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Draw It Out for Me: Infographics

10 Apr

Many people, from past generations and especially this one, are visually driven. They are visual learners, they believe things when they see it, they can view photos virtually anywhere, and they can see satellite imaging anywhere from space. And our cravings have only increased; therefore, it is no wonder that infogrpahics have remained so popular over the years.

Infographics can come in many forms and for many purposes, from the humble pie chart to venn diagrams to maps. I would also include models as a type of infographic.

Infographics provide us wih information from history. The one below was found at an archeological site in Israel. It demonstrates the differences in lagnuage between two cultures as well as the way life has changed over the last century. This exampe shows the primary purpose of an infographic, to inform and enlighten and to help grab a new concept through pictures and visual aid. Notice also how the infographic is vivid and cathces your eye.

Infographics are used virutally everywhere, from magazines to the stock exchange to the local gym. It provides a visual for concepts that are both easily tangible and abstract. It provides reinforcement for things we know has well as clarity for what is important. This is why they can be so useful in the world of public relaitons.

Pictorials and inforgraphics are often used for poll taking as well, as seen in this example below. It provides an aid in surverying snd allows one to get a viusal for percentages, which can have a much greater, more striking, and longer lasting impact than just a statistic.

image from mashable.com

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Guest Post- Alexandra Vittetoe

24 Mar

Alexandra Vittetoe has a passion for travel and a heart for missions. She shares here from her blog, redpenpapers.

Recently I was discussing with an unsaved relative the idea of my class “Theology of Missions,” and explaining to her the typical content of this course. She was very confused because in her mind, she said, the theology for missionary work is kind of basic and obvious. She considers missionaries to be usually very good-hearted people, same as you would find working in education, childcare, or social work, people who have a strong religious belief, but who basically just change the environmental state of the people they are surrounded by – mostly in a good way. I tried to explain the concept of “incarnational missions” to her, but she didn’t seem to think it was much different from what she was talking about. “Living among the people and loving on them, isn’t that basically what you do?”

“Well, no, we also try to reach their souls.”

“Why?”

“Because we love them that much.”

“So does any atheistic do-gooder. You don’t have to be a Christian to love on people in third-world countries. And by trying to save all of them, you’re trying to change their natural lives. How can that be good for them to change who they fundamentally are into something that isn’t natural for them?

The world around the church, outside and separated, sees from its own perspective a very basic idea of what it means to be a missionary. The assumption commonly reported is that missionaries go into other countries, usually third-world countries, and do good deeds that will make the natives suddenly desire desperately to change themselves and become Christians. This representation, while still maintaining a part in the whole truth, is not quite adequate. In order to properly understand the entirety of what it means to be a missionary, we have to first understand three things: what we were created to be, what we have let ourselves become, and God’s plan to change that. The true dynamic involved in missions is not merely good deeds or words timely placed; we are called to restore the people of this world – the people that God has created – to their rightful places in His eyes. A ministry of restoration cannot be overlooked in any conceptualization of the missionary life. It is not natural for us to live in sin.

The first point to be addressed is the idea that we as human beings were created a certain way and for a certain purpose that we perhaps are not living up to now. When God first created the world, the story that is related in Genesis, we see that Adam and Eve lived a life that we have not been able to replicate no matter how many ingenious methods we employ. This shows that God created us with a certain model in mind, a model of “imago dei”; not necessarily an impossible model, or even a strict model that we should rebel against. Rather, this model implies that the life of a Christian is the life that we were created to live from the very beginning, and that sin is the deviation from that model.

The second point to consider is that we are not living the lives that we were created to live. In Romans chapter 1, verses 18-20, Paul says of all humans:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

This indicates that we all have an instinctive knowledge of the divine, and if we have an instinctive knowledge of the divine, then we must in some way be responsible for our actions or reactions thereupon. Further in Romans, chapter three verse twenty-three, Paul says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” giving way to the concept that we were made for a higher standard than we are currently living. Such is this that to be able to “fall short” of something, we must be working toward a goal – perhaps a goal of holiness and perfection? “Therefore you are to be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” So we can and should be living to a standard that we are not achieving, and that most of the world is unaware exists.

