February Favorites: Tech Edition

Coffee & Computer

Happy March! I thought I’d try a new series out on this blog where I list my favorite things from the previous month. So here we go… my tech / digital marketing favorites from February 2015!

Social Media Favorites

Follow on Instagram and Twitter

I recently changed my Twitter and Instagram handles from @amye_ to @heyamyerickson. What can I say? The underscore was getting old.

Twitter wins as my overall favorite social media site for February. Although I’ve been on the site for years, it stood out to me last month because I feel like I connected with more people than usuall. And that’s the point, right?

Cell Phone: Apps, Accessories, & More

Person Holding Cell Phone
Credit: DeathToTheStockPhoto.com

I did something last month that has been slowly changing my relationship with my cell phone: I turned off almost all of my notifications. I still have a couple of necessary ones on (text messages, phone, and WeChat), but everything else is off.

I still check my apps often, but I’m doing it on my own terms, not because the notifications are driving me crazy. And that’s a start.

Blogs & Vlogs

Saving Money In Your Twenties
Screenshot: SavingMoneyInYourTwenties.com

When I read blogs, I usually get frustrated because the lifestyle portrayed isn’t realistic for where I currently am in life. That isn’t the case with SavingMoneyInYourTwenties.com

The theme of the blog is that you can have anything you want, but not everything. If you splurge in one area of your life, you might need to cut back elsewhere. Ashley still enjoys eating out at Chipotle, but she saves money by cutting her own hair (which she shows you how to do!). Check out her blog for practical tips on how to save money!

What were your tech favorites? Are there any categories that I should include next time? Let me know in the comments below!

Using Memes in Digital Marketing

What is a meme?

An internet meme is usually a humorous image or piece of text that has been copied (with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.

Example / Case Study: Hyperbole and a Half

Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half
Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half

You may or may not be familiar with Allie Brosh and her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, but if you’re an active internet user and/or pop culture junkie, you’ve probably stumbled across the “All The Things!” meme (among others). Without this meme, I might not have discovered her blog. But I’m glad I did, because she is hilarious and has great storytelling skills.

Brosh even has a published book (which I own) and merchandise based off of her blog. Due to the success of her meme? I think so…

Can I use memes in business marketing?

An important aspect of digital marketing (social media in particular) is staying up to date on pop culture and trends… including memes. Piggybacking off of popular memes and sharing the images on your social media pages is a great way to connect with your audience and make them laugh.

Creating a meme-worthy viral campaign is entirely possible, but there’s a good chance you’ll fail. And if something goes wrong, it can be a PR nightmare. But it might not fail. In fact, it might do very well. A meme that goes viral inceases brand awareness and drives traffic to your website – both great things that will ultimately increase sales.

Case Study: Nationwide “Dead Kid” Meme

Here’s an example of a recent meme that was inspired by Nationwide’s depressing Super Bowl commercial. I even made a few:

nationwide-kid-meme-get-well-soon nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-1
nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-2 nationwide-kid-meme-valentines-day

The commercial is said to be a marketing fail, but I disagree. It got everyone’s attention and we’re still talking about it days later. How many commercials can we say that about? How many commercials inspired memes?

What’s your favorite meme?

Rebranding & My 5-Year Blogiversary

Hello! My name is Amy and I am currently a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in magazine journalism.

I never imagined that I would be so encouraged to blog at the excellent program that the University of Oregon has for journalism! Yet here I am. I hope to add more of a personal touch to this blog, detailing my experiences and thoughts on the world.


Believe it or not, I wrote that just over five years ago. This blog / website started as a class project for Professor Melissa Hart at the University of Oregon. At the time, I was an aspiring magazine writer at the School of Journalism and Communications (SOJC).

I have this blog, and the SOJC, to thank for the path that my career eventually went down. Because of this blog, I started applying to social media jobs after college. And because of this blog, I landed one and launched my career in digital marketing.

My posting became sporadic as I entered The Real World. I was constantly blogging and utilizing social media for the company that I worked for. Sometimes, I just wanted to go home and unplug.

Moving on.

