CoMo Tech: Michael P. Hill

@michaelphill

Who are you?

I’m known to most people as Michael P. Hill or MPH. I have awesome initials and am oddly proud of them. Interestingly, my parents didn’t realize the combination of letters when they named me. I began using my middle initial as a way to differentiate myself when I got my first newspaper job in high school because both “Michael” and “Hill” are such common names.

I came to Columbia for a job with the University of Missouri System, where I was most recently digital communications director, where I oversaw (what else) the digital communications efforts for senior UM System executives, including the president. Previously, I lived in Orlando, Fla., and Ithaca, N.Y.

I have a communication degree from the University of Scranton, located in the lovely city of Scranton, Pa. (also known as, for better or worse, the home of the Dunder Mifflin paper company from the NBC show “The Office”).

I spent several years working in newspapers starting in high school. I’ve also worked in television news and transitioned to marketing in 2006.

What do you do for money?

I’m senior director of content marketing at VA Mortgage Center.com, the nation’s No. 1 dedicated VA lender. I joined VA Mortgage Center.com in June of this year.

I also co-own a Columbia-based website design, graphic design and marketing agency called Equal Creative and a holding company that owns several niche Web properties, HD Media Ventures.

What do you do for fun?

Honestly, I really have a lot of fun with all of my work. To me, developing cool content and building websites and Web apps are like a big puzzle and I love figuring out how to make everything work together. Outside of work, I’m a big trivia fan and also enjoy exploring new restaurants with friends. There’s also nothing wrong with just spending a quiet evening at home with my dog.

I would characterize my relationship with technology as:

Interesting question. That’s hard to define. I’m not necessarily ashamed to admit that checking Facebook and Twitter are is, literally, the first thing I do when I wake up (well, after saying good morning to my dog Maddie). To me, staying informed of what’s going on in both the world and in my circle of friends is very important, and that’s something technology makes really easy.

Smart or dumb phone? What kind? If smart, what are the three apps you use most?

Smart, definitely. I have an iPhone 4 lovingly named the mPhone (notice the first three letters the name has). I’m a big Evernote user and use HootSuite’s app to track my social media feeds. Newser’s app is my source for news and I’m also a big fan of word games like Words With Friends, Scrabble and Scramble. I also have to mention Zite, an iPad app that lets you build a custom magazine. I’m proud to say I don’t have Angry Birds on either my iPhone or iPad.

Mac or PC or Other?

PC

I use Twitter for:

I use Twitter to share cool and interesting things I find about my various interests: graphic design, TV and print journalism, content marketing, social media and Web apps. I also find Twitter to be an incredibly timely news source — I’m still amazed at how fast it gets the scoop on major breaking news stories compared to news websites.

I use Facebook for:

I’ve recently started segmenting my Facebook use to be much more personal than my Twitter account, so I use Facebook to share my thoughts, feelings, things I find amusing and my opinions.

Do you read any blogs? What are three of your favorites?

I’m a huge believer that reading industry-related blogs is one of the best ways to keep yourself informed and competitive. I have too many favorites to just name three, but some of the ones that are most influential to me are Smashing Magazine, Search Engine Land, Copyblogger, Quick Sprout, SEOmoz Daily, Web Design Ledger, Onextrapixel, Google Webmaster Central Blog, AppVita and Web Designer Depot.

Go-to menu item and restaurant in CoMo?

Blackened ribeye at C.C.’s City Broiler. I’m also a big fan of La Terraza Grill.

Complete this sentence: Archers of Loaf is:

Honestly, without Googling it, I have no idea.

Friends are visiting from out-of-town. You’re for-sure taking them to:

I love showing people the quad around the columns on the MU campus because it has such a classic college look. Bluestem always has cool stuff to show visitors and Stephen’s Lake Park is another must-see. I always like taking visitors to any of the many locally-owned restaurants and a walk down Ninth Street.

My second-favorite city/town/hamlet/state/country/province in the world is:

Bloomsburg, Pa., where I grew up. I never really appreciated small town values until I moved to Orlando and realized just how impersonal everything was. I used to complain about growing up somewhere where not much happened (and technology was several years behind the rest of the world). Bloomsburg recently got hit really badly by Hurricane Irene, with record-setting flooding, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately.

I’ve found Columbia to be a nice mix of the small town feel with some of the advantages of a bigger city — and I love having two major metropolitan areas an easy drive away.

Thanks, Michael!

CoMo Tech spotlights how wise, local folks use his or her tech and town powers for good (or evil). Check out the archive here. If you have someone you’d like to be featured in CoMo Tech, please let us know!

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