Out of the Box (Unexpected Apps)

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

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?

If Abbott and Costello, that once-famous American comedy duo, were around today, I could imagine their routine going like this: 

Abbott:            I need an app. 

Costello:          A nap? 

Abbott:            No, an app!

Costello:          Now wait a minute! Did you or did you not just say you need a nap??

Abbott:            No! An app…app…lication!

Costello:          Oh! An app!!!  Well, why didn’t you say so!

(“Who’s on First (Abbott & Costello)”, 2015)

Since beginning these social media courses I have been getting to know social media platforms, tools, trends, etc. and the searches I do for my assignments always reveal something new. Hopefully my understanding of what “apps” are (desktop applications are for desktops and laptops; mobile applications are for phones, tablets and watches) is clear and that I have addressed ”unexpected apps” correctly.

Linktree

I first discovered Linktree when I was working on my second blog “Strong and Weak Organizations” as it is used by the business I wrote about, “Just Crepe N Around”.  Linktree describes itself as “The Only Link You’ll Ever Need – Connect audiences to all of your content with just one link” and indeed, this app leads you to a page where, with a simple click, you can access Just Crepe N Around’s website, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages, or you can place an online order or leave a review on Google.  The monthly plans go from free to $27.00 a month. Linktree also offers a wide variety of analytics.

Instapage

I just discovered this app two days ago while planning this blog. Instapage describes itself as “The Industry’s Best Landing Page Builder”. What is a landing page, you ask? (I was puzzled as well.) According to Mail Chimp “a landing page is a standalone web page that a person “lands” on after clicking through from an emailad, or other digital location”.  The site offers a 14-day trial but is otherwise $199 monthly. Instapage also offers landing page management with “Postclick”.

Instapage is explained more clearly by PineBox Studio, “a company that receives compensation from companies whose products and services they recommend”

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

CRM software seems to be geared towards businesses selling products. Salesforce, the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform, offers this definition: “customer relationship management is any tool, strategy, or process that helps businesses better organize and access customer data. It all started with handwritten notes and Rolodexes, but with the advent and proliferation of digital technology, it eventually evolved into databases stored on individual computers, and then the CRM definition shifted into something far more complex”. Capterra, a company that provides various types of software, has a chart on its site comparing the features and ratings of what is considered the top 10 CRM apps.

This is our last assignment!

Sadly, this is the last assignment for this course. I have enjoyed it immensely and have learned so much, not only from all the research and reading I have done, but also from facilitator Sonia and my fellow students. I’m really looking forward to “Measuring and Monitoring” which I am starting in May.

Blog readers: This is unrelated but I’ve noticed lately that when I search for something, the URL address comes up missing the “www” and I can’t access the page without the first adding “www” after “https://”. Does anyone know why this is happening?

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_and_Costello
Who’s on First (Abbott & Costello) [Video file]. (2015, September 13). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAyrEpiTrkU&t=41s
https://linktr.ee/
https://linktr.ee/JustCrepeNAround
https://instapage.com/
https://mailchimp.com/marketing-glossary/landing-pages/
https://pineboxstudio.com/app-instapage/
https://www.salesforce.com/crm/what-is-crm-infographic/
https://bit.ly/3CmaYaQ

Attending a Networking Event – COM0015

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

I signed up for an online workshop through Eventbrite called “Conquer Overthinking and Make Lasting Changes”. The workshop was to be facilitated by Lise Magon, an “author, coach, speaker and facilitator” based in Sydney, Australia, and was scheduled for March 3, 2022. Due to the time difference, it was scheduled to start here at 2 a.m.

However, the dog ate my homework…or in this case, after it occurred to me that my basic internet package only covers 10 mbps uploading and 25 mbps downloading, I didn’t think I would have enough computer speed for a multi-participant Zoom meeting and therefore decided not to participate.

Instead, I viewed a LinkedIn Learning video (free with a Hamilton Public Library card) from September, 2020, entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Professional Networking”.  This video was produced by Madecraft and was presented by Dana Robinson, an attorney and entrepreneur. According to Dana’s LinkedIn profile, he is also co-host of the “Opt Out Life” podcast, and author of “Opt Out. Rethink Success. Reinvent Rich. Realize the Life You Want”.   Dana is a LinkedIn Learning instructor with seven courses on business and intellectual property.  

