Friday, February 24, 2012

The Business of Mickey

I’ve had a little time to unwind over reading week and was lucky enough to spend a day at Disney World.

I’ve been to the world famous amusement park before, but this past week was the first time I’ve visited the Magic Kingdom since starting Creative Communications. This time around my eye was drawn to the branding of the world famous park.

First off, I can’t wrap my mind around the sheer scale of the Disney company. From the products (Mickey ice cream, bottle toppers, towels, clothes, hats, umbrellas, playing cards…) to the advertisements and slogans (“Let the memories begin”, “Where dreams come true”, “The happiest place on earth”)… It’s mind-boggling. And very well organized.

As fun as the attractions are, I couldn’t stop thinking about what goes on behind the scenes. Disney World is like a series of cities, each with its own hotels and even a monorail…

I was more preoccupied with trying to figure out how the business of Disney operates than riding Splash Mountain.

Does anybody know of any behind-the-scenes documentaries about this behemoth of a company?....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Measurable reactions

I thought I was impressed by yesterday’s seminar presentation by Philippe Leclerc, the Interactive Communications Manager for the City of Regina…. and then I checked out his website. Now that’s impressive.

I learned a lot about what he had to say about using social media effectively and in particular, what social media can offer in terms of measurability and getting immediate feedback. It was the first time it really clicked for me that social media can be a tool for gathering information, rather than just pumping out information (as targeted and focused as that information may be).

The “citizen engagement” aspect of social media also really intrigued me. I sat beside a classmate yesterday who had called up a city department because she was trying to find out some pretty basic information. From what I gathered, she was transferred to at least three different people and had to make at least four separate calls. By the end she had landed right back where she had started and was talking to the same confused person she had called in the first place.
Now, I’m not saying the people on the other end of the line weren’t polite and helpful, but the whole rigmarole seemed…archaic. And exhausting. And I wasn’t even the one making the calls.
An hour later I was listening to Leclerc as he explained that questions or concerns posted on the City of Regina Facebook page are generally answered quickly and efficiently right online. And not surprisingly, people are appreciative (as noted by the measurable happy face results in Leclerc’s charts)….
After the seminar I texted one of my best friends who lives in Regina.
Me: We just had a City of Regina guy talk to us about social media. Apparently you guys are quite the social media users.
Him: We’re movin at the speed of light over here.
Agreed. And it's about time we caught up.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Uptight writer

This week three things that Creative Communications students were told to work on included:
1.     writing skills
2.     writing skills
3.     and writing skills

I think writing falls under the category of if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Blogging is a good way to exercise the writing muscle. One of the reasons I like it is because it’s conversational. I think a good blog post makes you feel as if the writer is talking to you.

When it comes to journalism, I have a tendency to write in a style that’s understandably more stiff and formal. But I was pleasantly surprised this week when our journalism instructor said, “Make people laugh. That’s good writing.”

Of course there are some things that just don’t fly when you’re writing about something serious. You need to adapt to the format and audience you’re writing for… after all, writing a research proposal is different than writing a restaurant review.

In terms of my IPP (see previous post), I’m going back and forth between doing something for radio or writing for print. I think I originally dismissed the idea of writing a book or a series of articles because I wasn’t thinking outside of the box--I was only coming up with “serious” topics to be written in a “serious” style. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but now my sights are set on something a little…. funnier. I have to remember to breathe when I write, or rather to let my writing breathe. Does that make sense? Probably not.
I think I’m going to put some other advice into practice too: write what you know.
More on the evolution of my IPP to follow….

Friday, February 3, 2012

Radio girl

A 28-hour day would sure come in handy these days… especially with talk of IPP (Independent Professional Projects).

What type of project would you want to spend a year of your life doing? The advice I’ve heard from former CreCommers is to choose something you’re passionate about. Something you want to spend your time doing… otherwise it’s going to be a long, long year.

I thought about writing a novella… but had no idea about what to write about (hardly a mark of passion...or maybe a sign that I have more thinking to do...).

I can’t draw or take pictures to save my life, so that’s out.

Then it came to me--I’m a radio show/documentary junkie and listen to CBC and NPR as much as possible. For a long time, my dream job was to work for “This American Life.”
Photo by:
 So maybe that’s the direction to go in… a “personalized” radio doc… hmmm…. That’s something I could get excited about. "Stay tuned” for more as I figure it all out…