Social Media Adventure Day

This past week, my classmate, Mariel and I worked together on a social media scavenger hunt for one of our journalism courses at UW Madison. We explored a new neighborhood in Madison and experimented with our social media skills as we went. Check out the details of our adventure below!

Adventures on East Johnson Street

Upon receiving our directions we felt slightly overwhelmed, but we dove right into it. Here we are prepping for our adventure and introducing our plan:

We then gathered some inspo via Pinterest (my favorite) about thrift shops and neighborhoods full of murals!

When we arrived to East Johnson Street, we stumbled upon the perfect thrift shop to explore first.

The neighborhood had so many beautiful components to it… even the sides of the buildings were used to display art and murals. Here’s an example of one the photos I took and then enhanced through the app Prisma:


One of the shops we explored, Fontaine, offered an endless variety of home decor items. We talked with Barry Avery, the owner of the store, about what it’s like choosing items to sell in the store:

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Others in the neighborhood seemed to relate to the vibe of @goodstyleshop, @UpShiftSwagShop and Fontaine. After exploring the geography-based social media program Banjo, we wrote a headline and paragraph summing up the area’s atmosphere:

A Hipster’s Haven: Madison’s East Side has got it all

The offbeat neighborhood just east of Madison’s Capitol Building, known as Madison’s East Side, undoubtedly offers the ideal playground for free spirits. Featuring streets lined with bohemian thrift shops, tiny record stores and indie cafés, the neighborhood is an Instagrammer’s delight. Recent weekend-goers have posted photos of their latte art, record players and handmade jewelry, contributing to the neighborhood’s authentic, grassroots vibe.

As part of our adventure, we made an effort to not just observe the community, but also to engage in it. First, Alexa spoke with Molly, a retailer at Good Style Shop:

Next, we headed across the street to another thrift shop, UpShift Swap Shift, where I spoke with Amy:

We tried out a few different photos apps as we snapped photos along East Johnson Street. Check out our three favorites!

good stylepanoupshift

Making a GIF and Meme were two of our favorite tasks on the hunt!

Squad goals


We discussed what our favorite social media platform on Whatsapp…

…and ended our day excited to share our story with you right here on our blogs!

It’s been such a pleasure following our fellow classmates’ adventures via social media. Check out our reactions to their posts by following @Mariel_McAleer and @lexa_bryn on Twitter!


Personal Branding on Pinterest

Hi, my name’s Alexa and I’m addicted to Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong I love Instagram as much as the next girl but there’s just something about curating images that I love. Twitter and Facebook have their pros too, but Pinterest is hands down my favorite outlet to be on.


One good thing I think I have obtained from my most likely obsessive love for the platform is recognizing trends. Pinterest users aren’t quite as early adopters of trends as say Tumblr, but they’re getting there.

In the olden days of Pinterest it seemed like everyone had the same generic boards: Food, Crafts, Home Décor, Clothing and maybe a Wedding board (regardless of your relationship status). Today avid Pinterest users have gotten a bit more creative with their boards and tend to have a more editorial eye when it comes to their pins.

While many pins tend to be re-pinned photos and not always unique, personal content, it is still possible tailor your account and to brand yourself on Pinterest in a variety of ways.

  • Consistent visual branding

Add some flair to your Pinterest account by getting creative with the text in your Pin board titles, bio and Pin captions. Personally, I always use braces around my titles and keep them to one-three words like { outfit inspiration }. Then when choosing photos to pin, pick shots that are cohesive. Think similar colors, image subjects and overall “feel” of the photo. I like to keep my color palette muted, look for highly detailed fashion imagery and mix it with quotes I find inspiring.


  • Create interesting board themes

Be specific with your board themes. Tailor them to your personal brand. Make them tell a genuine story about you. My boards reflect my love for fashion, décor, Italian food and a little rock’n’roll flair. Create a mix that tells your story. Not interested in crafts? Wedding planning on relevant to your brand? Just because they’re common boards on the platform, that doesn’t mean you are required to have them if they don’t represent your brand.


  • Pin an interesting variety of content

Be dynamic with your pins by pinning different types of content. A photo from your latest blog post here. An on brand gif there. Then an amazing article by an influencer in your genre of interest. Maybe even a super cool tutorial video from YouTube. Similar to the various types of curation in journalism mentioned in this article by, different pinned content will keep your followers engaged and interested.

Pinterest isn’t just about crafts or wedding planning anymore, it’s about creating a story through curated photos. Not only does a well curated Pinterest account help build brand equity but it is actually known to increase website traffic, making it the perfect platform for bloggers. According to Hootsuite, about five percent of referral traffic online comes from Pinterest, putting the platform in second place only to Facebook. If you’re not already on this platform, I highly encourage you to try it out! It’s a space for creative people, not all accounts follow the Pinterest crafty stay-at-home mom stereotype. Experiment and curate a visual story of you.

How Tommy Hilfiger is Changing the Runway

Last week Wednesday, the fashion industry’s attention was turned to the West coast even though it was one day before the start of New York Fashion Week. Tommy Hilfiger’s second Tommy x Gigi collection debuted in California, creating even more excitement than the prior, record-breaking and game-changing collection between the American designer and his supermodel partner, Gigi Hadid.

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The longstanding format of fashion week has been in flux since last fall. In my article for Moda magazine last spring, I discussed how designers have become burnt out with the traditional, fast-forwarded format of fashion week. Traditionally, designers would show fall collections in the spring and spring collections in the fall so as to set the trends six months down the road and allow fashion publications and retailers to plan for their future issues and make buying decisions. The pressure of working so far ahead in addition to the fact the six month lead time offers bountiful opportunities for knockoffs, the fashion industry began to rethink the runway.

It’s an exciting time for fashion as different designers experiment with new runway formats, showing clothing that can be bought immediately following the runway, playing up social media and involving not just fashion elites but everyday consumers as well. One designer who has stood out and went above and beyond is Tommy Hilfiger.

Following this fall’s first Tommy x Gigi line, “Traffic to increased 900 percent in the first 48 hours and the runway show created over 2 billion social impressions,” according to Business of Fashion.

Why has he stood out? He fully embraced change and strategically experimented with not just one but multiple elements of his show to give it its viral effect.

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The Collaboration:

The Tommy x Gigi collection is a collaboration between the well-established, American designer who had began to lose his position as a household name and the recently explosive supermodel, Gigi Hadid. The collaboration was genius, as Hadid is one of the fastest growing supermodels in the industry and is known for her social media presence. By using the concept of cumulative advantage, as explained here by the New York Times, the designer was able use Gigi’s pre-established fame and social media presence to skyrocket the collection’s audience.

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Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What before the show. Photo source: We Wore What

The promotion:

The social media promotion for the Tommy x Gigi collection began almost 24 hours before the show as fashion influencers like the show’s models and key fashion bloggers were all flown from New York to California on a branded plane dubbed “Tommy Air.” The models and bloggers shared every moment from boarding the plane to their impromptu on-board dance party on their Snapchat and Instagram accounts. The day of the show the same models and bloggers took their followers on their journey through “Tommyland” the branded, pop-up amusement park the show was set up in. While live video from the front row audience is common at all runway shows these days, Tommy x Gigi took it one step further by allowing the looks to be bought in real time, not six months down the road. With the success rate Tommy Hilfiger has seen through this “see-now-buy-now” format, other designers would be silly to not join in.


The audience:

Fashion shows used to be only for the small crowd of the fashion elite. This created a sense of exclusivity designer brands used to leverage as an integral part of their brand identity. Exclusivity is no longer as cool and through social media like Snapchat or Instagram, more and more common consumers catch glimpses of fashion shows. Tommy x Gigi welcomed not only the usual group of fashion influencers but a much larger audience of consumers to view the show in person, according to Business of Fashion. By doing so the designer is tapping into The Long Tail, as mentioned here in Wired, of others interested in fashion but not necessarily in the very small “influencer” crowd. Many of these spectators may have their own smaller fashion blogs or circles of friends interested in fashion that they can now share their experience with and increase Tommy Hilfiger’s brand equity and possibly spark future purchases from these Long Tail groups.

The Most Shareable Super Bowl Ads

What makes a good Super Bowl ad? Humor, drama and of course memorability. These were some of the main staples of a Super Bowl for the longest time. Now, I believe another quality has been added to that checklist: shareability.


Being sharable is so important for not just Super Bowl ads but any television ad nowadays. While TV ads are fleeting when (and if actually) watched on TV, being sharable extends the life of the ad. Shareability allows the ad to gain and create greater depth in the scheme of an ad campaign. Just as measuring reach in social media isn’t as important as measuring engagement, as stressed here by Forbes, simply presenting a funny or touching ad during the Super Bowl won’t do near as much good as presenting a sharable ad your audience can in turn engage with.

If sharable, not only will the ad be viewed for its 30-60 seconds of fame during the Super Bowl, it will then be shared on social media where (hopefully) people can interact with the ad and its brand. This interaction could take place in the form of a hashtag associated with the ad, encouraging the audience to create consumer generated content (CGC) or maybe the ad was about a topic that already has a large portion of people engaging with it on social media.

Instead of making a list of my favorite Super Bowl ads based only on their entertainment factor, I chose my two favorite ads that I were not only the funniest or most touching or most memorable, but also have that sharable factor to them.

  1. Audi – Daughter

This ad features the hashtag #DriveProgress and is a monologue of a father with hopes he someday can tell his daughter women are valued as equal to men by society. It’s a very touching ad with powerful graphics and a serious, yet uplifting tone. The hashtag allows people to interact with the brand after the ad and ties into many important topics happening in our country right now. Taking a social stance as Audi has done will hopefully increase brand attitude among the public and in turn increase Audi’s brand equity.

  1. T-Mobile – #NSFWireless

T-Mobile featured three different ads during the Super Bowl. One with Justin Bieber, which ended up on AdWeek’s Worst 5 SuperBowl Ads list. One with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart which was pleasantly punny and deserves a thumbs up. And then there was this one: #NSFWireless with Kirsten Schaal. It was hilarious and (pop)culturally relevant, poking fun at the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise which has its second installment set to release next week. Its humor was spot on and perfectly packaged to share with the #NSFWireless hashtag.


Who knew reading for class could be fun? During these first two weeks of my Social Media & News class we’ve had readings on everything from blogging, to Twitter time management, to how to tackle the daunting task of creating and executing a social media plan. Each of the readings reminded me of a book I read this past winter break, titled Capture Your Style. The book is written by Aimee Song, an influential fashion blogger of Song of Style.

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So many of the topics Aimee covers in her book were repeated time and time again throughout our readings. Being consistent. Interacting with others.  And of course, powerful visuals.

Aimee’s book focuses on Instagram specifically, as that is her forte. Many of our readings stressed the importance of honing in on the few social platforms that best cater to your goals. I hope to work in the fashion industry, so a highly visual social platform, such as Instagram, that I can share my eye for styling and design is the perfect fit for me.

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After finishing Capture Your Style I was so inspired to cultivate my Instagram presence. Over the past few years I’ve tried here and there to build up my Instagram game but my problem was that I didn’t have focus. That’s where a few of my recent class readings come in. Here are the tips I have collected from my readings that I plan to start using to once and for all create the Instagram of my dreams.

My Instagram as of today.

Visit Instagram sparingly

The article “The Minimalist Guide to Twitter” by Jimmy Daly hit home as it spoke of how much productivity can be wasted by falling down the rabbit hole of social media. I’m 100 percent guilty of mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed and trying to convince myself I’m doing “research” of how to take better Instagram photos. No longer.

Similar to Daly’s 15-minute Twitter power plan, I will begin a 15-minute Instagram power plan of my own.

  • First 5 minutes: Scroll through fashion Instagram accounts to gain insight on trending fashion topics and find new ideas.
  • Second 5 minutes: Commenting on various fashion influencers’ Instagram posts I find inspiring.
  • Last 5 minutes: Posting my own daily Instagram photo.


Don’t bite off more than you can chew

As mentioned in this blog post on social media marketing plans by Hootsuite, if a goal isn’t attainable there is a small chance of it happening. On that note I plan to start with baby steps. My ultimate goal is to post at least one Instagram a day, but to begin I will post three times a week until I feel confident enough to manage more.


Social media isn’t a one way street

As mentioned in my 15-minute power plan I will not just create content but interact with fashion influencers’ content as well. I hope to build relationships and make connections with people I hope to someday work with in the fashion industry. Each day I will aim to comment on at least three different influencers’ posts.


What’s your biggest challenge on Instagram? Comment your #instagoals!

Ethics in Fashion Media

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Photo from W Magazine

This month’s issue of W Magazine has stirred up quite a controversy over the Photoshopping done to its cover models. Kiernan Shipka, Zendaya and Willow Smith are featured on the cover to celebrate the young stars’ success in Hollywood. The problem arises in the Photoshopping of their skin colors. While Shipka has naturally fair skin, both Zendaya and Smith have darker complexions. The effects done to the coloring of the cover photo noticeably wash out the two young women of color.


Over the past few years the public has called out magazines more and more for excessive Photoshopping. Many instances involve slimming and distorting of models to unrealistic proportions. While magazines may have improved on offering slightly more natural body shapes on their glossy pages, the white washing of skin tones on this cover is still a major issue.

I understand magazines use Photoshop to create unique and amazing images. In the case that using a specific effect alters a models true skin tone however, I believe is past the line of an acceptable use of Photoshop. Magazines have slowly offered more diversity, as shown on the W Magazine cover, but this whitewashing defeats the purpose of having two strong women of color featured.

If I were making the image decisions at a magazine I would allow Photoshop so long as the models are shown in their own skin, both in body shape and complexion.

Check out this Buzzfeed article which shows the work of Jumah Eid who re-edited the cover based on the skin tones of the two young women found in unedited photos of them.

Industry Insider: Leandra Medine

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Leandra (a.k.a. The Man Repeller) began as a simple fashion blogger, documenting her daily outfit choices on her site, As the fashion blogger craze picked up, Medine’s quirky and unique style stood out and took the fashion world by storm. Leandra is known for her off-center outfits of layered, crazy prints, stand-out shoes, and plenty of color. Her blog inspires women to wear what makes them happy, no matter what others think.

As a fashion blogger, Leandra’s site has plenty of photos of her various looks. Her personal style is very eclectic and quirky, both in her clothing choices as well as in her writing. The posts she writes along with here photos are full of witty and pithy comments. Her posts are very conversational, written as if she were your best friend discussing fashion with you over a cup of coffee. I believe the cohesiveness between her fashion style and writing style are what sets her apart as a blogger and why she has become so well known in the industry. Anyone can blog about what they wear, but Leandra makes it funny and inspires you to think outside the box. She questions norms of how we dress as well as norms in the fashion industry. She is authentic and unapologetic.

Watch this video by Virgin Atlantic about Medine’s love for anything offbeat and how her blog came about.

In my work I’d like to be able to hone in on how to translate my distinct personality into my writing. Having a unique and authentic voice makes a piece so much more intriguing to read. I also love the visual aspect of Medine’s site. I’m a very visual person and love the idea of telling a story through the marriage of text and photos. Good writing can go a long way and a picture tells a thousand words, so why not put them together? I hope to refine my writing style the same way a build an outfit. The Man Repeller’s outfits are eccentric and goofy, just like her writing. My fashion sense is more classic and casual, I’d like my writing to reflect that. The main take away I have gotten from The Man Repeller is to allow your writing to reflect your personality, especially in the business of blogging.