Blog #7

Storytelling is important to creating digital content in many ways.  It captures your (future) followers’ attention and keeps them engaged.  You want to make your content relatable and relevant to your audience.  Ten years ago, although online materials wasn’t as prevalent, my main focus would have been content related to teaching English.  These past 7 years or so, most of the media I consume is related to motherhood/kids/life-work balance.  Now that my boys are 6 and 8.5, I can start focusing back on job related stuff—back to educating technology and integrating technology into teaching.

Most of my energy will be focused on video content– topics for English lessons.  I feel the combination of a blog, Instagram, Facebook will help me tell a story.  I think I’ve decided on a schedule that will help combine the platforms.  The teaching point will be “released” on the blog first, with a link to the video.  The blog will be a more professional/teaching style language- more formal, but hopefully not boring.  When possible, I will try to incorporate stories relating to the video content (misunderstandings based on an error which will be the main focus lesson in the video).  The blog will then link to the video.  From the video, links to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are available.  Facebook will contain grammar comics and memes—a more humourous illustration of grammar concepts- which again will link back to the blog and/or video.  Instagram will hopefully capture real world mistakes that I find, but I will also encourage my readers/watchers/subscribers to contribute their own photos or real world examples.  This will help me keep my audience engaged but also let my audience provide me with ideas—so they become invested in my content.

Social Media has spawned a new type of English, one that may not be appropriate in all situations.  I hope that my videos will help all English speakers—native or otherwise.

Blog #6: What’s my story?

Imagine a little 8 year old girl, daughter of Taiwanese immigrants to Canada via Switzerland and France moving from Montreal, Quebec to New York.  Starting 3rd grade (not Grade 3) in Astoria, Queens was quite the adventure- and moving in with my favourite cousin added to it.  Since I was new to the school, my language evaluation consisted of my reading three words staff pointed to to assess my English ability.  I was always getting in trouble for speaking English at school (in Quebec), so English wasn’t going to be an issue.  To assist in correcting my “French spelling” my cousin had an awesome toy—Speak and Spell.  I loved playing with it.  Not sure if it worked, but it was fun trying!

Blog 6 Speak and Spell

Fast forward 35 years and I am now an ESL instructor.  Technology has progressed quite a bit from that Speak and Spell.  I can appreciate technology making lessons current and fun.  So now I’m starting my own YouTube channel where short and sweet videos teach students little bits of language.  Watching English adjust to “social media speak” with emojis and letter combinations that stand for phrases (LOL, UR=your) has not helped with basic spelling.  Their, there and they’re.  You’re and your.  Makes my eye twitch when the wrong one is used.

So if a co-worker’s lunch has been sitting in the communal fridge for the past month, and you’re not sure if your sign should say “Whose lunch is this?” or “Who’s lunch is this?” click on the subscribe button to go to my YouTube channel.  If I don’t already have that video, it will be up soon!


Blog #5: Personal Brand

I think that my Youtube channel is a reflection of who I’d like to be as a professional.  I like making things interesting and fun, but without losing the learning point.  It’s not all fluff and no substance.  Students need a hook, something to get them interested in a topic, but lessons can’t be too long.  I’ve been in ESL for almost 20 years, done it all—prepped lessons, searched for the perfect pre-made lesson, always on the hunt for interesting.  I like to constantly create new lessons—as an instructor I would get bored using the same stuff semester after semester.  Colleagues that are on the same wavelength as me would say that we get excited over the weirdest things.  I think it’s the RONA commercial where one line is said 2 ways—the first way is negative, after a trip to RONA, the line is repeated again—but with positive intonation.  Every time I hear those commercials, I want to record it—it’s the perfect illustration of intonation in pronunciation with very distinct meanings.  I think the three things I do that I’m proud of is that I’m always thinking about my students, I want to keep my materials current and relevant, and I love to share and help my colleagues.  Also, if some colleagues don’t… appreciate or understand my enthusiasm for all things new and shiny, I seek out those that do.

COM0014 Blog 4: Do Me a Flavour


Unfortunately for my waistline, I love sweet and salty stuff.   I’m always looking for a new chip flavour—the more exotic the better.  That’s why the Lay’s chips “Do Me a Flavor” campaign is so successful. In 2012, Lay’s launched a contest where consumers could contribute ideas for new flavours.  Ideas (name, type of chip and up to 3 flavours) were submitted through various social media platforms—Facebook. Twitter, text or YouTube.  Votes are tallied through the various platforms and the top 4 flavours are created for customers to try.

Engaging with your customers and asking them to help create a new product is a great way to keep your customers coming back.  First stage—suggest a flavour.  Second, get them to come back to vote.  Third, get them to taste test all the flavours and vote again. The creator of the flavour wins $1 million.  Also, the company was able to outsource R&D work to customers—which reduces cost and time to develop a product .  Whether the campaign is successful would depend on if the winning flavours have staying power.

