10 Best Albums of 2015

Ahh, 2015. What a time to be alive. It was a record-breaking year for larger-than-life stars like Adele, whose album 25 sold 4.49 million copies in just two weeks, and Justin Bieber, who shattered Billboard records with his Purpose. Neither of those albums made my list of 2015 favorites (Sorry) (no pun intended), but I thought they deserved a quick shoutout for achieving total world domination.

Below are my 10 favorite albums of the year–listed in alphabetical order because ranking artists is hard. *sigh*

Alabama Shakes Sound and Color

alabama-shakes-sound-and-color
Image via Consequence of Sound

Drake If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

1035x1035-drake
Image via Rolling Stone

Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear

fjm-iloveyouhoneybear
Image via Wikipedia

Jamie xx In Colour

8f09545c
Image via Pitchfork

Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly

3813bcd3d4accb7634eea23a2a7ab190-1000x1000x1
Image via Genius

Kurt Vile b’lieve i’m goin down…

packshot
Image via Matador Records

Leon BridgesComing Home

920x920
Image via SF Gate

Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell

sufjan_stevens_-_carrie_26_lowell
Image via Wikipedia

Tame Impala Currents

04192b63
Image via Pitchfork

Vince Staples Summertime ’06

33a9265391b2dcfc1f37a725f309746c-1000x1000x1
Image via Genius

Honorable mentions:

Grimes Art Angels

grimes-artangels1
Image via Stereogum

Various Artists Hamilton: Original Broadway Soundtrack

hamilton---digital-album-cover---final
Image via Vibe

(I’m not exactly a Broadway musical junkie, but anyone who can successfully write smart, catchy hip-hop songs about Alexander Hamilton deserves mad respect. I adored listening to this podcast featuring the mastermind behind Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda.)

Listen to my Spotify playlist including all of my top albums of the year:

spotify:user:1217985074:playlist:7bnm3lZaWuUAQ3otTZ37eV

Fingers crossed 2016 will be filled with glorious new music from Yeezy, Radiohead, and Frank freaking Ocean (still bitter). Stay tuned.

Human Trafficking on Rocky Top: Part II

Tonight’s blog post represents a milestone in my little space on the world wide web. It’s the final post required for my social media blogging assignment, but never fear: I hope to keep writing. I have grown to enjoy posting on Dudrick Social and slowly shed most of the insecurities of publishing my observations for the world to read (or not to read).

16164291949_372cbe1551_o1
Image via majorityleader.gov

Back to the issue at hand. Human Trafficking on Rocky Top: Part II dives more into Jonathan Scoonover’s three levels of counter-trafficking. You may want to read my previous post for some context, which can be found here.

  • Demand products that are made without slave labor. This one, to me, is the hardest. Scoonover asked the audience to support businesses with ethical labor practices. That means we should scrutinize the coffee we drink, the clothes we wear, the technology we use each day. Where was this product assembled? Did the worker receive adequate compensation? Slavery Footprint is an excellent resource on this difficult counter-trafficking measure.
  • Open your eyes locally. Every person in all fields of expertise can help combat human trafficking. As a public relations major, I can use my communication skills as a blogger and social media user to spread the word. Regardless or your major or career, you can pay attention to your surroundings and report suspicious behavior to help a victim of human trafficking.

Reading about human trafficking is not pleasant. It’s not easy or fun, especially if you are like me and already constantly consume the news, which seems to be getting harder to read each day. However, I hope this post can inspire readers to pay attention to the very real impact of human trafficking on our community.

Learn, demand slavery-free products, and–most importantly–open your eyes.

Human Trafficking on Rocky Top: Part I

 

An estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world today, which is more than any other time in history.

33% of all runaways will be sexually exploited within 48 hours.

80% of victims are female.

One of the many perks of interning at UT’s Office of Communications and Marketing is the opportunity to promote and learn about a wide variety of campus events.

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Human Trafficking on Rocky Top event at the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy. After writing the event press release at my internship and reading up on the prevalence of human trafficking in East Tennessee, I was eager to attend the lecture.

It did not disappoint.

Three local experts spoke about human trafficking:

Trudell explained the definition of human trafficking and broke down some disturbing statistics on the issue–locally, nationally, and globally.

