The Importance of Your Web Layout: Joshua Davis is Infinitely Interesting

As part of the final project for New Media Web Design for the semester, I have to write an essay profiling the background, work, and creative perspective of a recognized design studio creating award-winning web or interactive design work. The list we could choose from was Funny Garbage, Robert Greenberg Associates (RGA), Antenna Design, and Joshua Davis.

The following is proof about how the layout of your website can make or break whether you are offered certain opportunities, or whether a graduating senior will write an essay about you as a final project.

Funny Garbage -big text – REALLY big text – and crazy animations going everywhere.  It may be the Red Bull I drank at 1 am, but I’m growing anxious at the rapid movement.

R/GA – Oh, I see you are opening a Singapore Office.  Everyone is doing work in Singapore nowadays.  I see you like to use Helvetica.  Everyone likes to use Helvetica Nowadays. Oh, wow, you’ve won a whole mess of awards. You are also black, white, and red all over.

Antenna Design – You demand for me to get Flash 6.  My 4-year-old IBM can’t handle it.  Yes, I know, I’m not a full-fledged Mac user yet.  Why do you have to take such a low blow considering we just met?  I’m done with you.

Joshua Davis – At first glance, I see you laid out your site in a grid patter similar to Evan Roth.  Great minds think alike?  Oh, and your studio is based in Mineola?  You show images of your work right away, which I see mostly involve pleasant looking designs, some of which are in soothing kaleidoscope-like patterns.

Joshua Davis, in the spirit of Pokemon, I choose you for my paper topic.

Be the Leader/Thanks Hofstra

A few weeks ago I traveled to Baltimore (by Amtrak! woo!) for the Eastern Communications Association Conference at the Hyatt representing Hofstra University, PRSSA, and PRestige Agency.  I was registered as a speaker for the “Charting New Directions for PRSSA: Innovators, Explorations, and Adventures” along with other communications students.  The panel itself turned into a casual dialogue about the  frustration that all student-run organizations face: motivating other students.  As the VP of Development, Recruitment, and Media for PRestige Agency, I have had my fair share of challenges this past year.  After being asked what I thought were required qualities in a leader, I answered that not only does a leader need to be motivational, organized, and professional, they must serve as a mentor for younger students.  Students in undergrad are looking for advice and they turn to their peers first.  A strong leader is some one that others want to emulate, and it comes down to having a balance between the professional and personal.

Today was my last day of class at Hofstra University.  I graduate on May 16th with Latin Honors Distinction, an Associate Honors Degree,  a full resume, and much more wisdom than when I first walked onto campus four years ago.  Time and time again, I have been challenged to stand true to my identity and beliefs, defending myself and demanding respect when necessary, and learning to extinguish conflict when it approaches.  To my friends graduating, I would like to know if you can imagine your first day as a freshman, if you had any idea of what you were going achieve in the  following years.  I cannot.  I am astounded, dumbfounded and proud of what I have accomplished.

This past week I had to find my successor for my Vice President position.  Interested candidates emailed their resumes and cover letters and had an interview a few days after.  I based my decision on the strengths of the two candidates and if the position would allow them to build upon their existing talents.  Not only am I very excited and happy about the decision, but I cannot wait to see what next year’s E-board will do.  During both  interviews I discussed what I thought were necessary habits when dealing with people.  By coincidence, my advice was influenced by  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (a purchase made after my friend Emily Meithner raved about it).

Because you should buy the book yourself, here is simply a tidbit.

Fundamental Techniques In Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

    It never helps to surround yourself with negativity.  People will always respond much better when you praise their strengths, not criticize their faults.  The time and energy spent complaining about a situation is time and energy wasted.  Save yourself the heartache and stress, become more positive and use your time otherwise spent complaining constructively.

  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

    No one can ever tackle a project by themselves.  In a collaborative effort, every person involved is valuable to the team.  There have been times when I have been so frustrated about  a campaign with PRestige, I wanted nothing more than to throw up my hands and give up.  However, with the motivation I received from my team and their unending dedication, everything was accomplished.  When you recognize and appreciate some one else’s work, they will continue to perform at a high level.  At this time, I want to thank Alyssa Bertuzzi, Nick Schweers, Aqlesia Sahle, Marise Montrose and Hilary Franklin, members of next year’s E-board and committee for last fall’s “PRestige One Year Anniversary”, from the bottom of my heart.  Without your ingenuity and dedication, nothing I wanted to accomplish this year would have happened.  I am so proud to see how you have all taken on your positions with such enthusiasm. To feel that I have had some influence on you is one of the things I am most proud of in my career at Hofstra.  I am more than confident to leave something I have worked on for three years in your hands.

