COM0014-Blog#3: Targeting the Survivalist

COM0014-Blog#3: Targeting the Survivalist

Woman stockpiling toilet paper (Image courtesy Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

We all remember the images of shoppers flooding to stores, grabbing everything in sight and leaving the shelves bare.  But not everyone contributed to this ‘panic buying’ – – a few were already prepared.

Always Be Ready

Survivalists, or preppers, are people who actively prepare for emergencies, by acquiring medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and gaining outdoor survival skills.Typically, it has been the Gen Xers who were the most prepared, but millennials have stepped up and taken over the helm.  Those aged 24-39 are concerned about natural disasters, terrorist attacks, mass power failure, economic disaster, and pandemics.  Today’s survivalists are not building bunkers in their backyards, but they are prepared for living outdoors without the use of modern conveniences. 

This demographic appreciates nature, biodiversity, reducing their carbon footprint and off-the-grid living.  Connect and engage this audience by using Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram.  Search ‘outdoor survival gear’ and you will find product reviews for camping gear, knives, freeze-dried food, and other outdoor survival hacks such as how to light a fire with a ferro rod,  gourmet cooking using rations and the ultimate ‘Bug Out Bag’ (aka 72-hour Emergency Kit).

YouTube tips for outdoor survival

Prepare. Protect. Thrive. Survive.

Most survivalists are male; however, females do a fair bit of purchasing for the family unit as well.  Products that have multiple uses such as Leatherman tools, Gerber knives and Alpenlore belts are attractive to this group as the will pay more money for quality gear.  Hobbies and interests include hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping.  Influencers, who readily share their knowledge and experiences, look like a stereotypical ‘outdoorsman’ – rugged-looking wearing t-shirts, cargo pants, and boots (i.e. No clean-cut, 3-piece-suit wearing corporate-types need apply).

Do you think you have what it takes to survive living outdoors in the wild, gathering your own food, using flint to make fire, and building your own shelter?   Recent events have made us realize that we need to be prepared for any emergency.  What have you learned from dealing with Covid-19. What would be the essential items in your Bug Out Bag?

#AlwaysBeReady #Prepper #emergencypreparedness #outdoorsurvival   #outdoorsurvivalgear #survivalgear #outdoorliving #wilderness #bushcraft #OffTheGrid #survivalkit #survivalhacks #wildernessskills #outdoorskills #huntingskills #fishingskills #outdoorcooking #survivalguide #bugoutbag  #PrepareProtectThriveSurvive

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COM0014-Blog#2: Outdated telegraph still impacts today’s news coverage

COM0014-Blog#2: Outdated telegraph still impacts today’s news coverage

Image of telegraph machine courtesy Pixabay/Ray Shrewberry

I often thought that news stories were written in a format to accommodate the reading style of inspectional readers i.e. those who skim and scan for key information.  However, it is Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, who has the most impact on how we write and consume news and information today.

Before the invention of the telegraph in 1844, storytellers could afford to be long-winded in their writing since news had no urgency.  It could take weeks or months to send communications coast to coast or to other continents via stagecoach or steamer.  However, the new telegraph technology was expensive to use and if the lines were cut during the transmission of the message, it was prudent to get the most important information across first. Writing styles had to change from long, drawn-out partisan journalism to concise, objective newswriting. Many adopted the Inverted Pyramid writing style (leading with the most important information) out of necessity but that is no longer our reality. 

Inverted Pyramid Writing Style

Telegrams are outdated and have long been replaced by email. Perhaps it is time that we shelve the ‘Inverted Pyramid’ concept and stop teaching it in our classrooms or does this century-old style of journalism still have relevance today?

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COM0014 – Blog#1: Never too old to be a kid again

I was 26-years old on my first visit to Florida, but I knew the moment I got off the plane that I would return again and again.  Something about the warm sunshine, the lush green palms, and the soothing breezes that I found both comforting and inspiring.  I would return fourteen times over the years; the last visit was in 2018 to celebrate my daughter’s Grade 8 graduation.

My daughter pictured with Pooh and Tigger

If you like tranquil beaches, I suggest a daytrip to the Canaveral National Seashore.   This east coast national park is comprised of 58,000 acres of unspoiled white sand coastline and is what Florida used to look like before the beachside condominiums took over.  We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed an afternoon playing in the surf and the sand at Playalinda Beach, located north of the Kennedy Space Centre.  It was so relaxing that I fell asleep while listening to the ocean.

Map of Canaveral National Seashore (www.nps.gov/cana/)

My family are big fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead, so we lunged at the chance to experience Zombie Outbreak located on International Drive in Orlando.

Courtesy http://www.giphy.com #The Walking Dead #Zombies

via GIPHY

It’s a real-life video game in which you shoot ‘zombies’ with a laser rifle.  These actors wear headbands which register your ‘shots’ however they can ‘bite’ you if they get within 3 feet.  We were placed in a group with a couple on their first, and most likely their last, date (He was shooting everything before his date could even get off a single shot).  A bit of an adrenaline rush but it was over way too soon.   

