Tag Archives: blog5

Walk Out or Walk Up?

My audience for this blog series is anyone who is (or should be) concerned by the massive number of school shootings: students, parents, and anyone interested in safety and social justice. I will be focusing on the movements made by high school students who have been taking charge of the fight against gun violence. My goal is to make people think about how they can participate in this fight for life.

walk out

If you’ve watched the news over the past few days you are probably aware of the  Walk Out by students across the country on Wednesday. Sick of nothing being done in Washington about gun violence, teens coordinated the first national student protest on this issue. They hoped to bring an awareness of their voices and of the political power that they will soon hold. And politicians should take note- these teens, users of social media for most of their lives, will soon be old enough to vote and make their voices known at the polls. Boomers and Generation X have so far not been as focused on this topic, and it may be because they were not affected by it personally. And millenials, still a voting minority, have not made much progress with it either in spite of being the Columbine generation. Living in daily fear of school violence is a way of life for students, unfortunately normalized by our political climate and dedication to 2nd Amendment rights. But why isn’t anything being done? Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough anymore, and these students want us all to know that.

But of course there are those with the alternative solution. A solution that so far hasn’t worked. Ryan Petty, a parent of a student recently killed in the Parkland shooting, tweeted that students should Walk Up not Walk Out. In his opinion, walking out is accomplishing nothing beyond the students getting some exercise. His proposed solution would include students “walking up” to loners and making them feel appreciated so they don’t turn into school shooters. This post was in turn shared by thousands of parents across the country who thought students walking out was pointless. But I ask- is this victim blaming? If you aren’t successful with converting this potential shooter and it results in violence, is it your fault? Walk Up shows how out of touch some parents still are with the fear that children are facing, and in this case even includes parents of victims.

Walk Up belittles the point of Walk Out. No one is saying that you can’t walk up to a lonely student and talk to them, but that can be done any other day. This walk out was about the fact that these students want to be heard. They want the adults to help them. They want laws to protect them. They want politicians to represent them. On Wednesday, they didn’t need hugs- they needed voices.

This movement reminds me of Castell’s writings about the Occupy Movement, and there are plenty of similarities. Occupy was “rooted in outrage” (p. 166) which resulted in the fast propagation across the country. Students are clearly outraged about their peers being shot, and that resulted in a successfully organized protest in less than a month after the Parkland, Florida shooting. Everyone needs to be wary of the power that these children will one day hold. Their world is built around social media, and they are not limited to classroom gossip anymore.

We need to listen. Really listen to what they are saying. We may not agree with everything that they are asking for, but with what they have been through, they deserve our ears. Instead of thoughts and prayers we need to think about what we can do to make their world a little safer. So don’t belittle their voices by saying that they should be doing something else instead. Listen.

They will not forget.

Benefits of Social Media On: Visual Media

It is obvious by now that social media has taken over the way that people and companies advertise and communicate, but how? The changes are significant and have their benefits. In this three-part blog series, I will be explaining the benefits of social media’s influence on three major subjects: visual media, music artists, and businesses. These posts will hopefully be informative to those who don’t know about the benefits in relation to these topics, as well as entertain those who do know the benefits, and hopefully teach them something they don’t know. 


In this first post, I will be reflecting on the benefits of social media with relation to visual media. So what is visual media? Duke Trinity College of Arts and Sciences says that it includes “photography, television, film and video, new media and games” (Duke University, 2018). I am sure that it could be argued that there is more to visual media than what Duke University stated, but for the sake of this post, lets go with that.

Traditionally photography, television and film, and video games, were reserved for those who had the funds for expensive hardware, a long-term or deeply-rooted following, and years of experience in their respective fields. Now with the rise of social media along with social media sites and applications becoming more accessible, two great things arose. There are now more people creating content, and more people communicating with content creators.

As I mentioned, now with apps and sites such as Instagram and YouTube,  people can more easily take and share their photography and video. This allows for more content to be created, resulting in more niche content, as well as more people sharing their artistic vision. This good for both creators and consumers.

The second benefit of social media for visual content was very well said in The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, “The web allows organizations to deliver the right information to buyers, right at the point when they are most receptive to the information. The tools at our disposal as marketers are web-based media to deliver our own thoughtful and informative content… We also have the ability to interact and participate in conversations that other people begin on social media sites like Twitter, blogs, chat rooms, and forums” (Scott 2017). The point here is that there is now greater communication between content creators and content consumers. This allows for content that is tailored toward the consumer and makes for some great content to sprout.

These were just two simplified ways that social media in the modern age has improved the quality and personality our visual media content, and how creating content as become more accessible.

