5 Things I’ve Learned from Making Friends through Social Media

Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone is both thrilling and scary. Thrilling because of the possibilities that a new beginning might bring, and scary because you don’t yet know if you will eventually manage to build a strong support network and thrive in your new environment.  

As a digital native, I have relied heavily on digital technology—more specially dating apps—to meet new people since arriving to Ottawa. Some encounters have proven fruitful, others have proven to be a waste of time. Through my encounters, I have learned that you lose some and you win some. Here are five things I’ve learned from meeting people through social media.

  1. Be ready to tell your life story a gazillion times

    Once you get through the small talk, people will start to ask questions about your personal life online, and again in real life, in an attempt to make conversation. Those, of course, include questions about your decision to trade Toronto, “the best city in Canada”, for good ole’ Ottawa. You will notice after a while that you begin to anticipate and dread those questions every time you chat with someone new. My advice to you: buckle up, answer the damn questions with a smile and quickly change the subject.

  2. Getting ghosted—and ghosting others—is part of the game

    Always err on the side of caution. Don’t get too invested in somebody because as funny and great as you may think they are, they might just cut you off the next day! Don’t take it personal! It’s all part of the game. Whenever you get ghosted, deal with it with finesse and remember what Ariana Grande taught us in 2018: Thank U, Next. If you are having a hard time coping with getting ghosted, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.  

  3. Show up ready to do all the talking

    It’s super easy to come across as a different person online. The person you are chatting with online might seem to be super outgoing, social and talkative… but once you meet them in real life, you realize they are anything but! They have their mouth zipped shut and you can’t seem to get more than a few words out of them. But don’t fret! If you want to get up and leave, I understand. After all, your time is a precious commodity. If you don’t want to be rude, especially if like me, you are gay and acknowledge that all gays are somehow connected, be a class act and stay an hour or so. Remember you are a star and they came out to see you. After a few times, you will realize that talking to a wall can count as an opportunity to sharpen your social skills.

  4. Make sure your intentions are known

    People use social apps for different reasons and the most common one is to find a relationship. I find it important to make your intentions known from the get-go to avoid any compromising situation. It has happened that other people have gotten the impression that I wanted more than friendship from them simply on the basis that we met on a dating appand needless to say, things between us got awkward. So be upfront! it’s going to save you a lot of time down the road!

  5. Don’t get lost in the shuffle

    If you are serious about making lasting relationships, you have to learn to take the initiative. You have to remember that meeting someone online is less organic than say, befriending your classmate who you see a few times a week at school. After the initial encounter, decide if you would like to see them again and if you two are a good fit. If yes, make it known by sending a text telling them you had a good time and would like to hang out again. Or add them on Instagram so you can keep up with them. Don’t wait too long to reach out, the train might leave the station without you.

If you too have used social media to meet new people, tell me about your experience. 🙂

True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook

Growing up I had always dreamt of wearing the uniform. Later I developed a passion for photography. Upon graduating college, I scored my ultimate dream job: I was a military photographer.

I had been working up the ranks in the military for about 10 years and my next promotion meant that I would need to move and become a manager. That also meant I would not do what I enjoyed the most in my job anymore; taking pictures. Our family was now well established in Gatineau/Ottawa and we had no desire to move. Conclusion: I had to transition to civilian life and find myself a job. Easier said than done in my field.

Sgt Serge Gouin

Portrait of myself before I retired. Photo credit: DND

I started my process by taking a course offered by the military called “career transition workshop”. They taught us how to build our resume, use our network and how to explore the hidden job market.

Our instructor was fantastic. The one thing he told us that struck me the most was about using our network:

“The biggest mistake people tend to do is hiding that they are looking for a job, by fear of having their current employer finding out or to have opportunities taken away from you by a friend or colleagues also looking out”.

I decided I would give Facebook a try and publish a post with my intentions. I wanted to do it in a manner that would open the discussion, be respectful and most of all would not break the relationship I had with my employer in case I would change my mind or the process would take a while.

Screen Shot Facebook

Screen capture from my Facebook post to activate my network

I was nervous and excited at the same time to reveal this news to the world. It really felt like a coming out.

