COM0015: I spy with my little eye.. or monitoring current events

When it comes to monitoring trends and the latest news online there are plenty of options.  Some programs gather all the information of all (most) of your social media platforms in one lovely package to glance over. Others keep all your favourites sites or blogs gathered together so you can read all the newest news in one place! All of them have their uses but they may not be the best thing for you. Let’s take a quick glance at two of my favourite, and explain the reasoning as per why I use them.

I am a consultant for a direct sales company that sells cooking products. Not only do I need to keep an eye on the trends that competing companies are offering but I also need to observe and listen to what fellow consultants are doing.  And because I am a mom of two young children I need micro-information that is quick to monitor and read up on. That means that pages of blog posts, up to date emails, and massive data packages are of no use to me. I just do not have the time.

The one place where you will most likely find me is on Facebook. I love looking at the insights. They make it quick and easy to look at (pretty graphs make me happy).



I mostly enjoy the “Pages to Watch” option. This allows me to select fellow consultants or competing company ones and allows me to see what is working for them and what is not. If I want to see what they are posting, all I have to do is click on their pages to go check them out when I have the time.



My second favourite is the microblogging leader: Twitter. I can access my twitter on mobile wherever I am and at any time. I can also keep a more watchful eye on accounts or persons I believe I need to monitor. I love their lists feature. I can keep them private (so no one needs to know I am spying on them – I mean…no I mean spying), or group them in a public list that others can see.  Twitter also allows me to see what is trending (locally, countrywide, etc…) and also lets me do a hashtag search (also known to us old folks as the pound or number sign #). Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Quick shout out to Instagram that allows me to see trending hashtags in the foodie and cooking world!

For my current lifestyle, portability and quick looks are what I want. I have found that Facebook and Twitter are those who work the best for me. The best tools to use are the ones that you are going to use. No point spending money or assembling great RRS feed lists if you are not going to use them. Find what works for you. Just remember to be adaptable and pay attention to the tools that are available as something better may show up.

What are you using to pay attention to the latest news and updates in your field?

COM0015 – Blog#1: Evolving Tools and Tried and True Sources

I think it’s now pretty clear that social media isn’t going anywhere. Once you give people the opportunity to be part of the conversation – and to start their own conversations – it will be impossible to retract. Individuals and organizations that are able to use this to their advantage, to listen to these conversations and shape their messaging accordingly, are bound to be successful.

Social Media Pollsters

Last year we saw two of the most shocking election surprises in history. First was the Brexit vote, in which the UK surprisingly voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The second came in November, when Donald Trump (much to the awe of the news networks covering the event) won the presidential election over Hillary Clinton.

The polls had been wrong.

The United Kingdom was supposed to remain a part of Europe. And Hillary was supposed to be the newest resident of the White House. All the polls had said so.

Actually not all.

Traditional telephone polls had been calling for a ‘remain’ Brexit vote and a Democratic victory, but more sophisticated polling technology – that uses artificial intelligence to examine social media – were much more accurate. Advanced Symbolics, a company based in Ottawa, correctly predicted these upset victories, as well as the Liberal’s overwhelming victory in the 2015 federal election. Erin Kelly, the president and CEO of Advanced Symbolics (and a friend of a friend), explains in this article from Policy Magazine how and why social media polling is superior to traditional methods.

Social Media polling

From telephone calls to social media posts – is this the future of the polling industry?

I have not personally had the opportunity to use this technology but I’m a huge fan because it demonstrates just how valuable social media listening is. What would have happened if in the weeks before Nov. 8 voters knew that Hillary Clinton would likely win the popular vote but lose the electoral college and therefore the presidency? Would people in Britain have voted differently if they knew there was a serious possibility of leaving the EU?

Of course social media listening and monitoring is possible without the sophisticated equipment and fancy technology. Facebook is a great tool for anyone looking to monitor what people are saying. Almost everyone has a Facebook profile and it’s the place where people are most likely to share their opinions.

Where do I get my news?

I hate to be unoriginal and say Facebook and Twitter but: Facebook and Twitter. For breaking news from around the world there’s nothing better than these two platforms.


Almost anything that’s happening in the world will be broadcast on Twitter before anywhere else. People will tweet from a crisis before anyone else knows there’s a crisis. And reporters will tweet about a crisis before they have a story written. And even if you’re completely oblivious, the Trending Topics will tell you something big is happening. You won’t get many details with Twitter, but it’s definitely the place to find out you should be looking for them.


