MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Mommies Like Social Media Too

The Motrin Ad.

Is there really anything else to say? Other than HIDEOUS?

I was embarassed for the company while watching that ad. I couldn’t believe that was their take on Motherhood, and that they truly felt that’s what it means to be a mom.

I think what it comes down to is the fact that whoever was behind this ad obviously knew nothing about motherhood, and nothing about the power of social media.

If this ad was on TV, I’m sure these media savvy mommies would have been just as angry and still could have voiced their anger online. However; what they would have been missing was the ability to link their comments to the specific commercial or share the links with their social networks. Because this ad was online, they were able to easily share it with the cyber world.  Also, I’m sure if this ad was released on television it wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much negative feedback in such a short amount of time.

This is the beauty of social media. The public has a voice, which was clearly demonstrated with this case.  Part of the article showed a great quote from the Vancouver Sun:

“They (moms) were making their views known in an online storm that blasted through the blogosphere and the micro-blogging website Twitter, spiking traffic and spreading bad news about the brand”

I think this was a huge wake up call for Motrin, who apparently didn’t have any idea of the chaos that was happening over this ad.

This whole mishap makes me very thankful that I chose to take this course.  If I’m ever in charge of putting together an internet ad for a company, I’ll know all the bases to cover.  And I’ll most certainly do some background research on the target audience.

What do you think of the power of internet ads over television ads?

Farewell to you all!



June 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | Leave a comment

R.I.P Traditional Communication Tools

As this is my last post on my monitored site, SXSW, I was anxious to write about something SUPER cool to end it with a bang.

As I browsed through the latest updates to the site, I came across a clip of another award that was given out- Category: Blog – Sites that revolutionize the power of publishing by providing regularly updated content of a personal or professional nature.

This award went to a blog called The Bygone Bureau, Which was created by two college seniors. It’s basically an online newspaper which has over 2000 contributors. Many of them have not even met the two creators of the site.

In the interview after winning the award, one of the creators was asked if he thinks blogs will someday take over print newspapers. He responded “I really, really hope that newspapers don’t go away.”

Well, I really, really hope newspapers don’t go away either. In fact, I really, really hope that cd’s don’t go away (although that’s looking more and more of a possibility) and I really, really hope that comic books don’t go away, or person-to-person conversation, or bank tellers, or telling secrets to friends, or books, or dvd’s.

What I’m getting at here is that after 5 weeks of monitoring my site, looking back at all of my posts, they have almost all had to do with technology replacing mediums that have been around for ages! This goes for a lot of our class posts as well.

I think the progress that technology has made in such a short span of time is amazing. And amazingly scary.

I mean, I’m all for technology. I can’t live without my cell phone, can’t go anywhere without my iPod, checking facebook has basically become  part of my everyday life and yes, blogging is fun! I just find myself moving forward and not looking back, not taking the time to stop and think about just how much technology is advancing.

I hope that someday social media and traditional forms of communication can live in harmony, pleasing everyone. I would like to still be able to wake up in the morning and check the morning paper over coffee. Because I know myself too well, and a mug of coffee over a laptop just wouldn’t work.

What are your thoughts on technology replacing traditional communication? It’s EVERYWHERE!

On a side note: I will definitely still be keeping up with SXSW as often as I can. I suggest you all take a look at it too!


June 16, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , | 1 Comment

Your Secret’s Safe With the Internet

A recent post on SXSW made me really think about how the internet has developed into something much more than a place where people can get information from, add information to, or be entertained.

I’m aware that the internet has recently become a medium for people to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas and sometimes very personal stories, but I’m only just coming to the realization of the many different ways that people are able to do it.  Post Secret is a site that I love to check every Sunday, it’s a place where people anonomously send their secrets to on homemade postcards and they are then posted on the site.  It’s amazing what people will share.  The internet has almost become something that some people can trust even more than their closest friends.