At first, people were curious and asked questions, which is totally normal. Then about a day later, I received a private message from a friend I had gone to photography school with. I had not seen/talked to for almost 10 years! She was going on maternity leave and said she could get me in touch with her manager to see if I could take over her spot while she was away. Perfect timing! Awesome!

Two interviews and a security clearance process later, I finally retired from the stability of a 20 year contract for a 9 month adventure in a temporary position. I was committed to this transition and even if that was a huge risk on my end, this was the first step in the direction I wanted to be going. A few months later they posted my dream job internally and as a temporary employee, I was allowed to apply for it. I landed my second permanent photographer’s position of my career within the federal government, but this time as a civilian. This meant no more moves or promotion, unless I apply for them, and I would still be taking pictures in a federal government organization.

That was exactly what our teacher had told us. Not all job are posted and this one was definitely hidden. Obviously, there is a lot more than Facebook involved in this process, but to this day I still feel that it was the one thing that made it all work.

Taking a selfie during the North American Leaders' Summit (NALS)

Photo by Chris Roussakis

Since then Facebook now has a job search feature that might help, but the real power of Facebook comes from your network.

What would your dream job be? What kind of risk would you be ready to face to get it?

 

 

Facebook Logo    True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook https://bit.ly/2DhsbHN

 

Twitter Symbol    True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook https://bit.ly/2DhsbHN

Do You Trust Me?

Trust and Personal Branding

I’m continuing on the theme of personal branding as it is something I find incredibly fascinating.  So we now know that personal branding is how we market ourselves in order to improve our image or career prospects (Mike Wood in Entrepreneur – Why Personal Branding Must be Your First Focus).  Within the definition though is an implicit understanding that we are only showing our best side and not the whole picture.  Logically this makes sense, and whether or in person or online we wouldn’t introduce ourselves as great at meeting new people but terrible at driving.  Or I’m a terrible cook but hey, I’m really great at designing websites!  We need to put our best selves forward otherwise it’s imaginable that no one would really get anywhere in life.

Within corporate branding we are asked to trust companies with every advertisement and purchase.  We need to believe that the product will do what it says as we always have options to go elsewhere.  Therefore corporations spend vast sums of money coming up with the slogans and advertisements which convince us to trust us.  The following commercial by Geico is a perfect example of this:

Within the commercial they even discuss how important trust is with a brand.  It is impossible to think of a brand that has not promised something whether it is safety, health, beauty, longevity or simply a better life.

With personal branding it is logical to think therefore that part of the image we must build is one of trust in ourselves.  If we admit that we are not being completely being honest though, how can anyone trust our personal branding?

I think I’m back to my conclusion from my first blog, that there is a middle ground, although I think this one has a pinch of salt on it.  Much in the same way we may buy in to the cereal that promises to help us lose weight we realise that this will only be successful as a part of a combination of factors including exercise and eating healthy otherwise.  Perhaps the formula for a healthy personal brand is one that is truth combined with a healthy pinch of believability.

  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

   Not too sure how much you should reveal within your personal branding?  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

Blog #2 – This conversation isn’t about you

I, along with much of the Internet, love John Oliver. I love his acerbic approach to current affairs commentary, and I wish I could channel my own indignation and frustration as articulately as he does (see also: Samantha Bee. She is a fiery goddess, and I want to be her best friend and borrow all of her clothes.)

So I was happy last night to find that a “Last Week Tonight” clip that united my pleasure in watching him with providing fodder for another blog topic!

WATCH John Oliver: Corporations on Twitter  [WARNING: Video includes some potty language and one reference to a sex toy]

For the tl;dw (too long; didn’t watch) crowd, in the clip Oliver provides several examples of companies that have improperly latched on to internet trends or online conversations. These examples reinforce the idea that companies should not feel the need to take part in every conversation online. If something doesn’t support your brand, or deliver value to your consumer or client base, it’s okay to stay out of it. There is a good possibility that by trying to jump on a viral bandwagon that has nothing to do with you, just so that you seem “with-it”, you risk diluting your message or hurting your bottom line.

The wrong platform

The same goes for determining which platforms to use when you’re first venturing out into bringing yourself or your business online. Sure – buy or register for the naming rights on different social media platforms so that you protect your brand/your identity from being used by someone else. But, as explained in 12 Tips for Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy, if the medium doesn’t make sense for what you’re trying to do, then don’t use it. For example, yes, Snapchat is relatively new and gets a fair amount of attention, but maybe it makes more sense for you to be delivering your content via longer-form podcasts instead.

