Bye, Camp Champ

Dear Champlain,

Hey, you. Around this time four years ago, I knew you were the one for me. Choosing you was the easiest decision I ever made, there are just some things you need to know before we separate.

To start, I was straight up in love at first sight. Nah, not just the cute tour guide. I mean, look at you, and those curves. From the base of Hill Hall to the third floor of the Library, then South House up to Spinner, you’re the perfect size. Not to mention, the way you dress. You could switch between business formal into a drug rug and always look good. Even dressing up or down, no one rocked snazzy flannels or printed sweaters like you. Oh, and the way your hair was pushed back in a bandana during Humans vs. Zombies drove me wild. Don’t even get me started on how great you look in blue and green….

There are even more characteristics below the surface. Your open mind was a trait that didn’t go unnoticed. You listened to feedback and applied it for everyone’s benefit, even if that meant being bombarded by emails to fill out surveys. Your strength was also a quality that immediately drew me to you. I’m not just talking about those muscles from hockey and rugby, but the support you extended – tech wise or through one-on-one counseling. You always stand up for what you believe in, and I truly respect you for it.

Everything was new at the start. Thanks to you, I will never look at a breakfast sandwich the same way again. Who knew that adding a hash brown would be so life-changing? You motivated me to challenge myself and not to let fear stop me from adventure. Cliff jumping at the Buckets and rock climbing with the crew pushed me in ways I never expected from myself, despite almost breaking my butt and hitting myself in the eye with rope.

As wonderful as you are, there are sides to you that I won’t always miss. You kept me up for hours on end, from working on projects that you pushed me to improve on, to a late-night trip to Mr. Mike’s for buffalo chicken pizza. My growing reliance on coffee is caused by your constant feeding off my time and energy. And when your fire dies out come the Winter, you just become so cold. This icy exterior is extremely off-putting, and I suggest you think about the safety of others before you hurt someone you love.

That being said, there was a time I almost left you. Your power consumed me, and I felt helpless and lost. It wasn’t until the second year of our relationship when there was a new side of you that I connected with. You made me realize that one negative trait does not define a person, and that the characteristics making us different are not a bad thing.

Even though we have to part, I will keep always my favorite words from you: Let Us Dare. I will dare to learn, by extending my knowledge and exploring ideas outside of my own. I will dare to venture into experiences that come only once in a lifetime, whether it’s a new job or traveling to a new country. I will dare to open up to people, all people, and share these moments, so I can look back on a full life.

You will always be with me. Go Beavers.

Love,

Casey

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Advice You Need for Finals (That You Weren’t Taught in Class)

Finals are coming…

With finals coming up for most schools (unless you’re done, then bugger off) it’s about time you switch your brain into Finals Mode. Take some advice from your favorite people (possibly least favorite people, apologies) and go show ’em what you’ve got.

“The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.” – Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Please listen to this wise, powerhouse of a human. When you hear friends complaining about their workload, don’t start playing “I Can Top That” by listing your uncompleted tasks. Tell ’em “that sucks, you will get through this” then offer to make them cookies or ziti. We’re all going through a rough time and we have to support each other in order to get by.

“Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”  – Beyonce

Not doin’ so hot in a class? Does a professor not approve of your thesis proposal about Neville Longbottom being a hero? It’s one class and there are a million other things you can excel in. Even if you don’t believe that, Beyonce does.

“It’s so groovy to float around, sometimes. Even
a jellyfish will agree to that.” – Jimi Hendrix “Power to Love”

Take a break, go on a walk, do the dishes, eat some pizza, choreograph a dance, catch up on sleep, clean your room, watch a movie you’ve never seen, call your mother, listen to new music. Do whatever relaxes you but take a break. Give your mind a rest and you’ll come back so fresh and so clean.

“I’m not quite as cool as I would like to be, really.” – Sir Ian McKellen

You are, in fact, allowed to nerd-out and spend a night in to do homework or make sure you wake up early to go to the library in the morning. Get your money’s worth and make the best of your education. Not because I said to, but because Sir Ian McKellen says it’s okay. That’s coming from the guy that plays Magneto and Gandalf.

In Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s the party afterwards that counts. Do your best, and any slip-ups can be compensated for. Give it your all with these last few weeks and it will pay off in the long-run. You got this, champ.

Reflection: ThisisVT

This week, I had the pleasure of being the “Vermonter” posting from @ThisisVT Twitter account.

