COM0014 – Blog 7- One more good reason to tell stories…

Storytelling is one of the most important traditions humans have. The reason for this is that every story has a lesson to instruct people. Storytelling is the art of giving form, meaning and excitement to a piece of information that is uninteresting and boring. Without storytelling our society would not be what it is today.

But what is the importance of storytelling in social media and today’s world?

Storytelling humanises your brand allowing it to be more captivating. If you know how to tell a good story, you easily engage and persuade people. When you deliver an idea in the right way, it evokes an emotional response, brings life to your brand and it also helps build a relationship with your audience. Choose a relatable message to deliver to your target public and be creative in how this message is conveyed.

I learned a lot about storytelling in this course. I have to admit that it makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes to open up and share too much, but this course has really helped me and convinced me to write more genuinely. And guess what I discovered? Storytelling is such an amazing therapy and it is actually good for your health! I googled about it and I found out that in health care, storytelling may have an impact on patients who have difficulty understanding or acting on health information because they may find personal narratives easier to digest. One more good reason to tell stories…

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/health/views/10chen.html

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COM-0014 – blog #6 Circle of life

Today is my birthday. It’s been a one of a kind day. My only daughter has been accepted at the University of Toronto and I am writing on my way back to Ottawa after dropping her off at the university residence.

It is really hard to describe what I am feeling now. It is a mix. I am sad but at the same time so proud of her. She is starting a new phase in her life and I know it is going to be good for her. But at the same time, I have to admit I have an emptiness inside of me right now. All the memories of her childhood keep coming to my head and I just can’t help with them.

I know there are many parents who would be relieved to have their kids leaving home for college or University, but not me. I actually have been suffering from this in advance a while ago and hope to get better soon. I appreciate if there is anyone reading this who have gone through something similar and has a word for me.

 

 

 

COM0014 – blog 5 – Personal brand – A bit of me

It’s always easier analysing other people than analysing yourself. But what I am most definitely proud of myself is my positivity. Many people say I am always smiling and that I am very open minded and easygoing.

I know a few people might think it’s fake, but it’s not. I have problems in my life like everyone else, however, what makes me different from many other people, or my competitors, is that I always choose to look on the bright side of things; even the darkest things. It’s a matter of choice. Everyone will get something bad at least once in their lives, and it’s your choice to learn from it and be resilient, or to rant about it and take revenge. And my choice is to keep always smiling, because in the end, if you like to lift the spirits of everyone you see, just smile.

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Another important part of my personality is my willingness to share what I know with other people. Maybe that’s why I worked as a teacher for so many years, and when I am not teaching, I feel I am not finding meaning in life. My students used to say they loved my classes because they could feel how passionate I was while I was teaching, and how they would feel more engaged and motivated to learn. They also told me many times they loved the way I explained things in many details, very eager to transmit my skills and knowledge to them and, above all, with a lot of patience.

COM0014 – Blog 4 – Aldo’s solid social media presence

The Canadian shoe and accessory brand Aldo, has created strong and solid social media marketing. No stat better illustrates Aldo’s success than its growing number of stores around the world: approaching 100 countries.

 

 

Its social media strategy revolves around a presence on Facebook; Aldo has collaborated with celebrities and “not so famous” bloggers to engage with the audience of those influencers. Aldo’s latest campaign taps creative influencers from different fields out of the fashion industry who share how their creative endeavors affect their fashion choices. The company’s strategy is much more effective and complete than many others. It also encourages social sharing and user interaction on its web pages by way of product ratings and reviews. The company is not only on Facebook, website and blog, but also on Twitter, You Tube, and it has a huge presence on Instagram.

In order to create synergy, Aldo displays connected activities and images across the different platforms and it also includes links to all of those different platforms. Another strategy the company uses to engage their audience, is by encouraging clients in physical stores to subscribe to their email lists.

Aldo has been building this huge online presence the right way. It uses social media as a direct response vehicle, it invests time and effort to build relationships, it listens and interacts with the audience, creates online synergy and monitors all its platforms well. The result could not be different than success.

 

 

COM0014 blog # 3 – It’s not About Conversation, It’s About Empathy

It seems to be easy to open an account in a social media platform or create a blog and then suddenly have thousands of followers. Lots of big companies and popular brands fail in the strategy of targeting their audience properly. Why? The base coin of success in social media is empathy. It’s not about conversation, it’s about the experience of understanding people from their perspective.

