COM0011- Blog Post #1: Social Media ‘By the Ages…’

Social Media ‘By the Ages…’

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

“If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip”

(Eminem. Lose Yourself. 8 Mile: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture. 2002.)

Luckily, Eminem’s words, although true in many other regards, do not apply to online social presence. As users, we have infinite possibilities as opposed to ‘one shot’. With more platforms that we can count, including: Tiktok, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. our social presence can be bigger than ever! 

As a twenty-eight-year-old, the way I use social media is drastically different than the way my parents use social media. The platforms that I choose to familiarize myself with may not be the same platforms that my peers, co-workers or family use. I even focus on different platforms for the different areas of my life.

  • Personally, I focus on Instagram and Snapchat as sharing photographs is the main purpose of my social existence
  • Philanthropically, I focus on website blogging and LinkedIn as tools to encourage professional connections and disbursement of information
  • Professionally, I use as many social media platforms as I have at my disposal with as many call-to-action links as possible to reach the widest audience   

If you are an avid social media engager, you likely portray some similar patterns of use. Many of us have been the ones to help our parents create a Facebook account (or we are the parents that required assistance). Alternatively, maybe there is an App that all of your friends use, but you have vowed never to download, yet are slowly caving day by day. Have you ever wondered how you compare to the masses? Let’s take a closer look…

Aged 25-34

Statistically, Canadians aged 25-34 are the primary users of social media, presenting an even split between males and females. Furthermore, Canadians in this segment spend the majority of their time of the following social media platforms: 

Image Source (Statistica, 2020, July)

The aforementioned demographic represents the Millennial/Generation Z population that grew up in the mass production of the Internet, smartphones and multiple social sharing platforms. The results, therefore, are fairly predictable. 

Aged 65+

What did present a surprise is the number of Canadians aged 65+ who have an active social media presence.

Image Source (Statistica, 2020, February)

For this demographic, their social media usage ranks as follows:

  1. Facebook
  2. Messaging Apps
  3. Youtube
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Pinterest
    Data Source (Statistica, 2020, July)

Although there begins a pattern that reflects the usage of the younger demographic, we eventually see a shift away from short-term communication platforms, such as Snapchat and Twitter, toward community-based knowledge sharing platforms, such as LinkedIn and Pinterest

These patterns and trends provide invaluable information for businesses to navigate the world of digital marketing. Is there one right answer for businesses? Absolutely not. In the same way that users have infinite possibilities to create their online presence, businesses promote through just as many platforms while conveying their messaging as effectively as possible to the right audiences. 

It is interesting that both a Sightseeing for Seniors business (targeted at the 65+ demographic) and the novel What to Expect When You’re Expecting (targeted at the 25-34 demographic) would both be equally effective whilst advertising their products primarily on Facebook.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of social media use? Maybe you only have one account, maybe you have them all! Perhaps the accounts that you have are the least common amongst your age group. Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading.

@Twitter ranked among top 5 social media sites for #Milennials. Wonder why? https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
@Facebook, @Twitter, @Instgram… where do you fall? #SocialMediaByTheAges https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
What social media network is right for you? A closer look at social media stats ‘by the ages…’ Read more: https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
Want to connect with people your own age? Find out where to look on social media…https://wp.me/p3QRy0-qIb
Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels.com)

What I learnt in this course is, that we need great storytelling for compelling content marketing that will grasp the attention of the consumer. Especially in the fast-paced world of social media in that, we live today.

I also learnt that we should not be afraid to make mistakes and not to over-edit our work. We learn and grow from our mistakes – as writers and marketers. In the past, I was always too scared to make mistakes or thought I should not write about a certain subject, but after this course, I will change that.

We also need to remember to be transparent in the relationship with our customers. So, I will try and find a piece of myself in every story that I will write from now on.

I was also too afraid to be too personal in the content that I post online, but now I will start to embrace that and be more transparent and share more personal stories.
Thank you!

Who am I & Why did I Start My Business?

Who am I & Why did I Start My Business?

Photo by: Eike Peter Scholz; 2017

I never thought or even had the dream of becoming a model. But in 2011 I accompanied my sister to find her wedding dress in a Bridal Store in our hometown in Germany.

When we were ready to leave, the owner asked me if I wanted to model for her on the runway. And that’s how I landed my first model gig.

The owner of a bridal store hired me for three runway shows. I had never modeled before which meant I was about to learn how to pose and walk like a model on the job.

