COM0014 Blog#3 Target Audiences

Coach. Defined by the Oxford dictionary as “instruct or train somebody, especially in sports”. Pretty simple. Too simple. A coach should be so much more.

Just ask a kid.

“A coach should be able to help you and all your teammates be the best we can be. The coach should be nice to us.  There’s no need to ever yell at us. I always know when I did something wrong so yelling only makes me want to do less ’cause I’m afraid I will get embarrassed.” (name withheld)

MJ hi 5

Our local baseball association is looking for a  head coach. This coach will be in charge of 300+ minor baseball players who range in age from from 5 to 18.  Some will play competitive ball while others will play house league.

We will use traditional advertising as well as a social media campaign to help spread the word that we are hiring. The above quote demonstrates some of the skills we are looking for:  technical expertise, a focus on fun and learning, the ability to manage a program, and the skillsets required to work with children.

We envision someone either locally, provincially, or nationally. We envision he/she will have his/her baseball coaching credentials and that he/she may have played at a high level of baseball such as college baseball. Thus, we will target males between the ages of 22 and 35 who have coached minor baseball players, have played at a high level of competitive baseball, who is a nationally certified, and has a proven track record of working with minors.

We are targeting the alumni of colleges and universities in Eastern Canada who offer varsity baseball.  We are hitting all minor and senior baseball associations in Eastern Canada.  But HOW we hit these targets is key. After all, we don’t want to hit foul 😉

We will use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vimeo. Our job ad will be short and concise and written in a way that is compatible with mobile devices.  We will arrange interviews to be done using webinar or other high-tech gadgetry that our candidates will likely not be afraid to use.

Our location is an obstacle as we are in small town Newfoundland. However, we will promote the outdoorsy and active lifestyle that our location offers – kayaking, hiking, caving, etc.

I’m not sure how many of the desired qualities, skills, and experience will come with our new head coach, but I hope we bat better than 500!


COM0014 Blog Post #2 “Communication Styles”

What Type of Writer Are You?

The model citizen. The storyteller. The non-conformist. The entertainer. Which one am I? Which one are you? Take this quiz to find out What Type Are You?

The article is about “writing” style, not communication in general.  I believe that writing is the most important tool in developing good online content.

You probably already know your communication style.  You’re probably already detecting your classmates’ styles.

My Thoughts on Style

When I think of communication styles, I think of passive, assertive, passive-aggressive, and other psychological terms that I learned in many textbooks on the subject. But when I think of the part of communication that is writing, it’s a little more specific.

If I were to describe my own writing style I would say:

  • humourous
  • simplistic
  • concise
  • relevant

What I Learned

When I take the quiz from the above link (here it is again What Type Are You?), I discover I’m a storyteller.  You probably already knew that about me because you read my story about my birthday on Centre Island. (What I did on my vacation. Blog Post #1).

I was very happy to be tagged as a storyteller. I think that will help me in this course. But I want to be a model citizen, an entertainer, and non-conformist too. I like all those qualities and I hope I can embed some of them into my blogs.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any quiz, textbook, or assessment that can place me, or any of us, into one communication style. There is always overlap.  There is always change. Our moods change, our outlook changes, our priorities change.

Going Forward

One day I may write a deep felt story about loss. Another day I may be enraged by the public education system and write a non-conformist blog.  On all days, at the very least, I hope I am a model citizen.

Come along for the ride, the trail is always changing beneath us.

Colin Ski Tip

Photo by Kelly Taylor-Hulan



COM0014 What I did on my vacation

Ah, me and the fam on an island, riding bike, licking ice cream cones, enjoying the view of the Great Lake, crashing into a stroller, waiting for the cops to show up.

quadOn a trip to Toronto’s Centre Island this past July, my husband, my son, my daughter, and my good friend, and I decided to rent one of those 4 Seat Quadricycles. Good idea, right? Sure. My son, 14, decides he wants to pilot the 4 Seat Quadricycle.  My husband says yes, and we all take our seats.  Five of us in a 4 Seat Quadricycles. I know, I know, we just looking for trouble!


Whilst I wasn’t in love with the idea of my 14-year old piloting the 4 Seat Quadricycles with five bums in place, I was too busy licking my five-buck ice cream before it webbed my fingers together in the hot sun.

crash words“Turn, Son, turn!”  Bang! Right into a stroller. An empty stroller, but a stroller.  A four-wheeled stroller. Well, three-wheeled now as the fourth wheel wobbled itself away from the carnage (which consisted of a rattle and an unused diaper).

We all stop. Mom comes up to us with babe in arms and says “You broke my stroller! How am I to get off this island now???”  I apologized and said we’d try to fix it. But it was a plastic wheel and the thing-a-ma-jig that holds it together was also plastic and broken. It couldn’t be fixed.

