This article was generated by a human – what if it wasn’t?

Image by Tyler Comrie, The Atlantic

The technology industry has been booming for years now. It rapidly intertwined with pretty much everything we do: education, health, entertainment and so on. A lot of people can say that the evolution of technology is happening too fast, but the only thing we can really do is get on board and develop our critical thinking.

The tool I want to discuss today is something I am really interested in, ChatGPT. Forbes described it as the fastest-growing app of all time as it is becoming available on different platforms across many industries. The tool can provide answers on many subjects, write emails, computer codes… by being added to apps such as Snapchat, internet browsers like Bing, it will also affect people who aren’t in the field of content creations or technology. The human-like answers from ChatGPT can be seen as a friendly tool to help with pretty much anything from daily life: telling jokes, giving you recipes ideas and more. Similar technologies are also making their way onto programs such as Adobe Photoshop bringing the artificial intelligence to video creation. 

What are the concerns? 
In a pannel on the impact of AI and ChatGPT on plagiarism in school, Dr. Tham compared the impact of AI chatbots to the invention of electricity for their capacity to be transformative in our lives. Learning institutions will have to adapt and questions themselves on the use of those new technologies, and will have to statue on the validity of using those tools. Even if some can say that they will recognize a piece being written by AI compared to one written by a human, how can we really be certain? Should it be considered plagiarism if no reference are needed when it comes to AI? 

Goverments around the world are also asking themselves questions to protect their population. For example, Italy decided to block ChatGPT over privacy concerns, and here at home the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada decided to launch an investigation on the use of the data by the AI. 

Will I be using it?
I personally think that you can’t fight against the evolution of new technologies, and I will probably be using ChatGPT to help me generate interesting content. I believe that using AI as a tool to elevate your own style is a great way to use it! Getting educated and comfortable with new technology is the best way to keep control over it. 

I am curious of knowing your take on ChatGPT and AI use. Are you going to add it to your daily tools? 

My own experience with online workshops, was it worth it?

My decision to choose this workshop over the others was motivated by the title: Learn to write content to attract your ideal client or start freelance writing. It sounded engaging and I’m someone who easily gets in her own way when it comes to writing. I was hoping this workshop would help me by providing advice and key points on content creation.

I was hoping this workshop would help me by providing advice and key points on content creation.  The person giving the workshop, Rachel Lawson is a digital creator who partnered with the BBC and other clients. She is someone who was used to taking in-depth news and shortening them for readers. As a freelancer, those workshops are a way for her to expand her possible clientele by offering online coaching for content creators and freelance writers. 

Was it a good way to network with other professionals?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discuss with other participants. When we were waiting for the workshop to begin, we were all able to introduce ourselves in the chat, but the speaker closed it off afterwards to avoid any troublemakers during the presentation. Afterwards, she was only taking questions about the courses she offers and did not direct the conversation toward an open discussion.

Did I get interesting interactions from this event?
Because I was only able to introduce myself really quickly, I was not able to get the amount of interaction I was hoping for. Prior to connecting on Zoom through the Meetup link, I made sure my office space and myself were presentable just in case the interaction would include some sort of video introduction… which ended up not being needed at all. No interaction was really needed from the participant, but Rachel, our host, made sure she was engaging in her presentation. Her way of giving her workshop was definitely an interesting experience since she was sharing part of her knowledge in exchange for our attention.

What did I gain from participating in this workshop, and would I do it again?
Will I participate in online workshops again? Absolutely. You are gaining access to interesting professionals, in this case for free. Even though I didn’t learn or network as much as I thought I would, this exercise was definitely a positive one. It gave me a new perspective on materials I was already introduced to in this course and more than anything it provided me with an opportunity to have a reflection on how I was doing with my current goals.
One quote that Rachel Lawson said during the workshop resonated with me: “Everybody is time-poor”. In the case of this workshop, I did believe she valued the time of the participant and had a great balance of promoting herself and giving pieces of knowledge she has.

