Hailing a taxi from your phone


Ride-sharing companies provide taxi-like services by connecting passengers to drivers via a smart phone app. Rides can be arranged in advance or on short notice. The official name for a ride-sharing business is a Transportation Network Company.  Ride-sharing has come a long way in the past several years. When ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft first came out people were nervous about the drivers and if it was really a secure way to get from point a to point b ( as stated in the above meme). However, ride sharing has become mainstream especially in cities and areas that rely on public transportation. Ride-sharing companies provide taxi-like services by connecting passengers to drivers via a smart phone app. Rides can be arranged in advance or on short notice. The official name for a ride-sharing business is a Transportation Network Company. A new app in the ride-sharing market is Juno that compensates it’s drivers even more so than Uber or Lyft. Overall, ride sharing is a great way for commuters to get around affordably and as more companies join the market consumers stand to benefit.


Mobile Payments: The future of splitting the check.

When dining out with friends it can sometimes be awkward to split the check depending on who has cash on them and who leaves the tip. Mobile payments apps such as Venmo take the guess work out of splitting purchases with your friends. Venmo allows users to sign up with their bank accounts and easily send and receive money from their friends on the app. Here is a typical view of Venmo from a request screen, to the timeline displaying all of your friends transactions and the final charge request. venmo-pymnts

The convenience factor of Venmo has won the app popularity among Millennials. However, many consumers are concerned about security of mobile payments. While there are some security concerns due to the delayed transfer of money (Venmo takes one business day to transfer money between accounts). The site warns that consumers should be aware of who they are transacting with because with the delay of transfer people can cancel the transfer without the other party noticing. As with all online transactions, consumers should be cautious of who they are transacting with and monitor their account closely. Overall, Venmo is a convenient app for consumers looking to transfer and receive money from friends and trusted accounts but extra caution should be taken.

SnapChat: The print media friendly ghost


I have always loved reading magazines, from the latest fashion trends, thought-provoking articles, quizzes and horoscopes, it is a favorite pastime of mine. However, when we (society) began to shift away from viewing print media on paper and moved to reading news and entertainment on screens, I stopped subscribing to my favorite magazines. Luckily, Snapchat has found a way to combine both digital and print media through their Discover feature. Here is a video introducing Discover:


Snapchat users can connect with their favorite publications such as People, National Geographic, Vice, Refinery29, Cosmo on Discover and read magazine articles, listicles and watch brief videos. Once users decide that they like a certain publications content they can subscribe and receive about 6-10 articles daily on Snapchat. Discover has enabled me to reconnect with my favorite publications and re-subscribe to the physical magazine. Now, I read daily articles on Snapchat Discover and read my monthly magazine subscription. This emerging media tactic may help the print media industry enhance their subscriptions both on and off line.

Reality is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Virtual reality is changing the way that consumers interact with the world around them. In short, VR consists of videos and images that make up a computer generated simulation of an environment. When using VR consumers can access the technology through googles, a headset or helmet and a mobile device with virtual reality apps. This is impacting the tourism, gaming, entertainment, and marketing industry. Here is a video explaining the upcoming opportunities and challenges of using Virtual Reality for marketing efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovXoCS33Sdc.

Virtual Reality plays into consumers want to spend money and time on experiences instead of things. If consumers can easily access a VR headset they can experience places, activities, and culture that they may have never had the opportunity to do or see. For example, the video shows company Merrill, a hiking shoe company, using VR to show consumers how to best use their boots on a hiking excursion through a VR mountain scene and walking in an indoor environment. As VR technology improves, it will become more mainstream, easier to access, and more integrated into consumers lives. Overall, it is only a matter of time before VR replaces the traditional smart phone viewing experience.

Emerging Media- the latest accessory

In the past several weeks, I have been researching about wearable technology. While I may not be rocking the latest Fitbit, Google Glass or way finding jacket, I am more and more intrigued by the advances in emerging media. The infographic below gives a glimpse at current wearable technology and where the trend will lead in the future.


If you read through the infographic carefully you will notice that it said “hand”. Personally, it sounds like a futuristic technique out of a Ray Bradbury novel but this is actually happening. People that are interested in getting a chip can have it done at a tattoo parlor or piercing place. The chips are not backed by doctor’s offices and not certified by any regulatory agency. Chip users can have them implanted into their hand at their own risk. While the chips can act in ways similar to a smartphone the risks to your health and uncertainty outweigh the positive. Wearable technology may be transitioning to “implanted” technology with microchips replacing wearables by offering more convenience, features and security.

Lights, Camera, Action….Facebook Live and Livestreaming events.