Luckily, some of the other and more experienced models gave me a few modelling lessons while we were waiting to go on the runway.

This experience was my first and only model experience until I met a photographer named Eike on the Frankfurt Zombiewalk in 2014, three years later. (He made all photos you can see on today’s blog post)

Photo by Eike Peter Scholz; 2014 – Zombiewalk Frankfurt

I don’t know how Eike saw that I could be a model for Portrait and Fashion photography, but he approached me that day at the Zombiewalk in Frankfurt and told me to message him to set up a photoshoot. Later I found out, that we just lived across the road from each other. Small world!

Photo by Eike Peter Scholz Fotografie

But this was the beginning of my modelling career. Since moving to Canada and because of Covid-19 it has slowed down quite a bit. But I’m sure it will pick up again when things get back to “normal”.

But you never know how your life might change. I certainly never thought I would model but I enjoy it very much and have found really good friends through it.

Did something like that happen to you as well? Let me know in the comments.

Social Media to the Rescue!

Social Media to the Rescue!

A young couple split up, moved out of their home, and abandoned their 4-legged family member in the apartment they left behind. When the landlord found the dog, she took him to the vet. After he was checked out, the dog was posted on social media with a caption similar to: 

Whoever picks him up and covers his vet bill can have him.

The next day I had a new best friend, now known as Tonka. Almost eight years later, and I love him more than ever. He is my whole world, and I am forever grateful to the lady who rescued him. 

Meet Tonka!

Photo Source (H. Danson, personal photograph, June 16, 2020)

Stories like Tonka’s happen all the time, all over the world, and not all come with happy endings. While shelters are definitely still around, the luckier ones end up in dog rescues. 

Dog rescues are mainly run by volunteers, working in their free time, and with a lot of fundraising. But the work that they do, couldn’t possibly have a price tag attached. So, here are three ways that social media has helped local dog rescues!

1. Create Awareness!

Social media, regardless of which platform, can be used for creating awareness of the great work rescues do. It is a way for them to show photos and videos of the dogs in their care, as well as to show the horrific situations and conditions dogs may have come from. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) had a survey conducted by Edge Research which showed extremely positive results for dog rescues using social media. In fact, in 2018 they saw incredible growth in their awareness as well as in overall adoptions (ASPCA, 2018)!

Not only does social media help create awareness about the work and dogs within the rescues, it also helps create awareness of animal welfare problems. If you are like me and follow any dog rescue groups on social media, I am sure you can join me in saying that you too have seen so many stories about backyard breeders and the horrific conditions dogs are kept in for financial gain, stories about animals being stolen or given away only to be used for dog fighting, and about the Breed Specific Legislation and how dogs are being put down simply for looking “Pitbull like”. Rescues do a lot of work for the dogs in their care, but through social media, they have also created awareness and advocate for all animal’s wellbeing. 

2. Fundraise!

Social Media is a great way to fundraise for any cause near to your heart, and Dog Rescues can certainly vouch for that! Many have taken to social media to host silent auctions (I am a sucker for a silent auction that benefits a furry face) or to promote their crowd-funding initiative for their rescue or a particular dog’s emergency situation.  In my interview with Tanya from Sit With Me Dog Recuse, she mentions, “Social media has helped us in raising funds for dogs in need of above average care. Pictures say a thousand words, so being able to share on a moment’s notice when a situation is urgent has been a huge means for connecting to the community for financial and volunteer support.” (T. Beauchemin, personal communication, June 19, 2020). 

In an interview with Veronica from Bullies In Need Dog Rescue, she mentions “We can post a GoFundMe Campaign like​ Toonie Tuesdays and Five-dollar Fridays and the people that contribute are worldwide – which is amazing!” (V. Mercier, personal communication, June 19, 2020).

Social Media can also be used to advertise local fundraising events – just another fantastic opportunity to reach out to your demographic and enlist support or find new homes for those deserving pups! 

3. Find more Adoptive Homes!

Finding the perfect, forever home for an adoptable dog is so important in the adoption process. Posting these dogs on their social media platforms can reach so many potential homes. Veronica from Bullies In Need Dog Rescue, mentions in an interview “One like or share can reach hundreds, if not thousands of people in a way that store adoption events never could”. (V. Mercier, personal communication, June 19, 2020).

