Fátima Saldivar: With an Eye on the Digital World

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Photo Credit: Fatima

When you hear the words content marketing or digital strategy, you may find yourself with millions of questions about them. The truth is those words have become more and more relevant nowadays. Thanks to technology, the  digital media field is booming and jobs in those fields are too. Fátima Saldivar knows those words perfectly, after all they are part of her every day activities. She is the community manager and digital strategist for  Talenthouse Latin America and has been so for the past year and a half.

A Move She Didn’t See Coming

silicon valley

Photo Credit: IsaacMao

Coming from the traditional marketing world to move on to the digital world was not something she had planned ahead. It was a move to the famous Silicon Valley that showed her a whole new, different face to marketing. “Communicating with people became much easier, doing it all online allows you to be closer to the market, your targets and get it all done on time,” she says. Indeed, she does communicate on time and constantly. Talenthouse is after all an online company dedicated to be a community and social media platform for creative minds where people can collaborate with global brands, recognized artists, and among themselves. As part of her job, Fátima is in charge of developing and executing strategic plans through digital and content marketing tactics including email marketing, social media strategy, content creation, SEO, and online PR.  “It is a fun job,” she says, and something that has given her a new idea of what communications is all about.

Digitally Connected with Content that Matters

talenthouse

Photo Credit: Talenthouse Facbook

And communications is about being digitally connected. Indeed, Fátima considers that to be a very important aspect of her job. “We use social media platforms and online tools to share and connect with the Latin American community at Talenthouse,” she says. “That is what generates the engagement and participation needed.” More than that,  she believes it is also important to be clear, consistent, fast and patient; something we could all use as communicators online.

But Fátima believes it is not just about using tools, but using them well and offering quality content, to the Talenthouse community in this case.  “It is really important to be authentic, the audience will instantly notice if you aren’t,” she says. Therefore, being up to date and keeping up with the rapid flow of information in the online world is a key strategy that she applies, and one that anyone working in the field should too. Thus, when it comes to content creation for Talenthouse, Fatima focuses on the company’s areas of interest including photography, design, music, dance and film.“That is all that matters, we create things that what we care about, that our audience cares about, and then share it and spread it, and do it creatively.” And she does, as many of the Facebook posts show.

Be Digital, Be strategic

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Photo Credit: mkhmarketing

More than content though, Fátima has learned that managing the digital world requires strategy and vision, without it there is nowhere to go. As part of her job, she and her peers use programs including Google Analytics as well as Hootsuite, Zoho and MailChimp. This allows them to be able to generate better results and track their progress when launching different campaigns.

And that strategy goes beyond software or programs; it also has to do with social media, and with knowing where to go with it. For that reason, Fatima breathes social media strategy.”It’s like walking in the dark,” she says of not having one. Certainly, social media strategy is huge now and she believes that having set goals and a way to reach them will make all the difference. Without goals, she says “you are simply out of communication with the audience and cannot spread the message to them.”

And using social media spreads beyond just doing it at work; it spreads to her personal life and online presence. She believes that as people, especially those in the communications field, enter the professional world, having social media platforms to communicate is crucial. “You can’t be working in the digital world without having a digital presence yourself,” she says.

Schedule it!

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Photo Credit: photosteve101

Additionally and besides strategy, there is scheduling. As part of her job, Fátima is in charge of following through when a Creative Invite, which is how campaigns are called, is launched. She and the team have to plan and organize online content before and after a campaign and they do so by schedule everything. “We have a calendar that establishes what will happen from the moment the campaign starts to the moment voting starts,” she says.

And this scheduling involves blogs, social media messages, emails to be sent and so forth. So, during the launching stage, social media is heavily implemented to spread the word about the campaign and to get as much people involved and participating as possible. In this phase, Fatima also contacts a lot of schools, online partners, and bloggers to get free mentions of the Creative Invites and to continue to spread the word. Then, once the voting process starts, the online community is invited to choose their favorite and when the winner has been chosen, a blog post is created to showcase the artist and his/her work. Doing all of this allows the process to run smoothly and,more importantly, to digitally connect with the Talenthouse community.

I Got My Eye on You Digital World

digital media

Photo Credit: Kheng guan Toh

It sure seems like Fátima has her hands full with her job. Being a community manager, she says, “has been truly rewarding” and has taught her the importance of understanding the digital world. For those looking into doing this professionally, she believes that it is important to know about it as much as possible. “We can no longer live in a world that is not globally connected. You have to be up to date with what is happening, read and learn as much as you can. It is worth it,” she says. Yes, indeed it is, and this class has taught us that too.