One cannot talk about Florida without addressing the elephant in the room – which in this case is a mouse.  DisneyWorld had an attendance of 58 million that year and I swear each one of them were standing in the concession line ahead of me.  The FastPass+ App was useful for several attractions, however, it did not help us for Pandora: The World of Avatar , where we waited in line over 2 hours for a 3-D simulation ride on a banshee.  Based on the feature film by James Cameron, Disney is ‘banking’ that this attraction will lure huge crowds.  The Disney Imagineers have re-created a 12-acre experience complete with sights, sounds and smells of this imaginary far off world with floating rock formations, waterfalls, and bioluminescent vegetation.  An amazing experience, even if you are not a fan of the movie.

Pandora: The World of Avatar (River Journey)

I cannot wait to return to Florida to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the re-vamped Carousel of Progress (set to re-open in 2023), and new coasters at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.  I’m always looking for new and unique experiences and welcome your suggestions for the Florida Panhandle and Daytona areas.   

Never too old to be a kid again. 

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Size Doesn’t Matter

Sometimes, the best things come in small packages

Tasked with a writing assignment? Don’t get sidetracked thinking that the more you write, the more valuable your content. In my search, I found hordes of blogs on a variety of topics but many were just piles of verbal diarrhea formulated into paragraphs with clever taglines crafted by some influential-wannabe hoping to grab you as a follower to add to their stock.

Use these 5 writing tips to keep your next blog focused and concise.

1. Be Creative

Start with a brain dump and jot down ideas as they come to you. Don’t worry about proper spelling and grammar at this point – – just let the creative juices flow. Don’t forget to brainstorm ideas for an attention-grabbing title. In an article by HubSpot, 60% of readers don’t read past the headline. You’ll only get one chance to make a lasting first impression, so make it count.

2. KISS

Keep it simple stupid.

  • Be concise and thoughtful. Don’t choose a subject that is too broad.
  • Organize your thoughts into key points. Main points should always be significant, distinct and relevant.
  • Build/research supporting data and include links in your blog.
  • Know your audience. Use language and terminology that your readers will understand. In short, understand the art of plain talk. American author and writing consultant, Rudolf Flesch, wrote about this topic in 1946. Use this formula to test the readability of your posts.
The Flesch-Kincaid formula tests how easy your passage is to understand

If aiming for a general audience, best to keep your score between 60 – 70, the reading level of most Canadian adults. The higher the score, the easier your blog is to read.

3. Use your Imagination

Don’t rely only on numbers and facts to tell the story, add your own unique perspective and personal style to your writing to evoke emotion from the reader such as happiness, admiration, guilt, pride, anger and sadness. Images do more than offer eye-candy to entice clicks, they play an important role for memory retention. When a picture is added, people generally remember 55% more, even 72-hours later.

4. Make it Personal

If you expect the reader to scroll down, you better make it worth their while. Build a relationship with the reader by connecting them with information, stir up interest or amuse them with a personal anecdote.

5. Slow Down. Don’t be in a Rush

Re-read. Re-write. Re-edit. Cut out any unnecessary words. Do a final check for spelling, grammar and all media links before hitting that POST button. Use the Flesch-Kincaid formula to check the readability of your own blogs. For example, this blog scores 64. Would you agree with that score?

It’s not the length of the post, your number of followers or even the amount of views that matters. Size doesn’t matter, content does.

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Facebook Does size really matter? Learn to do more with less. Be creative with your next blogging assignment https://bit.ly/39UZewc

Twitter #SizeDoesNotMatter Be creative and do more with less. Click https://bit.ly/39UZewc for blogging tips.

Hoax, Lies, and Videotape

Hoax, Lies, and Videotape

Fighting an “Infodemic” on Social Media

Picture of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

“We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General spoke these words on Februay 15, 2020 at the Munich Security Conference, a month prior to COVID-19 being declared a pandemic. At the time, COVID-19 was considered a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) with China having 66,000 Coronavirus cases and only 505 cases in the rest of the world. He praised China for buying the world time to prepare but warned the international community about the looming threat to healthcare workers, access to personal protective equipment, the havoc this virus could cause on health systems and how rumours would hamper response. To counter the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, the World Health Organization turned to assistance from social media companies.

News reports about COVID-19 bombards us every day, adding to anxiety that we may already be experiencing due to isolation. Social Media is a great tool for connecting people during this crisis, but as mentioned in a previous post, the threat of sharing misinformation can be just as dangerous.

Picture of various social media applications on a smartphone
Photo courtesy of Pexels.com/@Pixabay

Along with donating millions of dollars to health and economic relief efforts, companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, among others, are investing in the news industry and in fact-checking. The result is a crackdown to remove false or misleading information about COVID-19 on their apps. Links to false cures and hoaxes have been (or are in the process of being) blocked. Instead, platforms are providing valuable and accurate information to their customers (click on the links for more information):

  • Google users will find information on education and prevention and redirects to the local resources
  • Along with offering content from experts and support groups, Reddit has bookmarked a list of free ebooks and audiobooks for those in isolation
  • Both Microsoft and LinkedIN offer support for remote learning and working
  • YouTube is producing video health panels as part of their #StayHome campaign
  • Facebook‘s newly launched Community Help forum is for people to find or share support in their community (a grassroots neighbours-helping-neighbours initiative)

As Dr. Ghebreyesus concluded in that speech, “In our fractured and divided world, health is one of the few areas in which international cooperation offers the opportunity for countries to work together for a common cause. This is a time for facts, not fear. This is a time for rationality, not rumours. This is a time for solidarity, not stigma.

