“I CANNOT LOOK AT THAT MASSIVE BUG THAT IS ABOUT TO BE PULLED OUT OF THAT KITTEN’S NOSE!!!” I thought as she was about to show us the video that went viral from the Nebraska Humane Society

Last week our journalism social media class went to the Nebraska Humane Society. We heard Elizabeth Hilpipre give a lecture about social media. She is an alumni from Creighton University, and her current job is the development and communications specialist at Nebraska Humane Society.


I think the most interesting part of her lecture were the fun success stories that she posted on Facebook and Twitter that went viral. For example, there was the story about the sheep wearing a sweater. One day, a guy called 911 because he said that he found a sheep inside of his yard. Then, animal patrol came and retrieved the sheep from his yard. Then, the next day Elizabeth decided to put the sheep on Facebook with the sole purpose of finding his owner because he was lost. After he was posted on social media, the story went viral. They used the hashtag “#christmassheep” and many news outlets picked the story up including the “Associated Press,” “BuzzFeed,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” Russian newspapers and British newspapers. The only reason that she posted this story was because the Nebraska Humane Society wanted to find the sheep’s home. Subsequently, the owner called and picked up the sheep after the story went viral.

Another viral story was a video of the Nebraska Humane Society’s vets removing a massive fly larva from a little kitten’s nose. Elizabeth published a video online about a little kitten who had a fly larva stuck up his nose. Elizabeth took the video of them pulling out the bug, and she posted that video on the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook page. The video reached about 5.7 million people, it was viewed over 3 million times on their Facebook page alone and it was viewed by over a million people on their YouTube channel. In sum, the video has been viewed by a ton of people. Although this video was not popular in the United States, it went viral in South Korea, Japan and China.


Elizabeth said that people who work in the social media social media industry probably only get one viral news story in their life or career. Currently, she said that she has had about three viral news stories. I think that students can especially learn from Elizabeth’s experience. I think that social media readers especially enjoy these types of sensational and viral news stories and journalists should seek to find these types of fun success stories.

The cool thing about all of these stories whenever they are going viral across the internet is that they are always mentioning the name of the Nebraska Humane Society. So, these stories get the name of the Nebraska Humane Society all over the country. In addition, because of social networks, the Nebraska Humane Society gets a lot of donations from people in Omaha as a result of this advertising of their name.


She uses data to figure out what to post. She utilizes Facebook insights, Twitter activity analytics, YouTube analytics and Instagram analytics to her advantage to determine what to post for the Nebraska Humane Society.

How does she successfully gauge posts? She utilizes data. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram all give her a lot of data to work with. Twitter gives her a lot of data such as household income, people’s favorite things, what people follow and what they like.


Additionally, the Twitter analytics tell her that the Nebraska Humane Society followers like pop culture references. As a result, she likes to do a lot of pop culture references on the Nebraska Humane Society Twitter account page because of what the analytics tell her about their followers. For instance, she made a reference to the movie “Star Wars” recently for a dog on the Nebraska Humane Society Twitter page. She thinks that it is great that people interact with posts that reference pop culture.

Credit: Nebraska Humane Society Twitter account. This is an example of a pop culture reference to “Star Wars.”

Regarding their Facebook analytics, the Nebraska Humane Society Facebook page has an average video reach of about 70 thousand people. So, that data tells her that if she wants to reach the most amount of people, then she should probably use this detail. Also, Facebook analytics give her even more details such as the average length that viewers watch videos and when they stop watching videos. She can usually shoot a video in about 30 seconds, but she figured out that people are probably only watching ten seconds of it. She learned from the Facebook analytics, and now she usually only does ten second videos.

Additionally, the Nebraska Humane Society posts a lot of photos on social media. Elizabeth told us that Facebook is now ranking their content higher based on people who use the Facebook reactions button (e.g. a smiley face, heart, et cetera) more than the thumbs up icon. Moreover, many news stations might ask their viewers what they think of their story that they post on Facebook because they want to get rewarded by Facebook and get their content ranked higher from Facebook followers who utilize the reactions button to give their opinion about a story.

She uses the data to work in the Nebraska Humane Society’s favor. She mentioned that they were having trouble promoting a huge fundraiser on their general Facebook page. It was very frustrating for her that there was not very much interaction on their Facebook page for this event. So last year, in 2016, she reinvented how they post on Facebook. Instead of doing just general posts on their Facebook page, she created an event just for the Nebraska Humane Society walk event so that she could target the audience of people who are just interested in that event. She updated that event regularly so that way people who were interested in that event would be able to sign up for it. She also saved posts for the event on their main Facebook page such as general information about the event. For example, she crossposted general information about when the deadline was to register for the event on their main Facebook page.  This separation of the event from the main Facebook page really helped the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook page. She noticed that the Nebraska Humane Society had more engagement on their event page than their posts from the previous year.  For instance, one post that she put on their main Facebook page reached about 20 thousand people, but the post on the event page reached about 27 thousand people.