“Well, give me a hundred bucks!” says the mom, to which I reply “But I don’t have a hundred bucks”.   There was simply nothing we could do to fix this for this mother and her baby.  I felt terrible. We all did. My husband dragged the stroller back to the ferry terminal for the lady.  When he left  her there she told him she was calling the police. Still nothing we could do.

So off we all went, this time with a new driver, on our 4 Seat Quadricycle with the five bums in place. We then got a case of nervous laughter from all the stress of the accident, the thoughts of “what if”, and the idea that we may be escorted off the island by police.

smiley face

When we return our quadricycle, the mom, the baby, and now the husband, are awaiting us. The folks in charge of the rental won’t give us our deposit as we are involved in an “incident”.  A couple of hours pass and then we see it, a police boat. It’s coming across the water. It’s coming for us. We can’t believe what we are seeing. police boat

The dad of the stroller family approaches the police officers first. We stand back knowing that calm is best. Eventually we get to tell our story.  We tell the truth. The police officer informs us that the stroller family can pursue this through civil law but as far as the Toronto Police Service is concerned, there is no criminal act.

We are FREE.  Free to go back to the mainland and try to salvage what is left of this day. This day is my birthday.


WTF – How do I stand out?

I’m desperate. I’m in a group of students writing blogs who have so much talent.  I’m recuperating from days in bed with strep throat and I long for a comment on any of my posts. But WTF – how do I stand out?

In the three main medium I use – Web, Twitter, and Facebook (WTF) – how do I stand out? There’s a gazillion of us out there honking and blowing, tweeting and posting for attention.  How do we get noticed? Even in a course that corralled us all together our topics are so varied. I’m not always interested in everyone’s topics, how can any of us be?  But I do get pulled in by headlines. Except for Yahoo’s tacky headlines – another blog altogether.

So I too fall back on the  back on the catchy headline.  I think it comes from my journalism background. Sure it’s a little cheesy, but hopefully it worked.

According to DigitalBuzzBlog, in a 24 hour span there are:

  • 2 million blog posts are written
  • 4.7 billion minutes are spent on Facebook
  • 864,000 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube
  • More iPhones are sold than babies born!

That last one re the iPhones vs births is too funny. I have two kids and I can tell you it’s easier, quicker, and cheaper to buy an iPhone than have a baby, so WTF?

Good luck to all my classmates in COM0011. Having read some of your posts, it’s helped me through this course.

Resist the Narcissist

I hiked the Grand Canyon this past winter. Awesome photos too! Oh, I wanted to plaster them all over Facebook. Hey look at me – so well-travelled, so active, so cheap (couldn’t afford the chopper ride into the Canyon). But I resist the narcissist.

Having done workshops at my kids’ about the dangers of social media, I’ve learned that it’s really not a good idea to let the world know you’re 3,000 miles away from home and your house is empty.

I’ve had great photos at Yankee Stadium, San Diego beaches, downtown Atlanta, in the honky tonks of Nashville, at hockey games in the Bell Centre, skiing in Banff, climbing Gros Morne Mountain,  and even riding a camel in a desert in the Middle East. But I resist. Dang! It’s hard though.  At this very moment, I am regretting not having a lot of photos on my laptop because I could go all narcissist right now.

What really baffles me is the people will go so far as to post the dates they’re away.

“Count down to Hawaii.”

“This villa is my home away from home for the next two weeks.”

“Waiting for my flight at JFK, should be home tomorrow!”.

Here are some of the basic guidelines to follow when going on vacation:

  • Avoid posting specific travel plans. Never post when, where, or how long you’ll be gone.
  • Wait until you are home to post pictures to a vacation album.
  • Use highest privacy control. Only let certain groups, like a family group, view your photos.
  • Be selective with the status updates. You can use an audience-selector dropdown menu on Facebook to choose certain groups to see your status updates.
  • Stay offline. You’re on vacation, after all. Relax and forget about the online world for a few days.

Source: Threats to Posting Online

And here I am skiing in Banff. No helicopter required.


Keeping Up with the e-Joneses

Oh, for Pete’s sake, do I really need to know every day that you have flowers blooming in your garden, that your kid scored 98 on the math exam, that you bought a vintage Stingray? Nope, I don’t. Because I don’t care.   Barker-Family-Newsletter-October-2012-Occasional-Support

I never thought I’d lament the extinction of the Brag Rag or the Boast Post that came once a year from a few overachieving friends. Every Christmas in my mailbox  a few beautifully decorated envelopes would include the “Family Newsletter”. These may showcase your friend’s family adventure to help the needy in some exotic locale.  Add in a few side notes on their kid’s gold medals for decathlon,  or the new 1,100 square foot media room with Brazilian cherry floors, Persian rugs, and a 10-foot widescreen TV, and it’s depressing.

