FOMO – A social media induced state of mind

With the vast majority of children, teens and adults having access to some form of social media, whether it be TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – the list could go on, but I’ll stop there – we have access to pictures, information, videos, feeds, etc. at our fingertips all day, every day, in real-time.

Inundated with social media. (Purchased from BigStock.com)

It’s no wonder why so many of us stay up late (too late), staring at our screens in hopes to see something interesting. Something comment or share-worthy. This fear of missing out (FOMO) is real, and it’s here to stay.

Ellen explains FOMO (and NOMO)

Mesmerized by the constant updates from those we follow, we might hop on our phones several times in an hour… checking our plethora of social media accounts. The ironic thing is that the more we scour over social media, making sure we’re not missing out on something, the more we actually miss out on, in real life.

With all that said, FOMO is a state that is not exclusively caused by social media, but it most certainly plays a role.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have JOMO: The joy of missing out. I’ll admit it, it’s a new term to me, but the idea of being in the present moment is something I’m aware of, and find difficult to do. It’s almost a form of meditation – to remove yourself from the constant buzz of your phone, and be present in the physical world. Gosh, that does sounds great! I think we all could use a little more JOMO in our lives. Comment below if you agree!

FOMO or JOMO?

Fomo or JOMO? (Purchased from BigStock.com)

Lastly, for those who chronically suffer from FOMO, I sincerely wish you NOMO FOMO.

Sara McCarter

Storytelling – A History & What I Learnt About It

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!

Information Overload

Information Overload

The initial thought when applying to Algonquin this year was pure and total positivity. I found a course that directly related to my current job position- figured it would be a simple and easy way to say, “I did it, I finally went to college!”. But 5 days in and I can truly say I want to throw my laptop and brain over a cliff…

My first experience with this course that frustrated me, was the overload of content regarding a “Blog”. I didn’t realize how much social media revolved around blogging and twitter (I seriously thought twitter was a 2010 thing and had died off), but wow was I wrong. I always tended to be drawn towards Facebook or Instagram because of the imagery and ease in writing what you need to say; so twitter was never something I dabbled with. Now, it’s 2020, I’m a complete noob to this Twitter App and can also see why my grandparents get annoyed learning new tech.

As I read slowly into the content provided, I’m realizing social media is so much more than my measly facebook posts or useless snapchat story. The more I try to wrap my head around the fact people rely on someone else’s tweets, the more I realize I’m guilty of it as well. The human behavioural aspects of social media is seriously blowing my mind, and like I said… INFORMATION OVERLOAD is happening!

I read the below article the other night at 1 am, whilst panicking I had made a terrible choice going back to school, and it actually gave me ideas for a calm-normal headspace. I definitely recommend anyone in a similar position as me- check it out! https://bit.ly/2GOI7Dm

All in all, I can assume I’m not the only one with a bit of anxiety and unsureness towards going back to school this fall; so what are you guys doing to keep it together and stay committed to this program? Is there a favourite youtube channel, blog or podcast you go to? Leave it below, let’s help each other find a bit of peace!

Cheers! ❤

Promotional Tweet/FB Post Below:

COM0015 – Blog 4: Out of the Social Media Marketing Box

Over the last six weeks, I have been learning about using social media in business. The learning does not stop here. Social media is a rapidly evolving space; in order to stay abreast with developments in this space, it is important to make learning a key part of work itself.

Learning is a constant feature of using social media. Source: @cbc on Giphy.

Google Alerts for personal branding

One really unexpected thing that I discovered in this course was that Google Alerts was not only a useful social listening tool but also a powerful personal branding aid. I set up an alert for my full name, and now every time it is mentioned somewhere online, I learn about it immediately.

Social media in internal communications

I have also began reading a lot about using social media for internal communications in a big company or organization. In contrast to outdated and cumbersome intranet sites, social media offer a quick and easy tool for conveying information to large groups of people and collecting instantaneous feedback.

Social media allow for instantaneous communication with large groups of employees. Source: @memecandy on Giphy.

What helps here also is that, by its very nature, social media is viewed as a low-stakes and not-too-serious communication channel. So, adopting social media for internal communications helps remove a lot of psychological and hierarchical communication barriers.