Deitle talked about her experiences with modern-day slavery working in law enforcement.

Scoonover listed his three levels of countertrafficking. He challenged the audience to learn about human trafficking overseas, demand products to be made without slave labor, and open your eyes locally to help stop the vicious cycle.

I will expand on Scoonover’s three ideas in part two of this blog, because his section of the lecture emphasized ways to end human trafficking in East Tennessee and beyond.

Stay tuned for part two, and please visit ccaht.org for a wealth of information on this important issue.

Social Media During Tragedy: Helpful or Harmful?

I write this post with a heavy heart, mourning the unfathomable loss of life in Paris last night. Once I received the first AP alert on my phone, I turned to Twitter to try and understand what horrific events were unfolding in the City of Light. Social media can be helpful and harmful during senseless tragedies like these, and yesterday was no different.

Facebook Safety Check

SafetyCheck2
Image via Facebook

Safety Checka Facebook notification feature launched in 2014 for disasters and crises, was activated last night for Parisians to mark their safety during the terror attacks. I received a notification after my friend in Paris checked in, much to my relief.

#PorteOuverte

Twitter users in Paris started the hashtag #PorteOuverte, which translates to Open Door, to welcome anyone into their homes for shelter. The trending hashtag was a testament to the many helpers of the world.

Image via Instagram

Scheduled Posts

Social media tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck are helpful for marketers to easily schedule posts to send out automatically, but these services can get brands in trouble during times of crisis. Businesses with scheduled promotional tweets could appear insensitive and receive backlash from followers, so it’s important to closely monitor the online conversation.

Social media can be an outlet for messages of hope, solidarity, and compassion to be disseminated worldwide. It can also be home to widespread exploitation and misinformation. During this time of profound sadness, my thoughts are with those affected by the attacks.

Paris, je t’aime.

5 Books to Read This November

With the temperature starting to drop and the sun setting earlier, November is the perfect month to curl up and get lost in a good book. It can sometimes feel impossible to read for leisure during the semester, but I enjoy setting aside the time for literature. Below is my list of 5 books–new and old–to read this fall.

For a thought-provoking novel…Americanah

I’m currently reading Americanah, and it’s easily becoming one of my most treasured books. This powerful work from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a tale of race, immigration, love, and society.

For an intriguing memoir…Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Image via Acting Pure
If you’re into medical mysteries, this one is for you. I tore through this memoir about a New York reporter who suddenly faces a rare disease, which leaves her in a hospital for a month with little to no memory of her stay.

For a suspenseful page-turner…The Girl on the Train

Image via House of Hipsters
Read this psychological thriller before the movie comes out next year. It’s frequently compared to Gone Girl, and easily readable in one sitting. Expect plot twists and dark characters.

For remarkable investigative reporting…Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Image via HellaWella
I think about this book all the time. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Moss exposes the disturbing truth about processed food in this riveting nonfiction work. American readers: maybe wait until after Thanksgiving to pick it up?

For laughing out loud…Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Image via Le Bon Vivant
Maria Semple’s 2012 satirical, heartwarming, and clever novel is so much fun to read from start to finish. It tracks a neurotic Seattle architect who goes missing before her family trip to Antarctica. The author was a screenwriter for “Arrested Development” if you need any more convincing.

I’d love to hear your fall favorites. What are you currently reading?

Follow me on Goodreads to see my full library!

Netflix and the Binge Watching Revolution

Image via Esquire

Netflix revolutionized the way television is viewed when the internet network launched its streaming service in 2007. Since then, binge watching has become a common practice among its 69 million streaming members (as of its October 24 letter to shareholders, which you can read here). (I’m a huge nerd.)

Not only has Netflix impacted our viewing habits, but it has also changed our vocabulary. Collins English Dictionary named ‘binge-watch’ as its Word of the Year.

Netflix_PR_UI_WEB_Tablet_InDevice_US
Image via Netflix

Netflix can even pinpoint which episode of a certain television show leads viewers to continue watching the entirety of the season. “Breaking Bad” viewers start binge watching after episode two, while “Mad Men” viewers get hooked after episode 6. For the full list, view the Variety special report.

If all this talk about binge watching is inspiring you to view every single “House of Cards” episode in one sitting, have no fear: Nielsen crunched the numbers for you. It will take exactly 1 day, 11 hours, and 45 minutes. Good luck!

