Category: Uncategorized

The InDesign Expert

The InDesign Expert

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I enjoyed being able to use my InDesign skills in class last week. I learned to use InDesign during my Document Design class last year, and used it frequently during my internship at the Red Cross over the summer.

Because I had a lot of experience with this program, I was able to help my classmates with some of the finer points of InDesign. Something that I would’ve enjoyed spending more time on during this section of class were the different visual design principles and why they’re important to consider for all types of visual elements.

 

 

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Search Engine Optimization

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Image via Pixabay.com

was somewhat familiar with SEO before last week’s class, because I had experience with managing my own website. One of the bloggers that I really admire has a great blog post about SEO for bloggers, which was a big help to me when I was starting out. I really enjoyed watching the different videos, especially in regards to improving the SEO for YouTube videos.

Something that I hadn’t really thought about previously was using my own social media to create link backs to my content. Although I had been doing that simply to drive traffic to my blog posts, I hadn’t realized that it could help with my SEO.

Learning about the Web

One of the things that I enjoyed about last week’s class was learning about how the internet works, including the interaction of computers and domain name servers. One of the things that I thought of during this conversation was when I listened to Theresa Payton speak at a keynote address during the PRSSA national conference. As a former White House chief information officer, Theresa spoke at length about online security and responding to news of a hack. That session dramatically changed my perspective about online security.

I enjoyed the in-class activity where we looked at various poorly-designed websites and analyzed them. To get some perspective, I went online and found some award-winning websites. I felt like many of them were fairly similar, with large images and just small bits of text. One that I really enjoyed was Locus Solus, which has some beautiful coding to it, especially on the “Chair” page.

I am looking forward to learning more about SEO this week, because I have previous blogging experience and have dreamt about using my blog to make an income someday.

Next Week:

 

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Image via Pixabay

 

 

WKTV Visit

I enjoyed my visit to WKTV a lot. The fact that the programming is done mainly by volunteers as a hobby was really interesting to me. I enjoyed watching the quilting show, OnPoint, being made, especially knowing that the crew was made up of friends that had come together to make their own tv show even though they didn’t have a lot of experience.

I love that WKTV gives citizens the tools to tell their own stories in a way that can be prohibitively expensive to do on their own. Providing the equipment and the training to create is very exciting and impressive.

Video Editing

I feel as though I definitely need some more practice using Adobe Premiere.  There are many different tools and parts to the program that I wanted to know more about, but I do feel a bit more comfortable doing many of the basic functions of the program, and even things that were a bit more complex like taking out a green screen background and substituting another video or image.

Besides the actual software, one of the things I am most interested in is the actual art of editing video. I am a writing major and do a lot of editing for creative writing, and I was interested in understanding what I could use from that experience and vice versa. I thought that this article about editing Ted Talk videos was really interesting and helped me understand more about the process.

My group also filmed for our ad on Thursday, which was actually a lot of fun. Each member of our “cast” felt well prepared to contribute and because we were aware of variables like lighting and background noise, we were able to select a location that worked best for filming our video.  We are also looking forward to having a great blooper reel.

 

Video Production

It was helpful to learn about photography before we talk about video because they both are focused on shooting images that require similar considerations for lighting and composition.

The biggest different between photos and videos is not the movement, but the presence of sound. Even “silent” films include music to help control the mood and give viewers more information. Something that I hadn’t realized was that the sound and video are recorded on separate devices and have to be put together later using the clapperboard sound to help sync them.

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Wilson, J. (n.d.). [Clapperboard Photo].
I enjoyed learning about the process of creating a film from script-writing and storyboarding to casting, filming, and editing. Something that I have always been curious about the pre-filming process. I’m a planner by nature, so thinking about all of the different decisions that have to be made about shots and effects and casting is a little bit overwhelming, but also sounds fun.

Visiting Green Frog Photography

Last Tuesday, I had the chance to visit Green Frog Photography with my class. The visit was filled with amazing insights on many topics from lighting and editing to entrepreneurship and networking.

Because I am interested in turning photography into a hobby, I was excited to hear a few a pieces of advice from JD Hage about improving my photography skills as an amateur.

Here’s some of the tips he shared:

  • Don’t EVER use the flash mounted on the top of your camera
  • Change your perspective
  • Get a tripod
  • Find ways to tell stories with your photos

JD also spoke about how starting his own company and how he worked to get new clients. He encouraged students interested in starting their own business to take more business classes and to learn how to do things that weren’t interesting to them because they are necessary.

These tips were very helpful for me, and made me feel much more confident about exploring photography and my future as a potential entrepreneur.

Manual Photography Rocks

I have always been interested in photography. I enjoy going to my boyfriend’s rec league hockey games and taking photos to share on Facebook, or making an excuse to go to the zoo to practice. I only very recently started shooting my photos in manual mode. Pinterest was my main learning tool in this, and my Photography board is constantly growing.

