MSVU Social Media Course Blog

Just another weblog

How to find your comments..

I know you all probably figured it out, but DeNel asked me to put this up.

To find a list of all the comments you’ve made just go to My Account (top left-hand corner) and in the drop down menu click My Comments.




June 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

farewell my friends!

So this is it, my last will and testament… aka my last official blog post. It’s really sorta sad, but as I reflect on what this blog has taught me, I can’t help be excited.  First, I’m excited that I’ve actually written on a blog, that I didn’t totally suck at it (I think)  and that other people read it . Secondly, I’ve learned so much from all of your posts and looking at all of the assigned websites. And, last but not least I think I  finally get the whole idea of social media.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure why I was so scared of it… seriously let’s break it down: social – well as most of you can probably tell I’m social, almost a bit too much, and media – well that’s just self-explanatory, we are surrounded by media almost every second of our lives.

So, why was I so scared to take the social media plunge? Maybe I’m just scared of change in general, but after this class and engaging in it myself, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being a ‘social media scardy cat.’ 

I’m glad that I made this transition from old media advocate to social media wannabe in an encouraging and ‘safe’ environment. I realize that I’m no expert and don’t plan on ever being one, but I honestly feel that I’ve acquired some very useful and relevant skills in this class. So thanks!

So I’ll leave you with these wise words from my dear friend Frank (not Frank Ovaitt):

And now, the end is here

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I traveled each and ev’ry highway

And more, much more than this, I did it my way…


Such a stretch, but a dramatic close, nonetheless.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , | Leave a comment

Research, Research, Research …

This week on PR Conversations, Frank Ovaitt, discusses the “Four Things That Only Took Me Five Years to Learn.” Frank is retiring after five years as President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations.

 Franks Four Things:

  1. There is no reason to assume that Public Relations is inferior to marketing, advertising (or many other management functions)  in terms of our research.
  2. There are three kinds of public relations research:  Research used in public relations, to guide and evaluate communications programs. Research on public relations, to understand what we do and how we do it.And research for public relations – theoretical development to provide the social science underpinnings.
  3. The public relations field is more interconnected globally than ever before, and research is one of the great connectors.
  4. Public relations professionals who understand research will rule this field.

 His ‘learnings’ are interesting to me because they are all around PR research… something that I’m not THAT fond of. Maybe that’s why it took him so long to learn it… I’m not sure how the rest of you feel, but research always seems so stale and, well, annoying.  

 However after reading his post I sort of got it, an ‘ah ha moment’ if you will, research is the foundation of what we do, and without it we really are spin doctors.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , | 2 Comments

the great divide…

Today in class we touched on something again that we’ve talked about a lot – the great divide between the generations and their social media usage. I think it was Dee who mentioned that her group was finding it difficult to engage two generations of PR practitioners, and DeNel countered that by saying that there are a lot of ‘older’ people using these tools and there’s just the perception that they’re not.

My thoughts on this are that social media usage has become just one of those things that people have preconceived perceptions about, that may not even be true. Another example of this (which has been discussed in our PR & Gender class) is the idea of ‘bra burning feminists.’ In reality no one ever burned bras; it just became this idea that was naturalized into the history of feminism.

How does this relate to social media usage across generations? Well, I feel like the idea that older generations are not accepting of social media has transferred from just an ‘idea’ to people’s attitudes and expectations. Maybe the reason people are so hesitant to accept social media is because they are expected not to. In the same way that I feel I HAVE to understand it because of my age…

Does this make sense?

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions??

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | , , , | 2 Comments

Social Media Insurance?

Hot on the heels of Hilary’s latest post – public openess on the internet has garnered much more interest than I would have imagined. As we’ve heard so may times, we are living in a world that changes exponentially, and the changes that we are seeing in regards to social media, throughout this class alone, have been astounding. In a recent post on PR Conversations, author Kristen E. Sukalac discusses how social media has really arrived, so much in fact that people are inquiring about social media insurance. 

