COMM0012 – Reflections on Education

Hi all.  I am hoping to use my website as a repository of information.  I teach and I am always interested in knowing how to becoming a better teacher.  How exactly do I do that?  How do I retain the attention of my students?  What is the best way to deliver material that is relevant to them and to the work force they will be entering?  I am sure other professors feel the same way.

I want to use social media, via a blog, to direct other professors to sites and articles that I believe have value to the current educator.  There is a great deal of information out there – some information makes senses and other articles were evidently written by people who have never set foot in a classroom.  I like things that are all in one place – I am sure others feel the same way.   My initial thought is to read the article, and provide a summary of the article including why I think it is relevant.  A link will also be provided to the article.

A number of educational facilities have professional development money available that never seems to get used.  I think part of the reason for that is professors don’t know what is available.  I hoping to provide a link somewhere on the blog to current conferences that should be of value.

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Blog Post # – COM0015 – Outside the Box

Outside the Box

Most of you are on the tail-end of your journey – I am on the beginning of mine.  Yes, this is the first course I have enrolled in and I have learned so much since we started eight weeks ago.

I had no idea of the number of tools that were for social media.  Metrics and analytics were foreign to me. I so get it now and the role measurement can have in any successful social media plan.

So, what was new to me?  What was unexpected?  Everything – well, almost everything.  I knew about the standard tools – but dashboard applications, like Hootsuite, were totally new.

I know realize that not all tools are created equal.  Different platforms have different functions and while they all seem to do the same thing, they don’t.  Perhaps Twitter can be considered a “teaser” to make you go to other places – like a blog post.  Words matter, and how you use those words matter.  I think I need to consider my word choices as well before I formally post anything.  Visual appeal is also important – if it doesn’t look appealing, the text doesn’t matter.  I have learned that I need to read better.  I miss “minor” things so if nothing else, this will improve as I continue on with the program.

Networking is also really important in the field of social media.  People have power, and that power increases as people before aware of what is out there.  You need to share to attract.  Listening to that audience is key – if you are not getting your message out, or providing content that your audience is not interested in, then nothing else really matters.

As with most things in life, planning is important.  Social media is no exception.  It may be even more important to reach the largest audience possible – to refer back to what was already said, it is necessary to choice what you are going to say, when you are going to say it, who is your audience, and what platform will you use.  A planning sheet will definitely help with these goals.

Good luck with your future career choice – I may even see you on Facebook or in another course.  Thank you for a great learning experience.

Com0015 – Blog Post 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

There is a distinct difference between having a presence on social media and having a social media plan.  The first one simply involves have a Facebook account or a Twitter account.  The media plan comes into to play when you use those platforms to promote yourself or your product.  There are companies that do this very well and companies would could use a little work in this area.  Because I am a dog person, I am going to focus in on two organizations that I think use social media in a pro-active manner, and one organization that could use a little help.

The first organization I would choose is Tonya Wilhelm’s Raising Your Pets Naturally.  She is a small business owner with an emphasis on caring for pets naturally.  She advocates for home cooking, natural instead of needles, and holistic care wherever possible – not only does she have a presence – she has a plan.  In the interest of fairness, I know Tonya and her dog, Dexter who is the model for all of her branding.  So, how does Tonya make it work?

  1. Consistent and well-thought out branding. Her imagines are consistent across her platform.  It is on her Facebook page, her Twitter page, and her Instagram page.
Company Branding

                       Tonya’s Branding
             Copyright Tonya Wilhelm, 2015

  1. She keeps in touch. Tonya posts something with Dexter on Instragram every single day.  Sometimes, it is a link to a new piece of information on her website or an inspiration quote.  Part of her media plan is to continually interact with people on a “gentle” basis to attract new clients.
  2. She provides links to her social media platform on her website.
  3. She actively solicits advice from her network – she asks for opinions and uses them so people feel valued.
  4. She sends out email blasts upon request.
  5. She has built a solid and valued reputation through her knowledge and her willing to share that knowledge. If she doesn’t know something, she will tell you she doesn’t know.

