Working United: An Experience in Cross Cultural Work Environments

By: Morgan Borer, @morganborer


Understanding. Patience. Acceptance. Early on, these words were used in my education, before I really understood their meaning. While I now feel that I have a good grasp on each, and try to demonstrate these qualities in different areas of my life, this summer I grappled with an entirely new question. How do these apply in the workplace?

This summer, I am working as a Communications Assistant in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology for the International Space University (ISU). This is a nine-week professional development program covering a variety of disciplines. I have the unique experience of working with 111 individuals from 30 countries around the world, ranging from Poland to Saudi Arabia to China. These individuals have backgrounds in space exploration, science, engineering, technology, the arts and more. Despite their unique stories, there is one attribute that unites them: their love of space.

Before assuming this position, I had little experience working alongside international people. Will I be able to communicate with them? I am a 21 year-old journalism student from Toledo, Ohio. What could I possibly have in common with these cool space engineers? The answer? More than you might think.

During the first week of my internship, I struck up a conversation with Remco, a social media strategist from the Netherlands. Remco is heading up the ISU SSP15 Online and Social Media Campaign. He explained to me that in social media, he is completely self-taught. I shared my classes and experience in Scripps with him, and he suggested that we collaborate on the campaign. We found commonalities in our love for New York City and, of course, public relations.

I also met a man named Shripathi, a passionate, energetic photographer and video producer from India. He is one of the younger participants in the program, so it was easy to chat with him about campus, class work, and my desire to learn more about photography.

My advice on working with international people? Be open minded and ask questions. If you close yourself off from others, you’ll miss learning opportunities. Ask a lot of questions, even if they seem conventional. Don’t be afraid of small-talk. Recognize that common practices in the work environment in their country may be drastically different from those in the U.S., and find a common ground.

Talk about food. Seriously! Food unites people around the world. It’s an easy topic of conversation. People from other cultures love to talk about how big American portions are, and the fact that they’re scared of gaining weight when they come here (trust me, I heard it last night).

Learn from everyone, and let them learn from you. At work, I practice observation. Even if I don’t totally understand the language, I try to pick up on snippets of conversation and figure out what the topics of interest are. You can learn a lot by listening and paying attention. On the flip side, they’re going to ask you questions, so let them pick your brain about everything from the Cleveland Cavaliers to road signs.

While I can admit that I’m no space fanatic, I do love the people that I am surrounded by on a daily basis. They are extremely intelligent and inspiring. I’ve learned something from each person I’ve met here, and I’m excited to learn more throughout the summer.

Five Companies You Should Be Following On Social Media

By: Emily Barber, @emilybarbershop

With hundreds of posts filling our feeds every day, it’s easy to scroll through social media without actually seeing anything. Add in brands vying for your attention, and even your favorite restaurant might get lost in the mix. These particular companies excel at capturing and engaging their audiences with a strong social media presence.

1. Denny’s

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This classic restaurant stays up to date with pop culture references and humor that keeps followers entertained. With the majority of social media users being of the ‘millenial’ generation, Denny’s knows how to appeal to their audience.


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This company has a major focus on giving back to communities, when customers buy a pair of their shoes, but every year TOMS also sponsors One Day Without Shoes. Just a few weeks ago, for every picture that was shared tagged with #withoutshoes, TOMS gave a pair of shoes away to a child need. Awesome pictures combined with compassionate acts makes for a great Instagram!

3. Taco Bell

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If you’re looking for something to spice up your Twitter feed, check out Taco Bell’s saucy posts. Recently, the chain launched their breakfast menu and accompanied it with the #BreakfastDefector campaign. Filled with mystery and excitement, this built up followers’ anticipation for the day when waffle tacos would be available.

4. Jeep

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Jeep is worth following, even if it’s only for the pictures of beautiful cars and scenery. This iconic automaker recently partnered with the upcoming music artist X Ambassadors. The band’s new hit “Renegade” conveniently shares a name with one of Jeep’s most popular models, making the duo a match made in heaven. Warning: pictures may cause wanderlust.

5. Anthropologie

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Aesthetically pleasing and perfect for inspiring crafts, Anthropologie’s Instagram is full of recipes, blog posts and outfit ideas. One of their recent posts even introduced a contest with a 500 dollar shopping spree up for grabs!

The New Scope Periscope Brings to News

By: Erin Golden,@eringolden


By now, everyone’s probably heard of the immediately popular, Twitter-created app, Periscope. Periscope allows people with a mobile device (and the app) to live-stream video content.

The Meerkat app, which was released first and was heavily funded right before Periscope, has failed miserably after Periscope launched. Periscope’s usage and downloads have recently spiked and passed the downloads and the rankings of Meerkat. A large difference between the two apps is that Periscope saves the content on the app for 24 hours after the first live broadcast.

