Kaylyn K.

combining politics and social media

Unforgettable Adventures

China

Pizza Hut in China

As many of you may know, I traveled to China last summer on a school trip. My 11 classmates and I boarded the plane for China almost one year ago this week.

Tonight I attended an informal reunion with the students who accompanied me on the trip; it was so much fun! As we all sat there and reminisced about our trip, it was obvious we all thought the same thing: it was terrible while we were there, but it’s funny looking back on it.

Our trip was basically a race to get as many things done and as many famous places seen in as little time possible…as most international trips are. In three weeks we visited at least five cities and saw and experienced everything we could. We really got a taste of the Chinese culture when riding in a sleeper train that was about 100 people over its occupation limit, and when we saw people cooking random meats in the street at all hours of the night. And of course, the food. We were introduced to every possible food I could imagine. I even ate pig’s brain! I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I couldn’t eat any Chinese food for about three months after that trip.

So much of that trip was not fun while we were experiencing it. We were uncomfortable and hungry most of the time, and just couldn’t wait to get home. But now that I’m home, looking back at our China trip, I realize it was such an amazing experience. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go to China, see so much of what it has to offer and experience a completely different culture. And most importantly, I am thankful for the amazing friends I have made from that trip. We have experienced a lot together and will always have our memories from China in common.

Social Media: Class Ends, Facebook Doesn’t

Social Media

Social Media

As we finish the semester we’re all looking back on what exactly we’ve actually learned. It really doesn’t feel like too much has happened, but when I look back at my Social Media class, I realize we did A LOT. Going into class on the first day I though, “ok, so social media…we’re going to be talking about Facebook and Twitter.” While I was partly right, there was so much more to it than that. I never realized how much being active with social media can have an impact on your image and popularity. This was one thing I learned from Klout and Social Mention. Every time I tweeted or updated my Facebook status, I gained a few notches of popularity.

This brings me to the class overall. The aspect of this class that was most interesting and beneficial to me was learning about and setting up a LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn previously, but I probably had four connections and I did not have any information about myself posted. Since adding to my profile, I have over 100 and am getting new requests every day! This type of thing is very important to me because I LOVE networking and meeting people in my field.

Perhaps the most valuable piece of information I gained from my social media class is that once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever. This is important for everyone to know, especially high school and college kids who may not think twice about what they put on Facebook. This isn’t just in regards to inappropriate pictures and comments, though. I have very strong opinions and I know not everyone shares my opinions. Now I really make a conscious effort to think about what I post and how it could impact my career or relationships.

Goodbye Social Media class…you’ve ended, but take comfort in the fact that Twitter and Facebook will last forever (or at least until the new social media fad comes along…) 🙂

“Alive” Week

Study

study, study!

It is almost summer!!! Emphasis on the word, ALMOST. This coming week is the week all students dread: finals week. Actually, here at Creighton, students dread two weeks: dead week and finals week. This is because at Creighton, there is no such thing as “dead week.”

At state schools dead week is the term used for the week before finals where teachers are not supposed to give out homework or have tests. At Creighton, this is the week where teachers decide to give the MOST homework and tests. It’s never unbearable, I mean, I always get everything done — however not without many stressful days and sleepless nights, but I do get it done. It’s just, it would be nice to have, not even a week, but maybe three days where all I had to worry about was finals. Not tests, projects and papers due the week before…just finals. This past week I have had two presentations, one 10 page paper and one 15 page paper due, leaving me just Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to study for all my finals, three of which are on Monday.

Well, I don’t really think Creighton will change their rules based on this post, so I better get to studying!

Print is Stayin’ Alive

Newspaper

Newspapers

Ah, newspapers. Gone are the days of sitting at breakfast with my dad while he holds three different newspapers and repeatedly tells me to stop eating and read something. But wait, are those days gone? NOPE. The story repeats itself every time I am home on break from school, and I love it.

