Archive of ‘Social Media’ category

Can we auto-correct humanity?

I spend my days connected to Canadians all over the world via social media. Discussing culture, technology, current events and what makes us all tick. I absolutely love the opportunity to “meet” so many interesting people and exchange ideas, opinions and content. As much as I love and embrace social media and technology, I do have major concerns about the effects that it is having on us as individuals and as a society. We seem to be so dependent on technology and the need to be connected to each other, that we’re actually losing touch with our loved ones and the the physical world around us.

I belong to the Millennial generation or Gen Y as some like to call it. Many of us are able to remember a time when the internet wasn’t an intrinsic part of our everyday life. We grew up learning how to deal with boredom and discover ways to entertain ourselves. Technology as it is today, wasn’t always something that was within arm’s reach.

I came across this video from rapper Richard Williams (otherwise known as Prince Ea) which really helps put this issue into perspective. One of the lines from this is, “I imagine a world where we smile when we have low batteries, because that will mean that we’re one bar closer to humanity.” Take a look and make sure to share.

How to turn non-social media savvy people into bloggers

As the social media advisor for Canada’s national public broadcaster, I spend a lot of time coaching people on how to simplify things. If you manage a group or corporate blog, chances are that from time to time you have run into a wall where you’re desperately searching for content or collaborators who can be both a source of in-depth information and also be able to translate this knowledge into a snappy blog with a killer title that resonates with the people…While it’s not impossible to find, you may need to put in some time coaching your local non-social media savvy (NSMS) colleagues on how to craft a blog post.

Do not despair – here are some tips on how to deal with this challenge and turn NSMS thinkers into bloggers.

  1. Be the voice of your audience and ponder the big questions: You know your audience and as a blog manager you have a sense of responsibility to act as their voice. There is a balance that you need to strike between answering their questions and offering insight that may be unsolicited but nonetheless useful. Compile a list of these questions (keep them open-ended) and share these with your NSMS colleagues. This will help them put get their thoughts on paper. In many cases, you’ll just need to select the most interesting questions and revise their answers so that they are succinct and written using the right tone.
  2. Give them a taste of the spotlight through an interview: Even some of the most shy introverts daydream about being recognized for their talents and skills. If they’re very reluctant to start blogging, I suggest doing a Q&A with them where you ask them questions and they answer them. You can then share the interview (in text form) on your blog. This helps them gain exposure, experience and confidence without actually having the responsibility of being considered the “author” of the post. This has been very effective in helping people get a taste for being featured on a blog. This is their first baby step towards penning their own post.
  3. Follow them for an afternoon: People can be so oblivious as to how cool their jobs really are. Sometimes they just need a fresh perspective to show them. Try following them for a day and share your experience on social media. They’ll be shocked to see how many retweets, likes and shares the content is generating. I had the opportunity to shadow CBC/Radio-Canada’s President and CEO and let me tell you the reshares were remarkable.
  4. Spark a fire under them: Don’t give up on people that are reluctant to embrace social media…keep at it and help make it an easy transition for them. One day your efforts will pay off and even if they never write a blog post, they’ll at least understand the environment a little better…! Keep fighting the good fight!


Looking ahead for Canadian Television

Shortly after the Canadian Screen Awards, TV Guide published 10 Things about Canadian TV we should be celebrating. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as Canadians were coming off of a high from celebrating Canadian talent and productions.

Canadian television has come a long way and I full heartedly agree with the authors when they say that we still have a long way to go. While studying television production, my heart would ache every time I would hear a friend say “that looks Canadian” when talking about a TV show. What they really meant was, “that looks like a low-budget” production.

One of the first things that you learn when studying and working in the production field is how to stretch your budget and pool your collective resources. That’s partially why the “it looks Canadian” comment bothers me so much. I know that amazing things are possible – even with a low budget. I’ve seen it done. I’ve even had the honour of working on a few of these gems…

We’re in the midst of a very exciting time for media, here in Canada. Companies are being forced to rethink their business models and everything that we once knew to be true is being challenged. I like to compare this to builders and the first time that they created the open concept floor plan. It’s time to put our imaginations to the test and push ourselves and our industry so that we all come out of this stronger and smarter.

To all Canadian producers, behind the scenes professionals, talent and students: Think of this as your daily pep talk. Go out there and create magic! In the spirit of Canadian TV (#cdntv) I invite you to send me your favourite Canadian productions (TV/Film) and I’ll add them to the list below!

Favourite Canadian Productions:

  • Flashpoint
  • 19-2
  • Rookie Blue
  • Polytechnique
  • Beachcombers
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop
  • Big Brother Canada (updated)
  • Incendies  (updated)
  • Gabrielle  (updated)

(Update ) LinkedIn – Who’s viewed your profile

So after what feels like a kazillian years, I finally received a note in my inbox about LinkedIn’s update to the analytics available in the “who’s viewed your profile” section.

At first glance, it doesn’t look that interesting or informative…but then again, I’m a wee bit boring on LinkedIn when it comes to sharing with my networks. I reserve most of my activity for group participation. I’ll keep exploring these new functions…

linkedin update

LinkedIn increases insights available in “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section

One of the greatest features of LinkedIn (in my humble opinion) is the ability to see who has viewed your account. Apparently, LinkedIn is in the process of rolling out analytics for the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section. This will enable users to differentiate the various types of users that have viewed your account (recruiters, industry, position, etc.).

Updates to accounts apparently started yesterday – not sure if this was just in the US though since I have yet to see the updates reflected in my own account.

Has your account been updated yet? What do you think of the changes?

