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.

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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!

Do You Trust Me?

Trust and Personal Branding

I’m continuing on the theme of personal branding as it is something I find incredibly fascinating.  So we now know that personal branding is how we market ourselves in order to improve our image or career prospects (Mike Wood in Entrepreneur – Why Personal Branding Must be Your First Focus).  Within the definition though is an implicit understanding that we are only showing our best side and not the whole picture.  Logically this makes sense, and whether or in person or online we wouldn’t introduce ourselves as great at meeting new people but terrible at driving.  Or I’m a terrible cook but hey, I’m really great at designing websites!  We need to put our best selves forward otherwise it’s imaginable that no one would really get anywhere in life.

Within corporate branding we are asked to trust companies with every advertisement and purchase.  We need to believe that the product will do what it says as we always have options to go elsewhere.  Therefore corporations spend vast sums of money coming up with the slogans and advertisements which convince us to trust us.  The following commercial by Geico is a perfect example of this:

Within the commercial they even discuss how important trust is with a brand.  It is impossible to think of a brand that has not promised something whether it is safety, health, beauty, longevity or simply a better life.

With personal branding it is logical to think therefore that part of the image we must build is one of trust in ourselves.  If we admit that we are not being completely being honest though, how can anyone trust our personal branding?

I think I’m back to my conclusion from my first blog, that there is a middle ground, although I think this one has a pinch of salt on it.  Much in the same way we may buy in to the cereal that promises to help us lose weight we realise that this will only be successful as a part of a combination of factors including exercise and eating healthy otherwise.  Perhaps the formula for a healthy personal brand is one that is truth combined with a healthy pinch of believability.

  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

   Not too sure how much you should reveal within your personal branding?  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

Who Am I?

Personal Branding Within Social Media

Personal branding within social media is an essential yet confusing term.  It can be defined as “[t]he ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding.  It has become as ubiquitous as social media itself and some of the most famous celebrity for the sake of celebrity’s have mastered this – simply think of the Kardashians (@KimKardashian or @khloekardashian).  Others have used it so effectively it has created whole new careers for them.  A perfect example of this is Donald Trump.  Before social media hit its stride he used his name to develop a real estate brand that spoke of luxury and expense.  Trump’s personal twitter feed @realDonaldTrump is now used to further define his personal beliefs while simultaneously promoting them as the beliefs or aims of the entire United States of America as he frequently uses the same tweets from his official Twitter account @POTUS.   One could argue that without his Twitter feed he would not have gained the popularity he did in the two year run up the US election last November.

The confusion for me lies with where to separate the personal from the professional.  With so much choice for virtually everything now and with relying less and less on personal interaction it seems that personal branding has taken the place of customer service.  I am happy with that when I am shopping, but if I am trying to sell a service (recruitment) through a professional Facebook page how much personal information should I be using?  I know I’m certainly not comfortable with displaying too much of my personal appearance like the Kardashians, or the political like Donald Trump!  Surely though, there is a happy middle ground where I can show through social media that I am a real human but this is my workplace and therefore a dress code of privacy must apply.

Perhaps the answer to this middle ground of personal branding lies in the aim.  There are numerous individuals who have used personal branding to create a career that is essentially personal branding, or beauty vlogging to give it it’s official name.  The three most popular in the United States in 2015 according to Pixability were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Carli Bybel who had followers standing at 8, 833, 779; 10, 339, 824; and 5, 303, 898 respectively (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_Youtubers). After developing huge followers that pre-social media would be unimaginable these individuals are using their own personal branding to contribute to the success of big companies while the big companies are able to adapt personal branding to their corporate branding.  This has become a completely symbiotic and hugely successful relationship.

          

I will continue to struggle with the issue of personal branding whenever I post on my work Facebook or Twitter accounts – I don’t worry about crossing any boundaries but rather being so impersonal so as to not have an impact!  Nonetheless it is clear that personal branding is essential and to be successful using social media one must adapt.

Continue reading

When I was a kid…

When people ask me how long I’ve been taking photos, they’re often surprised by my answer. I was in Grade 5 when my parents bought me a Kodak 110 point-and-shoot camera to capture memories of summer camp.

In Grade 8, my parents took me out of school one day to watch the launching of a new ship in Collingwood. It took two and a half swipes of the film advance to get to the next frame, and I did that as fast as I could. Swipe, swipe, swipe, click! Swipe, swipe, swipe, click! until the 24-exposure roll of film was finished. I got the processed pictures back days later and showed my classmates and teacher the near flipbook images. I became the unofficial class photographer that day.