So, as Fátima continues to breathe and work digital, she believes that the future for professionals like us will be there too, in one way or the other. “Digital marketing and digital communications is essential now, because of the power they have. So, be it in one area or the other, you got to connect digitally and be active, curious and face challenges the best way you can,” she says. Doing that has allowed her to obtain results right there and then, to communicate with people in numerous ways, to experiment, and to learn. Fátima will definitely continue to keep an eye on the digital world, and, as you move on professionally, you should too.

Starbucks: Roasting Something More than Coffee

Let’s Talk Coffee

Coffee

Photo Credit: El Patojo

What makes a brand stand out from the others? Is it just the product or service it sells? Well, it is more than that. With the internet and technology occupying a major role in the marketing and communication fields, brands are now forced to be part of that world. Thus, only those brands which embrace technology and use it to their advantage by having a good content and social media strategy, and more than that, by staying true to their mission while doing so, are the ones that thrive. One of these brands is Starbucks. The most popular coffee company in the world has a strong internet presence and has been able to communicate its message to its consumers through its strong website and its various social media platforms.

Drinking Coffee…Online

Through its online strategy and techniques, Starbucks communicates one simple message: that it cares about its customers by giving them quality coffee (with a human touch) and more than that, by giving them  quality service and making them part of the Starbucks family. As such, Starbucks coveys its mission of  “inspiring and nurturing the human spirit one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

home page starbucks

Screen Shot from: Starbucks.com

The company uses its website to reach out to its customers effectively and does so with extensive and thorough information. The site is wonderfully crafted with content about the company as a whole. The menu is divided into different categories including: Coffee, Menu, Coffeehouse, Responsibility, Card, and Shop. These categories contain subcategories that take customers to the world of Starbucks which goes beyond coffee drinks. For example, it shows customers the roasting process, as well as its new “Starbucks Evenings”. There is also information about drinks, social responsibility, merchandise and more. As such, through the website, Starbucks is able to give us more than a glimpse of what it is. It gives us the whole picture of a company that is all about coffee…in many different ways.

Drink, Buy, Engage.- Nurturing Relationships Through Content

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Facebook

To maintain consumers engaged and coming back to their site, Starbucks uses different types of content including videos, pictures, a blog, and social media platforms. It also adapts its content to the current events or special occasions and the different seasons of the year.

For example, to honor Veterans Day,  it uses the hashtag  #thankavet which appears on its home page and provides a link to explain its commitment to help Veterans. Moreover, to introduce its holiday flavors and mark the start of the holiday season, it uses pictures of its popular red cups as well as  links to information of each beverage. And, to create a better shopping experience, the Starbucks Store is filled with images of all the products it sells throughout the year. Thus, through different types of content,  Starbucks is able to show what it’s about from different angles and reinforce its quality coffee and service, its engagement with the community, and its story which goes beyond a cup of coffee.

Love the Smell of Coffee- Yummy User Experience

store

Screen Shot: Starbucks Store

The website is very easy to navigate as content is laid out in different categories and enhanced with the use of images. The site speaks directly to its target (men and women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s) as it contains everything they are looking for. It is sort of a one-stop-shop for everything Starbucks. For those who are looking for merchandise, they can follow the link to the Starbucks Store. Those who want to check their card rewards and balance can go to My Starbucks Rewards. There is also a link for those who want to see the menu offering and nutritional facts as well as links to find out more about the music that it plays in its coffee shops. Its popular logo is present all throughout the site and its signature color of green mixed with white is part of the design.

Hence, the use of a cool design and visual imagery mixed with useful information, make the user truly feel in a Starbucks world and part of the “family.”

 Let’s Share a Coffee

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Google Plus

Starbucks is also keen on detail and includes social media buttons to its different types of content. So, if a user visits the site to find out about the a new holiday roast, he/she can see a picture of it, read the description, and share it on Facebook or Twitter. Besides this, the content itself is written in a simple, understandable and fun way, so people are not bored with what they are reading, and are  prompted to share it. For example, the “My Starbucks Rewards” page contains a cool video explaining it all, making people want to share it since it is interesting and fun. Overall, Starbucks maintains consistency in its content strategy which allows it to build authority and keep people coming back.

Coffee and me- Social Media

Starbucks does not simply rely on its website, but also on its social media platforms which are managed in the same voice as the site: with cool, well-crafted, and engaging messages. The platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, and its own community page/blog, My Starbucks Idea.

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Facebook

These platforms serve to communicate with customers, to tell them about offers and new drinks, and give them a place to chat and engage. The company places a lot of attention to detail as it does not broadcast the messages it conveys.  For example, mentioning a peppermint mocha drink is told differently through a tweet than through a Facebook post. This approach helps  the company reinforce its human approach to coffee and the unique service and quality that sets it apart from other coffee shops.

I See Coffee

Just like its website, Starbucks uses a lot of pictures in its social media messages. The pictures shared on all social media platforms tell a story. For example, when it introduced the fall favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte, it added a picture on Facebook, along with a tweet on Twitter, and a picture on Instagram. These different types of images allow the brand to talk to its users in a more personal way and maintain consistency and authority.

