Note: This is the first of a two-part guest series written by two AKHIA team members while Ben is on vacation. Today’s post is written by Ryan Collins, social media specialist.

1. Cough Up to Level Up: Rewards No matter where I travel, I turn on Waze. Waze is a traffic-based app that gives me directions and crowdsources tips from fellow drivers. It tells me about hazards on the road, upcoming accidents, and traffic jams. It also has a game that lets you level up the more miles you travel. Foursquare, the location-based check-in app, has a similar game: check in at different places, and you could become the symbolic “mayor” of that location. It doesn’t give me anything, but I still want to be mayor! (As of this writing, I’m one day away from becoming the mayor of AKHIA – here’s hoping!)

Even though these apps aren’t essential for my day-to-day life, I use them every day to try and level up and become a mayor. Why do I do this?! NPR says that social media and apps are tapping into subconscious reward mechanisms in our brains. Becoming mayor or leveling up is a reward in my mind, so I continue to use the apps. NPR points out video game and app companies may be using this to monetize their products. Sure, you can play a Facebook game with easy beginner levels, but when the levels get harder – you just might cough up to level up.

2. She Needs an Invisibility Cloak J.K. Rowling admirably fights for her privacy, no matter what she does. Her will to keep the world out is so strong she has even written a new book under a pseudonym. Unfortunately for her, she was quickly found out. In a Vanity Fair story, she says: “If anyone had seen the labyrinthine plans I laid to conceal my identity (or indeed my expression when I realised that the game was up!) they would realise how little I wanted to be discovered. . .If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare.” Many people, when the story originally broke days ago, believed Rowling had pulled a prank for easy PR.

I didn’t believe that for a second, and that quote simply proves my belief. J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling book series ever, does not need a stunt to boost her sales. Her name is her brand, and she decided to step away from it.

3. Clevetroit? Detroitland? There have been plenty of stories lately about Cleveland’s seeming trend of crimes against women. Plus, Detroit, a place Cleveland is often compared to, has received just as much bad press for its current bankruptcy. Both cities have advocates loyally fighting for them and that is rightly so. I can’t speak in depth about Detroit (this article from The Economist does a great job), but I know Cleveland has been making a great comeback. Of course, many people I know believe in the city, but just as many people I know are also very much against being associated with Cleveland. I can imagine it’s the same with Detroit. Here’s my take: Yes, Ohio is not the best place in the world, but since I live here, I can try my hardest to make it so.

4. Grumpy Makes Me Happy My favorite meme of all time, Grumpy Cat, has written her own book! Wittingly titled, “Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book,” Grumpy (real name: “Tardar Sauce” [sic]) opines on her world – with photos included. The team managing this cat must be making a bundle, considering they took her to SXSW earlier this year. Lifestyles of the rich and… grumpy?