Monthly Archives: March 2008

The sun won’t come here so I’m going to the sun

That’s right, I’m outta here.

I am leaving tomorrow and will be going to Mexico for one week!!!

I am committing the ultimate sin and staying at an all-inclusive resort. However, I will spend much of my time experiencing Mexican culture going on canopy tours and snorkeling, checking out the Mayan Ruins and working on my Spanish.

I will have many pictures to share when I get back, not to mention a hot tan.

Here’s my resort link to anyone’s who is interested: Catalonia Yucatan

Until then,

hasta luego!

Me on the beach

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Twitter: What and Why

Twitter

Many people are extremely cautious of Twitter and I don’t really see why. It takes up very little time, it’s incredibly easy and is a great way to network. Twitter, as described by Wikipedia is a “free social networking service that allows users to send “updates” or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long to the Twitter website, short messages or a third-party application.”

In layman’s terms, you write short messages and post updates on the web about what ever you want. Twitter describes itself as a tool “for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing.”

Twitter has done a lot for me even though I am one of less active users. I rarely post but do follow what other people are talking about. I have been linked to great articles, blog posts and websites, and have really learned more about social media tools. Yes, many of the posts on Twitter are useless updates (e.g. “I just got out of the shower” or “I’m hungry”), but it really is a great learning tool, and is respected by social media professionals. I was asked in an interview if I was on Twitter and I was thankful enough to say yes.

I am not in the social media circle. I am bystander looking in just wishing I could get in on the action. Twitter lets me do that at, and is much faster than reading blogs and is much less formal.

Dave Fleet suggests, “What’s more (let’s be honest) we self-censor a lot less on Twitter than we do on our blogs. That’s not a negative – Twitter’s format lets us share links and thoughts much more easily than blogs do. Still, that means I post links and thoughts on Twitter that I wouldn’t write about (on my blog).”

Among PR professionals involved in social media, Twitter is a big deal. An entire session at PodCamp Toronto was dedicated to Twitter and has been a frequent topic on the podcast Inside Pr.

Needless to say, Twitter is a growing phenomenon with a new application designed every day (so it seems). I’m not the expert. In fact, I can barely keep up. But, for anyone interested in learning more about Twitter, here are some great sites that give a better description than I could ever give:

CBC News In Depth: Technology CBC (Twitter takes wing on mainstream social web)

BuzzMachine by Jeff Jarvis (Tribute to Twitter)

Webware by Rafe Needleman (Newbie’s guide to Twitter)

And since I hold no bias, here is an anti-Twitter post:

Webwalker by Douglas Walker (Twitter Rant)

Whether you love it or hate it Twitter is here. Is it really going to make that big of an impact in terms of PR and social media, I don’t know, but I’m going to be in the know-how and be familiar with the applications just in case.

Take my challenge. I dare you.

For those of you who actually remember the early 80’s, I want to take you back to a time when people sent personalized mail through the post, had conversations in person and had to go to a library to get information. Back to a time before computers and before the internet.

I’m only 24 I remember (vaguely) what it was like.

This past weekend I went to my friend’s cottage in Grand Bend. Lots of people, beer and bbq. Good times. But as fun and crazy as the weekend was, it was very peaceful to be without some of the basic amenities that I have come to rely on so much in my busy life: No internet, no cable, no cell phone. Sign.

Sounds ludacris, I know, but imagine the freedom one can feel by not being controlled by having to refresh your browser every 30 seconds waiting for that ever-important e-mail.

Martin Waxman from Palette PR recently blogged about his attempt to go 24 hours without the internet. Like myself, he found that the temptation was hard to resist as the internet has become a second nature to many of us. Then when he finally reconnected, he discovered that there was nothing “earth-shattering” awaiting him. My reconnection resulted in a ton of e-mails and a few missed calls, but nothing that was important enough to interrupt my somewhat peaceful weekend.

The internet is still a very new phenomena and most of us have lived long enough to watch the technology grow. Sometimes it bothers me how much we rely on it, especially in situations when kids are engaging so much of their time in online activities. I understand the benefits of the internet heavily outweigh the cons, but I fear for the time when the internet begins to consume society, even more than it already does.

So I am challenging each of you follow in Martin’s footsteps and pry yourselves away from the computer for 24 hours. See what happens, how often you go to it unaware you are even doing so. I think we could all benefit from some offline time.

Give it a shot – Let me know how long you last.

The pressure is on!

Wow, less than one month until school is over and my career in PR begins. I am as excited as I am freaked out. I am very confident in my ability and I feel that PR is a perfect fit for me. It is rare that someone finds their true calling, but for me, I think this is it. That being said, I’m as nervous as can be about starting my internship.

It’s not that I don’t think I can do it, it’s that I don’t know what to expect. I think everyone feels that way entering into a new job though. I feel the challenges that await me will test my every being. And I am ready to embrace that challenge, nerves in tack.

It’s a scary world out there. Big corporate players, clients, cubicals, suits and billable hours. For someone who has worked at family restaurants her whole life, its a lot to take in.

I am also excited to have to go buy a complete new wardrobe. My only dress pants cost $15 from Sirens (a cheapy-type store, for those who do not know). I even had to buy a pair of dress shoes to wear to the interview.

So if you see a young girl strolling around Young and Bloor struggling in her heels, it’s probably me.

Thinking of escaping the winter blues?

Hundreds of college and university students are taking off somewhere south leaving this nasty snow behind. I wish I was one of them. But if it were me, I would do it different.

I have been to many beaches in my life, in countries all over the world. But, I have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort. I just don’t get it. People pay hundreds, and thousands, of dollars go to a country and stay at a resort that really could be anywhere. No, I have never been to one, but I’ve seen the pictures, there is no real uniqueness to any of them.

I go to a country to experience the culture, to wander around in small towns and get lost, eating at strange restaurants where I can’t even pronounce the name of the food, chill with the locals and barter at hidden shopping markets.

So, if you are would like to take a real trip, here is what you do. Book a flight to wherever you want to go. Do it online because you are more likely to get a better deal, and you have the luxury of choosing which flights at what time. Then go to www.hostelworld.com and choose from one of the hundreds of hostels that meets your location, price and availability. These days, hostels are like cheap bed and breakfasts. Most of them are actually really nice and on average cost $20 a night and are extremely clean and safe. Most hostels even offer private rooms for the couples who want to get away. They have staff that are knowledgeable about the sites, and house other travelers who are passionate about their experiences.

Now I’m sure an all-inclusive resort is a nice relaxing way to get away. And sometimes all you want to do it sit on a beach for a week drinking mojitos. But for the individuals with a adventurous spirit, try doing things a different way and create you own vacation. The experience will be more fulfilling and you’ll have better memories to share in the end.

Here are some of my favorite beach/holiday experiences:

Equador at sunset

South coast of Italy 1

South coast of Italy 2

Beach in Barcelona

Cliff jumping in Portugal (That’s me in the water)

La Palma, Spain (Me, soaking up the sun)

La Palma, Coast shot

Pool from Switzerland hostel (no swim up bar, but there was a climbing wall)

A random beach in Germany (near Berlin)