COMM0014, Blog #7 The Importance of Storytelling in Digital Communications

I learned many things about myself and about digital communication this summer. This course has given me the opportunity to create my own personal brand, reflect on my life accomplishments, set goals for the future and share what I have learned with others. I have enjoyed these past eight weeks sharing stories, writing blogs, reading course material and completing assignments.

Why is storytelling important?

Storytelling is an essential part in creating great digital content. I believe that social media allows people and businesses to communicate their experiences, products and services by engaging others to learn more about through creative messaging. If the message isn’t clear or attractive then people will not be interested. Effective video blogs, photos and creative content that tell stories encourage positive integration with the target audience.

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Photo source: The Art of Storytelling: Your Life as a Tapestries of Stories, Hugh Anthony, Pulse, LinkedIn

Many successful companies create brands and social media campaigns that stand out and have value. Without the proper story, these brands can be lost in social media chaos. A compelling story attracts and engages the audience to listen, follow and want more information leading to increased interest in a conversation, product or service.

How will my content be guided by stories?

I originally registered for this course to improve my communication and writing skills. I wanted to learn more about digital communication for both work and personal reasons. This past year I have taken on a new role at work. I am now responsible for promoting our municipal Recreation and Culture programs and events through social media. I have learned a great deal and find that the social media posts and tweets that I share have created a lot of interest in what we offer. We have monitored the success of our social media campaigns and I believe that engagement has improved. We have tracked and analyzed our results and found that registration and attendance has increased as a result of our social media communication.

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Photo source: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/

I now understand that my message needs to attract attention and also engage the audience. Throughout this process I have learned about the importance of understanding the target audiences and engaging with this audience online. It has been helpful to learn about a variety of communication styles and social media tools that are available to share information with different age groups and audiences. My stories will continue to be creative and informative to engage audiences and create awareness of the programs and events that we offer.

The stories I want to tell

In the future I want to continue to develop my personal brand and share inspiring and creative stories with my friends, family and colleagues. I want others to know the qualities that set me apart from others and I want to be proud to share my accomplishments.

 

Overall, I believe that I will continue to share my stories at work and also through my personal brand. I look forward to discovering more about myself and learning about others through social media. I believe that storytelling through social media will continue to flourish. It will be exciting to see what the future brings.

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COMM0014 Blog #6 Volunteering has shaped my life

One of the most important things that I learned growing up was to show kindness and love to others. I was taught to lead with passion, inspire others, create everlasting memories, care for those in need and protect the earth. I realized from a young age that volunteering would be a significant part of my life. I believe that our world is strengthened by the incredible efforts of dedicated volunteers. Every day volunteers lend a hand, help others and care for our planet.

Benefits of volunteering

The benefits of volunteering are enormous to the volunteer, the recipients and the community. For the past 25 years I have been a volunteer mentor to young children. When I began volunteering I was interested in offering guidance, support and friendship. I soon realized that this wonderful opportunity was a great benefit to me as well. Not only did I feel valued and a sense of accomplishment, I liked making a difference in someone’s life. It is fun and I look forward to our weekly adventures. Some of the activities we enjoy include creative crafts, games, sports, baking, monthly trips and holiday theme activities. We also spend time laughing, listening, and learning.

There are many reasons why so many people are interested in volunteering. It can help you meet new people and develop friendships, reach out to the community, gain new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering can also help enhance physical and mental health. Some people volunteer to develop confidence, satisfy personal goals or humanitarian concerns. Others enjoy supporting community or religious groups to learn about people, cultures and places. It is evident that each person has a different reason for volunteering and there are many benefits.

Although it is mandatory for high school students to complete 40 hours of community service before they graduate, many students decide to volunteer additional hours. They enjoy making a difference in the community. I know that at the events I organize, they would not be a success without dedicated volunteers.

How can make a difference?

This volunteer work is important not only to individual volunteers but to Canadian society as a whole. We all need to find time in our busy lives to volunteer. It can be big or small, take a few hours or a few months. There are several ways that you can make a difference. Reach out and lend a hand to a neighbour in need, become a volunteer teacher, assist at the local food bank or take part in a community event. To find out more about volunteer experiences check out the local newspaper and not for profit websites.