Have you discovered any interesting uses for social media that you did not think about before taking this course? Let me know in the comments below!

How Do You Sell Pothole Repair on Social Media?

Some organizations do an impressive job of using social media to support what they are trying to achieve. Other organizations do such a poor job on social media that people are often left wondering why they have these accounts in the first place.

In this blog, I will look at two small Ottawa-based companies that differ dramatically in how they use social media – MAVEN PM and Ottawa Asphalt Kings. Both companies are in the business of asphalt sealing and pothole repair. The industry might seem too technical or even too boring to provide social media case studies. Yet an analysis of the two companies’ different social media strategies provides valuable insights.

What can be more boring on social media than asphalt and potholes? Image source: MaxPixel (Creative Commons CC0 1.0)

My driveway

About a month ago I realized that unless I fixed all the potholes and cracks on my driveway, the approaching winter will destroy it. I googled local companies that could do the work for me.

During the next several days, my social media feeds displayed several targeted ads from asphalt companies. Ads by two local companies got my attention, and I began exploring their social media presence.

MAVEN PM

This company’s social media accounts were so good that I found myself scrolling down to see even their old posts and reading comments. In addition to a clean and straightforward website, MAVEN PM has vibrant accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

The company is using the channels to demonstrate how exactly it fixes both common and more unique asphalt driveway problems. It uses video and image content to tell the stories of individual driveways that the company has fixed. Most of the stories follow a standard “before and after” structure.

A “before and after” post from MAVEN PM’s Instagram account.

What I found particularly impressive was how good the company was at responding to comments and resolving customer complaints on social media. Lots of people used comments under posts to ask questions, both general and related to specific driveways. These questions were all answered, including the recent ones. The company also responded to complaints, albeit not numerous, ensuring customers that it will act promptly to resolve situations that had made them unhappy.

I sent a message to the company through Facebook and they responded within a couple of hours, providing basic details and offering a free estimate.

So, this company uses visual content effectively to promote its services on social media. It also uses its social media accounts really well to engage with customers and address customer inquiries and complaints.

There is not much you can do to make pothole fixing interesting on social media. Yet, MAVEN PM’s social media left me with an impression that the company was really passionate about their work and offered great customer service.

Ottawa Asphalt Kings

This company left me wondering about why it had decided to be on social media. Overall, I think it is a good company that does its job really well. It has a lot of great reviews on Google.

Yet, there is too little information about Ottawa Asphalt Kings online. The company does not have even a basic website, and its Facebook page is virtually useless. Yes, you read it right – the Facebook page that the company’s ads lead to is useless.

This not particularly creative or imaginative post from May 2020 is the most recent piece of content on Ottawa Asphalt Kings’ Facebook page.

A lot of information on the page is outdated, and the latest post is from May 2020. What is worse, many comments, questions and customer complaints remain ignored.

I sent a message to the company through their Facebook page, and it took them six days to respond to the message. Even then, the response was of little value to me as they simply asked me to call their landline.

So, although the company seems to have many customers, its social media presence is effectively useless. Ottawa Asphalt Kings would definitely benefit from a social media strategy. It should use Facebook, Instagram and possibly even TikTok to share visual content promoting its services. It should also use social media to engage with customers, listen to them, and address their complaints. This will help the company to not merely survive but to grow its business.

Their first step should be to decide who will be responsible for managing their social media, how often they will post new content and respond to comments or questions, and how they will create content. To do so, Ottawa Asphalt Kings needs to dedicate resources to social media. While this change may put a strain on the company’s resources in the short term, it will doubtless pay off in the long term.

COM0014- Blog #3: Reaching My Audience.

There are many ways that people and organizations reach their audiences. Some do it in a very proper corporate way and others connect with their audience where it feels like they are connecting with a friend. Is either way incorrect? No. It all depends on how your target audience would relate to the communication style.

One of my personal interests is interior design. I like mixing styles, price points, and throwing in some do it yourself projects. I am in my early thirties, just bought my first home, and do not have any children. I wish to start a lifestyle blog about all of my interests focusing around interior design.

