Socialbrite- How to create a Twitter background

Have you ever heard the saying, “Look a million, sell a million”? Morally, it serves us to believe that we never judge a book by its cover. However, in the non-profit world of social media, we call that cover branding and branding is a key part in making any campaign an eye-catching one. For the purpose of this Twitter-context I adjust the saying– “Look a million, tweet a million”.

One of the main goals of a successful Twitter account or campaign is accumulating as many followers as possible. In this informative Socialbrite article, I discuss how to create (and maximize) a Twitter  background for your organization. This information isn’t reserved for organizations only. Branding is an important part of creating your personal professional online persona as well.

Included are links to background websites where you can choose a pre-made background or customizable one. Additionally, there are great resources for doing a complete design on your own, for the photo-shop novice to the experienced expert. Adapting some of these helpful tips will enhance your Twitter-branding presence, carrying your right up to that million-dollar tweet.



Socialbrite- 9 online petition tools & how to make a difference

Check out my latest article on about online petition tools!



Musica Tradicional Folklorico de Costa Rica…I think.

Costa Rican Music

Costa Rica Folk MusicFolk music in Costa Rica is strongly influenced by African cultures. Guanacaste, the northwest region of Costa Rica is the home of folkloric tradition.

Alcohol Related Crime in Winter Park, FL

This Map is from the “Orange County Underage Drinking Task Force Final Report“, it is one of many maps showcasing the vast amounts of licensed alcohol distributors in Orange County. Not only does alcohol contribute to many arrests each year, as exemplified in the Google Map Project above, it also contributes to traffic accidents and traffic fatalities.

Mapping Project Timeline and Proposal

Sodexo Mapping Project

Julie Katz

Alison Sweeney

Andrew Wells

We propose a research endeavor to uncover the truth behind our somewhat beloved catering company here at Rollins, Sodexo, about local resourcing and fair wage.

Steps We Are Taking, a.k.a the very Conditional Timeline:

  1. What local places Sodexo@Rollins, Sodexo@Central Florida gets food from
    1. map these locations using Google Maps
      1. Sodexo locations (in Central Florida)
      2. Farm locations
  2. Which of the local farm locations meet fair wage/farmer alliance?
    1. map these locations using Google Maps
    2. map locations that do NOT meet fair wage
  3. Get information from Sodexo@Rollins about CORPORATE food (frozen food) used in place of local product.
    1. map locations of nearest factories/production facilities to illuminate the difference between the amount of local food used.
  4. Use these numbers (find way to calculate overall costs and profits) to compare money spent on local farms and resources/ money spent on local farms and resources that do NOT meet fair wage to the money made by Sodexo@Rollins annually or Sodexo annually (total profit and ‘kickbacks’)
  5. If necessary, break into Rollins Cafeteria and do a content analysis of our own. No, we are not afraid.

Steps Already Taken:

  1. Research on Sodexo and Farm activity in Florida
  2. Research on ‘kickbacks’ and ‘rebates’ concerning Sodexo
  3. Research on local percentages spent by Sodexo
  4. Emailed Rollins Director of Dining Services asking Questions Below.

Sodexo @ Rollins Interview with Gerard Short

  1. What local places does Sodexo@Rollins get food from?
  2. What percentage of the budget, or how often?
  3. Do you know which of these farms meet fair wage or are in a Farmer’s Alliance?
  4. How much of the Sodexo@Rollins is corporate owned, frozen food?
  5. How much is Fresh Food?
  6. How much is the Sodexo contract@Rollins?

What if Stark was one of us? Transmedia to Transreality.

Henry Jenkins: Transmedia

This week I’m giving a presentation in class about Transmedia Storytelling, as conceptualized in Henry Jenkin’s Blog Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Core Concepts of Transmedia Storytelling. As always, Jenkins offers compelling insight into developing technology. What I find particularly interesting about this is Social Media’s role. Jenkins gives a lot of information about fan investigation and the retelling of a story through different mediums. I wonder where Social Media can play a part? Where would it fit in to Jenkin’s assessment if Marvel Comics sponsored an Iron Man twitter? I don’t mean a Twitter about the movie, and updates, but a Twitter meant to seem like it was being updated by Tony Stark himself. In light of this, I actually just did a search for a “Stark Industries” website. Considering there has to be transmedia media for Jenkin’s to talk about, I figured if Marvel and Paramount were smart enough, they’d have some sort of webosphere realm for Mr. Stark who has quickly become one of America’s favorite smartasses.

While I didn’t find Stark (well, actually I did, but the domain belongs to a compressor distributor). I can only assume it is a buildup to part of the story for this year’s release of the greatly anticipated Iron Man 2. I’d like to use some of the 7 core concepts introduced by Jenkins to assess this piece of transmedia.

