COM0014 – Blog 6: How I Help Make the World a Better Place

Stolen laptop

One evening in 2018, Olga closed her laptop and walked out of a hotel room in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, for a quick dinner. She had arrived in the city the previous night to participate in a workshop for local civil society groups. As the head of a small human rights watchdog, she was a regular at these events.

When Olga returned to the hotel, her laptop was not there. The hotel had no security cameras, and police officers who soon arrived said it was unlikely that she would get the device back. That only reinforced the woman’s suspicion that the laptop had been taken by the authorities. As a vocal member of a coalition demanding justice for victims of police abuse, she knew the authorities would do anything to get access to her data.

Having your laptop stolen can ruin many lives if you have sensitive or confidential files on the hard drive. GIF source: Giphy

Having the laptop stolen could have had dire consequences for Olga, her organization and other people that she worked with. She had a lot of sensitive files on her hard drive, including testimonies from victims of police torture. If this data fell into the hands of the authorities, it would have been a disaster for many people.

Encryption and backups

Nonprofits and activists are particularly vulnerable to attacks targeting their online assets and digital devices. The Ottawa-based organization I work for helps civil society organizations in countries like Kazakhstan to tackle digital risks.

Shortly before Olga’s laptop was stolen, we had helped her organization to put in place basic digital safety measures. Those measures included encrypting her laptop and setting up automatic backups. So, Olga not only kept all her files but also knew that the thief would not be able to decrypt them. As a precaution against possible device loss, we had also enabled remote erase on the laptop. With the laptop gone, the woman activated this function and knew that as soon as her device connected to the Internet, its hard drive would be wiped.

This is what we do on a daily basis. This work is important for activists and civil society groups fighting injustices and making their communities and nations better places to live.

Your turn

And what is your your favourite customer story? Have you ever helped someone in a way that made you particularly proud of your job? Share your stories in the comments below.

COM0014 – Blog 5: Brand Me

I am a communications professional who currently manages social media for an Ottawa-based nonprofit. Several things set me apart from other professionals in my field.

There are a lot of people out there with skillsets and experience similar to mine.
A key part of my personal brand is what makes me stand out. GIF source: Giphy

First, I have a lot of experience in delivering high-stakes communications campaigns in difficult operational environments. Such environments include post-conflict nations, characterized by repressive political system, endemic corruption, and deep-seated suspicion of foreign-funded projects. I know how to move forward and secure crucial allies in seemingly hopeless situations. This means that I can be a valuable asset to internationally funded development projects and initiatives working in such places.

I have delivered successful communications campaigns in difficult
operational environments. GIF source: Giphy

Second, I am good at crafting messages that resonate with various audiences. In my current role, I develop a lot of social media content focusing on digital safety. The people I work with often commend my ability to explain complex and technical terms or processes in plain language. I have recently begun using comics to convey digital safety advice.

I am good at writing for various audiences. GIF source: Giphy

Finally, I have a sharp analytical mind that allows me to see patterns amidst thousands of data points, extract key information from these patterns, and pinpoint connections between seemingly unrelated events and developments. In addition to my social media work, I help the organization I work for to understand and position itself to capitalize on major political, economic and social developments in the regions where we operate. I am particularly proud of this aspect of my work.

Blog #5: No mistakes, just support

By Cindy Macdonald

If you are a small business owner, social media marketing can be time-consuming, confusing and risky. But it’s not an easy function to outsource because effective marketing requires an intimate knowledge of the client’s business and the target audience. It is easy to make a mis-step and damage your business’ reputation.

As an experienced business writer and social media strategist, I can achieve that balance of learning your business and growing its presence on social media. I know that you don’t retweet Greenpeace when you work in the logging and forestry sector, not matter how cute the video is. You don’t complain about being stuck in the office when your audience is construction workers labouring outside on a hot and humid July day.

Having reported on manufacturing, automotive, forestry, retail, security, agriculture and cleantech for 25+ years, I can relate to almost any Canadian industry.

Also, when you’re paying someone for their specialized expertise, you need them to walk a fine line between suggesting improvements and completely taking over your process.

Gif by Tenor

This is where I fit in. As a freelance writer and editor, I am accustomed to joining a company for a defined term to complete a specific project. I make things happen once the company’s leaders have decided what should happen. I’m a tactician, not a strategist. Part of the crew, not the captain.

Gif by Tenor

One of my strengths is #collaboration. One of the key functions of an editor is to work with writers, to make their articles better without obscuring their voice. This is what I feel a social media manager should do: collaborate, boost the marketing message and be a team player.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

COM0014- Blog Post #5 – The Many Faces of Me

I am what some would call…a functional introvert. It sounds kind of funny when you think about it. Most people would describe me as Strong, Dominant, Confident, Personable, Easy Listener, Empathetic and comfortable in my own skin. These are all true. But I am also an introvert. I find being around people exhausting. Most people don’t know this. They see what I want them to see. This is what makes it easy to do my job. I am able to blend into any role. I am a Mother, Writer, Manager, Cat Lover, Gun enthusiast, Tough Mudder Runner, Scrapbooker, Sewer, and a whole bunch of other things. I like people, and parties and other things that require social interaction. I am most comfortable with small groups and enjoy intimate things like dinner and movies. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. It means I find social situations exhausting and when I need to recharge, I prefer to be alone. Writing is perfect for me. I love immersing myself in a story and letting it take me wherever the magic takes me. I am more comfortable with books than people.

