FootNotes

Another reading week is winding down, it almost feels surreal because I blinked and it’s Thursday. And while some students may be partying this upcoming weekend, I have the opportunity to perform in an annual tradition for the last ten years of my life: the winter dance recital.

I’ve been dancing for fifteen years, but it was only when I moved to Canada that performing really became the card for me. Being able to share a dance with someone – for someone – is a feeling that is unmatched. A few months ago I posted a video of a dance I dedicated to my terminally ill relative (who lives in South Africa). She saw it and I was able to tell her how I feel without needing to write it, or find the right syntax to make it sincere and not a painfully sad good-bye.

I’m quite certain everyone who has been touched by the gift of dance feels the same way. They have found another language, a vocabulary understood by everyone. Just after New Years, my performance troupe was given an assignment to create a solo about an experience in our lives or something we want to share with others in the group. 

Firstly, the fact that I have a group of friends and dancers that I’ve worked creatively with for the better half of a decade is a blessing in itself. My friend Alex came up with a great idea to accompany our Secret Santa gift exchange during the holidays – we all provide each other with a compliment card. In the end, each person leaves with 26 personalized compliments. I think this is a great idea for showing appreciation with words. As you can see in the picture, I added some pictures from the past few years to the cards I gave out.

But back to the solo. I didn’t know where to start – do I make it sad? Do I focus on something profound? Life changing?

Then I knew, I just need to tell everyone that while I’m a writer, and I love seeing letters flowing across a Word document, there is so much to be expressed by dance. So I made this quirky number up, and added an aerial element. Slings is my favourite apparatus at the moment, because it’s pretty much a giant fabric hammock that doubles as a transforming jungle gym. It is also known as the fussiest apparatus because it likes to do it’s own thing; so you’re forced to dance in the moment. 

Dance Dance Dance by Lykke Li

Having troubles telling how I feel
But I can dance, dance and dance
Couldn’t possibly tell you how I mean
But I can dance, dance, dance
So when I trip on my feet
Look at the beat
The words are, written in the sand
When I’m shaking my hips
Look for the swing
The words are, written in the air
Dance
I was a dancer all along
Dance, dance, dance
Words can never make up for what you do
Easy conversations, there’s no such thing
No I’m shy, shy, shy
My hips they lie ’cause in reality I’m shy, shy, shy
But when I trip on my feet
Look at the ground
The words are, written in the dust
When I’m shaking my hips
Look for the swing
The words are written in the air
Dance
I was a dancer all along
Dance, dance, dance
Words can never make up for what you do
Dance, dance, dance

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Social ME.dia: Strategic Practises

Part 2: Strategic Use of Social Media

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but not under 140 characters.

The best advice I got for using social media as a business or personality: the 9 to 1 rule. For every 1 piece of self-promotion, post 9 engaging and interactive posts.

Basically, if you use social media, make sure that you are ready to have conversations. So follow people with the same interests. Don’t expect people to follow you if your account is smothered with self-promotion. A great example of interactive and engaging tweeting is Bistro 7 ¼.  Chef Alex tweets as a chef doing his day-to-day shopping and cooking and engages his audience by asking “What do you want for dinner?” while at the market.

And who wouldn’t support a business that is friendly enough to ask and take heart to your suggestions.

A great Facebook page is SANDBOX magazine. They use it actively and as the interactive hub for posting pictures and commenting personally on other’s profiles. The creator of Sandbox did almost all of the social media promotion so now I must ask:

How do you feel about corporate tweeters?
These are people who tweet on behalf of people or organizations. Let’s keep it on a local level as it is obvious why CEO’s of major corporations can’t be tweeting. But what about our mayor? He has a Twitter account but it’s not him tweeting (although this is a flawed example because there are hardly any tweets at all).

While at the Direction’s Business Conference this topic came up and some business owners felt strongly that Twitter doesn’t work if it’s not from the person, if its written by “a bunch of PR people.”

Right now we’re putting together our PR strategy proposals and I’m creating a social media campaign. From what I can suggest (in my novice opinion), is that if you’re using a website/blog, Facebook and Twitter – offer something different for each space. And make sure whoever is spearheading the communication feels positively about the organization enough to write about it as you would.

Example:

Use your blog to expand on thoughts and post

Use your Twitter as a means to interact with people with the same interests, and post short interesting thoughts/ comments/ questions. Remember, you want to keep your sheep – they’re “following” you.

Use Facebook to nurture the relationship between you and your audience. Remember, you’re friends now – they “like” you.

And finally, the most important of all – don’t use social media (or certain mediums) just for the hell of it.
During the civic election, a certain council candidate created a Twitter account, garnered followers and then didn’t send out a tweet. Not one.

So make sure you use it! Remember, you’re accountable for your online content (or lack there of). And make sure that your audience’s use of social media matches up with your objectives. Here’s what some of my friends had to say about their social media activities.

Have any thoughts? Comment here or check out the Cre.ature Feed Facebook page here.

See Part 1 here

Social ME.dia: A Cre.ature’s Buffet

Part 1: A look into my Facebook World and Twitterverse

I can’t imagine life before Facebook.

No really, it’s a blur and I vaguely remember sneaking onto MSN to chat with my friends before mom screamed down for the phone line. And at the time it was the coolest thing – the place to discuss the latest Survivor episode and who is going to the St. Paul’s dance.

I also vaguely remember creating my Facebook account over four years ago. I had no clue what it really was and then I was panicked I wouldn’t have enough friends. Now I’m connected to 857 people and the endless connections they have…

I’m so comfortable with Facebook now. Every time I go on the internet I check out my profile and now I have it linked to my phone. All day I’m connected with family in South Africa, contacts for work (yes, I’ve been hired over Facebook), I’ve also fallen in love over Facebook with people I knew through acquaintances.

But Facebook can hurt, after my last relationship status change I received messages of rude inquiring minds, people digging into matters not of their concern. So I made a few rules for myself regarding my account

1.     NO relationship status. I don’t want to be the back-up girlfriend because you “noticed” I was single.

2.     Only update my status with news – i.e. I don’t bother with “OMGGGGG 2 MIDTERMS TOMORROW FML.”

3.     Could my mom see this? Alright.

4.     Don’t use Facebook as a dating site, if it happens cool.

5.     Never add people.

The last one is confusing. Very rarely do I actively add people unless asked or necessary (i.e. school group member). As such, I’m open to accepting friendships, checking out the profile and deciding if I want this person available to view mine. I’ve never added someone because they’re hott or to spy; although, I have been in the situation where an ex created a false account to be my friend – and view my profile (well, I figured it out).

So what do I use it for now?

When I joined CreComm I panicked a little – does the job world forgive misguided uses of Facebook? When I started, I probably wrote the most random stuff so what comments did my smart ass 16-year old self make? Pictures… I have so many, are any unsuitable? Generally my social scene is one I’m comfortable with people seeing, but some are trying to bury their Facebook past.

Two days ago I received this mass message from a friend:

“Hi, so you may or may not know I am applying for the Winnipeg Police Service this year and in doing so I am deleting my Facebook to give myself the best chance.”

The person went on to give their contact information to those who are interested. The problem is, even if you delete an account the information is still online SO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIVITIES – because comments and pictures can be found on Google. To test my theory I googled “Daniella Ponticelli” images…

See anything familiar?

So even though I use Facebook as a means of maintaining relationships, it’s still an open relationship with the world-wide web.  This is important to note. Privacy settings can be changed in accordance, but as someone actively working with social media and hoping to create connections, mine are fairly relaxed.

I was so loyal to Facebook that when I was told to make a Twitter account for CreComm, it felt like cheating. But if Facebook is the best friend, Twitter is the go-to friend.