I encourage everyone to take time to volunteer and help make a difference. Be compassionate, generous and do something for others. Volunteering has shaped my life, has it shaped your life?

 

COMM0014 Blog 5 What is my personal brand?

I am unique, unlike anyone else. My ideas, values, experiences are all a part of me. I am proud of who I am and that makes me special.

Personal qualities or characteristics that set me apart from others

I am a passionate event coordinator who loves to organize activities for people of all ages and abilities. As far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed coordinating activities, planning parties, hosting fundraisers and volunteering whenever I had the chance. In elementary school I was the first lend a hand to organize an activity. Throughout high school I continued in leadership roles on student council, prom committee, sports organizations and the social committee. My passion for leading events and volunteering has continued to grow.

I began working for the municipal government over 30 years ago, organizing programs, camps and events. I have had many positions in the Recreation Department throughout my employment that has enabled me to support others and offer successful events for thousands of people.

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This photo was taken in 2015, at the Pan Am Games Torch Celebration we hosted with “Pachi” the official mascot.

Recent accomplishments

Not only do I enjoy coordinating events at work, I like to help organize events and programs as a volunteer. In the past year, I have taken on four leadership roles. I am the president of The Newmarket Toastmasters, an advisor for the Nanny Angel Network, the media liaison for 100 Women Who Care Central York Region and program facilitator for Junior Achievement Central Ontario.

My best traits

All of these opportunities have enabled me to develop my leadership and communication skills. My colleagues have told me that my best traits are my enthusiasm and dynamic leadership style. I like to encourage everyone to do their best and engage others to make them feel they are an essential part of the event team. Many people have told me that I am hard working, creative and dedicated to whatever job needs to be completed. I put out my best effort and commitment for any project I am working on.

What I do that adds value?

For the past 17 years I have volunteered for the York Region Children’s Aid Society as a mentor and tutor. It is a wonderful opportunity to support young people by offering guidance and support.

In addition, I am a Health and Safety Inspector for the Town of Newmarket. Each month our team assists with facility inspections to ensure the safety of our staff.

Both of these opportunities are not only rewarding for me but also meaningful for the individuals and organization.

What makes me proud?

One thing that makes me most proud is to know that I make a difference other people’s lives. It is nice to receive positive feedback and acknowledgement from those I work and volunteer with. Others appreciate my support and dedication. It is exciting to think of what the future will bring and what new events will be offered in the community. I feel lucky and honoured to have a wonderful job and volunteer experiences that I look forward to every day.

Sharing Bad News on Social Media

I started my morning in high spirits, energized and ready to face the day. Then everything changed when I read a Facebook post. A good friend passed away last night. Her husband was heartbroken, letting us know that she passed away peacefully and surrounded by family.

Do you think it is a good idea to share really bad news on social media?

This is a question I have been thinking about since I began using social media ten years ago. Some people believe that negative events and bad news should be private and not shared on social media. Others believe it is important to inform contacts and to keep them abreast of the situation. They want to share their bad news and provide updates to avoid rumours and offer information that is truthful and reliable.

Tips for sharing sensitive information

These are some good tips offered by Frank Catalano, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He and his wife agreed they needed to keep others informed when sharing bad news on social media. He suggests the idea of creating a sharing framework and also to be cautious about what you say.

I would suggest avoiding reposting or sharing another person’s shocking or upsetting message. If you do want to comment or share information it is best to get permission from the original sender. Bad news is better to come from the individual who originally posted it.

Does difficult news make you feel better or worse?

I think it depends on the situation and it is a personal choice if someone wants to share information with others. I personally would prefer to call or visit my close family members and friends to let them know about a traumatic situation or event in my life.

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(Source: Stocksy.com/219993)

According to this article, telling friends negative events on social media can make you feel worse. The article suggests people prefer to use the phone when they have bad news.

Although I was saddened this morning to read the devastating news about my friend, I know that she would want others to know on social media. She had shared many stories of her medical condition, including both triumphs and struggles this past year.

The decision is yours to make. Remember if you decide to share, be considerate and honest when posting sensitive information.

