COM0014 Blog 7 – Personal Reflection

I majored in Adult Development in university, which has absolutely nothing to do with what I do now.

Typing Cat GIFs | Tenor
Image via GIF Tenor

I found I had a passion for creating content after graduating and landing a job in a company I was proud to work for. Before starting this course, the majority of my writing was based in getting the information to the consumer as quickly as possible.

No bells, no whistles. The sheer amount of content I have to write in a day makes it difficult to keep things fresh and current.

This course has given me the platform and space to workshop writing in a more creative and insightful way.

Every day I go to work writing content, I feel myself putting on a corporate voice and keeping what I write very high-level. While it has its place as being important and straightforward, hopefully there will be more of an opportunity to play with the format and present important information in a new way.

Crafting a story and creating a narrative allows for more honest and engaging writing. It helps connect the reader with the writer or company. These create more emotional connections that encourage customers to keep coming back to your page or blog.  

I’m looking forward to injecting more emotion into what I’m writing, and hope to see a positive response to what I’ve written.

COM0014 Blog #6 – What about your childhood shaped you for this moment?

I began visiting parks when I was less than one year of age.

Exploring Algonquin on my father’s back

When I was younger, as soon as the final bell rang for the summer, I would jet out of the classroom, grab my sleeping bag, and jump in the car to head to one of the 48 parks I explored as a child. Yes, I’ve kept count!

I would relish in every moment that I could learn something new about the natural world around me, with endless questions for any naturalist or warden within sight.

Parks had (and continue to have) educational programs on any subject you could possibly think of. I love learning about pollinator plants, bugs, and insects.

Specifically, one amphitheater performance that a number of naturalists put on specifically about moths. I think I was around eight or nine. The songs were so catchy… my family and I can still remember them today.

When a position became available to educate audiences young and old about our province’s biodiversity, I knew it was meant to be. Incredibly, after all these years, the same naturalist that wrote the amphitheatre performance that inspired me was still working at the same park. I talk to him on a regular basis!

I hope that I can inspire children to protect our natural spaces, just as this naturalist inspired me.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – What the heck is going on with Slim Jim – a case study

COM0014 – Blog #4 – What the heck is going on with Slim Jim – a case study

In a world of traditionally nontraditional media, Slim Jim has taken an extremely unpredictable turn to cater to a narrow audience: namely, Generation Z.

All memes all the time

In a digital world where most businesses and brands will focus on product and occasionally post memes or other high-engagement content, Slim Jim takes the approach of posting mostly memes on both their Instagram and Twitter.

The Slim Jim lore began as the company took notice of an amateur Slim Jim fan account, posting memes similar to the ones now found on their official page. Instead of sending a cease and desist, the company hired this memer to grow their audience on social media. It worked. Quickly. Slim Jim’s Instagram account currently sits at 1.3 million.

Comment-ary

In addition to their unusual Instagram account, Slim Jim can be found commenting on OTHER meme pages. Of course, as aligned with their feed, their comments don’t have much to do with their product, but aid in building a personality brand identity.

Image via Pubity Instagram

The reception to Slim Jim’s outreach is mixed. Some find their comments slightly out of touch, and as research suggests, Gen Z has a penchant for seeking out and destroying brands that they find inauthentic.

That being said, their fierce fandom, called the “Long Boy Gang,” has sparked merchandise partnerships with designer fashion brands and respect and admiration from other aspiring brands.

Image via Tipsy Elves

More than meat-iocre

In my opinion, Slim Jim is moving in a positive direction. For a brand that’s a household name for most Generation X’s and Baby Boomers, they are achieving what I assume to be their main goal of being accessible in gas stations for those who wouldn’t think to follow a jerky stick on social media, while appealing to a younger audience.

As a brand that seems to keep their finger on the pulse, it will be interesting to see if they are able to maintain that persona online for years to come.

COM0014 – Blog #1: Conquering The Crack

This past year has been full of disappointments… lots of positives… but lots of disappointments.

My friends and I had a trip to Las Vegas planned last year for the end of March just as COVID was shutting everything down, and to our dismay, our vacation was swiftly canceled.

Luckily, we had a backup vacation planned for August (right in the eye of the COVID hurricane).

Our goal? Getting as far away from the city and as deep into the northern wilderness as quickly as possible. Pretty much the polar opposite of Vegas.

So, August came around and my three friends and I jumped in the car and set out on our trip to Killbear Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park.

Starting off on the wrong foot

It was almost dusk when we arrived at Killbear. It’s known as a pretty rambunctious park, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. Luckily, it was just a one night stopover on our way to our final destination.

The noise never stopped. The campsite beside us has the Leafs’ game blasting and parties were screaming on until the wee hours of the morning. I’m still surprised hearing a woman yelling about opening a bottle of white at 5:30 a.m.

Sleep was scarce, which didn’t bode well for the rest of the trip. My friends had a full schedule of strenuous activities. Namely, hiking The Crack at Killarney.

After dragging ourselves out of our tent the next morning and downing too many cups of coffee, we took down our equipment and set out on our next destination.