We can use our phones to live-stream events straight to the Internet in real-time, so what?

An app like this, however, could drastically change the news industry for media and for brands as well.

Here’s what apps like Periscope could mean for the PR/media industry.

  • We (the people) become even more of a “citizen journalist.” Giving the public the ability to be the first to report on events with video is a big deal. Now, big-time news outlets like CNN or Fox have competitors when it comes to quickly broadcasting real-time news. People with their phones might be able to post the content and spread the news faster than a news crew can get there. This doesn’t mean the quality will be high – just like citizens posting incorrect information on Twitter and Facebook, live video can still be taken out of context. However, seeing is believing, which makes it easier for a developing story to tell itself through an app like Periscope.
  • Brands could be hesitant to dive into a live-streaming app. It’s been stated that Twitter probably won’t be able to filter all of the content coming through Periscope. This could mean events that weren’t scheduled or monitored could be out on the web before a brand’s communication team might even be aware. Crisis communication anyone?! For this reason, brands might be hesitant to invest and partner with live video streaming like Periscope.
  • Global connections are made even easier. Periscope seamlessly connects users to other users all over the world, therefore really focusing in on the “international connectivity” aspect of social media. When traditional media reports internationally, it’s often from the perspective of a journalist who is not a native of the country, possibly skewing the reporting or having a bias on the news. Periscope allows people all over the world to glimpse into another’s life and view it from their perspective; from all the way across the world to right down the street.

No one (even us PR pros) can predict the future of technology and the effects of every new app that comes on the market. But, apps like Periscope harbor the potential to possibly change the landscape of the public relations and media markets.

Social Media’s Inevitable Development

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7


Remember the ‘good’ ole days when Facebook was a place for high schoolers to rant about their lives, share pictures, and parents didn’t even know it existed? Or when Twitter was an easy way to update you followers on what you were doing. Or when you had ‘Best Friends’ on Snapchat. Those were the days.

Sure, you can still find this on each of these sight, except the ‘Best Friends,’ which we are still bitter about. However, you know have to decipher through something else in order to reach this original social aspect of social media: news content.

There is nothing wrong with news content, but it leads to the point that social media sites often get taken over by the news industry trying to reach more people and make enough money to stay afloat. Who can blame them? Finding an audience can be difficult these days.

It seems to be the inevitable path of social media. It as a platform for young adults/teenagers, to do whatever the sites is for, and then news companies and older generations move on in. Thus, changing the whole experience of social media.

Facebook and Twitter have become hubs for media outlets to post and circulate content. Facebook has become grand central station for Buzzed quizzes, and has even ventured into publishing original content. Twitter has become an easy platforms for companies to put up articles and hope people retweet it.

Snapchat has begun to move in this direction, having their new ‘Discover’ feature and sponsored Snap stories. The positive side with Snapchat is that it would be very difficult to infiltrate the original purpose of the app, to send terrible selfies to your friends.

It’s inevitable that media companies will want to use these platforms for their own gain. It doesn’t, however, seem to be scaring users away, but changing the way the site is used. Conversely, people are always on the lookout for the next breakout app.

Five Most Underused Social Media Tools

By: Gentry Bennett, @Gen_andTonic

With so many social media sites these days, it can be hard to learn the ends and outs of all of them. There are some hidden tools and features that can extremely help improve your experience. Without further ado, here are the five most underused social media tools…

1. Mute on Twitter, Unfollow on Facebook

Whether it’s your uncle on Facebook that likes to share his political views, or that one professor on Twitter that tweets at least once an hour, sometimes your feed needs a little “spring cleaning.” The mute and unfollow options on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, help you to stay connected with whomever you please. If the people you want to connect with aren’t improving your social media experience, silence is a simple click away. To activate these features, go to the selected account’s profile page. From here, on Facebook click where it says “Following” or on Twitter click the “Settings” gear, and unfollow or mute away!

2. Reading List on Twitter, Saved Links on Facebook


This feature will come in handy for those with a tendency to click on the longest articles when they don’t have time to read. If you fall into this category, and want to save that Buzzfeed article for your morning commute or walk to class, your bookmark bar is waiting for you. The days of cluttered bookmark bars and a million open tabs on your browser are over: enter Saved Links and Reading List. iPhone users can send articles found on Twitter to their Safari “Reading List,” while Facebook users can use the “Save Link” feature. Simply open the article of your choice and tap the arrow coming out of the box icon to save or send to your List.

3. Discover on Instagram

It’s easy to scroll through the photos on Instagram and then close out of the app. Just one tab over from your home feed is the search tab where you can also find Instagram’s most popular photos. These photos range from a Kardashian selfie to traveling photographers. This is a great way to find new people and companies you can follow to help diversify your feed.

