“Start Kicking” Assignment

For our “Start Kicking” assignment we were instructed to peruse the website www.kickstarter.com. I began the perusal process by scoping out the “Discover” section where I was lead to 15 “diverse categories” including: arts, comics, crafts, dance, design, fashion, film & video, food, games, journalism, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater.

KickStarter category page

If you knew me, you would know I am not a left brain person, so many of the artistic and musical categories were not of interest to me. However, I love FOOD…so I dug a little deeper into the 649 “live projects” (at the time of search) that were categorized as “food.”

It didn’t take long for me to find a project I was passionate about: The Chocolate Conspiracy Expansion is intended to expand a raw artisan chocolate company out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Included in the project details is a video about the business that starts with a still image of a delectable looking chocolate bar (shown below).  Also included in the project details is an extensive list of items needed to grow their business, including the prices of the equipment needed. The concept is built on the organic, local food movement and uses local honey to sweeten their chocolate.

KickStarter - The Chocolate Consp. Expansion

Gainesville Co-Op

In sticking with the same theme (food), I decided to search some local projects in Gainesville, Florida. I recognized the image and name of a local Citizen Co-Op, which claims to want to “build a community through a local food marketplace that offers fresh creative alternatives to how we connect with our food.” I was pleased to discover they were already “Successfully funded” and I look forward to scoping it out next time I’m on that side of town. 

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.12.08 PMWhen I returned to the Kickstarter website for a third time to gather my thoughts, I stumbled upon Zubits Magnetic Shoe Closure, which I couldn’t resist writing about. At the time I saw the Zubits project it was 646% funded! Zubits is the perfect example of a “Shark Tank” type invention. It’s been said that successful inventions are those that solve a common problem or make a current task easier. Although there are of course sneakers with velcro; however, they are far less fashionable, Zubits provides a revolutionary way to fasten your sneakers. While it seems elementary, over 4,000 individuals have backed the project and $187,216 has been pledged thus far.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.16.30 PMAs previously confessed,  I am not a left brain person and my level of creativity is bleak to say the least. While I don’t personally have a concept or project I would want funded, I know plenty of other individuals (far more creative than myself) that may be interested in this concept, and I appreciate being made aware of this financial crowdsourcing platform.

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Scan Me – Scan You Assignment

I must confess I was surprised by the results of my “Scan Me – Scan You” assignment, for which we were tasked to Google ourselves. It must have been over a year and a half ago since I have searched for myself on the internet, as I recall having to search by my maiden name, White. When I went by Kaitlin White there was also a well-known gymnast by the same name, and apparently a Miss Teen USA by that name as well.

Below are the search result for Kaitlin White.

Kaitlin White

Kaitlin White the gymnast, which was quite ironic because I did gymnastics when I was younger.

Kaitlin White the gymnast, which was quite ironic because I did gymnastics when I was younger.

While there are many spellings to the name Kaitlin, the word “white” serving as an adjective, noun and verb, affects the search results for my former name.

White

Although I have made an effort to brand my name since realizing the importance of search engine optimization, not only as a business, but as a marketer; I unfortunately cannot fully credit my search status to my stellar SEO tactics, but rather to my husband. Okay, okay – not really to my husband but to taking on a new last name, and a less common last name at that.

Kaitlin Gertner generates the results shown below. Four of the five images are headshots from various profiles/accounts, and the one image that is not a headshot of mine is a photo from my Pinterest account.

Kaitlin Gertner

The first page results for the Google search “Kaitlin Gertner” generates the following:

1: My LinkedIn Account

2: My Twitter Account

3 & 4: Pages affiliated with my employers website – my biography and one of the many blogs I have written.

5: My Pinterest Account

6: My Trulia Profile

7: My Google+ Profile

8: My personal WordPress blog – created for coursework pertaining to this program (Mass Communication Master’s with a Specialization in Social Media at the University of Florida).

9: A blog I wrote for my WordPress blog pertaining to Facebook advertisements.

I was somewhat surprised that all search results on the first page of Google were actually affiliated with me, and that those at the top of the results were some of my least active accounts.

For this assignment we were also instructed to search by our email address(es). I used to use my company email as my primary email for most all accounts; however, in recent years I have changed some to my personal Gmail account, but have not yet switched all accounts and some are easier than others (i.e. Google+). To eliminate publicising all of my emails, I will be using a description of each and general description of search results.

When I searched my company email address all first page results were affiliated with myself: Our companies team page and contact us information, blogs I have written for our website, guest blogs I have written for other websites and company accounts for which I am the primary account holder (and used my company email address for).

When I searched my Gmail address the results were less pertinent to me directly, and some were a bit puzzling. It’s during this search that I also began to wonder how my previous searches are effecting my results, as one of the results has my maiden name and my Gmail address contains my married name. Other results included organizations I am a member of, WordPress related results (including comments I’ve made on my peers blogs) and Google+ results (pages I manage and contacts, i.e. people in my circles).