Name the event with a link and explain why you chose this course. I chose this course primarily because I was attracted by the title. I received a Certificate of Completion for viewing the video. In Hamilton, LinkedIn Learning courses are free to anyone who has a library card with the Hamilton Public Library system and I’m sure it’s the same in other cities.

What ideas have you walked away with?

Why network? 

Today’s networking is about building real relationships that will last a lifetime.  It’s about putting yourself into positive situations where sparks of opportunity might ignite new movements for you. Your network will consist of future partners, new employers, possible clients, mentors, and more”.  Dana’s basic premise is that a network should be there to carry you through new jobs or career changes, or self-employment if that’s in your future.

Where to look for networking opportunities? 

Networking is simply about being where your tribe (your largest network; the broad connection you have with people professionally and anyone that shares aims and beliefs with you) is.  It could be at an annual trade show in your industry or in small groups on Facebook and LinkedIn or on meetup.com.  Attend a Lobbycon, “a phenomenon that occurs after a convention, when official convention space has closed but convention goers hang out in the hotel lobbies (or bars) to socialize before they head home”.

Advice for introverts?

Introverts can find it easy to avoid networking because it gets them way out of their comfort zone. However, the process will get easier with practice. One tip is to prepare some conversation starters – ask what someone does professionally, ask about challenges they face or about recent trends in the business. Don’t get stuck with one person, unless that person is going to take you around and introduce you to everybody. If you are new to networking, be honest about your newness. Remember you want to learn about the person you’re talking to, you’re not trying to impress them. You’re trying to engage.

A quote from the course:

“The kind of networking that lasts a lifetime is based on genuine human connection”.

Will you take similar courses again in the future? Explain why.  Yes, I would because I am passionate about expanding my knowledge and keeping up with current trends in many different areas. I liked being able to add courses that I have completed to my Resumé because they illustrate that I am committed to continuing education.

References:

https://bit.ly/36Wv7so

https://www.linkedin.com/in/opt-out/

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/instructors/dana-robinson

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Lobbycon

Blog Readers: Has this blog peaked your interest in this course or any of the ones listed below on LinkedIn Learning?

Digital Networking Strategies

https://bit.ly/35VtH0F

How to network when you don’t like networking

https://bit.ly/3sORetv

Successful Networking

https://bit.ly/3IQiM7k

Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

I’m in an unusual position where socializing and meeting people is concerned because I have a congenital hip defect. I have osteoarthritis and use a walker for greater mobility. While I’m not considered “disabled”, my physical limitations make some things awkward, for example, carrying a coffee cup and saucer or going up and down staircases (especially ones with no railings), and I am unable to stand for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Because of this, while I do enjoy attending in-person seminars and workshops, I would prefer to network online as much as possible.

What is your parent strategy for developing your professional network online and in-person?

While I don’t have a particular strategy, my outlook is that developing my professional network can be achieved through a LinkedIn business page where, as a business owner and not an individual, I can connect with similar business owners, join groups and professional associations, add to conversations of interest and relevance, and become more active in LinkedIn groups I belong to, such as Resume Writers and Career Coaches. 

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

I want to improve my verbal communication skills through an organization like Toastmasters, or there may be online courses I can take. I also have an interest in teaching myself to read and write French so that I can communicate with French speakers.

I’m going to reach out to some of my LinkedIn connections, specifically those who I used to work for or with or who interviewed me at some point to say hello and let them know about my business page. I’m going to do an email campaign to some of my other connections for the same reason.

I’m going to start an Instagram account and do the same as on my LinkedIn business page – connect, join, engage and converse!

