Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Favorite Chapter

If you have read my previous blogs, you already know I have been reading social media related books and writing blogs about them. The most recent book was "Measure What Matters" by Katie Delahaye Paine. I just recently finished this book and I can safely say I would recommend it to someone in a related field.

This book is a key tool for measuring important your customers, social media, engagement and key relationships. Each of these different aspects of an organization are important in their own way and they should each be effectively measured.

I would have to say Chapter 14 was my favorite chapter. I may be partial at this point in time because the chapter is about higher education and I am interning at ONU right now, but it is still a very good read. The chapter maps out five steps that help make measuring easier in higher education. The five steps include:

  1. Identify and Prioritize Your Audiences
  2. Define Your Objectives and Get Everyone on the Same Page
  3. Establish a Benchmark
  4. Pick a Measurement Tool and Collect Data
  5. Analyze the Data, Glean Insight, Make Changes and Measure Again
In one of my recent blogs, I explained why it is necessary for higher education institutions to participate in a rebranding process. The same goes for higher education measurement. The higher education world is becoming more competitive than it has been in the past. In order for institutions to deliver a high performance, they need to measure their audiences, what their audiences are talking about, and what their audiences want.

Now that you have  a sneak peek into "Measure What Matters," I suggest you get your own copy and read the book. You will not regret the decision.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Caution: Foul Language

This video is full of little girls swearing to emphasize a point. These girls are standing up for feminism. They want to get the point across to people that girls are not treated equally. The way these girls try to get this point across is very unique and maybe even controversial.

When I first saw this video I started to cringe before I even realized what the girls were talking about. I could not understand why parents of children this young would allow their little girls to speak the way they are in this video, but then I began to listen to their message.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has felt strongly about men and women being treated equally. She has always told me I can do anything a boy can. I firmly feel her teachings have made me a stronger person.

The young boy in this video says it best when he explains calling a boy a girl is a diss to girls. The saying makes it seem like it is a bad thing to be a girl. Young girls should not grow up thinking it is bad to be a girl. They should be raised knowing they can accomplish anything as long as they put their mind to the task.

The video also provides solid facts about women being paid less and treated differently just because of their gender. Times are changing and girls are becoming more equal than in the past, but there are still problems and discriminations that need fixed.

This video may be controversial and entirely inappropriate, but the message these girls get across is an important one. Stand up for feminism!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Is Branding for Higher Education Necessary

Ohio Northern University (ONU) is currently going through a rebranding process. Because I work in the communication and marketing department at ONU, I have seen most rebranding materials first hand. I have also been working on an assignment that requires me to study if the rebranding process is necessary in higher education.

There are many aspects that make up an organization's brand. There is content such as the logo, the website and print material. The location of the organization is also part of its brand. The way people talk about an organization constructs the brand.

The purpose for higher education rebranding is the increased competition among institutions. Increased tuition and competition for students has caused universities to have a need for their own identity. The rebranding process will help them achieve this identity. Rebranding will help universities stand out in a crowd therefor increasing student admission rates.

During a rebranding process, many people share their opinion; some opinions are negative, some are positive. It is impossible for an organization to please everyone with their brand.

Overall, through my research and my internship with ONU, I have found rebranding to be extremely necessary. Rebranding can help an organization more than it can hurt one; as long as it is done correctly.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

An Unforgettable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate this holiday more than others because it is a day to stop and be thankful for the rich life God has given to us. I enjoyed a slightly different Thanksgiving this year.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I spent Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house on my dad's side of the family. We always gather to eat, play games and give thanks. This year though, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to spend the holiday with my grandparent's on my mom's side of the family. My holiday was spent with my grandparents and one cousin.

Although there were only four of us for dinner, my grandmother still prepared a feast! She prepped turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, pumpkin pie, carrot cake and cookies. I definitely had a stomach ache after enjoying all of the delicious food.

My entire Thanksgiving break was spent wisely. The beginning of my break was spent visiting family at home before I left for Georgia. In Georgia I have gotten to relax more than I would have at home and I was also able to get some homework done. My grandpa and cousin and I went to the new Hunger Games movie today and spent Black Friday shopping until we dropped.