The second company is run by Dr. Judy Morgan.  Dr. Judy is a vet with tendencies towards eastern medicine.  Again, she takes full advantage of her Facebook page to try to educate as many people as she can about the protocols she feels are necessary for raising healthy pets.  Again, her branding is consistent and she reaches out to people.  My favourite thing about her Facebook page is her live video feeds which she records and later posts on her YouTube channel.  She does sell product but, like Tonya, gently.  She is not a “in your face” marketer but she does let you know what products she has available and the advantage of using those products.

If you follow either one of their Facebooks page, you will see how their audience has increased dramatically over the years.  I know this because I have been following both of them for a number of years.  Again, there are companies who want to move quickly and overtake the marketplace.  This is not the goal of Judy and Tonya.  They are more interested in education then profit – not that either of them would protest to increased sales of their cookbooks or vitamins mixes or magazine articles.

I also belong to a group called The Cavalier Brigade. We do not have a strong social media presence.  It is a closed group and people have to be nominated for admittance into the group.  This is done for two reasons: 1) to ensure that people have the same interests and values.  The administrators of the group want to avoid lots of infighting which happens quite frequently on Facebook.  Different people have differing opinions – that is a good thing.  However, we encourage debate in a positive, respectfully manner – not is a derogatory fashion.   2) We do do fundraising to rescue and foster puppy mill dogs.  Millers will raise the auction prices of dogs when they know rescuers are coming.  If word spreads, prices rise so we try to keep the auctions on the down-low.  It is a two-edged sword – more people, more access to funds, more awareness, more dogs saved.  Sometimes, covert operations are necessary to save more dogs at better prices.  So, social media is not always a benefit to certain groups.

For social media to work for a company, social media has to have a purpose.  Without a clear and defined purpose, it becomes a presence rather than a plan.  As the above examples show, sometimes social media is a benefit and sometimes it is a curse.  It is up to companies to decide what works for them.

Auction Puppies

Auction Puppies Original Source Unknown

 

Puppy Mills Suck

Puppy Mills Suck!
Original Source Unknown

#Puppymillsuck #Adoptdontshop #Petsarefamily

 

 

 

COM0015 – Blog #3 The Present and Future of Networking

Networking is probably one of the most valuable tools a person can have in his or her toolbox.  It can be used to find a job, collect information or even “vent” with a group of people who have had or are experiencing the same things that you are.  For example:  I belong to the online version of IAAP which is the International Association of Administrative Professionals.  If I have a question related an office protocol issue or a software related issue, I know I can post the question in our Facebook group, and an answer will miraculously appear.  The site also posts jobs in my field so if I want to switch positions in my field, I have some idea of what is available.  Google may assist you in a search but there is nothing like person to person communication and advice to give you the best sources for information.  No matter how good the Internet is, I believe people are always better.  After all, people know people who know people who know people, well, you get the point!

Of course, LinkedIn is probably the most well-known networking sites.  You can post as much or as little information as you want in the site.  You can also upgrade to a premium paid service.  I will say that when I first created my LinkedIn account, I received so much spam that I actually sent them an email complaining about it.

I have bookmarked several blogs that I feel offer beneficial information for me.  One of these is MindTools.com.  They offer lots of information on topics related to the workplace particularly in the areas of leadership and communications.  Another one of my favourite sites is called foliotek.com.  It is an online portfolio site.  It is awesome – you can collect and post all sorts of information and share it with whomever you choose for the amount of time you choose.  If you can use Word, or PowerPoint, or create a simple webpage, this is a great site for you.  These are professional sites that I use all the time and will continue to use because of what they offer me.  I love opportunities like this one where we can share our knowledge and build on it as others share as well.

My Facebook network consists of three groups – two of these are dog-related groups and one is the IAAP site.  Yes, sometimes I am one of those people who like their dogs more than people!  Hehehe.