Starting Followers: 428
Ending Followers: 436

For those of you that are not aware of the This is Vermont, it is a branch that comes from the State of Vermont Department of  Tourism and Marketing. Every week, a local Vermonter takes over the account and gives viewers an idea of the people that come from the state, not just the moose, mountains, and fresh pow.

PC: http://www.thisisvt.com/
PC: http://www.thisisvt.com/

What a week to be chosen to represent the state of Vermont. 60 degree weather, Graduation Fair, work, class, rock climbing, and numerous other adventures. I learned a lot about branding and interaction this week, so I’ll break it down in a few points.

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People Love Places

I found that my most successful tweets (“successful” meaning most favorites/retweets) were the ones that had pictures of places around the city. Driving down Spear Street, the Winooski River view from the Champlain Mill, and the line for Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day were a few that were popular. Visual aids help, as well!

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People Love People

Interacting with people is such a simple thing online. It takes a minute to retweet, and people loved the shout-outs. Given that so much of the Burlington community is online, your reach extends to so many regions even beyond Vermont. Other connections included Chicago, London, Maine, and Massachusetts. It’s incredible when you think about how small our world becomes when we go online.

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People Love Connecting

My final lesson learned was that you can get more out of posts when you don’t force it and are true to your tone and personality. My week consisted of many college-related milestones (job interviews, picking up my cap and gown) and a lot of people could connect with that. I appealed to the Champlain community and got the @ThisisVT handle more followers, which will allow my peers to broaden their Twitter world. Having this reach and access to new people was my favorite part about this.

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In Conclusion

A huge shout out to everyone that interacted with me during this process, especially Steve Cook for giving me the opportunity and my professor, Dr. Elaine Young, for what I’m assuming was the nomination to Tweet from the @ThisisVT account!

Tweetchat: #foodcrush

YOU GUYS I AM RUNNING A TWEETCHAT

It uses the hashtag #foodcrush and we talk on Mondays at 9pm EST.

What Is It?

The #foodcrush TweetChat was made by myself and my peer, Ruby, for our Community Management class. Creating a TweetChat of our own allows us to learn about being on the managerial side of chatting online rather than just being a participant.

“Should we ask the next question? Are you gonna retweet that? ARE WE BEING SPAMMED?!”

What We Talk About

Our chat discusses all things food-related from favorites recipes to local restaurants. We talk about brands we love as well as kitchen experiments gone wrong. The conversation leads to numerous outside encounters in the most delicious way.

 

Who We Talk To

Right now, our main audience consists of college students and grads that are fighting their way through their kitchen and trying to get fantastic meals on a student budget. Our environment is relaxed and full of food humor (that one was not on purpose, I swear). The final question always asks for a gif of one of the foods discussed, sending us straight to our refrigerators. If we could get more professionals and more experienced foodies, our chat will surely make like a fine wine and get better with age (THAT was on purpose).

In Conclusion

So come join us! Mondays at 9pm EST using the hashtag #foodcrush. You talk about food for an hour and you don’t even have to leave your bed, that’s the dream. See you then!

Feed Your Feed: Food in Social Media

We all do it. Sometimes it’s a homemade dessert, the occasional Chipotle, or a fine looking brunch. You don’t mean to be rude, but your phone pops out and you’re checking the likes on got on your boozy brunch Instagram post.

Most of us are offenders of creating this food envy, but some are just straight up better than others. This post is showing the highlights of food on social media, who’s doing what right, and how you can apply this to your own branding methods.

Try not to drool on your keyboard…

FoodBeast

Social Media: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram

I will never forget the day I stumbled upon Foodbeast. Their video of taking fast food leftovers and putting them in the waffle iron blew my mind. I was hooked, and still am.

What makes this outlet so fantastic is their combination of humor, news, recipes, and food hacks that builds them up to be masters in their area. Consistency is a big deal, and Foodbeast is always sure to keep followers up to date on what they’re doing inside their offices as well as outside trends.

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How you can incorporate this in your platforms is posting content you know and care about. Mixing serious and silly allows your pages to look more personable because you’re accessing emotions we all feel. Build up that human connection and watch the fans pour in.

hungrygrls

Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Tumblr

If you want to see some of the most delicious desserts and bagels make their way onto your social media feed, follow this account right this minute. Their photography is on point, and the variety will cover every craving you may have that day.

One particular area where they succeed in is their witty captions – it’s like good copy in an ad, it can really make your post. No shame in some solid food puns.

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What you can take from this fantastic find is how to shape your posts so people recognize them when scrolling through feeds. Sometimes checking Instagram or Twitter is a way to pass time, but make people stop, read, and like with some good captions that stand out.

