COM0014 -Blog #1: My Last Vacation Was A Ball!

As the parent of two young Rep. baseball players, my summer vacations have become strategically planned around travel ball tournaments. After six years my creative skills, used to manipulate my holiday schedule, have grown to include begging, pleading, and when necessary little white lies.

My last summer vacation started much as you would guess. The days were blocked off on the calendar; our conversations became focused on vacation plans and there was the usual excitement that precludes any upcoming holiday.

Finally, our departure day arrives. I perform the famous parent rendition: “Are you sure you have everything? I am not turning around once we leave”! This threat usually ends with ME doing one last round of double-checking the already double-checked.

With iPhones and earbuds in check, the vacation starts with a golden silence only interrupted by the words, “are we there yet” and “got any snacks”?

After driving for hours, we reach our destination. All our dreams and speculations of a “Casa Royal” are shattered. The reality of our moderate accommodation cannot be denied any longer. We face our temporary home with bravery and get on with our holiday.

I am so excited. Tonight, I will sit under the stars. Okay, the diamond lights but my imagination sees stars. As I lounge in the twilight along with all my mosquito friends, I pray to the baseball gods for a win. “Did the coach say a win would mean a 7:00 am start tomorrow, or was that if we lost”? Either way, it is bittersweet. It doesn’t matter, we are here to play ball!

The team wins! We head back to our quarters to celebrate with pizza, (our favorite hotel dinner on a budget), and a swim.

Ready to chillax we all head to the pool. I am confident I will enjoy some downtime. My partner (a coffee cup disguising my sip of sanity) agrees.

The pool, filled with fifteen 12-year-old boys, soon cuts into my relaxing time. With one quick gesture, my guys know I have had enough. We make the trek back to our room.

The boys are tired. Sleep comes easily to them. I lay awake and listen to my fellow travel mates unwinding with a few cocktails in the hotel hall. I feel drawn to them and think some social would be nice, after all, it is my holiday. Alas, I stay put knowing a sun-drenched ball diamond is not the place to nurse a hangover. Content with my decision, I get comfy and I am soon lulled to sleep by the growing exaggerated renditions that come with booze-driven storytelling.

The morning arrives. Decked out in my pajamas (no shame here, I am on vacation) I head out to investigate breakfast. The greasy bacon cannot tempt me. I settle for a tea, return to my room and begin organizing my crew. With great excitement, we are off for a fun-filled day of baseball. Today I will bask in the sun and the sand.

Reaching the ballpark, I make an accurate estimate. It is roughly a 2K walk to the diamond. “What do you mean the diamond is WAY over there”? “Why did I park here”? The recent memory of driving home peering through a broken windshield reminds me that the long walk is necessary.

I begin the long hike lugging my heavy, overfilled wagon.

I pick a spectator spot behind home plate. What a great view!  Now I can relax. There is nothing for me to do but watch the game…and encourage, console, yell, cheer, visit the food stand, fill water bottles, fix uniforms, pitch-count, take pictures, record videos, stay calm, give moral support, clap, find band-aids, hold the ice pack, hand out sunflower seeds, apply eye black…

In my spare moment, I lather on sunscreen. The wind picks up and by the second inning, my sunscreen has become a fine coat of sandpaper. I gaze over at the grass with jealousy and make a mental note to rethink my choice of viewing location.

By Sunday, we are all sunburnt and tired. We load up the vehicle and make the journey home.

The boys are exhausted, but they had a blast. We didn’t win the championship, but the memory of great plays, teamwork, bonding, family, and friendship will last forever.

Home safe and sound. I can’t wait to shower, grab a cocktail, unwind and relax on my patio.

Would I do it again? “HECK, YA”! “Again and again and again”! I love my boys. I’m their Baseball Mom!

There is a mountain of laundry to do, but I will get to that tomorrow: the last day of my vacation.

How do you listen when there is so much noise?!?

How do you listen when there is so much noise?!?

The internet presents users with an unlimited source of information. The amount of content that is created and published daily is more than any user could read in a lifetime.  With an unsurmountable amount of data, how do you know where to focus your efforts, personally and/or professionally? Luckily, among the advancements in digital technology, there have also been advancements in algorithms and programs that sort and file data for users. 

