COMM0014 – Personal Reflection

After analyzing my skillset from beginning to end in this course, it became glaringly obvious that there were some gaps in my abilities to effectively convey a story to an audience. Using my newfound knowledge, I am able to quickly identify my target audience and implement an appropriate communication style that will reach them in the right way. To elaborate, using demographics and psychographics, I can make assumptions about those I am communicating to and will tweak my strategy of conveying message based on my findings.

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Why is storytelling crucial to creating great Digital content?

Whether it be in person, online and numerous other mechanisms of storytelling, you are always trying to sell people on an idea and have to implement the right strategy in order to get them interested. When approaching a story in person, there are many factors that differ compared to digital content. You can see peoples reaction, make judgement based on these findings, and therefore create your story based on what works. With digital content, you are making an assumption about those who you are telling a story to and have much less to work with. Often with digital content you must be overly cautious of the things you say in order to not offend any group you are trying to reach. For example, when creating great digital content that on the political spectrum, it is much to do prior research and analysis to determine if your target audience leans more left or right. Through this research, you can then tailor a story that will appeal to the group you are reaching and do not risk offending as many people. The creation of great content takes lots of trial and error but is certainly possible with the right amount of effort.

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How will your content be guided by story?

Content is guided by story no matter what approach you take. Think about companies who are selling a product and provide a backstory or use a tag such as “Established in 1942.” These are all part of telling the story in order to intrigue consumers into buying something you are selling. Whether it is a social media outlet, a business, a Facebook group, or any sort of digital platform, you ability to succeed and stand out from others depends on your ability to tell a story effectively. Look at Twitter as an example. Everyone has the same amount of characters per tweet to convey a message and get people interested in what they are selling. However, we can see that some people are able to thrive on this platform while others have issues with the restrictive threshold of words. I always despise the posts with 10+ “tweets”, assuming that I will ever take the time to read through all of them to understand a message they’re putting forward. I believe the restrictive nature of Twitter is one of the best aspects of the platform given it forces people to tell their story in a a very brief manner. Those who thrive are always the ones who grab their target audience’s attention quickly and get to their point immediately.

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What kind of stories do you want to tell?

After rambling on about people who do not tell stories quickly enough, I realized that I am already over the word count, so I will keep this brief. The types of stories I will tell depend entirely on the audience at hand and the message I am trying to convey. One of the most crucial parts of thriving online is adaptability and I believe that this is a skill we are always working on. Hopefully with more practice I am able to pinpoint my skillsets with online storytelling and will learn to cut down on unnecessary words. For now, I am simply trying to learn more about myself and tell my stories thus far on experiences I’ve had over my short lifetime. This course has been fantastic for self-introspection and I believe I learned a lot about who I am as a storyteller throughout it.

COMM0014 Digital Communication – Do people know your story?

What about your childhood shaped you for this moment?

When I look back on being younger and wonder what about it crafted this identity that is my current self, I tend to wonder what moments stand out as being self-defining times. With one word it mind, adversity seems to resonate the most with me. Growing up being a short, hyper, awkward kid, I faced a lot of adversity and had to figure out coping mechanisms in order to get by. After a short period of time, I realized that humour was my best weapon against all the hurdles and challenges I was set to face while growing up. I wasn’t the funniest kid and didn’t have the best jokes, however I was always able to think on my feet and have good comebacks that got my peers laughing when faced with adversity. This helped shape my online identity going forward and I became comfortable with being the odd one out of a group and knowing that I was not like other kids.

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Nowadays, personal branding online has a lot to do with how you present yourself as well as how you react to others. While growing up, I would define myself as a very reactionary kid who acted out of emotion far more than from a rational state of mind. With the online presence growing daily, I find myself lucky to have not documented lots of my outbursts online from a young age and feel that the youth of today have the unfortunate reality of having to be posted online when making mistakes. This can be disastrous for self-branding and disadvantages those like myself who think in the moment and not long term. For this reason, it is more important than ever to be mindful of what you are saying in the moment as it could haunt you online for the rest of your life. This reality did not shape me as a child but certainly would have today. As a kid you say so much stuff you end up regretting and I feel it is truly unfair for this generation to have to deal with the realities of social media.

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Overall, there is not one single defining moment who made me who I am today, and instead it is a variety of events and sequences that created my online identity and personality. I am very happy to have had the experiences I did as young kid and feel that even a decade later, the youth of today face many more struggles than I was exposed to at their age. Adversity is a reality of all of us, however with the upkeep and unfortunate hurdles that social media poses for all of us, I believe that we need to be more mindful than ever of self-care and trying to forget about all the stuff going on around us. Disconnecting is something we should all try to do more often to disengage from the online world and focus on the real world.

COM0014 Digital Communication – Personal Branding

What sets me apart from my competitors?