I’m going to explore a number of promising leads in the form of networking sites I found recently as a result of Google searches:

https://www.nextdoor.com/

“Nextdoor is where you connect to the neighborhoods that matter to you so you can belong. Neighbors around the world turn to Nextdoor daily to receive trusted information, give and get help, get things done, and build real-world connections with those nearby — neighbors, businesses, and public services.  Businesses — Instantly reach your most valuable customers — your neighbors — and become a trusted part of the neighborhood”.

https://ca.bebee.com/

“Connect with professionals with whom you share hobbies and interests. beBee Groups provide an opportunity for you to network with like-minded professionals in your industry, potential customers, prospects and even existing clients. beBee is set up to facilitate networking among business professionals. As you increase your exposure on the platform and develop relationships, it is easier to be noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. Your professional credibility can mean opportunities coming to you from your network”.

https://www.quora.com/

“Quora is one of the largest social networks for people to ask and answer questions about hundreds of topics and categories. This includes everything from language and career to mythology and marketing. As of 2021, it had 300 million monthly active users. If you have any question that internet results cannot answer, you can post it under a relevant category. You can even send answer requests to experts on the topic”.

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

I’d be interested in hearing from experienced networkers.  Have you generally had successful experiences with networking? What was the outcome of your most recent experience? Do you prefer to meet in person or online?

Facebook: read my blog about my networking plans now and in the future!

https://bit.ly/3LQLCpX

LinkedIn: read about my blog about my networking plans now and in the future!

https://bit.ly/3LQLCpX

Strong and Weak Organizations

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For this assignment I didn’t want to focus on well-known brands, such as Nike or PlayStation, when addressing a strong organization, and so I have chosen a relatively new small business that opened up in my neighbourhood in the summer of 2021.

“Just Crepe N Around” – Strong Social Media Presence

I moved to the area I live in a little over 6 years ago. My street is mostly residential but there are a couple of small businesses here, and business and retail districts are nearby. The neighbourhood has been growing over the past 2 years with a branch of the public library added last fall, and it’s so nice to see a new business open up in the area.

Once such business is “Just Crepe N Around Café” which opened in the summer of 2021. This café describes itself on Facebook as a “Crệperie, Ice Cream Shop and Breakfast and Brunch Restaurant” and serves a variety of crepes as well as ice cream, soup, baked goods and a wide selection of beverages (including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, and bottled drinks)”

The café got a short write-up in The Hamilton Spectator business section when it opened and in Urbancity, an online local news source, which had this to say: “… is a brand-new café in Hamilton that specializes in sweet and savoury handmade crepes alongside other treats like coffee, ice cream, homemade baked goods, and more. The café saw its official grand opening at the beginning of July…where it has already been turning into a humble local favourite after just a few short weeks of operation. Crepe lovers have a delightful variety of choices here, including savoury options like the breakfast crepe with scrambled eggs, cheddar, and bacon; or sweeter selections like the Strawberry Crush, which fills that fresh crepe with strawberries, chocolate hazelnut spread, and custard”.

The café has a strong social media presence, being on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Door Dash, Yelp and Link tree, (a platform that allows you “to create a personalized and easily customizable page and houses all the important links you want to share with your audience”). There are photos galore of the various crepes on offer, the interior and exterior of the café, and a couple of short videos showing crepes being made. The café also has a Google Business Profile.

Despite the strong presence, the café has less than 500 followers on any of the social media sites and the business owner makes mention of the lack of customers in a Facebook post on January 28. Hopefully as the weather gets warmer, the customer numbers will increase.

In the meantime, if not already being carried out, an old-fashioned door-to-door campaign in the form of taking some menus and “9th crepe free” stamp cards to the various businesses in the area and promoting the business may be necessary. The food looks absolutely delicious…I’m going to go in next week and get a chicken Caesar crepe.

Free Scrap Metal Removal Services” – Weak Social Media Presence

From Facebook.com/Chris.Sousa.370

I found a business with a weak social media presence via the neighbourhood association I am following on Facebook in the form of Christopher Sousa, a young man who offers free scrap metal removal. There are at least half a dozen large scrap dealing/recycling companies in Hamilton and area who buy scrap metal and Mr. Sousa quite likely has a viable business, provided the customers are there. This type of service is of tremendous benefit to the environment because it keeps people from dumping their old appliances, bikes, car motors and other junk out in the country or on a vacant property.

Mr. Sousa has a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile but is not otherwise on social media. I think he also advertises on Kijiji. He has a well-designed business card. His Facebook page is underwhelming, featuring an endless parade of the same photographs of his truck filled with items he has collected (appliances, lawn mowers, snow blowers, bicycles, old car parts and other metal).

