COM0014 – What is my greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement – to date – would have to be graduating from high school. One might assume this to be an easy task, one that is generally accepted, at least in this country, to be a given, something that everyone does without much fanfare. And that would be, for the most part, a correct assumption. But not for me.

When I started high school, I was your average naive 13-year-old living with both parents in a relatively affluent neighborhood. I was unaware of what was about to happen. I was a very shy girl, without many close friends. I had friends, sure, but no one I would call a bestie (as the kids say today). I went about my business at school, getting decent grades and staying out of trouble. But trouble was brewing at home. My older brother, who was 6 years my senior, had gotten himself involved with some unsavoury characters and this was about to bring my idyllic life crashing down.

All of a sudden, coming home from school was fraught with tension and anxiety. Seeing a police cruiser parked in front of the house would not be an uncommon occurrence. I would quickly come into the house and run upstairs and close my bedroom door. Determined to not be seen. My music would go on loud so I couldn’t hear what was being said or my parents arguing or my mom crying. The kids at school began to figure out that something was up. People talk and news travels fast inside the confines of a city high school with over 1000 kids.

This situation would ebb and flow over the next four years. Never really getting better and gradually getting worse. This affected every aspect of my teenage years and severely affected me and my ability to concentrate on school. My grades were slipping, my health was affected, and I entered into what I now know was a pretty serious depression.

By the time my second last year of high school came, I was in a marginally better place. I had realized that my only way out was to get my grades up and to get into university. My goal became to do just that. I buckled down, ignored the outside noise, engaged my teachers and counsellors in the situation and started working.

I was accepted into all 3 of my university choices. There was a light at the end of the tunnel for me. When I walked on stage to accept my diploma, with no one from my family in the crowd, I was ecstatic at my own personal accomplishment. It was dreadfully hard to do but I did it. I graduated from high school and was about to begin a new exciting chapter of my life.

Photo by Stanley Morales on

COM 0014 – Personal Brand Blog #5

When I think of myself and my own personal brand I think of a hardworking, dedicated, loyal employee who always goes the extra mile to ensure the work is done and done correctly. Using some self-reflection, I can be strict and demanding of co-workers, especially when I feel they are not pulling their weight to get the job done. This can come across negatively to some, but to them I say…

When I asked others to describe me using a few words, what I was told was determined, funny, authentic, straight shooter, kind and loyal. All great qualities! I think these characteristics set me apart from others in that, I am not afraid of criticism or different opinions. I think that, in order to make an informed, well thought out decision, it is important to examine issues from every angle. To appreciate others’ ideas and opinions and to make a decision based on everyone’s input is integral in any business. I think that my personality and ability to take constructive criticism and appreciate it for what it is, not a personal attack, but a business tool used to make the best decision for the company, makes me a valuable team member.

I have not done anything recently to change the way I conduct myself. I’m far too old for that! However, I do appreciate that lifelong learning is important and as the social and political landscape changes, it is key that I adjust as well. Nothing is static in this world and being fluid in our thinking will only benefit us in the long run.

COMM0014 – B2C Case Study – Skyrocket Digital

Skyrocket Digital is a B2C Canadian company based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Skyrocket is a “…branding and web design agency that works with organizations worldwide to help brands build authentic connections with audiences”. Skyrocket boasts that they help organizations grow with purpose by homing in on the story they want to tell and helping them tell it gracefully, authentically and with impact. They utilize brand strategy, web experience and marketing and growth to identify ways to connect with customers.


Skyrocket has helped over 60 companies with direct business to consumer expertise for over 10 years. They have a small team that identifies the company’s visual identity, vision, mission and values, and competition matrix to rebrand the company. Web experience involves tech plans and integrations, end user experience and design, website application and development and testing. Using creative workflows, automated processes and audience insights, Skyrocket will help the organization create, manage and refine projects and campaigns in order to achieve the stated business objectives. Skyrocket will also plan, develop and manage the written content, all social media publishing, and digital advertising campaigns. Another very useful service is monitoring the website analytics and providing reports on these metrics.

Social Media

Skyrocket utilizes a robust social media presence promote their product and to reach their audience and potential customers. They have an active Facebook account that highlights organizations that they have worked with, showcasing products, discussing current events as the pertain to social media, marketing and business development. They challenge viewers of their posts to ask questions about their own organizations and whether or not a company like Skyrocket would be able to help them excel in their market and increase customers/sales.

