How to Keep Your Social Media Marketing Fun and Focused

By Christi Bouchard-Howden September 21-2019

Social Media Marketing has the potential to reach thousands of people.
Photo courtesy of: Pixabay.com

Posting With Purpose

Social media is a place where millions of people are literally at your fingertips. Your marketing campaign has the power to reach millions of views and influence just as many minds. But how exactly do you make your audience stop and take notice? We all know that keeping up with a social media schedule and posting regularly is key-however the content of the post is equally if not more important. It’s the quantity vs quality debate. Would you want your audience to view your content and see a ton of “fluffy fillers” with absolutely no purpose, or would you rather your followers be left with the feeling they are valued because you are providing them with an experience? Of course you would choose to have a connection with your target audience! Having relevant content doesn’t mean your post needs to be boring, you just need to figure out how to get your message across in an innovative way. Check out the tips below to see how you can keep your social media marketing fresh, fun and focused.

Get to know your target audience.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

1. Know your audience.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many posts are geared towards the interests of the writer. You may love an inspirational quote every day of the week, but it’s not necessarily what your followers want to see and it’s definitely not helping you reach your marketing goals.

First and foremost you need to find out exactly who your target audience is. What are the demographics? Think of yourself as a detective! Ask questions and dig deep to find the answers. What do your followers look like, how old are they, where do they live, what are their interests, and why do they need your product? Do your market research. There are several online tools available for marketing research on social media. Find the one that works best for you and get to know your audience.

Connect with your followers.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

2. Connect and engage.

Once you know your target audience, it’s time to connect with them. Communication is the key to any good relationship-and that is exactly what you are building. If you are using a “quote of the day”, make sure it sends a message to your viewers. Encourage them to share their feelings, stories or experiences that particular quote invokes. Maybe take your post in a different direction and have a theme day instead. For example, you can have a “Trivia Tuesday”, or “Fun Fact Friday”. The tips or facts should relate directly to your product or brand yet still spark interest with your readers. Also take the opportunity to post “open-ended” content that prompts the reader to become involved in the post. If it’s a trivia post, give your followers a chance to respond before revealing the answer. Take it a step further and offer a prize to the first person to get the question right. By interacting and communicating, you are connecting and engaging with your audience. You can see the level of engagement of your post with a social media analytics or insights tool. These tools give statistics and data detailing the interactions on your posts. From the results you can determine what types of posts your followers prefer based on their interactions. This is an excellent way to see what types of posts your audience responds to best.

Keep your audience captivated with compelling material.
Photo courtesy of: Pixabay.com

3. Keep your content captivating.

Your followers expect quality content. They want relevant information delivered in an innovative way. So what do you when the creative creek runs dry? Find a pool of inspiration! There are many sources online that supply content ideas for posts. You can scroll through Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms of social media. You can also check out blogs that list the different ways to keep your audience captivated.

All of these are great, however the best source for content is through your competition! This is not a suggestion to steal or plagiarize content from the enemy. It simply means taking a look at your competitors and see what works for them. By using a competitive analysis tool you can evaluate their rankings, social media and keyword comparisons. Some of these tools give insight into your competitors best performing product ads and strategies. This information is incredibly valuable because you know what your product has over the competition. Use that information to educate your followers. Captivate them by giving them something your competition can’t. Incorporate your knowledge with a creative delivery and you have a recipe for success!

Your contents needs to stand out from the others.
Photo courtesy of: Pixabay.com

4. Make your content stand out.

You know your target audience and you are building a relationship with them through informative and captivating material…so what’s next? Find a way to relate your message through a creative delivery! Not everyone is an artist or a graphic designer, but that doesn’t mean your content has to look like you only know how to draw stick people. The internet is full of sites offering images for free or at a small cost. Popular sites include Pixabay, Pexels, Shutterstock, and Canva. (Make sure when using images you have either permission to use the photo or it is not under copyright. Infringement has penalties, however that is a whole other blog post!)

One product in particular, called Promo (previously known as Slide.ly), gives you the opportunity to present your content through a variety of photos, video clips backed by music. These videos have thousands of categories enabling you to choose the perfect one for your product.

Use an analytics tools to monitor insights and post engagements.
Photo courtesy of: Pixabay.com

The End Game

Every social media marketer strives to get leads and drive up their traffic, which in turn builds their business. These goals are within reach if you are establishing a relationship with your audience, connecting and engaging with them regularly by providing quality and relevant content. Keep it fresh and fun with the delivery but never underestimate the power of knowledge by using the various tools available to analyze and track your followers engagement and interactions with your posts.

