I know what some of you might be thinking—Here we go, another feminism post. But what people are often too ignorant to realize is that feminists don’t spread the message that women are better than men, rather they advocate the right for women to have equal rights as men.

When one thinks of Hollywood, words like celebrityglamour, and style usually come to mind. It is no secret that this industry puts a lot of emphasis on looks. Even on the red carpet, entertainment reporters tend to focus their interview questions on appearance. Particularly women are asked the infamous question, “What are you wearing?”

It’s not that the question itself is the main problem, it’s that this is generally the only question women get on the red carpet. In doing so, media outlets merely scratch the surface.

After all, we have to remember these are award shows, not fashion shows. It is a time to celebrate one’s achievements, not to overlook them. The bottom line is women in Hollywood shouldn’t be encouraged to hide their intelligence behind a pretty face.


According to The Representation Project, the #AskHerMore campaign was founded in February 2014 to “call out sexist reporting” and “suggest ways to re-focus on women’s achievements.”

While the movement first sparked conversation at the 2014 Emmy Awards, it didn’t gain as much widespread attention until actress Reese Witherspoon spoke out about the hashtag at the 2015 Academy Awards, according to Google Trends.

With the hashtag #AskHerMore, Witherspoon posted a photo to her Instagram account of suggested questions for reporters to ask on the red carpet. Two of which were: “What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken that you feel has paid off?” and “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” She urged people to engage in the movement and challenge interviewers to redirect the conversation to highlight an actress’ work and social causes.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project, shared how thrilled she was about the world’s response. Newsom said, “We’re changing the dialogue. We’re changing the conversation just through women recognizing that they actually have an opportunity to challenge the media to ask us more.”

Newsom emphasized the goal is not to omit the fashion question altogether; however, it is to empower women to share more about their craft than their dress.


2014 Emmys: One way to generate buzz on Twitter is live tweeting. The Representation Project took advantage of this by  generating “auto-populated tweets” to reporters on the red carpet during the 66th Emmy Awards. This made it easy for people to tweet the deeper questions interviewers should be asking, but also gave people the opportunity to come up with their own questions using #AskHerMore.

2015 Oscars: Storify shared that before the 2015 Academy Awards, The Representation Project prepared tweets with “fun facts about actresses, performers, and presenters” to better engage with its audience. In a live tweet session, Twitter users were able to mix and match the “pre-fabbed #AskHerMore tweets” by clicking on the listed actresses and reporters. They could also create an original question to tweet, as long as the hashtag #AskHerMore was included.

For the second annual #AskHerMore campaign at the Oscars, The Representation Project  also teamed up with Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, an organization “dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves.”

Many celebrities got on board with the idea, including the likes of actress Lena Dunham, and TV producer and writer Shona Rhimes. They recognized the importance of a campaign like this that enables women to speak out about injustices prevalent in the media today.

2015 Emmys: This time, #AskHerMore started off with a viral video called “Connie Britton’s Hair Secret” to remind the public about the movement in a comical way. For the 67th Emmy Awards, The Representation Project also stepped up its game by adding one more hashtag to initiate discussion. Inspired by #AskHerMore, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls coined the hashtag #SmartGirlsAsk to influence better conversations between actresses and reporters.

October 14th’s Democratic Debate: The Representation Project realized sexism isn’t only a problem at award shows. Especially with Hillary Clinton as a contender for the 2016 Presidential Race, the issue of sexist reporting has become evident. In order to change that, the hashtag #AskHerMore was used during the democratic debate to call out unfair reporting targeting gender. Furthermore, the hashtag was intended to highlight the lack of recognition of women’s achievements.

The Result

It wasn’t just the celebrities that spread the message. Many media outlets addressed the sexism problem in Hollywood as well.

Another big contributor to the campaign’s outreach was Upworthy. The site compiled a series of clips that shows how the direction of questions on the red carpet has changed as a result of #AskHerMore.

The media outlet also posted tweets to show the campaign’s impact.

Total Impressions

2014 Emmys: 6+ million people were reached, The Representation Project noted.

2015 Oscars: According to Storify, the hashtag ended up reached 25+ million people around the world. In addition, over 50 media outlets covered the campaign, attributing to its overall success.

2015 Emmys: Over 100,000 had taken The Representation Project’s pledge to “transform culture.”

2015 Democratic Debate: Storify accounted for 5+ million impressions.

What’s Next?