Image via Nielsen Tumblr

What Will The Music Industry Look Like in 15 Years?

Spin-Future-of-Music-Landing
Image via SPIN

SPIN recently asked representatives from Bose, Record Store Day, Mood Media, Third Man Records, and Spotify about their predictions for shifts in the music industry within the next fifteen years.

A common theme among the responses was a continued emphasis on consumer-focused content. Shiva Rajaraman, VP Product at Spotify, said the streaming service is “focused on getting a deeper understanding of users’ taste.”

“Now we’re starting to recommend and craft content against those tastes,” he said.

In the next ten years, Spotify hopes to continue forming partnerships in addition to its current brand relationships with Uber and PlayStation to enrich other domains with music.

Image via Third Man Records

Ben Swank of Third Man Records predicted that physical copies of music aren’t going anywhere. Swank feels optimistic “that certain people are always going to gravitate towards the more romantic, visually and audibly appealing product, be it LPs or books or anything really.”

From the birth of streaming services to the revival of vinyl, the music industry is rapidly evolving. It will be really interesting to see the variety of new partnerships, products, and innovations to come in the next fifteen years.

These 3 Artists Have Mastered Instagram Marketing

Self promotion can be difficult for artists. Thankfully Instagram is in the picture– an ideal platform for artists to showcase their products and services to a global audience, free of charge. Visuals, hyperlinks, and captions are key for Instagram marketing, and these three artists truly set the standard.

Amelie Mancini // ameliemancini.com

This Brooklyn-based artist and designer posts the perfect blend of behind-the-scenes photos and creative displays of her work. Her Instagram (@ameliemancini) gives followers a look into her life in New York as she works on a variety of fabulous projects.

amelie
Image via Instagram
amelie2
Image via Instagram

Yas Imamura // quillandfox.com

Quill & Fox is a design studio in Portland, Oregon, created by the talented illustrator Yas Imamura. She mostly posts the loveliest shots of nature, artwork, and animals on her Instagram (@quillandfox). Imamura is super interactive with her followers, and graciously responds to many commenters to thank them. She is a rock star.

quill
Image via Instagram
quill2
Image via Instagram

Anna Rifle Bond // riflepaperco.com

Anna Rifle Bond is kind of a big deal, so she actually has two Instagram accounts: @annariflebond and @riflepaperco. Bond is the founder and creative director of Rifle Paper Co., an international stationery and gift brand. Her personal Instagram is home to travel snapshots and original illustrations. Follow her brand account for studio updates, job postings, and sale announcements.

anna
Image via Instagram
anna3
Image via Instagram

What are you waiting for? Dash on over to Instagram and follow these talented artists for some of the best design inspiration on social media.

Social Media Campaign: COVERGIRL x Star Wars Collection

sw
Image via COVERGIRL

The release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is two months away and super fans are really excited– just last night, several ticketing websites crashed around the world due to the high demand of pre-order tickets.

Brands are capitalizing on the upcoming release to much success, including the cosmetics brand COVERGIRL. The limited edition makeup collection features Star Wars-themed lipstick, nail polish, and mascara with names like “May the force be with you” and “You’re my only hope.”

tumblr_nvvmdvgzJ41rd9vm2o1_1280
Image via COVERGIRL

COVERGIRL created a Tumblr for the campaign including how-to videos, digital downloads, quizzes, and more. Each of the collection’s six looks are inspired by Star Wars characters from the dark side or the light side, and Tumblr perfectly displays the high-quality photos.

COVERGIRL also shared images and videos of the collection on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #BeautyForce as well as the film’s official hashtags #StarWars and #TheForceAwakens. The brand took to Facebook to communicate with frustrated fans after the collection quickly sold out last month.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.04.38 PM
Image via Facebook

As an added bonus, COVERGIRL teamed up with its Resistance Pilot Janelle Monae to promote the stellar collection. #Flawless.

StarWarsOpener
Images via Vanity Fair

COVERGIRL’s social media campaign successfully created buzz about the limited edition Star Wars collection and continues to encourage consumers to share their photos online with the campaign hashtag. Still trying to snag some Jedi lipstick? May the force be with you.