COM0015 – Assignment 1 – Blog #4: Latergram might be safer than Instagram

As we’ve seen throughout this course, people continue to find novel ways to use online marketing and social media – from Facebook birthday posts as a way to promote donations to charity, to celebrities and scientists using Reddit AMAs as a way to promote their work. One unexpected, and very unfortunate application of social media that I have come across is of burglars using Facebook and Instagram as a way to find their next target.


Photo from Pixabay

Charlotte Parnaby in Social Media: A Burglar’s Best Friend and Maggie Winterfeldt in Over 78% of Burglars Are Using Social Media to Find Their Targets have reported on studies in the United Kingdom and the United States which found that a number of ex-burglars reported having used people’s public posts on sites like Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook to “pick out potential places to rob. Three quarters of the surveyed ex-burglars also used Google Street View to get a feel for the property”. (Winterfeldt).

Perhaps the most famous recent example of this was in 2016 when Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint at her hotel in Paris, after having posted numerous photos online of herself wearing a series of massively expensive pieces of jewellery, as well as pictures of the hotel at which she was staying in the days leading up to the robbery.

Certainly this is an extreme example of a unique way to use social media tools, and it’s worth noting that the sample size of the UK and US studies were quite small (and that the studies were conducted by security firms). But it does serve as a good reminder to be careful about what we share, and when and how publicly we share it. Sometimes, it might be better to share those vacation posts sometime after the fact, or at least make sure that you are up-to-date on your chosen platform’s privacy settings.

COM0015 – Assignment 1 – Blog #3: Putting in face time

I have to say, I’m pretty good at coming up with strategies. I’ve been doing it professionally for the past ten years, and academically for almost two years through Algonquin. Lately I’ve even been doing it for friends without even being asked, just because I see opportunities for them to increase their business reach or personal influence. But a strategy for myself? For developing my own professional network online and in-person? There are a million other things I’d rather do than sit down with myself and come up with ways to be more visible.

That said, I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied at work for the past…oh…year or more. I’ve finally reached something of a breaking point, and am seeing how important it is for me professionally, and for my own mental wellbeing, to start to focusing on maintaining and increasing my network of connections.

My present strategy is still fairly informal, but I have made three specific commitments to myself that involve online and offline activities that should help me find my next career step.

    1. Job shadowing – in the Communications shop that I work in, the strategic side is largely separate from the digital side. This means that, as a strategist, I come up with the social media plans, but the day-to-day implementation and evaluation is handled by the digital side. As a result, I don’t get to work with the platforms that my department uses, nor do I get to play much of a role in analytics, or user experience. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to approach my manager to get his support for me to do some job shadowing in digital communications this fiscal year. I discussed it with him about two weeks ago, and he spoke with the manager of the digital team, and they told me to go for it.
    2. Updating my Linkedin profile – I used to only look at Linkedin every few months to make sure my résumé was still up to date, but I decided to give my profile a bit of a refresh – new photo, updated CV and job title – and change my settings so that my profile is flagged to recruiters. I also decided to try paying for the Premium service for a few months, to see if the additional insights make a difference in the number of views that my profile receives. I have noticed a few more views in the past month, and have connected with a few more of my current colleagues on the platform.
    3. “Wanna grab a coffee or a beer?” – this is the toughest one for me. I get really anxious at the prospect of hanging out one-on-one or in groups when the explicit purpose is networking. But I know that, in my line of work (as in most), the surest way to find new opportunities is through who you know. So, my goal for the next six months is to start reaching out to former colleagues and friends to meet in casual settings, and discuss their experiences in their current jobs, and seek their advice about where/for whom I might want to try working next. At least one of the former colleagues on my list is someone very much like myself – introverted, type A, prefers email to conversation – so she should be fairly easy for me to approach, and have good insights to share.

Honest networking

So, I’ve made a start. I’ve even applied for a couple of jobs in the past few weeks where I included links to my profile on Linkedin and Instagram. And I think it’s working – I had an interview this past week (keep your fingers-crossed for me!), which, whether I get the job or not, was a big confidence booster. And as I progress through the three commitments I’ve made, I’m sure they will give me the impetus to keep working on building my brand and expanding my networks.

How do you prefer to build your networks? When it comes to your career, do you think it’s better to focus your energy on your online or offline relationships?

COM0015 – Blog # 1 – Tools and Sources

My two favourite social media trend measuring and monitoring tools are Social Mention and Facebook Insights. Both of these tools make monitoring much less daunting, less time consuming, and generally easier. This makes me a happy person!

Social Mention is a tool to see who is mentioning my brand, no matter where on the internet this happens. On their website I can search my brand name, my name, my competitors’ names, or any other key word of interest to me, and these mentions are directed right into my inbox. Mentions may happen in the on-line world in places that I may not even thinksocial mention to look, and Social Mention will find them and send the links to me. With one click of the link I can see the mention first-hand. Social mention is a great tool to keep tabs on my reputation, in case people are talking indirectly about me and my brand.

