Return On Influence

This past week, we were assigned to read and write a reflection paper on a book called “Return on Influence” by Mark Schafer. When I opened up the book, the first thing tried to tell me was that “we are all just a number”. At first, I wasn’t a fan with the idea that one measly number can summarize my entire being. However, Mark Schaeffer uses his book, Return On Influence, to help his readers understand why this number is so important and how they can improve this number.

When I first started using social media, I was really only interested if my friends followed me back. Even now, I could meet someone in the beginning of the semester and not realize that we don’t connect on any social media platforms until I try and tag them in a picture that I post. I don’t think this is the case for most people because I am noticing how deeply offended people seem to be if someone who they follow does not follow them back. This is why chapter 4, discussing social proof and reciprocity, was so interesting to me.

Schaeffer used an analogy of passing by a restaurant that clearly has a lot of customers, and a restaurant that has noticeably less customers visiting. I never realized that I too would be inclined to go to the restaurant with a larger crowd because my immediate thought is that they must have all of those customers for a reason. However, all that having all those customers SHOULD tell me, is that the wait is going to be long. I made the assumption that because this restaurant had a lot of customers, they must have great food, service, and atmosphere. I thought this was a great analogy in comparing this experience to the choices we make on social media platforms about who to follow.

Saying this out loud makes me feel very unintelligent, just because basing my choices of who to follow off of anything other than their content seems a little ridiculous. However, if I receive a friend request on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, all I really need to see is how many mutual friends we have. I also caught myself exercising this habit when choosing which verified accounts to follow on Twitter. One of my guilty pleasures is looking at accounts dedicated to sharing quick tutorials on different eye makeup ideas and hairstyles. I am very picky when choosing these accounts, and one of the main factors I consider is how many followers the account has. This habit of mine absolutely supports Schaefer’s idea that, online, we are all just a number.

Reciprocity and social proof were not aspects of my social media presence that I even knew that I considered important. However, my decision of who I am going to follow, who I am going to let influence me on a day-to-day basis, is very heavily weighted on these factors. I don’t consider myself a social media guru, so I wasn’t prepared to fall into the same habits that Mark Schaefer, who has dissected the online world of social media platforms, but I very much did. I found this book very informative and I think this would be very helpful for anyone who is hoping to gain influence through social media. I feel like this book would also be very helpful to those who only have a basic knowledge of social media. Mark Schaefer is a very good writer who can appeal to a wide range of readers, and I enjoyed his books very much.

Mr. Schaefer did succeed in convincing me that, when it comes to the world of social media, we are very much just a number. However, I’m a lot happier with this number being the number that represents me instead of my weight, or GPA or bank account balance.




My Top 9 Restaurants in Knoxville

As I mentioned before in a previous post, Knoxville is simply amazing to me. One of the best parts about Knoxville is the plethora of amazing restaurants that always have you coming back for more. This list is a compilation of all of my favorite restaurants in Knoxville.

  1. Tomato Head
    • Okay, this place is a vegan’s heaven. They have SO many vegan options as well as many other meaty and cheesy options for the carnivores of the family. Whenever my parents come into town, they never miss an opportunity to go to this delicious and trendy spot.
  2. Uncorked
    • I have only been here twice but I’m determined to get back there any chance I get. I have had great service both times. The menu is always changing, but always amazing. And most importantly, their sangria menu was hand picked by the gods.
  3. Blue Coast
    • Blue Coast is a very good place to go for a good price. Sometimes their service is a little spotty because they get so busy, but it’s often worth the wait. I went here with my boyfriend for our first date, and it was here he learned that I am not a delicate eater- but hey, he stuck around, so thanks Blue Coast!
  4. Tupelo Honey
    • Tupelo Honey has made me understand the craze for biscuits in the South. They have the best biscuits I have ever had and they pair it with the most amazing blueberry jam. Their sweet potato pancakes should be in a museum somewhere-they are truly delicious.
  5. The French Market
    • The French Market was a recent find that my boyfriend and I decided to take my parents on their last morning in Knoxville the last time they visited. They specialize in crepes, and lucky for them, I specialize in eating crepes! They’re chai tea latte (with almond milk) nearly brought me to tears it was so good.
  6. Trio
    • Trio caught me a little off guard because I had never really heard anything about it, but thank the lord I decided to go there with my dad and sister after my 21st birthday. Trio had the best portobello burger I have ever had.
  7. Downtown Grill and Brewery
    • Right now this one might be my personal favorite because I am living on a college budget, and they have the best happy hour deals EVER! $3 margaritas and LITs are what dreams are made of.
  8. Mellow Mushroom
    • Not specific to Knoxville, but they have vegan pizza and calzones that could change the world. Seriously-YUM!
  9. Cocoa Moon
    • Also a secret gem of Market Square, Cocoa Moon has a great environment that makes me feel like I am in a classy NYC bar with a southern charm. I have gotten the same server every time and she is such a sweetheart; excellent service!!




