Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels.com)

What I learnt in this course is, that we need great storytelling for compelling content marketing that will grasp the attention of the consumer. Especially in the fast-paced world of social media in that, we live today.

I also learnt that we should not be afraid to make mistakes and not to over-edit our work. We learn and grow from our mistakes – as writers and marketers. In the past, I was always too scared to make mistakes or thought I should not write about a certain subject, but after this course, I will change that.

We also need to remember to be transparent in the relationship with our customers. So, I will try and find a piece of myself in every story that I will write from now on.

I was also too afraid to be too personal in the content that I post online, but now I will start to embrace that and be more transparent and share more personal stories.
Thank you!

Who am I & Why did I Start My Business?

Who am I & Why did I Start My Business?

Photo by: Eike Peter Scholz; 2017

I never thought or even had the dream of becoming a model. But in 2011 I accompanied my sister to find her wedding dress in a Bridal Store in our hometown in Germany.

When we were ready to leave, the owner asked me if I wanted to model for her on the runway. And that’s how I landed my first model gig.

The owner of a bridal store hired me for three runway shows. I had never modeled before which meant I was about to learn how to pose and walk like a model on the job.

Luckily, some of the other and more experienced models gave me a few modelling lessons while we were waiting to go on the runway.

This experience was my first and only model experience until I met a photographer named Eike on the Frankfurt Zombiewalk in 2014, three years later. (He made all photos you can see on today’s blog post)

Photo by Eike Peter Scholz; 2014 – Zombiewalk Frankfurt

I don’t know how Eike saw that I could be a model for Portrait and Fashion photography, but he approached me that day at the Zombiewalk in Frankfurt and told me to message him to set up a photoshoot. Later I found out, that we just lived across the road from each other. Small world!

Photo by Eike Peter Scholz Fotografie

But this was the beginning of my modelling career. Since moving to Canada and because of Covid-19 it has slowed down quite a bit. But I’m sure it will pick up again when things get back to “normal”.

But you never know how your life might change. I certainly never thought I would model but I enjoy it very much and have found really good friends through it.

Did something like that happen to you as well? Let me know in the comments.

Oreo’s Daily Twist Campaign

Oreo’s Daily Twist Campaign

Photo owned by Kraft Foods – OREO (found on Pinterest)

In my post today I want to talk about the Daily Twist campaign that Oreo launched in 2012 for the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie.

What I like about this campaign is that Oreo is not trying to sell us anything with this ad.

They are trying to connect with the consumer and I believe they were successful.

How Oreo made advertising fun

They took holidays and days that we celebrate (like pride month, grandparent day), current & historical events, meme’s from the internet and landmarks etc.

Oreo shared those ads daily on their Facebook page. Their 30 million followers loved it and shared it with their friends without Oreo asking them to do that. People just loved it that much.

Photo owned by Kraft Foods – OREO (found on Pinterest)

Oreo’s Daily Twist was engaging, colourful, aesthetic and fun. This ad did not want to sell anything to you. It was entertaining.

Photo owned by Kraft Foods – OREO (found on Pinterest)

It shows us that advertising or engagement with our consumers does not always have to be “you have to buy this product!” Or “buy this product because it is the best out there!”. Ads can be fun and show off your product in a new way that your consumers have not seen before.

Try it out, you might be surprised!

Any similar ads that you can recommend to me? Or any advice on how to improve business to consumer advertising? Thank you for reading.

Storytelling – A History & What I Learnt About It

Photo by Lady Escabia from Pexels

What I learnt this week was that to write good content, we have to learn and understand the history of storytelling and that there is a method to good storytelling. Like the “Inverted Pyramid Writing”.

Of course I knew that humans have been telling stories since ancient times, but I think we rarely think about that in our daily lives.
Even printing books is fairly knew if you think about how long humanity exists.

1450 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and made books widely available for the common people.

And as mentioned this week, now we have radio, movies and the world wide web with which we can share our stories.

All that happened in the last 100 years. I think sometimes it is hard for us humans to catch up with all of that. Especially with social media and how fast it develops and changes.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had never heard of the “Inverted Pyramid Writing” before.

Algonquin College – Digital Communication Course

But when I think about the many articles that I have read, then I can see that the writer used the Pyramid to create good content.
I will keep this in mind and try to do the same for my blog posts.

What did you learn about good storytelling and the history of it? Let me know in the comment section!