What are your social media marketing goals and how do feel that your content is reaching your target audience effectively?

Find out How To Keep Your Social Media Fun and Focused
bit.ly/2kNeE2f

Snapchat…..WHY?

Why do we need added filters on our pictures?

So I may be in my forties but in my mind I don’t see myself as being out of touch with social media, a little slow (it may be an age thing) but definatly not out of touch! I do my very best to stay on top of all the new apps and sites that our kids are using. But according to our children “I have now idea what I’m talking about!” when it comes to Snapchat, and you know what? I may have to agree with them on this one!

Is it just me, or do the youth of today have little or little to no in person communication skills? They have no idea how to communicate face to face anymore. What is a handshake? What is eye contact? Social skills are becoming extinct to this generation! In our house, Snapchat has seemed to have created three zombies! From the time they wake up till the time they go back to sleep their phones are stuck in their faces. I don’t for the life of me understand the fascination of adding filters like dog ears or borders of flowers, or using voice changers just to send a picture to say hello or ask to hang out. Why not simply just send a simple text or call? But apparently I this is a normal way for kids to communicate these days. I have also found that when the kids get lazy they just snap a picture of their legs or feet, or even the floor and attach their caption, what kind of laziness is this? Once again back to my original question, why not send a simple text message where there is no extra energy required, just type and send, avoid the whole picture.

I have recently added the Snapchat app to my phone. The kids think its weird that I have it. My only use for the app is to try and show them how redicouasly crazy they look using it all the time for communication purposes. So now I send them crazy little messages like, supper is ready and time for school, just to try and show them how silly it is!

Here are a few links to help inform us old folks (parents) about this new found facinaation called Snapchat

Has Snapchat taken over this generation? Will I ever get my Zombie children back? Please tell me it will get better!!!

Snapchat…..parents need to be more aware of what their children are doing with it!

Snapchat…..parents need to be more aware of what their children are doing with it! #snapchat #parents #socialmedia #zombies

COM0011 – Blog #1 – The Dangers of Social Media

There are so many dangers when using Social Media that many people may not even be aware of.  Cyber-bullying, identity theft, public shaming and more.  People have become addicted to Social Media and this has led to over-sharing and not thinking about the consequences of their actions.  Children and young adults are lured by predators and the elderly are robbed of their life savings.

When it comes to your child using social media, the parent can set up the account for the child. Parents can set the privacy settings.  Who can see their photos and posts, who can contact them. the parent can monitor who there child is friends with and they can make sure everything is being monitored. Parents should make sure they know the risks and the benefits of social media before they allow there child to use it.

“The Internet, particularly social media, is another outlet for possible downfall. When it comes to technology and teens normally the dangerous things that come to mind are sexting, online predators, and cyberbullying. All are incredibly damaging, more common than people think, and should be talked about”. – from www.allprodad.com

A great article taken from care.com is worth reading.  5 Dangers of Social Media to Discuss with Yours Kids

 

From YouTube.  Dangers of Secret Social Media | Murder of Nicole Lovell

creepFrom WCU Dangers of Social Media (Facebook)

To promote and raise awareness to the dangers of social media. The images and posts below are being used to help students understand the potential hazards.

4 Ways Social Media is affecting teens.

When we ask someone their thoughts on Social Media, chances are the answer will be different every time. Depending on their age, career, or social status.

There is a large community of people who believe Social Media is a negative world for young teens, that can cause harm or mental illness. In this blog, we are going to discover how Social Media can put a positive spin in a teens life.

Unique friendships can be easily created through Social Media. It gives introverted teens a greater chance to reach out and become more involved socially. With a creative outlook, it gives teens a chance to find a group of individuals with unique interests and follow those pages; contributing to conversations that they may not find at school. “…according to a study by Common Sense Media, 52 percent of teens felt that social media improved their friendships…” (Sherri Gordon, https://bit.ly/2Buf2Yf). Whether they have a unique talent they share on Pinterest or joined a fan club for a less popular band. These teens will feel involved and a part of something special.