My Happy Place In Knoxville

For those who have never been to Knoxville, I strongly encourage you to make it a point to visit soon. Most of the people that attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville are from the state of Tennessee and have been coming to Knoxville since they were little in order to go to the football games. This being said, I feel like some local Tennesseans take for granted just how great Knoxville is.

I could go on and on about how much I love this city, but I’m going to focus on my favorite place to go when I’m in Knoxville. Market Square is the place to go whether you’re 21, 7, or 60 years old. There is truly something to do for everyone of all ages.

Although the restaurants are the obvious selling point, my favorite time to go to Market Square is when the Farmers Market is there. The Farmers Market in Market Square is full of fresh produce, vegetables, crafts, clothing, home decor and so many different specialty items. Besides the implied southern charm that comes with Knoxvillians to begin with, the people who run and attend this Farmers Market continue to exceed my expectations for just how nice people can be.

Another reason I absolutely love the Farmers Market, and Market Square in general, is that it is always filled to the brim with dogs and babies. If ever I’m having a bad week in the spring or summer, I can always count on Market Square to provide me with trust the right amount of cuteness overload to put a smile on my face.

So, if you haven’t visited Knoxville yet, or you have but didn’t take in the full effect of Market Square, I encourage you to to take a visit.



My Weekend As A Dog Sitter

imageGoing through college I understand that this is my time to figure out what I want to do with my life. To find out what I’m good at and see if I can turn a skill or interest I have into making a living for myself. This process is only made possible through trial and error.

My roommate went out of town this weekend left her dog here with me and I can firmly state without a shadow of a doubt that I am not meant to be a dog sitter. I love dogs so much and I especially love Nala but getting up at 4 am to take a dog out is not something I can do with a smile on my face. Nala is currently snuggling with me and most likely chewing on something she shouldn’t be chewing on.

So shout out to Nala for getting me one step closer to figuring out what I’m going to do with my life.



My Attempt At Running

Whether we like it or not, summer is quickly approaching. I might just be speaking for myself here, but I have taken great comfort in the fact that all of my swim suits and shorts have been tucked WAY under my bed all winter. Spring break was a very cruel reminder that I have been avoiding the gym like the plague.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really about body image or anything like that. In all honesty, I can’t afford to buy new bathing suits or shorts, so unfortunately that means I need to get myself in gear, or my wallet will (quite literally) pay the price.

Considering it was about 73 degrees yesterday in Knoxville, I decided to start my endeavor into healthier habits. I went on a “run” (mostly a jog with a lot of walking involved). I’d like to take a moment to remind you all that I cannot remember the last time I “ran”. I played varsity field hockey in high school, so i’m really not sure what happened…

I thought it might be fun to share with you all the thoughts that were going through my head as I decided to run for the first time in a VERY long time.

  1. Its so nice out, this is a great idea. I am just so smart, I will be summer ready in no time!
  2. Okay..Alright… breathing is getting a little heavy over here.
  3. I probably should have put together a running playlist so I could’ve avoided running to the beat of “My Heart Will Go On”.
  4. Okay, I’ve been going pretty fast I can take a break.*10 minutes of walking*
  5. Oh shoot, fit people are running towards me, I better start running again so they don’t make fun of me.
  6. How do people run for fun? I think I must just be doing it wrong..actually I bet they’re all lying.
  7. Ouch, Ouch, Ouch- why are my ankles shattering beneath me.
  8. When are those endorphin things supposed to kick in? What if I don’t have any? Ugh.
  9. Turning around now…or maybe one of my roommates could come pick me up…
  10. Okay fine I guess I’m running ALL the way back.
  12. A little bit of love handles never hurt nobody..
  13. NO. I will pull myself together and my muffin top will be GONE.
  14. …I could really go for a muffin right now.
  15. I see my house! SPRINT SPRINT SPRINT
  16. Aaaaaand that was a horrible idea, back to jogging.
  17. Almost there…dying….dead…
  18. Oh couch, how I have missed you!
  19. *eats everything in fridge*
  20. *Passes out for 3 hours*

Happy Running!



