COMM0014 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

Storytelling is important to creating great digital content because people connect to stories better than any other form of advertisement or promotion. A story allows the viewer to connect with the subject of the story and get to know that subject (character) on a human level. Because telling a story via a character vs a company is so much more effective, it allows the organization in question to sell or promote a lifestyle or story that ultimately promotes the product or service by association.

It is important to target your audience specifically not only based on who the group of individuals are but more importantly based on the relationship that is ideal between the organization and its audience. That relationship will define the tone and approach to the communication in addition to the style of writing. Targeting that audience and writing the story to match up with their expectations is key if you want to succeed at getting their attention and keeping it.

Knowing what your goal is and how your story will end is key to writing a successful communications piece. If you don’t know what your end goal is, how are you supposed to accurately develop the product or advertising piece.

COMM0014 – Blog 6 – What is your industry’s greatest flaw?

Going through college, my professors told me stories of their time spent in the film industry, for some of them, that story included how they ended up working at a college instead of on a movie set — others seemed to neglect that chapter. Through this experience and working with colleagues who spent years in the industry, I have learned of many flaws.

The biggest flaw that I have learned is that you are the luckiest person on earth if you are being paid right away when you start your career. I knew that wasn’t something I would be able to afford or wanted to do.

Next the industry is dominated by men, and few women ever working on the production side of the business, favouring to work in pre-production or post-production. This would make finding my way in the industry all that more difficult because I would have to prove myself more than anyone else on the crew because I am a woman. I am finding even working in government in this industry, I feel I have to always prove myself a little more than everyone else on the team.

Finally, while storytelling is the ultimate goal of filmmaking, once you start working in bigger productions the story isn’t always the focus. For me, storytelling is very important and I wouldn’t be able to work on something that I didn’t believe the story should be told.

COM0014 – Blog #5 – Filming Stories

COM0014 – Blog #5 – Filming Stories

P1020002I think off the very top, what sets me apart from many of my competitors is that I chose to study film and media production as opposed to learn it through on set training. This gives me the upper hand working in the federal government as a post-secondary education is a requirement to being hired.

As of late, I have been working on short film scripts in effort to eventually produce a new short film to add to my resume and demo reel. In addition to studying film and media production I also spent a year focusing on scriptwriting and storytelling, which had been what I wanted to do for a long time. Spending more time writing is allowing me to better hone my craft and develop my storytelling skills without the limitations set by government officials.

P1020626

What my colleagues have said about me to others I work with is that I know how to tell a story, which is the most important thing when doing the line of work I do. When I was told what this particular colleague said I was in shock because I am my own worst critic and tend to think everything I produce is terrible.

COMM0014 – Blog #4 – Premium Tea Online

COMM0014 – Blog #4 – Premium Tea Online

18740571_10155306368432910_8013155930072845676_nDavid’s Tea is a Canadian premium tea store that sells loose leaf teas, tea to go and tea accessories such as tea cups, travel mugs and teapots. I have been following them on social media for a few years but only recently started to really pay attention. For the purposes of this post I am going to focus on their Facebook interactions even though they are on Twitter and Instagram, I believe their Facebook presence is strongest.

The company regularly posts about its in store promotions, as most stores do, but they also post about lifestyle, recipes, tea of the day and other one off posts that relate to tea in one way or another such as this short video from 2 years ago.

I like how they play on colour, mood and lifestyle to advertise their tea, while it remains the focus of the video.

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 8.06.17 PM

The company also has someone on duty to respond to comments and questions that could help better the business and customer satisfaction such as this response saying that they will take her comment into consideration. Not only do they respond but they answer her, beginning with her name, which means that while their made be a script or format, there is some personalization that takes place.

The company also occasionally posts fun little pieces that prompt an action or reaction, such as this post for National Iced Tea day this past weekend. Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 8.20.07 PM.png

I have noticed that they tend to post early in the morning during the week (7:00-9:00) and a little later on weekends (9:00-11:00) which coincides with when people are waking up and getting ready for the day (many scrolling through Facebook or other social media platforms as their routine.

Cheers!

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Social Media Audiences

I presently work as a contractor at the Department of National Defence producing videos for the department’s social media outlets, and other online platforms. When developing or editing a video I always need to keep the audience in mind.


Here is what of the videos I have worked on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUSfxxpE5CE

When developing a story line I always have to keep the audience in mind, even though it is quite broad. I need to target Canadian Armed Forces members, their families, potential recruits, CAF retirees and anyone with an interest in the military. What I do when thinking of my audience I think of which portion of my audience would most appreciate the story that I am molding.


Watch this video before continuing to read:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZVyMpyjZKk&index=8&list=PL55Fcekr-FU0gE5D0_HK9g7zaKgKWDEPe

When editing this video, I had a specific audience in mind, I was thinking of parents, young adults or anyone who has helped someone that is ill. I wanted to pull at the audience’s heart strings and so started off with the challenge: Zak had cancer that had taken over 75% of his body.

For other videos such as the Cpl Reyda story above, the audience was more specifically people with a dream, in this case it was a dream to fly, however this could be for anyone with a dream career who has struggled on the way to their goal.

How do you target your audience?

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Writing a Digital Story

It is difficult to change the way I write when I have spent so much time training and learning to write prose as I presently do. When you’re telling a conventional story, you want to give the reader just enough information to keep them interested but not enough to give the hook – or big twist – away. However, writing for social media and digital communications is a different formula; you want to lead with that key piece of information because that is what interests the reader from the get go. You then want to introduce the points you will touch on in the article.

An additional point which I understand completely but also find baffling is knowing the end game before you even start writing your first sentence. Out of everything I have written, my favourite piece to date by far is the one I wrote with little planning, the character and her story evolved that year as I did and because of that became my most important story. I wrote stories, first outlining key elements and then starting, but I found the experience less exhilarating as a creative person.

The constant here of course is grammar, spelling and punctuation. The moment any piece of writing other than that of a second grader’s is riddled with mistakes it is looked at as unprofessional.

What styles of writing do you use when writing? Is your writing conventional, unconventional or somewhere in between?

COM0014 – Blog #1 – Disney World at Christmas Time

IMG_1770It’s been a year and a half since I went on a real vacation that didn’t involve visiting extended family and the stresses included on such trips. I had always wanted to spend the holidays at the most magical place on earth (Walt Disney World, Florida), and decided that is exactly what I would do for Christmas 2015. Late in July 2015, I found out about a promotion for a free meal plan for trips booked during specific dates, needless to say I jumped at the chance and booked my trip at Coronado Springs Resort, a moderate hotel at the park.

I spent weeks researching different events at the park that take place around the holidays, reading countless blogs from people who had made the trip themselves. These were the most useful:

Dreaming of A Disney Christmas… in July

5 Things to Do at Disney World in December

All About the Holiday Season At Disney World

I could tell you about my entire trip, but that would take far too long so I will focus on the experiences that stood out the most throughout my 10 days at the parks.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is an experience that was in it’s last year in 2015. A large section of Hollywood Studios park is done up in Christmas lights which are in turn choreographed to music. It was an amazing thing to see in person and I couldn’t help but do stand there in awe, staring at the lights dancing before my eyes. I am so thankful that I was able to see it before they closed it down. Click here to watch a video of the show on YouTube. Did you get the change to witness this amazing sight? What were your thoughts?

Be Our Guest Restaurant

IMG_1796When I visited Magic Kingdom, the newest section to the park had just opened and this included Be Our Guest, a restaurant themed on the Beauty and the Beast movie. The main dining hall is a real life ball room with pendant chandeliers and large windows over looking the French country side. The atmosphere was something I couldn’t put into words and the IMG_1823food was amazing. As per Lumière’s recommendation I did try the grey stuff and it was delicious.

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

I had been to the parks a few times before but always in the spring. Seeing the Christmas parade was a magical experience for me and my family, as we would watch it every year on TV, but seeing the marching toy soldiers and dancing gingerbread men in person – not to mention Mickey dressed up in his Christmas attire -was a unique and one of a kind moment that I wouldn’t pass up for the world.

What are some of your favourite experiences on Christmas vacations? Have you been to Disney World or any of the other Disney parks? Let me know in the comments below.

The Down Side of Online Dating: 3 Things That Do Happen

 

online-dating-570216_1280As a single millenial, I have spent my fair amount of time perusing the various online dating sites and apps available. I have encountered some nice and decent people and others who, well, I wouldn’t want to come across again.

These aren’t experiences from just one site. I have spent time on eHarmony (paid membership,) Tinder, OkCupid, POF, Zoosk, Match along with a few others. Many of my friends are also registered to some of these services and have had other experiences, some better, some worse. However, these are the 3 things I have had happen to me personally and have heard of happening to others the most.

I have to say, while all these sites do offer different services and have different people registered, I would generally get bored with one and move on to another.

Catfish

Let’s start with catfishing (and no, not the one that swims.) Catfish, in this instance refers to someone pretending to be someone they aren’t online.

channel-catfish-86584_1920Yes, it is real, and not just on TV like the popular show Catfish. I had it happen once, that I made plans to meet with someone I had been chatting with online for a while. I made my way to the meeting place to find out the person wasn’t who I thought I had been talking too. He had used pictures of one of his friends and lied about most his interests. Needless to say I ran out of there pretty quickly.

As you can tell, the catfish isn’t exactly the most attractive creature on the planet. (Urk!)

Ghosts

Have you ever started to see someone and take a bit of a liking to them only to have them completely stop responding to you without any rhyme of reason that you know of? It is quite common. Ghosting is something that has happened to me, my friends and I am not proud to admit, but I have done it before too. I don’t want to excuse the act, but usually if I stop talking to someone it’s because something about the way they talk gives me the creeps.

spirit-1775547_1280

Stood Up

Similar to ghosting, but this one feels a little more personal. I have arranged to meet someone before but the guy never showed. I waited about a half-hour before he messaged me saying he was stuck at work and couldn’t make it. We arranged a second meeting time and once again he didn’t show, only this time there was no message. When I tried to contact him, I never received a response.

I think I’ll stick to meeting people the old fashioned way from now on, maybe experience a meet-cute like in the movies. 🙂nature-1790142_1920

*All pictures used under the creative commons CC01 License.

Facebook:

Do you ever wonder about online dating? Will you meet the right person, will there be a creep on the other end or will it lead to absolutely nothing? Click here to read about 3 things that can go wrong.online-dating-570216_1280

Twitter:

Online dating woes? Click here to read about common misgivings of the phenomenon. #onlinedating #nope #ghost #catfish #datenight #alone #foreversingle

#Instapet: A Pet’s Journey to #Instafame

img_0835How many hours have you wasted so far this week scrolling away the hours on Instagram? What were you looking at: cats, dogs, food, DIY, travel landscapes or endless selfies? I have easily lost 2 or 3 hours on the application in the past few days. Have you ever clicked on any pet profiles to find an insane number of followers? I have.Presenting @littleleothemorkie a little 5lbs nothing dog with 158k followers, and my good friend’s dog. Through the account, she promotes various products which she is given for free including watches, dog clothing lines, and headphones and is paid to include discount codes for monthly boxes on the profile. All this because the profile has garnered so much attention that it has been featured in magazines, news articles and on TV.

I first met Leo a little over 3 years ago, thanksgiving weekend just shortly after he had been brought home as a puppy. At this point in time my friend had not created the account. A few weeks later she sent me a screen grab of the account which already had several hundred followers. That number quickly jumped to the thousands and entered the realm of 100k. I was amazed.

I thought: can I replicate this with my own little ball of fluff, Baby?

Turns out, it’s not so easy. I created the account @babyboytabby and started posting pictures.

img_0850I didn’t realize just how much time my friend put into cultivating the online presence of her little dog. I was posting pictures but this led to few followers. My friend told me I will gain followers if I go on liking sprees. This has to be done right however, if you go too quickly Instagram will block the action for an undetermined amount of time. I learned this little tidbit of information the hard way… repeatedly. It’s not only about the liking sprees, but the content of the pictures. Candid shots are good but when it comes to animals, dressing them up and posing them seems to work best, however I don’t think my cat would appreciate wearing a tutu. I decided not to dress him up.

