Coast to Coast

Great post by Tommy Lyga about our travels across the country in the Summer of 2012. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to camp cross country again.

Tommy Lyga

A map of our route.

Last summer my roommate, Quillan George, and I set out for a cross country road trip… Portland, Oregon to Burlington, Vermont. It’s any 21 year old’s dream to go on an adventure like this with his best friend and a list of breweries to hit on the way. We were lucky enough to be able to seize the opportunity. Quillan’s parents moved out to Portland while we were both studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland and during the move they took his car with them. He flew out to Portland about a week earlier than I did to spend time with his family and when I got there we spent a week at the Georges’ house. We drank great beer from breweries like Deschutes Brewery and smaller brewers like Amnesia Brewery. We got to skate at some of the local skateparks and while we never made it to Burnside…

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Smartphones: Is The Convenience Of Automation, Communication And Information Worth It?

Image Sourced from stopandlaugh.blogspot.com

Image Sourced from stopandlaugh.blogspot.com

While technology and social platforms have allowed us to connect more easily than ever, the question comes into play as to when have we gone too far? I look around today, and see people out to dinner with friends paying attention to their phones instead of the real, tangible experience that is in front of them, with people who are in front of them. I see people walking down the street staring at their phones instead of enjoying the beautiful day outside, taking in the ever changing scenery that surrounds us. It seems that people place higher value in what is happening on that screen in their pocket then what is going on around them.

Our society has moved in the direction of digital communication’s importance overtaking interpersonal communication, we are becoming enslaved to our smartphones. Yes, we can now connect more easily, but are the connections we are making as valuable and worth while as the connections you make from looking into another persons eyes and having an honest conversation? Is honesty as equally portrayed when we have time to sit there and think about the best way to respond to someone? Does an online profile really reflect who you are, or does it just reflect who you want the world to see you as? While it is perceived that putting yourself on the internet makes you more transparent to the world around you, genuine personification is often lost.

I went out to dinner the other night, and afterwords we were all trying to figure out the bill. Everyone aside from myself pulled out their phones and opened up a tip calculator. While this feature is useful, we are talking about a group of 21-22 old soon to be college graduates who are automating a process of simple math. Our cell phones are becoming an extension of our brains, allowing us to simply Wikipedia anything instead of taking the time to actually learn it on our own.

Technology does make our lives easier in many regards, but at what cost? When you begin having something automate your life, it takes the responsibility off of your hands and puts it in your pocket. While in theory it allows us to do more, it takes the cognisant ability away from humans and allows them to be complacent with their own intelligence, as they now have a device which can do basic tasks for them. Think of the last time you programmed your GPS to guide you somewhere. If you were to go there again, with no GPS, would you be able to do it? My guess is no. Navigation allows the individual to pay less attention to their surroundings, as the system will tell you when you need to take action. It prevents people from actually learning their environment, and instead automates them on the ‘optimized’ path.

I’m not saying you should throw your smart phone off of a bridge. What I’m saying is next time you go to use your phone to do a simple task, think about it, and maybe try doing it on your own. Next time you are out to dinner, focus on your eye contact with the beautiful people around you and if you can handle it turn your phone off. We don’t need to be constantly connected to everyone at every moment. Instead, live in the moment that is happening around you.  Turn off your GPS, pull out a map, and take the back roads. Phones have made our lives easier, but if the cost is decreased human ability and a disconnect from our capabilities of interpersonal communication, I’m not sure that the technological advancement is worth the cognizant deterioration associated.

Champlain College Capstone: A Semester Long Culmination Of My Personal Digital Identity

Image Provided by Follr.com

PDI: A Semester Of Reflection

This semester I have been taking my capstone course. The course, which represents the culminating experience that is being a marketing major at Champlain College, focused on branding ourselves through our personal digital identity (PDI). By using different means of social media and creating a website,  the goal is to gain exposure and raise awareness of yourself letting the online world know who you are, and why they should hire you. As I learned throughout the semester, it is a process to get noticed in the digital realm. It takes daily management to build and maintain your presence. Just like most things in life, the more you put into it the better the results will turn out.

