Category Archives: Uncategorized

Google vs. Bing

For the last several months, I have put a decent amount of work into optimizing our (my job’s) website for Google searches. Everything from claiming Google+ Local pages, tagging pages with keywords and dealing with incorrect page titles.

All this work may have just been turned upside down with Apple’s recent announcement that Bing will be iOS7’s primary search engine, not Google. Because so much emphasis has been put on Google, I have pretty much ignored Bing, and considered it in the same category I do AOL and Yahoo for search engines.

Now I’m stuck. Do I continue all this work in Google, or set it aside and focus on Bing?

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Data Throttling vs. Mobile music streaming

A story on Mashable titled “Your Bandwidth Will Be Throttled: Here’s Why” caught my attention this week. It appears that Verizon and AT&T are to throttle the top five percent of data user’s bandwidth from 3G+ to 2G speeds.

Taking a step back, I have an iPhone with service through AT&T. Thus far, I have been pretty satisfied with it. When I signed up, I felt 2GB of data would be sufficient and that $10 extra to an additional gig of data was reasonable. I have been averaging about 1.5 to 1.8GB of data usage per month.

I was shocked to read that the top five percent of data users are generally those using 2GB or more of mobile data. I don’t consider myself a heavy data user, really. Work email, personal email, Facebook, Foursquare, news apps. Some video and music streaming here and there, but not too often.

Well, I recently began using Spotify, of which I am growing more fond. I cannot, however, see why I would pay $10 per month to allow Spotify streaming on my phone. If I am already reaching my data limits from my every day use, how much overage would I have streaming Spotify? So, $10 per month, plus $10 for an extra 1GB of data? I don’t find that worth it.

Plus, if AT&T and Verizon are throttling users using more than 2GB of data, it seems pointless and would make the apps useless. Obviously, being on wifi doesn’t count toward your monthly data limits, but that’s besides the point. When I am streaming music, it is usually not at home or somewhere with available wifi.

This brings me to my real question: will bandwidth throttling hurt the mobile music and video streaming subscriptions?

I can see it happening. I was considering paying for Spotify simply to have it on my phone. Then I could stream music at work (where there is no wifi yet). But, I am rethinking that now if my data speeds would be throttled.

As the article states, “the days of all-you-can-eat mobile broadband are already ending, and landline broadband could soon follow suit.” This terrifies me.

Our “landline” broadband at home is, first of all, less than landline. We use Clear for internet (I didn’t want to pay for installation of Comcast of Century Link, or outrageous prices for cable). Clear uses Sprint’s mobile broadband 4G networks as another option to in-home high-speed internet.

Frankly, I am not very enthusiastic about them. We stream a lot of Netflix, since we are without cable. We are more often than not throttled to dial-up speeds (less than 500 kbps). This makes experiencing the internet less than desirable.

That’s why I opt to use my phone’s 3G data rather than my MacBook and wifi. It’s faster and more convenient.

Nearly One Year

So, I have become pretty neglectful of my website/blog /social media presence ever since I was landed my full-time gig. But, that’s OK with me. I’d rather be employed than obsessively blogging every day. Long story short, sorry internet. I hope to be back soon.

I am quickly coming up on one full year of being full-time with the City. I couldn’t be more grateful and happy about it, too.

I have done more at my job that I though there was to do. But, don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of work to be done. While I came into this position with good knowledge of how to do things, there was definitely room to grow and learn, and that I did.

One thing I regret doing in college, not doing in college, is taking as many elective courses as I could. For example, I never though I would need to take “Reading & Writing for Broadcast,” because I didn’t want to be a new anchor. Well, here I am interviewing, transcribing, scripting and recording VO for news packages on our government access channel. Some skills I lacked, but am working on. I swear I’m getting better.

“Magazine Article Writing” was another class I regret not taking. Going into PR, I thought it would be more media pitches and press releases. How wrong could I have been. I am writing long-form articles every quarter for our magazine.

While it’s not a class that was offered, I do wish I would have taken more initiative learning about being a public information officer (PIO). I quickly came to learn that being a PIO means more than just writing a press release when the fire department responds to a major fire/emergency event. Media relations is another skill I am working on. So far, all of my media contacts have been pleasant.

Over the past several months, I have been working on reading my mountain of books (I might be losing). The first few I read were on crisis communications. Working as a public safety PIO, seems like it might be a good idea to brush up on my crisis communications skills. Luckily, I haven’t had to employ many of them, but when I do need to, I think I’ll be ready.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I had a great education by excellent professional teachers. They and my internships have all been great mentors. Starting school, I was set on working in a PR agency, not government communications. That all changed after my internship with the City.

