Identity of the Cell Phone

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How do you identify yourself? An athlete? An artist? As adolescents, we all have something we hope that people identify us as. However, Abu Sadat Nurullah seems to believe that the thing we can be characterized by is our cell phones.  In his article, “The Cell Phone as an Agent for Social Change,” Nurullah talks about how for young people, our world is within our phones. That we take value in ourselves based on our phones and what we are using them for.

When I started reading Nurullah’s article, I thought that it was explaining the extreme cases. The kids who can’t function without their cell phones, who constantly need to be texting, tweeting and blogging. I didn’t think that this could actually apply to me. I continued reading then I became aware of something. In the 30 minutes it took me to read the article, I checked my phone 8 times. That means I am checking my phone about 16 times an hour and about 384 times a day. Who knows how much time I have wasted checking my phone. Maybe Nurullah was right. I started to think about my life with my phone. How that there was a set year that everyone got a cell phone and that was a sign that we were “mature” How there was an entire world on social media and our phones that our parents and grandparents know nothing about.

Our lives today are dictated around our phones and our constant need and want to be connected. Nurullah is completely correct when he talks about how phones are changing the way our society is shaped. We have access to things we couldn’t even dream of years ago.

So as a send off I want you to count how many times you stopped reading this post to check your phone?

 

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Social Media Strategy

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As college students, we all have accounts on multiple different social media platforms. I would be more than shocked to meet someone who doesn’t have an account on at least one site. I have always believed social media as something fun we all did to share our lives with our friends and family. However, as social networks have evolved, so has the way that we market ourselves. In her article “The Social Strategy: A Five-Step Process for Social Media Marketing Success,” Kimberlee Morrison talks us through the different ways we can put our best foot forward on on profiles.

Morrison talks us through a five step process that she believes is full-proof when it comes to different social networks. While her article is geared mostly towards companies, it could  be applicable towards young people looking to improve their social media presence.

Step 1: Social Identity

She starts off her list with what I would consider the most important step; Social Identity. In order to create a strong media presence, you need to know who you want to be online. Once you figure that out, you can create a voice that is uniquely yours. You need to keep in mind who you are in relationship to others because ultimately they are the ones viewing your posts.

Step 2: Community Activation

Next step is to figure out who your audience is and how they are going to receive you. For most cases on social media, the audience is coming to you, not the other way around and you want to be sure the content you are producing is matching the expectations your audience has for you.

Step 3: Content Strategy

This step relies completely on your completion of the first two. In order to create quality content, you need to figure out your audience and your identity online. The content you produce needs to match and go along with these two things.

Step 4: Social Campaigns

In order to start creating social campaigns, you need to have a solid foundation of your voice and what you want your audience to get our of your posts.

Step 5: Social Intelligence

The final step Morrison talks about is how in order to produce good content you need to be knowledgeable about the social media platform you are using. You need to know that features your network offers and the best way to market yourself using the tools you’re given.

So there you have it! After using these 5 steps you should be able to create content that is informative and clear. I look forward to reading what you come up with!

Fan Favorites

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I recently came to the realization that there are hundreds of people who live in Baltimore and know a lot more about it then I do. I decided to start a series on my blog called “Fan Favorites” where I’ll talk to different people about their favorite things from this city that we all call home. So for my first episode of “Fan Favorites” I’m going to start with myself just to set the tone for what else it to come.

My Favorite things in Baltimore

This list could go on forever but some of my absolute favorite things in Baltimore is a restaurant downtown called “RA.” It is located right outside Fells Point and has the most amazing sushi you will ever have. However, the reason I love RA is their happy hour deals on different rolls everyday. It’s the best!

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Speaking of Fells Point, it is the ultimate place for nightlife in Baltimore. It has amazing restaurants, super cool shops and fun bars so there is fun for everyone. My favorite thing about Fells Point are the different festivals they hold throughout the summer. There are bands and local vendors all there to share their work. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a free summer day!

Now that you know about my favorite things in Baltimore, it’s time to hear from some other locals about what makes this town so special!

Go Team!

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Something that draws a lot of tourism to a city are the sports team that represent it. In Baltimore, we have some amazing sports teams to cheer on and trust me, us locals love them so much. It feels like one big Baltimore family!!

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Our most notable team and my personal favorite is our hometown football team, The Baltimore Ravens. Not only did we have some incredibly famous players like Ray Lewis and Justin Tucker but we have a team that feels more like our friends and less like celebrities. I don’t know any other people that would drag themselves outside at 7 AM to cheer on a football team other than Ravens fans.  In 2012, we actually won the Super Bowl!! M&T Bank stadium is like the holy land of Baltimore and we know that once we step inside we all become one big unit cheering on our team.

Let’s Go O’s!

Baseball is another sport that people from Baltimore feel very competitive about. Our team, The Baltimore Orioles has been home to some of baseball most famous names like Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. While the Orioles had most of their success before I was born, they are still a hometown name that draws massive crowds during the warmer months. Anytime during summer you can catch Camden Yards full of fans of all ages waiting to see our birds play. In fact we are so passionate about our baseball team that we have changed our National Anthem. When the part “Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave” all of the Orioles fans scream O!! at the top of our lungs. It’s a tradition that I hope never goes away,

Olympic Champs

So this is cheating a little bit because technically the next thing I am about to talk about isn’t a sports team but a sports powerhouse nonetheless. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was born and raised in Baltimore! Probably the most famous person to come out of our city, we all feel especially proud whenever Michael would win another race. To be exact, he has a total of 28 Olympic medals. While Michael doesn’t reside in Baltimore anymore, he comes back every so often to visit his old training facility and to meet young hopeful Olympians. I know that everyone from Baltimore brags about the time they first met Michael Phelps…I know I do!!

Play Hard, Work Harder

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In my previous post,  I talked about all of the delectable dining you can find in Baltimore. If you’re like me, you love to indulge but definitely don’t like the guilt that can sometimes go along with it. Well don’t you worry, because good ole Charm City can offer you not only great food but great ways to burn the calories!

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The obvious first place to start is at Federal Hill Park right in the heart of downtown. You can walk your  dogs, go for a run or take your kids for a quick game of pickup. Not only is it literally at the top of a hill (sprints anyone?), the park looks over the Inner Harbor making for an amazing view while you’re getting your sweat on. So you can look at something good while making yourself look good too!! My friends and I love to go for walks with their puppies around the park and look down at the Harbor and we always feel great after so get up there, I promise you won’t regret it!

City of Sand

Right below Fed Hill Park is something that might seem out of place in a city like Baltimore. Located on 300 Key Highway are seven sand volleyball courts. Now you might be thinking “Allie, that can’t be possible?” but alas the amazing people of Baltimore made it happen! Summer through fall the courts are open to everyone for drop in games. Baltimore’s Sand Volleyball Organization also offer men’s, women’s and coed leagues all different nights of the week. It’s a super great way to work out and to meet people from the city!

Spin it

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m somebody who likes to switch up my workouts. I can’t do the same thing for too long or I get bored and eventually that leads to me getting lazy. So in between trips to the gym, I like to take fun workout classes. One of my favorites is a spin class. They are really high energy and fun so it doesn’t really feel like you are working as hard as you actually are. Well luckily for us, the couple behind REV Cycle are here to help! In 2014, Esther and Rick opened their first facility in Baltimore and haven’t stopped spinning ever since! They offer multiple classes a week, all with different themes and different genres of music so you can take as many that you want and as many that interest you! It’s a super fun and different way to get fit but still have fun and definitely get out of your comfort zone. So what are you doing, run (or spin) your way over to REV Cycle and sign up for a class! Maybe I’ll see you there 😉

 

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Take a look at all of the unique workout options that can be found in Baltimore!

Upper Left: REV Cycle classroom, credit: yelp.com

Upper Right: Baltimore Beach Volleyball Logo, credit: tripadvisor.com

Bottom: Baltimore Volleyball Court, credit: assets.com

The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach

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I don’t know about you all, but my favorite thing to do in the whole world, is to eat. I love food and I love how it is such an important thing to many cultures. That being said, I think the best way to get to know a place is to see what kind of cuisine they have to offer. Baltimore is stocked full of great places to munch with cool atmospheres and unique menus.

Crab Pizza

In my opinion, pizza is one of the best foods every invented. I think most people on this planet would agree with me so naturally the place at the top of my list is where you can get some of the best pizza around (Sorry NYC!) At Matthew’s Pizza in Canton, you will find any type of pizza you could ever want and more. They have been a hometown favorite for forever, and have catered to the locals since 1943. My dad loves Matthew’s Pizza and jumps at the chance to go whenever he can. He grew up eating it and still nothing compares. The menu has everything you could possibly want from 3 cheeses to a crab pie; a pizza loaded with crab meat and old bay. Its the perfect way to recharge after a long day of cheering on the Ravens!!

Honey Pie, Oh my!

In case you weren’t already full from scarfing down all of those pizzas, Woodberry Kitchen is here to help. Located in the heart of Baltimore, they pride themselves on being a farm to table restaurant. Their menus change with the seasons, allowing the chefs to create some seriously yummy plates. The last time I was there one of the appetizers was bone marrow…yeah, I was confused too, but it was amazing. They use different ingredients in ways you would never think to combine. Besides their incredible entrees, the main reason I’m including is for the dessert. In my 20 years on this earth, I haven’t tasted anything better than Woodberry Kitchen’s honey pie. It doesn’t look or sound like anything special but let me tell you this is the dessert of the gods. Its rich and buttery and tastes like toffee butterscotch goodness. If I could only recommend one thing ever, it would be the honey pie.

When in Baltimore, crabs are it

Everyone knows that Maryland is known for their crabs. Baltimoreans try to incorporate crab meat into as many things as possible but nothing really came out as good as the crab cake. If you’re in Baltimore, the place you have to go for the best crab cake is G&M. To be honest, I’m not a huge crab cake fan (basically a cardinal sin growing up where I did) but somehow the ones from G&M have changed my mind. They literally market them as Maryland’s Best Crab Cake!! If you are a friend of my family’s, you can probably expect some crab cakes from us for your next birthday or Christmas. G&M also has a really great well rounded menu so if you aren’t into shellfish there is something for you too! There is truly something for everyone!

Blogging with the Big Dogs: How to Write Well (without really trying)

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Your best friend is sweet and pretty but there is something about her you can’t stand; she’s awful at telling stories. She rambles on and on about insignificant details until you have completely lost track of what she was talking about in the first place. We all know somebody like this. Writing a good blog is like telling a good story. You need to keep everything short and to the point, only include the necessary details-or your audience will zone out just like you do whenever Becky tells you a story about something funny her dog did yesterday.

Brian Carroll offers some advice to those looking to write for digital media. A blog is only as good as its editor. He lays out a 7 step program to teach hopeful young bloggers how to best edit their posts. These steps range from reading your post backwards to literally cutting it up and arranging it until it makes the most sense. He acknowledges multiple times that usually our space to make a point is limited in a digital setting, so us bloggers have to maximize what we are given. Gone are the days of writing complex papers full of fluff just to meet a page requirement. We are entering a new realm of writing that requires us to simplify our thoughts as much as possible.

According to Lynda Felder,writing for media is about how you grab the audiences attention-and then, how you keep it. You need to start your post with a hook, something that will interest the audience and get them to read on. She mentions a strategy called the inverted pyramid. You start off with the most important information and slowly work your way down. She says “The inverted pyramid turns the traditional paragraph upside down. It begins with a topic sentence, which states what the paragraph is about, and then the most critical and interesting content follows.” The internet is distracting, there are constant pop-ups and links trying to steal the attention of your audience and you need to choose your words wisely enough to keep them interested in what you are saying.

The format of how people are expressing themselves is changing so much as the use of social media becomes more and more popular. There is now a way for everyone to express themselves and their opinions in ways our parents never had the chance to. Don’t let the ideas of “traditional writing” scare you away from putting yourself out there because writing online is so much different and much more fun then writing for english class. So go ahead! Start off with a comment on someone else’s blog, or writing something short on Facebook or Twitter. People are ready to read what you have to say so grab your keyboard and get to typing!