Smiling Dogs

Source: Christine Doody
Copyright Christine Doody 2017

These groups are invaluable –we share information about food, about vaccinations, about holistics.  We share “stuff” and we even talk about poop! However, I am still a little reluctant to join too many groups.  I do get concerned about data mining and its implications in my world.  The more you expose yourself, the more exposed you become.  Here is a site with some online networking tips – it is an interesting read but I do think some of the tips are obvious.

There are people I follow and respond to on Twitter – some of them are for inspiration and some are personal friends whose pictures I enjoy.   I respond with likes or comments just to let them know that I am following and interested in what they are saying.  I really believe that networking, whether it is online or in a traditional manner is for everybody.  What’s in your networking toolbox?  What are your most valuable networking tools?

Facebook:  Is Networking still beneficial?  Read my thoughts at: http://bit.ly/2wQsjWD

Twitter:  What is in your Networking toolbox? #Spread the word #Networking rocks #Who is in your network #people who know people

COM0015 – Assignment 5 – Networking Assignment

I recently had the chance to participate in an online meeting with regard to a textbook we are considering adopting in one of our courses.  For me, it was a way to see how the textbook integrates the online options with the physical book.  These books are very expensive and it is incumbent on the faculty to make sure our students are getting the most for their money. We also need to make sure that a textbook will hold up over the test of time.  In other words, a book should cover both levels of the same course, and be able to be re-sold as some students want to recover their costs.  The book also needs to provide material that meets the Ontario standards for the course.  With our Document Production course, we continually supplement with additional exercises, and quite frankly, we are tired of developing our own materials when the book should suffice. This online meeting gave me the chance to see what the book offers for the student and the faculty.

I find that there are always options with integrated texts that I miss because I didn’t know they existed.  As one of the books reps said, “sometimes you don’t know what you didn’t until you realized you didn’t know it”.  It seems like a silly quote but it makes perfect sense – these new on line systems have amazing grading options and amazing help features that if nobody showed you they existed, you would never find them. Some information is not necessarily intuitive.  Meeting with book reps and the textbook’s IT experts gave me the opportunity to see some things that I would have missed otherwise.  It was also the opportunity to meet some people I think I will be working with for the next couple of years.  It is always a bonus when you can put a name to a face.

I was lucky in that the meeting manager set up the meeting so that I could chair.  This was perfect. I sometimes find that people show me things that I already know, so being able chair gave me the wonderful chance to ask my questions and the things I need to know rather than what the textbook people think I needed to know.  I find it is a better use of my time.  I am a visual learner so showing me how to do something is much better than telling me how to do something.  The chance to ask my questions was also appreciated – I actually asked a couple that stumped them and they had get back to me with the answers.  I think they made the IT reps think about changing a couple of features – we shall see.

Here is a screen capture showing I attended.

Screenshot

Webex Meeting

I am sure that more questions will arise as the semester continues. We will be doing something similar as net meetings seems to be an efficient way to learn new material and interact with the people who do the design work.

Here is my link:  https://mheducation.webex.com/join/greg.nosal.

 

Blog #4 – Is online shopping killing the traditional mall?

I am an online shopper. I love Amazon and Chapters and several other clothing sites. So, apparently do lots of other Canadians. According to this article, 60 cents from every dollar spent on line goes to Amazon. That’s a lot of money directly into Amazon’s pocket (and out of mine!). Why do people use on shopping? I believe it is partially due to the social media influence on social media. According to Stephens (2017), 10 percent of all merchandise is purchased on line and he anticipates this will increase to 30 or 40 percent over the next decade.

Customer Service – Amazon Rocks

I am not sure which is worse – walking into a store in a mall and being bombarded by staff pushing merchandise at you or being totally ignored because the sales clerk is on a cell phone. When you buy online, you can browse with the option of calling in if you need to.  Granted, with Amazon, the descriptions of the products are generally so good, you don’t need to. Most sites have live chats available. Chatbots are being more popular.  The link describes a chatbot in detail but it is essentially an automated voice designed to assist a customer with an issue.  Interestingly, chatbots are predicted to become more popular in the few years.