Honeymoon in Paris

Now in the times of Covid-19, I think we all would love to go and take a vacation to our favorite place.
So, why not go down memory lane and think about the last vacation we had. Today, I will talk about mine. Paris, France in the summer of 2018!

Deciding where to go for our Honeymoon

My husband and I renewed our vows in my hometown Hanau in Germany in July 2018. I decided that I wanted to surprise him with a Honeymoon.
I planned the whole thing without him knowing and I also booked everything online.

The only thing I had asked him a few months earlier was, if he got the chance to see either Rome or Paris where he would rather go. He chose Paris. And that’s when I started planning everything.

Arriving in Paris

At the Gallery Lafayette


We were staying in Paris for 6 days. I thought this would give us plenty of time to see “everything” but I was so wrong! I think we just saw a small part of what we wanted to do.

I booked tickets to go to Paris for us by train on early Monday morning. We were in Paris (from Frankfurt) in as little over 4 hours. By about 1 pm we were in our little hotel in Montmartre (just a few meters away from the Moulin Rouge). Thinking back, I’m still glad that I booked a hotel with Air Condition because we would end up having at least 35 degrees every day during our stay.

Anyways, our first day was a very relaxing start in Paris and as I said earlier, I had planned everything. So, we had a clear idea of what we were going to do in the next few days.

The first day we walked to the Gallery Lafayette, not to shop but because I knew that you could see the whole city from the rooftop. The view was amazing!

To finish our first day off and to take in the city, I had arranged a tour with a Parisian 2CV Car. If you ever visit Paris, take the time to do a tour with one of those cars. It is amazing.

View from the little 2CV Car

Versailles, Catacombs, The Rodin Museum & Museum D’Orsay

In the next few days, we had planned many things. Our second day was completely booked off for the Palace of Versailles. Stunning. I highly recommend it. Especially the gardens.
We stayed there the whole day and we spent about 2-3 hours in the Palace and the rest of the time we spent wandering the gardens. I think I could have spent our hole trip just in Versailles. It is an amazing place.

Gardens of Versailles


Day three we went to the Museum D’Orsay, which is located in an old train station. It is a beautiful museum and I wished that we had more time. Great collection of french art.

The next stop was the Catacombs. I had heard about them a lot and I wanted to see them. The Parisian catacombs were modeled after the catacombs in Rome and go through the hole Paris underground. All the people that were killed during the French revolution are buried there (except Marie Antoinette and the King). Fascinating place. We kept talking about this place for the rest of the day.

Day 4 and 5 we went to the Rodin Museum, which has a great selection of Rodin’s most beautiful sculptures. Close by is Napoleons Tomb and Les Invalides, which is worth checking out as well.

And by accident, we stumbled upon the Luxembourg Gardens (close by is the Notre Dame which we were lucky to see before it burnt down).
But if you are in Paris, those Gardens are worth checking out. They are so beautiful. Take a look at the photo below.

Our second last day we spent at the Louvre. I think everyone knows that you need about a week in the Louvre and you still haven’t seen everything.
Beautiful art collection!

Last Day

Our last day we spent exploring Montmartre. We ended up regretting this because it was the favorite part of our trip. It is a wonderful part of the town and we hope to explore it more if we can come back.
The last thing we went to was the Sacre-Cour, down below you can see some photos from the top of the church and from Montmartre.


What was your favorite vacation? And do you have some favorite spots and tips and tricks? If so, let me know in the comment section.
Thank you for reading!

COM0014 – Blog 7: Personal Reflection

Between mid-May and early July 2020, I took a Digital Communication course at the Algonquin College. Here is my brief reflection on what I learnt in the course.

Stories make great content

There is a lot of information in the digital world. An average social media user is bombarded by thousands of various messages as soon as they go on any online platform. If you want your message and content to stand out, you need to tell powerful stories. You also need to do so in your unique and authentic voice.

Social media users are bombarded by information. Source: Hulu on Giphy.

Stories shape content into something that resonates with audiences. A story provides content with a natural flow, from a beginning to an end. In doing so, stories give digital content a form that most people are wired to follow.

Stories help you explain what makes your business or organization unique, and they do so in a compelling way.

Every story needs an audience

In crafting digital content, it is important to know who its audience is. In modern multicultural societies, audiences are bound to be culturally diverse. Therefore, it is important to understand the various groups within your target audiences and to ensure that your messages resonate with all of these groups.

