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Realtor, Vaseline, Dumpster

February 2, 2011

So we all know that words like Kleenex and Post-it are trademarks, but here are a few that surprised me.

Brand Name- Generic term

  • AstroTurf-artificial grass
  • Dumpster- Trash bin
  • Fudgsicle- Fudge ice-cream bar
  • Jockey shorts- underwear
  • Sheetrock- gypsum wallboard
  • Windbreaker- lightweight jacket
  • Velcro- adhesive fastener
  • Ping-Pong –Table tennis
  • Crock-Pot- electric earthenware cooker
  • Realtor- real-estate agent
  • Rollerblade- in-line skate
  • Seeing Eye dog- guide dog
  • Vaseline- petroleum jelly

Bad sentence:

The realtor tripped on sheetrock while rollerblading and fell on astroturf in a dumpster.

Good sentence:

The real-estate agent tripped on gypsum wallboard while in-line skating and fell on artificial turf in a trash bin.

Just another way to watch your words


Free + Premium = Freemium

January 27, 2011

The wonderful world of free… sort of

In my social media class, we discussed freemium which is a new business model employed by many web start ups. Freemium is the combination of free and premium services to sustain a business.

In a freemium business model, the majority of a business’s customer base does not pay for content/services and only a small percent of users generate enough revenue to sustain the buisness.

Most freemium models start by acquiring a loyal customer base. Then they can add the ‘premium’ features which can be additional/unlimited services, lack of advertising, more storage, more mobile options etc.

Some industries have employed the freemium model better than others. Traditional print media started off by uploading all content for free onto their websites. However as they attempted to employ a freemium model with paywalls, they have met some resistance.

Image from

Now four years after New York Times paywall fail, New York Times is resurrecting it. However this time in an incremental payment scale. Hopefully New York Times can lead print media into the world of paid content. Other media like music and movies have slowly surpassed the cheapskate mentality.

Almost everyone has seen and used various Freemium models like Hulu, Pandora, Skype etc. Freemium models I use are Yousendit, Issuu, Pandora, Grooveshark, LinkedIn and WordPress.

The only premium service I’ve bought is through skype when I was in London to make phone calls to America.

I believe that the trust and usefulness users generate from the free model will ultimately lead to them becoming a premium model, IF the motivation is there. I’m an avid user of but at first their premium model was lacking. They incentive was no visual ads, which are relatively unobtrusive with the free model.

Since I last saw their lackluster premium model, it seems that they have developed an app for blackberries (maybe ipads?) which allows users to use their service without the internet. I believe smartphone users are more likely to purchase content like apps as opposed to web users who aren’t as likely (or wealthy) to purchase content.

For more information:

10 common grammar or formatting mistakes I’ve seen (or made myself!)

January 21, 2011

Detours copy editing weekends begins THIS WEEKEND! This semester we lost a great copy editor, darn graduation. So I decided to beef up my journalistic grammar, AP style etc. So I enlisted the help of ‘Watch Your Words’ by Roman & Littlefield. While the book was an amazing help, I felt grammatical humbled. So here are some common mistakes I’ve seen while working the copy desk at the Index or things I learned by reading the book!

1) NO Oxford comma in AP style. Don’t put a comma in the second to last item in a list before the and.

  • We bought apples, oranges and kiwis.

2) However, use an Oxford comma when the last item in the list contains an and.

  • The food included cupcakes, ice cream, and cheese and crackers.

If the item containing and isn’t last, there isn’t an Oxford comma.

  • The food included cheese and crackers, ice cream and cupcakes.

3) The word plethora is often used in a plethora of wrong situations. Plethora means overabundance, not just abundance.

4) Use the term more than when you’re referring to an amount you can count.

  • More than 100 people went to the marching band event.

5) Don’t use that after said unless it is before a time reference.

  • Jessica said he would write the cat story.
  • -Jessica said Sunday that he would write the cat story.

6) How to use lay, lie etc. Sorry, I have no fun memory cue for this one!

To Lay (to place)    To Lie (to recline)

Present tense:                    Lay/Lays                               lie/lies

Past Tense:                          Laid                                        Lay

Present participle:           am/is/are laying               am/is/are lying

Past participle:                  have/had laid                    have/had lain

7)  If you’re ever quoting someone, here is an example of how to format the quote.

  • “Stephanie is writing a blog,” Hall said. “The blog is about grammar and formatting mistakes.”

8 ) Hyphenate any compound adjective beginning with well

  • well-dressed

9) The difference between ‘Because of’ and ‘Due to’

  • Use because of to modify a verb. – The game was postponed because of the snow
  • Use due to modify a noun. – The postponement was due to snow.

10) When using a colon to introduce a concept or idea, capitalize the first word.

  • Here’s what I think: Better days are sure to come.

Social Media Savvy

January 16, 2011

As part of my social media class and my personal development, I’m diving further into social media.


I already have a Facebook, but feel like I haven’t used it to the fullest extent. As Facebook has developed, I tend to do more perusing rather than actually contributing. So I am going to attempt to be more interactive with Facebook by….

• Uploading my photos from different events-including some of my London pictures (it’s been a year since I left!)
• Using my status as a tool to a) keep people updated in my life b) Use Facebook to promote Detours and communicate with Detours audiences.


I opened my Twitter account on February 2009 when I was working on newspaper article about how different Missourian’s used Twitter. I would tweet once every…. 6 months? So I’m going to try to keep tweeting about Detours progress and my personal life.
• Follow me: StephanieHall89


LinkedIn is the most professional form of social media. Last April I created a profile but didn’t do anything to it. Today I used the e-mail search function on the site to find people I might know. I managed to find a good deal of people, however I also sent a lot of invitations to emails who didn’t have a linked in account, which was disappointing. I’ve filled out about 70% of my profile (according to the site) and need to fill in a few more areas including my summary, specialties, etc
• Find me on LinkedIn.

Visual CV:

Visual CV is an online visual resume I’ve been building for some time. I’ve slowly incorporating several of my clips and resume into the site, but am continuing to build upon it.
• Check it out at-

Do you Doodle?

January 12, 2011


My Doodle I used to set up interview times for Detours bloggers

MEETINGS!!! I am starting to put my new ideas for Detours into action. My goals for this semester are to improve our website, help train employees and generate more multimedia content. However the ‘action’ I need to take is scheduling meetings.

While meetings are necessary, they are a pain to schedule. Between classes, work schedules, other organizations and Glee (or insert latest TV craze), finding a time for more than 5 people to meet can be a challenge. This year a classmate introduced me to ‘Doodle.’ This free scheduling tool allows an administrator (you) to create schedule of times/dates. You can then send the link to pertinent people, and it allows them to input their available or unavailable times. Doodle sends you a e-mail when anyone contributes to the schedule  and will help you determine the most available time between all entries.

My meetings for this week include mostly one on one meetings. Tomorrow’s meetings- advertising/pr manager, blogger, managing editor. Thursday- art director Friday- online editor and the intense Truman Media Network board meeting. It should be a productive week.

Also cooking feat for the day- I made chicken and potato soup from scratch!

First of the Lasts

January 11, 2011

Photo by Stephanie Hall

The who, what, where, when, why… basically the lede

Today marks the first of the lasts: my last first day of school and my first day of starting my last issue as Editor in Chief of Detours travel magazine. I’m excited for the prospect of a fresh start with classes and a new issue of Detours but it’s tinged with the anxiety and anticipation of the end. 116 and counting.

In the next 116 days I will complete 13 hours of communication classes, attempt to take three dance classes, start networking/applying for jobs, attend endless meetings, educate myself on the magazine industry and finally … put my heart, soul and weekends into Detours magazine making it 116 percent better than last issue. I start today and end when I walk across the stage on May 7, 2011 and step into the real world.

So if you are bored with Facebook, already checked CNN’s news ticker and are procrastinating doing your homework, come by and read about my triumphs, failures, fun facts for the day, basic life events and learnings of the last 116 days of Stephanie Hall, Editor In Chief of Detours and undergraduate senior.

(yes, learnings is not a word, but it flowed well)