COM0014 – Blog #4 – Being Social with Letterboxd

Social media is an essential tool for companies trying to connect with their customers. Having a strong presence and engagement is important to seem reliable and current. Businesses that choose to not have a social media footprint will often confuse customers just trying to find information. If a customer is looking for answers, they want to tweet or message a company to get a response. If a business relies on email or just phone calls, that’s a potential to lose a sale.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

My favourite website is called Letterboxd, which is a social media site dedicated to film lovers. They have yearly memberships and are always trying to convince people to join their site. Their social media game is quite strong as they take an active role in their subscribers’ lives.

A recent example is when a user tweeted @letterboxd complaining that they used fleets so much. You can see the interaction above in which they only brought positivity and humour. To top it off, they used a gif for Big Hero 6 to tie in their movie branding. If you look across their Twitter, they are always having great interactions with their consumers and followers. I consider their social media to be a model of what every business should be.

What are some businesses that have ideal models of a strong social media platform? Let me know in the comments down below.

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Appealing to Film Fans

The dreaded question, what are some of your interests? For me, this question is often a tricky one. The answer to it is simple: I love movies. Watching movies, discussing movies, watching videos about other people discussing movies. It’s by far my favourite interest, despite people not understanding the community around it. For cinephiles, movies are a topic that can be discussed and analyzed for hours.

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

It’s hard to describe film lovers since every one of them is so different. They can like a variety of specific genres and styles. For example, try to describe a music fan, where there are hundreds of kinds of music out there. An effective way to engage with a cinephile is to ask them about their favourite films, directors, etc. For example, I was making small talk with a friend of a friend, and we were out of things to talk about. Movies came up into the conversation, and we began to talk for 30 mins straight about it.

Cinephiles like behind-the-scenes information, small details that make a film or how it was made unique. They also enjoy talking about casting news, upcoming films, or awards surrounding the movie. If you’re a company trying to appeal to these audiences, try connecting your content to film-related things. Perhaps your tweet references an iconic film, or your commercial is a particular genre to excited specific groups

There are many ways to connect with people. Discovering a common interest amongst groups, while difficult, can be extremely rewarding to your company to make connections.

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Storytelling in the Modern Age

Storytelling is one of the most universal languages in the world. Every culture or people has a story to share. To view social media as modern-day storytelling is a different approach that I never considered before. In social media, you send a message to your audience just like a story. You make them feel something for what you’re telling. It was interesting for me to reflect on this concept, and now one could consider your social media pages the storybooks of your life. I could flip through the pages and see the kind of person I was at 14 or perhaps what I was feeling on my birthday back in 2015.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

When reflecting on my writing style, I surprised myself to learn that I tend to write very passively. I never seem to be living in the moment with my writing, despite wanting to come off as engaging. Using an active voice in writing gets your reader interested and wanting to learn more. Over the years, my spelling and grammar have become tighter, but keeping an eye on your actual style is something I need to work on. With style, you create a signature voice that is specific to you.

How do you think we can reflect on our writing styles over the years? Do you think they can show growth and expansion of knowledge? What are some storytelling moments that you wish you could change on your social media pages? Let me know in the comments below.

COM0014 – Blog #1 – Solo Adventure in NYC

Vacation is such a tricky word. In the time that we’re in, vacation can almost seem like a distant thought or idea of a world that no longer exists. Since the start of COVID-19, vacations have been cancelled or postponed for many. As a 24-year-old, vacationing for me was less common than most, as the money I made would go to rent or debt. Vacationing to me gives the impression of lounging or enjoying the sun. I prefer travelling as it to me it says I’m here to explore and to find new places. The last time I travelled somewhere other than around my city or to visit my parents would be my solo trip to NYC in August 2018.

