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

Motrin Causes Mommy Headaches

I know I’ve been talking a lot about YouTube and its role in social marketing or just building communities, but I have to do it one more time – so bare with me.

This post isn’t even necessarily directed at a YouTube “issue”. Rather more focused on Motrin’s lame attempt at delving into social media marketing. The article discusses the Motrin ad and compares it to other “social media infernos”, but I also think there are some key lessons that Motrin learned (hopefully) from the disaster that was their Controversial Motrin Moms Commercial.

The first issue I found with this whole campaign is that Motrin did not look for or listen to feedback. After 48 hours, other social media sites (other than YouTube) were flooded with conversation of disgust centered around the advertisement. Clearly Motrin did not do their research about social media and how to use one tool effectively and other tools to monitor the response and ongoing conversation after the release of the ad into the online world.  Note to all organizations: you must understand more than one social tool and/or network before unleashing an advertisement, message, conversation, etc. to people who completely understand and respect the tools and the conversations that occur in that environment.

What’s even more shocking is they didn’t even go online to find mothers/mommy bloggers and ask how they felt about the advertisement. And they didn’t even think to include mothers in the process of developing the advertisement in the first place. This completely boggles my mind. The ad probably doesn’t make any sense to mothers. I mean, I doubt that if Motrin ran a focus group with mothers, the majority of them would identify ‘fashionably wearing their baby when it causes them so much pain’ a major concern. I doubt they would say, “if only I had a pain killer I could strut around with my fashionable baby strap all day long!!” Puuhhhllleeeaassee!!

Anyway, basically I think it’s time that organizations become a little bit a lot more responsible when it comes to using social media. There are way too many examples of what NOT to do, and how-to-do-it-right. Anyone can learn, it’s just a matter of the organization taking the time to do it, and paying attention.

This class is ending and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. I have learned so much and I’ve had such a great time doing it. I can already see how this knowledge I have picked up is going to help me in the PR world. Employers are excited about it and I’m excited about it. I think CC is on to something…eventually (and I can’t wait) the term “social media” will fade away and it will quickly become a part of common communication practices.

Peace out PBRL 4405!! It’s been a time!

Kim 🙂

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , | 3 Comments

A bittersweet farewell

After going over our last reading, Social media ROI – a calculator for not for profit campaigns, I’m filled with a sense of awe and accomplishment.

Not necessarily because of the reading itself, but for what the reading represents.

The reading detailed how social media campaigns, specifically for non-profits, can be measured in dollar value. It also linked to a “calculator” that outlined the formula to determine whether or not using social media would be cost efficient.

Instead of regurgitating the formula, I’d like to speak to what this reading represents, and what this course as a whole has represented: the dawn of an era that we are already a part of… perhaps the “age of information.”

This course has been invaluable in opening my (if not all of your) eyes to what is out there. It’s forced us to step outside of our bubbles, and has exposed us to countless new phenomena, issues, ideas and happenings.

After all, who knew a calculator existed that could determine the value of a social media campaign? Who knew that online communities could serve as the new grief counsellors, or that Twitter could serve as a platform for both scientific experiments and pizza sales?

This course has helped me realize the power of the Internet (more specifically, Web 2.0), and that all of this information and more is (quite literally) at our fingertips.

The possibilities are endless, and in our social and professional lives, we are being thrust into this new world that is expanding exponentially.

Professionally, this course has given me a new perspective in terms of what my future career(s) may hold, what will be expected of me, and what I will need to do to stay afloat. It’s caused me to revise my personal ethics and moral standards, as it’s obvious that these facets will have to expand and adjust to fit each new wave of growth.

I took this course as an elective, but I think  it’s been one of the most useful courses I’ve taken so far in this degree. In fact, I think it should be made mandatory – not only in PR, but in degrees such as Business, Psychology, Sociology and Cultural Studies as well.

This has also been one of the most demanding courses I’ve taken so far. That being said, I think it’s been justified because of the massive amount that we’ve had to learn, and that without the push, we would not have retained nearly as much.

I’ve learned more from this blog than from most text books I’ve read, so thank you all for that!

Signing off for the last time…

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 2 Comments

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

A little thank you….

I had a lot of fun in today’s class. We had the opportunity to SKYPE with C.C. Chapman and also got to learn about pod casts from our dear friend Greg.

 I would just like to do a little shout out to C.C Chapman and  thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. He provided each group with interesting and useful ideas and feedback. I know our group really appreciated it.

Thanks Again!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 2 Comments


One of the last readings that was posted, titled “We thinks we ❤ Twitter,” has further increased my fascination with Twitter and its function in society.

Just the other week, I blogged about the first scientific experiment that was conducted via Twitter (which I thought was absolutely fascinating), and this reading has opened a whole new can of worms in terms of what Twitter is capable of.

