WE’VE MOVED

HI! I’m glad you’re here. But, I would be happier if you went and visited my new and improved blog site, at this link! I decided to move away from the VT WordPress blog and go solo on WordPress itself. Just for personal preference. I started this lt.vt.edu blog as part of a class project a year ago, but I much prefer the regular wordpress.com blogging platform.

Thanks for all the comments, but please go to my new site at kristinsorenson.wordpress.com for my latest blog posts!

Chau for now!

Trick-or-Treat with Target…on Instagram!

Filters, hashtags, selfies, oh my! Everyone’s on Instagram. Even brands. But this year, Target is taking its Instagram involvement to a whole new level. This is SO creative.

According to this article by campaignlive.com, Target’s campaign is called #HalloweenHills, and is supposed to be  virtual Trick-or-Treat for users.  Naturally, I had to check this out.

 

 

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If you don’t already, go follow Target on Instagram. On its timeline are 10 pictures featuring a virtual neighborhood, with a street down the middle, to simulate Trick-or-Treating. Target uses Instagram’s tag feature to tag individual “treats” in each photo posted. Tap once on each photo to reveal either a “trick” or a “treat.” This is where the genius comes in.

Target has made individual accounts for each “trick” and “treat” tagged in its #HalloweenHills photos. Tricks are crafts, and treats are fun Halloween snacks to make for parties.

On this “street,” I chose “treat.” This led me to the _Treat_02 account, which shows users how to create a “charmingly disturbing jack-o’-lantern punch.” Each step is pictured in the most visually-pleasing way only Instagram can do. Ingenious.

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Each step has a description by Target, and the company has even replied to user questions. Awesome.

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Let’s do it again. This time, I’m visiting the Egyptian Pyramids of #HalloweenHills across from the green-glowing house with a lake…trick. Mummy Pinatas!

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This campaign was developed by Carrot Creative, and I think it’s crazy cool. I love how social media is so versatile and lends so much to creativity. It’s similar to Ikea’s Instagram catalog, where they tag their furniture and each piece has an account, but this is really cute and seasonally appropriate. Way to really think outside the box and make an interactive and unique experience for users in Instagram!

 

 

 

NRV Bridal Showcase

A big part of PR is event planning, and I’m so excited to be part of my first “big event!” Although I had no part in the actual planning stages, I will be volunteering at the 5th annual New River Valley Bridal Expo this Sunday September 28th. This is a charity bridal event, with proceeds going to Brides Against Breast Cancer. Vendors from all over the area will be coming to the Inn at Virginia Tech at 8am this Sunday and taking over the entire ballroom at the Inn. In case you’re not familiar with the place- it’s huge. The brides will arrive at noon and get to sample a little bit of everything wedding related- from rings to party favors, they’ll have it all! There will be dresses, modeling, accessories for sale, and lots of food.

I met with the President and Founder of New River Bridal this evening. As a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), those of us working for “the firm” (Ut Prosim PR!) will be working with Marivic Gallimore directly to help with their public relations efforts this year. Marivic- a certified wedding planner and event coordinator- is very welcoming and excited to have PRSSA working with her company. I’m grateful for the opportunity to gain some experience, as well as simply being part of such a big event locally!  I hope to follow up later on how the expo goes. For now, take a look at NRV Bridal’s social media pages, and check out this video from the bridal expo last year!

 

NRV Bridal Expo-Facebook

NRV Bridal on Twitter

 

Metrics matter

In class today, my group read an article about how the top 100 colleges in the world utilize Facebook and other social media platforms. The conclusion was that nearly 60% of colleges and universities did employ use of the social networking sites, but were not doing so in an effective manner. It turns out that even a few years ago, top schools using Facebook were having issues understanding how exactly to engage with their target audience. Some did not even allow users to comment or post material.  How were they thinking about engaging in a dialogue with their audience if they only allowed for one-way communication? As we delve into our social media research, it’ll be important to stress the usefulness of engagement and how our client can have a conversation. Then, we’ll have to track progress and see what’s working and what isn’t. This is a great article from PR News that lists six helpful tips to keep in mind about metrics.  Here are a few of them and my thoughts of how to incorporate these metric-watching tips into our projects:

  • Frequency of conversation. It’s important that CLAHS be involved in trending topics and events, and responds to people who tweet, message, or post to them. Being active and posting more than once weekly or when there is a big event lats followers know that they’re engaged and actively participating in what’s happening now.
  • Most active influencers. Many students are influencers, both on and off social media. They would serve as great brand ambassadors for the college if they got involved with its social media. CLAHS could do a similar setup to Virinia Tech’s “I’m a Hokie” Twitter account, and have students from each college tweet about their experiences. This may garner more interest in current students to follow and interact with CLAHS online.
  • Tonality of share of voice tone. Finding the voice! This will probably be the most challenging part for CLAHS, as the college houses so many different departments. It may take a while to find this voice, because it also has three distinct target audiences, but when it does, I feel the connection will be great.

