Category Archives: Uncategorized

PHOTOS: Apostle Islands Ice Caves

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Apostle Islands Ice Caves, a set on Flickr.

I had the fortunate opportunity to visit the Apostle Ice Caves along the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin last weekend. Here’s some of my best photos.

Via Flickr:
Photos from the Apostle Islands Ice Caves on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. www.facebook.com/photographybywheeler

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Union Depot Station

Union Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MNUnion Depot - St. Paul, MN

Union Depot Station, a set on Flickr.

Take a look at the main entrance to Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn. These photos were taken with a newly issued Nikon D610 and 35mm lens while on assignment for Metro Transit just before the press conference announcing the METRO Green Line opening date.

Lots of excitement gearing up for June 14, 2014 when the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis will, once again, be connected via light rail. Learn more about the METRO Green Line and see the countdown at http://www.metrotransit.org/greenline. It’s a great time to work at Metro Transit!


Site Stats for Wheeler Blogs: 2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 36,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 8 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


#Infographic: What Your Life Might Look Like Without the Internet

Another infographic filled with amazing facts about the Internet is making the rounds. I was contacted by one of the creators from onlineeducation.net a couple days ago and I have started to see it posted on other sites since then (PR Daily for one).

This is an interesting infographic as it attempts to paint a picture of what life would be like without the Internet oppose to simply pointing out some key stats. Alas, there are plenty of stats that jump out at me such as the Internet directly and indirectly employing over three million people in the U.S. alone and the Internet reducing the degrees of separation down to only 3.74 people. The infographic ends with the fact that most modern day revolutions are not only aided by the Internet, but are actually started with simple Twitter hashtags such as #occupy.

Take a look below. What jumps out at you?

World without Internet
Via: OnlineEducation.net

And remember, sharing makes you smarter!


My Thoughts on Steve Jobs and a Couple of his Best Quotes

Instagram users react to the passing of Steve Jobs.

Instagram users react to the passing of Steve Jobs.

After having a few days to digest, I feel prepared to write a short piece on the death of Steve Jobs. I learned of his passing via a push notification from the AP news app on my iPhone. At first, I thought it was a tasteless joke. There had been a number of Twitter hacks before, including CBS mistakenly reporting the death of Steve Jobs on Sept. 9, 2011. There was actually not a story in my AP app about the passing of Steve Jobs, so I went to Twitter to see what was going on. Sure enough, several other news sites and trusted followers were tweeting the sad news.

It always seems strange to be upset about the death of someone I never knew, but Steve Jobs was truly a visionary who changed the world for the better. Always modest of his life accomplishments, Steve Jobs made products that were easy to use and visually appealing. He had a way of looking into the future to deliver technologies that would change how people communicate and function in the world. But as I said, he maintained his modesty and focused on the important things in life:

“The problem is I’m older now, I’m 40 years old, and this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t.

“I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much — if at all.” (Steve Jobs, Wired, 1996)

Silvia using her iPod touch.

Silvia using her mom's iPod Touch. The success of Steve Jobs is in the simplicity of Apple's products.

Whether or not Steve Jobs single-handily changed the world is up for debate. However, I don’t think too many people will argue Apple products are easy to use. Some may think of me as a bit of a tech geek, but if my aunt asks me to help her install a new app on her Android-based phone, I get lost in the process. Anything I do on my iPhone is easy. Apple’s products are so simple, my girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter can easily use her iPod Touch.

Probably the most profound technological developments of Apple came from the company’s ability to think of products in a new light and to keep things simple. While keeping something simple can often times be much more complicated, the simple designs of Apple products are clearly what sets them apart. Before I over-complicate this blog post, I will simply leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs:

“For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” (Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998)

Apple products have had a major impact on my life and many others. May Steve Jobs rest in peace.


Do Something Profound: Attend Grad School

In full academic regalia...

In full Master of Science academic regalia...

This past weekend saw the close of yet another chapter in my life: I have completed graduate school. Yes, I am now the proud recipient of a Master of Science degree with emphasis in PR & Advertising from St. Cloud State University. It was not long ago when I walked across stage at Northwestern Oklahoma State University after completing a bachelor’s degree in the same field.

As an undergrad, I had little desire to pursue post-graduate education and only got the notion shortly before graduating in December 2007. However, I remember hearing inspiring words a few months prior from the (then) president of the Oklahoma Student Government Association that I just never shook out of my mind. While attending an OSGA conference, several of us were talking about our plans after graduation when John Stephen Bobb-Semple looked at me and said “Eric, why don’t you do something profound and attend graduate school?” I’m not sure how profound it is to attend graduate school, but his words did play a huge role in my decision to pursue a higher degree.

The story of how I got to Minnesota is a little longer and I have had many ask me how I got here and why I chose St. Cloud State University. Allow me to expand. During my final semester at NWOSU, I had a wonderful girlfriend and a job at a radio station that I thought would keep me in Northwest Oklahoma for a long time, and I was happy about that. However, once that relationship ended and I decided the radio station I was working at was not the best place for me, things changed.