There are many requirements a family must meet in order to adopt a rescue dog. Besides being able to physically and financially care for the dog, in some cases your geographic location also plays a factor. Both the rescue groups I spoke to mentioned that due to the Breed Specific Legislation, rescues in Ontario also rely heavily on social media to reach adoption families in geographic areas (outside of Ontario) where they will be safe. 

Video Source (Sit With Me Rescue, 2019)

Social media has become an incredible tool for charities around the world. I know my best friend and I wouldn’t have found each other without the help of social media. I think Tanya from Sit With Me Rescue says it best: 

“Our social media audience literally helps us save lives”.

(T. Beauchemin, personal communication, June 19, 2020).

Do you have a rescue dog and what is their story? If you don’t, would you consider rescuing one in the future? Tell me about your pups in the comments below!

Sources:

ASPCA. (2018, October 9). New Research Points to Social Media as Important Tool for Animal Shelters and Rescues. ASPCA. Retrieved on June 19, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/new-research-points-social-media-important-tool-animal-shelters-and-rescues

Bullies In Need Dog Rescue. (n.d. 2020). [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/bulliesinneed/

Sit With Me Rescue. (n.d. 2020) [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/sitwithmerescue/

Sit With Me Rescue. (2019, April 26). [Facebook Post] Elloise’s Happily Ever After. Sit With Me Rescue. Retrieved on June 19, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/sitwithmerescue/videos/418147308972110/

Promotion:

Facebook: Social Media to the Rescue! Read about how social media helps local dog rescues here: https://bit.ly/3hS24Hp

Twitter: Read about 3 PAWSOME ways social media helps dog rescues here: https://bit.ly/3hS24Hp  #DogRescues #SaveLives

COM0015 – Blog #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

With over 9M followers, Benefit Cosmetics US has a strong social media presence. Their uniform posts follow a distinct pink and peach colour palette and pattern. Posts alternate between products and regrams of makeup looks from influencers. The aesthetic of their Instagram page is undeniable and is visually appealing. You can tell that they are confident in their brand and continue to be consistent. I enjoy the slogan “Laughter is the best Cosmetic”. The light heartedness of the slogan really shows in their posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, Benefit Cosmetics held their third annual Benefit Brow Search: Arch Academy. After receiving over 15,000 entries, the top 20 were selected to go to Oheka Castle in New York to compete for the title of Best in Brows, a social media contract with Benefit Cosmetics and 50,000$. Social media beauty influencers were recruited to be team captains. These influencers have over 14.3M followers combined. Even while promoting the campaign, Benefit ontinued to use their established model.

I was drawn to Benefit Cosmetics because I use their products. They have been on my radar more these days because I follow Nakita Dragun who was heavily promoting her Arch Academy team.

Continuing with beauty and cosmetic trend, I have been seeing a lot of paid social media ads from Shopper Drug Mart. Although Shopper Drug Mart is not a worldwide brand like Benefit Cosmetic, they are still Canada’s largest drugstore chain where many turn for their beauty needs.

Here are some Canadian social media stats:

– 64% of Canadians have an account on a major social media network
– 12million Canadian Instagram users.
– 23million Canadian Facebook users
I’m sad to report that Shoppers only has 149K followers on IG and 992K on Facebook.

In 2013, Shoppers increased the square footage of their counters and increasing luxury brands. With that said, I don’t believe their social media accounts reflect the steps they have taken to differentiate themselves from stores like Sephora. Shoppers uses their Facebook to promote beauty and wellness as compared to their Instagram which focuses strictly on cosmetic items. The images they post are beautiful but there is no specific formula or design. They may have a strategy in place but I can’t see it. The first thing I believe they should do is establish a logic and plan for each post.

 

The account’s bio encourages followers to use the hashtag #ShoppersBeauty, which is surprising, because they DO NOT use hashtags in any of the body of their posts. I believe not using hashtags is a missed opportunity. I was impressed by the number of quality images that were posted under their suggested hashtag. The organization should be utilizing this free content by interacting more with the hashtag and regramming these images which are created by customers and beauty counter makeup artists.

As I write this blog, Shopper Drug Mart posted a video of their #ShoppersBeautyPros campaign which states that they search across Canada to find the brightest beauty stars and narrowed it down to 19 finalists. I would be interested in finding out where they were promoting this contest because I’ve done a deep dive and this is the first time I hear of it! There seems to be a disconnect.