When it came to searching for my University of Florida (UFL) email address, I was initially quite shocked; however, I then took into account the number of safety procedures put into place by the university in regard to email security. I don’t think I’ve ever searched Google and came up with less than a page of results. There were only three results, none of which listed my proper UF email in the meta description. I was so surprised by these results I couldn’t not include a screenshot. I’m curious if any of my peers searched their UF emails and received similar results.

KGertner UFL email search results

Discount Double Check (App Assignment)

For the “Discount Double Check” assignment I chose to download the Publix application (app). The app is designed to save users time, money and make shopping a pleasure. The app includes the following features (as shown below): my grocery list, weekly ads, digital coupons, recipes, online ordering, prescription refills, featured products and more!

Publix AppAlthough I didn’t receive a discount for downloading the app, weekly ads and digital coupons are available through the app. One of my favorite features is the weekly ad section the divides all items by category, and includes a list of items that are currently buy 1 get 1 free (BOGO).

Weekly AdThe app does include global positioning, in that it will tell you what Publix location you are closest to, or you may choose to select a preferred location. There does not appear to be a review section on the application. I would imagine this would be difficult given the amount of locations, and the difference in services and products at various locations. I suppose a review section could be generated for each location, as there are location based reviews accessible online when individuals perform Google searches on various locations.

Google Search for Publix location

This image shows a Google search for a Publix which has 4 reviews for this particular location.

The app offers many additional resources; however, many of the features are ones I use through other applications. For example, I use the app AnyList for a shared grocery list option, and since I do not just shop at Publix, I do not envision myself switching to the Publix option. However, the Publix app does have a recipe section which allows you to chose a meal and add ingredients for the entire recipe all at once. If I was looking for a meal option, and knew I would only be shopping at Publix for ingredients, I would be more inclined to use these two features together. On a side note, many of the recipes appear to be fairly decent and offer a wide variety of options. That being said, I may start using this app to browse recipes for the week, in addition to checking out the BOGO specials.

Recipes

Recipe with add ingredients to list feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The app also offers the option to place online orders at the deli; however, when you select this feature it takes you to a separate web browser, rather than placing the order directly through the app. Although the only items I have ever pre-ordered from Publix were cakes, catering orders, subs and wheat pizza dough (yep, they have it…you just have to ask), I have always called these orders in. Knowing that I can now place these orders online, and have pre-cut meats and cheeses at the deli waiting, I may be more inclined to start using this feature.

Publix Deli Pre-Order

Although I do not fill my prescriptions at Publix, and the store I frequent most doesn’t have a pharmacy, the refill options on their app appear to be convenient, in that you can scan a barcode to order refills.

Publix RX

All in all, I think the Publix app provides a plethora of resources and has the potential to be very useful for avid Publix shoppers, whether they use one or all the features.

Second Life Assignment

Second Life Logo

Despite my initial unfavorable opinion of virtual worlds, such as Second Life, recent articles and comments from my peers had aided in increasing my enthusiasm about this assignment; however, it didn’t take long for me to return to my negative opinion. With my bias opinion likely still present in the back of my mind, my lack of patience for technological obstacles and disgust for video games since my childhood, I’m not surprised by my lack of interest in Second Life. Although I personally did not enjoy the experience, and most certainly went into it guarded and with hesitations, we are all entitled to our own hobbies and if it makes someone else happy, and doesn’t harm others in the process, I have nothing against it for use by others.

I am a relatively outgoing person, so I found going up to strangers and trying to talk to them fairly entertaining, despite the lack of success I had. I was so shocked by the experience in general I had to call my husband into the room to simply witness how bizarre the whole concept was, in my opinion. Whether I wasn’t approaching these individuals with proper virtual world etiquette or I simply seemed weird or uninteresting, I have had more success holding conversations with strangers in the real world. l also must admit, I have a higher level of confidence outside in the real words versus virtual worlds as well. I felt very uncomfortable and insecure while participating in Second Life, and as weird as it sounds, I thought maybe others could sense it.

Although I am a 25 year old female, I chose a male avatar…the least creepiest looking male avatar, in my opinion. Based on the warning we had from our professor about a former student’s experience and my low level of comfortability with the platform and the users, I strategically made this decision to avoid any odd interactions or advances, even if they are just virtual. As you can tell, I obviously was very guarded in this whole process, which may have hindered my ability to enjoy it more. I found the simple task of finding a name that wasn’t taken to be frustrating. I must say though, my husband and I did have quite a good time laughing at the whole concept and approaching individuals.

I, or should I say Kaleaf (my avatar’s name), walked, flew and teleported to various areas. Although I tried to talk to a few people, only one person attempted to converse with me and they spoke Spanish. I did boogie down on the dance floor with another individual but we never sparked a conversation.

I accepted an invite to another land, where I had hoped I would have more success conversing with other virtual individuals. After feeling rejected, overwhelmed and even a little like an outcast, I took more of a light hearted approach to try to end the whole process; however, Second Life doesn’t allow you to drown yourself in the ocean, so I eventually just resorted to logging off.