COM0015 – Blog #2: Strong and Weak Organizations

There are many organizations all over the world that implement excellent social media strategies and create campaigns that are meaningful to their audience. One of these is a corporation that most of us are familiar with:


I saw a post recently on Facebook about Nike and their new “Dream Crazier” ad that features Serena Williams and other female athletes. I found it very inspiring where it goes on to promote gender equality and seeks to reduce stigma on what it means to be “crazy”—rather than regarding women as emotional, acknowledging their outstanding capabilities. The video was also released in good timing since International Women’s Day is just around the corner.

There is also a separate Nike Women page that highlights amazing achievements by female athletes. This page seeks to be more inclusive and celebrate diversity—one example is when they released the Nike hijab for muslim women. Although controversial since some customers did not agree with bringing religion into the brand, discussion increases engagement and creates change.

Nike Women

Photo by Nike Women on Instagram

On top of creating relevant content, Nike has their popular “Just Do It” slogan and that is all over social media and merchandise. They are also consistently active across all social media platforms. Nike is definitely a corporation that is jumping on the bandwagon of social change, and although not everyone wants that from a brand, it’s definitely something that seeks to provide engagement and transparency.

University of Ottawa

Another organization a little more close to home that I find has an excellent social media strategy is the University of Ottawa. Having done my undergrad there, I have seen how they have improved over the years online.

I saw them post on Facebook last month about their Wellness Week: a week full of free activities for students like discussions on stress management, yoga classes, and even a pet therapy day which really caught my eye since I love animals. I can see how that catches attention while also trying to connect with the students on a more human level.

They are also active on Facebook and Twitter, along with having blogs which provide opportunities for engagement through comments. Content is also bilingual which is important being a bilingual university and capital.

Also keeping up with changes in technology—the University of Ottawa makes use of the highlights feature on Instagram to divide content into categories like winter activities, mental health, exam tips, questions to students, and club information.


Image from uottawa on Instagram

Using these highlights to ask questions directly to students is a great way to engage and provide a more authentic experience for the students.

There is one organization that I found which could improve upon its social media strategy:

Mood Disorders Ottawa

With events like Wellness Week taking place at the University of Ottawa and the rise of campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk, the need for mental health awareness has never been stronger and more talked about than it is now. But it can always be better.

When looking specifically for organizations in Ottawa for those affected by mood disorders, I found Mood Disorders Ottawa (MDO) which is a peer-run volunteer organization. They host a variety of support groups and counselling for those affected by things like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, along with the families of those affected.

They only have two posts on Instagram and only post about four times per month on Facebook. I found one comment on their Facebook page about someone who found their organization just through a web search. They wrote that the support groups were helpful and provided hope for the future.

Improving their social media strategy could help many more people in Ottawa who would not have known that the organization existed. By posting more frequently and consistently on Facebook, they could build their community and give the information that could save lives of those affected with these disorders. Posting on Instagram consistently and using the highlights feature could increase engagement and help people not feel alone.

Overall, social media can be isolating when used improperly. Content must be consistent and authentic when trying to reach any audience—as well as motivating and inspiring while keeping up with the times. Doing all of this right might just get you the engagement you need to succeed across social media.

COM0014 – Blog #2: Storytelling and Communication Styles


Storytelling is the most basic form of communication.  Although we are more advanced from a technological perspective, we are still using storytelling as a primary method of communication.

Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, primitive people did.

Okay, so maybe primitive people didn’t invent the actual Internet, but they did use cave walls much like how we use the web, as a way to capture information and share it with a larger audience.

In more modern times, the printing press introduced mass distribution and the wide reach that we continue to experience today through tv, movies, books, and of course, the Internet.

Content is rooted in story and the ability to tell a great one.

Bottom line: you need to be a great storyteller.  Given the volume of content available, many readers are skimmers.  You need to captivate your audience from the get-go with your title. Have you ever read an article that you normally wouldn’t have only because you were grabbed by the title?

Know your audience.

Content should be engaging, inspiring, motivational, and entertaining.  To accomplish this you need to know your audience.  Who are you writing for?  What do you want them to take away from your piece?  How do you want them to engage with you?

When you know your audience, your content is more likely to be shared.  Always be true to yourself and use your voice—there is only one you, and you are interesting.  (See what I did there, I’m being motivational!)  You will attract like-minded readers and increase your following organically.

Short and digestible.

Looking back at some of my other blog posts (I’m a book reviewer for various publishers), I quickly realized that the best ones are in fact the shorter ones.  These posts chunk the content into small paragraphs which plays right into the skimmer personality, which I think is what most of us are becoming.  How many times have you gotten a huge email, only to stop reading early on because it was too wordy and visually overwhelming?