 

Sources

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/shoppers-drug-mart-buffs-up-its-beauty-business/article10539686/

https://www.sherpamarketing.ca/canadian-social-media-stats-updated-2018-471

https://napoleoncat.com/stats/instagram-users-in-canada/2018/10

The Girl Afraid of Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA is a powerful tool and it’s becoming increasingly urgent for businesses and individuals alike, to pay close attention and become aware of their audience and their voices; to maintain focus and control of their social image; and develop plans to manage their various profiles on carefully selected platforms.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social media platforms I currently use and its seems as though a Blog and Twitter account are the natural next steps for me – both personally and professionally.  2018 is the year I strive to become a more open and honest human-being; to re-discover my passions as a writer, researcher & humanitarian. By engrossing myself in the world of online community communication & participation, I hope to overcome my fears by once again falling in love with life and the pursuit of a new skills and dreams. What great timing to be able to share this journey with you!

Monarch Butterfly hanging on dangling vines

Monarch @ Museum of Nature

KIDS OF THE FUTURE

Younger generations (those having grown up with internet and social media) are obviously more comfortable with this, and are adapting to newer applications and technologies quicker than ever. However, as savvy as they may appear to be, they often naively have little concern for potential safety hazards, or the impact from something they’ve posted may have on others – we all know online bullying is an unfortunately common issue as Statistics Canada reveals in their report that ‘nearly one in five Internet users aged 15 to 29 reported having been cyber-bullied or cyber-stalked’.  Posts can have a personal impact as well and affect someone’s social image and even earning potential. While it’s important to be considerate and respectful, we may not even understand the full impact it’ll have in 10-20 years. Heck, maybe not having your goofy, embarrassing, teen-aged pictures all over the internet will be detrimental to having a ‘successful career’ in the future. That being said, internet safety and security is still a topic of concern for everyone to be aware of and protect themselves against – but it doesn’t have to be a scary place.

ELDER HESITATIONS

Older generations are, in my opinion, either ‘all-in’ and using the texting & video call features on their cell phones, they have various social media accounts, do lots of online shopping, and the like – or they are ‘all-out’.  ‘All-out’ types of people (like many of my own beloved family members) may have internet at home and know how to use Google and Kijiji – but they have no cell phone, no social media pages and certainly no Netflix or Amazon accounts. They are often overly concerned with sharing information – and rightly so – but for the most part I find those who are not using various social media platforms simply don’t feel as though it will add anything to their lives.  As they say – to each their own!

THE IN-BETWEENERS

Although I fall somewhere in the middle – having been introduced to the internet while in its blow-up phase during my early high school years – it’s only recently that I’ve decided to venture out further into the social media abyss, in attempts to live a more creative and fulfilling life, sharing stories and experiences to connect with others.  Getting over imagined fears of rejection, of ‘accidentally copying’ another’s work/ideas, and a slight touch of perfectionism have all influenced my extreme hesitation to blog over the years. Through years of work experiences, taking various courses, and watching YouTube videos/vlogs such as the super helpful TED Talks, I find myself ready to put some of these skills to use.  Some of the more recent lessons I’ve learned such as in ‘Your elusive creative genius’ Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the pressure of writing again after what she describes as needing to accept that she had probably already achieved her biggest accomplishment with her book Eat, Pay Love. Getting over the need to achieve something with my writing is something I’ve been dealing with and am striving to focus and use it as a form of self-expression. Building on my skills for professional use of course, and if down the road I can earn a living writing from a more personal viewpoint, then that will be awesome; but I will continue to write – even if just for myself. Changing careers has recently allowed me some valuable time to re-focus my values and evaluate my skill set. Like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her blog (along with her follow-up book), ‘Fear is boring… so, much like the butterflies are spreading their wings at the Museum of Nature; so shall I.

OVERCOMING FEARS

In attempts to combat the constant self-criticism further, in his talk Embrace the remix’ Kirby Ferguson says that ‘Nothing is original’ – which, to be honest I didn’t watch the entire video; but it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.  To deal with criticism from others, try some of these great tips from Neil Patel in ‘How to Deal With Negative Social Media Comments.’ Watching videos, reading posts & books is obviously a great way to learn – but there’s nothing like just throwing yourself off a cliff – I mean – into something new and exciting, right!?

So, thank you for reading my first blog post!  I invite you to join me in exploration of this crazy creative life…  Follow my journey while learning the ins and outs of social media, setting boundaries, and studying its impact in our everyday lives –  including the societal influence its had so far, and will have in the future. Looking forward to being a more active participant in various online communities –  and hopefully getting to know you a bit too, wherever you may be!

