Googling “Lauren Roberts” – The curse of a common name

Google search, online reputation management, "Lauren Roberts"

This week’s assignment is pretty familiar to me, because I’ve Googled myself more than once!I’ve always been a little curious about what information is out there about me, and what results show up first in search results. Because I’ve performed Google searches on myself before, I was well aware of the obstacle of having a common name. In previous searches, I had to go beyond just “Lauren Roberts” to find results that actually related to me. Putting previous results aside, I Googled “Lauren Roberts” once more to discover if my online reputation had changed, and if I somehow managed to crawl up all of the “Lauren Roberts” results.

After searching “Lauren Roberts,” I was very excited when I clicked on the top link which was Facebook profiles for “Lauren Roberts,” and I saw my picture as the top result. Sadly, the excitement didn’t last long. I realized I was still logged into my Facebook account, and that’s why I appeared at the top of the results. I logged out of my Facebook account and conducted the Google search again. The second time, my profile didn’t appear at all. The same was true with the LinkedIn results which appeared as the second result on the first page.

Google search, online reputation management, "Lauren Roberts"The top results not related to any social network profiles were for Lauren Roberts & Co. Salon in Park Ridge, Illinois; Lauren Roberts, MD; and an article about some woman who threw a surprise birthday party for her husband. I went through 25 pages of Google results, and was unable to find anything that actually related to me. I was surprised to see how many mug shots for people who share my name showed up in the 25 pages of results. I can assure you, none of those are mine!

Google search, online reputation management, "Lauren Roberts"I have several different email accounts that I use regularly, so I decided to perform a search for each of those. I tried my undergrad email “l-roberts@onu.edu” first. Without quotes around the email, a bunch of unrelated links appeared. With quotes, Google was unable to find any results at all. When I typed in my UF email “laureneroberts@ufl.edu,” two results appeared, and they were both links for posts on my Blogger blog. Finally, success! I was surprised that my WordPress blog didn’t appear in the results. I guess I need to post more of my blogs on Google Plus so I might get more recognition. Lastly, I typed in “robertslauren19@gmail.com.” This email also yielded no results.

Despite a lack of results, I added several other keywords into the search query to see where I would appear in results. I was very excited that my LinkedIn page was the top result under “Lauren Roberts social media.” When typing in “Lauren Roberts Ohio Norhtern” (where I attended undergrad), I dominated the first page with photos and box scores from soccer games, my LinkedIn page, and some website that tracks people. I don’t know how the last one got my information because I didn’t submit it to them. When I searched “Lauren Roberts University of Florida,” my LinkedIn page was the first result and my Google Plus account appeared on the first page of results.

While it’s disappointing that my name alone didn’t garner more related results, it’s good to know that potential employers can still find my online presence if they add several obvious keywords. 

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Retail Me Not Mobile App

Retail Me Not, Mobile App, Smartphone, TabletIn a world where media messages are fighting for your attention, and everyone is always connected to their smartphones and tablets, companies are creating mobile apps to aid in their marketing efforts. My iPhone is filled with all sorts of different mobile apps, from Angry Birds to Google Maps. I recently downloaded the free Retail Me Not app, in order to see how businesses are utilizing mobile apps. The app’s description stated that it contained thousands of coupons and deals to the places you love to shop. 

After downloading Retail Me Not, you’re asked if you would like push notifications. I opted out of this option because I already have too much going on on my phone. However, from the standpoint of a business, I think it’s good to ask consumers if they’ll allow the push notifications. If they say yes, you can constantly keep them updated with what’s going on with your business, and you can always remain fresh in their minds.

Retail Me Not, Mobile App, Shopping, Tablet, Marketing

After denying push notifications, I was asked if I wanted to find deals nearby. If you allowed theapp to track your location, they could tell you all the deals within your local area. While I normally wouldn’t allow most apps to track me, for the sake of my research, I allowed the app to access my location. Upon my approval, a long list of stores appeared on my screen. It wasn’t just clothing stores, it was restaurants, auto supply stores, etc. Along with the store name, it showed the deal that was being offered. For example, Best Buy was offering 20 percent off small appliances, in store and online. If you find a deal that you like, you have the option of saving it on the app, that way you can access it when you’re in the store.

Retail Me Not, Mobile App, Shopping, Tablet, Marketing

If you want to access the deal right away, you can click on the image and either claim the offer or share it with friends. I clicked on share to see where Retail Me Not allowed consumers to tell their friends about the deal. App users can share deals viatext message, email, Facebook or Twitter. The share feature is great because it will help attract more people to the Retail Me Not App. If you see one of your Facebook friends sharing a deal, you’re more likely to access that deal because you know who they are and you have already established trust with that person.