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

In today’s digital world, there are hundreds of programs and websites that aid in social media listening, often referred to as monitoring and measurement tools. Personally, the tool I find most helpful in this area is Brand24. Brand24 is an application that helps brands boost their online presence by social listening. It collects all the data you require about brand mentions, tags, etc. and categorizes everything into one easily maneuverable interface. Although Brand24 is a paid subscription, which may deter some users, I find the data it provides to be invaluable. Brand24 is very easy to use and is not industry specific, meaning it can provide you with the required data regardless of what industry your business happens to be affiliated with. To date, I’ve only used Brand24 for my education, however, I am very much looking forward to continuing the use of this platform for both the corporate company whose social media I am managing, as well as the charitable organization for which I volunteer. 

The second social media monitoring tool that I believe deserves high praise is Hootsuite. Again, Hootsuite acts as an algorithm that collects, sorts and disseminates tracking information on a dashboard that is easy to interpret. It provides competitive analysis, customer engagement, reputation management, sentiment analysis and trend analysis. Additionally, Hootsuite has posting capabilities and allows you a platform to schedule and monitor your social media calendar. Again, Hootsuite is a paid platform which may deter some users. The only other pitfall with the Hootsuite technology is that it is not overly integrated with Instagram. Therefore, if you are a business that focuses on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any combination thereof, the application would be much more useful than someone who focuses on Instagram specifically. I’ve used Hootsuite for quite some time for the company I work for and I have been impressed by the program’s offerings for all platforms, excluding Instagram posting. I plan to continue to use Hootsuite in the future. 

Now I ask you…have you ever tried Brand24 and/or Hootsuite? Perhaps they’ve helped you grow your brand OR perhaps you have a newer application that you would recommend?

In regards to sources of news as opposed to social media listening; the Holy Grail (in my opinion) is Twitter. In my personal experience I’ve found Twitter to be both the most instantaneous platform and the platform with the largest reach. Twitter was inevitably invented as a news sharing platform and although it has transitioned slightly towards being more of a social platform in recent years, its fundamentals still hold true today. The news sharing capabilities of Twitter are strongly backed by those sharing the news. News stations, both big and small, as well as local government, police, etc. all quickly began to disseminate information via the Twitter platform. People began to get their news, traffic and weather in real-time. The only potential pitfall to the Twitter platform is the restricted character count (as it is a micro-blogging platform), however, with shortened hyperlinks to supporting websites and articles, 240 characters seems to be just enough to convey a news headline. Although I heavily rely on Twitter for business interactions, I do not personally use the platform; however, with each passing day, I am thinking more and more about creating a profile personally as well. 

The second source of news dissemination that I use the most often would be blogging. Blogging is an excellent way to publish the exact content you wish to share. Blogging is less instantaneous than Tweeting, however it is generally longer in content and more thoroughly thought out. Personally, I only blog as part of my education, however, I use blogging professionally quite often. Blogs are an excellent way to tell a story which can then be hyperlinked, quoted or revised to be distributed via other social media platforms. These two options combined (blogging and Twitter) create an excellent news sharing platform that can be highly effective, both individually or in conjunction with one another. 

Question: when you want accurate up-to-date news, where do you turn?

Blog #6 – COMM0014

WHO AM I? WHAT DO I DO?

By: Aydan Ruddick

The essence of who I am, and what I do boils down to a few key factors. I am an avid writer, able to capture the essence of moments within a plethora of words. This falls in line with my two streams of business; blogging and marketing. Initially for blogging, having this skill proves  extremely effective when formulating eye-catching and powerful posts. I am a music blogger, meaning a majority of my content is music related, and having a skill like this allows me to go in depth on the technicalities of said music I’m reviewing. 

Me and a monk whilst I was on a retreat in Thailand.

These career paths, and subsequent choices regarding them have been in play for a multitude of years. Ever since I was young I’ve been surrounded by music, art, and all things of that sort. This influenced me in profound ways, pushing me to adopt a philosophy around life’s meaning and its direct connection to all forms of art. The creative cycle that we commonly find ourselves in is one of complete peace, a peace that I search for in all I do. Being able to honour art, and look into as that of music is what fuels me to do the work I do. Showing this grandiose appreciation for all forms of art in the way of portraying it through another form of art is an inherent honor. My career path is an ode to my younger self, and the environment that made me who I am today.

BLOG POST #7 – COMM0014

Personal Reflection.

By: Aydan Ruddick.

Throughout this course, the importance of storytelling was outlined to me in ways I had not previously seen. What I once thought of as an important vessel for topics such as non-fiction, has now become an apparent marketing tactic to carry me through the ages. Outlining our publics, and what they expect from us is of the utmost importance. Learning how to successfully analyze, and connect with key publics of all age ranges is something that I will carry out into all that I do. 

