Yay or Nay


I used to turn my nose up when I heard the word “blog.” I thought it was a vain way to get attention and inform people about your life (as if they cared). However, much to my surprise, as I have been assigned to blog through this social media course I am taking my mind has been opened to the blogging world. I have realized there are thousands of reasons as to why people blog and what they blog about. Although there are some vain blogs where people simply write about what they did that day, there is a whole other world of blogging that is informative, colorful, engaging and contains a plethora of knowledge. Blogging is not at all what I expected it to be. I have learned how to reach an audience and address the things they are interested in. I have learned how it can benefit non-profits by growing their audiences and furthermore bring in new potential funders.

There is a part of blogging that I have learned to be very important when trying to engage your audience and that is Netvibes. Netvibes is a tool that anyone can use in order to see what topics are trending, what people are talking about, questions being asked, etc. It is a perfect way to “listen” to your audience. This past week I explored netvibes a little bit and found that there are topics upon topics upon topics that you can choose to search in order to see what people are saying about them. For example one of the topics that I chose to create a dashboard for was popular movies and there were an unbelievable amount of results. There were movie reviews, movie histories, popular movies broken down by holidays, years, and much, much more. I only decided to type in movies because I was wanting to go see a movie that night and netvibes actually helped me decide which movie I wanted to go see. Although this particular topic was pretty noneducational and playful, netvibes can provide a wealth of information on just about any topic you might be interested in and will give you just as much information as I got on movies.


Blogging has moved up in favor with me due to the new appreciation I have for it. Now that I understand what a true blog should be trying to accomplish and that is to feed the curiosity of it’s readers. To entertain. To inspire. To strike new interests. To educate. To expand the world the writer lives in by leaving open doors for anyone to enter.

Here, anyone is welcome.


How transparent will we become?

This week NetVibes has been showing the trending topic of Google’s newest product being brought to the table. This revolution is “Glass.”


These glasses are to be worn on your eyes just like normal glasses but are used primarily for video recording, video chatting, calendar access, etc.
Check out the promotional video:

This seems to be a comprehensive use of technology that will probably sweep our society in no time. I have to give it to Google and their innovation that they market to be so appealing….but how much is too much? When does technology begin to take over humanity and the original design of our social instincts? I ran across NPR’s blog this week while researching people’s opinion of Glass and Brian De Los Santos gives an interesting perspective. These glasses are something that I, as a kid, would have giggled about in a conversation beginning with, “one day we are all going to have little chips in our bodies that we can use to control the world…” Google calls it a gadget. Is this all Glass is? Or will it be the continuance of a society that is so connected that we resist real human interaction, real in-depth relationships, the ability to make a phone call, and the need to constantly see updates of our peers?


Will Glass be another device that expands our knowledge? Will it help us grasp other cultures from every corner of the world? Much like GoogleEarth that has taken their brave minds and innovative technology and begun taking their cameras into the wilderness. It is no longer going to be just street views, but trail views. Not too long ago they decided to dive into the Grand Canyon so that we can have the ability to see the terrain before we go explore it for ourselves. Will Glass be a gadget that expands our minds and artistry to a place we have not had the ability to take it yet? Will it eventually be so common that the average family will record their family vacations via Glass?

“Glass”—How transparent will be become?

Fortune Favors The Brave

Recently I have been exposed to the realization of how much I actually use social media. I use facebook, twitter, instagram, Linkedin, and now a blog and I can’t help but wonder if I am over exposed.

Do people know too much about me? Do complete strangers know my personal life? What about people that I don’t want to share this information with…do they still have access?

I have come across a couple of interesting articles recently about privacy in social media that have provided some food for thought about the reality of these questions. California has recently passed a law to defend Facebook privacy. Should employees be able to make you hand over your social media login information? Lawmakers and lawyers are now having the discussion about what should happen to one’s social media when they die. This is such an interesting notion. So even when you’re dead people can access your personal life…? Is this invasive and disrespectful? Or did they permit this when they dipped into social media?