We started the semester by reflecting on our past experiences and relating them to their relevance in terms of work experience. The guidelines were very broad, you could take anything that has happened to you in your life, figure out how they were relevant to your experience, then write about it. After drafting a plethora of experiences, we were asked to reflect and pick out 3 themes we wanted to focus in on through our experiences, and put them on our PDI as a work showcase.

We were also asked to think about the values we held in the highest regards in order to create a philosophy statement. This required a lot of self reflection to think about what values and ideas I find most true to heart, but through time, thought, continuous reflection and editing, I think I nailed a philosophy statement that encompasses what I truly believe.

To learn more about what the PDI entails and to view my class mates pages as well, head to our teacher Elaine Youngs blog to see her recent post about teaching social media through experience.

Online Presence: Google Search Results

When searching for my name in google, the entirety of the first page contains media which I have created and manage. While I am helped by the benefit of having a unique name, by working this semester to build and maintain my media platforms and taking search engine optimization into account I was able to bring my digital identity across the whole front page of google.

My Media Goals

At the beginning of the semester, we were asked to create a measurable action plan for where we would like to be by the end of the semester. Thus, I set up goals for each media platform.

Twitter–  Gain at least 50 followers. Raise my Klout score by at least 6 points, improve my Kred score and at the least maintain my tweet grader ranking.

Through a semester of consistent tweeting, I was able to gain 89 followers, surpass my Klout Score goal, improve my Kred score and improve my tweet grader ranking. I also took time to follow industry experts in marketing, entrepreneurship, craft beer, cycling, social responsibility and sustainability in order to make my own twitter feed more relevant for my own knowledge & stay current in the industries that matter to me.

LinkedIn–  Surpass 120 connections, receive at least 30 endorsements, and acquire 2 recommendations.

At the start of the semester I didn’t have an active LinkedIn account. Since, I have created and updated a profile that now has over 130 connections and has been endorsed 45 times. It has allowed me to connect with professionals I have met throughout my life, as well as connect with the new connections I have made at events such as the Champlain College Job Fair. Unfortunately, as all of my past employers are not on LinkedIn, I was not able to reach my goal of two recommendations by my presentation, but am currently in contact with other professionals that know my character and could write me a recommendation.

Pinterest Create an account and at least become familiar with it before passing it off as irrelevant.

I unfortunately was late to get started on Pinterest, but have since found it to be a useful tool both for promoting myself and promoting the things that I am involved with. To further my PDI, I have a board titled “Portfolio”, which has links to a lot of the work I have done throughout my college career. I also set up boards for things I found relevant such as craft beer, marketing, music, burlington and life hacking. By adding Pinterest to my repertoire of social media I was able to improve my authenticity and exposure. It also has allowed me to keep up with the latest trends by using the application, and also keep me up to date in the industries I care about.

Google Plus Create an active account & become familiar with the platform. Post relevant content from other platforms as another means to share my PDI.

Though I am currently only connected to 26 individuals on Google Plus, I can confidently say I am familiar with the site and can navigate and use it to its full advantage. I used the page as I had planned to by sharing the content I was creating for my PDI on the platform.

Website– Write at least 10 posts and surpass 1,000 Views. Create content which is consistently shared.

Starting with nothing at the beginning of the semester, creating a website was a new challenge that proved to be a difficult task. At the start, creating my page was frustrating, as there was a learning curve before I was able to start efficiently using WordPress. Now experienced with the application, I have figured out what my readers find relevant and post accordingly. I surpassed 1,250 views, exceeding my goals. Room 9 Development saw my website and contacted me to write about what they are doing, and also to help them with managing and optimizing their own page, which I will begin doing after finals.

