Vacationing Without Social Media COM0011

Last Monday night I boarded a plane for a short vacation. Not a long getaway, but, a getaway none the less.

In many ways it was a test for myself, it was the first time taking my kids on a plane (single dad), navigating my way through the airport with kids in tow. Taking a plane to a strange city where I had never been before. Doing as much of our pre-planned “places we wanted to see” and whatever else popped up in three short days. Also, I was going to give up my phone and social media for the duration of the trip. I got the idea of giving up the phone from one of the podcasts that I listen too. The guest gets made fun of because he has given up his smart phone for a flip phone and when he travels he takes no phone at all. His philosophy is to when you travel you need to experience it, talk to the people, observe the culture and look at your surroundings with your eyes and not through your phone. He also stated that you see how disconnected people have become. Also, I didn’t bring any electronics for my kids, we were all in this together.


Las Vegas

Before I left my house I posted one last time, I figured in case I had any last requests from clients or friends who were looking for me. Also, I hadn’t told too many people that I was going away and I didn’t want a constant barrage of suggestions or places people thought I needed to see. We were off and hours later we landed in Las Vegas.

Surprisingly, like it was a muscle memory the first thing I wanted to do was check my phone. I wanted to look at my post and see how many likes I had and if anyone had commented on the picture, but I didn’t. We got on the shuttle and checked into the hotel (3:30 am) our time and went to sleep.

The next day we got up early to spend the day with my sister and her family. My kids were shocked by two things they’d never seen before, people smoking inside (I’m old enough to remember that) and people drinking at eight in the morning. We met my sister at Circus Circus, my two nieces were busy snapchatting and posting to Instagram. As we sat on the tour bus, I noticed probably 25% of the bus were on their phones as the guide did the tour. Most of the people not even looking up to see famous landmarks and buildings from movies. Walking along Fremont Street a girl in front of me almost walked into traffic while on Instagram. Later while walking on the strip I took note of the amount of people stopping to take pictures and videos. Then trying frantically to upload their videos and pictures at crosswalks to social media complaining their was bad cell service. That night we went to the Avengers exhibit where we had to wait for half an hour to get in. It was interesting, we met a couple from Kentucky and so we talked. I’m amazed with the amount of information and social media that people still have dumb misconceptions about Canada. The man asked me if I’d ever been to Kentucky? I said “Yes”. He then said that he would never visit Toronto, puzzled I asked “Why not?” He said, “I’m not visiting anywhere that still has snow in July.” You would think that something about Canada would have at some point come across his social media.

Wednesday was an early shuffle, four a.m. to catch a bus to the Grand Canyon. The kids woke up to being surrounded by mountains, mouths a gap in sheer awe, this was their first time seeing mountains. They sat quite staring out the windows for the next couple of hours. The lady from New Jersey in front of us literally complained for the whole time to her husband, that there was no wifi and she couldn’t get cell service. When we at the Grand Canyon my daughter looked at it and said it looked fake and the pictures she saw online were better. After a few minutes they really started to take it in, they fed a ground squirrel, saw condors and elk, real cacti. My daughter then said to me “why are these people on their phones? They’re at the Grand Canyon”. We sat and just looked I took a few pictures but, really tried to just experience it and create a memory for my kids and myself. I started to realize that on past trips I was to busy taking pictures to really enjoy being there. Back on the bus to head back to Vegas and back to listening to New Jersey complain until she fell asleep.

Thursday was busy. Up to the effiel tower and met some more people from different places had different conversations with different people. I noticed people generally were up for conversation, those that weren’t were occupied by their phones. The cab ride after was an interesting conversation the driver was a big hockey fan and knew a lot about hockey. He was from Utah and we were his last fare before moving back there. Utah is on my bucket list of places to visit so we had a nice conversation about Utah, where to visit while we were there and how to best go about getting there. When he dropped us off he thanked me for talking to him and he was glad his last fare was a bunch of nice Canadians. We hit the sign graveyard (another bucket list stop) a very rude girl kept disrupting the tour by not paying attention and busily snapchatting, the guide asked her five times to stop. Eventually the last time he asked her to leave. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t checked or uploaded anything to my social media since Monday, I didn’t miss it but, I did wonder if I use to be that annoying person. Next stop was the High Roller, a 550 foot enclosed ferris wheel that gives you a birds eye view of the city. There was a family of four and another woman that sat for the entire duration of the ride on their phones, not looking up once. At the Bodies exhibit two teenage girls took multiple selfies with the bodies on display. A few hours later we boarded a plane back for Toronto.