This is an example of the difference between posting on an event page on Facebook and the main Facebook page for the Nebraska Humane Society. On the left, there is a post on the main Facebook page that reached about 20 thousand people. On the right, there is a post on their event page that reached about 27 thousand people.  In sum, the event page was more successful because it reached 7 thousand more people. Credit: Elizabeth Hilpipre’s Social Media PowerPoint

Also, she uses the data to enhance the Nebraska Humane Society’s social media strategy. She mentioned that the Nebraska Humane Society has started using boosted posts on their main Facebook page for really important things. For example, when the Nebraska Humane Society is full of cats, then she will pay to boost their Facebook posts about cats. Additionally, she boosted the walk event. For instance, a preview of the walk event would show up on somebody’s news feed because the Nebraska Humane Society boosted and targeted the market of people who have pets, people who like to run and people who like to walk. She said that the Nebraska Humane Society is able to target their audience by using the data to their advantage.

Additionally, the Nebraska Humane Society pays to advertise and boost posts on Instagram. One of the benefits about advertising on Instagram is that the Nebraska Humane Society can put up multiple photos. For instance, if the Nebraska Humane Society puts up a cat advertisement on Instagram, then Instagrammers can scroll through and see multiple photos of cats.

Even though their intake for cats was higher last year, boosting posts on Instagram helped the Nebraska Humane Society lower the number of free cat sales that they had to do.

They do not like to giving cats away for free; however, when they have too many cats, then they do give cats away for free.

The Nebraska Humane Society reached a lot of people with paid advertising. Their paid advertising reached 2.6 million people.

She also said that their Facebook page last year had 63 million impressions and reached 26.3 million people. Their main Facebook page has about 130 thousand likes. Their main Twitter account last year had over 9 million impressions.

Despite the fact that a lot of people boost general posts on Facebook, Elizabeth thinks that it is waste of money for the Nebraska Humane Society to pay to reach people who may not interact with their social media posts. She mentioned that it is more valuable for the Nebraska Humane Society to pay to get people to like their main Facebook page. Also, the Nebraska Humane Society boosts their “Donate” now button on their Facebook page. By boosting their “Donate” now button, this helped the Nebraska Humane Society raise over $5,000 in December of 2016. This strategy works better and is more valuable than boosting just a general post.


One of the significant pieces of advice that she mentioned was to be friends with your professors. She said that students should just be friends with your professors because they are going to be the ones who find you jobs, get you jobs, and recommend you for jobs. For example, when Creighton alums are applying for a position at the Nebraska Humane Society, she said that the Nebraska Humane Society will ask Carol what she thinks of the job applicant.

She said that forming genuine relationships with your professors and being kind to them is an excellent thing to do because it is important to make connections — especially if you want to stay in Omaha. If somebody plans to work in Omaha, then it is definitely about who you know, who knows you and who can give you a good recommendation. So, she recommends utilizing those connections from your professors. She also recommends to participate in your classes because she thinks that professors remember you. For instance, if one was a difficult student to deal with in class, then professors are probably not going to give you a recommendation letter.

In sum, her presentation on social media at the Nebraska Humane Society was fantastic, and it was such a great and informative lecture to listen to.


Would anybody “like” a fluffy buttercream frosted gingerbread house, freshly baked apple pie or peach cookies with a cup of foggy and dirty drinking water?


I think that the King Arthur Flour brand is very effective. A goal of businesses on Instagram is to generate sales. By posting photographs of food with their products, it makes their products appear more attractive to the viewer. I think that everyone loves looking at food, and King Arthur Flour enhances the way followers perceive their business by using freshly baked and perfectly made desserts in their photos. I think that it is interesting that the photographs change with the seasons. King Arthur Flour features photos of perfectly crafted gingerbread houses during Christmastime. King Arthur Flour posted a photograph of an apple pie dusted with white cane sugar next to a pile of apples.

In this apple photograph, the brand King Arthur Flour utilizes the rule of thirds. There are apples by most of the cross points and intersections. The brand utilizes the whole space in the photograph. The viewer’s eye follows the apples which are purposefully arranged in an arc formation, and this arrangement draws the viewer to the final picture of the apple pie in the upper right corner.

For this photograph, maybe they were advertising pie pans and suggesting desserts for people to make during apple season. Or, they could be showing ways for Instagram followers to utilize the flour that they sell.

This is the apple picture. I put quadrants on it, and I divided it to show the rule of thirds. Credit: King Arthur Flour

In addition, the reader can tell that the other photographs are purposefully arranged and designed creatively .

In the summertime, peaches are featured for this Instagram post from King Arthur Flour.

In this photograph, for instance, my eye follows the peach cookies that are aligned in a diagonal formation. There is a cookie on each cross section — places where the eye tends to look at first.  Then, after looking at the cookies, my eye is immediately drawn to the peach at the cross section in the upper right. Finally, the bowl of sugar is placed in the bottom right hand side of the photograph. The sugar is the item I look at last.

For this photograph, maybe they were trying to advertise baking sheets and suggest recipes that one could make with their products.


In contrast to King Arthur Flour’s perfectly made desserts, Neverthirst posted a photograph of two glasses of water.