Another type of “secret sharing” website was recently featured on SXSW. The 2009 Web Award winner in the category of Art- from traditional photography to untraditional resources was a site called Things I Have Learned in my Life, So Far.  It is a user generated content site, like PostSecret, where people were asked to upload their life stories whether it was typographically, in the form of a photo or a video. Essentially, it’s like an online diary, that people from across the world can contribute to. The site is amazing, full of great quotes, uplifting videos, photos and writing entries.  Here’s a cool video that was posted to the site:

Obviously people have embraced this form of revealing secrets, telling life stories or simply telling people what’s on their mind. The internet has made it possible for people to reach out and say things that they would normally keep to themselves. I believe this is a great thing for many people who are looking for a way to express themselves, but would not necessarily say it out loud.

On that note, I stole a styrofoam bowl from the cafeteria yesterday…


June 9, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , | Leave a comment

Kids These Days…

Yesterday’s class was very informative and interesting, both guest speakers were very intelligent and knowledgeable  and it made me really appreciate my decision to take this Social Media Seminar as my elective!

Rob MacCormick brought up a really good point that stuck with me. He said that  kids today are not even questioning technology, they are just going along with it.  They seem to be unphased with the amazing advances in technologies and have almost come to expect it. I never thought of it before, but HOW true is that!? It’s kind of scary to think about.

Growing up, I only really started using a computer when I was in grade 7. I can still remember thinking how cool MSN was, and good ol’ ICQ. E-mailing my friends when they were away was the only way to stay in touch (for free), and I took advantage of that. I guess I wouldn’t say that I questioned these technologies, but I definitely thought they were amazing and felt very privledged to be able to use them.

Now I look at my 12 year old sister who has had facebook since she was in grade 5, used MSN all through elementary school and who got an iTouch AND a digital camera last Christmas (don’t get me started on how jealous I was…) now, she’s on the verge of getting a cell phone, and she’s not even in GRADE 8!

I feel that because she started using these technologies at such a young age, that’s the reason she is so unphased by them. When she got facebook in grade 5, she was too young to be able to even think critically about it, or to realize the amazing amount of intelligence that goes into creating each and every one of these technologies.

The same goes for children in Western Civilization today. These technologies are being introduced to them at such a young age that they don’t know to question what they are doing. They just go with the flow!

The question I’ve been struggling with is if in fact this is a good thing, or a bad thing? For me, it’s hard to say! I think technology today is amazing, and it’s great to teach our kids to embrace it and learn to use it at a young age. But I also think that we need to do a better job in letting our kids know the dangers involved, and how they shouldn’t be taking things like this for granted.

The generation of kids today are going to be some of the most technologically savvy people we’ve seen. I think this is a great and exciting thing! Is the development of children now going to include “computer skills training”? Which would come in right after potty training, and just before walking?

Think about it,


June 9, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | , | 1 Comment

What’s All the Hype? SKYPE!

Today’s class was one of the coolest yet.  Thanks again to Harold for the early wake up! This was my first time using Skype, as I think it was for many of us, and I truly enjoyed the experience. How technically savvy AM I now?

Using Skype was very eye opening. It made me realize just HOW MUCH social media is taking over . What I’m unsure of is however,  is that necessarily a bad thing?

We talk constantly about the debate between “face-to-face”, “person-to-person” communication or the use of social media tools. Which one is better? Which one relays the message better? A strong argument for “face-to-face” communication is that we are able to hear the person speak, listen to the emotion in their voice, see their hand gestures and the emotions on their face…HELLO SKYPE! It gives us everything, and yet we are not technically “face-to-face”.

Is it true? Have social media tools actually mastered achieving person-to-person meetings?

Personally, I think that holding a meeting via Skype (for business purposes) truly achieves the same affects as if the meeting was being held in a boardroom. The only difference is that you don’t get stuck sitting next to the person who had a caesar salad with a side of garlic hummus for lunch.  And that person with the nasty cold? Safely shielded behind the monitor.

Thoughts on Skype taking over the business meeting world?

Signing off..


June 4, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | 1 Comment

I Bless the Cell Phone Coverage Down in Africa…

What do we rely on our cell phones for today? To text friends, to talk to family, to take pictures, to listen to music or to play games on when we’re bored. What if we relied on our cell phones for something more? What if cell phones were our only way of being supplied with money? What if without a cell phone, our family couldn’t afford to put food on the table or aquire clean water?

Unfortunately, this is a reality in many third world countries. Living in Western Society we don’t even think twice about how lucky we are to be able to walk down any street and go into a bank. We don’t think about how lucky we are to be able to use online banking, or to take $20 out of an ATM.  The use of mobile banking to people in third world countries is almosty a crucial part of their survival and well being.

