Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's been a little while...

Ok, so I haven't touched this blog in a year. Whoops! This is bad blog practice #1. The funny thing about this is I recently joined Elance to look for freelance gigs, one kind of writing gig being blog posting. I took their skills evaluation test and placed in the top 10 percentile. Obviously, I need to practice what I preach.

In other news, I recently re-designed my website. I made several major changes: for one, I finally gave up type control. This was really hard for me to do. In the last version of my site, I saved all my text blocks as GIFs because I love Helvetica and can't stand that some browsers or computers don't support it. It hurts me to see my text in Arial or some even worse font. Not to mention I'm really persnickety about line breaks. But again, it was time to practice what I preach—not having searchable text is bad SEO practice #1. I wish I knew more about web design so I could ameliorate this, because I'm sure there's a way. (I use Freeway 5 Pro if anyone wants to help out).

The other major structural overhaul is I'm no longer using a frame-based site. Before, I had my site sliced into three sections, the header, side nav, and content. The URL would stay consistent because clicking around simply changed the main content frame. I decided it was better, given the different kinds of gigs I'm seeking, to be able to point people to exactly the page that's pertinent to them (for instance, white papers or print advertising). I could have done this before, but they would have simply gotten that frame, with none of my header branding. And who wants to see my site without my pretty mug?

I added new content as well, but it made me realize how old some of my work has gotten. I think it still stands the test of time, especially the very first TV spot I ever did in 2004. Remember, the year George W. actually was elected fairly? Uggh. The one thing that's starting to look old, however, is the OC Register work. I think it's still a VERY smart campaign, but because it was based on the news of the day (circa 2005). it's obviously dated. I mean cmon, McPheever or Soul Patrol? Who even cares about those people anymore? Are our kids lost in Myspace? (Answer: nope). But alas, such is the nature of GOOD advertising... you only get to do it every once in a while :)

Anyway, I'd love it if you perused the new site and let me know what you think. Happy surfing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

...and more

in just a few days, i've gotten 70 clicks on these. pretty amazing. stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

another outreach from my SEO learnins...

i've been hard at work trying to master content creation for my client. see my latest effort here. and if you would, please leave a nice comment and click the "helpful" vote button. you're the best. maybe you'll even learn something.

Monday, November 9, 2009

a little help for the unemployed.

i've recently delved into the world of search engine optimization, which, to my surprise, is a lot more interesting than i thought it would be. one of my discoveries has been squidoo, which was started a few years ago by seth godin, who always seems to be deemed a "marketing guru." in any case, i'm going to start publishing some content there and see if it gets any traction.

my newest blog entry was going to be about what i've learned since being unemployed, but since i'm trying out squidoo, i put it on there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

re-branding abortion rights

i've tried a number of times to get this op-ed published, but since that's looking less and less likely, i'm finally going to post it on the interwebs. i still think it's timely. please share if so moved.

***

In the wake of Dr. George Tiller’s murder, abortion rights are back in the public eye. Though his death saddens me, I hope reproductive rights groups will seize upon this opportunity to reinvigorate the movement. Because as an advertising professional, and perhaps even more as a 29-year-old woman, I can see nothing in more desperate need of a branding overhaul than the pro-choice cause. It’s dated. Off the radar. And out of touch with young people.

Like so many consumer products, reproductive rights groups must re-package and re-present themselves to stay relevant to that ever-elusive young target. That’s not to say they aren’t trying. Every major abortion rights group has online presence on Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube. They still have pockets of young activists, as seen recently on the campus of Notre Dame. Pro-choice groups are even getting provocative by sponsoring college events like the Vagina Monologues. And by piggybacking onto less controversial issues such as affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education, they’re aiming to broaden their support base.

But these efforts have done little to evoke the same passion in protecting reproductive rights that opposition groups have evoked in shutting them down. Anti-choicers have figured out how to connect on a deeply visceral level to galvanize young people towards restricting and eventually outlawing abortion. Through activist summer camps, political internships, and organized youth groups, a growing number of minds are being won over. In 2008, a Pew survey found that 22% of young adults support a total ban on abortion, compared with only 15% of their parents’ generation.

Unlike their parents’ generation, who remember the struggles surrounding Roe v. Wade, these so-called “millenials” have never lived in a time when abortion was illegal. So even if support for legal abortion in some or all circumstances still sits in the majority, the sentiment is latent at best.

