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Archive for September, 2011

TOW #5

Someone could give a stellar speech about a topic with passion and zeal, but if the speaker doesn’t receive any feedback, it might be difficult for them to understand what reached the audience, which approaches helped to clarify points, etc.  The same could be said of blogging.  I mean, who wants to pour themselves into posting content they’ve invested in only to receive no feedback whatsoever.  Of course, there are those who use blogging as a means to rant and vent about everything they see wrong with the world, but I’m not really referencing those bloggers.

I think that a facet of writing an effective blog comment moves away from the direction of just repeating what was said in the article or post just read.  Building on a point that the writer made might be appreciated.  If the writer is head over heels for a subject, they would probably love to get some new information from you, or at least references to some useful resources.

Write a post about a blog you commented on, and link it back to that post.  The author may end up following your blog.

Be respectful.  The internet is available for so many people, there are bound to be those who simply want to rant.  Try not to be someone who bashes an author.  It’s one thing to disagree and provide perspective, but getting personal and hateful is a level that doesn’t need to be touched.

Do some homework before you comment on the blog of an expert.  Try to know what you’re talking about.  None of us want to look like someone who assumes they know everything, so bringing a respectful, knowledgeable approach is probably best.

Finally, have fun with it!  You can garner some great personal connections through blog comments.  Good luck!

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TOW #4

When writing for online reading, you can afford to be a little edgy.  Well, that might be a stretch, depending on the perception of the reader.  But the rules are a little different online than they are for print.  You can bullet point your way through an article these days.

1. Do write in a fun way for online blog posts.

2. Do acknowledge the formality of a post when deciding how to write it.

3. Use visuals when you can.  Sometimes a post needs a video while some pictures express your point better.  Either visual can be effective, but the key is for the visual to tell a story, which brings me to my next tip.  Stay with this focus and you should be fine.

4. A visual must tell a story.  If a picture doesn’t communicate a point, then don’t use it just to fill space.

5. Do proof read what you write, in any medium!  Typos can really make you seem unprofessional.  Someone will judge your intellect based on the amount of typos in your articles, so make sure it looks spick and span.

6. Don’t crowd your article with pictures.  You don’t want your article to look messy, whether in analog writing or any other.

7.Don’t give mundane titles.  Make your title catch the eye of the reader.  I’m more likely to read something if the title sparks interest.

8. Know your audience.  Are you writing for 80-year old senior citizens from a bridge club, or a young mother’s group?  Different things will attract different audiences, so it’s up to you to research and then use the information to write your story.

9. Don’t use text talk when writing for print.  “Omg, bff!”  won’t go over well in a formal publication.

10.  Understand why someone would read your article, and then make it interesting for them.

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Blog Comment 1

How to Charm Your Professor and Make an A” by Melanie Shoults.  September 14, 2011

“This was a cute post!  Some basic advice to students might seem repetitive, but if you do these simple things, you really will most likely get noticed!  I recently read someone using the mindset that if a student realized how much they were paying for each class, they wouldn’t miss nearly as much.”

Blog Comment 2

Even Quicker Tips from Grammar Girl” by Rachel Laflam.  September 14, 2011

“I like that you dove into multiple trouble areas from the Grammar Girl website.  These tips are so helpful, and with all the writing that we do as PR majors, we need to be well versed in these tips!  Also, I love the picture of the heart coffee – nice touch.”

Blog Comment 3

“Dealing with Difficult Conversations” by Katie Higdon.  October 15, 2011.

“Great post, Katie. As a very dedicated fan of The Office, you hit the spot. I feel like when reading your post, I’m reading you talk, not reading a formal thesis. It was very refreshing.”

Blog Comment 4

“Hot New Jobs” by Carmen D’Agostino.  October 15, 2011

“Great post, Carmen!  I love it when companies try to get me involved in the process of designing a product I want to buy.  Getting more feedback from the customers who give them consistent business is indeed genius.”

Blog Comment 5

“One for One Movement” by Annalee Cole.  October 15, 2011

“The TOMS founder, Blake, was actually at Catalyst last week.  One of the things he spoke about was how their eye wear line came to fruition.  It was really neat.  They had a booth showcasing the new shades and everything.  I think it’s so neat that they’re not just giving away a pair of sunglasses for each pair we buy, but they are actually providing surgeries and eye care for people who can’t see.  Awesome!”

Blog Comment 6

“Classy wilderness” by Elizabeth Telg.  November 19, 2011

“I’m pretty sure I pinned this on Pinterest!  It’s such a great idea.  I think it would look great if you weaved twigs/branches like that around the bed posts with lights.  I think I’m just crazy about the idea.  It looks so good.”

Blog Comment 7

“Need ideas for holiday parties?  Here are a few!” by Elizabeth Telg.  November 19, 2011

“I think it’s safe to say we both want to decorate with branches.  From the Pinterest pin for the last picture, how did they get the glitter coated on the branches?  Do they use something like glue spray?”

Blog Comment 8

“What Every Designer Needs: Photoshop Tutorials” by Amanda Furmage.  November 19, 2011

“Did you need to know how to work in Photo Shop before you took Web Design?  I’ve always wanted to learn!  I always hear, “You can do anything with Photo Shop.”  By the way, that picture of your fantasy world is amazing!”

Blog Comment 9

“Massive” Publicity Stunt by Amanda Furmage.  November 19, 2011

“That is very, very odd… He’s washed up in other countries? That’s almost unbelievable. I wonder how much it weighed. Someone obviously sat it up after it washed ashore.”

