Happy Social Media Birthday!

In honor of my twenty-first birthday, I’ve decided to post on behalf of all the Instagram birthday collages and Facebook posts that have changed birthdays for Generation Y/Z.

I read an interesting post by Grant Roth on birthday collages and what they mean to teens and young adults. In the article, he argues against the idea that we love posting on people’s walls simply because we want the publicity that a birthday post provides – not everyone can see a text between two people.

Roth says that while this may be true for some people, posting a birthday collage on Instagram is more about showing others why you love someone – an heartfelt expression of love for a technologically-savvy generation.Β We don’t simply want others to think of us as good people, we actually want to be good people.

I completely agree. As a generation, we communicate and express ourselves not through journaling in a notebook (although kudos to those who have the dedication to do this!) but rather posting on Twitter, sharing photos on Instagram and statusing on Facebook. Phone calls are now emails, and the internet allows us to think about someone, message them online, and refresh an old connection in a few clicks.

What about the birthday collages for people who aren’t on Instagram? On Fathers Day, I always see collages lovingly compiled for fathers everywhere – many of whom will never actually see the post. Do we post because we want others to think we’re thoughtful people? I revert back to Roth’s original idea – we express our love through what we know. We want others to know about the important aspects of our lives, such as how much we love our fathers. For this reason, I post collages without reservation.

So, to those that feel as though a birthday wish on Facebook once a year is a superficial notion of friendship, I’d like to argue that, at our different stages of life, we express who we are and how we love through these social media platforms – especially for myself as a communication student. This is the reason each individual posting deserves individual attention. When we consider that each posting is the expression of a heart, it brings much more meaning into our timelines.

One time, I attended a workshop with a career advisor who told me that communications professionals pay attention to whether or not you respond to every Facebook post you receive on your birthday. This shows if you are thoughtful and intentional with your communication skills. This is a quality valued specifically in the communication industry that’s stuck with me through the years. Professionals gauge whether or not we care based on how we respond – express ourselves – via social media.

Now don’t get me wrong – I very much appreciate those who I get to see in person on my birthday and who thoughtfully type out birthday text messages for me – I’m honored to be close enough (geographically) to receive these sorts of wishes. And, sometimes, we have the good fortune to thank someone for these wishes via phone, text or high-five.

However, social media platforms connect people over thousands of miles. For these Facebooking, Tweeting, and Instagramming individuals, I appreciate every post that I’ve gotten wishing me a happy birthday, and am working at getting better to respond to each and every individual expression of care.

Off to eat cake!

xo

The Perfect Interview Drink

You probably read the title of this post and thought, “What on earth is this girl talking about? Interview drink? What?”

Truth of the matter is that I have actually thought about writing a post on interview drinks many a time, usually in the precise moment that I’m meeting a future employer over coffee or sitting in a reception area when the receptionist offers me something to drink.

I think which drink you choose in your interview really tells a lot about who you are. And, unfortunately, coffee breath could break your interview chances.

Are These Beans Fair Trade?

We all know these people. Maybe we are these people. Dedicated to their favorite roast, never settling for cheap blends. My sister is one of these people. She’s a diehard.

Coffee is a decent interview drink, because you won’t be burping or gulping (hopefully!). But, we must keep in mind that interviews are often in close quarters. And, coffee breath has been the downfall of many suited professionals (I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but I assume it to be the case…).

Coffee breath isn’t easy to get rid of, either. Then, you start feeling self-conscious of your espresso-exhaling, which directly affects the impression of your future employer. “Why is she covering her mouth? Why won’t she make eye contact? Why is she always rummaging through her purse for gum?”

Moral of the story: Don’t sabotage your self-confidence. Coffee is not the best interview drink.

Excuse Me, Do You Have Flavored Perrier?

I have to make a confession – this was me. I am an avid seltzer water consumer. So, when I went in for my interview at the coffee shop (and knowing coffee was not the right choice), I decided to go the sophisticated bottled water route. Perrier is harmless, right? WRONG.