The LinkedIn profile is fairly substantial with the use of hashtags, and indicates that Mr. Sousa has been offering free scrap metal removal since December 2019. It also appears that he is a member of a group called Scrap Metal Trade with 38,950 members.

Keeping in mind this fellow might not want a wider social media presence, I think it’s a necessary step if he wants to grow his business, especially since he appears quite invested in this industry. A better idea would be to pare the photographs on his Facebook page down to one of each and then open Instagram and TikTok accounts and post the photographs on those platforms. He should open a Facebook business page to be able to add links to social media platforms and re-post the photographs to his Facebook business page to give all 3 platforms a consistent look.

Hopefully, both of these businesses will be able to remain in operation because both owners have the passion for what their respective endeavours and the motivation to succeed!

https://www.facebook.com/Just-crepe-n-around-cafe-109217658105426

https://www.thespec.com/business/2021/07/23/just-crepe-n-around-new-hamilton-business-parkdale-avenue.html

https://urbanicity.com/hamilton/eats/2021/07/a-delicious-new-spot-for-fresh-crepes-has-opened-in-hamilton/

https://www.instagram.com/just_crepe_n_around_cafe/

https://twitter.com/JustCrepe/

https://www.doordash.com/store/just-crepe-n-around-hamilton-2464550/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/just-crepe-n-around-hamilton

https://linktr.ee/JustCrepeNAround

https://just-crepe-n-around.business.site/#posts

https://www.facebook.com/chris.sousa.370

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-sousa-223528220/

Facebook: I have done a blog about organizations with strong and weak social media campaigns.  Please read them and tell me what you think!

https://wp.me/p3QRy0-uSX

Blog Post #1 – Tools and Sources

Pixabay/Pexels.com

As I indicated in my Discussion Board Introduction of January 16, with regard to my future employment goals, at this point I’m not sure if I’ll be looking for a job with a business as a social media manager or applying myself full-time to my small business, The Resumé Tailor.

However, I do have a game plan to which I will apply the “5 Ws” (Who What Where When and the Why process) as appropriate to each situation: if working for a restaurant, in a sales and service type business or for myself, then gaining new customers, retaining current customers, customer engagement, increasing sales and building upon the reputation of the business are the goals.

If working in non-profit, the priority would be getting the information out there to the public, and I’m certain fundraising would play a large role in the social media campaign.

In all cases, an RSS feed is vital and the most popular ones seem to be Feedly and Inoreader.

The two best social media trend monitoring tools

The article “Are You Listening – 19 Best Social Media Monitoring Tools” on Buffer.com (https://buffer.com/library/social-media-monitoring-tools/), an international company offering publishing, analytics, and engagement to “help small (and medium) business owners grow their brands on social media and beyond”, listed the 19 best social media monitoring tools and there is also a spreadsheet containing all relevant “need to knows” such as cost, platforms supported, and main monitoring features. https://bit.ly/3AdQobN

Of the 19, I would choose:

Sendible: is part of a social media management tool and includes brand and keyword monitoring. Supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, review sites (eg. Yelp) and more.

Hubspot: is part of a marketing automation tool and includes Twitter monitoring and integration with CRM for monitoring leads and customers. Supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, YouTube, blogging platforms with RSS feeds and Pinterest.

I would also consider:

Mention“Media monitoring made simple”. Mention monitors mentions of your brand across the web on such sites as Yelp, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Amazon, and if you connect your social media profiles to Mention, you can reply directly to “mentions” within Mention. You can also add a Buffer account and schedule your social media posts. Mention supports Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums, and more.

Trackur – “Simple, fast, and affordable social media monitoring”. This is a monitoring and analytics tool that can help you find mentions of your brand or your keywords on social media, blogs, forums, and more, and then analyze the trends, sentiment, and influence level. Trackur supports Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, and more.

Union Metrics – “Social intelligence. Designed for marketing teams”. Union Metrics provides the social intelligence that can help you improve your social media strategy. You can track and analyze social media posts, monitor your competitors and trends, conduct research and more. Platforms supported are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

None of the above are free but are the most affordable of the 19 mentioned.

