November 6, 2013

Girl Gives With Guilt-Free Shopping: The GO Exchange, TOMS Marketplace, Amazon Smile

Filed under: Culture,Giving,Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:51 am

I am a shopaholic. No doubt about it. But I also have a big heart, even though I don’t think about donating money as much as I think about spending it. When the opportunity is put in front of me however, I always add to my bill–at PetSmart, on the Tory Burch website, on the Bobbi Brown website, when ordering online from Pizza Hut–all of these brands have prompted me to add a few dollars to my cart at checkout, and I have done it without hesitation. I love having this opportunity because it makes me feel a little less guilty about the money I am spending on myself.

If every brand did this, we could raise significant dollars for organizations that do good and give back. This was an idea I actually pitched as a product at the G60 pitch competition in Little Rock several weeks ago. Then last week, Amazon announced Amazon Smile. When you purchase from Amazon Smile, you can select a charity and Amazon gives .5% to your bill to that organization. Brilliant! I am an Amazon Prime member and if I can find what I want or need on Amazon, I will buy it there before anywhere else. I might place three Amazon orders a week. Since they announced Amazon Smile, I have been using that site to place my orders and give to an organization close to my heart, Carry The Load (here is why). It is so easy. I just have to remember to go to the Smile site instead of the regular Amazon site (it is the same site and my cart carries over, you just go to the separate URL to trigger the giving addition to your order at checkout). I already loved Amazon and now I love them even more and will encourage others to shop there.

Even better than donating money is purchasing cool products that help people in need. There are two online stores where this is happening and I want everything they sell!

The GO Exchange is part of the Global Orphan Project (GO Project). I traveled to Haiti with the GO Project through their GO Adventures program over Labor Day weekend and learned a lot about the story behind the goods that they sell. All of the money you use to purchase the goods that they sell goes back to the organization to care for orphans around the world. I have purchased scarves, bags and bracelets from the GO Exchange. Not only are the products beautiful and stylish, they are a high quality. I am proud to wear, carry and use these products and am always anxious to tell the story behind the making of each product when I get compliments on them. And I know the money I spent is given to a good cause.

This week, TOMS announced its one-for-one Marketplace. I have long been a fan of the TOMS brand and written about the company in this space for several years (and own more pairs of TOMS shoes than I care to admit!). With the Marketplace, TOMS has curated products that have a platform for giving of their own and is selling them on the TOMS website. In exploring the Marketplace, I was pleased to find many brands that I already love and have purchased. Now they are all in one place!

My wish is that every brand that I buy from or interact with will give something to those in needs for the purchases that I make. And the world will become a better place.

May 20, 2013

Little Rock Film Festival 2013 (@LRFilmFestival): A Great Experience

Filed under: Culture,Girl Gets Geeky — Emily Reeves @ 7:52 am

I had a great weekend in downtown Little Rock watching film festival movies, listening to panels and hanging out with cool people. I am so proud of the city for continuing to host this event and I have been pleased to watch it grow every year since 2007. If you missed the Little Rock Film Festival this year, be sure to catch it next year. You won’t regret it. I’ve included all the photos that I took below. Here are the films and panels I was able to catch:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • This is Where We Live
  • 12 O’Clock Boys
  • The Girl
  • Tales of the Heartland (panel)

My favorite was “This is Where We Live,” but everything I saw and participated in was fabulous.


Little Rock Film Festival 2013, a set on Flickr.

April 22, 2013

The Value of TED

Filed under: Culture,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 8:14 pm

I’ve recently discovered that too many people I know are unfamiliar with TED videos and the knowledge and inspiration they convey to viewers in 18 minutes or less. If you don’t know TED, go there now and start exploring. I promise you will feel at least a little inspired by the people and their presentations that you find there. My feelings won’t be hurt if you leave this blog post now to go there.

TED started out as a conference for sharing ideas around Technology, Entertainment and Design. It has evolved over the years into an online community with videos free to the world to watch as well-renowned leaders in their industries share their knowledge and experiences with the viewers, and still includes conferences around the world. All in short, 18-minute or less videos. We all have time for this at least once a day. And in our high-pressure jobs that require creative thinking on a daily basis, TED videos can provide just the inspiration we need to spark an idea, motivate us to action and generally just make us feel better about the world around us.

As TED has grown, they have embraced local communities that want to hold their own TED conferences. These local TED conferences are not official TED events, but they follow the strict rules of TED that allow them to use the TED name and the videos from these events end up within the TED community. These events are called TEDx.