Finally, if we as Christians are aware of this model presented, of a life that we can achieve where our actions become “natural” in that they are sin-free, then how can we keep this wonderful truth to ourselves? Christ came to earth to pay a blood-bound penalty for our deviation of the natural, and to restore to us the power to change. When He healed a sick person, He said almost consistently alongside the healing “your sins are forgiven,” proving that there is a link between physical restoration and spiritual. Healing is a type of restoration that returns the ill person to that of their intended condition. Forgiveness, then, must follow the same path – forgiveness is to restore a person to the life that they were created to live.

As missionaries, our goal is to begin an expression of restoration among the nations. We are to be working to restore not only their physical condition (that of healing), but also their spiritual (that of forgiveness). Of course, a love for these people will naturally flow through us as we work, but this whole new perspective changes the undercurrent that will mark our behavior. We are not going out into the world to change who these people fundamentally are to something that is fundamentally different: we are going to restore them to their rightful status in God’s eyes. So many youth in the world crave a “revolution,” but what is that besides restoration? Without being raised up to who we are supposed to be by definition of being human, there is no chance for a change in the outlying world.

The Case of the Copy Cats

16 Feb

What would you do if you realized that someone copied information verbatim from the organization’s blog your public relations firm is representing? PRmoment.com calls these writers “churnalists.” It is also simple plagiarism, and it is considered illegal. Journalists and PR professionals toe-the-line when they are not careful about including attributes or coming up with fresh ideas. It also puts the reputation of a PR firm at risk if content from their organization is parroted by someone else. It makes publics wonder who really has authority in the media.

Content scraping can be unfortunate and cause some damage. However, with proper PR work, it can also result in reward, according to Angela England on Blogging Basics 101, an informational blog for those working in digital media.

“My initial knee-jerk reaction is usually, ‘How dare they!?’ but this is rarely a useful response,” said England.

She suggests keeping calm when making contact with whomever stole the contact and working out a way for the author of the original post to receive payment for their work by charging who took the content a reprint free if it is not removed by a certain date.

“This not only creates a potential win/win situation, but also makes it very clear that your [organization’s] words have VALUE and aren’t up for grabs,” said England.

However, if this creates more conflict or ends with no results, and your organization’s content still up, you should consider filing a DMCA complaint. This notifies Google and other web hosts of copyright infringement.

You should remain calm and try to keep the situation between your firm, the organization, and whoever copied the content. Avoid posting threats or expressing agitation on social media sites, despite the injustice.

Grammar mistakes that smart people make

22 Jan

Image Credits: "Business" by oki975

The English language is complex and mysterious, even for those who have never learned any other language. Word choice is the nugget of grammar that trips people up the most. Even refined writers sometimes find themselves reaching for a dictionary when it comes to certain rhetorical devices. Here is a list from Grammar Girl that may surprise you as much as it did me.

1. Blond vs Blonde 

The word can be used as a noun or adjective,  but how do we know when to put the “e” at the end? According to Mignon Fogarty, the woman behind Grammar Girl, the “e” is only used when using the word to describe a female. So, “the blond over there” would indicate a male, but “the blonde” would indicate a female.

“It looks as if the marketing people believe we will love their new roast if we think of it as a woman,” said Fogarty of the Blonde Roast.

2. Flout vs Flaunt

The words may sound the same, but their meanings are not. To flaunt means to parade or show off. You can flaunt your possessionsm your looks, or your new promotion.

To flout is to scoff or mock. You can flout or aunt’s weird hat, someone’s idea, or rules and laws.

“Remember that you flout laws by linking the “out” in “flout” with the idea of being outside society,” said Fogarty.

3. Backward vs Backwards 

As in the towards and toward conundrum, “backwards” is the British standard and “backward” is the American standard. However, there is one exception. When using backward as an adjective instead of an adverb, you never use the “s.”

For residents of the U.S., just remember that it is always without the “s.”

“We like shortcuts here, such as eating dinner in our cars, so you can remember that we’ve lopped off the ‘s,'” said Fogarty.

How REMARKable

20 Jan

Go ahead! Let your voice be heard! Image credits: Mouth by juliaf

Comments are an important part of blogging because they allow conversations to take place between readers and writers. Readers can offer suggestions and opinions in a blog comment. However, blog comments also have a reputation of being somewhat useless tidbits. In the Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks comedy Larry Crowne, an exasperated Roberts said to her blogger husband, “You did not post a new story today! It was a comment! You posted a comment! As in, ‘you’re lame!'” Although just part of the whole blogging picture, commenting can be very important, but it must also be well executed.

“[Efficient] means working smart (rather than hard), getting more done in less in less time, and making things easy to handle,” said Jane Sheeba, author of Problogger Success and guest writer for problogger.net So, much to the relief of many tentative bloggers, a good comment does not necessarily mean it is of novel proportions. Plus, too large of a comment may seem spammy. On the flip side of the coin, make sure your comment is long enough to properly contribute to the conversation. Unfortunately, “totally!” and “you rule!” do not make the grade.

Before you can even post a comment, you of course have to find a blog to comment on. Sounds time consuming? Sheeba has a method to save time.

“Reading a blog through[RSS] feeds is less distracting, even if I have email notifiers turned on,”said Sheeba.  I read the post in my RSS reader, and click through to the article online only if I want to leave a comment. That saves me loads of time!”

Sheeba also recommends promoting your own content via Twitter.

“Number one, you have to read the post,” said Chris Pirillo of chrispirillo.com in his youtube video how to leave good blog comments. It may seem obvious, but if you think back to high school, we all turned in book reports that were products of skimming over the material, but because of the concies nature of blogs, this method will not produce a firm enough understanding of the post you are commenting on.

“Also, add something new to the post. Don’t just say ‘I agree,'” says Pirillo. Ask yourself “Why do I agree?” Extend on a certain point in the blog you found especially enlightening. Pirillo mentioned in satire that adding personal commentary or anecdotes with your critiques to put a personality and character behind yourself as a random commentor.

Also, don’t forget to spell check and proofread! Nothing destroys your credibility as a blogger than a simple grammatical error. It also distracts from the points you are trying to make when you leave a glaring error. No one will notice if you spell a tricky word like “accommodations” or “colloquialism” or embarrassed” correctly, but they certainly will notice when you spell something incorrectly.

The last piece of advice is to browse through other comments before leaving your original.  This makes sure that you do not repeat a point that has already been said.

“The first commenter who makes the Lady Gaga comparison is savvy. The tenth person who does it is annoying,” said author Nathan Bransford in his blog.

Reviewing what other people have said for ideas and inspirations will actually help you cultivate a comment that is more fresh.

The Birds and the FBs

16 Jan

Well hello there! Image Credits: Morning Stretch by merlin1075

At the start of another semester of university, I am realizing again just how much of a role social media play in the lives of students. I once heard someone describe their view of social media as their “happy playground,” to escape. But for most, social media sites, with Twitter and Facebook taking the lead, are more than mindless status updates or photos from last weekend. They are methods  of conducting business, advertising, arranging and holding conferences, sharing ideas, testing new markets, and development. For students, it is less of a “happy playground” and more of a “starting ground,” for professionalism in new media.

Every week, I use Facebook, update my blogs, e-mail and skype my sisters, log on to Groupon, download an app, and watch a Youtube video. I have a Twitter account, though I am not as frequent of a tweeter as I used to be, and every once in a while I listen to a podcast. I use social media for just keeping in touch and sharing inside jokes with friends, find deals, discover new places, get my news, and to have a little fun and share quirky, creative ideas on sites such as Pinterest. I started blogging for a class and ended up falling in love with it. I keep four blogs for my own entertainment as well as practice for journalism.

In a speed-of-light society, the social media has made it so simple to share information quickly, efficiently, and easily. My generation will be the last to remember a time before social media took off (floppy disk, anyone?) Social media interaction has its own code of etiquette and “way of life,” so to speak. It is multi-faceted with different “beats,” and character online should be conducted accordingly. And hey, maybe this site will help us improve our tact at a face-to-face dinner interaction after a social media meeting. Mrs. Manners once said, “If you can’t thing of anything polite to say, be vague.” But now she might say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t Tweet it!”

Image from pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS- while the social media are swift, often business appropriate, and easy to personalize, it is still nice to send a hand-written note every once in a while, too. Another benefit of the social media? The written word has become more rare, therefore increasing its value.

 

Pink ribbons and heavy metals

24 Oct

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink is in season. The NFL has been sporting the color, and over the years, the Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Research Foundation has bathed over 200 landmarks worldwide in pink light, including the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Sydney Opera House.  Since the founding of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, both men and women have taken up a rose-colored crusade to find the cure and to educate others about the illness.

A sizeable number of families are impacted by cancer. Preventative measures are a concern among many people who fear that they or a family member may become another breast cancer statistic. Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Richard Boothby discussed diet.

“You can powerfully influence your body’s genes by what you put into it,” said Dr. Richard Boothby. “Processed foods increase your risk.” Sugary foods should also be avoided. “Your body gets no real energy from sugar.”

Many people consider going vegetarian or vegan to stave off cancer. If this is in your plans, it is imperative to still get the nutrients you need, which can be done through supplements. “Vegetarians and vegans who do not take supplements can become anemic,” said Boothby.

Currently, approximately 200,000 women in the United States are victims of breast cancer, and incidents have risen over the past three years. However, Boothby says that not every woman should obsess about getting cancer.

“Although rates are high, not every woman is going to get breast cancer, especially those with no family history,” he said. “We are also now able to detect it at a much earlier stage.

So what is done to treat breast cancer? The most common and for many years the most effective way was through chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to destroy the cells of the body that divide rapidly, including normal cells of the bone marrow, digestive tract, and bone marrow. The devastating effects of chemo on its patients have caused doctors to research alternative methods for treating cancer.

Chelation purges the body of dangerous metals and toxins, the most common being lead, arsenic, and mercury. One of the most common forms of checking for these metals is a urine test. A chemical is given through an IV that bonds specifically to the toxins, not the healthy cells, and the toxins and metals are excreted as water like compound. Patients typically undergo between 10 and 20 treatments. Each treatment lasts several hours, and patients may read or watch a movie during the session.   These patients may also undergo message therapy as an extra mean of releasing toxins.

Another alternative treatment plan is juicing. Holistic treatment centers strongly encourage their cancer patients to juice vegetables as a dietary mean of fighting their cancer. Patients are discouraged from sugar and most meat and instructed to create juices from specific types of vegetables to ensure their bodies are more alkaline. Meats cause an acidic environment within the body. Such a Ph balance causes a more favorable environment for cancer cells to thrive.

Why do patients juice the vegetables rather than just eat them? Juicing creates a more concentrated form of the nutrients, and, as a liquid, the body can better absorb the nutrients. Juicing also allows for a more optimal amount and variety of vegetables.

Low acid foods include curry, guava, spinach, brown rice, honey, and fish. Foods that are the most acidic include soynuts, beef, lobster, processed cheese, and cocoa.

There are several cancer patients currently undergoing chelation therapy and other holistic treatments as an alternative to chemotherapy. One such patient is Erelda Waters, a victim of breast cancer who has had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy before turning to holistic treatments when the cancer returned. Although she   was a vegan from the time she was 16, she still got cancer. Chelation and juicing has helped her identify dangerous materials still in her body and discover the proper diet to keep her cancer at bay. Since beginning these treatments, her numbers have improved, though she has an exhausting schedule, spending hours a day juicing vegetables and making several trips from her native Florida to a treatment center in North Carolina .

“Sometimes it is hard to know what to do for someone that is suffering.  Many times there isn’t anything you can do but pray, but these treatment opportunities give people an outlet to help and encourage those that are suffering with this disease,” said Waters.

Waters hopes that other families can find healing within these treatment centers.

“Moms are important in every child’s life, and we need to save the moms. If there is something threatening the most important element of the family, we need to address it,” said Waters.

It is astonishing to both Waters and Boothby that there is not yet a cure for breast cancer and other cancers.

3 Breast Cancer Myths Debunked:

Myth #1: Sleeping in a bra, especially one with an underwire, increases your risk of breast cancer.

Reality: “This is completely false,” said Boothby. “Some women think this because it puts pressure on the breast, but such pressure will not cause cancer.”

Myth #2: Splenda or other sugar substitutes can cause breast cancer.

Reality: “I have not seen any data proving that sugar substitutes cause cancer,” said Boothby. “However, I do not recommend sugar substitutes to my patients because they contain chemicals.”

Myth #3: Soda products cause breast cancer.

Reality: “It is not the soda itself that causes cancer. It is the sugars you are ingesting,” said Boothby. “A diet high in sugar causes insulin levels to go up, causing many things, including a high risk of cancer or heart disease.”