COM0015 – Assignment 5 – Networking Event

I decided to attend a networking event at the university where I work because I thought it would be a great way to get to know some of the students that I will be working with. The event was called the Canon Law Meet and Greet. The purpose of the event was for all of the students to come together with professors and get to know each other a little bit. Usually this event would have taken place in person, on campus, but with Covid restrictions, the event was held through a Zoom conference call. This actually allowed for more people to participate. The faculty of Canon Law invites future canon lawyers from all over the world to be part of the faculty. They offer all kinds of graduate courses on canon law and safeguarding of minors and vulnerable people.

This event is related to my day job. It was exclusive to members of the faculty but I was able to attend as a guest. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know knew people and to find out what draws people to this university and to career choice. Though most canon law students tend to be priests, I learned that not all of them are. I met many other people from all kinds of backgrounds that are fascinated by these studies. I found that very interested. I always find it interesting to learn about why people are interested in certain this. At the beginning of the event, the Dean of the faculty said a few words about how the aim of the faculty and the importance of Canon Law. It’s fascinating because this faculty has a relationship with the Vatican in Rome. Students final thesis are sent to Rome and students from the school travel there annually for a visit.

During the event we had the opportunity to break off into smaller chat rooms. There I was able to find out more about a few people. I met one priest from the UK who told us about the Covid situation over there. I also met another one from Australia. There was another from Barbados! That was the best part of the event for me. I got to meet and learn about people from all over the world.

If I had another opportunity to participate in an event like this, with people from anywhere in the world, and hear their stories, I absolutely would. The also got to know me a little bit and learn about my role within the university. The reason I decided to choose it in the first place was because it was something familiar to me, because I work there, and because I didn’t have any pressure to participate that much. I got to choose to participate and share. I learned that it’s not as hard as I thought it would be and I’ve gained some confidence. I’ve been wanted to expand my network specifically for my writing business. Now that I’m a little more comfortable talking to strangers, I feel like I will be more confident in seeking out relevant writing networking opportunities and participating without any trouble. I’m excited to give it a try!

Laura Bradley (40803034)

COM0015: Blog Post #4 – Out of the box

One of the biggest things I got out of this course that I had no idea existed, is being aware of just how big the need for writers is. Writing is something I have always wanted to do but have never known how to do it. I didn’t know whether I wanted to write novels or articles and even if I figured that out, I did not know how to go about finding work. Throughout the course I learned that there is a big demand for blog post writers! I really enjoyed writing blog posts in my first course “Introduction to Social Media” but I didn’t know it was something I could actually sell. That first course inspired me to start writing for myself. I started my own blog that I used to discuss thoughts and ideas I have about life.

This course prompted me to look into it even more. I started looking for networking events and even groups of writers. I wanted to know more about what they did and how they did it. That’s when I learned that there is a bug demand for writers. Almost every business has a website and every website requires someone to write content for it whether that be blog posts or other form of written content.

Many of the best practices I’ve learned in this course can be applied to building a blog writing business. Especially networking. Networking is very important in order to find clients in this business and for getting my name out there. I’ve already learned a lot from some of the groups I have joined. I’ve learned more about the different types of content writing and I’ve even tried some of them out. While taking the course I have actually written and sold a few custom blog posts.

Overall, I’m very happy to have made this discovery through this course. I have found something I enjoy doing and have fulfilled that side of me that always wanted to have a small business on the side to keep me busy and that allows me to create. I plan on using the techniques I’ve learned in this course to keep building this business and opening myself up to even more possibilities in the future.

Laura Bradley

COM0015 – Blog Post 3 – Professional Networking now and in the future

One of my personal goals for 2020 is to shift my energy focus away from things that do not fulfill me towards things that do. I work a 9-5 job at a university and I’m usually so drained by the end of the day that I get home and “reward” myself by being lazy. That is in no way a reward. I have come to realize that actually rewarding myself would look a lot more doing something for me rather than doing nothing at all.