Think about the husbands who have to travel miles away from their wives and children in order to find work. How will they get the money they earn back to their families? Certainly not by walking back home.

A recent podcast on SXSW spoke on this issue, which is something that I truly had never even thought about, but is obviously a huge problem for developping third world countries.

There are 2 billion unbanked people in the world today, and about 1 billion of those unbanked people have access to mobile. Third world countries have taken this information, and have become the most innovated countries in regards to expanding on mobile banking and mobile payments, Africa being the largest contributor.

With mobile payments, working spouses are able to make transfer payments to their spouse’s cell phones back home. A great example the podcast uses is if a husband is working in a mine far from home, he is able to transfer his received funds to his wife and kids.

This technology doesn’t stop there. Mobile phones in these countries are actually starting to take the place of currency. It’s safer to be carrying around a cell phone than a bunch of cash. Consumers are using these mobile transfers to pay merchants, and entrepreneurs are able to transfer funds to laborers who are, for example, building homes. Airtime is also taking the place of currency in these countries. People are trading cell phone minutes for goods and services, which shows how precious airtime over there really is.

A panelist from the podcast states that the GSM coverage in Africa outdoes the electricity coverage by a significant amount. This means that yes, maybe these third world countries aren’t as “up on the times” with social media tools a we are, but it’s because they simply don’t have the type of coverage that we do. They are however, doing the best they can with what they have.

I certainly wouldn’t know how to make a mobile payment or transfer. Maybe the folks in Africa can teach ME a thing or two?

I think Toto sums it up… “It’s gonna take some time to do the things we never have, oooh”


June 2, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , | 1 Comment

To Be Me, Or Not To Be Me…That is the Question

After reading Julie Rak’s paper “the electric self: doing virtual research for real in second life®”, I have to say that I’m quite excited to venture into second life. There was one point in my life where I was completely obsessed with “the Sims”, so I can see myself enjoying setting up my own avatar in second life and exploring the virtual world that it offers.

I found it interesting that Rak’s grad students who lived in second life for a week said that it was easy to stress about appearance. No one wanted to be seen as a “newbie”, so they asked others around them for advice and tried to look as good as possible very quickly. Scarily close to real life…

I think it’s interesting to see which avatars in the virtual world choose to look as close to their real life selves as possible, and which ones choose to be something completely wacky and funky. At first I thought I would probably make an avatar to resemble me as closely as possible, but then I got to thinking that in the virtual world you can literally be ANYTHING you want to be and choose to look however you want to look! So why not get funky with it? I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a “furry” or anything…but maybe some pink hair would be fun!

Do you think there is a correct way to convey yourself in the virtual world? I get the feeling that sometimes the wackiest characters online are quite possibly very shy and quiet in real life. The virtual world is a great place for people to express themselves however they want to.

Bye for now!


May 26, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | Leave a comment

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s Superman Trapped in Your Computer Screen.

As I stated in my last post, CD’s are becoming a thing of the past. iTunes and other music downloading applications are allowing people to download (legally or illegally) music that they love, from all of their favorite artists. This allows people to still have collections of all of their favorite music, without having the dust-building clutter of owning hundreds of CD’s.

 A recent podcast on SXSW made me think, is the same thing happening with comic books?

 The panel discussion was titled “Online Comic Books: The Future of Graphic Novels?” which talked about the increasing popularity of online comic books. Even avid comic book fans are catching on to the craze. They’re probably running out of room to put their massive amount of boxes filled with comic books.

 One of the panel speakers worked for DC comics, and announced that they are in the process of starting an online comic. The first issue is free, but of course they need to make money somehow so to get the rest of the collection you have to pay. This is the case with the majority of online comic books.

A question that was raised had to do with motion comics (which play as a Quicktime movie, complete with voiceovers). Is a motion comic truly giving you the comic book experience? I would have to say no.  To me, they would seem more of a cartoon than anything else. What are your thoughts?

 A site like keeps the feel of the graphic novel alive. One of the panel speakers actually started up this online comic. But is it the same as having something tangible that you can hold, take on a trip with you or fold down the page to save your spot? (or bookmark for those of you who like your comics in mint condition).

