COM0015 – PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post #4 – Out of the Box

Q1. We have focused primarily on best practices in a very new and evolving field, what unexpected applications have you found in the field of online marketing and social media?

A1. The Social Media field is indeed evolving as witnessed by the number of tools emerging for web analytics and web hosting blogs, photos and video.

An unexpected application I came across while researching new tools for conducting on line surveys called Dotmocracy (read about it here , here, and the blogs about the introduction of Idea Ratings Sheets here and here ).

Having performed numerous work group sessions to identify problems and opportunities for improvement and selecting optimum solutions using multi-voting techniques, Dotmocracy was an interesting new approach to the methodology.

And Dotmocracy fits perfectly into social media with various tools and techniques available to assist with the process and involve participants and allow the dialogue to continue after the in-person session on-line.

Survey Monkey ( is another interesting application where an online survey can be designed and analysed with straightforward ease. The survey is taken online and the results can be shared online.

Check out these online tools for yourself and leave a comment about how you could use these applications.

COM0014-PMu Lesson #2 Fact versus Opinion in New Media

From what I have seen so far in studying Social Media, there are 3 sides to the digital communications triangle: facts, opinion and the truth. (Not to be confused by the inverted pyramid of storytelling).

Currently, I believe New Media is opinion driven for the most part, but factual and truthful content is emerging as  Social Media is better understood and implemented. Here’s why.

Facts are facts – right? Date, time, location, quantity, direction and price…but facts do not tell the story, just like a jumble of dates, places and names do not make history.

Opinions do not need facts – in fact, they might just obscure the opinion in the first place, and as mostly everyone has a belly button – they also have an opinion, and currently that is over 7 billion opinions!

And then there is the truth – like the 3 sides to every story, there is my side, your side – and the truth!

So, Fact versus Opinion in New Media has a tough battle, and an even tougher one if it decides to inject truth using Social Media.

Since New Media is – well new, I believe most corporations fall afoul of a viral onslaught generated by a small proportion of social media users through a lack of knowledge about and with New Media in a Social context. (For example, in the Motrin crisis case study, I believe the ad campaign fell afoul of 1,000 Tweets out of the entire Twittersphere, and through a lack of knowledge and experience with Social Media delivered a knee jerk reaction apology and did not utilize the tools and listening techniques to leverage publicity given to them, their product and ‘offending’ ad).

Social Media is for socializing – and just like real world socializing, people become familiar and comfortable with each other, and eventually groups and bonds are formed where like in other social normalization activities, language takes on a form of its own, with the use of slang, acronyms, double meaning – and even new meaning for old words, and even new words.

Learning about this language for your target groups is crucial to focusing communication strategies for that audience – such as ad campaigns – and is more important than ever, because Social Media tools such as Twitter and Facebook have given the audience a means to air their opinion – which everyone has, which might be supported by facts, and may even have an element of truth associated with it. But for the most part, you get lots of opinion, with some facts – maybe, and a modicum of truth if you are really lucky!

Reacting to a mostly opinionated social backdrop channeled through New Media without suitable analysis of facts and truth as part of a focused response is almost like being bullied out of your position regardless of the facts and possibly the truth, and it would be a shame if opinion alone ruled the roost without supporting facts – and occasional truths!

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Alternative view?

Originally posted 29Sep15 on Algonquin College Online Learning Blackboard Discussion Board.

COM0014-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post 7 – Personal Reflection

Q1. Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content?

A1. Essentially all content is a form of storytelling, and for social media or digital content this is the modern equivalent of telling a story – and in today’s case, that story is you – your hobbies, family, friends, business and professional interests. Source

Storytelling has been around since people have been around – from cave paintings and verbal histories handed down through generations, the invention of the printing  press and volumes of literature and novels produced, to today’s digital age which completely bypasses the publishing (including the so called ‘vanity press’ for self-publishing), newspaper and magazine editorial boards to the ultimate vanity outlet – social media, which has you as the editorial board for the story content being published!

Q2. How will your content be guided by story?

A2. The quicker you realize that you are the story and the editor and understand the ramifications of this the better – so it can be utilized for social media or digital content writing, creating and uploading video and photo postings to improve the story you are telling, and in doing so, define your audience segments (e.g. personal-such as family and friends, interests-such as hobbies or causes, and professional-such as products, services and informed opinion).

By considering how  I want the story to engage with audience at these appropriate levels – personal level, interest level and professional level – and not mix them up or get them out of context will provide the appropriate story line guidance required.

This will provide clear lines of communication for the story and the target audience.

Maintaining this ‘line of sight’ between me and the audience (and having listened to their conversations and building trust in order to participate and provide my input) the digital content and intended story will provide the guidance needed to engage in the intended way.

