We’re all unique? Right?

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You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

– Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club

When I find some time to sit at home and do nothing at all I find myself in a cycle of social media: Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and repeat. I found myself in this cycle for almost an hour last night and scanning through tweets and posts and pictures and vines it quickly became clear that most of the content posted by my peers is recycled. Finding an original thought or picture or joke is a rarity. At this point in the internet revolution if you do have an original thought its probably somewhere out there already. We use song lyrics to describe our feelings, we use words of famous people to inspire ourselves, we use memes to present our humor, and we dress and do our hair and makeup like Tumblr girls do.

I’m slowly realizing how lost my generation is (myself included). Past generations of young people have had something to guide them, a war or a great movement to define them. We are the first generation in a long time without a great event or movement to guide our dress, speech, values, and beliefs. Our generation is wandering trying to find something to grasp on and define us as a group, something that makes US great and memorable. Instead of making ourselves great we trace the actions and words of other great people who came before us. There are 7 billion people in the world; the idea that we are unique little snowflakes is a long shot. But is there any chance for us to be truly unique when everything we put out into the world is recycled?

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Hungry? Shake things up

Urbanspoon is a website and phone application that helps users find a restaurant that caters to their location, taste, and price range. It was started in Seattle, Washington in 2006 and had 3 employees. It was purchased by InterActiveCorp in 2009, the exact price is not known but its estimated to have been bought for a price in the low double-digit millions.
Today, it is utilized by 28 million users every month. Both the web and the mobile app are steadily growing but mobile app traffic is outpacing the web. Every year the app grows 112% and the site grows 70%. The app is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones and the app provides services in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. 53% of the app’s users are women, and 47% are men.

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How it works:
Urbanspoon uses geolocation to find restaurants near the user. It the filters the search in its most famous feature, the shake, based on neighborhood, type of cuisine, and price range. The app also allows the user to make reservations at restaurants and collects the users dining history and reviews.

Benefits of the app:

  • The app is customer reviewed so you can get an honest opinion before you dine.
  • You can filter choices by how much you’re willing to spend and Urbanspoon will do the work for you.
  • You can choose what kind of food you want to eat. For example, American, Chinese, Mexican, sushi. There are categories that get even more specific like hot dogs, pub food, organic, and kosher.
  • After you choose a restaurant that fits your current craving and price you’re provided with all of the restaurant’s information, phone number, hours, directions, etc.
  • You can check in at your favorite locations and share with friends on social media.

Where’s Urbanspoon going?
In 2009 Urbanspoon sold their reservation making capabilities. This means you can still make a reservation on the app but it isn’t run by Urbanspoon themselves. They recently hired more bloggers and food writers hoping to gear the app with more professional editorial content about restaurants and dining. Urbanspoon works and will continue to work because it caters to the masses. They have a variety of features and can alter its services to fill the individual needs of virtually ANY user.
For more information, visit Urbanspoon’s website: urbanspoon.com

There’s an app for that

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A few days ago my roommate and myself were sitting in our apartment, trying to find a cure for Sunday boredom. The situation went as follows:

Roommate: What’s on tv?
Me: I don’t know, let me check the TV guide app. There’s no good football games on.
R: Let me see if there’s any good wing deals on the Party Tutor app maybe we can watch the game somewhere.
M: Alright. I just checked ScoreCenter both of our teams play next week.
R: Are you hungry?
Simultaneously: URBANSPOON

This conversation all took place over several minutes as we both flipped through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, I posted a selfie, beat a few levels of Candy Crush Saga, and bought a phone case on Amazon for $2.35.

Why is this important?
The International Data Corportation (IDC) predicts that over 76.9 billion app downloads will occur by 2014 and it will be a $35 billion dollar industry. According to this inforgraphic, where you can find more information, the average smartphone user has 22 apps on their deck and the average iPhone user has 37 apps on their deck.

My point being: apps are PERVASIVE, there is an app for everything these days from banking to games to restaurants to movie theater times and it is a relevant industry, both personally and financially. Apps are designed to make life easier, and as you can see from my conversation with my roommate they do accomplish that goal. But my question is, as apps make life easier do they make you lazier?