“The main purpose of social networking sites is to allow people to socialise, regardless of distance and other barriers.” (Trinity Grammar School, https://bit.ly/2UXjwhV)

Advertising for good cause is sometimes missed when discussing not only Social Media, but teens that genuinely care about changing the world. Let’s take a look at Co-Founder of WE.org, Craig Kielburger. After seeing a local newspaper headline discussing young children in Pakistan being murdered in child labour, at just age 12, Craig knew he wanted to change the world. From then on he managed to reach attention from big names such as Oprah, BBC and 60 minutes. Through his journey, along side is brother and second Co-Founder Marc Kielburger, they have made themselves a platform, WE and WE DAY. (Read more about Co-Founder of WE, Craig Kielburger)

Craig Kielburger speaking at WE Day, Rogers Arena 2014
Jen van Houten Via Personal Photo from Concerts & Events

Without the specific advertising for youth around the world through Social Media, Craig and Marc may not have reached such an immense impact to world change. Through advertising online, speaking on talk shows, and creating commercials, many youth & parents of the youth would not know what they could accomplish without Craig and Marc to guide. With the empire Craig & Marc have created, we can travel around the world volunteering to build community centres, learn new cultures, and create friendships from various countries. Craig & Marc have also created a world-wide event called WE Day. Although it may not be in your specific country, they broadcast it on TV stations and posting news about what is happening at the event through Social Media. This allows teens to feel more involved and may peak the interest of teens wanting to start change!

WE Day is the manifestation of the WE movement: an unparalleled celebration of young people and educators who have made a difference. Held in over 15 cities across the United States, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean, the event series features an inspiring line-up of world-renowned speakers, award-winning performers and real-world stories of change. You can’t buy a ticket —you have to earn your way. All it takes is one local and one global action through WE Schools.” (Craig Kielburger, https://www.we.org/en-CA/our-work/we-day/)

Support through Social Media has gained enormous credit to many survival stories. Now teens have access to support & guidance through online companies such as the Kids Help Phone. Kids Help Phone is a website that allows teens to contact them through texting, live chat, phone calls, and gives teens resources to find help in their area. It provides tools to help themselves or a friend in a crisis. Displaying true stories that teens can relate to and answers common questions teens may seek. No matter what is on their minds, Kids Help Phone has an answer and is able to help 24/7. The comfort in knowing it is all confidential, a teen can ask questions without consequence, which is relieving for anyone, no matter what age!

” Kids Help Phone is always there for you. No matter what you want to talk about, we’re here to listen. No judgment, totally private, 24/7.” (https://kidshelpphone.ca/ , 2019)

Photo Taken at the Kids Help Phone Walk in Calgary, 2015
(Davebloggs007 Via Personal Photo of events in Calgary)

With that being said,

Self Esteem is a controversial topic when it comes to Social Media. Often when the two topics are together we hear words like ‘damaging’, ‘destroyed’ or ‘bruised’. When looking deeper at this discussion, we will find companies such as ‘Dove’ that are changing our minds.

Dove has advertised multiple campaigns related to body image, beauty standards, and showing us that we don’t have to look like a model in a magazine to be considered worthy.

In fact, when we explore the Dove page, click the ‘Dove Self Esteem Project’. There we will find Dove campaigns, stories of courageous women for teens to look up to, and cruelty-free Dove products to try!

“The Dove Self-Esteem Project was created from a vision where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. … Our mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look – helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. …” (https://bit.ly/2krfZvp , Dove 2019)

A project that stuck out, directed at growing teens is the ‘Dove Selfie – Redefining Beauty One Photo At A Time’ campaign. Dove is not only a skin care brand, but a brand that is redefining the young beauty community. The video demonstrates young beauty insecurities often get passed down from generations, and it is up to teens and their mother (or guardian) to redefine the meaning of beauty. Helping (woman targeted) customers feel confident and giving them the power to realize their beauty inside & out. I encourage us all to check out the video online!

Whether a TV commercial, Billboard or Instagram page, we can all rely on Dove to help us rediscover our beauty! Check out their Instagram page!

Dove advertising real beauty from real, everyday women.
(Abigail Howey Via Global Cosmetics News)

While many of us focus on the detriments of Social Media and how it may cause teens in our society pain & grief, we should remember the benefits it can deliver. How easily teens can fit in to social groups, the advertising that can cause positive world change, large support between peers & online chats, and the beauty community that is encouraging self worth & redefining standards.

If we all help show teens the positive outcomes to Social Media and encourage them to find these reliable sources to follow, perhaps our thoughts & words will change. Instead of mentioning the harm, we focus on positive growth. What can our teens do with Social Media in their futures if they are exposed to positivity & feeling of inclusiveness? Will they allow themselves to achieve more excellence?