Twitter: Is it a good idea to share bad news on social media? Learn more at http://bit.ly/2uU4ITy #badnews

Facebook: Do you think it is a good idea to share bad news on social media? Learn tips for sharing difficult information and find out if difficult news makes you feel better or worse. http://bit.ly/2uU4ITy

 

Is Snapchat Here to Stay?

Do you think that Snapchat is here to stay or will young people soon move onto a new way of communicating with friends? Snapchat is very popular today but will it be here tomorrow?

Snapchat Influencer

My cousin, Chris Carmichael was one of the original Snapchat influencers. He quickly became popular after creating quirky, comic book style live videos, messages and photos that left viewers wanting to see more. His creativity and humour attracted thousands of followers in a short period of time.

Here is a sample a few of his popular Snapchat stories “ChrisCarm” and an article about his success Meet the First Viral Snapchat Stars

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His popularity was a great platform for companies to promote their brands. Fox, Lionsgate and Universal sponsored Chris to help promote their brands. In 2014, this article was written claiming that Snapchat stars earned over $100,000.00 each week. (Source: Rising Snapchat Stars Earn $100,000 per Week)

Three years ago, I had never heard of the Snapchat app and was surprised when I found out my cousin was making a living as a Snapchat star. Chris was very successful. He became popular by telling funny stories, engaging viewers and attracting sponsors.

The Future of Snapchat

Companies are looking for new ways to promote their brands and Snapchat is the perfect platform. Many companies are interested in connecting with this younger target audience. They are looking for trendy and creative ways to engage youth and increase their Snapchat followers.

Young people are attracted to Snapchat because the message is private, fun and fast. It allows them to instantly communicate with their friends through their mobile devices.

Will Snapchat’s popularity continue to grow or will it fade away like its disappearing messages? Is Snapchat a fad that teenagers will soon outgrow and lose interest in? I can’t predict the future and have no way of knowing if Snapchat will last a year or a lifetime. But its popularity today is something that can’t be ignored.

 

Twitter: Is Snapchat here to stay? Learn about a Snapchat influencer and promoting your brand http://bit.ly/2uumHQj #snapchat #brands #youth

Facebook: Will Snapchat’s popularity continue to grow or will it fade away like its disappearing messages? Learn about a popular Snapchat influencer and opportunities to connect with youth to promote your brand. http://bit.ly/2uumHQj

 

Breath In, Breath Out (COMM0014 Blog #4 B2C Case Study)

The best way to start my day is with a revitalizing yoga class. Instead of rushing off to the gym or joining an expensive yoga studio, I enjoy yoga in the comfort of my home at whatever time is convenient.

 

“Yoga on Gaia” @yogaongaia is the perfect solution for me. I look forward to my morning stretches that help me focus, relax and prepare for my day. This popular online streaming video subscription service currently has 1,406,392 followers on Facebook and 106,474 followers on Twitter.

 

B2C engagement

Gaia engages with their customers through all forms of social media. They are connected at all times of the day sharing events, photos, posts, videos and local community information. I feel a part of this wellness community each time I see a new post, read a blog or watch a live stream. The service is affordable and information is current, creative and educational. I look forward to daily tweets, photos on Instagram or Pinterest but mostly videos on Facebook. Gaia is connected to their viewers offering interactive guest speakers who answer questions and offer guidance. Through my participation and involvement I am engaged. The best part of my daily practice is to feel inner peace and feel like I am part of the yoga community.

 

Gaia offers variety

Each day I enjoy a new yoga video and feel connected to the program. According to their website they offer over “8,000 films, documentary and original programs dedicated to conscious media, personal grows and spirituality” (Source: https://www.gaia.com/yoga). I enjoy the variety that this service offers and I am never bored with the program.

 

Gaia offers results

I have seen the positive effect of practicing yoga daily. It helps me with stress reduction, energy boosts throughout the day and even helps me sleep better at night. I enjoy learning about ways to reduce stress, improve posture and the importance of breathing. Overall, I feel like I am improving my health and achieving goals of becoming more active and focused. As a result of these programs, my mind, body and spirit are in balance.

 

Gaia offers convenience

Even when I am away from home I enjoy the convenience of this program. I am able to connect to my yoga practice anywhere with the device of my choice. On the beach, at work or outdoors, this service is accessible whenever and wherever. The online videos are available by streaming Yoga on Gaia, 24 hours a day. This service is perfect for a person who leads a busy life, as classes are available anytime of the day. I have travelled to other countries and haven’t missed a day of my practice.