One of the things I have always wanted to do is be a professional writer. I was never sure what that looked like. I didn’t know if I’d be happy writing novels or articles. I have come to realize that the answer is probably both. Instead of coming home after work and crashing, I have been learning about how to find clients to write for online and I’ve even sold a few blog posts already. Through giving this a try, I’ve learned that this is what I’d like to do. The dream has become building up this freelance business on the side and eventually be able to use it to sustain myself so I can leave my 9-5 job.

This is a big goal and it requires a lot of networking, building relationships and connections with people, and of course, networking. There are steps I regularly take to build my network. A fairly simple one is to make sure my LinkedIn account is updated regularly. Every time I write a post for my own personal blog, I make sure it shows on my LinkedIn account. I also make sure all links and information is accurate and up to date.

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For my personal blog, I write about organ donation. A great way that I’ve found to network for this is not only tag known organ donation related organizations online in my blog posts, but also volunteer for one of the organizations. Through volunteering I have been able to present to different groups and have met many people along the way which has helped me create even more connections. Volunteering also helps inspire my writing.

Another step I take is to actively seek out new potential clients. This is something I have just started to do and am committed at least an hour a week to for the next 6 months. After that I may increase the amount of time I spend or, depending on how many clients I’ve gained, decrease the amount of time I spend seeking out new connections.

I find the best things to do to help increase your network is to make sure all of your online profiles are consistent and up to date, and to get involved in things. The more you are out there meeting people, the more potential clients you will be able to meet.

Laura Bradley

COM0015 – Blog Post 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

What makes an organization stand out online? What tools and techniques do they use in order to create and maintain their social media presence? One of the most important ways for an organization to reach their audience is to be consistently present. Organizations that talk to their audience regularly will have a better chance or having an impact on that audience. The more consistent they are with posting and engaging through social media, the more their audience will be aware of who they are and remember them.

I’ve chosen three organizations that have a social media presence to observe and compare. Two of them clearly have a strong social media strategy while the third could benefit from putting in more effort and building a stronger plan.  I chose the organizations I will be discussing simply because I have an interest in each of the organizations or because they have somehow been a part of my life.

The first organization is Canadian Blood Services. They are present on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  They post daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and every few days on LinkedIn. They’re YouTube account is used primary for their video advertisements. They are responsive when tagged in posts and respond to their messages. They treat their social media platforms as a way of reaching their community and increasing awareness around the importance of blood, organ, and tissue donation. They feature members of their community every day and promote donations. For example, they post pictures of and congratulate new donors and donors who have reached 100 donations. Once you follow them, it’s hard to forget their name. They are present on your feed daily.

A completely different type of organization that I enjoy following is local Ottawa plant store called Plant and Curio. They are present on Facebook and Instagram. They are a small business but are always present on their social media accounts. They have a new post every day and have daily posts to their stories. They use these posts to promote daily promotions, new plant arrivals, limited stock announcements, plant care instructions, as well as keeping their audience up to date on their current Covid measures. Not only do they have a strong social media strategy that helps bring in business, but their accounts are visually appealing with many beautiful pictures of their products.

The third organization I chose to observe is Saint Paul University. Saint Paul University is located in Ottawa and specializes in the human sciences. It is a very small University with only just over 2000 students. Since I was a kid, I heard this University specialized in religion. That is still true today. They offer theology and canon law programs; however, you almost never see these programs advertised on their social media accounts. In fact, you almost don’t see any programs advertised through their accounts. They have accounts on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The last time they posted anything was over two weeks ago. They don’t seem to have a strategy and they are not consistently present. The University did see growth in student numbers this year which they were excited about and posted on their twitter account. Because it is a specialized University, they draw students from all over the world. I believe if they used their social media as more of a recruitment tool, that they could grow their numbers even more. Especially for some of their programs that have lower enrolment numbers.  That combined with the type of things they already post, like about events and life on campus, they would have a well-rounded social media strategy that would be interesting for current students as well as prospective students. Posting more consistently and promoting the programs they offer as well as the unique expertise of the professors that lead those programs would be a great place to start.

