Wasn’t Here for a Long Time.

Alas we reach the conclusion of the semester. My motivation is probably the lowest it has been all year, but my creativity is the highest. Because of that, this class sits somewhere in the realm of me doing excellent, but not having the will power to get there.

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actual end of semester face

Among the various production skills I expected to learn in the class, one that I desired most was to improve my writing voice. In some ways I have improved this, but in other ways I haven’t. I am pretty sure I have become a better writer, but at the same time what I currently writing is merely spilling out of my brain as I go along. As it turns out, for certain blogposts, this is how I write. However, when it came to a writing Blog Post 2, I wrote several drafts before turning it in.

I think some “soft skills” I have picked up on throughout the semester is constant self criticism. To some degree, this already existed in me, but I think that this class accentuated that part of my character. Creating media is different kind of work because of the timeliness and consumption of the product. Creating media requires improvement with every iteration of a post or content because there is a fear of losing audience attention. Audience attention is crucial because that is the target market. This skill will help me in the future by preparing me to face a world that is always improving, but also will help me understand that criticism is not bad, but is needed.

I enjoyed the social media assignment the least because I found it strange and unsettling researching something that takes up so much of our time.

I enjoyed the video assignment the most because I think Will and I did a good job on the video.

If I could go back in time to give myself advice about this course it would be to not sleep through the last quiz like an idiot. That’s the only thing I found lacking in myself, otherwise I would say something along the lines of pushing the creative boundary for the each medium. I could have produced better content.

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Sk8r Guy, the Legend

For this assignment, Will Wise and I interviewed Matt Groathouse. For anyone who does not attend the University of Wyoming, Groathouse is the cultural icon known as Skater Guy or Sk8r Guy. He rides around campus on a skateboard in clothes from two decades ago. He does tricks, often in the parking lot in front of the Union.

Will and I did our best to capture the being and essence of Skater Guy in the video. He is the most curious and laid back person. Quite the character and possibly one of the most unique persons I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. While interviewing him, we followed along his favorite campus spots to shred the gnar. He really likes the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Abraham Lincoln statue, and Prexy’s Pasture.

One thing I enjoyed about creating the video was the liberty to create what is envisioned in the head. Often, mediums such as audio and writing are not capable to transmitting the information required to create a full story. With video, you can express a range of emotions with the combination of words, images, and sound. If there’s anything to not enjoy, it’s probably the rendering part. Rendering takes forever especially when your computer doesn’t have a lot of RAM.

One thing that surprised me was the willingness of Groathouse to film. He was easy to work with and arrange schedules around. His effort allowed Will and I to do most of the filming in a single day. One thing that I feel like we could have done differently is to have better stabilization gear. Will was running on a tripod, but I only had a gyroscopic vertical steadicam. This is a great tool, but I think that if I had a a Gimbal device, the shots would’ve come out much smoother.

I do believe that I will be using video in my career. I already use video when I film weddings. I do some promotional video work on the side as well. I would like to get better with After Effects to truly enhance the quality of my videos.

Yeezy didn’t really jump over Jumpman

adidasvnikeIf you own a company, it is now crucial that you invest in social media assets. Excellent examples of social media presence are the companies Nike and Adidas. This blogpost with take a look at how both athletic apparel giants use their social equity to help build their brands. I will attempt to compare the strategies of the social media presence of both Nike and Adidas. I am choosing to analyze Nike and Adidas because not only am I user of both their brands, but they also have a large market reach. Both Nike and Adidas cover a plethora of sports and often compete for contracts. They also are in the streetwear/casual wear communities. Lastly, they compete directly with each other on a global scale.

Platforms

While writing this, I research both Adidas and Nike on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. These are the biggest social medias they have which would lead me to their other social medias if they had any. It should be noted that I did not venture into their smaller brand social medias because each has their own networks.

It is apparent that Nike has the larger social media following. Their Instagram has 77.1 million followers versus Adidas’ 19.4 million. Likewise Nike has 7.43 million followers on their Twitter while Adidas has only 3.42 million followers on their Twitter. They have a relatively equal following on Facebook at 30 million for Nike and 33 million for Adidas.

Nike

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Kendrick Lamar wearing Nike Cortez’s

Nike’s agenda for Instagram seems to indicate that they focus on the personal victories of the people they sponsor. Often this can be seen in the form of a short video or a still image. The stories told range from rapper like Kendrick Lamar to basketball stars like Michael Jordan. Nike’s Facebook is similar but relies on short videos and some images but the posts are less frequent. Nike’s Twitter is takes content from their Instagram, but has the flexibility of being able to retweet/share content from their smaller brands. Occasionally they will comment on the updates of sponsored personnel.

Nike is great at using social media to build their brand rather than to sell a new product line. They use their brand in association with the people they are sponsoring. This creates a personal connection with the brand because they might have shown a story of your favorite athlete. Nike is also consistent with posting on Instagram and Twitter which is important to let their audience know they still exist. The more you see a brand, the more familiar you become with what it represents. Lastly, Nike uses #justdoit on everything. It’s who they are and what they represent. It’s the community they created.

That being said, Nike could utilize the story feature on Instagram to keep the audience engaged even more. It’s an effective and undervalued tool that could benefit Nike’s reach. Nike could also diversify their posts to introduce more products. Perhaps evening using the story feature for something like that would be good. Lastly, Nike could just more typography on their photos. A lot of their photo are stills and many times, people won’t read the caption; therefore, even a small text of who the person is could really help.

Adidas

Adidas’ agenda for social media is to entirely use it for marketing rather than brand building. Their current campaign is #alphaBOUNCE which is a line of shoes they are running. Their Instagram and Twitter correlate with posts, but their Facebook seems to have died. Their last post there was more than a month ago. At the time, it seems like they were pushing a campaign that encourage athleticism and creativity.

Adidas is great at pushing a campaign. From viewing their Instagram and Twitter one can tell what season they are in. They are also good at combining posts so that they relate to each other chronologically. For Adidas, they don’t jump on multiple products, they have a single theme and they’ll do a series of posts around it, simultaneously utilizing hashtags for each campaign. Lastly, Adidas is good at interacting with people on twitter. They try to be somewhat funny but also helpful.

Adidas needs to work on filling content in between campaigns. They cannot sustain have no posts on their Facebook since March. Their Instagram and Twitter content is sparse as well. Adidas needs to use more photos as well, because for me at least, it uses less data and therefore less time to load. The videos are great, but there’s too many of them. I think that Adidas also needs to be consistent across all platforms as well. For the last two weeks I feel  like Adidas gave up.

Takeaways

Ultimately I believe that Nike understands how to use their social media better than Adidas because Adidas uses it to promote products rather than to build a brand. Nike is also more consistent with their posts on any social media platforms and they connect with the consumer. Nike uses a story telling to captivate the viewer while Adidas shoves hashtags and products down my eyes.

The presenters that came to our class really helped me understand the importance of engagement. I think that’s what separates the best social media users from the average ones. Any company can make a post whenever, but to respond to comments and to post multiple times a week takes care. Understanding what Downtown Laramie does helps me to see that a lot of social media is relationship building essentially through just a mobile device. It’s more than posting what you think is cool or neat, but what they audience wants to see.

Overrated Places for Pictures in Colorado

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to help express our identities and personalities. It has become quite easy to upload an image or video of the experiences we have every day. This is fantastic for sharing our life experiences with friends, family, and strangers. Unfortunately this has created a void of narcissism in some people that can only be filled by the admiration and adoration from other people, rather than intrinsic happiness and accomplishments.

Where am I going with this? A new generation has arrived. A yoga pant wearing, hair gelling, selfie taking generation who have a massive amount of power at their fingertips. There are those who use social media to manipulate their appearance, not physically, but socially. There are those out there who desire to have an outdoor lifestyle, but do not have the means or skills to fully indulge themselves in traditional outdoor activities. They only care about what the outdoors can do for their social investment. Many people in this generation do not respect the environment and often do more harm than good.

In my opinion it’s really quite annoying, although I completely understand where they are coming from, from firsthand experience.

I spoke with Lane Tomme, an award winning and published photographer who studies at the University of Wyoming. Tomme, who is also an avid environmentalist, says that the combination of social media and outdoor activities reflects poorly on those who are environmentalists. It is generally that anyone that goes and experiences the outdoors is sort of ambassadors for it, but social media is slowly degrading the reputation of the outdoorsman.

In the infographic below, I have pinned six locations in Colorado along the Front Range that are easy targets for narcissistic social media photography. These locations are gorgeous places, but have been overrun by selfie sticks and many who don’t actually care about the environment.

Ashifa at the Overlook Taken by Andrew Wee

1) Lost Gulch Overlook in Boulder Colorado

This location is a hot hang for anyone who goes to the University of Colorado Boulder. A 10 minute drive from the campus, often you’ll find hammocks and beer cans littered across the area. It never fails to appear in the “Top Posts” section of Instagram for Boulder.