The two best sources of news and updates for me:

My two choices are LinkedIn and Twitter. On LinkedIn I have begun following pages that are of interest and benefit: The Search Engine Journal, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Marketing Association, HubSpot and Hootsuite and I am exploring other social media monitoring and marketing sites on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter, anything I can glean that is valuable to my future business endeavours on social media.

All of this is subject to change as there seem to be hundreds of resources out there and one can choose a new tool at any time. Do you agree?

Celebrities at Odds on Social Media: why can’t we all just get along?

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Feuding and Fighting

Since the dawn of time, famous people have been at odds:  Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots; inventors Edison and Tesla; boxers Ali and Frazier; rock musicians Roger Waters and David Gilmour; actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall.

Celebrity feuding and fighting runs rampant on Twitter and Instagram and in my opinion turns these platforms into a wasteland of nasty comments and profanity for the rest of us. In the case of pop artists and rap stars, one of the parties usually writes and records a coy song making reference to the difficulty.

Many celebrities, most of whom only became famous during the 21st century, have gotten into exchanges on social media over such issues as someone’s relationship with someone’s else’s ex or flirting with someone’s wife; someone’s intention to run for U.S. president; someone not being nominated for an award;  dancers leaving one star’s tour to join another star’s tour.

Chrissie Teigen, once known as the “Queen of Twitter”, has gotten herself into trouble on a couple of occasions due to rude comments.  She is apparently known for sending bullying and abusive messages that are at odds with the public image she has created for herself.   She got into a battle on Instagram with a female comedian who called Chrissie a hypocrite after Chrissie posted a photo of herself with her hair done and in full makeup with the caption telling her followers she was chaotic and a mess. Alec Baldwin’s wife Hilaria opened herself up to criticism on Instagram by falsely representing herself as being Spanish, even going so far as to speak with an accent, when in fact she was born in the U.S.

One website outlining these feuds was of the opinion that celebrities are human and get into major misunderstandings but I wonder if it’s more a case of deep insecurity and unwavering self-doubt about one’s own popularity.

Thankfully, in most cases, the parties apologize and make amends.

Why They Leave

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Large numbers of celebrities have left Instagram and Twitter, either temporarily or permanently, for reasons other than feuding:  trolls and hackers; negative comments made by fans who are angry about a choice a celebrity made; online harassment; backlash for supporting gun control; body shamers making insulting comments; fans posting offensive photos with homophobic captions.  In some instances, the shutting down of a social media account by a celebrity was due to simply wanting to take a break, with the opinion that social media poses a public health risk.

What’s Your Take?

What do you think of this?  Do celebs get into feuds with each other because they are really at odds and possibly really do hate each other?  Could it be lack of self-confidence? Or it it all simply concocted as a way of keeping the publicity alive and well? 

Facebook:  Want to know how some celebrities behave on social media?  Check out my blog!

https://bit.ly/3GrWN5U

Twitter:  Read about celebrities feuding on social media on my blog!

twitter.com/https://bit.ly/3GrWN5U

Is it possible to ever leave Facebook?

Photo by Luca Sammarco from Pexels

I first heard about Facebook from a friend at work in 2007.  She said it was a hoot.  So I opened an account.

In early 2008 I bought my first laptop and got home internet.  Having ready access to Facebook led to what could only be described as an addiction to the forum pages (pre-app) of a site called “Are You Interested?”  I started spending hours every evening interacting with users in the U.K. Canada and the U.S. on the forum, taking turns commenting on various posted topics and watching two romances blossom and then fall apart once the people met in person.   

We shared a great camaraderie; it was great fun as everyone on the forum was funny and I spent much of the time laughing heartily at my own and the others’ comments.  I added these people as Facebook friends.  Then, after about 6 months, an online falling out between myself and some of the group members, the equivalent of a relationship break-up. 

Disillusioned and regretful at how much time I had wasted on Facebook altogether, I closed my account.  But I began missing it. So I opened a new account.

Facebook doesn’t have the appeal it once did.  At the beginning you were able to interact with your friends a whole lot more than just commenting and liking.  For a long time now, Facebook has been “same old, same old”, and after I’ve caught up with the few friends my newsfeed allows me to see, then what?