Sources: https://www.verywellfamily.com/benefits-of-social-media-4067431 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3agBWqGfRo , http://info.trinity.nsw.edu.au/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-social-media-use-for-teens , https://bitly.com/ , https://kidshelpphone.ca/ , https://www.instagram.com/dove/?hl=en , https://www.dove.com/ca/en/dove-self-esteem-project/our-mission.html , https://www.we.org/en-CA/about-we/our-founders/craig-kielburger , https://www.flickr.com/

Facebook: Good Morning everyone! Fall is in the air; how good does it feel to sit by the fireplace, cozied up with tea & a good book… or a good blog perhaps? If you are interested in discovering a new outlook of Social Media, I encourage you to check out my bog! Within the blog, we will uncover 4 ways Social Media is affecting teens. Find out if it’s negatively… or positively? Leave a comment below your thought on the new age of Social Media and the vast change it has on the young generation!

Twitter: Learn 4 ways Social Media is affecting teens! Read my blog to discover a new outlook on Social Media! #KidsHelpPhone #WE #DOVE #SocialMediaBlog #PositiveSpin

4 tips for Introverts who don’t use social media (but want to)

man wearing red bag hiding face in front of computer screen, introverted person
Image licensed from Adobe

I have a confession to make: I’m an introverted entrepreneur. Now, before you pass judgement on that seemingly inconsequential statement, consider a few of the generally accepted qualities of an imagined entrepreneur: charismatic, confident, and a people-person. In my humble opinion I don’t embody those words in the slightest, and I frequently suffer from attacks of imposter-syndrome when it comes to my business. I feel like I’m leading a secret life.

Despite my awkward, introverted self, I started a company almost 10 years ago and focus on a small but loyal market. I had enough work and was happy to spend days alone in my office, focused on work I enjoy, with minimal interaction. Recently though, I’ve felt the increasing pressure to jump into the social media mosh pit. I’ve resisted for so long, hiding my thriving little company in the solitude of my office, afraid of judgement, criticism and confrontation. But my clients are asking to incorporate social media strategies into their projects, and their markets are on social media as well. Close to 90% of Canadians are connected online and over 60% of them use social media every day (McKinnon, 2019), so there’s no doubt that social media is relevant and important. I decided it was time to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s time that I peek out from behind my desk and dip a toe into the social media swim. 

Does that mean I start plating my sad leftovers so they’re suitable for Instagram? Do I start wearing makeup and practicing my duck-face for all those selfies I’ll need? Will I need to loudly claim the social causes, political affiliations and charities I might be involved in? NO. I’ve chosen not to. I’m slowly wading into the social media pool party in my own unobtrusive way.

Making the leap

How am I making this transition? By making small, simple steps that build my relationship and comfort-level with social media at my own pace: 

  1. Observe. I have to study something before I get involved. Social media is no exception. So rather than just starting random accounts and jumping in, I’ve spent some time browsing through the groups and posts on different channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. I want to learn what people are saying and what topics are getting attention. What voice do the organizations that I admire use? I also ask my friends and other trusted colleagues in my industry how they use social media (and I lurk on their accounts!). 
  2. Understand that I choose what I post. You don’t have to announce anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Some people love going into the fine details of their kid’s accomplishments, family traditions, and frustrations with work, the world and all that’s under the sun. That’s fine. But if you don’t feel comfortable with that level of sharing, then don’t feel obligated to follow suit. Marisa Quinn wrote a terrific article on 10 Things About Social Media That Make Me Uncomfortable As An Introvert. You can focus on other things that don’t feel like they’re encroaching dangerously close to your personal space. You’re your own social media filter! 
  3. Ignore the numbers. Social media follows, likes and connections sometimes feel like the measure of your success on a specific platform. That’s ok if those numbers are meaningful to you but personally, this introvert prefers to focus on a smaller group of people, just like in real life. Once you start your account, you don’t need to follow every person recommended to you. Curate your community to serve your purposes. Having a more meaningful group will make it easier to connect and engage with them once you’re ready. 
  4. Be selective. You don’t need a presence on every platform. Find out where your audience spends their time and focus your efforts on that platform.

As an entrepreneur, the benefits of social media are hard to ignore, but as an introvert, it can leave you feeling anxious. Just remember that social media doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy. Even though it’s always on, you’re not. Take it at your own pace, and when you’ve had enough, you can simply log out. 

Meme of character Ron Burgundy from the movie "Anchorman" saying "I'm not anti-social, I'm selectively social. There's a difference."
Image from Looking in the Popular Culture Mirror

If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, we’d love to learn how you approach social media! Let us know in the comments: what works, what doesn’t work or what worries you most?

