Sunday, October 24, 2010

Am I Annoying You?

So today after my hockey game I was talking to my significant other on the phone and he said:

"Do you think we could talk one time without out talking about school?" he gently requested.

Now, don't take this quote completely out of context. My significant other has been encouraging, completely supportive, and has listened to me talk non-stop about school since I've started. CreComm has been new and exciting experience for me, and since I'm so excited about it, I guess I have talked a lot about it.

Has anyone else gotten this kind of comment from friends, family, etc?

Should I get some new things in my life other than school-related things? However, I feel like taking anything more on (I feel like I have quite a few things on my plate now) would be a bit hard with this intense program added to the fact that I learned a huge kick-in-the-bum lesson to manage my time better regarding school recently. I'm so confused.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Socially Awkward Network

Facebook, most people I know use it (consistently and obsessively, but enough about me), and if they don’t use it, they most likely have heard about it. So what to do when a juggernaut like Facebook bursts on to the scene, find a way to make more money off of it make a movie about it of course!
The movie is called The Social Network, and it chronicles the creation and subsequent legal battles of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg , co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is played by actor Jessie Eisenberg. The movie does portray Zuckerberg as somewhat of an “asshole” as his girlfriend would say in the movie. Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as a fast-talking, quick-witted, smart-ass. The Zuckerberg character frequently back-talks to lawyers in legal briefings (he’s a billionaire that runs Facebook, he doesn’t have time for measly million-dollar law-suits), refuses to give straight answers, and even suggests that his girlfriend in the movie couldn’t possibly have homework, she doesn’t even go to Harvard. Zuckerberg even takes jabs at his one and only friend, Eduardo,  in the movie suggesting that the reason his friend got into the prestigious Phoenix club was because of diversity requirements, and not because of legitimate qualities.
Although the movie shows Zuckerberg as insensitive, he blogged about his girlfriend being a bitch and developed a website where female undergrads could be judged based on their hotness, his portrayal is not necessarily negative. My feeling from the movie was that Zuckerberg was simply socially awkward (he created a website to interact with people without actually interacting with him). I the end, it is clear that Zuckerberg has many “Facebook friends” but no real friends. This is most evident when Zuckerberg is sitting alone, Facebook open, and refreshing the page to see if his ex-girlfriend accepts his friend request at the end of the film. Even as a multi-billionaire, Zuckerberg’s  hero, Sean Parker, is gone and owns 7% of his company, and his best and only friend has sued him for millions of dollars. Zuckerberg is portrayed as sad and lonely. I almost felt sorry for him….that is until I remembered that Facebook is worth 25 billion dollars. You can buy friends right? I think they’re something like $100,000 dollars each, potatoes for Zuckerberg.  
The film reveals many dirty details about Facebook like: the site started out of Zuckeberg’s post-break up anger, the site’s creator is kind of a d-bag and thought it would be funny to compare female undergrads to farm animals. I doubt any of this information is going to have a major negative impact on Facebook’s  popularity. If anything, it might even popularize Facebook even more, you know for those people who have been living under a rock for the past six years.
Zuckerberg has responded to his portrayal in The Social Network. The PR Post blog ( noticed four consistent responses to the movie.
From the PR Post blog: The three- part “Blowing it off strategy”:  It’s a movie; it’s fun... I can promise you, this is my life so I know it’s not that dramatic. The last six years have been a lot of coding and focus and hard work, but maybe it would be fun to remember it as partying and all this crazy drama” (comment during Oprah Winfrey’s show).
By this comment on Oprah, he relates to the everyday Joe and Jane (his audience) who make up most of the users of Facebook. He offers a reasonable explanation, it’s a movie, they obviously exaggerated my life to make it interesting. Admitting that he doesn’t remember the last six years as full of partying humbles him as well, good PR for him and Facebook.  
“We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much” (comment from Ben Parr’s interview) from the PR Post blog.
I agree with the PR Post blog that Zuckerberg blows of the movie by making it seem insignificant. He shows that the Facebook movie doesn’t get him down and that he has bigger fish to fry, he’s runs Facebook the biggest social networking sight in the world!
From the PR Post blog: "Zuckerberg also steers the conversation to a safe area by talking about “lots of messages” he has received from people who saw the movie and feel inspired to become entrepreneurs. This gives Zuckerberg room to say something complimentary about the movie and himself."
I agree, by embracing the movie, it’s better PR than scorning and ignoring it.
PR Post Blog also mentioned “ Zuckerberg’s Little League Strategy.” Zuckerberg appeared on Oprah on the day the movie came out to announce the establishment of his foundation and his first gift of $100 million, which was given to the Newark school system. This is what Jim Grunig critically referred to in his classes as the little league strategy, which occurs when an organization looks bad and decides to sponsor the little league team in hopes that this gesture will make up for things.
I think the effectiveness of this donation is mute. I don’t think the movie has caused significant damage to  Zuckerberg’s image plus I applaud Zuckerberg for donating tons of money to a great cause. Oh no, did his attempt to soften his image with this donation work on me?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buyer Beware: WestJet vs. Air Canada

