Oh, I have to leave?

I met with my adviser a couple of weeks ago to go over my final semester of college. I felt under-whelmed compared to what I thought setting-up the final semester of classes of my undergrad career would feel like. The meeting went as any other, and I left feeling just as I had walking in. 12 credits. Four classes. And then that’s it. I have applied to internships and now all I can do is wait. Perfect.

I have also met with a possible capstone mentor who made me realize that I really don’t have a clue what I want to focus on for my capstone project. We have talked about researching more on writing programs for veterans and my experience instructing an English course to veterans enrolled in the Veterans Educational Training through Trio at NDSU. This opportunity really came out of thin air (Listserv) and is a new experience, one I find myself absorbed in professionally and in my everyday life. I never pictured the culmination of my college career would focus on something that is very new, and personal, to me. I hate to get too personal on here but my boyfriend is a combat veteran so I take what I do to heart. I enjoy connecting with people with different, almost unimaginably different, perspectives and gain insight into who they are. I think everyone likes telling their own story, or believe their story should be heard, and it should! I think my biggest problem with writing is I fear people get weird when we get too emotional or get “too deep” on a topic. I love it. I want to know what you know and figure out why you think that way. A veteran’s perspective is very unique and is very skewed from the civilian perspective of what or who a veteran is. This has been my first semester instructing the course and the student went from not believing he has anything to write to creating a 13-page short story. Amazing, but I do not believe I taught him more than some basic punctuation and how to use GoogleDocs. During our classes we mostly just talked, and then talking turned into writing confidence. I think that’s a beautiful thing.

So what’s my strategy? I really do not have one, which I think is my biggest problem right now. I’m a lists person, a need-to-know kind of person, so this waiting game is killing me. I’ve already received my first reject letter, while not totally soul crushing, still was a sting. I have applied to a lot of creative writing/communications/PR positions in several companies but I am drawn to wanting to help people, even someone, and right now I just happen to be serving veterans. I sorta feel like a traitor to what I want to do by focusing my capstone project on the educational-based approach project. I also feel like I am so all across the board with my interests that I won’t be picked up anywhere. It is also hard to tell people that, Yes, I’m an English major. No I don’t want to teach. Yes I teach right now. Nope, don’t want to teach, I want to write. No, not like Edgar Allen Poe status, but general content, getting the word out, using my craft and all that jazz.

Okay, so what’s the strategy…

Building my avatar. Updating my LinkedIn was one of the first steps I needed to take in order to apply to internships. I scrutinized over what profile picture to use and what cover photo (if any) to have. I updated my skills, likes, interest and info. I researched the companies I applied for and not only looked for what they look for in candidates but also what they are doing as an organization to increase veteran hiring.

So my strategy…

Come what may.

Ewan McGregor is the unknown adventure that awaits and the Duke is the corporate life that will pay my student loan debt. Sorry to whoever hasn’t seen this but you get the point.

 

 

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A cup of tea and a content analysis

I have always been interested in actually sticking with a blog and reviewing products that I use that I want to share with others, or similarly, review products that companies send bloggers for positive reviews, as long as they are a reputable product/organization, of course. One of my favorite bloggers is Candace Moore (yogabycandace.com) who is a blogger and yoga instructor. She posts lifestyle and health posts as well as reviews for products and items that are sent to her. She is very health conscious and only reviews select items. She gets free stuff in the mail all the time. How cool is that? She gets paid to do yoga, eat well and write; not a bad gig. This post will be a meta-review while also compiling a mock content analysis for the brand that I will be reviewing.

The product I am focusing on is Full Circle’s tea. Full Circle (fullcirclefoods.com), a Topco brand, teamed up with Project 7, an organization which sells gourmet mints and gum, with the mission to prove that “little purchases when added up, can pull many people together and make life changing impacts every day of the week” (project7.com/pages/mission). These little purchases impact 7 different areas which the organization focuses on: Save the Earth, House the Homeless, Feed the Hungry Quench the Thirsty, Heal the Sick, Teach them Well, and Hope for Peace. The partnership with Full Circle focuses on hunger in the United States and the partnership expands past just gums and mints and can be found on a full line of grocery products (fullcircleproject7.com/products) including the tea I am currently drinking.