If you want to go beyond local deals, you have the option of searching trending deals. You can choose to search in-store deals or online deals. I was impressed by the number of deals for national retailers within the app. If you’re looking for a specific item but don’t have a specific store in mind, Retail Me Not allows you to search from a list of categories including: Automotive, Beauty, Clothing, Furniture, among many others. There really is something for every shopper.

 

Retail Me Not, Mobile App, Shopping, Tablet, Marketing

Finally, if you’re out and about and you spot a good deal, the app allows you to snap a photo and share your savings with other shoppers. The app takes the shopping and saving experience full circle.

Overall, I think the Retail Me Not app is beneficial for mobile users. They no longer have to worry about carrying around or finding that coupon, because they have them right at their fingertips. I will definitely be saving the app on my phone and using it to score some deals the next time I’m at the mall or going out to dinner! 

Second Life: Get me out of here!

Second Life, virtual world, avatar

Listening to Fergie in a club, prior to my makeover.

This week I left the “actual world” and entered the virtual world of Second Life. When logging on, I had the option of choosing an avatar, none of which came close to resembling me. I assumed once I entered into Second Life, I’d be able to customize my avatar more so it would be a better representation of me. After downloading the program (which I had to do on a PC because it wouldn’t work on my Mac), I found my avatar on the beach, surrounded by other avatars. An avatar near me started chatting with me, but he didn’t speak English so I didn’t engage in the conversation. Before I started chatting, I decided to get my profile in order. I was hesitant to get into too much detail by saying that I was conducting research, so I just wrote that I was a “Midwestern girl, 20-something, exploring a virtual world.”

Amidst the sound of ocean waves, I could hear the sound of typing. Eventually I figured out that I was involved in a group conversation. I was put in a precarious position when an avatar near me asked if I was in Second Life for fun or for research. I decided to reveal the truth, she wished me good luck and that was the end of the conversation.

After finishing the conversation, I decided to explore more of the island. I made my avatar run around the island (I’d been sitting down trying to figure out SL for awhile, so at least one of us was getting in shape!). After exploring the island on foot, I decided to give flying a whirl. I assumed my avatar would fly around obstacles, so poor virtual me ran my head into many boulders! I finally figured out that if you clicked to places on the map, your avatar would travel to where you clicked.

Upon finishing my tour of the island, I decided to work on my avatar’s appearance. I was shocked that you could control the most minute details of your appearance, including how much your butt swayed when you walked! I spent awhile trying to get my avatar to look like my actual appearance, but the end result looked nothing like me.

I played around with teleporting and explored some of the free worlds in Second Life. Most of the places I teleported were clubs, where I struggled to get my avatar to dance. Dancing is surprisingly a lot easier in the actual world than it is in the virtual world! I finally thought I had figured it out, and I got so excited when the avatar next to me on the dance floor sent me a direct message. He asked me if I was ok. Confused about the question, I answered with a simple question mark. He informed me that I was running in place…so much for dancing! I must have run right out of the club because before I knew it, I was in a completely different building.

Next, I explored an island that was supposed to be for people just starting out in Second Life. I thought this might be the best place to try and start conversations with people, because we we’re all learning together. I direct messaged a couple of the people around me, and they were all really helpful in helping me navigate the virtual world. One of the people who I talked to was someone named Jeff. Here is our conversation:

Me: Hi!

Jeff: Hello

Me: Do you play this game a lot?

Jeff: Yeah, quite a bit. Why, what’s up?

Me: I’m just starting out, and I’m not really sure what to do.

Jeff: This is a good place to start, things all over the walls that you can read to get started.

Me: Ok thanks, just trying to figure it all out.

Jeff: It’s not so much a game, but you should read that tutorial behind you.

Second Life, virtual world, avatar

My avatar, post-makeover.

The conversation continued, he helped me find other clothes, and tried to help me fix how Second Life appeared on my laptop. Turns out, the PC I was using wasn’t so great, and that’s why the majority of the Second Life world appeared purple to me. I asked others similar questions, and got a grasp of the Second Life lingo. Besides learning that the people in Second Life don’t like it to be referred to as a game, I learned they always distinguish between SL (Second Life) and RL (Real Life).

Second Life reminded me a lot of middle school and high school, when I was nervous to talk to new people, and I would spend a couple minutes looking at an instant message before I actually pressed the send button. After spending some time on Second Life, I have a better understanding of how it could be a useful classroom tool. The anonymity made it easier to talk to people, which would benefit an education setting because students could participate in conversations without the fear of raising their hand in class. On the other end of the spectrum, I also experienced why Second Life is frowned upon. During my stay on the newcomer island, one of the people who started up a conversation with me told me he was going to take my “SL virginity,” within seconds of saying hi. As a parent, I wouldn’t allow my child to enter the virtual world.