What makes me different?

Writing is my passion. I write because I have a story to tell. I don’t write to make me rich. I also work very hard at whatever task I undertake. That is what makes me stand out in my field. I work in Corrections. It is a tough job. I am good at it. I have a very empathetic nature, but I am also very fair and tough. I am also a Classic Type A Overachiever Personality. I get bored easily. Which means I take on new roles all the time. This makes me versatile in my field. It has enabled me to learn and grow.

What have you done to make yourself stand out?

I am in the middle of completing my Social Media Certificate at Algonquin College. I am looking to make the next step in my career. I want to work in Ottawa. I am also taking French classes at St. Lawrence College. I am also working with an Editor on my latest book.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

My colleagues say I am Hardworking and Reliable. I can live with that. I have a strong work ethic and expect others to be the same.

What about you? What makes you different from others in your field? Any Personality Traits that stand out or Contrast?

COM0014 Digital Communication – Personal Branding

What sets me apart from my competitors?

Personal branding has become muddled with others trying to copy others style, personality traits and views. In this climate, differentiating yourself is more difficult than ever and that is why I believe I possess certain characteristics and qualities that set me apart from most. In general, I do not buy into designer clothing and often wear clothes with no logo. Too often we are seeing people wear the same logo as what is currently popular and this in turn makes them blend in instead of stand out. Another characteristics that sets me apart from my competitors is my authenticity. Whether it be expressing political views, stating my point of view on a project at work or having an argument with friends, my authenticity sets me apart and earns me respect ultimately. Further, I believe that one of my best qualities that enhances my personal branding and sets me apart from competitors is my ability to use humour online. On Twitter I often receive praise for my wittiness and ability to think on the spot using humour. This helps create your unique identity online and creates a sense of uniqueness when branding yourself on social media.

Stand Out at whatever cost

What have you done lately to stand out?

When reflecting on things I’ve done lately to stand out, what seems to resonate most is my confidence at work wearing a suit. Given I work in an executive office filled with senior managers, I tend to feel left out being a younger looking student. I decided to invest in a nice, reasonably priced navy suit and brown dress shoes to match. This earned me lots of compliments and made my confidence skyrocket. As many say, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want”. This was a bold move and quite a drastic shift in attire when compared with my usual sweaters and dress shirts, however it has warranted a better sense of personal branding and was well worth the money.

The Legend Himself

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

After contemplating this question for several minutes, I believe that what sets me apart from others and is valued by my colleagues is my ability to analyze effectively. My manager often runs presentations by me first as well as briefing notes, and I am able to quickly see errors whether it be typos, structure or anything that might be perceived negatively. Analytical skills and attention to detail are such valuable traits to possess in the workforce and for this reason I believe they would value this trait most about me.

Analytics

COM0014 Blog #5: Wait, how do you say that name again?

Growing up with an unusual name is tough. When I was a kid, I could see nothing good about my unique name (I’m Bronwyn, by the way. Nice to meet you!) No one could pronounce it properly upon first introduction (okay, most people still can’t), and it’s not the kind of name that immediately tells you if the person is male or female (I get emails to “Mr. Bronwyn” all the time). “Why couldn’t you have called me Sarah or Megan, or something normal?” I’d lament to my mother. Being just like everyone else was the thing to strive for, not standing out.

As I got older, though, I learned to appreciate the things about myself that made me unlike other people, including my name. And professionally, I have found that I have certain qualities that are of distinctive value.

Where I Stand Out

I am one of thousands of communications strategists in the federal government. So, what makes me a stand-out? Three things:

  1. Advice that meets and anticipates future client needs. I have a history of giving my clients sound communications advice, and developing strategies based on thorough assessments of the public environment, policy issues and risk management. My advice is also supported by my willingness to reach out to other government departments to learn from them and share best practices.
  2. Quality. I have to say, I’m pretty good at this writing thing. Over the course of my ten-year public service career, I have written in many formats – media lines, news releases, Tweets, web content, and speaking points – to meet the needs of diverse audiences. I pay a great deal of attention to detail in my writing, and I understand the importance of a unified approach to messaging.
  3. Responsive. I have a solid reputation for providing fast and high-quality client service. Not every request can be fulfilled right away, but I strongly believe that acknowledging requests quickly and providing dependable service is important for maintaining a strong client relationship.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done throughout my career. Very proud. But what might be the most personally satisfying is the work I do outside the office.  Things like:

How about you? What do you do that makes you feel the most fulfilled?

COM0014 Blog #5: Life is About the Journey, Not the Destination!

I came across my personal brand through thinking about what I didn’t want it to be. Which was another blog that takes my diagnosis Asperger’s Syndrome and make it all about being a cause or how it’s challenged me. I wanted to focus more on what has helped me cope better; and use my experiences as a way to share what I’ve learned from them to help others.

