FourSquared

FourSquared

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Mayor of Mount Union

[Photo credit]

Foursquare, the mobile “game” where you can checkin to various venues around your city to get points, might just be coming to Mount Union in the coming year. While students have long been able to checkin to buildings on campus, an official launch of a Mount Union presence on Foursquare would bring a whole new dimension to this game.

Take the picture above for example. What would it be like if there were “rewards” for the mayor, the person who has the most checkins on a rolling 7-day average, scattered throughout the campus. Maybe the mayor of Mount Union’s University Store gets a 15% off voucher, or there might be a few reserved parking spots as well. The possibilities are endless.

There are some hiccups I foresee if Mount Union chooses to pursue the “rewards” aspect of Foursquare too quickly. For one, I don’t think it would be right to leave out the students who don’t have a smartphone from the fun and someone would have to keep a close eye on certain venues to make sure no one cheats. How would you check to see if someone who didn’t have their phone on them was the actual mayor?

However, these are all problems that arise only if Mount Union tries too hard to get into the Foursquare game. Although details are scarce, I think a good implementation of a Foursquare + Mount Union effort would be a corner of the website (mountunion.edu/foursquare?) or a place on the new media screens we have all around the Hoover-Price Campus Center. For visitors to the campus, they could unlock a “Purple Raider Badge” documenting their trip. Nothing too drastic, but a nice hat-tip to those playing.

Keep an eye out for news in the next year about Mount Union and Foursquare. I hope it shapes up to be another cool way to interact with current and incoming students outside of Facebook and Twitter. And while my dream of students being able to checkin to class for attendance seems very far off, this is a great first step to get people out and exploring our campus.

A template for telling someone you’ve unfollowed them on Twitter

A template for telling someone you’ve unfollowed them on Twitter

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Flying birds

Dear @you,

You may have noticed I unfollowed you on Twitter.

Don’t be mad. Don’t send me an email, text or message on Facebook. It wasn’t personal at all. I unfollowed you on Twitter. It’s that simple, and you don’t have to be upset about it. Let me tell you why:

  1. It’s only Twitter. Read that out loud. Good, now read it again. Odds are, since we’re actually friends, I’m going to communicate with you in real life sometime soon.
  2. Remember that my Twitter account is my Twitter account and I should enjoy using it. Your tweets probably started to infringe on my joy of using the service, so I unfollowed you to make my Twitter stream something enjoyable for me. Please don’t let this insult you. In reality, what should offend you is if I kept following you even though I absolutely despise what you’re saying.
  3. Just because I’m not following on Twitter doesn’t mean I don’t like you as a person. I just may not fully appreciate how you’re tweeting this week. If you really want me to see a specific link, picture or video feel free to text me and I’ll check it out.
  4. I may follow you again. My tastes change all the time. Sometimes, I do get on a I-want-every-quote-Taylor-Swift-ever-said kick and you are the best means to that end.

Thank you so much for the tweets while I’ve followed you. Your insight into various things has been very entertaining and I still have plenty of your clever quips favorited. I also sincerely hope that (insert artist, celebrity, professional athlete name) retweets / follows you soon.

Yours in Twitter,

My Name

Meet the Organization: Alpha Phi Omega

Meet the Organization: Alpha Phi Omega

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Alpha Phi Omega (APO) is a national co-ed service fraternity. The term fraternity can be a little confusing at first because “fraternity” is associated with only males. This is not only co-ed, so both males and females can join, but it’s a service organization, not a social organization like other fraternities (or sororities for that matter). It is based around three main principles: leadership, friendship and service. This values shine through everything APO does – from countless service projects each week and social activities to members holding leadership positions not only within the organization, but within others as well. There are more than 350 chapters of APO in the United States, 250 chapters in the Philippines and one chapter in Australia … this fraternity is taking the whole world by storm!

Here at Mount, APO is one of the largest organizations on campus with more than 100 members. We have weekly chapter meetings (Tuesday nights at 8:15 in the Mount Union Theatre) as well as weekly executive board meetings (Monday nights at 6:45 in the Hoover-Price Campus Center), but this is not the only time contributed by members of the organization. The meetings themselves usually only last about an hour, and each member must complete 20 hours of service and attend two socials each semester.

Service projects at Mount Union vary greatly. One week you can volunteer at a soup kitchen; play with puppies at the Humane Society; work on your bingo skills at a nursing home; and walk in an awareness walk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism or one of many other walks in the area. Twenty hours might seem like a lot of work, but when you look at it in terms of what is offered each week, you can potentially get all 20 hours in within a month or two, but members have the whole semester! On top of that, there are different levels of service in APO: national, community, campus and fraternity. National and community are probably what you think of most when you think “service project,” but members of APO receive service hours for other things as well. For example, writing an article for the Ant Hill, which is our monthly newsletter, counts as one half hour of service to the fraternity.