Coffee My Heart-A Brand that Entertains

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Facebook

Moreover, the company uses fun, simple messages that keep people happy and entertained. For example, it recently tweeted  a message about coffee and a Facebook post talked about mornings with Starbucks. These posts are fun to read and give customers more reasons to love Starbucks. What is more, its Pinterest account, which is called Starbucks Loves, gives customers something more, as the pins highlight coffee in different ways and scenarios. This strategy helps the brand reinforce its idea of being not just a cup of coffee, but part of people’s lives.

It’s Between You and Me..said the Caramel Macchiato

heart starbucks

Photo Credit: Starbucks Instagram

The communication on social media platforms is also done in a way that makes customers feel close to the brand. Its Twitter account description, for example, gives the names of the people who tweet as to say that it is not a machine doing the talking, but real people. Moreover, it uses engaging hashtags like #sharejoy or #joyhappens which add emotion and a human touch to the brand and the message. Its Youtube videos are also personable as they show Starbucks employees talking about a day at work or the process of making coffee. And, its Google Plus site is similar to its Facebook  page in showing messages about new drinks, the start of new seasons, recent events, and promotions. Being more personal and varied with its social media, helps Starbucks gain authority, credibility, and build and keep relationships.

You Want it Extra Hot?- A Brand that Listens

hello sbux

Photo Credit: Starbucks Google Plus

Starbucks social media also listens to its customers. Its Facebook page provides a customer service number and its Twitter account includes a lot of retweets, showing that it listens to what people have to say about the company.  Moreover, the company also creates a lot of conversation and engagement as all platforms are regularly updated and the messages aim to bring people closer together to the company. For example, its Pinterest account contains boards such as Coffee DYI” which shows consumers ways to use coffee as gifts or crafts. As such, it makes them feel important and cared for.

Roasting Together-A Brand that Engages

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Facebook

Starbucks is also able to create participation and engagement by heavily promoting its campaigns and ongoing offers. These include its Tweet a Coffee campaign which encourages Twitter users to give Starbucks gift cards through a tweet, the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, and the recent Come Together campaign which was put into effect during the government shutdown and urged Starbucks drinkers to pay it forward and pay someone else’s drink. In addition, it has the site/blog “My Starbucks Idea” as a place for customers to contribute ideas, comments,  as well as read blog posts and interact with Starbucks employees. This strategy gives people a way to get together, talk coffee, and be closer to the company.

It’s not Coffee, It’s Starbucks

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Photo Credit: Starbucks Google Plus

Starbucks has surely embraced the power of the digital world and its content and social media strategies show it. They are well executed and go along its mission and story of giving “a human approach to business” and “putting people before products.” Its social media platforms have a fresh look and feel and the messages speak directly to consumers. Through its well built website, the company is able to give customers a place to engage, learn, and be part of the Starbucks family. Overall, the company is able to show consistency and give people coffee with a touch of social responsibility, coffee with a touch of quality, and more importantly, coffee with a touch of love. Indeed, Starbucks roasts more than coffee, it truly roasts a brand- one cup of coffee at a time.

“The Future of Search and Data is EVOLVEing” – Derek Mabie and his “Digital Labs”

Having missed our guest speaker talk, I used the power of internet and social media to look into the world of Derek Mabie and his company.

Who is Derek Mabie?

Derek Mabie is the president of Evolve Digital Labs, a search marketing agency in Saint Louis dedicated to empowering brands by giving them an understanding of SEO, SEM, and PPC. He came and gave a very interesting and insightful talk  about search engine marketing (a new and important concept to me), SEO, and the magic behind his company. As he states on his Linkedin profile , “Trying to redefine search marketing and myself,” Derek is,indeed, all about Search.

What is Evolve Digital Labs?

Evolve Digital Labs guides itself by one simple and important mission statement: “Empowering brands through Search.” Thus and according to its website,  the company considers search a utility, one which can help clients reach far and one which can “touch the world.” To do this, Evolve Digital Labs seeks to deliver an improved online product for companies and their customers and considers customers, not companies, as the most important consumers. The agency has a very experienced and dedicated staff that wants to solve clients’ problems, find solutions, and help them adapt and change along with the changes online.

It’s a Three-Step Process

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Photo Credits: EvolveDigitalLabs

In order to achieve its mission of empowering brands through search, as shown on the website (or as Derek stated to my classmates in class), the agency helps its clients through a three-step process of audit, strategy, and growth.