The Georgia weather has been very enjoyable. Although it may not be 70 degrees outside, the weather is still sunny and in the 50s. I have really enjoyed myself over this Thanksgiving break. I am sad to leave Georgia tomorrow morning, but I have had a blast. This vacation made for an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

My cousin, my grandfather, me and my grandmother

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Measuring a Crisis

Chapter 11 in "Measuring What Matters" explains how to measure a crisis. The chapter explains the only reason an organization exists is because society allows it to exist. It also touches on how important it is to follow social media during a crisis to see what is being said about how your organization is handling the crisis and to speak to your audiences about what is happening.

Recently, Trine University had an incident where they found a suspicious package in one of the academic buildings. Luckily, my mom is the spokesperson for the university so I got to hear some of the steps they took during the incident.

One of the first steps taken was briefing my mom, the spokesperson, on the situation at hand before the media and law enforcements arrived. They then decided to evacuate the building and let everyone know why classes were cancelled until further notice. The explosive ordinance technicians (or bomb squad) were then called in to search the package for any explosives. The package was cleared and opened and ended up being a puzzle.

During this whole crisis situation, the crisis team was checking social media and posting updates to their key audiences. The team took the steps explained in this chapter and everything turned out alright.

Although this crisis did not end up being a real crisis, Trine University took the correct measures to make sure they were prepared for the worst. Some people joked about the situation, but after Trine University measured what everyone was saying, it was apparent everyone appreciated how well the university handled the "crisis."

This goes to show the authors of "Measure What Matters" really do know what they are talking about.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Proud to be a Polar Bear

After attending Ohio Northern University (ONU) for almost four years now, I have learned specific things I like about the university and specific things I do not like about the university. I chose three major things for each category.

Things I like about ONU:
  1. I love how small the campus is at ONU. The small town of Ada that the university sits in is also very appealing to me. This is because I grew up in a very small town. I enjoy going places on campus and knowing almost everyone there. As I have grown and become a senior, I know less people on campus, but being in a sorority helps.
  2. I love how ONU provides me with the option of being in a sorority . I have met many wonderful girls I would have never met if it weren't for me joining a sorority. Our sorority also has socials with fraternities so I have met many men I would not have met if I were not in a sorority.
  3. I love the layout of the ONU library. If you walk into the library, you are greeted by the friendly faces of the workers and study groups studying on the first floor. If you go up one floor, you see many people with headphones and some study rooms for you and a group to study in. On the third floor, you will not hear a peep out of anyone. The library gets quieter with each floor. I appreciate these options because everyone studies differently.
Things I dislike about ONU:
  1. I dislike the food at ONU. McIntosh is good for a week or two and then it gets old. The same food choices repeat and most of the food is not even real food. I do not consider powdered eggs to be a delightful source of protein. If the campus provided more food options or less pricey options, I would be a little bit happier.
  2. I dislike the showers in the freshman dorms at ONU. I came to ONU from a home that my mom always kept very clean. When I moved into the freshman dorms and saw the dirty showers, I was slightly disturbed. I know the showers were cleaned on weekends, which I truly appreciate, but when Mud Volleyball is going on and you have 50 muddy girls showering in those showers, you do not have the option of getting clean.
  3. I dislike how some majors are favored over other majors. I take GREAT pride in being a part of the public relations department at ONU and I do not feel the department gets enough recognition for what it does. Our PRSSA Chapter has won many awards and represented ONU in a very positive light over the years. This definitely goes unnoticed though because we came back to school for another semester this year and our budget was cut in half. I wish public relations was appreciated more on this campus.
There are minor things I would change about this school but I am sure everyone feels that way about things at their school. Overall, Ohio Northern University is a phenomenal school. I am getting an amazing education, I have been provided with connections all over the United States and I am leaving with lasting friendships. When it comes down to it, I am proud to be a polar bear!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why is That Popular Restaurant Getting Bad Reviews?

The other day, I came across a very interesting article on The article was about a restaurant where the staff was baffled by the large amount of bad reviews they were receiving from customers. They decided to hire a firm to come in and figure out the mystery.

The firm first researched the restaurant and gathered information from staff. Most of the staff said they were a very popular restaurant to both local and tourist groups. The restaurant had been open for many years and while they were bringing in the same amount of customers as they always had, the service seemed to move slower. This baffled most people because the restaurant had dropped some menu items and hired more staff.

