COM0014 Blog 7- Stories

person holding black and orange typewriter

Photo by on

I think this course has helped me figure out why I am so interested in social media. As mentioned previously, I love books. Which means I love stories. If great social media is great storytelling, then it makes absolute sense that I’m drawn to it. I hope that the content I create will be great because it will tell a story. Maybe the story is about me, or something that happened to me, or something that I heard, but can become something interesting and engaging for those online.

It sort of makes me think that a good skill for writing digital communications is your ability to tell an anecdote well. If you tell an anecdote at work that makes people laugh or encourages them to tell their own story, you might have a talent in online storytelling. If you’re able to make people smile or think with fewer than 140 characters, you definitely have a talent.

I think one way that content should be guided by story, is that there has to be changes over time. Each post is another line or another chapter in the online story you’re creating. And you have to be creative.

I want to tell creative stories. I want to tell original stories. I want to tell authentic stories. I want to engage with people, and learn about other people’s lives and stories.  I think social media is an amazing opportunity to learn and share with people around the world. If my stories revolve around my love of books, I hope it generates further love for books and discussions.

I think this course has helped me understand how to accomplish these goals. What about you guys? What kind of stories do you want to tell?

COM0014 Blog 6 – Know Your Story

woman wearing brown shirt carrying black leather bag on front of library books

Photo by Abby Chung on

When I was a child, there was almost never a night that my mum didn’t read to me before bed. She started me young, and it stuck. I remember her reading George and Martha stories, Noddy’s adventures, poetry by Edward Lear, a story about Poppleton the Pig, and so many more. Later, when I was a bit older, we moved on to The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Hobbit. By the time I could read by myself comfortably, I was hooked for life. I remember getting the Harry Potter series as the books were released, waiting for my sister to read it first, and then tearing through it joyfully. I can even admit my obsession with the Twilight series as a preteen. My love of books is never ending.

Which is why it makes so much sense for me to run a book blog. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. Not only did it shape me for a book blog, but it shaped my life. I have an English degree because of it. My mum inspired in me a great love for reading, as well as making reading and books a comfort to me, instead of a chore (although there were definitely books in university that felt like chores). I’m thankful for that, for having such a warm and loving childhood, full to the brim with magic and adventures. So running a book blog allows me to share the love for reading that my own mum shared with me.

Do you love to read? Can you think of something in your childhood that sent you on the path you’re on today? Let me know!

COM0014: Blog 5 My Personal Brand

books on bookshelves

Photo by Mikes Photos on

As my social media accounts revolve around me as a person, who reads books and shares thoughts, and not a product, my personal brand is very important. While I go by Molly Jane Reader, my real name is Molly Jane Read, so in essence, I am just being myself online. I think there are definitely certain qualities that set me apart from other online bookish personalities. I’m very genuine, and often funny. I love books wholeheartedly, but I don’t just read what’s trendy and new. I like to find used books that turn out to be gems, and read outside of my standard genres. I like to share these books and my reactions, in the hopes that others can have the same enjoyable experiences in what they are reading.

In my workplace, I think my colleagues would consider my best trait to be my friendliness and openness with guests and customers, my ability to connect with people and make them laugh and feel comfortable. I also tend to take a leadership role in different aspects of my job and life. I think this leadership can also be a great part of personal branding as I am confident in my writing and sharing my opinions.

I’m proud of my ability to communicate well with people, and to make them laugh. Part of this comes from my ability to listen and understand people. I think this ability to communicate in an honest and open fashion is a vital part of my personal brand. I think it makes me seem trusting and trustworthy.

What do you guys consider your best qualities? Would you consider trustworthiness and important quality in those you follow online? Or is there something else you look for? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

COM0014 Blog 4: Wick Witch Candle & Bath Co.

art blur bright burn

Photo by George Becker on

For this short study, I decided to look at a local business in my hometown. Wick Witch Candle & Bath Co. is a popular shop in Merrickville, and has been there for years. It is well-loved by locals and tourists alike, and I thought it would be interesting to look into their social media efforts.