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I don’t have those pictures anymore, but I do have an album of my March Break trip to France with my Grade 13 French class. Looking back at those images, I see that I already understood how photography was the art of capturing light. Take for instance the photograph I scanned and posted here. I took this image of stained glass from inside Notre Dame Basilica in Paris. I remember being in awe of the coloured light shining into the dimly lit historic site.

Going to journalism school, I learned to use a 35mm camera, which gave me better control of the images I took. Unfortunately, working for more than a decade as a reporter/photographer took the joy out of photography for me. There were too many pictures to take of people nervously posing on days I wasn’t feeling inspired.

In recent years, no longer forced to take pictures every day as part of my job, I’ve rediscovered my passion for making art with my camera and I’m so glad I did. I hope you do too when you see my creations at FlashDesignsStudio.com.

COM0011 – Blog #1 – Playing it Safe Online

After reading several articles about the risks of social media, and in particular, about the risks of allowing too much personal or controversial material to infiltrate your social media presence, I’m feeling somewhat devil’s advocate about the whole idea of keeping your online brand perfectly sanitary. For example, in the article “7 Risks of Social Media”, the author advises that social media users “keep controversial content away from your personal profiles” in order to avoid the possibility that you will offend someone in your network.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that this advice is perfectly logical, and I am generally fairly cautious about what I post online. My online presence tends to focus on certain topics that I am passionate about, like feminism, health, and literature. I know that nothing is truly private and that a misstep online can hurt your bottom line whether you’re self-employed, or work for a large corporation. I am in no way advocating that people should freely post graphic material or hate speech.

BUT…

If apparent authenticity is one of the aims of personal online branding, then can there not be room once in a while for something that seems a little off-brand? In a world where the term “curation” has become ubiquitous, must we always self-censor online? Having recently read Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, the lesson in a (certain) number of cases seems to be that problems arise when people try to hide the aspects of their lives that are deemed controversial. If you’re open and unashamed (and are wealthy enough to ride out the storm), then it can be harder for people to fault you for your convictions.

As I said in my introduction on the class discussion board, my social media use is fairly limited – Facebook, Instagram, following people on Twitter, etc. I have a number of coworkers and former coworkers on Facebook, as well as extended family. I don’t allow everyone in my network to access to everything I’ve posted or been tagged in, but I block fairly little. If someone in my network cares to scroll through all of the photos I’ve been tagged in over the years, they will see a good number where I have a drink in hand and a bit of a sloppy look on my face. They might also see some decidedly partisan posts. And I’m (mostly) okay with that. I am a human being with a life outside of work. If employers and consumers really do value “authenticity”, then surely they realize that a squeaky-clean social media presence might just mean that you’re very good at covering your tracks? A photo catalogue of a few drunken parties does not mean you’re a less than ideal job candidate.

Then again, maybe I’m just not a very controversial person, and posts that I might consider borderline acceptable to my nascent brand really aren’t that bad compared to what others have done (e.g. the members of the Dalhousie dentistry Facebook group who participated in truly offensive discussions about their female peers). Also, there’s probably an argument to be made for the fact that I’m pretty settled in my career now, and that – while I’m a millennial- I’m old enough that I didn’t live my life through social media when I was starting out in the professional world, so my employers were able to judge me more-or-less only on my CV and the word of my references.

I’d be curious to know what some of the younger members of this course have to say about this last point. At what age now would you say the idea of online personal curation becomes ingrained? How does your presence evolve when you grow up on social media and then enter the professional world? When the personal is tied to the professional, how can we enjoy the possibilities afforded by social media?

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 = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

COM0015 Post #5: #Brandcast

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a mass social networking event in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. It’s focus was to promote and celebrate the content creators of Youtube, the many benefits advertising on Youtube, and the value of creating partnerships with Youtubers, as well as finding an engaging audience, and creating a strong brand. This event was known as #Brandcast, and gathered together a massive community of advertisers, marketing heads and CEOs of brands (including Toyota, Nintendo, Universal Studios, Buzzfeed, Activision, Sharpie and more), Youtube content creators, Youtube executives, Google executives, and fans. It was one of the most unique events I have ever attended, and I thought it would be one that would be amazing to share with you all, as we are all students in a program that focuses on the power of Social Media, and how it can benefit so many different companies, brands, advertisers, and people across the globe.