Audit

As the site states, an SEO audit is done to change the way the client views his/her website. To do this, the staff at Evolve thoroughly analyzes the website to see what can be improved. Moreover, they also look into the competition and figure out why they are beating the client in the SERPs. Finally, the staff performs keyword research to look into optimizing future content, meeting customers’ needs, and realigning goals. This whole audit process made me think of the idea of branding. As we have learned, the importance of pairing good content with good SEO, is crucial to be relevant to consumers online. Thus, I believe that being aware of what a website offers and how it is built can eventually determine its success in the online world.

Strategy

The second step in the process is strategy and it involves using the data and research gathered from the audit step to create a long-term plan that will help clients reach long-term success. Thus, the Evolve team works along with their clients to create a to-do list and determine what content to craft, how to share it, and how to distribute it. I believe that this stage in the process is particularly important when we think of what we have learned in class about creating our own website. In a way, we also strategize and determine SEO approaches and content ideas that can help us be unique and stand out. Thus, following this step could make a big difference.

Growth

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Photo Credits: Ryan Heaney

The last step in Evolve’s process to help clients is growth. This step requires clients to stay in touch with the Evolve team and to allow the team to help them in building a better strategy and reaching success. It also emphasizes the importance of paid search since PPC will drive traffic and generate leads. As the word says, growth can be crucial since we don’t want to stay stuck with one strategy that will reach nowhere. Thus, I think that growth should always be in our minds when building our online brand.

Overall, I believe that the process of audit, strategy, and growth can apply to us all when building a site or creating an online presence. It is orderly, relevant, and helpful.

Class Talk Highlights

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Photo Credits: Microsoft Sweeden

As I had mentioned, I unfortunately wasn’t able to be in class when Derek came to talk about Evolve Digital Labs and the way it helps brands. Nevertheless, thanks to Twitter, I was able to get a sneak peek into what he covered. Besides talking about auditing, strategizing and growing; according to my classmates, Derek emphasized on mastering Excel and being able to analyze data in order to become valuable for a company. Doing this could help us “make a million dollars in ten years.” Hearing about Excel’s importance was definitely new to me. It made me think that sometimes we tend to forget that we have the tools for our success and it is all a matter of using them  to open new doors for us. I will surely concentrate more on improving my Excel skills. Finally, Derek highlighted the importance and prevalence of search nowadays as he said, “Search is vital. It’s ingrained in how we live.” Thus, I believe that if we can read the process behind it, as the Evolve Digital Labs team does, we could succeed.  In general, I believe that Derek’s thoughts on the importance of data and search are certainly insightful since, as technology advances, data is becoming more and more important. Hence, if we are able to keep up with these changes and know the landscape, we can thrive as professionals.

Final Thoughts

Search

Photo Credit: Javi

Overall, after researching about Derek Mabie and his agency, and after reading my classmates’ tweets, I am more than eager to learn about search engine marketing, digital strategy, and the process behind it all. What Derek does, and what he talked about are relevant topics for us as active digital media consumers and as future professionals. As he said: “The future of search and data is EVOLVEing,” Indeed, it  is and we could be part of that evolution.

The Wisdom of TJ Kirgin and Inbound Marketing

TJ Kirgin

Photo Credit: AnchorSTL

After exploring, learning and discussing interesting topics about web search and content, we had our first guest speaker presentation. The guest was TJ Kirgin and he is part of the company AnchorSTL which specializes in branding, web design, internet marketing and more. His talk was titled “Inbound Marketing: Your Secret Weapon” and right off from the introduction I knew we were in for a great hour of his wisdom. TJ covered different ideas, some of which we had talked about in class, and some of which were new.

“Inbound is not a strategy, but an ideology.”

TJ primarily focused on the new marketing concept  of inbound marketing. I had not heard about it before and found it to be very true when he talked about it. Basically, this new concept has to do with turning strangers into promoters. To do this, a process which is constant flow is followed, and it involves blogging, keywords, landing pages, email, CMR integrations and social media. It was interesting to see that many these techniques are ones which we have used and talked about in our Geek class. As such, it was much easier to follow him and understand what he was talking about.  He also emphasized on the importance of companies adapting to and applying this concept in order to improve their websites, keep customers coming back and more than anything, grow sales. Sales, after all, drive companies and with inbound marketing they could succeed. That new idea resonated within me as I can now further understand why companies place so much importance on their website management.

 “Welcome to the content wars, where brands must become publishers”

Content is king

Photo Credit: Net Workers India

TJ also talked about the importance of customers and the fact that, with convergence, they are the ones in control now and their behaviors have changed. People now research and use the internet for everything including recipes, how to get better at a game, and more. As such and to have a successful company, we should look at customers from an average lifetime value,(a new concept for me), have a customer focused strategy and more importantly focus on creating good content that leads to context. Starbucks for example, is not focused on selling a $4 cup of coffee, but in keeping customers happy and coming back; in the long run one happy loyal customer is worth around $20,000 for the coffee company. Such idea helped me realize how important  content marketing is nowadays. A happy customer is all a company wants.

