Category Archives: social media


Stroll City

via Akimbo

Talk about timing! With my current tweeting life taking on a “things I am discovering in TO” aura, Micaleff’s @strollcity project couldn’t come at a better time. Not only can my tweets enter into a larger conversation, I can take advantage of the collective knowlege of Toronto’s twiterati in real time. Very neat.

Read the full project statement here>

Stroll City on the TTC – about the city, for the city. An interactive discussion with author Shawn Micallef, from June 1 – 22.

For three weeks this June, Shawn Micallef (Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto) explores the city on foot and invites Torontonians to tweet their responses and discoveries, alongside his own @strollcity.

From June 1 – 22, Micallef will be tweeting his discoveries through the Twitter handle StrollCity. Torontonians are encouraged to walk the city, respond to his tweets with comments, and share their own discoveries @strollcity over the course of these three weeks.

Stroll City tweets will appear in an ever-changing spot that runs every 10 minutes on the Onestop TTC network of screens, visible to over 1 million subway commuters daily.

‘Shawn Micallef is one of the sharpest of this sharp-eyed breed of with-it young writers, architects and men and women about town who love big cities and see things in Toronto that most of us miss.’ – Globe and Mail


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Filed under cherries, cool whip, social media

Vlogging 101

Video Blogging

Video rules as a powerful communications tool. There is nothing like being able to express your of the moment experience with your audience, or experiencing someone else´s. And as it turns out, voyeuristic tendencies are more widespread than we´d ever thought. In 2010 YouTube exceeded 2 billion views a day with more video uploaded in 60 days than all 3 major US Networks created in 60 years. We´re using YouTube to connect to all sort of information and, in addition to cute cat videos, we´re learning from other´s expertise, showing off what we´re doing and experiencing reality as it exists on the other side of the globe.  Making  the jump from video consumer to maker is easier than ever with the advent of low-cost digital cameras of the stand alone and even mobile phone variety.

In my communications role at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (a non-profit) I find great value in video, although given my budget and time constraints vlogging is my only option – highly produced and expensive video productions are out. Vlogging or video blogging, roughly defined as the capturing of an experience, if done with energy, passion and clear message can be powerful content, populating your social media properties like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. As I rely heavily on free communications channels like these to get our message out, video is a cost and time effective way to engage and connect with a wide audience.

All you need to get started with vlogging is a message, some basic equipment and real energy and passion.

What´s your message?
Great video turns your message into something people can relate to. When real energy, passion and enthusiasm comes together on camera your audience gets caught up in it. One of the best´organisational videos I´ve seen is Craig Kielburger´s well digging video for Free the Children. He not only demonstrates the organisation´s message, he literally shows you why you should support them. (Check out my own of the moment plea). When it comes to message the keys are easy to navigate: keep it simple, concise and real. Get out the essential information, tell people where to find out more and provide a call to action like donate now or come to our event. If you are not comfy in front of a camera find someone who is, but make sure they share your passion. And do it all in under 3 min.

The right camera for you.
Finding the equipment that fits your needs and budget can still be tricky. There is a lot to choose from, and with the rapid advancement of digital film, I´m always hesitant to pay any more than I have to. I choose the Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera ($168) for the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery for a couple of reasons. It had built-in usb arm that allows one click uploads to YouTube, eliminating the need for a double upload (once to the computer, then to YouTube). The reviews also gave it a thumbs up when it came to sound, and as one of the only cameras under $350 with an external mic jack (an additional $25 at The Source) I felt confident that I could capture both candid and more formal moments. Best of all it is easy to use, can be strapped to a tripod (perfect for solo recordings), is HD and has a decent editing software package included.

Harnessing knowledge and passion.
I recently tagged along on a Gallery tour looking for a photo op. Kate, the tour leader completely blew me away, she made the exhibitions come alive with her insight and commentary. The next week we filmed a mini version of that tour to provide a virtual intro to the exhibitions. I think she´s as good on camera as off because her knowledge (the accessible expert voice), energy and passion are very clear. If you´ve got it – share it.

So you´ve filmed and uploaded your video, now what? Spread the word – use your social media and in person networks to let people know that it is there. Post a link on Facebook, tweet about it, include it in your eNews, put it on your blog or website, get your friends to post it on their sites. Videos go viral because word of mouth passes them around. You may not get a million views, but those that watch it will not only know who you are, they will “feel” it, making them more likely to engage with your organisation or brand again.

Creating video can seem daunting, but once you´ve done it a couple of times  it becomes a lot of fun.

I want to hear about your experiences vlogging, the good – the bad – and the ugly. Suggestions, ideas?


Filed under cherries, cool whip, social media

The Power of One: a cautionary tale


I’ve always felt that companies are missing the boat when it comes to social media.  Slow adoption, lack of understanding and fear of the unknown creates resistance and barriers that finds even the best social media team having a hard time functioning effectively. However in my view, the biggest mistake many companies make is not taking the time and effort to build company champions within their own walls. Simply put, people who have reached positive mass with the company – they like it and are not afraid to say so in public.

In the past, negative employee comments didn’t have many outlets that reached a wide audience. Social media has leveled the playing field. For example, my company’s Facebook page gets less views that those generated from the combined total of its employee’s pages. Social media is also instant, so the slight you feel at work CAN translate into an of the moment virtual slap for your company if you want it to.

Case in point, the settlement reached between an employer and their employee over disparaging comments posted to Facebook. Evidently, the employee had an axe to grind with her Manager and expressed it on her personal page, from her home computer. She was fired and being a union employee was able to file a complaint. The company’s defense of their actions hinged on their social media policy which prohibits workers from:

…”making “disparaging, discriminatory or defamatory comments when discussing the company or the employee’s superiors, co-workers and/or competitors.”

The ruling in the employee’s favor stated that:

“Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees may discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with coworkers and others,” the NLRB said in a statement on Monday announcing the settlement.” [Find the Ottawa Citizen story here>]

While I would tend to agree that taking your grievances social media public is not the best way  to deal with workplace conflict, it has been made clear that it is your right to do so. I hope employers are listening.

If you already have social media within your company, ask them what they are encountering. (Make sure you ask your Community Manger rather than a high level manager,  they live it every day and will have the best take on what is happening).  Is there a negative perception of your company? Was it created or being buoyed by employees? Are there concerns that you can address that would help alleviate this? It may feel like a massive pain to do this run down (and do it often), but it will save you in the long run –

  • Recruitment: When I look at companies I want to work for I check out what their employees are saying about them in addition to what they are saying about themselves.
  • Costs of PR and media fixes: Traditional media is listening to what is coming out of social media, even CBC is quoting tweets as sources. The cost of fixing negative PR can be massive and long term.
  • Internal strife: Your Marketing, Communications and Social Media teams all deal with the fall out of online employee negativity. No one wants to fight a battle they feel is unwinable and they won’t stay long.
  • In real life conflict: Know it or not, your employees are using social media. They know what Nancy two cubicles down is saying about her team, or her supervisor or the company. Negativity breeds negativity.

Now you certainly can’t catch everything especially if you are a large company, but much of this equates to simply listening to employees and treating them with the respect and attention that you would like others to confer on you. Your employees have a voice and, with social media, the tools to air their grievances or positive feelings to a massive audience. Don’t underestimate the power of  one tweet or post, the American Medical Response of Connecticut sure won’t.

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