Dream Lake on Film taken by Andrew Wee

2) Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

The lake sure is dreamy, and if you want to get the best picture, it’s best to go in the early morning or late evening. Millions of people visit Rocky Mountain National Park for this gem. According to Tomme, it’s a blessing and a curse. Although many people can experience the beauty of the Rockies, too many people are inconsiderate of their actions. This ruins the pristine nature of the National Park

3) Mount Evans

Esther at Mt. Evans by Andrew Wee

One of two 14’000”+ mountains in Colorado that you can actually drive to the peak, Tomme says that location cheapens the art of landscape photography. It becomes quite easy for people to take photos of the range of mountains. There is no effort required to create an astounding image.

4) The Incline.

This “trail” is a pet peeve of mine. It’s literally stairs on a mountain that go for a little over a mile.

A Proposal on top of the Incline by Andrew Wee

The only view is of Colorado Springs. There are lots of people who saturate the surface of the mountain. I have done it before, but I would never do it again. It’s not even the fact that it’s a workout; it’s that there is nothing grandiose about reaching the top. No lake, peak, or view, just benches. Then what bothers me even more is that there are people who will take photos there and caption the image like it was some sort of expedition into the Amazon. It’s a vanity thing that shouldn’t exist. Apologies for the rant.

Taken by Andrew Wee

5) Devil’s Head Fire Lookout

This was my first hike after high school and the start of career as a self-proclaimed professional day hiker. An operational Fire Lookout manned by the United States Forest Service, this structure is quite an attraction outside of Castle Rock, Colorado. It has become an icon as fire lookouts permeate outdoor photography in social media.

6) St. Mary’s Glacier

Esther at St. Mary’s by Andrew Wee

A popular hike outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado, this place is a unique opportunity to experience a glacier. Because of its accessibility, it attracts crowds a people willing to walk .75 miles. The glacier is an easy target to make it seem like you’re outdoorsy.

I don’t want to come off as pretentious when I list these locations, as though I’m some sort of outdoors photographer aficionado. My frustration comes from people who abuse the environment for some likes on social media. To them it’s something to help their appearance, but to me it’s something that longs for respect and care.

Dual State Spring Break

Raw Interview

Edited Interview

An audio assignment is nothing new to me. In the past I have used audio recorders for work and have had to interview people for a plethora a projects. For me, recording someone is not the uncomfortable, but rather the person being recorded is uncomfortable. They are not used to have their words intentionally saved for edited, which makes them act funny.

I’m less familiar with audio editing; however, I do edit video a lot, which has some to do with audio recording. Many times the processes are the same, but I struggle with volume and tone. I don’t enjoy re-listening to a part multiple times just to get a single cut. It’s tedious and droning. I do enjoy listening to the final piece knowing that I have seamlessly taken out “ums” and “uhs” everywhere I can.

I was honestly surprised by how much my interviewee talked before I even spoke. She went one for about two minutes before I even came in. After a while, I forgot I was recording and it turned into a conversation, which is always pleasurable.

Next time, I’ll have my interviewee state who they are. Madison Petrock, jumped into it so fast that I forgot to ask for her title and position. I don’t want to wrongly attribute quotes in a professional setting.

I actually use audio recording a lot for wedding videos I make. I always try and have the bride and groom say their vows and overlay them on the video. They’re usually too emotional to say it correctly while the ceremony is occurring, so I usually do it beforehand.

Just Some Shots

This picture is of my dog sneezing after rolling in the grass. I mostly used focus and the creation of depth as the creative devices for the photo. I used auto-focus (although I think it’s cheating) to capture him while moving around. I hate shooting in direct sunlight, so maybe next time I’ll wait till later.

 

 

I took this photo of the University of Wyoming Women’s Basketball team going against Fresno State. I am not a woman nor basketball player so they were very different from me. This photo would be considered sports action and the main creative device was contrast. I had essentially turned my camera onto high speed burst mode in order to capture the player going, for it would be impossible for me to time the best shot. Next time, I’d like to change my lens for one with a longer focal length so that I can capture the individual player better. Because I was taking photos for the Branding Iron, I had ideal positioning for the photos, but perhaps I need to change the angles of the baseline. 

 

The following photos were taken in the Williams Conservatory at the University of Wyoming. The photos might be considered a feature as I was trying to capture the idea of the versatility of the building. In the photo on the left, there is a woman who works at the conservatory. She was shaking out a bag of lady bugs onto the plants so that they would eat parasitic bugs. The photo on the right is of a young man studying inside of the conservatory in a separate area. The creative device used for the photo on the left was mostly Rule of Thirds as the point of focus was on the bag of lady bugs. The creative device for the photo on the right was mostly framing as I used the hanging plants to create a visual border around the gentleman. When you’re in the conservatory, it’s easy to get away with taking photos of people because they think you’re taking photos of the plants. Nothing photo related, but I learned that they put the ladybugs in the fridge and they go dormant until they’re needed again.

