COM0014 Blog 4: B2C Case Study – The Ottawa Police

Photo of the Parliament Building in Ottawa, ON with tourists walking up the path and steps to the entrance with a sign advertising Mosaika.

Parliament Building Source:

Although not a technically a business, the Ottawa Police use their social media accounts to communicate with Ottawa area residents.  Quite a few officers within the traffic team have set-up individual Twitter accounts to post live updates, interact with the community online and educate the public about various laws and regulations.

Celebrity Sargent in Charge

Sgt Mark Gatien has been on the local news quite a few times over the years, which is also shared online – he’s been active on Twitter since 2013!  He regularly tweets updates, responds to a few questions and interacts light-heartedly with other community members like this thread with local radio personality Stuntman Stu.

Bearded Protector

I first came across The Bearded Cop’s motivational Twitter account last year with an article from the CBC ‘‘Bearded Cop’ confronts mental health stigma among Ottawa police’.  Using social media, he not only demonstrates the necessity of following traffic laws, but he also promotes the importance of mental health, asking for help and ending stigmas.  This has not only affected the Ottawa Police, but the community at large as residents share these messages; often opening up to tell their own stories.

Coffee mug that says 'What good shall I do this day?'

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Positive Social Media Influencers

This example of an organization giving control to their ‘employees’ to manage their own professional social media accounts is a win for everyone, in my opinion.  While guidelines should be implemented to maintain the brand, the organization typically benefits as it increases their presence and reach on social media.  Those ‘employees’ who opt to use social media accounts professionally benefit as well through increased interactions with their community and their workplace.  Obviously the community benefits from this increase in access to information, which also helps to humanize the often unpopular traffic team within the Ottawa Police force. Their humor and positivity certainly help!


COM0014 Blog 3: Target Audiences

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you may know that for the past seven months I have been working for a company specializing in accessibility of both the built and virtual environments. The target audiences differ for the various programs, so I’m focusing specifically on social media interactions by looking at who is interacting with us, the competition and tracking other trends like popular hashtags, events and influencers. I’m learning about creating accessible content that is meaningful to audiences who may be living with disabilities and finding new ways to connect and include everyone.

Screen shot of YouTube home page showing Home and Trending category options

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

A personal favourite of mine (confession, read: addiction) is YouTube. It provides accessible audio content – which is especially useful if descriptive language is used to narrate throughout the video – and blind audiences can also use their screen readers to navigate through the site, even reading and responding to comments! Closed captioning features and compatibility are becoming more common practices too, as they enable deaf users to access and create content on the YouTube platform. One of the people I have learned a lot from recently is blind YouTuber Molly Burke.  She is a motivational speaker having represented disabled youth at various UN events, among many other amazing things.  She uses her platform to spread a positive message and also appeared in the successful 2017 campaigns for Dove: #AsLightAs and ATT: #ExperienceMore.

Thankfully the internet gives us many ways to access information and interact with our target audiences.  People living with all types of disabilities are experiencing more freedom as they are able to utilize these new tools and technologies.  They are able to create and share their stories – from their perspective, using their voice – and create a dialogue/interest about the causes they are passionate about. The increased awareness and use of accessibility features we are seeing can only enable us to further enrich our online exchanges as we build connective communities and continue to learn from one another.

What are some of the accessible features you have been noticing either within various built environments or online that have gotten better with technology?

COM0014 Blog 2: Storytelling & Communication Styles

hands using a tablet to connect to social media

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Effective communication is vital to thriving in today’s society and it is becoming increasingly important to ensure your message is as concise as possible in this fast-paced world.  Thanks to character limitations with social media, we are being trained to reduce the number of words we use to tell our stories. Most of us are of course using emojis to express our emotions and the brave ones are also dabbling in the use of new slang words. All of these factors contribute to changes in how we communicate, share our stories, interact with an audience ultimately help build our relationships.

We are learning the importance of being active on various platforms, I believe being aware of the new vocabulary including popular hashtags like #MeToo and #TakeAKnee as well as some of the slang that the younger generations create (and try to hide…) will encourage us to further understand one another and interact with our audience. This openness and honesty online has not only helped to raise awareness for various issues, but can also be at least partially credited for major social changes and movements. What are some of the ones that caught your attention?