 

I would strongly recommend anyone who is interested in yoga, Pilates, meditation and improving their well being, to visit Yoga on Gaia to learn more about the services they offer. This B2C business is champion for engaging with its audience online. For more information visit the health and wellness website at https://www.gaia.com/yoga

Elephant’s Never Forget!

Just imagine receiving a 911 call claiming, “There’s an elephant walking down the street”. Is this true? How could this be possible? News spreads quickly on social media not only locally but also around the world. There is no way to control this information when it is instantly shared.

I will always remember July 12, 2007. It was the night that three elephants escaped from the circus in Newmarket. I not only worked at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, where the circus was being held but also I knew the people who spotted the elephant.

Within minutes the news was being picked up by the local media and quickly grabbed the attention of other news stations around the world. We heard radio broadcasts in London, England talking about the escaping elephants and even Ellen DeGeneres talked about the 911 calls on her show.

It is hard to believe that this YouTube video has over 250,000 views and continues to attract interest: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zOT8Lcby1Eg

This information never goes away. Just last week my cousin in Cleveland shared a Facebook post from Comic Mayhem stating, “This is the funniest 911 call I’ve ever heard”. This incident is still being shared and talked about globally on social media 10 years after the elephants escaped.

Not everyone thought this incident was funny. We had concerned citizens calling about their safety in the streets and organizations began protesting about animal cruelty. There has been a lot of controversy and social change throughout the past 10 years about elephants being in the circus. We no longer have circus animals or exotic animals in our facilities or at our events.

This media attention was something that we needed to address. Policies were established and action was taken to ensure this would not happen again. We became more prepared for any future incidents that may occur at events and ways to better manage responding to inquiries or comments on social media.

I will never forget the day the elephants wandered the streets of Newmarket. Even though this seems like old news to me, people have continued to share the 911 call video clips on social media for 10 years.

It is important to be reminded that elephants never forget and neither does social media. Is there something that you remember from social media that you would never forget?

Twitter: Elephant’s never forget, what do you remember? Find out at http://bit.ly/2eZfXYp #elephants #circus #Newmarket

Facebook: Do you remember the day the elephant’s wandered the streets of Newmarket? It’s been 10 years since this incident and the 911 call is still being shared on social media. Visit http://bit.ly/2eZfXYp to find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMM0014 Blog #3 We Need More Members!

Who is interested in becoming a member of Toastmasters? How can we increase our membership? We need more members!

This year my goal as President of The Newmarket Toastmasters is to attract 15 new members. An increased membership builds enthusiasm, creative ideas, active meetings and an opportunity to inspire others to develop their leadership and communication skills.

At the beginning of the year I had a meeting with our newly elected executive team and told them about my aspirations. It was a far-fetched dream but I was determined to make it happen. I knew the first steps were to assess our target audience.

Who Are We?

In the beginning we asked our registered members through an online survey, what originally attracted them to Toastmasters and what they liked most about becoming a member? We gathered information about their interests, hobbies, goals and demographics. These responses helped us learn more about our current membership and helped guide us in the direction of determine who may be interested in joining our club.

With the information that we gathered it allowed us to determine how we could attract more people to our club. It was fascinating to read the information they shared. Everyone had different hobbies and interests but almost all of their goals for joining were the same. All of the members wanted to improve their public speaking skills, meet new people and become stronger leaders.

We learned that the majority of members were between the ages of 35-55, lived in Newmarket, worked full time, both male and female, and everyone had post secondary school education. This information helped us strengthen our knowledge of who was attracted to Toastmasters and what kept them coming back each week.

Take Action

The next step was to take action and promote our club to this specific audience. We created a website, distributed flyers to service clubs and local businesses, advertised on the radio, television and newspaper and held open houses, contests and celebrations.

This picture was from a competition we held earlier this year in Newmarket. After the competition three audience members were inspired by the speeches and joined our club.

Our Future

We cannot predict the future but we can expand our communication strategy. We are looking forward to promoting our club through social media this month. We will share the benefits of Toastmasters through inspirational quotes, testimonials, photos, and accomplishments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We are confident that communicating through social media will be an excellent strategy in attracting new members.