Personal branding has become muddled with others trying to copy others style, personality traits and views. In this climate, differentiating yourself is more difficult than ever and that is why I believe I possess certain characteristics and qualities that set me apart from most. In general, I do not buy into designer clothing and often wear clothes with no logo. Too often we are seeing people wear the same logo as what is currently popular and this in turn makes them blend in instead of stand out. Another characteristics that sets me apart from my competitors is my authenticity. Whether it be expressing political views, stating my point of view on a project at work or having an argument with friends, my authenticity sets me apart and earns me respect ultimately. Further, I believe that one of my best qualities that enhances my personal branding and sets me apart from competitors is my ability to use humour online. On Twitter I often receive praise for my wittiness and ability to think on the spot using humour. This helps create your unique identity online and creates a sense of uniqueness when branding yourself on social media.

Stand Out at whatever cost

What have you done lately to stand out?

When reflecting on things I’ve done lately to stand out, what seems to resonate most is my confidence at work wearing a suit. Given I work in an executive office filled with senior managers, I tend to feel left out being a younger looking student. I decided to invest in a nice, reasonably priced navy suit and brown dress shoes to match. This earned me lots of compliments and made my confidence skyrocket. As many say, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want”. This was a bold move and quite a drastic shift in attire when compared with my usual sweaters and dress shirts, however it has warranted a better sense of personal branding and was well worth the money.

The Legend Himself

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

After contemplating this question for several minutes, I believe that what sets me apart from others and is valued by my colleagues is my ability to analyze effectively. My manager often runs presentations by me first as well as briefing notes, and I am able to quickly see errors whether it be typos, structure or anything that might be perceived negatively. Analytical skills and attention to detail are such valuable traits to possess in the workforce and for this reason I believe they would value this trait most about me.


COMM0014 Digital Communication – B2C Study Silk + Snow

Silk and Snow logo

After squandering through various online stores and in-person mattress retailers, I finally came across Silk + Snow, a Canadian brand who sells mattresses for a fair price. With the “Bed In a Box” trend becoming increasingly popular, there has been a surge in competition for those who compete to have the best quality and prices in the industry. Silk + Snow is a B2C company that engages on social media and relies heavily on online advertising to promote and sell their products. Using a wonderful website and a variety of social media platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram, they are effectively able to capture interested buyers and promote products to a vast market online.

Above is a screenshot from Silk + Snow Instagram page, where they use an adorable golden retriever to show how compact the Bed In A Box style mattresses are. With the younger generation being infatuated with social media, the marketability of a compact, quality product that can be mailed to your front door has large appeal. The King-Size version of these beds retail for slightly over 1000$, which compared to the in-store options is an absolute steal! This B2C company proves that versatility, impressive site design and appeal via social media are all key elements of success. Take a look for yourself to see the incredible graphic design and interface that Silk and Snow uses.

Being transparent about your reviews is essential in this day and age. While the Facebook site for Silk + Snow doesn’t have a perfect 5 star rating, they do have many such as the one linked above. By not buying reviews or deleting poor ones, you demonstrate as a company that honesty matters, which can go a long ways with. B2C company. Buying a mattress is a big investment, with many people splurging s much as 5000$ to ensure they have a good night’s sleep. This Canadian company proves that their honesty, ethics, quality of products and reliance on social media to effectively brand and sell their products sets them apart from their competitors. After just spending 1100$ myself on a Silk + Snow, I feel confident recommending them to others and see lots of value in this rising Canadian brand!

Silk + Snow Mattress

COMM 0014 – Digital Communication The Rise of MMA

Attending my first UFC Event

Upon attending my first UFC event, I would have been certain that Men aged 18-34 would have made up the bulk of MMA fans in terms of demographics. In December 2018, I was fortunate enough to attend UFC 231 and purchased front row tickets in order to get the ultimate experience. It didn’t take my girlfriend and I much time to realize who was predominately attending these events after scanning the arena. In terms of education level, this was difficult to gauge given how much alcohol was being consumed, with one individual going as far as lighting up a joint inside the arena, however if I were to guess I would say there was an apparent lack of education. An educated guess leads me to believe that single, caucasian men made up the vast majority of the near 20,000 people in attendance, although given the complexity and history of combat sports, there were surely other ethnic groups who also came to watch the show. Upon further research, I came across an interesting article by MMA ManiaI was surprised to see that the median age of those who watched MMA was 49-years-old. The article goes as far as mentioning how much they are missing out on the younger generation in terms profits and how companies involved are seeking to attract new, younger fans to the sport.

