Friday, January 30, 2015

McDonalds asks you to pay with Lovin'

Maybe the digital age isn't taking us away from special human interactions and moments after all. As the Super Bowl gets closer, people will be expecting to see funny, meaningful and memorable advertisements when the game is not on. One of which will be from Mikey D's, which hasn't had a Super Bowl commercial in eight years. From February 2nd through the 14th customers who come in and order during pre-selected times will be able to "Pay With Lovin" and will get their meal for free. In a 30-second preview (sorry, I am about to spoil it for you) different people where asked to take a selfie with the employee or the person they were with. They were asked to call their mom just to tell them they loved her. One mother and her son were at the register and the employee asked her to say one thing she loved about her son. Some even danced for free food (Heck, I would too).

This may not be a major advancement in media or technology, but it is more so a reminder that we should take time away from our digital devices and constant daily reminders and focus on what really matters in life: love, hugs and smiles that make our day other people's days special. I personally think I do not tell my mother or father that I love them enough and part of the reason is that I can be caught up in so many different types of messages, whether they are on my phone, my lap top, my music or walking down the street. This advertisement will serve as a model for improving the relationships that we care about. Plus, who doesn't like free food?

What a great idea from McDonald's public relations and advertising team.

Apple just made history...Not surprised

When apple released it's quarterly earnings for 2015 on Tuesday, it reported earnings of $74.6 billion in revenue. This is more than any company has ever made in quarterly sales! It also is more money made than the entire S&P 500 list combined! The company was highly successful from its sale of nearly 75 million iPhones last quarter. Most of the earnings came from China where the revenue increased by 70%. Wow, is that enough facts for you all? Apple isn't stopping here either. CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple will be releasing the highly anticipated Apple watch in April.

Now that I know all of this, I am amazed yet not surprised. In the world we live in today most people own or have owned some kind of Apple product whether it's an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac. As an owner of Apple's stock, I am a happy shareholder, however I do worry if the hype over Apple will last long enough for the stock to continue to grow. Almost 69% of the revenue that Apple got from its quarterly earnings were from iPhones, which have been around for quite a while. As long as Apple keeps on pleasing its consumers and coming out with innovative products that lead up to the expectations of consumers, then they will continue to make more money.

This is also huge for technology because in the past, oil companies have produced the highest earnings in quarterly revenue. This quarter, Apple beat out a Russian natural gas company GazProm and the previous record holder from the US, Exxon Mobil.Now the question is, will digital technology control how we get gas and how we drive our cars?

What does Google Fiber mean for the Digital Age?

Now that Google fiber is coming to the Raleigh-Durham area, there will be more opportunities for people to engage in educational, digital and research projects. It also opens room for competition from other companies such as AT&T's U-verse broadband internet, which attracts business. Google Fiber would provide broadband internet to areas that is 80 times faster than the national average speed. This major business move is essential in a college town, such as Chapel Hill because students are always demanding faster internet or just internet in general, and there are many professionals here that would research its effects.

One way I think it would have an impact would be on our youth. As children start to become digitally smarter than their parents they will learn at a young age, the power of digital communication and how it can benefit them. When I was a kid, I played outside all the time and hardly spent much time on a computer or tablet. Now that all of these products are coming out for children to play with indoors provides an opportunity for them to learn new things on their own, experiment and maybe even discover something new. I think this high-speed internet situation will implicitly encourage youngsters to become innovators as young as possible. It also could mean less physical activity and childhood obesity, but we will save that discussion for another time.

The photo below shows the speed of Google fiber compared to today's average. It's a huge change.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Is privacy on social media possible?

I have been thinking the past couple of days about what we post on social media and privacy. Some people will post so much about themselves on social media such as where they are, what they are doing and who they are with very frequently throughout the day. Others post when they have received a special award or accomplished a goal or simply are bored and post a "to be honest post." All this posting that we do puts our lives on the Internet for anyone to use for their own benefit.