Advertising isn't just about brainstorming in offices while wearing suits or drinking rye while proposing to your secretary (Mad Men), it's about research. Over the past few weeks, my Advertising class got a taste of what it is to research by doing a "Buyer Beware" project.

With travel junkies and people with contacts inside airlines, my group chose to compare the two Canadian airlines: WestJet and Air Canada. As part of our research we booked three mock trips, polled customers, researched baggage and flight cancellation fees, and talked to a professional travel agent.

The first step my group took was to conduct some primary research. We booked three mock trips:

-one domestic to Vancouver over Thanksgiving

-one international to Cancun Mexico during winter break and

-one vacation package over reading week (spring break).

While booking the trips, we set tight parameters on dates and times. We did this not only to test the companies' availability of flights, but because in life there are often strict parameters like school, work, family, and length of vacation time. By including parameters, we made the trips as close to how real people would book them as possible.

Based on our three mock trips, we learned the following:

Domestic flight to Vancouver

Air Canada was better in price, cheaper by $84.00. In regards to travel time, WestJet was better, the flight 41 minutes faster.

Best Buy: Air Canada

Why? We concluded that a savings of $84.00 was better than WestJet’s flight that was 41 minutes faster.

International flight to Cancun, Mexico

WestJet was better in price, cheaper by $265.98. In regards to travel time, Air Canada was superior. The flight was nine hours and eighteen minutes faster.

Best Buy: WestJet for price with $1190.40, a savings of $265.98.

Vacation Package to Montego Bay, Jamaica

WestJet was better in price, cheaper by $338.96. In regards to travel time, Air Canada was better. The Air Canada flight was five minutes faster.

Best Buy: WestJet

The second part of our research consisted of polling people who had flown with both airlines in the past five years. Here were the results:

Best Price:

Air Canada: 20%

WestJet: 80%

Accommodations/ Services:

Air Canada: 52%

WestJet: 48%

Customer Satisfaction:

Air Canada: 22%

WestJet: 78%

Who Will You Book With Next?

Air Canada: 32%

WestJet: 68%

Polls were conducted with 25 participants. If the interviewee enjoyed both airlines equally a point was awarded to both airlines.

WestJet had a consistently lower perception of price, while providing a consistently higher customer service rating.

The majority of people interviewed found that Air Canada planes were more up-to-date and provided better services such as food and entertainment. However, we concluded that this heightened level of accommodations and services did not lend Air Canada a solid foundation or loyalty with their customers as more were willing to switch to WestJet flight for their next trip.

Conclusion: After all the research, which is the better buy?
Better buy for domestic flights: Air Canada. (Surprised me! I always thought Air Canada was more expensive). Air Canada has more flight options so they can offer lower prices for their domestic flights. However, through consumer and professional interviews it can be concluded that if the availability were the same, more people would prefer to fly with WestJet than Air Canada.

Better buy for international flights: WestJet. Although Air Canada has more international destinations, WestJet has created a niche market by providing more direct flights and shorter flight times. This can be coupled with WestJet’s ability to offer better customer service and match Air Canada’s services and accommodations for international flights.

Better by for international vacation packages: WestJet. WestJet offers a more competitive price and is able to match flight time almost directly with Air Canada to the point where time becomes irrelevant in comparison with the high price differences.

