April 21, 2013

Why Viral Videos Are No Longer an Accident

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Friday at Saint Mike's it was 75 degrees and while it's only about 40 out today, it's nice to finally have some bright, sunny, (somewhat) warm days.

Picture of Jenna Marbles from the NYT Article

So I read a New York Times article the other day about Jenna Marbles, a YouTube personality who's gotten very popular with teenage/college girls. I'm not a huge fan because I think some of her material is a little offensive, but she can be funny and I know a lot of girls love her.

The article was interesting because it talked a lot about her "video formula." In most of her videos Jenna Marbles talks directly to the camera about various  funny topics to which girls can relate. Although she sometimes changes it up by mocking celebrities or guest-starring her (now) ex-boyfriend, the format for all Jenna Marbles videos are pretty much the same.

The New York Times article suggested that, because many YouTube personalities are getting famous by using this simple video formula (a.k.a. variations on one person talking about funny things to the camera) viral videos are actually planned and are no longer accidental. This is actually a popular belief and YouTube even opened a new production facility where popular YouTube people can film videos for free. While they have some evidence (in the form of popular YouTube videos) to back this claim up, I don't think that statement entirely true. Take, for example, some of my favorite YouTube personalities and popular viral videos:

Julian Smith:
I don't know a lot of his videos, but I found this a while ago and found it pretty random / funny. It's gotten over 16 million views and definitely doesn't use the same video formula as Jenna Marbles.

Daily Grace:
Grace has a video series similar to Jenna Marbles, except she uploads more videos throughout the week. I think she's pretty funny and awkward. She has over 1 million subscribers.

Autotune the News:
This video if from the guys that autotune the news. They've put out a few popular videos but, although they all follow the same format of taking a popular news clip and turning it into a song, not all their videos have a lot of views.

This video is Paint's most popular video with over 13 million views. I don't love all his videos but there's no denying that he's talented. I certainly wouldn't have expected this video to go viral.

This kid is so talented and I absolutely love his cover of the LMFAO song. Again, wouldn't expect this video to go viral, and yet it's gotten over 17 million views.

So this is what I think about the creation of viral videos: they're usually accidents!

To be fair, I'm sure that the people making viral videos want them to go viral. However, all these videos have different formats and are of different genres (comedy, skits, music). I think that, for popular YouTube personalities, it's accidental that their first video goes viral. After that, they tend to follow the same formula and their other videos may go viral too. I think that planned viral videos are an interesting idea because, if there is a particular video formula that lends itself to viral videos, marketers will definitely pick up on that to create viral ads.

I'm off to do some homework and prepare for a busy week. My brother comes on Thursday for Macklemore and P-Day so I'm very excited! If you have any questions ask me on my Ask.fm!

April 17, 2013

Keeping Positive After the Boston Marathon

Hi everyone! For anyone in and around Boston, hope all are safe and unaffected by the explosions. I live about an hour outside of Boston and I was shocked to hear about Monday's events.

Just wanted to share a bit of positive energy in this sad time. I've seen countless Facebook posts and tweets about Monday's events and I think that it's easy to get caught up in the negativity. I love seeing the positive, inspirational posts about all the helpers on Monday who took people into their homes and helped rescue injured runners and other people.

Mashable had an awesome article recognizing "10 Touching Acts of Kindness at the Boston Marathon." This was a beautiful way to commend those who helped others and even put themselves in danger to help people around them. The New York Times had another great article about Carlos Arredondo, a man who helped save someone's life by running towards the chaos instead of away from it all.

It's just been touching to see people from all over reach out to Boston. Right away help was sent from New York to assist in clearing out Copley Square and to investigate the explosions. The Yankees also put up a sign (shown above) to show their support for the Red Sox and for Boston in general. On the radio this morning the radio hosts talked about several things we can thank Boston for, such as popular bands. While silly, it sends a message that everyone is supporting Boston in our time of need.

At Saint Mike's there are plenty of Bostonians and students from Massachusetts. My friend Emma, who's from Albany, New York, once asked me why everyone from Mass loves Boston so much. I'd never really thought about it, or realized how loyal Massachusetts people. I think our love of Boston has a lot to do with  the history, the smallness of the city, and the people. While not always nice, the people of Boston are tough and caring. I had someone tell me once that his recent move to Boston was causing culture shock because people were often rude to him. This is something Boston and New England people hear a lot, but when I told someone about this comment later they told me that he was absolutely right, but that just means that when Bostonians are nice to you they really mean it.

I think these videos from Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart really do a great job of summing all of this up.

Praying for everyone in Boston and hoping we can all remember that there is plenty of good out there for every bit of bad that we encounter.

April 14, 2013

My (Very Long) Week in Photos

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a great weekend and that you all procrastinated significantly less than I did. On the plus side, although I do not have much homework done, I had a super relaxing weekend and my room is spotless.

This week was pretty busy for me (I had two tests, a big quiz, and a project due) but I actually had a lot of fun this week too. Just thought I'd share some photos from my week with you all!

So last weekend I was on LEAP, one of the retreats put on my campus ministry every semester. I don't have any pictures from the weekend, but below is a link to the song "It's Your Life" by Francesca Battistelli, which was kind of our "song of the weekend." I can't share a lot from LEAP (it's all very secretive!) but I definitely suggest that all students go at least once. It was fun, relaxing, and I met so many new friends throughout the weekend.

2) Ben & Jerry's - Free Cone Day
Free cone day at Ben & Jerry's is pretty huge. I'd never heard of it before coming to Saint Mike's, but basically it's a day where all Ben & Jerry's give our free ice cream to thank their customers! I went last year with my friend Merrill but this year I went with a few of my friends from Her Campus.