But in the flurry that is December I never had time to get green with envy…too busy gazing out the window at the Jones’ marvellous Christmas lights.

Nowadays, we don’t need to wait for December to find out all about a few friends “accomplishments”, “adventures”, or “angels” (that’s their kids, btw). All we need to do is press on that lower case f on our phones. Instantly…e-brags, e-posts, comin’ at ya!

When I key in the words “Facebook linked to….” Google finishes my sentence (or reads my mind) and automatically adds “depression.”

The first article that comes up is “Why you feel terrible after checking Facebook” Why You Feel Terrible After Spending Too Much Time On Facebook.

Too much time on Facebook not only leads to feelings of alienation but also to feelings of envy. The New Yorker, published this article titled, “Heavy Facebook Use Makes Some People Jealous and Depressed”. Jealousy Linked to Facebook.

For me, I simply believe that Facebook is like chocolate, in moderation it can make you feel great, too much and you’re sick.

Please remember to like2my post by commenting on it.

The lights are on…but no one’s home

lights on

Hello? Hello? Anyone home? Says right here in Google that you have a website and even a Facebook page. The lights are on but no one’s home.  Drives me crazy!!!! I’m surfing to find a plumber because my faucet needs to be fixed NOW.  And I want to check out the website of a nearby yoga studio.

But when I go to the fix-that-flood-now-dot-com I find there’s no one to contact. Truth be told, I wasn’t going to fix it myself but googling how-to will lead me to someone who will fix it for me. There’s a few pics, a logo, and a mailing address. A MAILING ADDRESS.  Yes, I’m shouting.faucet

Oh, sure, let me run out to the post office, tomorrow, when it opens, buy a stamp, write the plumber a letter, find a mailbox. Make my way back home and splash through the water on my kitchen floor.  Then check the mail box every day for a response.

The fact is, no one is home on that website even though the lights are on .It was created to say they have a website. It does nothing except show me a picture of the plumber (not waiting by his mailbox) and a logo. Whippty Do!

So for relaxation and to relieve the stress, I’m going to take that yoga class in the nearby Yoga FBstudio. I see people going in there every day with their Lululemon leggings on and long, narrow bags strapped across their bodies. So it’s happening over there right now. I know it is. I look for them on Facebook because both yoga and Facebook are kind of in vogue so they must have a Facebook page.

Click. Click. Click. Yup. There’s the page. OMG – they only have 57 ‘likes’. That can’t be a lot in a town of 20K people, can it? I got 81 likes when I posted a picture of my runaway macaroon cookie disaster last December (I’m adding the picture here for a smile).cookies

Ah, I will just send a message to ask if they have an evening class and where can I find the full schedule. It’s 2 p.m. I will hear back in time to get ready and make my way to the class. All this direct messaging, tweeting, texting, whatever…it’s instant and it eliminates my need for a phone. Surely I’m not going to have to CALL someone and talk to them about the schedule, am I?

And then zzzzzzz. My phone buzzes:  “We have gentle yoga at 6 pm tonight. $12 drop-in fee. Full schedule attached.”  Ahhh, thank you yoga Acharya.  I am starting to relax now. I’m glad I don’t have to wear my socks at the yoga class – they’re wet from the leaky faucet disaster.


Real-Time Social Media – Good and Bad

Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, even texting, can give marketers, public relations managers, and leaders of organizations that ability to react quickly.  Effectively? Maybe. Maybe not.  Let’s explore some examples.

Red Cross Worker

During times of disaster, people are compelled to give. It’s difficult for us to send food, water, clothing to disaster zones. Money is the most portable method of helping us onlookers can provide.  “Mobile giving” reached new heights during the relief efforts in response to the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

Most donations in a disaster are raised within the first few days, according to The American Red Cross. When people are “in the moment” they are willing to donate. Social media gives us the tools to act quickly.

People are ready to give when disaster strikes and it’s vital that there’s a way for people to get involved quickly. Money is the fastest and easiest way for people to help.

Many people learned of the disaster via social media, followed it via social media, and donated via social media.  Anyone with a mobile phone and an account with a major wireless carrier could text “Haiti” to 90999 and make a a $10 donation. Records were broken.

“The Red Cross has raised $21+ million in $10 donations via mobile,” said Allyson Kapin, editor of Frogloop, a non-profit industry blog.

A social media success story.

Then there’s the other side of the story.

On Friday, July 11, a gunman entered a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. He shot and killed 12 people. Fifty-eight were injured in the shooting rampage.

The next morning, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted this:

NRA tweet

The Tweet was posted at 9:20 a.m. ET on Friday by an account for American Rifleman (@NRA_Rifleman), apparently, the official NRA journal. It was deleted by 12:30 p.m. ET Friday.

