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And [I’ll Have] the Time of my Life

It is my final year of graduate school! A mere nine months from now I will walk away from Milwaukee, WI with a M.A. in Communication. I honestly feel like I just got started with this whole masters idea, but here I am, a seasoned pro on the homestretch. 6 months from now, I’ll probably look back at this and say “girl, you were not on the homestretch…you were lots and lots and lots of work away from the homestretch”, but I’m going to ignore the logical part of my brain and say I am most certainly on the homestretch. Maybe this will help me avoid the senior slide that seems inevitable when it’s your third time being a “senior”.

Part of the final year of graduate school here at Marquette is a final assessment of sort. We have options. We can complete additional coursework and comprehensive exams, we can complete a professional project, or we can complete a thesis. I choose thesis, so here goes nothin! And even though it sounds intimidating, I’m kind of excited about it. In a nerdy kind of way. And I’d like to share with you the sweet thesis I’m working on this year.

The Thesis:

As you can tell, I have a particular interest in social media. In fact, many communication scholars have a particular interest in social media. It really changes the game of communication. Beyond that, it is the most drastic change to communication since communication studies became an academic discipline right around the 1960s. So, it’s time to take a look at the theories that communication studies have come up with and see how they can help us understand the social media a little better. Which is what I intend to do with my thesis.

Social media has become a big part of organizational life within organizations. It’s used to communicate with one another within an organization, it’s used to build relationships with vendors and other related parties, and it’s used to communicate and interact with external audiences. This gives companies tools for public relations, branding, recruiting, marketing, customer service, etc. In other words, it can completely change what’s an organization is doing. As of yet, however, there has been very little research about social media from an organizational communication perspective. So that’s what I intend to do.

I’ll start by reviewing what research has been done in this area from a variety of approaches. From there, I’ll look at organizational communication theories that help us gain insight into the use of social media within an organization. And, finally, I’ll work toward expanding what’s out there to create an organizational communication model of social media use within an organization. It’s that simple. In theory (ba dum dum).

Ok, maybe it’s not simple. It’s a thesis, afterall. But I do think it’s interesting! The reality is, organizations are freaking out about social media. They are unsure how to approach it and what it does to their business, but they are also scared of not having a presence on social media. Who knows what kinds of conversations are happening about your product on social media if you’re not there? It’s clear that organizations must be there, but that doesn’t calm the trembling knees.

What does sooth organizational members is when they realize that social media is new, it’s interesting, it’s dynamic, but it’s still just a platform for communication. It’s not a new type of communication. It’s not radical. It’s just a new, dynamic, and powerful communication platform where the old rules still apply. Communication studies knows a lot about communication, but it’s time we draw the tie between what we know and social media for the sake of our terrified organizational friends.

Let me know if you have any questions about what I’m doing! I’m going to be spending a lot of time on this project because I think it’s interesting and worth it, so I’d love to talk to you more about it!


Snap Back to Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity

As a Midwestern girl who has spent the last 18 years in the academic world, I have adopted dual personalities. From about September to May, I am the hardworking, studious, focused Angela. I take pride in the work I do, I view schoolwork as a constant, and I generally stay quite focused at all times. However, from May to August, I have learned to only be that Angela part time. In other words, I work hard and play hard. This past summer, I worked at Andersen Corporation. As I’ve mentioned before (and will probably continue to mention), it was a fabulous experience. I loved learning about the organization, the work I did, and getting to know a lot of incredible people. That (along with training for the Brewers Mini, my first half marathon that’s one month away now!), was my “work hard” part of the summer. However, when I wasn’t at work or running, I was most certainly having a good time. I spent many evenings cheering on my beloved (but struggling) Minnesota Twins, laying on the beach, exploring the Twin Cities, grilling out, eating out on patios, or doing whatever else I felt like doing. What I did not do during that time was ever open my computer. Save for the random fix of Pinterest, I was enjoying my family, friends, and the great Minnesota summer weather!

But all good things must come to an end. And, frankly, that lifestyle does get tiring at times and pretty pricey. So, it’s back to Angela…Academic Version [with a twist]. That means I am back in Milwaukee at Marquette University to finish up my masters. I am already succumbing to spending a beautiful Saturday in the office working on my thesis. It also means I am back to blogging! But, this year, there’s a twist. Because this is the final year in a row of being a student and I fully intend to enjoy Grad School 2.0 by remembering all the lessons I’ve learned about being the best student I can be. Therefore, I make these vows:

I vow to…

…spend time outside of schoolwork-related activities enjoying my academic cohorts

…attend college athletic events (GO, MARQUETTE, GO GO GO GO!!!)

