Sunday, December 28, 2008

"So what does 'poking' mean?"

The day that I've been anticipating for years finally came.  My mom got on Facebook

Plenty of my friends' parents have already joined the Facebook club.  My mom being the cool mom that she is, I figured it would only be a matter of time before she jumped on the bandwagon.  Sure enough, I was on her laptop a few days ago and went to log in to my page, but it was already logged in to Facebook.  Figuring it was my younger brother's page, I did some exploring only to realize it was my mom's page!  I don't know if it bothered me more to discover that she had made a Facebook page, or to realize I wasn't the first person she had tried to search for and friend.  

Since my discovery we have had a few conversations about her generation's use of social media (as a recent MBA grad, she's also on LinkedIn).  It's so funny to see her try and figure out what it means to "poke" someone and how to tag and untag pictures when these are things that are so normal to people in my generation.  It also makes me wonder how much things will change by the time I have kids, and what they will make fun of me for being confused by...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Often is Often Enough?

A debatable point when it comes to blogging is how often you "should" post.  Of course there is no concrete answer to this question, and if you google "how often should you blog?", you will come up with over 50,000,000 hits with different people's opinions!  

The general consensus seems to be that posting daily is best, because this gives your readers new content to look forward to.  If you have a pretty good following, your readers are likely to anticipate your daily posts and updating frequently will keep them coming back.  One article I read compared blogs to newspapers - if the newspaper was going to repeat the same story every day, would you ever purchase a new one? No.  The same is true with blogging - if you see the same post day after day, you're going to stop visiting the blog.

In the bigger picture, posting more frequently will give your blog better search engine optimization - meaning the each post is an entry point for possible readers to find your blog.  The more entry points your blog has, the more like you are to attract new readers.  

The answer to this question really comes down to the goals you set for your blog.  If you are blogging for personal reasons it would be okay to post more like 2-3 times per week.  However, if you are looking to grow your blog and attract a following of regular readers, it is important to update more frequently.  

(Yes - this post was inspired because I didn't have time to post yesterday.  I had a busy day at the beach and relaxing in the beautiful 80-degree Florida weather.  It's okay to be jealous.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yes, We Celebrate Christmas in Florida

I realized shortly after starting my freshman year at the University of Georgia that being from Florida made me stick out like a sore thumb (well, being from anywhere but Georgia would really).  There are so many differences between these two neighboring states, and I honestly experienced a bit of a culture shock when I first got to Athens.  The accents, the pearls, the sweet tea - it was all very different from what I'd grown up with.  And I loved it, because I had chosen to go to college outside of Florida for these exact reasons.  

I was very curious about the Southern culture, and my friends were curious what it was like to grow up in Florida.  I got all kinds of questions...

"You're not a GATOR fan right?"

"You've never had sweet tea??!"

But I think that funniest, which I still get asked today, was "So, do you still celebrate Christmas in Florida even though it doesn't get cold there?"  There have been other variations of course... "But isn't it weird not to have a White Christmas?" (no, I've never lived anywhere that it snowed); "But you don't have an actual Christmas tree do you?" (contrary to popular belief, we don't bring palm trees in the house to put lights and ornaments on).  

I loved growing up in Florida, and never felt like I was missing out on anything by not waking up to snow on this special holiday.  It's interesting to see how different parts of the country (even different states) celebrate holidays differently.  Our family Christmas traditions include boat rides and outdoor cocktail parties, not snow angels and hot chocolate - and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Avoid Gift Cards this Season

I'll admit, I'm guilty (as many people are) of taking the easy way out when it comes to Christmas shopping and giving gift cards every now and then.  While I feel guilty  about being so impersonal, at least I can rest assured that the recipient will find something they like, rather than having to go through the hassle of returning something or worse - pretending to like it.  

I never thought about the risk involved in gift cards until watching this report on CNN this morning.  With the current recession, gift-givers need to be aware that by purchasing a gift card they are essentially paying cash for an IOU - in a company that may be not be around long enough for the gift card to be redeemed.  

CNN's advice? Redeem your gift cards as quickly as possible!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"This Wonderful Life"

My parents thankfully rescued me from my boredom tonight and took my brother and I out to the Asolo Theatre to see "This Wonderful Life," a one-man adaptation of the classic, "It's a Wonderful Life".  I never really had much of an appreciation for theatre until I saw my first Broadway Shows this summer - and I've been obsessed ever since.  

This one man acted as about 10 different characters for an hour and a half play (with no intermission!).  He was so incredibly talented, I just couldn't believe it - especially at a small local theatre in Sarasota!  