Newer to their Social Media presence is Twitter. While still very active, the account is newer and is just now starting to attract followers. They use their Twitter account to post about projects and activities that are ongoing as well as to re-tweet interesting and insightful tweets. Skyrocket also utilizes Instagram and LinkedIn to promote and showcase their business.

Large and small business would be able to benefit from using a company like Skyrocket to advance their presence in the economy. The specialized approach, and B2C format would make them a very useful resource to boosting any companies’ profits and audience reach.

COMOO14 Blog #3 – Target Audience

When you work for Municipal Government, the entire area for which your municipality governs is your target audience. Ensuring that everyone in the area receives the information they need is becoming increasingly difficult as demographics change and the means with which they access information changes.

Identifying Demographics

In the municipality where I work, we use the Canadian Census and Statistics Canada to identify certain regional demographics. These tools allow us to identify the total population, age, dwelling status, marital status, education and employment. This information aids us in identifying the tools we need to use to ensure communication of information with residents. Age is the most important demographic we use to identify means of information exchange. In today’s technological age, we have to ensure that we provide information in as many formats as possible. This also includes ensuring that we follow the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) to allow residents with certain visual/hearing/cognitive differences to receive and interpret the information.

In the municipality that I work and live, there is a disproportionately high population of residents over the age of 65. To illustrate, the population of the city, according to the 2021 Census is 83,651. 24% of residents fall into the age category of 65 years and older. The next closest age bracket is 25–29-year-old at 12%. This presents a unique problem in that the majority of our information is presented using social media. We must ensure that our news/information/programming is also presented in media using more traditional methods. These include print media, mailouts and broadcast media. Another issue that is prevalent in this community is the population of residents who are un-housed. These numbers are not captured in census therefore we rely on our social services department to ensure these residents receive the information via SMS text, brochure, etc.

Social Media Reach

Social Media is the communication tool that is used most widely by this municipality. We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn to promote and advertise information from job postings, waste management promotion and education, road closures and maintenance, Council decisions and planning/building applications. Understanding the demographics of the community is important as Social Media apps are also largely age based – Facebook alone has seen a large increase in the number of users aged 65 and above. (

By using demographics, specifically age, government organizations like the Municipality I work in, are able to utilize the many different media streams available to ensure that information is communicated clearly and efficiently. Using a blanket approach to communication, such as only using one type of media vehicle, will only ensure that certain groups are missed, and important information is not disseminated to those who need to know it.

COM0014 #2 Storytelling

Storytelling is an interactive tool between a storyteller and a listener. It dates back millennia to when the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to describe their adventures and escapades. Effective storytellers encourage the listeners to use their imagination to create images in their minds – to fully immerse in the story, much like the hieroglyphs did in ancient Egypt.

Photo by Lady Escabia on

Information Communication

Storytelling communicates information to the listener. In today’s day and age, there are many forms of communication used to communicate hard data, facts and figures. Written print media, broadcast media (radio/tv), and of course the internet. It is important to note that being clear, concise and succinct in storytelling will engage the reader and secure their interest in the story you’re telling. Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and consistent style are paramount to a good story. Credibility is lost quickly with mistakes!

Engaging the audience

According to Networlding there are 5 types of audiences to be aware of when writing or storytelling. They are:

  1. The Experts
  2. The Laypeople
  3. The Managers
  4. The Technicians
  5. The Hybrids

Without delving into too many details about what each type means, the important takeaway is to know who your audience is and gear the language and style of your storytelling. This will ensure a positive experience for the listener.

Engaging the audience is also important. In blogging, asking questions and generating conversation are sure fire ways to engage your audience.

Plan, Practice, Execute

Developing good storytelling abilities is a very valuable skill that aids in networking, communication and relationship building. It can aid in both real life and online/social media environments. It does, however, require planning and practice. As a storyteller, you want your audience active, engaged and wanting more. A good storyteller can weave a web of images, thoughts and reflections in the listener, that can make the story come to life. Being apt at doing this within the confines of social media requires even more skill as you don’t have the benefit of the listener in front of you.

Asking for feedback on your storytelling abilities is another tool that can help refine your skills. Practice makes perfect and being able to adjust and move forward will help create a positive experience for both the storyteller and the audience.

COM0014 – Algonquin Adventure

I’m not much of a camper. Didn’t do it growing up and was only introduced to it a few years ago when my husband decided it would be a good idea to try. I was skeptical – sleeping in a nylon tent, on the ground, with the bugs, and the heat and well…the bugs! I was used to my comfy bed, air conditioning, WiFi and strong, freshly brewed coffee.