Round Black Framed Mirror on the Wall
Image Source: Dominika from Pexels

My target audience would be females between the ages of 25 and 34. They are young professionals with post secondary education, are just starting to plan out their lives, either renting or just purchased their first home. My target audience will be single, in relationships, or newly married. My target audience would most of the time not have any children. These women would not be in a specific ethnic group and I would like the community built to feel very inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

They are trendy, interested in interior design, and love spending time with friends. They look for entertaining content online that will enrich their lives in some way and teach them new things. these females would have some money as disposable and in the middle class range.

afro, afro hair, animal
Image Source: Cottonbro from Pexels

To connect with my target audience I need to communicate and engage with my audience the same way two friends would. Since it will be a blog I need to be very active on other social media platforms as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Joining groups and engaging on other bloggers platforms that are similar and that you like is important. This target audience spends a lot of their free time online so there is always a possibility for someone to see you engaging and then become a reader and follower of your content.

Someone who I think has created a social media strategy that is successful and would be ideal for me to take notes on is miss_rusticarrow. I actually found her as she came up as a sponsored post and her openness, personality, and design aesthetic made me give her a follow. She is active on her stories daily and allows you into her everyday life and does not just post about interior design. She asks questions and created polls if she is stuck on design ideas. She also prides herself on responding to every direct message she receives, something that builds an even better relationship with her followers.

Today she actually just did a $1000 Visa gift card giveaway and it was a collaboration with 7 other design bloggers. This was a great campaign choice as it allowed her to reach her target audience in a different way. She was able to get exposure through similar pages with similar content.

I think it is always important to see what similar people are doing and see what works and what does not. To completely copy how someone is online will show as inauthentic however taking note of tools and strategies they use can be helpful and take inspiration when it rings true to you. Have you ever seen yourself taking inspiration from someone you follow?

COM0015 – Blog 1: Social Media Trends and News Sources

Social media trends

There are two ways in which I keep track of social media trends. First, I am subscribed to daily newsletters from Social Media Today, SocialBakers Blog, Hootsuite Blog, and Influencer Marketing Hub. Newsletters from these platforms go directly to a dedicated folder in my email inbox. I look at these newsletters daily to get a sense of major developments around social platform updates, social media marketing, digital marketing, etc.

On a typical work day, when I am glued to a computer screen, receiving a newsletter via email is the best way to make sure I pay attention to it. Source: Giphy

Second, I use LinkedIn and Twitter search functionality to find content that contains keywords and hashtags of interest to me. This allows me to track what various thought leaders and influencers think about where the world of social media is moving.

I use these particular listening and monitoring tools because they provide a good coverage of the topics that I am interested in. I use insights I get through these tools to develop and tweak social media plans and content. I also use these insights to learn about what is happening in the social media world beyond my area of expertise.

News and updates sources

I use Google Alerts to stay abreast of news and updates of interest. I currently receive daily alerts for 18 keywords, and I change these keywords quite often.

I also use Flipboard, a free news aggregator, that fetches news from all the websites I follow and organizes them into “magazines” for my convenience.

Google Alerts and Flipboard help me stay up-to-date with news and updates of personal and professional interest. GIF source: @rjblomberg on Giphy.

I prefer Google Alerts and Flipboard to other tools because they are easy to use, reliable and free. They help me stay up-to-date with major developments that are important for the organization I work for and for my personal professional development.

And what tools do you use to track social media trends or news of interest? Let me know in the comments section below.

Move Over People – Pets Are Taking Over Instagram

Move Over People – Pets Are Taking Over Instagram

Are pet influencers really influencers?  Or are many of us following accounts like: Mr. Pokee, Esther the Wonder Pig and Grumpy Cat simply because the content makes us smile?

Image source

I will be honest the content posted on various pet-inspired Instagram accounts does not really affect my decision-making for my own pet. I do not choose one brand over another because a cute little kitty is wearing a branded, pink, bedazzled jump suit. What it does do however, is cut through all the negativity and heavy content on social media.  I scroll through my feed, see cute puppy pics, and I am instantly reminded that things in my life are not that bad.  That being said, it is no wonder that pet accounts actually out perform human accounts on Instagram (Rabimov, 2018).