I was coming up on my fourth year of college, and I had been itching to go to NYC. I had previously visited in high school and once with my parents. At the time, I was doing well financially and, for fun, looked up info on travelling to NYC. I created a plan to travel there on the cheap and still get the most of my trip.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Upsplash

I travelled to NYC via Greyhound Bus, leaving Toronto around 8 pm and arriving in NYC at 6 am. I did this as my money-saving plan involved skipping hotels and just using the bus as my way of getting some rest. I arrived in NYC and immediately started walking from Times Square to Battery Park, an hour walk. I was going to visit New York Film Academy for a tour as I considered going there for my Master’s Degree. Along the way, I enjoyed people watching and looking at the beautiful architecture. In the afternoon, I subwayed back to Times Square to see a Broadway show, followed by some shopping, and a second Broadway show at night.

During the day, I was texting a person I had met on Tinder in Toronto, who is my boyfriend still now three years later. This time texting him throughout the day was the start of our relationship as it was the first time we were in constant communication.

After the second Broadway show, I was exhausted. I had been up for 18 hours and had walked nearly 30,000 steps. I got on my bus, where I fell asleep clutching onto my only piece of luggage (a satchel bag). I woke up hours later during our transfer at the Canadian border. At the US border, I was questioned suspiciously on how I didn’t have a place to stay in NYC. Meanwhile, the Canadians smiled and just let me through.

I finally arrived in Toronto only to immediately go to the train station as I was visiting my parents for labour day weekend. That trip has been the most memorable to me, and once COVID is over, I will be doing it all over again.

What will your first travelling plans be once COVID is over? Let me know in the comments down below.

End of Lockdown, Start of New Career

COVID has put a lot of people’s lives on pause. It stood in the way of people’s plans and ambitions, including mine. My name is Ben Kelly, and I graduated from Humber College for Film and Media Production in 2019. I graduated thinking I had the whole world ahead of me, and while getting a career in my field would be tough, it would eventually happen. I applied for job after job, eventually finding a short-term contract at the Toronto International Film Festival (my dream job spot), which lasted until January 2020. I received praise for my work and was offered another contract to start in June of that year. I, of course, accepted. Then COVID-19 happened.

Credit: Illustration by Eva Bee

Everything began shutting down including my retail job, which I had been working since 2016, and suddenly I was laid off. Getting to know me, I’m someone who likes to work and keep busy. On my days off I get antsy and bored from not having anything to do. I was one of the lucky ones in April 2020, as my retail job reopens for curbside and online orders. Suddenly I was working more than ever and making more money than I was before, and the impossible was true: I was benefitting from the COVID-19 situation. Before I’d be lucky to get 20 hours a week, and suddenly I was working 44 hours a week. During this time, I continued to apply for jobs, but the pickings were slim.

The start of summer began, and my TIFF job was cancelled due to movie theatres not being allowed open and there would be a lack of work for me to do. I was crushed, but I knew I was surviving and doing well compared to others out there. I continued to apply and apply with an occasional Zoom interview that would go nowhere. I was starting to feel in a rut. I was a year out of graduating and I was still in retail, a place I didn’t want to be. COVID-19 had put my life completely on pause and I was just trying to make it to the other side without going insane.

December 2020 begins, and Toronto is announced to be going on complete lockdown again after Christmas. At first, I was fine with it, I had been overworked for months working 5-6 days a week, and I was excited to be seeing my parents in Ottawa. I went back home as the lockdown began, and suddenly I was in the same funk I was before not being able to work. This time was different as I began to reflect on my life and what I wanted. I wanted to leave my retail job in 2021, despite COVID. I began to focus on applying to new jobs until someone would see me and the skills I have. I even decided to enroll in this social media program through Algonquin to boost my skills. The stars all aligned when I got hired for a new job as an Office Coordinator for a commercial production company once the lockdown was over. My life was finally moving forward, and I was going to work again, but in a field that I cared about.

I always view my life in chunks that are separated by major life incidents. These major life incidents push me to new world views and situations. In my mind, I see the end of the lockdown and the new career as the next major life incident. I’m less stressed about COVID with the rollout of vaccines, slowly but surely going, I’m travelling and working downtown (something I’ve always wanted to do), and I’m looking at apartments to live with my significant other. The direction life is going in is completely different from what it was a year ago.