Stories draw people in and hold them. The proficiency of storytelling within any media specialist is an invaluable skill based around historic evidence of what draws people in, and more importantly what holds them. The stories I want to tell are ones of artistic greatness, inherent skill and creativity fleshed out through my words and onto the page. These will be meant to inspire, and ring in our audience as through and through supporters of my work. I will transfer the skills learned in this course into everything I do from here on out, and tell vivid stories that utilize my skills in all I do. These real world applicable skill sets will help me in my journey from student to business executive.

COM0015 – Blog 4: Learning Something New

One unexpected thing I have found is how important case studies are especially when learning about social media practices. Case studies provide a vision, a portal into experiences, both real and hypothetical. They are an excellent learning tool that challenges the reader to immerse themselves in different scenarios and to work their way through those scenarios to reach a resolution or decision. I am intrigued enough to learn more about there use in the terms of social media.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels



Normally when I find an article or website that I like online, I will just add it to my favourites list. However, I have recently learned of a website, as a result of taking this course called Pocket (getpocket.com) that allows you to create a space of your own for all kinds of things including:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Apps
  • Websites/pages

This is more useful than having to scroll through your long list of favourites trying to find that one thing you bookmarked a long time ago.

I did not realize how many online monitoring and measuring tools were available. I always stuck to google alerts, as it was the only one at the time that I was really familiar with. This course has taught me that there are countless options out there now and more seem to become available almost daily. This has allowed me to do my own research and discover what tools I was missing or had not tried. I have discovered what a KPI is (key performance indicator) and what it is used for. Anyone with a business, big or small, can use and benefit from it.

“A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a non-profit (or another type of organization) is achieving its key organizational objectives.”


(Ibrisevic, 2018, p. 3)

This is a good tool to remember going forward as I hope to measure the effectiveness of my online business and social media presence.

Personal Reflection & The Next Chapter

We learned that communication is vital through this course, whether it be digital through a social media platform, a blog or just by speaking. Are you trying to reach one person or many? What I didn’t realize is how storytelling has become somewhat of a lost art. We’ve become used to sharing things we see on Facebook, following influencers on Instagram, but not knowing who the person truly is.

My grandpa loved to tell stories around a fire, and it wasn’t until he died that I realized how special they were and what I wouldn’t give for one more day of his stories. Although it is a lost art to many, I think that it could make a comeback with what I’ve learned on this course! I didn’t understand how much of an impact a blog could be until having to write 7 of them throughout this course. Until this course, I never really paid attention to blogs, but anything with a bold title and, truthfully, a picture or two will keep my attention. However, if it seems to go on forever, I have difficulty staying focused and will lose interest. So we have to find that happy medium.

With what I’ve learned on this course, my mom and I are talking about starting a blog for her business with information on how to change a hearing aid battery yourself (many come in from a fair distance for help), to articles she posts in the local paper, we can mirror them on a digital platform. The options are endless, and now I have a better idea of reaching a larger audience while catering to the various ages of my mom’s clients.

I am certainly looking forward to the next course, to expand that knowledge and see where it take us!

COM0014- Blog #7-Personal Reflection

Communication is knowledge, whether it be through talking, listening or acting with one person or many. Messages are passed around the world every second of everyday. It is our responsibility to make sure we are sending the right messages and having them heard by our audience.

In this course, I learned there are many ways to have your message heard, but the most effective ways require a calculated and conscious approach that takes into account specific people in your audience and their specific needs. These people are your lifelines, they are your messengers. By using the right social media tools, writing with an honest approach and delivering information in a manner that appeals to the right people. Communication can be a powerful tool.

What I learned about myself? I like to write. I enjoy sharing. By being my true self and writing in my own words and expressing my own individual thoughts, I feel proud and confident with my writing abilities. I am now able to identify different writing styles and select the most effective ways to share information on various platforms.

I encourage anyone to try writing a blog. Put yourself out there, see what happens. When your message is heard and a connection is made, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences.

REMEMBER ANYONE CAN WRITE 🙂

COM0014- Blog #6- What do I want to be When I Grow Up?

Let’s start from the beginning, fresh out of high school, in love with my high school Sweetheart. The world was my oyster. The question on my mind- What do I want to be when I grow up?