The magic of seltzer water is in those beautiful little luscious bubbles, making you feel like you are enjoying a crisp champagne in the middle of the day and just bein’ a classy lady. But it’s those lil’ bubbles that will TAKE YOU DOWN.

If you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down, let me make it clear for you: Perrier will make you burp. “What’s your greatest strength?” “Burp.” “How could you contribute to this company?” “Burpity Burp.”

If your employer isn’t completely turned off to you by your apparent lack of manners (although we know this isn’t the case, the Perrier made you do it!), they probably won’t be able to understand your answers. Listen, I just don’t want your top-selling quality to be burping the alphabet.

Moral of the story: Skip the Perrier and its devil classy bubbles.

I’d Just Like A Water, Please

If you’re not an adventurous kinda person, I recommend going with plain ol’ water. True, the waiter won’t think much of you, but water is a safe choice.

Unless you’re me, and you drink six glasses in one sitting with a bendy straw.

Don’t slurp it down. Water won’t sabotage your breath or make you burp, but if you consume an obscene amount because you’re nervous and you use the straw as a way to avoid eye contact, I’d pass. Tap water can be your friend, but it also can get everywhere, sweat everywhere, and lead to myriad bathroom breaks.

Moral of the story: Water’s good. I’d avoid cups and straws, but bottled water is one of the safest interview drinks out there.

Hot Tea, Chaps?

I admit, I’m biased. My family has been drinking tea for years, and I grew up on hot cups by the fire. Regardless of my personal attachment, I have come to the conclusion that hot tea is the best interview drink out there. It’s sophisticated,

First of all, tea’s made with water. Remember him? The breath-saving burp-free friend.

Secondly, your interviewer won’t think you’re boring. It’s not just plain water, it’s flavored water that’s warmed up – screams class.

Thirdly, tea is delicious. You can sip pleasantly, nod inquisitively, and discuss that sales pitch you presented in your last company that brought in five new clients.

Fourthly, tea is relatively cheap at coffee shops, and easy to make. You’re not high maintenance. You fit in well. You refill the water cooler. You invite your work friends over for dinner. You’re a good person.

Finally, tea is calming. No more high-strung caffeinated conversations (tea has much less caffeine than coffee), unpleasant stomach cramps, embarrassing burps, or low self-confidence – tea brings a pleasing warmth to the table.

Who knows, maybe they’ll even hire you on the spot.

An Open Letter To Print Media

Dear Print Media,

As a PR student, the first thing that people tell me is that you’ve already died. Then, I have to tell them that I just saw you this morning, and they get defensive. And this is why, Print Media, I’m here to advocate for you.

You’ve already changed communication. Since the early days of Benjamin Harris’ Publick Occurences, you’ve been rockin’ our world. Instead of having to hear the “facts” from Aunt Nelly, we can read words in print that have (hopefully!) been double checked by people who care about you.

You’ve changed the way we absorb news. We still get magazines, read books, and (shock!) subscribe to papers. Now, we can find this print media on our tablets – reading books and magazines without ever physically flipping a page. Personally, I don’t believe this to be a negative progression. You’re growing and expanding, and embracing a modern world is a difficult transition to make.

Print Media, you’re being revolutionized. Journalists can no longer skim by with questionable facts – we have to fight to make sure we’re getting the truth out there, especially since TV can pick up a story in seconds, and people can watch videos online. We’re loyal, Print Media, because newspaper clippings on refrigerators will never get old, and communities celebrate tradition.

In the next five years, you may find yourself faced with the difficulty that children have grown up with iPads. However, you’ll flourish in knowing that people enjoy the tangible and the credible. Anyone can write a blog, but not everyone can publish articles. Your audience may dwindle slightly, but only to become more targeted. As a communication student, I know that targeting equals better advertising (meaning money)! Plus, you’ve got Sunday cartoons.

Sincerely,

A Girl Who Still Wears Newspaper Hats