Now, the campaign has gained popularity in politics, as Hillary Clinton runs for President. The hashtag is bringing attention to the sexism in politics that is evident in the presidential debates.

While there is still a long road ahead before gender equality fully exists, #AskHerMore certainly put us on the right path. It is important for people to acknowledge there are more to women than what they wear. Ultimately, what is so great about this hashtag is that it transcends Hollywood, forcing people to think of all the areas women are objectified or stereotyped in society.

As an aspiring woman reporter, I will strive to dig deeper when it comes to addressing underrepresented people in the public eye who may have a lot to say, if given the opportunity to do so.

  • #AskHerMore: Sentiment & Buzz

A Bird’s Eye View of Twitter

As the semester comes to a close, it’s time to reflect and evaluate my presence on Twitter these past few months. While I used to be a huge fan of the platform in high school, I lost interest in tweeting by the end of my freshman year of college. It wasn’t until the beginning of my sophomore year that I was asked to reemerge on the social networking site–this time, for academic use.

What worked?:

Taking this social media class has influenced me to start thinking about how I may want to brand myself as a media professional in the future. While I do not have as many followers as Katy Perry, neither does anyone else! My followers did, however, grow from the mere number of 7 to wait for it… 34!

Out of all the assignments using the hashtag #NHsmc, my proudest moment was my #NewsEngagementDay tweet for several reasons. Firstly, it was a tweet on a trending topic that received my highest number of engagements. Also, not only did the account for the AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) like and retweet my content, but it also followed me as a result.

What didn’t work?:

I think my biggest struggle was gaining support beyond just my classmates. The fact of the matter is we all start somewhere, and it is in our hands to shape our profiles in a way that will entice the outside world.  It’s also important to note that many people today are super conscious of their follower to following ratio. Therefore, they are more selective of whose profiles they choose to include on their feed.

Another problem I find with Twitter is that you need to constantly be on top of your game. If you have a public profile, you need to keep your tweets interesting or else people won’t feel inclined to follow you. So, shoutout to the 34 people who thought I was worth the follow!

Based on my Klout score, I don’t seem to be too influential. Measuring a whopping 25 out of 100 was slightly discouraging, but I know that my account is still in its beginning stages. If I want that number to increase, I will need to tweet more regularly and gear my posts toward a broader audience.

What should I change in the future?

In order to increase my influence and network, I think the key is reaching out to those with a strong following and engaging in conversation. I also think I should start retweeting more valuable and popular content to help me get noticed. Hopefully, using the techniques I learned in class, I can improve on my newly established account as it continues to grow.

Top Ten Tweets: What made them popular?

Before taking this social media class, I was not an avid Twitter user. However, having more of a presence on the social media platform has encouraged me to stay informed with what the world is talking about and to join the conversation. Over the course of the semester, I have had some tweets that were more successful than others. Several factors played into the level of engagement my tweets received, including media variety and the use of certain hashtags. Here’s a look at the 10 tweets that gained the most attention on my account:

1. News Engagement Day

Impressions: 384, Engagement: 37, Engagement Rate: 9.6%

I find it appropriate that my tweet with the most engagements was on News Engagement Day. This tweet was popular for the following reasons: For one, I included three hashtags—#NewsEngagementDay, which was a trending topic at the time, #NHned that was tracking tweets coming from Newhouse students and faculty, and #NHsmc, the class hashtag. Secondly, I attached a picture which made the post more appealing. I was most proud of this tweet because it got the attention of the AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) and Newhouse’s NOJ Dept.

2. Social Media in Real Life

Impressions: 200, Engagements: 29, Engagement Rate: 14.5%

For this assignment, I needed to find an example of social media in real life. When I was on vacation this summer, I came across this shirt and thought it was funny because it incorporated a commonly used phrase with an emoji. After Labor Day weekend, I thought this picture was a perfect way to sum up my feelings on going back to classes the next day. I think the tweet attracted people because the subject matter was relatable.

3. Author Ethan Zuckerman comes to Syracuse 

Impressions: 342, Engagements: 29, Engagement Rate: 8.5%

When Ethan Zuckerman came to SU to deliver a keynote address, Newhouse students and faculty alike were enthused. Because we had been reading his book, Rewire, for class, my social media class was especially interested in what the media scholar had to say. This tweet caught the eye of many because I mentioned both Ethan’s and Newhouse’s Twitter handles.