And – no hassle returns.  I think Amazon probably has the best customer service I have ever seen.  No wonder – poor customer service affects their bottom line.  I also like the way they use social media to advertise.  They will send you an email – I have a choice to open it or not.  For me, it is 10 times better than the way some companies use when you leave something in a shopping cart.

People used to hang out at shopping malls.  Recent trends (Stephens, 2017) indicate that is not so true any more.  People have to park, run into a store, find what they want, pay for it, and leave.  I like the option of sitting in my office, investigating several prices at several sites, choosing the one I want, and have it delivered to my door. No parking hassles for me!  If I want to return something, I just put a return label on it and return it.  No back to the mall with all that involves for me.

Amazon is becoming a major threat to retailers.  Why?  According to this article, “The threat that Amazon presents is that they don’t think like a retailer,” he said. “They think like a technology innovation and data company that just happens to sell things. ”

Business.com suggests that there are three main reasons why online shopping is better. I agree with each and very one of them.

  1. It is easier. Absolutely – see my above comments.
  2. It is more social. Ok – this one took some convincing.  Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter have all placed “buy now” buttons on some advertising.  Pinterest’s pictures will direct you back to the site where it came from.  I am not sure how this is more social.  I am still not convinced and would be interested in knowing what you think.
  3. Customer service is better. Again, absolutely – see my above comments.

Are you an online shopper? I would be interested in knowing your thoughts.

Facebook:  Are you helping to kill traditional shopping malls?  I know I am.  See my latest blog at http://bit.ly/2vL7cIA

Twitter:  Online shopping rocks?  #Amazonrocks #Parkinglotssuck #Shoppinginmyjammies

Direct(ed) Marketing — Good or Bad?

Anybody remember the scene in Minority Report where the billboard speaks to Tom Cruise’s character and asks him if he wants a Guinness?  If not, here is the clip. It completely scared me at the time, and still does but it is an advertiser’s dream come true.

Social media is now using that same technique to target products and services to the consumer.  I don’t know about you but I am annoyed at the amount of advertising I receive because of products I have researched.  For example, I am considering doing a Master’s degree at Yorkville University.  Guess what I receive every day now – targeted marketing from Yorkville.  I researched hotel rooms in New York City – guess what I receive every day now – targeted marketing from booking.com.  This drives me crazy and I am likely to run in the complete opposite direction.  I hate pressure when shopping and it doesn’t matter what the product is.  I have now started to receive advertising for WordPress because they want to buy a website.  I don’t want buy a website – free works for me right now.

It is all interconnected.

My demographics are tracked, analyzed, computed to try to determine what I want to buy.  My Facebook ads are based on tracking.  They are hoping that I will impulse buy something.  Granted, I asked for some of this because I went looking for information but do I truly deserve to be bombarded with ads for Yorkville and WordPress?  I received the worst spam ever when I registered for a LinkedIn account.

Brett Dickson in this article, describes some of the trends and marketing strategies that are here.  For me, they are a little scary.  I don’t want to be tracked.  I don’t want to be pressured into making decisions.  I refused to allow my Windows 10 apps to track my location.  I won’t use FourSquare because who really cares where I am? I just think it is an easy way to get your house broken into.  Brett Dickson (2015) also says, “some companies are already experimenting with facial recognition technology in the real world and using it to tailor ad messages based on gender and age information. U.K. retailer Tesco, for example, is using it to help serve relevant ads to consumers while they wait in line to pay (para. 16).  Are there ethical considerations here?  That was two years ago – I wonder what has happened since.

I think this type of advertising is become more and more invasive.  I don’t like it.  While Social Media Monitoring trys to convince us that it conducts research to give us better products that are geared to our personal needs, I believe it is about the bottom dollar for the company.  They want to make money and targeted social media is one of trying to improve the all-important financial bottom line.  It is not about me – it is about them. Interestingly enough, I saw an ad on TV tonight geared towards companies who want do conduct more advertising via social media.  The company is called ComPulse.  I know names play a big role in advertising so I am wondering about the Pulse part.  Does it mean Pulse as in monitoring a heartbeat or is it Pulse as in short for impulse.  Maybe it is a bit of both.