COM0015 – Blog Post 1 – Tools and Sources

It’s September 2020. The world has changed so much in the last few months. One day we were all going about our regular day-to-day activities, the next, we were all shut in, hiding from an invisible villain. One thing that we now all had in common was our newfound reliance on the news. What was going to happen next? When would we get help? Who could even help us if every one of us was at risk? And most frightening of all, who had the virus claimed today? I suddenly found myself on twitter daily. I needed to know. I needed to hear it from the people on the streets and in other countries. Italians were sending out ominous videos imploring us in North America to stay home. They said we had no idea what was coming. They were losing the battle.

I had never really paid attention to twitter before this. I had on and off but it certainly wasn’t my main source of information. I usually like Instagram or Facebook. Instagram for seeing pretty things from around the world and Facebook to stay connected with family and friends. I don’t often pay attention to the news, but when the call to stay home was sent out, I turned to Twitter right away. Since then, Twitter has been an important source of information to me. It’s not only a great resource for accessing the latest world news but also transplant news.

About a year ago I started writing about how I see the world as a heart transplant recipient. To find inspiration, I check out the latest goings on in the transplant world. Another way I get information is straight to my inbox through google alerts. These two sources help me find information far better than the two I used to use. I still find Instagram and Facebook fun and helpful for building my community, but not as helpful for developing my heart transplant blog posts.

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Once I’ve found the information and have written my blog post, I use WordPress and Facebook to listen and monitor. I currently use WordPress for my blog. It has a great dashboard with all kinds of stats and information for keeping track of the blog. To ensure that my close family and friends have access to my posts, I post the links on my personal Facebook page. Facebook isn’t as helpful. You can see comments, likes, and shares but only on the original post. If someone shares it and they have a private profile, I will not be able to see the comments. It may not be the best way to listen going forward but to start, I find it really helpful. I am considering starting a Facebook page that would help me be more aware of the reach of each post. For now, I can see all of the views on my WordPress account when someone clicks a link on Facebook. At this point, I find that’s good enough. I may want to expand my tools as my blog grows in the future.

Ultimately, what I write comes from my history. Do you ever find you can’t find what you are looking for when you search for something? What I’m looking to find hasn’t always been written yet. That’s why I write. Some of the information I receive from my tools help spark memories but it’s my story that I want to write. I only hope someone else is out there listening.

Laura Bradley

COM0014-Blog#7-Personal Reflection

I learned a lot throughout this course. Initially, I based everything I knew off of what I was seeing online. It looks sometimes like everyone is trying to emulate each other and hide who they really are with filters and editing. I thought I had to use similar tools and make my content look similar to theirs in order to draw people in. In going through the course, I learned the opposite. I learned that telling my personal story will set me apart from the rest and draw people in. I actually wrote a blog post while taking the course that was the most successful post I’ve written, and I believe it’s because I opened up and showed how I really feel about the subject I wrote about.

I really like that that I’ve learned how important storytelling is. My entire blog is based around telling my story as well as stories about how I see the world. The web address is even my name: I initially started the blog just for fun and to have a place to write. Now I know that it could actually become something that matters to people. I also have more confidence in how I write. I’m planning to continue with my writing and I’m hoping that, through telling my story, I will be able to help others along the way who have lived similar things.

Laura Bradley (40803034)

COM0014-Blog#6: Do People Know Your Story?

89EB6703-B420-4BB1-9D78-71EAC56F314DSoon after having a heart transplant I started to hear all kinds of myths linked specifically to heart transplants. Some of the myths are linked to life expectancy, some are linked to overall health. The myth that struck and bothered me the most as a 13-year-old whose life had just been completely flipped upside down, was the myth about identity.

A major challenge I faced after transplant was no longer knowing who was. My heart died. I didn’t understand that I didn’t die with it. I thought what made me, me was gone. I didn’t know how to be anymore. I didn’t know who I was, and I certainly didn’t know how to manage it all. The things I was used to, that I held onto, that I relied on for comfort, all changed at once. Part of this was just because I was entering my teenage years. Some of it was normal but I’m still not clear on which parts. In the middle of it all, I was hearing stories about how heart transplant recipients adopted some of the personality traits of their donors. So, I had my heart taken from me and I was being told I wasn’t me anymore. If someone had asked me who I was then, I may have run away.

