Why you shouldn’t click this link

1The world of today runs on the internet, caffeine, and pure unadulterated data. Behind the scenes of every successful organization is some pretty solid number crunching. We live in a world where we are one click or tap away from free games, goulash recipes, or the history of Granada. A world where “free” in most cases isn’t exactly free.

Data is the medium of exchange for most pieces of consumer software out there. We pay in a sense through our usage. Data subsidizes your Clash of Clans, Google Searches, or Facebook News Feeds, through its analysis and sale to third parties. However in the larger picture, data analytics has some profound applications across the board. In describing the past, in predicting the future, and in prescribing a best course of action for days to come, data analytics can reveal deep insights into people, places, practices, organizations, and whatever other noun pops into your head. We are really in the frontier days for the mainstream recognizing the value of this skillset, yet tech companies the world over have been using these data techniques for monumental gains in productivity and profits since a little after the turn of the millennium.

But how can simply using a website or downloading an app keep it fiscally healthy? How is data so valuable? What can we possibly do with some numbers on a screen?

To start off a bit morbid let’s use data and a simulation to predict the most likely way you will die:

http://flowingdata.com/2016/01/19/how-you-will-die/

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To fuel those conspiracy nuts let’s look at some (interactive) descriptive analytics showing the flight paths of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over various parts of the United States.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/spies-in-the-skies

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What am I doing with your data though? Why shouldn’t you click this link?

Perhaps I’m a slightly Orwellian government using predictive analytics on everyone’s web traffic and emails to determine whether or not you are a terrorist:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_surveillance_disclosures_%282013%E2%80%93present%29

Perhaps I’m a corporation that compiles comprehensive reports on every individual in the US for marketing purposes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acxiom

Or maybe I’m a college student looking at your browsing statistics via a free analytics tool to determine how effective my article was:

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Free isn’t exactly free these days. Data has a lot more potential than simply being sold to advertisers for better targeting. When we use hard numbers from extensive variable lists, the world really is a sandbox in creating models to describe, predict, or prescript whatever topic is at hand.

In showing the kind of data that your giving to this site in viewing this page here are some illustrative graphs showing the typical viewer and their attributes:CaptureThe best part about this is that this is only a fraction of the data freely available via Google Analytics. There is a host of other variables and measures out there gathered via cookies, browsers, or social media that I could use for research or marketing or whatever other motive I might have. The wealth of data freely given should scare you. In using the Internet, in viewing this site, it should be clear by this point that you’re actively providing more of that data. Data used to define exactly who you are for marketers and governments the world over.

These insights into this world of data analytics are only the tip of the iceberg, from a student only just entering the discipline. When it comes to data and its applications, stay paranoid my friends.

 

Interested in some other applications of big data? Take a peak at some recent news stories and articles of interest:

http://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-says-it-wont-mess-with-voters-minds-donald-trump-presidential-elections/

venturebeat.com/2016/04/16/what-the-latest-facebook-reactions-data-means-for-social-marketers/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601214/how-political-candidates-know-if-youre-neurotic/

 

A blog post by

Devin Carlson

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Lace Up: Anyone Can Be A Runner

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.02 PM The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.

I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).

Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.

Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.

IMG_8584Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.

To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.

The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.15.13 PMI’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂

*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.

Social Sharing Can Help Your Business Boom

Right off the bat you may be wondering, “Why would I ever want to create a blog or website?” to which my response would be, “Because you can monetize it!” Setting up a website is more simply done than you may think. It doesn’t take years locked in a dark basement learning how to write code to produce something you can be proud of (I am using WordPress, which is fairly simple and includes tons of useful tools). We all have our own hobbies and interests that we engage in each day, why not try to make a little cash? You may be an artist, a musician, athlete, poet, video gamer; whatever your hobby may be, there is a community of individuals who share that passion. Starting your own website is a great way to build traction within a community and develop awareness of what you do. By creating a blog, and fine tuning it through social media, you will learn more about what you love, you will meet people who share your interest, and you might be surprised to find that you truly enjoy it. Hanging your thoughts out for the world to see can be a little uncomfortable at first, but realizing that people are actually listening is a satisfying reward. Following are a few website creation and sharing tips that I hope can get the creative ball rolling.