Next blog, I will talk about the positive impact of social media on music artists.

The American Dream?

House For Rent: $1,000/month

I have to gripe about something that I think many of my classmates and other students and working-class adults of any age, can relate to. My goal is to address the issue of fair wages and the cost of living in the United States.

This feels a little like a “first world problem” but it is one that I believe many can relate to. As I stated, I am like many, a working adult, returning to school, hoping to buy a house in the next ten years, and trying to save money while paying astronomical rent, paying for college (again) and changing my profession because my job in the healthcare industry wasn’t paying the bills for me.

I feel that the goals of my generation differ immensely from those of my parents, but there are still similarities. I will tell you I definitely never predicted ten years ago that I would finish one degree and then have to pursue another just for a little increase in pay (or hopefully more than a little; fingers crossed!) so I can afford rent on a single income, or that I would have to change careers multiple times by the time I turned thirty in pursuit of something that makes me happy or at the very least makes me not dread getting up in the morning. At the risk of sounding like a total millennial, why does it have to be so darn hard?!

Honestly, I would be thrilled to death with a tiny house, close to the city, with a little green space for my dog. It seems like now more than ever, that is a lot to ask. The housing market is especially challenging for my generation and those that follow, as there is a serious lack of habitable homes in a price range that is affordable for the average human, as wages are not increasing at the same rate as home values, rents and the cost of living.

The minimum wage in Minnesota recently rose to $9.65/hour.  According to the Huffington Post, at this rate, the average American worker would need to log 117-hour weeks for 52 weeks per year to afford a two-bedroom apartment or rental home, in ANY state (known as the “fair market rent”).


My good friend finished her master’s degree over a year ago and makes $15/hour working for a major school district in the Twin Cities; she barely gets by with a small studio apartment that doesn’t even have a full kitchen, in St. Paul, in a slightly less-than-safe neighborhood, for a grand a month!

My hope is that more, frustrated individuals like myself, will join in the fight for fair wages, and eventually bridge the gap that exists between the poverty line, the working middle class and the (now less than) 1%.

I found it amusing, in our reading this week, Mendelson explains his belief that we don’t influence each other as much as we think we do, but more that the media influences us first and we just pass it along (Mendelson Chapter Ten, Page 62).  I would have to agree with that statement.  I think we need to speak more from personal experience in certain situations and just be truthful with ourselves and each other; cut the bullshit.  Because I, for one, am fed up with living paycheck to paycheck while I work my tail off and throw 30% or more of my hard-earned income renting some dumpy place in St. Paul.  I know I’m not alone and that is why I want more people to speak out and call it what it is.



The audience for this blog post is my fellow students in this course as well as anyone in the general public who does not know what DACA is or what it does for those covered. The goal is this post is to educate and inform my audience about DACA as well as how important this piece of legislature is to these dreamers.

My heart goes out to all of those that have been and possibly will be impacted by this current administration. As both a U.S. citizen and a white female, I have not felt as severe of impacts as others have but that doesn’t mean that I don’t see what is going on. I understand that I have privilege as a white individual so I have tried my best to fight and stand with those who may not feel heard or understood.

One cause that I care deeply about and have already written a previous blog post about is DACA and Dreamers. In case some of you didn’t get a chance to read that post, DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it was put into legislation in 2012. There are over 700,000 Dreamers in the U.S. ranging from ages from 16 to 35 (and all ages in between). DACA is a really important piece of legislature because it allowed for kids who were brought to the U.S. illegally before the age of 16, to be able to obtain a social security card (i.e. be able to apply for loans, get jobs, and much more), work permits, and a drivers license. Although some people may lead to you believe that it is easy to get all of this “free” stuff (as some would say), there is a long list of criteria that an individual has to match in order to become a DACA recipient. For example, they cannot have any driving tickets or bad run ins with the law.

There are many aspects to DACA that many people don’t understand. In order to keep “up to date” with it, an individual has to re-apply for it every two years so it only lasts for two years and if you miss that date, it can take a while to get back on DACA. Another serious aspect to this piece of legislation is that these individuals are also putting their family members at risk because many of these individuals do still live with their parents, who are predominately illegal, and the Dreamers have to put their home address on the forms of DACA so the government does know where they live and who their parents are as well. It’s a scary situation to be in but also part of a blessing in a way.

Although DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship for these individuals, it allows them to do a lot more than what they had been able to do before it came about. Dreamers are able to go to college or do whatever they want to fulfill their dreams. I am still hoping that this act does not go away and is here for a while or possibly gets revised to allow for greater expansion to the act but it wouldn’t be fair to take this away from so many inspirational individuals.