No way is it the same. I follow organizations and people I’m really interested in. I’ve never bothered joining fan pages on Facebook because of all the annoying updates – but on Twitter it’s up to you if you want to pay attention to the person’s updates. I’ve been tweeted at by people who genuinely enjoy the same interests or enjoy my opinions.

While Twitter can be abused, I use it for my quick news headlines – I recently followed the live tweets regarding Egypt.  For school, all the instructors and students have an account. It’s about linking and sharing in 140 characters. And so what if you’re dating Jo from high school.

Twitter allows for glimpses into the lives of people you find interesting. Like how Deepak Chopra feels while waiting in line at security. I’ve had friends who’ve mentioned bands they’d like to see and received tickets. It’s whatever you need it to be – as in if you need to find someone with a specific interest, you’re bound to connect with them through a hashtag.

Next Post: how to effectively communicate strategically using Social Media

Have any thoughts? Comment here or check out the Cre.ature feed Facebook page here.


Publi.shhhh I’m Reading

I started out just wanting to get published.

Which was a great goal because within my first month of CreComm, I had my Projector byline. I had a few articles in the Free Press and then more in the Brandon Sun. Most recently, I have glossy bylines in the Manitoba Food and Restaurant Association’s magazine, LocalFare (they’re free, the next time you buy booze).

So I guess I need to refine my dream a little bit. I really want to be published, as an author – a novel writer – the next J.K. Rowling (if only for the British accent…)

I’ve always been a reader. My mom tells me that my grandma never had the chance to read to me – I was the one telling the story (big surprise there). Every Christmas I got a handful of Goosebumps serials in my stocking and they’d be done by Boxing Day.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the smell of books…

I’ve been challenged this week by my creative writing teacher to think about how I would publish my work. Let’s say, I’ve been putting a piece together for a year, two years… five years. How would my baby grow legs and plant itself in the laps of caring readers?

Right now, the choice is in my lap. This blog – what you’re reading right now – is how I get my day-to-day publishing fix.  The more I think about my IPP (independent professional project) the more I want to do a creative writing/social media experiment like many creative writers are doing to get noticed – and have their audience engaged with them i.e. doing a blog to book. I don’t want to give the details yet, I still need to have the proposal accepted and then the magic happens. At the end of the day though, I want a tangible book, traditional publishing is still the top of the hierarchy.

Why, just the other day I was perusing the bookstore and ran my finger down the spine of Sh!t my dad says

So how does it happen?

Today we had the marvellous Julie Wilson discuss her foray into the publishing world with her online blogs: seenreading and bookmadame. Her seenreading project is so cool – she will observe (usually on Toronto transit) a person reading, note their physical appearance, the book they’re reading, and roughly which page they’re on.

Then – she goes to a bookstore, finds the book, takes out an excerpt. On the blog she posts a little blurb on the physicality of the person, the book, and then a fictional story on the summation of parts. Just superb. She’s done over 700 of these – and now, it’s going to be put together in a book.

Of course, she is not the first to incorporate social media. Since the discovery of micro-blogging, people have been sharing their stories in fewer characters… remember mytweet5?

I think, ultimately, it’s about the online life you have, and whether you’ve tapped into social media markets, that will determine the success of a self-published project online. My father has self-published a book, but more because the project was close to him and that was a personal choice. My aunt has worked as an editor, most notably for A Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. That, of course, was in the traditional print medium. And the house was filled with books…

Will the generation of e-readers ever have that luxury?

Most e-books don’t have page numbers, and therefore don’t even qualify for Wilson’s project. All I hope for, regardless of medium, is that the “cult of reading” – as Wilson so eloquently put it – continues and inspires the next generation. And that our attention lasts for more than 140 characters.

Some Mayo’r for that Sandwich?

You look like journalism students.

"I love this City"

That was our quick introduction to Chuck Davidson, the coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce. My colleagues, Jennifer David  and Tristan Field Jones , and I were shown to the media table while speakers did their technical rehearsal.