The first half of the year has been a great success. We currently have 8 new members registered and only need 7 more to reach our goal. We are not giving up. We are determined to build our campaign to reach out to our community and increase our membership. By the end of the year we can celebrate and say to each other “We don’t need any more new members”.

COM0011 Blog #1 To Share, or Not To Share, That is the Question

To Share, or Not to Share, That is the Question

It is easy to fall into the trap of sharing too much information on social media. Stop yourself before sharing every little intimate detail of your life. You don’t want your life to become an open book for everyone to read and share with their contacts.

What needs to be kept private?

Last year my friend was on vacation and shared this photo on Facebook of a breathtaking sunset in Hawaii. She received over 100 likes and many comments about how beautiful the photo was. The unfortunate thing was that she shared too much information.

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After seeing the photo, her best friend’s son, thought it would be the perfect opportunity to host a party in her backyard with over 200 out of control teenagers. She soon realized that she should have waited and shared the photo when she returned home.

According to Kathy Kristof’s article from CBS Money Watch there are 6 things you should avoid sharing on Facebook. http://www.cbsnews.com/media/6-things-you-should-never-share-on-facebook/7/

She states that you should never give out personal information including where you live, passwords, where you were born or confidential information. Identity theft is more common than we think and can lead to devastating circumstances. Posting pictures of parties or inappropriate activities is also something you need to avoid. A drunken photo can lead to job loss or relationship troubles.

I find negative comments or putting down others a complete turnoff. No one wants to hear about your problems or insulting others. Show kindness and support instead of hatred and bitterness.

What information should you share?

You need to attract people to your posts by expressing a positive image that get’s their attention. It is important to be professional and use appropriate language when communicating with others on any social media platform.

It is okay to share photos, inspirational quotes, events, ideas and announcements on social media but remember your contacts may not be the only ones reading your post. It is better to motivate someone than to upset the reader, which may lead to a negative reaction.

I always like to think, is this something my grandmother wants to read or see? If so, then you may feel comfortable sharing this information with others. If you know it is hurtful or will upset someone it is better not to share on social media.

To share, or not to share, what would you do?

What information do you think should not be shared? What is appropriate to share? Everyone has different opinions about what is acceptable to share with others. We must remember that if it is written and recorded then it may never be deleted. Remember to think before you act and remind yourself to read what you have written before you hit send.

 

Twitter: To Share or Not to Share, what should you post and avoid sharing on social media? To learn more visit this blog http://bit.ly/2v8aaUe

 

Facebook: To Share or Not to Share? Have you ever been unsure of what to share on Facebook? We have some helpful hints of what to share and avoid to attract interest in your post. Visit http://bit.ly/2v8aaUe

COM0014 Blog #2 “Let me tell you a story”

Let me tell you a story

Growing up, I loved to hear my grandmother start a conversation with “Let me tell you story”. She shared memories of her past that captivated everyone’s attention. When she spoke, it felt like you were being transported through time. She was a gifted storyteller.

Sharing stories

Throughout history and around the world, storytelling has been one of our greatest forms of communication. Evidence proves ancient people shared accounts of their daily lives and cultural beliefs through oral history and engraving rock art images.

Although the tools for communicating have changed overtime, the message is still clear that we are all interested in sharing stories.

Today, social media is an effective method to share our stories and communicate immediately with our contacts and possibly millions of unknown users.

Effective communication is key

No matter how you communicate with others, it needs to be effective. It is important to remember to share information in a way that is easy to understand and clear for others to interpret.

My grandmother taught me that one of the best methods for attracting an audience is to capture their attention at the beginning. When writing for social media the headline and first few sentences are the most important. This information grabs the reader’s attention and draws them into your story or post.

Sometimes we miss crucial information if it is buried in the story. When we send or receive information it needs to be attractive to the reader. It is the same as telling a story we need to engage our listeners.

Staying connected

For many years my grandmother refused to use a computer and avoided all types of digital communication. She soon realized she was loosing touch with family members and found it difficult to share her stories.

In the past few months she has started to use social media to communicate with others. We look forward to reading her posts that begin “Let me tell you a story”.