Recently, I have been appalled by Google and the recent news regarding search results.

The concept of search engine optimization is a great idea, but it should also not promote such negative results, like the one of the first lady, Michelle Obama.  It disappoints me how disrespectful people are.  And the worst part, search engine optimization made this possible.

Google has apologized for the offensive photo, but refuses to remove it from the search results.  This photo is still the third photo on the image search of Michelle Obama.  There is also a very racist photo of Barack Obama under the first page of his image search.

The company that posted the photo claims that the photo has been removed, but why does it still show up under the search?

I feel like I should boycott Google for something like this.  Google should step up and take a stand against racially offensive images.  It makes me wonder, is our country really that racist?

Google refusing to remove the image is extremely disrespectful to the first lady.  There must be something that they can do, or at least attempt to do to stop something like this from happening again.  For example, there is SafeSearch.  Google does have the ability to control search results.  Why refuse to remove the racist photo of Michelle Obama?

Search engine optimization was created with standards, why can these standards not be changed?  Why can their not be restrictions to search results?

Google has really disappointed me with this one.

Guerilla marketing is a new kind of campaign.  Guerilla marketing is not your average marketing campaign.  It uses a shock factor that draws in the largest crowds.  This type of campaigning is becoming more popular among different businesses, as well as public relations professionals.

Guerilla marketing was a new thing to me until the past couple of years.  I had never heard of it until the movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released.  In one of my classes someone mentioned that the advertisements for this movie were a form of guerilla marketing.  I remember seeing all of these advertisements around town, on buses, billboards, etc.  I had no clue what they were at first, but I was interested.

That’s the thing about guerilla marketing, it works and it works well.  It makes people aware in a very clever way.  It catches their attention and usually makes them want to learn more about whatever is being advertised.

I think guerilla marketing in public relations is a very good thing, it is a new tactic and will help public relations professionals get their clients name out there.

Public relations is about communication and promoting the client.  With guerilla marketing and branding this can all be a successful form of public relations.

All public relations professionals should try out guerilla marketing, experiment a little with it and see what happens.  It seemed to work well for the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

I am assuming that by the time people read this they will know about the tragedy at Fort Hood today.  I have a number of close friends and family in the military and I hold all of them very close to my heart.  I have one very close friend, Peter, who is currently stationed at Fort Hood.  As soon as I heard the news I got on my cell phone and tried calling Peter.  I wanted to know that he was okay and to hear his voice on the other end of the line.  The phone started ringing and then the line went dead.  I was confused and began to worry.  All I want was to hear that Peter is okay and I could not get a phone call through to him.

As soon as I walked in the door of my house I rushed to the television and turned it on.  I sat and watched the news.  A spokesperson for the army came on and asked people to stop using their cell phones to call loved ones and to start text messaging because the cell phone lines were being overwhelmed with all the phone calls.  The army wanted to save cell phone use for rescue efforts.

During tragedies the first thing people want to do is get on the phone and get ahold of the people they care about.  Cell phone networks just become overwhelmed with the amount of phone calls being placed all at once.  Even at big events, like the presidential inauguration, cell phone networks know that there will be trouble.

With all the money spent on cell phones, I would hope that when a tragedy like the one at Fort Hood happens I would be able to use my cell phone without concern.  I guess that is something that we can hope for in the future.

On one last note, my thoughts are with the family and friends of those killed or injured today.

Journalists can learn many things from bloggers in this changing world.  Journalists should learn that it is ok to bend the rules and make up some new ones as they go.  Blogging is a thing of the future, and journalists stop resisting the change and learn a little bit about blogging.  It is a great skill to have and it will help people succeed in the future.  It is not necessarily a bad thing to reveal opinions in writing; bloggers do it, why shouldn’t journalists?  Also, journalists should be open to discussion with their readers.

The Web is changing fast and traditional media should also embrace this change.  The change is good; the public likes it.  Give the readers what they want.  Traditional media outlets do not necessarily need to completely switch over to online, but it will help them in the end.  There needs to be a balance between online media and traditional media, because there are neo-Luddites out there who refuse to switch over to online media.  These media outlets should also use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  People use these sites, as should traditional media outlets.

Things are changing, but at the same time there are still people out there who will never switch over.  Media outlets need to keep a balance.  Appeal to the majority but also keep the minority in mind.  They will stay loyal as long as the media outlets are still keeping their interests in mind.

Imagine going out with friends on a Friday night, having some drinks, falling flat on your face on the walk home and having your friends take pictures of you drunk and passed out.  Then the dreaded “tag” pops up on your Facebook.  This can get you fired.

Or try imagining working a job that you absolutely hate and “tweeting” about how much you wish you could be any where but there.  This too can get you fired.

Who woulda thunk it?

It only takes 140 characters to get a person fired and possibly published across multiple Web sites.  One waiter who worked at a restaurant in Los Angeles was fired after one too many tweets about celebrities.  It was the shot heard around the world,  even the Telegraph in the United Kingdom published an article about the tweeting waiter.  Not really the fifteen minutes of fame most people would want, right?

