We Rate Dogs
This past week, Mass Comm students were given the chance to talk with professionals during Mass Comm Week.
Students had the opportunity to attend a variety of panels, workshops and other events to help them in the professional world.
One of the first events, and probably the most talked about, was the creator of WeRateDogs on Twitter, Matt Nelson, talking to students on how to build a social media empire.
Nelson quickly jumped in to the aspect of growing his company. Nelson said that when he first started the account he had about 10,000 followers on his personal account, and by the end of the first month he reached 100,000 and said “the growth was insane at the start.” The account now gains anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 per day.
Some of the ways that Nelson keeps things going is that he makes sure he stays active and responds to various twitter accounts. In fact, the majority of the time, around 80 percent, Nelson is scrolling through his Twitter feed looking for ways to interact.
Nelson also talked with students about pursuing a career in something that you love.
Nelson loves comedy and on his personal account would post various comedic topics. He quickly tapped into the dog world and soon realized he had hit a specific world on Twitter.
The idea of We Rate Dogs started while Nelson and a friend were at an Applebee’s. Nelson thought he would take pictures of dogs and rate them and include a funny caption. When the account started, people would send Nelson photos of their dogs, and Nelson soon realized how much easier it would be to rate dogs that followers sent him.
Nelson would include the dogs name and he would make a dog breed and then would make up a comment that would relate to what the dog was doing. And of course, he would give the dog a rating.
Although it was mainly for dogs, Nelson would sometimes include photos of other animals claiming to be funny looking dogs.
We Rate Dogs is Nelson’s job. Once the account was made, Nelson dropped out of school and quit his job. The way the account brings in money for Nelson is having an commerce store online. He also just published a book that will also help bring in revenue.
Nelson told students that they need to find their voice when comes to writing and to just go with it. When it comes to photos, they needs to make sure the photos can speak for themselves and to make sure they are photos that people will want to save or actually look at.
Aside from making people laugh, Nelson helps raise money for dogs that need surgery. Nelson has made a GoFundMe page and shares them on his account and followers will donate money.
As of today, We Rate Dogs has helped raise $150,000 for surgeries.
The Marshall Project:
Students also had the chance to hear from a managing editor of a successful newspaper from New York City.
Kristen Danis is from the Marshal Project, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on investigating the United States Criminal Justice System.
“We are accountability journalists, public interest journalists, investigative journalists who do in-depth reporting on the Criminal Justice System,” Danis said.
The Marshall Project works with a lot of other companies to help make and promote their stories. Such companies are Vice, the Weather Channel, and Pro Publica.
The organization won a Pulitzer Prize for the story The Unbelievable Story of Rape with Pro Publica.
An 18-year-old girl told authorities that she was violently sexually assaulted in her home. Unfortunately, authorities could not find the accused assaulter and actually did not completely believe her. Eventually, she confessed that she lied.
While trying to get more information about what happened, the reporter from the Marshall Project bumped into a reporter from Pro Publica. They then decided to work together to make this piece.
Another story they worked on was in collaboration with the Weather Channel. The Weather Channel is doing a series of stories that help explain global warming within each state. When looking at Texas, they looked at how some prisons in the state did not have air conditioning. With this story, the Marshall Project was responsible for writing the print content and the Weather Channel included a 17-minute video.
The main goal for this organization is to dig deeper and expose more details about the criminal justice system. Unlike most newspapers, the Marshall Project is not wanting to get individuals in trouble. They want to explain why things happen and then include an explanation for what happened.
Women Who Code:
Texas State Alumnae walked the halls once again Wednesday as they talked to students about women in the coding/digital world. Although the majority were from Texas State, one speaker, Holly Gibson, was from the Women Who Code division in Austin.
The panel talked to students about their experiences in the coding world, as well as, how they got started with coding. The majority did not start in coding, although they did end with getting a masters, but received bachelors in other fields. They all had the same experience, they jus started coding and ended up liking it.
The panel then talked about discrimination and sexism in the workforce. Examples were both personal and others that they have seen or read about. The popular examples of workplace sexism like the Susan Fowler Memo and the Google memo came up in conversation.
Hands-on activities to wrap up:
During Mass Comm Week, students were able to partake in hands-on activities with virtual reality and drones via the Media Innovation Lab.
The MiLab held workshops for students to gain a little experience with virtual reality and 360 cameras. The virtual reality programs allowed students to experience virtual entertainment. Some of the activities included Google Earth, 3D Painting and even virtual tours of solitary confinements in prisons.
Senior Lecturer Dale Blasingame allowed students to learn a little more about Drones. During the sessions students learned a little more about the drone class that will be offered in the spring sessions and even a little more information about the test to be certified. Students were even allowed to fly the drone.
These sessions and activities above are just a very select few of all the activities that were offered throughout the week. To learn more about the activities and to see some photos and videos from students, visit Twitter and follow the hashtag #MCWeek17.