The internet enables connection and allows for like-minded individuals to discuss their views, educate one another and share stories about their lives.  It’s still very important for us to know ourselves and the goal of our own message(s) or truths, we are also learning to become more open-minded to another’s perspective and hopefully more empathetic. While communicating our truth we need to be aware of the potential reach of the message, the lack of control over who sees the message and because of this we know to be careful of the information we put out there to protect ourselves while sharing our stories.

COM0014 Blog 1: How I spend my vacations

Photo of sunset at Cavendish Beach, PEI

Cavendish Beach PEI Credit Rob Rienzo

My family is from Prince Edward Island, but my brother and I were born and raised here in Ottawa.  As the story goes, our parents were making the big move to BC when they stopped in Ottawa to visit my aunt and uncle.  They loved it here so much that they decided to stay and quickly found a place to live.  They did make it out to BC eventually – but only for a visit and settled-in to make Ottawa home.

Other aunts and uncles soon followed, so our grandparents often traveled to Ottawa to visit us all; which was nice growing up being able to see them a few times a year. We were also lucky enough to be able to visit PEI every summer and were normally there from the end of school in June until about mid-August. Canada Day was my favourite because we would get to not only watch the village parade, but were invited to hop in to participate in the boat parade before watching the fireworks. I loved it then and still love going back every year; I need a week or two at the very least to get all my visiting done!

It’s a Big Year!

This year we have already made one trip to PEI for my grandmother’s 90th birthday, back in April.  She really is a legend in her own right having raised 9 kids; 6 of them on her own after my grandfather passed from ALS after the war. She supported the family as a teacher and remarried just before I was born in the 80’s to a lovely gentleman who I knew as my grandfather.  He passed in 2012 at the age of 91, but my grandmother still spends time with his family.  So, that being said, there are a total of 24 grandchildren and 27 great-grand children – and almost all of us were there for the party!

We started the Friday night with a pot-luck at her home to let the siblings and ‘out of towners’ visit.  It was great to be in the room with so many generations of the family!  The next day was an open house event held at the local hall.  This was for the family as well as the locals to come in and say Happy Birthday.  We even had the local MLA Brad Trivers show up with his guitar and play a few songs!

Although only a few days, we really enjoyed our visit and I am already looking forward to enjoying the beaches with my family again this summer. We also have family in Laval, Montreal and Quebec City, so my vacations tend to be in Canada – visiting family!  I did however make it to Italy for 10 days about ten years ago and definitely caught a bit of the traveling bug.  Now I just need to save up for my next trip some where great – any suggestions?  I do have family in Australia to visit…

Photo from 1961 of two people posing next to their car with a house in the background

My grandparents in PEI, 1961

Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 2: What Does It Mean for Businesses

people working on papers and a laptop

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

We are all well aware that, due largely to the increase in social media platforms & visibility on the internet, organizations are interacting even more with their customers and implementing online marketing techniques to attract new clients and increase sales. While they certainly need to integrate social media marketing plans with measurable goals into short & long-term planning, they also need to develop communications strategies to not only maintain consistent connection to their audience but also deal with negative posts in a way to spin them around positively. This requires companies to hire and train excellent communications coordinators who can read between the lines of someone’s comment, anticipate their needs and expectations and take initiative to suggest a solution. Herein lies another challenge – how to decipher between true & honest comments, internet trolls, bots and fake news?

The New Normal – Avoid Fake News and Utilize Wisdom

Along with the threat of losing control over one’s social media image, these platforms have opened the gates for the bombardment of fake news. Even science is affected by this fake news phenomenon.  In her TED Talk ‘The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows’, philanthropist Laura Arnold speaks of how the science community is motivated to publish studies that have a high ‘impact factor’; which often promotes results where data has been cherry picked or skewed in someway. This ultimately creates potentially dangerous misunderstandings and assumptions from publicizing the ‘research’ as fact. She says, “In an ideal world, scientists and researchers would be motivated by one thing: the pursuit of truth.”