Do Your Research, Create Content People Want

Diving in and immediately promoting your interests, or business, may seem like a good first step. However, many of us are overwhelmed and turned off by another’s attempt to sell us something. Your website shouldn’t focus solely on you. Your content should be developed around what potential users find interesting; can you spot any trends? If so, take advantage of trends and catch a wave to success. Do research on your subject, become a knowledgable voice in your field.

Use images to break up chunks of text, and make pages more attractive
Use images to break up chunks of text, and make pages more attractive
Another effective way to position yourself amongst the current big dogs is to watch them. What are their goals, who are they reaching out to, what are their strengths, are they failing to meet a market need on which you can capitalize? By developing a well-rounded understanding of what potential viewers like, or don’t like, you can tailor your content to cater to those needs.

When creating a blog it is important to remember that everything you share doesn’t have to be in print. If you have art you would like to share, heard a great new song (maybe you made one!), or saw a funny video, chances are that others exist in this world who will also find similar content interesting. Don’t be afraid to speak to your audience with passion. You have got to do something to break through the noise of a competitive market. When planning to speak to a group it is important to ask, “Why should they listen?” You have valuable things to say, but so do a million others. Pair that with peoples’ limited time, and it becomes clear that being unique is very important when getting someone to take time away from their day to pay attention. Understand your fans so you can produce something that matters. Be inspirational, be different, and aspire to talk to your audience in a way that is not only interesting, but also valuable enough to share.

Social Media Sharing Can Drive Magical Results

Social media sites are great platforms for sharing with those who are interested in what you do. People today spend a shocking amount of time on their mobile devices, computers, and social media sites. If you are dedicated to providing entertaining content, technology of today allows us to speak to millions at the touch of a button. That is POWERFUL. However, it will not always be easy and you may experience some failures (but that is ok, because they can be fixed). You may be surprised that your sweet new website fits seamlessly into this advantageous ecosystem designed for sharing. Social media is the best way for you to begin developing awareness of your message. Again, messages to your social media community should not be self-promotions. Do not become another advertisement that is ignored by your followers. Trolling for attention is not attractive either, so be mindful of their needs. Plug in to the topics that they are already interested in. Become content that users are excited to see because it provides them value.

Social Sharing
Connectivity across social networks provides great opportunities.

Think of your website/blog as the center of a bike wheel. Social media are the spokes of your wheel. Create social media accounts for your blog, and promote information that is useful to your audience. Link your posts back to your site, and on your site provide links back to your social media. Each piece exists to support the other; and without one, the other loses its potential. Each of these pieces exist as a contribution to a bigger picture, your real life and business. You don’t always need to create all the content you promote. You have friends, and family, who are doing cool things. There are other individuals in your field who are setting trends and influencing change. Share what others’ accomplishments and explain why you think it is cool or relevant. Promoting others generates interest surrounding the topic, which is good for you and good for others. Do not be afraid of elevating the field, because in the process you will elevate yourself. More people genuinely interested in a topic also means more potential ears for you to attract.

Another great feature to social media, and website driven sharing? It is measurable. There is a long list of tools that can be used to measure how interested a community is in your cause. Google and FaceBook both provide software programs that will help you paint a clear picture of the way people consume your content. You can see whether or not people interact with your posts, how long to they spend on your site, where do users typically access your content? These are just the tip of the iceberg of web traffic measurables. Measuring your users interest may seem tedious, and at times painful, but allows for us to make our messages better. Did your last blog post flop? Are visitors rarely visiting more than one page on your site? You can either guess-and-check, say a prayer and hope it fixes itself. Or you, can use simple analytic tools to do better next time. Create your site with an online platform like WordPress, Foursquare, or Wix, and they will likely have plugins that allow you to measure and optimize content. Google has powerful tools for measuring online behavior. Find groups and forums that are have a shared interested in your topic, share your content with them, and use tools to measure who is responding. Provide more content to those who seem inspired. Alter messages so that they aren’t landing on deaf ears. It is smart to deploy two strategies with the same goal, and compare the two. What worked? What didn’t? You can start to play a game of leap-frog toward improvement.