St. Cloud State University logo

The great mass communications program and an assistantship made St. Cloud State hard to turn down.

As I was turning in my senior portfolio, I noticed a poster on the wall for a SCSU’s Master of Science in Mass Communications program. Triggering John’s words of wisdom, I became curious and tore off the reply card and mailed in my info. At this point I was already set to begin working for Acacia Fraternity headquarters in Indianapolis and thought it would be a great opportuinity to study for the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) and hopefully check out a few programs while traveling around North America as a leadership consultant. As it would turn out, I had the opportunity to visit St. Cloud State in the fall of 2008 and found the campus to be rather quaint and the mass communications department quite impressive. I applied.

I ended up applying to several other schools, but it all came down money. Though it would have been great to attend grad school in Hawaii, spending $50,000 a year to make it happen wasn’t really feasible. Indeed, it came down to SCSU, and a couple affordable schools in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Choosing SCSU, however, was contingent upon obtaining a graduate assistantship. After applying for several positions, I had no such luck. In May of 2009, I would embark on my lifetime dream of traveling through Europe by myself with no idea what the future had in store when I returned. I would most likely wind up at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. as it was the most affordable, quality program I could find close to home.

KVSC 88.1FM St Cloud, MN

I learned a lot through my assistantship at KVSC.

I was stranded in Munich after losing my passport and rail pass when I finally secured a position at KVSC-FM, the campus radio station at SCSU. Apparently Loren Boone, director of university communications liked me enough during my interview for a position in his department that he thought of me when Station Manager Jo McMullen was still looking for someone at KVSC. In the end, it all worked out and my position as Director of PR & Social Media at KVSC has proved to be the most valuable experience I could possibly ask for.  I have learned so much at KVSC and in the classroom, I’m not even sure where to begin. That’s really what I wanted this blog to be about, but I couldn’t seem to sort through all the knowledge learned. I hope this story gives you inspiration as you look to further your education or your career. For me, it all comes down to one mantra: Do something profound.


Top Five Super Bowl Ads of 2011

After coming home from the library late in the third quarter, I quickly fired up Hulu and got caught up in the AdBowl. What a great way to watch the best ads of the night. Hulu had a nice dashboard to watch the ads with the ability to organize by most popular, most watched and order of appearance. With the ability to give a thumbs up or down to each ad and the Facebook and Twitter share buttons, Hulu was definitely a great site to analyze the ads and see what everyone else was thinking. So with that, I give you my personal “top 5″ ads of Super Bowl XLV.

#5. Bridgestone: Carma

Bridgestone Tires has been running commercials during the Super Bowl since 2008 and has sponsored the halftime show the past two years. This year, Bridgestone featured two ads during the event and both have ended up in my top five. I find this ad to be clever not only because of the cute little beaver and heart-warming nature of the spot, but the ad also makes a strong point without making a big deal about it: Bridgestone tires can make a sudden stop in the rain with no problem.

#4. Doritos: House Sitting

I don’t think this one left anyone feeling warm-hearted … As usual this year, Doritos goes for humor and shock value in their Super Bowl ads. This ad is tastefully done for Doritos’ standard and is not nearly as creepy as the “Mmm … Cheese!” guy. I got to hand it to Doritos for the success of the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest now in it’s fourth year. What a great concept: Let the consumers take the spotlight and see what they come up with. Each year, consumers have delivered for Doritos and the contest leading up to the Super Bowl is a great way to build consumer relations and brad identity.

#3. Bridgestone: Reply All

This commercial is all about humor. In fact, this is the first ad I watched that made me LOL. Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Anyway, the ad pokes fun at the ever so dreadful mistake of hitting “reply all” in an e-mail when the message was intended for just the sender. Who doesn’t love watching a guy flip out at the office?

#2. Volkswagen: The Force

This is just a great ad. The commercial quickly went viral on YouTube and now has over 22 million views. Not bad, even with the $6 million price tag to air the 60 second spot. The ad was talked about by seemingly everyone in the following days and Volkswagen gained additional impressions on morning talk shows and heart-warming stories about the six-year-old heart patient from Southern California. The ad itself tells little about the car and is based purely on keeping the viewer’s attention and ending with a good joke. The ad is … dare I say cute?

#1. Chrysler: Imported from Detroit

This might be the first time I have ever had a completely non-humorous Super Bowl ad as my favorite. This ad has a perfect  tone right from the start. The scars of the City of Detroit are showcased in a way that makes you feel proud to know Chrysler cars are made right here in the U.S. The tone of the voice-over (a Michigan man) carries over Eminem’s  musical crescendo in what seems to end with chills through my body every time I watch it. This commercial was severely under-appreciated on the various online voting polls, not even making the top 10 on Hulu. However, the ad is seeming to do its job after the first airing. Kelly Blue Book ranked its online traffic after each automobile commercial aired during the Super Bowl and the Chrysler 200 was the top ranking search with a 1,013 percent increase in traffic. Though the more humorous ads received more views and ranked higher, the commercial did get a lot of attention online and in the news.

