Millennials as Facebook Friends: Are We Trusted Sources or Biased Individuals?

I have 1,298 Facebook friends. Half of which I don’t know personally. That’s 1,298 people, each with their own personalities, hobbies and opinions.

I’m in my 20‘s and actively use Facebook. I’ve always been bombarded with shared posts and videos. These range anywhere from a Buzzfeed quiz titled “Which Spice Girl Are You?” to videos of puppies learning to swim.

But, with election season upon us, I’ve probably seen more articles on the presidential debates, than the former. If you’re a Millennial, chances are you can relate to what I see on my Facebook feed. Well, we’re not the only ones. 

According to a recent Pew Research study, 24% of Millennials say at least half of their Facebook news feeds relate to politics. This could be because Millennials rely on Facebook for their news more than any other generation. In fact, another study conducted by the University of Hawaii in March of 2015, shows that 88% of the Millennials surveyed use Facebook to get their news.

In addition, the study conducted by the Pew Research Center, released in June of 2015, shows that about six-in-ten online Millennials get political news on Facebook. Whereas the other generations rely on more traditional sources such as TV for their news. This research was obtained by means on an ongoing online survey, researching the different ways each generation obtains political information.

The findings of this study don’t surprise me. I admit that I’m easily influenced by my Facebook friends and their political posts. But, I don’t think that’s the way it should be. That’s not to say that I oppose of sharing political posts on Facebook either.

On the contrary, I believe social media platforms are a space where individuals can come together to share personal beliefs and challenge each other to see certain issues from different perspectives.

However, the University of Hawaii study suggests that user-generated comments on platforms such as Facebook can influence political candidate’s reputations. This study involved 70 college students, mostly 18-20 years old, who shared how they use social media to form their political opinions.

So what exactly do these studies mean for us Millennials? In a time where it’s crucial to educate ourselves on presidential candidates and policies, I personally find it damaging to rely solely on Facebook for information.

How so? Well, it’s important to recognize the chance of bias in the articles and comments we read. Instead of trusting my Facebook friends completely, I need to challenge myself to think like a journalist. That is, to log into my Facebook account with a fresh pair of eyes, free from any bias.

To some extent, that’s nearly impossible because even I have my own biases. When I log into my Facebook page, I only trust the validity of certain of my friend’s posts. This can be extremely damaging, as it leaves a lot of unread posts that I could interpret. That means there are points of view out there that I’m not giving the time of day to.

I think these study’s show that we’re using Facebook as a platform to share our political opinions, but are seeing what others share incorrectly. This study has made me realize that I should be more open to reading each article I stumble upon.

Whether it be from one of my trusted Facebook friends or one of the couple hundreds I don’t know very well, I should read each equally and interpret them for myself. After all, that’s what journalism is all about.

Sources:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/01/political-news-habits-by-generation/

http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/news-media-trends/page/2/

Millennials and Political News

How social media influences Millennials’ political views

Millennials, news and important trends: Research data from the Media Insight Project

 

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Coachella 2016 Highlights (Performers, Food & Fashion)

I attended my first Coachella in 2012 and then again in 2014. Unfortunately, I’m not in attendance this year. However, that doesn’t stop me from checking social media and the official live stream for updates. (Coachella live stream can be found here)

 

With Coachella 2016 coming to an end, I’ve decided to round up my favorite things about this year’s festival.

Performers:

Coachella Performance 2016
Photo by my brother: @bernardobustamante
  1. Jack U
  2. The 1975
  3. Disclosure
  4. AlunaGeorge
  5. Flume
  6. Years & Years
  7. Major Lazer
  8. Anderson .Paak
  9. Sia
  10. The Last Shadow Puppets
  11. Calvin Harris

Food:

1. Afters Ice Cream

Our #MilkyBun is back at @Coachella this year!!! #AFTERSicecream

A post shared by Afters Ice Cream (@aftersicecream) on

I have to add a word about this place because it’s the only one I’ve actually tried before. Afters Ice Cream sells ice cream and what they call Milky Buns (donut ice-cream sandwiches). My favorite ice cream flavor for the milky bun is the jasmine milk tea ice cream with fruity pebbles. Milky Buns are very photogenic so remember to eat yours before it melts in the desert heat.