Don’t think that APO is all work and no play, though! We have a social chair who puts together at least one to two socials every week. The socials are ALWAYS fun and vary greatly, so if you aren’t interested in attending one, you’ll be sure to find one that meets your interests. We often go see movies at the movie theatre near campus, go out to eat at Applebees and take trips to seasonal attractions such as a hay ride in the fall or Christmas light viewing in the winter. We usually have one or two larger socials every semester as well. Last semester we drove three hours to go to Kalahari in Sandusky for a whole day! We got a group discounted price and got to live it up in the balmy 75 degree waterpark for a day when it was the dead of winter outside.

Another aspect of APO is conferences. Since it is a national (international!) organization, there are events that bring chapters together to interact with one another. Every year there is a sectional conference that is fairly small (about eight or nine chapters are in each section). Every other year there is a regional conference, which is a bit larger, and consists of about five sections. The year’s that are opposite of regional conferences, there are national conferences. National conferences encompass every single chapter in the United States and usually a few chapters from the Philippines.

Last year, Mount Union hosted the section conference for our section! It involved more than 200 brothers from around Northeast Ohio coming to campus to participate in workshops, social events and service projects. We did a lot of work to entice other chapters to attend our conference that we knew was going to be the bomb.com; the picture shown is one of our tactics! It was so stressful to plan, but the rewards definitely outweighed costs! Coming up in a few weeks, APO will be traveling to Louisville, Kentucky for a regional conference. We have a whopping 30 brothers attending and we will be down at the University of Kentucky for a weekend to serve and socialize with brothers from our region. In December of 2012, the national conference is being held in Anaheim, California! This is a LONG trek for brothers from our chapter and will require a lot of fundraising on our part to be able to attend, but it is sure that at least a fairly sizable handful of brothers will be in attendance in sunny California!

There is SO much more I could tell you about APO because it is such a large organization with such intricate parts, but for now, I’ll leave it at that. If you’d like to find out more, come to one of our chapter meetings! We always welcome visitors and we have pledge classes go through every semester, so there’s always going to be an opportunity to take part in this great organization!

The G+ Effect

The G+ Effect

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Interesting that Samantha wrote about Google+ when I was planning to do the same! I guess that goes to show that we’re quite interested in this up and coming social media effort from Google, as well as where it will put our other social networks like Facebook.

Follow me on Google+ here!

google plus

From what I can tell, Google+ (hereon referred to as G+) has been a big hit so far. Lots of people, influential tech people primarily, have jumped on board. I was able to grab an invite from a Twitter user within the first week and have had plenty of time to get a feel for how Google wants to change the online-sharing world. Some thoughts so far:

  • Whatever personal information I had been holding back from Google, or had flat out lied about in the first place, is now correctly updated and proudly sitting on my G+ profile page. Interesting change of events.
  • I take particular joy in adding people to my “Brain Trust” and “Inner Circle” circles. Say that ten times fast.
  • Limiting the content you post to certain circles at the time of posting is insanely easy. It is all done from the keyboard and the implementation of auto-complete is very well done.
  • I use my other social networks more. Not as in a direct comparison to my G+ usage, but more than I use to use them. I’ve found myself around Facebook and Twitter more frequently as of late.
  • Flash, being used for a full-site experience, is dead. G+ showcases, especially with the HTML5 photo upload, that an immersive, interactive experience can be built without the need to call up Adobe.
  • Google is throwing all its weight behind that little +1 button. It is key to its succeess. A Facebook search engine, powered by the “likes” of your friends could very quickly make Google search results seem artificial; partly because they already are. Google, not given access to the huge amount of data on our Facebook pages, needed its own way to begin curating results. You can have the most advance search algorithm in the world, but I will always go off of the recommendations of the people I trust before I turn to a machine.
  • G+ is the result of a lot of vision and hard work. It is very clear that Google put effort into the experience and design. It might be the best looking first-launch of a Google product, that wasn’t simply bought and rebranded, in my memory.

The biggest thing G+ has hurting it right now is the lack of users. Social networks without your friends signed up feel like awkward house parties where the amount of food provided vastly exceeds the capacity of the guests there. Sharing with a circle of friends that only has one or two people in it isn’t very compelling, but every day I get another notification that “so-and-so added you to their circles.” Slowly but surely.

G+ may not be able to dethrone Facebook because it is much easier for Facebook to change up features than it is for Google to establish hundreds of millions of active users. But G+ is the first sincere push at a more social version of Google’s creed to organize the world’s information. I really like G+. But I know I’d like it a whole lot more if all my friends were here.