spoke at the University of Michigan earlier this month and had some interesting things to say about both the present and the changes even the near future will bring to the digital world as we know it. Just as a reminder, five years ago, no one had even heard of Facebook.

I remember being in the first 30 or so at Michigan State University to register on Facebook. It didn’t take long before that number grew, and then really grew, but in that early stage it was interesting to see how people were feeling their way around. There was a lot more random connecting, much less fear of being awkward, especially since most of us were freshmen and didn’t know anyone to begin with. In that time, I reconnected with my roommate from orientation, discovered I was pursuing a girl with a boyfriend, and found the kid from my class who I’d become close enough friends with over the next four years to be a groomsman in his wedding last summer. All of this is beside the point, but it’s interesting to me to see the way the landscape has changed in such a short time.

One thing Rishad challenged us, the future of digital media, to do, was to find three things: our story, our niche, and our voice.

So what’s my story? You’ve heard part of it, but my first week on Facebook — that’s just the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Everything — from an adoption I don’t remember, to a singing gig in the White House, to being in Ann Arbor to see my beloved Spartan football team crush the Wolverines in their own backyard after an eight year drought — everything I’ve seen and done has shaped me as an individual and changed the way I view the world today. As a 22-year-old senior in my last semester at Michigan State University, I am grateful for every experience, person, and switched major that has come through my life.

As for my niche? When constructing your own niche, think about what you aren’t — it will help you decide what you are. If you had to sell yourself in three words, what would you say? If you were a post on a blog, what would your tags be? Unless you truly know yourself (and have had some practice), it won’t be easy. I put some serious thought into my own niche, and here’s what I came up with — the three words that define the brand, “Nate Erickson”:

  • Adventure – I want a little adventure in everything I do. We live in a global society now, and I’m more excited than ever that I can use that as a reason to escape my corner of the world and see things that most people only read about. Adventure can mean anything from simply getting a job in this fearsome economic climate to running with the bulls in Pamplona.  If you want it, go and get it.  Enjoy the ride.
  • Fusion – “Mongrel” is a term I’ve recently started hearing and using for the first time. It’s someone who doesn’t limit themselves. Some people find it strange that I’m the Creative Director of a public relations firm — what do you need creative for when you’re writing press releases? My Answer? Everything. Creativity extends beyond pretty pictures and paintings. I couldn’t sketch to save my life — but when our firm needs a poster or a logo designed, they know they can count on me without outsourcing elsewhere with the fear of unreliability. How about clever or eye-catching writing? There’s a reason they put copywriters in the creative department in advertising agencies. And that’s not all, but you get the idea. I never want to pigeonhole myself, and I stand by that. I think when you can combine the best elements of many areas, you make them work together. When you specialize, you limit yourself, and you lose valuable insight that you could’ve gained by simply viewing what you do from a different perspective. Get a lot of different hats and switch them often.
  • Payoff – I feel that results are the ultimate combination of talent and hard work. Talent is useless on its own and hard work without a little inspiration is just labor. To make truly great work, you need both. Set goals. You need to surround yourself with incredible people who believe in what you’re doing, and you need to have results you can measure. Did we succeed? Did we fail? Could we do better? (Hint: We can always do better.) That’s where I live. Set goals, never back down, change the world.

Now, let’s talk about voice. Where am *I* coming from? When you speak to me, or read what I have to say, what am I trying to convey, and how am I doing that? What is my voice?

  • Passionate. First and foremost, it’s passionate. One thing Dave Regan, my ADV 486 professor, likes to remind us is to never be a bump on a log, a speck in the wind. Dave reminds us to speak up, always, and don’t be afraid to disagree with someone, even if they “outrank” you — but be prepared to back it up. I try to put passion into everything I do. Passion doesn’t just help you, it motivates the people around you, your team, and helps you create the kind of great work that can solve any problem. My personal motto, one I developed while spending most of my youth on Lake Michigan, is “make waves” — everywhere you go, and in everything you do.
  • Optimistic. Second, my voice is optimistic. I’m not sure if the concept of “hope” has been completely bought, chopped up and resold by politicians, but if you don’t have it, how can you ever believe in what you’re doing? And if you can’t believe in what you’re doing — maybe it’s time to reevaluate certain aspects of your life. Always believe, dream, hope, and make an effort to leave the world better than how you found it.
  • Unique. Third, my voice is unique. I’ve always tried to find my own way of saying and doing things. It’s part of my “brand”, you could say, as I make an effort to be memorable not just in what I say, but how I say it. I love conversation and I try to make my writing fit that, whether I’m being serious or trying to get a few laughs. Hopefully that comes through in how I write and how I speak. The best part about conversation is about talking back, so don’t be afraid to respond — I’m always listening.


Facebook’s New TOS: Resistance is futile?

Is this the new face of our favorite social network?  Or has it always been?

Is this the new face of our favorite addiction? Or has it always been?

Here’s a disturbing new article from Mashable detailing Facebook‘s latest big innovation in controlling each and every aspect of our lives.

The central message of the article has been obvious from the start — WATCH. WHAT. YOU. POST. ONLINE. Maybe ORM really will be a precious resource over the next decade.  Unfortunately for Facebook users like myself and most likely anyone who reads this blog, this also applies to your friends as well.  Once it’s been “fed” to Facebook, it never comes out.  That means pictures, notes, messages, posts — anything you or anyone you know uploads to their servers — are immediately at the discretion of whichever faceless, shadowy figures now run the social networking giant.  What’s changed here is that, even if you deactivate or remove these items, Facebook’s new TOS is happy to remind you that what’s done is done.  Kind of scary.  Is it time for a change?  Who is it up to?  Injustices like human trafficking are one thing, but as we learned from the new facebook layout, nothing inspires a social movement like a redesign of a website — but even the voices of 2.6 million users fell on deaf ears.  Facebook only grew in popularity… and continues to do so.

Now I’m no big city lawyer, but I imagine this change is going to be looked at very heavily throughout the blogosphere and hopefully the legal realm over the coming weeks, as there is definitely something fishy about all of this.  Just because I carry a sign around that states that all who read it must shower me with gifts doesn’t mean they actually have to.

If it’s something that Facebook has to do, then fine, but if it’s suddenly okay for them to make money by selling an image of my friends, I think there are some people out there who’d like to get a little advance notice so they can take their business elsewhere.  Friendster, you’re still cool, right?  No?  Well, don’t worry, at this rate, Facebook will be joining you soon.  What a shame.  I feel like XuQa was just getting settled into its own corner of the grave.


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