Kristen points to a recent e-newsletter by the American Automobile Association (or CAA for us Canucks) where headlines were “do I have coverage for saying stupid things on facebook” and “is my coverage up to par for blogging activities.” Basically suggesting that people want insurance over what they say online in case someone tries to sue them. While these inquires almost shock me, it is a real reminder that the internet is not just its own world, but that the ‘real’ world is transitioning onto the web. 

As mentioned in the post, this insurance inquiry, also has to make you wonder how the content on social media will change. As social media becomes more mainstream will it loose some of its original transparency, maybe some of its clout, as people become more cautious?

How the world continues to shock and terrify me…

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , | 1 Comment

Think like an economist

The Ashing reading I thought was really interesting because it further discussed the issue of full transparency and audience participation.  I guess, like with everything new, pessimism seems to be the name of the game. Although the benefits of social media have been celebrated I think that because it’s new we sometimes expect the worst to occur, audience participation in particular.

As we’ve discussed various times in class, and was one of the first questions asked to Harold, we agree that participation is necessary, but for many organizations drawing the line between audience participation and justifying inaccurate or distasteful comments is very thin. So organizations need to prepare (aka behavior guidelines) to deal with these negative situations.

 I think that’s why I really liked the Ashing piece, because it was refreshing to hear a positive example of audience participation. He identifies The Economist magazine and explains how they chose to post “ALL of the letters to the editor they received on their blog, compared to a handful they print” and were proud to report that they all remained high quality.

 I guess you can never know if they are really posting all of the letters, but it’s nice to know that full participation and integrity between both the company and its audience can exist… even if it’s only in the economist (seriously, think about all the nasty things that could be said at a time like this).

I think that while we are excited about the opportunities in social media, the reality of actual two-way communication is much scarier than just the idea. Thus, as a communicator and human being it’s much easier to expect and plan for the worst than to just cross your optimistic fingers.


 The Bee Dub

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back (or) to the future


Historic Properties Halifax

Historic Properties Halifax

My blog, as many of yours, has not been updating as regularly as I need it to for this class, so I started checking out some past entries. One entry from February discussed the closure of an almost 150 year-old newspaper and how it’s employees shared their feelings and pictures about their experience on a blog.

The interesting thing, as the author points out, is that social media and the evolution of technologies is usually one of the first things that is used as a reason for print media and other traditional tools becoming defunct, but in this case it is used as a cathartic experience.

Basically, despite their sadness the employees used the very tools that possibly lead to their demise. This got me to thinking about how sentimental we are in regards to the past, and more specifically how willing are we to let traditional media be replaced by new media tools?  


The author in a reply to a comment mentions this example:

“… we visited the Wupatki National Monument in Arizona and found it amusing that the very premise of the park, which conserves ancient Anasazi dwellings is against the philosophy of those people, who believed that old buildings, etc. should be recycled for the benefit of the living and not kept as monuments to the past.”

It’s an interesting dilemma – preserving the past or ushering in the future. From a strategic and efficiency standpoint I’d have to agree with the Anasazi people, but from something deep down inside I almost feel a little sad that the old newspaper went under. I wonder if it is a human instinct to be sentimental or if in our immortality-obsessed society we just want to see things last.. because it gives us a little bit of hope for the future?

Just living here in NS, with the historic properties and the constant fight over the importance of preserving the past before embracing the future – has to make you wonder what’s really more important?

I’ve always thought there was a way to balance the respect for the old while accepting the new, but as the world continues to change at such a rapid pace, will we even have the chance too?

With all of the social media tools that have been in and out with the blink of an eye it’s easy to wonder whether anything anymore will even leave a lasting impression, or give anyone the reason to hold on and fight for it at all.   

Over and out.


June 1, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , | 1 Comment

I’d rather hear it from the toaster!


Is technology taking over the world?!

Is technology taking over the world?!

There were only two new entries this week on PR Conversations one on the Vatican’s PR efforts and the other on communications relation to corporate trust.