For a Better Tomorrow

One way to describe the activities in a person’s life is to compare them to a series of lightbulbs. Each lightbulb represents anything that takes time like a job or a hobby. The more time and energy a person puts into that activity, the brighter the lightbulb is.

A person may only be able to produce so much energy to light these lightbulbs. For many people, some lightbulbs are brighter than others are, and many of the lightbulbs cannot be on simultaneously.

There exist people who can keep multiple lightbulbs bright. These people are passionate about everything they do and derive a joy in working hard.

David Finnoff is one such person. A researcher, coach, and instructor, Finnoff pours his heart into everything he does.

Finnoff the Professional

Receiving both his B.S. and Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Wyoming, Finnoff is currently an associate professor and director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Economics at the University of Wyoming.

“I basically tell people I’m a natural resource economist,” said Finnoff. He is especially interested in designing efficient policies for the best use of natural resources. Among other things, his research involves bringing natural science detail into economic modelling so that policies might be more applicable to the real world.

“That has required a lot of use of and learning a lot from other disciplines,” Finnoff said. In addition to economics, Finnoff learns more about ecology and epidemiology, which he says he does enjoy.

Essentially, Finnoff is extremely interested in solving complex problems. Recently, his research involves risk reduction and creating economic strategies to combat the external costs of the interconnectivity of the world as trade and economic activity increases.

“For me it’s really been fantastic looking into things that are interesting problems and then figuring out that I don’t know anything about it,” explains Finnoff. “I have to go out there and read up on what other people have written on it, and see if I can quite frankly incorporate what they thinks important into an economic model of decision making.”

Finnoff’s academic career is not limited to research. He also teaches and advises both undergrads and grad students.

“It’s been a really fun time here at the University of Wyoming for me because I get to work with fantastic undergraduate and graduate students,” said Finnoff. “Typically they work on problems that I’m interested in, or similar to them. They find out things that I would’ve never known and figure out how to deal with it using better techniques than I have ever used.”

Finnoff cares a lot about what his students are working on. He loves teaching because for him, it is giving back to the community. He desires most to pass on the tools to ensure success for the next generation.

His performance is often recognized. He was named “Top Prof” of 2017 by the University of Wyoming Cap and Gown Chapter of Mortar Board as well as being awarded the College of Business Advisory Board Faculty Award in 2014, 2015, and 2017. He has a plethora of other awards that he has received which can be found here.

Finnoff the Coach

Finnoff is also a head coach of the University of Wyoming of Men’s Rugby Club team.

According to Alex Knowles, co-head coach of the rugby team, rugby has always been a part of Finnoff’s life.

“He was exposed to rugby at an early age,” Knowles explains. “He actually went to high school in Scotland and grew up playing rugby league.”

Rugby stayed with Finnoff when he went to the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate.

Finnoff started coaching the University of Wyoming Men’s Rugby team in the early 2000’s and then transitioned to being the head coach around 2013.

Sutton Willis, an economics undergraduate at the University of Wyoming and captain of the rugby team played under Finnoff, but was also taught by him as an instructor.

“He is intense, confident,” Willis said. “He always knows what he wants to say.”

Willis describes that being a player and a student for Finnoff is a privilege.

Similar to the problem solving in his research, Finnoff as a coach wants to find ways that the rugby team can succeed.

When Knowles joined the team as a coach, he said that Finnoff was “always in the know with rugby”. However, his coaching methods that were a decade behind the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, Finnoff is understanding and dynamic. Finnoff cares about what he does and wants to ensure success. He and Knowles have worked together to improve the team, even setting up a fundraising for the team.

“Rugby is a working man’s sport,” says Knowles. The hours needed to play and coach rugby could qualify as another job. Not only are there practices during the week, but workouts and watching film is essential. Altogether, rugby is always on the mind for him.

Finnoff the Man

Even with the duties of being a coach and the responsibilities of being an advisor and researcher, Finnoff still finds time to spend with those he cares about most: his family.

Finnoff spends every spare moment he can with his wife and children. They are quite active in sporting activities such as baseball, hockey, and soccer; therefore, Finnoff does his best to support, attend, and even coach them when he can.

“His love for his family is a big reason why I respect him as a person, and look up to him as a role model,” Willis remarked. “He’s the best father, best husband as far I can tell.”

Finnoff continuously works to make things better for something greater than him. That’s why the undergraduate program is important to him. That’s why coaching rugby is important to him. That’s why his family is important to him.

That is how he can light up all the light bulbs at once, because for Finnoff, the joy of working comes from bringing a better future. The fact that he can work hard and balance life is astonishing considering everything he does.

“While the decisions are hard, they aren’t unbearable,” explains Finnoff. “It’s not a job. It’s a very fulfilling use of my time and my life.”