First Tournament at TPC Sawgrass

We’re headed off to our first tournament in Ponte Vedra, Fl. (That’s near Jacksonville for you non-Floridians). It’s only a one day event and 6 of us get to play. We’re playing a TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship. It’s a pretty renowned course to most golfers. Actually I’m pretty sure many non-golfers know TPC Sawgrass thanks to Tiger Woods Golf. Haha.

TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass - The Famous Island Green on Hole #17

Anyways, the event starts tomorrow. There’s 6 teams. We’re playing 36 holes, and we’re going to take the 4 best scores out of all 6 of us for each round of 18, combine it and see which team came out the best at the end of the day. Most college students get the day off on Monday, considering it’s Labor Day. We get to represent the Gators on the East Coast.

Wish us luck, and I’ll keep you posted on how we do!

GO GATORS!!

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First Week of School

Classes are in session. Practice has officially started. Workouts start on Monday. I’m totally moved into my new place. My mom still isn’t speaking to me. I’m still blogging for the company I interned for this summer (http://www.vestadigital.com). The ball is rolling!!

So today was the second day of qualifying. As a member of the Women’s Golf Team here at the University of Florida, I’m one of seven players, and only five travel to tournaments. Thus, we qualify to see who will be traveling and competing. After two days of horrid golf, it’s starting to look like I’m the one sitting out.

I can’t really express what that feels like. Granted, I have one more day of qualifying (Monday), but I’m still pretty upset/disappointed. The last couple days have been really hard on me. I came back to school, started grinding on my golf game, and expected to really have a fresh start. However, I totally recognize the sick feeling in my stomach. I felt like this all last year when I was struggling.

When are things going to turn around for me? I realize golf is a game of hard work and patience…but I could use a break sometime.

Our first official tournament is in Charleston, SC. We’re playing in the Cougar Classic, September 12-14. You can watch the live scoring at http://www.golfstat.com.

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Back to School Terror

I must say, I am absolutely terrified of going back to school. Now while this may sound a little odd, as most college students can’t wait to get back to school after spending the summer with their parents, my situation is a little bit different. My mother recently disowned me and ran halfway across the country…that’s a bit of a long story though. With your attention span in mind I will say this: my mother and I no longer speak and my boyfriend’s family has completely taken me as one of their own.

I spent the summer living with my boyfriend’s mom (who is awesome), working two jobs (finally tasting independence), and practicing golf (Florida is so flippin hot) to get ready for tournament season. Now that classes start in a little more than two weeks, I’m not going to lie, I am unshakably terrified.

I’m finally living in a household where I can’t wait to get home. I finally have people around me that constantly tell me they love me and support everything I do. I’m finally in a place where I answer to no one but my own moral standards. When I go back to school, I will be totally alone.

Tyler (my boyfriend) will be staying down here in South Florida for his career, and I’m just going to sputter through my last two years of college and then…well…I actually don’t even know yet. It’s just very odd when I anticipate the coming weeks. Especially since my mom lived with me last year (unfortunately), so she was always around. When I wasn’t with her I was with Tyler (dependency problem? maybe?), so like, what do I do now?

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Marketers – Prepare to Revamp Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

FluentRazorfish, a marketing agency, who believes in Internet marketing and a positive consumer experience, released a report on social media. The report, “Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report” discusses how influential the world of social media marketing is becoming in this digital age.

Here are some key points from the report as according to Razorfish.

The Survey

Razorfish surveyed 1,000 consumers across various social media networks from the general population between the ages of 18 to 55. The survey uncovered that over 56% of the surveyed consumers spend over $50 per month on the Internet.

Centralized Social Media

The report discusses how traditional top-down branding will become increasingly ineffective as social media marketing takes over. As per survey results, 80% of consumers belong to at least one social media site, whereas only 40% are an active member of two. This leads to the conclusion that consumers prefer to focus their energy in one particular network, rather than dispersing their attention over various networks.

This is great news for social media platforms that consolidate various networks into one central hub, making it easier for people to treat various networks as one centralized, comprehensive social network.

Consumer Conversation

The frequency of sharing product information is on the rise, according the report. Of the surveyed consumers, 71% say they share a product, service or restaurant recommendation with others online at least every few months.

29% of respondents report sharing their product views online at least every few weeks.

10% of respondents report sharing their product views at least every few days.

62% of participants said they did not seek opinions about brands through social media.

The Marketing Revolution

So what does this mean for marketing strategy as a whole? Simply put, brands need to avoid pushing information about their product with traditional advertising methods. Brands need to genuinely participate in conversation about their product within their networks. Social media is designed to engage and connect consumers with common interests.

Rather than simply disseminating content about your brand out to various social media sites hoping to grab attention, a brand genuinely needs to engage with individual consumers to inspire viral marketing, so consumers themselves advocate your product.

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Here’s to Great Boyfriends

My mother disowned me recently. No that’s not a typo, she, my only parent, has decided we are no longer fit to be a family. While my actions and opinions may have contributed to this train of thought I certainly don’t feel like either of us gained anything out of it.