4. Media Collage 

Impressions: 224, Engagements: 25, Engagement Rate: 11.2%

The main reason this tweet was attractive to users was because of its use of media. Tweeting about my summer vacation isn’t that interesting until I accompany it with pictures that provide a visualization. Also, it helped that I included two hashtags of popular places in California to go along with it.


Impressions: 237, Engagements: 24, Engagement Rate: 10.1%

In the fact paced world today, there’s a lot that can go unnoticed. For the ICYMI (in case you missed it) assignment, I decided to tweet a picture of the trees on my route to Syracuse. The three and a half hour drive to school isn’t bad when you have aesthetically pleasing trees to look at along the way. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, mainly because of the foliage that naturally occurs.

6. Ngram

Impressions: 352, Engagements: 27, Engagement Rate: 7.7%

Once again, I can thank the graphic for the amount of engagement I got. I also think the use of #Ngram and Google’s Twitter handle helped this tweet get noticed. When choosing what to make an Ngram of, I thought it would be interesting to see which search engine is most popular in books. Unsurprisingly, Google greatly surpassed its competition in terms of number of mentions, but it wasn’t always in the lead.

7. Twitter Poll

Impressions: 122, Engagements: 23, Engagement Rate: 18.9%

When Twitter debuted its poll feature, its users were excited to try it out. I decided to pose the question of whether someone is a morning or night person, as I was curious to see what the majority would be. I was happy to see I’m not alone, since 83% of the people who took the poll said they were night owls like me. I think the fact that this post called for participation increased the level of interaction with the tweet.

8.  #stopPPconstruction (Stop Park Point Construction)

Impressions: 132, Engagements: 23, Engagement Rate: 17.4%

Earlier in the semester, Park Point was undergoing a lot of noisy construction. As a resident in the apartment building, I often found it frustrating to come home to the sound of power tools when all I wanted to do was nap. In an attempt to create a unique trending hashtag, I coined #stopPPconstruction. I don’t know if I got my engagements from people who sympathized with my pain or just from those interested to see what all the commotion was about. Either way, I think picture evidence made this tweet a fan favorite.

9. Infographic 

Impressions: 130, Engagements: 20, Engagement Rate: 15.4%

Although I think some form of media would have been a nice addition to this tweet, I think the lack of a picture forced people to actually click the link to find out more on what I was talking about. According to Topsy, there have been over 286K tweets that included “infographic” over the past 30 days alone. Therefore, it makes sense that this would be one of my top tweets.

10. #TransformationTuesday

Impressions: 126, Engagements: 17, Engagement Rate: 13.5%

While people often use the weekly hashtag #TransformationTuesday to show side by sides of how their appearance has improved over time, I decided to use it a little differently. I chose to demonstrate how the percentage of American adults using social networking sites has increased within the past decade. Additionally, I think the reference to Pew Research Center and the picture of the graph contributed to the effectiveness of this tweet.

What I’ve Learned:

In conclusion, since I am still relatively new to Twitter, I haven’t reached as much of an audience as I hope to in the future. I believe the key to attracting users is the inclusion of popular or trending hashtags and some form of media. Furthermore, I think it is important to tweet regularly in order to gain more of a following. My #NHsmc tweets have definitely helped me get on the right path, and I intend to keep up with the social media platform after this class comes to an end, so stay tuned!

#RedCups Controversy

#RedCups. No, I’m not talking about red Solo cups. I’m talking about the largest coffee company in the world’s use of two words to spread one message: the holidays are upon us.

Each holiday season, Starbucks debuts its highly anticipated red cup, as it has since 1997. The design varies from year to year, usually encompassing a winter-related theme. Although the cups never included explicitly Christian symbols, images of ornaments, snowflakes, and trees were seen as allusions to Christmas.

This year, however, the unveiling of the red cup’s simplistic design excited controversy among Starbucks’ beloved customers. Some argued the cups weren’t festive enough.

The promotional hashtag soon sparked a debate around the world, as several Christians were offended by the undecorated cups. Some went as far as saying Starbucks declared a “war on Christmas.”

Who knows, maybe Starbucks was channeling the phrase “less is more,” thinking a red ombré design would suffice this year. Or maybe this was just a marketing gimmick and we all fell for it. Regardless of Starbucks’ reasoning behind the design, or should I say lack of design, it’s important for us to remember at the end of the day #ItsJustACup.