You want engagement and buy-in.  By arranging your piece using short paragraphs, someone can quickly and easily read your post and look forward to reading more from your blog.

COM 0015 – Assignment 5 – Event Participation

Professional Development 2-for-1: that’s how it happened for me….

      Trying to figure out what would be the best professional development ‘EVENT’ was a tricky one.  Where do I go? What do I do?  What do I say about it?  So… I did two events in one  day… and lived to tell the tale: in blog format, no less. 🙂

      For years now, I’ve been working towards pursuing a career as a freelance superhero, writer and possibility creator.  An active part of the Ottawa Writing Circle’s Meetup group, I have attended several of their workshops, social mixers and I finally decided to venture out of my comfort zone to see what their OWC WRITE IN event had to offer.  I have always been a very solitary figure as a writer.  True, I’ve had my share of group writing and editing opportunities over the years, but this opportunity was a little bit different.

When I met up with our coordinator, Averill (@averillelisa), there were two more participants pecking away at their respective writing projects.  Prior to our meeting, I had mentioned the event on Twitter– Thank you @Averillelisa for giving me my first Twitter conversation in real-time!!  Not only did we mention each other by Twitter id: it also gave me an opportunity to learn new conversation skills with someone who actually Twitter talked back.


The write-in group included such writing personalities as Averill Eisa Frankes (bottom left w/ me), Alexandra, Ariel, Belle Alvine, James W. Cook, Michelle Human, Nick HJ, Sanna, Tamara and me.  (all mentioned are profile names for our Meetup Ottawa Writer’s Circle Group)

      Writers periodically dropped in and introduced themselves and we did have a discreet ongoing conversation; politely asking how it was going when we caught someone blankly staring at their screen. Averill did forewarn me that there were no outlets or wifi at the world exchange plaza foodcourt, so I had made a game plan in advance. I went with my trusty fully charged MacBook Pro and I used my iPhone to call up any images that I needed to play with. Airdropping stuff from my phone to my computer has become a regular practice for me— way less grunt-work!

“Can’t edit a blank page,” is one token of writerly wisdom that Averill left me with: short, sweet and to the point.

       Same day, different location…

45 minutes after leaving the world exchange food-court?  Yeah… I managed to haul myself and my amazing computer all the way home with a quick, portable fre-fab food that I picked up at Sobey’s with roughly 5 minutes to spare.

       When I initially signed up for this online event, I thought that it might have video or some sort of interactive discussion.  They’d been reminding me via text and email and I’d even built it into my calendar as a backup.   I’ve done a whole lot of reading of a whole lot of books and listened to audiotapes with these fine fellows.  Luminaries and philosophers and authors all rolled into one: they have distinctively different appreciation for social media.


So, I rushed home and plugged my trusty MacBook pro into my television so I could see everything hi-def… and then, it turned out that their ‘BEAUTIFUL CHAOS: How to find meaning in a messy world’ (link for encore presentation) was audio only via internet that combined the sharing power of Deepak Chopra with Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Being perspective.  Bummer.I sucked it up and listened and took notes anyway.  The simplicity of the presentation worked well: zero technical glitches or distractions throughout.

Common narratives revolved around the power of transformation on the other side of catastrophe and their usual ‘this is how you can build power from powerless’ mantra.  The one super interesting part of their presentation talked about the tole of social media in our society at large and how it can be used to make a positive impact.

Eckart made an interesting analogy to Narcissus, touching on the superficial, facade based practices of social media.  Admittedly, he doesn’t really use it much at all.  On the other side of the coin, Deepak Chopra sees the power in social media for human creativity: becoming  “a catalyst for collective awakening.”  He brought an interesting perspective to the conversation.  Talking about the power of luminaries to share their knowledge and experience with the world, Deepak sees social media as the opportunity to have more luminaries present on the world-stage.

Left exhausted and inspired by the onslaught of creative input and my own interpretation of how challenging and rewarding this social media rich, professional developmental day could be for me: my plans for a luminescent empowering career path took shape.  I’m continually proving to myself that I am willing to try the impossible.  Let’s face it, in my world ‘Impossible’ is what a scaredy cat says when confronted with something that seems too big to conquer.  Giving up the ‘im’ part of that equation is what transformation is all about–

Transform the IMPOSSIBLE into a POSSIBILITY!!




COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.


So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics =

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page =

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner)

Assignment 1 – Post 1 – Tools and sources – COM0015

Iliana Auverana (Assignment 1 – Post 1)

Post 1 – Tool & Sources What are your two favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tools and the two best sources of news and updates of interest to you?