9/11: How I Remember

On this 13th anniversary of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, we reflect on that somber day, and how it changed us as a nation. We honor all those who we lost on that day, not just in New York, but in Pennsylvania and in DC at the Pentagon as well. We look back at the victims, the first responders, those who were there, those who helped. Thirteen years. Every year since, there have been numerous posts on Facebook and social media about the terrorist attacks- some patriotic messages, some prayers, some personal stories, some quotes. This year, the thirteenth year, I’ve seen a new type of post. “How to talk to your children about 9/11.” Children born on that day are now teenagers, and post-9/11 babies are obviously too young to even know about or understand it. Thirteen years, and it’s still as poignant as ever for many Americans. Here is to never forgetting.

It was gym day at school. Our Lady of Greenwood didn’t have a gym, but it did have a multi-functioning cafeteria, so we went there to play basketball and other indoor sports. If it were nice, we would play outside. 

To go to gym class, we had to make a double-file line in the hallway and walk neatly down the hall, across the school. I was on the outer edge of the line exiting Mrs. Mattingly’s classroom. Mr. Jester-the old computer teacher everyone was mildly afraid of- had his computer lab a few doors down the hall from my fourth grade room. Visible from the open door was his huge TV screen, which I remember thinking took up the entire wall. The line stopped, and Mr. Jester came out to talk to Mrs. Mattingly. I looked through Mr. Jester’s door to saw smoke and destruction on the tv screen, and remember being excited. Something happened. But what?

Because it was September and we were in Indiana, it was tornado season. Naturally, the teachers were talking about how we should take cover- just another tornado drill- because it was probably in our area. Just another tornado drill, I guessed.

I wish I remembered more about that exact moment in line, but my memories are shrouded with stories I’ve since heard from other people that I can’t say are my own, so I’ve lost what I was thinking in those moments. I don’t know if we ever made it to gym. I do remember an announcement coming on over the loudspeaker that day- a message about students going home early. Bad accident. Plane crash. New York. Not a tornado. 

Mom came to pick us up in the family’s 1997 Suburban- “the purple truck,” as we call it. I remember thinking that Dad had a business trip that day and that he was on a plane somewhere, but Mom assured us he was fine. Minnesota, I believe, was his destination. 

When we got home, the news was on and all I remember was seeing two very tall buildings in New York engulfed in flames, and people everywhere were upset. I had a friend in Georgia, Syneva, whose dad was a pilot. I dialed long-distance to check up on her; her dad was safe.

I don’t know if my mom talked to my brother and me about it, or if I just sat there and watched the news. I remember being excited- unsure of what exactly was happening- but feeling like something important was, and that I was experiencing history.

History. That’s what I loved. I knew this was going to make history. I remember retreating into my room that night, and pulling out crayons and a few sheets of printer paper. I began drawing. I wish I had saved what I did (I threw it away when my family moved to Virginia two years later), but I do still possess a vivid mental image of it. I had drawn the Twin Towers, covered in flames, a plane, and a man jumping off the side of it. I wrote “Dear journal, you are not just a page of my diary. You are marking an important part of history. September 11, 2001.” I had seen footage of the man throwing himself off of the burning building. It had impacted me so much that I needed to understand it, why all this was happening, for what reason. But I was a fourth-grader. I didn’t. How could such a thing happen? Drawing that picture-which admittedly terrifies me today- was my way of processing those horrific events.

Thankfully, I had no family or friends directly involved in those terrorist attacks. But after that horrible day, my heart went out to all of them. Every year, I find and read stories of loss, of life, of faith, of love, of patriotism, of hope. Even though I was so young, and so physically far from the attacks, the events of that day still impacted me, and continue to do so. I never visited the Twin Towers, nor have I seen Ground Zero, but I would like to.

