Curious About Health Assessments?

Have you ever what a health assessment entails? Me too. So I caught up with Kaylene Kroemer, a senior in nutrition, fitness and health, to record her health assessment of senior Louise Goggins. She discusses each measurement and why it’s important.

Cigarettes Expected to be Banned by 2020

It comes as no surprise to us that smoking cigarettes has a number of adverse health effects on the body including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, bronchitis, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, mouth and throat cancer, infertility and death. Even with this knowledge, an estimated 45.9 million Americans still smoke.

However, with increased taxes and citywide smoking bans, the number of smokers will hopefully decrease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “every state may have bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace” by the year 2020. In 2010, there were 26 states with these indoor smoking bans. Although West Lafayette has, the state of Indiana has yet to pass this smoking ban.

World’s Strongest Boilermaker Competition

This weekend, I attended the World’s Strongest Boilermaker competition at Purdue University, sponsored by the division of recreational sports.

I caught up with senior Tyler Lechtanski to learn about his experience as a competitor and the preparation and training these strength events require.

During the preliminaries, one event was the farmer’s carry in which competitors attempted to race across the pavement carrying 350 pounds.

How do You YouTube?

From connecting with customers to demonstrating new products to promoting specials and deals, a YouTube channel can be a beneficial asset to any company and can help build credibility and trust with customers or help attract new ones. In addition, YouTube can be a good outlet for dealing with public relations issues because it allows the company to truly connect with the audience as opposed to an effective yet impersonal press release. Ironically, I chose to follow Southwest Airlines’ YouTube channel this week to figure out how this company is utilizing this form of new media. Sadly, in the wake of the recent cracked planes fiasco, Southwest has not posted any videos pertaining to the news. However, I think Southwest does a good job of using its channel to showcase the company’s perks and personality.

Starting from the ground up, Southwest’s YouTube channel is named “NutsAboutSouthwest,” which personally I think ties into its brand and personality well as opposed to a simple “SouthwestYouTube” title. The channel also 3,297 subscribers, 353 followers and 1,061 friends, demonstrating the company’s large and loyal fan base. In addition, the site has had over 250,000 views. During the past week, Southwest posted four new videos on the channel.

The first type of video Southwest has is the “SWA Stew,” based on the popular celebrity gossip show. During this 2-minute show, the host recounts the five Southwest videos of the week, which is actually just five cool things about Southwest – not actual videos.

The second type of video on the channel is commercials. Recently, Southwest has gained a lot of popularity with its new commercials, especially surrounding the “Bags Fly Free” perk. In addition, the company draws off these commercials with short clips that relate to the well-liked commercials. For example, the clip posted this week was: “Southwest Airlines Fee Court: 9 Angry Employees.” This is similar to the popular commercials held in the courtroom in which Southwest employees act as the jury and the customer (the one suing) is always right. This particular clip is only 35 seconds but shows the Southwest employees deliberating in the jury room and being shocked at the way customers are treated. I think this is a great way to utilize the channel because commercials are limited to a certain time frame and are expensive to produce and air. This way, the videos extend the commercials and provide entertainment.

The third way Southwest utilizes YouTube is by posting silly/entertaining videos that incorporate one of the company’s values. The one posted this week for instance, “Southwest Airlines Unlocks the Key to Time Travel… and it’s groovy baby,” is a 1:15 minute clip showing two men in a plane. The clips describes that Southwest is experimenting with time travel for its loyal customers. Then, the scene flashes back to the 70’s and the men have a very 70-ish conversation (whiskey, cigarettes and disco included) with the flight attendant. The clip ends with the flight attendant directing a question to the audience: “Do you remember what it was like before somebody else up there loved you? We do.” This video not only shows Southwest’s fun personality but demonstrates its dedication to customers and providing the best care for them. The clips are not the most professional-looking, but I think it adds to the customer connection.

In conclusion, I think Southwest Airlines does an excellent job utilizing its YouTube channel as an extension of the company’s brand and personality. The channel recounts the organization’s values, mission and perks.

The World’s Strongest Boilermaker

This week, I met up with senior Justin Deblauw, an intern at the Co-Rec, to learn more about the upcoming World’s Strongest Boilermaker competition. It will be held Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 at noon at the Co-Rec facilities. Come join me and watch these athletes toss kegs, carry giant Atlas stones and push the Extra Boilermaker Special!

Two Thumbs Up for Chrysler

After the initial response from Chrysler, Twitter users questioned the appropriateness of the company’s “stiff, corporate” tone and actions regarding the accidental F-bomb tweet.

Chrysler posted a subsequent blog yesterday providing more insight into the situation and why the company reacted the way it did. In a nutshell, Chrysler expresses its dedication and support of Detroit and working to rebuild the industry and economy. Also, Chrysler was not responsible for firing the employee. Social Media Today applauds the company on its proper and effective use of a corporate blog – clearing up details and offering information that would otherwise not be available.

New Technologies, New Controversies

As Twitter continues to evolve as a means of personal and professional communication, tweeters are struggling to find a balance between these two worlds. Many public relations professionals, and even job-seeking students, have created two accounts – one public and one private. Although this distinction is meant to avoid crisis and controversy, recent examples have demonstrated that this is easier said than done.

In February, the Red Cross made headlines when a personal tweet about #gettngslizzerd was accidentally posted on the company’s account and was instantly available to over 250,000 followers worldwide.  The company responded with: “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”

With acknowledgement and a sense of humor, the incident resulted in increased interest and donations, according to the organization. Dogfish Head, the company mentioned in the tweet, even benefitted from the fortuitous publicity. Although the employee and the Red Cross emerged favorably from the mishap, others are not so lucky.

Earlier today, this tweet appeared on Chrysler’s account: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.” The company apologized for the PR blunder, which was apparently tweeted by an employee of its social media agency. Said employee has already been fired. I’m interested to see the public’s perception of Chrysler’s response, as it is a sharp contrast to the Red Cross.

My advice: don’t post negative or controversial tweets in the first place, especially if it relates to your employer or client. Even if these posts only appear on your personal account, they are still tied to your name and in turn, tied to your employer, clients and associations. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

To “Like” Taco Bell or Not to “Like”

This week I followed Taco Bell’s Facebook page. The company’s site has 5,819,690 fans and includes extra pages, such as news, photos, careers and more. The most obvious plus of Taco Bell’s site is that they allow fans to write on their wall. Several companies that I debated following before choosing Taco Bell did not allow this (i.e. Papa John’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut).

On average, the company posted once or twice per day. They use these posts to engage followers, get feedback, advertise promotions or deals, and post information about the company that will make them look good (public relations type posts). Some posts they use to engage followers include:

  • What’s your favorite Taco Bell burrito?
  • Are you staying in tonight or out and about? Who’s making a Bell run tonight?
  • Who “Likes” late night Bell runs?

Some ways the company asked for feedback are:

  • Who’s tried the Quad Steak Burrito with 4X the thick and juicy marinated steak? Thumbs up or down?

Concerning the advertising and PR posts, Taco Bell used Facebook to share information about events they sponsored (i.e. a basketball contest), share the latest specials offered at Taco Bell (i.e. 88 cent Crunch Wrap Supreme), and to offer special coupons and deals to their fans. Most of the promotional posts are accompanied by links to places on Taco Bells website where fans can go for more information. One of the most interesting ways the company utilized its Facebook page was to deal with the recent crisis due to the law suit claiming Taco Bell’s seasoned ground beef is only 35 percent certified meat. Taco Bell responded to this law suit and ushered people and fans to the Facebook page. Coupons for a free crunchy taco were available to all those who “Like”ed the page.

One major downside of Taco Bell’s Facebook site is the way they respond (or don’t respond) to posts. For example, I stated that the company posted a lot of questions asking for feedback or for comments from fans. However, once the comment was posted, the company never commented on or responded to any of the fan posts. These posts to engage the audience usually received 2,000 to 4,000 comments, but Taco Bell never adds input, comments on posts or thanks fans for their input.

Also, as noted earlier, Taco Bell does allow fans to post on the site. However, maybe the company should rethink this. The company does not answer questions or thank fans a majority of the time. When customers complain and the company does choose to respond, they are offered this standard, yet “personalized” message:

  • ·@Megan – Sorry about that L Please call 1-800-TACO-BELL or fill out the form at:
    It helps to provide the store number and any additional details. This will be sent to the store so that they can improve in the future.
    Taco Bell

Although I give the company props for attempting to respond, this type of answer is not ideal. It is not personalized and offers no additional help in the complaint process. I think it would be more beneficial if they were to say something like, “I’ll make sure I take care of this,” or “I’ll make sure your complaint gets into the right hands.” People don’t want to fill out forms or call automated messages, that’s why they complain on Facebook.

I also noticed the company deleted some of the complaint comments. For instance one woman posted: “I tried to complain about how little meat was in my Crunch Wrap Supreme and you deleted it and didn’t even respond! Thanks a lot!” After this second complaint, the fan received the typical: “That’s no good L Call us at…” response.

Finally, although Taco Bell tried to utilize Facebook to respond to the ‘meat crisis,’ the company did a poor job of actually addressing the issue on Facebook. When followers commented on the situation or asked about the law suit or meat recipe, Taco Bell solicited the same response every time:

Except the coupons and interaction between fans, I don’t see a whole lot of value in Taco Bell’s Facebook site. In other words, I don’t think the company is adding any real information or service that isn’t available elsewhere. I know it’s difficult to respond when fans post at least every 10 minutes, but the vague and unhelpful responses are not ideal.

Learning to use Facebook professionally

1. Want to learn about safe sex without being lectured or feeling awkward? Come to comedian Cindy Pierce’s presentation of “Ringing the Doorbell” on Mon., March 7 at 7 p.m. in Loeb Theater. The event is hosted by the Purdue Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council. Will you be attending?

2. We all remember how awful that required sexual health class was in high school. Now, learn about healthy choices, safe sex, birth control and porn from a noted comedian! Join the Fraternity and Sorority Life at Loeb Theater March 7 at 7 p.m. as Cindy Pierce defuses sensitive topics in “Ringing the Doorbell” with unfiltered and frank humor. What topics or issues do you want covered?

Social Media Scavenger Hunt

Find a news release related to your beat.    

NIH – “Researchers indentify protein essential for embryo implantation”
Found via Twitter –!/NIHforHealth/status/38677180149932032

Find a blog on your beat.

A Trail Runner’s Blog –
Found via Twitter –!/FitnessDoc/status/38341541219016704

Identify an expert on your beat that has a Twitter account and follow them.

Jillian Michaels (fitness guru from The Biggest Loser)!/JillianMichaels

Using Facebook (not your friends), find three “real” people you could interview.

1. Kevin Isaac – College student who works at the Co-Rec!/Sac13

2. Sarah Hanson – Assistant Director of Operations at the Co-Rec!/profile.php?id=37601929

2. Scotty Carte – Student involved in lots of health and fitness activities, including the Air Force, Wakeboarding, Snowboarding, Purdue Free-Runners!/profile.php?id=587237687

Find a company related to your beat that has a Facebook account and become a fan.

Purdue Rec Sports

Identify an organization related to your beat and find their social media pages.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Facebook –
RSS feed –

Using hashtags only on Twitter, find what people are saying about a current event.

The new health care reform bill (includes positive and negative opinions)
Hashtag = #hcr!/search?q=%23hcr

Twitter Updates

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

June 2021