Explain why you prefer those tools over others and the significance of the sources as they relate to your professional development or organizational interests.

The two favorites social media trend listening/monitoring tool are Twitter and LinkedIn

Twitter – I work in the translation marketing field. At work, we do the environmental scan to find out interesting facts or trends in the translation market around the world: new technologies, transnational mergers, world economy having an impact in the translation market, evolution in the importance of foreign languages, etc. The richness of the information is amazing. Through Twitter, we follow mainly two companies: Lionbridge and Moravia. These two companies publish articles or posts regularly. We receive email and click on the links to read the full article.

On Moravia blogs, we recently learned about long-tail languages (from emerging markets) and about the growth of voice-based content (video content).

On Lionbridge blogs, we get advice about many topics. From crowdsourcing translation (get translations from the crowd), to global content (engaging the global consumer with interesting content) to hiring remote workers (what to consider).

LinkedIn – Through this platform, we have been able to connect with professional in the translation and marketing industry. Professional and experts in a particular field share interesting articles or white papers. We have joined three different groups we have common interests with (communications, marketing and translation). We have the possibility of exchanging knowledge and increasing our awareness about the market needs.

Google trends – In the tranlation field, this platform only shows graphs that are of no use to us. This tool is excellent for political news, celebrity gossip or entertainment news.

Feedly – Many people use this platform to get news updates in their field. For us, this platform hasn’t been useful. We joined several months ago, and we never got any email or alert in our subject matter. According to the website, feedly helps people to get the content they need to accelerate their research, marketing and sales, but we checked all the preferences and we are unsure about the reasons why we never got any information at all.



COM0014 Blog #6 – Do people know your story?

As a Corporate Communications professional, I think the greatest challenge that I need to overcome is fear. Fear can be a scary thing and can hold even the strongest business person back. Fear can be the ultimate villain in a person’s life story and we need to work hard to make sure that we don’t let it consume us.

As a professional, I need to make sure that I take appropriate risks and weigh the pros and cons of every decision carefully. There was a time that I was offered a position at another company and I had to think about the pros and cons of leaving my current employer and position, for a new employer and position. Even though this position was a better position and better pay, there was still the fear of moving out of my comfort zone and going to the unknown. If I hadn’t decided to take the risk and fight the fear, I could have remained stagnant in my career progression.

I think a lot of businesses, and people, don’t progress because they don’t accept the challenges that they are faced with. There are many factors that are out of your control when you are running a business, but how you react to a situation or face a decision is within your control. Overcoming ourselves is the biggest challenge we can face.

COM0014 – Blog #2 – The power of storytelling 

The most important part of communication and storytelling is listening. That may seem like an odd concept for some but you need to be able to listen to what your audience needs before you are able to communicate with them. It is important to know if your audience would prefer to watch a video on the topic, or read an article about it. Everyone communicates differently and the audience will be more engaged with your story if they are engaged with the way the story is being told. 

In order for a story to be powerful, it needs to be communicated effectively. A great story needs to encourage the audience to interact with the content, especially if there is a lesson to be learned or a takeaway to be had. The story also needs to be clear and concise to get the point across with some detail, but avoiding going into too much detail that you will loose your audience. 

I also think a really important aspect of communication and storytelling is to inspire your audience to action. Whether this action be posed in the form of a question to debate on a topic, or encourages them to participate in the conversation, it is always good to engage your audience this way.

What communication styles are important to you? How do you engage your audience through storytelling?

COM0014 – My Vacation

Puerto Vallarta is a special place to my husband and I. We came here 22 years ago as our first vacation together. It was my first vacation that didn’t involve family members watching my evepv-picturery move. 😉 Of course, the city is much different now than it was then. The core of the town with the old church, market and cobble stone streets are there but condos have sprouted up along the coast line, there’s an Outback steakhouse and a Walmart. I love walking around in the old part of town and getting a feel for some of Mexico’s history. That’s the best part of travelling is being exposed to completely different culture and learning more about the world we live in. As I type this I’m taking a break from the sun in out hotel room, listening to the waves of the Pacific bashing against the shore

I completely admit that I’m a candy junkie. That’s another part of travelling I love it discovering new treats we don’t have at home. Usually the best place to find junk food it down the grocery store candy aisle. It was during a quick visit to the local Walmart where I leaned  what I think was a valuable life lesson about perspective.

You see, as we walke10317535-media_httpfarm3static_hjjhdd around I the store it dawned on me that I had no idea what was being said around me.  The announcements made no sense as Mexicans speak very quickly and the minute amount of Spanish words I know, I missed. I could read very little on the signs around me. Really, I was guessing at what everything said. The flipflops weren’t sized in numbers I recognized. And then it really hit me when we were standing in the check out line. I had no idea what was being said around me. The teenage cashier gave us a sigh and a bit of an eye roll when it became obvious we didn’t speak the language. It takes a long time to mentally translate Spanish into English, then think of an answer,  mentally translate it into Spanish and then communicate it using the few words available to me.