The issue of privacy within the world of the internet is more prevalent than ever before. I went to a party the other day and 7 people that were not in attendance knew I was there. How? I wasn’t on Facebook, I didn’t tweet about it and I hadn’t put any pictures on Instagram. There was no way for anyone to know. Wrong. Multiple other people at that party utilized their social media and “tagged” or “mentioned” me. But this wasn’t my choice….but it didn’t matter. It’s like we’re on constant watch even when it’s not our decision to inform, which brings me to my next point: What about when it is our choice? What about when we reveal something personal on the internet in what we think are private parameters….are they really private? To reveal something on the internet in this century seems accessible by anyone who is interested and pretty permanent. A known blogger, Beth Kanter, would say the same thing. She writes a  lot about privacy on the internet. All of this concern about privacy seems to be affirmation that there is a shortage.

Annnnnd the question….Are you brave enough?

Now that the realization has hit of privacy online not existing to the extent we hope for, are we still going to share personal information? Are you brave enough to expose yourself to the world? That is a tough question. I know that when I am on social media I try and filter everything to a product that I wouldn’t mind anyone coming across. Do you? I wonder as I get more comfortable with blogging if I will allow myself to be more vulnerable. There is quite a risk at stake. The thoughts and emotions I intend for one group of people are realistically accessible to everyone. Will I still share my story?

So as it all comes to a simmer….. How brave are you in sharing information on the internet that may be available to the world? And how brave am I?


If you haven’t, you should…

…make a bucket list!

“Bucket list” is said to come from the phrase “kicked the bucket,” which explains why it is made up of things you want to do before you die. A while back I made a bucket list of my own and have actually accomplished a few of the things on it. Here are some of the ones I have documented:

I graduated college!


And was the first in my family to do it!


I went skydiving for my 21st birthday


Brotherly love in celebration after we landed. It was one of the most amazing experiences!


I went backpacking through Europe with one of my best friends


This is in Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. 


These are the ancient ruins in Rome. It was about 108 degrees this day and we walked about 15 miles around the city. It was worth every drop of sweat though. We also backpacked through Barcelona, around the Mediterranean coast of France, all around Italy, and through the Alps in Switzerland. Some of the best memories I’ve ever made. I’ll share one more picture from that trip…


This is our view of the Matterhorn out the window of the hostile we stayed in. 

Although I’ve crossed some things off, there are still many more accomplishments I have to make.

To name a few:

  • Visit every continent
  • Fall in love (not to be cheesy)
  • Adopt a child
  • Personally lead a victim of sex trafficking to freedom and redemption
  • Take my mom on the vacation of her dreams

Now, I hope you are inspired to go make a bucket list of your own. There’s nothing like seeing your dreams come true!

Once upon a time..

Good storytelling keeps you on the edge of your seat. It keeps you engaged and interested in what will happen next. You become invested and attached to the outcome. Take your favorite TV show for example…what makes you keep watching? It is more than likely the story line, no? It is the fact that you can relate in one way or another, that you are attached to one character or even all the characters, and that you are interested in the connection you have with the end result. And it should have a point – something you can take away. It also needs to be broken up into sections. There should be breathing time for one to grasp everything that is being said. You want there to be times of suspense or extreme engagement and then a time to rest and listen. Also the beginning…the beginning is very important. The beginning of a good story has to grab attention. For example, when Winston Churchill spoke to parliament after the fall of France in 1940, he didn’t start off with, ‘we lost so many planes and so many tanks’. He looked at them and said, “The news from France is very bad.” Now how could you not pay attention after a statement like that? You immediately want to know the message that follows.

Take these stories for example:

This story is both educational and visually pleasing. There is a story line that intrigues you because it is consistently flowing and transitioning into new thoughts to keep you engaged.

Or this story:

This story is short and simple but still captivating.

All of these factors we need to encompass into our posts as professionals. We want people to be engaged with our mission, our product, and our outcome so that they will invest in us. People want to feel as if they are a part of something and the success of this can all depend on how you tell your story. You have to make it interesting. I think the best storytellers are invested with the story themselves. They are passionate about the story they are telling and are confident in the message. They have enthusiasm behind their words – whether written or spoken. There is a belief in the story they are telling you which translates to you believing it too. “Nobody tells a good story if they don’t like the story they are telling,” a friend once told me.

In conclusion of telling a good story:

Captivate the audience with an engaging beginning

Make them believe what you are telling them

Keep in mind what they want to hear as a listener/reader

Give them something to relate to and invest in

Simplify and give it a point

Give them something to take away

…..The End.

