MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony’s Takeaways from Iprex Conference


PR Conversations author Tony Muzi Falcone blogged on Friday May 16 about a recent global PR conference he attended. The conference was hosted by IPREX  which is “one of the world’s largest public relations corporations made up of leading firms in major markets worldwide.” IPREX is also among the “leaders in the application of communications technology to international public relations work.”

Global PR directors who attended the conference include: Harvey Greisman of Mastercard, Gary Sheffer of General Electric, Barbara Pierce of Kodak, and Karl Folta of Viacom, among many others.

 The following are some points from Tony’s notes that I found really interesting, followed by some questions for all of you.

  • The world is resetting and we should reset our profession, which has become inherently global in its nature. (What does this mean for us? ) 
  • Employees are today our topical and priority stakeholder; followed by government and then by customers. (Is this due to the recession and corporations dealing with layoffs, pensions, benefits etc?)
  • Good governance and ethical performance are today the top drivers of our reputation. (I’m sure most of us agree this is true, but do you think organizations are really perusing it? Who’s doing a good job, and who isn’t?)
  • Social media is an increasingly important tactical tool (about 75% of the international audience of agency professionals raised their hand when asked if they twittered) and public relations directors cannot afford to remain on the sidelines. (Clearly we are taking this class because we see the importance in social media, but can someone please explain to me that actual value in Twitter?)

 Over and out.


May 20, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Spark and The Adventures of Team Digital Preservation

The blog I was assigned to follow throughout the course is the online component of a CBC Radio show called Spark.  So what is Spark? And I quote…”Spark is a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching. It’s not just technology for gearheads, it’s about the way technology affects our lives, and the world around us” (

To be honest, as some others have mentioned, this first week has been a little overwhelming as I’ve begun to discover just how much I don’t know about the World Wide Web. I was excited to find out that I’m following a CBC blog because already plays a role in my daily internet routine. As far as I can tell, Spark is a smart, well-written blog that touches on just about everything you could imagine in the world of technology.

The first article I read on Spark was “The Future of Our Digital Heritage (or “Why Metadata Matters”)” The article talks about digital preservation and asks the question: how do we design systems to preserve the vast quantities of digital information we’re now creating?

It’s an interesting concept to think about. I’m one of those people who keeps just about everything on my computer. I have music, pictures, school work, and a multitude of other important files, and while I do have a few trusty USB’s that serve as ‘back-up’ if my Toshiba goes haywire, I don’t really understand how digital preservation works. I expect that when I save a document to my computer it will be sent to some digital universe where important information is magically kept (intact) forever and ever, amen. But does it really work like that? Are we putting faith in machines that may not have the capacity to maintain the mass amount of data we are feeding them?

If this makes you wonder about all your files dangerously floating around in the digital universe, check out the article and watch the quirky, yet brilliant, YouTube video about various threats to digital information. The video alone is worth it.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | Leave a comment

Blog Monitoring: In Media Res

I was a little skeptical when I began to monitor my blog, In Media Res ( The goal of the blog is to “promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media.”

Basically, scholars from around the world upload short video clips with commentary and try to bring about discussion and feedback. If you think it sounds confusing, you’re not alone. After looking at the site very briefly, I didn’t have a clue what it was all about. But once I checked out some of the videos the concept became a lot more clear.

There are theme weeks and the one I chose to look at for this post were videos revolving around Canadian media. One post by Serra Tinic from the University of Alberta, Made in Canada?: The Art of Memesis in Global TV ( discussed Canadian television programming and gave a really interesting comparison between Canadian and American programming.

This website is really unique in that in combines social media tools, like you tube videos with academia. I hadn’t really thought of social media as being an educational thing but this website proves that it in fact is.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment