Category Archives: apps

Headspace

By Heather Pruitt

If you struggle with any form of anxiety, you know how hard it can be to live your day to day life. Anxiety makes the smallest challenges seem like your climbing a mountain. While there are many different methods that you can use to treat anxiety, my favorite approach to is mindfulness.

The objective of mindfulness is to focus on something in the moment, to help put your anxiety in perspective and have a calm moment. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as focusing on just the birds chirping outside, or focusing on the way that your body feel against the ground. As someone who’s mind wanders off easily, I’ve found that guided mediation works best for me.

If you’re looking into guided meditation, or just mindfulness in general I highly recommend the app Headspace.

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Source: Heather Pruitt

 

 

Headspace is a free app with a range of different mindfulness and meditation exercises. After downloading the app, and signing up for a free account, the first couple of mindfulness sessions that you go through are dedicated to learning the basics. These basic sessions can last anywhere from a quick 3 minutes to a half an hour, the time frame is up to you.

Additionally, Headspace offers a variety of themed meditation packs to help control things like anger, productivity, and motivation. One of my favorite parts of Headspace is that is goes beyond just helping ease anxiety. There are specific packs for those dealing with cancer, pain management, as well as pregnancy. Headspace also has meditation exercises when it comes to sports, work and performance, happiness, and braveness. It is incredibly easy to for everyone to find something to meditate about.

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Source: Heather Pruitt

In the app, there are single meditation tracks as well. They can be guided or unguided, whatever you prefer. Like the packs, the singles have options for everyone at anytime, such as commuting, cooking, sleeping, and even preparing for interviews. There is even a special section for kids.

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Source: Heather Pruitt

Since practicing mindfulness and learning how to meditate with Headspace, I have noticed a difference in my quality of life. I feel much calmer and am able to put situations into perspective. I also have made time to fit headspace into my daily routine wherever it fits. While it doesn’t completely fix my anxiety, it has really made an impact on my life. Additionally, it can also help with anything not just anxiety. Headspace is a great way to show that meditation and mindfulness can impact everyone in the long run for the better.

The Headspace app is available in the App Store as well as Google Play.

Heather Pruitt is a junior majoring in Public Relations. This is her first year serving as VP of Member Relations.

The power of Canva

By: Abby Cousineau

How this easy-to-use, online graphic design app can help increase engagement on social media channels.

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Photo created by Abby Cousineau using Canva

I stumbled across a case study the other day, and the headline read: “How One Company Used Canva to Increase their Social Media Engagement by 1100%.” Social media is a huge part of PR today and every company seeks to increase engagement online, so this obviously caught my attention.

Conversational, a virtual receptionist company for small businesses and startups, has been using Canva for about one year and has experienced amazing results. The company uses the app to create eye-catching images, which they post to their social channels. According to Conversational’s Marketing Director Debra Carpenter, the company “has seen an 1100 percent increase in engagement on social media and more website traffic than ever,” since using the graphic design app.

According to Carpenter, Canva helped the company in three major ways:

  1. Build a consistent, recognizable online brand.

“We pick a template we like, change the colors, adjust the font, and make it “look” like the Conversational brand […] Being able to add our logo and control the fonts and colors on every image we create has been helpful in building and strengthening our brand as a whole.”

  1. Create content that people enjoy seeing and want to share.

“We’re using Canva to support our brand by creating shareable infographics, custom blog images, and even images that promote special discounts or customer surveys […] Posts with Canva images consistently bring in the most engagement.”

  1. Post less often.

“[Below] is a screenshot from our Facebook engagement report last month, showing that we had 5.4K engagements, 211 new fans, and 250 clicks to our website all while sharing 37 fewer posts than the same time last year. That’s a sign that what we’re posting now—images made with Canva—is a lot more engaging to our audience.”

Canva ultimately helped Conversational gain better results from their marketing campaigns and engage with their audience better.

Do you think you or your company could benefit from Canva, too?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

Cozi Calendar

By: Hailey Hunter

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

The app I chose to share is called Cozi Calendar. The family organizer app makes it easier  to keep track of each other’s schedules. It also has many other functions that make family life more convenient. This app is easy to use, making it accessible even for grandma and grandpa!

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Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

This app allows anyone on the account to add events to the calendar. The events can be color coated for each person. On my family’s Cozi Calendar, we each have our own color for each of our own job schedules. You can also send out reminders and alerts. Another helpful function with this app is the messaging tool and the “To-Do” tab. There is also a shopping tab so everyone on the account can add what they want from the grocery store in one convenient place.

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Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

The reason I love this app is because it helps me stay organized, especially between two jobs, 15 credit hours, and two different sorority positions. Another thing I really like about this app is that everything can be color coated. This is helpful for quick glancing and knowing where I fall on the schedule. One thing I do not like about the app is the monthly view. The events do not show up unless you click on the weekly view. Another thing I do not like is the fact that you can’t set events on a private mode. This means that every event can be seen by anyone who has access to the account.

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Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

The reason that this can relate to marketing or public relations is because it can help organize a team. Using an app like this could help a PR team or a marketing team know where and what everyone else on the team is doing or has planned. It also allows anyone with access to the calendar to be able to send messages or come up with a to-do list. Being able to send alerts and reminders can also benefit the team in order to stay organized and avoid miscommunication.

Hailey Hunter is a guest blogger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cogi recording app brings something new to the table

By: Brandon Lazovic

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

Journalists and public relations practitioners often find themselves conducting interviews or sitting through lengthy meetings with audio recorders in hand, ready to catch every word and piece of information for use in an article or press release.

The biggest hassle of recording everything, however, is sifting through two hours of audio listening and transcribing important information from these lengthy meetings or interviews. One way to avoid this is by using the free Android app Cogi Voice Recorder, which moves away from large audio files in favor of recording the highlights of a conversation.

How It Works

The Cogi Voice Recorder is relatively easy to use. Once a user launches the application they tap their screen to start a session. When the user starts a session, Cogi begins listening, but not recording the conversation. The user will tap the highlight button to begin recording what was said and tap again to stop recording. Cogi will continue to listen until the user stops the session.

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Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

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Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

What makes this recorder unique is its ability to rewind for audio highlights because it’s listening to the conversation, but not actually recording it. A user can select in the highlight settings to rewind 5, 15, 30, or 45 seconds once they tap the screen to highlight. This way if something important or interesting is said, a user isn’t scrambling to hit the highlight button and miss out on part of the conversation.

Cogi also lets a user type notes while an audio session is happening so they can save them for later; it also allows users to launch their phone’s camera to take a photo, which will display on the session review page.

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Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

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Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

Once the session is ended users can review it in the next tab, which shows any photos or notes taken as well as the date of the session. Cogi supports tagging sessions with the name of one or more of a user’s phone contacts for searching. It also uses Twitter-style hashtags to add descriptions for sessions; however, it doesn’t allow for tags to be used on individual highlights.

The Perks of Cogi

Cogi Voice Recorder is a great way to record the highlights of a conversation, offering users the ability to add notes and photos to a session for future reference. The app is free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Cogi is incredibly easy to use and set up and also has pricing plans for additional features starting at $15 a month. Paying for the Cogi app allows users to record and highlight conversations of phone calls, as well as transcribe recorded audio for $1.50 a minute. This can be extremely useful for journalists or PR practitioners who are on a time crunch and can’t quickly transcribe audio themselves.

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Attribution from Cogi Notes

Cogi’s Limitations

The biggest limitation of Cogi Voice Recorder is the specs of the phone it’s utilized on. Cogi is completely reliant on the microphone embedded in the phone, so the recording quality is limited as a result. To mitigate this issue, users can plug a microphone into the 3.5mm headset jack of their device to capture higher quality audio.

On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the audio quality was good, although it isn’t the greatest for isolating noise and will pick up the rustling of papers or anything that isn’t a person’s voice. The user’s voice is also exceptionally louder compared to anyone else speaking. It’s comparable to low-priced audio recorders, but can’t compete with the quality found in expensive equipment.

While a user can change the description of the audio file in the application, they can’t change the file name, so if they plan on transferring the sound files to another device the file names will remain untouched and unreadable.

Cogi is great for capturing highlights, but because it has limited storage space (500 free megabytes) an audio recorder would be more efficient if a journalist or PR practitioner needs to record a meeting in its entirety. An hour long meeting downloaded as an MP3 file takes up about 113 megabytes of space; this doesn’t include highlighted photos.

Battery life is also a concern, as the app will somewhat drain a phone battery. On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the consumption wasn’t too drastic, but on older phones that have shorter battery lives this app may pose an issue if it’s utilized for long interviews or meetings.

Final Verdict

Cogi Video Recorder is a useful app that’s simple, easy to use and great for journalists and PR practitioners who desire accessibility and ease of use. However, the usefulness of the app is reduced for users who own a high quality audio recorder or use a DSLR camera to take photos.

The biggest draw is that it’s free, so users don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars on equipment and materials that they have to lug around everywhere. The ability to record phone conversations and have audio transcribed under the paid plan is also an attractive feature of the application.

Many recording applications in the Play Store try to simply reinvent the wheel. The Cogi Video Recorder app actually brings something new to the table and should be considered by anyone who doesn’t already own high quality recording equipment.

This article was originally published on https://brandonlazovic.wordpress.com.

Brandon Lazovic is a guest blogger.

 

What is Pocket?

By: Greta Dreyer

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

As public relations practitioners, we should be avid consumers of the news. In order to stay up to date with clients, PR practitioners use the news and media as a means of staying current on social issues, social trends, and things that their clients are doing or should be involved in. But let’s face it, we don’t always have the time or the desire to sift through article after article during our busy days. The Pocket app is a great tool for PR practitioners because it allows them to easily save articles to be read later.

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Source: techglen.com

Pocket

The Pocket app allows you to save different articles, videos, and links that you have read or have yet to read, and want to save for later. The Pocket app was launched in 2007 in San Francisco for both Apple and Android by its creator Nate Weiner. The pocket app also allows the reader to discover articles that interest them or that they find useful. The articles you save will automatically sync across your phone, tablet, and computer so that you can come back to them whenever you’d like, even if you are offline. You can save to Pocket from pretty much anywhere, including your computer, Safari, or email. You can also save to Pocket from your favorite apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard and Feedly.

Features

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Screenshot by Greta Dreyer

Once you are in Pocket, you are able to highlight parts of articles that you find interesting. You can also create tags for different articles. The “tag” option allows the reader to create different folders within Pocket, which makes it very easy for you to group related articles, videos and links, making it easier to find them. The Pocket app also has a clean, easy-to-view layout that is free of distractions. Pocket is also customizable to make reading more enjoyable. The reader can also have their articles read aloud to them with Pocket’s easy-to-use “text-to-speech” feature.

Discover Stories

Pocket also has a feature called “discover.” The discover feature allows the reader to quickly discover stories by recommending them to the reader based on the ones they have saved, as well as who their followers follow. The reader can also discover stories by linking the reader’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the Pocket app.

Pocket Premium

Pocket premium is an upgrade from the free version of the Pocket app and it costs the user $4.99 a month. With Pocket premium, the reader has a permanent library to keep a personal backup of what they save. They also have a full-text searching feature, which allows them to find anything on their list that is saved in Pocket. In addition, Pocket premium offers suggested tags so that readers can get organized faster. The price of Pocket premium may vary by location, and subscriptions will be charged to the reader’s credit card through their iTunes account.

As a Pocket user, I have found the Pocket app extremely useful when pressed for time and unable to read articles instantly. Pocket is simple, easy to use, and seamlessly compatible with other apps, which makes it great for busy public relations practitioners. I highly recommend it!

Greta Dreyer is a junior at Eastern Michigan University where she is double majoring in political science and public relations. She hopes to work in crisis PR as well as run for political office one day. Greta enjoys writing about her faith, politics, and public relations issues. She is also an active member of EMU Students For Life. Connect with Greta on twitter @gretadreyer.

 

 

 

 

TeuxDeux: The ultimate to-do list app

By: Hope Salyer

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

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Original photo by Hope Salyer

Many of us know that one person who makes a list for everything, whether it’s groceries, Christmas presents, or homework. I’m not going to lie… I’m that person!

As a full-time public relations student with a job and an internship, I have a lot of things on my mind at all times, and I know I’m not the only one. That is why I am always looking for ways to stay organized, and one of those ways for me is to make lists. I don’t always like to use my notes section as a to-do list, and I lose track of paper notes like it’s nobody’s business.

That is until I found TeuxDeux. TeuxDeux is an app and website that allows users to make an easy, simple to-do list.

According to the website, “If you like making to-do lists, you will love TeuxDeux. The idea was to build a bare-bones, but visually compelling and highly usable to-do app. Use the browser-based TeuxDeux at work/home and then take your to-dos on the road with the iPhone app.”

TeuxDeux allows users to create a to-do list, reorder, edit and cross off items, repeat tasks, and plan for future tasks. You can add items to your list directly from your iPhone app, or on the website, and it automatically syncs your changes to all of your devices.

One major con of TeuxDeux is that it is not available for Android devices. If you have an iPhone, you can take your lists with you wherever you go, but if you don’t have an Apple product, you can only use the website. TeuxDeux needs to create an Android app if it wants to continue to grow.

PR practitioners with an iPhone could benefit from TeuxDeux. Anyone in the public relations field has a ton of things to do all at once, and it can sometimes be hard to stay organized on what needs to be done, on what day and in what order. TeuxDeux is an app that allows everyone to create a list, rearrange and add tasks as the user sees fit, and can be taken on the go directly from your iPhone. Anyone in the PR field who needs help staying organized should check out TeuxDeux!

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.