Moreover, TJ also brought up things related to content which we have talked about in class including Google and its algorithms. Since Google is the dominant search engine, every change it makes will affect companies. Google wants happy customers and has used its algorithms Panda, Penguin and now Hummingbird to please them. These changes dictate how a website lands on the SERPs, something that we have already discussed in class. For this matter, TJ highlighted how crucial it is to have quality websites with a “sticky homepage” that combine old SEO tools such as hyperlinks, keywords and sub-headers, with new techniques such as engaging content, good site design, and social signals. Doing this, he said, will help us reduce the bounce rate, a term I hadn’t heard of before which is extremely important in inbound marketing.

Social Media and Blogging

“At the core of content marketing is blogging.”

Blogging

Photo Credit: Kris Olin

Another very insightful thought he shared with us was the importance of blogging. He said blogging can launch a company and it helps one connect to its customers at a deeper level. Thus, I realized that blogging is not an option, it is a requirement. He emphasized on blogging to tell the story of a company, as AnchorSTL does. To do so, we should blog in a way that is helpful and informative, interesting and engaging. Something new I learned was the fact that customers do contextual web search and, because of that, blogging is key; it equals traffic and good content is the backbone. It was interesting to see the importance of this activity as we have applied it in class. Thus, it went along the idea of branding and related to the importance Jill places in having a good title as well as good hyperlinks and anchor texts when we blog. The fact that we get to blog in class is very beneficial as we are gaining knowledge and branding ourselves.

” Twitter is the radio station, YouTube is the TV station, and Facebook is the magazine”

TJ also explained the importance of social media and having a social media presence, which is something we have constantly learned about in class. He told us to identify our voice, our theme and then create good content that engages people at the emotional level and keeps them coming back. Having a Twitter account as he and AnchorSTL do, will greatly influence our online presence. I believe that with Geek class, we have become much more aware of our social media presence, as we have discussed Facebook and its strategies and use Twitter to communicate .

“Write to Help, Write to Sell”

keyboard

Photo Credit: Kimlamansky

Something new to me that TJ also introduced was the three categories of content. TOFU, which is content targeted for those who have become aware that they have a need that they must fulfill, BOFU which is content for those who are aware that a product or service could fulfill their need and are determining which is the best fit, and MOFU which is content for those who are ready to make a purchase. This was a good way to understand the correlation between good content and sales as each customer can be at a different stage when he/she visits a website. Finally, another important thing that I hadn’t known of, and which I loved, was HubSpot. It basically is inbound marketing software that helps with the overall marketing strategy of a company.

Words of Wisdom

Anchor

Photo Credit: AnchorSTL

Overall, I truly enjoyed TJ’s talk. His energy and enthusiasm made the talk smooth, engaging, insightful and very informational. His thoughts completely helped me understand the importance of this class. As Jill one said, there are not many colleges that teach this type of courses, and I am glad I took it. With TJ’s presentation, I realize that college graduates in the field of communication need to understand (at least the basics) of SEO, SEM and the ins and outs of the online world and web search. His topics on the importance of social media, the power of Google, SEO strategies, and content are all ideas that we have covered or will cover in class. They have a big relevance thanks to this class and they are clearer now too.  All in all, TJ’s presentation left me wanting more and reaffirmed my idea of going into this area professionally.

Alegria in Keyword Researchland

Google

Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

When it comes to web search, the first word that comes to my mind is Google. I see Google as the go-to place when looking for recipes, reading news, booking a flight; put simply: finding answers for basically anything in a matter of seconds. I have used it for quite a while and yet I had never stopped to think of the importance of those words I type in the search box. So, thanks to Jill’s assignment, I started my adventures in keyword research.

I chose the topic of marketing, more specifically content marketing. I intended to  search for things related to this topic since it is an area I want to delve into professionally, and one which I’ve come to love after having done an internship that involved a lot of this. Also, I want to hone my skills in it since I have noticed it could give me an edge when I applying for jobs in California.

The Adventure Begins

Search

Photo credit: Ana GuzzoThe Adventure Begins

First, I decided to go with a short phrase and typed in content marketing.  The SERP showed both organic and paid results. The organic results were pretty broad and included news articles, websites, and blogs touching upon the subject from different angles. Some involved straight forward definitions, while others included resources and advice. The paid search results included content marketing software, marketing plans, and even an e-book. After reading some articles, I was more detailed with my search query and typed in how to improve skills on content marketing as my long-tail keywords.The results I got were much more specific than the previous one. The organic results included tons of blogs which tips and steps to hone content marketing skills, and two articles from a website called “Content Marketing Institute” which I really liked. As for the paid search results, they looked a lot like the ones I got from my previous search query.