In storytelling, it is important to know who your audience is. Source: GOV BALL NYC on Giphy.

When you know who exactly you are targeting with the content, it is much easier to decide what kind of stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them. Stories will guide your content.

My stories

Storytelling is already helping me in my job. I use stories to communicate important digital safety messages to audiences that are not likely to pay attention to information conveyed in a different way.

And what kind of stories are you telling? Does your audience find these stories compelling? Let me know in the comments below.

COM0014 – Blog 4: Books and Nooks

On a recent walk in the park in Kanata, ON where I live, I noticed a sticker on a bench. In black letters on a simple white background, the sticker read, “Support a local business. Shop at Books and Nooks.” The catchy name stuck in my mind and I soon found myself googling it.

Books and Nooks is small, family-owned company selling books, accessories and knick-knacks online.

Screenshot from the Books and Nooks website.

Books and Nooks on social media

The company has a great-looking and easy-to-navigate website. The website tells the story of Books and Nooks and features on online store. It is also home to the company’s blog, MishMash, offering tips and insights around everything related to reading, home decor and fashion.

Books and Nooks has an active presence on Facebook and Instagram. The company is using these platforms to build relationships with its customer base and to drive traffic to its website. To achieve this, Books and Nooks posts images related to reading, motivational quotes, links to new blogs, and stories about the products it is selling.

Screenshot of an image on Books and Nooks Facebook page, encouraging customers to buy from local businesses.

Interactions

The company also uses its social media presence to responds to questions and comments from customers. These interactions, however, appear to be scarce. Overall, Books and Nooks’ social media accounts do not seem to register much engagement.

Yet, the company’s interactions with customers that are visible on the platforms are timely and professional. Whoever runs these accounts responds to comments and questions in a courteous and helpful manner, thus helping to establish long-term relationships with customers.

I think that Books and Nooks has so far failed to capitalize on its social media presence. The company does publish content that some of its existing customer base may find interesting. However, its posts on both platforms generate few interactions and do not seem to help the company attract new customers.

Do you happen to know of any small, family-owned companies successfully using social media to promote their business? What makes these companies successful? Please let me know in the comments below.

COM0014 – Blog 3: The Audience I Am Trying to Reach

Digital technology is everywhere. It is permeating everything we do and shapes how we do it. In this context, it is important that everyone understands risks associated with digital technologies and has the skills to handle these risks.

Digital technology is everywhere. Source: Giphy

Digital safety project

I work for an Ottawa-based nonprofit that helps civil society organizations stay safe online. One of the particularly challenging projects that I am currently helping to get off the ground supports small civil society and independent media organizations in Kyrgyzstan, a small nation at the heart of Central Asia, by helping them understand and tackle digital risks.

The following is my attempt to define the audience for the project’s social media channels and describe some ways to reach this audience.

The younger urbanites

The project’s audience includes individuals working for or collaborating with small independent media organizations and civil society organizations in Kyrgyzstan.

These are mostly young people, between 20 and 35 years old, living in large cities. About two out of three individuals in this group are men. Most of these individuals are recent graduates from one of two Western-style universities in Kyrgyzstan, the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) and OSCE Academy in Bishkek. More than half of people in this group spent at least a year studying abroad, typically in the United States or United Kingdom.

The younger urbanites have grown up in the world
permeated by digital technology. Source: Giphy

These individuals come from middle-class families with mostly university-educated parents. At least eight out of 10 people in this group speak fluent Russian and more than half speak fluent English.

Reaching them

Most individuals within this audience have grown up in the world permeated by digital technology. They embrace digital technology and have a good understanding of risks stemming from their reliance on these technologies.

They embrace digital technology. Source: Giphy

The best social media platforms to reach this audience include Facebook and Instagram. Video and images are the two types of content best suited for this audience.

All educational content should assume a good level of familiarity with basic digital safety practices and aim at providing practical recommendations rather than abstract advice. One type of content that I expect to resonate particularly well with this audience is humorous content, specifically memes.

Do you know of any organization doing similar work around digital safety? Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to reach the audience I described? I will be happy to hear from you in the comments below.