The article then explains the firm and a manager looked at some old security tapes to compare what was being done differently. What they found out is so interesting! The article compares 2004 to 2014. In 2004 business was bustling. The average time a customer was in the restaurant from start to finish in 2004 was one hour and five minutes. The 2014 analysis was much different.

The staff and firm figured out the average time for a customer to be in the restaurant from start to finish in 2014 is one hour and fifty five minutes. The reasoning behind this big change in numbers is the result of cell phones. I was shocked when I first read this, but after the article explains why, it makes so much sense!

When going out to eat, people take time to check their phone and look at their social media sites on their phone prior to deciding what they would like to eat. This then takes the server longer to get their order in. Some customers even show the server something on their phone or ask them to take a picture of their group. This then takes more of their servers time than it should have.

A quote from the article, "Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore, once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than it did 10 years ago for them to pay and leave."

This shows how important phones are becoming to people in the world. Yes, I do think social media is a wonderful thing, but I do not feel it is necessary to be on your phone when a server comes to your table or even when eating. Eating is a time for people to mingle and learn more about one another. That does not always happen when everyone constantly has their phones out on the table.

Next time you are out to eat, remember if you are on your phone you are not only taking up your own time, but everyone else's time around you as well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ONU PRSSA Leadership

In my social media class, I was assigned with the task of creating a 30-90 second video about individual ONU PRSSA scholarship and award recipients and ONU PRSSA national committee members. Mariah DiBiasio and I worked long and hard and this was this finishing product. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Who is Your Community?

Chapter 9 in "Measure What Matters" discusses the importance of the community relationships your organization builds. The chapter explains that organizations today are developing relationships with who they think their target audiences are, but they always leave someone out and in a crisis, that someone could be a very crucial variable.

This specific chapter made me think of organizations I see marketing or developing relationships with the wrong audiences. The first organization is where I get my hair cut. Every time I drive past the building, there is a sign out front advertising a deal for new customers. This deal is great, but what about the customers who have been loyal for years? There is never a deal or special offer to returning customers.

Building relationships is key to having thriving organization or business but you must not forget about keeping strong relationships with the customers you already have.

Another organization I thought of when reading this chapter is Arby’s. I went through the drive thru at Arby’s the other day and as I was pulling up to the window I saw this sign…

This sign was outside
of Arby's. It was one of two
disturbing signs. The other
had a sandwich on it as well.

Do you see what I noticed? This sign has a big meat sandwich on it and also animals. As I was pulling around to get my sandwich I see this sign with animals on it and I almost pull out of the line. This does not make meat sound appetizing. Arby’s did not take into consideration who they are advertising to. This sign did not strengthen their relationship with me.

As professionals, people cannot leave a specific audience out or forget who they are advertising to. This book emphasizes this in Chapter 9. Target audiences are important to every business and organization, but it is crucial to remember all of them!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Angola is the place I call home. It is a small Indiana town where everybody knows everybody and everybody is a somebody. Growing up, I have learned to appreciate this little town much more than I did when I was living here full time. I am home for the weekend and as I drove into town yesterday, it just felt right. The familiarity is something I enjoy very much.

I pulled up into my driveway yesterday and my dad and dog greeted me like they always do. My dog always runs back and forth down our hallway and my dad gives me a big bear hug. Aside from all of the things that were the same this weekend, there were also things that were different.

My dad got a brand new truck! This truck is huge and I struggle getting up into the front seat. I love it though. I feel much safer in this truck than in any little car. Last night we drove to my high school to watch the girls’ basketball team play a game. On the way, we saw three bad accidents. One of the accidents involved an SUV that ended up upside down. This was a big eye opener. It goes to show, no one is invincible.
My dad in his brand new truck
Today has been a wonderful adventure. I completed my summer internship at the hospital in my hometown and while I was there we were preparing for the grand opening of the brand new hospital.  They had raised enough money to do a much-needed update to the hospital.