On the other hand, anti-choicers see themselves as heroic crusaders, saving lives against the bastion of an immoral practice. George Tiller “was a mass murderer” who “reaped what he sowed,” said Randall Terry, founder of anti-choice Operation Rescue. "The thought of him leaving this life with blood on his hands for having killed so many thousands of children and not having been prepared to meet his maker is a dreadful, terrifying thought."

Yikes. How do you compete with a damning sentiment like that? You don’t.

Every movement needs a villain. The pro-lifers have theirs, and they’re well-funded and mobilized to fight it. Where’s the pro-choice villain? Something young women like me can rally against? Something to get us mad, and get us moving?

It may not be as obvious, but it’s just as potent. Our villain is hypocrisy. My generation can’t stand bullshit. In our young lives, we’ve seen an election stolen, a war started under false pretenses, and ridiculous cases of corporate greed. It’s hardened us. We like calling people’s bluffs. We take nothing at face value. And understanding how we think is the key to winning us over.

One of the most successful public service efforts of our lifetime is the anti-smoking truth® campaign. Its genius was not in getting moralistic about whether smoking was or wasn’t bad, but in bringing the tobacco industry and its underhanded lobbying, marketing, and pseudo-scientific research practices to light.

Reproductive rights groups have an even bigger opportunity to expose ugly truths about their supposedly morally-driven opposition. Pro-life organizations habitually spread unfounded or over-exaggerated health myths, claiming abortions contribute to breast cancer, psychological damage, and infertility. They set up “crisis pregnancy centers,” which use misleading and intimidating tactics, including agenda-driven movies, slideshows, and lectures, under the guise of legitimate health information. Worse yet, these pregnancy centers often receive state and federal funding.

NARAL Pro-Choice America reports that some of these crisis pregnancy centers do not have any medically trained or medically supervised personnel at all. And even in cases where centers are overseen by medical professionals, there are no regulations to ensure women receive complete and medically accurate information. According to the Pearson Foundation’s How to Start and Operate Your Own Pro-Life Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center manual, staffers should “[b]e put off by nothing… Let nothing stop you. The stakes are life or death.” Said its author, Robert Pearson, in 1994, “[o]bviously, we’re fighting Satan… A killer, who in this case is the girl who wants to kill her baby, has no right to information that will help kill her baby.”

More women need to know about the underhanded tactics that threaten their reproductive health. Do they need to know the full picture, the ethically complex, medically accurate, and unbiased health facts as well? Of course. But they’ll never seek that information without a much more pointed motivation.

Here’s one way to point them. Go into any Planned Parenthood. Sit by a phone, regardless if it’s the most senior doctor’s or the lowliest intern’s. As a former volunteer, I can almost guarantee that right above that phone is a protocol for when a bomb threat is called in. Run a picture of that protocol with the headline, “Still think women’s rights aren’t under attack?” Even before the Tiller murder, the Guttmacher Institute reported that 82% of large abortion providers experience some kind of harrassment, vandalism, or threats, sometimes at staff members’ homes.

This kind of simple but poignant messaging gives young people a reason to give a damn, not only to save reproductive rights, but to shine a light on the hypocrisy of a movement whose extremists will kill in the name of “saving life.” Because if there’s anything my generation hates, it’s bullshit. And in the anti-choice camp, there’s plenty of it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

spring cleaning

why is it that the second you're down, everyone around you seems to be up? i hate that i can't be happy for all my friends coupling up, because once again i've been dumped.

that wouldn't be the worst thing, except for what happened next. being dumped is merely stage 1. of course, there's pain involved with this preliminary step. for me, the pain comes when i hear something akin to, "you're great. i really, really like you." yeah. you like me so much you're dumping me. thanks. 

but i digress. stage 2 is what i like to call "the good luck chuck" step. because despite hearing "i just don't want a relationship right now" the next person who my dumper dates inevitably is someone he intends on being far more serious with. and that's what else happened this week. someone who dumped me last year is now sooooooooo fucking happy with someone else. so it's not so much "i just don't want a relationship," it's really, "i don't want a relationship with you."

blech. i hate being pissed off about this. i'm sure it only adds to my attractiveness factor. but it's 430 am, and i can't sleep, and i'm bitter and cynical, and i feel like i've been rejected all over again. this pisses me off. 