A Message from the Government of Canada: “Hey, kids! We’re hip!”

As a public servant working in communications, it has been interesting to see how the acceptance and use of social media in government has progressed in the last ten years or so. At the start of my career, social media was viewed by many officials as an unwelcome challenge to a department’s narrative, and resources weren’t allocated to having staff who could respond quickly to feedback coming in.

Over time, I found that there came a greater willingness to engage in social media, but the understanding of the different platforms still wasn’t really there – it was “hey, people are talking about Youtube thing, so we should be on there. Make something Youtube.” A step forward, but still lacking in strategic thinking. There wasn’t always a clear answer to the question of what officials hoped to accomplish by getting on a platform that had some buzz.

Now, strategy and willingness are more closely linked, though I would argue that the frequency of posting is still a challenge for some departments.

Now I’m curious…

I’m curious – have any of you encountered any tone-deaf posts from any people or companies that you follow that have led to you dropping them? Also, do any of you currently follow a government department online? If so, what made you decide they were worth following? Have you tried to engage with them directly, and what has the response time been like?

Sources: The 7 Risks of Social Media https://blog.dashburst.com/social-media-risks/

Social Media Trends for 2016

As we head into a new year, social media will continue to evolve. New trends will pop up: some will hit and other may fizzle out. Here are a few that are expected to take hold.

Monitoring

Businesses will spend much more time listening and monitoring their social media in the upcoming year. While many businesses have the “talking” part down, more and more will be keeping an eye on their monitoring tools. This is key to the success of a B2C company.

Reading

Facebook’s Instant Articles will have a huge effect on how people consume their news. Instant Articles are available through the Facebook smart phone app and make it much easier and faster to access articles than traditional links to news sites. Already, hundreds of publishers have signed on to Instant Articles, including the Economist and the Washington Post.

Shopping

Social shopping will take off. Users will be able to make purchases online without leaving their feeds. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have all installed in-line buy buttons to provide the convenience of online shopping for their users. Social media shopping will find its feet and social commerce will slowly become a reality.

 

What social media trends do you predict for 2016?

Embrace our World of Social Media but let us not forget – Pencil and Paper!

I have learned a great deal and embraced the world of Social Media. The worldwide connections it makes, to my beloved friends and family with in an instant of logging in to my favored Facebook site, and the increased awareness it has brought to our customers at work. Just within the last few months, applying a few more techniques to our Social Media pages at work has increased our online community and has increased sales and future sales due to being on-line in front of the right customers, at the right time!
There are so many tools attached to Social Media applications. We have our Smart Phones, Laptops, Tablets, mini Tablets, Desktops, Apple watches, Samsung Watches, Google Glasses!! We have access to homework apps to solve our problems, map quest apps to solve our direction issues to the new ski resort, essay apps to help write our report, etc. Before I being a trip, a new purchase, a new project, I start with a note pad and a pencil, and ask – what do I think? Before any other app can provide advice, let’s make sure we are still using our own thoughts, creations, and understanding and allow our brains to be “pro-active” instead of just “reactive”.
Embrace our ingenious world of Social Media and all its wonders, but please remember and use our basics:

– Pencil and Paper
– Paper Map and Compass
– Problem Solving skills – bridge is blocked – which way is the quickest detour?
– Deductive Reasoning – Forward thinking – If I do this, what are the effects?

bigstock-Critical-Thinking
We all need to learn and practice survival skills whether we are traveling to school, work, around the world or trying to find a new restaurant. Some quick thinking skills, cannot be provided through an “App”.
Pick a new hiking trail and challenge yourself – well before the sun goes down – and use a map and compass to navigate your way. Pack snacks, and safety gear you may need, bring your well charged phone – just in case – but rely on your own problem solving and paper map to guide your way through the trails. Let your senses guide you! Then when you arrive home, Blog about your experience on Social Media! Your friends and family will ask to join you on your next adventure and it can become a regular activity, and a new Blog Site for you and your family’s adventures.Hiking Trail
So what am expressing with all this? Even with all our new epic futuristic technology like Apple watches, reminding us to stretch and buy a power bar, and Google Glasses, make sure you know how to navigate around your world. Make sure we all learn and remember how to navigate around our world when the network is down, when our phone dies, when the GPS fails, and make sure you can confidently grab a paper map and blaze your own trail! 🙂

