Corporate Blogging

Another issue that comes up in the world of Web 2.0 is how big corporations handle changes in media and communication.

Not that Wikipedia is the most reliable source, but their definition of a corporate blog is “published and used by an organization to reach its organizational goals. The advantage of blogs is that posts and comments are easy to reach and follow due to centralized hosting and generally structured conversation threads.”

Corporations use blogs to reach the public and communicate with them, which can be beneficial in many ways. It can humanize corporations that can sometimes seem so fake, robotic, and unreachable.

Social Media Today’s website has even listed  the 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World . Starbucks and the Marriott are among them, for being exceptionally advanced and high tech.

Corporate blogs are a great concept, but now that Facebook and Twitter are becoming more popular, are blogs almost “old news.” Recently, talk about how corporate blogging is becoming irrelevant has hit the news stands. Articles from USA Today, MediaBistro, and more are talking about how blogging for corporations has declined as other forms of social media gain popularity.

Bo de B

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Coming to Barcelona, everyone is told “You HAVE to go to Bo de B’s!!!!!” This place was such a mystery. It has a strange name, and then everyone said, “You have to get THE sandwich. They’ll know what you are talking about. And get everything on it, all the toppings, and all the dressings!”

To me, this sounded weird at first. I am not a picky eater, but I never get all the toppings and all of the dressings. It just doesn’t make sense on a normal sandwich. Well, this sandwich is far from normal.

When you arrive at Bo d B, the line is sooooooooo long no matter what time you go. Your best bet is to go at the time that they open, so that instead of waiting an hour and a half for your sandwich, you only have to wait a half hour. 😉

Once you finally get to the front of line, where at this point you will most likely be drooling with anticipation and ready to collapse, you ask for the sandwich, choose a type of meat (I went for the chicken) and ask for all the toppings and dressings. I got myself a water bottle (can’t eat without some sort of fluid, duh) and went across the street and sat down to eat this infamous sandwich.

For some bizarre reason, and I couldn’t tell you why, throwing together a million ingredients has never tasted so good. The mix of all of the vegetables and sauces just make for an unreal combination. Everyone should try it at least  once while in Barcelona, or more if you don’t mind waiting in the lines like me. 🙂

One of the Best Burgers in the World.

For Spring Break, my friends and I travelled to Lagos, Portugal. We stayed there for about six days, and had the best time! It was such a beautiful place…

Anyway, while we were in this glorious place, we went to a restaurant called Nah Nah Bah. We were told to go to this place because it was highly ranked on Matador Network’s “50 of the most amazing burger joints in the world.”

I ordered their most famous burger shown above, and boy, it was one of the most amazing burgers I have ever had. I am usually very skeptical about what people say to be the best foods because I definitely have my own unique taste when it comes to food choices. But, Nah Nah Bah’s burger proved to truly be amazing.

When the waitress served us our food, I was in awe. This burger was huge! So massive and about 3 times the size of a normal big burger. I stared at it for a little wondering what the best way to eat it was, and my friends told me, don’t worry you can make it work. So I went ahead, grabbed this giant burger, and to my surprise it shrunk a bit holding it between my hands, making it easier to eat. I was able to eat it with ease, but let me just say, this is not the burger you want to be eating on a first date! I eventually accepted the fact that no matter what I did, I would have food all over my face, and finished that baby in a solid 10 minutes.

It was AMAZING! An excellent burger, with such fresh ingredients. All of the veggies came straight from the local farms. My favorite part about it was that they snuck pineapple in it. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I am obsessed with cooked pineapple, or just pineapple in general mixed in with other things. It makes everything taste better, even if you can’t directly taste the pineapple. It just gives it something sweet!

Radio & Social Media

From a very early age, I listened to Z100, a hit music radio station in the New York City. It was what woke me up every morning, and how I got my information for the day. I would hear some of the most important news, celebrity gossip, sports news, and more. I listened to Z100 daily until about 2008, when I decided I would rather play my own music from my iPod or laptop.

Learning more about radio today, I forgot that the radio industry was also changing with all of the new forms of technology. Since I stopped listening, I didn’t realize how important social media and Web 2.0 is in that industry. Now if I listen to Z100, they are encouraging listeners to use different forms of social media such a Twitter, Facebook, email, text messages, message boards and more to communicate with them. This is an easy way for them to instantly connect to their listeners and keep their shows fun, interesting and exciting.