Obviously, the Internet has become the main source of news for many people, including myself. I would love to be able to sit at breakfast and read the paper, (if you’re reading this dad, yes, I do actually read sometimes!) but who has time?? Between waking up early to finish an assignment or study for a test and actually making it to class on time, it is nearly impossible to find time to just sit and read. That’s where the Internet comes in. While I hope to never see newspapers cease to exist, I am part of the problem. It is so easy to sit with my computer minutes before class and check my email and get all the latest news stories on Yahoo! simultaneously. And when I need to catch up on the latest political news, there’s always a Human Events article in my email mailbox.

Not surprisingly, the Pew Center report states that four in ten Americans get their news from the Internet, while only two in ten say they get their news from newspapers. I hope, simply for the sake of being able to go home, eat breakfast with my dad and be told to read the paper, that print newspapers never die.

How Social Media Finds Homes for Animals

NE Humane Society

NE Humane Society

Last week my social media class went to the Nebraska Humane Society to learn about how social media is used in different organizations. Elizabeth Hilpipre, the woman in charge of social media at the Humane Society spoke with us about how she has gained a loyal band of followers for the organization’s social media sites.

Elizabeth said that the most helpful social media tool for the Humane Society is Facebook. Twitter can be helpful, but she has accumulated most of her followers from Facebook. In order to keep people interested, she said, she has had to gauge what garners the most attention from the public. She has discovered that people respond best to pictures of puppies and videos of animals being adopted.

Elizabeth mentioned that her main goal was to get people to interact on the site, simply to gain awareness of the organization and hopefully inspire people to donate to the Humane Society. She said that, at first, it was difficult to understand why people were not interacting on the Facebook page, but then she learned to take some advice from followers and see what they would like to see on the page. Once she took their suggestions and added more puppy pictures and videos, she was able to accrue a large following of supporters on Facebook.

Right now the Nebraska Humane Society has over 20,000 likes…and counting!

Stop Kony!

globe

People coming together to stop Kony

We’ve all heard of Kony2012…the Invisible Children campaign that has suddenly garnered attention across the globe. The movie associated with the campaign quickly became the fastest growing viral video of all time, getting to 100 million views in just six days. Obviously, this is impressive, but is the movie?

Any graphic design person or videographer can tell you that the movie is pretty amazing. The graphics are cool, and it’s just well done. But what about the message? It certainly draws people’s attention to the atrocities occurring under Joseph Kony’s (the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan guerrilla group) regime, but I wonder if that’s the only purpose. The video mostly explains Joseph Kony and why he is so terrible and then encourages people to take action. The question remains, however, what kind of action? They say the main purpose of the video is to get people to rally Congress and let them know they want U.S. troops to remain in Uganda to fight Kony.

Although this is clearly a worthy cause, I’m not exactly sure what can be gained by everyone calling Congress to tell them their position. There are so few troops there now, they probably will not be removing them. The movie’s popularity, however, is outstanding. It’s just too bad there isn’t a more concrete action to be taken than simply “liking” a video on Facebook.

Race Doesn’t Matter…or Does It?

Dr. King

Dr. King

The issue of affirmative action has been dealt with and argued about for years. Up until now, most who disagree with the affirmative action terms have just accepted that it is an unfortunate part of life. Now, however, a new affirmative action case is being taken on by the United States Supreme Court. According to abcnews.com, a Texas high school senior believes she was not admitted into the public Texas university of her choice because of her race. (Read the details here).

Most of us were raised to believe that race doesn’t matter and everyone is treated equally. Well, that’s not true. Colleges and even employers can tell you that they base at least part of their decision on who they employ on whether or not that person is a “minority.” I find it interesting that in a society so focused on making sure everyone is treated equally and no one is ever offended, that we, our own advocates against racial profiling, make it a major aspect of college admissions.

It’s true that in America’s past not everyone has had a fair shot at education and jobs. The question was a good one: why should a deserving African American not have the same opportunities as a Caucasian simply because he has a different skin color? And it’s true, that person should have opportunities to explore based on his or her qualifications and experience, not skin color.