COM0015 – Blog #1: The best stuff, and how I find it

As we’ve seen in our reading, there a ton of great ways to monitor what’s happening among online communities, and to track new content as it is shared with the world. For me, though, nothing holds a candle to the late, lamented Google Reader. It was easy to use, it was free, and it had a clean, simple interface that I found led to a great user experience.

Until I come across a monitoring tool that captures my heart and bandwidth the way that Google Reader did, my preferred approach is an ad-hoc one, using Instagram and Facebook searches.

Solid listening skills

I’m in control

There are two reasons that I prefer to do manual searches of mainstream sites like Instagram and Facebook for the purpose of social media monitoring. The first is that it gives me the illusion of control; I type in the keywords or hashtags I want to search, and I determine for myself if what comes up is relevant or not. Of course, I know that I’m still at the mercy of the platforms’ algorithms, and that I’m not seeing everything. Nonetheless, a part of me still feels that what I find through manual searches and analytics tracked on a spreadsheet will be more accurate.

The second reason is that, because these Instagram and Facebook are now so ubiquitous, they are considered “safe” by the IT group at my work. I am trying to explore tools like delicious.com and diigo.com, because they are new(er), they are still blocked by the firewalls that IT has set up; this means that if I come across something interesting while surfing at my desk, in order to save it to most social bookmarking sites, I would need to go to the “trouble” of finding that same content using the browser on my cell phone (thereby eating into my own data plan) and bookmarking it there.

Where’s the good stuff?

My two go-to sources of news and updates are Jezebel and CBC.

Jezebel is a prime spot for feminist commentary on cultural trends, from the trivial, like the latest Snapchat filter, to the revolutionary, like the #metoo movement. Jezebel is owned by the same company as Gizmodo (Gawker Media), and the two sites cross-publish from time to time. So when I make my regular visits to Jezebel for its take on news and culture, I am also often presented with tech articles from Gizmodo, where I can get more technical information about the tools supporting or driving the trends.

CBC is more closely tied to my organizational interests. Working for a government department, much of my time is spent preparing for and responding to news coverage. CBC, being a national news site, covers federal policies and spending very frequently, and I need to know what they’re saying about my department and Minister so that I can anticipate their reaction to upcoming issues, as well as the questions they are likely to have for us. CBC also has really interesting radio programs that talk about the place of tech in our culture, and about apps in development (e.g. Spark, Quirks and Quarks, Day 6), and through that I often learn about broader industry issues that will help my professional development.

Photo credit: paulsgraham.ca

A new listening tool? That sounds scary to me…

As I said, Facebook and Instagram, being such mainstream tools, are the ones which I am most comfortable. But I know that, in order to advance in the communications field, I need to change my social media habits. The New York Times published an interesting article related to this recently, Why Trying New Things Is So Hard to Do. The crux of the article is:

“Habits are powerful. We persist with many of them because we tend to give undue emphasis to the present. Trying something new can be painful: I might not like what I get and must forgo something I already enjoy. That cost is immediate, while any benefits — even if they are large — will be enjoyed in a future that feels abstract and distant”.

There might be better monitoring tools out there, but after a work day spent at the computer, when I get home, I’m often ready to unplug, rather than hopping back online and exploring new tools. So, my question for you, dear reader: how do you push yourself to try new tools? How many monitoring platforms did you experiment with before deciding on your favourites?

COM0014-Blog #7 Live the story you want to tell!

For as long as the world has existed stories have been told through cave paintings, pictograms, and writing.  Now we have blogging, I wonder what the next thing will be.

I have enjoyed this course and it has made me more confident in telling my story.  I was one of those people that would be surrounded by crunched up paper because I just couldn’t get it right, or so I though.  At a very young age we all learn how to listen to a story and as we get older telling stories becomes an every day conversation.  Having the passion about what you are talking or writing about and making your audience feel it brings them into your story.  I have no problem getting up in front of people and speaking, in my voice they can hear my passion but how to get that passion into writing is a whole new talent.  One of the things that I have learned through this course is that I write better when I finish what I start immediately, no taking a break or starting than finishing the next day.  Not sure why this works for me but it does.  When I started this course I didn’t know the importance of adding images to blogs but now I do and use them regularly.

After starting this course I bought a journal to keep in our family room and we, my husband and I, have been doing entries.  We told our kids about it and they thought it would be something for them to treasure in the future.  Someday when I am old and maybe even forgetful I can look back and see these great memories written down and tell the story I have lived.

Thank you Nelly Leonidis