Just Run With It

I would like to tell you about a specific hobby that is currently high on my priority list these days and it is running. I have been running since high school and really enjoy it (well, for the most part), so I try to incorporate it into daily life as much as possible. For about four years now I have wanted to complete a half marathon. I began training for one around Christmas of 2010, but I hurt my knees, so needless to say I was unable to complete the training. My knees took a while to heal, but now that they are pretty much back to normal I am going to try again. I have officially signed up and paid (this is always motivational) for the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon on April 7th. It is to fight childhood obesity, which is an amazing cause and great passion of mine. I am very excited to participate in such a rewarding event, as well as accomplish this goal I have set for myself.

People often ask me why I like to run. Well, there are many reasons I like to run, but I will share three of them with you.

1. Relieves stress

Life, especially life right now, can bring with it a great deal of anxiety and stress and I think it is very important to have a way to relieve it. The way I relieve stress in exercise. It has not always been running, but at this point in life it is. As I run it clears my head. I listen to my iPod or sometimes just the sound of my feet hitting the pavement and I don’t have to think about the outside world during that period of time. I get to think about whatever I want and it is usually nothing. It is usually me just listening or encouraging myself to keep going or run harder. There is no school work or conflict happening in my mind, just solitude. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America have done multiple studies on the effects of exercise on the brain and the results always point to its benefits.

2. It is good for my body

I am a firm believer in taking care of your body and mind, and we must exercise to keep ourselves healthy. The American Heart Association, along with thousands of other sources, has study after study on the health benefits of exercising. It reduces blood pressure, heart disease, cholesterol, sedentary heart rate, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and the list goes on and on. It’s amazing too because I can tell a difference in the way I feel when I exercise verses when I don’t, which is why I do. I feel cleansed and strong. My body seems as though it can withstand a lot more because I have helped strengthen it.

3. Challenging

My mind is very goal-oriented, so if I have a goal I am very likely to achieve it. With running I set goals for myself. For example, below is my training plan for my upcoming half marathon:

Half Marathon Training

I realize this looks a little intense, but I have a certain time I want to finish the race in, so I have to not only train myself to run a long distance, but to also do it at a quick pace. This challenge excites me. I love to watch my progression and push myself to get better. Three weeks ago it was challenging to run three miles and today I ran 7 at an 8 min/mile pace. I know it probably sounds crazy, but the challenge makes it rewarding and brings with it self-pride.

Those are three of the top reasons I choose to run, along with the fact that I love the shoes that go along with it. Check out my new kicks:


Now you can’t tell me these don’t make you want to take a jog around the block. So as I sport these beautiful shoes, I am relieving stress, benefiting my body, and challenging my mind. Running is an all inclusive sport and I highly recommend it! I’ll keep everyone updated on my half marathon so you can know if I really do achieve my goal and finish the race. Can’t wait!

Multiple Personalities of Social Media


Who is this virtual me?

Social media is becoming a huge facet in the way we communicate. I catch myself waking up and checking my twitter and instagram to see what posts have been made from the night before. Facebook is the root of our social media craze and a part of our everyday language – “Friend me.” “Can you put those pictures on Facebook?” “Oh my gosh, I saw on Facebook where…” So how do we use these social media tools to our benefit – both personal AND professional?

Wait, professional? Yes, professional. My specific desire is to work for/with non-profits and social media is vital for their success. When personally communicating to the world through social media networks we post whatever we are feeling or thinking at the moment. We post pictures of the latest event we went to and we tend to post without filter or thought of judgement – for the most part. Well, in the professional realm this is a bit different. We have to analytically think about what message we want to send the world. Social media and the topics posted through it reflect the image of the organization we are representing. Multiple “expert bloggers,” such as Chris Brogan, say that in order to market a non-profit and get people interested in what you are doing, you have to talk about what they want to hear about. That sounds simple, right? Well….right. It is simple, but it requires research and technique. You must research what the directed audience is talking about and what their peak of interest is at the moment and feed on it. Address these topics but do it with strategy.

Gather as much traffic as possible – because that’s how non-profits will thrive. Unlike your personal social self, your professional social self must accept and request anyone and everyone. The more the merrier.

Use images. Think about scrolling through Facebook on your news feed…what catches your eye? Pictures, right? So post pictures because you want people to stop and take a second glance. Words can be overlooked but images will always strike curiosity – and along with these images put your message for the day, or a link to a post. There are many differences between the way we do social media in our personal life versus our professional life, but at the end of the day our same goal is to grab the attention of our audience and provide them with information that intrigues them and keeps them coming back for more.

Now see, we may have multiple personalities but at least the seem to have a common interest.