  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

    You will hear more people saying “you can’t” than “you can”.  Less people will want to see you succeed than those who don’t care one way or the other.  The only person you can hold responsible for your achievement is yourself.  When some one tells me something is impossible or too difficult, my stubbornness makes me want to prove them wrong.  I like challenges because they test you, and if you meet that challenge, you will reap the benefits.  The most driven people are the same way.  They see a problem and they want to solve it.  People who are smart, thoughtful and inquisitive will need to be mentally stimulated.  So challenge other people constructively, more so that they can grow from it.

And that’s the end.  At tomorrow’s last PRestige All Staff meeting of the year, my successor will be announced, and my duties for the agency will be over.  After a few last papers and projects, my adult life starts and the world is an oyster.

Many people and their influence have affected me and in some way led me to this point today.  I wasn’t valedictorian at my high school and I may not have a larger platform than this blog to do the following.

I’d like to thank:

Professor Ellen Frisina (for helping me make my schedule during Freshmen Orientation and convincing me to be a pr major), Professor Victoria Geyer (for your guidance, patience, and good advice), all of PRestige (especially the 5 members of the One Year Anniversary committee), all of PRSSA past and present (especially Rachel Zabinski, PRSSA President when I started and one of the first pr professionals I aspire to), all of the DJs at WRHU (and all the listeners), all the painters, photographers, and designers I have met in Calkins Hall (all eccentricities and quirks aside, you all inspire me), all members of Progressive Students Union (for challenging my principles and perceptions), all occupants of the “Mineola House” at one time or another, the 2009 Rubenstein Intern Dozen (where would we be without each other? under a desk), all the students who studied abroad in Venice January 2009 (especially my roommates Ashley Melo and Erin Willett) all educators and administrative staff at the Long Island Children’s Museum (the best job I will ever have), all the literature professors I have had, the occupants of “Corn Hole”, and every student I have had class with or had the pleasure of meeting these past four years, and all those who live the “Trife Life”.

Thank you for the adventures of the past few years.  Let’s see where the next four take us.

These shoes stay on my feet.

I was originally planning to put this blog on hibernation.  Now it’s a featured blog on HTVi, Hofstra’s web television channel.  Op.

As I’m going through my final year at Hofstra, while most of my classes are work intensive, the most valuable lessons I have learned in the past month have been outside of the classroom.

Don’t let the little things get you down.  Not only does it takes great strength to pull through tough situations, but it’s highly admirable.  This is true for every case, whether your car gets towed by your university’s Public Safety or you jump out of a window during a party to impress  some one and get your ankle sprained in the process.  Yes, these things have happened.  (Dear Mom, I’m walking just fine, don’t worry.)

Avoid “group think” as much as possible.

motion graphics sketches 001No matter what age you are, you will always look back and reminisce about the past.  No matter how terrible the present will be, with your car towed and your right ankle swollen, in the future you will look back and wish you were back at this moment in time.  The solution?  Take every opportunity as it presents itself, spend more time having fun than wallowing in pity, and take photos of yourself.

Believe in the scientific method/design process.  Be curious.  Do your research.  Make assumptions.  Test out your theories.  Evaluate how you will do better in the future.  This also works in any situation, whether you are searching for your soul mate or trying to design a logo for your New Media class in Illustrator when the last time you really used the program was seven years ago.  Op.

Honesty is the best policy.

motion graphics sketches 006It’s fine to be a pack rat when the objects you keep have a great personal value.  When it doesn’t mean as much to you anymore, then feel free to be rid of it.  This is the case for every mix a boyfriend makes, book you inherit from your deceased grandmother, note you write on a scrap of paper, and souvenirs your friends bring back from countries afar.

Things are not always what they seem.  Don’t be scared, just roll with it.  Sometimes you like it more.  Like when you listen to a song for a while, then finally see the video, and be surprised.  A smidge.

Something to look forward to…

I’ve become a victim of the surreal way of thinking where everything that occurred previous to the present seems ages ago.  It happens most when you travel to a new place.  Two weeks into my final year of school, it feels as if the three weeks at home in Delaware working at a produce stand was a year ago, and the summer I spent in Chicago even further in the past.  If anything, it makes me anxious and worrisome, acknowledging the speed at which the passage of time travels and realizing how all too quickly my “adult” life is going to begin.  The biggest question in my head is whether everything I have done and worked towards will be worth it.  But I guess no one ever knows for sure.