Q3. What kind of stories do you want to tell?

A3. Since I intend to provide methodology and framework as a guide to implementing social media for clients I want to tell instructional and informative stories. I refer to this as instructional communication.

I would like to develop stories that communicate information and instruction to clients by providing templates and white papers, tools and techniques as a process, and by doing so, generate opportunities to offer training and consulting services to clients.

I am mindful of not wanting the story line to be perceived as preachy, moralising or condescending to the audience I actually want to inform and instruct, and provide a service offering that is seen as providing – and adding – value.

COM0015-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

COM0015-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post #3 Professional Networking Now and in the Future

It seems inevitable that in-person and virtual on-line professional networking will converge into a combination where in-person will require some form of on-line presence and the on-line presence will lead to in-person meeting.

Therefore it makes perfect sense to develop a current and future strategy to merge in-person and on-line networks and identify the activities, define the commitments and plan the timeline schedule  to develop the content materials for on-line and continue to attend professional network meetings.

Q1. What is your present strategy for developing your professional network online and in-person?

A1. Currently my in-person strategy involves attending professional association meetings to attend presentations from practitioners in areas of IT similar to and different from my practice area. This broadens my awareness and knowledge of those areas, and provides access to people working in those areas for follow up questions and get a sense of where trends are forming or changing towards something else. I also present at professional association meetings, and volunteer on the executive committee and arrange collaboration meetings with other associations.

There is also a LinkedIn account which I do not actively maintain despite having joined professional association groups related to the IT industry, Algonquin College Social Media and other Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as shown in the picture, and a WordPress account created as part of the Social Media program which is currently being used for course related blog, discussion and comment submissions – and could be associated with the LinkedIn account and content.

Based on this analysis, the response to the question is my present strategy can be described as an active in-person professional network, and a passive on-line  professional network presence.

Q2. What activities and commitments are you making in the next 6-12 months to continue the development of your networks?

A2. The first step in developing my network is to bring together the in-person involvement with the on-line presence. The following steps and timeline should achieve this integration over the next 6-12 months.

The on-line presence will consist of publishing in the WordPress account 4 topic specific Blog items dealing with customer service and analysis of feedback over the next 12 months addressing the following:

Blog Topic Topic Description Timeline
FOCUS Finding Out Customers Uses and Satisfiers. A sequence of process steps and template tools to define and articulate customer usage and satisfaction points for a product or service. Mar 2016
SCOPE Satisfying Customers-Opportunities, Performance, Experience. An action plan to achieve what was discovered from using the FOCUS process, and identify tangible metrics and measures for the product or service. Jun 2016
ANODA Analysis of Data of attribute/variable for quantitative, qualitative and verbatim data based on basic, descriptive and analytical statistical tools and techniques to report data and identify its underlying trends.

ANODA can also be used as part of Web Analytics data monitors and measurements.

Sep 2016
PAL Personal Action List. A template form to define goals and objectives and the planned activities to achieve as part of the FOCUS, SCOPE and ANODA steps. Dec 2016

3 on‐topic blog postings will be made each month using WordPress addressing the quarterly topic content, followed by actively listening to and engaging with customers, and establish partnerships and relationships with interested and like-minded individuals and their blog sites in accordance with listening to and engaging with the audience.

As the topics are published and blogs submitted, links to the LinkedIn account and Groups will be made, with reference to upcoming in-person meeting events with the professional associations to provide an opportunity for on-line convergence to integrate with in-person meeting.

COM0014-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post 6 – Do People Know Your Story?

COM0014-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post 6 – Do People Know Your Story?

I choose the question “What is your industry’s greatest flaw?”.

Information Technology Service Management’s (ITSM) greatest flaw is not recognizing the interconnected nature of the multiple disciplines involved in the endeavour.

ITSM tends to treat each discipline as a silo, and segments and parcels assignments in such a way that they can work against each other, reducing the overall combined effectiveness of a multi-disciplined team working together.

Typical ITSM projects require a variety of disciplines including  contract management to understand the client requirements, subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide business and technical solutions, business analysts to map the client’s work flow, test and quality specialists to assure functionality and compliance to requirements-and trace those requirements back to the contract for contractual compliance, organizational change management for business transformation and change management for version control of artifacts such as documents and deliverables, communications management for awareness and information sharing (telling the story of the project) and project  management to monitor, control and report on the various disciplines’ progress, risks and issues to management, team members, stakeholders and suppliers, and provide scheduling dates for communication purposes.

Sometimes software development may be an additional discipline if the initiative involves either designing a custom software solution or implementing a commercial software application package to meet the requirements.

I view ITSM as an integrated approach by managing the multiple disciplines as a cohesive team and transitioning through the project lifecycle stages to project completion.