In government communications, you really do have to be the jack of all trades. I suppose that could be true with most in-house communications departments, but I feel that even more so in government as we work with a wider audience with a much more limited budget and resources.

So far, I am elated with where I am in my career and look forward to continuing my work in the public sector.

Do We Need a Resume Revolution?

Being a recent college graduate, I am doing a lot of applying to jobs. Obviously, each one wants a resume. But, how should you create your resume?

From what I was taught in class, a resume should include your name and contact information on the top, in a larger font than the rest of the document. Then, move into objective, education, work experience, involvement/awards and conclude with references.

Sure, this method works, but what makes you stand out? Doesn’t this just make you a carbon copy? Especially if you just use a template? Sorry to anyone who stands by this method like it’s the bible, but I completely disagree with this approach.

I am currently reading “Content Rules” by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, and they brought up some points I thought were very interesting. Granted, this book is geared toward creating content for business’s blogs, websites, videos, social sites, etc., but I believe the information presented can also be relevant to one’s personal brand and development. See the quotes below:

“If someone lands on your site, or reads your news letter, or whatever, your content shouldn’t sound like your competitor’s — or like anyone else’s, for that matter. It should sound like you.” (Content Rules, page 30).

“Differentiate from the pack of bland … Personality is the key element behind your brand and what it stands for…” (Content Rules, page 39).

I think this should also apply to personal branding, or in this case, resumes. Why would you want your resume to be just like your competitors? Especially aesthetically.

This thinking obviously doesn’t apply across all career fields. A financial analyst will probably want something more clean-cut. But, for me, and others in communications, graphic design or anything relatively creative, why not show off your skills and creativity in your resume design rather than just telling them?

Check out some of these examples of awesome resumes from VizualResume.com and Lava360.com. These are very creative and I think would set them apart from others who make their resume in Word.

Keep in mind, content is usually king. Proof read again and again. Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Those give you a one-way ticket to the trash bin.

What are your thoughts on resumes? Do you prefer black and white or something with color and more aesthetically pleasing?

Work With Google Maps

During my summer internship with the Greater Mankato CVB, I was lucky to be able to assist them in creating some maps for their website.

First, I helped create a map for the restaurants in the Greater Mankato area

I was also able to create the map of all the hotels in Greater Mankato

The Greater Mankato CVB is using Google Maps to its advantage. My giving a map of hotels, potential visitors can see where the hotel is located an, if needed, choose accordingly. In addition, the restaurant map is helpful for them to see what restaurants are where in relation to their hotel.

As part of Multi Media Writing, we were assigned to create a Google Map for ourselves. I chose to create my map based on my previous employment. The blue icons are places I have worked in the past and the green icons are places where I have held an internship.

Flip Video Failure

The use of video in PR and journalism is booming. Flip, a brand of video cameras, are inexpensive, easy to use and becoming one of the most popular journalistic tools.

There are a lot of things that need to go into consideration when filming video for any sort of public use. PRWeek has broken pretty much every single video rule possible, as seen in the below video.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to start. So, I guess we will just jump right in…

First, panning. No. Not okay. The panning in this video is too fast and shaky. I can’t make anything out. Plus, whilst panning, sound can be heard from the person, well, panning. How can PRWeek remedy its problem? By never panning. Ever.

Overall, this video is just not visually appealing. We have already covered the sin of panning. But people are missing body parts. Heads, arms, legs are being cut out of the video because the, dare  I call them, videographer didn’t take time to frame and compose their shot. Even when it comes to the interviews of individuals, foreheads are missing. This is not okay.

The person taking the video needed to take a step back, look at the Flip camera and be conscious of what the video they are taking looks like.

Yet more crimes have been committed. This one in particular is the audio. Terrible, terrible audio.  The background music was okay, but when it last for a full 1:19, it gets excessive.

Then we move into the interviews. For starters, the people being interviewed can’t be heard. All I see is their mouths moving and some nodding overlaid with the noise of a large crowd. What’s the point of doing an interview if they can’t be heard.

Interviews should have been done in a quieter place, or an external microphone should have been used to adequately capture the audio of the interview. A simple fix, but if not done, can have dire consequences to for your video.

 

To add to the interview, the person doing the interview should not be heard. Just a quick soundbite would be fine from the person, but you really don’t need to include the ENTIRE Q&A session. The rest of the interview not used in the video can easily be used as quotes in an accompanying story.

Remember, when taking video, to get a variety of shots. You should get a few wide, medium and close-up shots. Also, for every interview, you should get about two-20 second B-roll clips.