To keep everyone updated, I am currently taking a New Media course in Motion Graphics at Hofstra.  I am required to have a blog in order to post my work along with comments about news involving media and design.  It has already become my most updated blog since I must have a minimum of four entries a week.  Take a look : RbLyN Creative.

I still use my Tumblr as my go-to for super micro-blogging, i.e. “i like this picture for its witty undertones”.  The most recent post on MyNameIsReb was the playlist from my last WRHU Airwave show.  I’ll probably reserve this blog for future playlists and lengthier posts. Tumblr is just too convenient to give up.

So if you tally it up correctly, I have two blogs for my own use (RbLyN Creative and MyNameIsReb), manage another (PRestige_Agency), a Tumblr, Twitter, along with the all too ever common Facebook.  While some accounts may be more updated and successful than others, it’s too important for some one in the field of marketing/public relations/communications/media/advertising to understand the use and advantages of all social media devices.  Some work better than others, depending on who the target is and whatever the product you are promoting.

What I have had most trouble with is figuring out the objective for my own “self-promotion”.  In the age of celebrity bloggers (people who have gained celebrity post blog) and successful youth (Harry Potter actors, Miley Cyrus, anyone who falls under the Disney star label), the perfectionist in me is wondering what it is I am NOT doing that is preventing me from overnight internet fame.  Maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s a stubborn defiance to not be tippity typing on my laptop until the wee hours of the morning.  The fact is, I am in an undecided state in life.  All my personal belongings fit inside my car, I have yet to have a permanent address other than my parents’, and in 8 months I hoping to have a job in an uncertain field that will determine where that permanent address will be. The last thing I am going to do is claim to be an expert in anything.

I’m on standby

David Binkowski, SVP of Word of Mouth Marketing for MS & L Worldwide, spoke at Hofstra University’s Monroe lecture hall tonight as part of a special speaker event series. The event was organized by HAMA and PRSSA as a way to educate students about not only to acknowledge social media, but how to utilize it to further their careers.

For myself, every point that Binkowski made only validated what I have been wondering all week: “where am I actually going with all this?” I have been programed since birth to follow the right path: to be in these clubs, to read about this, to learn about this, basically following what others have recommended. As I was sitting at Rubenstein today, staring at the same master circulation list, it dawned on me: for the first time, there is no set path to follow. I have to carve out my own way, but somehow I can’t limit myself to following just one passion.

I felt I could relate to Binkowski when he said he enjoyed working and that there is great value in investing in yourself. Therefore, ladies and gentleman, solves the query I have had for years: that while I feel like my time in college isn’t spent doing typical “college activities”, the things I do invest my time and energy in will pay off in the end. As Binkowski said “everyone has 24 hours a day” and it’s up to the individual to use those 24 hours to their advantage.

I also appreciate the point he made that with all the good that social media does, it “can’t replace face-to-face”. The way I see it, I’m both the introvert and extrovert. I find myself in “thinking spells” and would rather absorb and observe. I’m shy initially when approaching people for the first time; I prefer sharing information with others by communicating through writing/print/online (however you would like to view it). The Midwestern Mentality I find in myself (must I always remind everyone my parents were born and raised in SD?) is overly friendly, outgoing, personable, kind, and would bend over backwards for people. There is a way to balance both and cover all forms of networking.

After much teasing, I no longer bring my terrible Staples-printed, business card monstrosities to networking events. I had to resort to writing my info on a piece of pink paper from my Lisa Frank notebook to give to Binkowski. An internship at MS & L this summer would be ideal; I need to be pushed to learn more and invest in learning more skill sets. Hopefully it all works out. Hopefully he doesn’t think less of me that my twitter username was written on a piece of pink paper. Binkowski said generation y has nothing to lose and therefore we can take more risks. I took the risk of coming off as a 12 year old girl.

"I love eating locusts, it gets me high"

I acknowledge there is cultural confusion and barriers we must live with. My French teacher for this semester is eccentric and loud and has invented her own version of a French accent. This means of course that she is amazing and worth listening to.

