Big Mother – Monitoring my kid’s social media activities

20180625_195534My oldest son just “graduated” from Grade 6 and he came out with a stellar report card. My partner and I had told him at the beginning of the year that if he did well, then he could ask for an end-of-year gift to represent his hard work. His request this year was an iPhone. Uh-oh.

This is something I’ve known was coming. Some of his friends have phones, and some are already on Facebook. I’ve been lucky so far that my son really only seems interested in playing soccer outside and soccer in video games.

How on earth do you monitor someone’s cell phone without seeming like Big Brother (or in my case, Big Mother)?

An iPhone won’t really be his first interaction with social media. He plays “Fortnite”, the online game these days, where you land on an island with 99 other random people from around the world and you battle to be the last person standing. YouTube is full of videos of people playing the game.

In this game, you can talk to other players and be “friends” with them, which is where we try to step in. All the microphone and online settings are set to locked, and we’ve educated our son so that if anyone asks to be his “friend” or to chat, that we first validate the person, as much as we can. So far he’s only chatting with people he knows from school, but we know more is coming, especially with the iPhone. The challenge will be helping him negotiate that with a device that is much more personal, and not a stationary object situated in the middle of the house.

I’ve read a number of articles about social media monitoring kids and social media strategies for parents and will use those tips and tricks as much as I can and still be a cool Mom. And we will also continue to talk to him about what it means to be online, what information is going out into the world, and how best to protect it. He’s his own person who needs to make his own decision, but he’s still my person and I want him to be safe. I can only trust in the learnings that we’ve shared and, ultimately, trust him. But, man, that’s hard!

Do you have kids who have already gone through this? Where did you lock them up for life? Please share your own tips and tricks and help me be a cool Mom!


Facebook logoBig Mother – Monitoring my kid’s social media activities. How to enter the social media world and still be a cool Mom.

Big Mother – Monitoring my kid’s social media activities #enteringsocialmedia #coolMom

COM0014 Blog # 4: Starbucks B2C

People will have a lot to say about Starbucks one way or another but I have to give them credit after seeing their “My Starbucks Idea” initiative. Starbucks is giving their customers the stage and listening to them at an ultimate high. In general Starbucks is using the tools at their disposal, incorporating their customers, products, and values into each approach.

The “My Starbucks Idea” is a forum that allows customers to comment their ideas related to Starbucks’ operations that they would like to see realized. Some, like bringing back ginger molasses cookies, have even been successful while others are pending. “My Starbucks Idea” isn’t the only campaign that serves as a good social media strategy from the company either.

After doing more research I noticed that Starbucks has an affinity for Twitter, which is on track for B2C branding. They retweet their customers showing that they are monitoring conversations happening about their product. Starbucks’ responses can be witty and entertaining sometimes too! You know that it is a person typing the responses.

The Birthday rewards are one way that make Starbucks B2C marketing standout

By signing off with her name Rebekah added a personal touch to Starbucks’ Twitter

All of these strategies make make the customer feel like a part of the process and connected to this massive chain corporation. With all the success that the company has seen I think that their B2C approach successful, some campaigns more than others. The Starbucks app so far is the most successful as I don’t even use their products but I saw content about it on my Instagram. The “My Starbucks Idea” has been around for at least eight years yet Starbucks is not known for this campaign. Perhaps Starbucks hasn’t done enough cross-linking between their platforms for this campaign or maybe its not a priority of theirs. In any case, the concept is a great idea for today’s advertising climate.



COM0014 – Blog #1: My Magical Adventure

As if going on vacation isn’t fun enough, going to the Happiest Place on Earth takes the cake. At least for me, my sister and my mom it does! This past October we ditched the boys and took a girl’s trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and loved it, so I was (beyond) excited to go again as an adult. And what an experience it was! I was in no way disappointed with our chosen destination.

Within seconds of walking in the gates at Magic Kingdom you’ve got a smile on your face. You just can’t help it; music is playing in the background, the sun is shining, and a nostalgic feeling comes over you. The magic of Disney if you will. Have any of you ever been to Disney’s Magic Kingdom before? Tell me you know that Disney feeling I’m talking about! If you haven’t been, I highly suggest taking the trip.