Now, in no way want to sound like I’m judging these people, to each their own. Just after unplugging for a bit, I really observed how consumed people are with posting their lives online and updating their social media. This trip was good for me, not just as a break but, it also allowed me to really noticed how much time I spend on my own social media. Since returning home I’ve actually managed to really limit my time online and I am working to maintain that. I’m curious to see how long it will last.

Have you ever thought about leaving your phone behind?

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Developing a Social Media Video Elevator Pitch COMM0011

Elevator Pitch.jpg

I’m sure by now everyone is familiar with the term Elevator Pitch. You know a brief introduction of who you are, what you and your business do and the services you provide and what makes you unique. Personally I’ve always struggled with mine. I’m a multifaceted designer with a variety of interests and expertise, it’s really hard for me to really nail something down.

In November I started the process of starting my own letterpress and design business. Now it’s really simple for me to communicate with other letterpress printers and usually we can all speak great lengths about the subject. There are yearly printers and book arts fairs that take place across the globe which are always a fun meet up with like minded individuals. I’m looking forward to the one at the end of the month in Grimsby and another in September in Pennsylvania. Other designers are usually envious of my collection of presses and type and frequently ask if they can come over to see my equipment. Most of the time peoples knowledge of the process is pretty limited to the time they went to pioneer village and saw the print shop.

Since starting this program I’ve realized that there are many different social media outlets available that I’m not taking advantage of. I have the traditional forms of social media presence; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vero for my business, and keep my branding and messaging consistent. Now I realize though that I am lacking in the video portion and should be exploring that. I feel that the video below,gives a good overview of the process as well as the designers background.

I’ve been thinking about a video elevator pitch, a brief history and overview of the process now for my company. It might be interesting to develop a video blog as well where I could show the development of a project from start to finish that could be posted on a bi-weekly basis. Videos could then be shared across a variety of social media as well. I that this would give people a better overall understanding of how labour intensive letterpress can be, but they would also appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a project as well.

Would you consider a video blog to promote your company?“>On Twitter: Developing a Social Media Video Elevator Pitch

Starting a companies social media content requires more than Facebook COM0011

In November of last year I left my job. For lack of a better term I had hit a wall. I’ve had a rough couple of years personally and professionally it started to take it’s toll. I was having a difficult time with coworkers who were manipulative, controlling and outright bullies. So I decided for my sanity it was best for me to leave, to do what I didn’t really know. I’d been in a corporate environment pretty steady since graduating college and a lot has changed. Social media wasn’t around when I entered the workforce and now networking is pretty much all done online.

After a week or so I started looking for a new job, scrolling through job sites and applying for jobs. I was getting some calls and a few interviews and nothing seemed to be happening. A recruiter called me and was excited with my experience and loyalty to my previous employer. Loyalty really, apparently it’s a trait most people lack today she said on average people stay about eight months to a year and then move on. She was on the phone looking at my LinkedIn profile and said “Oh here’s a problem”, “What was it I asked?” She responded “238 connections”. I didn’t understand, she said “to be more effective you should be around 500 connections. Potential employers want to see that your active and know a lot of people.” But, those are real people on there, real people I know, I’ve met and I’ve worked with, I’m not even sure I know 500 people (I’m a bit of an introvert). It felt like lying to myself and potential employers to have people I don’t actually know on my professional profile. The conversation just kind of drifted from there and she said she would follow up, but never did. I have a hard time believing that’s a thing. A few more interviews and I felt like maybe I wasn’t a good fit for a corporate job anymore.