Some who may be reading this post at this moment may not have truly heard about DACA before and realistically, everyone has to start somewhere when educating themselves on a certain matter or piece of legislation. As this blog post might be your way of educating yourself, others have done so over other forms of social media as well. Many DACA recipients have spread news about what is going on with DACA currently through social media and other platforms to inform themselves and others like them as well. Just as our textbook stated “your smartphone is all you need” (p. 305) and it is “an easy way to create valuable content that helps get the word out right away” (p. 306).

The DACA Population Numbers

The Underserved Serving Each Other

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa may be completely unknown to the readers of this blog but it is a fascinating, yet grossly underreported, economic union of 19 ( nineteen) African nations that predated the EU, Nafta and other economic, intranational partnerships.

It was first formed in 1981.

It is  very simple agreement with a revolving leadership, a court for disputes between companies and does not require a non-native company nor any of its human components to need citizenship to enter and flourish.

It welcomes the outsider, the outlier, and the members of any and all peaceful outgroups.

Although they drive on the left side of the road and have their steering wheels on the right side of the dashboard, that would be the extent of British remnants within the former colonies in Comesa. They do have tight reigns on citizenship with no skipping the line, a soundly majority Christian culture separated from the State, but they allow anyone from anywhere to come for work and a better life.

As with Tunisians and Zimbabweans letting their “democratic” dictators go to a life of retirement “exile” in Saudi Arabia,  these nations allow all member nations ( including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and others much-maligned for civil rights abuses, election fraud, torture, etc.) to take their turn in the council leadership with hidden agenda to investigate or entrap.

Currently, the CEO of the Comesa Council is Sandra Uwera ( a Rwandan woman) and the head of the Business Council is Gallina Tembo ( also female, but never asked her native nationality). Consider, also, Pacra ( the Business Registration Office) had six of eight registration officer positions held by women.

All this is so little known and reported on (outside of Al Jazeera), maybe this’ll spark a Google or Wikipedia search…….



Immigrants Detained by Local Law Enforcement

The public issue I would like to address is the detaining of illegal immigrants by local law enforcement. The immigration problem is more of a situation rather than an issue, the way most US citizens view our immigrants is disgusting. People have a strong feeling that these immigrants are stealing our jobs, and are promoting our crime rates. I see it to be very hypocritical that US citizens see our immigrants this way because most of our great-grandparents, grandparents, even parents aren’t originally from here. It appears that the US is okay with immigrants, but god forbid they are a couple of shades darker in their skin tone. This whole country was based on immigrants, so I am lost for words as to why the immigrants that we have coming now aren’t being socially accepted.

Yes, some of these immigrants might be up to no good, but so are everyday US citizens, there are going to be bad seeds on every surface of this planet, Immigrant does NOT equal criminal. These people work hard just like us, in some cases harder, and shouldn’t be transferred to federal immigration authorities due to minor crimes. Administer a punishment, but do not deport. These people have families, kids, and responsibilities that they need to take care of, one minor mistake shouldn’t dictate if they get to see their family ever again. If anything, this would be creating more damage than it being a productive tactic.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel that the people that are in favor of local law enforcement to be able to detain immigrants and transfer them to federal immigration authorities don’t quite have a good grasp as to how severe that consequence is, OR that they aren’t mindful as to how less fortunate people’s situations are on a day to day basis. I provided some results from isidewith.com to show you how the public views this issue. It grosses me out how many people are for this (more than half).

MN Results:


Link for more detailed results: https://www.isidewith.com/poll/305682356


Investing For the Future

After joining the workforce, I had an older coworker close to retirement age talking to me about finances. She said that her generation will be the last to receive social security benefits. By the time I retire, there will be no program in place to help me financially. That had me thinking about putting money away, so that I could live a carefree retirement.

With that in mind, I made a plan for  myself to build up my saving account to have a rainy day fund in case anything happens. I made it a priority to pay myself first before anything else. However, when I put money into my savings I noticed that the rate of interest was so low that I would be only making a few cents a year. I decided to look at alternative ways of building wealth.

That is when I looked into the realm of investing and other related areas. With my job, I utilize the 401k plan to get the full company match and decided to opt for the Employee Stock Plan. Using these options at work essentially gives me free money from the company because I am getting more than I put in. Also, I started to look into the idea of compound interest and opened another retirement account, a Roth IRA. Basically, the retirement account with work is pre-tax while the Roth IRA is post-tax.