Popular accounts like Doug The Pug and Nala Cat each have millions of followers, moreover, each grosses over $15,000 USD per post!  Even higher than that is JiffPom who makes over $45,000 USD per post (Dailymail.com, 2020).  Many of these accounts have sponsorship agreements with companies like TikTok, Target and Banana Republic.  Some have even appeared in commercials along side celebrities like Miranda Lambert and the Katy Perry (Dailymail.com, 2020).  Obviously, there is something to be said about social media influencers, specifically pet influencers, because large international brands are paying big bucks to engage with their followers. There must be a reason (and results) if companies are continuing to include this type of digital engagement in their marketing and sponsorship budgets.

But in the end, if you want an instant cuteness overload to brighten your day, check out some of my favourite Instagram accounts (by the way, I’m a dog person so they are mostly puppy-centric):

What are your favourite pet Instagram accounts to follow? (Shameless plug, my miniature golden doodle and his best friend pit bull have their own Instagram account, check them out at Fluffy and his Doodle)

Sources:

Dailymail.com, C. (2020, March 31). The highest-earning ANIMALinfluencers on social media make THOUSANDS of dollars per post. Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8173579/The-highest-earning-ANIMAL-influencers-social-media-make-THOUSANDS-dollars-post.html

Rabimov, S. (2018, July 31). Instagram Zoo: The Rise and Rise Of Pet Influencers. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephanrabimov/2018/07/28/instagram-zoo-the-rise-and-rise-of-pet-influencers/

Social media posts:

Twitter: Cuteness overload on Instagram? Yes please.  https://bit.ly/3fDIflg #instagram #petinfluencers #puppies #socialmedia

Facebook: Move over people, pet influencers are taking over Instagram. https://bit.ly/3fDIflg #instagram #petinfluencers #puppies #socialmedia

Social Media is Weaponized

Social Media is Weaponized

Social media is weaponized for some entities, and linguistic manipulation is at the heart of the weapon. You may wonder how this is possible. It appears that humans are easily fooled by how they interpret communication. Communication experts are keen on the many linguistic techniques and methods applied to manipulate the masses.

Should we trust that our most protected organizations, corporations, and institutions, have our best interests at heart?

Perhaps, these entities are the ones that should be held to the highest level of linguistic scrutiny. It almost appears that we are in the rock ages of this process; with no regulation in sight on what words actually mean when delivered to the masses.

Orwell wrote that political language, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Linguistic Manipulation:

The art of linguistic manipulation today, has since been mastered far beyond the imagination of George Orwell’s 1984.

In the book the Juggler of Notre Dame, the clergy man asks his bishop, “May I smoke while praying?” In response, he receives a definitive no. Later, another clergyman asks the bishop, “May I pray while I smoke, and the bishop replies, “it is fine to pray at anytime.”

Positioning of words changes meaning and effect by emphasizing an act or a subject. The subject of an act can be easily switched to the act of a subject. These statements are related to the same thing but they both have different meanings. The facts can remain the same but the disposition of the words can subtly sway your perception of what is actually happening.

How does Social Media Affect Human Life?

One of the most important subjects known to humans, is human life. Who might have thought that human life can be such an important subject? It is certainly written in Section 7 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in plain english, “Everyone has the right to life.”

Jacques Ellul writes that “public opinion can only express itself through channels which are provided by the mass media of communication – without which there could be no propaganda.” When we consider that social media has millions of channels of influence, it is easy to see that public opinions can vary. 

With human life being at the top of the list of priorities in our Canadian Charter, one has to wonder why cleaning the earth of toxic chemicals and homelessness is not trending everyday on the top 10 list!

So, we need to ask ourselves, if we are not hearing about the things that really matter, then what are we hearing about on a daily basis, which forms the consensus of public opinion? The answer is likely manipulation. We are being told what is important to human life and not what in reality is capital to human life. 

It is important to recognize techniques used to subject you to the daily propaganda warfare. The last thing you want, is to realize that you have been slowly subliminally programmed to agree with everything that is disguised as public opinion. 

Five Social Media Manipulation Techniques

The following are just a few of many manipulation techniques used on social media:

  1. Astroturfing: Imitation grassroots movements used to sway the public.
  2. Clickbait: Sensationalized headlines appealing to existing biases.
  3. Propaganda Laundering: Focusing on the release of media reports rather than the actual story.
  4. Distraction by Major Events: Using major events to distract public from priority issues.
  5. Straw Man Fallacy: Making a statement appear false by referencing a similar but weaker example.