A question that may come up though is how do they balance all of these different forms of social media and technology? Do they need to higher someone specifically for this purpose?

First of all, they do use a bunch of different platforms to reach people. But, I dont think it should be that complicated. If they ask people to tweet at them, they will check their Twitter. Same goes for Facebook, MySpace, etc. This is especially the case when they are live. Otherwise I do think that someone should be hired for the purpose of controlling the social media pages and other methods of communication. Maybe even more than one person. Someone needs to run the platforms and design them, and they need a few people to keep track of important information coming in on all of those platforms who can pick out the most important stuff.

Just Another Barcelona Food Coma

This past week my parents came from the United States to visit me in Barcelona. They were only staying here for a short time and this meant that we had to eat very good meals, lunch and dinner. We ate at a variety of different places all around Barcelona; various places that served traditional Catalan food along with some of my favorite restaurants that I´ve eaten in thus far. I enjoyed every meal we ate, but three restaurants stood out. Ugarit, Kibuka, and Creps al Born.

I´ll begin with Ugarit. Ugarit is a Syrian restaurant with seven locations throughout all of Barcelona. Luckily, I live on a street that has three of them, and my apartment is located directly above one! Since the beginning of my stay in Barcelona, I have gone to Ugarit obsessive amounts. This could range from 4-6 times a week, and if I am really in the mood, sometimes even more. I always get the Salatat Geben, a greek salad but unlike any salad I have ever had. I get this every time (I am obsessed with it) usually with hummus (their hummus is outstanding), a falafel tapa, and a chicken tapa for some extra protein.

Next we at at Kibuka, a sushi restaurant in Gracia. I had eaten there before, but maybe third times the charm? My mom, dad, and I all got a meal and shared appetizers. Our own food was so good too that we ended up eating each others. Luckily we got there early so we could find a seat without a reservation, but if you get there much past 9 p.m. chances of getting a table are slim because it is so popular! Even on a Tuesday night. My Dad and I got sushi rolls that were absolutely amazing. Each bite was literally incredible. My mom got vegetable tempura, which was the prettiest vegetable tempura I have ever seen, and we all shared a yummy salad and shrimp and asparagus as appetizers.

Mom's amazing vegetable tempura.

Lastly, we ate a Creps del Born. My friends had recommended going here for so long, but I never got a chance to go to this cute crepe bar. I ate here as the last meal in Barcelona with my Mom and Dad, and we absolutely loved it. My mom was able to get a crepe with vegetables that was amazing (gotta stay healthy), my dad loved his ham, egg and cheese crepe, and I adored my crepe with smoked salmon and creamy cheese (pretty much a bagel with lox!) We finished our meal with two dessert crepes, one which was nutella and strawberries and the other which was nutella and banana. We couldn’t have been more satisfied.

March 29th, Barcelona General Strike

Protests in Plaza Catalunya. Riot police prepared for action.

On Thursday, March 29th, 2012, there was a general strike in Spain. For those of you who don’t know, a general strike is when a huge mass of a labor group or force in an area, city, state or country decide to strike in order to achieve their goals.

Here are the main facts. In Spain, there are two main trade unions, the CC.OO and the UGT. These two trade unions actually represent 95% of the Spanish population.

Recently, the Spanish government enacted new labor law reforms. These reforms were put in place in order to help fix the unemployment problem in Spain. 5.3 million people, almost 23 percent of the work force is unemployed. Basically a quarter of the general population. Spaniards are not happy with this. The government also unveiled a 27 billion euro deficit-reduction budget. This included spending cuts and tax hikes on large companies.

These new labor laws allow companies to reduce wages, fire workers more easily, and to opt out of collective bargaining pacts (these pacts enable working people who are union members to negotiate with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family and more.) They believe these reforms will help the economy in the long run, but in the short term, Spaniards are angry. So, they decided to strike.

Fires lit in protest of the new labor laws during the General Strike in Barcelona.

