MI-JUL20 Applied Social Media, Blog Post #1 – My Preferred Tools and Sources

by Vivian Maßwohl

If you interact with social media, you’ll know everything is about trends: the latest hashtags, challenges, and even social media platforms themselves. It’s all about staying up to date and adding your own personal spin to each fad; however, how are you supposed to stay on top of what’s going on?

What’s the latest social media trend you participated in?

An accurate representation of me trying to figure out where the latest online trend came from.

This week, MI-JUL20 Applied Social Media focused on social media trend listening and monitoring tools. Personally, I have no experience using these tools, but based on research and personal experience I have found two preferences:

  • First, is Keyhole. Keyhole helps you monitor your Twitter and Instagram accounts–two platforms that I deem essential for staying up to date with what’s what. With Keyhole, one can see the latest online news by tracking keywords, hashtags, URLs, and usernames while viewing heat maps of activity levels across the world. Twitter is where I get my news in general, so I know when I begin to see talk about social media trends that the must be in full force. Additionally, Instagram activity is a good way to monitor more media-based trends (videos and images), because many “meme pages” will re-upload hot content from other platforms. For example, I noticed Tik Tok was getting huge from the amount of reposts I saw on Instagram.
  • If I were looking to monitor content on a broader scale, I would use the popular monitoring site, Hootsuite, which monitors activity across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, and WordPress. From what I can find, it seems to be the only tool to monitor both the tools that would be deemed necessary for my professional work: LinkedIn and Twitter. In the bureaucratic world, it seems that these are the most-used tools with the greatest success (although, I personally deal with internal-to-government platforms for which there are no monitoring tools available).

What tools do you use?

When all else fails, I follow fellow social media manager personal accounts (and the hashtag #socialmediamanager) and observe what younger people around me are posting about for social-media-type news and updates of interest to me.

The course readings also recommended Mashable, which has an “apps” section with articles on social media trends. I found this intriguing, as I often learn about the existence trends, but am unaware of the full context or source behind them. I will definitely be adding that to my toolbox for when I need updates on ever-changing online activity!

Social Media Tools and Resources for the Field of Film

Image from giphy.com

As a recent graduate trying to get into the field of film, I am keeping up to date and following as many film sites as possible. However, I am still unfamiliar with social media monitoring (or listening) tools. As such, I would like to share with you today film resources which I have enjoyed for a long time, as they have helped me keep up to date with what is happening in the world of film, as well as some social media monitoring tools which I am familiarizing myself with, in the hopes that you might also find these sites useful. 

Film Resources

There is so much to keep up with in film! Everything from new camera and lighting technologies, upcoming films, new talent, and new film theories. As a result, there are many blogs and sites which I make sure to regularly visit so I can get the latest film news. Here are two of my favourites: 

Rotten Tomatoes. This site is widely known and used by over 7 million readers each month. It is known to be a dependable resource for the reporting of movies, which includes over 250,000 titles and 850,000 links to reviews. Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the critical reaction of films for its readers. This is a useful tool for me, especially when writing an article about a film. Knowing how it was received by both critics and fans is helpful to know, and useful to add context surrounding the film’s reception.  

Film School Rejects. I love Film School Rejects. It is a blog devoted to film reviews, interviews, film industry news, and feature commentary. I personally love the articles which are more academic in nature, where they show a different way of seeing a certain character or film scene. These have definitely helped me in my film studies. Moreover, their film industry news is a practical way to stay up to date. Film School Rejects has gained a good reputation, and has been named as one of the 50 best blogs for filmmakers by MovieMaker magazine, and best news blog by Total Film

Monitoring Tools.

As mentioned above, when it comes to social media listening tools, I am more apprehensive. These sites are something which I’ve only started using in the last few weeks as part of a social media course. As a result, this is something I’ve only recently learned how to do, so I am still in the process of learning how to navigate these tools. Here are the tools that I’ve started using, which I am finding beneficial to keep track of topics and trends in film:

Google Alerts. I quite like Google Alerts because I find it easy to use and navigate. Receiving an e-mail every time Google finds results which are relevant to my search criteria is great. I also like that I can customize my criteria to specific regions and languages. For example, if I want to know what is happening with British Film and how it is received in other countries I can do so. 