You can get breaking news from Facebook too but that’s not the reason I like it. Many publishers on Facebook now use the Instant Articles feature, which means that if you’re reading it on a mobile device, the loading time is almost zero. This means you can actually read the article instead of giving up after looking at a blank page refusing to load. If all you’ve got is your phone to give you information, it’s important that you’re actually able to get that information.

By following and liking the organizations you want to receive updates from, you can tailor your newsfeed to show you exactly what you want to see.


So what do you think? Will social media monitoring soon replace the traditional telephone pollsters?


Images found at and edited by me.

Com0015 – Post 4 – Out of the Box

What truly amaze me are the multiple applications that can be downloaded by smartphone users that have nothing to do with calling. In fact, according to Pew Internet Research, nearly four in ten users do not use the calling feature on their mobiles. For example, sending text messages, reading emails, setting an alarm clock are more popular than calling.

Taking pictures with smartphones has also changed the way we interact with people and has propelled the success of Instagram, allowing more people to view the world through imagery than texts. The GPS functionality on smartphones allows location specific interactions with information and people. Google alerts from calendars keep us on schedule. And there are lots more……

Below are some of the interesting apps that have proven to be very trendy with smartphone users. Their popularity could be due to the convenience they provide when dealing with normal day-to-day life activities.

  • Google Maps has changed the way we travel around in unfamiliar settings. They help us find locations, or provide directions and other location-based information. It has helped me find my way back to the cottage when we were lost this spring in the woods.
  • Google’s Earth-viewing app lets you look at cities in street view in one second, zoom out and then see the whole country.
  • Google Search lets you surf the Internet almost anywhere where there is a connection and with GPS functionality prioritizing suggested sites nearest you.
  • Making banking transactions has never been so easy.
  • Accessing your files across all your devices is now automated.
  • Reading Kindle e-books while waiting to see a dentist.
  • Poweramp lets you listen to music while Audible for Androids lets you listen to books.
  • Changing television channels or the temperature at home with a click of a button or
  • Scanning a barcode to obtain competitive pricing in a store nearby.

Again according to Pew Internet Research, mobile is gaining in popularity with 94% of adult Americans owning a cellphone. Google seems to believe that mobile is the future with their release this year of its Mobilegeddon algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. It’s clear that Google is banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused on-line marketing.

Continuing this trend is the popularity of wearable technology. Apple watch was unveiled this year and most expect to see more trendy wearable devices next year. The trick will be to make these devices fashionable enough so more people will be interested in owning them.

What does all this mean for on-line marketing and social media? It means an opportunity to reach a huge audience “hooked” on their smartphones…it means an opportunity to instantly share materials and ideas…and it means an opportunity to simultaneously share an experience with several people at once…

But most importantly, it means that if you do not have a mobile strategy guiding your marketing or social media plans, you will be rapidly “tuned” out.

COM0011 – Blog 3 – #STAYSAFE

Recent events in Moncton, New Brunswick brings up an ever increasing issue, staying safe on Social Media. Social Media was extensively used to get the word out to stay indoors and lock doors to stay safe from a gunman on a rampage. A hashtag was even created to help the population zero in on recent news and events pertaining to safety. The communication speed of Social Media was there to help a situation, and utilized by the RCMP.

There is another side to Social Media being used in these situations and that is, hindering a situation. Police also urged the population to refrain from tweeting police activity to try and remain in the upper hand of the situation. It was determined that the gunman was monitoring Social Media. It had to be stated for everyone’s safety to refrain from using Social Media to tweet the operation. Here is an example where Social Media can both help a situation and hinder a situation.

Social Media can be used for fun, for informing, as a marketing tool, and so on but it’s important to learn to use it to #Staysafe as well.

Did you know, when you take a picture on your mobile device it also embeds the photo with a location as to where that photo was taken? That could be a useful tool for people in the business of breaking into homes. At certain times the picture posted is an open invitation to your home. If you don’t instill a security lock down of your Social Media accounts then expect the unexpected.

Mobile users posting pictures can alleviate some safety concerns by removing the location embedded in the photo by using an app called DEGEO. DEGEO removes the location before the photo is posted. Definitely a #staysafe tool.

#Staysafe and research methods on staying safe in this new world of Social Media.

I would like to close by posting a picture of the fallen RCMP of the most recent events in Moncton, New Brunswick. May they Rest in Peace.



Photo Courtesy of Ottawa Citizen

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