Category: Features

Science Tuesday: Employers rank personality over technical skills

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

The first job I applied to was for a temp position at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in my hometown. I was terrified about the interview process and I tend to scare myself by doubting my qualifications, but once I got in there, I was hired on the spot.  I figured that as long as I didn’t have a criminal record or a really heavy accent, I’d be golden.

The thing is, I didn’t have any real experience in the bookselling industry, and even then, I beamed with excitement about being around books (and possibly finding ones I wanted to buy) and I’m all about working hard, which the manager liked.

According to a recent study from CareerBuilder, employers aren’t just looking for candidates that have the desired skills, but also the personality. They don’t go hand in hand, but they’re measured in importance equally, which is good news for people like me. Having a pleasant personality in a job interview isn’t a new thing, but according to the study, having good humor, good fashion sense or pop culture knowledge can play a part in getting hired. Finally, all that useless pop culture trivia will pay off.

The study, conducted online by Harris Interactive, questioned 2,076 managers and human resource professionals nationwide about qualities they looked for in candidates and what they kept tabs on while the employee was working between May 14 and June 5, 2013.

The top personality traits managers looked for in new employees were:

1. Hard workers
2. Dependable
3. Positive
4. Self-motivated
5. Team-oriented
6. Organized
7. Good under pressure
8. Effective communicators
9. Flexible
10. Confident (ehem, not cocky)

One day, the manager who hired me asked if I’d been manning the phones all day, and I had been. He then told me that a customer called him and told him that he should permanently hire the girl answering the phones and so, I was no longer a temp (and no longer a cashier).

Although I technically didn’t perform well under all tasks, I persevered, worked hard and was always cheerful and motivated.

So although knowing how to code or film with a JVC camera or cook with a skillet are things you may need to know for your industry, remember that hard skills aren’t the only qualities employees look at. And heads up, they’ll also stalk you on social media, so you better fix that up too.

Good luck to all you seniors venturing out into the real world soon. Take note from “Morning Glory”: Becky may be embarrassingly enthusiastic, but the point is, she got the job!

In Biz: Professor Boches on digital brands

By Madeline McGill, Staff Writer
@mcgilligansisle

There are few college students who are not familiar with at least one well-known digital brand. Staples such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr  have blended seamlessly into our lives, dominating our day-to-day rituals. Casual actions like waking up and checking Facebook or browsing through BuzzFeed during a study break  demonstrate the significant influence that digital brands hold.

Edward Boches, an advertising professor at Boston University’s College of Communication, says that digital brands are significant in that they often serve a certain utility, which is changing the landscape of how the idea of a brand is defined.

“By definition a digital brand isn’t something that you buy and wear, it isn’t something that you buy and eat, it isn’t something that you buy and drive, it’s something that you use on a day in day out basis,” said Boches. “So it has to add enough value to your life that it’s something you want to use.”

When one stops to think about how a digital brand such as Facebook became such an integral part of our social interactivity, the story becomes less clear. Yes, many digital brands arose to meet the growing market need for social media services. But how did the ideas behind Snapchat and Instagram turn into multi-million and billion dollar industries?

Boches said he believes that there are certain factors  that contribute to the success of a digital brand. One of these, he stated, is an available user base.

“If you look at the value of any digital brand, whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, a blog like the Bleacher Report, it’s pretty much based on how many eyeballs it has,” said Boches. “

What use would Instagram be if no one had instant access to a camera at all times of the day? Part of the company’s success is that it was able to take advantage of the utility of the modern camera phone while creating a digital platform that appealed to a wide audience.

Appealing to a wide audience, according to Boches, can also be achieved by a frictionless user experience.

“Because you think about anything that you use in that space, and if it works really easily, really seamlessly, really simply, really institutive, and has very low friction to it, then you will tend to use it more,” said Boches. “So think about how fast Instagram took off. You didn’t need to figure it out or think about it.”

However, any avid Instagram user can tell you that it is not all about the individual user experience. There is a great need for users to share their experiences with their network, and Instagram provides a digital space where that need can be met.

“So why did Instagram take off so quickly? Because all of a sudden everybody in the world is walking around with a camera in their pocket that can capture images and what are you going to do with those images?” said Boches. “You’re going to want to share them and look and other people’s pictures, and so it could only have existed when all of a sudden the camera in your pocket was a universal thing. Which by the way was also connected to the web, which was connected to your social profile, which was connected to everything else.”

Digital brands that effectively tap into an active user base will experience astounding results. Since its  launch, Instagram boasts more than 200 million monthly users, 70% of whom log in at least once a day.