 This leads me to the question; if comic books become obsolete, will comic book collections also become a thing of the past? You can keep an archive online, but can you sell that archive? Can you put it on display, or pass it on to your kids? If it’s available to everyone, where’s the fun in collecting issues?  

 What do you think about online comics replacing comic books? Or even the replacement of CD’s and DVD’s?  Is it just another step in the direction of technology taking over?  

 To infinity and beyond,


May 26, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , | 2 Comments

Social Media Creating the “Dumb and Dangerous”?

I found  the reading ” The Other Side of Democracy in the Digital Age” to be very interesting and eye opening.  I’m sure everyone felt the same shock and awe after watching the video posted on the reading as well, it’s hard to believe that in the year 2009 there are still people out there who think, speak and act in the way some of those people were.

It’s very interesting what the author brought to our attention: Social Media can actually serve as a “pre-fueling” tool for supporters during elections.  That’s a scary thought. If supporters are being fueled with anger and hate before a rally even gets to their town, what will they be like the day of the rally? More than a “dumb mob” but a “dangerous and dumb mob”… the combination of dangerous and dumb do not mix very well.

This got me thinking, does the “dumb and dangerous mob” which is almost entirely being fueled by social media stop at just presidential rallys? No. In some way or another, this “pre-fueling” via social media has been going on for many years.  Think of the Holocaust, during that time there were radio stations all over which were broadcasting  for people to enlist in the army and were convincing the people that  taking part in the war was a positive choice.  News of Hitler’s speeches was broadcasted on the radio stations, and the crowds that formed to listen to him could certainly be classified as “dumb and dangerous”.

Think of the news we hear on the radio today, or videos we see on Youtube. I’m sure there are plenty of riots, petitions, marches, protests, mobs etc. being started up just from people hearing and seeing news on a daily basis which they don’t agree with and have a strong urge to do something about.

Can anyone think of a mob/riot/protest that has been fueled by social media?

The power of social media can be a great thing, but also has the potential to create something very “dumb and dangerous” .

Bye for now!


May 22, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | Leave a comment

“Help! My iPod Thinks I’m Emo.”… a Recent Podcast on SXSW

Being an avid iPod user myself, this Podcast title really jumped out at me when I was taking a look at the most recent posts on SXSW (South by Southwest) ‘s website.

This Podcast talks about how music recommendation is broken, and that “automatic music recommeders make mistakes that no human would ever make.”

How many of you have ever tried using the “music recommendation” option on your iPod or on iTunes? I have, and to tell you the truth…I wasn’t too impressed. To me, it seemed completely random. If I’m listening to Radiohead, what on earth would make iTunes think that I would also like to hear Britney Spears? (Nothing against my girl Britney here..)

What the speakers at this talk say, is that music recommendation is generated by what is called “wisdom of the crowd”. Music generators will monitor what people listening to Britney Spears are also listening to, and take from that a general idea of the other music they would like. The problem here is that just because people like a little Britney in their life, doesn’t necessarily mean they need Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff too. It also doesn’t mean that Britney is the only kind of music they listen to. (I’m not THAT innocent)

The speakers then talk about WHY music recommendation is broken. We are now in a generation where CD’s are becoming a thing of the past, people are buying their own songs from iTunes or using music downloading sites such as Limewire to get their songs. No more walking into Wal-mart where the CD’s are sorted by different genre and artist names…it’s all on US to search the web for songs we like.

And this is where music recommendation is broken: the podcast states that 48% of all songs recommended from us listening to popular well-known artsists lead us right back to those artists. 52% of all songs recommended lead us to the middle range of popular artists, which means that there is absolutely no coverage for the millions of other artists out there who are trying to get started.

Some of my favorite artists are ones that not a lot of people know about, and I’d like them to be able to keep on making the music I love! But if CD’s are a thing of the past, and they are relying solely on the internet for people to hear of them, then music recommenders need to re-think the way they are recommending music. They need to broaden their scope of artists that they are recommending, before all that’s left is Britney and Lil’ Wayne! (Again, shout out to my girl Britney, and Lil’ Weezy holds a place near and dear to my heart)

Any suggestions for new artists trying to make a name for themselves in our iPod generation?

Bye for now!


May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments