Final Thoughts On The Side

Part I. Tweets

1. The Hustle

This tweet was, surprisingly, the one that made the most impressions out of the entire semester of #smpasocial tweets. The technology and news daily email outlet retweeted the post, pushing it out to its 6,500 followers. The tweet only made 863 impressions, but considering the fact that I have 80 followers on my own page, that number is okay with me.

What helped get this tweet pushed out, according to the Twitter workshop day, was the fact that I had just received The Hustle email that morning. The information was just being pushed out to readers, and could’ve been trending at the time. If I had tweeted a different article from a Hustle email sent out a month beforehand, I might have not gotten retweeted. Being timely is one of the most important things with Twitter and other social media sites according to Henry Jenkins, and by targeting another page at the same time that it was looking to push out its message, I was able to make more impressions than any of my other posts. It also helped that I mentioned The NY Times, a reliable source for many readers.

2. Butt Stuff

Henry Jenkins labeled “spreadable media” as nostalgic and humorous alongside a media’s timeliness. This tweet immediately grabbed any person’s attention and kept people interested because of its content. This tweet is also relevant to Henry Jenkins’ theory of convergence culture, which (among several other definitions) is the flow of content across multiple media platforms. It looks like Meesha took a screenshot of the Snapchat story from Buzzfeed and brought it to Twitter, representing spreadable content that traveled across three platforms (Buzzfeed, Snapchat, and Twitter) on several potentially different systems (computer Safari, smartphone website, Snapchat app, etc.). Meesha also encouraged engagement with a question: “…is this what is happening to journalism?”

Another thing to consider in this post is the influencer effect, discussed in class on October 31. This effect, which states that there are power laws at play and that those with already popular accounts will simply become more popular, is relevant to Buzzfeed, one of the largest influencers on the current media spectrum. Though not an individual, Buzzfeed is one of those media names that can post something that is automatically clickable because of how popular the Buzzfeed name is has become.

3. Ken Bone

This was one of my favorite tweets of the semester not only because of the actual content but also because of the message of Belle’s tweet. “Born by social media, die by social media” is a quote that we should all expect to live by, especially in this new era of shortened attention spans and the heightened ability to go viral in minutes or, sometimes, even seconds.

Ken Bone is a prime representation of the way that the Internet works today. It didn’t take long for debate viewers to latch onto his bright red sweater and beautiful mustache; it also didn’t take long for them to let him go into the abyss that is forgettable memes. The message that we can all learn from this? You can have spreadable content, but if its not sticky, you won’t have any luck with a long-term message. Ken Bone got his 15 minutes of fame, but was quickly abandoned because his relevance weaned when the election turned to more dire things, like Donald Trump actually winning the election. *Sobs softly into a pillow before continuing final* which brings me to…

4. Trump tweets.

Emily Dulcan’s presentation in class is particularly relevant here. Duncan introduced there “uses and gratifications” theory when she was discussing social media. Essentially, people use and choose media for specific purposes and favor information that reinforces their pre-existing views. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are increasingly utilizing search tools to decide exactly what shows up on the top of your news feed, and this is especially true when it comes to the election.

Though I came across this tweet during my advanced search for the top five, I remember seeing this tweet and many others that were similar in the weeks leading up to and immediately following the election. Twitter took into account that I was clicking more on articles that put Donald Trump in a negative light, and therefore my own embracement of “uses and gratifications” theory was put to work. Whether she intended to or not, Talia posted her own targeted tweet, which ended up on the right person’s feed.

This is, perhaps, one of the biggest lessons I learned this semester: targeting (and making it clear whether you are targeting or not) is so important when trying to get a message across.

5. Equinox

This tweet is here because it was the worst tweet, impression-wise, of the semester. With 78 impressions and 4 engagements, this tweet really didn’t do well, especially considering my top tweet reached almost 900 people. So, why didn’t this tweet work out? A couple of things should be taken into account. First, there are no visuals. Anything pushed out these days on social media that lacks a visual is extremely difficult to gain traffic unless you’re pairing it with the correct tags or sending it to the right people.

I really thought that this tweet would be more popular because of the Equinox25 hashtag. But, now that I’m almost finished with this semester, I see that one hashtag is not enough. I should have made it clear that I was referencing a blog about how Equinox kicked my butt. Instead, I figured that because Equinox replied to my tweet, their social media employees actually read the blog. This is, I’m sure, untrue. In the future and thanks to this class, I will make sure to incorporate images more often and really utilize the amount of characters that I have. The best tweets have enticing details that make the reader want more. With this tweet, I did no such thing, and that is why it was my poorest performer.

 

Part II. Reflection

For me, maintaining a humorous and informative balance wasn’t the easiest. I’ve never run a blog before, and it was a bit challenging converting my “university” (see below) voice to my more informal, more “myself” voice.

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Ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve never been met with a class that truly allowed my voice to be heard. There was always a formula to whatever piece of writing my peers and I were assigned with and an equally formulaic professor with an entirely different set of expectations than the professor before and after.

Being able to push out my voice for people outside of my professor to see and to be welcomed by a professor who actually encouraged originality was refreshing. Choosing a topic that I’m passionate about, a topic that really let my voice shine through, has made me the most proud of my blog this semester. I’m also proud that I was able to post about a new workout each week, having actually done that workout. The blog helped me stay on top of my writing as well as stay in tune with my physical and spiritual self. I didn’t quite feel like Kanye, but I at least felt that I could be creative.

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The majority of my posts were relatively similar; they each highlighted a different workout and a different food. The one week that was notably different was election week: Meditation & Evidence. This week was truly a challenging week to continue writing. My mind wasn’t in the game (and, I’m sure, many others felt the same) and the last thing I wanted to do was open my computer and write about how physically sore I was from working out when my mental state was no where near positive.

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Excerpt from Election (Hell) Week

As challenging as it was to get through, I would say that this post is also my favorite and best of the semester. That week allowed me to combine a somber tone with some humor and upbeat vibes, and by the end of it, I genuinely felt better about moving forward with what happened/is happening to our country.

Part III. Nominees

For me, the best blogs this semester were written by Dan and Scott. Their blogs, Dan Rich Photography and Observations were not only visually pleasing, but well-written, detailed, and interesting.

As a photographer, its always nice to see someone else who appreciates creativity, especially at GWU. Finding people with similar mindsets as myself at GW is really difficult, considering that the university is hardly known for anything artistic. Dan’s blog was great because of the strong visuals, but also because his passion showed through his posts. I could tell that he wasn’t just doing this for an assignment and that he really wanted people to know about the shots, what he was proud of, worried about, and what he enjoyed most about photography. While he didn’t regularly use some of the conventional blog techniques that were discussed in the class like gifs and slideshows, his photographs alone were really able to make the blog a success. Check out some of his photos below from my favorite of his posts because it was clear that he was out of his comfort zone and trying something different: Opening Night Honorees.

While Dan’s photos were the highlight of his blog, I think Scott’s strongest point was his writing style. Scott is witty and has a way of getting out exactly what he wants to say that really appealed to the millennial demographic: funny images, clever gifs, incorporating screenshots and charts, etc. Scott’s incorporation of his own experiences was also something that pushed him beyond some of the other people in the class. Yes, most of the class posted personal opinions about their topics, but Scott’s voice was somewhat uninhibited. He took it less seriously when he could, yet knew where the line was between the jokes and a more somber tone. My favorite of Scott’s was definitely his most recent, his social media fast because of relevant screenshots and witty writing:

“I tried to apply to some jobs… “Build a profile using LinkedIn” — Nope! Had to sign in to a couple things using Facebook — nope! I couldn’t remember what time a friend’s party was — and… it was a Facebook event. Luckily, my Facebook events were synced with my iPhone calendar. Is that cheating?”

In all, the two blogs mentioned above show that there is no conventional way of creating/maintaining a site. Whether on the visual or text side, any blog can be popular and engaging, and both Dan and Scott incorporated techniques that pushed them past their peers.

On a more general note, this semester I burned more than 50,000 calories in workouts and probably ate just as much, if not more, in yummy foods/drinks. This blog has done its job and kept me balanced through the past few months, and it’s been great to have something to actually look forward to writing. I hope you enjoyed reading!

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Dance Parties & Perry’s

In honor of this difficult time, I thought I would do something different. Working out is tough during finals; I used to call my mom during each finals week in tears and tell her I was destroying my body because exams were destroying my brain. You start all-nighters, stop food shopping, eliminate the gym all together and replace it with a shot of hopefully-this-will-get-me-through-the-next-five-days-of-hell vodka. You’re basically the Grinch during yoga.

Honestly, not the greatest combination of coping mechanisms.

So, in light of the struggle that many of us are facing, I want to share one of the best coping mechanisms followed by some good old indulgence: dance parties and Japanese food.

When we were kids, we used to dance all the time. The phrase “dance like no one is watching” was a serious thing that happened rather than the inspirational quote that at least three of you have hanging on your wall. My roommate and I have taken the dance party seriously, interrupting our hours of silence (let’s be real, Nicole, it’s never actually silent), with a few minutes of uninterrupted dancing. Just let it rip. It’s good for the soul and the body; even Harvard Medical School thinks so. And if you’re worried about finding the right tune, don’t worry, Nostalgia has your back.

Thus, if you can’t make it to the gym and are glued to your computer for hours or days at a time, take 5 minutes every now and then to remember that kid you once were and Just Dance.

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Speaking of kids, my friends are now all turning 22 and existential crises are imminent. It helps, though, to have some birthdays around finals week because you’re forced to take a break. Last night, my girlfriends and I went to Perry’s Restaurant for some good old sushi and Bourbon (let it be known that it was the most disgusting cocktail of my life and I had to send it back, but that’s beside the point).

Perry’s is great for a date night, girl’s night, family dinner, whatever. The service is incredible; we stayed until closing and took shots with our waiter. They truly care about their customers, and when I sent back my Bourbon cocktail like the diva that I am, I was met with concern rather than annoyance. A+ for Perry’s. Check out their Instagram for holiday, food, and Drag Brunch (yes, Drag Brunch) photos at the very heart of Adams Morgan.

Finals may be upon us, but good food still exists and should not be ignored. I promise, the tests you have won’t be on your mind in a year, but the memories that you make with your people will always be around. Have the dance party, celebrate a birthday, and live your life.

 

Ropes, Rowers & Stuffed Peppers

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’m really doing my best to pack in as many workouts as I possibly can before the 2,000 calories that are waiting for me at home. With Equinox, though, its always quality over quantity, and that’s exactly what Ropes and Rowers does for me. Taught by Gia-Ninh Chuang, Ropes is an HIIT (high-intensity interval training) course. There’s four sections that go something like this:

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Parks and Rec

But, more realistically, like this:

  1. Start with dumbbells and body weight workouts. Think ten reps of pushups, ten weighted squats, ten hammer curls, rinse and repeat three or four times until the buzzer goes off.
  2. Continue to another station. Let’s say you land at ropes. Want a detailed ropes explanation? Check this out. For our workout’s purpose, it’ll go something like this.
  3. Next, head to the third station, which is more weight-based with a mix of cardio. This could be medicine ball workouts, Vipr integration, or simple body weight moves.
  4. Finally, you’ll hit the rowers. Pretty self-explanatory, but I would suggest rewatching House of Cards to get the full effect of what rowing can do for you.

Each section is four minutes long, followed by 30-seconds to a minute break in between. Following the first 16 minutes of work is another round similar to the first but with a minute off the time.

Do this workout, and you’ll be so set for Thanksgiving and every ounce of food that comes with it. But, since the holiday isn’t quite here yet, I thought I’d make something delicious and on the healthier side before I eat delicious and stupidly terrible for my body: Stuffed Peppers, curtesy of Betty Crocker.

It’s a super easy recipe, using only rice, ground beef, peppers, onion, garlic, and cheese.

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Please disregard the peppermint Jojo’s in the back. We can’t all be perfect.

Anyway, this week was a killer and will continue to be so until I leave for Philly on Tuesday. Replacing my stuffed peppers with actual stuffing is nothing to complain about. Safe travels, everyone!

Meditation & Evidence

This week sucked. As a student, as a woman, as DC resident, as a human being, this week really, really, really sucked. I have never talked about politics so much in my entire life, nor have a had a pressure behind my eye last for days on end. All might have been lost on the night of November 8, but the sun still came up the next day and it will continue to rise every day after.

My friend, Carrie, who visited this week from Philly came with me to Sara’s yoga class. Vinyasa yoga has always been great with Sara because of the intense flow and meditation elements, but this week was different. There was an aura throughout the room. I could feel the sadness and the need to relax by every person in that room – similar to the feeling of walking anywhere in DC the days following the election. What made this class so special was what Sara said:

“This has been a tough week for many of you. A few years ago, my friend was going through a very tough time and truly doubted the existence of love, kindness, and humanity. I didn’t know what to say. I thought about it, and I told her, ‘Do not look for evidence that those things do not exist. Look for evidence that they do.'”

And so, this week, I looked for evidence. I found it in my roommate, who through her tears baked the best Apple Spice Cake I had ever eaten from our apple picking trip a few weeks ago; I found it in my professor, who reached out to her students, offering an open door and a listening ear; I found it in my friend, Thom, who offered to help me with a project that I had been struggling to find a topic for; and I found it in the fact that puppies (and people who rescue them) exist. Kindness, humanity, and love – they exist. The evidence is there.

This week was not about food or indulgence. It was about mourning, healing, and above all, moving forward. Regardless of where you are in your political views, we can all find evidence proving the existence of positivity. It’s important that we never forget what brings us together, whether that’s a hatred of work emails, the proper way to eat Kit Kats, or the inability of anyone to remember the war of 1812, there are things that bring us together (thank you, Stephen Colbert).

Go look for your own piece of evidence, regardless of where you stand on the election, and remember that this isn’t the end of the world. The sun will rise again and I mean, seriously, puppies exist.

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Buzzfeed’s The 100 Most Important Puppy Photos Of All Time

 

CorePower & Open City

The landscape of a healthy lifestyle is constantly changing. Fitness has evolved drastically in the past few decades, especially with new workouts entering the club of “trendy” ways to get in shape. Some stick, some don’t, but CorePower is sure to stay for a very long time. Vanessa Hudgens, Tara Lipinski, and Kaley Cuoco are all CorePower fans, and with the boost of celebrities involved, CorePower definitely has the push to stay around.

The experience: Discover your most powerful self.

CorePower is a combination of classic yoga with weight lifting. I’m lucky enough to live with an instructor, Brett, who teaches a yoga sculpt sequence. She trained 75 hours to become the yoga-guru she is now, and I got to take her class last week. I had never been so sweaty in my entire life. Her routine goes something like this:

  1. Establish breath, resting and weight options
  2. Set your intention, creating a mindful space and setting for each practice
  3. Sun A: building your yoga foundation
  4. Sun B: continue yoga foundation
  5. Core engagement/push ups/biceps (here’s where the puddle of sweat really starts)
  6. Squat 1: basic leg work
  7. Cardio mandala: Brett’s go-to cardio bursts are jumping jacks, high knees, jump squats, and mountain climbers
  8. Sculpt series 1: reincorporate yoga with weights through compound exercises
  9. Squat 2: outer/inner thigh work
  10. Sculpt series 2: continuation of series 1
  11. Glutes and chest
  12. Core
  13. Surrender series: stretch
  14. Savasana: struggle through the chillest of poses

Want a visual version? Check out the video below, courtesy of CorePower.

To find her classes (and I highly recommend you at least check it out once), go to the schedules of Georgetown or Glover Park to see when Brett S. is teaching. It’s also worth noting that your first week at CorePower is FREE. Yes, free. As in, you don’t have to pay anything, so there’s literally no excuse. There are also locations all over the country. Try it out, even if it is only to see this face…

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…or to check out this awesome studio in the heart of Georgetown and its gear:

Regardless of whether you’re a yogi or not, CorePower is an excellent combination of your typical gym workout and a meditative, calming class. If you’re looking for a new way to balance, CorePower is absolutely for you.

And now, my favorite part of any workout, the food that came after. The day after my CorePower class I was feeling sore and stretched out at the same time, but I had to get my butt in gear. I ended up going to Open City at the National Cathedral with the owner’s daughter, who I was babysitting at the time. The overall feel of the place can really only be shown, especially with the Cathedral literally 30 feet away from the cafe:

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Margot and I ended up getting a bagel and waffles, which were great, but it was really the feel of the place that made it so special. It was truly one of those “only in DC” moments. As a last plug, however, Margot’s waffle is below.

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CorePower and Open City are truly one of a kind places. A different and inclusive workout, a cafe in a prime location. Whether you’re visiting or living in DC, CorePower with Brett or a cafe at the National Cathedral is a must. I guarantee you’ll come out rejuvenated and content. Cathedral on the (out)side, please!

Dogs & Donuts

The past 48 hours have been quite the adventure. I ate a donut that literally blew mind, and my roommate’s boyfriend came to visit and brought his eight-month-old puppy (!!!) to us for the weekend. I’ve only been complaining to her for the past year that all I want to do ever is run around the mall with a dog, and this morning, I got to live my dream. This week, I’ll be briefly discussing the art of the donut, followed by a much too long analysis of what it’s like to have a pup in the city, especially when you like to workout as much as I do.

First thing’s first. The donut.

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Strawberry Icing, Rainbow Sprinkles

Zombie Coffee & Donuts is right next to the Columbia Heights Metro at 3100 14th St NW, but if you’re ever in Athens, Georgia, you’re in luck! They’re located at 350 East Broad St. Their catering menu can be found here, but I highly recommend checking out the place and enjoying your treat while its still warm and gooey. If I didn’t have to stop every few bites to take a picture, it would have taken approximately seven seconds to eat.

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And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, please prepare yourself for Howie’s first monument tour.

Since he’s just a puppy, I didn’t want to overdo it. My initial plan was to run from 24th and M to the Lincoln and walk back, but he was having none of that. It went a little like this:

“Howie, it’s time to go! Let’s save your joints, k?” “BUT THERE IS A BIRD AND THERE IS A SQUIRREL TOO AND LOOK AT ALL THESE PEOPLE AND GRASS sniff sniff sniff sniff HEY ANOTHER PERSON AND A MINI PERSON OH MY GOD PLEASE RUB MY BELLY AND ALSO LETS SPRINT OVER HERE and over THERE and back HERE and I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.”

We kept running.

If your dog is like Howie and simply cannot contain himself, check out this article with safe tips and ways to workout with your pup, like swimming and even dancing.

A few hours after we got home, we were on another adventure to the FDR Memorial, this time with my camera and Howie’s mom and dad.

It’s also worth mentioning that the majority of U.S. households with pets are the proud owners of dogs:

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My advice to you: if you can get your hands on a pup in DC who has enough energy for a monument adventure, go. My day was infinitely better with him around and I promise, with donuts on the side (please!), yours will be too.

Birthdays, Rest Days & Beignets

Today, I turned 22. I’m going on a solid 48 hours of existential crisis, but I’m too surrounded by love and food to pay attention to it. TBD if I show up for class a disaster tomorrow. First piece of breakdown evidence: my roommate and my dad both got me mermaid tail blankets for my birthday. I am an adult.

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In the spirit of this blog, I thought it would be beneficial to talk about rest days, since life isn’t all about sprinting to the finish line. Especially when you’re aging as quickly as I am, you need a break every now and then. And what better day than your birthday to give your body a break?

There are countless reasons to take a chill pill, but here’s a few from Shape to get you in that special kind of place that makes it okay to nap for four hours after working out 10 times in six days and a weekend of celebrations:

  1. Your muscles grow when you rest.
  2. Overtraining can cause a weight-loss plateau.
  3. Overtraining can mess with your menstrual cycle and cause amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation.
  4. Trouble sleeping? You might be overtraining.
  5. Overtraining can cause mood problems.
  6. More exercise = bigger appetite.
  7. You’ll feel exhausted… all the time!
  8. Overtraining often leads to burnout. In the end, life is about balance.
  9. It eats up your limited free time.

You may find that your rest days consist of some light yoga or a slow jog, but mine has been getting out of bed long enough to stuff some french toast and a mimosa down my throat. We all have our preferences, and whatever is good for you is what you should go for. Never feel guilty to take a day or two (or three, four, five!) day off. Listening to your body is one of the most important things when it comes to getting in shape, especially when you’re kicking your own ass more often than not.

And, if you ever feel guilty about not doing enough on your rest day, know that I napped for four hours and ate everything in the world (or just at Co Co Sala and Cafe Deluxe:

In other words:

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Parks and Recreation

The Beignets were probably the best thing to ever touch my taste buds, and if you just scrolled to the end of the post for a major takeaway, please, please, PLEASE, go and eat these cinnamon-sugar, fluffy angels of a food.

Cheers to another year of working hard, stuffing my face, and four-hour naps without an ounce of guilt. Beignets on the side, please!