Tell me, what are some of the fears you overcame while joining a new social media platform or online community?  What helped you overcome your hesitations?

 Finally joined Twitter! Add me @tdlgallant
Also posted my first Blog called ‘The Girl Afraid of Social Media’ http://bit.ly/2DUNqy2 Let me know what you think!

New to Twitter & Blogging – welcome to the 21st century! Read about my journey in ‘The Girl Afraid of Social Media’ Now, what to do with with my ’90’s VHS collection…

Behaviour Economics: What the heck is it and what does it mean for Social Media?

First, I have to declare that I am not a behavioural economist, nor do I pretend to be one. However, I have had some exposure to it over the last year and have learned how to apply the behavioural economics (BE for short) theories to marketing. I think they translate well into social media strategies so below you will find two BE theories and how I think we can leverage them alongside social media tactics.

Behavioural Economics: Not as Scary as it Sounds

When I first learned about BE, it was presented to me by a company who did not employ anyone who didn’t have a Ph.D. Right away I thought that there is no way I am smart enough to understand this! However, as I learned more about it I realized how much of this I was already applying and how much else I could learn from it.

Behavioral Economics is an interdisciplinary science blending psychology, economics, and neuroscience to understand human behavior and decision-making (source: BE Works). That is quite the definition, so what does it mean to us? To marketers, it provides insight into consumer behaviour – what persuades our customers to act and respond a certain way. If you can understand how people tend to act, you can attempt to predict how they will respond to your marketing efforts.

If you want a broader explanation, check out this video by Influence at Work (2012), where Dr. Robert Cialdini describes The Power of Persuasion. It is 11 mins long, but worth the watch!

So how does science relate to social media?

There are two BE theories that kept popping into my head this week as I was learning about social media tactics:

1. Social Reciprocity: Gifting, thanking and apologizing are effective ways (above mere compensation) to increase or maintain customer satisfaction. (Source: Behavioural Science Solutions Ltd.)

This means that as consumers, we place more value on gifts, acknowledgements and apologies than businesses often take into account. If customers can be more satisfied with an apology than mere monetary compensation, this is an easy win for a brand.

It seems to me that more and more people are turning to social media to complain. Given how quickly social media allows companies to react, it provides a perfect platform to respond quickly to customer comments and complaints in a quick and personal manner. I’m not saying that ‘I’m sorry’ is the answer to everything (compensation can be the right thing to do sometimes). However, if companies can save even a fraction of the money paid out to upset customers or save the time of phone reps by decreasing the number of inbound complaint calls by using social media posts, then that’s a pretty solid business case.

I’ll give you a personal example. A couple of years ago I was on a train where the advertised wi-fi was not working. I tweeted at the company that I was disappointed and they promptly replied apologizing and asking for details about which car I was on so that they could have someone fix the wi-fi. I was very impressed and instantly less angry about the situation.

2. Social Proof: Shows that many people endorsing a desired behaviour increases our likelihood of adopting that behaviour. (Source: Behavioural Science Solutions Ltd.)

This BE theory tells us that the more we see other people like or do something, the more likely we are to do that behaviour as well. If brands can find a way to show potential consumers how many people are already engaging with their brand and how much they like it, these potential consumers are more likely to engage themselves.

Sound familiar? My guess is a lot of you went directly to the same place I did: Facebook likes. This scientific theory demonstrates the importance of engaging consumers online and encouraging them to share their interactions, feelings and thoughts. If social media is all about sharing and connecting, then this scientific theory justifies the investment in social media for businesses.

Just the tip of the iceberg.

Behavioural economics is a huge field of study, and I don’t pretend to be an expert in it, but I do believe there is a lot there that marketers can learn from it. The theories above are just two of the many ways in which marketing and behavioral economics can work together. I hope you found this just as interesting and I do and encourage you to keep it in mind as you build out your social media strategies.

As you read through, did other examples of social reciprocity or social proof come to mind?