2 Lays_4_floavours.jpg

COMM0014: Blog #3 Target Audience

Target Audience

Originally, I made videos for ESL students, but having been an ESL instructor, I’m always looking for good but focused material to introduce a topic or as an early bird activity—the 5-10 minutes students are waiting for the rest of the class to arrive.  I would have loved something like my videos– not to toot my own horn– cute, visually appealing lesson but with a focused message.  But as I started really considering my target audience, it’s not restricted to simply ESL students.  Targeting other instructors, K-12 teachers, and perhaps the homeschooling audience is also another strategy to gain more viewers.

Tools and Strategies  

The channel’s Twitter account follows multiple ESL professional organizations in different cities, provinces and countries, as well as the leaders in ESL and Ed Tech.

There are multiple Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts that feature cartoons, photos, and examples of grammar mistakes, easily confused words, etc.  The channel’s social media accounts follow those accounts as well.  When appropriate, I link my lesson to the post.

Potential “Grammar Nazis” correcting celebrity tweets with grammar mistakes could potentially go viral and if I have an appropriate video, linking it could reach a completely new audience- not necessarily educationally based.

Successful campaign

This is not a successful campaign, but Mark Hamill responded to a tweet of someone correcting his use of your and you’re, but they were actually incorrect.

If I were to link my lesson to that thread, how many people would see it?  (I have to rerecord my your/you’re lesson, but here’s the there/they’re/their lesson.

COM0014 – Blog #1: My last vacation

Seems so long ago…  We’re coming up on Victoria Day weekend and my last vacation was March break.  This was our fifth year going down to Hilton Head.  It started with my in-laws renting a condo for 4 weeks an inviting us down for one week, and my sister-in-law’s family for another week.  After two years and the exchange rate tanking, my sister-in-law asked if we wanted to go down together.  Our boys (now 5.5, 8 and 11) could play together and we could enjoy the peaceful beach.  Where do you go for March break? We are looking for a change—any recommendations for a 6 and 8.5 year old?  Up to 11 days, travel/drive time included?

Here we go

We left Thursday night, right after coming home from work.  Everything was packed and ready to go in the garage– the idea was to throw it all in the car and leave.  I get home at 5pm, and my husband wanted to leave by 6pm.  That included packing the car and feeding everyone. Hahahahahaha.  We actually left at 6:30 which was much earlier than I had expected.

1 Here we go

Here we go!!

Day 1

After getting to the hotel around 11pm, we were on the road by 8am to do a quick trip to Washington DC.  The plans were the Portrait Gallery, White House and the Smithsonian.  All went well, and as we were leaving to our next destination, we stopped by a Dunkin Donuts to refuel.  Who do we run into, but my sister-in-law and her family.  Very random.  By then time we left, it was 5pm.  On a Friday.  Out of DC.  I never knew that a 5 mile parking long existed.  It probably took us 3 hours to get to the “highway” but even at 10pm it was still packed and slow going.  We finally made it to Wilmington, North Carolina by 1am.  To keep the boys entertained, there were tablets, games and treat boxes.  How do you  keep your kids entertained on long drives?

2 Obama portrait

Portrait gallery

Day 2

We took a leisurely drive down to Hilton Head, through Myrtle Beach and got into Hilton Head around dinnertime.

6 Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

Days 3-10

We had better luck this year weather-wise.  Mostly 15-20 degrees, with varying degrees of sun and clouds.  There were 2 days of rain, but we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a condo that included an indoor pool.  Most mornings were a swim, then afternoon by the beach.  We did take a few day trips.

8 Tybee Beach

10 cousins



Day 11

The end of March break…  Treat box is filled up again and we’re on our way back home.  We stopped in Pittsburgh, PA for the night, then back home Sunday.

treat box

treat box


What did you do for March break?  Do you like doing the same thing every year or do )something different every year?  Any games to pass along (pleeeeeeeeese?)

Happy 11th birthday on Facebook!

With all my criticisms of Facebook’s data issues, I just got a notification that I joined Facebook 11 years ago.  11 years.  I’ve connected with so many friends and families- and acquaintances- and documented many milestones.  I was also unlucky enough to lose about 2 years of pictures from child #2– my external hard-drive fried and nothing is retrievable.  So, I’m afraid I’m and stuck.  BUT, if you decide that you want to delete Facebook permanently, there may be a way to keep your photos, videos and other data.  See this link .