If you don’t put yourself out there, opportunities can run short pretty fast. Free online events are available, and if they don’t allow you to learn anything new, they will always provide you with a different point of view that I believe can be helpful. Let me know if you participated in an online workshop type of event and how it went in the comments below!

How can you network in 2023?

While working in social media can be quite a solitary experience when working alone at your computer, don’t forget the essential word: social. Networking is a critical component when it comes to succeeding. When meeting new people or organization representatives, you never know who might offer you your next opportunity. 

Online Communities 

Who said networking had to be done only in person? It can take the form of participating in forums, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram… you name it! It is essential to remember that even if you are using online platforms, you are trying to build relationships. You need to give your time and effort regularly to make an impact on the community you are trying to reach. If you want to read more about the topic, check out this article by LinkedIn

Image from AppInventiv

Networking in Person
I am lucky to be located in the city of Ottawa. The city is full of opportunities, and different groups and organizations are planning networking events. Depending on your level of comfort, you can choose to go for a Mix & Mingle, invest yourself with a group like Ottawa Business Referral and Networking Group, or go with a bigger event like the Expo Clarence-Rockland. Remember: you probably won’t be the only newbie there, everyone is there to build new relationships just like you! 

What will I be up to for the next few months? You guessed it: Networking! I will be participating in a few professional networking events throughout the city with the goal of finding a networking group that is similar to my values. I will also be participating in group events through The Lady Alliance Foundation to hopefully find new connections. I truly believe in the bigger your network, the better. You never really know how relationships will develop, but to find out you have to give it a try right?
When it comes to online networking, I will be publishing content in communities related to my industry. A regular posting schedule will help me get recognized in the community, and positive interactions with others will help me make a good impression. 

Every individual is unique and can offer you something you didn’t even know you were looking for. To cut yourself short of opportunities, get out there (or online!).
What will be your way of networking in 2023?

Strong and Weak Organizations on Social Media

I had the chance of staying at Somewhere Inn Calabogie just a few weeks ago. What drew me and my friends to book our stay is directly linked to how often we saw their content on social media over the past few months. Somewhere Inn is a small boutique hotel located in Calabogie, Ontario and is having success on Instagram with over 22k followers. I will tell you what I believe is the key to their success on social media and will do a short comparison with another small business that isn’t as successful.

Why is Somewhere Inn Calabogie successful on social media?

  • They are consistent with their branding 
    Almost all social media post is showing their installation, or information about the village of Calabogie. They used colors that you will see throughout their hotel to create the colour scheme for the website and different social media platforms. By showing so many different pictures of their establishment, it makes it easier for potential customers to see themselves staying in one of the rooms. You are not booking a room, you are bringing visualization to life!
  • They share their values and experiences
    Somewhere Inn Calabogie is promoting a business that is respectful of its employees, the township where they are operating and the planet. By focusing on their core values, they are showing themselves as more than simply a room where you can reside for a few days: they are sharing their way of life.
  • High-quality content 
    The person currently in charge of their social media is doing a great job at posting high-quality content that is appealing to the eye. Somewhere Inn Calabogie found a way to make a bedroom interesting, and seeing so many high-quality pictures can help the possible client build trust in how clean and inviting the space is.

Sands on Golden Lake

The Sands on Golden Lake offers a wide range of accommodations, services and activities to offer, and like their name is stating, they are located right on the lake. Like the Somewhere Inn Calabogie, they are located in a remote area but are still a short drive away from major cities. The Sands on Golden Lake is present on almost all social media platforms but is only active on Facebook, where they have 5k followers.

What could they do differently?

Everything pointed out from how Somewhere Inn Calabogie’s social media techniques could easily be applied to the Sands on Golden Lake, with some alterations to better fit their needs. Here is what I would suggest for them: 

  • Utilize the natural beauty of where the hotel is located 

The aesthetic of the rooms might not be up to date, but people are not coming to this location mainly to spend their time indoors. Show them what they are missing by not staying at the Sands on Golden Lake for the weekend: sunset over the lake, a nice cocktail with the view in the background, and how cozy the fire is during cold winter days. 