…attend university related events (like the PR + Social Media Summit)

…remind myself often why I am interested in what I am doing

…take an evening off every once in a while

…learn from the intelligent and fascinating people I’m surrounded by

…embrace my days of camping out at various coffee shops to do homework/grade

…celebrate each milestone in my thesis completion

…thank God for the opportunities I’ve been given

…go to all the places on my “to see” list for Milwaukee

…allow my students to help me be the best TA I can be

I’m sure I’ll think of more things as the year goes on, but the bottom line is that I’m excited for this year and I’m excited to share with you what I learn throughout the year. Stay tuned!

Sorry for Party Rocking

I’ve broken a key rule of blogging…I have neglected my blog. And while I sometimes feel guilty for this, I sometimes don’t as well. As a person devoted to going into communication, with a particular interest in social media, this is bad. Very bad. Who’s going to want to hire the girl who can talk the talk but not walk the walk? On the other hand, as a 23 year old woman, this is good. Very good. Because this means that I’m out enjoying my last summer. Yes, that’s true. The last summer. With one year remaining of grad school and no intention to continue on full time (right away at least), this is my last true summer of doing my summer thing and then going back to school. Which is all I’ve ever known, so this is big.

Now, it may sound like I’m making excuses. And I may be. But I am going to make an effort to at least back up my excuse a little with some info on what I’ve been spending my time on (instead of blog writing).

Example Number One: I’ve spent time out on the lake…because that’s what you do in the summer in Minnesota. It’s a rough life.

Example Number Two: I experienced my first casino…with one of my best friends, Andy Belter, who lives in China, and his girlfriend, Hanna, who I got to meet for the first time! We had an awesome weekend…and I won $20!

Example Number Three: I’ve enjoyed some baseball. There’s nothing better than outdoor baseball in the summer! I’ve worked in baseball the past two summers. I miss being at the ballpark all the time, but having weekends off has been incredible. And I still get to go experience both the St. Paul Saints and the Minnesota Twins!


Example Number Four: I’ve gotten to enjoy the Twin Cities. Everyone who knows me knows that I think these cities are awesome. If you ever want a tour, let me know!


Example Number Five: I’ve enjoyed spending time in my adorable hometown, Stillwater, MN. Located outside of the Twin Cities, Stillwater is a summer day trip for lots of families in the area…with good reason! Another place I’d love to give anyone a tour of!


Example Number Five: I’ve had an awesome internship! I definitely owe you all more information on this one, but that’ll have to be later. Here’s some pictures of some of the events I’ve gotten to do as an intern at Andersen Corporation!


And much, much more! A baby shower for my cousin, a wedding for another cousin, drinks downtown Stillwater, tubing down the Apple River, fun times with friends….

It’s been a great summer! I’m sad that the end is so quickly approaching, but I promise to post more when I stop having so darn much fun away from my computer!

Hire a Millennial!

This article is so true that I had to post it here. Check it out…then hire a millennial! Maybe nine months from now you could even hire this millennial ;-)!


Check out the article here!

MS Muck Ruckus

ImageI’m officially signed up for the 2012 MS Muck Ruckus! The Muck Ruckus for our area is taking place at Trollhaugen Ski Resort and it is five miles of muddy obstacle racing to benefit multiple sclerosis. The idea is that MS is a debilitating disease that stops people from moving. Therefore, I’m going to move in honor of the people who can’t. Money earned will go toward funding cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education, collaborate with MS organizations around the world, and provide programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. The thing with MS is that it’s completely unpredictable, both with who gets it and how the disease progresses for them. 


Part of doing the race is earning the funds to advance these efforts. Each participant is required to raise at least $100, with $300 per person being the goal. I’d love if you’d help me out! If you’d like to donate, I’d appreciate ANY amount. $1? Helpful! So, visit to help me out and track my progress! 