I’m not blaming the cashier, but it made me wonder if I’ve ever made someone feel like that. Have to spoken to someone like they are slow because they didn’t speak English? How may times has someone come through my line at work and really only know the words Hello and Thank you but it’s obvious that they missed everything else I said? Believe me I’ve said “Grasias” about a gazillion times because it’s really the only way I can communicate and I don’t want to come off as rude.

What about all the people new to Canada, from around the globe? Refugees for example that are suddenly in a country they don’t know the language? How incredibly overwhelming and possibly frightening those first few weeks/months would be as you struggle to communicate. .

I really hope I’ve never made anyone feel less because they didn’t speak our language. I’d like to think I’d never do that but I’ve never thought about so I can’t be certain. But, the next time someone comes though my line at world and is obviously struggling with the language,  I’m going to remember my trip to a Mexican Walmart. There is nothing wrong with learning to look at life from someone else’s perspective.

Our flight back is on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to getting home. I’m also trying to figure out how many packages of Freska and Obleas customs will let me bring in.



COM0014 – Genuine Communication

Some people tell a great story. They know how to weave a good tale and keep their audience listening. And others don’t. Those are the people we avoid.

We’ve all met these people at some point. They prattle on about something obscure, giving too much detail and forgetting who they are talking to. They don’t care what anybody thinks, so they talk in one long, loud sentence. Eventually, they get to their point – the meat of their story – but by then, most people have completely tuned out (you can tell because their eyes have glazed over and their jaws have dropped).


Image from

Good storytelling is everything. It can make or break a company, small business, or blog. To tell a great story is to communicate with your audience: know who they are, what they are looking for, and what you can give them. It’s about asking for feedback and listening to what they have to say. Focusing on the human interest angle and making it personal can create a solid connection.

Talk to your audience as you would in real life. Avoid the jargon, jibber-jabber, and ten-dollar words. You will confuse your audience; they will drop you quickly. An active voice should be used. Use an active voice!

Be clear. Be concise. Use plain language. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We may be living in an age of texting and emoticons, but breaking too far away from traditional grammar is a risky move.

Following these steps and opening the door to effective, genuine communication is the key to success in social media.

Social Media – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

For a number of years my husband and I resisted the widespreadExclusion use of technology. We did not need the expense or constant communication of cell phones. We did not want our children sitting in front of video games for hours at a time. We did not want to expose our lives on Facebook. However, we began to realize that we were being “left in the dust” with events and with friends, our children were “out of the loop” in school, and we were rapidly becoming “old-time thinkers”. We realized that we needed to embrace technology before we were completely isolated by society.

For generations people have said, “society has changed”. Our forefathers have seen technology change communication from letters to phone calls, transportation from horse-drawn carriages to cars, materials from hand-made goods to factory-made products, meals from home-made to pre-made microwavable dinners. With each of these shifts in society and lifestyles it brings an improvement to the quality of life and something that suffers along the way. Within my lifetime I have seen the onset of the Internet and social media. I feel I can now join my forefathers’ voices and truly say “society has changed”. We are in a generation, where information is massively accessible and communication is global and almost instant. To be honest I struggle with it. Is it an improvement or a hinderance to communicating? Does it make life easier or more difficult? Do I enjoy using it or not?  This is the first of 3 blogs contemplating the good, the bad, and the ugly effects of social media in our society.


The Good:





Like no other time before family and friends can stay connected via the written word (email), photographs (snapchat), and audio and video (Skype & FaceTime). This has allowed families and friends to stay connected affordably, regularly, and in real-time, no matter the distance or continent. Relationships with family and friends have been kept alive and healthy from these forms of communication.



People can now meet new individuals through venues like dating websites (eHarmony), or specialized like-minded social groups in schools, help groups (Facebook).



Company’s websites (amazon) and social media sites (twitter) have been able to connect with customers. Two-way communication has brought changes about for both the consumer and businesses.  The consumer can purchase and have goods delivered from the comfort of their homes.  In turn, businesses can receive feedback from consumers allowing the opportunity for improved products/customer service and inevitably sales.

Mass communication is possible by individuals and companies to raise awareness or rally support in the general public. (ALS Ice Bucket Origin on YouTube)

 Communication is at its best ever…

world wide, instantly, and massively!

 Stay tuned for my next blogs on…“The Bad” and “The Ugly”