In general, I feel that both long and short tail keywords gave me important and relevant results that I could actually use since my user intent was very personal and related to the journey I am going through as I enter the professional field.  I think that, generally, user intent goes hand in hand with SEO strategy and, for these particular keywords; the results were both informational and instructive.  For that matter, other people could search for “content marketing” topics with the intent of understanding how they can better improve their SEO and SEM strategies and also, like me, to learn how to improve their skills as content marketing creators.

AdWords

Photo Credit: hugovk

I continued my adventures and delved into the land of Google’s Keyword Planner. What I discovered there was pretty mind-opening as I realized that the keyword phrases I had chosen are very popular today with high competition, number of visitors, and bid prices. For my short-tail keyword (content marketing), the average month searches were 27,100 and the suggested bid was $8.12. Some keyword ideas listed below were “content marketing strategy” and “what is content marketing” with high prices ($11.58 and $11.72) and visits (1,600 and 2,400) respectively. When looking into ad group ideas, some of the most relevant ones included “small business marketing” and “marketing.”  I decided to specify a bit more and see if changes occurred. I chose San Francisco as the place where my keywords would be targeted in and competition decreased to a “low.”  I experimented a bit more and realized that changing the language to Spanish did make a huge difference since I only got one keyword idea and mine did not even have data available.

Keyboard

Photo Credit: Amancay Maahs

I then analyzed “how to improve skills on content marketing.” After typing in the words, I did not get any data. The results did however list a lot of long-tail keyword ideas including “how to improve communication skills”  with low competition and 9,900 visits a month, and “how to improve writing skills”, also with low competition and a suggested bid price of only $0.99. The ad group ideas in this case included “content writer” with 12,910 visits and a high competition and “Communication Skills” with a bid price of only $1.04 dollars, medium competition, and 100,470 monthly visits! I was not surprised to see this since I assume a lot of people type in those words on a regular basis.

I also checked how much it would cost me if I used the “marketing” ad group and put a bid price of $10. The results told me that I would get 19.7 to 24.0 clicks, with a cost of $123.39, and an average CPC of $5.65. I honestly did not understand most of these results, but was surprised at how specific the data was, and can see why people use it to drive traffic to their sites. I also think it could give people a good insight  to discover the profitability of different keywords, including long-tail keywords. I believe that with more practice, I could truly use it to my advantage when thinking of SEO for my website or when working in that field in the future.

The End

Drones

Photo Credit: StéfanThe End

And  that is how my adventures in keyword researchland ended. It was a great ride and throughout the whole process I learnt something new and realized how important words are on the internet today. I now understand why companies would spend money and time on keyword research as the digital world continues to boom. I am much more aware that every word I type in on Google has power. It will be interesting to see where SEO is heading and, more importantly, how things will change after Google recently announced its move to secure search. One thing is for sure and that is: words mean money in the internet world, and their value could continue to thrive as everything becomes more readily available simply with the click of a button, the typing on a keyboard, or the touch of a screen.

Can You Pick Up The Breadcrumbs?

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Photo Credit: Rishi Bandopadhay

The digital revolution has brought with it many changes; some of them have been positive and some of them, well, not so much. In a world where connectivity is dominant and where information is widely available, the matter of privacy and, more importantly, of our digital footprint becomes extremely relevant to us. I had heard of how companies such as Google and Facebook can store our data and give it to advertisers to profit from it. I had also heard about the government and its attempt at tracking people down with the help of technology. I had heard it, but now, after this class discussion, I realize it. Many things that I would not even think about before are now much more important and I cannot ignore them anymore.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

In the past, we would get our information from newspapers, magazines or television. These were reliable sources which we would trust and easily understand and, more importantly, could consume without leaving a trace. These analog media have since lost their presence as new means of communication have emerged. We are now empowered with the tools to create, manage, send, and consume information through photos, text messages, audio and more. We are in the era of digital media, one in which communicating is easier and better, but also one in which the moment we decided to become active users, our privacy and, for that matter, our lives have suffered. From clicks and comments left on a wall, to pictures shared and purchases made, we are paving a path that can easily be tracked. We are, in other words, leaving breadcrumbs (as Jill called them) and anyone can follow them. If we, for instance, type in an internet address, we instantly give away something and keep creating a road map of who we are.

Photo Credit: James Royal-Lawson

Photo Credit: James Royal-Lawson

This idea is a bit alarming considering that, even though it seems like the internet has granted us freedom, we are not truly free. Our online activity can be “controlled” and used by third parties or people who we have no idea of. So, we have been given freedom, but at the same time have lost control of where our information goes and who and what entities have access to it. As mentioned in the New York Times article, the author’s friend lost control of the information she gave away through her online activity. Not only that, but she created a picture of who she really wasn’t. Therefore, those breadcrumbs we leave behind with the click of a button or the typing on a keyboard, can shape our image and influence our real lives. This makes us wonder then, what am I putting out there that can harm me? No matter how different we are in real life from who we are online, to the companies and the internet, we are what we leave behind. And, more than that, we mean profit.