Not too long ago, I was supposed to be getting a second cat but he was adopted by another family. I took down all the previous pictures from the account. However only this past week I started posting to the account again and have already increased the number of followers by 200. I was shocked as to how quickly the numbers were going up.  I kept liking and the number went up another 100. Granted, the number of followers this account has isn’t even close to the 158k. I have yet to hit 1500, but I am working at it and hope to reach atleast 10,000 someday.

img_0747

Twitter:

#Instafamous #Instapets? Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd #instafame #instagram #cat #catsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #dog

Facebook:

img_0850

Have you ever wondered about famous pets on instagram, and no not one of Paris Hilton’s tiny dogs? Rising to fame on social media isn’t as simple as you think. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd

Mental Health: Is Social Media Making You Ill?

human-1138001_1920On January 25th, 2017 I was a camera operator for an event for Bell Let’s Talk for the federal government which was broadcast live on Facebook. A panel shared their personal experiences with mental health and answered questions from the audience in the room. As advertised, Bell Let’s Talk is an annual campaign where Bell encourages people to text, tweet post and share using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. For one day a year, every time the hashtag is used, Bell donates $0.05 to mental health foundations in Canada.

Bell encourages the use of social media on this one day, but I wondered, what are the effects of social media on mental health? I wanted to know how spending so much time in front of a screen, regardless of the device, affects our well-being as individuals and as a society?

Why Did I Wonder This?

girl-1098610_1920One in five Canadians suffers from mental health issues throughout their lifetime. Think about that, 20% of the population suffers from mental health issues. That means you interact with at least one person every day that suffers from mental illness, whether that be someone in your family, a friend, a colleague or other. So many people suffer from mental health, myself included. I couldn’t help but want to know if the time I had spent on social media as a teen and the time I spend using the websites and apps now have impacted my mental wellbeing at all.

I was certain they had.

For more information on mental health in Canada please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website.

The Teenage Brain

I was a teenager when all these new means of communications were emerging. I was 16 when I created my Facebook account to share pictures from a trip to Europe with friends, I was 17 when Twitter became all the rage and Instagram only became popular once I was in my 20s. In high school, my evenings were spent in front of my laptop on MSN messenger chatting with friends, I had just been with all day, always using the limited number of silly emojis available at the time. worried-girl-413690_1920I turned to my good friend Google in order to find out what sort of impact social media has on teens as that is the stage of life I was at when it emerged and found an article published to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families opened my eyes as to what has happened to society since social media broadened our horizons.

parentingUsing social media at a young age has both its benefits and its downfalls. The article greatly emphasized that using social media enables youth to learn how to use social media sites, navigate the internet and use technology such as computers, tablets and smartphones. All skills that are necessary in todays modern work environment. However, it also noted that it caused self-esteem issues, anxiety and could lead to depression in severe cases. The study also highlighted that the use of social media led to a sense of disconnect from one’s family and friends on an emotional level.

While it was what I was expecting I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around social media having such severe symptoms. My mind automatically wandered to the thought: what if using Facebook, MSN and others at such a critical point in development affected my own mental health? I remember being in college looking at Facebook and seeing pictures of people I had known in high school going to parties or travelling the world, meanwhile I was sitting in my dorm room comparing my life to theirs.

Is Social Media Failing Us?

The next article that interested me was Online Social Networking and Mental Health published to Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking took a different approach to the issue of mental health and social media. Many stuwoman-1987223_1920dies have been conducted most pointing that social media sites such as Facebook to lead to a drop in self-esteem, depression and even addiction. However, none of the studies were proven to be conclusive as the topic is still new in the world of psychology. 

As I read the statistics presented time and time again saying that a study showed that Facebook use could lead to addiction, or depression and self-esteem issues, I became more and more frustrated with the repeated use of the phrase “nothing conclusive has been proven.”

I am curious to see where the studies on the topic lead in the coming years, as social media develops further and new means of connecting pop up in the online verse. Primarily, I want to know if social media is leading an entire generation into a battle with mental health.

Despite the effects of social media on mental health, I do believe that #BellLetsTalk is a great event every year which raises money and awareness towards a great cause that needs to be talked about and not shunned. 

What is your take on social media and mental health? Post your thoughts to the comment section below. 

*All images used in this post are used under the Creative Commons CC0 License.

Twitter:

Have you ever wondered how social media impacts mental health? Click here. #BellLetsTalk #SocialMedia #MentalHealth 

Facebook:

Social media has affected individuals and the way society functions as a whole, but how much does it affect children and teens? For more click here. #BellLetsTalk #SocialMedia #MentalHealth

human-1138001_1920