Flavor God Seasonings

Social Media: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Finding your voice online is easy, but people finding you is harder. Keeping up with promotions is no simple task, but Flavor God Seasonings it’s all about giving back to their supporters. There are always weekly posts thanking the fans for their dedication and followers for stepping up their shout-out game.

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You can take this consideration by never forgetting about those that have your back. Giving thanks to a person, brand, service, or product is never a bad thing. People want their name out there as much as you do, so feel free to lend a hand (or a hashtag).

In Conclusion

So next time you catch yourself snapping pics of your epic meals, be sure to keep these users in mind. All of this advice applies to sharing on all platforms, you just have to find what works for you.

Brand Yo’self

Wait…what is branding?

Big trends in marketing have lead to branding yourself online being important to reach out to potential employers. Knowing where your values are, what you’re interested in, and how you portray yourself can show a lot about you. But how do you do this without making people question if you’re a robot or not?

What Do You Like?

Think about your hobbies, interests, goals for jobs, passions, and all that good stuff. How does this relate to your work? The discipline of rock climbing has helped me learn to try new methods for success. Volunteering has helps you learn to work well with others. Working with or mentoring children could teach you to branch outside of your creativity, leading to innovative ideas. All of your outside activities that you don’t think have anything to do with your work ethic are exactly what molded it.

What Is Your Tone?

Phrasing is a huge deal, especially conveying tone on the internet. Speak in terms that make sense to your target, do not be a robot. What makes this hard is that people rely on body language when conversing with another person. Scrolling through Social Media can’t always convey that. When it comes to your words, choose carefully. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but the way you say it.

Are You Relatable?

Post connecting content, but don’t be a robot. Not everything you share has to When looking at an interesting article, don’t just post it from the website with the title and site handle. Pick a six-eight word snippet and draw viewers in. Seeing your point of view will represent what you took from the reading.

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Are You Talking To People?

Once again, no one likes a robot Even when interacting with people, keep it short and sweet. Small interactions over periods of time hold meaning than just one long comment. If you’re writing a full response on Facebook or Twitter, just turn it into a blog post.

In Conclusion

Don’t be a robot. People hire people, not machines. Do yourself a favor and show your personality a little! Not only will that prove your understanding of the industry, but show what kind of person they will be working with.

Data: Flattering or Fearsome?

Another week, another presentation from a local guest speaker. This week, David Wynn came to our class from MyWebGrocer in order to extend our knowledge on using big data for personalization during a user’s shopping experience. What we focused on was how much information should be used, and how much is too much? Together we went through the data, personalization of each shopping experience, finding a balance, and his final advice.

Data was discussed by explaining why companies use it and how it impacts buyers. The cookies dropped when we visit sites help figure out what else you might be interested while shopping online. If you go on Amazon and look for a cookbook, more will pop up in your suggestions. Applying location could make the books closer to the genre or style of cooking (ex: seafood on the coast, cooler dishes in the South, warmer dishes up North). When we asked if it actually works, the answer was yes. Consumers viewing targeted ads will most likely purchase more than those who see random nonsense on their pages.

Personalization was next. Reading the viewer based on the data profile a business has will tailor certain ads for them. To quote:

“If you google hedgehogs you will get an ad for hedgehogs.”

So if you’re on one site looking at kids toys, then open up a new tab to research new recipes you may see ads on the side for local family-friendly restaurants. By creating a one-on-one experience, you may feel like the product or service is special, just for you. This is exactly what this process was made for, but is it good or bad?

Balance is the answer to this. Privacy is a very touchy subject, and applying this to advertising is tough to discuss. Finding a balance that doesn’t invade a users privacy, but helps them find the right products in a convenient way, is the line we will draw. There are benefits and risks for any business that does this. Losing the trust of customers, gaining a loyal following, keeping tabs on security, and making sure there is a purpose to using the data were the ideas that spoke out to me. Even asking David about his opinion left us with “a healthy awareness and a vague distrust.”

So what words of wisdom did David give us? Well, he gave us a better look into how advertisements online tend to be just for us. You can either be flattered or fearful, we know that now. What stood out to me the most was how he told us that our degrees mean something. We can apply this analytical thinking from one class and move forward with it, gaining a new skill in the process. To build, learn, and measure was his main point, something we have done throughout college. Start with a small idea, take action, then figure out what works and start again. Constantly learning how to better the field of marketing and advertising will then set us apart from the others.