  • Clarify their brand 

The current website of the Sands on Golden Lake is overflowing with information. They are talking about accommodations, spas, restaurants, ATV trails, weddings, and more. All the information is thrown on their front page, showcasing pictures of people more than pictures of the place or what you can do for activities. The website could be curated to make the online experience easier.
Their descriptions of business change depending on social media. They are showing themselves as a hotel on Facebook, a restaurant and spa on Instagram and a combination of all three on Pinterest. Clarifying one definition of their business across all platforms would be highly beneficial to them.

When I’m travelling, my first go-to is easily Google Maps and Instagram to start saving pictures of good-looking places. My results will definitely have an influence on where I decide to go. Is it the same way for you? Let me know!

My Best Tools & Sources for Social Media Monitoring

There are multiple ways to understand and use social media, but once you have goals to achieve, it’s important to be more rigorous in your approach. I am currently working on my professional development and I am exploring options. I’ll share what are my favourite sources and tools to gather information about what is going on in social media and with our engagement with our audience.

Be part of the communities 

If you want to understand a social media platform, you will have to get involved. It is like entering a club where people need a membership, you will never know what is really going on inside until you become a member yourself. It is important to listen and actively look for what is bringing people together at the moment and becoming trendy. Often communities will have a culture of their own, with their own historic moment. 

A Starbuck coffee shop recently decided to put out two tip jars, one mentioning Selena Gomez, the other one Hailey Bieber, posted by a TikTok creator.

@himynameskaylaa TikTok

TikTok is showing this viral online fight involving both celebrities (if you want to dive into the subject, have a look at this article from Los Angeles Times) and this Starbucks location picked up on the trend and decided to share with their own local community. The video posted by @himynameskaylaa has 3.1M views, which is probably not what the employees had in mind when they put their tip jars out for the day!
This example is why I am currently allocating so much time to TikTok as a source. It is a great way to get ahead of trends or at least have early exposure to them.

My second source of choice is YouTube, because of the variety of news coming from all different types of audiences. YouTube creators have been raising the standard when it comes to content creation like vlogs, documentaries, social experiments and as an alternative news option. People can have a big impact on their audience using videos, and it is a great way to learn what users are currently enjoying engaging with. Content on YouTube will also go deeper into a subject compared to other platforms because they don’t have the same constraints when in comes to the time they have allowed to share content.

Social Media Tools

Too much is happening on social media for one individual to see, monitor, and act on everything that is going on. If you want to stay effective and make sure that you are creating great quality content for your audience, social media monitoring tools can come into play.
Google Alerts is a great tool to monitor information and articles published online related to keywords in your industry. I have personally used this tool and discovered a lot more than I would have imagined, sources it would have probably never discovered. Sprout Social is a tool I would like to discover. I haven’t yet had the chance to use it, but it seems like an assemble of well-rounded tools compared to others that are available online. I would have high expectations from Sprout Social because you have to pay a fee to use it, but they offer a 30-day free trial that makes me more inclined to use it once it makes sense for me professionally to use a tool like this. Maybe their tools to create content and manage to post, or their tools to boost content will be something you need at this point in your own professional career.

What about you? Do you have any tools that helps you understand your social media community better?

A Short Story About Engagement in Social Media

People are using social media in different ways, but they are all looking for the same end game: to create connections. Users will have different levels of engagement, but even someone who is passive by not commenting or adding to their community will take the decision to follow someone they liked online. This is the key to many content creators and businesses: how can I attract people enough that they will decide to follow what I do? 