2. Cassell’s Hamburgers

3. Hanjip Korean BBQ

4. Mexicali Taco & Co.

What a beautiful combination. #carneasadafries #cachetada #rancherostyle

A post shared by Mexicali Taco & Co. (@mexicalitaco) on

Fashion

1. Bella Thorne

2.  Sofia Richie

Day 1

A post shared by Sofia Richie (@sofiarichie) on

3. Alessandra Ambrosio

4. Paola Alberdi

Oh Coachella, you've been missed. #coachella #day1 📷: @jeffthibodeauco

A post shared by Paola Alberdi (@blankitinerary) on

I hope you enjoyed my Coachella 2016 highlights. The festival is so big, I’m sure I missed some things. Have you ever been to Coachella? What’s you favorite part about big festivals… is it the music? the food? or the fashion? Let me know in the comments down below.

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Campus 1871: A Young Entrepreneur’s Dream Weekend

1871

On Friday, April 8th I attended Campus 1871, a weekend-long hackathon event. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I found out about the event when my professor sent a class email encouraging the class to apply. A few weeks later, I was accepted. 

The event brought together students from six universities in Illinois to brainstorm, create, and pitch a startup to the 1871 entrepreneur geniuses. 1871 provided food and hotel rooms for each student. For those of you who aren’t familiar with 1871, it’s often described as the Silicon Valley of Chicago.

Essentially, 1871 offers innovative office space for startup companies. Instead of paying high prices for offices in the city, entrepreneurs and their teams are able to rent out space at 1871. But 1871 is much more than that. This became clear to me throughout the weekend.

It was inspiring to see such young people taking their ambitions seriously. Most of the students I met have been working on their own startup ideas long before Campus 1871.

So, what exactly do students learn at Campus 1871?

•I learned that diversity is essential in making a company stronger

I was part of a group in which our majors ranged from mechanical engineering to social sciences and education. As the only public relations and advertising major on the team, I was able to brainstorm ways our idea could gain exposure through different mediums.

Our team came up with a mobile application called n.vsn that allows high-school students to watch “Buzzfeed” type videos that teach them the relevance of what they’re learning inside the classroom. Say, for example, a student is having trouble understanding supply and demand. That student would get a video describing how supply and demand drive the insane prices for Kanye West’s Yeezy shoe-line.

A prototype of our application, including the Yeezy supply and demand example.
A prototype of our application

Our team went through various stages of our product, before finalizing it. We eventually ended up incorporating virtual reality to the videos, in order to differentiate our product from our competitors.

If we all shared similar interests and courses, our product wouldn’t have evolved. The unique contributions each group member offered only improved our product.

•The mentors at Campus 1871 taught me how to develop a stellar pitch to key project influencers

n.vsn Our Campus 1871 Product
The opening slide in our presentation for our product, n.vsn

I also heard from a few keynote speakers that presented in what resembled a TED Talk. Their presentations made me more aware of my own public speaking and how powerpoint presentations make a significant impact to the overall message.

•Most importantly, Campus 1871 taught me that you’re never too young to take yourself seriously and work on your career goals

If you’re confident and passionate about your project(s), people will be willing to listen to your ideas and give you feedback.

Campus 1871 Pitches
That’s me on the left-end listening to other group’s pitches

Have you ever been to a hackathon event? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments down below.

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How to Pack Like a Pro

Packing like a pro? It’s easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Read along and learn what frequent travelers and bloggers say are their top packing tips.

1. Stay one step ahead of the weather by going light and tight

Check the weather for your destination before packing. Frequent travelers agree that having a general idea of what the weather will be like during your trip will prevent overpacking. Travel blogger Shivya Nath from The Shooting Star told the website Women’s Web to, “ask Google, rely on weather forecasts, and for unexpected showers, carry a foldable poncho rather than bulky umbrellas and a waterproof jacket.”

