Category Archives: Uncategorized

SXSW day 2: Branding for Big Business

On my second day at SXSW I stopped by a social media for big business seminar title “Branding for Big Business”. I thought this talk to be especially worthwhile as my position as a Digital Content Strategist is with a large B2B group. The theme for that day was how a company should interact with its community.

Larger businesses must be both immersed in and customer engaged when involved in new media. To be involved in online engagment is to tailor multiple platforms for client needs. For many B2B (Business to Business) groups, Twitter and LinkedIn are useful methods. Both are suitable in showcasing products, updating public relations events and relaying corporate news.  Another method is the use of Facebook and its analytics system. Although the oldest social media platform, Facebook is also the most actively used across the globe. It is also the most used by the 45-54 year old demographic.

All three represent a comprehensive New Media approach to engaging customers and clients.

The discussion then turned to the use of analytics in order to properly engage an audience. Utilizing methods such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics provide an effective way to analyze customer interest and metrics. Among the most important data to review includes location data, view times and bounce rates in addition to clicks. Recently the merger of TI with Derprosa and the expansion of our Hungarian line has been greatly received in both Europe and North America. This is due in part to geographic authority. When an international company provides news of a region’s success, naturally that areas staff and customers will recirculate the article. As TI gears up for the larger conferences in May and the Fall months, there will be ample opportunity to reach out to all of our regional members.


Compassion In Today’s world

In the last few months I have seen several stories that demonstrate the resolve of the human spirit, in the face of tragedy and evil. When the unexpected happens many chose to think of how to best shape the situation according to their immediate needs. There are also those among us that decide to put others before themselves. The first example everyone is familiar with is the immediate reaction to the horrific events of the Boston Marathon bombing.

This past April, two brothers from a Chechen family swore to lash out at American society through the use of IEDs. Tamerlan, the elder, brainwashed his college-aged brother Dzohokar to commit an act of terrorism at what he perceived as the evil of western society. As they set their bombs and waited for the runners, they could never have foreseen the result of their crime. As the explosions ripped through the crowd and wounded dozens of bystanders, several brave souls responded almost immediately. In the attached video the testimony from Jarrod Clowery, a survivor of the attack best summarizes the publics reaction.

I remember immediately after this terrible event a friend posted a meme about Mr. Rogers on Facebook. The quote was “When something terrible happens always look for the helpers, they are always there”. This fact was highly reassuring. As I watched the footage play on CNN and other stations, there were individuals that risked their lives in the face of other potential bombs. This reinforces my belief that despite our personal differences and needs as individuals, people will band together. No matter what the circumstances.

Krav Maga: The Art of Combat

A friend of mine once said that all martial arts are similar and can be placed into several categories. Some like Akido are needed purely for self-defense and exist to redirect an opponents attacks. Muay Thai, Jui-Jitsu, Karate and Shaolin Kung-Fu are designed to go on the attack utilizing fluid, acrobatic movements. There is a special type of martial art called the hybrid or mixed martial arts. This category is reflective of real-world fight scenarios and are part of most law enforcement and military organizations across the world. One of the more famous examples is Krav Maga, the standard combative technique for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

In the 1930’s the Jewish quarter of Bratislava, in modern day Slovakia was consistently under attack by Right-Wing gangs conducting pogroms. A boxing and wrestling teacher named Imi Lichtenfeld came before his synagogue and offered to train the neighborhoods young men into a self-defense league. Utilizing the human body’s natural reaction to fighting and creating a series of quick counterattacks. The young men were able to fight back against street thugs and kept their community safe. Until the rise of Hitler and the German conquest of Europe. Upon fleeing his home country, Lichtenfeld vowed to take his art with him to the British Mandate of Palestine, in what is now modern day Israel.

As a combat instructor Lichtenfeld’s art was valued by members of the Hagganah, the Jewish underground, and later the IDF. The success of the program caught on with several European police and military agencies and even America’s FBI and CIA began to train their personnel in it. To this day Krav Maga has become a worldwide phenomenon, offering the best self-defense system. The ease of learning this art is measured by the ability to protect oneself in a dangerous situation, ranging from an unarmed opponent to a brawl and even and armed mugging. Please view the attached video to see it in action.

Audio Assignment: Save Our History

For my Audio Assignment I decided to create a promotional pod-cast for the preservation of history. I decided to incorporate natural sounds such as artillery and musical accompaniment from a live Fife and Drum corps. In receiving feedback from my classmates I raised my own voice narration by 5 decibels and lowered the sound effects to more appropriate levels, so as to not drown out the narrative.