Communities online are always growing and changing. Most communities have existed for a long time, and they all have their own celebrities within their field of expertise. How is it possible that years later, it is still possible to make your way to the top of an industry that can seem saturated? Because everyone is unique. Everyone will have different ways of presenting the same content you’ve seen over and over, the difference will be within how you say it. 

In the online world, people who see your content will have to make a quick decision on if they want to know more about you or not. Each post, blog entry or video shared will become what sells you to a new user. Inviting people into your world by telling a story will create more engagement than only stating the facts you really want to explain. The amount of personal information and vulnerability will be up to you depending on what you are comfortable sharing. What people are looking for is genuine connections, and to share an experience that might be similar to their reality or something that is not possible for them to experience and they’ll do it through your storytelling.

Think about the content creators you are following and pay attention. They are probably using storytelling to bring you along their day, special events, or sharing their knowledge. Bring people into your world! Who is the best storyteller out there? Let me know in the comment!

My Journey Towards a Fulfilling Career

My name is Alison, and I am currently studying with the goal of becoming a social media manager. Just a few months ago, I would have presented myself as Alison, the girl stuck in the corporate world. I’m happy to be here and offering a new perspective on myself: one where I will be able to thrive and grow to become the best version of myself.
I believe a lot of you out there will be able to relate to my life story in some way. I am a military spouse who, for a long time, tried to make everything work as smoothly as possible without causing any waves. Why is that? Because of the difficulties that come with following the military lifestyle, I believe having a corporate type of work would be enough for me. That working to make money to enjoy the things I love would be enough, but little did I know it would cause me to lose sight of myself for a while. Showing vulnerability isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I know that people who are able to share their own vulnerability showed me the way to where I am today, and I am hoping to do the same. We look at others and think they have everything figured out, but aren’t we all here faking it till we make it?

Rihanna – “Fake It Till You Make It..”, Millionaire Moveclub

I will be working in social media because it will allow me to work with something I am passionate about on the daily. My goal is to help small businesses thrive, and I will consider their success as my success. With my certification in strength and conditioning and knowledge of the fitness industry, I am excited to find a clientele related to this industry.

Currently being located in Ottawa, I would also like to offer my services to small local businesses. I would like to have the opportunity to share the beautiful values of our local entrepreneurs.

Remember that even if you find yourself in a new field of work, your past experience will always be valuable. Are you happy in your line of work? Let me know if you are looking at changing careers!

Blog 5: Alison C-Lachance’s Personal Brand

Alison C-Lachance, 2023

I am Alison Caron-Lachance, and my specialty is working in social media within the fitness industry. With my background in strength and conditioning for sports, I had the chance to expose myself to different communities from bodybuilding to football players. Most importantly, I want to help anyone who is part of the fitness community and has a story to tell.

People around me describe me as professional, proactive, and always looking at new ways of doing things. Even though most concepts in the fitness industry have been around for a long time, I do believe the way of sharing information can always be used in different ways to reach more people. You never know, you might have the key answer to someone’s interrogation.
I want to make a tangible difference in the life of the people I will be working with, and in their community. I will be able to help you create content that shows who you really are, in both French and English.

I have always been an advocate for small businesses. If you don’t require someone full-time to work on your social media, send me a message! I am someone who will adapt to your needs and won’t pressure you into anything you don’t need. I am here to help and alleviate the heaviness of the obligation social media can have on an entrepreneur.

Are you feeling the constant pressure of posting on social media, or feeling not comfortable across the different platforms? Let me know in the comment!

Alison C-Lachance, 2023

Blog 4: How Are World Events Affecting You?

Are we becoming more open to the world or are we turning our backs on it? Social media did open us to the world as no other mainstream media had before, but at what cost? 

We are now used to the fact that we can know pretty much anything in just moments of it happening. I personally have notifications coming from the official national media in order for me to always be in the loop of what is happening, but what happens when the mainstream source isn’t delivering the news? 

