COM0014 – Blog#1: My last Vacation – KhadijeTaha

My skydiving moment

Hello everyone, this is Khadije Taha speaking to you on my first but not last blog for the course of Digital Communication. Today I will be telling you about my last super exciting one-week vacation, which took place last January in Qatar.

My video blog

My best friend Nouf was waiting for me at the airport to pick me up to the hotel, I stayed at Millennium plaza hotel, which is located in the heart of Doha city the capital of Qatar.

My friends and I decided to spend the first day at Katara Cultural village, which is one of the most famous touristic attractions in Qatar, located in Doha exactly next to the beach, where you could see a number of buildings were built on the old traditional Qatari style, all forming around a huge open air amphitheater, that hosts national and international live concerts and artistic shows. We visited couple of art exhibitions for different artists. After that we went to the beach to experience the amazing activities happening on Kataras beach so the best choice on a sunny day was to rented water Jet Ski and enjoy the speed and seawater splashes.

Souq Wakif in (Doha, Qatar)
Photo from: TripAdvisor

The next day we wanted to try something different which was visiting Souq Wakef, which is the oldest Souq in Qatar its actually more than 100 years old, later it was renovated to contain many cafes, gift shops, jewelry shops, traditional Qatari home equipment, traditional Qatari fashion shops and a lot of shops that sells spices and nuts it reminded me of Bulk Barn store her in Ottawa.

I and a certified skydiver

The third day was the day that I have been waiting for too long; skydiving was something beyond my depth to do. However, I took my decision and went over with my friends to Al Khor airport in the east coast of Qatar. The crew over there gave us some instructions in the beginning and then we took the plane and flew almost 1200 feet above the ground. Once I jumped out of the plane with a certified skydiver I holed my breath and screamed with my full energy, it was incredibly fascinating to see the skyline of Qatar. I was tickled to death with this experience; I honestly would love to skydive again in Ottawa.

That was all about my super exciting vacation, I hope you enjoyed it, I would love to hear your comments. I’ll make sure to provide you with the links along with my blog for the places that I visited in case you may want to explore more about this beautiful country.

Bye for now.

Links:

  1. Katara Cultural Village.http://www.katara.net/en
  2. Souq Waqif. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souq_Waqif

Post 4 – COM0015 – Out of the Box

Cartoon - Thinking outside the box

Being unaware of emerging trends can leave you in the dark.

What grabs your attention today may barely get a glance tomorrow. The need to stay fresh and interesting has always been important in marketing, regardless if you are selling a new cookbook, or promoting a non profit organization. With the exponential growth in new technology and information the demand for an innovative way of getting your message across comes fast and furious.

I would consider myself to be an avid consumer of Social Media. While I am inundated with images and videos all the time a few recent trends have grabbed my attention. Two applications and an emerging content trend:

Facebook Live – This application is very new. While it was released by Facebook in August of 2015 it wasn’t available to the average user until December of that year. It has had some very successful campaigns as well as some flops. The first time I was captivated by this application was when a local Ottawa DJ live-streamed his experiences with his Leukemia treatment. He explained what it was like going through an MRI machine with the assistance of a lego man, he took his fans through his hair loss, took questions about his cancer and even promoted National Nurses week and donations for the Fort McMurray Fire. Stuntman Stu is back at work at Majic 100, but continues to serve his community. Facebook Live was a new way for him to tell his story.

360 Video – This application is also quite new and very exciting. The first time I saw this was when a friend interviewed Paula Deen as she was supporting troops in Fort Hood, Texas. I had no idea what I was looking at and couldn’t figure out why the interviewer was pointing the camera at the table! 360 video has come a long way since that interview. The video has become immersive and beautiful. It is a great way to showcase the amazing and awe-inspiring. From Ballet, to Roller Coasters, to War. This media immerses you in the moment. Watch the Dutch National Ballet.

Link to ‘back to the basics’ – While this is not an application tool, this is an interesting movement in marketing today.  As our baby boomers have more disposable income and focus more on their health they are making a move to healthier choices. There has been an significant observable increase in marketing towards ‘Organic’, ‘Non-GMO’, ‘No-Hormones’, and even a back to basic Farming movement. Companies such as KFC Canada and Chipolte are using imagery of farming to bolster their brands. Chipolte has had a disastrous year with multiple health scares across the US and have used a beautiful back-to-basics sustainable farming video to indicate that they are starting fresh.