Today was the grand opening everyone worked so hard to make happen. My dad and I walked to the hospital and got a tour of it after watching the ribbon cutting. It was a wonderful experience. It felt great knowing I had a small part in making the whole event happen.
The ribbon cutting at the new hospital
Later today we are going to a Trine University football game. These football games are amazing because of the amount of team spirit everyone brings with them. It is a very uplifting atmosphere. Everyone has so much spirit that you cannot help but be proud of the little school, even if they end up losing the game.
The Trine football field at one of the games with the marching band waiting for the players to run out

It is only Saturday and this weekend has already been very interesting. Tomorrow I am going to a close friend’s baby shower. I cannot wait to celebrate her next stage in life. This is a very good weekend and I am happy to be home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monitor Your Social Media!

Chapter 6 in Measure What Matters by Katie Delahaye Paine focuses on how important it is to monitor social media channels. Monitoring social media channels can help an organizations know what people are saying about their brand, their services and their products. When reading this information, the first thing that came to mind is crisis events.

In the event of a crisis, it is crucial to check social media. Recently, Trine University experienced a false alarm crisis. The situation was almost humorous but the school is getting kudos for handling things so well.

A professor found a suspicious package in one of the education buildings and called in someone who would know what to do in this situation. This person decided they should take cautionary actions while dealing with this package. They called in an explosive ordinance technician to check for explosives. The technician brought a dog in a the dog assured everyone the package was not explosive.

The package was then safely opened and the contents were not something that needed more attention. This situation was handled very well. Trine staff briefed the university's spokesperson and got her ready to speak with media. They then evacuated the building. The staff continued to take all of the right safety measures this situation called for.

The most important step Trine University took in this process was checking what was being said on social media. By doing so, they knew what was being said, who to watch and what to announce in case rumors were being spread. This is just one example of how monitoring social media can help an organization.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Bucket List

In May of 2015, less than a year from now, my life will be completely different. My entire life has been spent in school and in May 2015, I will graduate from school altogether (unless I decide on graduate school). I have mixed emotions toward this new chapter of my life. I am nervous about having to pay bills, find a job and live on my own, but I am very excited about having more time to do what I want instead of what is asked of me by different professors and organizations. The following is a list of fun things I would like to do right after I graduate (aside from the obvious like getting a job, etc.):
  • Read a book for pleasure
  • Find a new hobby
  • Work out more often
  • Run a half-marathon
  • Run a full marathon
  • Watch an entire series on Netflix
  • Get a puppy and take him/her on walks every single day
  • Be active in PRSA
  • Road trip through the state of California
As you can tell, I am excited to enjoy the simple things in life. What's on your bucket list?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Your Website Is Crucial

In this blog, I would like to focus on how important a website can be to an organization. The website I would like to focus on is the Whole Foods website. Not only is this website aesthetically appealing, but it also provides good word choice and valuable information. I would like to focus on all of the things Whole Foods does well on their website:

  • The Whole Foods website advertises to all audiences. Their website homepage includes a section where words slide through saying things like, "Calling all challengers and cheese lovers." There are various sayings that scroll across the screen and the variety of sayings helps them advertise to all audiences. Most people can relate to at least one of the call outs. 
  • The Whole Foods website refers to its customers as stakeholders. By referring to their customers as stakeholders, Whole Foods shows how important the think their customers are. In one section of their website, Whole Foods states, "They are our most important stakeholders in our business and the lifeblood of our business."
  • The Whole Foods website focuses on education. Whole Foods focuses on educating their customers how to use their products to benefit their life. The company also educates audiences by letting them know how organic products can improve their life. This will bring in new customers who previously did not understand why organic foods and other products are an important investment.
  • The Whole Foods website is aesthetically appealing. The Whole Foods website involves creativity with pictures, placement and words. There are many pictures of healthy but normal looking people. Some of the pictures are also of families or people holding animals. This helps loyal or prospective customers relate to the company and their products. The word choice helps people feel important and understand why Whole Foods is doing what they are doing.
Overall, this website provides many valuable aspects of information. The website proves to everyone that Whole Foods promotes family, good health and strong values. There are many organizations with strong values and impressive results but their representation is poor because they do not have a good website that shows all of the amazing things they accomplish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Three Key Points

In one of the college courses I am taking, we are reading the book "Measure What Matters," by Katie Delahaye Paine. The first section of this book explains why it is so important to measure social media for an organization. There are three major points that I feel are important to take away from this section.