Recognizing the success effectively cultivating and mobilizing a user base may yield, there are individuals who use the process of digital branding, through digital brands such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote themselves or an idea that they want to share.

Many college students are familiar with the Twitter user @BostonTweet, who created a Twitter account in 2008 to promote  local business activity during the economic downturn. Boasting 112 thousand followers as of April 13, account creator Tom O’Keefe has successfully marketed himself as a personal brand to the Boston area.

According to Boches, this is just one example of how any individual can market themselves via emerging forms of digital media.

“You could be a brand,” said Boches. “If you’re a reporter, and you have a column, and you have a Twitter account, and then you also have a blog, and you also have a Instagram, and you share all of your content and you build a community of followers, and they pay attention to you and seek out and subscribe to your content, then you are a small brand.”

It may not fit the traditional definition of a brand, but it is all part of an evolving transition that is changing the way that the public regards the traditional definition of a brand.

According to Boches, anyone who is resourceful, determined and prolific could accomplish what @BostonTweet has done with the digital resources at their disposal.

“When I was your age, you needed five million dollars to do anything,” said Boches. “Now there’s a multi-billion dollar infrastructure courtesy of Facebook, Google, Twitter, the web, YouTube, et cetera… I think what it means is that anybody with the wherewithal, with the creativity, with an idea, with content, et cetera, can do something.”

Boches added that though actual content creators comprise a smaller proportion of social media platforms than content distributors, generational changes have encouraged the increase in the percentage of content creators.

“There’s an argument that goes like this: of all the people on all the platforms, whatever they are, Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress, across all those platforms probably only 10 or 15 percent of the people who use them are actually creating content and calling attention to themselves. 30 or 40 percent of people are maybe distributing and sharing it, and passing it around or commenting it or interacting with it. The rest are just reading it, as consumers,” said Boches. “But, if you look at those numbers, that 15 percent of content creators used to be 5, then it was 10, now it’s at 15 and I think as your generation and subsequent generations have something to say, you’re growing up with the idea that ‘Well, we own the media. The media belongs to us.’”

With the ingrained idea that people have the power to manipulate the media, what are the future implications of digital brands and the process of digital branding? With more resources available, it is expected that the number of personal and digital brands will arise via the use of social media platforms.

“I do think that it’s not that we’re going to see less of it,” said Boches. “It might be harder to stand out, and harder to get real notoriety, and you might have to be more inventive and more creative and better at it.”

The Muse: music festivals happening this summer

By Olivia Shur and Hannah Landers, Staff Writers
@livsure @hannland

Electric Daisy Carnival Weekend./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Tony Nungaray

Which music festival will you choose?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Tony Nungaray

Summertime means warm weather, no classes and — most importantly — the best music festivals of the year. Here’s a list of just a few of them, including where, when and, of course, who is going to be there. No matter what genre of music you like to jam to this summer, Muse has you covered.

BOSTON CALLING

When: May 23-25
Where: Boston
Lineup highlights: Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, Bastille, The Neighbourhood
Why you should go: Why venture far when there’s a great music festival right in Boston University’s own backyard? Boston Calling also offers the chance for concertgoers to get their fix twice a year — once in May and once in September. So if you’re leaving Boston for the summer, look out for that September lineup come move-in weekend.

SASQUATCH

When: May 23-25
Where: George, Wash.
Lineup highlights: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, HAIM, M.I.A., Kid Cudi
Why you should go: Although Sasquatch! usually sticks to indie bands and singer-songwriters, it still has a rather varied lineup. It also boasts a pretty great view: The Gorge Amphitheater, carved right into the cliffs above the Columbia River Gorge, was voted “Top Amphitheater” in the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards.

ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL

When: May 24-25 (New York City), June 20-22 (Las Vegas)
Where: New York City and Las Vegas
Lineup highlights: Tiësto, Bassnectar and Afrojack are included in New York; the Las Vegas lineup has yet to be announced
Why you should go: For the electronic music fan, this one’s a no brainer: EDC Las Vegas is the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Last year’s festival certainly seemed to promise more good things to come too, and year’s EDC in Las Vegas has sold out before even releasing a lineup.

FIREFLY

When: June 19-22
Where: Dover, Del.
Lineup highlights: Outkast (again), Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer
Why you should go: One of the smallest states is packing some major festival game. Firefly is a relative newcomer to the world of music fests, but has gotten everything right so far with its killer lineups and pleasant, woodland setting.