Wick Witch was created and is run by two sisters, Merrickville locals, who began their business a decade ago. They are active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. They website also falsely leads to a Snapchat and a Weibo. Although they began their business in 2008, their Instagram only dates back to December 2013. This shows that they joined social media after they began their business, but they appear to have maintained their accounts pretty well. Facebook seems to be their main hub, they have over 4,000 likers and followers of their page, but their Instagram has 3,500 followers as a close second. On Facebook they post pretty frequently about sales, and seem to get back to customer questions and concerns quite quickly. I think this a great show of using social media to their advantage, and staying in touch with consumers that may come from a distance to reach their shop in Merrickville, which is about an hour from Ottawa. They actively post about different deals and sales as well, keeping their followers abreast of their promotions through these accounts. Overall I would say they have great quality of interactions on Facebook and Instagram.

I mostly think their approach is great. Their website needs to be updated to make it clear what platforms they are on, as it is unlikely they are active on Weibo, which is a platform almost exclusively used in China. As a small Canadian business, it would not make any sense for Wick Witch to have a Weibo account. I also do not think it is a problem that they do not have a Snapchat, as it appears to be dwindling in popularity since Instagram implemented the Stories feature. They could also be more active on Twitter. Their business accounted has not made a Tweet since early 2017. I think Twitter is still popular enough as to be another good place for posting about their promotions and news updates.

Have any of you ever visited Wick Witch in Merrickville? I think their products are fantastic and have lasting power! Hopefully with a little more effort and finesse, their social media accounts could improve and help them grow their business even more!

Let me know what you guys think!

COM0014 Blog 3: Target Audiences in the Online Book Community

photo of woman reading book

Photo by Victoria Herrera on

The reading community online sprawls across platforms. But the most populated platforms for booklovers to unite seem to be Instagram, “Bookstagram,” and YouTube, “BookTube.” These two havens feature many prominent thought leaders in the online book community, but are also filled with their followers, their audiences. I take part in these communities myself, and therefore have a pretty good idea of the people within these spaces. I have my own “Bookstagram,” entitled Molly Jane Reader, and hopefully information on these target audiences will help me to grow my own account.

The predominant gender in the online book community is female. While there are many males interested in reading and in the community, most of the active audience is female. The age range seems to be from mid-teens to mid-to-late twenties. As most users are relatively young, most are unmarried, but not necessarily single. The general youth is notable in that it changes the preferred book genre within the community.

A lot of the target audience appears to be white, and mostly English speakers. Though there are quite a few Europeans and South American users that I came across. A lot of the thought leaders in the community are American though, and this seems to be the average.

Most of the audience is pretty open and honest. Most appear to be middle class, and have some disposable income. Most are inclined to share their feelings and thoughts, especially regarding books.

One of the issues within the community, especially on YouTube, is the predominant race of influencers. So while it is the average that members are white, the community is self-aware and is trying to rectify the problem with such a singular experience being seen as the norm.

These are some of the general characteristics in the online book community, and this information on my target audience should help me to relate and understand my community.

COM0014 – Blog 2: Writing for the internet is easier than you think it is

woman holding macbook pro

Photo by on

Digital storytelling is great skill for anyone writing on the web, and involves being clear, concise, grammatically correct, and hopefully, interesting. This week we learned about storytelling and communication styles, and how this has changed over thousands of years. We’ve always told stories, but they have a much greater reach now than they once did, due in most part, to the creation of the internet.

Our lessons recommended conciseness as one of the pillars of great writing for the web. This was huge relief to me. My least favourite part of my university education, was the length of the essays I was expected to write. I’m a pretty straight-forward person. So having to make something I felt could be written in 8 pages, into an 18-page paper, was absolutely torturous.

The casual manner of communication over the web is also a great comfort to me. Seriousness is seriously boring. A casual or humorous tone improves almost every situation. There are, of course, moments where you must be serious, but I hope for everyone, that those moments are few. Infusing humour into writing, whether it be on your blog, or as a caption on your Instagram post, is more enjoyable for both reader and writer.

At the end of this week’s lesson I felt at ease about the prospect of writing on the web. The hard part is coming up with interesting ideas to write about. The writing part is easy. You’re allowed to be more of yourself in your writing on the web, instead of writing in a serious tone. What a relief it will be to write on the web, as myself.