Summary – Marketing has always been on the hunt for a fresh way to tell the story. Social Media is just another tool in the toolbox, but with emerging technologies a successful marketer must stay abreast of the next best thing to grab and keep peoples attention.

 

 

 

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COM-0011 If no one reads your blog is it social media…???

I often wonder how many people actually are social and how many are just acting how they think they are supposed to act from watching reality shows.

I often wonder if memes are some persons news source and so make life decisions based on this source.

I often wonder how the assassination of two presidents and one civil rights activist would have presented itself on social media if it was present at that time like it is now.

These are just a few things I wonder about but not only that I wonder if anyone reads what I blog about, besides the people who are supposed to read it like fellow classmates and the teacher.

How does one quantify the effect the blog has on a person besides following where they go after they read the blog? Hang on lets back up a bit, how do I get the blog published to begin with? Why would I?

It is relatively easy to search the word, blog, and following the links you can find all sorts of blogging sites as well as You Tube videos to explain “how to blog” . I was invited to one blogging website but never had the courage to post anything however I have written articles for magazines and websites but never a continual blog.

So once the venue is decided the content or subject is next, something current maybe and finally the easy part the blog itself. But who is going to read it and how do you know the effect it will have with the consumer is the intended one.

There are many apps and websites that can track this info but just for the sack of argument they all show lots of website traffic, more Face Book likes and increased Twitter buzz but not an increase in sales, do you junk the campaign you just spent money on creating or do you as a company ride it out and see the end results good or bad?

The best part about social media campaigns is the ability to create with the input of your intended consumer or even let them create it themselves. Many companies are letting their “customers” decide the next flavor and get reimbursed for it.

https://www.dousaflavour.ca/en/

This is the next model of social media companies will emulate: the consumer commercial experience. By letting the customers be the commercial the company creates a better relationship with the pockets it needs to open.

Companies will want to have “real” customers interact with their product on a more personal basis and the emotion created is impetus for selling the product, get them to “FEEL” better for using the product or service.

This one is particularly disturbing to me.

It’s less about the service or product and more about the experience but it is the same game as the snake oil salesman use. It’s all based on a system of avoidance where the company avoids any negative comments or inferences no matter how small to the point of looking like they are in denial, which they are by using this technique.

The “customer in the fold” technique means decisions are made on a more community/social experience rather than a “we are the company and we make things for you, whether you like it or not” experience. Share holders are becoming a bit more green and intelligent than they used to be.

How this model will evolve into in the future is my question because this model does not follow the edicts of capitalism which is based on oneness not communal or social sharing or ideas or believes? I do believe the capitalists will use the information they glean from abusing this model to their full advantage and eventually corrupt it like they do most systems created by man.

 

 

 

COM0014 What I did on my vacation

Ah, me and the fam on an island, riding bike, licking ice cream cones, enjoying the view of the Great Lake, crashing into a stroller, waiting for the cops to show up.

quadOn a trip to Toronto’s Centre Island this past July, my husband, my son, my daughter, and my good friend, and I decided to rent one of those 4 Seat Quadricycles. Good idea, right? Sure. My son, 14, decides he wants to pilot the 4 Seat Quadricycle.  My husband says yes, and we all take our seats.  Five of us in a 4 Seat Quadricycles. I know, I know, we just looking for trouble!

 

Whilst I wasn’t in love with the idea of my 14-year old piloting the 4 Seat Quadricycles with five bums in place, I was too busy licking my five-buck ice cream before it webbed my fingers together in the hot sun.

crash words“Turn, Son, turn!”  Bang! Right into a stroller. An empty stroller, but a stroller.  A four-wheeled stroller. Well, three-wheeled now as the fourth wheel wobbled itself away from the carnage (which consisted of a rattle and an unused diaper).

We all stop. Mom comes up to us with babe in arms and says “You broke my stroller! How am I to get off this island now???”  I apologized and said we’d try to fix it. But it was a plastic wheel and the thing-a-ma-jig that holds it together was also plastic and broken. It couldn’t be fixed.

“Well, give me a hundred bucks!” says the mom, to which I reply “But I don’t have a hundred bucks”.   There was simply nothing we could do to fix this for this mother and her baby.  I felt terrible. We all did. My husband dragged the stroller back to the ferry terminal for the lady.  When he left  her there she told him she was calling the police. Still nothing we could do.