Prior to the strike, there was a lot of nervous anticipation. All around the city of Barcelona there were flyers and graffiti warning people about the general strike, and encouraging them not to work and join in the protests. It was rumored that the entire city was going to shut down, so people would not be able to get in or out, but luckily that was not entirely the case. Some cabs were still running and many shops remained opened as a good portion of the city was still able to continue on with their daily lives. Some even took it as a vacation, as the beaches along the city were packed more than normal.

Protest Graffiti

The date and description of the strike that took place on March 29th, 2012 in Barcelona. This graffiti was located on the sidewalk outside of the Joanic metro stop.

According to Amanda P., a student in Barcelona, “Leading up to the strike, I really had no idea what to expect. I was pretty nervous and a little scared, especially because it was impossible to predict what was going to happen. Everyone heard different things, and we even cancelled a flight we had scheduled on that day because we heard we wouldn’t be able to reach the airport and that our flight wouldn’t be taking off.”

Starbucks remained open during the strike. Because of that, protesters broke the window. Starbucks is right beneath the CEA Global Campus for students studying abroad in Barcelona, who luckily had class cancelled on March 29th because of the general strike.

During the strike, thousands and thousands of Spaniards participated. It began at 12 midnight of March 29th, where picketers were able to shut down bars. The next day, blockades were created by protesters in the main areas of the city in order to shut down access in and out of the city for the major highway and the major train lines. Hundreds of flights were unable to take off, the metro line in Barcelona was shut, and throughout the entire country factories remained empty.

In Barcelona, the protests remained peaceful for the most part, but there eventually was violence. People lit trashcans on fire, broke store windows, threw rocks and more.

According to Infoshop news, an independent news service that focuses on anarchist news, “At midday the strike in Barcelona escalated into heavy rioting that lasted most of the day. Hundreds of thousands of people converged in the city center, seizing the streets and slowing down police. Innumerable banks and luxury stores were smashed, innumerable dumpsters set ablaze, and a large number of banks, luxury stores, Starbucks and other chains were set on fire.

In a couple occasions the police were sent running, attacked with fire, fireworks, and stones, and for the first time ever the Catalan police had to use tear gas to regain control, although large parts of the city remained liberated for hours, and columns of smoke rose into the sky from multiple neighborhoods late into the night. Many journalists and undercover cops were attacked and injured by the rioters. Fires spread to unseen proportions, often filling wide avenues and sending flames shooting several meters into the air. Firefighters were so over extended, they often took half an hour to reach even the major blazes, and were often seen bypassing burning dumpsters in order to extinguish burning banks.

Dozens of people were injured by less lethal ammunitions fired by the police, and a relatively unprecedented number of people participated in the riots directly or indirectly. The heaviest fighting and smashing was carried out by anarchists, left Catalan independentistes, socialists, and above all neighborhood hooligans and immigrant youth. Nonetheless, thousands more people of all ages and backgrounds supported and applauded the rioters and filled the air with anticapitalist chants.”

Riot police, fires, and police vans outside of El Corte Ingles.

Spanish authorities told news sources that  176 protesters were arrested throughout all of Spain and a totally 104 people were injured in clashes, which actually included 58 police officers.

Paella, the Spanish staple

Before I came to Barcelona, all I heard was:

1. Food in Barcelona sucks.

2. You must get paella! Paella, paella, paella!

Well, first of all, food in Barcelona is amazing. It is definitely no Florence, but as long as you know where to go, I can promise you some incredible meals.

Second, it is true, you must get paella. I wouldn´t recommend eating all the time, but it is definitely a great meal for special occasions.

Paella is a popular Spanish dish that consists of rice, meat or fish, and vegetables. It originated in Valencia, and is so popular because it can be made in so many different ways and every person and restaurant can create their own variation.

My favorite paella is made at Tinglado de Monchos, a Spanish restaurant located on the Olympic Port. This is my favorite restaurant because during the week, we can get lunch for 10 euros. The amount of food they give you is incredible. You can get up to 5 tapas, a huge dish of paella, wine, and dessert.

Politics 2.0

Along with Web 2.0, comes along Politics 2.0.

Since people today use the web constantly, it is the best place to reach them. Yes, we still answer our cellphones, receive mail at our homes, and see signs hanging up at the grocery store. But, if you really want to reach me quickly, I would tell you to contact me by email, Facebook, Twitter or SMS. All of these services go straight to my phone.