COM0014 – Blog 1: Tadoussac, Quebec: the land of whales and well-being

My last vacation was over this past summer. I went somewhere I’ve been to many a time already; Tadoussac, Quebec. My love for Tadoussac knows no bounds. It might genuinely be my favourite place in the world, and I only get to spend a week or two there each summer.


I’ve been going to Tadoussac with my family, almost every year (except for when disaster strikes) since I was about ten years old. I’m twenty-three now, so it’s been over a decade, and it holds such a place in my heart that I’ll never stop going if I can help it.

Tadoussac is in northern Quebec where the St. Lawrence River meets the Saguenay, a solid eight-hour drive from home. The water is freezing, and salty. It’s not great for swimming, but whales love it up there. You see belugas every day, and minke whales too. Sometimes larger whales like humpbacks and even blue whales make their way to Tadoussac. This sounds corny, but whales are truly majestic. These incredible, gentle giants are so amazing to watch. We sit on our porch every day that we’re in Tadoussac, watching for the white backs of belugas or the dorsal fins of other whales. It requires patience, but it’s so peaceful.


Aside from being gorgeous, and featuring whales, Tadoussac is just a relaxing place to be. No one rushes or makes many plans. You just wake up and maybe decide you’re going on a hike today. Or lounging on the porch reading. The only stress is getting into arguments with family members over cards and board games.

I’d urge you all to go there, but technically I love it so much I don’t want to share. On the years I haven’t been able to go, I’ve been miserable, and have literally cried about it. Like a baby. I feel like I need to go, to survive the rest of the year. Yes, that’s dramatic but it feels true.


Highlights from this past summer include reading down on the rocks by the water (I finished five books in two weeks), running down sand dunes with my brothers, beach combing at low tide, swimming in the lake on hot days (even though my little brother got a leech stuck on his ankle) and forgetting about literally everything terrible.

Maybe it sounds mundane, but it felt perfect.

Have any of you ever heard of Tadoussac, or been there? Let me know!

From Pen Pals to Instagram DM’s: The Growth of Long Distance Success Rates?

I think one thing that is really amazing about social media is that it gives the ability to connect and reconnect. My mum found childhood friends through Facebook. My family members are better able to stay in contact with distant relatives. But could it be the pen pal replacement as well?

brown paper envelope on table

Photo by John-Mark Smith on

Before I had social media, I had these great friends in the sixth grade. In the seventh grade I started at a new school, in a different town than all those friends. I really let our friendships disappear. I was thirteen, and it’s not unusual to move on at that age. While I do have them on social media now, I think we would have been able to maintain our friendships better if we had had social media at the time. Potentially it wouldn’t have changed anything anyways, because at thirteen you aren’t really mature enough to think about the future of your friendships without the help of your parents.

But in university I saw that social media was a great resource in long distance friendship. At the time I was in Halifax at Dalhousie, and one of my high school friend’s was here, in Ottawa at Carleton. Though we hadn’t been the closest of friends in high school, social media helped rekindle our friendship. I was going through a rough time, and later transferred to Toronto, but I was able to reach out to Sara, my friend, over social media. Even though it started just casually messaging one another on Facebook, we actually managed to become even closer friends when we were hundreds of kilometres from one another. We continued to maintain a close friendship through another two years of university, living in different cities.

three people using smartphones

Photo by on

I don’t think social media quite has the charm of a handwritten letter, but it is a lot easier to maintain. I have tried to make my friends communicate with me via Canada Post, but they have no interest in snail mail, like I do. Now living back in the Ottawa area, I used social media to keep up with the friends I made in Halifax.

It might seem less personal, but simply keeping someone present on social media, will remind you to maintain your friendship. They post a photo of themselves, and you immediately message them to see how they are. So while it may seem impersonal, through a computer screen or phone, there may be a better return on investment than trying to correspond as pen pals. I believe long distance friendships are more successful thanks to social media. Though I doubt I could say the same for romantic relationships…

What do you guys think? Have you ever had a pen pal? Did you stay in touch?

Do you think social media has helped you maintain long distance friendships?

Facebook: Is the Pen Pal era over? Read more here!

Twitter: Has social media saved your friendship? Click here!