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend my first TEDx event. It was TEDx Hendrix College. The theme was storytelling and included five speakers with diverse backgrounds and from all over the country. I wasn’t disappointed by my high expectations for TED; I walked away inspired, I learned new things and was moved to become engaged in organizations I might not otherwise have known about. It was a Sunday afternoon well-spent. I hope to see more TEDx events organized in central Arkansas and expand our knowledge and experiences.

Live, In-Depth and Personal Coverage During Tragedy

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 9:16 am

This last week was intense. Bombings, explosions, poisonous letters, gun fights and police chases. All in a period of five days. None of this was happening physically close to me, but I felt that it was. Our technology and rapidly evolving digital communications world has brought us closer together as a country. We feel each others’ joy, pain, fear, celebration, heartbreak and intensities as if we were all together in one place. This last week made believers out of skeptics for the communication power of channels like Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.

The Boston Marathon bombings were truly the first live-tweeted tragedy. The news first broke on Twitter. The police used Twitter to call for help in collecting photos and videos of the scenes (by Wednesday they had collected three terabytes of information). Participants used it to report their status to friends and family members. The rest of us used it to share our love and support and offer outreach and help to those in Boston.

I was traveling on Monday and without cell service for much of the day. As soon as I was back within range, one of the first things I did was open Twitter, not expecting news of a tragedy that had happened many hours earlier. Twitter was how I learned of the bombings and how I kept up with the news the rest of the evening until I was able to get to a television for live news coverage. But even then, Twitter was just ahead of the TV with breaking news.

We’ve followed tragedy and disaster “live” before. But this time it was more personal with regular people reporting as if they were the media, sharing their specific experiences. From NPR:

“But this time, in our full-on, post-Sept. 11 surveillance society and freshly Twitterized media, we were able to experience each event in excruciating, exquisite detail.

“Through the saturation of social media, we were also able to experience it equally, whether reporting from the streets of Boston or the scorched explosion site in Texas, from newsrooms in New York or Los Angeles or Berlin, or from our own living rooms and college dorm rooms.

“This week, these awful events have cemented the reality that the media is now everyone, anyone with a computer or a smartphone, a Twitter account or a Facebook page.”

On the day of the bombing there were 500,000 tweets mentioning Boston with mentions of the world “Boston” skyrocketing on Twitter by a factor of 200 as the explosions were reported.

The consumer technology and communications tools available to us all and kept by our sides 24-hours a day are beyond valuable in connecting us as a country and as human beings. This past week felt like a personal attack, though I personally knew no one involved in any of this week’s tragedies. I felt the heartbreak for Boston, I felt the pride in its police force and I felt the relief when the suspect was captured. While some may criticize and avoid technological innovation and digital communications for disconnecting us personally, I believe that it brings us closer together.

April 2, 2013

Style Tips for Working in a Creative Industry

Filed under: Business,Culture,Style — Emily Reeves @ 7:51 pm

Working in a creative environment can mean a lax dress code where anything goes. Shorts, flip flops, torn t-shirts and jeans dragging the floor are not uncommon. But just because creativity can sometimes be hidden behind cubicle walls, that doesn’t mean that your clothes can’t both express your creativity and give a professional appearance. Here are a few tips for those working in a creative industry but needing to present well:

  1. Your appearance is your first impression, before you open your mouth or show you portfolio. Recognizing that simple fact is the first step. Make a list of adjectives and traits that you want people to assume that you have when they see you. For example: approachable, creative, professional, serious, fun, etc. Knowing how you want people to perceive you will help drive the clothing and accessory decisions that you make.
  2. Consider your audience. If you are going to a conference of creative professionals, you attire will be different than if you are going to present to the marketing department of a major brand to sell your creative services. Dress to reflect the how the audience will be dressed, while still incorporating your personal style. For example, if you are going to business meeting, you might wear a pencil skirt and heels. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a grey skirt and black heels. Instead choose a colorful patterned pencil skirt and strappy wedges that might be more reflective of your personal style, but still fits in within the environment. If you are presenting at a conference of creative professionals, you will not want to wear a suit if everyone in the audience is in ripped jeans and Converse sneakers. Instead, you might wear dark denim and hip low-heeled booties that show you care about your appearance but fit in more with the audience.
  3. Don’t be uncomfortable. Dressing for an audience doesn’t mean that you have to be stiff, uncomfortable and wear shoes that you can barely walk in. If you put it on and it doesn’t feel comfortable because it is not “you” or because it pinches, pulls or squeezes–even just a little bit–take it off immediately.
  4. When in doubt, choose a monochromatic black outfit and accessorize to make your personal statement. Solid black with a bold necklace and a colorful handbag can make you look both creative and professional.