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My friends and I in front of the stage after the event!

While it was not possible for us to directly speak with any of the presenters or attendees, that did not take away from my experience at all, and the knowledge I ended up walking away with. At #Brandcast, I listened to presenters like the president of marketing at Universal Studios, Josh Goldstine, the chief executive officer of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, and content creators such as Grace Helbig, John Green, and Justine Ezarik. The most fascinating presentation, in my opinion, came from Ze Frank, who is the president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures. He discussed the early days of what we know as “viral content”, what it means, how to judge the kind of content that spreads “virally” in our society, how we can use that to enforce branding, and the results of that kind of spreadable content. He used an excellent example with an email chain that went viral between Buzzfeed creator, Jonah Peretti, and an unnamed sneaker manufacturer. That viral email chain landed Jonah and the CEO of the sneaker company on national television, debating the controversy that is sweatshop labour. He then went on to entertain the idea of why? Why do some things get shared so much with other people? What makes a certain piece of content more spreadable than others? He breaks it down to what people are saying when they share the content online. Some people share because it relates to them, and refers to them as “identity shares.” Some people share because it inspired them, and refers to these people as “emotionally gifting.” And finally, the people that share it because they believe it will inform others, and refers to it as “social information.”

All of the presenters provide some really incredible information on the topic of advertising, content creating and how they go hand in hand with each other, as well as the successes and benefits of this partnership. I highly recommend, if you have some spare time, to check out some of these presentations for yourself, as Youtube has graciously uploaded a couple of them to their Advertising channel. I’ll provide the links to the videos below. They’re about 10 minutes long each, so they won’t take out a massive chunk of your time.

Justine Ezarik’s presentation (iJustine on Youtube)

Josh Goldstine’s presentation (President of Worldwide Marketing for Universal Pictures)

Grace Helbig’s presentation (Grace Helbig on Youtube)

Ze Frank’s presentation (President of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures)

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I actually spotted myself in the crowd as I was reviewing these videos for this blog post! Naturally, had to add it in here 😉

No matter which presenter you listen to, they all the enforce the idea of a strong community behind them, that’s dedicated to their content. This is the most important factor of finding success as a brand, as a content creator, and as an advertiser. This is the strongest, and most valuable piece of information I have walked away with from this presentation, as without your audience, and a dedicated one at that, you are essentially nothing. Grace Helbig provides the greatest example of this in her opener for #Brandcast, stating her fears when she branched away from original platform to Youtube, as her own brand of content creator. She had no idea how dedicated her audience actually was to her, as Grace. But, luckily for her, her audience was passionate about the content she was putting out, and she was able to build up a name for herself once again, and achieve success on Youtube and beyond. Expanding on that idea, knowing who your audience really is is of the utmost importance, as the results may truly surprise you. We go through the importance of knowing your audience in this certificate program already, but Justine’s presentation enforces this point even more. She covered the gaming portion of #Brandcast, as Let’s Players have essentially dominated the Youtube scene these days, thanks to the popularity of creators like PewDiePie. The stigma behind video games and gamers is that they are young, adult males. However, Justine states that adult, female gamers have overpowered this stereotype, and are, in fact the largest demographic watching video game content on Youtube. Take notes, video game corporations.

I would love to attend an event like this in the future. Heck, I would go to #Brandcast again next year, if I’m in the New York City area, and they’ll let me. Not only did I walk away with some valuable information up my sleeve in regards to the power of marketing and online advertising with Youtube and the power of viral content, I also got to enjoy some incredible entertainment from the likes of Nate Ruess, Alyson Stoner, and Bruno Mars. Oh yeah.

To send this post off, I’d like to leave a quote from Justine that I thought was extremely powerful, well-spoken and a perfect summary of what it means to be in the world of online marketing today:

“I want you guys to remember the reason that this community is so strong on Youtube. It’s because you cannot find this content on TV. Gaming is fundamentally interactive, and only interactive platforms, like Youtube, can deliver the experience gamers want.”- Justine Ezarik

I feel this quote represents far beyond the gaming community. Interactivity is the basis of all online marketing nowadays, and social media platforms are the most valuable tools a brand can utilize in today’s society. The conversation people can have on a Youtube video, on a post sharing a Youtube video on a platform like Facebook or Twitter is so important to the reach an advertiser and brand can have. If you keep this interactivity and conversation in mind, I strongly believe that anyone can find success online.

Thanks for reading.