SUMMERFEST

When: June 25-29, July 1-6
Where: Milwaukee
Lineup highlights: Neon Trees, B.o.B., A Great Big World and Pentatonix are all performing on the general admission stages; Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga are among those performing in the Marcus Amphitheater
Why you should go: Though those from the coasts may never have heard of Summerfest, it holds the title for world’s largest music festival. Last year, attendees could buy a pass for all 11 days of the festival for just $60. The pass offered admission to any concert on any day, excluding the performers in the headliner arena, the Marcus Amphitheater.

LOLLAPALOOZA

When: Aug. 1-3
Where: Chicago
Lineup highlights: Eminem, Lorde, Foster the People, The Kooks, Chvrches, Jacob Plant
Why you should go: Lollapalooza is one of the biggest music festivals in the country — and notorious for selling out before half of concertgoers even get a chance to look at the lineup. With those kinds of stats, they must be doing something right.

BONNAROO

When: June 12-15
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
Lineup highlights: Kanye West, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lionel Richie
Why you should go: Bonnaroo is the holy pinnacle that all music festivals strive toward. An extravaganza that can attract indie royalty like Vampire Weekend, hip-hop messiahs like Kanye West and kings of music in general like Elton John really needs no further explanation.

WARPED TOUR

When: June 14 to Aug. 3
Where: Various cities throughout the U.S.
Lineup highlights: Less Than Jake, K.Flay, Bayside, Yellowcard, Anberlin, The Devil Wears Prada (lineup varies from city to city)
Why you should go: This year let the festival come to you! Warped may have strayed from its punky roots in recent years, but a diversified lineup has only made it stronger as it approaches its 20th birthday.

Spotlight: Visit the MFA

By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer
@stacyscootover

Visit the MFA: it's free for college students!/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Kan Wu

Visit the MFA: it’s free for college students!/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Kan Wu

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston is free for college students, only a short distance from Boston University and has a lot of neat exhibits on display right now that are really worth checking out. Here are a few that can only be seen for a short time! Did I mention admission is free with your BU ID?

1. “To Boston with Love

Flags sewn in response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings are on display in the Shapiro Family Courtyard this month. The MFA brought back the display as the one-year anniversary approaches. More than 1,700 flags were sewn with words of encouragement and thoughtful designs to show love and peace to the Boston community. These flags come from all parts of the world, and show global support for Boston.

2. “Permission to be Global

On display in the Henry and Lois Foster Gallery until July 13, “Permission to be Global” features Latin American art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection. It shows what it means to be global today and includes paintings, photography, video and performance art.

"Think Pink" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/ PHOTO BY Rosemary Merrill Loring and Caleb Loring, Jr. Gallery of Textiles, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Think Pink” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/ PHOTO BY Rosemary Merrill Loring and Caleb Loring, Jr. Gallery of Textiles, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

3. “Think Pink

“Think Pink” explores how the color pink has changed in meaning and has influenced art and fashion over time. It’s on display in the Loring Gallery until May 26. The exhibit includes dresses, men’s clothing, jewelry, accessories and paintings.

4.”Quilts and Color

In the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery until July 27, “Quilts and Color” features approximately 60 quilts of bright colors and designs. Artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy put together the collection to show the work of mid-20th century art.

With hours upon hours of exhibits to explore, be sure to check these out before they are gone! These displays can’t be seen anywhere else!

Science Tuesday: How to get your daily dose of vitamin D

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

Sometimes, all we need is a little sun in our lives.

There’s something about the warmth caressing your face and the light that makes everything seem clearer. After a long winter it’s something we start to crave in New England and as summer approaches most people have gotten a head start on the summer clothes despite the fact that the warmest it’s been is in the high 50s.

To the girls wearing spring dresses and the guys wearing pink shorts and polos: we’re not there yet. But when we are, one the best ways to take advantage of the sun is to lie out on the grass (and soon enough it’ll look like a herd of seals took over the COM lawn).

Until it’s actually warm out, I’ve been taking vitamin D supplements every so often, along with fish oil (which apparently is great for you, however it makes my burps taste fishy). As for taking vitamin D, I’ve heard it can do wonders for helping my bones — and according to WebMD it also helps with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin diseases and asthma.

So I started taking vitamin D for several reasons on top of the fact that I’m tired of pulling out my asthmatic inhaler and being on Steve Urkel’s level (and I ain’t ready for that).

According to a study published last week in British Medical Journal, researchers evaluated the biases that are associated with the miraculous vitamin and found that it came short of many of our expectations. First, they tackled over 260 previous studies and papers. According to their findings, only ten of the studies lived up to the researchers standards.

According to Discover Magazine, earlier research claimed that vitamin D prevented over 137 conditions like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, and only one study suggested that vitamin D levels in a mother’s third trimester correlated with birth weight. Other studies claimed that it was possible that vitamin D could be linked to childhood cavities and hormone levels of dialysis patients, but none of the evidence in these previous studies established actual proof.