It’s been 18 years and for most of those years I never felt like I was doing enough. I only now realize that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I was healing and figuring out who I was. Those myths don’t bother me anymore because I now know that this life is a constant journey towards learning who I am.

Laura Bradley (40803034)

COM0014-Blog#5: Personal Brand

In August I started a blog which I wanted to use as a space to write about my life as a Heart Transplant Recipient. Since then I have written 8 posts on varying topics. Sometimes I would comment on things people said to me, sometimes about things I would say to myself. The purpose is to share what I go through so that I no longer keep going through it alone.

When I was young, I was very shy. I even wrote a post about it. I eventually got tired of being shy and decided a blog would be a great way of helping myself break free of my shyness. If ever I start to doubt myself I remember this quote by Anais Nin and I’m reminded of why I’m doing it: “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.

What sets me apart is not only what I’ve been through as a kid who needed and received a new heart, but also my willingness to share deep personal experiences with my friends, family, and whoever else is reading. Today in fact, I posted my most personal post yet : It’s about my experience going through a day of medical tests. I talk about being afraid and feeling immature for being afraid. In one day, it has become my most popular post yet. I chose to tell the truth through personal story and that’s what sets me apart. I didn’t hide anything or sensor anything or try to model myself after what someone else is doing online. I’m so proud of myself for taking this leap, starting to write for others, and learning about myself and my personal brand in the process.

Laura Bradley (40803034)

COM0014-Blog#4: B2C Case Study

Knix is a company that sells intimates to women. They are mostly based online with only two physical stores across Canada. According to their website, the company began with crowdfunding for leak resistant underwear in 2013. Since then, it has grown into a company that makes a line of intimate clothing for women with the aim of helping women feel more comfortable and confident.

Since they are mainly online, they use social media influencers to help promote their products. I happen to follow two influencers on Instagram that promote Knix: @thebirdspapaya and @amyin613. Both of these women are from Ontario and though they promote the products differently, they both focus on feeling comfortable and body positivity. This concept has become big on social media and Knix has been listening and is using it to achieve their success. More and more women have benefitted from positive messages and are learning to love their bodies exactly as they are and Knix builds clothing to support this.  Knix also employs these influencers as models for their ad campaigns. @thebirdspapaya can be spotted on the website, on their social media accounts, and even on buses.

The use of real people, like the two influencers I mentioned, who are varying shapes and sizes in advertising is becoming more and more popular in the advertising world, especially when marketing to women. It seems to be resonating very well with customers. Since 2013, they have gone from selling uniquely online to beginning to build physical stores. According to the article “Can Knix win the 12$ billion underwear wars?”, and article by, Knix continues to grow and plans on “leaning into customer photo shoots, both as a marketing tool, and a source of customer feedback.” They foresee building even more stores if this success continues. Based on the company’s growth in the last 7 years, their model is working, and they will continue to grow.

Laura Bradley (40803034)

COM0014-Blog#2-Writing a Quality Post

One of my main goals for 2020 is to write consistently for my personal blog. I have learned this week in reading module two of the COM0014 Algonquin College course that there are a few main things to consider when writing a quality blog post; storytelling, engaging your audience, and communication styles. Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 9.34.22 PM

In my experience storytelling is very important. Telling a personal story or stories of how I experience the world is what my readers relate to and often what brings them to comment and tell me a little about their personal stories. To me, telling a personal story is a great way to build a relationship with potential readers.

One of the topics that I find very interesting when discussing communication styles is “begin with the end in mind”. When I start writing, I almost never know where it is going to go. In fact, I start writing when I finally decide to stop worrying about where I want the blog post to go. Once I start writing and figure out what my post is about, then I decide how to engage with my audience. Often, I ask a question and ask them to leave a comment. I will definitely implement some of the advice in the course to try to increase engagement and readership.

For new bloggers I recommend starting off by getting what is in your head onto the page. Then, reread your work considering how you are telling the story, if you are properly using communication tools and ensure that you are asking your audience for feedback.

Laura Bradley (040803034)