By the way, I apologize for the ad at the beginning of the movie clip.  Mine was for a coke – I think I am thirsty now!  Are you?  Did the ad turn you off from watching the clip? And, I am returning my contact lenses! Watch the clip – you will figure out why!

Facebook – Ever wonder why you constantly receive the same advertising on Facebook or while searching the Internet?  Check out my latest blog post at  http://bit.ly/2vcWuKo

Twitter – My Views on Directed Marketing. #Spytools #Tracking People #Iambringingglassesback

Dog People Will Buy Anything, Right?

At least according to my brother. Is that true? Maybe I do go to extremes with my pups.  I am a dog person. Heck, my dogs have a better selection of coats than I do.  Here they are – Badness is the white dog and Echo is the black dog.

Echo and Badness, 2014

Echo and Badness, August, 2014 All rights reserved Copyright Christine Doody, 2014

Badness named himself (long story).  As a pet parent, I have three main concerns for my dogs. I want to keep them well-feed; I want to keep them safe; and I want to make sure they are healthy.  As such, there are things that I will buy to ensure these three things happen on a daily basis.

Feeding My Dogs.

I admit it.  I am one of “them”.  I strongly dislike most commercial dog food, or as we call it, food.  Most dog food is full of stuff that I won’t even mention.  Did you know dogs are colour-blind?  So why does Milkbone put colouring in their treats?  The dogs can’t see it. The answer – it appeals to the person who is buying the treats.  I won’t buy anything made by Purina or Mars or Pedigree because of the ingredients in their products. There is some great commercial kibble out there – check out dogfood advisor.com and enter the dog food you currently use.  Don’t be convinced that just because you buy it in the vet’s office that is a good quality food.  Clinics have been known to get a 20 percent return on every bag or can of food they sell.  The myth that dogs can’t eat people food was started by the pet food industry to make sure people actually buy food.

Keeping Them Safe.

You have car seats for your kids, right? Those car seats stop your children from flying all over the car. Yes, I have car seats for my dogs. Yes, I get laughed at all the time. Same reason – along with another one.  If I am ever in a car accident, and somebody has to pry me out of the car, I want to make sure my dogs don’t escape and run all over the highway.

I also have a pet stroller.  They are quite happy it in.  See for yourself.  This is us on a group walk at a Cavalier meetup in Manchester, Vermont in the fall of 2017.  We are the group in front as we were the only Canadians.

My dogs in a stroller

Manchester, Vermont, October, 2016, All rights reserved, Copyright Christine Doody, 2016

 

We have large dogs in our neighborhood and my dogs can easily be mistaken for rabbits.  Again, I get laughed at but I know they are safe.

Keeping Them Healthy.

The first two points are certainly a key to this. I find the better the food, the fewer the vet visits. And speaking of vet visits, it is possible to over-vaccinate your dogs.  Try a titer first.  This is a simple blood to determine the current antibodies in your dog.

Make sure they get lots of fresh air, fresh water, and exercise.  So by now you are questioning how a stroller gets the dogs exercise.  It doesn’t – it does exercise me.  I am lucky to have a backyard that is 80’ x 130’.  It is bigger than most dog parks (hate them!).  They chase each other while I watch.  Win-win.  At least for me.  They are happy!

Dogs on the deck

On The Deck, July 2014, All Rights Reserved, Copyright Christine Doody 2014

Do you think pet owners will buy anything?  What are your best tips for taking care of your animals?

Facebook:  Do you think dogs owners will buy anything?  Read my current Algonquin Blog for a personal perspective

#Ilovemydogs #DogPeoplewillbuyanything #Keepyourpets safe

 

 

 

 

Social Media Trends and Monitoring

Social Media – it is everywhere. Yet, how does the user know that he or she is using the right tools? Or, is there even a right tool? Before taking this program, I knew about the standard tools – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. I had no idea that so many other tools existed. As I started to research the topic, I found so many more. Jeff Bullas has listed 17 different tools on his website. An initial glance shows some interesting possibilities. His website is listed here. It does make for some interesting reading. While I haven’t explored all of these different options yet, I will be at some point in the future as I begin to develop a website and a social media plan.