Well here’s the story. I’m heading into my third year in college, and my life has turned upside down. My mom moved into my college apartment with me at the beginning of last year…which was difficult to say the least. Being Korean she has her set of house rules and I have mine, as a Korean-American. Needless to say they clashed. I believe that so long as I am excelling in school, working hard at my sport, and maintaining a decent level of health and happiness, I deserved some small margin of freedom. My mother doesn’t think this way. She believes my sense of “freedom,” is equivalent to her sense of “trashy, low-class behavior.” This makes sense if you believe that going to a movie with a few friends around 10 pm is ludicrous and you should be in bed by 11 pm if you expect to function at any sort of productive level.

It wasn’t necessarily the “my house, my rules,” sort of clash (considering I was paying my full share of rent), that caused the strife between my mother and me, it was more the emotional environment we were drowning each other in. I love my mother, but she is one negative-Nancy. There was always some sort of tragic emergency at hand. Whether it be my lack of spending time with her or my inability to fix her computer while I was in class. Regardless the air was continuously permeated with pure negativity. I had to get out.

After about six months of being in such a toxic living environment, I was sent a gift from God. Tyler. Tyler and I met at the Landing in Jacksonville, during the University of Florida vs. University of Georgia football game. We met and I nearly fell off the planet. It’s been almost nine months since we’ve been together and while that may not seem like much, I feel like I’ve grown 10 years as a person just spending nine months with him. He just swooped right into my life and salvaged my sanity, much to my mother’s dismay.

Tyler and I grew closer over time and my mother grew resentful. Of everything.

Eventually I decided to sit down and tell her how I felt. I felt stifled. I felt smothered. I wanted to live like other college students, you know, with people my own age. No matter how tactfully I attempted to address this subject, she was convinced that I was claiming total independence and asking her to get out of my life entirely. I just don’t understand that. What daughter wants her mother completely out of her life? I want college to be my stepping stone to independence, the in-between of two completely different realities. I want my mother to help me if I need her, but give me space to grow. I just can’t understand how she can take that and turn it into the ultimatum she gave me:

You live with me and by my rules. Or, I’m out of here and you won’t see a dime from me for the rest of your life.

Not too sure how that translates. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you ask, I chose the latter. Thus, my life has totally changed. I’m making my own money, totally independent, and living the dream. Tyler’s family has taken me in as one of their own and I’ve never felt so much love and happiness in my life. My mother moved across the country and I haven’t heard from her since. I miss her, I hope she thinks about me. I can’t sleep at night anymore.

It truly is amazing the way your whole life can flip directions because of a single decision. Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, said in his most recent blog post:

“So often we’re faced with decisions that are almost completely emotional. The impact can sometimes agitate a neutral situation or exacerbate an already bad one. The decisions we make should have a positive impact on us, our lives, our jobs, the people around us and even our competitors or opponents. If nothing can be gained by a decision, then that decision should be left alone…which can achieve the greatest gain of all: peace of mind.”

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Twitter Actwivity

I recently decided to delve into this whole Twitter shebang. Simply because I have written so many posts about the successful use of Twitter for Vesta Digital that I had to try it out for myself, and the results were immediately incredible. I wanted to be able to user Twitter to help me with some of my research about social media and social media marketing. So I logged on to my dusty old Twitter account that is setup to automatically retweet my blog posts from Vesta Digital, and found every person or company that had anything to do with Social Media, Blogging, or Search Engine Optimization and clicked “Follow.”

Within two or three hours, I had about 50 emails saying new people (all within the industry I was focusing on) were following me on Twitter. Not only that but now when I visit my Twitter page, I have hundreds of tweets and retweets about these particular topics I am researching. Needless to say, I decided I should probably start tweeting some relevant information myself, to contribute to the massive horde of tweets on social media, blogging, and search engine optimization.

If you choose to do this yourself, be aware that you may catch the attention of many spammers out there, so just pay attention to who you decide to follow as well.

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Facebook Advertising is Boosting Revenue

With over 500 million users, Facebook continues to monopolize the social media industry. The social media network is raking in billions as advertisers and businesses alike invest more in social media marketing via Facebook.

According to a Bloomberg article discussing Facebook Advertisers and spending increases, Facebook’s biggest advertisers have boosted spending by at least 10-fold in the past year. Facebook has reportedly maintained advertising prices even as the site’s potential continues to grow.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said in an interview:

“Two years ago, the big brands were experimenting with us…they started buying with us a year ago. Now, they’re going big.”

Facebook sales have increased from $700 million to $800 million last year, according to the article.

Facebook Growth

Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, as announced that the social media site may delay an initial public offering until 2010 to allow the site to grow and stabilize.

Vaughan Smith, director of corporate development for the site, told Bloomberg reporter Brian Womack:

“As we get bigger and our platform gets more stable, I fully expect that we will be doing more significant acquisitions…this is working for us, and it’s working for the people that we’re acquiring.”

Facebook, with more than 1,400 employees, is continuing to acquire both small and large companies that use virtual currencies and mobile social media. Facebook has made five acquisitions so far this year, according to the article.

Display Ads

The article also reported that a significant portion of Facebook’s ad increase is stemmed from display ads, or the ad boxes that appear on the sidebars of Facebook pages, as opposed to search-related ads.

According to EMarketer inc., display advertising is expected to increase 13% to $8.56 billion in the US this year. Social Media Platforms are a great way to expand on the increase in the industry that is to come.

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