After spending five hours on the site, I was definitely happy to log out of the virtual world, and get back to my actual life!

What are your exercise habits – The results

Last week I conducted a survey regarding exercise habits. Through the ten questions I asked, I was hoping to learn how many times a week people are exercising, what type of exercise people are doing, how much money participants would be willing to pay to keep their fitness resolutions, what motivates people to exercise and the reasons people don’t exercise. After sharing the survey on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, the results are in!

I’m a little disappointed that only 30 people completed my survey. With such a limited amount of responses, it’s hard to get a real understanding from the data I gathered. The next time I’m creating a survey, I’d put more emphasis on getting participants. I’d look into sharing the survey on other social networks like Google Plus or LinkedIn. I’d also consider sharing with specific exercise-related social media pages and groups. Because those people already have an interest in the topic, they may be more likely to give their input. 

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Of the 30 people who completed my survey, 22 were female and eight were male. The majorityof respondents were in the 18-24 (36 percent) and 25-34 (53 percent) age ranges. I’m not really surprised by the large number of respondents in these age groups because the majority of people I’m connected to on social media, fall within these numbers.

When it comes to the number of days that participants exercise, it was a pretty even race. The majority of survey participants (38 percent) exercise two to four days a week, while 31 percent of participants, don’t exercise at all. The most active participants who exercise five to seven times a week,  came in at 28 percent.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Survey participants were split evenly when asked if they prefer to work out in a group or alone. Thirteen prefer to exercise in a group, 13 prefer to exercise alone, and four chose the option that they don’t exercise at all. I was actually a little surprised that only four chose the option for neither, since nine participants said they didn’t exercise at all.

Ten participants said they owned a gym membership, and twenty participants said they did not own a gym membership. I’d be really interested to see how many of the people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, were members of a gym. With that knowledge I could assess if people who paid for gym memberships were more likely to be active. Unfortunately, the free version of Survey Monkey doesn’t offer those statistics.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

When asked how much participants would be willing to pay for a gym membership, I got a variety of responses. Looking at the way I worded the question, I would have like to have been more clear. I asked participants how much they would be willing to pay for a gym membership, but I wish I had clarified either how much they would pay per month or per year. While some participants stated per month or per year, all of them didn’t. As much as I would like to assume that someone would be willing to pay $20 per month, maybe it’s one of the people who don’t regularly exercise and they’d only be willing to pay $20 per year. I was surprised that I only received two responses from people who said they wouldn’t pay for a gym membership. Since 20 people said they don’t own a gym membership, and nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, I would have assumed this number would have been higher.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Participants were given a wide variety of exercises to choose from, and they could enter other exercises in my question about what exercise they prefer to take part in. Over 53 percent of participants said that running was part of their exercise routine. Lifting weights was the next highest activity at 46 percent, followed by yoga at 30 percent. Once again, I was surprised that only five participants chose the I don’t exercise option.

The biggest motivator for participants to exercise was their overall fitness, at over 46 percent.Thirty percent of participants said they exercise because it makes them feel good. On the other side of the spectrum, over 56 percent of participants said they don’t exercise because they don’t have enough time, while over 46 percent said they don’t exercise because it’s a rest day. Only two participants said they don’t exercise because it’s not important to them.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

My final question asked participants how important exercise is to them. Nine participants said that it was extremely important to them. My guess is that the eight people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, probably selected this answer. Seven people said it was very important, six said moderately important, five said slightly important, and three said not important at all. Nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, but only three said exercise wasn’t important to them at all. Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

I definitely thought that the numbers of days participants exercise in a week, and how they ranked the importance of exercise would coincide more. In my original post, I said I wished there had been an option for those who selected that they didn’t exercise regularly to go to the end of the survey. Now that my results are in, I’m glad this option didn’t exist and I got the extra insight from this group of people. On every question regarding exercise, I gave the option of I don’t exercise at all, yet throughout the survey, the number of participants who chose that option fluctuated. Even though almost a third of participants don’t exercise regularly, a lot of them still claim to somewhat value exercise.

If I ran a gym or fitness studio and I was looking at this data, I would look at the excuses people give for not exercising. Since the majority of people said they think exercise is important but they just don’t have enough time in their day, I would consider adding shorter classes that got members in and out in under an hour. I would also consider an option where non-members could pay to take a specific class, since the majority of survey takers said they don’t own a gym membership. With these implemented changes, I would hope to see an increase in revenue and memberships.