Length is also a major issue for the PRWeek video. Nearly six minutes? I will have lost interest already. Aim for a max of two minutes…and keep it interesting.

What are some of your thoughts on this video and how it can be improved? Comment below:

What the Hell is SMO?

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, SEO is apparently dead. By the way…And just when we thought we were getting the upper hand on SEO and using keywords. I guess I am just a little behind.

The next, new big thing is SMO, Social Media Optimization. SMO is also known to have been called Social SEO.

According to PCSpeed.net, we don’t have to concentrate on using keywords. This new trend is to create appealing content instead of “following a strategy of filling up the Google database with low-cost content.”

Brian Solis, Social Media God, wrote an excellent two-part post (Part 1; Part 2) on SMOs. Obviously, SEO is used to by online writers to better the chance of their work to be found on search engines. Pretty self explanatory. Google>Type>Searh>Results. Hopefully yours will come up in the search engine result pages.

SMO is to be used, according to Solis, in addition to SEO to increase visibility in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Solis explains the make-up of a SMO-ed content.

iPad=Best Invention Ever? Can it Help Save Journalism?

The iPad may very well be THE BEST invention of all time. Mashable has even written a piece on why you need an iPad this Holiday season. Pretty much anything can be done with an iPad. It is probably the most versatile, advanced piece of technology available today. But lets move on from creating all this hype about it and get down to the nitty-gritty as to why it is so great.

In general, I think the iPad is the most awesome thing around. There are so many apps on there. “There’s an app for that” rings true with the iPad (or iPod Touch/iPhone for that matter). Hundreds of thousands from which to choose.

These thousands of apps are literally changing the way we live our lives and revolutionizing how we get our information. The news is so much more accessible now than ever. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, The Onion, Time, Newsweek, you name the news organization, chances are they have a mobile app. Many of these have apps specifically built for iPad.

Is it possible that the iPad is the future of journalism? Rupert Murdoch sure thinks so. It was announced that Apple and News Corp are set to launch The Daily, the first and only iPad-only newspaper.

This is a very interesting turn for journalism in the digital age. The Daily will have neither a print edition nor a website. The only way to read the paper is to download each edition. The weekly will be sold for $0.99 through the iPad app. The app will be available through the Apple app store sometime in early 2011.

It is reported that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp has hired about 100 journalists to run the “paper.” The preparation for next years launch is thought to be headed by former New York Post managing editor Jesse Angelo.

According to The Guardian, Murdoch believes the iPad will be a “game changer” with almost 40 million sold. A Guardian source said, “He envisions a world in which every family has a iPad in the home and it becomes the device from which they get their news and information. If only 5% of those 40 million subscribe to the Daily, that’s already two million customers.”

The “paper” should be fast-paced with a fun feel. The Daily will not just be a newspaper formatted for the iPad, but “will incorporate a great deal of video content and utilize the iPad’s technology in ways that no newspaper or website currently accomplishes.”

With those numbers, the outlook looks pretty good. But, Mashable poses the question “will people pay $0.99 for news they can get for free on the Web?” Many think people will cough up the money and that it in fact has the potential to save journalism.

In Mashable’s October post “Is the iPad Really the Savior of the News Paper Industry,” it reported The Wall Street Journal for iPad has been downloaded more than 650,000 times since it was launched. It also reports the number of paying subscribers is in the “thousands.

Some newspapers think the print version is a way to legitimize themselves to advertisers. This is quickly changing. Mashable also reported in the same article Financial Times deputy chief executive Ben Hughes revealed to The Guardian that, even though its app has only 400,000 subscribers, it has earned more than $1.5 million since May.

How, you ask? Advertising. A report says in-app iAds are selling for about five times as much as online ads. In addition, the click-through rate is about 15 percent higher for in-app ads compared to normal online ads.

“Jason Fulmines, director of mobile products for USA Today’s corporate parent, Gannett Co., says the newspaper is charging Marriott about $50 for every thousand times, or impressions, the ad appears. The average rate for USA Today’s regular Web site is less than $10, he said. In the printed newspaper, the cost per thousand impressions on a full-page color ad that runs nationally is $103.”

That’s outrageous! There’s a lot of money that can be made in the iAd world.

But as Mashable puts it, “2011 is going to be another interesting year for the rapidly changing world of journalism.”

Now let’s get the discussion going. What do you think about the iPad-only newspaper? Would you pay for it? What changed in journalism do you foresee in 2011?

Discuss below.