Roommates: Have to Live With ‘Em, Now I Can’t Live Without ‘Em

My junior year of college has by far been the best yet, and this is greatly attributed to my amazing roommates.

My freshman year roommate is absolutely the most amazing human who has ever walked the Earth. We didn’t know each other, but we had one mutual friend. She is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee but she spends her summers in Rhode Island, where she met a girl who was in my graduating class at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland. So once my friend realized that we were both going to UT, she immediately got us in contact-and thank the Lord she did because my Freshman year would have me exponentially less fun without her. Now Ellie lives right down the street from me, and that might be the farthest I’d ever let her go.

Sophomore year I lived in my sorority house, but halfway through the semester, my roommate decided to move out. This was very bittersweet to me. One one hand, I didn’t have a roommate which can definitely get lonely sometimes. On the other hand however, I was able to push to single beds in order to make one giant king sized bed. Once I put a mattess pad over the whole bed, it was game iver because I would be in that bed as much as life would allow me to. If a bed was made out of love, it would feel like that bed.

From dorm room to sorority house, it was time that I get a place that isn’t so..crowded. Which leads me to my wonderful roommate situation that I am currently in. All 5 of us live in a house where we all have our own bedroom and bathroom but get to share the common rooms.

So if I’ve learned anything in college, it’s how to be a good roommate. Here’s some tips to follow to make your living situation the best it can be:

  1. SHARING IS CARING- be willing to share but also know when you need to pay someone back for a banana or two.
  2. Don’t slam doors- it helps NO ONE
  3. Do not be passive aggressive- know what you want and need and ask for it.
  4. Don’t talk behind anyone’s back.
  5. Be open to change and discuss the changes that make you uncomfortable.



Spring has Sprung

Spring is probably my favorite time of the year. Fall is great and all, but there’s nothing like the feeling that winter is finally over. For whatever reason though, I find myself absolutely dreading Father’s and Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE my parents, but how am I supposed to say how much I appreciate them with just a simple gift or card? It also doesn’t help that both of my parents’ birthdays are in Spring as well (which is just rude if we’re being honest). In order to not be caught off guard for this gift- giving season, I’ve decided to list some of the ideas that I’ve had. Over the past few years, I’ve stuck with pretty generic gifts that I for sure know they would like. Well, to my dismay, my dad politely mentioned one holiday that if I get him one more coffee mug, he’s going to put me up for adoption.

Point taken, pops.

So this year I’m deciding to go with gift ideas that they might really want, but maybe wouldn’t buy for themselves.

  1. Candles-GOOD candles
  2. Pocket knife key chain
  3. Anything having to do with the University of Tennessee
  4. Nice oven mitts
  5. New bath towels
  6. Any baking supplies-they love to bake but all of our appliances are as old as the hills
  7. New wallet

Right now, that’s the best I have. They’re deciding to move soon, so house warming gifts might be the way to go this year.



Things I Wish Would Come Back In Style

Trends come and go. Some we’re happy to give the boot to, and others we cling to until someone has to physically burn them. I’ve lived through 2 great decades: the 1990’s and the 2000′, but I also have a few trends that I’d like to come back from previous decades as well.

  1. Scrunchies
    • I’m seeing more and more of these recently and I am loving every bit of it.
  2. Overalls
    • Basically a denim romper-but BETTER
  3. Charm bracelets
    • How else are you going to know someone is your best friend unless they give you a charm that says so?!
  4. Long fancy gloves
    • So what if I want to be Audrey Hepburn?
  5. Moon Shoes
    • These things provided me way too much entertainment as a child.
  6. Light up sneakers
    • Yes, as a matter of fact I DO run at the speed of light, thank you very much.
  7. S Club 7, and any boy band ever
    • I need them back, and I need them back now
  8. Sidewalk chalk
    • Do I even have to make an argument?

Here is also a list of trends I wish were NEVER a thing:

  1. Tomagotchis
    • Maybe I’m bitter because mine always ran away or died, but still I could’ve done without them.
  2. Chokers
    • You can pretend they’re cool all you want, but OW.
  3. The words: fan, bae, squad, bruh, lit, & turn up
    • Get them out of here. I’m begging you.
  4. Jean skirts
    • Not cute, not comfy, what’s the point?



A Nation Divided

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a northern girl who ventured to the South. There were a lot of myths that I heard before I came to Tennessee from Maryland. There are also things that I wish I would have known before hand.