Creating Interest Takes Time, Don’t Get Discouraged

Chances are unlikely that you will create a good blog, link it to your social media, go to bed, and wake up to the new FaceBook. Your content may be spectacular, your messages on point, and you may truly be making an impact on those who are listening; but considerable growth will take time. Hopefully you have chosen to create around something you find enjoyable, because success will require a dedicated involvement. Your content must be consistent; both in what it applies to and your timeliness. If you have begun to generate some interest, you better begin to generate more content! This is where all the available measurement tools come into play. Pay attention to trends, to your audience, and to your instincts. Encourage people to share by creating a community, and providing that community with something they enjoy. At first it may seem daunting, but as the pieces begin to fall into place it becomes pretty cool. You just mind find that in the process of providing others with something they enjoy, you can stumble upon something new and surprising that you enjoy. When you find it, pursue it. Don’t give up, just get better.

Be patient, and listen to feedback, while growing followers.
Be patient, and listen to feedback, while growing your followers.

If you are interested in more content regarding individual growth, and business development, please check out my blog @ Protect Our Roots

My Seven Awful Tinder Dates

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  By Rachael Fuson

Nope

The modern world of dating is a god damn war zone. It’s hard enough to meet a decent person in real life, but trying to meet someone online is a whole different realm of chaos. For those of you that don’t know, Tinder is a mobile dating app that allows losers like myself to “swipe” yes or no on other, equally as pathetic people. If we both swipe right, it’s a “match” and the floodgates of communication open. Basically, this app allows you to waste your time sifting through profiles, hoping to stumble across someone who seems relatively normal and is half way decent looking.

When I moved to Portland this summer, I thought Tinder would be a great way to put myself out there. I had just gotten out of a relationship and it seemed like a fun, easy way to meet new people. Boy, did I have no idea what I was in for. Of course I always took the proper precautions when I went out (talking with them extensively beforehand, meeting first in public, etc.). but nothing could have prepared me this. After much thought and deliberation, I give you seven very real accounts of the worst dates I’ve ever been on, no thanks to Tinder.

#7. The Guy Who Was Actually Nineteen

In my defense, he definitely seemed to be a few years older. He was smooth, mature, intelligent, and seemed to have a lot going for him. That is… until he started talking about his football team. I asked him if he played for a college, and he got red in the face and quickly changed the subject. It was only after a few minutes of prying that he finally blurted out that he was  a senior. In high school. As I got up to leave he tried to justify that he “only told me he was 22 because he thought I would never go out with someone who was younger on my own accord.” You were correct, sir.

highschool

 

#6. The Guy Who Was 2 Hood 4 Me 

When I was greeted with, “Aye! Wass good lil mama!?” I immediately realized that I’d made a grave mistake. I smiled back and weakly replied that I was fine, thank you. We had met up for ice cream at Salt N Straw on NW 23rd Ave in Portland, and there was a long line. The next forty-five minutes were agonizing as the sun beat down on my forehead and I internally cringed at almost everything he did and said. His poor grammar, the lack of manners, the fact that there were small children scattered all around and he cursed every other word. As we moved further up the line, he told me about his life growing up in the projects (his language, not mine) and how he aspired to “make enough dollas to neva eva go back.” I, too, aspire to neva eva go back.

gangstas

 

#5. The Guy Who Photoshopped His Profile Pictures

I should have really looked into this one more before I agreed to meeting up. First of all, his name was Leonardo, so that’s problem number one. Second, he talked about his looks a lot (like, a lot) which should have been a red flag that there was something wrong.  He told me all about how tall he was, and how much he weighed, etc. but I thought nothing of it, because they seemed to be normal measurements and I am not too concerned with that in the first place. What I am concerned with is when someone extensively photo shops their own pictures in order to make themselves look taller and not morbidly obese. Well guess what. Leo was approximately 5’6” and at LEAST 200 lbs. He even wore those god awful tight skater pants that exposed just how out of shape he was. I was really irritated that he had lied about this, but then felt bad and thought maybe he could be a nice guy who just really needed a date. Nope. His personality was just as awful as his photo edits. I’m not proud of the fact that I sat through four beers with Leonardo because he was buying, or that I agreed to go to a future Trailblazers game that I knew I’d never attend, but hey. At least I was honest about who I was.

photoshop

 