These companies are equipped with tools to maximize that profit and one of them is the powerful tool of data analytics, one which allows  them to measure and track our activity. This method has allowed them to not only understand us as numbers and zeros, but to maximize their reach towards us. They have been able to optimize the content they give us and create sort of “baits” that we fall for and click on. They also use anchor texts that lead us into other URLs and by doing so we have shown interest in something else- a single click and we become a traceable number.

watching you

Photo Credit: Guido S.

Additionally, something that might have been looked over before and has gained more attention is metadata. After Edward Snowden, we have become more aware of such term and have started to wonder, what can the government do with my information and, am I being tracked? We may think that metadata is benign since it does not give names out, but in reality it could be very negative to us. It makes us wonder, who is the watch dog out there tracking me down? What would feel like a spy movie thriller is now becoming a reality. What alarms me even more is the fact that the government can easily access that information and do so faster and better than ever. And, as mentioned in the article from Wired.com , “Individually, there’s not much we can do to opt out.” It is hard to stop that data from being collected since every device we use stores it every second. We should be aware of  how dependent we have become on these “machines.” They do everything for us and, before we know it, they have shaped us and we have given too much information away.

It is certainly interesting to see where all this will take us. What does the future hold?, Where will our digital footprint go? Who will trace it?; these are all questions lingering in the air and it is naive to think that nothing will happen. So, we better keep our eyes open and become aware of what we leave behind, because our data is out there and it may be very difficult, if not impossible to erase it.

Blog Post #23-Presentation: Should fake photos be used in news?

In one of the presentations, Natalie covered a case study regarding the use of a staged photo of a homeless guy sleeping in front of a church building. The photo was ran along with a story in a newspaper, prompting the company mentioned to change its construction plans.Faking photos and using them has been a debate for some time. Given the importance of visuals, photojournalists and editors have to be ethical about the decision they make regarding pictures. I believe that staging photos should not be done under any circumstances. News is meant to inform and give real facts about issues and events, and even though a staged photo can be beneficial to the story and heighten the drama, it should not be used. Photojournalists should operate with the idea of integrity to their audience and the purpose of not deceiving them since readers trust them and the information they read and see. Following ethics in photojournalist is as important as following ethics in reporting. It is not about manipulating reality, but about showing it in a timely, significant and honest way.

Blog Post #23- Harvard Implicit Test

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For the Harvard Implicit test, I decided to take the Gender-Career test. My results showed that I have a moderate association of male with career and female with family compared to female with career and male with family. To a certain extent, I agree with the results since I do think that, many times, I unconsciously link males with being the providers and females with being the care takers. However, I think that these measures are not really that indicative about the way I think and feel since many of the questions had limited options to choose from and I could not really relate to any of them, hence I chose something similar to what I would really feel, but it was not 100% true. Because of that, I think that many of the results can be inaccurate since there is no way to really know who is being honest and who is just making things up and choosing random answers. This suggests, then, that many of the measures campaign organizers use to figure out voters’ attitudes, expectations and more, are not completely truthful. Like it happened to me, many of the surveys and tests use general questions that do not necessarily apply to every person; so they do not truly tell or guarantee that voters’ are that certain way. I believe that campaign managers should not completely rely on these to understand voters since everyone is different and it will never be possible to completely get into people’s minds.

Blog Post #22-Little Rock 9

Image1. Issues:

– 9 African American students who enrolled in a high school in Arkansas in 1957 were attacked by a mob who threw rocks at them, yelled names and prevented them from entering the school.

– Different reporters were covering the story and got involved in one way or another, including Dr. Benjamin Fine from The New York Times.

-One student Elizabeth Eckford is attacked, sad and in shock. 

– Many reporters faced danger while covering the story including four African American journalists and TV news reporter John Chancellor.

2. Perspectives:

-From Dr. Benjamin Fine: As he mentioned, when he saw Elizabeth he thought of his daughter, so his view of the event was very negative and he felt like he needed to do something about it even if meant not following strict journalism rules.

 From Mrs. Grace Lorch: She did not agree with anything the mob was doing and tried to do everything in her hands to get Elizabeth into a safe place.

– From Elizabeth Eckford: She was in shock, sad and very vulnerable. She felt helpless.

– From the national guardsmen: They agreed with the mob and their racist thoughts, they did not help any of the African American students.

– From African American journalist Alex Wilson: He did not run or retract from the mob and decided to face them. He wanted to send the message that things will change and that African Americans are strong individuals who do not give up.

From John Cancellor: More or less neutral point of view. He kept walking to keep covering the event. 