2. Prioritize and organize

Make a list or print this extensive packing checklist. Former TV Business Reporter and writer for the Huffington Post Lan Anh Vu says that making a list is the safest way to ensure you don’t forget anything. She goes on to tell her readers, “I focus on the activities I know I will do on my trips and focus less on those that I am not as certain about. This helps me cross off items that I don’t need and devote space to items I will actually need.”

Check out this website with “ultimate packing lists” for women: http://herpackinglist.com/2011/12/ultimate-female-travel-packing-lists/

3. Plan out your outfits

 Travel expert and former Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz.com Kendra Thornton says she pre-plans her outfits. “I only pack what I need and I try to bring only two pairs of shoes – one for the day and one for the night – and make sure all outfits will work with them.” She adds, “I start packing 2 days before my trip so that I have time to sort through and think about what I want to bring.”

Pro Tip: Pack the outfits you are likely to wear first at the top of your suitcase to avoid a mess.

4. Make it match

Travelers do themselves an injustice if they’re not versatile enough in what they pack. Travel blogger and VisitBritain PR intern Bethany Looi says that this is the biggest mistake people make when packing. “It’s better to take, for example, a pair of regular blue jeans than a pair of bright pink ones, just because it’ll be easier to match with all your tops. This way you can have more outfits without taking more clothes.”

5. Use the roll-up method and squeeze up space

Rolling your clothes, rather than folding them is a more efficient use of space, according to Kendra Thornton. She says “rolling everything helps prevent wrinkles and you can fit more in your bag.” Even the most frequent travelers, flight attendants, use this method. According to a New York Times article, the roll-up method saves room for Air Europe Lineas Aereas flight attendant Nerea Gomez-Cambronero’s travel necessities.

6. Be wrinkle-free with plastic garment bags

Have some extra dry cleaning wrap lying around? Try putting your delicate clothes in the wrap and folding them in. Lorena Martinez, a housewife and frequent traveler says she discovered this hack when she was packing for her husband’s business trip and realized his suits would wrinkle when she folded them.

Ever tried packing a months worth of clothes in a carry-on suitcase? This IT consultant-turned-travel blogger did:

Have any tips that help you pack like a pro? Let us know in the comments down below.


Bethany Looi is a travel blogger who spent two years traveling the world at 17.  She’s now a student in New York, where she also interns. You can read Bethany Looi’s travel stories from over 30 countries here: http://bethanylooi.com/

Kendra Thornton makes frequent appearances on news programs and talk shows like The Tyra Banks Show and The Nate Berkus Show. She currently runs her parent’s travel agency Royal Travel & Tours and owns her own travel PR consulting business. To learn more about Kendra visit: www.kendrathorntontravel.com

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5 Things You Should Know Before You Study Abroad

A semester overseas can be the experience of a lifetime, but plenty of hurdles have to be cleared to ensure students get the most out of the opportunity. Address these issues, then enjoy the ride.

1. Don’t let costs or lack of resources defer the dream

Most universities offer financial aid or scholarships for study abroad students. In fact, schools like Loyola University Chicago transfer all financial aid to their international programs. Schedule to meet with your school advisors to learn about these opportunities. Web sites such as NAFSA can help students locate scholarship information.

2. Learn the local currency or be ready to pay dearly

Being ignorant of monetary exchange rates could be costly and stressful, just ask Loyola University of Chicago junior and past study abroad student Samantha Kirzeder. “When I was in Costa Rica I didn’t exchange my money before my flight. When I landed, I paid $50 for a taxi that really would have cost me $20 in the local currency.” A simple phone application, such as the XE Currency app, saves the latest exchange rates on your phone and makes purchases easy.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland is a great destination for students of Irish descent to learn about their heritage.

3.Embrace the chance to present a positive image of Americans

A video, produced by Cut.com asking several people from around the world their opinions on Americans revealed raw insights. “dumb, obese and very patriotic,” said one man. As study abroad students, you have a rare chance to prove those who stereotype Americans wrong. Even if you don’t, you’re likely to make some personal accomplishments. According to a Clark University study abroad survey, people who study abroad gain a better understanding of cultural values and broaden their way of looking at the world. It also encourages diverse friendships.

