Personal Digital Identity – A Semester’s Work

In our Marketing Capstone class at Champlain College (#ccc410mkt), we were asked to build a PDI, or Personal Digital Identit. This means maximizing SEO across all platforms and having seamless information across all of the different sites that I’m on – Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, and our WordPress blog.

Our capstone class is interesting at Champlain because we have two professors, that come from different disciplines to teach us the same material. It brings in new perspective for the professors to elaborate on as well as allows us to approach problems from different angles. I used a lot of reflection in my PDI from past years in the Core Curriculum and even wrote some posts about my experiences in those classrooms. I took a class called Visual and Digital Fundamentals that really helped with the aesthetics of my blog as well as provided me with the skills to make some print advertisements that I have in my ‘Professional Work’ section. Also, I remembered a lot of the tips and tricks about WordPress from on Internet-Based Marketing class that I took while studying abroad. Also, the whole PDI project revolved around personal branding, which we worked on in Brand and Account Management. In this class, in order to understand branding, we had to create a campaign that revolved around ourselves. This helped me with the direction that I wanted to take on my PDI.

I learn through experience, so in order to understand what I had to do, I just had to jump in and start clicking around. Learning through experience is actually one of my themes for my blog and a big part of how I tackle new objectives. The biggest change for me during this project was the continuous project. It was hard for me to stay up on deadlines, because I was procrastinating and am used to completing a project before handing it in.

I had a slow start in completing this project, but ultimately I think I performed very well. I found a solid ‘voice’ for my blog and other social media platforms. My greatest strength was my ability to tell a story. I have always loved sharing stories and experiences, but hadn’t ever tried it out online. My biggest weakness would be the procrastination that set in early. I had a big internal and personal battle with doing all of this social media and adding to the ‘clutter’ that already disrupts our lives. I think I was able to find a happy medium between the two worlds.

Ultimately the PDI project helped me not only promote myself online, but also to realize what I value in my life. I have always had an idea of the way I go about approaching problems and tackling new objectives, but after publishing my philosophy statement and themes for my blog, I am able to reflect on this and understand my own process. I will be able to take this knowledge into my future professional life, as well as in my personal life.

Here are some of my results –

Brand Yourself:
100% of Google results on first page are mine.
klout - brand yourself

 

 

 
Klout: 
Started at a 33 – Now at a 62
Also worked to decrease the effect that Facebook had on my score. It was at about 90%, but now is below 50%.
klout 4.24

WordPress/PDI:
Progressively got more views and comments on the site as the semester passed.
February: 3 views
March: 307 views
April: 493 views
wordpress

Linkedin:
One of my goals was to gain recognition on Linkedin for my Skills & Expertise.
I now have 77 endorsements.
linkedin

Paper.li
I have been featured in a few of these online news aggregators and it proves that I am reaching the right target market. The first one that I was featured in was an Adventure Paper.ly and feature my posts about being an Eagle Scout. I also got picked up in the leisure section of the Paper.ly ‘Hiking, Outdoor, Wildlife, Animals.’
paper.ly hiking and outdoor
paper.ly hiking 2

Football wasn’t my thing…

crew 2I tried playing football. I have always been an athletic kid, but for some reason I never could get into playing football. I played for one season in our schools Pop Warner football and started a second season. Eventually I grew sick of the sport. Something about hitting a training sled day in and day out didn’t appeal to me. I decided it was time to quit, and that set me up for some great new opportunities.

I didn’t play the traditional sports that students play during high school. Up until 8th grade I played lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. After that I decided to try rowing crew. Some of my sisters friends started rowing, and I had always loved kayaking, so I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t a school sport, but a club sport that met at the lake in town. Turns out I was really good at it – we went on to win a few different medals including a silver medal at the Head of the Connecticut. I was team captain during my sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Rowing helped facilitate many leadership opportunities for me. I was the Student Representative on the board for the club. This entailed weekly meetings where we talked about the budgets, planned repairs for boats, hired coaches, and planned regattas. I enjoyed being the only student, or kid, there because I brought a different perspective into the group. I learned how to get my ideas across when I am the smallest voice in the room. I learned how to challenge someone else’s ideas without being disrespectful and offering alternative to solutions that weren’t working.

crew

Rowing is a discipline and requires a lot of focus, responsibility, and trust. You need to be able to trust everyone else and they need to trust you. If you don’t, the boat has a really good chance of flipping. All of these aspects carry over to leadership traits and my experience with the Cazenovia Rowing Club helped me to become the leader that I am today.

Skateboarding Gives Me Confidence

Skateboarding is part of who I am. I can remember the first skateboard that I got when my age was still in the single digits. I loved everything about it.