COMM0011 Blog #1 Facebook Stalking

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I’ve done it; you’ve done it; we have all done it! No matter how happy we are in our current relationships, there is always a part of us that wonders how those exes of ours are doing. Sometimes we wish them happiness, and sometimes we wish them… the opposite. Before the time of social media, if we thought about how these exes were doing we would discreetly ask mutual friends or friends of friends for any information. Now, we can go to the search bar of Facebook and enter their name and voilà, we find out everything about them. I can remember the first time I looked up my ex. He had commented on a post that one of my friends had made that I was also going to comment on.   This was the first time I had really thought of him in a long time.  I realized that this highlighted blue name was just asking to be clicked on. I must have stared at it for a full 10 minutes before I made up my mind to click on his name. When I did, I watched his new life unfold before my eyes. Right there was a photo of his family. I couldn’t help myself, I had to read all his posts and look at all his photos. A myriad of emotions went through me as I looked at this life, one that I used to be such a part of and now not. I was so embarrassed for myself at having looked at these photos of people I didn’t know and I was sure that somehow he would find out! I closed the computer and wondered, did anyone ever look me up?
I later found out that there is a term for what I had done. I had Facebook stalked my ex! The urban dictionary offers a few definitions which are all similar. The one I like says:

Facebook Stalking
When an individual (male or female) scours another individual’s profile, frequently checks their status updates, or reads their wall posts to and from other people. This is usually done either because the individual wants to know as much as possible about the individual whose profile they are reading, or they’re bored and haven’t looked at that person’s profile yet after they’ve gained them as a friend on facebook. Some people admit to it, other’s deny they have been doing it, even when caught in the act.
Joe: “Dude what are you doing?”
Mike: *Looks up from ex-girlfriend’s profile, whom he is facebook stalking* “Nothing.”
Joe: *Sees ex-girlfriend’s profile page* “Quit facebook stalking that chick and come play Xbox”
Mike: “I wasn’t facebook stalking her!”

I am glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to checking the life of my ex and I am happy to report that I am not obsessed with it as some other people are! There was an article on huffingtonpost.com that referenced a thesis study done by a University of Western Ontario student, Veronica Lukacs. The thesis titled “It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook” surveyed 107 people aged 18-35 who have had romantic breakups in the last 12 months. These are her findings (much worse than my 1 time slip looking up a long time ex):

• 48% of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook.
• 88% creeped their exs.
• 70% used a mutual friend’s profile or logged in as a mutual friend to creep their ex.
• 74% tried to creep an ex’s new partner or suspected new partner.
• 64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex.
• 50% deleted pictures of their ex from their profile.
• 31% posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous.
• 33% posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status.
• 52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.
If you would like to read her entire thesis (173 pages!), you can do so by clicking here.

I also took a look on youtube to see if there were any clips on this subject and I was able to find one that referenced this study.  The clip is from TYT University which is a blog and video blog that talks about college life from all over the world.  The 3 commentators have all creeped their exes profiles and they list reasons why they did it.  To watch the clip, please press play.

So, I am glad to say that I have only looked my exes up a couple of times and usually only because they commented on another post I was reading.  I am happy that they are doing well and now have families of their own.  In my case, I everything worked out for the best. I am wondering how many of you have looked up your exes profiles and were you happy or sad about how their lives have turned out without you?

 

References:

Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=facebook%20stalker

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/28/nearly-90-percent-of-people-creep-facebook_n_1687424.html

Thesis by Veronica Lukacs: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1938&context=etd

Com0011- Blog Post 3: “Social Media For Machines”: The Internet of Things

Four words you will hear a lot in the near future is “The Internet of Things” (IoT). IoT is what social media was 10-12 years ago around tech circles: Hot, lots of buzz, and the “next big thing.”

What exactly is the Internet of Things? Webopedia defines it as:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.”