Check it out: Stark Expo 2010

Storytelling Without very much knowledge (for the unresearched fan) of the sequel, the website teases some interesting information. For example, when taken to the “Message from Tony Stark” we learn that the StarkExpo is a rebirth of a tradition that was started by Tony’s Father. We can guess that StarkExpo is going to be quite the shindig in the movie by Tony’s famous attitude.

Branding Here’s an area that the website successfully counteracts. The site promotes the fictional world where Tony Stark and Stark Industries rules. There is no mention of the comic or the movie (albeit a small MARVEL logo on the bottom of the page where the event sponsors are), not even a link or reference to Paramount. In fact, the copyright is for Stark Enterprises (which, by the way, if you search it on the internet brings you a community development company). The only brand is Stark, which is fictional, which brings me to my next point.

Drillability Fandom is a deep obsession. The drillability of a narrative is meant to encourage dedicated fans to search for and dig into the available transmedia outlets that support their favorite narrative. My action of searching the internet for Stark Enterprises and coming across the StarkExpo is a perfect example of this, though I wouldn’t put myself in fandom status for Iron Man, despite Tony Stark’s…I mean Robert Downey Jr.’s sex appeal. A look into the StarkExpo gives fans a look into the fictional world of Iron Man. It offers information about the new movie in undercover form. But, is the site worth talking about?

Spreadability At the bottom of the page, there’s a link for StarkExpo’s Facebook page. Suprisingly, the page only has 6,790 fans considering the movie is due out in less than a month.

This is where I find the role of Social Media in all of this TransMedia mania to be particularly intriguing. Why don’t more people know about the site? And what exactly does that mean? In terms of spreadability, it may mean that the site itself does not give enough or it does not spark enough interest for friends to run around to one another excitedly spreading the word about new information regarding Iron Man. However, it may mean that Marvel and Paramount are not doing a good enough job of marketing the movie. Hence my suggestion for Tony Stark’s Twitter. Now, there are multiple fake Tony Stark Twitters, but nothing that seems to be legitimate.

We all know by now that when it comes to non-profit and social media marketing, utlizing and interconnecting all aspects of Social Media- a blog, a facebook, a twitter and so forth- is extremely beneficial. It spreads the word, it allows different measurements of communication. When it comes to Fandom, however, and this concept of Transmedia it seems widely underused and underappreciated. If there’s developing interest in the way the internet is serving narratives up in trans-media’d forms, there should be more development of interest in Social Media. I suppose this is where the concern between Continuity and Multiplicity come into effect for big companies, especially the likes of Marvel and Paramount. But, I’m sticking to my case. Why stop at StarkExpo’s website? If Tony Stark had a Twitter, wouldn’t he be tweeting about the StarkExpo (or Pepper Potts more likely)? Furthermore, if Tony Stark were to be a tweeter, he would have to have a Blog. What I’m getting at is…What if Stark were one of us?

In this perspective, Social Media offers fictional narratives the chance to “get real” beyond the limits of simple fandom and “alternative reproduction”. Considering our less-than-skeptical age, it is arguable that the Spreadability of such an endeavour would be minimum because most people would be smart enough to know it isn’t real. But, the Drillability is huge. If done right, if managed and updated well, if kept as realistic as possible, the realm of fandom in combination with Social Media can be huge, believable, and make some serious profits.

The theory is very simple. There’s a lot of critical theory out there about how Disney Characters and other Cartoons are really sort of abused to sell products to children- make a beloved character a brand ambassador and you’re good to go. Who is to say that isn’t possible with the likes of Iron Man himself? Internally, movies like to joke about how their main character gets spread amongst sponsors and I’m not saying I want to start seeing Tony Stark in Old Spice commercials. I am saying, though, that a contract between Facebook, Twitter and major movie production companies can be huge and that larger-than-life fictional narratives can be brought down to the size of your computer screen. Oh yeah.

Henry Jenkins asks in his blog to imagine a world where we are always scanning across various media forms for something of interest and when we find it we can become deeply involved in it. I ask you, Mr. Jenkins, what if it went the other way around? I know that’s called Marketing…but what if Tony Stark virtually stepped off that screen and followed me on Twitter? I’d like to imagine a world where the fictional narrative seeks out fandom in the real world.

If Tony Stark could Tweet like a civilian, oh just think of it, think of all that we could share…

Google Maps

View Class Presentation Map in a larger map

Google Maps is an icnredibly useful Social Media Tool. With Maps, you can add pins to multiple locations with the ability to hyperlink them to Flickr streams, Blogs and other sites. Maps can be live and changing according to search restrictions and there’s a magnitude of features to use Maps.

Google Maps can be most beneficial to nonprofit organizations by utilizing the social mapping capability.