Today there is literally nothing I can’t do without the use of an app.
Because of WellsFargo Mobile I literally never have to go to a bank teller to deposit a check. Because of this, I quite literally don’t know how to deposit a check.
Because of Evernote, I don’t have to print out the notes I take on my computer because they sync automatically to my phone.
Thanks to Dominos, I don’t have to call anyone to order a pizza.
Thanks to Yelp and Urbanspoon I never have to ask a friend about what restaurant or business they recommend.
Because of the TVGuide app, I don’t even have to look at the guide on my TV.
Thanks to Google Maps I can visit a whole city on foot, alone, without having to communicate with a single person.
I can live almost my entire life without even looking up from my phone, my apps guide me through every aspect of my life. And while this makes life greatly convenient, I can’t help but notice how app technology hinders development of life and communication skills.

UCF’s Pink Party: Boom or Blunder?

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Nothing happens without promotion.

– PT Barnum

About five months ago, my friends and myself were fully engulfed on Twitter for hours tweeting the hashtag #UCFPinkParty until our thumbs were numb. We sacrificed time and followers in hopes of beating out the University of Texas in the 24-hour race to out-tweet each other. The prize described was vague; a party in the fall with appearances from Victoria’s Secret models and musical performances in the ranks of Drake and Kid Cudi. UCF, my friends, and myself were not entirely sure what we were competing for; but we knew we wanted to win. And win we did, out-tweeting Texas by over 40,000 tweets, and we were ecstatic.

Fast forward to September of fall semester. Pink banners are covering the UCF arena and there’s an enormous gold “Pink” dog outside. FINALLY, my friends thought, the fruits of our labor last semester are going to pay off!

Not exactly.

The UCF Pink Party was on campus… And half of us had a difficult time figuring out what was going on, what models are going to be there, who was going to perform, much less when any events were taking place. We had to ask everyone we knew and do some google searches to find out any details. And when we finally found them, we were far from impressed. A week-long celebration was promised. Instead, we received a few events that took place in the middle of the day, during class time. We were promised a performer in the ranks of Drake and Kid Cudi… and got Flo Rida. In my opinion, they’re not exactly in the same ranks. My sacrifices and the sacrifices of most were largely enjoyed by incoming freshman who have the convenience of living on campus.

While my personal disappointment is a matter of a opinion, the promotional strategies for this event are not. When searching the UCF Pink Party on Google, hardly any details about the event come up. I personally found most of my information through word of mouth rather than information posted on campus. When a company as successful as Victorias Secret is planning an event that was supposed to be the “party of the year,” I expect a lot of promoting available on every social media outlet and on the actual campus. From a company this large and this successful, I just expected more.

The First

ImageHi all! There are few things in life that I find more stifling than turning creativity and individuality into an assignment. This post, and this blog (the first one I’ve ever made) are in fact part of an assignment to create a blog that reflects me professionally and creatively. While I openly admit making this blog was not my choice, I fully intend on making the best of it.

Who: Gintare Pisciotto. 20-year-old Italian girl born in Lithuania, transplanted to New Jersey, studying at the University of Central Florida. Work with me here…

I was raised on the concept that family is everything. I am the daughter of two loving parents, and the older sister to two incredible siblings who I love as my own children.

I am the lover of all things comical, artistic, beautiful, curious, edible, and questionable. And there are few (if any) things in this world that do not interest me.

What: A BLOG! Often sarcastic, sometimes misunderstood, occasionally irrelevant… but always 100% me. This is a space about me, my life, my thoughts, and my hopeful future in the Public Relations field.

Where: This vast empty space with everyone else: the internet.
Email: gintare.pisciotto@knights.ucf.edu
Twitter: @itsgintare
Instagram: @itsgintare

When: Now, tomorrow, and every day after that. I’m slowly coming to the terrifying realization that real life does not begin after college. The time to make moves in my future career and shape myself into the person and professional I want to be is right now. With this assignment, I aim to mold together my college self and the professional self I want to be.

Why: In short, because Dr. Dodd told me to. But I already feel thankful she did.
As a student hoping to enter a field that is fueled by media and being social it is vital to have an online presence that can set me apart. It is also vital to be in the midst of whats happening in the world if I plan on immersing myself into that world.
As a person, it can be extremely therapeutic to just talk, even if I feel that no one is listening or can answer back.

With all of the things that capture my interest in this world, the vision for where I want Public Relations to take me is not quite clear. But hopefully through a little self-exploration and a LOT of blogging I can begin to find my niche on the internet and in my future field.