If you were a politician campaigning to be the next President of the United States of America, what would you do to reach people? Send me mail directly to my house? Post flyers around town and outside of peoples homes? Call my house or cellphone? These methods of communication are still effective, but if you were smart you would tap into email, social media, and SMS.

The reason Obama was successful in his 2008 campaign was because he realized that in order to reach the Y-generation and even other generations, he needed to take advantage of Web 2.0. He successfully campaigned using Web 2.0, especially Facebook. When it wasn’t as common to use Facebook, Obama successfully used to reach younger generations and get them interested in him as a candidate. Although Obama won for many other reasons, his use of Web 2.0 definitely had an impact as well.

Many other politicians should and have learned from Obama’s tactics, and I am curious to see now, in the 2012 Presidential election, what tactics will be used. Both candidates will definitely tap in to Web 2.0 to help their campaigns, but I wonder what the “next big thing will be” that will really help them reach the biggest audience.

Best Meal of My Life

The last night of my trip to Florence, my friends and I went to a restaurant called Osteria Santo Spirito. Walking into the restaurant, I was hoping for the most epic meal ever, and that is what I got.

The restaurant was beautiful, and we were taken up these narrow wooden stairs to the second floor. The second floor room was gorgeous, so rustic looking with gigantic wooden tables (definitely meant for the massive amounts of food people order).

We got the menu, and I knew right away I wanted the mussels tomato soup. But then, I kept looking through the menu. I also wanted the bruschetta, the garden salad, and tomato basil linguini. What was I supposed to do? This was the last time I´d be in Florence until who knows when, and I wanted all of my favorite foods Italian style.

I was torn for a good ten minutes, and then I realized the most amazing thing, every thing on the menu had the option to be half-sized for half the price when everything was relatively cheap to begin with!! I was able to all of that for a solid 16 euro.

Any way back to the food. First I was given the Mussel soup. It was so incredible. I devoured the whole thing. The mussels were so fresh, and the soup it was in was amazing. I made sure to get every bite of a mussel also with a spoonful of soup. By the end of this dish I was full, but I had to keep on going!

Next came the salad and the bruschetta. Both were amazing. Even though it wasn`t tomato season, the tomatoes in Florence were so extremely fresh. For those who know me really well, I am obsessed with tomatoes and these were unbelievable.

Last, I got my pasta with basil and tomato. Once again, delicious. The pasta itself was amazing, and even more incredible with tomato sauce with tomatoes and basil on top. But, I couldn´t possibly finish this after everything I had beforehand, so I ate half of it and passed it on to Katie, who had it for lunch the next day and said it was the most unbelievable thing she ever ate!

Digital Storytelling

Multimedia is awesome. I love the concept of it so much because I think it has the power to completely change the way humans learn.  Today, we need constant stimulation, and multimedia can provide that. By using multimedia, people can digital tell stories, teach educational lessons, and more.

For those of you who aren’t sure what multimedia is, it is something such as a blog, article, or news story that uses many different mediums, such as videos, text, music, photos, voice notes, and more all together. For example, if I created a multimedia story about my time in Barcelona I could include the following:

-A brief description of my time spent in Barcelona.

-Photographs of my trips, various meals I’ve eaten.

-A clip of my favorite Spanish song I’ve heard while I’ve been here.

-A story about the time I got pickpocketed!

-A video of my friends and I dancing at the discoteca.

-A sound bite of my friend expressing how much she has loved being in Barcelona.

All of these different elements would make a great blog post, and give readers an exciting and stimulating story about my time in Barcelona.

I find multimedia to be so awesome because today people need exciting things to grab their attention. Yes, we can read a book, or read a blog, but because of our use of the internet, TV, cell phones and more, if something wants to keep our attention it has to be exciting and stimulating.

Multimedia is stimulating in every way because it uses different mediums to attract attention. In a course this past semester I took about education, our teacher told us how students today can’t learn as effectively in a boring, unchanging environment. Because of this, in his classes he would never talk about a topic for more than 3 minutes, and if he had to, he would interject with a demonstration, video, or some other stimulating tool. This reminds me of multimedia, because there are so many different ways to be stimulated, that it draws in attention and keeps your attention- ultimately being a very effective tool whether it is used for journalism purposes or in a classroom.