Social Media Etiquette in Schools

Came across this article posted by NPR today. Interesting read for sure. Ii’m intrigued by the idea behind this, but wonder if these classes would only be treating symptoms of a larger problem. Not only do people seem to have bad social media etiquette, but it it seems like general social etiquette as a whole is lacking.


Here’s a link to the full article.


Bus Skin for Roos-N-More

For my artifact, I decided to do a couple of bus skins highlighting the existence of the zoo we chose to work with. With the zoo being located in Moapa, NV and knowing that many local students didn’t know of its existence we decided that our target audience would be men and women age 18-26 located in the Southern Utah area.

(Sidenote, the rest of the campaign, along with the style guide and such can be found at

Why a bus skin? Here’s my reasoning. Near campus, there is a major ‘hub’ for the SunTran bus system, where buses typically idle for a few minutes at a time. Many students pass these buses during busy commute times and would see them. Also, because of the color scheme chosen for our campaign, I knew that something that was a shade of bright green as big as a bus would stand out from anything else and pull peoples attention.

Because buses move, and people pass them quickly; it needed to be visually catchy while also having an element of simplicity. Two of our major communication objectives were to promote awareness of the existence of the zoo in Moapa and to instill a desire for people to learn more about the zoo, so in order to accomplish that I wanted to make sure that the logo and zoo name were featured prominently as to easily be seen. The website address is simple and featured in a contrasting font color to make sure it stands out and is easily legible. Social Media icons were featured as a decently large part near the website address in order to give people a quick alternate way of looking up information about the zoo.

An Asymmetrical balance was an important design aspect of these skins to create the feeling of fun and quirkiness. I also wanted to use the photos and their natural vectors to move people’s eyes toward the text. The lemur in the first photo is staring right at the social media icons and website address, and the hand feeding the kangaroo in the second image points your eye towards the main slogan and website address.

Contextual Impact of Social Media and "Count My Vote"

Politics.  It’s such a dirty word among people right now. People don’t like politics; they try to avoid it as much as possible. It used to be that you could tune politics out; simply ignore it and pretend it doesn’t apply to you.

All that has changed now.

Politics are more prevalent that ever before, and its no longer a ‘one-way’ street. With the advent of social networking, politics have become much more personalized, giving people an outlet to which they can freely speak.

A new movement recently started here in Utah, the “Count My Vote” initiative.  In brief, this movement aims to switch Utah’s current primary election system from a Caucus system (where chosen delegates cast votes in a primary election) to a direct vote primary (where every participant has a vote in the primary election). Many other states have a direct primary, so this is nothing new or groundbreaking. The timing of this initiative, however, is rather curious. Why now? Why has this not come up in the past? According to a study cited by Count My Vote on their website, Utah’s voting turnout in elections has dropped sharply from 76% to 39% in 2012, ranking the state #39 in voter turnout.

Usage of social media has increased exponentially over the past few years. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 72% of adults are social network users (see the full report here).

But what does this mean, and how does it relate to the Count My Vote movement?

One principle of social networking that always seems to keep reoccurring is the idea of one being their own personal gatekeeper to surround oneself with views affirming their own. This principle is highlighted extremely well in any political discussion you can see on Facebook, with at least two clear camps in opposition to each other duking it out through their keyboards. The end result? People can now feel like they have a voice; an opinion (albeit sometimes absurd). What happens now that people have all of these opinions and passions about current issues? They want to be the decision makers; the influencers. And that idea lies at the heart of the Count My Vote initiative. You don’t want someone else, who may or may not share your same viewpoint voting for the people who represent you. You want that vote, and ultimately that decision.

Obviously, the impact of this event has implications in a few different contexts.  First (and most obviously) within the social context. Voting and primary system in Utah is something that has been happening in our society for a long time. With the way people

Culturally, this has been an interesting movement. Just because of its nature, being an petition-based movement it has a very grass-roots feel to it. Social networking has been incredibly important to it’s progress. I first heard about this movement through a blog post that was linked to on my friends Facebook wall. The discussion, according to my experience has mainly been happening online. There is discussion that happens face to face, but most of the time people will steer clear of any situation where it looks like someone is going to talk politics (like a group of people wanting signatures for a petition). Online, however you can say whatever you want, leave out any details you want and ignore anyone you want.  This discussion that happens is very much a form of citizen journalism. Many people have heard of the movement from the news, but a whole lot more is being said by people outside of traditional news media through the blogs and Facebook/Twitter posts.