Being enrolled in this social media program has forced me to strategize my life, in the same way, I would apply to social media. In the Introduction to Social Media course, I learned that your personal brand is what you sell to the world. What do people see you as, and what do they expect of you? I reflect on my life and I have always complete strategies to get what I want, but since finishing college, my strategizing has stopped. I wish I could blame COVID, but I’ve been drifting through life, waiting for something new to start. This new career path is my new start, but I refuse to just drift my way through it. I need to engage and learn, and take the skills that I learn in this course about social media strategy and apply them to every aspect of my life. No more drifting, anymore.

How has COVID-19 stopped you? Has it put your life on pause? Have you ever felt yourself in a rut, and what strategy did you do to escape it? Let me know in the comments down below.

The Original Tik Tok: Lasting Impression of Vine

In 2013, a culture-changing app appeared on the App Store in the form of Vine. Vine was a social media network in which people could post six-second long videos that would loop over and over again. The videos could be about anything but would often focus on quick 6 seconds sketches or singing. By 2015, the platform had 200 million users. The platform was a huge hit before eventually shutting down in 2016. While Vine made not is known as well to younger people today, it popularized the trend of video sharing and content on social media platforms. After Vine came around, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook all began to introduce video creating technology into their platforms. Vine also popularized a lot of content creators such as Cameron Dallas, Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Bo Burnham, and even singer Shawn Mendes.

Along with bringing people into the spotlight, Vine also introduced a lot of vocabulary into the Millennial/Gen Z crowds. Expressions such as “Yeet”, or “Merry Chrysler” are still said today, or phrases that are instantly known such as “Hi. Welcome to Chilli’s”, “It’s an avocado…thanks”, “THAT’S MY OPINION!!!!”, “Oh my god, they were roommates”. Even though Vine has been shut down, compilation videos still exist on YouTube, and each video has hundreds of thousands to millions of views.

While the platform was successful for it’s impact on culture, it was shut down reportedly due to waining popularity to other social media platforms such as Instagram. It also suffered from being difficult to market on and make profit due to the 6-second videos being too short to advertise. In 2016, once Vine closed for good, many Viners moved to YouTube or Instagram to continue to make content. Today, the hole that was left by Vine has been filled in by Tik Tok, a platform that focuses on short-form videos utilizing music or sound bites to make sketches, cooking, singing and so much more. Tik Tok has taken what Vine start and found a better way to use it. Despite Vine being gone, one can never forget the legacy and the impact of Vine on social media and short-form video content.

What are some of the most impactful Vines you remember? Do you think that Tik Tok would even exist today without Vine being in creation first? Let me know down below.

References

https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/28/13456208/why-vine-died-twitter-shutdown

https://www.failory.com/cemetery/vine

https://videoconverter.wondershare.com/convert-video/vine-history.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vine_(service)

View at Medium.com

Twitter: Remember Vine? Take a Look at It’s Impact. https://bit.ly/3aHNbWI

Facebook: Before Tik Tok There Was Vine. Take a Look at What Made It So Impactful. https://bit.ly/3aHNbWI

The Fake Instagram: Our Secret Getaway

In social media, we will often make the best version of ourselves for show. To impress your parents or co-workers or someone you don’t even speak to anymore. We try to make our social media accounts clean and relevant to reflect our own personal brands. Whether that’s posting the best photos or choosing the correct hashtags. We’re on constant public display for the world, but some people are making their stand against this. In comes the Finsta, the world’s solution to having a more selective and private Instagram account and are becoming more and more common.

Credit: “Jamie H”/BBC

Finstas (or Fake Instagram) is an account on Instagram in which someone is using the account to post less attractive, more silly, or more private pictures to a choice of selective followers. Typically these accounts are private, will have a fake picture, or fake name.