Pick a social media platform of your choice, search for the COVID-19 content posted by its staff and share this information with a friend or on your timeline. #AllinThisTogether #StayAtHome #StaySafe

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Facebook Hoax, Lies and Videotape. How @Facebook and other social media are fighting the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’. Read more at https://bit.ly/2JFT4oR

Twitter Hoax, Lies and Videotape. How @Twitter is fighting the #COVID19 ‘infodemic’. Read more at https://bit.ly/2JFT4oR #FakeNews

#CanadaPerforms

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Music can change the world.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music can change the world…or at least our little corner of it. With a grant from Facebook Canada, the National Arts Centre (NAC) announced a fund for home-based online performances. Set up to offset monies that may be loss with cancellations and closures of bars and performance venues (due to COVID-19), this fund benefits musicians and dancers who may not be eligible for traditional Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits.

Inspired by reports from Italy of people singing each evening from their windows and balconies, organizations are banding together to share the gift of music to the world via social media. Within the first 24 hours of announcing the fund, the NAC received over 1400 applications and with additional support from the Slaight Music Foundation this #CanadaPerforms project will likely continue past the original March 31st deadline.

If you check your Facebook or Instagram feed, you’ll probably find a post from a musician that you follow or an invite to view a performance from one of your friends. Neil Diamond, who retired from touring in 2018 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, performed a modified ‘Sweet Caroline‘ (Hands…washing hands) during his home concert. Loralee McGuirl, a performer and vocal coach from Hamilton, Ontario sang ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (by Simon and Garfunkel) with a broken jaw. Some artists, like John Wilberforce, may be trying live-streaming for the first time.

Experiment. Be creative.

Share info about the #CanadaPerforms initiative to all musicians in your contact list. Artists selected for this project will receive $1,000 and have their performances posted on the NAC Facebook page. Since its launch in April 2016, Facebook LIVE has exploded in popularity. Live content sees 3 times the engagement over traditional videos and are seen by millions of users around the world. If performers are unsure of how to set up a live stream, both Facebook and Instragram have tips posted on their websites.

Music may not solve all the world’s problems, but it may provide a pleasant diversion for a little while.

…and now back to regular programming…

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Facebook: Cdn musicians can receive $1K for online home performances courtesy @NationalArtsCentre, @Facebook and @SlaightMusic #CanadaPerforms #CanadaEnPrestation. Read more at https://bit.ly/3dn6unB

Twitter: Cdn musicians paid $1K for online performances @CanadasNAC #CanadaPerforms. More at https://bit.ly/3dn6unB

This is what Social Media was made for

Those that know me are aware of my rants regarding the (ab)use of social media – – particularly the preoccupation of users to share mindless chatter. I’m thinking of buying these shoes. This is how I look this morning. This is me curling my hair. This is what I’m packing for my lunch. This is my dog. This is my dog’s breakfast …

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Recent events are showcasing the magnitude of power that social media truly holds – – the ability to inform and educate. With COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) spreading throughout the world, it is important, now more than ever, to stay informed – – to stay safe. During a crisis like this, we look to those in authority to react, and more importantly, not to overreact. At a press conference on March 11, it was announced that an Ottawa man, who recently travelled to Austria, tested positive for coronovirus, followed by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson urging the public to remain calm. There are many reports of hoarding and food shortages, as some people panic and race to the stores to stock up on the necessities…like toilet paper? If you do need to be isolated for a couple of weeks, you’ll want to have some additional supplies, like water, medical prescriptions and non-perishable food, but seriously, how much toilet paper do you really need?

One of the best ways to stay informed is to follow trusted sources: news outlets like Global News, and Ottawa Citizen, and organizations like the World Health Organization or your local Public Health Unit which will post updates on their websites and social media feeds (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Information from these sources have been vetted for accuracy. If you don’t know the source, think twice before sharing or retweeting any content. Do post personal updates and check in regularly with family and close friends – – they’ll be glad to know that you’re okay. Share those chicken soup recipes and tips to keep kids entertained if they’re staying home from school.

The Canadian government is taking great measures to keep people informed of the facts and have recently announced a $1Billion support package to aid in the containment of the virus both domestically and globally. There is a section on their main website devoted to Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates. On this site, you’ll find information regarding symptoms, treatments and prevention. I suggest you bookmark this link and refer to it often. Take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of this virus, but also take precautions to stop the spread of misinformation.

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Facebook World Health Organization @WHO upgrades #COVID19 to global pandemic. Stay calm. Stay safe. Stay informed via social media. https://bit.ly/3b1bPz5

Twitter #COVID19 upgraded to global #pandemic. Stay safe. Stay informed via social media. https://bit.ly/3b1bPz5