So is it better to just take vitamin D in the hopes that it’s “good for you”?

The thing is, vitamin D deficiency is a probability and it is more common than you expect, especially for people living in the north (and even people like me who grew up in warm climates could have it too). It’s probably because we stay indoors a lot for fear of getting burned. So if you’ve become a skeptic, there are ways to get enough vitamin D, and hopefully not burn yourself to a crisp while doing it!

InBiz: How it feels trying to find a subletter, as told by “Game of Thrones”

By Emily Overholt, Staff Writer
@EmilyOverholt

The Boston ice is finally melting which can mean only one thing: the semester is ending. For those of us who aren’t living in the palace that is StuVi, and who aren’t kicking it in Boston this summer, it means it’s time to convince someone to pay your rent (I mean ‘take your place’) in your Allston apartment.

GIF VIA Game of GIFS Tumblr user

GIF VIA Tumblr user Game of GIFS

In honor of my insane excitement about the season four premier, here’s what it feels like trying to find a subletter, as told by “Game of Thrones.” Get ready to press play and feel the struggle.

At first you’re hopeful. You love your apartment. It’s cheap, comfortable, you’re used to it. Look at that view. Everyone would want to live here.

GOT 2

GIF VIA giphy.com

Then you start trying to write a craigslist ad, and suddenly everything is awful. How have you been paying this much to live in a closet all year? WHO WILL CHOOSE TO LIVE HERE?

GOT 3

GIF VIA giphy.com

You start asking your friends to move in so you don’t have to deal with it. Even offering sweet deals.

GIF VIA reactiongifs.com

GIF VIA reactiongifs.com

When your friends move in you decide to throw caution to the wind. Who needs background checks? Please live here.

GIF VIA castofthrones.com

GIF VIA castofthrones.com

As time passes you start to realize that there really is no choice.  You no longer care who lives in your stuff but you try to get your roommate to get along with the strangers.

GIF VIA giphy.com

GIF VIA giphy.com

Your roommate shoots down your applicant.

GOT 7

GIF VIA nolanfans.com

You turn to the BU Housing Facebook group in a final moment of desperation.

GIF VIA giphy.com

GIF VIA giphy.com

And then you wait…

GIF VIA giphy.com

GIF VIA giphy.com

But eventually, summer is coming and surely everything will have worked out. Unless, of course, your last name is Stark.

GIF VIA giphy.com

GIF VIA giphy.com

The Muse: Playlists for anytime, anywhere

It’s Music Issue season here at The Daily Free Press, and because we’re all Spotify-surfers, Groovesharks and Pandora nerds, we decided the best way to celebrate — and blow off steam — would be by making playlists. We’re all music lovers here, but it’s more than that — it’s a compulsion. We check follower counts, we trade new artists like Pokémon cards and it’s impossible to walk anywhere without a pair of headphones.

Pretension? Maybe. Okay, yes. But at least we accept it, right? But regardless, we’re providing a service. We’ve compiled our favorite songs for studying, waking up in the morning, turning up, getting underground, throwing back, crying with angst, and finally, after finals, having fun in the sun.

Wake Up: 

 

3 Hipster 5 U:

 

Study for Finals: 

 

Angsty Cry Sesh: 

 

Old School Rap: 

 

Turn Up: 

 

Summer Love: 

Playlist: Our favorites — Brooke Jackson-Glidden

By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Features Editor
@bufoodist

Choosing twenty or so “favorite” songs almost feels like unusual punishment. So, instead, I gave myself a new task: Make myself into a playlist.

The result is an odd combination of Motown, contemporary indie rock, classic folk and of course, a splash of funk. The songs themselves have little to nothing to do with one another. But each of them represents certain parts of my past: people, moments and facets of who I’ve become (for better or for worse).

I grew up with Aretha Franklin and Etta James. My mother, a second-wave feminist with a profound love of belting black female soul artists, had Lady Soul and Miss Peaches on in the house 24/7 in the early days. “RESPECT” in the morning and “At Last” at night. Etta was there for my first crush with “Something’s Got A Hold on Me,” and Aretha was there after my first breakup with “Ain’t No Way.” Even now, “Ain’t No Way” stops me cold, not only because she has a ridiculous set of pipes, but because she emotes vocally unlike anyone on the planet… except for maybe Etta James.

My love for Bob Dylan came from my father. Like Dylan, he encouraged me to pay attention to the world around me and find interesting ways to express what I observed.  Both men showed me how much I could change over my life, and how predictability, in certain ways, was overrated.