Watch the above clip to see what I'm talking about, it's seriously amazing.

Relaxation turns to boredom

My last semester was without a doubt the most hectic of my life (what happened to having an easy senior year?).  I took a full course load, had two part time jobs, interned, suffered through UGA's dissappointing football season (while making it to a few away games), and tried to have a social life on top of all that.  Needless to say, I rarely had a free minute to veg out at my house and watch TV or do normal college kid things.  I love keeping busy but of course this kind of a lifestyle can take a toll on you!  So I've been looking forward to coming home for Winter Break and doing absolutely nothing for three weeks...

I've been home for less than 48 hours.  I'm bored out of my mind.  

Forgive me for writing an entire post about being bored, but I've literally run out of other things to do.  I've spent the last few days sleeping, Christmas shopping, reading blogs, and watching re-runs of all the shows I missed all semester. 

Oh, and I had my wisdom teeth out this morning so I really can't get out of the house and do anything.  I just feel worthless - I guess I'm more of a work-a-holic than I thought?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Social Networking

As someone involved in public relations, I have recently been experimenting with various social media networking sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, PR Open Mic, etc.).  They're all easy enough to create profiles on and find people to connect with, but I've been wondering how "effective" they truly are for networking (aren't PR people always trying to prove how effective something is?).  I feel like people go through the motions with these websites, accepting "friend requests" or searching for coworkers but few people really get much out of these connections.  I just read a post on PepperDigital's blog (a division of one of the companies I interviewed with this past week, Peppercom) that seemed to share my sentiments - these websites are great in theory but are more passive than anything.  

I wonder if these websites will be more widely used and effective as more people get involved in the social media world?  It's interesting to be in the generation that gets to watch all of this evolve first hand, and I can't help but wonder how different things will be in 5 months when I graduate.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dreaming of a White Christmas

The more I think about moving to New York and talk with friends and family about it, the more I realize all of the life adjustments I will be making in 5 months.  I won't have a car to worry about, I'll be 800 miles further away from my parents, and I'll actually have a real job (if all goes according to plan).  With so many big life changes, I would think people closest to me would have more to say than - "How are you going to deal with the winters??!!"

Yes, I grew up in Florida.  Yes, it is currently 67 degrees in my hometown of Sarasota (4 days before Christmas at 10:30 P.M.).  I know, New York gets a little bit colder than 67 degrees in December.  

But somehow all I noticed when I was in New York this past week was how pretty everything was when it was covered with snow and how cool it was that I could actually make snowballs for the first time ever!  So I'm hoping my excitement over the snow will outweigh how miserably cold I am for 4 months out of the year... well, at least for my first winter as a New Yorker.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big Apple, Here I Come

After living and interning in New York City this past summer, I've been convinced it is the perfect city for me to move to upon graduation.  There are so many job opportunities in the PR world and there's always something fun and exciting going on - perfect for someone in their twenties.

So I just spent the last few days in the city going to informational interviews, talking with PR professionals on the phone, and networking with anyone possible in the field.  I've gotten a lot of great advice on building a strong portfolio, getting involved with social media, networking in general - all things I need to keep in mind in the next few months when I begin my official job search.  However, there was one thing I heard over and over that kind of surprised me...

"In order to get a job in New York, you have to live in New York."

Seems kind of obvious, right?  I guess I had always assumed that I would stay in Athens, living in my cheap townhouse and bartending to pay the bills, until a job presented itself and THEN I would start looking for apartments in New York and make the big move.  Now, looking for an apartment seems to be the next big thing on my horizon.  This all makes sense, as I can see how agencies would be hesitant to hire someone who isn't yet living in the city, but I guess it just hadn't occurred to me until I was told directly.

Now, in addition to researching companies and job openings, I'll be looking at buildings and meeting with brokers trying to find my perfect apartment that I can somehow afford on my starting salary.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Here goes...

I've been toying with the idea of a personal blog for awhile now.  Ever since social media has become so big, especially in my field of study (public relations), it's all I ever hear about - who posted what, when, about who?  I helped launch a video blog for my last internship and enjoyed having an outlet for my thoughts, and with that internship having recently ended I have a void that needs to be filled.

Voila.  My blog is born.

With so many changes coming up in my life (graduating college, searching for a job, moving to a new city, etc.), I figured a blog would be a good way to keep track of my thoughts and experiences.  

And there's no better way to learn about the world of social media than diving headfirst into it right?  So here goes, I'm officially becoming a blogger...