#4. The Guy Who Only Talked About Work

First of all, I have to say that I truly appreciate when people are passionate about what they do. As a graduating senior this may, I hope to find a job that I love and want to share with others. But I could never live my work like this guy does. Now, I thought we would get along great because we were both Greeks and both business students. I am studying marketing, he went into sales. I don’t even remember what the hell it was that he sold, although I should remember. I should actually be an expert. Why? Because he spent the better part of two hours explaining the logistics of the technology behind it. And that is what we talked about. The entire time. He then begged me to come out with him for a night of dancing, and I should have stopped while I was ahead. But he was cute, and I thought maybe I could save the date. So while we were out, he got a phone call from one of his “best clients”, aka some rich old man who frequently bought speakers for his fleet of Malibu boats. My date then hung up the phone and exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re dressed up! Steve is coming out with us tonight! I need you to impress him!” Um, what? The rest of my evening was spent with my date and a sixty something year old man getting black out drunk downtown and talking about boats accompanied by a slew of weird comments about my dress. I called an Uber home and never looked back.

salesguy

 

#3.The Guy Who Only Talked About His Mom 

Again, I think it’s great when a man is family-oriented. It tends to be attractive when a guy has a great relationship with his mother. But everything is only good in moderation. It is difficult to explain the insanely creepy obsession this guy had with his mom. To say she was his best friend would be a gross understatement. They got coffee together multiple times a week. She came over to his house to cook for him, do his laundry, bring his groceries etc. (by the way, how dependent CAN YOU STILL BE at 24 years old?). In short, he spent our entire date gushing about how wonderful his mother was. And when he asked me things about myself, he’d say things like “oh! My mom does that too! You have so much in common.” Please, no. It was such a bizarre experience. Like, I get it. I love my mom too. But you need to make some other friends. By the end of the date I felt like I knew his mother way more than I knew him. Oh and by the way she didn’t even sound that great. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him that.

guy with mom

 

#2. The Bastard Who Stole My Favorite Book

Oh, Michael. I really thought we had something special. We had such a grand time gallivanting through parks, exploring old dive bars and bonding over the fact that we both know an absurd amount about Greek Mythology. Yes, Michael was excellent. Until one weekend when he had to travel to California for work. I suggested he borrow my favorite book, The Alchemist, because I thought he would enjoy it on his flight. Well, I drove him to the airport and waved goodbye. And that was the last time I saw Michael. Weeks went by and I became incredibly offended. Not because I was distraught over his absence but because I wanted my god damn book back. It’s about self-discovery for crying out loud. Anyways, I never heard from him again, but a few weeks later connected that his ex-girlfriend lives in the part of California he was visiting. My theory is that she was so overwhelmed with his new view of life (that he clearly derived from MY book) that she took his lame ass back.

book

By the way, if you haven’t read much Paulo Coelho, 10/10 would recommend.

#1. The Guy With The Sith Lord Tattoo

There are some very strange people in this world, my friends. And the terrifying thing is that more often than not, they disguise themselves as cute quirky nerds and then lay wait for you in places like Powell’s Bookstore. I’m not usually into the sci-fi scene, but this guy was a very rare breed of cat and somehow made it all work. We hit it off surprisingly well, and spent the whole afternoon together walking around downtown and chatting. During this conversation we somehow got on the subject of our mutual love of Star Wars (by somehow I mean I guessed that he liked it and I slyly brought it up because my flirt game is just that strong) and we delved into a long discussion over the classics. During this time he made an offhanded joke about how he was a Sith Lord, which I thought nothing of at the time. He added me on snapchat a few minutes after we left, which I thought was a bit over eager but nothing that strange. Then I saw his username. Sithlord199-. Then he sent me a snapchat: “want to see my tattoo?” This was strange, since it was completely out of the blue and we had just got done hanging out less than an hour ago. I should have said no. I should have just said no. IF ANYONE EVER ASKS YOU IF YOU WANT TO SEE THEIR TATTOO, JUST SAY NO.

So I said sure, and the picture I received is still burned into my frontal cortex to this day.

Image a giant tattoo that covers someones entire chest and stomach.

Now imagine the tattoo is of Darth Mauls face.