How will I talk to my future children about 9/11? They won’t draw pictures in their journals of what I saw on the news that day. They’ll read about it in their history books, and it will be on their tests. They’ll need to understand it, and how it has made us Americans a strong people. And that we are proud to be American. And that evil does exist in the world, but so does good and so does love. And while my story is menial, it’s how I experienced one of the saddest moments in American history. And every day I am thankful to be where I am, and can only pray that such a day as this will never recur.

Let us never forget. 

Gettin’ Social With It

Hey hey blog world! So I’ve been reading this cool new book called The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott. In his first couple chapters, he defines the “old rules” of public relations. Among them is one which I would like to argue is still quite important. Especially when it comes to the new world of fleeting messages on social media.

This old rule reads “creativity was deemed the most important component in advertising.”  Scott goes on to say that perhaps the new most important component is interaction. I would like to qualify with that and say that there wouldn’t necessarily be any interaction if there was a lack of creativity.

Creativity, in my opinion, is key. Especially in advertising. Any company or business can put out a tv commercial, radio ad, or tweet and simply send a “USE MY PRODUCT” message that probably won’t attract any customers. Or worse, will be so boring  that potential customers won’t even remember it. It’s got to be interesting to get people to be receptive to it. That’s where creativity comes in!

Creativity in advertising is spicing up the way you reach the consumer. This semester, I’ll be monitoring the social media accounts of Charmin, the toilet paper brand company. Charmin has a fairly boring-albeit necessary and useful- product. To keep things fun, they’ve gotten on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of tweeting “Buy our toilet paper- we know you’ll need it!” the Charmin group got their creativity on and post cartoons and videos. In their most recent tweet, @Charmin posted a Vine video featuring the Naked Cowboyand their mascot bear dancing in a bathroom stall, with the caption “We always doo it for the Vine,” in celebration of #NationalToiletPaperDay. Check it out here! This particular clip has been retweeted 637 times, and has 904 favorites. It’s not necessarily telling us to buy their product, but it shows us that they can have fun and want to share it with their customers- all while making us think that we probably need more toilet paper and to remember the cute dancing bear and Naked Cowboy next time we’re in the grocery store.

Was that tweet a successful advertisement of the product? Sure. Was it creative? Definitely. Will I remember it? For sure.

But back to Scott and his “old rule” about creativity. Though he thinks it’s an oldie, I think it’s a goodie. Advertisers have to constantly be on their creative game in order to make a successful commercial, post, or tweet. If it weren’t for the “cha-cha-cha, Charmin!” jingle, I never would’ve given this toilet paper brand a second thought. Much less started following them on Twitter (interaction!) and finding out that they’re more than just TV commercials with cute bears and catchy songs. They’ve kept the creativity coming.

With love, Finals

Ah, finals week. The last few lugubrious days of the semester, when the library is more crowded than downtown, and students everywhere vie for an open outlet. Social media posts run rampant with unoriginal “sleep is for the weak,” “only 3 more papers and 2 exams stand between me and my puppy!”

My favorite part of finals is the random acts of kindness that seem to pop up during the season. I don’t know if certain campus groups or kindhearted Hokies are responsible for this, but the little motivational sticky notes placed around campus seem to make everyone’s day.

My friend was studying late at the Empo and found a motivational “You rock! You’ll do great on finals!” note on her windshield. (Much better than a parking ticket.) I’ve seen notes stuck to mirrors in bathrooms, on columns in buildings near study areas, and other nooks and crannies around campus.

Last semester, I was going home from the library at 3am when I came across this clever note inside. I posted it on Facebook and of course someone had the nerve to bypass the lighthearted sentiment by pointing out its vocabulary error, but it’s finals, so everyone’s a little frazzled.  I thought it was great. (But everything is funnier after slaving over notes forever at 3am).

turtle

 

The notes read: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Now Hiring, Acquire Within

Little notes like these might seem insignificant, but they really do have the ability to better someone’s day. So while you’re busy stressing over your big test, or struggling to meet word count on that final paper, take a second and write yourself one, or two or three, and share the love.

note

 

A Digital Memoir

For my final class project, I’m re-tracing my technological childhood/life, digging back to my family’s first laptop, to having Siri on my iPhone today. Here’s just a little excerpt from it all:

“In the fifth grade in Indiana, we had computer class. Imagine that! We were taught how to type on giant old desktop computers. Our teacher, Mr. Jester, seemed to have a personal vendetta against computer mice, because we were (very strictly) instructed to memorize keyboard shortcuts and were tested on our ability to use the computer without the crutch that was the mouse.