“Welcome on this, February 4th 2010… I mean, uh, 2011.”

The occasion –  Mayor Sam Katz’ State of the City address. Over 1100 people attended; “a sold out crowd” said the introductory speaker. The cost was $75 as a Chamber member, and $200 non-member, proceeds going to Osborne House and the North End Hockey Program . Before we could settle into our back wall seats, complete with VIP sandwich platters, the CreComm crew took a moment to mingle outside.

I took a picture for a business woman on her BlackBerry, “I just don’t know how to work this camera.” Hmmm, the mobile CreComm is paying off.

TFJ

Tristan decided to unload his high-tech audio equipment, setting up a tripod the size of my hand and grumbled as it didn’t withstand the weight of the microphone.

Men and women formed a growing sea of grey, black and white tones in the lobby. Business suits, trench coats, and high school blazers – over 50 high school students were invited to the event, their plate sponsored by the Convention Centre.

Once inside, there was media from the Uniter, CBC, and CJOB 68, sitting beside us. Mr. Policy Frog was seen walking around the tables. Seated at a table in front of us was Coun. Thomas Steen, proving to be far more talkative than at the previous city council meeting.

 Judy Murphy, the Chamber of Commerce Chair introduced a few guest speakers and a Chamber promotional video was aired, created by Tripwire Media Group. It was a very well-produced video – you know you’re a CreComm nerd when a promo vid increases your heart rate – and all I could think was I can’t wait to start my video IPP…

Interruption while Bartley Kives serves the media table with the aforementioned sandwich platter.

But, let’s get to the State of the City.
We were provided with a news release of the address, written in past tense, and the mayor’s entire speech (also available online at www.winnipeg.ca). The mayor discussed – very optimistically! – his vision for the upcoming year, nay, decade. I will now present you with my

AWESOME top ten highlights

“Mr. Mayor, over here!”

1. The Mayor giving mad props to the city councillors, starting with those new to office.
Why do I enjoy Coun. Steen’s reactions so much?

2.The mayor saying that he believed some Winnipeggers settled into feeling that they live “in a great city, but maybe just not quite as good as others.”
As a student, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I hear others say they are going to leave this city as soon as they’re done school. Whereas I will be lucky to get a journalistic start in rural community – that is my NYC.  I agree, it’s time to give our city some credit (even though my tweets about Transit say otherwise)…

3.“Our downtown population will increase by more than 10%.”
Hope that’s not just parking lot attendants Mr. Katz.

4. A 2014 Grey Cup in the new stadium. Giddy up.

5. OH OH OH – DID YOU HEAR?
WE’RE GETTING A TARGET! (tar-jay) AND AN IKEA! (eye-key-yaaa).
Now we’re finally as hip as Fargo.

6. The first class of police cadets is graduating today. This just makes me happy; they are such a welcomed presence in the downtown area.

7.WHAT IS THAT IN THE SKY?!
“A big, shiny, crime-busting new police helicopter.”  I feel like I’m living in L.A.!
But hey, if you’re worried about gas emissions, the “largest green building ever built in Manitoba” (Canadian Museum for Human Rights) will balance it all out. Right?

8.Oh he mentioned something about a waterpark…  How about dem Jets?

9. The province wants the city to spend $350 million on removing nitrogen in the water. Sam Katz opposes with the magic reason:
BUT WE COULD BUILD A WAVERLEY UNDERPASS!

10. “And we will certainly never get it done if we ever stop believing it can happen.”

Roll it Journey

Artsy Fartsy

Hello friends and family of the Feed.

Lately I’ve been receiving such great – don’t pardon the pun – feedback from people telling me they read (or least check out) my blog. This means so much to me because even though this is a school exercise, I enjoy putting together posts and sharing experiences, witticisms, and what have you for anyone who is interested. Which is evident because I have done more than my required once a week quota. I have made some incredible connections through these responses and I hope it continues.