But I can’t leave.  I’m addicted…I just got home internet again after a long stretch without it and find myself logging in to Facebook several times a day.

Have you ever become so addicted to a social media platform, online gambling, gaming site or other form of virtual entertainment and found it was consuming your life?  What did you do to resolve it, if anything.

Facebook:  read my blog all about my inability to leave Facebook

https://bit.ly/2YMyA8T

The Champix Chronicles:  Adventures in Quitting Smoking

Photo by Basil MK from Pexels

Introduction: Remember that movie “Casablanca”?

Smoking cigarettes used to be a glamorous activity and many movie stars during Hollywood’s “golden age” smoked.  If you’ve ever seen “Casablanca”, with cigarettes a constant presence, you get a sense that the cast went through about 100 cartons during filming. In fact, I was very amused to come across an unsecure website called “Movie Smoke Database” which contains still photos from the movie showing the actors either holding or puffing on cigarettes.

During the past 6 decades, smoking has continued to be shown in movies, despite everyone knowing the harm.

I began smoking as a teenager, thinking it made me look cool to the other students at school.  Well, it was something exciting to do…something different!  Totally addicted, I smoked for 8 years and quit for 2, then resumed the habit and smoked for another 21 years. 

I smoked my last cigarette ever on February 17, 2008. 

My motivation for quitting?   To prevent lung cancer, for one thing

Lung cancer struck three close family members on my father’s side, each of them long-term smokers:  my Grandfather died at 64; my favourite aunt at age 55, leaving behind a 19-year-old son. Another aunt, a smoker of over 40 years, developed both emphysema and lung cancer and spent the last 6 months of her life tethered to oxygen 24/7.

I often think, with great sadness, that had these relatives not smoked, they quite possibly could have been with us another 20 to 30 years.

Quitting – You were always on my mind

Between 2002 and 2007, I made serious attempts to quit, lasting only 3 to 4 days each time before the cravings did me in.  I used the patch but would just take it off to smoke.

Quitting was always on my mind. I hated the smell on my clothes and in my apartment. I actually hated most of the cigarettes I smoked and the dried grass taste they left in my mouth.   I hated having to go to the store for a new pack, regardless of the hour or the weather. 

I was embarrassed by my constant cough.  (No surprise since it’s the only way your lungs have of trying to clear themselves!)   While transcribing digital dictation at work, all I could hear in the background of the the dictator’s voice were the persistent coughs of myself and another smoking co-worker.

It occurred to me too that smoking created a lot of work each day…pick up pack, pick up lighter, open pack, take cigarette out, put in mouth, light cigarette, lift to mouth, puff…pull away from mouth…lift to mouth, puff, pull away from mouth…repeat ad nauseam.

I had OCD when it came to checking ashtrays before leaving home or going to bed, making sure nothing was burning as I had an intense fear of starting a fire.

Was there a “magic” pill?  Yes!  “Varenicline” (aka “Champix”)

Champix, a quit smoking pill, came out in 2007. I knew nothing about it until seeing the doctor one day in late 2007 and mentioning my resumption of smoking after my latest failed attempt during the summer. 

https://www.rexall.ca/article/drug/view/id/4615/

As indicated in the .pdf document at the link above, under the heading “How Does This Medication Work?” “Varenicline works in the brain to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also decreases the pleasure that people get from smoking. It is thought to have these effects by working at the same receptors that nicotine from cigarettes affects, although how varenicline exactly works is not clear”.

As instructed, I picked a quit date and started taking Champix once a day for the first 3 days, then twice a day for the remaining 12 weeks. Having a quit date allowed me to continue to smoke for another 10 days and then I stopped altogether. During those 10 days, I was astonished (but pleased) to be able to go through an entire workday without a smoking.   The only downside was intense nausea each morning.

Nicotine withdrawal lasted about 3 days and that was tough but I took comfort in the fact that since I badly WANTED to quit smoking, I would SUCCEED. By the fourth day, once the nicotine was out of my system, it was time to deal with the psychological withdrawal. This was, for me, the worst aspect of parting with cigarettes.  Cigarettes had been my constant companions for 21 years and I went through a grieving process for months after my last puff.   