Blog Comment 10

“How to: Shop for the Best Price” by Liz Colburn.  November 19, 2011

“Great post!  Target is a great store.  I went to pick up some things for the tennis team last week and had to go to two separate stores to get what I needed.  I noticed that the exact jacket (that I really want) was a different price at the two stores.  At the first store, it was full price, then at the second it was 30% off.  Two days later I was at a Target near home and saw the jacket again, but it was about 50% off.  Maybe checking multiple Targets is also a good way to find what you want for less.”

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TOW #3

What did you learn?  How to properly use “effect” and “affect.”  Grammar Girl puts it nicely, “It’s actually pretty straightforward. The majority of the time you use affect with an a as a verb and effect with an e as a noun,” while giving examples, “Affect with an a means “to influence,” as in, “The arrows affected Ardvark,” or “The rain affected Amy’s hairdo.” Affect can also mean, roughly, “to act in a way that you don’t feel,” as in, “She affected an air of superiority,” and “Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but to me the meaning “a result” seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, “The effect was eye-popping,” or “The sound effects were amazing,” or “The rain had no effect on Amy’s hairdo.”

What surprised you?  She explains it so well!

What do you want to know more about?  Lay and lie.  Those seem to trip up a lot of people, myself included.  I’m confident she will have an article or podcast available to help me better understand when to use each word.

I think Grammar Girl should do some advertising on Facebook.  Grammar doesn’t seem to be a very high priority among communication on social media sites for some people simply because they’re unsure what they should do.  Of course, there are probably people who let down their grammar guard on Facebook and use a few more emoticons than one would typically expect, but hey, that’s becoming a part of the social networking culture.  For those who do want to know more about common grammar mishaps, I think this is a great resource.  The tips found here were very helpful to me.  Good grammar will come in handy for anyone who chooses to use the skills.

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1. Get involved in a church.  You’ve probably heard this before, but I’m not just talking about attending Sunday morning services.  Connect with a ministry within that church.  And try to choose which church you want to commit to within the first few weeks.  It’s easy to church hop for an entire semester, but I would advise against that.  No church is perfect, since people make up the membership (ha-ha).

2. Create a chart (Excel would work) of assignments that need to be done for each week.  Trying to check different sheets or papers each professor gives you at random times gets messy and ineffective.  When you get things done ahead of time, you don’t feel stressed, get better grades, and create respect within your relationships with professors.

3. “I don’t want to go to events because I don’t know anyone.”  That makes you the perfect candidate to attend!  And if you already know tons of people, go and meet new people and use your connections for introductions in order to make everyone feel comfortable.

4. Don’t be afraid to sit with people you don’t know very well in Chartwells.  Most people won’t go up to someone at a table and ask if they can join, but it works if you’ll do it.

5. During the first few weeks, you’ll need to get to chapel 15 minutes early if you want to be able to choose your seat.  This tip is especially valuable if you go to chapel in a large group or with your 8-man homies.

6. Sit down with professors at lunch.  That might seem like an awkward idea, but I’m not advising you to anything I haven’t done myself.  The professors at this school have a lot of interesting views on topics relative to your season in life.  They want to help you feel like you belong here, so let them.

7. Say hi to everyone.  Don’t be the person who stares at a person walking down el prado and then just looks at the ground as you walk by.  Say hi!  If you’re going to spend eternity with them, might as well start getting to know them now; otherwise, that heaven encounter might be heavenly awkward. 😉

8. Walk on the treadmill or workout on the elliptical when you need to read.  This was a huge help to me in not only avoiding the freshman (or transfer 15, in my case) 15.  And you’re going to meet friends in the gym if you go consistently.

9. Don’t be afraid to be salty.  That includes around Christians on a Christian University campus.  If we’re as salty as we probably should be, there may be friction with professors, peers, coaches, etc.  This is positive friction, when done with a loving and respectful spirit.  We can all learn from each other.

10. Fall in love with Jesus.  I personally advise against getting a boyfriend or girlfriend within the first few weeks of school.  You’re both vulnerable.  Use this time to rely on God rather than someone else who is in the same boat as you.  There is nothing wrong with having a boyfriend or girlfriend, as long as your life reflects the priorities of your heart being with Jesus first.  I realize this won’t be the most popular tip.  What I would encourage you to do is to find your worth, emotional, and all-around joy and fulfillment in Jesus and his faithfulness.  Do this, and you are going to grow and influence others for the better during your years at Southeastern.

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TOW #2

I viewed articles on the blog “In the Greenroom” by Fox and Friends on FoxNews.com.  I like watching Fox and Friends on the Fox News channel, but I generally don’t wake up in time to watch the show.  I guess the next best thing is reading up on their blog posts.  It’s a way to stay current on my own schedule, my way.

In the Greenroom has many posts about stories around the country that raise controversy.  Many of the blog posts are short headlines meant to be informative rather than strictly entertaining.  Some of the posts let readers know about services for job searching.

Reading blogs, and this blog in particular could certainly be useful for college students.  It’s easy to get into a “bubble” of sorts, while forgetting about world events.  When something happens that’s widely covered by the media, like the recent tragedies in Japan, students know about it.  If TOMS has a promotion involving a specific outreach mission, I can almost guarantee you that a significant number of college students know about it.  We get our news and information on current events through mediums we already use in our daily routine.  It takes a significant jolt to successfully encourage someone to move from a surface interest to action for a cause.

Basically, we need to market ourselves as assets to companies.  In order to get a job, students need to make themselves valuable.  In order to stay current, knowing about current events is definitely important.  Especially if you’re going to work in PR, having a basic knowledge of what is going on around the world in political, social and economic climates should not be treated as a variable.  It just needs to be done.

I recently participated in an in-class discussion regarding CNN and their blogs.  They have many, so if you would like to read news blogs from other sources, CNN is a possibility.  I typically use Fox News to get my news information.

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