I am sure by now you have heard of the East Palestine train derailment. I, like many people, first heard of it on social media. I was made aware of it within a couple of hours because I follow a wildlife rescue account on Instagram, Juniperfoxx. This is a pretty random way of discovering a big accident, and possible ecological disaster such as this. My first reaction was to feel deeply sorry for the people of East Palestine, and for the animals who were dying. My second reaction? Scrolling to something else, something more positive because I didn’t want to have to deal with such sad feelings. I felt helpless and honestly didn’t want to hear any more about it at the moment. 

Like many others, when it came to actually looking at what really happened, I didn’t. When it became viral a couple of days later on social media I didn’t have to search for anything: it was making its way to me anyway. Even if I didn’t want to see it, it was almost impossible to escape. Information was coming from everywhere, but mainstream media stayed silent. Or did they?

A lot is happening right now, and around the same time that the derailment happened, we were dealing with possibly multiple Chinese spy balloons which occupied a lot of space in our media. The lack of information, with the list of the chemicals being carried by the train only revealed nine days after the derailment can also be an explanation for the lack of coverage done by our mainstream media at the moment it happened. 

The curiosity of people had to be answered somehow, and that is when I started to see disinformation and conspiracy theories pop up on my social media platforms. Some content creators with no background in the matter started proclaiming that the toxic chemicals being set on fire were as bad as the Chernobyl incident, causing toxic rain to come to Ontario. Even if this information isn’t true, I still had a lot of my friends reach out because they felt anxious about the situation and they went down the rabbit hole. The more they looked at the content about the derailment, the algorithm picked up on it and offered even more. In those cases, what is the reflex most people have? Looking through articles to read and do research on, or letting your cellphone dictate what type of information you will be getting no matter if it’s true or false? 

I personally decided to avoid any social media when it comes to news about this particular event. It became out of control, becoming almost impossible to distinguish the true information from what is only being created to induce sensation and drama. I might be turning my back on the people of East Palestine and their story, but my mental health needed it. 

Are you the type of person who disengages from the news when it becomes too hard to handle? Or do you consider it to be a duty of being aware of what is going on in the world? Let me know your thoughts in the comment. 

Twitter: Are you following the #news or falling for the new conspiracy theory? Click the link to my blog for a quick reflection on the matter.

Facebook: Don’t let disinformation win. Click the link to my blog for a discussion on the latest conspiracy theory.

Blog 4: Drip House Cocktail Bar

I will be discussing the Drip House, a local coffee shop in Ottawa with 3 different locations within the city. The location I will talk about is the one on Somerset St because this one has something special compared to the others: it becomes a cocktail bar after 6 pm. 

The Drip House has a different Instagram account for its cocktail bar, and it makes it easier to find the right location at night. You can have coffee during the day at all locations, but the cocktails are happening only at the one on Somerset St!

They are posting multiple times a week, mixing posting pictures and short videos of cocktails, food, and the establishment. One thing that the Drip House cocktail bar understand is its branding. They are easily recognizable because they always have the same colour scheme, high-quality content, and they almost always show their gorgeous bar. 

Even if they are posting regularly and sharing information about their newest menu and cocktail, they do not engage with their customer on Instagram. When you go on location, the employees are easy to talk to and they are making you feel like you are at home. I didn’t find the same warmth coming from their social media, maybe something to think about.

Picture by me

I personally discovered the Drip House cocktail bar because I kept seeing pictures from influencers, and seeing posts using hashtags used with Ottawa food-related content. The Drip House themselves aren’t using hashtags on their own post, maybe they would get discovered more easily if they would use them themselves.

Picture by me. Espresso Martini.

I believe the Drip House is staying true to its identity, offering high-quality content on Instagram to reflect the high-quality cocktails and food. I would only suggest bringing its community feeling to its online platform by engaging with their consumer.

If you are in the area, I would highly suggest having a cozy night out at the Drip House on Somerset. Let me know of great establishments you have in your city in the comments!

Picture by me. Matcha Tiramisu.