My main use of Facebook is social.  I’m connected to friends from New York to San Francisco to Osaka, Japan.  I’ve become friends with people I had pretty much no contact with in high school.  As adults (for the most part) and becoming parents has given us a way to bond and form a different community.  I did a bit of traveling with work and school after university—where keeping contact was primarily through email.  I’ve been able to find so many friends after losing track of emails.

Parenting and common interests is also my main uses for Facebook.  Being on maternity leave can be so isolating- especially if none of your IRL (in real life) friends are also on maternity leave.  Rather than refer to Dr. Google, I refer to my online community—specifically those with kids who have birthdays in the same month as mine—so they *should* be in relatively the same stages.  We’ve set up gift exchanges for birthdays and holidays.  I joined a “book club” but it has morphed into a life club—sharing life issues, celebrating victories and comforting each other in not so nice times.

Facebook is kind of like THAT friend—the friend you’ve known forever and know what will happen when you get together, know how each visit will go.  I’ll continue to avoid polls, games, apps.  I may not be able to do anything about the tracking pixel, but knowing where I can find my Facebook data helps.

What about you?  Will you be keeping or dropping Facebook?  Will you be changing what you use Facebook for?

facebook icon  Are you keeping Facebook?

twitter icon  Staying with or leaving Facebook?


Liberal? Conservative? What “category” are you?

So, following my last post about finding out what information Facebook has on you, this post is about how Facebook categorizes you– which probably helps target which advertisements and business postings you see.  Politics is one category.  I have since deleted most of the categories, but from what I remember, mothers, away from family, and ex-pats were a few categories that were linked to me.


After the way Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to target certain segments of the population, I can see how easily fake news and focusing inflammatory posts, groups, etc was funneled.  Again, either I have my settings set up securely (is that even an option in Facebook?) or my US-Canada background messed up the information.  I was listed in several ex-pat groups– Americans living abroad, etc.  Although I was born in Canada, I moved to New York when I was 8.  So the bulk of my life was spent in US, but having moved back to Canada end of 2000, I’m about 50/50 in terms of my life spent in the US and Canada.  My Facebook friends are probably split 50/50 between US and Canada, with a portion of them leaning conservative or Republican.  I’m surprised that politics was not a category that was part of my list– perhaps the US/Canada confused Facebook– although I would probably be pegged as liberal for both countries.  Instead I belonged to categories of HOW I access Facebook- wi-fi, Chrome, mobile devices, Windows 7, and network (4G).  Facebook figure out I’m a Facebook addict haha.

So, I’ve removed any categorization not related to Facebook access.  I wonder if I will be able to recognize a difference in my feed.  I realize that Facebook has also changed it’s business posts, so I can’t be sure of what is affecting what.

What about you?  What categories has Facebook put you in?  Were they correct?  What do you think about the concept of these categories?  Ready to delete Facebook yet?

facebook icon  What categories have Facebook “assigned” to you?

twitter icon Find out your Facebook “categories”

What does Facebook have on you?

Recently, a few of my friends (on Facebook of course) mentioned that they had downloaded their Facebook data to see what it is, exactly, that Facebook has/had access to.  So I decided to try it.  ( Click here to see what happens ) I am currently waiting.  It’s been about 10-15 minutes since I started the process, and now the information is ready to be downloaded.

Facebook data pic

I’ve been on Facebook for about 10 years now, so I expect there to be quite a bit of information.  For a very long time, it was simply a tool to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from different parts of my life.  Then I started adding pictures– to fill in gaps that some of my friends may not have been familiar with.  After university, I went to Japan for a year and a half to teach English– so that was something I wanted to share.  Then, of course, came the wedding pictures.  Then I added some vacation photos.  I never understood the stream of consciousness status updates, so I did not partake in that.  At least I don’t think so.  I suppose I will find out.  Then the polls, and games and “let me guess your age based on what photos you pick” apps/games/posts appeared.  At first they were harmless fun, but when you installed the app, it asks for access to photos, birth date, contacts, etc.  Sometimes I thought that was too intrusive so I forgot that app.  Now, I’m at the “Look at my cute kid” , “Look at what fun my family is having” stage of Facebook.  I have locked down who can see the pictures- I think- to only my friends seeing the photos.

I think I’ve been careful with what information I share– I did not enter my birth year, although posting when I graduated high school and university probably gives it away- along with the alumni groups I’ve joined.  I included a few email addresses- specifically school related ones if former classmates wanted to find me that way.  I never included my phone numbers- like some of my friends did.

I’ve got 10 more minutes left on the download.  What do you think I’ll find?  Have you done it?  What did you find?  Was there anything surprising information that Facebook had that you didn’t think it has access to?  Go download what data Facebook has on you!

twitter icon  Find out what Facebook has on you!

facebook icon  What do you think you’ll find when you download your Facebook data?