The Race against the Social Media Manipulation Bomb

Social media companies like Twitter have recently taken big steps to counter propaganda meant to manipulate public opinion. A recent headline, on THE HILL, read, Twitter deletes over 170,000 accounts tied to Chinese propaganda efforts.” This along with many other propaganda takedowns and newly introduced tools, are making Twitter a formidable social media company to help form truthful public opinion. We will need more time to see just how Twitter and other social media companies will be able to democratize public opinion and help save human life on earth.

Future Outlook

A recent article on Mashable, reported that Twitter was exploring crowdsourced fact checking as a way to address misinformation, which would rely on community moderators to make determinations on posted content. This would sound like a great solution, with the exception that the public would need transparency on the political inclinations of the assigned moderators. The stakes are very high for those that stand to lose against politically stacked moderators. The further we consider the implications of moderators for Twitter content, the more we realize that the social media company is taking the shape of an elected government; where we may need to elect local moderators to address the interests of the Twitter community. We must also consider how public opinion might take shape without the lens of the propaganda cultivators. We may find that people are more likely to assemble themselves quite differently if they could have fair and democratic access to public opinion. While the world contends with the real threat of a weaponized social media landscape; we are running out of time to save human life on our planet earth. Are you ready to join the good fight?

Twitter

Are you prepared for Weaponized Social Media?https://bit.ly/2UKpLHP #socialgood #impact #humanity #education

facebook

Please warn your friends and family of Weaponized Social Media https://bit.ly/2UKpLHP #socialgood #impact #humanity #education

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

https://bit.ly/37Farlf (Juggler of Notre Dame)

https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Ellul

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_media

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_manipulation

https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/502371-twitter-deletes-over-170000-accounts-tied-to-chinese-propaganda-efforts

https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/information-operations-june-2020.html

https://mashable.com/article/twitter-community-fact-checking-tool/

We Are On a Break

We Are On a Break

I do not know about you, but with all the negativity in the world these days, I have had to step away from social media. I’ve even heard the term “doomsurfing” being used, meaning we are bombarded with sad, disturbing and negative content constantly, it’s a rabbit hole really that we are falling into.

What is too much social media?  When do we need to walk away, or reassess the content we are taking in? Is social media fatigue really a thing?

Social media fatigue can be defined as “a users’ tendency to pull back from social media when they become overwhelmed with too many social media sites, too many friends and followers” (Techopedia, 2020).

Social media can be a wonderful tool, it can connect you with loved ones, and it can connect you to your passions in life.  It can also be overwhelming, stressful, and can lead to anxiety or ever sleep deprivation (Ervolino, 2017).

Image Source

So what have I gained by stepping away from social media for short periods of time during this pandemic?  It has allowed me to reset. It has allowed me to prioritize the content I am absorbing. It has forced me to connect with my friends and family in a more traditional way.  And by traditional I mean, I have even sent out greeting cards to the seniors in my life who may be feeling a little more isolated.  My eight year old niece and I are pen pals at the moment.  The excitement she gets from receiving a letter in the mail are the simple joys in life that are worth the anticipation, and can not be replicated through social media the same way.

After putting a pause on social media, I find that I actually look forward to logging on, and catching up with what is going on online.  By regularly taking these small breaks, I find that the social media fatigue I had been experiencing is not as dramatic and overwhelming.

Have you had to just step away from social media, and what did you learn by doing so?

Sources:
Ervolino, B. (2017, October 19). Everybody is exhausted: Stress and social media are taking their toll. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-social-media-exhaustion-20171019-story.html

What is Social Media Fatigue? – Definition from Techopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/27372/social-media-fatigue

Social media posts:
Twitter: Social media fatigue does exist. https://bit.ly/2Y0mIxp #SocialMedia #socialmediafatigue #negative #fatigue #stress #anxiety

Facebook: Are you suffering from social media fatigue? https://bit.ly/2Y0mIxp #SocialMedia #socialmediafatigue #negative #fatigue #stress #anxiety