User Generated Content

User Generated Content

          As social media expands, and participation by consumers grows, there is no stopping the sharing of content about specific products and brands.  The creation of user-generated content can be amazing for a company, or it can be horrible, but either way it is important to acknowledge.  This content is important because customers trust other customer’s opinion more then advertisements or a company’s social media.  If potential customers trust fellow consumers then the content being produced by this group is extremely valuable.

The article by Eric Siu outlines past campaigns driven by user generated content that were successful.  It shows how this content can help a brand become even more successful.  Benefits of this content are that it is free and once the campaign starts it is less time consuming in the sense of the company not having to create the content.  To ensure this campaign will be successful, and content will be created, the campaign should center on content that excites the primary consumer of the product.

I think a great example used in the article would be the campaign by Starbucks where they asked customers to decorate the white cups Starbucks is famous for.  This was a success for the brand because it started the trend of taking a picture and posting your Starbucks order.  With each post that is created by a consumer the Starbuck brand is getting free advertisements with positive sentiments.  The campaign generated over 4,000 user-generated posts in a three-week time span.  It’s success stemmed from how easy it was enter the contest, and it allowed each customer to have a unique perspective on why they drank Starbucks.

There is no doubt that user generated content can be beneficial for companies in terms of publicity, money, and time efficiency.  However, there are some big risks that come with consumers posting content related to a brand.  As previously mentioned customers trust fellow consumers more then a company.  This means that if negative content appears it can be very dangerous for a company.  On social media a company has no control over the content that is posted about them.  This means that every negative post created can be seen be unlimited amounts of potential customers creating a negative sentiment for the brand.

When these posts appear companies have very few options on how to handle the negative ones.  It would be unethical to remove the posts, or block the users, and ignoring them doesn’t allow customers voices to be heard.  A solution, and opportunity, for this problem would be to open two-way communication between a company and its publics.  By starting a conversation and listening to the concerns of customers it allows a company build trust and improve for the future.  Listening to the concerns of the public will help a company be successful.

There are major positives and negatives of user generated content.  After looking at each side of the concept it is clear that there is more value then concerns regarding it.  Negative posts will surface but companies can use them as a chance to create a meaningful relationship with customers.  Social media is showing no signs of slowing down, and because of that companies need to adapt to these platforms.  Content created by users is the base of social media and it has an incredible amount of potential for companies to use.


# Thank God Its Thursday

# Thank God Its Thursday

My favorite social media campaign is the #TGIT (Thank God Its Thursday) trend that promotes a group of shows commonly known as Shondaland.   These shows air Thursday nights on ABC and were all created by Shonda Rhimes. ABC branded the night of television last fall when How to Get Away With Murder joined the line-up following the success of Rhimes’ previous hits Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. The campaign features posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from all three show’s accounts plus ABC’s and Rhimes’ along with most cast members.

The creation of the campaign came from the branding of Shondaland.
After the three shows were created ABC decided to capitalize on the immense success of Grey’s and Scandal to see if it could be re-created in the third. The reason why I love this campaign is of its effectiveness. The combination of the hashtag, and the use of twitter by the cast engage the audience in two-way communication. This strategy excites the audience and allows for them to voice opinions and have a conversation with everyone involved with the show.

From a personal perspective this campaign drew me into watching these shows. Before it started I had once been a very loyal Grey’s fan and an obsessed fan with Scandal, but was slowly forgetting about each in-between seasons. When the social media campaign started it became impossible for me to forget about the show. It was on my Facebook newsfeed, Twitter timeline, and all over Instagram just from friend’s post. In addition to that #TGIT was often shown in the featured, or trending section for each media outlet. This widespread coverage was what made me start watching the show again, but it was not what kept me around.

The communication that was happening between the stars of the shows and the viewers at home kept me watching. I felt like my feelings and opinions were actually being taken into account and made me a more loyal fan of the Thursday night lineup. The two-way communication is so important when trying to create a lasting and meaningful relationship with audiences and it was something that couldn’t happen with television until social media was created. Social media allows for fans to be happier, TV stations to increase lasting viewership, and for shows to have better brand loyalty.

As media and technology grows in out society it is increasingly harder for new TV shows to create a large audience and have a multi-season run. The completion between shows is fierce and good shows can loose out in the race. ABC used social media in the best way possible with the #TGIT campaign. By creating a relationship with fans the network kept a loyal audience of Grey’s happy, maintained a large fan base for Scandal allowing the show to go into a fifth season, and created a brand new audience for HTGAWM. This social media campaign was effective in three different, but important ways. The campaign was so effective because of the two-way communication which allowed all three shows to create lasting relationships with its audience.

