COM0011 Blog post #6 YouTube is the Guru of everything

iStock_000019767158_MediumYouTube has been entertaining us for many years now. Any new popular song, humorous video, or late breaking news stories are available online, all we have to do is “YouTube it”.

This past year, I have learned how to fix my vacuum cleaner, fill my duvet cover, change the break pads on my car, make a beautiful Christmas wreath, and cook a number of new tasty recipes. I found all the instructions on YouTube. Along with the instructional videos, you will also see comments and reviews from other viewers who had completed the job and are happy to offer additional helpful tips and tricks. iStock_000012877260_Medium

Now my computer, which used to reside in a spare bedroom because of its limited use, is conveniently located on my kitchen counter. YouTube has become a valuable household tool as I can rely on it to entertain and educate me where I spend most of my time.

Where there is limited instruction available, its YouTube to the rescue. At work, I learned how to covert all my resources to make them Ontario with Disabilities Act (ODA) compliant before putting them on our website so they can be read by a screen reader. As a lone ranger in my workplace, I rely on YouTube videos to show me how to learn a new software program and troubleshoot most of my software related issues.

Jumping A Car

I was stranded at work last summer when my car would not start. One of my coworkers came to my rescue however neither one of us could recall which way the jumper cables attached to the batteries on both cars. I found the instructions in seconds on YouTube on my phone. Once again, YouTube came to the rescue.

Just in case you have not noticed, I really love YouTube!

What are your thoughts? Do you “YouTube” everything as I do? What do you predominately use it for?


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Wearable technology pros and cons (Com0011 Blog post #5)

Male hands with smart watch tap on the screen

Courtesy of Istockphoto

I received a smart watch/fitness tracker for my birthday this year. It of course tells the time, tracks my steps, calories I have burned, and stairs climbed and even tracks my sleep patterns. I synchronize it with my computer and, I am connected to a number of friends with the same device so we can compete with and motivate one another.

At first, I found it to be motivating and when my steps were lagging behind my friends, I would venture out for a walk instead of looking for a movie to settle down with for the evening. Now I have found different ways to get my steps, like strapping it to my cat’s collar or letting my five-year-old granddaughter, wear it.

While out Christmas shopping this weekend, I was taken back with the new smart wearable items on the market and their ability to monitor your heart rate and other health related information, make and take phone calls and incoming text messages.

Only Inspector Gadget would have thought this possible 20 years ago. Now you can find the same functionality on your smartphone that was only available on larger scale computers. It is beginning to look like our smartphones will be replaced with bracelets, necklaces, glasses, and rings as manufacturers now have the ability to pack sophisticated hardware into tiny devices that are becoming more affordable for the average consumer.


Courtesy of Istockphoto

The functions on the wristband I have now, serves the purpose it was intended for… to hold me accountable… to be more active and get enough sleep. I think, in the near future, wearable technology will prove to be incredibly valuable to the aging population and myself with the other health related monitoring that it can do. I am concerned however, about how insurance companies, employers, and others with invested interest will be able to tap into this resource and gather personal health and lifestyle/behaviour information about their employees and consumers looking for insurance. Could someone be denied insurance or have their rates depend on the results from a wristband, or could someone be denied employment based on lifestyle results from this technology. Do you think wearable technology will offer us more benefits or could it lead to privacy issues?

COM0011 – Blog #4: Facebook and Checks and balances

Customer Service Quality Feedback Tags

Images courtesy of Istockphoto

Some of us spend many hours on social media, as we are connected on our smart phones and tablets giving us the ability to go online whenever and wherever we are. For some, it can be quite an addiction and a distraction from reality. We have to ask ourselves, what are we getting in return, and what are we losing?

Do we feel less lonely and do we feel the need to venture out to social events less often because we get our social fill online? Are we more connected to our friends and family… or the opposite?

iStock_000004716410_SmallWith the presence of social media, we have evolved around how we communicate. When we are online, we are getting glimpses into our friends’, and family’s lives but the interaction lacks the same depth we have in one-on-one contact. If we believe that the majority of communication is done non-verbally, are we are losing our social skills and the ability to read others’ expressions and body language.

That fact that we now have emoticons available to convey emotion sums it up. Do emoticons really convey emotion or are they awkwardly overused? Is someone really “laughing out loud”?

Before I joined Facebook in 2006, I was so afraid to post any personal information or photos online, shop online or attach any personal information to my email account in fear of what the intrusion on my privacy could mean. At that time, most of my friends shared that same opinion.

Now, it seems we have done a 360-degree turn around and many of us are posting “selfies” and photos of our loved ones, photos of everything we do and eat on a daily basis. Now, it is not too difficult to find out where we are as we “check in” to our favorite restaurant. I recently stopped myself from “checking in” at the Toronto airport and posting my vacation photos during that week, as it would tell everyone “hey we are not home, our house is empty all week”. I think we still need to be conscious of what information we are making available online but with the ability to post, share and “check in” that point can be forgotten.