Think like that: The audience always comes first. You or your brand, are not the main character in the story. The audience is the main character. The content you produce has to focus on the problems that your target public would want to solve. You need to have empathy for your public, listen to them, understand their necessities and try to be helpful.

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Remember, meaningful connections come from attachment. People are still humans, they crave for attachment, beliefs and emotions. And that’s what you have to keep in mind.

 Reference:

https://www.fastcompany.com/3039565/for-success-in-social-media-conversation-is-not-enough-you-need-narrative

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Seat down, here comes the story…

When I was a child, I used to watch a lot of TV shows for kids. But I clearly remember, that the ones I enjoyed the most, were the ones that would tell a story.

There was this show, called Rá Tim Bum, which had a line that said: “Seat down, Here comes the Story”, well, that would really grab my attention and make me feel anxious about what was about to come. I would scream with happiness and excitement every time I heard that announcement.

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So, when you tell a story, you grab people’s attention, you involve, engage and even influence them. Have you ever wondered why people love stories? Because on some level, they see themselves in the narrative, or maybe, it is a form of social glue that brings people together around common values.

The good thing about conveying messages today is that there are many ways you can do it. It is not only about writing. It’s about being creative enough, to make use of all the available tools that we have and know your audience well in order to transmit an engaging message.

COM0014 – Blog #1 – My vacation in muddy March

Last time I had time off from work was in March. I would say it’s not the best time of the year for a break in the Northeastern USA, since the snow is starting to melt and get sticky. I was dreaming about a hiking adventure in the Dolomites and San Vito Lo Capo in Italy, or just exploring and photographing the Maldives or Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil…you know, anywhere I could do things without having to worry about the cold weather…anyways, with not a very generous chunk of time, we ended up going to Philadelphia, Washington DC and NYC.

Fact is, I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed that trip at that particular time of the year. Well, I am not saying those are boring cities, not at all, but again, not the kind of places I would choose. Especially during the wet and muddy month of March.

We started our trip in old Philadelphia. Philly is most known for its liberty bell and the famous Philly Cheese Steaks. Food and culture are really big there. We went to this place called Talula’s Garden, a high-end restaurant downtown with a chic farmhouse setting and a summer garden that had A-M-A-Z-I-N-G food.  If you go to Philly, it is a must-go place for dinner before seeing the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center.

Now, culturewise, if  you want to see something unique, head to South Street where you’ll find a mosaic wonderland, the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

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After Philly, we decided to drive quickly to Washington DC before going to NYC. I have some friends who lived there, and they had told me not to leave it behind. They were right. I was impressed. Think of the word ‘massive’.

Washington DC is home to the most amazing array of museums and impressively massive monuments. Simply beautiful. It was just sad we were there a few days before the cherry trees started to blossom…

Our second visit to NYC was interesting. We were not sightseeing at all. We were just wandering about and feeling the vibe and the dynamics of the Big Apple. Yet, I had something on my to-do list there – see the longest-running musical in Broadway history—The Phantom of the Opera , which I had already seen endless times on screen.

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One of the things that called my attention in NYC this time was the behaviour of some people I was watching…the kind of behaviour you would never expect in a metropolis. But that’s what I like about New York. The intriguing and unexpected…

 

 

 

 

COM0011- Blog 6 – The enchantments of St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is a place like no other. The distinctly regal feeling, the glamour, the imperial history and its long summer nights make this city an unforgettable destination. There is so much to see and do, you will probably need a few weeks there. I will list the highlights of our trip so you don’t get lost.

Let’s start with the Hermitage museum. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. Originally, there was only one building housing the collection, but nowadays the museum encompasses many buildings on the Palace Embankment and its neighbourhoods. The Hermitage has three million pieces of art in several buildings across St. Petersburg.

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Outside one part of Hermitage Museum

29 kilometers away from St. Petersburg, the imperial estate of Peterhof is one of the most popular day trips from the city. The Grand Palace is opulent and extravagant, but the highlight of Peterhof is the Grand Cascade – a series of about 150 fountains and canals behind the Grand Palace. Beyond the Grand Cascade, there are impeccably maintained gardens with fountains, gazebos and some smaller palaces.

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The view of the Grand Cascade with the Grand Palace behind is truly breathtaking.