 4. Say no to overplanning and yes to spontaneity 

The best study abroad experiences can be the ones that are least expected, according to several students at Loyola University Chicago. Caitlin Pilgrim, 22, a Loyola senior who spent time at the John Felice Rome Center, advises against plotting out every day of your time overseas and instead leaving some things to chance. We usually decided where we wanted to travel to based off what the flight prices were like for that week. Some of my favorite places that we traveled to (Budapest, Ireland) we decided to go to two days before we left,” says Pilgrim.

Friends in Spain
Caitlin Pilgrim, far right, says enjoying Spain’s Sangria made the last minute booking worth the trip.

5. Be ready to learn in ways not expected

Studying abroad can be lonely. However, it’s about expanding your horizons and stepping out of your comfort zone. Andrea Bouchaud, writer of Twenty in Paris believes being alone is a critical part of the study abroad experience and becoming an adult. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t make friends. In fact, studies show studying abroad leads to long-lasting friendships. According to a Clark University study exploring the long-term impact of study abroad on students, over half of the students surveyed say they remain in contact with the friends they made abroad.

Study Abroad Survey
90% of the students surveyed for Clark University’s study say studying abroad encourages them to make more diverse friendships.
If you are unsure about studying abroad, check out this Youtube video by Max Rehkopf, a study abroad student highlighting the impact the experience had on him.

 Here’s a video I made of my study abroad experience in Rome last fall.

If you’ve studied abroad before, what are some tips you’d give people who are about to leave? Let us know in the comments section down below.

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Why I Started a Blog (And Why You Should Too!)

Before I Sleep Travel Logo

It was mid-December of 2015. I was on winter break from school and just weeks away from traveling to Thailand, a place that had been at the top of my bucket list for years. At that time, which was after my first semester of junior year, reality started to hit me. I was two semesters away from graduating college and I felt like something was missing. I wanted to have something for myself and for my potential employers that showed I was passionate about traveling and brave enough to start something big from scratch.

I’m lucky enough to have already traveled to many incredible places at a young age and quite frankly, starting a travel blog was a perfect way to develop some skills needed in my career. As a Public Relations and Advertising major, content creation, writing, communication, and storytelling are essential to be successful in the field. I realized back in December that I was already doing what I loved by traveling, but that there was room for other great opportunities by starting a blog.

To be quite honest, starting a blog sounded like a lot of work. I knew if I started one, then I would have even more on my plate. I was trying to focus on graduating early (which I am) and starting the blog would take up a lot of my time. So, I started an Instagram account instead. I chose my name, had my brother design a logo for me, and voilà. Just like that I had a brand and became an anonymous traveler on Instagram.

I decided early on when I was brainstorming the whole page that I didn’t want to share pictures of myself. At least not many. I figured that if I started the Instagram account to share travel destinations from around the world, then having a picture of me doing some awkward pose wouldn’t benefit my brand. I knew I wanted the page to look professional. Something other travelers could rely on for travel inspiration and tips.

Four months later and my Instagram account has reached over 1,040 followers. My pictures and tips have been featured on several reputable Instagram pages. Bloggers, business owners, and fellow travel lovers have contacted me for blogger collaborations, more information on travel destinations, and even business opportunities. I got an internship at a Travel PR agency and was asked to be a guest writer for an up-and-coming travel website. It’s crazy to think I started this without knowing what would become of it.

I might not exactly have a great reason for starting a blog, but all I can say is that I’m very glad I did. Before I Sleep Travel has allowed me to make valuable connections and opened up the doors for many opportunities in the future. If you’re at that point in your life where a quarter-life crisis strikes (yes, they’re a real thing) and you feel the pressure of becoming a successful adult, I highly suggest taking on a new challenge. Something that you already love doing but could do 10x better if you develop it into something bigger. It might seem scary at first (like starting a blog) and it may be time-consuming. But you will:

a) become more passionate

b) connect with people who share similar interests

c) add something valuable to your resume

d) actually show potential employers that you’re hardworking and dedicated

e) develop your writing skills

and best for last:

f) learn. I’ve learned so much about the places I visit because of my blog. I’m much more attentive to my travel guides and a lot more curious about the history and cultures of the places I see.