So off we all went, this time with a new driver, on our 4 Seat Quadricycle with the five bums in place. We then got a case of nervous laughter from all the stress of the accident, the thoughts of “what if”, and the idea that we may be escorted off the island by police.

smiley face

When we return our quadricycle, the mom, the baby, and now the husband, are awaiting us. The folks in charge of the rental won’t give us our deposit as we are involved in an “incident”.  A couple of hours pass and then we see it, a police boat. It’s coming across the water. It’s coming for us. We can’t believe what we are seeing. police boat

The dad of the stroller family approaches the police officers first. We stand back knowing that calm is best. Eventually we get to tell our story.  We tell the truth. The police officer informs us that the stroller family can pursue this through civil law but as far as the Toronto Police Service is concerned, there is no criminal act.

We are FREE.  Free to go back to the mainland and try to salvage what is left of this day. This day is my birthday.

 

The Brad Thomas Brand

My personal brand is something that I take pride in. As a professional, my focus on results and my passion for continuous learning are what separates me from my peers. A lot of communications professionals do too much planning and not enough doing. I focus on doing things that will help reach communications goals and impact a company’s bottom line. I am also a relentless networker and my network is a definite asset to any organization. I am always trying to teach myself new skills to be a better communications professional.

My coworkers would say that my best trait is my ability to deal with and connect with people. I can make people feel comfortable and I can make them feel like they’re my friends in minutes. This trait helps me grow network and get the most out of it. In addition, I often go out of my way to help people in need and I think this is what my peers respect the most about me.

Thinking about my personal brand was difficult because I’m not comfortable talking about myself. I think this is the case with most people. I believe that sometimes we don’t realize how great we are because we are naturally hard on ourselves. I took some time to reach out to contacts to see what they thought about me, and it really made me feel more qualified and a lot better about myself as a worker.

Take some time with a trusted colleague or friend some time and ask them:

What separates me from my peers? What are my best traits? How do I add value?

I think you’ll hear some positives things you forgot about yourself. Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

COM0014 – Blog #1: What I did on my summer staycation

After a very long and horrible Prince Edward Island winter, I was looking forward to a nice, warm (ok hot) and sunny summer. It took a little bit to get here but once it did, it really was great.

While I like to travel away to other places, it takes a lot for me to leave my home province in the summer. Prince Edward Island regularly serves up great entertainment, food and beaches and I took all of that in.

I am a beach person and spent time at my favorite spots, as well as some places that I get to see less frequently.   From West Point to Basin Head and with a good mix of PEI’s North Shore in between, I got to enjoy the sun and the sand fairly frequently this summer.

Ross Lane Beach

Ross Lane Beach

Living on an island means there is an abundance of coast line and much of it can be appreciated as beach space. My go to spot is Ross Lane Beach, which is part of the Prince Edward Island National Park. Located a short drive from Charlottetown, on PEI’s north shore, this is a quiet little beach with parking, sand and proximity to friends’ cottages.  I took this picture around supper time after the surf guards had finished for the day.  It was too nice a day for me to go home.

When I have a little more time I enjoy spending time at Basin Head Provincial Park. Situated in the eastern part of the province, the beach and surroundings make for a great day trip from Charlottetown or other parts of the province. Named Canada’s number one beach by Vacay.ca in 2013, this surf guard supervised location is known for its ‘singing sands’.   The sand squeaks when you walk in it – take a listen to it here in my short video – apologies in advance for the voice over by my friend trying to tell me a story.

So when I wasn’t busy soaking up the sun and the sand, I spent some time enjoying some other things PEI has to offer – the food and entertainment.

About half way between Charlottetown and the Confederation Bridge (PEI’s fixed span link to New Brunswick) you will find the community of Victoria-by-the-Sea. Known for its little shops and theater, ‘Victoria’ also is home to a few nice places to eat including the Lobster Barn Pub and Eatery. It serves LOTS of local flavours and has become one of my favorite spots!

I also had the chance to take in one of PEI’s local favorite pastimes – story telling. The Four Tellers was staged at the King’s Playhouse and ran to sold out crowds Monday evenings throughout the summer. This popular source of entertainment, generally humourous, included stories of local characters from the past and present and sometimes most often embellished.

Have you had the chance to visit PEI? What was the favourite part of your trip??

 

Bubble bubble toil and trouble

The first time I saw online advertising that related to one of my recent web searches I thought it was interesting that technology made this happen.  I also thought it was kind of creepy.