According to the Huffington Post, “…the tweet came from the social media management software HootSuite, which allows the pre-scheduling of tweets in 5-minute intervals.” Because this tweet was tweeted at 9:20 a.m., it is possible that it was scheduled hours in advance, before the shooting occurred.

Followers on Twitter, Facebook, do not know a pre-scheduled Tweet or post from a real-time Tweet. There is a presumption of real time. Twitter users exploded with outrage over the tweet.

An NRA spokesman told CNN, “A single individual, unaware of events in Colorado, tweeted a comment that is being completely taken out of context.” The @NRA_Rifleman account was later deleted. “All of the American Rifleman’s tweets were gone forever, and the same was true for the retweets the magazine inspired. The Twitter account had roughly 16,000 followers” according to AdWeek Magazine.

It would be more than a week before the NRA tweeted again.  Social media silence. Not a real-time solution.

COM0011 Blog #1 A Facebook Homerun

Erin baseball card

Erin Hulan, Wicked Hitter

A small girl, 10 years old, stands near third base with her well-worn baseball glove held up awaiting a toss from another player. The ball is thrown repeatedly from third base to second and second to third, by-passing the little girl.

Her arm tires of holding up her gloved hand. Eventually she drops her arms by her sides and drags her toe over the grass in a doodling format.  Someone yells “heads up!” She looks and snags the ball.  Parents are overheard saying “That girl should be paying attention”.  One parent looks to the mother of the girl and says “Andrew is always saying GIRLS!” 

This little girl is the only girl playing in a division of about 40 boys. Understandably, she’s losing interest. After the game her mother asks her “Erin, do you really want to play ball?”  The child shrugs her shoulders and says “I dunno.”

Mom has realized why her daughter isn’t interested. “If I tried to get some girls involved, would you still want to play?” Erin looks up, excitement in her eyes, “Oh, yes!”

I am Erin’s Mom.  And I am a volunteer with a great group of men who make up the Corner Brook Baseball Association. Girls have always been welcome to play baseball in this city that has produced some of the best ball players in Newfoundland, Becoming a Prospect. In fact, when Erin played T-ball, there were as many as 10 girls playing with her.  But for some reason, girls either leave or don’t ever play baseball. Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball

Erin was the only girl who attended the Blue Jays Academy when they came to Corner Brook in July 2014. There were 200 players. Erin and Alomar

Then my sister had a yard sale and this changed everything.  She made $3000 selling old furniture, tools, and other things she almost brought to the dump.  How? Her reply:  “Facebook.  It’s a magic wand.”

And the wheels started turning.

Social media is one marketing tool used to help a business (or sports club) reach its goals.  Combined with traditional formats of advertising, I believed that social media, in particular Facebook, could build it and they will come.

Starting with our traditional form of advertising, the school flyer, I used the above photo. I felt it was a powerful message with former Blue Jays hall of famer Roberto Alomar and a girl – Erin!  But before we printed the flyer, I had to create a Facebook page to go with the flyer and I used the above photo as our Facebook banner photo for consistency in our message.

This flyer was distributed to all elementary schools in the Corner Brook area Minor Baseball Flyer March 2015 and our Facebook page was born:  Corner Brook Minor Baseball Facebook Page.

We were creating something new, in fact, we were making history. There has never been a female baseball division or female baseball team in the history of Corner Brook Baseball.  Corner Brook Baseball Association President, Darrin

O’Quinn, said “I feel we are on the wave of something very exciting.”

The Western StarCBC Radio spotted us on Facebook and Twitter @CbbaCB and had Darrin, Erin, and I in for an interview about our goal of attracting a dozen girls to spring baseball with the hopes of 30 girls for our summer program. Our local newspaper was quick to follow.

Within five days of launching our Facebook page we had 100 likes.  Six weeks later, we are at 240 likes.  Analyzing our Facebook Insights has helped me tweak our page. I’m finding it is parents who use the page, not their kids (our players). Pages with the most likes are those that contain information about tryouts and dates/times of any events – tryouts, schedule, practices, etc. Our #TBT (throw back Thursday) pictures also get a lot of traffic.  I’ve found that motivational postings such as Saturday Sportsmanship Moments and Monday Moves are not getting a lot of traffic. Basically, it’s information that parents are looking forward.

Our goal – well, it’s a homerun – we have 34 girls registered in our spring program.  We will be sending at least two teams to our provincial baseball tournaments in August. Our magic wand that is Facebook, will help us spread the word and more importantly keep us in touch with the parents who pay for their kids to play ball.  Heads up opposing teams!

There is room for boys and girls in the game. Here’s my boy, Colin.

Colin pitching