Hootsuite RSS Syndicator. I’ve just recently been starting to use Hootsuite RSS syndicator. Being able to monitor blogs and websites in one space which are relevant to my field is definitely advantageous. It also saves some time because all the information I want from different sources is in one place, and I don’t have to check various websites individually. I’m still not 100% comfortable with it, I keep feeling as though there is something I am missing. However I think with practice I’ll become more familiar with this platform and be able to use it with more ease and be able to take advantage of all of its features. 

I find these sources and tools helpful to keep up to date in the film industry because I find that they are reliable, and offer good information which complement the news I get from other sources. Furthermore, the sources that I use are also used by industry professionals, film enthusiasts and casual film fans alike. Getting the feel of how different film audiences react to certain films, getting insight on what they enjoy watching is valuable information, especially when writing about film whether it be a review or an analysis. 

COM0014 – Blog #2: Writing and Communicating the Right Way.

Surprisingly I have always thought of myself as a good communicator and that I am able to get my points and thoughts across in the correct way. Who knew that I was making some crucial mistakes? Over this week I had the opportunity to delve deeper in storytelling, communication styles, and encouraging interaction. I am going to go over what things I was doing incorrectly in my writing style and what I will be doing moving forward.

Girl writing on a black keyboard
Image source: Kaboompics from Pexels

In my opinion, one of the most important things I learned and was definitely not following was: Do Not Bury the Lead. Yes, for some reason I have seen in my previous writing that I tend to do this. As the author states:

In journalism, there’s an expression: Don’t bury the lead (also known as the “lede”). Basically, it means you should write the most important thing first; each successive paragraph can flesh out the main idea for those who are interested in reading further. (Clarke, 2020, para. 1)

Previously I thought that if I left the reader guessing for awhile then they would continue to read. From now on I need to think of any of my blog writing as a formal paper and make sure that it has an introduction. I think that will allow me to remember the concept of the Inverted Pyramid Writing Technique.

Passive vs. Active Voice is another aspect I will need to work on. When looking back at my work I thought it was fine as long as their were no spelling or grammar mistakes. While passive writing will have no grammatical errors, writing in an active voice will be more clear for the reader and interest the reader on a larger scale. As the author wrote, “Nevertheless, the active voice is sometimes a far better choice, and you may use both in the same article depending on the context and content of your sentences and the section of your paper you are writing” (Wolfsen, 2020, para. 3). I decided that I will keep some desk aids printed out to assist me with using my active voice in writing.

Woman Working in Front of Her Laptop While Making a Note
Image Source: Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

I recently updated my Microsoft Word and with that included a new feature I had not seen before. It assists you with being more concise with your writing. And I was glad to have it there. I soon realized that the program was assisting me more often that I ever thought it would. I realized then that I had to improve and be more concise in my writing. Readers have a short attention span and there is no need for all of the extras. Every time that help comes up in the program I am noting what issues I am having in hopes it will help me be more concise.

From this weeks reading, I am glad that I was able to see these errors and have some action plans going forward to work on them. What mistakes did you see yourself making? Did you find any resolutions to the issues that I have had in the past?

References

Clark, D. (2020). Don’t Bury The Lead. Dorie Clark. Retrieved from https://dorieclark.com/dont-bury-the-lead/#:~:text=In%20journalism%2C%20there’s%20an%20expression,are%20interested%20in%20reading%20further.

Wolfsen, M. (2020). Active vs. Passive voice: What’s the difference? What should I use? And why does it matter? AJE. Retrieved from https://www.aje.com/arc/writing-with-active-or-passive-voice/

COM0014 – Blog #1: A Birthday Surprise in the Netherlands

By Vivian Masswohl 

My last vacation was a last-minute whirlwind adventure in October 2019. For most of 2019, I had been working two exhausting jobs in a constant state of anxiety about whether I would get a full-time position. When I received the news that I had gotten a full-time job, I immediately quit from my side hustles and thought about how I would celebrate during the two weeks leading up to my new start date.  