Cisco expects IoT will connect 50 billion devices by 2020. MIT Sloan Initiative on The Digital Economy’s Michael Schrage at the 2015 Milken Global conference referred to IoT as “social media for machines.” Schrage goes further by suggesting:

“What if machines were on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn or Pinterest? That’s not as rhetorically ridiculous as you might think because going along with the Internet of Things is the data and machine learning and artificial intelligence to go along with it.”

Schrage is not completely out-of-bounds here, as we are seeing a transformation from a social media era connecting between humans, but a new “social media era” between machines. Take for example, Nest, a smart thermostat owned by Google. You can control your house’s temperature through smart phone app while you sludge through papers at work.

Consider SolarCity, The US’s top residential solar energy installer also has a smart phone app. While the app does have a social media component, allowing customers to share how great its product is with photos and videos, it also allows consumers to see real-time energy use. Not only that, but SolarCity will use data from panel installations to offer home energy forecasts.

IoT is going to be huge. IoT is going to provide the backbone for smart grids necessary for a clean energy economy. IoT is going to provide for smarter logistics for business. Consider by 2020, global investment in IoT will reach $7.1 trillion according to analysts. It’s a potential business opportunity for those who are looking to disrupt status quo industries.

IoT’s market potential is huge enough that social media companies are keen on getting a piece of the massive IoT pie. A Forbes article written by Michael Wolf points various social media companies who are creating IoT products in order to make our lives easier. WeChat maker TenCent is working with IoT cloud business Ayla Networks in developing ways to support their living environment, according to Wolf. This post also points to social messaging company Life360 has integrated its services in many other products including ADT Security, Nest, and Ford.

Wolf suggests why social media companies are looking towards IoT is because social media provides an excellent source of information and gives a good background of consumer patterns. Wolf said social media companies want to know how consumers interact with devices like tablets and smartphones on a daily basis.

On the flip side, what impact will IoT have on social media? Business2Community suggested five things where IoT will change social media in the areas of:

  • Privacy (Understanding privacy concerns better, as citizens become more aware of digital surroundings notes author Lawrence Ampofo).
  • Health (Getting the best health information possible through social media tools suggests Ampofo).
  • Community (Ampofo mentions IoT will allow the strengthening of communities by having a richer experiences).
  • Corporate Relations (Companies through data from IoT will allow them the information to provide better products and services, according to Ampofo).
  • Competition Between Companies (New opportunities will exist for businesses in completely different industries, as business models are disrupted, Ampofo said).

While it’s still very early in understanding where IoT is going, it’s not going to disappear. Expect to hear more about IoT in the upcoming days, months and years, and how social media will play apart in its evolution.

What other impacts do you see social media having on IoT, or vice versa?

References:

  1. Internet of Things Definition. Webopedia. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/I/internet_of_things.html.
  2. Seize New Product and Revenue Opportunities With The Internet of Things. http://www.cisco.com/web/CA/solutions/trends/iot/portfolio.html.
  3. Digital Future: The Internet of Things. Milken Institute. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWR32v5uaI8
  4. SolarCity Installed 34% Of All US Residential Solar in H1 2015. Breaking Energy. http://breakingenergy.com/2015/09/30/solarcity-installed-34-of-all-us-residential-solar-in-h1-2015/.
  5. My SolarCity App Offers Energy Monitoring, Social Network to Customers. GreenTech Media. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/mysolarcity-app-offers-energy-monitoring-social-network-to-customers.
  6. 70% Renewables by 2050? Its Doable with The Internet of Energy. http://www.greenbiz.com/article/dnvgl-renewable-power-Internet-of-Energy
  7. The Internet of Things in Logistics. DHL. http://www.dhl.com/en/about_us/logistics_insights/dhl_trend_research/internet_of_things.html#.VjWP2PmrTIU
  8. Internet of Things Market to hit $7.1 Trillion by 2020: IDC. ZDnet. http://www.zdnet.com/article/internet-of-things-market-to-hit-7-1-trillion-by-2020-idc/.
  9. Why Social Media Companies Want to Control The Internet of Things? Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2015/04/28/why-social-media-companies-want-to-control-the-internet-of-things/.
  10. Five Ways The Internet of Things Will Change Social Media. http://www.business2community.com/social-media/5-ways-internet-things-will-change-social-media-01047822#trO0vxTtlOEte4lL.97