In this day and age personal branding is a vital aspect of our professional image. Our personal brand is something that is ever changing and evolving. As we build our knowledge and skills our brand grows like a living being. Adaptability and embracing the evolution of ourselves are the keys to a successful personal branding strategy.
I am a resourceful visual communications specialist and inquisitive learner. Growing and developing in the field of advocacy, adaptation and positive change. I bring two decades of experience working in diverse cultural environments. My colleagues have described me as a strong ,empathetic and inspiring leader, approaching every interaction with genuine kindness and integrity.
Building on my passion for equality. I am exploring the field of advocacy by making connections and learning about the cultures and traditions of the First Nations of Canada. Through volunteering, attending events(all virtually right now), joining in the conversations and asking questions, I hope to build trust and partnerships that will give me the opportunity to be a supportive voice for reconciliation and positive change.
Social Media plays an integral roll in my personal brand. The various platforms give limitless potential to converse and learn from people that share my passion across the country. I know there will be people that do not share these views and values of empathy and understanding. Approaching those that are opposed to my message with openness, will allow the opportunity to learn from them and helping me refine my strategy as it evolves.
The goal of my personal brand is to cultivate a fulfilling life, one that creates space to learn from the past and build a foundation for the future filled with diversity, empathy, and equality. For myself and those that I have the opportunity to connect with. If I can play even a small role and reach a handful of people educating them to the issues and injustices that the First Nations people have endured and continue to face, I will consider myself successful.
We are bombarded daily with so much negative information and traumatic events happening across the globe. Potentially causing us as individuals to feel impotent in effecting any real change. Knowing what to do to manage or work through these challenging times can often be overwhelming causing stress and anxiety, being up against what feels like insurmountable odds. But, what would happen if we take the advice of Yifat Susskind and ask ourselves one question. What would a mother do?
I believe that as individuals we have so many ways to spread the positive messages and generous gestures of the mother mindset. Taking the time out of our daily grind to connect with a friend that we haven’t spoken to in ages. Noticing and offering to help, when an elderly neighbour might needed a helping hand with the snow in their driveway. Offering to take your friends kids to the park for an hour so she can sit and drink a cup of coffee before it gets cold. On a broader scale we can share stories of mothering behaviours we experience or see in our daily lives on social media. Changing the script is completely in our control when it comes to “thinking like a mother”(Yafit Susskind). We must celebrate seemingly insignificant moments in our lives. Perhaps it’s the barista at your local coffee shop that greets you with a smile every morning. Somehow they always remember your order when you walk in. Sending out a quick instagram message recognizing what a great job they’re doing or simply leaving a bigger tip a few times a week. I know that seems so small and we could easily question the point of that gesture. What if, that instagram caught the attention of just two friends and they went to the same coffee shop because you recommended it. Then two more friends of those friends, a cascade happens. That barista gets recognized by their manager, they get a raise, they get more grateful customers which naturally translates to more tips..earning enough money to get their college tuition paid. How significant would that seemingly insignificant gesture on your part be to that barista? As those small acts grow we can gain the confidence and strength to take action on bigger issue that our world is facing. All the information that we receive on a daily basis through social networks doesn’t have to be of pain, suffering and loss. We have the power to change that.
My take away from this Ted Talk was the reminder to live life with a greater purpose, with a positive energy in everything we do. Allowing our thoughts and actions to serve our immediate community and by extension our global community. As Yifat Susskind said “plant a seed, a different seed and cultivate what you want to see grow.” Building our legacy of greater tolerance and a peaceful world, one small gesture at a time. How can you plant the seeds of change in your life? How will you…”think like a mother?”
In true Canadian style TruEarth has taken the world by storm with their eco-strips. TruEarth is a Vancouver based start-up focused on environmentally conscious products. Appealing to consumers around the world to reduce their carbon footprint one load of laundry at a time.
