Author: Lindsay Borgen

The Piktochart Phenomenon

Our world is becoming more and more visual, and those who do not realize this will soon be left behind. With sensations like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr dominating social communications, the focus has shifted to visuals. A company called Piktochart has realized this, coming up with infographic templates for people and companies to use to display information.

Infographics are a huge trend right now, but they must be used effectively to display the information they hold. Piktochart offers over 75 themed templates with each one tailored to presenting a certain type of information. The key to utilizing infographics well is to make dry, boring information attention-grabbing and interesting. You should not overload an infographic with too much text; it should be easily followed and not overwhelming. The colors need to be appropriate and eye catching; you want to pull your audience into the information by making it visually appealing. Sites such as Mashable (a news source for social media and technology news) use infographics to accompany their stories for an enhanced visual effect. Companies and media alike can benefit from using infographics effectively.

Piktochart infographics can be used to spice up almost any information. Comparing different companies’ presence on social media? There’s a theme for that. Explaining complex environmental issues? There’s a theme for that. Presenting a project for a class? There’s a theme for that. The best way to take advantage of Piktochart creatively is to take the time to choose the best theme, colors, and set up to effectively display your information.

There are many fads that come and go in the world of social communications, but I believe that Piktochart will still be making its mark in 2013. According to this infographic about infographics, infographics that are high quality (such as the ones you can create in Piktochart) are 30 times more likely to be read than plain text articles. So the next time you have information that you want to communicate, think about invigorating it with Piktochart.

The Penn State Scandal: The Corporate Impact & Community Impact Through The Eyes of a Nittany Lion

This time last year, Penn State was just another big time football program. Myself and other students were enjoying the time off. Players were prepping to make a run at the Big Ten title and the school had the face of college football at the helm: Joe Paterno.

Funny how much can change in twelve months.

NCAA handed down harsh penalties to Penn State this past Monday due to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. These penalties include a $60 million fine, no bowl games for four years, the vacating of all of Paterno’s wins from 1998 to 2011, and a serious cut in the scholarships they can award. And although it looked as if it couldn’t get worse for Penn State after these NCAA sanctions, it has.

Some of Penn State’s corporate sponsors are reconsidering their partnerships with the school. Yesterday State Farm announced that they will be pulling ads from Penn State football broadcasts. They were vague with their released statement, simply saying “We will not directly support Penn State football this year, we just feel it was the best decision.” General Motors and Nike are also reevaluating their sponsorship of Penn State, but have not yet made a decision on the matter. On the other hand, sponsors such as Highmark (the largest insurance provider in Pennsylvania), PNC Bank, and Pepsi Co. have announced their continued partnership with the school despite the actions of a handful of individuals.

In addition to some sponsors potentially abandoning Penn State, players are now free to transfer to any other college and have the opportunity to play this season. The loss of scholarships for these deserving student athletes coupled with the other penalties could push players to transfer. Head Coach Bill O’Brien is working hard keep his team together, even while other universities are evaluating the Penn State roster. Teams such as USC, Baylor, and Michigan have expressed interest in Penn State players, but the team seems to be standing strong. Quarterback Matt McGloin released a statement on his commitment to the university, “We, as student-athletes, are being punished for going to class, graduating, being involved in the community and playing football. Even though these penalties are extremely harsh, I am a Nittany Lion and will remain one.” McGloin’s full statement can be read here.

“From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.” As a Penn State student and a member of the State College community, this statement represents exactly how I feel. First and foremost, I feel horrible for the victims and my thoughts and prayers are always with them. Beyond that, it pains me to see these student athletes, who were toddlers when this scandal actually happened, lose their scholarships. And it feels like a personal blow every time I hear that one of our corporate sponsors has decided to sever their partnership with us. I used to think that all of our sponsors were there to support the university, its academics, and ALL of its sports programs, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The sentiment on the Penn State campus and in the State College community is similar to my own, but we continue to band together and support one another as a family.

Through the good and terribly bad, we ARE always Penn State.

Jump on the Pinterest Bandwagon!

There have been many emerging social networks in recent years, but Pinterest is definitely one to take notice of. Started in 2010, Pinterest did not take off immediately, but as soon as it caught on its growth became the fastest in social media history. According to an article by Gayle Falkenthal featured in the Washington Times, Pinterest now ranks third amongst the most used social networks behind Facebook and Twitter with over 104 million users. Women dominate the Pinterest user base as of now, but men are starting to catch on as well.

Pinterest aims to connect people around the world by allowing them to “pin” and “re-pin” photos of things they enjoy. You can pin anything; from beautiful landscapes to delicious recipes, Pinterest has it all. Each user’s Pinterest profile consists of boards, where all their pins are displayed. These boards can be titled anything you want, from “dream house” to “clothes I love,” and you can have as many boards as you’d like. Friends go through one another’s boards to re-pin things that they enjoy. Many users also purchase the things they pin, making it an extremely important marketing and business tool for companies.

Because of Pinterest’s easy-to-use set up and appealing visuals, people have become obsessed. It’s the new, trendy network to belong to, and the few clicks that it takes to pin something to your profile turns into hours of exploring pictures and products. So even if you belong to a few other social media sites, think about giving Pinterest a try!