  Two ways social media and science walk hand in hand. https://wp.me/p3QRy0-j19

Science and social media relate? Who knew! #socialmediatips https://wp.me/p3QRy0-j19

#Instapet: A Pet’s Journey to #Instafame

img_0835How many hours have you wasted so far this week scrolling away the hours on Instagram? What were you looking at: cats, dogs, food, DIY, travel landscapes or endless selfies? I have easily lost 2 or 3 hours on the application in the past few days. Have you ever clicked on any pet profiles to find an insane number of followers? I have.Presenting @littleleothemorkie a little 5lbs nothing dog with 158k followers, and my good friend’s dog. Through the account, she promotes various products which she is given for free including watches, dog clothing lines, and headphones and is paid to include discount codes for monthly boxes on the profile. All this because the profile has garnered so much attention that it has been featured in magazines, news articles and on TV.

I first met Leo a little over 3 years ago, thanksgiving weekend just shortly after he had been brought home as a puppy. At this point in time my friend had not created the account. A few weeks later she sent me a screen grab of the account which already had several hundred followers. That number quickly jumped to the thousands and entered the realm of 100k. I was amazed.

I thought: can I replicate this with my own little ball of fluff, Baby?

Turns out, it’s not so easy. I created the account @babyboytabby and started posting pictures.

img_0850I didn’t realize just how much time my friend put into cultivating the online presence of her little dog. I was posting pictures but this led to few followers. My friend told me I will gain followers if I go on liking sprees. This has to be done right however, if you go too quickly Instagram will block the action for an undetermined amount of time. I learned this little tidbit of information the hard way… repeatedly. It’s not only about the liking sprees, but the content of the pictures. Candid shots are good but when it comes to animals, dressing them up and posing them seems to work best, however I don’t think my cat would appreciate wearing a tutu. I decided not to dress him up.

Not too long ago, I was supposed to be getting a second cat but he was adopted by another family. I took down all the previous pictures from the account. However only this past week I started posting to the account again and have already increased the number of followers by 200. I was shocked as to how quickly the numbers were going up.  I kept liking and the number went up another 100. Granted, the number of followers this account has isn’t even close to the 158k. I have yet to hit 1500, but I am working at it and hope to reach atleast 10,000 someday.

img_0747

Twitter:

#Instafamous #Instapets? Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd #instafame #instagram #cat #catsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #dog

Facebook:

img_0850

Have you ever wondered about famous pets on instagram, and no not one of Paris Hilton’s tiny dogs? Rising to fame on social media isn’t as simple as you think. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd

A Trip to the Brainery

A few weeks ago, two friends and I made the trek to Westboro to take a course at the Westboro Brainery. The Westboro Brainery is run out of the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, and offers inexpensive courses on a wide variety of topics, from baking to B-horror movie appreciation. As the Brainery’s website explains, it “is a citizen-led affair…classes are determined by YOU, the public. You come to us with your idea, and provided it meets the basic criteria, you have yourself a class.” The variety of courses on offer also underscores the value of having niche skills and expertise – as Roxanne Hori says in “The Importance of Managing Your Personal Brand”, “just because your attributes don’t seem special to you, doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to others”.

The course that we registered for was “Introduction to Crocheting”, led by the Unplugged Crocheter. The instructor explained in her introduction to the class that she works in social media, and that she took up crocheting one Christmas when she was broke and needed cheap gifts. She taught herself entirely from watching Youtube videos, and became so adept at it that she ended up creating a side business out of crafting. She also explained that (as others in COM0011 have explored in discussions about digital detox) being constantly connected to social media personally and professionally was wearing her out. Crocheting offered her a way to disconnect and find balance. Having tried to find out more about the instructor beyond the Unplugged Crocheter Facebook page linked above, it seems to me that she really takes this disconnection seriously – she doesn’t appear to do any promotion of her crocheting business outside of a Facebook page, and the page doesn’t link to her on any other platforms personally or professionally.

My fellow Brainers

My fellow Brainers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the Unplugged Crocheter was indeed unplugged, the lesson itself was very much plugged-in. A staffer from the Brainery was on hand to help participants as we inevitably struggled with our yarn and hooks, and also live-tweeted the event through the Brainery’s Twitter account. I thought this was an interesting idea, but the photos that accompanied the tweets were less than dynamic – this might be something they can improve upon.

Westboro Brainery Twitter feed

Westboro Brainery Twitter feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the lesson itself, as a knitter, I expected to pick up crocheting easily. Not so much. My square washcloth somehow turned back on itself and ended up looking like a deformed bean. But, in the spirit of 10,000 hours, I thought I’d try again.

So, how did I do? Check out the video below to find out!

…I call it a qualified success.