I tried, I really did to enjoy the experience. But I was grumpy, dirty, and miserable. It ended quickly and I vowed to never do it again – and I didn’t. Until COVID. Until lockdowns and stay home orders. We decided to look at getting a trailer for some staycations, some glamping you might say! We looked around for a few months and settled on the Winnebago Micro Minni! Any my life hasn’t been the same since!

The Winnebago Adventure Begins!

In the summer of 2022, we took our new to us Micro Mini to Algonquin Park for a week. I never thought I’d survive, let alone thrive! We set up our camper, plugged it into the power source and we were off! I had a comfy bed, a washroom, and a little kitchen for my morning coffee and no cell service whatsoever.

We hiked, fished, biked, and sat around the campfire. I discovered that chipmunks will come right up on your lap if you offer them a peanut! My new friend, Chippy as I affectionally named him, spent over an hour with me, taking peanuts to his hidey hole where he stored them for winter.

I read a book, cover to cover in a few days – something I haven’t done in years. The nighttime noises were intriguing – the silence almost deafening. The darkness was another thing I wasn’t used to. What do you mean no streetlights? Beyond the canopy of trees overhead, I saw stars – what seemed like millions of them. Where were they at home I wondered. I caught a small fish too! I immediately ordered my husband to take the hook out and get him back in the water where he belonged!

Our Micro Minnie came equipped with a stove and microwave, but I was determined to cook over the fire. We made hotdogs and popcorn, of course smores! The kitchen came in handy for my coffee though – I’m not going to lie!

My Discovery

I discovered at the end of the week that I was indeed a camper. There were things I missed, like a long hot shower and being close to grocery and drug stores. But I didn’t miss being online. I checked my phone for messages and checked in at home with family, but that was it. I found new ways to pass the time. I chatted with people, found out where they were from, how they were coping with everything. I worked on a puzzle, played cards and watched as my husband whittled wood creatures from logs he found. I felt refreshed and grounded. I’m sure it will become an annual vacation for us. Maybe next year, we’ll trek even farther up north!

Are you a camper? Any Algonquin Park stories to share? How about camping in the far north, even further off the grid?

LinkedIn – New Features for Professionals

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a platform that has historically been used by professional for networking and career development. The platform has the option for users to post their resumes and employers to post job ads. As of February 2022, LinkedIn has 830+ million registered members spanning over 200 countries.

LinkedIn allows users to create profiles, which includes uploading their resume, outlining their work experience and education, and other skills and training. Users can then invite other professionals, whether LinkedIn users or not, to become a connection. Connections are used between professionals as a business relationship and for networking.

In addition to the basic functionality of LinkedIn, users are also able to organize offline events, join groups, write articles, publish job postings, post photos and videos, and more. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to manage your personal brand. The Profile Strength Meter is a tool that measures the users profile in order to optimize visibility by search engines. Having a photo on your LinkedIn profile, specifically one done by a professional photographer, is immensely helpful in building your personal brand.

Pictures Don’ts

Images courtesy

Other types of pictures to avoid are snapshots from party’s, wedding’s, sporting events, and any shot with another person.

Other Features

Another features of LinkedIn is the Top Companies. These lists are published by LinkedIn and identify companies in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom that have the most interest from prospective job seekers.

Business Manager is a new feature that allows companies to manage people, ad accounts, and business pages.

Analytics is a new tool to LinkedIn that allows users to track the amount of traffic their profile is receiving.

Have you checked out all that LinkedIn has to offer? Sign up today and move your career forward with all the new exciting features!

Snapchat – Why it’s more popular with youth

Snapchat is an instant messaging mobile social media platform that was launched in 2012 with it’s principle feature being that any messages/photos or videos that are sent, are only available for a limited time until they are no longer available. As of July 2021, Snapchat had 293 million daily active users with an average of 4 billion Snaps sent every day. (

Snapchat Features

Photo by Thought Catalog on

Originally meant to be a person to person messaging system for photos and videos, Snapchat now boasts live video chatting, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing a chronological “story” that’s available to all followers of a subscriber and the very popular filters!. (

photo courtesy of

Snapchat, generally speaking, is more popular among young people. Older adults tend to have fewer, closer friends on their social media accounts than younger people who can often have over 500 followers/friends!