Instagram

While I didn’t really use Instagram as a means to maintain my PDI, it did help me in promoting an event I held at the start of April. The Jorts Annual is an event which is now 4 years running and is an initiative to get college students to donate to Non Profits. Combining two main activities of a college target market, live music and beer, I was able to raise 615 dollars for The Institute For Sustainable Communities and The New Jonglei Sudan Orphans Foundation. By promoting when the wristbands came in for the event and using the hashtag#jortsannual on Instagram, I was able to get the conversation started which in end led to the sale of 125 tickets.

Quillan George Instagram

Metrics & Measuring My Success

Initial_Analytics

At the beginning of the semester, I had an initial Klout score of 54, a Kred Score of 545 with an outreach of 4, and a grade of 75/100 on TweetGrader. I had a 176 followers on Twitter. I had no LinkedIn account, no Pinterest, and no website. Through a semester of media management and focused content, all of my scores have improved, as noted below.

Quillan_George_Twitter

Klout

Tweet_Grader Quillan George

Kred_Score

Kred_Influence_Points Quillan George

Marketing_Kred Quillan George

Follower_count

Influence_and_Outreach

Every single one of my metrics drastically improved and the top communities I wanted to be influencing were in fact the ones I was most relevant in. Through intentional, relevant content posting and management I was able to reach and surpass my goals.

As before the semester started I didn’t have a website, the only direction my metrics could go was up. I started the semester unclear as to what to write about, so I started by writing about all of the things I am interested in, such as Music, Marketing, Climbing, Burlington, Cycling, Craft Beer, and Boarding. After doing a few posts about the following, I noticed that certain posts were getting more views-

Top_PostsQuillanGeorge

I noticed that my posts about music weren’t getting a lot of views. As in marketing, to be effective you have to evaluate your content and see what is working so that you aren’t wasting your time and efforts into content that isn’t engaging your target. This being said, I realized that there are already a sea of blogs posting music, and most of the music content I was posting was coming from other blogs anyways so there was no reason to continue posting about a topic that wasn’t relevant to my viewers. What was relevant, however, was my content that was directly applicable to my viewers, whom for the most part were college students in the Vermont area. The posts people were viewing, retweeting and liking were the ones about Vermont, marketing, craft beer and cycling. Thus, the B was born, a website and blog about Beer, Biking, Boarding, Branding, and Burlington.

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Lego_Cycle_retweet

retweet_vermont_final

Retweets_Vermont_Final

Moran

Moran_001

VermontQuillanGeorge

Danny_Brown

As I continued creating content, I began getting more exposure for my page and articles were being reposted and liked more often. On multiple occasions my content was reposted on other blogs as shown above. I even had companies contact me to give them exposure, such as Room 9 Development to do a write up about their proposal for the Moran Plant. I even had my most recent article retweeted by Danny Brown, the Co Author of Influence Marketing.

I also used my website as a means to promote myself as a marketer by including a Portfolio tab which showcases some of the work I have done through college. Additionally, I have included a link to my resume. By incorporating these professional aspects in combination with my content, about me, and philosophy my PDI has allowed me to give potential employers a good view of my professional identity without even leaving the website or seeing me in person.

Metrics_Quillan_George

As of April 22 at 11:39 AM, my website has received 1,250 views, surpassing my goal by 250 views, which translates to 25% more views then my goal. But this is only the beginning. By taking what I have learned and continuing to create content, I am aiming to surpass 3,000 views and post another 10 articles by the end of may.

linkedin

linkedin2

Profile_Strength


My LinkedIn account now has over 130 connections and over 45 endorsements for the skills that I have demonstrated to my connections. My profile strength received the highest possible ranking, being All-Star. My profile has been consistently searched and viewed, thus showing that I have been relevant to potential employers and connections.

Regrets

Like many students in the course, my biggest regret was not getting started on creating consistent content sooner. The biggest factors in improving a digital persona are consistency and time, and I had learned to optimize the applications sooner my PDI could have been even stronger. This being said, I am still proud of the identity I have created and the awareness I have gained due to my efforts throughout this semester long project.