What do you do offline to balance your online lifestyle? Have you tried taking up any new skills to bolster your offline existence? Also, are there any video editing apps for Android that you recommend? This was my first time making a video on my phone, and I used the built-in Video Editor app. It’s not bad, but I found it a bit hard to make minute-to-minute edits.

COM 0015 – Assignment 5 – Event Participation

Professional Development 2-for-1: that’s how it happened for me….

      Trying to figure out what would be the best professional development ‘EVENT’ was a tricky one.  Where do I go? What do I do?  What do I say about it?  So… I did two events in one  day… and lived to tell the tale: in blog format, no less. 🙂

For years now, I’ve been working towards pursuing a career as a freelance superhero, writer and possibility creator.  An active part of the Ottawa Writing Circle’s Meetup group, I have attended several of their workshops, social mixers and I finally decided to venture out of my comfort zone to see what their OWC WRITE IN event had to offer.  I have always been a very solitary figure as a writer.  True, I’ve had my share of group writing and editing opportunities over the years, but this opportunity was a little bit different.

When I met up with our coordinator, Averill (@averillelisa), there were two more participants pecking away at their respective writing projects.  Prior to our meeting, I had mentioned the event on Twitter– Thank you @Averillelisa for giving me my first Twitter conversation in real-time!!  Not only did we mention each other by Twitter id: it also gave me an opportunity to learn new conversation skills with someone who actually Twitter talked back.

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The write-in group included such writing personalities as Averill Eisa Frankes (bottom left w/ me), Alexandra, Ariel, Belle Alvine, James W. Cook, Michelle Human, Nick HJ, Sanna, Tamara and me.  (all mentioned are profile names for our Meetup Ottawa Writer’s Circle Group)

      Writers periodically dropped in and introduced themselves and we did have a discreet ongoing conversation; politely asking how it was going when we caught someone blankly staring at their screen. Averill did forewarn me that there were no outlets or wifi at the world exchange plaza foodcourt, so I had made a game plan in advance. I went with my trusty fully charged MacBook Pro and I used my iPhone to call up any images that I needed to play with. Airdropping stuff from my phone to my computer has become a regular practice for me— way less grunt-work!

“Can’t edit a blank page,” is one token of writerly wisdom that Averill left me with: short, sweet and to the point.

       Same day, different location…

45 minutes after leaving the world exchange food-court?  Yeah… I managed to haul myself and my amazing computer all the way home with a quick, portable fre-fab food that I picked up at Sobey’s with roughly 5 minutes to spare.

       When I initially signed up for this online event, I thought that it might have video or some sort of interactive discussion.  They’d been reminding me via text and email and I’d even built it into my calendar as a backup.   I’ve done a whole lot of reading of a whole lot of books and listened to audiotapes with these fine fellows.  Luminaries and philosophers and authors all rolled into one: they have distinctively different appreciation for social media.

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So, I rushed home and plugged my trusty MacBook pro into my television so I could see everything hi-def… and then, it turned out that their ‘BEAUTIFUL CHAOS: How to find meaning in a messy world’ (link for encore presentation) was audio only via internet that combined the sharing power of Deepak Chopra with Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Being perspective.  Bummer.I sucked it up and listened and took notes anyway.  The simplicity of the presentation worked well: zero technical glitches or distractions throughout.

Common narratives revolved around the power of transformation on the other side of catastrophe and their usual ‘this is how you can build power from powerless’ mantra.  The one super interesting part of their presentation talked about the tole of social media in our society at large and how it can be used to make a positive impact.

Eckart made an interesting analogy to Narcissus, touching on the superficial, facade based practices of social media.  Admittedly, he doesn’t really use it much at all.  On the other side of the coin, Deepak Chopra sees the power in social media for human creativity: becoming  “a catalyst for collective awakening.”  He brought an interesting perspective to the conversation.  Talking about the power of luminaries to share their knowledge and experience with the world, Deepak sees social media as the opportunity to have more luminaries present on the world-stage.

Left exhausted and inspired by the onslaught of creative input and my own interpretation of how challenging and rewarding this social media rich, professional developmental day could be for me: my plans for a luminescent empowering career path took shape.  I’m continually proving to myself that I am willing to try the impossible.  Let’s face it, in my world ‘Impossible’ is what a scaredy cat says when confronted with something that seems too big to conquer.  Giving up the ‘im’ part of that equation is what transformation is all about–

Transform the IMPOSSIBLE into a POSSIBILITY!!