Check back soon for my next blog post, where I feature one of the most successful introverted entrepreneurs and look at the major impact he’s had on social media. 

Social media can feel like the big, loud party you never wanted to go to: find out how one introverted entrepreneur eased her way in to join the party (from a safe distance of course!).  #introvert #entrepreneur #socialmedia #adviceforintroverts #business #freelance #businessadvice

Social media isn’t always easy for #introverts: 4 tips on how you can ease into the #socialmedia stream.  #introvert #entrepreneur #socialmedia #adviceforintroverts #business #freelance #businessadvice

References in the text: 

McKinnon, M. (2019, June 30). 2019 Report: Social Media Use in Canada. CanadasInternet.com. Retrieved on September 16, 2019 from https://canadiansinternet.com/2019-report-social-media-use-canada/

Quinn, M. (2016, November 3). 10 Things About Social Media That Make Me Uncomfortable As An Introvert. Introvertdear.com. Retrieved on September 17, 2019 from https://introvertdear.com/news/introvert-social-media-things-that-make-me-uncomfortable/

Blog #4: Wanderlust – Travel Blogging 101 [COM0011]

I’m sorry to say, but that dog-eared copy of Frommer’s England ’91 on $50 a Day that your parents have gathering dust on the bookshelf just doesn’t cut it anymore. Lucky for you and thanks to the internet, a quick Google search of any destination will provide a plethora of options and itineraries to suit any travel appetite or budget.

9780133267785-us

Image via Abe Books


Welcome to the world of travel blogging

The world is your oyster, so to speak. It is so easy, thanks to a few strokes of your keyboard, to find your real-life version of ‘choose your own adventure’. You can find tips, tricks and experiences you can only dream about. Ever want to swim with the dolphins while you snorkel in Costa Rica? There’s probably someone out there who has done it! Ride a camel in the Sahara desert as part of your month-long vacation in Morocco? There’s a custom tour for that!

In 2015 Garrett Gee, then a student and soccer player at university, sold his mobile scanning app to social media giant Snapchat for $54 million, leaving him and his partner Jessica wondering what to do next.

“A new house and cars didn’t feel right,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “We didn’t need that stuff. We were young, healthy and really didn’t need much of anything. So we started joking about putting our money in savings, selling everything and using those funds to travel the world. As we began to add more plans to our bucket list, it just became real.”

Though most people don’t make millions so early in their careers, Garrett and Jessica quickly turned their joy for travel into a business of their own.

Travel blogging 2.0 – ‘The Bucket List Family’

My father is from a small island in the Mediterranean, Malta. Not many people know it’s a country onto itself, let alone a region rich in history dating back to 4000 B.C. So when I was spending time on Instagram one day and I came across The Bucket List Family visits Malta, I was intrigued. That’s how I first learned of their little family, their trips and their many adventures still yet to come.

 

Video by The Bucket List Family via YouTube

Of all the travel blogs I’ve visited over the years, The Bucket List Family’s is certainly at the top of my favourites list.

They’ve mastered their social media accounts, particularly their YouTube channel and Instagram accounts. For Instagram specifically, each family member has their own account, in addition to the family one:

bucketlistfamilyinsta

Image via Instagram

 

 

 

 

Their own personal brand

They have become so successful in their niche that they have been able to establish themselves as their own brand.

logo , colour, branding

Image by Garrett Gee via Dribble

You can purchase products with The Bucket List Family branding on it, you can subscribe to become part of the Bucket List Friends (which gives you exclusive access to special travel deals, top secret tips and tricks to travel) and receive invitations to friends-only expeditions. They also use their reviews of locations, hotels, accommodations and tours to sponsor their trips.

What makes their blog stand out from the crowd

The Bucket List Family have an incredible catalogue of adventures. They’ve travelled the world and have visited 65 different countries before settling on their home base in Hawaii.

Through their many posts, video blogs, journals, Instagram pictures, videos, and interviews, are highlights from their trips with their family to push themselves outside of their comfort zones.

They make videos that are interesting and purposeful, and present their stories in a very personal light.

They tell you all about how they got started.  How much it cost them to start off on their first adventure. They explain how to grow a successful social media channel and even delve into the music they use in their videos. They also share personal details such as how they keep in shape while on a trip and what it’s like to travel with kids and babies!

You name it; they have probably talked about it.