Looking Forward

This project allowed me to critically think about how I wanted to position myself as an online persona as well as made me reflect on what values I find to be the driving forces behind my motivation. Although it was by no means an easy effort, in the end it was all worth it and I am incredibly grateful for the experience I gained in this course and at the amazing institution that is Champlain College.

Looking back to my first day of College, a lot has changed. I have matured. I have become more confident. I have gained perspective about the world around me. I have learned relevant information which I know will lead me to nothing but success in my future. Personal growth is what I believe is the most important measure for a human beings success, and I have certainly done nothing but grow in my four years at this great college.

While some may be fine with marketing any product, through learning about myself I have come to the point in my life where I have realized I refuse to simply convince people they want or need a product if it doesn’t add value to them. To me it is unethical and a downfall in our society. Consumption is a disease in America. Instead, I will work with companies creating value more than just the economic value they create for themselves. I will support the organizations doing good in the world and thinking about the bigger picture. While this may never make me rich in wealth measurable by dollars, it will continue to create personal and social wealth for myself and those around me.

For the future, I plan to continue learning and gaining perspective so that I can continue to grow as a human being. Every experience we participate in is an opportunity to learn- whether good or bad experience- and I will continue my optimistic approach to everything life throws at me. Although I currently do not have a job lined up for graduation, I am not worried. Opportunity is always right around the corner, and through my experience I know when to jump on it and be the best person that I possibly can, both for myself and the world around me. I will not get complacent with industry standards, I will exceed and improve them no matter what I end up doing.

Why someone should hire me based on my PDI

My PDI gives any employer a glimpse of who I am. My philosophy statement allows them to see what I value. My portfolio gives them examples of relevant marketing work I have done. My work showcase and resume give them a sense of my professional experience. My blog showcases my copywriting skills as well as shows that I am knowledgable in the industries I plan on going into. By having an all encompassing page which brings together all of my media, it shows that I am efficient at maintaining a digital identity while still staying relevant with who I am in the real world. I set goals and I achieve them. Not only can I say that I know the latest in marketing  trends and how to use these digital platforms, by visiting my website I can prove it with a tangible page showcasing all of my media & marketing expertise.

While my PDI does give employers a sense of who I am, nothing beats interpersonal communication. Digital realms are just a complimenting accessory to communication but should never be the standard for how we communicate. This being said, whether you are an employer, a non-profit, a marketing professional, a student, or just someone that wants to sit down and talk, please send me an email at quillangeorge@gmail.com or connect with me on one of my social platforms so we can schedule a time to meet up- I’d love to hear from you.

 LinkedIn       Twitter       Google Plus       Pinterest

Header Image provided by follr.com

 

How To Improve & Maintain Your Online Presence Without Losing Sight Of The Real World

Image provided from rethinkingyourweb.com

Image provided from rethinkingyourweb.com

With technology playing such a huge role in communication in the modern day, it can often be easy to get caught up in maintaining your digital identity and lose sight of what really matters, the beautiful world around you. This can be noted both for the individual and for a business. With online presence being one of the most important, effective and easy ways to gain & maintain awareness, measure performance, convey a message, target your market and communicate directly with your consumers for a brand or a marketing campaign, it is easy to see why companies are putting so much effort into maintaining an online presence. The one downside, however, is maintaining a digital persona takes time, and requires daily maintenance to stay current. For companies with few human resources and individuals who don’t want to let their tangible social lives suffer due to the digital realm however, there are ways to keep your eyes off of the screen while still keeping up to date with the digital age.