Magic Kingdom wasn’t the only park we visited during our Disney vacay. Another one of the must-see parks is Animal Kingdom. I feel in love with this park within moments of being there (but it’s hard not to love every Disney park though, am I right?). One ride in particular caught my eye and to this day, still leaves me speechless if I attempt to talk about it. Avatar Flight of Passage, is located in the most beautifully created world of Pandora. I couldn’t get over the amount of detail that was put into the line up alone, they really made you feel like you were in Pandora.

Animal Kingdom Day







Then there was the ride itself. It was a simulation style ride where you “flew” on the back of a banshee. Now, when I say this ride made you feel like you were actually there, experiencing the sounds, smells, and physical sensations, I’m not exaggerating. When you “flew” by a waterfall you could feel the water mist on your skin, you could smell the fresh greenery, and hear the sounds of water splashing on the rocks as if it was beside you. Coolest. Thing. Ever. I was simply in awe.

I don’t know how Disney manages to pull all of this off, not only with their Avatar ride, but with each ride or attraction in any of their parks. They really go out of their way to make their visitors experience one they will remember forever. Where are some of the places you’ve been to that have really stuck with you? Do you have plans to go back someday? I know I do. So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to planning my next Disney vacay!


The fate of the Internet in our hands!

Melodramatic? I don’t think so. On May 15th of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States proposed changes to the long-standing internet rules governing net neutrality that will allow internet service providers (ISPs) to “split the flow of traffic into tiers, by offering priority treatment to big corporations who would pay higher fees. That would mean a fast lane for the rich and a dirt road for others, harming small businesses and users.” (New York Times Op-Ed July 9,2017 – Brian Knappenberger)

What does this mean for us in Canada? Well until now, broadband access has been considered a public utility, so the act of providing internet access has been done on what is called a net-Neutrality basis.

net neu·tral·i·ty
Net Neutrality means that ISPs have to provide nondiscriminatory access
to all sites and content without favouring any products or websites

The FCC’s Chairman, Ajit Pai (a former telecommunications lobbyist) claims that the current rules are an example of the federal government “micromanaging the internet.” ( If he is successful in passing this new law, your visit to Facebook, or use of Google, or perhaps some smaller site might be affected – slowed down if you have a ‘slow’ package or if the company doesn’t pay the ISP for fast access. Both Etsy and Pintrest credit their success to the concept of net neutrality. (New York Times)

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 10.13.06 PM

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that if chokes are put on websites by American ISPs, the resulting slow-down will be felt here in Canada. (

What can you do? This is an issue that affects all of us, so I urge each and every one of you to email, phone or petition your local MP and let them know that you do NOT want net neutrality to disappear.

Facebook Post: Save the Internet – Contact your MP – Call Congress!!

Twitter: New rules are going to kill the internet!













Thoughtlessly Thought-Out

Has anyone ever notice that when the Ontario Government implements new laws/bills that it is never truly described as to how it affects people?


I am talking about this new labour bill that the Ontario Liberals had proposed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  Having the minimum wage boosted to $15.00 per hour is going to put this province into a form of recession.  Yes we have had a wage increase that was very much-needed, however for those of us that are just making over this amount seems duly unjustified.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people do you know that may be affected by this wage increase?
  • What kind of impact is this really going to make?
  • Why does the Liberal Government believe that this will not affect the economy?


Jobs will not be totally lost however the impact of loyalty from employees to companies will dwindle, we are already seeing this (take no offence to this) with millennial.  There is no real commitment from people when they feel that their workplace is not complacent with the behaviours and attitudes that employees have shown.  For instance, and this is a big no-no in the workplace, cell phone use.  How many of you are texting or are on Facebook on company time?  Your manager or supervisor calls you in to have a discussion (first warning), you continue to use your cell phone; manager or supervisor calls you in again (2nd warning – written).  and if caught again there are now consequences that are needing to be answered for.  This type of behaviour cannot be justified.  The wage increase just means that now it makes no difference where you are employed.  Therefore, people will bounce from job to job.  Now don’t get me wrong, people deserve to be able to support themselves, etc, however there is no such thing as workplace security no matter what the Liberals say.


I make no secret about it, I am not the bread-winner in my household however with this wage increase I could go out and apply to a pet store or a hardware store and make the same wage.  However, I will not be doing this, I enjoy my position and the people I work with but this does affect many people including myself.  As for small businesses, yes the government said that their taxes would be decreased to 3.5 percent instead of the current rate of 4.5 which is great but the fact that the Liberals have stated for businesses to improvise on how to make the minimum wage work in their companies is ridiculous.