One of these important points is that it is more important to have the right data than to have more data than someone else. If an organization has a pile of data but they do not understand what it is saying or they have too much to contain, it is worth nothing to them. If they have a smaller amount of data they can explain to someone or they know very well, it is going to help everyone in the long run.

Another important point is that measuring is not just about counting. Measuring is about counting and analyzing so the organization can be improved. If an organization is just counting numbers and not doing anything with them, they are wasting time and valuable information.

Finally, organizations should not be focused on how many customers they have, they should be more focused on the number of relationships they have. There is a huge difference between the two. An organization could have hundreds of customers but if they do not build and maintain relationships with those customers, they will not continue to have the support they need to be successful.

Measuring can help with these relationships. If an organization measures what their customers are talking about on social media, what advertisements they are clicking on different websites, etc., they will know what their customers want and focusing on what they customers want will build a stronger relationship with them.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Take a Second Look

Do you ever catch yourself judging someone based on how he or she looks? We all fall victim to disobeying the famous rule, "don't judge a book by its cover." There is a very touching story that makes everyone who watches it rethink who they are and how they treat other people.

Susan Boyle is an average looking woman who everyone underestimated. She walked out on the stage of the famous show Britain's Got Talent and took everyone by surprise. Every face in the crowd was doubting the woman who said she wanted to be a famous singer.

When Susan opened her mouth and stretched her voice across the crowd, the place became silent. No one could believe what they were hearing. Her voice is truly beautiful.

She ended her song strong and received a standing ovation from the crowd. She got three "yeses" from the panel of judges and moved on to the next level of competition. She had so many emotions after hearing the good news. Not only is the woman an amazing singer with great talent, she is also humble and has a wonderful personality.

The whole moment really made everyone want to reevaluate themselves and how they handle certain situations. We all know we should never judge someone based on their outside characteristics, but we are all guilty of being too quick to judge.

I hope you watch enjoy the video of Susan Boyle and next time you start to judge someone based on their outer shell, I hope you stop yourself and take a second look at what is on the inside.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lauren Hill

Today, a wonderful thing happened. An Ohio college student named Lauren Hill got to play in her first-and probably only-college basketball game. Lauren was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and told she only has a short time left to live.

Instead of sulking and feeling sorry for herself, Lauren made her dream come true. She has always played basketball and recently committed to play basketball at Mount St. Joseph University. When the school found out she was running out of time, they got the first game of the season moved to a closer date.

Today, that game started with Lauren getting her first college lay-up. The crowd went wild and it was such a moving moment for everyone that was watching. Not only was this a moment Lauren will never forget, it was a moment others who were watching will never forget as well.

This very unfortunate situation has done a very big thing for the university. The amount of positive PR that Mount St. Joseph University is receiving is huge. They took this precious moment for a young girl and made if everything good that it could possibly be for her.

This moment was hers but the university benefited as well. This goes to show that PR can come in many different forms, whether you expect it or you do not.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Realizing How Important "Real-Time Marketing and PR" Actually Is

"Real-Time Marketing and PR" is a book about, well, real-time, marketing and PR. Real-time is what social media has brought to us. Back in the day, when a crisis would erupt, people would wait to hear about it on the news or in the newspaper the next day. Now, because of social media, if a crisis breaks out, people know about it right away.

Not only can people know about a crisis, they can also talk about contribute to it by tweeting or using Facebook to talk about the crisis. In some situations, this could make the crisis worse.

I knew about real-time before reading this book, but I had not understood it as much as I do now. Because of real-time, PR has vastly changed. The need for public relations specialists has increased by a large amount.

Marketing demand has also gone up because there are many different channels to market through now. There are Facebook pages for businesses, pop up banners on websites, blog options and so much more. Being in the professional world as a public relations specialist or a marketer is an honors.

After reading "Real-Time Marketing and PR" I have realized just how lucky I am to be a public relations major. I am very thankful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

I heard an amazing quote today, "Worrying won't stop the bad stuff from happening, it just stops you from enjoying the good." While I do not know who said this quote, I do know that I will be reminding myself of it from now on. It is a very true statement. We shouldn't be wasting our precious time worrying about something we cannot control.

I am guilty of being one of those people who does this. I have spent too much time on stressing about things I cannot control than I have looking at the good things in my life. This blog is a dedication to some of blessing in my life.