We stopped quickly at our site to drop off our gear, packed our day packs, then headed out for a hike I’ve been dreading… The Crack.

Outta bounds

It’s important to mention that all of my friends are very athletic. I am not. I knew I was going to struggle. The staff admitted that they air lift literally one person off The Crack per day in the summer. I was hoping I wasn’t going to be part of that statistic.

Having a great time!

The Crack is 6 km, with the first kilometre or so being a flat gravel trail. From there, it’s what I could only describe as straight-up rock climbing. I mean on all fours climbing up steep rocks.

I was pleasantly surprised that I kept up with my friends, but noticed I had gone through about ¾ of my water supply. Not good in the blaring sun with little to no shade.

After many, many breaks, we finally got to the top. The view was breathtaking.

I flopped down on a bed of pine needles for longer than I’m willing to admit, but I did manage to get a few pictures to prove my feat.

View of the granite hills

After what felt like five minutes, it was time to descend the trail. I’d forgotten about that part. It felt like I was in a daze hiking down the rocks. My water supply was depleted, and all I could think about was going for a dip in the lake.

Surprisingly, the worst part by far was walking the 1-2 km on the flat gravel.

In full recovery

After taking a dip in the lake, I felt renewed. Little did I know, the next day I woke up to extreme soreness and an unbelievable amount of blisters on my feet.

The five hour drive home was uncomfortable, and I slipped into an Epsom bath as soon as I got home.

So… after all of this, was it worth it? Undoubtedly.

Have you hiked a trail like The Crack?

Cyber seniors: keeping connected in trying times

I’m sure you’ve all been keeping up with coworkers, friends, and family through Zoom, Skype, and other online communication tools.

One group that often does have the capacity for this kind of communication are senior, either living in retirement/long term care facilities or on their own with limited access to computers and smartphones.

Getty 14
Photo via CNBC.com

We’ve made great improvements in recent years as far as integrating technologies into retirement and long term care facilities, however, there are a number of barriers

Most of my undergraduate degree was spent analyzing adult development and the aging population. In one of my classes, we watched an amazing documentary about an amazing program that helped bridge the gap between generations with technology.

Take a look at the trailer for the documentary:

Video via Youtube.com

Even though it’s from around six years ago, the message and impacts of the subject matter can still be felt today. What began as combating the negative affects of loneliness and isolation has now become a integral aspect to making contact with the outside world during isolation.

Many have been stuck in their room with only phone calls connecting them to the outside world. However, with increased funding for technology in these spaces allows for seniors to interact with fellow residents, families, and attend social or religious gatherings.

Taking the time to educate those unfamiliar with can greatly improve seniors’ quality of life and your own in keeping in contact with your friends or family.

So, if you’re beginning to feel the gap between you and your friend, parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent, pick up the phone and talk them through any of the very basic video communication applications like Facetime or Skype.

They’re worth it.

Facebook Post:

Using technology to connect to #seniors during COVID-19: https://bit.ly/2RvG5dV. #social #COVID19

Twitter Post:

#Connecting with #CyberSeniors: https://bit.ly/2RvG5dV. #tech #COVID19

How I’m quitting media “Cold Turkey”

Okay, so maybe I’m not quitting social media, per say. But I have found a way to silence my busy mind and keep my eyes off of any website of my choosing… for a limited time, at least!

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that since we’ve been in lock down thanks to a certain virus, I’ve been glued to all of my devices. Between Justin Trudeau’s media releases and Donald Tr*mp’s questionable interviews, it’s been increasingly difficult to concentrate and I can feel my productivity reduced to a crawling pace (don’t tell my boss).

Even when I’m not reading about the virus or our province’s response, I find respite in trashy Youtube videos and endless Instagram scrolling.

Thank goodness I’ve found some sweet relief with Cold Turkey!

Image via http://www.getcoldturkey.com

Cold Turkey is a computer application that helps you quit your addicting apps and websites for any amount of time you wish. Installation is simple, and allows you to block websites and applications on both Chrome and Firefox (if you use Internet Explorer, that’s on you).

Finally I’ve had some respite from the media machine. Goodbye, virus grief! Sayonara, senseless Youtube binges!

Check out what sites I’ve blocked:

Video via Youtube.com

Anything I’m missing?

I know it’s not a permanent solution to an ever-growing problem of our reliance on social media, especially since my day job includes responding to people’s questions and concerns about COVID-19. However, it’s given me some sweet, sweet relief. The world may be burning around us, but now I’ll finally get a chance to answer the emails I’ve been putting off!

Here you are. I’ve served you a chance to take a temporary step away from social media and online distractions on a golden platter.

What will you do with the keys to the handcuffs? Take a walk, drink a cup of coffee, perhaps finally getting some work done?

Facebook Post:

Using Cold Turkey to take a well-deserved social media break. #socialmedia #ColdTurkey #wellness https://bit.ly/2xBiCkf

Twitter post:

How I’m quitting #socialmedia “Cold Turkey”: https://bit.ly/2xBiCkf. #ColdTurkey #media