However, today while reviewing the verb “faire” (to do), she pauses and tells us this story:

“When I was a little girl in France, I used to love cooking locusts. You call them grasshoppers. I would take my bed sheet and tie the corners to make a pouch. I would then run run run outside and catch all the locusts since they are so low. Then, I would go and boil a large pot, like for lobster, with water and a little salt. Then I would quickly quickly quickly pour all the locusts and put the lid on! For they like to jump OUT. After five minutes I would take all the greasy locusts under a tree. I eat them like you would eat french fries. First you pull off the part of the legs below the knees, for I do not like for them to get stuck in my teeth. Then I would pull of the wings for they do not taste good. Then the antennas I would pull out for I do not like them to get stuck in my teeth. And then, in they go. They are delicious. I am always so sad because at Jones Beach they are too skinny and I can never catch enough.”

A girl raises her hand innocently and asks “You do know that’s illegal…”

“What? I do not want to break the law!”

“No, they are an endangered species.”

“Oh no….”

The girl raises her hand again and asks “Is this something normal in traditional French culture or just a personal preference?”

“Oh, you do not know what you are missing.”

That was my day so far.

success success

this week has been ridiculous. leaves little time for blogging. here are some bullet points.

  • spent late Tuesday night watching the uncut director’s version of Factory Girl on Youtube. (here is part 1) Much better than the original and was actually impressed with Sienna Miller. Originally tried to watch it on surfthechannel but twas much too slow.
  • thinking about a second minor in art history. this means rethinking the associates degree for HUHC, probably having to take six classes for at least one semester, maybe taking a summer course, and basically driving myself crazy. this is also on top of WRHU, LICM, internships, PREstige and PRSSA, FORM, and trying to maintain a shred of humanity. However, if I don’t do it, there is the almost definite possibility of regretting it for the rest of my life. When I imagine myself in the future, it’s not the high powered executive. It’s a culturally aware, interesting, intelligent person who maintains a satisfied and pleasant life. I look forward to the time when I can reclaim Sundays again – not having to work or do mass amounts of studying, but just read the paper in bed and drink coffee. An art history minor would open doors, leading me along a path I want to take for my career and life. I know it’s not practical, I really don’t want to be. This is the worst thing to happen right now – causing more worrying for an already constant worrier.

  • opened this week’s edition of The (Hofstra) Chronicle . In the features section is a full page article about Destination Runway by Liana Satenstein – including a quote from myself. Also, I know that the Media Alert I sent was used – all the information I provided about the charity was in it! It was a beautifully written article and seeing it actually boosted my spirits – to see that my work actually paid off was very reassuring. I go back and forth about whether I will help out again next year – but we shall see.
  • had a glorious food shopping experience yesterday. spent $8 at the Uniondale Supermarket and got lots of yummy protein filled vegetables.
  • took Jarvis Cocker album from WRHU – thoroughly enjoying it, I must say.
  • this is the last weekend in the city for me this semester – two friends are having birthdays and I plan to enjoy myself and try to not think of troubles.
  • Just realized in exactly one month I will be in Venice. GAHHHHHH

is this the real life?

First off – look at another great outfit I put together today (vanity at it’s worst)

Tonight I went to “Art of Healing, Healing Through Art” held in Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University. At the last minute I volunteered to loan two of my drawings for a gallery they held in the basement. They are two drawings of hands done with charcoal and oil pastel. They didn’t quite go with the theme of the event but eh, what can you do.

I have to say first off that the performances this year were amazing. I was surprised to see Jackie Hlavenka of The Chronicle sing Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” and she was fantastic! (it also was inspiring – here was an example of some one who is ambitious with their career and area of study, yet still utilizes their creative talent)

Another girl, Jade Keena, read an original poem called “Girls” which caused her to pause twice due to the emotion she felt. The poem itself was both meaningful and humorous at times and I really want a copy of it (hint hint).

Members of the Groove, a creative club at Hofstra that serves to bring together all forms of talented performers and artists, also performed various music and dance numbers.

The final performance was “Seasons of Love” by Masquerade, a musical theatre group here at Hofstra University. It was good – though I’m somewhat scarred because of that song. When RENT came out as a movie, my high school chorus, among many others, sang our own personal rendition that was TERRIBLE. It’s one of those embarrassing instances where the memory haunts your dreams but you are still proud of the fact you had the balls to do it in the first place.

i can’t keep quiet any longer

(positive note: I was searching for an image of an angry little girl after writing this rant of an entry and I discovered “Angry Little Girls” cartoons by Lela Lee.  Good does come out of ranting!)