As posted in the “Financial Post” from Metro Inc. is confirming its plans to extend its e-commerce service into Ontario at the end of this fiscal year or in early fiscal 2019.

Baskets sit stacked inside a Metro Inc. grocery store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. Canadian 


There simply is not enough time to make these types of adjustments with current company budgets in mind.  There are plenty of overpaid employee’s that have a pretty cushy position so what would happen if all of a sudden their manager called them in and said “hey bud, sorry but we have to lay you off” or “there will be a wage freeze, we are not certain as to how long this wage freeze will be in place”.  Not so nice, facts are facts if minimum wage goes up, gas goes up, groceries goes up, hydro goes up (Yep you guessed it Ontario Hydro has requested they have a rate increase in their recent application along with pre-paid meters in Ontario).  Everything is affected except for the cost of living.  This will always an oversight.


Hollie Shaw (November 22, 2017) Metro plans to scale back store hours, extend e-commerce service in Ontario. Retrieved from  October 2, 2017




Blog #2 – Has Social Media made us lazy?

Image result for social media

Let me set the background here. I do Social Media Community Management for a national retailer, with over 1500 stores across Canada. Each store may vary in product assortment, pricing of course depending on location, hours of operation, delivery dates, and other factors. I have seen an increase in customers contacting us for information that is on our Corporate websites, or that will clearly differ from store to store, and it is not information that is expected to be at the Community Manager’s fingertips. I will research the answer after much back and forth with the customer to determine what exactly they’re looking for, which store they shop at, etc. but I do wonder what motivates them to have a back and forth conversation with a Community Manager about a store’s hours of operation for example rather than visit the Corporate website for that information. Is it just laziness?


  1. The Good Ole Days  – when we were self-sufficient

Remember the old days when you wanted to know if your local baker could make a Frozen cake half chocolate half vanilla but replace Elsa’s face with your daughter’s, and by the way if I wanted to feed 150 people that cake what size would I need and what would be the cost, you’d actually pick up the phone (gasp), and call the baker, or even visit the baker to ask these questions? You’d never think of going to Facebook to ask these questions. What about if you wanted to know what time the drugstore closes you’d call them or even visit their website to see their hours? Or did your local grocer get that shipment of fresh peaches in – you’d call the store? Caveman days right? I remember in the not too long ago past we were more self sufficient when we wanted information, we did our own research. For the Community Manager to answer those questions, the Community Manager needs to probe the customer for more information, call the store, ask the same question, then relay the answer back to them. The Community Manager becomes the middleman, many times needing to go back and forth with the social media poster to ask for further clarification before calling the store to get the answer. When did the days of doing your own research disappear, and more importantly why?


2. The Current State – you do it for me

Customer: I wonder what time the store closes tonight? Goes on Twitter: @Company what time do you close tonight?

Community Manager: @Customer Happy to look into that for you, which location do you shop at? Or you may visit our website at to search by your store.

Customer: @Company The one on Yonge Street

Community Manager: @Customer We have a couple on Yonge Street, which one……

This is a typical interaction between myself and a customer. Mind you, if the customer went to our Corporate website and selected the store, the information is right there. So why are they not doing that, and avoiding this back and forth? They clearly have internet as they are on Twitter. So what’s the reason?

3. Laziness?

My initial reaction is to say that it is a form of laziness where they won’t look up the information themselves, so I started to do some research to prove my theory. In one blog, the author states “social media provides immediate rewards with very little effort, making the brain rewire itself” (2017, January 15) Does Social Media Make People Lazy? Retrieved from . That made me stop in my tracks, as the interaction in The Current State above is more common than an immediate reward with little effort. Indeed, the 30 seconds it takes to visit the Corporate website to get an answer is more immediate than the back and forth to get the necessary information to answer the question. So I felt that my theory could be wrong. Then I came across an article , where they said “Social media has made communicating with other people so easy that you now don’t actually need speak to anyone” Macale, S.(2011, August 15). 11 Ways Tech has Made Us Lazy. Retrieved from and I started to think, is it that customers are looking for some sort of social interaction? Maybe they like the back and forth because of the human interaction.