i don't know what it is about me that makes me so hard to be around, at least for the long haul (meaning one month+). everyone tries to make me feel better by saying "it isn't you," but when "you" is the only common denominator, eventually you have to figure... it's fucking you. i'm like a force field for love... it comes close and then is bounced off at lightning speed. it's hard not to feel sorry for myself. 

i want to take this entry and tie it up in a neat bow, come to some grand conclusion, or at least make a fucking point. but i don't know where this goes. i'm stuck on repeat. there is no point. the worst part is, someone else will eventually come along. and i'm going to convince myself this time it's gonna be different. and then, at 430 in the fucking morning, i'll probably lie awake stewing because it happened yet again...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the answer for hot, flat, and crowded? green.

yesterday i was at barnes & noble, enthusiastically picking up a copy of thomas friedman's new book, hot, flat, and crowded. i talked to the cashier about it briefly after he said a lot of people had come in to buy the book. that made me really happy. friedman is an extremely prescient man, and his columns in the new york times are always enlightening and forward-thinking. his 2005 book the world is flat is an amazing look at the current state of globalization, how we got there, and where it's going.
as he finished my transaction, the cashier began to put my book into a bag. 
"oh, i don't need a bag," i told him.
"following in line with the theme of the book!" he said, and bid me goodbye.
it reminded me of something i wrote in one of my ucla classes, and prompted me to post it here. while it is by no means an earth-shattering solution, it's a way to approach daily life and try to contribute less to the problems that will shape the future.

How to Decrease Waste Without Losing Much at All

I like to think of myself as conscientious. I care about my impact on the environment, but I’m by no means Captain Planet. I feel guilty drinking bottled water, but will reach for one if I’m thirsty. I bought a carbon offset for my car, but sometimes drive a quarter-mile to McDonald’s.
Even so, whenever I see the 65-gallon trash can my roommates and I fill to the brim every week (and the equally large recycle bin we only fill every couple), I marvel at how much we consume, and especially how much we throw away.
I challenged myself to do better. Finding miniscule changes that started to add up, I made reducing waste a game. And if we all started playing, it’s our landfills that would win.
The rules are simple. Give yourself points anytime you stop something from going in the garbage—either by diverting it, or never using it at all. Ready to play?

AT HOME

Use dryer balls. These nubby do-dads tumble around in your dryer, eliminating static cling and the need for dryer sheets. 2 pts per load
Clean green. Use reusable sponges and cloths rather than disposable wipes or paper towels. Instead of buying a new spray bottle every time, look for concentrates and refills. Cleaning solutions like Oxiclean and Simple Green are biodegradable, too. 1 pt per wipe, 2 per bottle
Give your postal worker a break. Opt out of junk mail, pay bills online, and request e-statements whenever possible. Reuse envelopes for shopping and to-do lists. 1 pt per bill

AT WORK

• Coffee like you care. If you can’t go a workday without coffee, you toss about 250 paper cups a year. Use a mug instead. And for a little extra brown-nosing, use one with your company’s logo on it. Purchase a mesh coffee filter to avoid using paper ones. Going out? Starbucks and Barnes & Noble give discounts to patrons who bring their own mug. 1 pt per filter or cup
• Print sparingly. Send directions to your phone. Use PowerPoint instead of handouts. Print double-sided when you can. Save copies for notepaper when you can’t. 1 pt per page

ON THE TOWN

Eliminate receipts. Most ATMs and gas pumps have a no-receipt option. The Apple Store even offers to email your receipt. ½ pt per receipt
• Canvas the neighborhood. Most grocery stores and major chains offer incentives for using canvas bags. Even better, you’ll save huge amounts of closet clutter. Throw loose items like apples or tomatos in the tote, and save another bag in the produce section. And tell the clerk, “I don’t need a bag,” whenever you don’t. 2 pts per bag
Pretend trash cans say, “No, thanks,” and not “Thank you.” Fast food creates a lot of waste with its wrappers, cups, and boxes. So when eating out, cut where you can. Do you need a lid on your cup? Can you use a tray rather than taking it to go? Do you really need 50 napkins? ½ pt per item

Make these tiny changes into habits, and you’ll never look at trash the same way again.