I am very lucky to have such a close family. I am close with all of my grandparents and see them often. I also have a 2-year-old niece that I am obsessed with. Family is the most important thing in my life.

My niece, Brinley, with her first slinky.

Aside from an amazing family, I also have wonderful friends that I can always count on. I have some who have known me my whole life and I have others who have been by my side through college. They are all important to me.

Some of my friends with me for my birthday last year.

I have been blessed with good health. That is something I remember to be thankful for every single day. I am also thankful for the opportunity of attending college. A hectic as things are with deadlines, applications and broke college problems, I would not trade a single thing about this crazy, fun and beautiful life of mine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When Is a Crisis a Crisis?

There's one thing that seems to be on everyone's mind recently: Ebola. Ebola is a very serious illness that is causing serious problems. I am not here to talk about the illness itself though, I am here to talk about Ebola crisis plans.

Ebola has finally set foot in the United States and it is scaring people everywhere. Hospitals have more people coming in afraid that they have Ebola because of symptoms that may just be from the common cold. With this very serious illness going around, it is important for places to have a crisis plan set in place in case someone acquires Ebola in their vicinity.

The only question about this is, does everyone need a crisis plan? My stepfather is manager of a state park in Indiana and he was recently asked my a camper if he had an Ebola crisis plan. Is it really important for a state park to have a crisis plan for Ebola? I would say yes. It is important that employees and visitors of the park know what to do if Ebola finds its way into the state park.

There should be a plan for everything. Recently, residents of Putnam County were in a bridal shop at the same time a woman with Ebola was there. After finding this information out, Putnam County gathered in a meeting to figure out what their plan of action would be about this situation. If they had jumped on the unfolding crisis before realizing that it could actually hit that close to home, they would have been more prepared.

So the question is, when is a crisis a crisis and should everyone have a plan for it? The answer is yes! If there is one major take away from public relations, it is to be prepared for anything.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In the book, "Real-Time Marketing and PR," there is a section about responding quickly on websites. This section of the book is vital to making it in the Internet world. There is an example provided about a young boy who dances to the Beyoncé song, "Single Ladies." His father catches it on video and posts it to YouTube. As soon as the video hits it big, the father creates a website called "Single Babies" where people can donate money to the boy's college fund.

The website took off so fast and successfully that they even sell t-shirts on it now. This is just one example of someone becoming famous because of their quick reaction to a situation that brings them a lot of attention.

When you think about Kim Kardashian, you know she did nothing to become famous, she just is. It helps that her father was a famous lawyer, but when you get down to it, Kim Kardashian has no talent that she should be famous for. Another example of this is Jenna Marbles. The girl makes a few videos with great personality and she sky rockets to fame.

This section of the book gives good lessons on how to rapidly respond when necessary. In the public relations world, it is all about timing. If you do not take advantage of good timing, you may miss out on a great opportunity.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Pumpkin Carving

Over Fall Break, I carved pumpkins with my family. This was something I was so excited to do because we hadn't done it since we were much younger. My mom was complaining that it would make a mess, my step brother was playing his video games and seemed uninterested, but my step dad jumped right up and got everything set up.

His motivation to make this happen put a big smile on my face and ended up convincing my mom and step brother that it could actually be a fun experience. My step brother came outside and quickly drew his pumpkin face with a Sharpie. He then cut it with a knife and hurried back to his video games. Normally I would have been upset but I was too preoccupied laughing at his hurried creation.

My mom is a perfectionist so of course her pumpkin was a classic, perfect pumpkin face. She drew it and my step dad cut it out for her. They make a good team. Next, it was my turn. I decided to get creative and make Marilyn Monroe's face. For some reason I was convinced this was a good idea.

I spent ten minutes drawing the face and then twenty minutes cutting it out. I knew I was kidding myself when I saw it finished and my mom laughed. Her exact words, "Aw honey, you tried so hard." That's when you know your mom is trying to make you feel better.

I honestly do not care how my pumpkin turned out because that was not what I was aiming to accomplish. I was aiming to spend time with my family doing a great American tradition. I am so thankful this happened and we got to make a family memory!

My step dad, my mom, my brother and I right
before we carved the pumpkins.
We had a beautiful scenery to look at while
we carved pumpkins.