Transitioning to this place from my original blog which was general and used a pseudo-name has been a big step and leap of faith but one I’m glad to take.  Doing so helped bring a greater focus to my writing and specify my niche, that has allowed me to bring forth my own personal awareness and how I’ve gained insights from those experiences that have added to what my blog may have been lacking before. It also has given me the courage to share and be more open with what I share.

kylie_header2

 

I strive for it to be as authentic and honest as possible, writing from a place of compassion towards myself and others, understanding and learning with perhaps a little educating. If it doesn’t feel right then I don’t write on it and work to change it because this is the only way I know how to write and be- authentically and honestly- me. Sharing what “Life on the Spectrum” is like for me has been a wonderful learning experience  and journey into embracing what makes me unique, how that’s growing into my personal brand and allowed me to share that with others, that’s just begun but I’m eager to see where everything goes from here.

Learning, sharing and growing as Kylie, blogger of  Life on the Spectrum- embracing Aspergers!

It’s My Life

Can we change who we are?

When commenting on someone’s discussion forum I was reminded of a privacy issue around personal information online.  Basically, there was a ruling in the European Court of Justice that determined that personal information must be deleted if it “appear[s] to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).  In a nutshell this means that if you had an affair 10 years ago that was revealed online, or had declared bankruptcy 15 years ago, or been caught doing drugs and had posted it on Facebook Google had an obligation to delete the link according to the above criteria.  BUT, it was not required to remove the information.  Therefore if someone looked hard enough, they would be bound to find it (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).

This raises some very interesting issues for me especially in the interest I’ve developed in personal branding.  I’ve spoken before about honesty and the importance of truth with personal branding and therefore it might seem logical to think I have everyone has a right to know everything about you.  I also firmly believe though, that everyone deserves a second chance.  I think you’d be very hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t done something in the past that they regretted; luckily for me the majority of it was pre-internet.

Most recently here in Canada there was a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was decided that Google must remove search items globally when it has been decided in Canada that they are in breach of an injunction.  In this case, a company which manufactured something was suing a distribution company, claiming that the distribution company had stolen their technology, copied the product and was selling it as its own.  The manufacturing company argued that if the distribution company was only prevented from marketing in Canada then the theft would be ongoing and the Supreme Court agreed saying that it was not in breach of freedom of speech regulation (http://www.businessinsider.com/google-must-remove-worldwide-search-results-says-top-canada-court-2017-6).

There are far too many issues here to cover adequately within one blog, although I’m going to attempt to draw a conclusion here.  From right to privacy, to an internet without borders (who polices the internet???), to personal and corporate honesty there is the potential for great harm to come to both individuals and honest companies.  So perhaps we should try and keep it simple and although I’m not religious, I feel that this is perhaps the simplest and best conclusion I can arrive at: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What do you think?  Should our mistakes from the past continue to haunt us?  Or should we get a second chance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  To find out more about your rights with your personal history online, check out my blog by clicking here. #privacy #google

  To read more about personal privacy online click here to read my blog “It’s My Life” or check out @privacyforum.

The Expert

Are you listening to me?

One of the things I find most difficult when it comes to using social media is determining whether or not anyone is listening and is the main reason why I am participating in this course.  When doing my personal brand assignment I find I have no trouble in explaining why I am an expert in my field or what I have to contribute.  When I put things out on social media though, I genuinely feel as if I’m tweeting or posting into a black hole.  Looking for inspiration for this week’s blog I came across an article entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Online Branding and Building Authority Part 1 – Blogging” written by Kristi Hines.  It’s a great article and does an excellent job of laying out the reasons why blogging is so important in building up authority within a brand.

In my definition of social media creating community is essential.  All communities need leaders and therefore when trying to create a community and have others follow it seems logical that I would be the leader.  Blogging to establish my authority is an excellent way to do this in that it provides an opportunity to showcase my knowledge to others (and I can now see the emphasis on blogging within this course).
As with all things social media though, I do struggle to separate the personal from the professional and can’t help but wonder how much do people want to hear from me? This is where building brand authority comes in.  As Hines writes in the above mentioned blog “[I]f you’re sharing informative blog posts about your industry, you’re likely to get a lot of traffic and social shares.” (The Ultimate Guide to Online Branding and Building Authority Part 1 – Blogging by Kristi Hines). Hines actually recommends WordPress as the site to use for blogging within the above quoted article.

Looking further into building authority within a blog I came across a blog by Andrea ‘Dre’ Beltrami which gives great tips into how to build up your personal brand in her article entitled 7 Essential Ingredients for Branding a Blog.  Her tips include how to use good visuals but the first and most essential tip is to find your voice.

The key here seems to be believing your own voice is enough authority and of course putting in the hard work to make it so.  What do you think?  Do you have the confidence to put yourself out there as the expert in you or your industry?  Do you feel comfortable blogging as an authority in your field?

 Interested in knowing more about branding and authority?  Check out my blog here!

  More information about blogging, authority and finding your voice can found here – let me know what you think!