IMG_5600

I’m not kidding. It covered his entire body. The worst part is that he then went on to explain to me just how much he personally identified as a Sith Lord. As in, he psychotically associated himself with the dark ways of the force and was completely freaking nuts. He proceeded to go 0-100 and let out all the crazy, all at once. I think the reason it was so traumatizing was because we had just spent an entire day together and he had totally hidden this side of him. Needless to say, this was not exactly what I had in mind when I hoped to meet someone who shared my love of Star Wars. To this day I still don’t understand why he felt the need to share his terrifying chest tattoo with me, because it was something straight out of the nightmare zone. In fact, after I blocked his phone number I kind of just went home and crawled underneath my covers.

Although I’ve been on some of the worst dates of my life because of Tinder, I’ve also met some great guys. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with this app, and let’s be honest I’m probably going to continue using it. In fact, I actually have a date set up for later this week. Let’s call him The Guy Who Might Be As Sassy As I Am.

Details to come soon! In the mean time, happy swiping!

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If you’ve had a funny dating experience, from Tinder or just in general, please leave a comment below and tell me about it!

 

5 Traits of A Social Media Narcissist

By Colin Angland

In the year of 2016 it is pretty safe to say that most college students have some sort of social media profile. Virtually everyone is on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram are becoming more and more popular by the day. We are all guilty of occasionally talking about ourselves online but that doesn’t go to say that some users get carried away. You have probably seen users who are extremely obnoxious and annoying on social media. I have always wondered what drives these folks to promote themselves as often and pretentiously as they do. I call these users social media narcissists. Webster’s Dictionary defines narcissistic personality disorder as a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. You might not agree with me 100%, but I am going to describe some of these attitudes I see on social media every day based on my own observations and opinions.

 

Endless Selfies
Ahhh, the selfie. The possibilities are endless. There are so many different ways someone can take a picture of themselves. The classic mirror pic is always a good choice. What about the gym selfie? These users take many pictures of themselves for the sheer purpose of self-promotion and gaining positive comments about themselves and base their self-importance on the amount of “likes” they get.

woody

 

Over posting
Some social media users have a bad habit of sharing everything with everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the same users post their fruit salad and cheerios breakfast plate on Instagram, another form of self-promotion. These users assume that everyone is interested to see what kind of coffee they drank that morning, or what book you read in your free time. The reality is that a large majority of users simply do not care.

h

 

Showing off
These users are always self-promoting their lives. This person spends their time bragging about their material items or how awesome their vacation in the Bahamas was. Picture after picture. We get it. You have cool stuff and have a great life. These users also use social media to boast about their achievements. We’re all glad you made the dean’s list this semester but so did about 3,000 other students, and they aren’t telling everyone about it. These social media users simply paint an unrealistic picture of who they really are.

hh

 

“I’M A MODEL”
This is quite similar to the selfie phenomenon but let’s go into a little more depth. These users essentially stage their own little photo shoots, just to post them later to Instagram. I’m not strictly talking about women because there are definitely men that are guilty of this as well. They always seem to pick the most attractive photos of themselves, and if they don’t get more than 200 likes the photo is an epic failure. We all have seen users like this specifically on Instagram. It really is kind of sad and pathetic.

j

 

Large Amounts of Followers
This one always makes me laugh. I mean how is it even possible to be acquainted with 1,000 other people? It’s ridiculous. These users use followers to achieve some sort of status. We’ve all heard someone brag about the amount of followers or friends they have. These users believe that the larger their audience, the more likes, retweets, or favorites they will receive, which in turn fuels the narcissistic behavior. These users believe that other people are constantly interested in what they’re doing and they want others to know what they are doing.  I see a lot of users that think they are too cool to follow someone because they do not want to ruin their “ratio.” The saddest part is that there are users who will actually purchase fake followers to achieve a sense of status.

l

 

I know I will probably not change anyone’s behavior, but I hope that after reading this, people will think twice next time before being obnoxious on social media.  Just remember that a large majority of people on social media do not show narcissistic behavior. Also, if you ever get confused about the term narcissist, just think of Kanye West or Kardashians.  Thanks for reading.  Now get on Twitter and Instagram and follow @colinangland right now.  Totally kidding.

Colin Angland is a student at the University of Montana studying Business Administration with a focus in marketing.