They provide recommendations for a variety of things on their travels. This includes restaurants, airports, gyms, breakfasts, inspiring movies, desserts, and quotes.

They even show you how they pack for any length of travel, with dedicated sections on their Pinterest page.

Images by The Bucket List Family via Pinterest

 

Even though they’re seasoned travelers, they’ll be the first to tell you that things aren’t always rosy on the road. They keep it real and share some of the downsides of travel. Things like waiting around in airports, sleep deprivation, long layovers, unexpected delays, travelling with a young family, and so on. They also talk about real life experiences and mishaps while travelling, like that time Jessica got stung on the face by a Portuguese man o’ war on a trip in Tonga or when Dorothy ended up in the emergency room in Thailand.

Blogging in style

The Bucket List Family’s video and photography skills are excellent. Not only do they share breathtaking photos of their destinations, but they have amazing quality video with use of different equipment both above and below water. They use drones to support their filming and they’re committed to keeping their followers up-to-date with regular posts from all of their social media accounts.

The great thing about travel blogs like The Bucket List Family as well as travel blogs in general, they’re a platform that doesn’t go out of fashion – as long as they’re current. Unlike the Frommer’s 1991 print edition I mentioned earlier, following travel blogs with current information means you’ll still be able to eat at that top-rated restaurant in Paris, even when they move locations.

The Bucket List Family also encourages their audience to reach outside their comfort zones and create their own adventures, their own bucket lists. They show how they can travel, have fun and still help others along the way.

Images by The Bucket List Family via Pinterest

 

What travel blogs do you frequent or recommend? Where are you headed on your next adventure? Please share in the comments!

 

unknown Like to travel & share your experiences? Check out the latest tips to make your blog standout https://bit.ly/2mkh6xj #wanderlust #travel #bucketlist #travelblogger #travelguide #passport

unknown-1 For the latest tips on how to start your own travel blog, check out @TheBucketListFamily & learn about how to become successful in doing (and seeing) what you love! https://bit.ly/2mkh6xj #wanderlust #travel #bucketlist #travelblogger #travelphotography #nature #photogoftheday #love #passport

 

 

Blog #3: 8 ways to look out for false information during Canada’s 43rd election [COM0011]

As Canada’s 43rd election campaign gets underway and Canadians of voting eligibility age will fulfill their civic duty, I cannot help but think about how each of the main political parties will use social media as a platform to reach voters. Many of Canada’s main news organizations are already taking part in the coverage of the upcoming election on social media, in what they are calling, this ‘new battleground’.

RickMercerCdnpoli19

Fake news in 2019

The tipping point

Perhaps one of the most newsworthy election scandals in recent memory is the 2016 Presidential Election in which Donald J. Trump was elected to the topmost position in the United States. The role of the Russian government in the election interference scandal have permeated news stories since.

It has been confirmed that Russia did in fact use social media to spread misinformation and ‘fake news’, confirming certain details that favoured some candidates over the others. As outlined in a report by the Data & Society Research Institute ‘internet subcultures take advantage of the current media ecosystem to manipulate news frames, set agendas and propagate ideas’. The dark corners of the internet where hate groups and their ideologies lurk give fire to misleading and unrepresentative information to spread.

The 2016 election further cemented the notion that the impact that the media environment and social media, have to push and change the message to suit the various parties and differing agendas.

As the election campaign gets off to its start here in Canada, we cannot help but look to social media to see how much impact a similar situation could have on voters here.

Could it happen again?

A recent federal report on the results of the 2019 Alberta provincial election show that yes, it can – and probably will at some point again. This report by the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) team at Global Affairs Canada found that ‘suspicious online activity during the recent Alberta election seemed to be driven by United Conservative Party supporters, lobby groups, far-right figures and known hate groups’ – likely driven by trolls or bots.

The Guardian stated that the ‘manipulation of our media environment by foreign as well as domestic actors is now the new normal’.  Whether or not you are a traditional media user with newspapers, radio and television, or a millennial using all forms of social media, you need to take steps to be hyper-vigilant when getting information online about various political parties.

Unfortunately, telling the difference between real and fake news isn’t always fun and games.