Be Intentional

Although social media allows you to constantly communicate, it doesn’t mean you should. All to often pages post a constant feed of information that often adds nothing to the brand, their image, or their authenticity. Have purpose. You have to know what your target wants and enjoys.  One post which adds value to your brand or to the target you are communicating to will do much more for you then 10 posts that are not engaging. Measure the posts you have created in terms of engagement and figure out what seems to be involving your crowd. Take this information and use it to guide your future posts. Over posting will annoy your connections and can lead to them writing off the thought of reading what you posted when it shows up on their feed. By being concise and relevant, your posts with purpose will allow you to spend less time putting out content and improve your digital wealth.

Automate

Image provided by vninja.net

Image provided by vninja.net

One advantage of constant technological advancement is that we are getting better at making everything easier, both in the physical and digital realms. You can use this to your advantage by automating a lot of your content.  HootSuite  is a great application which allows you to manage all of your social media from one tool, and schedule it. By putting all of your media into one page, it saves you the effort of posting to all of your networks separately and allows you to post simultaneously to the platforms you would like to convey your message to. You can even schedule your posts for the future which allows you to plan ahead and get your content ready for the week without being on a computer constantly. HootSuite even has a function that posts at the time that is most optimized for your target to see, which allows you to maximize the exposure of your content. In automation, you must not forget to continue to engage those engaging you. One of the reasons that social media is so valuable for business is that it allows you to communicate directly with your target instantaneously. This benefit is invaluable and though automation does save you time, you must not forget to engage those engaging you. It allows the target to see you as more than just a company and see you as a personality. This being said, most individuals don’t expect an immediate response, but it is important to respond within a short period of time. Spend a bit of time at the start of the day as the end of the day to respond to your engagements.

Let your target give you content

It takes a lot of time to create content and sometimes it’s hard to judge if it will be relevant. Luckily, you have a forum of followers who are posting about what is relevant to them, and thus posting about what should be relevant to you. Although it takes a bit of time to crawl through your followers posts, it takes less time then scouring the entirety of the internet to share what is relevant to your industry, niche, and target market when it is already filtered through those who choose to engage you. Be sure to give them credit when you use something they shared, as it adds a sense of involvement and makes them more likely to share what you have to say.

While maintaining a digital persona is important as an individual or brand, it is more important to maintain your presence in the real world. By being intentional, automating, and using your followers to generate content you can save some time and find a balance between both.

Top image provided from rethinkingyourweb.com

Second image provided from vninja.net

Moran Ecological: A Proposal To Make Burlington More Awesome.

Moran

The Moran Building in Burlington is a historic building that in its time stood for a new standard of architecture and innovation. The former power plant- which has been decommissioned and vacant since 1986- has since been a bit of a taboo in regards to how it could be utilized . With its prime location, notable size, and historic value it is amazing that an opportunity to turn this building into a downtown hot spot hasn’t already occurred.

Room 9 Redevelopment  however, is looking to change that. With a proposal created by UVM students Thaddeus Cooke and Erick Crockenberg and in collaboration with Zero Gravity Brewing and The Farm House Group, they have proposed to redevelop the facility to be a sustainable restaurant and brewery which utilizes its Biosolids to create nutrients and energy through methane to heat and power the facility. Additionally, an Aquaponic System, which essentially uses fish’s byproduct to provide nutrients through a hydroponic system,would be installed to create a sustainable system to allow year round greens production on site. The graphic below shows in detail how they plan to green up the location:

Not only would the approval of this project add to the repertoire of excellent restaurants and breweries that Burlington is known all to well for, it would also be beneficial addition to our community. It would create jobs and educational programs could be implemented to teach students from Kindergarten through college about sustainability & urban agriculture through hands on experience. It could even be used for business courses as a real life case study of how to be successful through sustainable measures, which is what our society needs more of. The Moran Facility was built upon innovation and with this redevelopment it can remind people of why Burlington is always one step ahead of the curve.

In order for the Moran Plant Ecological proposals to pass, our community will have to come together in support of it. If the proposals are approved it will add value economically, socially, and educationally to our great city. Tell your friends & like their FaceBook page. If you would like to get more info, get involved, or contribute check out their website or send an Email over to  info@room9redevelopment.com.