Here are some tweets from people who were enthusiastic about the #RedCups, regardless of their design:

When you see her with #nofilter

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 11.54.43 AM

The ability of content to go viral is influenced by many factors. For one, the number of followers that a social media account has increases the chances of something becoming viral. Additionally, the more an individual promotes something on a variety of platforms, the more likely it is to be seen. One of the most important aspects, though, is creating content that will elicit some kind of emotion.

I think my meme has the potential to be viral in nature mainly because of its appeal to humor. Some of the most popular Instagram accounts today include users like @f–kjerry and @thefatjewish. I follow several accounts like these because not only do they generally improve my Instagram feed, but they also improve my mood.

Another reason I think my content can reach a wide audience is because it is relatable. According to Pew Research Center, 65% of adults use social networking sites. One of the most influential platforms right now is Instagram, which provides an outlet to edit photos using a selection of filters. We can all think of at least one person who abuses filters to “enhance” pictures of herself.

With my social media campaign, I hope to bring awareness to the issue of over editing one’s pictures to the point that someone becomes unrecognizable in person. No one wants to hear she looks better in pictures, although it doesn’t hurt to be photogenic.

I’m not saying we should banish using filters all together. I mean think about how much cooler that sunset pic looked once you applied the X-Pro II filter or how much better your meal looked using Lo-Fi.

Ultimately, the message I want to get across is, “Everything in moderation.” That includes over editing pictures using more than just filters. I’m talking to the girls who adjust their bodies, morph their features, and even add makeup to their faces. (Perfect365 users, I’m talking to you!)

It’s become an epidemic. Enough to cause Instagram model Essena O’Neill to step down from her tough day job to expose the realities behind her photos. Now whether or not this was a publicity stunt for more attention, we can’t know for sure. What we can learn from her, though, is that we live in a society that feels pressured to uphold unrealistic beauty ideals.

So ladies, don’t be that girl. Stop over editing your pictures; you’re all beautiful just the way you are!

That being said, I intend to make my content, which highlights the horror of overusing filters, go viral by posting my meme on different social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, and Facebook. The key is to get people to share my content, while being mindful that each social media outlet has its own way of spreading content. For example, on Instagram engagement can be measured by the amount of likes and comments a picture has. If the media content is worth sharing (e.g. if it’s funny), then people will tag their friends on a post, increasing its chances of becoming viral.

“Call me Caitlyn”

As a Broadcast and Digital Journalism major, I regularly question what makes a good story. How can one story be more engaging than another? I think there are several elements to consider here, including prominence, novelty, emotion, conflict, and impact.

To delve more into which stories steal the most attention, I thought back to one of the biggest news announcements this past year.

Bruce Becomes Caitlyn

He was the gold medalist for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. He was the epitome of masculinity in America. He was Bruce Jenner.

However, in June 2015, Jenner announced he was transgender and the phrase “Call me Caitlyn” was officially born.


Now, if your next-door neighbor Bob suddenly became a woman, would this create a buzz around the world? Probably not. Because Jenner had been such a public figure for so long, the news sparked a media frenzy.

In the late 1970s, Bruce captivated America’s attention as a sports icon for his triumphant performance in the Olympics. Soon after, he won the coveted spot as the face of Wheaties, “the breakfast of champions.”

He came back into the spotlight in the early 2000s with his appearance in the ever so popular reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Bruce often kept to himself when the drama ensued on the show and in my opinion, was the most reserved in the family.


The idea of a person transitioning from male to female or vice versa is somewhat new and unusual for Americans to grasp. In a situation like this, I think it takes someone famous to bring the concept into focus. 

I believe this story received so much media attention partly because in American culture, this was the first time someone revered as a man identified as the opposing gender. Another factor was Bruce’s age when he transitioned. I think the fact that he was in his 60s speaks to the compelling feeling of being in the wrong body these individuals face.


Without emotion, a story won’t gain as much of a following. I think Caitlyn’s emotional journey is best documented through her interview with Diane Sawyer and the article in Vanity Fair. In addition, I think her family’s reaction to the news appeals to human interest and tugged at the heartstrings of many people.


When Bruce revealed he had become Caitlyn, some believed it was a publicity stunt. This belief was furthered by the announcement that Caitlyn would have her own reality TV show, I Am Cait. People speculated that Caitlyn was longing for attention and money, after being cast in the shadow of the Karshashians. On the other hand, supporters of Caitlyn argued she had been taking hormones long before Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired, and had felt like a woman as early as childhood.