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The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one the most famous sights in St. Petersburg. It is located where Tsar Alexander II was killed in 1881 and it features 7000 square meters of mosaics on the interior. The church was built between 1883 and 1907, funded by the imperial family.

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Two of the best performances I have seen in my entire life were in St. Petersburg. Inside the Nickolayevsky Palace we saw an unforgettable folkshow performance. Two hours of a dynamic and colorful show, with folk songs and dance.

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The other grand performance was the russian ballet at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. The Swan Lake  has become a symbol of Russian art itself. A trip to St. Petersburg is not complete without seeing at least one of those performances.

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And…if you are lucky enough…you will stumble upon a bear cub around the city 🙂

 

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COM0011 – Blog 5 – Escape to Cancun & Tulum

Beautiful sugar-white beaches? Check. Lots of calm and serene spots? Check. Plenty of recreational options and water activities? Good food? Check. History? Sure. Nightlife? Of course. Sounds like the perfect travel destination…and Cancun really has it all.

The most beautiful beaches in Mexico with transparent turquoise waters and palm trees you will find in the Cancun–Tulum corridor. All those cool beach clubs that range from casual, bohemian alcoves to chic upscale lounges, you will be lost to choose from. The area is known as the destination with the best infrastructure and hotels in the Caribbean. The Hotel Zone has hundreds of nice restaurants and the authentic Mexican cuisine is very good with something to offer to every traveller. 

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What I love most about Cancun, aside from the beaches and the myriad of activities, are the Mayan ruin sites. Chichen Itza is the most spectacular site in the area. It is located inland about 2 1/2 hours by tour bus from Cancun. It is a day trip that you have to do. The ruin site of Tulum is gorgeous, and is coupled with a visit to one of the areas eco parks, either Xcaret or Xel-Ha. Xel-Ha is a beautiful park where you can relax in hammocks, snorkel with tropical fish in the warm, tranquil waters, float lazily on an innertube throughout the natural waterways and channels of the subterranean waterways, and even swim with dolphins.

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If you are travelling to Cancun, you cannot miss Isla Mujeres and the Royal Garrafon VIP Tour that takes you to Garrafon Park. The park is located on the south of Isla Mujeres and is the southernmost point of the island and the highest point on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s also the first place the sun touches the country of Mexico in the morning. The views are absolutely spectacular. Garrafon Park is a place where you go for relaxing and taking pictures of the breathtaking views.

Curiosities about Cancun

*Did you know Cancun’s beach is made of crushed coral? That means if you walk barefoot on the sand, Cancun’s sand won’t burn your feet even on the hottest of days.

*The Riviera Maya’s Cenotes have been rated among the best cave diving of the World.

*Between May and September, you have the once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and swim with the amazing whales and sharks.

* There is an underwater museum that has a total of 500 sculptures with three different galleries submerged between three and six meters deep.

For more info, visit: http://cancun.travel/en/

COMM0011 – blog 4 -A hidden gem around Rio

In the middle of protruding peninsulas and secluded beaches lies one of the most charming and exquisitely preserved historical gems of Brazil. Paraty has been a National Historic Site since 1966 and is not only remarkable for its historical architecture and colonial houses, but also because it has it all:  spectacular clear-water beaches, waterfalls, great restaurants, history, many activities, an abundance of islands in the bay, a rainforest and a range of hills that provides the fascinating backdrop.

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The town gets even more interesting with the presence of vacationers and travelers from all over the world, as well as, artists, writers and chefs, both Brazilian and foreign. Paraty hosts annually an international literature festival that gathers some of the best national writers and guest international authors.

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Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church

 

 

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Several pristine beaches are within minutes driving from Paraty by boat or bus, while inland, there are parks like the Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina which provides protection for a remainder rainforest.  You can’t miss the boat tour around Paraty and a visit to Trindade!

Trindade is a village located 30km from Paraty. If you want to relax and get away from big cities, this is the place to be. It has some of the best and most beautiful beaches in Brazil, and is also surrounded by the rainforest. A hidden gem!!!

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And if you are wondering about where to eat in Paraty, I highly recommend Galeria do Engenho restaurant.They offer many tasty local dishes and it was so good we went there for dinner 4 times during our stay. It is a simply decorated restaurant with a friendly atmosphere that is fostered by its excellent staff. It gets really busy, but the quality and value are worth the wait.

For more information, visit:

http://www.infoparaty.com/en