A while later I had stopped by to see a friend at work, we talked for a bit about life and about my situation. She suggested by the end of it that I should go into business for myself. Now first and foremost I’ve always been a graphic designer, but wasn’t sure thats what I wanted for myself anymore. I love design in all it’s aspects but, I’m not fond of client’s, well problematic client’s. Specifically the I have no budget, I’m doing you a favour by giving you work and my son has a computer and could do what you do client. I didn’t think I could subject myself to that, but what else was I going to do. A few years ago my wife had bought me an old letterpress printing press and I slowly started to acquire types sets and image printing blocks for it. When she passed away I started using it a lot to fill my time. I had printed so much stuff with it (mainly greeting cards and gift tags) eventually that I started selling it at craft fairs. So, I decided that was what I was going to do. To avoid problem clients I would become the client, I would design for myself and create my own brand. Seemed simple enough…It’s not.

Starting your own company is a lot of work, actually a ton of work. Sixteen hour days and a pot of coffee, no sleep but, I don’t think I’d go back. Now, one of the reason’s I enrolled in this course was finding out the importance that social media plays in starting a new business. I thought to myself well I have Facebook and Instagram that’s all I need. Initially my theory was “If you build it, they will come!” Just like the movie Field of Dreams…not the case. I was posting but, getting very little traction or attention. My next stop was to the bookstore where I picked up a large oversized magazine Social Media Made Simple, it peaked my interest. I went through page by page and learned all about the different networks and how to use them. It had a huge impact on how I run my companies social media, it also created a lot more work. In turn though it has brought in a lot more work as well and has also led me to take this course.

I realize that I am only a few months into my new adventure but, social media is also there with me. I’ve learned the importance of consistency and timed posts when using social media for your business.IMG_0502.jpg

In addition to just having Facebook and Instagram for my business, we’re now on Vero, Tumblr, Pinterest Shapr, Alignable and of course LinkedIn (440 real people now). If your not on Shapr and Alignable I really suggest you check them out, I’ve grown my professional network substantially by using them.


Have you started or thought about starting your own company? What social media do you plan on using to promote yourself?


Facebook the way I used it then, inbetween and now!

I was a fairly early adapter of Facebook (2005), my first introduction to it came when I was sent a request to join from a friend who had recently moved from Canada to Italy. My initial  thought is was it was a spam email, I had never heard of Facebook and just figured that my friends account had been hacked and just ignored the email. A few days later I received another email request to join Facebook from the same friend again I ignored it. Then I started receiving Facebook emails from other friends to the point were I emailed them all telling them their accounts had been hacked. One of my friends said no it was a new way to keep it touch with people and I should join. My thought was “Well, I’m already on can’t they just go there?” I can’t remember when the last time I actually heard someone mention was.

Social networking at that point was still a relatively new and people weren’t really sure as to what to do with it or even if it would stick around perhaps just a fad. As the site evolved so did the way people used it. My primary use for Facebook was to keep in touch with college friends and reconnect with people I had simply lost touch with over the years. As the site matured so did my friends, posts and pictures of partying and concerts turned into relationship status going from single to in a relationship, engaged and married. Pictures became of friends meeting their significant others, vacationing, buying houses, getting married having kids.

I’ve also learned first hand the negative effects of social media can have on life in general. During my separation from my common law wife, they went through my social media accounts to pull anything they could to paint me in a negative light. Have you ever seen the Honey Badger narrated by Randall video on YouTube? My brother had posted the video to my Facebook wall because of my sense of humour. Later when he invited me to his house for dinner, I stopped by the store for a bottle of wine. Not really sure what to buy because I don’t drink, I wandered the store. Then as fate would have it there’s a wine called Honey Badger, I remembered the video and promptly purchased it. Took a picture of it and posted it with the video link to my Instagram and Facebook. Cut to a few weeks later in court to the opposing counsel and the judge debating over what kind of a parent I was for posting the video to my social media. I’m not making that up…it really happened. My first word of advice to people getting separated or divorced is now stay off social media while going through it. After that I became very conscious about what I post on Facebook or even comment on.

Having started to pursue my own business now I have started using Facebook to help me promote and grow my business. It is a great inexpensive marketing tool, allowing me to have a business page, create promotions, ads and have a store. It also allows me to reach so many potential customers and buyers, that I wouldn’t have been able to reach without Facebook. Primarily now everything that I post to Facebook now relates to my business and very little is personal. I sometimes feel though I have become that annoying friend who only talks about work…only to do it all on Facebook.

As Facebook makes changes, so do we. Our lives change for better or for worse, ups and downs, triumphs and failures, now we share it with everyone and our pages tell our stories.