Barry Schwartz in his 2009 TED talk Our Loss of Wisdom calls for us to not only employ knowledge but to tap into our practical wisdom and use it everyday in order to help rebuild the world; which I believe is more true in today’s world. ‘The truth is that any work you do that involves interaction with other people, is moral work. And any moral work depends upon practical wisdom… We are always teaching – someone is always watching; we are always on.’

The Predicting the Future

Numerous articles such as Social Media Trends to Watch For in 2018 by Bryan Adams point out that Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat will continue to dominate.  Shama Hyder points out in her video 4 Massive Digital Trends to watch for in 2018 that the future still includes creating content (especially video), making everything accessible on mobile (for our phones, tablets etc.)  and maximizing the power of data using tools such as Google Analytics. In his video Mobile is Already Running Our Lives | Nordic Business Forum 2016 | DailyVee 349 Gary Vaynerchuck pointed out the next features to watch were Instagram stories, Alexa (and other voice assistants) as well as Snapchat.  At the time he predicted that in 10-15 years Snapchat will be popular among the 30-50 year-olds; much like how today Facebook is more popular with the crowd who started using it when it was first introduced to only University students. With the most recent update to Snapchat stirring some major negative feedback, I guess time only will tell!

How Do Organizations Adjust?

Looking down onto desk with a laptop in lower right corner, notebooks in the corner to the left, a cashbook above that and a succulent plant in the top left corner with a paper showing various business charts in the upper right corner, above the laptop.

Photo by on Unsplash

So with all of this information out there, and with a variety of different platforms to choose from, how do companies figure out the best path to maximize their efforts? A renewed focus on communication must also include an implementation & follow-up plan as well as using data analytics SM measurement & monitoring. However, I think the true value of social media is in sharing information, our stories, and creating connections.  Because of this, I think organizations will also need to focus on honesty & transparency along with a wise and truthful approach to consistent, clear communications.

Our world is being documented and recorded in various ways and information is shared in a matter of seconds. Transparency is quickly becoming a topic of conversation as we see more regulations in the financial services industry, among others.  This transparency has also opened the gates for a more productive feedback system, among other benefits.  As businesses demonstrate having their clients’ interests at heart, this creates a friendlier environment allowing for candid feedback that is more open & honest.  This is a major tool to help companies eliminate friction in order to make their client experience even more seamless and user-friendly.

Kids of the future will still need to build character and study – including learning how to respect themselves and each other – in order to be successful in any field. Learning and practicing various social media marketing tactics and developing communications skills will certainly be useful almost everywhere as well – especially when combined with developing a personal identity and building wisdom along with way.  Of course, it can certainly help to be witty as well!  Fast food chains like Wendy’s can often be caught trolling their competitors and starting very public online banter, which creates a visible interaction their audience can relate to and will continue to talk about. This ultimately helps both brands with increased recognition, followers and potential customers; simply by being effective, transparent communicators.

What are some other ways businesses can improve their communications strategies using social media?


[TEDEx Talks]. (May 30, 2017). The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows | Laura Arnold | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue [Video File]. Retrieved February 14, 2018

[TEDEx Talks]. (February 2009). Our loss of wisdom – Barry Schwartz [Video File]. Retrieved February 14th, 2018


fb_icon_325x325 Increased social media presence will hopefully also encourage businesses to be more transparent. Here’s my two cents:

downloadBrands can increase recognition, followers and potential customers simply by being effective, transparent communicators. Check out my latest blog:

Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 1: What Does It Mean for Future Careers?

What are we teaching the children?

In the ever changing job market landscape, it’s becoming more apparent that careers are no longer full working lifetime commitments.  Over 10 years ago while I was selecting my University courses and first introduced to the corporate world, it seemed common for someone to have a successful career in a completely different field than their original field of study.  This both confused an comforted me at the time, as I had been taught to carefully select my career path based on my skills; but I didn’t know what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’ – I couldn’t narrow it down at the time due to my limited life experience. I chose my program as I thought learning business could be applied to anything I wanted to do after graduation; and I hoped I’d figure out my path along the way.