February 25, 2013

Video: Talking Social Media and the Oscars with KATV

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Social Media,Video — Emily Reeves @ 12:13 pm

This morning, I sat down with KATV to talk about the social media buzz during last night’s Oscars ceremony. See the video here:
KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

February 1, 2013

Videos: Snapchat Interviews

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Stone Ward,Video — Emily Reeves @ 7:54 am

This week I talked to both KATV (our local ABC station) and KARK (our local NBC station) about popular photo and video sharing app Snapchat that has become very popular with teenagers. You can check out the two videos here:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Here is the link to the KARK interview.

September 4, 2012

Video: Presidential Campaigns and Social Media

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 7:52 am

This morning, I talked to KATV about the presidential campaigns’ use of social media. You can read more about the campaigns’ use of digital communications channels over on the Waiting for the Elevator blog. And check out the interview video here:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

August 10, 2012

Video: Talking Starbucks & Square

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,That's Just Cool,Video — Emily Reeves @ 10:57 am

I visited with KATV this morning about the new Starbucks/Square mobile payments partnership. You can check out the interview here:

KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

A Giant Leap Towards a Cashless Society

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 6:35 am

Earlier this week, Starbucks and Square announced a partnership. This was big news for the future of mobile payments. While Square has been around for about two years now, it is mostly used by small independent business owners. Partnering with Starbucks means that the Square mobile payment technology will now be exposed to more people and larger retailers may start using Square based on the learnings from Starbucks. And Starbucks has had mobile payments for a while, but it is linked to a Starbucks account that you have to reload with money to spend, making it a bit limited (though super easy and fun to use; I love it). The partnership signifies a big move towards major businesses adopting mobile payments:

“Though smartphone payments have a long way to go before they replace wallets altogether, Starbucks’s adoption of Square will catapult the start-up’s technology onto street corners nationwide, and is the clearest sign yet that mobile payments could become mainstream.” – New York Times

What is Square and how does it work?

Square is a mobile payment technology with two branches: one for business owners and one for consumers. The business owner can download the Square software to their iPhone or iPad, request a Square device from Square to plug into the top of their iPhone or iPad, then accept payments by swiping cards through the device.  Or, if a customer is also using Square for payments, the business owner can see the customer through the Square software and allow the customer to pay just by saying their name.  For the consumer, it is just a matter of downloading the Square app and linking a bank account or credit card to the app. It is much like PayPal, except mobile.

Why is a cashless society a big deal?

According to The Atlantic:

“(1) Innovations that save time, even just a little bit of time, are real innovations, because in any advanced economy time and attention are currency and creating more of them can make us all richer; (2) What’s important about Square isn’t just the transactions it makes more efficient but also the cashless world it pulls closer to the present. As Slate investigated in a fabulous series, a cashless society can make us richer, healthier (dollar bills are dirty!), and smarter.”

I am looking forward to more efficiency in payments and not having to carry around anything but my phone.

I did an interview with KATV this morning talking about the Square and Starbucks partnership. I’ll post the video as soon as it becomes available.

May 17, 2012

Creating an Online Brand When Job Searching

Filed under: Culture,Current Events,Digital Strategy,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 8:20 pm

Today, I talked to Today’s THV about recent college grads looking for jobs in a tough market when everything you can do to stand out makes a difference.

It is time for college grads to start their job searches and the competition is stiff for the number of jobs compared to the number of candidates. Standing out among the competition is more important than ever. And an online brand can make all the difference in getting the call for an interview.

When it comes to an online brand for these candidates, there is a seeming indifference. They are restricting their professional lives and online representation to LinkedIn, then write and post about anything and everything but their career of choice. The bottom line: your are getting Googled before you get called for an interview. And searched on Facebook and Twitter. And the potential employer is definitely looking you up on LinkedIn. Do you know what they will find when they perform these searches? What do you want them to find? It is time to think about yourself through the lens of an potential employer. This isn’t just about removing embarrassing moments, but also about showing that you are curious and intelligent. Think about who you are and what job you want; this is your personal “brand.”