The #truearthmovement was established in 2019 with a goal of keeping 2 million detergent bottles out of landfills by the end of 2020. By encouraging their followers and customers to post on social media platforms about why they love TruEarth eco strips or why they were excited to try them. They achieved that goal in October 2020. They got people around the globe talking about their product and even more importantly environmental issues. This campaign gave people the opportunity to be a part of something larger than themselves. Knowing that they were making a difference.
The numbers speak from themselves: Instagram-74.3k followers, Facebook-60.5k followers,YouTube- 1.58K followers,Twitter-862 followers. TruEarths 20/21 ad campaign yielded some great results as well. “Things you should never mix with Water” has seen 7.5 million views since its launch 6 months ago on YouTube. “Real Men Do Laundry” has hit 2 millions views since it’s launch on Jan 11 2021. Not only are they posting consistently and gaining traction across all social networks the use of the blue and green colour pallette from their logo gives a polished and distinct visual message.
Poking fun at life with runny mascara and educating their viewers with colourful infographics is in my opinion, the perfect combination. TruEarth is using Social Media in the best way possible by being part of the conversation and leading the way for positive change.
AI generated images and videos are becoming increasingly difficult to identify. These images are created by software that uses deep learning technology. The term “deepfake” was coined by a Reddit user of the same name in 2017 after they posted videos that had been altered in this manner on the Reddit website.
Spotting a deepfake isn’t impossible. There are countless ways to spot a deepfake. The following are just a few that focus on the subjects face.
The average human blinks 15 to 20 times a minute. The absence of blinking could indicate you might be looking at a AI generated face. Some eye movements are especially difficult for AI tech to duplicate accurately. Blinking is one of them.(Norton.com,2020)
Pay close attention to each eye in the image or video. “The cornea is almost like a perfect semiphere and is very reflective, the two eyes should have very similar reflective patterns because they’re seeing the same thing.” Says Professor Siwei Lyu a member of the team at University of Buffalo that developed software to detects deepfake photos by analyzing light reflections in the eyes. (iflscience.com 2021)
Watch their mouth and look even closer at their teeth. The software used to build the deepfake may not be able to generate individual teeth or outline the teeth properly. (norton.com 2020)
Notice how their facial expressions change or don’t change with what they are saying. Image stitching can cause the audio and video to be misaligned. (norton.com,2020)
Their hair is to perfect. Fly aways and frizz are a perfectly natural occurrence for most people. The algorithms can not produce these seemingly small but very important details around the human face effectively. (theguardian.com,2020)
With the speed at which artificial intelligence is advancing and the ability of the users to manipulate the different medias to suit, it is necessary to question whether the creators of these technologies have a moral obligation. Where does the line get draw? How far away are we from these deepfakes being so good that we can’t tell the difference?
There are primarily two ways that someone might have discovered roller derby. One, you are a child of the 70’s and remember seeing those amazing women flying around a track in a chaotic battle or two, you watched Whip It and just had to check out this crazy sport!
WFTDA the governing body of roller derby held a demographics survey in February 2010. The information from that survey is invaluable for developing social media communication for the leagues. Based on that data I developed a profile of an average roller derby fan. Lets call her Bliss. She is in her mid 30’s, she identifies as straight. She lives with a partner and they have at least one child under the age of 18. Bliss has a college education and has an average household annual income of $75,000 USD. As well as roller derby she is a fan of traditional sports like football, baseball and basketball. She knows her local league sponsors and does her best to shop with them to support the league and her local economy.
The local league could engage with Bliss and prospective fans/skaters by :
Having up to date and active profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ensuring that they are posting regularly with relevant and exciting content. For example, live feeds from a practice session or a game.
Joining local social media groups and taking part in the conversations will keep the league current and in the minds and hopeful hearts of the members.
Participating (where appropriate)in the local business and government forums would give additional exposure and build rapport with officials and potential sponsors.
At its core roller derby, its skaters, volunteers and fans are adaptable. She has made a come back from her roots on the bank tracks of the southern states to the duct tape tracks on local gymnasium floors around the globe. Being involved with the community whether virtually or in person brings roller derby front and centre in the community. The leagues build a positive identity and are recognized within the community as being reliable, constructive and involved . Not just wild derby girls!