WestJet also has a better consumer outlook, consistently beating Air Canada in consumer perception of price, customer satisfaction, and overall consumer opinion. WestJet also rated high enough to become competitive with Air Canada in the areas of accommodations and services, an area which Air Canada has prided itself on.

We also concluded that from a professional standpoint (the interview with a travel agent) that WestJet is the preferred company because of their willingness to work with travel companies and agents to ensure customer satisfaction.

We found that WestJet had more lineate policies on their extra charges such as baggage, change fees, and cancelling. We did discover though that Air Canada had better policies for those flying Business Class.

Therefore, our group made the conclusion that the airline company WestJet is the better buy in Canada.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ambiguity and the Candidates

This Wednesday Red River College students, and those who wanted to join, were invited to a mayoral forum at Red River College featuring Sam Katz and Judy Wasylycia-Leis (which I know how to spell off by heart now thanks to Journalism quizzes courtesy of Steve V). The mayoral forum was mediated by CJOB’s Richard Cloutier and aired live on CJOB. Cloutier investigated the candidates’ platforms through asking his own questions, taking polls and asking questions from the audience, and allowing for questions from he audience that were prearranged.

I personally had some great experiences at the mayoral forum. In a poll of who were affected by crime, I raised my hand, and Cloutier asked me to describe what had happened to me, and what I wanted to know from the candidates. I asked them what they were going to do about youth crime. I was quite nervous sharing my story and asking Sam and Judy my question, I hope it didn’t show in my voice.

In his response Sam said he blamed the revolving door policy and had gone to Ottawa to lobby for change.

Judy responded and talked about how the NDP caucus pushed for tougher laws, but that that is not the only part of the solution. She also said that she was there in Ottawa when Katz lobbied.

Shout out to cbcturner and bkives on Twitter who tweeted these answers. It was neat to see that someone had tweeted about my situation and my question.

I also remember Judy reiterating her point that she intended to increase spending for community clubs so youth don’t feel the need or want to enter a life of crime.

I was also interviewed by CBC and CJOB after the forum on how I felt about the answers to my question. I wasn’t overly satisfied with the answers to be honest. Their answers were vague, as was the entire forum. The candidates rarely gave specific detailed answers, but fit their platforms into the answer of most questions they were asked.

However, I did see Judy overhear my interview with CBC. I had said that community centers were a great idea, but how do we stop crime at night, like when my story had happened. Later, she did mention that there had to be community club programs at night to keep youth away from the life of crime.

Overall, the forum was exciting, nerve-racking, and tense; it was a very interesting event to be part of, even though politics isn’t something I am intensely intrigued by. I’m glad we had the opportunity at our school, and even though I didn’t find much out about the candidates’ plans, I did learn about their personalities, but I’m still pretty torn about who do vote for! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Time

This week I was on the radio for the first time ever!

Wednesday morning, I joined Mike T. and John Chapman, on the Chapman, Mike. T and Krystalle show. (My name is pronounced KrystaLEE so it rhymes).

My overall experience was that it was so much fun! I am ecstatic that our school provides us with the opportunity to practice our broadcasting skills at a real live and operating radio station. I prepared the night before and on the bus (using my trusty news app) on the way to school by researching recent news stories, or anything interesting happening in the world. I jotted down the lead or the gist of the story and when we went on air I introduced the story and then conversation rolled out of it. Even though I had to get up at 5:20am, I laughed a lot, and because I was so energized from the broadcast, I wasn’t even tired for the rest of the day.

The best part of the experience was that people actually listened and commented. It was really encouraging to hear that people actually listened for one, but two also enjoyed it. I did get a couple of pieces of constructive criticism as well. I though this as well when I was doing the broadcast, but I need to be careful that what I’m saying is meaningful, no ums and ahhs, and to not to talk over people or interject too much. I can understand that those kinds of things aren’t necessarily kind to the listeners’ ears.

Champan, Mike T. and Krystalle will be on every Wednesday morning 7-9am. I hope you all will listen (if you’re up at that crazy time), call in, and do not afraid to give me feedback, I’d love it actually.