I’m far too young to be nostalgic, but certain songs are on this playlist because they evoke memories I’m scared to lose. “Maybe This Time” echoes through the brownstones on Commonwealth, my roommate and I singing Liza at the top of our lungs on Friday nights. “Ball and Biscuit” skips in my purple, spherical boom box, The White Stripes’ Elephant sitting in my lap: my first CD I purchased with my own money. The ridiculous Leslie Hall, in her gold spandex’d glory, dancing with my managing editor on a cold Cambridge night.

“Thirteen” and “Trouble” sound like being in love for the first time — as cheesy as that is to say, I can’t think of any other way to say it. “White Winter Hymnal” sounds like driving in northern Oregon and the smell of cold mornings hidden under pine trees. “The Dark of the Matinee” sounds like spontaneity and “Paper Hearts” sounds like pretention.

Songs haunt me like ghosts, but that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. If I’m living in the past, thank God music is the way I get to do so.

The Muse: Our favorite playlists — Hannah Landers

By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
@hannland

I could say that it was hard to narrow my life down to just 20 songs, that I struggled and debated and agonized over every track. But when I really sat down and thought, when I really contemplated which songs have had real impact and given my life real substance, it was easy to knock off the ones I simply replayed for weeks on end and then forgot about.

In the end, my playlist is surprisingly centered about my family. I have vivid memories of singing Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” with my father, erroneously insisting that Morrison said “Casper” at one point in the song, in reference to my favorite children’s movie featuring a friendly ghost. And I was first introduced to the weird mind of David Byrne through my mother. Whenever “Psycho Killer” comes on the radio, we take turns yelling the “fa fa fa’s” and “aye-aye-aye-aye’s” at one another.

My younger brother, a rich wellspring of music with an iTunes library that would take a couple months to get through, has expanded my music tastes more than anyone. He took the sunny indie music preferences of my teenage years and gave me a healthy dose of grunge in the form of noisy surf punk like Wavves and the kings of grunge themselves, Nirvana.

My younger sister, a staunch Directioner, has been far less influential. Still, I couldn’t help smiling to myself hearing her sing along to the Arctic Monkeys’ “R U Mine?” over winter break. It’s nice to know I have some kind of effect on the person she’s becoming, regardless of how inconsequential it may be.

Bright Eyes’ “Lua” belongs to my cousin and I, who spent so many of my early years with me that people used to mistake us for twins. As we grow apart, physically and figuratively, Bright Eyes will be one of the things that will always link us together.

“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” reminds me of my hometown friends, who aren’t technically my family but may as well be. Take it from me, there’s no better soundtrack than Aaron Carter for cruising around suburban Pennsylvania on a humid, cloudless night with the people you’ve known since kindergarten. The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” and Discovery’s “Swing Tree” were tracks on Sharpie-covered blank CDs given to me by crushes and ex-boyfriends — need I say more?

But most important are the songs that I discovered for myself. Band of Horses’ “Dilly,” Tokyo Police Club’s “Your English Is Good” and Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes” are songs I can play on repeat endlessly from artists or bands that I happened to stumble upon for one reason or another. And it’s these songs, the ones that start out as a sort of special secret between the artist and you, which are most important to cherish.

The Muse: Our favorite playlists — Sarah Kirkpatrick

By Sarah Kirkpatrick, Editor-In-Chief
@Kirkpatrick_SJ

My entire life has extremely music-rich. There was a constant supply of classic rock playing as my mom drove me around as a child. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, grunge was part of the culture (I still wear flannel and beanies quite frequently, prompting plenty of reactions from my staff such as “God, Sarah, you’re SO Seattle.”).

I sang in school and church choirs, so I was exposed to a lot of gospel and soulful songs that way. I went through my rebellious Linkin Park/My Chemical Romance/Three Days Grace phase in middle school, and found myself in a brief popular music phase in high school before eventually becoming more well-rounded.

Today, I’m very much into the indie pop and indie rock scene, constantly scouring underground music blogs for new sounds and new emotions, anything that sparks my interest. I don’t return to the songs of my childhood too often, but I believe my current musical interests are shaped from the constant rock and soul to which I was exposed as a kid.

So, tasked with listing my favorite songs, I tried my best — with a few exceptions — to look at the songs that serve as the inspirations or in some way have raw connections to my present-day tastes. From spooky synths to hell-yeah-don’t-need-no-man powerful vocals, to depressing acoustics and flannel-wearing, long-haired rockers, these are the songs that in some way relate back to what I listen to now.

And, of course, Kanye. Because obviously.