Last week I came across a TED Talk in which Eli Pariser discusses how our online behaviour has the potential to impact web searches and social media feeds through ‘filter bubbles’.

wordmaze

According to Technopedia, a filter bubble

“is the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to of selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption.”

The assumptions are made based on previous behaviors, what you ‘like’, browsing history, search history and where searches take place can impact your future search results and feeds. Algorithms (mathematical codes) are used to serve up the answers to search requests and the feeds in social media platforms.

As an evidence based researcher I want to be able to access all of the information when I search for it, not just what a bot wants to serve up to me.  The following video suggests a couple of ways to ‘burst’ the filter bubble including:

  • using search engines like DuckDuckGo, with no track policies that help to ensure everyone sees the same results,Bubble
  • switching from Facebook to Twitter, as it shows every update in your feed no matter the content,
  • enabling privacy settings on search engines.

What about you? Have you noticed a difference in your search results or Facebook feed? Have filter bubbles changed what you see?

COM0014 – Blog # 2: How To Tell a Great Story For Your Brand

People love  great stories.  Stories evoke emotions and move us in various ways.   They connect with us and help us connect with other people.   People have always loved a great story and therefore marketers have been using storytelling in their campaigns for years. However,  today the traditional marketing channels have evolved and continue to do so.

http://www.sociallyengaged.ca/

In order to tell a great story today,  a brand must consider all of following:

1. Goals:  Why are you telling your story? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to solve a problem?  Are you trying to convey a message? What is the point of the story?

2. Audience: Who are you creating the story for? Who are your customers? What do they want to see?

3. Authenticity: Be true to your brand and tell your own story using your own unique voice.  A perfect example is Commander Chris Hadfield‘s   jovial and down to earth (pun intended)  promotional video for his new book.

Also, remember that  using your own unique voice doesn’t mean that grammar rules don’t apply. Grammar mistakes are distracting and take away from the story.

4.  Creativity:  Get creative and creativity does not need to be complicated.  Sometimes the simplest of ideas make the best stories like the following creative tweet from Boston Pizza on hockey’s opening night in Canada.

In celebration of hockey’s return,we have a big announcement.Our pizzas will be available puck-shaped all season long pic.twitter.com/lkzPMfFvZX

— Boston Pizza (@bostonpizza) October 1, 2013

5. Consistency: Be consistent in your message.  Tell the same cohesive story across all your marketing channels.

6. Relationship Building: Listen to your audience and monitor what is being said about your brand, your competition, and your industry. Ask your customers for their input and their opinions. Respond, talk to them, and have a conversation.  Engage with them and energize them. Build the relationship and then maintain it.

What other elements or factors do you think lead to great storytelling today? What are some of your favourite social media marketing stories?

This post originally appeared on http://www.sociallyengaged.ca

COM0011 – 521 Blog Post #1 – My Favourite Social Media Tools

like

With todays busy world, staying in touch with all your friends and family has become that one thing that you just can never seem to get around doing. Pressing a link to show someone who “Like” something they posted or a quick “hey what’s up” sent from your smart phone, can be just enough to acknowledge them keep a string of connection. On the other hand, weren’t you amazed when Neo from the Matrix movie downloaded Kung Fu into his mind and was an instant master. I am not saying that we have reached this point, but with YouTube you can learn a whole lot of stuff you never dreamed of.

My two favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tools:

The above being stated, I would have to say that both Facebook and LinkedIn are two of my favorite social media tools. I enjoy Facebook for that fact that it keeps me in the loop with the people I know, and vice versa. It allows me to wish people happy birthdays and congratulate them on all kinds of things with a couple of keystrokes and a poof, it’s posted.

With LinkedIn, I am able to almost similar tasks as Facebook except in the professional aspect of my life. I can stay in touch with past and present colleagues, as well as advertise myself for future opportunities.

 My two best sources of news and updates:

I think I spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day on YouTube. That’s 16425 minutes a year. I get news, learning clips, and humors clips like a goat screaming like a human. As shown in the stats table below, I’m not alone.

 

The second item on this list has to be Twitter. With this tool am able to filter the sources which I receive news and updates from. I can also listen to what my favorite “famous people” have to say about different things. Twitter gives me the personal thoughts of people I would never get a chance to talk to ever in my life.

That’s my 2 cents!!!

 

YouTube Statistics:

Viewership

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

YouTube Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vMO3XmNXe4

YouTube statistics: http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

Facebook “Like” Image: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-10/05/boosting-facebook-like-stats