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Build online profiles in places and with content relevant to your personal brand. Determine where to do this and what to talk about based on the searches you do related to your industry, your specific career interests and your location. Look up the people that you admire in your industry and those that you would likely be interviewing with: what are they doing that you can emulate?
  • Google yourself. What do you find? What would you like an employer to find? Google your likely competition for the job. What are they doing that you can learn from?
  • Get your LinkedIn profile fully completed. Too many LinkedIn profiles have only a name and the school from which they graduated. Fill in all the fields. Tell your personal, professional and educational story. Think about it like telling a story.
  • Create a “professional” blog around your interests in the industry in which you want to work. While a personal blog is great and can help potential employers get to know you, if you are writing about the industry relevant to your degree and the job you are seeking, they can see that you are really interested in the work and know what you are talking about. Use Google Alerts, Twitter searches and blog subscriptions (RSS feeds, Google Reader) to stay on top of your industry, then write about it. Create original content; writing about your own discoveries shows that you’re processing the information you are reading.
  • Create a public Twitter profile for sharing industry and professional news. If you have a personal Twitter profile that you don’t want potential employers to see, go ahead and protect that and keep using it as you have before, but make sure you have all the privacy settings adjusted. Respond to thought leaders in your industry via Twitter. Show that you have an opinion and a backbone.
  • Adjust your privacy settings in Facebook so that only friends can see your content. Be wary of friending potential employers, employers and co-workers. Consider the content that you post to Facebook and what you want them to see. Facebook has sophisticated privacy options: if you are not comfortable not friending someone, consider categorizing them to only see certain content. If there are pictures that others have posted of you that are not flattering, consider un-tagging yourself (once you have untagged yourself from a picture, you can not be retagged).
  • Consider creating a website for your resume where you provide links to all of your online presences, making it very easy for an employer to see all that you are and all that you are doing. How can you be creative in the way you display your resume? Think about using video as a way to personalize the resume.

Keep in mind that the differences between a personal brand and professional brand online are blurring. You can have separate profiles, but it is hard to maintain and mistakes can be made. And Google can find almost anything. It is better to assume that everything you put online will be seen by a potential employer or employer and be mindful of what you put out there.

Good luck!

May 7, 2012

Digital Literacy

Filed under: Culture,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 6:22 pm

A must-listen podcast from the Princeton University series, What does it mean to be literate in the age of Google? features Daniel Russell, a “search anthropologist” at Google. During his fascinating talk, Russell covers the ins and outs of efficient search, how most people don’t speak the language of search and only use a fraction of search capabilities. It turns out, I was one of those people. I learned new tips listening to his talk and have now added his blog to my Reader feed where he gives a search quiz and lessons. Educational and geeky fun. Check it out.

March 20, 2012

Beautifully Designed Data Encourages Connectivity

Filed under: Culture,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 7:27 pm

You’ve heard of Nicolas Felton by now: the designer who got curious about various data points of his life over the course of a year, compiled them and designed them into infographics for an annual report of his life. The New York Times wrote about him. Facebook hired him to design the new Timeline profile pages. And as a result, he has been sitting 15 feet away from Mark Zuckerberg for the last year working to improve interactions on Facebook:

“The biggest thing that’s different is that Facebook is not about human-computer interaction,” says Cox. Most designers in the computer industry have focused on helping humans interact with machines. But Facebook is about human-to-human interaction. “We don’t want people to remember their interactions with Facebook,” says director of design Kate Aronowitz. “We want them to remember their interactions with their friends and family.” Cox calls this “social design.” “It’s more like designing a plaza or a restaurant,” he explains. “The best building is one where the people inside get it and work together and are connected. That connectivity is created by how everything is arranged.” ~ Fast Company

Data in social design. Brilliant and beautiful.

February 28, 2012

How To Make A Viral Video

Filed under: Culture,Social Media,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 8:01 am

I’ve been sucked into TED Talks this morning and couldn’t resist sharing this Talk about what makes videos viral. The bottom line: a “tastemaker” shares it. Still an enjoyable video to make you laugh this Tuesday morning.

July 14, 2011

Loving Turntable

Filed under: Culture,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 5:16 pm

Have you checked out yet? While music is in my life everyday, I am not very knowledgeable about or good at finding the stuff I like. Let’s just say I don’t have an exceptionally discerning ear, but I know what I like when I hear it. And I like being around people who know more about than me and are willing to teach me.

Turntable is that online version of being around people who know more and are teaching me when an in-person lesson is not an option. The reason that I am talking about here is the social and gaming aspects of site participation are interesting:

  • Anyone can set up a room and DJ to a theme of their choice. Up to five people can DJ in a room and the control rotates between them.
  • Anyone can join the room and “vote” on the song playing as “lame” or “awesome.” When you vote “awesome,” your avatar’s head starts bobbing to the music. You can see how the song is fairing on the lame/awesome meter while it plays.
  • The more people that favor your song, the more points you build as a DJ. With more points, you can change your avatar (choices open up at different point levels). Every visitor can see your score.
  • There is a chat column in each “room” and visitors talk about the music.
  • The name/title of the song shows and there are built in features for sharing the song to your social networks and saving the song to your music player of choice.

CNN recently called it the “cool kids’ Pandora” and offered some spinning tips for the new visitors.

I am loving it right now. Check it out.