I’ve learned so much about the places I visit because of my blog. I’m much more attentive to my travel guides and a lot more curious about the history and cultures of the places I see.

I could go on for the rest of the alphabet and give you more reasons to start a blog, but I think those 6 reasons are strong enough. If they aren’t, then check out Becoming Minimalist’s 15 reasons why you should start a blog 15 reasons why you should start a blog and Life Hack’s 12 reasons. There’re so many reasons out there, just do it!

If you already have a blog, leave the link to it in the comments section down below! I’d love to check it out.

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10 Instagram Accounts All Travel Lovers Should Follow

10 Instagram Accounts You Should Follow

We all have different types of Instagram accounts we prefer over others. Some enjoy accounts that follow a specific person’s travel adventures. I’m talking about the ones that tend to have pictures of the person all over the page. Although I sometimes enjoy these pages, I typically prefer accounts that revolve around the travel destinations and have informative captions. There have been so many times I’ve seen a picture of a place that looks really cool, but never end up knowing where it was taken because the person didn’t say so in the caption.

That being said, I’ve narrowed down my favorite travel Instagram accounts. These pages have gorgeous photos and teach me a thing or two about what’s in the picture. In no particular order, here are 10 Instagram accounts I highly recommend taking a look at:

1.The World Up Closer | @theworldupcloser

Shea Powell is a travel blogger from Jamaica who thought she couldn’t make traveling a big part of her life. Thanks to her dedication and curiosity about the world, Shea now travels all over the world. Her pictures are so stunning, you’ll want it to be you doing all that traveling.

2. National Geographic Travel | @natgeotravel

Nat Geo’s travel account is one of my absolute favorite pages on Instagram. The pictures are, of course, taken by professionals. What I love the most about this page and National Geographic in general, are the captions. I learn something new in every single one of their posts and it’s typically something you don’t learn about anywhere else. 

3. The Blonde Abroad | @theblondeabroad

Probably one of the better-known travel bloggers, Kiersten of The Blonde Abroad turned her dreams of seeing the world into an amazing job. She ditched her job in corporate finance and now writes about the 50+ countries she’s been to.

4. Intravelist  | @intravelist

Intravelist is an innovative space where travelers from around the world share their pictures. You can tag #intravelist for a chance to be featured. The great part about Intravelist is that they share well-rounded posts. The pictures are amazing and they tend to have great captions too. Make sure to click on the original photographers page too! I’ve never been disappointed in doing so, as I’ve come across some other great accounts through there.

5. Earth Focus | @earthfocus

If you like seeing the best travel and nature pictures on Instagram, this is the page you need to check out. Earth Focus is similar to Intravelist, in that it shares pictures so amazing, you might even start to question whether some of the places are real.

6. Rodrigo Trevino | @rodtrvn

Visiting Portland, Oregon is at the top of my bucket list thanks to this guy. Rodrigo Trevino is a crazy talented photographer whose pictures make me want to take the longest road trip ever and camp at every camping site in the U.S.

7. Flo Travels The World | @flo_travels_the_world

Florian Wopfner is the ultimate adventurer. She hikes, climbs mountains, bikes, and skies all over the world… and she takes her own pictures.

8. Travel Tom Tom | @traveltomtom

Tom is currently on his 4th world trip and has been to 76 countries. Seeing as he’s seen most of the world, he has some incredible pictures and stories to share. Thanks to his huge following on Instagram, he gets cool opportunities and is invited to some spectacular places.

9. Conde Nast Traveler | @cntraveler

Most of us know and love Conde Nast Traveler. Their website is a great resource for travelers. Their Instagram, on the other hand, is the perfect place to find other talented photographer’s and travel blogger’s Instagram accounts.

10. Dame Traveler | @dametraveler

Dame Traveler sets out to empower women to “travel more, do more, and be more.” The account features pictures from female world travelers and is a great place for women to connect.

What do you think of my list? Are there any other travel Instagram accounts you love that I should check out? Let me know in the comments section down below.

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