4. Pinned Posts

Pinned tweets and Facebook posts (most often used in Groups) can be extremely helpful for the social media user with a lot of content on their profiles or Groups. Pinned posts allow you to pin one post that you find important, or has pertinent information, to the top of your profile. All other content following will be organized as it normally would. This is especially helpful for an upcoming event or contact information that a user viewing the profile or Group may need.

5. Relationship Notes on LinkedIn


Use this hidden feature to privately remember where you met someone or a reminder about a conversation you had once. Below the photo on a LinkedIn profile, click “Relationship.” From here, you can add any notes you want about the person. The best part is, the notes are completely hidden to anyone except you.

How Snapchat’s Updates Have Rocked The Future of Advertising and Journalism

By: Rachel Hartwick, @rachel_hartwick


I still remember the day that I started using Snapchat. A friend introduced me while sitting at the high school cafeteria table. I added 4 of my closest friends. After school, I used the low-quality camera of my iPod touch to send blurry, 3-second pictures of my cat.

The app, which was originally made so people could share embarrassing pictures with each other without repercussion, has made huge steps for the future of media. Over the years, Snapchat evolved from a picture-messaging app to a platform for something much, much bigger.

Snapchat updated the app and made it have the ability to send videos, and soon after, the introduction of “The Story.” A Snapchat story allows users to post pictures and videos to their own story for all their Snapchat friends to see. The story is viewable as often as desired for 24 hours, and then they’re erased for good. The introduction of “The Story” was also a huge step for celebrities, who could now quickly and easily share life moments with fans.

Not long ago at OU, an account called “OhioUSnaps” was created by a student. This account allows for students across the campus to share funny dorm-room videos, or studying selfies, with upwards of 6,000 people who have added the account to their Snapchat friends.

OhioUSnaps is changing the way that we advertise at college. Besides just silly snaps, students post pictures of lost keys or ID’s and upload flyers of club events to gain publicity. Today, any company can create Snapchat accounts for consumers to add to their friend list. The consumers are exposed to creative marketing that often don’t feel like traditional ads.

Snapchat completely changed the game with their “Discover” update on January 27. (Many people may remember this as the update that removed our loved-and-hated “best friend” feature.) With just a swipe right, the “Discover” feature shows eleven media outlets, ranging from CNN to Cosmopolitan to National Geographic. Every 24 hours, these companies release a new set of content to view.

For instance, if I click on CNN, I’m able to scroll through 6 headlines accompanied by a moving picture or video in the background. If I swipe up, I can read the full story or watch the video. If my sound is on, I can hear a synopsis of the story or even music to accompany it.

It’s handheld and targeted to younger audiences that desire instant gratification and, as Wired noted, doesn’t often connect with traditional media.

Snapchat said on its blog, “This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”

Far too often, I see Twitter accounts tweeting out some story or some facts without credible—or any—sourcing. Too many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers believe everything they see online, regardless of the source. Snapchat Discover teaches us what’s important because we’re trusting the experts. Snapchat Discover allows young people to get credible information from an app that they’re using every day anyway.

From both the journalism and the advertising industry, Snapchat, you’re making huge steps for the future of media, and we’re excited to see what else you’ll do. Props!

Keeping Your Personal Brand Safe Over Spring Break

By: Sophia Ciancone, @sophiaciancone


Spring break is finally here. Ping has been packed and the salad bar line long. Students are ready to set off and enjoy a week of carefree relaxation and fun. It’s important, however, that students keep in mind a lecture we’ve heard time and time again: brand yourself. From professors to professionals, everyone in the field promises that if we just create our brand, we are set. Sometimes, adventurous trips like spring break can put our brand at jeopardy. In order to make sure that does’t happen, here are some tips to keep things clean while you’re soaking up the sun and having a blast with your friends.

  1. Put the phone down. Sun, sand and water make a dangerous combination when it comes to smartphones. Despite the fact that you want to capture memories of your trip, it may just be best for your phone and your brand if you keep the phone in a safe, secure location. Don’t bring out your professional self, if there is a chance someone could ruin your professional image. Bring it out only for small periods of time.
  2. Steer clear of social media. This could be a good week just to take a short break from social media all together. Log out of your Twitter and Instagram, or maybe only check it a few times a day. Once something is posted, it can never come down.
  3. Take fun, clean pictures. When you step away from the party for a bit snap some fun, beach pictures with your friends that are social media friendly. These are the pictures you can share with your followers that will keep your brand clean and pristine.

Keep these simple tips in mind while you’re soaking up the sun, and when you return back to reality, your brand will be exactly the way you left it.