My approach to ITSM uses specific steps at each stage of the project lifecycle based on my experience planning, delivering and reviewing large scale complex ITSM projects, and performing project, quality and business analysis roles to work interactively with the multi-disciplinary team members, suppliers, stakeholders and senior management.

I plan to provide insight, awareness,  examples and analysis through blogs, comments, white papers and presentations as the mechanism to inform readers of the approach to ITSM and engage with the desired audience where I can offer ITSM  professional services.

Based on my social media course I will use WordPress as my social media home base with LinkedIn as an outpost, and as I develop trust and recognition examine how Twitter could extend my outpost reach and interact more rapidly and in ‘real time’ with my prospective audience using the immediacy of the 140-character message versus the detail of the home base material.

Do you find this approach informative, interesting and/or engaging? Do you have feedback or an alternative point of view or opinion? Please consider sharing  your alternative view, opinion or experience with me.

COM0015-Pmu Assignment #1 Graded Discussion #1 – Highlights of Trend Reports

I believe the most relevant trend that I have discovered is the never ending and growing list of trend categories and topics that are available: celebrity, sport, economic, travel, industry, health, exercise, fashion, literary, professional… and the number of commentators and pundits for each trend category and topic.

As the trend categories and topics grow, new tools and techniques such as bookmarking, readers, dashboards and search engines become available to navigate through the subjects and the information, opinions and data.

A useful approach is to use the tracking spreadsheet mentioned in COM0013 for taking notes and listing sources and trends.

Trends in the IT outsourced and managed services are reported by the likes of Gartner (see their Magic Quadrant report for ITSM at and Forrester Research ( ) and are seen as leaders in the industry.

My commentary on an interesting aspect of trend reports is the fleeting nature of these trends… In days gone by when email was the prominent communication medium and a heated debate got going it was called a flame war… Fast forward to today where email is seen as outdated and social media is now ‘in’ you get viral moments… Video, Photo or Twitter statements. But they too seem to have a short life… Until the next one!

COM0014-PMu Assignment #1 Graded Discussion #2 Personal Branding

To prepare for this discussion topic research took me into familiar and new territory.

Familiar territory was the brand called you inspired by Tom Peters and the lessons and books reviewed for COM0011. New territory is the vast amount of tips and advice available to perform personal branding or person building.

Q1. Has the concept of Personal Branding lost its way?

A1.No. The concept of Personal  Branding has not lost its way but the implementation of how to establish personal branding has.

Looking at 100 Personal Branding Techniques at it is clear that following specific steps to implement and plan using a process will ensure that your  authenticity and true passion are instilled and transferred from you to your on-line persona and will be sensed by your audience.

The following steps satisfy the Honeycomb Framework of Social Media defined by Kietzmann, Hermkerns, McCarthy and Silvestre in 2011 and described at as Identity, Conversations, Sharing,  Presence, Relationships, Reputation and Groups. The key steps are:

Start Listening-listen to others such as thought leaders, podcasts, audience sentiment and comment frequently – and thoughtfully – about what you are hearing and give your point of view.
Establish Home Base-this is your “home” where your on-line persona (Personal Brand) lives and interacts from. Make it comfortable and easy for visitors to participate with you and engage in conversations.
Passports-identify, create and use accounts on other sites such as Instagram for photos, YouTube for videos and LinkedIn for professional connections.
Outposts-cultivate your presence on outposts such as forums and other social media sites such as Facebook where your audience is and connect your home base to your outposts to increase your presence and influence -and your persona.
Content-develop a schedule for creating and posting content. Define your time commitment to generate content such as daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly based on your time allocation. Make your content useful and usable to others to drive traffic and influence Likes and increase Links to your home base and outposts.
Conversation-comment on other posts and contribute to their conversation with authenticate, articulate responses and questions. Use those listening skills and remain humble and respectful.
Community-be human, apologise if you make a mistake (sincerely) and thank people for their contribution…you are part of a community.
Face to Face-have that 15-30 seconds elevator pitch or introduction ready for F2F encounters, including business cards, firm handshake and making eye contact with real people.
Promotion-start by promoting others and their content, home base and outposts.

With this breadth of topics and depth of tangible content to develop and implement a personal brand the future is bright for creating an authentic on-line identity.

Q2. Has Personal Branding become too close to bad corporate branding?

A2. Yes. If Personal Branding does not utilize and follow the honeycomb framework and key steps described above to successfully establish an authentic on-line persona or identity it will become too close to bad corporate branding.

Q3. What do you think?

A3. Overall I think identity management on social media using personal branding to create an on-line persona will continue. Successful sites will have authentic and meaningful personae and unsuccessful sites will die on the vine or re-brand to succeed.

This will follow the Technoself trend described in and continue to evolve along with social media and on-line identity and presence.

COM0014-PMu Assignment #1 Blog Post #5 Personal Brand

In preparing for this post about personal brand my research took me back to COM0011 and personal branding tips

and this quote:

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” Tyler Durden, Fight Club.

The question is if this is true, then how do you stand out from the crowd? Answer: Personal Brand. And this got me researching, reading and thinking about answers to the questions to be addressed for the blog post requiring self-reflection.

Q1.What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from your competitors?

A1. The following personal qualities set me apart from competitors (based on completing the self-analysis checklist referenced below):

Personal Qualities/Characteristics:

Ability to work alone.











Emotionally stable.









Bolded personal qualities or characteristics are my top selections to best describe what separates me from my competitors.

Useful research sources for this question are and

Q2.What have you done lately to make yourself stand out?

A2.Taking the Algonquin College program in Social Media to understand what social media is and how it is similar to and different from mass media and where it fits into the Internet and Web 2.0 versus print, radio and television – which are broadcast media blasting out a hard sell and repeat-repeat-repeat mantra where social media is authentic and non-merchandising, and requires engagement and 2-way interaction with its audience.

How this genuine interaction and focus on a mass consumer of one is achieved is what the college program is teaching, and I want to stand out as a management consultant who is not only using social media but learning about it to offer services to others who want to utilize social media effectively and authentically in their business and customer engagement.

Q3.What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

A3.Colleagues would say being dependable is my best trait.

I would say being pragmatic is my best trait as I try to do what works best, and is the opposite of idealistic which in the real world is not very practical, based on the following definition:

The opposite of idealistic is pragmatic, a word that describes a philosophy of “doing what works best.” From <>

A good source for examining personality traits for this question is

COM0015-PMu Assignment #1 Blog #2 Strong and Weak Organizations

Review of the research for strong and weak organizations in relation to using social media falls into two camps. Facebook, Twitter and Blogs make up one camp which seems to be prominent for B2C organizations. The other camp is mainly B2B organizations who use LinkedIn and Web 2.0 sites.

Both camps attract Flickr, Instagram and/or Pinterest as a secondary engagement medium as most users of social media are using those sites as a visual means to express themselves and organizations want to interact with their customers at a visual as well as textual level.

Using the search term “strong and weak social media companies” produced this results list and led me to this list using the altered search term “companies with strong social media presence”.

Looking at the numerous top tips and techniques on these sites that lead to becoming rated a good or strong user of social media led me to choose The National Railway Museum (NRM) of York’s site

What drew me to this site being a strong social media site is the fact that they monitor their associated Groups such as Instagram for photos of the museum that are posted by their visitors, and interact with the person posting the pictures. I visited the museum recently while on vacation with my son who took a  number of professional-level photographs and posted them to his Instagram account. NRM picked up on a particular photo and liked his content This indicated to me that NRM is monitoring their accounts and association with Instagram and are interested in actively interacting with their visitors and their photos of the museum, and reaching out and interacting.

Another organization with strong social media (according to the research results) is Coca-Cola I visited their site to take a look at what Coca Cola are doing with social media and the tips to succeed – and to see what all the hype was about.

Coke relates to their specific market areas and demographics and even have specific country links on the web site, and connect across a wide range of social media locations such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Flickr.

Their site also has corporate investor links and charity sponsorship links, in addition to recipes and corporate citizenship such as environmental responsibility.

All of this indicates to me that Coke are serious about their social media presence and want to succeed and engage with their customer base at many levels, textual and visual across a number of topics-including Coke!

My personal experience with local bus operator OC Transpo is my selection of an organization on the weak or opposite end of the spectrum in contrast to NRM and Coke based on personal experience with the OC Transpo web site.

I have sent repeated requests using OC Transpo’s customer feedback form and have requested and  obtained email confirmation that my request for an additional bus stop was received. However, I have not had a detailed response, rejection or proposed alternative from OC Transpo.

Although Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google icons are available on the home page, I do not see any evidence of promoting customer interaction or monitoring by OC Transpo, or use of those social media methods as a means of interacting and engaging customers – especially those with valid requests and suggestions.

I am interacting with OC Transpo using their web form as input, but to me it appears no one is listening. If OC Transpo were to use a social media strategy utilizing a corporate Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts that included listening to customer input and engaging in a dialogue about that input with the customer by monitoring the communication lines, this would be a first step to developing a social media strategy that involved the customer.

Since buses are of no value if passengers cannot get on the bus, adding stops along the routes is important, and should be responded to. The objective being to determine the optimum locations for stops along the routes, and passengers can provide valuable input to that process if they are engaged.