Facebook Insights allows me to track activity on my Facebook business page, which is where I interact the most. It can tell me everything about general activity on my business page, as well as everything about specific posts.facebook I can learn things like number of likes, shares, comments, click throughs, photo views, and overall reach of my posts. I have learned from Facebook Insights the type of posts that my readers like to see from me, and what they don’t.

My two favourite sources for news and updates that are of interest to me, are Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter allow me to target the information that I want to hear about, and weed out the things that don’t interest me, or serve my business. The things that interest me intersect both personally and professionally. Topics such as food, health, nutrition, cooking, and fitness infiltrate my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I have come to prefer certain feeds more than others, and over time my feeds have evolved to include news and updates from those individuals and companies who I feel are most credible, or whose values are most similar to mine.




Images sourced from:

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Keep It Simple

Your writing needs to be simple, clear, and concise, when storytelling and communicating in the digital world. Overloading a reader (and potentially a customer) with too many ideas, headings, words, and paragraphs, could possibly lose their interest. The key is to capture their attention in an overwhelming sea of other digital messages, through easy to read, and interesting copy.

To do this, first identify precisely what the message is that you want to convey. From here use short headlines, short sentences, and get to the point in a compelling but simple way. Remove words or descriptions that do not add value to your content. This allows your reader to glance through your message to determine if they have come to the right place, and if they want to continue to read. Use excellent grammar and pronunciation, and make sure your spelling is accurate. Not doing so, will be detrimental to your credibility.

It is also more interesting for your reader if you consistently use an active voice, instead of a passive voice to communicate your message. This is because active voice writing keeps your sentences clearer, and keeps your sentences from becoming too complicated and wordy. Too much use of passive voice writing can cloud the meaning of your message, and again, you could potentially lose your reader’s attention.

In summary, the key to successful digital writing is to be simple, clear and concise.

COM0015 – Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

An Example of Social Media Used Well


One of the best uses of social media I’ve found is by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (OSPCA).

Social Media Logos used by OSPCA

The OSPCA regularly uses a wide variety of digital media.

This not-for-profit in the Newmarket area is using a variety of platforms to extend their reach on many levels. Social media icons, linked to each platform, are featured prominently on the website. The platforms used are:

  • Instagram: 1.5K followers
  • Facebook: 46K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA main): 17.9K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Events): 1.4K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Careers): 849 followers
  • YouTube: 880 Subscribers
  • LinkedIn: 0 connections
  • Google+: 126 followers

OSPCA also creates regular website blog posts and podcasts to engage their audience, give them more information, increase volunteerism, adoptions, donations and general awareness.

Frequent and regular Facebook and Twitter posts are used to drive traffic to the blog and “pawdcasts” housed on the website and the YouTube channel. Posts are varied containing links, images, clear calls to action, contest information (post a picture of your pet) and engagement posts such as voting polls in third party fundraisers. Instagram is used to its fullest extent with many pictures of cute animals to be adopted. Some OSPCA YouTube videos have thousands of views. The only platforms that do not seem well used are Google+ and LinkedIn with little information, no followers and no posts. Maybe these accounts have just been created.

There is a professional communications department at OSPCA with many years of experience in all facets of digital marketing, which probably explains their excellent use of all digital media. I liked the OSPCA’s website and use of social media so much that I applied for a communications position at OSPCA in the past. Unfortunately, my resumé must have dropped into File 13, as I was not contacted for an interview! Oh well, onward and upward I hope.

Social Media in Need of Development

Inn From The Cold Logo

Inn From The Cold (IFTC) is another not-for-profit organization in the Newmarket area. There is no formal communications department in this small organization. Recently, a social media coordinator has been hired to expand IFTC’s social media presence. The website is new. In-kind work and funds to create it were recently donated by a digital marketing agency and Canadian Tire in Newmarket. Tiny social media icons appear “below the fold”. These could easily be missed and should be more prominently displayed near the top of the page. The social media platforms are:

  • Facebook: 731 followers
  • Twitter: 258 followers

Because the development of social media is in its nascent stage, there is currently no formal strategy other than to post information on Facebook and Twitter about how followers can support IFTC. Posts focus on thanks for sponsorship, community meal volunteers, and retweets of Coldest Night of the Year, an upcoming event benefitting IFTC.

Newmarket is a very spirited, caring and tight community, so there is potential for an expanded social media presence to help IFTC gain supporters, volunteers and donations.

Objectives include increasing engagement (likes, comments, shares), increasing the variety of post types as well as increasing event registrations, sponsorships, and financial support. A standard template thanking sponsors is currently over-used. This is becoming thoroughly boring and could discourage followers from reading IFTC’s posts.

To further develop the use of social media, IFTC needs to find information that would be more interesting to its followers. Links to articles about homelessness, more images of service to guests, and engagement posts, such as polls should be developed. There is no blog on the website. If a qualified, committed blogger could volunteer to write engaging and informative articles, plus volunteer profiles and guest success stories, these could be posted on social media to drive traffic to the site and help achieve IFTC’s objectives.

If you have any suggestions for how IFTC’s social media presence could be improved, please let me know in the comments below!