Character Cultivation: Or, how my parents affect my social media posts

So my mum follows me on all my social media accounts. Even my Instagram dedicated to the books I’m reading. She’s everywhere. So is my dad, and my sister, and various other family members. This is not technically a problem. But there is an inkling of censoring myself with each post I make. Is there anything that’s overly inappropriate or that I don’t want my parents to know? Not really. But in the back of my mind, I’m reminding myself not to swear when commenting on my friends’ posts because my mum might see and she might be disappointed in me.

photo of laptop near plant

Photo by Tobias Dziuba on

Obviously this depends on your relationship with your parents, and the other people you have on social media. But there is this idea of cultivating your online persona. We talked about doing this purposely, to ensure that nothing on your social media could be problematic in case of a future job opportunity, or embarrassing in some way. But I think we also do this naturally, or at least some of us do. I’m not exactly secretive, nor overly open on social media, but maybe that’s because I am metering myself subconsciously. I don’t post without thinking about it. I filter my photos. So does everyone else. I’m not pretending my life is perfect, but I pretty much only post about the positives. Why would I want to broadcast the negatives?

However, others I know are completely unfiltered. I have friends who will post highly hilarious, but dubiously appropriate content on their Instagram stories on nights out. Many people will post without much thought. I often see people on Facebook posting spam. Or maybe just posting whatever pops into their head. Or reposting memes that no one cares about.

So perhaps I’m more filtered than others. I haven’t always cultivated my social media, but as a visual person, I prefer to post aesthetically pleasing imagery, especially on Instagram. I’ve also always been a sort of private person. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or strange about cultivating your character online, and I also don’t mind that some people aren’t filtered at all. Really it has little to do with my parents’ presence in the end.

Maybe we’re all being ourselves online in our own way.

How about you guys? Are your social media characters cultivated?


Facebook: I’m friends with my parents on Facebook, are you?

Twitter: Should you let your parents follow you on social media?

Using Social Media as Your News Source: Is it valid?


sm and the news

Social Media and the News graphic, made by Molly Read with Canva.

If I told my Grandpa and Grandma that I got most of my news from Youtube, I think they might be a bit disappointed in me. But more and more people use the same social media methods to get most of their news.

It is important to note that bias is everywhere in media, very few organizations are truly objective, if any truly are. Social media is no different. Whether it be Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, your television or your newspaper, you should always make yourself aware of the biases, such as political bias, that may affect the way the news is reported. But nonetheless, I get my news from social media.

For example, almost every day, I watch The Philip Defranco Show on Youtube. He’s a Youtuber that posts daily summaries of big news stories. He’s also funny, making the news entertaining, when so often it can be depressing. This is actually very positive, as it encourages younger generations to pay attention to current events, even if they only do it for entertainment’s sake. Myself, and other easily distracted people, are more likely to keep up with the news in the form of video, with a more relaxed tone than a traditional television news outlet.

Another way in which I, and others, soak up the news through social media is on Instagram. It may seem very simplistic, when a caption may only contain 100 or so characters, but a photo with a quick blurb helps people stay up-to-date, without allotting a bunch of time to reading a massive article. For example, I personally follow National Geographic, which posts beautiful pictures with environmental updates, such as climate change initiatives or endangered species conservation plans, amongst other news items.


News outlets I follow on Instagram.

I also follow CBCNews, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and other established news outlets, through their Instagram feeds. So on one social media platform, you can see updates from several news outlets at once, while scrolling through your personal feed. While these news blurbs are brief, they allow for the basics, with the opportunity to expand your knowledge by clicking on an article to read more about what interests you most.

The internet helped to make the entire globe accessible. We are now trying to keep up with a whole planet of news, and not just locally. While you might once have had time to read your local newspaper, it is impossible to keep up with a newspaper, covering global issues, for most working people.


Using social media for news, doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the news. Instead it gives you the opportunity to streamline the information you need. Youtube and Instagram allow for people to keep up with updates, without becoming bogged down by an ever growing pile of newspapers. In this digital age, digital news allows for a global scope of information, as well as the ability to keep up with news important to you.  Social media is an absolutely valid way to observe the news in the world.

Do you use traditional media to keep up with the news, or are you a social media news observer, like myself? Let me know in the comments down below!


Twitter: Get The #News YOU Need!

Facebook: How to keep up with an entire globe’s worth of news!