The Roth IRA means that the money is yours and you will not have to pay taxes on it later. It can accumulate compound interest, which means instead of the money being paid out, the initial amount put in will continue to grow and gain more interest. For example, if I had $10,000 that gained 5% interest in a year then it would be $10,500. After another year and additional 5% interest it would be $11,025. That is a gain of $1025! Now imagine how much that would be after 40 years?

I encourage you to spend some time learning about finances and different ways of earning income. The new American Dream is being financially independent, which takes a vast amount of dedication and learning about different trades.

My Vegas Rewards

Vegas is awesome! The city never sleeps! It’s true! You have people ordering cocktails 6 in the morning. It slows down around 3 to 5 am but people are just drunk and chilling at some slot machine or table game. There are people celebrating birthdays, bachelor (bachelorette) parties, people getting married, street performers, and all sorts of fancy things. Vegas will entertain you at all hours.

Like most people, I like to look up things to do, place to eat, and freebies. So I want to share an application (for the MGM resorts) that you should have if you are planning to visit Vegas because it will help you save a few bucks at some of the main attractions!

Download the app “My Vegas” (I have an iphone, but I’m sure other app stores have their version). They have a slot machine or blackjack version but it doesn’t matter because it will sync everything together through your Facebook login. This app is very useful and offers great things. Like every other app out there, it wants you to spend real money to play and get extra boosts, etc. But, DON’T! Because you can’t “cash” out and that will defeat the purpose of “FREEBIES”. I have never spent a penny —I just go in daily to collect my free points and chips to play and earn more points. This does take time and will not happen overnight, so download it now and start earning your points!

SO WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE THIS APP? Because you can use these points to redeem REAL REWARDS such as 1 to 2 night complimentary hotel rooms, food and drinks, buffets, slot plays, shows, and rides at the MGM resorts. Some restrictions: a person can only redeem 3 rewards per visit, this app is not available for local residents, and the rewards are non-transferrable.

And yes, you are on vacation, and will be splurging anyways… but why not save if you can?

What youtubers should you be watching?

As all of you probably know by my blog posts, I am a big fan of youtube. What I mean by that is, I watch specific people’s videos on the daily. I have been on this kick ever since youtube was even a thing; about 10 years now! I have gone to California for the youtube convention, Vidcon, and met some of my favorite youtubers.

You might think that watching youtube videos is super boring, but these people work their ass off to make content that other people will watch and let me just tell you, they make a ridiculous amount of money doing it.

For this post, I’m gonna talk about the top 3 youtubers that have made it big on the website and who are, in my opinion, the most popular.

  1. Zoella (Zoe Sugg)
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Zoe was one of the first beauty guru’s from England that made it big on youtube. Even though she started out doing just beauty stuff, she doesn’t just do that now. She does store hauls (where she shows the things that she’s bought), monthly favorites (where she talks about her favorite things every month), and my favorite, vlogs (video blogs about her life) and other misc stuff that you’re just going to have to go to her page to see.

She doesn’t do vlogs very often but when she does they’re each like 30 minutes long. On the 1st of December, her along with a bunch of other youtubers do a thing calls Vlogmas, where they vlog their daily lives for the whole month of December and I do have to say, Zoe’s is the best. So if you’re a big Christmas fanatic, go watch her vlog channel linked above starting December 2nd.

ALSO (i know what you’re thinking, how can this amazing person do more??) she has a beauty line out that has a lot of really amazing products. Not much makeup, but she sells a lot of different ranges that have lotions, body washes, etc.

2. Pointlessblog (Alfie Deyes)

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Now I may be a little biased because Alfie and Zoe have been dating for 5 years now but he really does make really good vlogs. He documents his life every day and posts it and I have watched a lot of vlog channels because they’re my favorite but his is definitely a top 5. Not only does he make youtube videos, but he also sells merchandise that are super affordable. I personally own a sweatshirt and have bought his Christmas advent calendars in the past so 10/10.

3. Duan Mackenzie 

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Now, Duan is not as big as Alfie and Zoe but she’s definitely a new up and comer youtuber. I have seen a lot of people from the beginning who haven’t always been very good or have had the best attitude but Duan is definitely doing very well. She is a good youtuber if you are looking for some positivity in your life and are looking for some motivation. Not only that, but she takes AMAZING photos, like honestly breathtaking, so pop over to her instagram and go give her pictures a like.

A lot of youtubers aren’t the best at connecting with their subscribers and fans because they have too many to keep track of but Duan definitely takes the time to thank her fans and talk to them which is something i admire and appreciate a lot. You can tell that she’s truly thankful for all of the opportunities she has gotten because of youtube and that she appreciates every single person that has watched her from the start.

If you are looking for more fun short videos, go over to David Dobrik, Joe Sugg , and Caspar Lee