The new working landscape may look scary…

Box of crayons in focus on foreground with child colouring out of focus in background

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Pensions and full-time work also seem to become less common with the ever-changing landscape of products & services for sale; so it seems we can no longer expect to fully retire as once was normal and will need to rely on our skills to earn an income for longer. With fears of technology and AI evident in today’s society, David Autor runs through some of these worries in his TED article Will automation take away all our jobs?; but ultimately points out that: ‘Our machines increasingly do our work for us. But the reason there are still so many jobs can be explained by two fundamental economic principles: one has to do with human genius and creativity; and the other has to do with human insatiability.’1 Over a decade in the financial services industry would enable one to pick up some financial knowledge and systems experience; but also teach important basic skills that can be included in these principles including customer service, teamwork, goal-setting and problem solving. With an opportunity for career change, I had a chance to question how does one adapt their current set of skills and experience to successfully fulfill the jobs of the future – and what are we now teaching differently in school so that kids can be prepared as well?

How are we guiding/shaping the future?

While I’m aware of the severe lack of equality and funding even within our own educational system, I was shocked when my cousin excitedly texted me one day when she was issued the exact same textbook I had used – over 13 years before her!   Obviously teachers are not using the textbooks word-for-word (hopefully!) and some books are more current than others due to the nature of the subject matter; however, it’s evident that we need to overhaul the education system and look for ways to improve on preparing the kids for an unknown future.  No sweat, right?

(Side rant; most teachers are, in my opinion, completely under-appreciated, under-utilized, and under paid…)

I certainly do not have the answers – but I believe it’s something we should be discussing and working on together, as a society. Marianne Cantwell in her TED talk The hidden power of not (always) fitting in describes what I had experienced, as a result of our preconceived notions, that we live in a strictly black in white world made up of generalists and specialists. We are expected to decide early on who we are and what we want to do/be and stay that way – but we all know as complex humans we are ever changing and often cannot fit into pre-determined boxes.  This is where she makes the case for the common anthropology term ‘liminal’ to be used to also describe those who can exist between both of these professional worlds, but never truly necessarily belong to one or the other; essentially ‘creating their own island.’2

OK – so now what?

We are aware of the current educational issues and we can identify and name some of the new trends that we are seeing – so what’s next?  It’s only natural that we are teaching kids about internet security & privacy, to set boundaries & learn communication etiquette (i.e. no bullying!). I wonder though, are we doing enough to help them discover their passions by developing their skills and learning to embrace and prepare for the challenges and stress of the unknown? How do we ensure our teachers have the right tools and enough resources to help shape the minds of the future? Although ever grateful for the opportunities to learn, I can’t help but wonder if I (and many others!) would have found my path sooner had I been encouraged from the start to build a profile of skills and experiences instead of trying to pick any career I wanted

Rainbow coloured chalk lined up on a brown paper bag backdrop

Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash

It is becoming increasingly more urgent for businesses and individuals alike to not only be active on various social media platforms, but to focus on creating tailored profiles and marketing plans in attempts to stand out and potentially reach a global audience. As Gary Vaynerchuck blatantly puts it in his video Culture & Attention | Complexcon Keynote 2017 | DailyVee 345 “…everybody’s gonna know everything about everything! (…) kindness is gonna be the new currency!”3 With this kind of access to information, we will need to learn to listen and interact with our targeted audience – whether that be a potential or an existing customer, employer or viewer – and follow through with positive actions that create an unexpected, memorable experience.  Ideally the future will see us working towards building our profile of skills and experience to earn income, continually learn and to help inspire others achieve their goals.  Hopefully we can together, encourage one another to find and be ourselves – creating our islands, instead of forcing ourselves to fit into labels and boxes!