FakeNewsGame

Fake News! A Game of Facts & Falsehoods

As we head to the polls on October 21st, make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Here are a few tips to help you get there:

  1. CBC News’ Disinformation Unit has released a new computer tool to help you distinguish fact from fiction. Learn more at this news segment on CBC Radio’s Up North with Waubgeshig Rice.
  2. Snopes is a great resource for fact-checking internet rumours.
  3. Does the domain name from the source look strange at all? Does it have any extra letters that do not normally belong? If so, it might be fake.
  4. Does the same story appear on multiple news sites? Are they reporting the same information? If so, it is probably ok.
  5. Meet with your local party representatives and ask them questions about their platforms.
  6. Can you verify from numerous reputable sources the claims that are being made about the party? Are the videos associated with specific groups or perhaps endorsed by reputable people? If they are posted or shared anonymously, then they can be spreading misinformation or even disinformation.
  7. Check yourself. Is it at all possible that your own personal biases are affecting your judgement?
  8. Visit https://www.politifact.com/ to verify political news stories – though this applies to US politics and is not so relative to the upcoming Canadian election.

It is not a stretch to think that something like this could happen in the upcoming Canadian federal election. For voters, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine factual from false claims as a viral videos can easily misrepresent false information. A viral video that appears on Facebook with hundreds of thousands of hits will encourage audiences to think that the information is true when it could in fact be false. Furthermore, if a post on Facebook or Twitter provokes strong emotional reactions, the sharing of that numerous times will only further cement its validity.

What about you? Have you ever proven false information that you have found online? Have you ever been swayed by something you have seen on social media? If so, please share below.

 

unknown Finding #truth in the social media election battleground can be tricky. Here are 7 tips to help you along as Canada heads to the polls. https://bit.ly/2lTsUGQ #CDNPoli #CanadaVotes #Cyberspace

unknown-1 Do you feel like you are bombarded with so much information that you can’t tell the difference between the truth and #FakeNews? You’re not alone. Cyberspace can be a wealth of information and it can lead you down the rabbit hole. Here are 7 tips to help you determine what is true and what isn’t as Canada heads to the polls this October. https://bit.ly/2lTsUGQ #CDNPoli #CanadaVotes #Cyberspace #DownTheRabbitHole

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Further reading:

https://globalnews.ca/news/5879364/social-media-bots-alberta-federal-election/

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6456/858

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/alberta-election-inauthentic-global-affairs-1.5273349

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fake-news-misinformation-online-1.5196865

 

Blog #2: Socializing in a social media world [COM0011]

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 2.46.38 PM

Meme via Meme

What is the first thing you do in the morning when your alarm goes off? What’s the last thing you do before you close your eyes each night? I would bet that it has something to do with social media. 

Whether it’s checking Twitter or Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram, you might find yourself as one of the people who check social media more than you’d like to admit. Social media has become such a large part of our lives that I would argue for many of us, it’s the first thing we look at before our feet touch the floor in the morning or we have our first coffee of the day. 

Why do we love it?

Social media is a distraction. It doesn’t take a lot of concentration and in a world where we’re bombarded with information and we’re on the go all the time, it’s an escape from our everyday reality. We can scroll mindlessly through our news feeds and keep up with acquaintances and friends we’ve acquired over our lifetime. We can find out that our best friend from elementary school just got a super rare new puppy and it’s eaten through six pairs of shoes already. Or perhaps we’ll learn that the person who sat beside you in your second-year university psychology class just started up her own doTerra essential oil business. This information is all available at our fingertips, and available with minimal effort. We feel like we’re in touch with each other, even if it is superficial.

Interacting with one another is how we learn the unwritten rules of the world. Manners, social standards, social norms. interacting in the outside world provides us feedback on how we maneuver ourselves in the social landscape.

We are more connected to each other than ever thanks to social media but we are also more disconnected from each other. I might be dating myself, but I can remember the first time someone had talked about Facebook and I was so excited to create a profile of my own and join in on one of the most popular social media platforms to-date. Our connections to these platforms mean that we can probably tell you what so-and-so ate the other day because they posted a picture of it on Instagram. On the flip side whoever, we couldn’t tell you the last time we spoke to this person on the phone, let alone face-to-face. 

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Meme via Someecards

How is the next generation learning to socialize? 

What will growing up with social media for the next generation look like? What will they learn about forming friendships, creating relationships and nurturing human interactions? 

Many of these skills are developed and reinforced in early life and in childhood. We get our social cues from others. But what happens when the interpersonal social interactions, with real life people are not there? When it’s more common to post for clicks, comments and likes than it is to have meaningful conversations about things that matter?

The popularity of social media platforms has been steadily increasing since Facebook was introduced in the public sphere in 2004. “According to experts, almost 20% of people with social media accounts cannot go more than three hours without checking them”. Are you one of them? 