 The latter was an interesting compellation of quotes, lessons learned and statistics on public trust. Information was provided from theEdelman Barometer of Trust and their perception of the relationship between communications and corporate trust, as well as lessons learned from the Maple Leaf Foods Listeria outbreak.

Main points include Maple Leaf’s incredible crisis communication and its ability to retain public trust, and the Edelman Barometer of Trust findings 2009.

 Industry sectors most trusted in Canada:

1. Technology 67%
2. Biotech/life sciences 57%
3. Health care sector 59%
4. Food 54%
5. Banks 53%

 It was interesting to see that technology was the most trusted sector in the country and especially interesting when you consider the most trusted sources:

Traditional Information Sources
1. Stock or industry analyst reports 52%
2. Articles in business magazines 50%
3. Conversations with your friends and peers 42%
4. Conversations with company employees 41%
5. Television news coverage 40%

 My first reaction: machines are taking over the world!!!

I guess I was shocked at this information, but the more I thought about it the more I connected it with our class discussions.

 The stats prove that people are more willing to believe reports and technologies over their own friends and colleagues. It get’s back to our discussion on Wikipedia and other tools and how/why ‘experts’ are considered to be more credible than friends and traditional media sources. As practitioners it’s important for us to understand this shift and to find ways to maintain relevant and connected with public trust. I

 Thoughts? Suggestions?

 Over and out.


May 28, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Bailey Inquiry: My Virtual Community

After our class with Jolene and the Goodings, Locke & Brown (GLB) reading on place and identity in social media communities, I got to thinking about my own ‘virtual identity’ and how it is indicative of my real life.

The GLB reading looks at a MySpace exchange and deconstructs the text and interprets the relationship, the inferences and makes an assessment of the participants’ identities. Jolene’s research methods on tracking exchanges on facebook took this to another level as it made me look at the way I myself use facebook.

SO like we did in class, I thought I would conduct a mini self-evaluation to examine the details of my facebook (number of friends) and interpret how representative it is of my ‘real’ life (RL).

 I started out with over 500 friends, which is ridiculous because I obviously don’t talk to that many people in RL and don’t need to share any of my information pictures with those people either. I then went through my list and started ‘weeding’ out all of the people I don’t talk to, don’t know etc. I realized that there was so many people that I didn’t know, couldn’t remember where/ why we met and honestly had no real value to my ‘community.’  So I asked myself how did I let it get this out of control?

I realized that it came from a variety of things:

  1. My inability to say no to people  (aka they add me as a friend and I accept);
  2. My need to feel included and that I belong (so I add people that other friends have to feel included); and
  3. My need to shall I say ‘hoard’’ for a lack of a better word (getting so many things, being cluttered and surrounded by stuff).

 Maybe I’m thinking to much into this or maybe I just feel the need to talk about myself (JK), but this exercise really got me to think about the idea of a virtual community, what kind of community environment I wanted and who I wanted to share it with. I realized that having all of these people was of no value to me, and that my identity and community would remain intact regardless or not if they were there.


Thoughts? Ideas? Haters?


Over and out.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , | 2 Comments

back to the symbols…

Like Stéphanie, I too felt compelled to think about identities after our last class discussion and Barrette’s poem. What began as innocent pondering lead me all the way to…Symbolic Interactionism and the idea of the ‘self.’

As I’m sure you’re all so thrilled to reminisce… Meade argues that the “self consists of two parts, the I and the me. The I is the impulsive tendency of the individual and the me is the incorporated other, with an organized set of attitudes and definitions, understandings and expectations that are common to the group to which the individual belongs.”

The theory basically points out that the me is different at work than at school or at home, because we have different demands, expectations and comforts depending on where we are. What supposedly grounds all of our mes is the I.

Is social media just allowing people to create another me, another place with different rules, expectations and comfort zones OR is the web allowing people to create a new I altogether?

Over and out.


May 22, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | 1 Comment