Now to the heart of the matter – for those who follow the Feed’s Facebook page, I mentioned that change is a foot.  Change in the form of some good self-made artwork. The first of my kooky creations can be found, in its completion, on the Cre.ator page. It was supposed to my blog banner, but worked better to showcase my personality.

I wanted to share with everyone today, the process I go through when I do a sketch piece. In this case it was a self-portrait but only because it was for my blog, otherwise I would’ve drawn something else. I hope to add more little cre.atures to the blog over the next few weeks, and sharing more of my artwork.

Bon Appetite!

Nailing Jello to the Wall

The Good, The Bad, and The Rant: Directions 2011

Talk about being a minority.

Today I attended the Directions Business Conference held at the Victoria Inn. It’s a marvelous all day conference – complete with refreshments, speakers, and multiple offences of reverse type – aimed predominantly at Red River College business students.

So what was I doing there? Well you see, I have a penchant for signing up for things and I entered the Creative Arts draw for a free spot (normally $40.00) and got it. And despite the minority of CreComms, we certainly made an impact and while I sit here typing – half in sweats, half in formal attire – I have to say it was an interesting day.

First, my friend and I went searching the breakfast area for muffins and were subsequently ogled by a boy with a petit mustache. I call him “Blue Velvet,” for he was wearing a blazer of that nature. Blue Velvet watched us walk and nodded his head up and down while his petit mustache clung on for dear life.

Nonetheless, we sat down for our first keynote speaker – the punny man, Larry McIntosh. He’s the owner of Peak of the Market and just the man to start us off before heading into session speakers.

This would be the part where I drivel on about what was said in the sessions but I want to get to my rant so just to summarize:
 1. Asking a retired journalist questions about Twitter is like asking a child about RRSPs.
2. The most engaging speakers are those who don’t take themselves too seriously (shout out to Danielle and Alexander Svenne of Bistro 7 1/4 )
3. Bringing up heavy politics during a light-hearted discussion on blogging is digressive, Mr. Buzz Killington.
4. Us Gen Y kids don’t read EVER and we are gunning to be CEO. Watch out.

I’m sure I’ve neglected other areas, but the day went by so fast. During lunch I learned that being an outspoken CreComm can be intimidating for business admins who just want to eat lasagna in peace.  Another keynote speaker, the owner of PembCorp was deeply engaging and passionate about his business. In the round table session I spoke with people working for the Winnipeg Airports Authority, Buffalo Gals Pictures, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

What I would like to see next year is at least one female keynote speaker. With close to 600 students in the crowd, and a seeming majority of females, I was disheartened that both keynotes were business men. It’s always a fine line to bring this up because students want to hear from the best and the conference wants to bring in highly successful people; however, a female perspective is necessary to keep that large section of the audience engaged.  And does this glaring omission mean there isn’t at least one prominent female CEO in the city?

It doesn’t help that guys like Blue Velvet feel it’s appropriate to perpetuate their roles as sleazy males. My friends and I talk about this, how sometimes at the Princess Street Campus Atrium, men stand and just STARE from the railings at different levels, watching you walk up the stairs and past them.

Like hey guys, who are supposed to be all smart and stuff being in post secondary –  show some respect. Do you know what I can do? Do you know that I’m a serious student, I work two jobs and train physically over 16 hours a week? Do you know I do all my work, on time, with effort and expect only the best from myself? As Phyllis Laing from Buffalo Gals said in our roundtable discussion, there is a lot you have to get through in the industry and it can sometimes feel like “nailing jello to the wall.”

Kind of like having to perpetually remind unfocused male students that I’m not at school for a study break.

Of course I’m not going to let my one incident with Blue Velvet deter my aspirations, or the railings gang stop me from being the CEO of the company they work for one day. I even had one older journalist tell me, in contempt, that he had been turned down for internships because he wasn’t “ahem, a girl.” Yeah right, he  was turned down because being a journalist requires that you write beyond a third grade level.

Guess I’m intimidating. Yup, all five glorious feet of me. 

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