Last night I actually met a guy who said he saw me on Instagram and I barely knew him. We had mutual friends, but my account is private. I wondered what all that he knew about me. There are also times where I think I know someone who has requested to follow me and then realize I added someone I didn't know. Let's be real. How many of us actually read the privacy statement on these social media sites? I know I surely don't.

We put so many things on there that third-party users could get a hold of. Even if you know all of your followers/friends how do you know they are your real friends and aren't sending information to third parties. One lesson that should be a take away from this post is choose your friends in life wisely and choose your friends on social media wiser. You can't trust just anyone these days.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy Tweets mean Healthier Communities

Nowadays everyone and their mothers are using social media in some sort of way. Some use it as a way to let people know what they are up to throughout the day, businesses and organizations use it to promote themselves, and people use it to network with people they may not see every day. People are now finding more creative ways to utilize social media.

Research has shown that using Twitter could increase mortality rates from heart disease. This study was done on a county-by county basis. Of course some levels would be higher than others based on income and whatnot in specific communities, but social media may not be so bad for us after all if we live in places with happy people who post happy things.

Thinking about this could benefit mental and physical health, but does this mean that Twitter should be used in hospital settings now? Those who are dying from heart disease are usually not the ones using Twitter. Those dying are older generations who mostly likely have never seen a Twitter feed. If this study holds truth, how will Twitter and doctors find ways to market Twitter to elderly people and get them to use it for the purposes of creating and viewing positive content to increase their mortality rate? Is it worth putting in hospitals? I would like to hear your thoughts.

Are our phones and social media ruining our relationships?

Yes if you allow it to. We often times forget about the social interactions we could be having with real people instead of people on our phones. In this article a 31-year-old woman, not teenager is addicted to her phone so much that it caused a break-up and led her to writing her own book about it.

I am not surprised by this woman being addicted to her phone because she is still young. 31-year-olds may have stable careers and a family, but they are still not oblivious to the technological opportunities that the world provides for them. However teenagers and young adults, who I am surrounded by on a daily basis are constantly on their phones. Even at times where we shouldn't be on our phones we are, such as crossing the street for example. You would think that when you cross the street you would want to be very aware of what is going on at that intersection, but half the time we trust that cars would stop and we use that opportunity to check a text message or see that latest snap story of one of our friends.

By paying so much attention to our phones and apps on them we miss out on things that may not be super important to us, but may mean something to us. Who knows maybe if we didn't walk looking down at our phones so much we would make eye contact with the guy or girl who could be our future spouse or maybe, if you're on UNC's campus, you would pay more attention to the brick monster instead of tripping and possibly embarrassing yourself.

The bottom line is this: Opportunities are missed because of the amount of information we feel like we have to consume each and every day. I challenge us to take one day out of the week to turn our phones off and put it somewhere where we can't look at it for at least 4 hours. I am sure it'll feel great knowing that we do not have to be so reliant on our phones and can interact with real people instead of picking up our phone during awkward silence for example. Embrace the awkwardness! We are human and our phones shouldn't control us!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

LinkedIn creates two new products

LinkedIn is known for its great networking platform that helps potential employers find employees and for people looking for work to network with others to land the job of their dreams. Not only is LinkedIn helpful for employers and people actively searching for work, they are moving toward being active inside the workplace by connecting coworkers.

This makes sense to me because people who work for huge corporations such as Google or Apple do not know everyone who works there. What LinkedIn is doing is first creating a database for employees to network within the workplace. It is called InMail for coworkers to provide their contact information. The second is content sharing, so that company administrators could send out information about a position that needs to filled to a bulk of employees who may then share it on their personal LinkedIn accounts in hopes that it will attract potential employees.

These developments are making information easier to access in the workplace without having to do much work. In a positive sense people will be able to come closer together, but one con or loss may be that people will be too reliable on computers for information that genuine human interaction may alter in the future.