I wanted to research more into Project 7 and the Full Circle brand, because I am always skeptical of the bigger players b
ehind the brands, in this case, Topco (topco.com/). The company is an LLC comprised of 50 member-owners from the supermarket and wholesale world. Many of the members are well-known including Casey’s, Coborn’s, Piggly Wiggly, and my hometown favorite, the local Stater Bros. Their website is pretty corporate but fairly easy to navigate. They host a Home, About Us, Members, Brands, Programs, News, Sustainability, Careers, and Vendors tabs, making navigation on the website fairly straightforward. From there I was able to navigate to the Full Circle website from the Topco’s Brands page, underneath their Health and Wellness subcategory tab.

Full Circle’s website provide a lot of information and is a lot more creative and appealing than the Topco site. They do not display tabs at the top of their website but instead the user scrolls through and sees snippets of information available to click, and scrolling pictures hyperlinked to other pages on the site. Full Circle carries an entire line of home products from seafood and produce to health care products. The site also has a link to recipes and also a healthy lifestyle blog. They also list on their main page the organizations and programs they support including Marine Stewardship and Fair Trade Certified, both demonstrating what market they are playing to. Frequently the user is shown a questions or comments link, making me think that they might actually care (whoa). The only social media the website links to is their Facebook, which has only 3000 likes and their posts have very few likes. Their posts appear to typically be recipes which link to their website, or pictures with a quote or caption pertaining to a certain holiday/significance. They post frequently, every other day or so, which I think is reasonable. It would be interesting to see them post more lifestyle blog link, which were fairly numerable on their website but I do not see much of on the Facebook. I think they would get a lot more likes if they played to a larger audience, considering they sell more than just grocery items.

You are unable to get to the partnership page between Full Circle + Project 7 from the Full Circle Site, which was kind of irritating. You have to go and type in fullcircleproject7.com which takes you to their website. The main page gives the user the options: Learn More, Products, Partners & Tracking, and Hunger Facts. I have two qualms with this page: first, they do not have a link to the Project 7 website anywhere transparent but only at the very bottom of the site, just in case you were looking for the copyright date? Second, under the Partners & Tracking tab, they have nothing. There is a “note” saying to “please check back soon for information on our participating retail partners and how many meals have been provided to-date through Full Circle + Project 7 program”. Okay, cool. How long has that been there? I got off of their pretty quick because all the other tabs were flops too: the Hunger Facts tab had many 4 stats listed (not even an infograph!) which seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

I navigated over to the Project 7 page which contains besides the Home page an About, Shop, M7ission, Buzz, and Jobs tabs. Also at the top of the page is the friggin’ laundry list of platforms the organization hosts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube. They have around 32,000 likes on Facebook and their posts are diverse and cute! The posts themselves only have a few likes but the content is much more varied than the Full Circle’s FB. Their Twitter not only posts the cute links from their FB but they also retweet relevant posts from the organizations they follow. They have 17,000 Twitter followers and they follow over 2,200 sites themselves. Their Pinterest looks very well put together, with 27 boards including “Holiday Flavors” to “Causes We Support”. This good variation makes me wish their Pinterest presence was better, and as someone who is on Pinterest a lot, I have never seen a Project 7 pin. Their Instagram only has the photos they post on FB so that’s a flop. They have almost 10,000 followers but all the images are digitally created and there are no images of, oh I don’t know, the people all around the world they help? They haven’t posted on their Tumblr since 2014, they have a PhotoBucket place holder for their use-to-be cover photo. What is that? Annoying: delete it. Their YouTube has 3 videos. Two from their work in Haiti which in mine opinion should be available on their website. They also have a video from their partnership with 7Up in 2014 to help in all 7 areas, but I had never heard of this initiative before, making me wonder if it every happened. The premise is with every purchase you use the bottle cap code to donate to a cause of your choice, the exact mission Project 7 focuses on, demonstrating that every small purchase makes a difference.

There it is! The conclusion of my review, starting with a cup of green tea. It tastes even better knowing that it goes to a good cause, and it was valuable to see where it came from and how each organization (or partnership) represented themselves online. It was interesting to see that an organization which I believe to be fairly large, could have such random gaps in their online content, which can lead people to think less of their brand, or could even affect how many people know about their brand.