Yucatan Project: Day 20, Elon

Jan 23rd: I submitted my final version of the video today. I feel a sense of profound relief and anticipation. Without Jessica’s leadership, Dan’s coding skills, Cassie’s Illustration Techniques and the talents of the rest of my team we could not have done as well as I thought. The video that I have created is but one small part in the whole website. Included we have an additional gallery of videos explaining the message of the center, a PR video,  a donate page linked to Pastor Wilson’s account and several other features. As I look back the project itself was a profound cultural immersion, more so than any other destination I’ve traveled to.

I not only increased my knowledge and experience in a potential future job position but also had the opportunity to make a direct, positive impact in the lives of several children. I truly hope that the creation of my team’s site will be sufficient to bring much needed financial support for the hundreds if not thousands of children in the Yucatan area. As of right now I’m thinking back to a story that the Pastor once told me. He explained that the idea behind his action was to provide the area’s children with he means to lift themselves up. It is one thing to give aid to those in need, but an even better action to be a part of someone’s self determination and to watch them set out on a path that was unavailable to them before. In the end the most effective way to make a difference is to render mutual respect towards others. Here ends the lesson.

Yucatan Project: Day 9, Chichen Itza and Cancun

Jan 12th: The previous day my group and I discussed severals aspects of the website with the Pastor. We agreed that the community center would administer the site itself, calling upon us when technical difficulties arise. After we finished our session we decided to shoot footage of the children assembling and welcoming audiences to their center. It was very difficult to do this. I remember that every place that I visited for an extended period of time, I grew attached. I often think about if it’s really enough to provide them with this type of awareness. I also tell myself that the right of self-determination should be decided by these children alone. It was important for us to contribute to the foundation of a well run organization.

Our ride to the city of Cancun included a visit to the ruins of Chichen Itza. The thousands of years since it’s completion, have been reasonable to the structure. As we toured the area I asked several questions of our guide, most of them explaining the differences between the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. My previous knowledge was disproved as the Mayans did not actually sacrifice human beings to appease their gods (an Aztec norm), did not play poc-a-toc as a game with a sideways hoop (instead a ritualized creation story), nor was the Cenote or giant aquifer a sacrificial lake for aquatic gods. These false opinions were spread by visiting American and European anthropologists from the turn of the last century. The lesson my group learned that day was that the culture we were told was very similar to their Northern Mexican cousins was quite different. They were a civilization of Astronomers and Mathematicians rather than Warriors. Point in fact, they built the Pyramid of Chichen Itza as a relatively large calendar to track the movements of the sun. After viewing this monumental area my group headed to the ocean for the remainder of the day.

Out in the pale blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico I reflected on how the project went. As a team we bonded to the point of succinct professionalism and familial relations. I also thought about how we would weave the story of this remarkable place together as a cohesive story. That is a story for another time whe we return home.

The Temple of Kukulcan, built in Honor of the Serpent God
Poc-A-Toc Ring, were a large rubber sphere representing the fleash of the gods is passed through the "Sun"
The ill-famed Cenote, misjudged to it being the main water source for the Mayan city. Unsuitable for sacrifices.
Serpent's head at base of pyramid, essential architecture piece in honoring Serpent God

Yucatan Project: Day 7, San Antonio Sodzil

Jan 10th: I spent the night with Pastor Wilson and Professor Sang at the youth community center. It was interesting to learn how to sleep in a hammock, unfortunately I received a crick in my neck in the process. The day that the pastor, professor and I spent involved touring the community and seeing the projects Academia Nataneal was involved in. Our first stop was to tour a housing project for a couple that couldn’t afford a separate place to live from their families. The house was a single room building made entirely of concrete. The kitchen, living quarters, and other areas that Americans think of as separate areas were all centered in a single small area. Essentially, privacy is a luxury that few people can afford to have. I saw similar features in buildings across the county.

The water maintenance facility that we went to in Ticul was built in part by Academia Nataneal as well as other religious organizations in the area. The plant incorporated reverse osmosis as well as a filtration system allowing the community to have access to clean drinking water without fear of contamination. As we left the Pastor spoke to a woman named Senora Blanco who was suffering from a debilitating illness caused by industrial chemicals. As I saw the pastor reassure her I understood that the ability of a few people in an area such as this could have as big an impact as him. You cannot just provide relief but also leadership in these types of environments. In regards to camerawork I’ve gotten better at determining the use of lighting during daylight hours. I would say that my skill has become fairly well-honed.

Aligning Slats on the roof
Former Henaquen plant
San Antonio Sodzil's outdoor kitchen