Snapchat for Dummies

I was at the SocialWest conference in Calgary last week and I came back with so much to think about. I was thinking I would do a blog post on the conference, but it turns out I am going to do several based on my major takeaways. The very first thing I am going to touch on is Snapchat.

I have had Snapchat on my phone for around 3 years and have done almost nothing with it. I probably joined out of curiosity, as I do with so many other things, but it never really drew me in. Last week at the conference I felt like maybe Snapchat is about to reach a tipping point. If we were to look at the diffusion of innovation model below, I would guess Snapchat is somewhere in that blue section, not yet at it’s peak but gaining mass traction. Heck even the Whitehouse is using it.



Kat Macaulay was the woman who spoke about Snapchat at SocialWest. She actually created her presentation using Snapchat! As far as who should be using Snapchat, here is what Kat had to say about that.


Credit: Kat MacCulay

Her chat and the enthusiasm of other conference attendees convinced me to really give it a go. So I have spent the last few days digging in, watching others snaps, creating my own, and reading the odd article here and there. This video covers the basics of navigating the app. I broke my own rule to keep these videos under three minutes. I think I would have had to pick out a single feature instead of tackling a whole app to keep it short.

As I mentioned in the video, this is only what I have learned in the last week. I’m sure there is lots of nuance I have yet to grasp. What do you love about Snapchat? Who do you like to follow? Have I got any of my facts wrong here. I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Follow Me:

Follow Kat:

Follow The White House

No Excuses For Bad Images

No ExcusesDisclaimer: I am not a graphic designer and will never claim to be. That said I have a lot of fun seeing what I can come up with when it comes to photo editing. I have taken some photoshop classes and I like to dabble with some of the many entry level tools that are out there. 

So when it comes to sourcing images for blogs and social media I have a strong opinion that there is no excuse for bad images. If I am being truthful I would say that these are tools I think everyone could and should use. Just about everyone could use a some better imagery if not for their business related profiles, for some of the personal ones.

One of my current go-to tools is Canva, where you can create many things either for free or for a minimal charge (about $1) . Canva also has a ton of stock imagery priced at $1

In the example below I had a quote from Winston Churchill and my idea was to overlay it on an image of the man himself. I first sourced the image using Google Images, further narrowing the search to usage rights that allowed reuse.

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One of the first things I like about Canva is all the presets for different types of images. Need a Twitter header, a YouTube thumbnail, a Facebook Event Cover Photo? Canva has you covered. Of course you always have the option to enter your own custom dimensions, but the presets offer an easy approach to getting started on some of the most common formats. Especially because the specifications for image sizes change often, these presets make it easy for newbies and the experienced.

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Just a sample of some of the presets you can choose to start creating with Canva.

Taking my Winston Churchill photo into Canva I started with a present for a Facebook post as that was my intended use for the finished product. I then selected one of their template layouts as it had a clean layout and fonts that I liked.

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The Canva Layout (template) I started with

Next I dropped in my photo and made necessary adjustments to the text and then filters.

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I ended up with something respectable but I was still not completely satisfied. I didn’t like the text over his face and I didn’t want to shrink the text down too much so I ended up switching things up to another layout. This was the final result.

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And after that I did another. All in less than a half hour.

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Canva actually has a really cool design school where you can learn more about everything from typography to design layout. I’ll admit I might need to be stranded on a desert island before I have the time for design school. I’d highly recommend just diving right in and learning along the way as its just so simple and satisfying to use. Some other similar tools I haven’t played with as much but that work similarly are:

Throwback Thursday: Drinking Wine with Robert Mondavi

This photo has to be one of my all time favorites; on the left is Robert Mondavi and that is me on the right. The photo was taken in 2004 at COPIA: The American Center for Food Wine and the Arts in Napa Valley. At the time I was working in my first career as a professional cook and I was volunteering at the center a few weekends a month as means of professional development and networking. For a food geek like me COPIA was the ultimate playground. I had the opportunity to taste fine wines, learn more about food and meet food and wine celebrities. This photo is me talking to Robert Mondavi at the volunteer Christmas party. Mondavi and his wife were founders and benefactors of COPIA. Robert Mondavi was a pioneer of the wine industry in California who is credited with bringing worldwide recognition to wines from the Napa Valley. Just about anybody who drinks wine will have sampled a bottle with this man’s name on the label. Cheers!


Developing Your Personal Tagline

Today I am developing my personal tagline. I had not even considered this task until my current WordPress template asked me for one. I jokingly used “Blogging for fame and fortune one day at a time” to start, but I knew it needed to be MUCH better than that.  I needed something stronger, more succinct and true to my personal brand.  So as always when I want to learn more,  I went to the web.

Molli Megasko of Spinsucks  says there are three steps to developing your personal tagline which are as follows:

1. Develop your personal mission statement

2.  Build an elevator pitch

3.  Fill in your commas

Three taglines of celebrities for example are:

  • Steve Jobs, business magnate and inventor.
  • Maya Angelou, America’s most visible black female autobiographer.
  • Martin Scorsese, film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian.

Robin Fisher Roffer CEO of Big Fish Marketing suggests three different steps to discovering your best personal tagline:

Step 1: Identify your unique skills and best qualities, and create a list of descriptive words and phrases that correspond to your professional self. Look for something you can deliver that few can and that you love to do.

Step 2: Edit your definition down to a zippy phrase that aligns with your job or the most magnetic aspects of your career. Your tagline should be the verbal equivalent of a logo that will come to people’s mind when they hear your name.

Step 3: Make your tagline benefit-driven, aspirational, descriptive or a call to action. “You’re in good hands with Allstate” is benefit driven. BMW’s tagline is descriptive, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” Nike’s “Just Do It” is aspirational, while American Express’ tagline “Take Charge,” is a call to action.

If you are looking for examples of taglines,  here is 30 Great Personal Branding Tagline Examples to get you inspired.

I just created mine, and I know it is still a work in progress:

Marketing professional, adventurer, lifelong learner, always looking for a new challenge.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

To blog or not to blog? That really is the question. The reason I started this blog was because of a meeting I had with the co-op department at my university. The co-op adviser suggested including a link to my blog or website on my resume. She suggested that especially as a marketing major this would be an appropriate way to showcase my abilities. I have to admit that the whole idea made me nervous and I wondered if I would have enough to blog about. I find writing resumes and cover letters a stressful enough experience. How much should I reveal? I don’t want to appear overqualified, under qualified, too casual, or too diverse in my experience. I have always found the idea of translating who you are and what you are capable of into two neatly typed pages a ridiculous exercise.

Tonight I came across this article on Mashable: 7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media. It’s a few years old, which emphasizes this isn’t a new idea.  Specifically about using a blog to create your professional brand and attract job opportunities it says: “You need to be passionate to be committed to this project because it requires a lot of writing, creativity and consistency in order for it to actually help you.”  My sense is that this is a scary even risky avenue to take, because it is one of those things that is not worth doing if you don’t do it well. So here goes nothing.