Lauren & I won Ben & Jerry's bracelets for 
answering trivia questions

Huge line for Free Cone Day!

3) Horseback Riding Lesson
Friday I took my little sister (who I mentor through our MOVE volunteer program) for a horseback riding lesson! I like to do one special thing with her each year and she always talked about how much she loves horses, so I thought this would be perfect! We actually went to the farm where my 'Horses and Healing' class went (both when I was a student last year and a TA last semester).

Brianna at her lesson

4) Dinner with Ashley & Caitlin
My roommate, Caitlin, was gone for most of the weekend on a trip to Canada with the Science Club. Caitlin had planned go grab some dinner with her friend Ashley and they invited me along. I met Ashley on LEAP last weekend so I was excited to hang out with her again. We went to Chile's (for delicious fajitas!) and, on our way home, saw the most beautiful sunset! It's been rainy here this week, so seeing a bright, clear-ish sky was awesome.

Gorgeous sunset

So these next several weeks will be busy for everyone at SMC. We only have two and a half weeks of classes, then finals, then summer!

I have a lot of work to get done in those two and a half weeks, but we have a lot of fun, end-of-the-semester events coming up too. We have the Macklemore concert on April 25th and P-Day (a day of free food and fun before finals starts) on April 27th. My brother will be up for that weekend and I'm excited for him to meet all my friends.

Also, Temple Grandin will be speaking at Saint Mike'son Wednesday and I can't wait! We read a lot about Temple Grandin in my 'Horses and Healing' class and it will be very cool to see her speak in person.

As always, shoot me an email or ask me a question on ask.fm. For any prospective students - good luck in your college decision and I hope to see you at next Saturday's Accepted Student's Day!

April 11, 2013

Why I Love Economics & Statistics

Hi everyone!

This semester I'm taking four classes that all relate to my business major - marketing, management, statistics, and macroeconomics. Since I'm not exactly passionate about math, I wasn't very excited to take economics and statistics, but I've actually loved my classes this semester!

This class meets twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) for an hour and a half. I have Professor Reza Ramazani - I love him and his teaching style! He's very energetic and makes the classes fun.

I can't say the class is easy, but it's certainly clear. Every week we have two chapter to read, but our book is pretty interesting (or maybe I just like econ?). Then we have a writing assignment in which we read an econ-related newspaper article and write about it. We also have large homework assignments before tests to help us review.

Professor Ramazani also helped me prepare my speech for the SUNY Plattsburgh Free Enterprise Olympics speech finals. He was very excited for me and told me that he was proud when I won! Overall, I think this class is very interesting! I'm hoping to take another economics class senior year if I can fit it in my schedule.

I expected this class to be boring and difficult, but surprisingly, it doesn't fit either of those descriptions! This class meets three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for an hour. I have Professor Warren Sides, who is an adjunct, which means he's not a full-time professor at Saint Mike's. He actually also teaches at a few other colleges in the area, which is pretty common for adjunct professors at Saint Mike's.

Professor Sides makes the classes pretty interesting. I can't say I look forward to learning about statistics every day, but I do enjoy our classes. We have homework due a few times a week and we also have a larger project once in a while to expand on the information we're learning. After covering about five chapter we have an exam, but we get a practice packet and have a study day in class, so we have plenty of time to prepare and ask questions. Plus, Professor Sides is funny and tries hard to entertain us during class.

Again, Professor Sides makes his class very clear. He makes sure we know what is expected of us and grades accordingly. He also has long office hours and makes himself very available if you have questions. Basically, I love my stats class!

If you have any questions, find me on Facebook or ask me on Ask.fm!

April 2, 2013

End-of-the-Semester Business & Random Shenanigans

Happy Tuesday!

This week is off to an odd start because we had Monday off for Easter break. Therefore we started classes for the week today, which makes Tuesday feel like Monday (not that that's a bad thing!).

I had an awesome Easter break! I drove home Thursday afternoon, then on Friday I had an interview for an internship in Boston. I've been busy applying and interviewing for internships and I'm really excited to intern somewhere this summer. I have a few favorite places where I hope I get the job, but overall I just love working and can't wait to get started! My Mom also came into Boston with me and we had fun walking around & shopping after my interview.

The rest of my Easter break was filled with relaxing, seeing my friends, and spending Easter with my family. We also celebrated my little cousins' birthdays so that was a lot of fun (plus we had some delicious cake!).

Lunch in Boston in the North End

 A few other miscellaneous things! The picture below was tweeted by Saint Mike's after spring break. It's a picture from the Wilderness Club's Spring break kayaking trip to Scotland! I thought it was gorgeous and it made me so excited for warmer weather!


Also, last week we had a beam signing. In Alliot they put out a beam that will go in the new student center (to be completed by August) and left markers out for everyone to sign their name. I thought this was a pretty neat idea!

It was a pretty huge beam

My roommate Cait signing the beam

Now marks the really busy end of the semester. We still have about a month and a half left of the semester, but I have a lot to do before we leave in May. This weekend I'm going on LEAP, one of our Christian retreats, which is supposed to be a lot of fun. Then I have tours for Accepted Students Days for the next several weekends. I'll also be picking Fall classes soon and I need to finish my study abroad application.

Also, for all prospective SMC parents, we'll be having a Knight Chat tomorrow, Wednesday, April 3rd, from 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm. It's basically an online chat room where the bloggers will answer any questions. It will definitely be informative & fun!

If anyone has additional questions, ask me on Ask.fm. Although I just created a VYou account to replace my Formspring account (since Formspring is shutting down) VYou is also shutting down! So, now I'll be using Ask.fm, so direct any questions there!