4. Tech savvy, but lonely

My conclusion then is to believe that in this technology driven world of convenience, no-one wants to call or visit a store to get information, but on the other extreme people are lonely, and the cold way in which information is presented on websites is no longer sufficient, hence the middle ground of using technology to get information, but including that human social interaction as well. What do you think? Lazy? Or lonely?


Facebook Post:

Companies invest money to ensure that their Corporate websites have as much information as possible for their customers. So why do customers prefer to go to social media sites to engage with a human to get these answers? Are they too lazy to look the information up themselves? Or are they missing that human touch?




Has social media made us #Lazy or #Lonely when interacting with companies? What do you think?

Is social media a tool for revolutionaries?

I find it fascinating to look back in history at inventions that were created for one purpose get repurposed to suit another. In today’s examination, I didn’t have to go far. Facebook and Twitter were created in 2004 and 2006 respectively, and had at their cores a mandate to share information and bring people together. Socially. Peacefully.

Let’s put that aside for a moment, and look at how a situation set up to exploit that mandate.

In restricted societies around the world, control of information has been a key pillar in a government’s ability to control its population. The flow of information into and out of the country is severely controlled to ensure both the international community (think North Korea) and its population won’t have a clear picture of what is going on.

Enter the Arab Spring. While the Arab Spring did not start in Egypt, this was where social media was used in a very creative way to achieve the revolutionaries’ goals. First off, a perfect storm of a young demographic (60% of Egypt’s population is under 30) with phones, a desire for change and the existence of Twitter and Facebook.

On January 25, 2011 protesters began assembling in Tahrir Square in Cairo to protest President Hasni Mubarak’s rule. These protests went on for weeks, until

Aljazeera: Egypt Revolution: 18 days of people power article

on February 11, 2011, President Mubarak stepped down. How did this happen? According to Fawaz Rashad – one of the protesters, Facebook and Twitter were used to organize participation in rallies and stay one step ahead of the army. Youtube was also used to upload video of events as they occurred, to tell the world.



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Egypt 5 years on. article

I think of this use of social media as having a secret weapon where networks of people worked to gain the connections-2099068_960_720upper hand against a highly trained, well armed military opponent. Do you think it could work again? Probably not. At least not in the same way. I believe that this campaign was so successful because the ruling class had no idea that the massive coordination of ordinary prople being carried out with #jan25 and Facebook pages was possible.

Facebook  Facebook post:

A perfect storm of influences and tools resulted in an unprecedented successful revolution in Tahrir Square, Cairo.

Twitter  Twitter Post:

How hashtags helped win a war. #Jan25

The President’s Tweets: 140 characters vs the Truth 

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, loves to tweet. He manages to do what few can with just 140 characters. With a few amount of words, Trump can completely eviscerate a political opponent or spark division of an entire nation.

President Trump’s personal Twitter account has over 41 million followers and he has 36.2 thousand tweets.

Twitter has been the President’s preferred method of addressing the public since he took office.

The President is infamous for using Twitter to throw attacks at political opponents, media outlets and journalists.  He even uses twitter to publicly shame and insult anyone who disagrees with his administration.

Before he was even inaugurated, Trump  called any news anchor and/or station that questioned or made negative statement “Fake News”. President Trump still believes that numerous news stations, including CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN, are purposely sprouting lies about him and are trying to undermine his administration.


Though many of Trump’s claims on and off Twitter have been proven false, he continues tweeting regardless. President Trump knows that if he stands by his statements and discrediting the most vocal of his opposition will keep his base followers on his side.

President Trump’s style has always been to be the loudest. From celebrity feuds to his many political ones, Trump seems to believe that the loudest person is always right. In his ( and his constituents’) eyes, he can do no wrong.

Should people in powerful positions, such as President of the U.S, use social media for addressing negative press?

I think there should be a line for how much people in major positions can tweet. Argueing with companies, journalists, ect is not appropriate on such a public forum as Twitter.

He is truly a puppet master when it comes to how he uses Twitter. No other president has used social media the way he does.  He manages to rally and incite his supporters to his causes.  The President inspires a scary amount of support dispite the numerous lies found in his statements and his unpresidential behaviour.

Will President Trump continue to baffle his opposition and continue to flourish in his postion?
I think so, but I think the real anwser to this remains to be seen.