When it comes to storytelling, communication styles and encouraging interaction with the audience being authentic,concise and empathetic is the best way to gain trust and build your social media identity.
Influencing people’s decisions is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Through genuine and candid posts. Giving credit to those that help you and support you. As well as owning up to a mistake when it happens, all lay a solid foundation in building trusted relationships with your audience. Being able to adjust and flex the style of you communications will extend the reach of your messaging as well.
Always remember the importance of investing in the relationship with your audience by asking for their input and suggestions. Regardless of the tone of that feedback taking timely action is vital for the longevity of that relationship. Followers/customers deserve to be heard and acknowledged. They want their feedback to be seen as important and taking action on that feedback is critical.
I have to take a page from my years in fashion retail when it comes to digital communication. Being customer obsessed or in this case audience obsessed is the best way to build a loyal following and cultivate a long, productive and hopefully inspiring relationship.
You probably know someone that has experienced the hateful posts of a troll or even been in the cross hairs of these nasty little beasts yourself. It’s a horrible feeling reading those comments and for most of us having the restraint to not bark back is virtually impossible. I found this TedX talk with Meteorologist Emily Sutton. She deals with trolling quite often in her job with NBC. Emily’s take on the subject was insightful, entertaining and inspiring.
Emily’s list of ways to deal with Trolls. 1. Wait 2. Ignore 3. Kill them with kindness or humour 4. Educate. 5. Stand your ground. 6. Block or report. 7. Empathize and Learn. 8. Are you a troll? 9. Be Kind.
Often people make trolling comments because they feel they have a right to express their opinion whether it is relevant or not. They feel a certain level of anonymity and see little to know risk of being called out. Dehumanizing their intended target which makes it even easier for them to behave in a way that is outside the acceptable social construct. The targets of such attacks can often feel the same way about their troll. That they are not a person and have little or no remorse for their behaviour. These thought patterns are at core of this toxic behaviour.
There is a real person behind every comment, every post, every hashtag. Which is so often forgotten. We can only know one another if we take the time to be kind, empathize and learn. How would these types of interactions change if we all took a moment to process the affects of our words before hitting the post button? Remember trolls are real people too!
As I sit here in front of my laptop on a cold March afternoon. I feel a mix of emotions as I reflect on those glorious seven days I spent with family and friends. You see, my little brother was getting married! How could I feel anything but excitement and love? After a couple of years of planning, re-arranging those plans, cancelled venues and re-booking. We had finally made it to this amazing resort. The Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana. In the glorious Dominican Republic.
I will never forget the night my brother and his fiancee called via FaceTime from Vancouver to asked my daughter to be their flower girl. Before agreeing to the very important task, she had a pressing concern that needed to be clarified. “Uncle Tom…do I have to buy the ring? she asked in a rather pensive tone. Trying to contain their laughter her auntie and uncle assured Charley that she wouldn’t have to buy the ring. Her reply was a resounding yes after a sigh of relief and a deafening squeal of excitement.
Charley and I joined twenty family members and friends to celebrate the momentous and long awaited occasion in this spectacular venue. We spent 6 days on the white sand beach enjoying the sun, a little bit of summer rain, music and laughter with the most amazing people. The friends that my brother has shared his life with and fondly known as his “west coast family” were now and are forever our family too.
The wedding took place on our third day at the resort. There was a beautiful warm breeze coming off the ocean that afternoon. Which made for some wonderfully raw photos. The ceremony took place in a rustic beachside pergola. Followed by a delectable five course meal at the Bahia Principe Ambar.
It was truly a once in a lifetime trip. I can’t help but feel a certain twinge of sadness when I think about what unfolded only days after we returned. I am one of the very fortunate few that had the privilege to go on vacation in 2020, before the world was thrust into chaos with the Covid-19 pandemic. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend that time with my family and I pray that all the wonderful people that hosted us are safe and healthy. Pa’rriba! Pa’abajo! Pal’centro! Pa’dentro!