With access to information instantaneously and the vast outreach social media provides, you cannot ignore its benefits, however, there is a need for balance to help preserve our social skills and privacy. As they say, “Everything in moderation”.


Blog #3 COM0011 – Social media benefits the relationships between local government and its residents

By using social media, government agencies are able to educate and engage with their residents, enhance transparency about program initiatives, and by opening the social media platform to questions and, positive and negative comments, increase the level of trust in government services. Does the ability to ask questions and get personalized answers instil more trust? When you provide feedback and comments to a government social media site, do you feel you are really being heard?

Customer cubes over white background

Image from Istockphoto

Here is an example of a conversation via social media between a local government agency promoting the Green Bin Recycling program and a member of its community.

“It will break down and compost in the landfill, so why should I spend all the time and effort green binning my organic waste?”

LANDFILL compactor on tip face (1)“Modern engineered landfills are lined with a clay liner and capped to seal in all the garbage. They are designed with many environmental controls, like leachate and gas collection systems that remove the oxygen, liquid and gas. Without water and oxygen, the material does not break down. The landfill is designed to safely store your waste, not compost it. Therefore, some of our natural resources are going to waste instead of being composted to make nutrient rich soil – which can grow more food in little as 21 days! “

While local government agencies are trying to educate residents and promote their various programs such as the green bin recycling program that reduces waste going into the landfills, residents are trying to wrap their heads around how to get on board, why they should get on board and how to solve some of the issues they’ve encountered while trying it out. Facebook and twitter are excellent platforms for quickly disseminating this information, helping residents troubleshoot issues and answer questions to help them convert to the more eco-friendly way of handling their household waste.

Blog #2 COM0011 Intro to Social Media – Party planning via Facebook


Photo courtesy of istockphoto

Facebook is an excellent communication tool for planning a party, event or sending a request for sponsorship for walk-a-thons, sending a birth announcement, or finding a place to go out and listen to live music on a Friday night.

Think back a few years when having a party or gathering meant not only planning the food, activities and location but also putting together invitations and either mailing them out, or emailing people and then waiting for people to call you and RSVP before you know who is attending. Now all you have to do, is put the event page together with all the party information on Facebook, create a guest list, send the invites and the sit back, and wait for the RSVPs to click in. Guests will also receive reminders of your event and updates from the host.

Today, as far as I can see, the only events continuing on the paper train are weddings. Even the bachelor/bachelorette parties, stag and doe’s, and bridal showers are now part of the electronic invitation era.

This past weekend my daughter hosted a birthday party for my 5-year-old grand daughter. By using Facebook, not only was she able to reach her out-of-town family, friends and former neighbours with ease, but she was also able to answer questions from other parents about the party on the event’s page. Fortunately, when she, the host of the party was running late, she was able to notify the parents already present with cell phone access to Facebook, that she was on her way and running late. The post read:

train crossing”Almost there, we are stuck behind the longest train in history! My apologies, see you all soon!”

After the party, some of the guests shared the photos they had taken that day on the site for all the other guests to see.

It seems that gone are the days of the personal paper invitations and the phone calls to RSVP. The only drawback that comes to mind when I try to find a negative impact with using Facebook for party planning is the potential privacy issue, where your attendance at the event is posted online.

What are your thoughts? Are we becoming too impersonal with this technology? Does the personal touch of a paper or phone call invitation hold more weight? Is this way of party/event planning tacky?

Facebook posts – Inspiration, fact or fiction? (COM0011 Post #1 )

iStock_000059997018_MediumI am a frequent Facebook user and enjoy keeping in touch with friends and family, seeing their photos and reading their comments and even their comments on their friend’s posts. Every once in a while I come across a posted comment, that on first glance, looks like a legitimate story, and then I think – what? That can’t be true, what a bunch of hogwash! This inspires me to look into the issue further and do my own research.

For example, one of the comments I recently encountered circulating on Facebook was a negative response to the Canadian government accepting new refugees into the country and the amount of compensation they are given. The comment read “These refugees are given $1890 per month and an additional $520 per month, that’s more than our senior pensioners. Maybe our seniors would be better off applying for refugee status.” It went on to comment on how these refugees would be a drain on our economy and we should look after our own first.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and spin on things however; I recognize that some people are pushing their own biased agendas. A refugee arriving in Canada can receive a one-time startup payment of $1890 to arrange shelter, food and clothing and a further $520 per month after that. This monthly amount of $520 in my opinion is hardly enough to entice anyone to remain unemployed.

Who decides whether these people are a drain on our economic society? I believe these people are running for their lives, leaving everything they have behind, in search for a better life in a peaceful country.

Studies have shown that the majority of refugees we have welcomed to Canada in the past not only became gainfully employed, but also Canadian taxpayers.

Young woman using a laptop computer looking concerned and worried

News reported on reputable news and journal sites are a reliable source of information and held to a higher standard of reporting the facts. Social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter or Facebook are rarely scrutinized for accuracy. I find it to be thought provoking reading all the Facebook comments and differing opinions about current events but need take them with a grain of salt.