Alright, there you have my “top 5″ Super Bowl ads. Before I let you weigh-in on your favorites, I just want to say Coca-Cola really flopped on their strange “blockbuster” dragon slayer animated mini-movie. I’m not sure what this guy was thinking, but the ad was terrible. Oh, and what was Groupon thinking? That’s probably a topic for another day.


Who Uses Bing?

Google is clearly the winner.

Google is clearly the winner.

Consider this my first rant. I know, I know … it’s been nearly two weeks since my previous post and I should have something more interesting to discuss and, believe me, I do. However, “Who Uses Bing” is the first topic listed on my blog ideas I have saved in my iPhone notes. This topic actually came to me when I watched my professor go to Bing and type in “Google” before actually doing his search. Let me know in the comments section below if you have ever done this.

Bing is terrible. That may be a bit harsh, it’s not like I know anything about search algorithms, but seriously, Google is just a lot better. It was only a couple years ago when Microsoft formally launched its new search engine site and changed the name from the boring “MSN Search” (Live Search and Windows Live Search–also terribly boring names–were also used) to simply “Bing.” I remember watching some of the fabulous network news anchors poking fun of the name and trying to predict if people would start saying “Just Bing it!” as we all do with Google. Pretty sure I have never heard anyone use Bing as a verb and I don’t think I ever will. Well, there is the clever tagline “Bing and decide” used in it’s advertisements, but come on.

Okay, this is more of a rant than I wanted it to be, so let’s just head over to bing.com and see if the search engine can explain to me why Google is better. After reaching bing.com (which I typed in on my awesome Google Chrome Web browser), I proceeded to type in “why Google is better than Bing” and the auto-complete finished after typing in “why Goo,” nice. At least they’re playing fair and not trying to block certain search terms. Anyway, I came up with this nice article in the number two spot (the first site was an article from 2009 stating that Bing is a competitor, but it is not a “Google Killer”), which contained the 10 reasons why Google is still better than Bing.

There’s no reason to try and list my top 10 reasons; I think the above mentioned article speaks for itself. However, I say Google is king of search because of a few key reasons. First off, Google was founded as a search engine company and has always kept the focus on speed and finding the most relevant, pertinent information regarding the user’s search term. Secondly, Google really optimizes the user Web experience through additional tools such Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail and much, much more. Finally, Google has done an outstanding job of integrating its search function into mobile platforms. Google Goggles, voice search and the entire iPhone app is a great addition to the mobile experience.

I think I’ll finish there before I get into a rant on why I think even Yahoo! is better than Bing. Somehow Bing has managed to overtake Yahoo! as the world’s number two search engine, so I guess I’ll congratulate them on that.


The Interactive Journalist: Facebook Edition (via Duffy’s Drivel)

My first guest blogger is none other than KVSC News Director Chris Duffy. I’m proud to report Chris has me to thank for him having to write a new blog entry each week and creating a new chore in his life. Chris is a fine news director at KVSC and has good grasp on reporting the world’s headlines and communication trends. Read on for a comical yet all-so-true blog post on how to appropriately use Facebook as a news reporter. Subscribe to Duffy’s Drivel for his take on the evolving world of communication.

The Interactive Journalist: Facebook Edition Let’s be honest. Most people use Facebook to procrastinate, stalk their exes and socialize. People don’t deliberately use Facebook to get their news. But more than 500 million people have active Facebook accounts, and it is now the most popular website in the United States. This presents an obvious avenue for news organizations and journalists to connect with their audience. However, Facebook is a social network, and this can present problems, li … Read More

via Duffy's Drivel


Wheeler Now Blogs

Yep, I finally caved in a started a blog. Being obsessed with social media and a graduate student of public relations, I thought it was a good idea. Plus, I didn’t want to be showed up by a former hockey player. Also, I recently purchased an Apple iPhone 4 and am now even more entrenched in social media, public relations and communications in general. In other words, my iPhone has taken over my life. I can’t go anywhere without checking in to Foursquare and I am always on the lookout for interesting articles that I can post on Twitter (which is connected to my Facebook profile).

I mainly plan to use this blog to open discussion on trends in social media and public relations. However, I also have interests in advertising, photography, marketing, and traveling, among other things. So I may sneak in a few articles not necessarily related to PR and social media.

Here’s a little background on myself: I was a communications intern for Yum! Brand, Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company, worked as a sales manager and TV station manager for a few weeks in Woodward, Okla., graduated with a bachelor degree in mass communications  from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, spent a year and a half as a leadership and educational consultant for Acacia Fraternity in Indianapolis and I am now a few credits away from earning a master of science degree in mass communications with a track in advertising and public relations from St. Cloud State University.

I currently hold a graduate assistantship at KVSC 88.1FM on the campus of St. Cloud State University. At KVSC, I am charged with a number of responsibilities including (but certainly not limited to) public relations, social media, graphic design, online services, promotions, and marketing. Also at St. Cloud State, I am a member of PRSSA and a senator of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

That’s enough on me for now. Subscribe to my blog for future stories about the wide world of social media and public relations. Okay, I lied, more on me via a YouTube video of my experience of No Shave November:


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