-From the mob: They were angry at the idea of having African Americans in a high school full of white people. They saw them as less, non deserving individuals and had a lot of racism towards them.

3. Knowledge:

When looking at the decisions made through Kant’s Categorical Imperative view, the reporters’ and Mrs. Lorch’s actions followed the first idea that “an individual should act as if the choices one makes for oneself could become universal law.” Dr. Fine tried to help Elizabeth and did not simply stay put. His choices helped an individual who was very vulnerable at the moment. Mr. Chancellor and Mr. Wilson did not run since they were either, inspired by Elizabeth or realized their power as journalists, hence they continued their coverage.Kant’s other idea that moral forces reside on the act itself, rather than the individual, can be seen too. All of these people forgot what their role was for a moment and focused on acting in a way that benefits a greater good and that is morally correct.

On the other hand, the racist mob and guards did not follow any ethical path as their actions were simply a means to an end and did not benefit anyone but their own sense of pride and hatred. in Kant’s view it is all about actions and the mob’s actions were not good in any way, while the other individuals’ actions were.

4. Actions:

– The reporters did not run even if they could have been attacked.

– Dr. Fine helped Elizabeth and yelled back at the mob.

– The mob acted out of hatred, threw stones and yelled at the African American students.

– Elizabeth was in shock, went to a corner and cried. She did not really do much.

– Mrs. Lorch helped Elizabeth get out of the crowd.

If I were a reporter covering the story, I believe I would have helped Elizabeth too. It is hard to keep a reporter’s role in cases like that, especially if young students are in danger. I would have followed Kant’s categorical imperative idea and focused on acting morally for the sake of a great good.

5. Consequences:

The nine students were emotionally affected. The reporters must have felt bad about the whole event and they were also affected emotionally by it. Pictures were taken showing what transpired as well.Moreover, as seen on Oprah, after the events the students were able to attend school, although they still faced negative treatment from most of their peers. Eventually, segregation and racism ceased, but it is very much present nowadays. Many of the white students present at the event apologized to the other nine students.

6. Conclusion:

This event showed how huge racism was at the time. People were blinded by it and acted immorally. It also shows the lack of awareness as many of the students who were part of the mob did so out of fear, out of ignorance, or because their parents had taught them to be that way. 

When looking at it through the Potter Box, the facts for the reporters were clear, students were being mistreated and they could either help, run away, or stay and cover it. The values that would prompt their decision included love for equality, perseverance, bravery. In terms of principles, they could have applied Kant’s categorical imperative view. Finally, loyalty lied in their viewers, their community and African Americans who were seeking equal rights. Overall, I believe that this event raised awareness on how important it is for people to understand we are all equal and deserve the same rights and it showed the perseverance and bravery of African Americans to reach that ideal. 

Blog Post #21- The Bridge

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After watching the documentary “The Bridge”,  which depicts suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge, I have a new-found view of such a landmark in the United States. Having been to San Francisco numerous times and driving through it, I never really thought about people jumping off it and committing suicide. This documentary certainly opened my eyes and more than that, it raised awareness about the sad but true issue of mental illness.

It followed the ethical codes of showing details about the grief of the victims’ families and friends, and it mentioned the relevant background traits that may have brought this sad event to happen. It went “behind the scenes” and focused on the victims, their families and friends and how they are now coping after the incident. It interviewed many of them who did not see it coming and who were shocked when their friend, son or daughter jumped off the bridge. Many of the people who killed themselves were suffering from depression and did not see another way out. I think that it was an appropriate subject for a documentary in the sense that it treated suicide not as a way to glorify the victims or sensationalize the events, but treated it more as a wake-up call to show how much impact mental illness can have on a person. There was hardly any dialogue and the music was slow to transmit the mood of sadness and the true reality of the matter. It didn’t create stereotypes, the language used was not exaggerating the issue in any way, and we could truly see how affected the families and friends were by this. I did feel though that some of the footage used was a bit too graphic to swallow. Seeing so many people jumping off the bridge was really heartbreaking and given that it was so real, it really did impact me. Also, I did not really understand why one of the victim’s friends gave him her sleeping pills and did not take any action once he told her of his plans to kill himself. I found her actions a bit confusing and not good in any way.

I think the director did a great job by including one suicide survivor and showing his positive change. It gives hope to others and gave the documentary a bit of a lighter tone to it. Also, I think it was good that the documentary included a segment with the survivor giving information, phone numbers, and websites to people and families facing the issue of suicide and mental illness. In that way, it followed the standards of reporting on suicide with the preventive and necessary measures. Overall, I feel the documentary followed most of the ethical codes mentioned in the article. I liked it since it opened my eyes to such a grave issue as suicide and mental illness, and made me understand how hard it is for families and friends to deal with it. Next time I go by the Golden Gate Bridge, I will think about this and have a new perspective of it.