Amsterdam Adventures

Amsterdam Adventures

This past weekend marked the end of my European travels with a trip to the cities of Amsterdam and Brussels.  I can’t believe how quickly my journey is passing, I only have a month and a half before I return to America in May, and this trip was a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the semester.

Both of the cities we visited last weekend were lovely, but Amsterdam was unlike anywhere I have been before.

When I made the choice to visit Amsterdam I thought I knew what I was in for.  And while there were many of the ridiculous things I was expecting, Amsterdam surprised me in the best way possible.  The city is so much more than the questionable activities it is known for.  The history, art, and beauty of the city may not be the reason why you initially visited, but it will be the reason why you want to stay.

Just walking along the canals brings you into a new world.  The relaxed nature of the city felt more like a movie than real life.  We chose to rent a paddle boat to cruise the canals, and it was an incredible experience.  Traveling along the canals was such an interesting way to see the city, and to observe people without invading their lives.

Leaving Amsterdam after the weekend was a difficult thing to do.  Two days was not enough, and not because we didn’t get to see everything. We saw all of the “must-see” destinations, but after we saw all of the tourist things, we got to see the city.  The simple beauty of  Amsterdam is a difficult atmosphere to describe, but gave me an experience I am so glad to have had.


Things I’ve learned while studying abroad:

Things I’ve learned while studying abroad:

  1. Rainis better than snow.
  2. The older you are the more quickly time will pass.
  3. Dunkin’s has the BEST iced lattes.
  4. Ireland can’t make pizza.
  5. I love American food.
  6. Traveling will change you life, but it’s not always about the places you go.  Sometimes it’s the people you’re with.
  7. Public transpiration and Idon’t get along.
  8. Sunsets are the best part of the day.
  9. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  This works for people, as well as food. And places.
  10. You choose happiness.
  11. Sometimes new friends aren’t the best friends.
  12. Nothing beats family.
  13. Running isn’t about losing weight. It’s about peace of mind.
  14. If you’re having a bad day put some red lipstick on.
  15. Sometimes eight hours of Netflix is exactly what you need.
  16. If your friends get angry when you express your feelings get new friends.
  17. If sending a mass amount of Valdmir Putin pictures to a group message is accepted then keep those friends.
  18. Eighties love song Pandora will forever be the best station.
  19. Being alone is good for your soul.
  20. Sometimes dying your hair blue is a bad idea.  If it makes you happy do it any way.
  21. Never try to act cool.  You do you.
  22. The best part of living on your own is not having to wear pants all the time.
  23. Finding your doppelgänger will be extremely disturbing.
  24. Talking to your mom everyday will make life better.
  25. Puns are funny and will make your day better.
  26. Girls, don’t act a certain way for boys who don’t respect you.  (Same goes for boys)
  27. To earn people’s respect you have to first respect yourself.
  28. Some people are mean.
  29. Some people bring joy with them wherever they go.
  30. Just because someone is nice toyour face doesn’t meant they’re a good person.
  31. When you like something ironically no one wins.
  32. I really enjoy flowers.
  33. If food makes you happy eat.  Happiness is more attractive than being thin.
  34. Words mean nothing without action to support them.
  35. You will never stop missing your childhood pet.
  36. The sound of rain will comfort you when no one else can.
  37. Everyone has their own struggle.
  38. Nando’s is magic.
  39. You can do anything you want.  Theonly person holding you back is yourself.
  40. I have a weird thing for bands that are made up of all boys.  oops.

To be Continued…

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To My Lovely Family,

To My Lovely Family,

After living in Ireland for close to two months, and just coming back from an amazing trip to London, I feel like there have been a lot of things on my mind.  I have had the opportunity to experience some amazing things in my life with so many more opportunities about to happen in the coming months.  And, as I traveled back from London, getting to cross another thing off the romanticized “bucket list”, I realized the immensity of my gratitude.  I also realized how little I show it, so this post is dedicated to my unbelievable family.

It is safe to say that I have always been the handful of the family.  Always outrageous, and creating plans that may be a little over the top, but my family has made them all happen.  No matter how crazy I get the three most important people in my life give me so much and allow me these opportunities.

So thank you Mom, Dad, and Charlie.  Thank you so unbelievably much.

As I do all of the amazing things I wish you could be here with me, and its strange to not be able to experience them without you.  But I would never of been able to go on this journey, or any of my past ones, without you.  You have allowed me to be whoever it is I want to be even when that includes dying my hair crazy colors or moving to another continent.  I am sorry I drive you all crazy at times, and always bring the drama, but you all know life would be boring without me.