Youth today associate their social status with their social media activity ( This may be due to the amount of free time youth have and their constant communication with their peers. Youth are concerned with how their posts are viewed and whether their friends/followers respond leading them to post less but browse more. Most youth prefer to post only their best photos, with the proper edits and captions (i.e. Selfies)

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Why is it more popular?

Snapchat is not a public profile like Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat, has strict limitations on editing, most content is sent privately and cannot be rated or compared. As a result of this, users don’t feel insecure about what they can share – silly videos, unflattering selfies, photos with faces with cat filters etc. Youth are liberated to be creative and and show their individuality. Snapchat will never replace social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as they are two totally different products geared towards two different demographics.

Have you joined Snapchat? Do you know anyone who has?

Facebook Post
Twitter Post

Posting photos on Twitter? Adding Alt text now much easier!

In the article titled “You no longer have an excuse to forget alt text on your Twitter photos” (Christina Alexander, July 13, 2022) the author describes how, in March of this year, Twitter added two new optional features that assist with adding ALT text to pictures and images. The public Alt badge and exposed image description. Alt text is used for images to help people with low/no vision, those who use assistive technology or those who live in low-band width areas. (Twitter Help:

Accessibility for Ontarians

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA 2005) is an Ontario law that sets standards that all organizations, be it Government, private sector or non-profit, must follow to become more accessible to people with disabilities ( Ontario is set to become the first province in Canada to be fully accessible by 2025. Using ALT text for pictures and images on the web is one such instance that this Act aims to utilize to allow persons with different vision abilities to fully appreciate content on the web.

Alt Text vs. No Alt Text

As you can see in the twitter post below (Images taken from Article), an individual with low vision would not be able to fully appreciate the post if no ALT text were added.

By utilizing Twitters new feature, the post now becomes much more informative for all readers.

Need a reminder to add ALT text?

No Problem! As the author explains, on July 13, Twitter announced it had added yet another feature to its ALT text attributes – Reminders! According to a post written by report Shaokyi Amdo on The Verge, the reminder feature is optional. A pop-up reminder box will appear before the image is posted asking the user to add ALT text or to skip the process. The article outlines the process for activating the reminders in Twitter. It’s easy! To turn on the alt text reminder, go to Settings and privacy, scroll down to Accessibility, display, and languages, tap Accessibility, and scroll down to the Images section. Here, tap the toggle called Receive image description reminder.

Less is more – usually!

The author of the article outlines that writing for the web, and Twitter especially, is a skill that needs practice. Character limits aside, the ALT text for images can become wordy and too descriptive. Succinct descriptions are best and ensure the end user gets the full description without a long-winded explanation.

Check out this Twitter Post showing ALT Text.

Have you used the new features on Twitter? Try it and let me know what you think!

Ways To Use Canva to Boost Social Media Posts!

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on

Canva is a graphic design platform based out of Australia that is used to create social media posts, posters, presentations, documents and other promotional materials. Canva is free to use but does offer paid subscriptions that offer increased functionality. The Help Section provides numerous videos and How=To’s! These include “Design School”, “Personal Branding”, “Social Media Mastery” among many others. The platform offers users a multitude of free ready-to-use templates, graphics, elements and videos to assist the user in creating eye-catching, fun and engaging designs. Canva provides users the ability to share their designs and posts to email, Social Media accounts, personal computers or users can print directly from Canva.

Photo by Iselene Kei Borromeo Marzan on

Small Businesses – Grow your Company!

Small business owners can benefit greatly from Canva. The use of Social Media graphics, such as those developed in Canva, can generate website traffic increasing visitors to their sites and in turn, generating more customers, provide insight into their customers likes and dislikes and preferences, generate a buzz around the products/services provided – launch dates, special promotions and contests are examples of this, as well as eliminating geographical boundaries by promoting an online store or virtual shopping experience, (6 Benefits of Social Media for Small Business Owners TECHS CRUNCH SEPTEMBER 15, 2016).

Developing a “brand” is another option within Canva. It is widely accepted that a brand is a name, image, symbol or other distinguishing feature that promotes recognition amongst competitors of the same or like product/service ( Having a well defined brand, which can include images, colours, fonts, symbols and logos is beneficial in both marketing and communications across social media. Canva provides templates, colours, and fonts to create a brand or users can upload specific features to stay on brand with all their designs/posts and productions.

Check out these simple, yet effective posts created using Canva!

Facebook Post!

Twitter Post!

Check out Canva now and see how it can help you create engaging, super-fun and informational content for your Social Media accounts!