Birthday Buddies

I made an exciting discovery today! TED Talks and I share a birthday! For those of you who don’t know about TED Talks, the TED organization is a nonprofit with the tagline idea of “Ideas Worth Spreading”. They started as a conference to bring together technology, entertainment, and design and have expanded from there. On, they spread these videos for the public to view for free. These videos have been attracting millions since they first debuted. This is not surprising, because almost every TED Talk I’ve ever seen is completely mind blowing and makes me want to jump up and do something. Immediately. These people not only are incredibly talented speakers in many cases, but they are also passionate, knowledgeable, and relevant.

I recently watched a TED talk from Simon Sinek, a leadership expert and author. I strongly suggest you watch this video too. Sinek began his journey as a student of anthropology. He quickly became fascinated with convincing people to do what inspires them, which led him to a career in advertising. However, that didn’t turn out to be inspiring to him, so Sinek set out to discover what excites him about life and about work. Through this personal journey, Sinek realized the power of understanding why you do what you do.

In the video, Sinek explains that success depends on knowing not only what you (or your company) does and how, but understanding why. In fact, your understanding of why you do what you do and, more importantly, communicating that is both biologically and practically proven to be directly correlated with success such as the success of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Wright Brothers, and Apple Computers.

As Sinek repeats, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” As a communication scholar, I’ll take this one step further. People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it, but only if you tell them why you do it. Which is where social media comes in. Take Nike as an example. Successful in almost all they do, their use of social media has proved to be incredibly successful as well. And Nike is using social media to tell you why they do what they do. Recent Tweets at the time of this posting include “How are you living the mantra today? Every moment is an opportunity for movement”. And advice to a fan, saying “Dressed like a pro. Now let’s get your game there. Master the mental and the shots will straighten out. Positivity produces”. Nike does it to help their customers reach their potential athletically, that’s why. They told you.

Following Sinek’s example, Nike could tell us what they have and how they made what they have. Which is great. It’s interesting. And they’ll tell you if you want to know. Like here, where they’ll tell you about the Nike+ FuelBand. Fascinating. But I don’t care because I don’t know why I need a Nike+ FuelBand. Luckily, their video tells me. Their very social media friendly video. Their social media friendly video that goes on the Twitter page dedicated to Nike+ FuelBand (@NikeFuel). Once you understand why you need it, that’s when how and what become important. You  must understand why you’re lacking something before you have it and, before that, why Nike does what they do. Then the thought process becomes more like this: Do I want to be physically fit? Yes (media tells me this daily, but that’s a tangent we won’t go on at the moment). Nike will help. Do I want my daily movements to count toward making me physically fit? Of course. Nike+ FuelBand will help. Now you have a Nike consumer who is headed to the store to get a Nike+ FuelBand. To spend money on a Nike+ FuelBand. Capitalistic success.

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again. Social media isn’t changing everything we thought we knew. It changes communication, but the old rules still fit. It changes business, but the old methods still work. And biology isn’t changed at all by social media (seriously, watch the video if you don’t get this reference), but what we know about biology from before social media still helps us understand social media. Let’s listen to Sinek. Let’s sit down and figure out why we do what we do. Then, let’s tell people about why we do what we do. It will make all the difference in the world.

A New Beginning

Spring has sprung and, with spring, new beginnings! I have successfully finished my first year of graduate school at Marquette University. Halfway to my masters degree, it’s time to take a summer off and head back to Stillwater, Minnesota, my cute little riverside hometown outside of the beautiful Twin Cities. I am very excited to head back because this summer I will be the communication intern at Andersen Corporation! I’ll know a lot more about the position after I start (clearly), but I am told I will get to work in social media, public relations, and internal communications. I am very excited to learn from my future co-workers at this well respected company in my community.

Let me tell you a little about my new employer. Andersen Corporation is an organization comprised of various Andersen businesses and products. Some lines include Renewal by Andersen, EMCO Doors, Silverline Building Products, Eagle Window and Door, and so many more! They truly are all over the place, but they are headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota, right next to Stillwater! Since Andersen was founded in 1903, they have grown to become instantly recognizable around the world and known for their innovative products. Currently employing approximately 9,000 employees, this girl right here is among their newest cohort of interns!

I am excited to let you all know what I learn through working with Andersen. Although one may not expect a window company to be all over social media, Andersen is doing a great job and I can’t wait to see how that comes to be from the other side. With the glowing recognition they have around the world, this experience is sure to teach me so much!

As I move back to Minnesota and start learning all about Andersen, you should start following them and seeing what I’m talking about. Check out Andersen on Twitter (@AndersenCorp), Facebook (here), and Pinterest (here).