Psychographics in MMA

When I tell my family the absurd amounts of money that I spend on Pay Per Views and live events to watch people gruesomely beat each other up, I tend to get a look of utter shock and surprise. Being a lanky, quiet kid from the suburbs, I likely do not fit into the general category of those who watch MMA, however that is something I love about the sport. There is no set in stone type of person who watches combat sports. From a personality perspective, I think that most imagine combat sports fans to be loud, obnoxious men who are there to drink booze and get rowdy. To the contrary, during my first visit I was sitting beside a 25-year-old man who had tons of experience in martial arts and was a disciplined chemistry student pressuring his Master’s Degree. His love of the sport came from a technique perspective and his analysis during the fight was enjoyable to say the least. While this might not be your prototypical combat sports fan, I am sure there are many others out there with similar character traits. In terms of wealth and background, I imagine this number will vary tremendously based on age and education. Given my tickets had cost nearly 700$ each, I was surrounded by a much more wealthy group of individuals, many of whom were dressed in suits and were drinking 20$ beers from the Scotiabank Arena throughout he entirety of the night. Lots had travelled from afar to watch their family or friends compete in the cage, which demonstrates a financial freedom that only a certain level of wealth can attain you. In terms of being leaders or followers, there was an apparent style of individual who had confidence gleaming out of them, a trait which leads me to believe that a majority had leadership qualities. Lastly, in terms of hobbies and politics, I would say that many combat sports fans are conservatives who enjoy being social and playing sports. Many combatants come from a football, basketball, and wrestling background, where the need to be physically in shape is a must to survive. Regarding the political side of the sport, the observation of it being conservative dominant comes from my own findings on Twitter and Facebook. There is generally an anti-liberal mindset, which stems from misconceptions of what the platform means in terms of masculinity. Why are MMA fans right-wing forum? Linked above is a forum which agrees with my analysis of MMA fans being generally right-wing, and discusses why the sport attracts those with a conservation mindset versus those who tend to be more liberal. Any feedback is much appreciated whether you are a fan of the sport or not! I am curious to see why the younger generation is not interested in this growing phenomenon and would love more insight. Thank you for listening.

COM0014 – Blog #2: Key Communications Online

After reading over Lesson 2 for this week, it became clear to me that there are many key components of proper communication online and relying on one sole trait is not enough to get by. Here is an overview in chronological order of importance what I tend to find most crucial:

Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

Without a doubt this has to be my biggest pet peeve online when it comes to effectively conveying ones thoughts and/or opinions. During the lesson it is mentioned that an author loses credibility when overusing commas or making typos constantly and quite frankly I couldn’t agree more. Our initial judgement of an individual online can often come from grammar and spelling issues. Ultimately, someone could have an excellent point to make online, however without properly structuring their sentence this point will get lost in translation. On Facebook I tend to see a lot of run on sentences where people are trying to establish 3 different points in one absurdly long sentence. This is a mistake when trying to portray yourself as knowledgable online and for that reason is my most valued rule of proper communication online.

Don’t Bury the Lead

The Inverted Triangle Approach, often times used by Newspapers and Media Outlets, is evidently a crucial part of effective communication. For someone like myself with an awful attention span, I tend to loss interest quickly unless the article grabs me within the first few sentences. I am guilty of blabbering online myself and for this reason I will be more conscious of putting the main idea at the beginning of a blog post. With more practice I hope to perfect my craft and grab my audience’s attention right away.

Passive versus Active Voice

This was eye opening to me given how much I rely on using the passive voice. Attention to small detail really does pay off when communicating online and there is no better example than the one listed above. In order to grab the interest of your readers it is essential to pay attention to your structure. Going forward, I will make sure to get my point across right away and be assertive with my opinions.

What I did on my Vacation? Trippin in St. Thomas

It had been a stressful start to 2018 filled with hurdles and stress from every area imaginable. I had sat down Pure Kitchen with my brother-in-law and was expecting to enjoy a meal and then get on my way. It was prior to us even taking a bite of food before he surprised me with the trip of a lifetime. My girlfriend and I were set to take off to beautiful St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where we would have our own villa overlooking a beautiful coastal region of the island. This villa included 3 bedrooms, 4 TVs, 3 bathrooms, a jacuzzi in the master bedroom, and everything lavish you could ever expect from. Tropical vacation. All was going well until we decided to venture off into the town with no sunscreen and very little water. Being the foolish young couple, we were, we did not think about the repercussions of the heat nor could we ever expect what was about to happen. After what felt like days of walking aimlessly around a deserted part of town, a man in a taxicab stopped and asked if we needed a ride. All that we had on us was 30 USD at the time and we figured that would suffice to get us back to our hotel. We were in the cab for what felt like an eternity, taking detours every which way and we, both became increasingly concerned of what the cab drivers’ intentions were. Sweltering from the heat and delirious from the lack of water, we finally asked the cab driver where he was taking us. At this point we had gotten into familiar territory and were confident that we would make it back to our hotel without any issues. He pulled up 50+ feet away from our hotel and promptly demanded that we pay 60$ prior to getting out. Given this was not the price we had agreed on and that we were short on cash, we attempted to barter and get back to the original price. He stood firm on this and after minutes of deliberation, we decided that one of us would stay while the other would get the remaining 30USD. Although this situation could have ended much worse, it was a lesson learned for us as novice travellers and it is safe to say we always brought extra cash from here on out.