 

DISCLAIMER: Although I have been employed by Volt Technical Services as a Campus Rep for Apple, Inc., the opinions in the above post is completely my own. I was not paid by Apple or any of its affiliates to write this.

8 Thing From our Childhoods we Forgot Existed

Remember those carefree days of our childhood? Those pre-facebook, pre-college days? Whatever happened to those things we used all the time and loved so much?

  1. MSN Messenger — Remember the days of coming home from school and loggin’ in to MSN messenger or AIM to talk with your friends? Oh, the emoticons! Does anyone still use MSN or AIM? They have made way for Facebook Chat. Why download a program when we can just stalk our friends and talk to them at the same time?
  2. MySpace — Social networking is king, but whatever happened to MySpace? It just…went away. It used to be sooo awesome to be friends with “Spork” and “Jesus” and change your background and theme every 20 minutes. I dub MySpace as the first viral social network. But, then, Facebook came and the only thing MySpace was left with is unmonitored profiles and band pages.
  3. VCRs, Cassette Tapes & the Discman — This brings us back to the time before you DVDs and BluRay, before we could rent movies through the mail or stream them on the internet. A time when music was still a physical “thing.” Video tapes would sometimes be “eaten” by your VCR and you would be devastated. Now we hardly have to worry about scratched discs. Just as long as you back your downloaded movie from iTunes on an external hard drive, you’d be fine. Same goes for music. First cassettes died, and now CDs are doing the same. And how did we used to listen to our music? A big , clunky CD player or even a Walkman. Now? iPods are synonymous with listening to music.
  4. Dial-up internet — No longer does it take 30 minutes to check your e-mail. Open your laptop, sign in, do your thing and your done. Maybe 45 seconds. The internet doesn’t make any noise, either. All the squeels and sprangz and bazingas from logging on to AOL? Oh, 1990s.
  5. Corded phones — Remember the ungodly long coil phone cords? Those ones your could walk around your house 12 times and still have cord to spare? No longer were those needed when cordless came about. Jump ahead a few years, cell phones appear. Do people still have landlines?
  6. Film — 35mm, APS, 110? 200 ISO, 800 ISO? Kodak, FujiFilm, Polaroid? How did we ever chose? Now we just buy a camera and it tells us what kind of memory card it needs. It chooses the ISO, speed and format in which the photos are saved.
  7. Floppy Discs — Computers aren’t event built with Floppy disc slots anymore. The 3.5” Floppy was the way to go when it came to early file storage and backup. Now we can save several 90 minute movies on a 32 gig drive no bigger than a Lego.
  8. “Real” Spam — What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Spam?” Pain-in-the-ass junk e-mails, of course. Remember the good ol’ days when Spam meant that gross canned meat no one ever ate?

What to do you remember from your childhood that is now moot? Disqus below:

10 Commandments of Social Media

I bring forth these commandments from the “Google God” Himself.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  2. Thou Shalt Be Social
  3. Thou Shalt Give Credit Where Credit is Due
  4. Thou Shalt Spell Correctly
  5. Thou Shalt Not be Narcissistic
  6. Thou Shalt Blog, A Lot
  7. Thou Shalt Explore the Interwebz
  8. Thou Shalt Network
  9. #ThouShaltNot #Hastag Everything
  10. Thou Shalt Have A Professional Presence Online

Any questions?

Good. Now, moving on. Social media is much more than just virtually “hangin’ wit yur homies.” You must remember, anything you say and do online will be read by someone. You are going to want to make sure you know what you are saying and posting because it could come back to bite you.

Those pictures of you passed out on your dorm room floor back in sophomore year? Hillarious? Yes. Does it put a good light on you? No. Not one bit.

At out last PRSSA meeting, we watched a YouTube video that was quite striking. The video “Social Media Revolution 2” will put a whole new perspective on what you do online. Watch:

First, remember: No longer does “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” apply. Think about this the next time you want to post something about someone or upload a video of you doing a Jag bomb at Johnny’s kegger.

It is incredible that 80 percent of companies use social media as a recruitment tool. As a matter of fact, that is how I got my job as an Apple Campus Rep. I fanned iTunes on Facebook, they posted that you could apply to be a campus rep, I did, was interviewed and got the job.

Even more amazing, of those companies using social media to recruit, 95 percent use LinkedIn. For those of you who don’t use LinkedIn, you should. Essentially, it’s an online resume where you can put your experience, network and get recommendations from your connections.

Danny Brown gives some awesome etiquette advice for social media on his blog. His basic premise is that what our parents taught us in our childhoods still apply today in the social media world.

Anyway, I digress. In short; Don’t be stupid. The End.