Something that I wanted to learn more about where Aperture and Shutter priority modes. While these modes don’t give complete creative control to the photographer, I’ve found them helpful in situations where I need to focus on the depth of field or shutter speed.

Learning About Photoshop

For the last two weeks in class, we’ve been working with Adobe Photoshop. Since I have used InDesign pretty extensively over the last few months, I was expecting to find Photoshop pretty simple to use. I don’t think that was a mistake, but there was certainly a bit of a learning curve, even though I have used the software before.

One of the things that is the most difficult with me while learning to use Photoshop is keeping track of all of the layers and remembering to deselect things before changing which tools I’m using.

One of the tools that I really like is the clipping mask tool. I like being able to take different images and texture and fit them into text of different shapes without needing to have any kind of precise drawing tools or skill.

I am interested in learning more about the different blend modes. I’ve found a blog post from Photo Blog Stop that explains a lot about what the different modes do. Although I’m not sure if I’ll dive in as deep as that post does, it’s a good reference to have to narrow down which modes to look at when I’m trying to achieve a certain effect.

It’s Contagious: Understanding why things go viral

One of the things that I found most interesting from last week’s discussion was the discussion of viral marketing. I thought that the video summary of Jonathan Berger’s book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, was particularly interesting. I really enjoyed hearing about STEPPS and thought that the discussion in class about each one and examples helped me think of how I could apply these ideas to some of the things I do in the real world, including my volunteers work at the Red Cross and my Communications Internship.

In case you aren’t interested in watching the video, let me break this down for you: STEPPS describes the reasons that someone might connect with something they see online and want to share with with others. It stands for:

Social Currency

Social currency is the idea that people want to share things that make them look good. For example, I enjoy sharing information about the Red Cross because I am proud to volunteer for an organization helps people around the world.

Of course, that’s a pretty selfless example. An example that is a bit closer to the way that social currency usually works is Vera Bradley. It’s pretty expensive, but other people can easily recognize the colorful patterns and popular handbag styles as Vera Bradley. For those with the cute quilted backpacks, this can help indicate their status and position.

Triggers

While triggers can be very negative and harmful things for those who have suffered trauma in the past, the triggers discussed in the video were more about developing connections between your product or brands and other factors or things that your target markets comes across regularly.

Since it’s fall, I’ll bring up a tasty example: the pumpkin spice latte. Even the idea of autumn nearing can send people into tizzies over this delicious flavor. Not only that, but despite efforts from other coffee sellers, such as McDonald’s and Bigby, many people specifically associate pumpkin spice lattes with Starbucks. So, when fall comes around, there are many people who naturally are more likely to visit Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte even if they haven’t seen an ad for it since the year before.

Emotion

When you feel outraged, you often feel the need to vent to someone else about whatever happened. If someone tells you a great joke that makes you laugh so hard you snort, you save it for later and hope you can do the same to someone else by telling it again. These real life examples also apply to our online lives.

One recent post on Facebook that I shared was this video of a youth national soccer team comforting their devastated opponents after the 2016 U-12 Junior Soccer World Challenge. It was such a touching scene, and I wanted to share that speck of brightness with everyone and see if I couldn’t make someone’s day better.

Public / Social Proof

This one can seem a lot like social currency at first glance, but the difference is that Social Proof is more about doing the same thing as everyone else, while Social Currency is doing or sharing things that make you stand out from the crowd or look better than everyone else.

One great example of this is the Fitbit. These days, everyone seems to have either a Fitbit or some other fitness tracker, including those who would’ve never been interested in exercise before. Although I have not yet broken down and bought one, the impulse hits me every time I see someone else wearing one or talking about how many steps they have.

Practical Value

This idea is pretty self-explanatory: people want to share things that will be useful or helpful to other people. We love giving others advice because it makes us feel important, especially when someone comes back to us and says how much they loved it.

I can’t think of a better example of this than Pinterest. The entire site is a bookmarking/sharing pinboard for help with everything from entrepreneurship to fashion to toddler’s birthday parties. While many people might save pins for themselves, some people have group board specifically for sharing ideas and inspiration with a group of people, and businesses love information relating to their products and services with people who follow them.

Stories

People don’t always remember technical specs or how many awards a certain product has received. Why? Because these factors, while important, don’t always make sense in a “what’s in it for me” kind of why. Instead, people are more prone to remember stories.

As a writer and lover of fiction, this is probably the aspect that intrigues me the most. Storytelling is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the Ad/PR world, and this article from PR in Your Pajamas does a good job at breaking down why and how storytelling can be such a great tool.

Overall, I think that each of the STEPPS helps us understand how our audiences work. As a content creator, I think that I will look forward to using some of these aspects next time I write a post I want others to share.