Viral videos – your ticket to being cool (and the demise of book clubs)…

This is a pretty bold statement and I have absolutely no facts to back it up (as of yet) but I bet that I could write a whole thesis on how Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z are embracing sharing/socializing via technology rather than old school (physical) contact/communication…

So back in the day, there was this underground culture of book readers who got together to discuss books…I’m probably going to annoy a lot of people when I write this, but based on stereotypes back then these groups were predominately composed of snobs, cat lovers and people who smell like mothballs…Then they sort of fell off the grid for a while…Then in 2012, Oprah launched her book club then all of a sudden books and discussing books were cool. People wanted to consume the next “BIG HIT” book to hit the shelves before the general public.

So, let’s fast forward a few years and think about technology and human social behaviour now. We (speaking generally as human beings in North America) still have a desire to consume the next “BIG HIT” before others. We want to be in the know. We want to be cool. Plus, it’s no secret that many of us have an underlying desire to feel included. Instead of books (and current affairs) being the general currency for interpersonal connections, our digital generation is now turning to viral videos to aid in the pursuit of acceptance and belonging. Think about the content of your “water cooler” discussions…! Viral videos take a lot less time to watch than say reading Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude…plus if you don’t like them, you don’t feel like you’ve wasted so much time. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but we tend to have shorter attention spans and are less patient as a society.

With viral videos, you feel like you got a good deal. In the span of a few minutes, you can be transported into a story that can change your perspective on life…okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic…but in all seriousness, it can make your day seem a lot less shitty. Now I realize that there are many exceptions to this, because there’s a whole group of people who look down on the consumption and sharing of viral videos…but in the end, chances are if you fit into one of these groups, I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with you…<no offence though>… With everything going on in the world, it’s important to lighten up from time to time and have a laugh…shed a tear…hug a puppy…and dance…

PS: Hope I didn’t offend too many people…may all of my 3 readers accept my apologies ;)

PPS: Just had to add that I actually do belong to a book club…and none of us smell like mothballs…but there may be a few cat lovers…

PPPS: Here’s a video for you to share with your family, before your next family gathering…in hopes that it will spark discussion and bring you closer together…!

Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Epic Split / Volvo

The latest video that seems to be making the rounds on social media is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Epic Split”.

Love the simplicity of the video and the message. The setup with the sun setting in the back…and the smooth camera work and the lack of in your face promotion by Volvo. If you visit their YouTube channel, you’ll realize that this was “Live Test 6″…I’m scared to ask what happened in Live Tests 1 through 5….In any case, this is a short video and definitely worth a quick look.

Dear #AmericanApparel, all you had to do was ask

Like many industries, PR went through its “trashy” stage where any attention was thought of as good attention. Thankfully, the industry and the public have evolved.  As consumers, we demand that companies make smart choices. Not just in the way that they produce their products or deliver their services, but also in the way that they market to us.

american-apparelWe now seek out companies that are socially responsible. We celebrate brands that “give back”. A great example is Maxwell House’s 2008 advertising campaign “Brew Some Good” where instead of spending a small fortune on producing swanky television ads, the corporation decided to instead donate money to worthy community groups. This campaign is actually one of my favorites of all time. It tied in the element of the corporation being socially responsible and it represented a shift in corporate culture to a more collaborative environment where consumers could nominate worthy causes in their community.

Now, let’s fast forward by 4 years and take a look at American Apparel’s latest Hurricane Sandy Sale (#SandySale). It feels like we are regressing and moving back into the dark ages of PR and Marketing where offending consumers is “where it’s at”.  With all of the destruction and deaths that Hurricane Sandy has caused, I think that the decision to run this campaign was in very poor taste. As someone who studies the reputational impact that “social media blunders” have on brands, I think that this will have an impact on how the brand and how consumers feel about it.

Oh, American Apparel….All you had to do was ask…Ask your audiences, social media experts, marketing students,  people with common sense or even this mountain goat and we all would have probably told you the same thing – don’t run this campaign.goat

My only words of wisdom for American Apparel are to donate the proceeds of their sales to the victims, families and the communities of the people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Do it soon…and when you do it, don’t give yourself a pat on the back because you still don’t deserve it.

Back from CBC/Radio-Canada’s Technology Forum

I spent most of this week in my hometown of Montreal attending (and preparing for) CBC/Radio-Canada’s Technology Forum. While this event is mainly for employees, the Corporation has been very open about it and even invited me there to tweet live from the event. The forum lasted 2 days and was jam packed with presentations from so many leaders in the media, digital, broadcasting and technology fields…Oh and did I mention, these experts actually work for CBC and Radio-Canada?

For someone like myself (I consider myself to be somewhat of a broadcasting geek),  it felt like I was in Techie Hollywood. Meeting dozens of Canadian technology revolutionaries that I had been following on Twitter or had read articles penned by them in various trade and online publications. There were a couple of presentations that went “over my head” a little because of the level of detail or complexity, but judging by how involved the in-studio audience was (composed of employees) I was in the minority which I can appreciate. With less than a decade of (full-time professional) media work experience under my belt, I know more than anyone that I still have quite a lot to learn. I can say though, without a doubt, I learnt a heck of a lot in only 2 days.

Thank you to the Technology  Strategy Board for sponsoring this forum and stay tuned for some more in depth posts on some of the topics that were covered…like iPhones for broadcasting, social tv, email in the cloud, etc.



Starbucks Prank with Gavin Slate

Check out this week’s featured video that comes to us from an old classmate of mine from Ryerson’s RTA. Kudos to you, Gavin! Also, stay tuned to the CBC/Radio-Canada Corporate blog where I’ll be writing an article on musicians and their creative use of video and social media…Will be highlighting Gavin and also Canadian band Kalle Mattson.

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