1[D. Autor]. (Mar. 29, 2017). Will automation take away all our jobs?. [Article] Retrieved Feb. 10, 2018

2[TEDx Talks]. (Apr 3, 2017). The hidden power of not (always)fitting in. | Marianne Cantwell | TEDxNorwichED [Video File] Retrieved Feb. 10, 2018

3 [Gary Vee]. (Nov. 23, 2017). Culture & Attention | Complexcon Keynote 2017 | DailyVee 345 [Video File]. Retrieved February 11, 2018

Up Next:

Blog #4: Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 2: What Does It Mean for Businesses



Check out my thoughts on the changing job market landscape in my latest blog:



Twitter How are we preparing for unknown careers of the future? Check out my blog for my two cents:


Why The Girl Is Afraid of Social Media – And What She’s Doing to Fix It!

One of My Fears

It’s scary to think about how much of my information is out there. If you’re anything like me, you may wonder how many comments/photos/videos, etc. mention you without tagging your profile; so you have no what what’s possibly ‘floating around’ out there and no idea how to find out. Of course due diligence tells us to simply Google our name – including any social media handles and alterations of either spelling. However, this will not find a lot of the content that either has not been tagged or because it’s guarded within some social media/website security settings. While this is probably a good thing when considering potential employers will use various hiring/vetting tactics including social media page and google searches; there’s still the possibility of those unknown comments/photos/ videos.

My Start with Social Media

I used Hotmail and MSN Messenger like any good teenager in the 90’s; but Facebook was my true first attempt into the dynamic world of social media.  At the time, it was solely for University students to connect with one another – both for group discussions geared towards school projects and for socialization like sharing fun content, making group plans, and building friendships with our classmates. This is when it started to get interesting as the platform opened to more universities, then more users and their pets, then we saw advertisements take over and even businesses started jumping in on the Facebook page bandwagon.  It was easy to see throughout this growth, that while Facebook was a great tool if used correctly, it could potentially have devastating effects on one’s life – career, family, social etc. – if misunderstood.   With all the legal jargon we are supposed to understand from every new app and update, no wonder there’s concern for the children of today. I think there’s still quite a bit we can do to protect children’s right to disappear; to essentially be given the opportunity to be a kid, learn, make mistakes and be forgotten.

Laptop slightly open, sitting on a desk in the dark

Photo by Денис Евстратов on Unsplash

Possibilities for the Future?

So how do we reconcile this issue?  With valid mental health concerns stemming from harmful behaviours such as bullying, identify theft and even physical threats of bodily harm, it is imperative to arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools to protect ourselves; and of course share them with others.  Proven actions such as:

  • Expand your searches using multiple search engines – not just Google;
  • Develop a social media strategy to control what content is published and where;
  • Ensure to always check the privacy settings on a new social media platform and do not share your location with the public;
  • Be aware of what you are posting and respect your audience!

I’ve also heard discussions about age limits on social media platforms, and encouraging companies to implement some of these controls and policies; but in the end I think it’s up to the parents to protect their kids how they see fit.

Ideally, my ‘Blue Sky’ solution would be to develop an app to help users find all of their own data and the option to control it!  I’m not a technologist, but it would need to somehow interact with the data on all social media platforms, and perhaps incorporate articles (etc.) from all of the search engines, to compile your data and pictures (facial recognition!) into one – essentially giving you a ‘news feed’ of items not posted by you.  Too much?

Do you know of any existing apps or technologies that may be able to help control the release of your information or photo?


Up Next:

Blog #3: Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 1: What Does It Mean for Future Careers?

Blog #4: Changing Social Media Landscape – Part 2: What Does It Mean for Businesses


Facebook   Why The Girl Is Afraid of Social Media – And What She’s Doing to Fix It!

Twitter  Why The Girl Is Afraid of Social Media – And What She’s Doing to Fix It!

The Girl Afraid of Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA is a powerful tool and it’s becoming increasingly urgent for businesses and individuals alike, to pay close attention and become aware of their audience and their voices; to maintain focus and control of their social image; and develop plans to manage their various profiles on carefully selected platforms.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social media platforms I currently use and its seems as though a Blog and Twitter account are the natural next steps for me – both personally and professionally.  2018 is the year I strive to become a more open and honest human-being; to re-discover my passions as a writer, researcher & humanitarian. By engrossing myself in the world of online community communication & participation, I hope to overcome my fears by once again falling in love with life and the pursuit of a new skills and dreams. What great timing to be able to share this journey with you!