It was something that I put together on my own. The nuts, the bolts, trucks, using the tools to put together a board that was going to take me around town and allow me to go fast. That was what was at the core of this whole thing – I love going fast. I could jump on a skateboard and all of a sudden I was going faster than I could run. Learning the technical side of skateboarding (flip tricks and whatnot) was harder for me when I was younger, but I never gave up. My friends and I would spend hours at the skatepark just messing around and creating new things to launch off of.

Skateboarding at the Burton Mini-Ramp

Burton Mini-Ramp

Skateboarding has provided me with countless hours of exercise to keep my body in check, but it also keeps my mind in check. Today, I do a lot of longboarding around Burlington, VT and skateboarding at the skateparks in the surrounding areas. Skateboarding keeps you young because you don’t have time to think about the any other stresses in your life besides possibly breaking parts of your body.

That’s where the second part comes in. Skateboarding is also dangerous and requires a level of confidence and balance. If you aren’t confident in your skills, there is no way that you will get better. It seems ironic, but you need to approach every trick with the mentality that you will land, or else you will never land. You can’t be thinking about other things in your life, a skateboarder needs to focus all of his/her attention at the task at hand – all the while maintaining complete confidence in their abilities.

I don’t land all of the tricks I attempt, but that’s not why I skateboard. I skateboard because it keeps me in check and allows my mind to practice clearing and focusing on the task at hand. This translates over to my everyday life and into my professional life.

“Skateboarding teaches you how to take a fall properly. If you try to kickflip down some stairs, it might take you thirty tries, and you just learn how to take a tumble out of it without getting hurt.”   – Bam Margera

I think this quote sums it up perfectly. Confidence is all about failing, yet knowing you have it in you to succeed. Skateboarding teaches you that by practicing and staying confident in your skills, you will succeed in anything you try to accomplish.

Coast to Coast

A map of our route.

Last summer my roommate, Quillan George, and I set out for a cross country road trip… Portland, Oregon to Burlington, Vermont. It’s any 21 year old’s dream to go on an adventure like this with his best friend and a list of breweries to hit on the way. We were lucky enough to be able to seize the opportunity. Quillan’s parents moved out to Portland while we were both studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland and during the move they took his car with them. He flew out to Portland about a week earlier than I did to spend time with his family and when I got there we spent a week at the Georges’ house. We drank great beer from breweries like Deschutes Brewery and smaller brewers like Amnesia Brewery. We got to skate at some of the local skateparks and while we never made it to Burnside, we did make it to Battle Ground.

After our short visit to the Northwest we started heading South and into California. While on the road trip we decided to set a few rules, or challenges, to make the trip more fun and worthwhile.  The first thing we did was throw the GPS in the trunk. We
road atlasbrought a good ol’ US road atlas with us to guide us on the way and printed out some of the more detailed directions (like getting out of Portland) from Google. In doing this we were able to find new adventures along the way and look for campsites. That was our second challenge. Since it was the summer and generally good weather, we decided not to book hotels. Bottom line is that were in college and poor and wanted to save money wherever possible. We bought some backpacking hammocks, a tent, packed light, loaded the car up and off we went. We ended up staying in a few KOAs along the way, but never spent more than $20 a night between the two of us. The KOAs were actually a huge relief sometimes because we could take a real shower, instead of just stopping whenever we saw a river or stream to rinse off (we did this more for the fun than to clean off).

Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe, CA

All together we were able to camp in many different states across the US and saw parts of the country that I had only imagined in my head. We set up camp only a few miles from Crater Lake and witnessed the most amazing meteor shower of my life. We spent a night with friends in Lake Tahoe and jumped in the lake at sunrise (by the way, this was the best shower of the trip). We saw Phish’s West Coast opener in Long Beach, California. We slept outside, among the Redwoods, drove through the Moab Desert in Utah and even spent a day at Disneyland (we’re really just big kids). We didn’t do much planning ahead or calling in advance to book campsites and this made the trip all the more exciting.

Exploring at the Arches National Park - Moab Desert, Utah

Exploring at the Arches National Park – Moab Desert, Utah

I set out to have an adventure, explore new places, and meet people that I had never seen before – but, I ended up learning a lot about myself along the way. Quillan and I worked well as a team and this definitely helped the trip go smoothly. Whenever a problem arrived we would figure out what would work best overall as far as time and getting the most out of the trip. Whether it involved who was going to drive and when, how to get to the next place we wanted to visit, or where we were going to sleep we worked as a team and tackled any problems that we encountered.