Jim Cameron of Cameron Communications, Inc. spoke tonight at Hofstra in the Cultural Center theater to a bored, apathetic crowd of PR students.  I am embarrassed on how barely anyone answered questions nor gave input.  Cameron himself kept commenting about how he “was afraid for the next generation” and how we students “need to know what’s going on in America”.

Tonight just capped off another cycle of my love/hate relationship with PR.   Though I did thank Cameron afterwards for giving his time to us, the information he provided only reinforced what I already learned in Chapter 6 of my media relations textbook.  I must say it is not Cameron’s fault that I had a headache, it was the end of a long day, and earlier I had an awkward verbal discourse with a fellow PR student.
I don’t find PR courses difficult; courses in your major shouldn’t be if it is something you are meant to do.  It blows my mind how PR majors try to pass by with C’s in PR 100.  It blows my mind how there are 75 members of Hofstra’s Chapter of PRSSA and maybe 20 who are actively involved in committees.
All the basics of PR I learned from my mother: always put on an optimistic air, be aproachable and courteous, watch your grammar, follow up and call back right away, keep that hair out of your eyes.
By holding on to your true sense of self – that inner child that won’t go away – is what sets you apart from the masses.  Therefore, my true self is a middle child who feels they never get enough attention and constantly worries about what others think; a self-proclaimed creative nerd who would like everyone to be her best friend; who though she looks great in corporate wear rather wear the forbidden ripped band shirt and scraggly hair.  I have been genetically molded to be a PR person – always seeking attention, wanting to be in the know, hiding in order to keep up appearances.
I will be really pissed if after going through the painful experience of high school, having to enter another sort of popularity contest.
I might be incredibly delusional to “how the real world works” and I may get backlash for not wanting to join the official club of bubbly clueless pr girls who just want another sorority (there are males in the pr industry after all, let alone in our major).
I am tired of apathy overall, and the nasty competitive nature of the PR major at Hofstra.  To give some credit, it may just be a bad year.  However, I have to admit that I need reaffirmations that this is where I belong.
I also made a snarky comment to Jim Cameron during the lecture.  I am a terrible person.

A girl’s needs just don’t agree

i literally woke up from a dream this morning about a buttered chocolate chip muffin. of course i satisfied my dream after French this morning. does this happen to other people?

my sad little LG of two years officially failed me yesterday. it only works when it’s charger is plugged in, therefore defeating the purpose of a cellular phone. though I have been planning on buying a blackberry, now is not the time – i need to save for Venice and money has been especially tight this semester. Also, I know nothing about cell phones and need any one’s recommendations. I have Verizon Wireless and have been happy with it, therefore the Iphone, Google phone, or Sidekick is not going to work out.

I usually get random friend requests on Facebook. As long as they go to my school and we have similar friends, I honestly see no harm. This morning I was “friended” by this grad student who has a little project called New York Twist Magazine – “dedicated to the lovers of multimedia art” (that’s me that’s me!) The Myspace itself didn’t say too much about the content of the magazine, but evidently issues are available around the area. When I pick up a new phone tomorrow at the Verizon Wireless store in Roosevelt, I’ll stop by FYE to pick up a copy.

There is a great article on the front page of the New York Times about how Obama is adapting to his new life as President-elect, from not being able to visit his bartender Zariff to having a date with Michelle at Chicago’s Spiaggia accompanied by 30 secret service agents. I can’t help but think of the comparisons to Kennedy when I read articles about Obama’s life. Idk if it will extend to the extreme voyeurism that most celebrities experience today.

I’m going in for another interview in the city with Joe Carozza of Rogers & Cowan, an alum of Hofstra. It’s odd – I looked at a picture of him and I recall seeing him around campus my freshmen year. Professor Frisina said to give him a hug for her – but he may be put off by that first impression, who knows. Hopefully today will go well (i.e. make the train on time and not have to pay for a taxi).

I’m going to try to run into the MOMA for their free Target night in order to see some van Gogh afterwards. can’t stay long – I need to get back to LI tonight to work at an event at LICM.

I found The Cribs’ Men’s Needs (Remixes) at WRHU, which has three different versions of “Men’s Needs”, which is awful since I will listen to those three versions in succession, constantly over and over again.

(just filled out survey about improvements on the Computer Labs at Hofstra. pat on the back for taking time out to do a good deed)