It is hard to imagine that 140 characters has the ability to have a person fired.  Social media is not just for friends anymore, especially with an outlet like Twitter.  Obviously social media has become a part of the every day lives of many people over the past few years, many people are just beginning to realize how much of a threat it could be.  And not just for people who already have jobs…

For the people on the job hunt:  You may never think about the possibility of not being hired because of some picture your friends “tagged” you in on Facebook, but it is becoming more common, 45% more common actually. More employers are now searching prospective employees as a way to determine whether or not to hire him or her.  This can be a simple Google search or looking up a person on Facebook.

Be prepared.  If you are someone who is graduating soon and will be looking for a job, try this…Google yourself.  See what comes up.  You may be surprised or even better, you may be well on your way to a new job.  🙂

And if you are someone who already has a job, never, ever “tweet” like these people.

Imagine a community of complete anonymity, where people share their most personal secrets with whoever happens to stumble upon them.  This community is PostSecret, which began as a community art project.  PostSecret has exploded into a worldwide community and has shared more than 180,000 secrets with the world.

PostSecret was created in 2004 by Frank Warren.    People can send postcards to PostSecret; these postcards reveal secrets of the senders.  These secrets are sometimes comical and sometimes emotional.  The postcards are either published in one of four books, in art galleries or in the blog, which is updated every Sunday.  

“Since the economy tanked I have become an unemployed mother of three who now grows marijuana to make ends meet,” one person writes.

“Thank you for letting other people’s secrets discover the same within myself,” another person writes.

The secret of this community?  It’s impact on people.  I discovered PostSecret after the first book was published.  I was in Urban Outfitters flipping through the pages of PostSecret, which was published in 2005.  At first I was not sure what I was reading, then I realized that these were real people revealing their secrets to the world.  Some secrets made me laugh, while other made me want to cry.

PostSecret is a community, that any one can be a part of.  The best part about it, it is completely anonymous.  Unlike communities like Facebook, where people can be judged for how they are perceived through their profile.  PostSecret is a different kind of community, which allows people to truly express themselves without revealing their identity.

I realize that not all people appreciate the PostSecret community and what it has done for so many people.  Some use sarcasm to describe PostSecret.  The secrets that some people share are unimaginable, some leave you feeling disgusted.  To use such a sarcastic tone about PostSecret is insulting to the more than 180,000 people who have shared their secrets.  

PostSecret is a community unlike any other.  It has united thousands of people who will never know one another.  This community has the power to bring people to their knees.  PostSecret is a community every person should experience.  It is a unique community, which is only growing larger every year.  The Web site has had more than 270,000,000 hits and another book is due to be released this month.

In a house of seven girls, it is a given that at least one reality show will be watched on a daily basis. Whether the show be on MTV, VH1, ABC, CBS or Bravo. Almost every television station has at least one reality show of its own.  Reality shows have become a part of the American culture.  It seems that networks have become desperate for ratings.  If all else fails, there is always another “reality” show waiting to happen.

The problem with reality shows is the alternate view it gives on reality.  Shows like The Hills give viewers the impression that this is the glamorous life in Los Angeles, never mind that the show is partly scripted.  Reality television has corrupted society; young girls are easily influenced by these shows.  Then again, isn’t that the point?  Isn’t MTV’s goal to influence young girls and surround them with the stereotypical “glamorous life” of Los Angeles?  Reality shows like The Hills, in truth, make people blind to what is REAL.  

The worst of reality shows are the dating shows.  What woman in their right mind actually believed they could find love with Bret Michaels?  At least ABC has dating shows with a hint of dignity.  Shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette at least cast the classier individuals to compete for love.

Compete for love…as I repeat that statement, I think how reality shows have given us an alternate view on reality.  Are these competitions for love normal?Television networks sure do try and make it seem that way.  The average person can probably list off a dozen reality dating shows without much effort, if any.  America is, to say the least, obsessed with these reality dating shows, regardless or how real they may or may not be.  

If a person were to count the number of successful relationships these shows have produced, the only seemingly successful relationship is Ryan and Trista Sutter.  These shows give Americans a tangled view of “reality.”  Every reality show star wants America to believe that their show is real.  Some even promise that their show will be “real”.  I guess America will just have to sit and watch.  Maybe in the future reality shows will stop giving viewers an alternate view on reality and actually show us what is real.

I usually consider myself to be technologically challenged.  Ever since I started using technology, I thought it hated me.  Technology is now a part of my every day life; I just did not expect it to be such a large part of my major.  Back in elementary school I had to write journal entries, now I am blogging.  I never thought I would ever have to write a blog for journalism.  I simply thought of it as a hobby for people.  Now I have to write a blog for a journalism class and for my internship with Tehama Group Communications.

To me, it is crazy that blogging is becoming an important factor in journalists finding a job.  I never knew that this tool would be such an important factor in finding a job.  I am actually glad that this changing technology will help me in the future.

As helpful as this technology may be, it always intimidates me.  Reading about all the people that have been sued for their blogs scares me.  I know this is a changing technology and it will help me in the future, but its rather scary.  As a journalism major I know about credibility, but it is an issue for bloggers. Hopefully this new challenge will be a good experience and help me in my future job hunt.