These are the finished masterpieces.
Can you guess who's is who's?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Let's Talk About Yik Yak

As most of you reading this are probably already aware, there is a new phenomena out and it is called Yik Yak. If you do not know, Yik Yak is an app that you can get on your smart phone that allows you to post anonymous comments on a live feed. The app shows you comments from other people based on your geographical location.

This app has been popular for a short time now and remains popular among college students. Yik Yak was created by two college students that wanted to create something where people could anonymously complain about anything and everything. The way I see it, this could go one of two ways - really well or really poorly.

There have been issues raised about the app fueling bullying. Yik Yak has set up the app so that if two or more people report a "yak," or screenshot it and email it to Yik Yak, it will be taken down. This helps prevent bullying from happening.

Another issue that has been raised is how it affects college campuses. Trine University in my hometown, Angola, Indiana, has blocked this app so that it cannot be downloaded on their Internet server. This shields the university from any liabilities caused by the app.

It is obvious that students are not the only group of people on Yik Yak. Many adults are using Yik Yak as a tool. Marketing departments can use this app to monitor how their surrounding audience is responding to their services. This is why universities are taking precautions. If they see that someone is going to commit a crime and they do not do anything about it, they can be at fault, but if they have it blocked, they cannot be liable.

This app can be a very helpful public relations tool if it is used the right way. If it is not used as a positive tool, it can cause hurt feelings and may be more harmful issues. It will be very interesting to see where this unique app takes us in the future.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Twitter as a Tool

As it has been obvious in my past blogs, a majority of my blogs are about a book. This is because I am also writing these blogs for a social media class, not just for sheer enjoyment. The last book we read was called Share This. We are now onto a book called Real-Time Marketing and PR.

This book is my favorite so far, not only because of the content but also because of how the book is set up. Each chapter is broken up into sections so you know what you are going to read about before you even start to read the sections. If I would have picked this book up in a book store and skimmed through the pages, I would have instantly known what the content was and bought it right then and there. As you can tell, I am excited about this book.

The first topic in this book that I would like to discuss is how Twitter is being used as a tool when it comes to crisis communication. The book explains how you can use Twitter to talk to the company causing the crisis or journalists about the crisis.

It is explained that you can do this is multiple ways. You can use the hashtag tool or the mention tool (@) to mention a company or journalist. I feel that the hashtag would be the most useful and productive way to get someone's attention about a crisis. If you use the hashtag, more people are going to see the tweet.

It amazes me how much Twitter can be executed in crisis communications. It can be used to report a problem, to quickly apologize and let your audience know that more information will follow about a crisis, to send your audience to a link where more information can be found and so much more.

Twitter is a HUGE tool and if it is executed in the right way, it can benefit a company in more ways than one.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall Break

Today marks the first day of Ohio Northern University's fall break. Technically yesterday marked my first day because I did not have any classes but for everyone else, today is the day everyone has been excited about. Some people planned mini vacations, some are visiting family and some are going home.

I am one of the people who is just going home for this fall break and I could not be happier about this. I am spending two nights at each parent's house. I will be able to see my grandparents and get home cooked meals made for me.

The first half of this weekend will be spent at my mom's house. We live in a state park so there is always something to do to keep busy. We hike, have camp fires, walk around the campgrounds and so much more. Summer is better than winter because there is the beach and kayaking during the warmer season. I know I will have a fun time still though. My family also enjoys going to the movie theatre so I am sure I will get to do that sometime.

This is a picture of my front yard.

The second half of break I will spend at my dad's house. This is in my hometown where I grew up. I have a childhood friend who will be home that I cannot wait to see. I have a dog here also. This is the town that my grandparents live in so I will also get to see them.

My hometown is small, but it is definitely home. I do not have any plans for fall break but I know that I will not run out of things do to or people to see.

Friday, October 10, 2014

ONU Homecoming Football Game

I live tweeted for the first time during the 2014 Ohio Northern University homecoming football game. This event was fun to live tweet because something was always going on; there was always something to tweet about. I have made my tweets into a story. Please follow the link to see my story.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Read Share This

When we think about the Internet, we usually think about the most popular sites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. What we do not think about is what types of sites are on the Internet. The types of sites are vital to know when trying to figure out how to get information out to the correct audience.