At that point in my life, technology was just being introduced to me. I was still looking up words in the fat red dictionary that my dad had in college, and homework and papers were always handwritten in cursive.

When we moved to Virginia and I started 6th grade at a Catholic school, we had computer class too! Except this time, the computers were newer. The typing software was in the form of a space game, and there were plastic orange “skins” we had to place on the keyboard to prevent cheating on our typing tests. We were taught to never close our documents without ensuring their digital safety through a corny ‘Jesus saves!’ joke.  Classrooms had TVs (with cable!) built in them, and people were starting to get cellphones.”

 

Only slightly browned

Twelve days ago already (can you believe it?) I  gave my Ignite presentation on Mozilla Popcorn Maker. I have to say, it went pretty smoothly! I’m glad I practiced as much as I did, because it definitely would’ve been a burnt mess had I not. Here’s a little self-reflection on my 5 minutes of speech:

1. Ditch the podium. I felt I would give off a more approachable, perhaps convincing vibe if I didn’t coop myself behind the podium in the corner of the room. Instead, I rebelled and shaved off a split two seconds at the beginning of my presentation by sauntering to the other side of the big screen during my first slide.

Pros: More room to move around, less cramped space, better pointing ability.

Cons: Ok, so since I didn’t practice it dynamically, I may’ve spoken too much to the giant screen instead of my audience on occasion. Also, my hands may or may not have been shaking. Was that strategic or nervous pacing? One may never know.

2. Talkingatfiftymilesaminute. This is the inevitable plight of Ignite presentations. I’m a super speeder talker naturally (and I hate it because nothing ever comes out clearly and I sound stupid) so the Ignite format was both comfortable and scary for me.

Pros: I’m used to talking that fast. Plus, how else are you going to fit ALL that pertinent info into just five minutes?

Cons: Speedy, forced, sometimes unintelligible speech. Also, when I got really excited and talked even faster than normal, I advanced my slides prematurely and had awkward pauses here and there- like just before my video that didn’t play was supposed to start…

3. No video! I had an excellent clip of myself puenting, or bridge jumping embedded in my speech, but it refused to cooperate.

Pros: 15 seconds of free, only half-planned blabber. (Or is that a con?) I think I gave a hap-hazard description of what puenting is and why I was doing it, which fortunately brought me to my next slide just in the nick of time. Phew!

Cons: See pros.

4. When seconds feel like hours… When I practiced, I had my ending *perfently* timed. I’m talking voice-commanded ending slide. But, alas. #2 and probably a bit of #4 got in the way and played ever-so-slightly with my timing, and I ended my speech at a fearful 3 or 4 seconds too early.

Pros: “Finally, she’s done rambling…”

Cons: That anxious feeling as you use your closing line just a little too soon and walk back to your seat, praying, waiting, hoping that your final “The End’ screen actually pops up…

So it did, thankfully. And then it was all over! What a feeling of relief and accomplishment. I’d definitely recommend it. I had a lot of fun! I kind of wish we had to do an Ignite presentation when I took Public Speaking, but I’m glad I got the chance to do so here.

Phew! Now off to make some actual popcorn.

 

 

 

Pop! Goes the Presentation

It’s Ignite presentation day. Who’s nervous with me?

In case you’re unfamiliar with Ignite, it’s a rapid-fire presentation technique. Presenters have exactly 5 minutes to give a quick talk on any subject they want. They have a PowerPoint with 20 slides, each timed for 15 seconds. Once they start, they’re off.

My talk today deals with the trials and tribulations of making popcorn…digital popcorn in the form of online videos and interactive additives, that is. I wrote an analytical essay about the (side note- WordPress is insisting that I am misspelling “analytical.” What?) user interface of Mozilla Popcorn Maker, a web-based video re-mixer. This will be published via Google Sites later in the week, so stay tuned for that!

Back to the presentation. It’s in T-30mns…

I’ve already subjected classmates and roommates to my sarcastic ramblings about this platform, worried quiet library patrons with my vicious whispering to the computer, and have psyched myself out. What if I forget something important like what this thing actually does? If my video of me jumping off a bridge doesn’t play, then that’ll call for some interesting improv. What if my not-so-friendly but oh-so-familiar vices Like, So, and Um decide to crash the party? They’re like, so not invited.

But I digress. It’s all nervous jitters. I’m excited! And presenting near the end. The wait just might kill me. If you see me shaking, I blame it on the Caramel Chai tea- my poison of choice.

!!! Over and out.