First of all, everyone convinced me that everyone in the South dressed up for class. This absolutely stressed me out. I went to an all girls’ Catholic school for 7 years and haven’t had to pick out my outfit before school since I was in 5th grade and light up sneakers were still in style. So, I went out and bought as many orange sundresses as I could. Little did I know, that is a big fat myth. The thing wear to class is essentially what you wore to bed the night before: a big T-shirt and shorts in the spring and fall, or absolutely anything that will keep you warm in the winter. I was MORE than okay with this myth being false.

Next, I thought that everyone in the south was unhealthily obsessed with sweet tea. Considering that I could take sweet tea through an IV, I was upset to find out that sweet tea isn’t as big of an obsession as I thought.

There were also a few myths that people of Tennessee assumed about my northern ways. I have constantly had to clarify:

  1. No I do not say “pop” instead of “soda”
  2. No, I am not cranky all of the time.
  3. No, I haven’t been raised to hate the south.
  4. Just because I live where it snows all the time, does NOT mean I like the snow.
  5. No, I have never been “muddin'”
  6. Yes, I understand I say “you guys” instead of “y’all”
  7. I also understand that I pronounce the word “ON” like “Oo-won”, so sorry.

Being from Maryland, which is kind of in the middle, I didn’t really consider myself northern or southern. If I go up to New York I might as well be from the deep south, but if I go to  Alabama, I’m about as “yankee” as you can get.

Either way, I love my northern roots, but there’s also nothing like the south.




Picking Favorites When it Comes to Digital Advertising

Digital advertising has been the catalyst for so many brands in reaching specific target audiences and has made it so easy to calculate the exact ROI with each advertisement posted. At first, there were just pop-ups and banner ads, but after a while, the consumer is unable to sort through all of the clutter. In the past few years, I have come across some groundbreaking examples of companies taking the initiative to innovate the typical digital media routine.

My first example would be movie premieres on Snapchat filters. I feel that the most exposure that I have received to movie premier commercials is through TV commercials, which would make sense. However, with the convenience of streaming my favorite shows, ad free, and for such a low cost, I almost never know what movies are even playing anymore. That is,  until snapchat has entered the game. Snapchat, over the past year, has gotten very creative in the way someone can edit their snap using fun and creative filters. Some of these filters make you look like you’ve aged 50 years, and  some make you look like a puppy. However, if you swipe enough times, it will sometimes allow you to see your snap with an advertisement for a new movie that’s out. Now, I know this does not sound as cool when written down, but different movies have gotten really creative with this option!

Here’s an example from StarWars:

SnapChat has no current system for choosing a target audience aside from using geotagging, but who doesn’t love movies? I think this is my favorite example of digital advertising and just how creative it can be.

Next on my list of favorite digital advertising moves: Instagram ads. Instagram is for those who like to receive their information fast and visually. I would consider Instagram my most used social media platform. Although I primarily use Instagram to catch up on what my friends have been up to, I occasionally see a promoted ad as I scroll through my feed. People don’t like advertisements; it’s just as simple as that. However, putting advertisements on Instagram is so much less invasive than a pop-up ad on a website. The benefit of this strategy, is that people on Instagram are normally trying to waste time. It’s thought of as a quick time filler as we wait for something a little more stimulating to happen. So people might just take an extra moment to look at that advertisement, instead of looking at posts that they have probably already seen multiple times that day.

My next favorite as an advertiser, but my least favorite as  a consumer, is the idea of “suggestions” on websites. There is no denying the fact that this is an absolutely genius tactic for brands and advertisers. For me, there are virtually no downsides to online shopping. I have a search engine as opposed to a potentially aggressive store employee, I can compare different products by just clicking on my different tabs, and I don’t have to leave my bed if I don’t want to! You really can’t get much  better than that.

I don’t go online shopping often unless I really need something. The reason being when I go online expecting to buy a pair of flip flops, I end up with a cart full of flip flops, a bathing suit or two, a beach towel and sunglasses. This is all at the fault of digital advertising, more specifically the suggestions section. Once I find that one thing that I came online to buy in the first place, sites like Amazon and other stores will say “Others who viewed this item also bought:” and a list of items that I didn’t necessarily need. Except now that Amazon thinks I need them, you can bet they are in my cart.

Digital advertising is still pushing the creative boundaries and always engaging the consumer in ways that were never thought possible. It will be very interesting to see the next move that advertisers take with digital advertising.