For me, that’s a frightening statistic. Though I didn’t grow up with these tools so easily accessible, I still find myself having difficulty distancing myself from checking them on a regular basis. 

Finding a balance

This past summer, I took a break from social media. My Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts went dormant and I lived my life, without checking in online. It was great. I took pictures, but I didn’t post them for others to see. I wasn’t waiting by my phone to see how many likes or comments I got when I posted a photo of my son doing something cute on Instagram or Facebook. I didn’t share the video of my daughter doing a dance routine on the trampoline. 

I wasn’t obsessing, over-analyzing and comparing my life with my friends accounts, or my friends of friends accounts. Admittedly, it is difficult for me to completely eliminate social media from my life. For one thing, I work in communications and being online at work is necessary. But I can certainly develop boundaries between me on social media at work, and me on social media at home.

Though I don’t have all the answers, I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to be aware of our thoughts and feelings as well as with our relationships with others while using social media. We can ask ourselves the basic question – is social media adding happiness to my life? Like a lot of things in life, finding a balance between the world online and the one in real-life is key.

 

unknown Social media has changed how we communicate. What tips do you have for finding balance between being online and living life? https://bit.ly/2kp6P2s #socialmedia #TurnOffMyPhone #socialmediabreak

unknown-1 Do you feel like you need to break up with your social media accounts? We can all use a break here and there. How do you find balance between being online and living your life? Check out this latest blog post and comment below to share tips on how you disconnect https://bit.ly/2kp6P2s #socialmedia #TurnOffMyPhone #socialmediabreak

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Further reading:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314395153_Socialization_as_Media_Effect

https://adaa.org/social-media-obsession

 

Blog 2-The Future or not of Autonomous cars

https://www.alphr.com/cars/1001329/driverless-cars-of-the-future-how-far-away-are-we-from-autonomous-cars

If you have seen Blade Runner 2049 or even the Jetson’s, then you’ve seen an autonomous car! Well that is where we are heading but not fast enough for my liking. I have told my husband that I will willingly give up my licence when I turn 60 because I am so tired of driving the highway 5 days a week to get to work with all the brake stomping and rude drivers. But now there is another option looming on the horizon, the autonomous car!

The car companies have been working for the last few years to advance car building to include safety features like automated parking, lane assist, crash avoidance and back up cameras and they had hopes to have a fully automated car in the works for 2019 but haven’t been able to achieve that yet.

Some of the concerns and safety issues that have to be considered are:

Would you drive a fully autonomous vehicle if there was one on the market? Comment below

So I will wait and hopefully when it’s time to replace my vehicle in 6 years I will, if not get a fully autonomous car, I can at least take advantage of some of the safety measures added and become one of the few drivers like https://www.autoblog.com/2019/09/10/tesla-autopilot-video-driver-passenger-asleep/ . Or maybe I should just stick with my wish of the flying unicorn with a safety harness so that I can sleep on my commute and stay safe!

Would you drive a fully autonomous vehicle if there was one on the market? Find out why I can’t wait for autonomous cars!

http://bit.ly/3kdmszg

Find out why I can’t wait for #autonomouscars!

http://bit.ly/3kdmszg

Facebook – Is there a connection?

When Facebook first came out everyone was so excited to be a part of it, people were adding friends from out of the closet and building up their friends list. It didn’t matter that you hadn’t seen Suzy since grade school or that the co-worker you added from your building wasn’t really someone that you hang out with. It was all about making sure your friends list was big so everyone else would know that you mattered.

But are these relationships real or superficial and do they matter? Do we really care that Brian from our yoga class ate tofu for the first time or that Sandy from high school just broke up with her boyfriend? Do all these people on our friends list elevate our standing in the social media world or clutter up the important things? Do we miss out on what our real-life friends and families post because we have the rantings of people that don’t even know us taking up valuable space?

While some of these friends can enrich our lives with their news and stories, I feel like we spend too much time with our heads on a device reading the stories of people that don’t have an impact on our day to day lives instead of really hearing and seeing what the people around us have to say.

So, to this I have said no more friends unless it’s meaningful to my life. Are you someone that I can hang out with in real life, do we have a bond together, and do you have something important to say instead of “I went to the Dentist today!”

I have learned that friendship isn’t about who you have known the longest, it’s about who came and never left your side.

Yolanda Hadid

Check out these blogs:

Facebook, Can you have too many friends and why do you need them?

http://tiny.cc/9v3ycz

Facebook, too many friends! #realfriends#toomany

http://tiny.cc/9v3yc