Monarch Butterfly hanging on dangling vines

Monarch @ Museum of Nature


Younger generations (those having grown up with internet and social media) are obviously more comfortable with this, and are adapting to newer applications and technologies quicker than ever. However, as savvy as they may appear to be, they often naively have little concern for potential safety hazards, or the impact from something they’ve posted may have on others – we all know online bullying is an unfortunately common issue as Statistics Canada reveals in their report that ‘nearly one in five Internet users aged 15 to 29 reported having been cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked’.  Posts can have a personal impact as well and affect someone’s social image and even earning potential. While it’s important to be considerate and respectful, we may not even understand the full impact it’ll have in 10-20 years. Heck, maybe not having your goofy, embarrassing, teen-aged pictures all over the internet will be detrimental to having a ‘successful career’ in the future. That being said, internet safety and security is still a topic of concern for everyone to be aware of and protect themselves against – but it doesn’t have to be a scary place.


Older generations are, in my opinion, either ‘all-in’ and using the texting & video call features on their cell phones, they have various social media accounts, do lots of online shopping, and the like – or they are ‘all-out’.  ‘All-out’ types of people (like many of my own beloved family members) may have internet at home and know how to use Google and Kijiji – but they have no cell phone, no social media pages and certainly no Netflix or Amazon accounts. They are often overly concerned with sharing information – and rightly so – but for the most part I find those who are not using various social media platforms simply don’t feel as though it will add anything to their lives.  As they say – to each their own!


Although I fall somewhere in the middle – having been introduced to the internet while in its blow-up phase during my early high school years – it’s only recently that I’ve decided to venture out further into the social media abyss, in attempts to live a more creative and fulfilling life, sharing stories and experiences to connect with others.  Getting over imagined fears of rejection, of ‘accidentally copying’ another’s work/ideas, and a slight touch of perfectionism have all influenced my extreme hesitation to blog over the years. Through years of work experiences, taking various courses, and watching YouTube videos/vlogs such as the super helpful TED Talks, I find myself ready to put some of these skills to use.  Some of the more recent lessons I’ve learned such as in ‘Your elusive creative genius’ Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the pressure of writing again after what she describes as needing to accept that she had probably already achieved her biggest accomplishment with her book Eat, Pay Love. Getting over the need to achieve something with my writing is something I’ve been dealing with and am striving to focus and use it as a form of self-expression. Building on my skills for professional use of course, and if down the road I can earn a living writing from a more personal viewpoint, then that will be awesome; but I will continue to write – even if just for myself. Changing careers has recently allowed me some valuable time to re-focus my values and evaluate my skill set. Like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her blog (along with her follow-up book), ‘Fear is boring… so, much like the butterflies are spreading their wings at the Museum of Nature; so shall I.


In attempts to combat the constant self-criticism further, in his talk Embrace the remix’ Kirby Ferguson says that ‘Nothing is original’ – which, to be honest I didn’t watch the entire video; but it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.  To deal with criticism from others, try some of these great tips from Neil Patel in ‘How to Deal With Negative Social Media Comments.’ Watching videos, reading posts & books is obviously a great way to learn – but there’s nothing like just throwing yourself off a cliff – I mean – into something new and exciting, right!?

So, thank you for reading my first blog post!  I invite you to join me in exploration of this crazy creative life…  Follow my journey while learning the ins and outs of social media, setting boundaries, and studying its impact in our everyday lives –  including the societal influence its had so far, and will have in the future. Looking forward to being a more active participant in various online communities –  and hopefully getting to know you a bit too, wherever you may be!

Tell me, what are some of the fears you overcame while joining a new social media platform or online community?  What helped you overcome your hesitations?

 Finally joined Twitter! Add me @tdlgallant
Also posted my first Blog called ‘The Girl Afraid of Social Media’ Let me know what you think!

New to Twitter & Blogging – welcome to the 21st century! Read about my journey in ‘The Girl Afraid of Social Media’ Now, what to do with with my ’90’s VHS collection…