Bridge to Vermont from New York

After the whole trip… it was great to see this again. Back in Vermont.

It was the adventure of a lifetime and only left me looking for more. Whether it be in my professional or personal life, I can’t wait to see what the next adventure holds. 

#CCAccept – Accepted Students Day

The past two Saturdays have been Accepted Students Days here on the Champlain College campus.

For any normal senior, this is just a day when there are tons of families on campus and there is a lot of noise in the library. For myself and the rest of the Student Ambassador crew, it was a day full of mingling and ‘schmoozing’ with the families. I love these days because everyone who is a prospective student is so excited that they may be attending Champlain in the fall as a student, and joining us in the amazing education that Champlain has to offer.

Me holding the campus tours sign this past weekend at Accepted Students Day

For many of us, it was a 12 hour work day on Friday because we had a meet and mingle session for any of the accepted students that wanted to come and hang out. We saw a performance by Los Dormant Volcanoes, a student improv troupe, and played the Wii game ‘Just Dance 4’ which was fun until I had to dance to Moves Like Jagger. Let’s just say I don’t move like Jagger. We (the Student Ambassadors) had the best time because we got to sit back and watch new friendships form, everything from finding roommates to teammates in the Rugby club.

This year for Accepted Students Day we did things a little differently. We created an online environment for these prospective students to interact in as well as the meet and mingle. We used the hashtag #CCAccept to reach out across all social media platforms. Tweets were coming in from students who were there, and from students who wished they were there – but couldn’t make it. We had a ‘photobooth’ for accepted students and therefore Instagram photos were constantly flowing in.

The Student Ambassadors and the Admissions team at Champlain used tagboard.com/ccaccept as a hub for all of the tweets and photos coming in from faculty, current students, and prospective students. There was so much content that it all needed to be featured in one place. I had never heard of tagboard.com before, but had it pulled up on monitors around campus so the feed was updating live and it brought the two environments together as one.

Troop 107 – Perryville, NY

I am an Eagle Scout.

This is a fact that many people do not know about me and are sometimes surprised to learn. Especially when I was younger it is something that many people wanted to criticize or make fun of me for. They saw the Boy Scouts as all of the negative stigmas instead of looking at the opportunities it provided. For me, it shaped who I am as a person and built my core values.

While other kids were going to sports events and hockey tournaments, I was spending my time on canoe trips and rock climbing adventures. When others would make fun of me for going to Boy Scout Camp over the summer, I told them I repelled down a 75 foot cliff, canoed down rapids in the Adirondacks… and flipped it, biked up a mountain, and flew around in a seaplane. Adventures like these created who I am, as a leader, an explorer, and a person. I never once regretted missing out on a weekend ski trip or a poker night that my friends were having, because I was able to escape and enjoy the great outdoors.

As I got older, I continued on with Boy Scouts while many of my friends dropped out. I was able to create lasting friendships with kids that I never would have hung out with in school. My cousin (also an Eagle Scout) and I used to go to the middle school to talk to the younger kids about bullying Boy Scouts. It was a great experience to share my feelings about scouts with these kids and give them a new perspective on hiking, camping, and rock climbing.

Scouting changed my life and formed who I am. Everyday I remember that I am an Eagle Scout and continue to go camping when weather permits (and often when it doesn’t). I will always hold a deep respect for nature and continue to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. My ultimate goal would be to find or create a work environment where I can share my love for the outdoors with others, and make a living for myself.

The Flag Pole

When I was younger my friend and I were digging a  hole in the ground to jump over with our bikes. It wasn’t too big but we wanted to build mounds and jump over. I lived with my grandparents and they were the only ones home at the time. We were digging away and then my grandmother came out and told us to stop digging because it was bothering my grandpa. We didn’t even realize, but we were digging right underneath the flag hanging in our yard.

Me at a young age (TMNT pants!)We were probably 10 and didn’t understand that this was disrespectful, but my grandfather was in WWII and obviously had deep respect for the flag. We respected him and stopped digging. I felt guilty at the time, but today it makes me realize a difference in our generations. They didn’t take anything for granted and loved what they fought for.

I think our generation takes a lot for granted and forgets about the freedoms that we have in this country. Not only our country, but everything that we have. My grandfather symbolized this passion and understanding when he told us to stop digging under the flag. If I were to relive an experience like this today, I like to think that I have changed my ways and filled in the hole.

I did a lot of reflection on this with my group as well as my parents when they came to visit. Oftentimes, I don’t take into account how my actions will affect others. I act before thinking and sometimes that has negative repercussions. This is something that I need to change and work towards, even though I have come a long way from digging under the flag pole.