My new digital home

Since elementary school, I have wanted to create and have my own website. Back then, the main reason was because I always thought it'd be cool to say that I had a website. In fact, I built a website to distribute study guides I created. But, every time I began building something more personal, I got stuck on what content should go on the website.

Over the years, what I have come to realize is that, while I have not gotten more interesting, I wanted a website, if for nothing else but, for myself. It might sound selfish, but, in actuality, it's similar to the reason I created a mission statement at the start of my Freshmen year of college. I wanted to have a place to remind myself who I am and who I am not, as well as who I want to become. Like my mission statement, I wanted to visually outline and focus myself on what I care about. Sharing all this with the world not only allows people to understand me better, but also to hold me accountable.

So today, I am so happy to announce iantang.com, something that I have been working on for the past several months to hopefully achieve what I described above. It still has some rough edges, but I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you'd like to see more of. There is still so much I want to do with this, so I'm just getting started.

Always about #MomentsThatMatter.
Whether you're on desktop or mobile, or something in between, the Moments page is what you're presented with first. It's an edge-to-edge display of hand-selected photos I've captured of some special moments, people and places. While this selection includes photos I've shared elsewhere, I've chosen to highlight these select few. I have always been captivated by photography and the stories they tell, so the meaning behind the photos and the reason I've selected them are just as important as the photos themselves.

Bringing everything together, beautifully.
iantang.com will also serve as the central place for everything in my life, from personal announcements, like this post, to anything I do professionally. It's why you can also access my website at iantanghub.com. In this sense, my blog (e.g. Thoughts), Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as other social platforms where amazing people and communities have accepted and welcomed me, become the spokes to the hub, my website. It is my goal to bake and integrate social content from all the networks I support right into the website, but my commitment, engagement and presence on social destinations will not change. Originally, I had a separate Spokes page that showed social content, but because I felt the experience could be much better integrated, I'm still experimenting with other ways of having everything right on the site.

The things that define me, defined.
A central part of the website, and something I loved creating, is the values section. It's an overview of the 8 values that are important to me and that were carefully considered when I wrote out my mission statement. On my website, I spell out exactly what each value means to me and how I strive to live according to that value every day. You'll also soon be able to see brands that I support alongside my values and mission statement because I believe where we lend our support financially also says a lot about who we are as individuals.

Let's connect.
Along with my website, I am also making public an email where people can personally contact me: inquiries@iantang.com. Say hello and let me know if you'd like to work on something great together.

Capturing life's moments exactly as they happened

A couple months ago, I shared a Google+ and Twitter photo of an absolutely gorgeous and perfect DC day. Being able to take strolls on the National Mall, right in the middle of history, is just one of the advantages of being at +The George Washington University. Several weeks later, I learned (through the Center for Student Engagement Twitter) that the photo was chosen as their winner for February, something that came as a surprise to me. 


This week, GW had a Excellence in Student Life ceremony, where the overall #OnlyAtGW photo contest winner was announced as well. People had some really cool moments showing how awesome it is here, including a group selfie with Wolf Blitzer among many others.


I didn't expect much, but here's what happened, as shown through +Google Glass.


When I first shared that photo, I honestly expected nothing more than me sharing a moment that mattered in my life -- a moment of freedom, of relaxation. I am still in awe at what it has become, especially because it all came from two apps from a device the size of my hand. On my Samsung Galaxy S4, I used the camera and Google+'s powerful +Snapseed app and the final product was available in minutes. Of that moment, right at that moment. 

From Glass to Snapseed and everything in between, I'm taken aback by how technology has empowered everyone to be able to capture the moments that matter.

And then there was this tweet, I love it.


What a fun #OnlyAtGW moment last night.

The importance of social media in education

Social media has had an important impact on education, in addition to the other major areas of life that it has fundamentally transformed. The better communication that can arise from good use of social media on an institution's part has the ability to create a well-informed student body, meaning more student engagement, more interested prospective students and community that aspire to go to that institution as well as a safer environment for learning to occur. This makes institutions stronger and proves why social media is so important in the field of education.
Source: http://synthesio.com/corporate/en/2013/uncategorized/5-universities/
Events
With the amount of events that go on around a college campus, it's hard for students to hear about everything that is going on, much less keep track of the days and times those events are. Because students are always on social media, especially when they are bored, social media quite literally injects announcements right in front of students' faces. Instead of requiring students to go to a different location to find these announcements, social media allows a central hub where students can have the streams of both personal and professional life. They can easily learn about the events taking place around campus and even join in on the conversation to immediately ask about important details, such as location and time. Instead of posters, social media allows for back-and-forth communication, instead of a one-way interaction. On top of that, many schools are able to generate buzz via social media by advertising "hashtags" that relate to the event. Each student that tweets about the event using that specified hashtag will extend the reach of audience that the university has. And, best of all, that is being created with no extra cost to the university.

Marketing (Branding, Customer Service and Feedback)
Social media has also played an important role in helping the reputation of an institution and how it looks in the eyes of the public. In fact, for prospective students alone, according to DigitalTrends, "some 38 percent categorized their social media findings as influential in their enrollment decision." Facebook accounts for 57% of that research method, while YouTube accounts for 42% and Twitter 18%. This means that the online presence they build directly relates back to the interest that is shown from prospective students. To make sure that the smartest and most brilliant people continue to be captivated by a college in this new age, a college must show it is capable of building an online presence that is both engaging and "cool," as in that the institution shows it understands and is relevant to the modern age. With social media being a two-way street, it also allows personal connections to form where students will feel more inclined to apply to a university because of attention he or she may get from the university. A tweet, a favorite or Retweet directed at a particular student may make that one student feel special and spread goodwill about the institution.


Safety
In the past several years, social media has also played a large role in getting the word about alerts and security breaches, not just in universities but in large cities around the world. This has been extremely important because of the far reaches of social media in an age when security is becoming a high priority in society. It has worked really well in getting people to know about the ongoing security events because everyone is always on social media. As USA Today Educate quotes:
'Students use social media on a daily basis,' Sara Estes Cohen, an independent consultant in social media specializing in emergency response, said. 'It is important that emergency managers use the tools their communities are using.'
Again, as mentioned before, in addition to the fact that everyone uses social media, it also allows for a two-way communication: "The fact that it allows the community to post calls for help, questions, and other comments is what makes social media unique." This keeps the community much safer and educates students on the current situations on the campus.