The only answer that ever made sense to me was being a MOM

“But that’s not right, in this day and age, everyone needs a career”, is what recited in my head. A message from teachers, parents and peers. The message held true 25 years ago and still today. In my eyes, education and experience can open up your world to new possibilities so I followed the natural path and graduated as and Early Childhood Educator 3 years later.

On Graduation Day, I found myself asking- What do I want to be when I grow up? My love for children lead me into the most rewarding job as a Student Support Person for the school board. I found great pride and satisfaction helping children overcoming their struggles in the classroom. I learned a lot about diversity, inclusion and developed an empathy for all children in their individual situations. The opportunity was priceless.

Soon after, I was blessed with my own. My dream had come true. I was a Mom of 4 beautiful children. Busy days and sleepless nights. A full time job to say the least. This time in my life had so much meaning and worth. I learned so much and would do it over again in a heart beat if given the chance. But as the children grew, and free time increased. I found myself asking- What do I want to be when I grow up?

Let’s try something new. With some carefully selected courses I gained knowledge in the world of business. I became an Office Administrator for a Financial Planning Office. Eager to learn about a new avenue in life. I enjoyed the process of diving into a subject I had never thought twice about in the past. Then Covid hit and situations turned once again. What do I want to be when I grow up?

On a search for a new freedom and control in an upside down world, I partnered with my number one fan who has been there since the beginning -my husband. Together, we created a consulting business that specializes in business processes, app creation and guidance in the area of maintenance. This business has added a new level to our relationship and has expanded my knowledge and awareness of the world around me. I am very content in my current role but I know it’s just a matter of time before I ask myself- What do I want to be when I grow up?

THE TAKEAWAY:

Life is a journey, and with that comes change and uncertainty. Embrace opportunities as they come your way and never let anyone define you. Keep yourself open to all possibilities by never answering the question:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I would love to hear any knowledge you have gained throughout your life. Please comment below and share your real life lessons.

Small town size, big city knowledge.

At Maximum Hearing, we are that small-town clinic with big city quality service. Through decades of experience in the hearing field, we have created an environment that allows for dedicated and intimate service to our clients. Our team strives to make the client’s experience memorable and welcoming from the minute they walk in the door. You will walk through our doors and be greeted with a friendly greeting from a local member of the community. Community members are welcomed in our clinics at any time to ask their questions. One perk of visiting our clinics before receiving excellent service is the coffee is always hot.

When we moved away from working at large city clinics, one of our goals was to integrate and contribute to our new community. We did that by getting involved in the community board, provide donations to the local golf course, which was recovering from the loss of their clubhouse and sponsored a member of the RCMP musical ride. Before we arrived in the county, the service that was provided by a large competitor was few and far between, and sometimes the county would go months without a practitioner in the area. When we arrived, we gave the county an immediate response to a much-needed service. The demographic of the areas we provided service are wide-ranging from young families to multi-generational farms to retirees. Being independently owned and operated, the most significant review that we get is our ability to provide personalized care for every single one of our client’s needs.

Com0014-Blog #5-Personal Branding

In this day and age personal branding is a vital aspect of our professional image.  Our personal brand is something that is ever changing and evolving.  As we build our knowledge and skills our brand grows like a living being.  Adaptability and embracing the evolution of ourselves are the keys to a successful personal branding strategy. 

I am a resourceful visual communications specialist and inquisitive learner. Growing and developing in the field of advocacy, adaptation and positive change.  I bring two decades of experience working in diverse cultural environments. My colleagues have described me as a strong ,empathetic and inspiring leader, approaching every interaction with genuine kindness and integrity.

Building on my passion for equality. I am exploring the field of advocacy by making connections and learning about the cultures and traditions of the First Nations of Canada. Through volunteering, attending events(all virtually right now), joining in the conversations and asking questions, I hope to build trust and partnerships that will give me the opportunity to be a supportive voice for reconciliation and positive change.

Social Media plays an integral roll in my personal brand.  The various platforms give limitless potential to converse and learn from people that share my passion across the country.  I know there will be people that do not share these views and values of empathy and understanding.  Approaching those that are opposed to my message with openness, will allow the opportunity to learn from them and helping me refine my strategy as it evolves.  

The goal of my personal brand is to cultivate a fulfilling life, one that creates space to learn from the past and build a foundation for the future filled with diversity, empathy, and equality. For myself and those that I have the opportunity to connect with. If I can play even a small role and reach a handful of people educating them to the issues and injustices that the First Nations people have endured and continue to face, I will consider myself successful.