The new Facebook Live feature every Facebook user has the opportunity to be the lead character of their own story. Personally, I have utilized Facebook Live for following breaking news stories and community events happening back in my hometown. Here is what the Facebook Live status looks like on a newsfeed:


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While this may look like a typical status, Facebook users can comment in real-time in the comments section with the same time stamp as the video and with the new Facebook emoticons floating across the screen. Here are a few examples of Facebook live streams:


Facebook Live is transforming the way that people broadcast their events. The LiveStream from the Dow Carnahan studio dedication allowed me to watch my former employer WCNS Radio dedicate their recording studio to long-time news anchor and my former colleague the late Dow Carnahan. I felt like I was physically in the studio and it was wonderful to see and hear the live broadcast regardless that I’m not in the radio stations radius. Overall, Facebook Live is changing the way that people broadcast events and breaking news. Plus, it enables businesses to broadcast for free off of their owned media platforms on social.




Gotta Catch ‘Em All Pokemon Go and the Augmented Reality phenomenon

When I first heard about Pokemon Go in early July, my 90’s kid senses were tingling. They had me at new Pokemon game, you walk around and catch Pokemon in real-time using the camera in your phone to place Pokemon in your augmented reality… even better yet, the app is FREE. The craze swept West Virginia University campus where students, faculty and community members walked around campus, day and night, capturing these little creatures at historic landmarks such as Woodburn Hall, the Mountainlair, Stewart Hall and battling in the Pokemon gyms at the Downtown Campus library. Pokemon Go is wildly popular with reportedly has more downloads than dating app Tinder and the potential to beat out Twitter. Here is an example of Pokemon Go in the Augmented Reality view.


Pokemon Go is the start of how augmented reality will infiltrate our mobile experience. Augmented reality is overlaying images, and video over our current environment through a camera, device or lens. An example of augmented reality is Google Glass, the glasses project various aspects of AR such as maps, messages, video chat,  and google searches over the current viewing through the glass lenses. Here is a video projecting what Google Glass does with AR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSnB06um5r4

While this is an early video of the Google Glass prototype, it gives a visual example of AR potential. I believe AR is going to take off after the popularity of Pokemon Go. It makes sense to integrate our online lives with the real world. Eventually we may all look up from our phone screens and view the world through Google Glass or maybe view the world through our phones. Either way AR is here and here to stay.


Keeping up with the Digital Joneses

Marketing communications has become more and more about keeping up with the digital “Joneses”. As marketers, it is our job to be aware of the latest technology and learn the best practices.

According to the WVU Reed College of Media, emerging media covers many platforms and technologies including social, digital, and mobile media. In my day-to-day work in public relations and social media management, I investigate new social media platforms and technology that would be best suited to reaching our target market of current and prospective students and Alumni. Here are some of the social media platforms I work with and my experience with each.

Facebook: My business Facebook account is WVU Reed College of Media. Our target audiences include Alumni, parents, and prospective and current students. The content consists of special events, contests, blogs, videos, and faculty & student spotlights. Personally, I enjoy Facebook because it allows for a lot more information than other “micro-blogging” platforms. For the College, we have plenty of space to write a post, include an external link and include pictures without appearing cluttered. The downside of Facebook would be the slower pace and interactivity. When looking for a reaction or interaction with Facebook followers it often takes longer than it would on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. This may be in part because of the “news” style layout of Facebook’s newsfeed and the older demographic. Here’s an infographic from the Pew Research Center about Facebook demographics:image

Twitter: I love running Twitter for business. It’s fast, interactive, and a great platform for content sharing. Our target audience for Twitter is prospective students, current students and young Alumni. Twitter is my favorite platform because the fast interaction time. When we share content we can get responses back from our target audience in a matter of seconds. Twitter is always plugged in. Another benefit of Twitter is content sharing; we have a lot of content from our staff, University affiliates and students. It’s nice to have such a broad network to share user-generated content. The downside to twitter is constantly being plugged in and monitoring the account. (I have my phone turned on to business Twitter 24/7 and receive notifications for every tweet, re tweet and favorite the page receives.) According to Pew Research Center, here are the Twitter demographics. Overall, the platform seems to skew younger than Facebook and may explain the quicker reaction time.

Instagram: The College of Media Instagram account focuses more on the student experience and what it’s like to be in our College. Our target audience is current and prospective students. In my experience, Instagram has been great for content sharing and connecting with our target audience in a visual, micro-blogging platform. The downside of Instagram is finding artistic and keeping the photos and videos fresh so that they stand out. Here is the Pew Research Center’s demographic information for Instagram.
Emerging media platforms the College of Media is currently investigating include SnapChat, and Vine. (We may have briefly considered Pokemon Go- the new augmented reality game.) Overall, my Emerging Media experience has been social media but I’m open to look into emerging media and augmented and virtual reality.