We think we’ve changed things for the better and are “fixing” our past errors by allowing affirmative action to be used in colleges and universities. What we should be doing is encouraging people to work hard knowing they may or may not succeed, but in either case it will be  based on their merit and not the color of their skin.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I hope one day that dream becomes reality.

Breaking the Addiction

Starbucks

Starbucks

It’s Lent again, and for those of us that are Catholic, that means giving up something that we love or vowing to be a better person, daughter, son, etc. This year I chose to give up hot chocolate. Now, most of you probably do not think giving up hot chocolate is such a big deal. I mean, hot chocolate is consumed mostly during the winter months, and we’re almost into March. But for those of you who know me, you know how much of a challenge giving up the chocolatey beverage will be for me.

I LOVE hot chocolate. Every morning, no matter if I got a late start to the day or really have no time, I walk into the same Starbucks and order the same drink: grande hot chocolate. The baristas at the particular Starbucks I frequent know who I am and usually have my order ready for me by the time I get there. This means no lines and no waiting for my drink. In fact, this is the case for three different Starbucks around the country. In Virginia, Nebraska and California I have barista “friends” whom I can always count on to remember my order. Not only that, but they are always there to talk to me every morning and we even sometimes offer each other life advice. This has been my habit since seventh grade, and for 40 days, I will be without my hot chocolate.

It’s been six days so far, and I think I am managing. I’m surprised I have been able to refrain from walking into Starbucks for this long! I hope I can keep it up for another 34 days. Maybe it’ll make me a healthier, stronger person and I will be able to quit drinking hot chocolate forever… I’m not going to count on that one.

“Santorumentum”

US Capitol

The race to the White House

It’s getting closer…the presidential candidate debate season is coming to an end, which means Super Tuesday and elections are right around the corner. This election has been fascinating so far, and I’m sure there is more excitement to come. For the most part, each candidate has had their fair share of time in the limelight, sparking a glimmer of hope into fan bases around the country. I know that’s how I felt when Herman Cain started gaining momentum. For a good three weeks I told everyone I know “see, I told you Herman Cain could win.” I might have been off on that one. But hey, he still had it going there for a while!

And now, all eyes are once again on my candidate of choice, Rick Santorum. Similar to Cain, Santorum has been on the outskirts of the campaign for most of the season, but unlike Cain, Santorum has stuck with it has has let his morals and stances on the issues bring him to the top. He’s not about the drama. He is family man who, I believe, truly wants what is best for America. He has strong views on national security, abortion and illegal immigration, among others, and has not been afraid to stick to those views.

America always seems to want a moderate in the White House. It’s as if we can’t make up our mind about what we want, so we’ll take someone who doesn’t quite know what they want either. This is where we can change that. Rick Santorum knows what he wants for America, and he will not chance his views because of pressure from Congress or other American citizens.

Now the choice is up to us.

Using Social Media for Good

social media

Social Media for Good

Last Wednesday I attended a “Social Media for Good” event. The event focused on how non-profit organizations use social media to get their message out to the public. It was mostly an information session for non-profits who may not know how to use social media effectively.

Brittany Mascio, a recent graduate from Creighton University and a Silicon Prairie News employee spoke about Facebook, Twitter and blogging. She outlined the most important aspects of each media outlet, explaining how to use each so it will be beneficial. The first site she mentioned was Facebook. The most important thing to remember for Facebook, she said, is that timing is key. If a non-profit hopes to have a good showing for an event, it is very important to put the event on Facebook weeks ahead of time and follow up with people who say they will attend.

Next she talked about Twitter. She made it very clear that Twitter is only helpful if you follow the right people. This is important because you want to direct your statements at people who will have an interest in your event/message.

Perhaps the most important point Brittany made was that not all social media is right for every organization. This means that just because Twitter works for one organization does not mean it will be effective for all other organizations.

The Social Media for Good event was very helpful to the non-profit organizations that were present.

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