I’m not the same person that I was five years ago, and it’s about time my blog and social media channels reflected that. One of my goals at the moment is to rebrand my online presence so that it reflects who I am, not who I was or who I think I should be.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Books Finished in 2013

Best Books of 2013
Best Books of 2013

Don’t buy any more books until you finish the ones that you already own.

That was my mantra throughout 2013. Although I didn’t stick to this rule 100% of the time, it helped me finish several books that have been on my “to read” shelf for years.

Here are the books I read in 2013:

  1. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
  2. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan*
  3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  4. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  5. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  6. Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
  7. So Long and Thanks for the Fish by Douglas Adams
  8. Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
  9. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  10. Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling
  11. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  12. A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane**
  13. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  14. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  15. Inferno by Dan Brown

Comment below if you’d like me to review any of these books!

The Keeper of the Balance – A Prologue

This is a very rough draft to the prologue of something I’ve been working on…

Death is a mere technicality. At least for Sam. When you are immortal and can travel between alternate realities, death doesn’t mean a thing.

But this story isn’t about Sam. Sam is simply one of the Keepers who can travel between these alternate realities and change things, keeping the Balance in check. The Balance is a complicated thing. Some humans are born with a destiny to accomplish, but die before they can complete the mission. This throws the universe off kilter. These souls can go back and complete the mission, but one can’t travel through time, only through alternate dimensions.

It all started when Sam was strolling through the Underworld, in the Field of the Lost Souls. A woman in her early twenties caught his eye. All she had to do was look at him—really look at him—and he knew that she was the one he was looking for.

Happy Banned Book Week 2013!

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association
Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

If something is controversial, then it’s often worth reading. At least that’s my philosophy.

Banned Book Week happens near the end of September each year. Its purpose is to inform the public about the censorship that happens in libraries and schools. The books on the list are frequently challenged, and many are banned in various schools and libraries.

Here are the 10 most frequently banned books of 2012:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a frequently challenged book list and realized that I’ve hardly read any of the books on it! Maybe I’m just getting old?

Fifty Shades of Grey is the only book on this list that I’m certain I’ve read. I feel like I might have read a Captain Underpants book at some point in elementary school, but I could be wrong on that.

Of the remaining books, The Glass Castle, Looking for Alaska, and The Kite Runner have been on my to-read list for some time. And Tango Makes Three might be worth a read too; since it’s a children’s picture book, it won’t take long to look through.

What’s your favorite book off of the 2013 Banned Book List?

Other Banned Book Week Posts:

Book Review: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project
The Happiness Project

When I picked up The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I was intrigued, but skeptical. How can following a happiness plan make you a happier person?

I don’t think that happiness is one of those things that you can plan out. It just is (or isn’t). You can tell yourself that if you do X, Y, and Z that you’ll be a happier person, but still wake up every morning miserable because your life isn’t what you want it to be. Would having a happiness plan help with that?

Now, this book isn’t intended for depressed people. It’s actually intended for people who are relatively happy with their lives, but know that things can be better.

Overall, I thought this book was an interesting read. You follow the Rubin through her 12-month happiness project. Each chapter covers a month, and each month covers a different area of her life, e.g., family, health, spirituality…

Although I recommend this book, I would never have the motivation to go through a happiness project myself. And I’m not sure that it would work for me either.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Rating: 3/5

Quick Grammar Tip: Importance of Commas

Image Credit: WeHeartIt.com

Happy Punctuation Day everyone!

I get teased for being a stickler about grammar, but not everyone realizes how important it can be. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a misplaced comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence.

Let’s take a look at the example used in the image above:

  1. “Let’s eat Grandpa!”
  2. “Let’s eat, Grandpa!”

In Example 1, the speaker literally wants to eat Grandpa. Poor Grandpa! On the other hand, Example 2 indicates that the speaker wants Grandpa to join him/her for a meal. Now that’s more like it!

Remember to use your commas wisely. After all, proper grammar can save lives!

Do you have any grammar questions or concerns? Email them to me at amy@amyerickson.net or leave them in a comment below!