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels
 

In conclusion, I recommend that everyone who smokes quit because…

Simply put, life is better without cigarettes…no extra work, no more ashtrays or health worries. Food tastes better.  Your clothes and home no longer stink.  No more embarrassing smoker’s cough.  You save money!  You gain total freedom from a habit that is in total control of you!  

Have you ever smoked and quit?  If you smoke now, have you tried to quit…or at least thought about it? 

Facebook users: Are you thinking of quitting smoking and wonder if “Champix” works?  Take a look at my new blog about my experience with this wonder drug!  https://bit.ly/3mIGDf9

LinkedIn: Beneficial or Not So Much?

pexels-photo-5686

According to the Business Insider, “…LinkedIn is a social network. And like other social networks, it’s owned by a big tech company: Microsoft.  But unlike most social networks, LinkedIn is a professional networking site, designed to help people make business connections, share their experiences and resumes, and find jobs”. 

According to Top Dog Social Media:  “The power of the platform is that even with the free membership you can quickly and easily find and connect with professionals and business people all over the world”.

LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that it allows you to have connections, post updates, share and like content, send connection requests to other “first degree” users (users you can connect with by simply sending them a message; you can only contact second and third degree users through “InMail” which is one of the features available to paying subscribers) and IM other users. 

While a Facebook profile is a platform with which to share your personal life,  a LinkedIn profile is in essence your Resumé showing your work experience, accomplishments, education, certifications and skills, and you can ask colleagues to post referrals and recommendations (and vice versa). 

My LinkedIn profile has existed for number of years and I currently have about 145 connections comprised of a widely-varied group including former co-workers, lawyers I used to work for/with, local politicians, a local artist and people I have met through my job-hunting endeavours.

A basic LinkedIn profile is free and at present there are 4 other plans available.  Full details of each of the paid membership plans can be found on the website “Top Dog Social Media”.

  • Premium Career — $29.99/month USD — for individuals looking to get hired
  • Premium Business — $59.99/month USD  — for power users looking for more access and insights. 
  • Sales Navigator Professional  — $79.99/month USD — for sales professionals looking to generate leads
  • Recruiter Lite  — $119.99/month USD — for HR professionals looking to find and recruit talent

The Up Side (or finding extra fries at the bottom of the bag)

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  • There are a wide range of privacy settings and there is a feature that allows you to view all of your activity and posts
  • It’s a great way to keep connected to people you want to stay in touch with but don’t know well enough to have as Facebook friends
  • You are able to search for jobs with specific companies by going to a particular company’s website
  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) offers online video tutorials and courses which are free when accessed through Hamilton Public Library’s website with your library account number
  • You can follow anyone on LinkedIn who interests you – any expert, influencer, pundit, public speaker, etc. and you can join groups that interest you or may be of benefit to your career
  • I was able to re-connect with my cousin who moved to Toronto a while back and who has a LinkedIn profile
  • You can make changes or additions to your profile whenever you want

The “Debbie Downers”

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  • Job searching can be a time consuming process compared to other sites like Indeed.  When you are searching companies for the names of office managers or human resources directors, oftentimes privacy settings prevent you from seeing full names or the profile will merely show “LinkedIn Member”
  • Finding a locally or Ontario-based group to join is difficult eg. while still a legal secretary I could only find groups for law clerks and legal administrative staff in the U.S.
  • With the free membership, there are a number of features you cannot access eg. you are unable to see who viewed your profile (this would matter if you were actively job-hunting via LinkedIn and the viewer happened to be a potential employer), you cannot see which of your connections viewed your posts (in the event you might want to share future posts that might be of interest to them) and you cannot connect with second or third degree users
  • Your privacy settings don’t prevent the occasional connection request from obviously fake profiles.  One I recently received was from “Paul Hollywood”, an orthopaedic surgeon at a renowned U.S. hospital that Google didn’t seem to have heard of (but did reveal Paul Hollywood,  the U.K. celebrity chef )

To sum up: overall, I would say that LinkedIn is an asset to the social media scene, can be useful to job seekers, and a valuable resource to those in business, sales or human resources.

References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-linkedin

https://topdogsocialmedia.com/linkedin-membership-levels-free-vs-premium-vs-sales-navigator/

https://bit.ly/3F2ikBs