What essentially happened was this business, called Naked Pizza, used Twitter as a mechanism to sell their pizza. They asked people to join them on Twitter on May 29 (which they dubbed “eat like an ancestor day” – which means avoiding additives, preservatives, chemicals etc.) and order a pizza. In order to track people from Twitter,  they asked them to say “I’m calling from Twitter” when they placed their order.

The result? The two year old store set an overall one-day sales record, and 68.6% of total dollar sales came from customers who said “I’m calling from Twitter.”


This is really exciting, and may represent some of the beginnings of the shift away from traditional marketing and towards what @nakedpizza (which, FYI, is Naked Pizza’s Twitter account & author of its media release) called “social influence marketing.”

@nakedpizza brought up an interesting point, however: perhaps not all businesses are suited to this type of marketing. Because social media at its best practice is transparent, it is important that a company has something good and worthwhile to talk about honestly.

Naked Pizza has been able to do this because they specialize in healthy food and have a social mission – in other words, they have something positive to Tweet about.

The shift towards so-called “social influence marketing” means businesses may have to look at the way they practice business, and according to @nakedpizza, ask themselves the following questions before they become genuinely involved in social media:

– “Was anyone exploited during the manufacturing of our goods?”
– “Will our product effect your health in negative ways?”
– “Are our products good for the environment?”

In other words, do they have anything positive to talk about? Or to spark online discussion about? And can they be transparent and open on a social platform (ie: do they have anything to hide)?

Hopefully this will force companies (old and new) to rethink their business models and begin to practise truly mutually beneficial business (truly good for the company and the customer).

Now I’ll turn this over to you, fellow bloggers:

  • What role do you think Twitter will (or can) play in product marketing?
  • Network building, scientific experiments, marketing and sales… what else is Twitter capable of?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 1 Comment

Ethics in Search Engine Optimization

I’m feeling a little behind with my post here, but I just want to say what a great class Monday was! Unfortunately, co-op interviews kept me from Wednesday’s class but by reading the posts, it also seemed just as thought provoking.

Calum Nairn has to be one of the best speakers we’ve had this term. He seems to very much enjoy what he does for a living. I always love watching or listening to people who are passionate about what they do. It gets me very excited about the subject too. I guess that goes back to the Passion post from Managing the Gray I talked about before. Passion is certainly contagious and I think I caught it from Nairn.

I was trying to think of a way to sum up everything he showed us in this post but I don’t think that is possible. Thinking back it’s hard to figure out how he was able to fit everything in the hour and a half he had with us!

One of the more prevalent topics that sticks out to me is about search engine optimization (SEO). That he is able to keep his sites at the top of the Google search is quite an incredible feat. I feel very privileged to have such information now. It kind of makes me wonder though: who else knows this and who else is controlling the information that we receive when we naively Google something on the internet? It may be silly of me but I always thought that the top of the search results meant that it was the most credible source or the most viewed or something along those lines. I will view my results with a little more caution from now on.

Having this knowledge and let’s say “power” that’s associated with SEO is a little troublesome. It’s kind of like, is it ethically right to skew these results to make my organization be number one? Does it make it right knowing other people in similar organizations will do it too? As much as I would want my site to be popular based on merit is it wrong to use SEO to achieve my own agenda?

To answer these questions of course I had to do a Google search. Interestingly enough there is a Code of Ethics for Search Engine Optimization. Please take a look!  Once again I naively chose the first option but hey- it works!

What are your thoughts about ethics and search engine optimization? Do tell.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , | 3 Comments

Wikis and Tracking Social Media

Myself like many others in the class, began to think a lot about wikis as a academic tool. Upon completing the wiki and following it over the weeks, it was really interesting to see how it grew in content. While this was a great opportunity to learn how to use a wiki, there were some downfalls. The wiki as a tool isn’t the issue – its how we use it. I agree with the majority class that the wiki would best work with small groups, and have each group be in charged of a particular section. That being said I do feel it will always be important to keep up with the collaborative aspect of the wiki. Similar to communications plans, consistency and roles should be key in achieving an effective final project.

 In terms of the Political Analysis, it was very interesting to see the different ideas and recommendations for the different parties, and it really encouraged me to look more at what the parties are doing to connect with us. The wiki provided a free space to add information, however I almost feel like the paper component would have resulted in more critical thinking (about the issues, are they portraying their platform properly? Etc, as opposed to ascetics).

 Martin Delany as a guest speaker is always a treat. I had previously heard from him in research methods, so it was very insightful to learn about evaluation about social media. Throughout this degree we are very heavily focused on tactics, as opposed to research (preparation) and evaluation/measuring. One part of the lecture that stuck out to me was his emphasis on participation in social media, and the importance of doing something that pulls people in (T-Mobile). Who would have thought that such an easy initiative would have such huge results? Social media is meant to be used to help achieve this.  