I owe you everything, and I just wanted you all to know I realize that.  Thank you for loving me in such an incredible way, thank you for teaching me how to be a good person, thank you for being hard on me when I needed it, and thank you for spoiling me when I didn’t.

You’re amazing people who have given me the world, and I miss you so much.  I hope you have fun together this week, and know that I wish I could be there.

Lots of Love,



Farming Fun

Farming Fun

Once again Ireland has left me in awe! This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with a young couple in Ireland’s country side. I left with an experience I won’t soon forget.

We stayed in a little village called Durrus which is a few miles outside of Bantry in West Cork. The journey took two hours, and the views were beyond impressive. Ireland’s beauty is endless, and we got to stop at multiple photo op locations. Having a chance to get out of the city was so nice. The couple hosting us for the weekend, Amy and Rob, were wonderful. Their love story is one for the movies. Amy is American who studied at UCC in 2010, and that is when she met Rob who is an Irish gentleman. After two years of long distance dating the two tied the knot and Amy made the permanent move to Ireland (moral of the story- dreams can come true).

Amy and Rob were amazing hosts who fed us delicious Irish meals, and had us experience the authentic life on the farm. Our first meal together was interrupted by the birth of not one, but two, calfs. Seeing two grown cows give birth is something I will never be able to un-see. But, even as graphic as it was, I’m so glad I got to see it. My short time on the farm made me recognize how hard that life can be, but also the rewards that come with all of the work.

Seeing the way others live is continuing to open my mind to all of the possibilities in life. With each place I visit here in Ireland I am forced to realize how different we all live. We all choose different paths in life, but that doesn’t make one better than another.

Keep an open mind and a open heart.


100 Happy Days

100 Happy Days

Today is day one of my 100 Happy Days! I’ve seen others do this on different social media sites, and I wanted to see what it’s all about. The website 100 Happy Days has challenged us to be happy for 100 days in a row. To complete the challenge you post a picture of something that makes you happy everyday.

I chose Instagram to share my days and complete the challenge. I encourage you to start the challenge with me. Just go to their website to sign up. I am committed to make 2014 the happiest year yet!


My life in the Rebel County

My life in the Rebel County

I can’t believe it, but the one month mark of my time abroad is quickly approaching.  It is safe to say that this has been the quickest month of my life.  So much has changed in these last few weeks.  The experiences I have had are already giving me a new outlook on the world we live in.

One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed in my time in Cork is the people.  Being nice here is expected of you.  Having a conversation with, and showing compassion to, a complete stranger is common place in this society.  The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting while here have renewed my ideas that people are good at heart.  It is said that the Irish will be able to tell that you’re American before a word is spoken, and I believe that to be true.  But not for the obvious reasons of the clothes we wear, or the lost looks on our faces as we attempt to read the map.  It’s because of the way American’s treat people.  The popular attitude in America of putting yourself first, and only helping someone for something in return doesn’t exist here in Cork.  The way people live their lives is different, and its apparent that people are happier here.

One quality that is very apparent in Cork is the national pride the Irish have.  They are proud of their past, and want to keep the stories alive.  The hardships of the countries past are plentiful, but despite the struggles the Irish are still fighting and are in love with their country.  This love of country is one of the reasons that people in Cork are different from Americans.  The idea of individualism is woven into the culture.  Walking down the street it is easy to see that people just like to be themselves, and no one seems to mind or feel the need to ‘fit in”.

Living on my own for the first time in a foreign country is proving to have its difficulties.  Each day I learn something new about myself and about the world.  But, one thing has become very clear to me; Cork is the best place I could of chosen to live out these experiences and broaden who I am. This beautiful country is filled with beautiful people, and is helping me see the beauty in everyday life.  I can’t wait to see what the next four months has in store!




In the last two years everything about my friendships have changed.  Something I’ve realized-  not everyone values friendships the same as I do.

Every friendship is different.  Some I’ve had for as long as I can remember. Every stage, and experience, they’ve been there weaving themselves into who I am.  Other Friends who I’ve met recently showed me different, wonderful, things about life. They have filled a part of me that I didn’t know was missing.  Each share a common factor: they make me happy.

These incredible friendships have been mixed in with the occasional loss of a friend.  Some slowly drift as you grow in different directions.  With others you realize differences, and simple disagreements get in the way of a good friendship.  But, some friendships end when the person is not who they had originally appeared to be.

I go into my new friendships assuming they will model those of my past.  Being healthy, honest, loving and kind.   I have found people who posses those characteristics.  Other people, seemed to be good friends, but proved to be different from who I thought they were.

This year I lost multiple close friends, and for the first time in my life I encountered mean people.  Not people who were having a bad day and snapped, or people who simply had a different personality than me, but genuinely mean people. People who would go out of their way in an attempt to evoke anger and hurt in me for no reason at all.  Even with the knowledge that I would be leaving the county for five months, and virtually out of their lives forever, they aimed to keep the childish fight alive.  Those people are now out of my life, and in retrospect I realize the insignificance of the situation, but this experience has made me realize something.

Friendship is important.  I didn’t realize how vital is it until I was shown what bad relationships can do.  When surrounded by people who make you feel small the world suddenly seems too big.  Fear seeps in, and you stop living.  No one deserves to feel like that.  Anyone who inflicts those feelings on you is not a friend worth having.   When a person has good friends there is protection from the hurt and that is so significant.  Friends bring joy.  Friends bring peace.  Friends bring love.  Take the bad out of life because you deserve to be happy.  You are the only person who is allowed to dictate your own happiness.

Life is too short to be cruel, too short to be sad, and too short to be ungrateful.  Live a life that you are proud of.  Be yourself unapologetically.  If there is something you want, make it happen.  Your dreams matter.  You matter.  Love yourself.

And when someone tries to bring you down hold onto to the friends that bring you up again.

Some people want to see you fail, but others find their greatest joys in your happiness.  Find those people and don’t worry about the rest.

A Little Bit of Little Mix

A Little Bit of Little Mix

If something is British its generally a sure sign I’m going to love it.  And with the all girl group Little Mix no exceptions are being made, in fact, I’m border lined obsessed.  

I discovered the four girls when their debut single “Wings” dropped in 2012 off their first album “DNA”.  This came after they won the UK version of XFactor in 2011.  Perrie, Jesy, Leigh-Ann, and Jade were put together after not making it as solo artists, and in the end became the first group to win the reality show. Since then DNA has gone global.  They are quickly becoming the biggest girl group of all time, and have already broken Spice Girl records. This includes DNA’s release at number four in America; something their 90’s counterparts never accomplished.  The band’s second album, “Salute” was released in the UK earlier this week with the first single “Move” making it to number three on the UK charts in just one week.  Salute is expected to be available in America early this February.

While all of those facts are very impressive, and the success is undeniable, these girls have some major talent to back it all up.  With vocal harmonies that will amaze you, and inspirational lyrics written by the girls themselves, its not surprising that success is finding its way to them.  Within the first ten seconds of “Wings” the opening lines tell you what these girls are all about… “Momma told me not to waste my life/ She said spread your wings my little butterfly” and that is enough to get you hooked.  The message behind their music is a simple one.  No nonsense, be yourself, and don’t take crap from anyone who tells you differently.  The positive messages sneak themselves into every song on DNA from “Change Your Life” to “Hey, How You Doin’.”  After listening to this record you will feel the inspiration to fulfill your dreams.

Wing Music Video

When it comes down to it these lyrics, and the way the Little Mix girls live true to their songs, are the reasons why I’m writing about them.  Yes I think the music is amazing, but LIttle Mix is more.  Life is hard, and people are mean.  There is no getting around those simple truths, but music that inspires you can make it a little better.  With so much of today’s popular music talking about violence, drugs, sex, and a many other questionable activities, it makes me feel like music has lost its voice.  For my parents, and grandparents, their generations’ music was the tool to speak of the change so desperately needed at the time.  It was how they got freedom to express themselves.  Today’s generation seems to be taking that freedom for granted.  

I don’t feel this way about Little Mix.  When I have their songs coming out of my headphones something changes.  I relate to the lyrics in way that I can’t with most pop songs out today.  But instead of using their songs to blame others for their struggles, they take it as motivation.  Never be afraid to be yourself.  These lyrics give me the confidence to do that.  The ability to pick up the pieces and realize that I am worth so much more.  

Little Mix’s second album “Salute” promises to keep with the same values as the first.  With songs like “Little Me” the lyrics wrote by the foursome continue to inspire,

“You gotta speak up, you gotta shout out,/And know that right here, right now,/You can be beautiful, wonderful,/Anything you wanna be,”

And along side of the inspiration the girls have fun, up-beat songs like “Move” (an absolute must hear).  The biggest change from DNA to Salute is the growth from pure pop to something deeper.  The second album has much more of an R&B/ Hip-hop sound which awakens my inner child, and reminds me of the iconic Destiny’s Child.

Move Music Video

No matter what musical style you prefer Little Mix is something to check out.  This girl band is not taking no for an answer, and promises to only find more success in the future.

Little Mix’s Website-

Little Mix’s Vevo-

Little Mix’s Twitter- @LittleMixOfiic

Also check out the girl’s Facebook, and Instagram pages!