My view?  I think this movement has some merit behind it. Reforming Utah’s system to a direct primary would definitely have many implications, but we wouldn’t be the first to do so.  In our day and age, political candidates have much easier means to connect with people one on one, even if its not face to face.  I can see the reasoning as to why we had delegates vote for us in the past; it would have been impossible for candidates to broadcast their message that far and wide. But today I can send a tweet to my state representatives and have a response back; I can look up their voting history online to see if I agree with their views. So much information is out there now that I feel confident enough I could make an educated, direct vote about who I want to represent me, instead of letting someone else do it for me. After all, if I’m going to post about who I want in office anyway on Facebook, it might as well count in real life too.

Facebook Page Evaluation

Well… Can’t believe that we’re to this point in the semester already.

Here’s my evaluation of the Facebook page I managed this semester. I will continue to manage it throughout the next semester too, so hopefully I’ll be able to apply some of the things I’ve learned in hindsight this semester.

First off, the theme.  That was the first thing I tackled when I gained control of this page.  My goal was to modernize it, show the logo and give it a warmer and more inviting feel.

Original Page

Updated Page

I thought about other social networking apps I could use to further the reach of the campaign, but ultimately decided to stay with my original thought and keep Facebook as the primary online presence for this business.

I have some other graphics that I plan on using for the cover photo, but didn’t see a need to change it frequently yet. When we get closer to the end of the year there will be a larger push from the management to do more, but because they are full they were hesitant to do too much recruiting right now.

I think that the theme of this page with the bright red logo and nicely framed cover photo have done a lot to legitimize the presence of the brand I tried to create. I would have liked to see a little more variation in the cover photo (as I stated), but hope to work on that over the semester break and into next year.

My tactic of posting photos seemed to work really well in terms of engaging people.  A handful of likes came from the class, but a lot of the 25+ increase in likes came from people engaging on the photos uploaded.  I was able to get some really nice photos from a photographer the mangers commissioned to update the photos. These proved invaluable for engagement, often doubling the reach of the page.  I wanted to post some things about resident life, but to be completely honest, there wasn’t much going on the past few months. The closest I got to that tactic was posting construction progress of the new pool/hot tub area at the new complex.

Here’s a quick look at the metrics from the beginning of September until the beginning of December:

Total Page “Likes”

Days the “Likes” increased
What kind of post resonated most with my audience
Most Successful Post
All Posts Since I took over the page

Compose My Frame

While I was looking through the photos on my iPhone for an assignment for another class, I found an image that I knew I could crop and adjust to fit all the criteria for this assignment. I’ve posted the original photo at the end of this post as reference. This photo was taken on my spring break trip last semester to Oceanside, California. The local pier was very photogenic and provided some awesome sunset views.
When composing the frame, I used the rule of thirds to set the horizon and focal point.  Typically the sky would only fill a third of the frame, but because I really wanted the setting sun to be the focal point (located at the lower left intersection of the rule of thirds grid) so the horizon is set at the lower third, leaving the beautiful colors of the sunset to fill the negative space in the upper two-thirds.
With the diagonal rule, I had two choices: either set the pier at a diagonal or the beach.  Because I wanted the pier and the horizon to be level, I decided to make the beach at an angle. Dynamically, this gives the image a sense of depth and distance, showing that the beach continues beyond the frame.
There is one major vector in this photo, and that’s the pier.  I experimented with different crops, some that didn’t show an end to the pier, but in the end, I really wanted the frame to suggest the motion out to sea. This vector provides a strong focal point right above the horizon line and leads the eye out to sea, towards the setting sun. In some senses its a graphic vector because of the architectural details, but in a way its a motion vector because of the way it guides your eye from right to left.
Original Image before cropping and framing adjustments