 His suggestions on how to track social media (benchmark, traffic, engagement, brand, sales, loyalty) provided some great insight that I know I’ll take with me on any social media campaign I become involved in. As frequent users of social media, you can become accustomed to assuming you know it all, when really, there is so much more out there and more ways to evaluate it than you may have previously thought.  For me personally, I know I’ll be sure to check out the tracking tools Martin mentioned, such as tweet deck, blog pulse and google trends to help track any social media efforts I do for projects, as well as future professional efforts.

  All in all, great learning experience in using the wiki and great lecture from Martin!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | 2 Comments

Here, there and everywhere

It’s fascinating to see how social media, viral marketing and on-line technologies are becoming prevalent in almost all of the PR courses I’m taking this semester. Whether it’s media relations, employee relations or our co-op placements, these electronic tools are becoming a huge part of how we conduct business as communicators.

Last week, in my media relations class we had a student YouTube day, where every student had the opportunity to teach the rest of the class something. I chose to speak about how bloggers influence mainstream media using a video featuring Bad Pitch Blog co-founder Kevin Dugan. Dugan had many interesting points, including how bloggers are becoming official sources and experts as they, unlike the journalists of today, have the time to focus on one beat at a time. He also discussed how bloggers are changing the news curve by extending the traditional peaks or breaking news to include pre and post-analysis of media coverage. It’s amazing to see how the blogosphere is broadening how we define official sources and conduct media relations! Likewise, it’s exciting to think to about how we can use this knowledge to help organizations conduct accurate media monitoring and extend its brand visibility and audience reach. 

Last week, I secured my final co-op with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). One of the reasons I applied for this position was because it offered the opportunity to use many of the tools I’m currently learning about in this course (wikis, blogs, video and other multimedia). I was pleased to learn that NRCan has its own version of YouTube called NRTube and has an internal wiki that they say gives wings to employee ideas. Furthermore, I was informed that Facebook and other SMS are not blocked from the server and that employees are encouraged to use the tools they deem necessary to achieve their communications goals. I’m so excited to be able to hone the skills I’m learning this semester in, what I see as, a progressive national institution. Having the ability to choose the best medium to reach your audience, as opposed to being limited to traditional communications tools allows for more effective strategies and targeted audience reach. It was also refreshing to hear my new employers say that just because these tools are available to employees doesn’t mean they’re always the most appropriate vehicles. We are all learning that there is no point in using these tools just for the sake of doing so. The message must lend itself, we must have interesting video and material that is relevant to the target audience. 

One of the most important things I have learned about blogger relations and increasing your online presence is to remain relevant. I know I have so much more to learn about social media, but I am thrilled with the foundation this course has provided. I can already see how the knowledge I’ve gained is starting to transpire in other courses and how it will allow me to remain relevant to future employers. 

Muchas gracias Dr. D!

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Online technologies:The good with the bad- we gonna work it out

It seems June has been a busy month all around. has yet to post any new content for this month. So, in following a common trend, I went through some old contributions and found something that peaked my interest, and hopefully it will yours as well.


Back in April, Papryus blogger Sonja Lind commented on how discussions around online technologies seem to focus on the negative and what’s bad about electronic mediums. She referenced cyberbullying and the loss of human connection. Likewise, we, as a class, have also discussed whether or not the internet is making people antisocial or allowing individuals to hide behind their online persona. Lind acknowledges that these are valid arguments, but counters her statement with a link to a good news story about how an American teenager was able to save a British teenager’s life through the use of Facebook. Supposedly, the British male send a private message to American girl saying that he was going to hurt himself. The girl, not knowing his address, told her mother, who then called local authorities. The police called in a “special agent” from the British Embassy who then narrowed down the suicidal teens location. He was found after four attempts, haven already taken an overdose, but still conscious. 


This is truly an inspirational story.  It not only shows the power, reach and good qualities of such social media tools, but also reiterates some of the points Kim raised in her post “iTube, weTube, we all scream for YouTube,” specifically, that the internet does have a heart, compassion and humility.


It is so easy to disregard the fact that an actual living, breathing, feeling human beings on the other end of your electronic exchange. Computer generated messaging have become quite common and users have become pretty skilled at filtering out a lot of targeted messaging. Don’t get me wrong, this is a necessary skill to have to avoid information overload and media bombardment. Nonetheless, I think this article emphasizes the overlap between online and offline and the impact these relationships can have. In this case, it saved a young males life. Had the teenage girl dismissed the message, he might not be alive today. I think it also highlights the importance of good blogger etiquette and treating people with dignity and respect despite lacking the face to face exchange. As common sense as it may sound, we must not forget that behind these technologies are someone’s sons and daughters, real people with real problems, who just might need a virtual shoulder to cry on. 


I’d like to leave you all with a song I’m totally obsessed with lately, musical preferences aside, I think we can all appreciate the message: let love prevail. 🙂



June 14, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , | 3 Comments