In this photograph, the Instagram follower immediately understands the role and purpose of Neverthirst. The glass with dirty water on the left is juxtaposed beside the glass of clear water on the right with the phrase “1,000 FILTERS FUNDED!” superimposed over the glasses. I think that this Instagram post is effective because it shows the social justice work that Neverthirst is doing in the world. It was a very good idea to literally show the viewer what Neverthirst does for its clients with the glasses of water. The Bio Sand Filters are helping “over 5,000 people” obtain clean and safe drinking water in the country of Cambodia.

By showing their social justice work in an Instagram post, Neverthirst builds brand awareness. Instagram followers who see this Instagram post might become inspired to donate money to Neverthirst so that this nonprofit can fund more filters to further its cause and mission in the world.


I learned that posting an excellent photograph on Instagram is very important. The photograph should be eye-catching, but not nondescript and mediocre. There are so many filters to use on Instagram to enhance one’s photograph, so businesses should use these filters to their advantage.

I really liked that the King Arthur Flour photos were carefully planned. You could tell that the photographer put a lot of work into each photograph. It was not something that they did on the spur of the moment. For instance, you could tell that each food dish was made to perfection. Also, I liked that the lighting of the King Arthur Flour photographs were very bright and vibrant. This bright lighting of the photos creates a positive mood in the photograph. The King Arthur Flour photographs almost look like something you would see in a food recipe magazine.

I also learned that posting the product that your business produces on Instagram is very important. For instance, because of the effective photograph that Neverthirst posted, the Instagram user instantly knows that Neverthirst’s goal is to help provide clean drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries. I also learned that it is important to share examples of your work. Otherwise, why should I, as an Instagram user, care about Neverthirst? By showing Instagram users the work that Neverthirst engages in, this nonprofit effectively gets its message across to its followers. With the fantastic photograph of the two glasses of water, Neverthirst’s followers get to see that the donations of money are allocated towards providing filters for clean drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries. Hopefully, this photograph of the two glasses of water will encourage Neverthirst’s 1,440 followers to donate money to this nonprofit’s cause. I’ll drink to that! But I wouldn’t want to drink foggy and dirty water to that. 🙂


Eat Israeli Food, Pray at the Western Wall, Love Social Media


I think that Facebook is important because it is the largest social media website, and it is where the most people are so one should pay attention to it.

I like Facebook because I can keep in touch with family and friends on it. I think that making Facebook events are especially important if you want people to come to your club’s events at Creighton.

Image from Master OSM 2011 licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Additionally, I use Facebook because I like to follow pro-Israel journalists and news organizations and share articles and videos to promote the State of Israel.

Example of Alternative text
That’s me at the Western Wall during a high school trip circa 2013.

For instance, I follow black Zionist Chloé Simone Valdary. I like to share pictures of the Mediterranean in Israel, tourist spots like the Western Wall, Israeli food videos and breaking news, among other topics.

On Facebook, I also like to promote acts of kindness that I do to inspire others. For example, I am a frequent blood donor at the American Red Cross.

I am on Twitter. My Twitter username is @JLL66319. I do not like Twitter because I am more accustomed to using Facebook. Yet, I think Twitter is significant as a professional tool in the field of journalism. On Twitter, I follow people from high school, Creighton students, journalists and news organizations.


I do not like that future employers or other people who have influence in your life may see your posts on social media. If one posts embarrassing photos or harmful words, future employers might not hire you if they do not like what you present on your social media profile. A person could lose their job for posting something critical of their employer.

I do not like that people can judge you for what you post on your social media feed. For instance, a professor (who I might ask for a recommendation letter from someday) sent me a friend request on Facebook. I do not like the idea of a professor looking at my Facebook news feed. What if he thinks that what I post is stupid? How will he judge me based on my Facebook likes and shares? I chose not to deal with this predicament, and I have ignored the request for now. He knows me in real life, and that is good enough for me. Maybe after graduation I will add him on Facebook.

In addition, I do not think that people need social media to stay connected to their friends. People can always text or call each other if they want to get together. I think that people can become too addicted to using social media and not enjoy hanging out with their friends in real life. People can become too preoccupied about how many friends, likes, retweets and followers they have on social media, but at the same time these people should balance their virtual lives and hang out with real friends.

Nevertheless, I sometimes use Facebook messenger to ask my friends if they want to hang out. So, social media has changed communication for me because I use it to connect with friends virtually and in real life. In today’s world, I think that millennials try to maintain a real world identity in addition to an online identity through social media.

I know that time management is important, so my social media habits have changed a lot over the years. I deleted my Facebook account in 2014 because I wanted to spend more time studying and not get distracted by it. In 2015, I remade it because I missed seeing what my friends were up to. I have deactivated my Facebook account many times in order to focus more on homework, only to reactivate it again.


I have stopped using Instagram. I only set up an Instagram to get more entries into a promotional contest for Matisyahu concert tickets. And, no, I did not win them! I do not use Snapchat or Tumblr.

I have a LinkedIn account, but I do not really use it. I need to get better at updating my resume online. Nevertheless, I think it is a good idea to have a LinkedIn account so that you have an online presence that is there all the time for future employers to see when you are looking for a job.

Overall, I hope to become more knowledgeable about social media in this class. I hope this class will prepare me for a job in the future that requires one to have knowledge of social media.