I messaged my best friend, Paddy, who lives in BC, to ask if she wanted to take a trip somewhere together. She replied that she was on a spontaneous trip in the Netherlands and that she wished I was there. We paused for a moment, before I replied “…what if I fly there?” And that was it. I was off to Europe in a matter of days. 

If you could go on a spontaneous trip anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? 

I met up with Paddy in Alkmaar, a small town a half-hour train ride north of Amsterdam. For most of the next two weeks, we stayed in a teensy tiny house along a canal, exploring the town, enjoying the local festivals, travelling to nearby cities, eating lots of good food and taking tons of photos. It was such a stark difference to a couple days earlier, that I felt like I was in a dream. 

Our tiny Airbnb, from which we heard the nearby church bells toll different songs for each hour. 

I was so happy to be on such a delightful adventure with my best friend. Paddy and I are essentially the same person. No joke: we get asked if we are sisters all the time. We have the same interests, humour, fashion sense—we even have the same birthdays!  

Me and Paddy in Alkmaar  

Coincidentally, our shared birthday was on the third day of our trip, so we decided to have a two-person birthday party with a theme we both loved: Halloween! I’m sure we’d both admit, this theme was very ill-thought-out, as the Dutch do not celebrate Halloween (we had to go to 7 stores to find a bat balloon,two festive streamers, and party cups with candy-corn designs and the spooky statement, “I am bad”), but it was worth it for the memories! 

How do you celebrate Halloween? 

When we got back to our rental, we set up the décor, including a huge platter of cheese, olives, meat and crackers, alongside a cake from the local bakery and couple bottles of wine. It was perfect.  

A birthday platter! 

Suddenly, Paddy paused to ask if her friend travelling through Amsterdam could come by. “Of course,” I said! The more the merrier for our birthday!  

Then my phone buzzed…  

I kid you not, my old friend, Jake, had responded to my Instagram post by saying it was his birthday and he was travelling alone in Amsterdam. I invited him to take the train to Alkmaar–Suddenly, we had a very unexpected triple birthday party with double the invitees! 

Me, Paddy, and her friend, Nicola (ft. a birthday bat) 

Our bonus birthday invitee, Jake! 

When our surprise guests arrived, we enjoyed a festive Halloween-themed night in our cozy Airbnb sharing stories of our travels, drinking, eating and taking photos. Paddy and I’s trip was a wonderful break from my work-packed life in Canada, but that unexpected birthday surprise in Alkmaar will stay in my mind forever.  

I want to hear about your experiences! Tell me about an unexpected night you’ve had that you’ll never forget about! 

Welcome to JustFilmTalk

I decided to make a blog dedicated to film and the industry since it’s something I am very passionate about. I am currently in pre-production for my short horror film which will be my directorial debut. When it comes to the genre of horror I’m a big nerd. I love watching documentaries with behind the scenes footage and learning how the film is made. I’ve also always been interested in the special effects aspect from horror films. I’ve had the chance to meet makeup artists that worked on horror films at horror conventions and interviewed some on my YouTube channel. Some of the most well known special effects artist in the field are Tom Savini, Rick Baker and Ve Neill. Besides the horror genre I am always up for watching eighties classics. I am a big fan of John Hughes who has made iconic films such as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and National Lampoon’s Vacation just to name a few. What I love about John Hughes films so much is that he puts a lot of heart and soul in his movies. He makes universal characters that people love and could relate to. The eighties seemed like a much simpler time and it’s great to relive that time in movies. I love learning about directors, writers and actors. I think it’s important to learn about their work and what goes into making a film. Through this blog I hope to share my knowledge of film and educate you as the reader on things you may not know about.