I suggest you read Share This if you do not know the terms. I was assigned to read this book for my social media class and it taught me so much. I learned that the number one networking site right now if Facebook which is something everyone in public relations and marketing should know so they can build relationships with their audiences.

Share This also taught me different types of sites on the Internet. First there are microblogs. These are sites like Twitter that only have 140-200 characters per post. These are very good sites for news channels to use because they are one of the quickest ways to release breaking news.

Another type is collaborative communities. These are wiki sites such as Wikipedia. They collaborate to achieve one goal. Wikipedia is a great site to look things up on but you have to be very careful because anyone can change the information.

There are also communities and forums. These are discussion based sites, DIY communities. Pinterest could be classified as a community forum. Not all companies should use Pinterest though. A bank would  not want to market themselves on Pinterest because no one would be interested in their pins.

Content-sharing communities is another type of online site classification. An example of this would be Youtube. Someone wanting to promote a special event or product may create a video about it and share it on Youtube for more audiences to view. My mom works in the marketing department at a university and recently created a video that promoted their upcoming Homecoming game.

There are also geo-social networks which include the location you are posting from. Four square is a great example of this. Instead of advertising on this kind of network, people can do the advertising for you by letting everyone know they are at your location.
At this time in life there are so many different ways to market a brand or product. It pays to know the different ways. After reading the book Share This, I suggest everyone buy it and read it. It can only make you stronger and smarter.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Meet My Best Friend

In life, you have people who  bring you down and make you feel small and then you have people who lift you up and inspire you to be the best that you can be. My best friend, Kate Sims, inspires me to be the best that I can be every single day. She supports me and she makes me a better person.

Not only is Kate an amazing friend, she is a two time Ironman triathlon competitor. For those of you who do not know, an Ironman is a 140.6 mile race. It starts out with a 2.4 mile swim then goes on to a 112 mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.2 mile run. Ironman triathletes are some of the strongest people you will ever meet, emotionally and physically. Kate is proof of that.

Kate and I's friendship began at Ohio Northern University's freshman orientation. Her and I and one other girl became really close in that one day. Over the summer we exchanged some text messages but that was about it. When we got back to school the friendship progressed.

This picture describes our friendship perfectly.

After three and a half years of friendship, Kate and I have become very close. I think this is because of how different and the same we are. Our personalities reflect one another perfectly. We have been through some very tough times together and each one has proven how much we can count on each other.

I have never laughed with another person more than I have with Kate. I would not trade my best friend for the world.

At this time in my life, I know that it is not as important to focus on how many friends I have, but on how many real friends I have. Kate is just one of the amazing friends that I have in my life and I am thankful every day for each one of them.

"Life is nothing without friendship." -Unknown

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SPC Country Night

As I stated in a previous post, I am a member of the Ohio Northern University Student Planning Committee. This committee puts on events for the students on campus. My first event, Hawaiian style mini golf, was an absolute success. This past Wednesday, October 1, I had my second event. I had to create a spirit week event.

As I sat brainstorming event ideas, I ran across a mechanical bull on a website. Instantly I wanted to make this the event. After working out the logistics, the event was called Country Night and we began advertising.

My group and I took care of the usual advertising: a-boards, the mac board and our secondary advertisement. This time we handed out caramel apple suckers to students with a sticker on each one that described the event. At our event we had free chicken wings, raffle prizes, sweet tea, lemonade, corn hole, can jam and yes, the mechanical bull.

This event was another success. I was beyond satisfied with the way it turned out. There were around 100 students in attendance and 71 of them rode the mechanical bull. We poured the drinks into mason jars so the first 50 students in attendance got to take one home with them. I think people really enjoyed the mason jars.

The raffle prizes were all country themed. For example we had a camouflage chair, a camouflage hat and camouflage play cards. These were just some of the fun prizes. We handed out a prize for the person who stayed on the mechanical bull the longest also.

Although the event went well, there is one thing that I would have changed about this event. I did not order enough chicken wings. People were coming to the event and expecting to get wings but we had ran out. I ordered 100 wings but people seemed to be very hungry. Next time this event is put on, we will know to get more than 100 wings.

My awesome SPC group!