I think the news greatly changed America’s opinion of transgenders and brought more attention to the transgender community as a whole. Actress Laverne Cox, a transgender woman, publically praised Jenner for sharing her story. During an interview on The Talk, Cox said, “I think what is so beautiful is that [Caitlyn’s] using her privilege to elevate the stories of other trans folks that don’t have the privilege that she does.”

Does This Grab Your Attention?

In this day and age, think about how often you truly give someone your undivided attention. For instance, is your TV on in the background as you’re reading this? Did you just get an Instagram notification on your phone? Are you finally responding to that text you meant to answer hours ago?

There are so many distractions in our technology-driven society, particularly due to the influx of social media platforms over the past few years. We are exposed to thousands of marketing and advertising messages daily. So then how do advertisers attempt to attract, and fully capture, our highly coveted attention in such a fast-paced world?

One of the most common ways marketers grab my attention is when an ad plays unexpectedly. This happens when we try to play media on free sites like YouTube. Sometimes we can skip the commercial, and sometimes we have to sit through it. Although, now with YouTube Red, one can pay a monthly subscription of $9.99 to watch videos ad free.

Let’s face it—the Millennial Generation expects all media content to be free. We are guilty of illegally downloading music and streaming movies and shows from foreign websites. However, this becomes a slippery slope if the artists behind the content aren’t making a profit.

Naturally, advertisers came up with a solution to this problem. Free music providers such as SoundCloud, Spotify, Pandora, and 8tracks, play ads every once in a while. Though these non-skippable ads are annoying for most viewers, SoundCloud states, “Occasional ads allow us to continue to support artists and keep SoundCloud free for listeners.” This is because every time you see or hear an ad, artists get paid.

What most people don’t think about is when they are listening to music on these apps and an ad plays, they are subconsciously listening even if they didn’t want to. Think about the times you listen to music while you’re at the gym or walking to class. Often these ads will have an influence on you, even if you don’t realize it at the time. At least for me, I don’t have the urge (and never did) to smoke cigarettes after the amount of The Real Cost Commercials I’ve heard on SoundCloud.

Another way advertisers get my attention is through memorable commercials. Ultimately, I think the goal of any marketer is to leave an impact. Even if it is not always a positive one, the idea is to generate buzz so that more exposure is given to the selling product or service.

Commercials are a dime a dozen. In my opinion, there are far too many of them on cable and what’s even worse is that many times they are boring. As a result, I tend to watch content more on my computer so that I can have more control over how many ads I have to see.

With online TV streaming on sites such as Netflix, the inevitability of media content being interrupted by a string of commercials ceases to exist. I for one, find TV hard to watch now because I grow impatient during the long commercial breaks. In fact, if I’m not highly invested in the show or movie I’m watching, I usually flip through channels whenever commercials come on in an attempt to escape them.

The best ads out there are able to evoke some kind of emotion from their audience. Emotion and novelty are important because the combination of the two creates a following. For example, when companies create a character to represent their brand (e.g. the Geico GeckoAllState’s Mr. MayhemAT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” Guy), viewers begin to recognize these people and in turn, the brand becomes more memorable.

However, I think these kinds of ads have to be careful not to annoy their audience. For example, whenever I see any Progressive commercial with Flo, I immediately become irked. But then again, everyone has a different opinion and I’m sure there are plenty of Flo lovers! There must be fans out there, because the commercials don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.


The most interesting commercials I’ve seen almost always debut during the highly-anticipated broadcast of the Super Bowl. Solidifying one of these time slots is no easy feat. Aside from the high costs, there is also high competition.

Each year companies put their best ideas forward to create content that will be remembered and talked about long after the Super Bowl is over. Airing an ad during this game is also sought after due to the wide demographics and number of viewers that are reached.

One of my favorite commercials from this past year’s Super Bowl is the Mountain Dew Kickstart one.

It starts with two guys sitting on a couch and as soon as they drink a Kickstart, music plays and everyone and everything in the room starts dancing—ranging from a twerking dog to a deer that was once mounted on the wall.

Why do I love that commercial? For one, I think it’s hilarious and unexpected. While there was barely any dialogue, the music in the background is what drives the story and makes it more interesting overall. In addition, it puts a smile on your face and makes ya wanna dance!

So what is it that makes Super Bowl advertisements more entertaining than the ones shown on any other day? It’s how the media content is put together in a way that not only reinforces the intended message, but also sparks the viewer’s interest. After all, because there is so much content to explore nowadays, attention truly is a commodity.