Mini-One-Day-Museum-Staycations, For When You Can’t Vacation

In the past few years I’ve been busy, concentrating on my post-secondary studies. As a result, not only have I not had the time for a vacation, but also had a lack of funds. Vacations are expensive! Then, of course, after I’ve received my degree last year there still wasn’t any time for travelling. I had to find a job, which is a full-time job in itself. So today I’d like to talk to you about my mini-staycations! A staycation (or holistay) is like a vacation but where you stay home and participate in leisure activities within walking/biking/driving distance of your home and which do not require overnight accommodation. I’ve added mini because my staycations where small one-day affairs which I’ve planned ahead of time. A day with no essays to write and no studying, or readings to do. A day where I can refresh my mind so that the next day I can hop back into my studies with renewed vigour. 

So, what do I enjoy doing on these days? Visiting a museum! I know, I know. As a student I’ve been spending so much time absorbing and analyzing information, so why would I want to continue to do that at a museum? What can I say? I enjoy learning! Also, being able to learn without the pressure of having to remember all the details for class is relaxing. I’ve been studying in Vancouver, BC and they have lovely museums. It has also been nice to be able to take advantage of student discount Tuesdays or free evening Thursdays. The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC has been the best one so far and is the one I’d like to tell you about today. 

Museum of Anthropology at UBC, image from smtresearch.ca

MOA is known for its support of the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes First Nations’ rights to “maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression” (United Nations, March 2008). This means that MOA is committed to develop close working relationships with Indigenous peoples, groups and organizations. This close relationship MOA has developed with Indigenous peoples has also allowed them to learn about, categorize and name the objects within the museum correctly and with respect. This partnership means that the museum exhibits the objects. However, the object is still the property of the Indigenous people. If an Indigenous person, group or organization revokes their permission (or rescinds the partnership), that item is given back. Moreover, they have access to these items at all times, if they need the items for a traditional ceremony or teachings there are multiple way to access the collection. I’ve been to many museums, such as the Canadian Museum of History (it used to be called the Museum of Civilization) in Ottawa, the British Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where it was clear that the items showcased were stolen, and they have also been mislabeled. For example, traditional ceremonial regalia was tagged as “Indian costume” or “costume for Pow wow.” 😳 Every time I’ve seen this, it has been disappointing on so many levels. Especially when traditional regalia from other cultures are labelled correctly.

Bill Reid’s The Raven and the First Men (1980; MOA Collection: Nb1.481), image from dailyhive.com

I have great admiration for UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. Every time I’ve been for a visit, part of my one-day staycations, has been educational, interesting, and fun. They have so much to see and offer, from their permanent collection or new exhibitions. I hope that one day, other museums will follow MOA’s lead, and develop better relationships with the communities of which they have objects displayed. Even if the museum demonstrate an ethical responsibility towards the communities it represents, it doesn’t remove the fun, educational, touristy aspect. It is possible for a museum to be both fun and ethically responsible. I’d encourage anyone who is in or visiting Vancouver to take the time to see the Museum of Anthropology, it truly is one of a kind in the best way possible. 

As a closing thought about museums, I’d like to leave you with a clip of one of my favourite comedians, James Acaster, while he talks about the British Museum, it definitely also applies to museums in Canada. 

Do you enjoy visiting museums during your vacation or staycation? Why? How do you think museums should reconcile with the communities of which they showcase stolen items? 

Professional Networking Now and in the Future

Professional Networking Now and in the Future

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

Career development strategy is a key step to realize one’s career potential and get the dream job. For us who are new to the workplace, the establishment of strategy is very important. First, we need to control our career. It is very important to examine one’s strengths, weaknesses, motivations and values; secondly, to understand one’s competitive advantages and to search for all possibilities and opportunities; thirdly, to develop professional knowledge. Understand what you are best at; fourth, build your network and analyze your current options. Once you start building your expertise and planning your network, you should pay close attention to the tactical options you can gain in the short term. Finally, we should be good at reflecting on ourselves and summarizing ourselves. The above five points are my strategy, and in my opinion, very important strategy.