An article on Hubspot has this reasoning behind a Finsta, “My real Instagram account is kind of fake — like, only pictures of my ‘best’ life,” My cousin explained. “I use my Finsta to share funny, inside jokes with my closest friends. My real Instagram has like, 400 followers. My fake one only has like, eight.” Just by looking at this quote, we can see how the Finsta can be more real than a real Instagram account. People aren’t afraid to be their authentic selves on a Finsta, while their Rinsta (Real Instagram) shows off the fake version someone wants to be.  

Finstas can also be an account in which someone shares more intimate details about their lives. They may possibly hide a relationship, political beliefs, or secret fandoms. A user named “M” uses her Finsta to express her life as a queer Black woman to avoid homophobia and racism. Using a second Instagram account also allows you to have fun with the social media platform. You can post to heart’s content without having to worry about what other people think. 

Instagram has added a “close friends” option to its platform as a way to privatize certain social content. With this feature, you can add some of your followers to your “close friends” list and they’ll see specific Stories that you choose to only go to them. It’s a good effort on Instagram for trying to give people more privacy on social media, but it’s not enough as Finstas are still increasingly popular. It’s hard to say how popular since most people who have private accounts, keep them that way. In a survey by UC Berkeley, 17.3% of their participants had a Finsta account. Most of those accounts were from women and all were under 25.

Credit: PixieMe/Shuttershock

In our day of social media pressures, perhaps a Finstas is the way to experience the world of social media stress-free. Look at your accounts and ask yourself, if you have fun on Instagram, or is it just for likes and show. Would you ever consider getting yourself a Finsta, or perhaps you already have one and find joy from it? Let me know down below.

References

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/finsta

https://www.genderit.org/feminist-talk/my-little-corner-internet-role-finstas-lives-queer-black-africans

Click to access finsta_CHI2019LBW.pdf

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-49852428

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/instagram-finsta-secret-account-social-media-mental-health-self-care-a9211146.html

Social Media Links:

Twitter: Gen Z is Over It! Time to Make Social Media More Private https://bit.ly/3jEPxsl

Facebook: Tired of All the Pressure? A Fake Profile Might Be the Solution! https://bit.ly/3jEPxsl

Online Dating: The History of Dating Online and Its Impact on the Future

How we connect to people has changed over the years. In the past, you would meet new people in person, possibly through another friend, school, work, or an event. Nowadays, people find new connections and friendships using social media websites that began to appear in the mid-2000s. Meeting people online used to be perceived as taboo or dangerous. “Don’t talk to strangers” has gone out the window with the introduction of these websites with the sole purpose of meeting new people. Online dating has become the new norm for meeting significant others and in hookup culture.

 Creator: petrborn | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Online dating can be rooted back to computer dating. Starting in 1959, IBM would match applicants using their algorithm and the answers from people’s questionnaires. Over the computer or mail dating has continued to a variety of different services. Some services include Tune (a YouTube type website where people would post video profiles), Genepartner (where people would match based on DNA results), or Smell Dating (matching people based on their attraction to another’s smell).

Kiss.com was the first dating website launching in 1994. After that, online dating began to become more popularized with more people getting personal home computers. In 1998, the rom-com, You’ve Got Mail released and was a box office hit and introduced online dating in pop culture. Match.com, eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish are only some of the online dating websites that began to appear from the mid-90s to the late 2000s. In 2009, Grindr became the first dating app and revolutionized the online dating sphere.

Grindr was an app aimed at gay men to date and hookup. It became popular as an easy way for gay men to meet both discreetly and conveniently through their phones. Dating apps have been more popular amongst the LGBTQ+ people with 55% of the community using dating apps to meet others, compared to 28% of heterosexual people according to Pew. Apps such as Grindr, Scruff, HER, Hornet, or Jack’d are staples in the LGBTQ+ community and culture, with more and more coming every year to become more specific for each member of the community and what they’re looking for in a partner.

In 2012, Tinder launched and has become one of the most popular dating apps in the world with 57 million users. This app was followed by similar apps such as Bumble, Hinge, or Huggle. Around this time, the age of dating online became completely normalized, with 36% of Canadians using online dating according to a study by eHarmony.