Where were you when you heard the news?

Photo: Ryan Merkley

We have a tendency to remember big news moments, where we were and who we were with when we heard them. Big moments like JFK’s assassination, the lunar landing, our 1972 hockey world championship win and 9-11. The recent passing of Canadian musician Gord Downie was another big news moment for many in our country.

Big news moments in music

I have a vivid childhood memory of hearing the news of John Lennon’s death. My mother woke me up for school and told me he had died. Our family talked about it over breakfast. My parents had grown up in England and experienced Beatle Mania.

I can also recall hanging out with friends with the radio on, decked out in our plaid flannel shirts and ripped jeans, when we heard the news of Kurt Cobain’s death. We were shocked and sad, and sang along together as the station played Nirvana for the rest of the day.

There’s sharing in a moment

Fast-forward to the age of social media. Similar to the news of David Bowie, Prince and Tom Petty’s deaths, I learned of Gord Downie’s passing from my Twitter feed. At all of these moments, I was on my own. Social media provides big news as soon as it happens, no waiting for the six o’clock news or newspaper delivery to learn about it. Unlike years ago when I only had family or friends to share in the experience, condolence tweets and posts remembering Gord and quoting his lyrics poured in from across the country. Even the Prime Minister expressed his sadness on Twitter. And yet at that moment I still felt, and was, alone.

And then there’s being together in a moment

Social media is a powerful tool that can put us in the know immediately and allow us to connect with people throughout the world to share our thoughts and feelings the instant we have them. But it can’t fulfil our need to be together for big moments, the way the gathering of friends and strangers telling stories and singing Tragically Hip songs did on Parliament Hill on Wednesday night. And that’s a good thing. Rest in peace Gord.

What are your “where were you when you heard the news” memories?

Social media helps us share in big news moments

Where were you when you heard the news? How do you share in big news moments – social media, in person or both?

Towards Reconciliation

Sitting Bull-Sioux Indian Chief-Custer

Picture courtesy of Free Archive of Native American Indian Pictures

The Love Affair Begins

When I was in high school I wrote a fictional story about Chief Sitting Bull.  To my surprise I discovered there really is a Chief Sitting Bull and he is famous for defeating General George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.  It was the beginning of a life long curiosity about North American First Nations People.

The Curiosity Grows

When our children were small, we used to go camping every summer at Bon Echo Provincial Park.  It is a beautiful place, and though the park provided some details about the history of the land, I wanted to know more.  A college history course seemed to be the next logical step and though it was interesting, I was always dissatisfied with the results.  It took many years to discover why.  Eventually I figured it out – the history “began” with colonization and there was no mention made of the people who lived there before the loggers and the farmers moved in.

Life Provides an Opportunity

The years continued on and then I was given the opportunity to host an art show entitled “The Creator’s Sacrifice” by Cree artist Ovide Bighetty.  The Creator’s Sacrifice tells the story of Jesus, in the Woodland style created by Norval Morriseau. This series of paintings travelled across the country of Canada from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island.

the creators sacrifice

Painted by Ovid Bighetty for the Indian Metis Christian Fellowship.         

Hosting this art show led to the opportunity to attend a Truth and Reconciliation Hearing in Toronto.  This event broke my heart as I listened to the stories of abuse in the Residential Schools perpetrated on young children by people professing to be doing God’s will.  What further broke me was the grace and forgiveness displayed by those who suffered the abuse.  As I wept helplessly, I was approached several times and offered comfort and help.

Looking for What Comes Next

Recently while on a long road trip I listened to a CBC’s Ideas, Decolonization: The Next 150 on Indigenous Lands.  Keri Cheechoo, a Cree woman, and one of the people interviewed on this show suggested that the real issue behind the missing and murdered Indigenous women is colonialism, which was a new thought for me.  The lack of respect and the refusal to treat our First Nations people with dignity is not a history problem, it is still something we are working through today.  As I think about that, I wonder where all this passion and learning will take me.  Maybe it will forever be something that belongs to my private life and I will do what I can as a volunteer, or maybe it will lead somewhere completely new.

Do you have a passion in your life that might take you in new directions other than the one you are currently on?  Are you interested in seeing reconciliation between nations?  What do you think it will take to reconcile with our First Nation people?