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

So how can I continue to develop my network in the next 6-12 months? First of all, I have to learn to show myself. Self presentation is a great guide to expanding your network. Through writing, speaking, organizing activities from me to show, attract people and expand contacts. Second, give or ask for help. Make full use of the existing network, and establish contact with his friends through the degree of separation of friends, such as giving some small gifts, helping others to build networks, inviting them to dinner, etc. Extend your network to your team or department or even outside your industry. Give valuable, helpful and pertinent suggestions to the other party to meet certain needs or solve certain problems in a specific and thoughtful way. Remember: everyone has a place to help others. Seek out what the other person is good at, make clear and specific requests politely, make others feel comfortable, and let him evaluate how much time, energy or resources will be spent. Before asking for help, you should talk about the reasons and praise them. Finally, learn to maintain relationships. This kind of relationship maintenance is not to wait for the time when we need help to maintain the relationship, but in normal times, we will maintain the relationship intentionally or unintentionally. This is how I will continue to develop my relationships in the next six months.

Summary

If you have any other good strategies, please share them with me.

COM0014_Blog#7_Personal Reflection_(Digital Communication)

When starting this course, I envisioned learning about ways to use technology to perform digital communication.   I ended up learning far more about myself during the process of blogging than what I had expected.   By reading and completing assignments in each module, I realized that there is so much that I do not understand in the field of social media / digital communication.   This highlighted the fact that before a teacher can have meaningful lessons based on these subject areas, they must at least be comfortable with the idea of exposing themselves  and become familiar with different writing styles and be open to new ideas and techniques.    We are a society of digital immigrants teaching digital natives that are far savvier than we are.   We must stay up to date with the technology trends and be open to the many communication styles and most important, know our audience.

The outcomes of this course are extremely relevant to any position in marketing, but particularly in social media.   It would be ignorant to assume that the readers were not already a step ahead of the content writer in this respect. 

This course made me aware of my knowledge and current social media communication abilities.   I thought that I was up to date the latest trends, however, I found that many new methods of analyzing, monitoring, measuring, and communicating are constantly in play.   After completing several posts on my blog, I found it to be an amazingly simple and useful tool that could be implemented into my monthly communication plan activity.  The last several months have changed my attitudes toward blogging and I have discovered how it can be used to engage readers, but also encourages one to gain more self-awareness.   I’ve also learned that blogging can lead to huge money-making opportunities.   Someday, I would like to work towards becoming an art or fashion blogger – just for fun.

Credit – https://binged.it/3i881Af

There is great value in blogging for the 21st century.   It allows the learner to reflect on their work in an open forum, sometimes feeling very vulnerable to criticisms, but more often, open to creative suggestions, appreciation, and positive feedback.   In the past, we have used journal writing to improve our writing skills and connect to literature, blogging is yet another form to achieve this.    Blogging is a form of journal writing but gives the 21st century learner the element of technology that they crave and a way to reach thousands of more readers.    It was a unique way for me to share my thoughts and feelings.   If we gave the 21st century learner a paper with ten questions on it and a pencil, they will be very bored with the assignment.   Setting up a blog is amazingly simple, and it is a creative way to answer those same ten questions.   Not only was I able to publish my thoughts, I also got to read responses and begin discussions on many topics.    Blogging is an excellent tool for all to share their ideas and reflect on what they are learned to help others who may be struggling in the same areas.

COM-0014 Blog#7-Personal Reflection

Tell your story-no one else has one the same as yours. Photo: Canva

Many years ago, in my ballroom dancing days (that’s a whole other story), my dance partner told me that everyone could write a novel because we all have a story to tell. Some stories are happy, others sad, some people tell it through writing or speaking and some prefer to tell their story through dancing or painting. No matter how you tell your story, as long as you use your true voice, people will feel your message. That hit me.

This course made me think of that day, over and over again. The message is clear-people won’t remember exactly what you tell them, but they will always remember the way you make them feel. Sounds simple, however there is a strategy involved in creating, telling and delivering your story.

Content should be authentic-your followers can see through fake facades. Photo: Canva

Putting the strategy to use.