Online dating has become the new norm for people to meet others. Apps such as Tinder or Grindr have changed how we connect and find others not immediately in our social circles. Every year, the number of users on each app grows in popularity just as social media websites do. Dating apps, just like social media, have begun to be used as a marketing tool to promote brands such as Budweiser, Dominos, PrEP, or even FOX’s The Mindy Project.

Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The future of social media and marketing includes the use of these apps. How do you think brands can benefit from using these apps? What do you think apps have to do to continue to be relevant? Let me know in the comments.

References

http://archive.pov.org/xoxosms/infographic-technology-dating/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_online_dating_services

History of Online Dating

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/12/tinder-changed-dating/578698/

10 facts about Americans and online dating

Tinder Revenue and Usage Statistics (2020)

Social Media Links

Facebook: Looking for a partner? The answer may be right in your pocket https://bit.ly/3oFR0j1

Twitter: The future of dating! How did we get here? https://bit.ly/3oFR0j1

Blog #1 – Banned from Social Media, Now What for Trump’s Phone?

On January 8th, 2021, Twitter took a controversial and surprising action in banning Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) off its platform. This decision has been both praised and criticized by both ends of the political spectrum. Some people claiming that it was about time, while others described it as an attack on freedom of speech. This banning was a ripple effect, and other social media sites began to follow Twitter’s decision. While Twitter wasn’t the first to do so (Facebook and Twitch both banned Trump on January 7th), it’s considered that Twitter’s decision has been the most publicized as it was Trump’s most-followed social media platform with 80+ million followers. 

FOX News on some of the various social media platforms that Donald Trump is banned from

When the banning occurred, people began to joke about the pointlessness of having a phone without social media. Twitter user @KarateSkool described Trump’s phone now as a “brick“. While that tweet was meant as a joke, it brings up the thought of what one would do if they no longer had social media apps on their phone.

To many, regardless of the kind of smartphone you use, social media is an essential part of your phone. How often have you had nothing to do and, suddenly, you find yourself scrolling through Twitter or watching Tik Tok compilations on Instagram’s feed? In 2020, 91% of social media users came from mobile devices, according to Oberlo. Social media usage on mobile devices is so dominant that some of the top social media sites are exclusive to those kinds of devices (ex: Snapchat). Instagram and Tik Tok for a long time were mobile exclusive, however, both have web browsers now, but users cannot post via the web and can only view and interact with others’ content. 

Without social media, what do you do with your phone? The obvious answer would be texting or calling, a staple tool of having a phone. One has to question the importance of having a smartphone over a regular cellphone without these social media apps. Smartphones and social media bring a connection to the world around us. With social media, we’re connected to news and people in our lives, and having applications on our phones allows us to bring that connection anywhere. Unfortunately, with social media and smartphones comes addiction.

Just the thought of not having access to your phone would bring anxiety to some. Social media has been proven to be highly addictive with 210 million people being affected worldwide. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, some risk factors can include low self-esteem, loneliness, or depression. While there’s not a specific cause in the social media sphere that causes these issues, it’s clear that social media is a part of the problem. Social media has the benefit of connecting us to people and ideas from around the world, but with that comes the issue of disconnecting us from people around us. If we were all banned from social media, would that addiction and risk to poor mental health go away with it?

Life Smartphone, a short animated film that was shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination in 2017.

These are a lot of questions to wonder, coming from Trump’s initial ban from social media. It brings into question what our need for our phones are and what brings us back every day, every hour, or every few minutes. Why do we go through Twitter, then open Instagram, and then go back to Twitter, despite knowing there’s nothing new on there? Hopefully, people can answer that for themselves and not suffer from the addictive consequences.

What do you use your phone for? If you didn’t have social media, what keeps you using the phone that you have? What sort of steps do you take when you see yourself being affected by social media?

RESOURCES:

https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/suspension.html

https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics

25+ Social Media Addiction Statistics Every Tech Enthusiast Must Know in 2020

https://ontario/cmha.ca/documents/addictions-and-problematic-internet-use/