I am impressed with Hootsuite which is essentially a dashboard designed to integrate all of the user’s social media tools. Granted, I have only had a brief look at this tool, but I plan to investigate more to see if it is benefit to me and what I can to do with it. They do offer a 30-day free trial so nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? If you are interested in Hootsuite, here is a link. YouTube also offers lots of tutorials so the software is definitely well supported. Click here to check those out.

I think the tool firmly depends on the user. It takes effort on the part of the user. I like things that are easy to use. Complicated turns me away as does the request for all sort of information that I don’t think the software developers truly need. I get data mining but do the developers really need the name of my first-born child and why would this be a compulsory field? Ok, slight exaggeration here but I do find it annoying as it puts personal information out there that I really don’t want out there. I think these questions are fine for a business but not necessarily for individuals. There are lots of people who disagree with me on this point, but it still makes me nervous. I can’t be the only one so I do wonder how many lie when filling in the information.

My two tools would be Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has me connected with people who share my interests and will often post links to websites that are of interest to me. It is a way to find new information quickly and if I have a question, I have a number of knowledgeable people who can help me locate the information. I do wish that Facebook would make sure its “upgrades” were just that. Sometimes the changes are frustrating rather than beneficial to the user.

I am a visual learner. I like pictures. Instagram is certainly the venue for that. Being able to link pictures between Instagram and Facebook is a timesaver.

As I was researching this topic, I did find that slideshare has lots of information on social media. There is a plethora of information all displayed in PowerPoints – easy to read and informative. I have enclosed a link to Slideshare here.

Ah, Twitter? Is it truly dying? According to Alex Khan it is. This is an interesting read and as an added benefit, it gives loads of links to other interesting reads. Does Twitter have a future? Alex doesn’t think so, in its current form that is — but remember, read more than one article before making up your mind. Opinions vary — this is only one side of the story. For Alex’s article, click
here

Are you a confirmed Twitter user? I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on whether Twitter is dying as a social media site.

Do We Live in A Social Media Bubble? – A Blog Post for COM0011

In a recent Globe and Mail article, the authors (Gruzd and Mai, 2017) quote Barrack Obama as saying, ““Increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there” (p.1.).

I believe that is true. Instead of researching information, we believe what we read.  If it is on the Internet, or better yet, Facebook, it comes a fact rather than a misreported or misquoted piece of information. Don’t get me wrong – I am not naïve enough to think that misreporting didn’t happen before the invention of social media – it just has a larger audience now and spreads quicker that feathers in a windstorm. The other thing that concerns be about social media posts is that most of them are anonymous. You can disagree with somebody without being disrespectfully and petty. That concerns me but anonymity in social media a topic for another blog post.

The article goes on to say that social media is a “disruptive medium that has shaken up social space” (p. 7).  Is this a positive or a negative thing?  Sometimes shake-ups are good – they invigorate; they encourage debate; they push social boundaries.  However, if these things are to occur, accurate information must be presented and those debates must happen based on fact – not fiction.  When information is presented, I think we have to consider the information and the source of that information. Is Facebook a truly reliable source?

When social media is used for good, it is a powerful and relevant tool. In my world, I have seen it do some incredible work with shutting down puppy mills. Unfortunately, when social media is used for evil, it is a powerful and relevant tool. The exception is that it becomes relevant because the audience wants it to be relevant. For example, look at all the information that is out there about Trump. Is it true or not true?  Obama had the same issues.  Information is out there about both men that is not true.  I have seen people get into some pretty horrible arguments over Facebook statements.

What do you think?  Is social media a disruptive force?  How do we encourage social media users to disseminate information is a way that is positive rather than on-line medium for passing along false information and gossip? How do we instill the skills in social media to have people critical evaluate information without believing it hook, line, and sinker?

I welcome your thoughts on this.  The source of the article is provided below.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/social-media-got-us-into-a-mess-can-it-get-us-out-of-it/article35684135/