When people can relate to a story, and picture themselves as the main character, you are giving them an experience. It doesn’t matter what the content is, your audience wants to be engaged and relate to the story. They want to pulled into an authentic story that is unique and informative at the same time.

For example, I work for an I.T. company. We specialize in a variety of things, mainly cloud storage solutions and customized software. Yesterday, I received an email, filled with a bunch of snore worthy facts about how a home office will not operate like an onsite location. Boring to most people-right? But what if I took this information and told a story with it? Most of our clients are working from home right now, and call in daily with frustrations on how slow their system is working from home. I decided to create a series of posts, incorporating the information the network tech sent me, and created scenarios based from their experiences and how we could help them. I really don’t care for the technical mumbo-jumbo, but I do care about solving the clients issues. So I’m telling the story in a way that makes the client feel heard and validated in their frustrations, and I am still able to get the information out to them. They very well may not remember all the network solutions from the post, however they will remember that we care about their work from home experience and we are able to help them with their issues.

Choose the platforms that suit both your story and your target demographic. Photo: Canva

The platform is key.

This may be the dancer in me, however I always look at the platform of telling a story, kind of like a stage. You need to know that you are performing to the right audience. It would be ridiculous to expect a beautiful opera to be appreciated by an audience of death metal fans. The same goes for social media platforms. If I am a photographer the best places for to tell my story would be on Facebook, interest groups or Instagram.

Let’s go back to my work example of creating a series of posts for professionals working from home. Once the story series is completed, I need to gauge who needs to hear it. Luckily we have already done an audience analysis. I will post the stories to the platforms and groups used most by our customers and future clients. LinkedIn and Twitter work well to target professionals looking for network solutions. We do have certain technology interest groups on Facebook as well. I can track the engagement of these posts using my analytics tools, like SEMrush, and be able to gauge if my followers and hearing my story. Then I can adjust appropriately to ensure that my consumers are getting the best experience possible.

Creating an experience is what your story is all about. The follower or consumer wants an emotional connection rather than a lecture. Your audience knows when they are being fed a line or getting set up for a targeted sales pitch. However, if you acknowledge your audience, relate to them in a real human way, and engage them with your story, you have built a bridge of trust. No longer are they just number on your followers list, but instead a relationship.

Following the strategies outlined in this course has given insight to my story telling techniques. I have more direction and know that I can still deliver an authentic message with certain structures in place. I am able to better identify my target audience and steps needed to expand my reach. If you have any tips or tricks on how you tell and deliver your story, drop a comment below.

Thanks to everyone in this course for your blog and discussion post feedback. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and discussion posts and feel like we have all developed stronger story telling skills along the way. Thanks to the course facilitator Sonia as well! I always look forward to your comments and advice. Best wishes to all and continue telling your story!

COM0014 – Blog#6 – Do People Know Your Story?

COM0014 – Blog#6 – Do People Know Your Story?

What is your industry’s greatest flaw?

My industry’s greatest flaw is something that is very prevalent at the moment – lack of diversity. Predominately dominated by older Caucasian men from the beginning of its inception, there has been little change. While diversity has been increasing over recent years with more women and immigrants joining the industry, the majority remains to be an abundance is men.

As a female, many industry events can feel uncomfortable and the same opinion has been voiced by others, yet how do we change this dynamic?

cowomen-7Zy2KV76Mts-unsplash

Increasing the amount of women CEO’s and positions of power. According to this provocative article by Harvard Business Review, “Only 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies are run by female CEOs.” Having women in positions of power would also attract more women to apply as they’d feel like they’d have a chance to be in their position one day. Ensuring guest speakers that are females who are educated and accomplished would also help to change the existing stereotypes of male dominance.

Having equivalent wages for women and minorities in the same position. Sometimes women don’t feel supported in the workplace so having programs in place to ensure that their opinion matters and they feel safe.

Focusing on educating people of the importance of women in the workplace and why it shouldn’t be so segregated will change many industry’s greatest flaw’s – not just my own.

dane-deaner-iJ1lw8iNIy8-unsplash