What's New in Public Relations

November 24, 2011

Just how addicted are you?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carlie @ 9:51 am

My public relations classes are really emphasizing the importance of using social media effectively. It can be an incredible way to promote yourself or your business and get a message across quickly to a huge number of people. Facebook, twitter, foursquare, google+ … the list will do nothing but grow in coming weeks, months and years, I’m sure.

And social media is going beyond just individual people having a profile. It is rare to find an organization, be it a non-profit, a business, or a government agency, without a twitter account and a facebook fan page.

A growing number of jobs are opening up in fields related to social media and communicating online. I’m going to be starting my job hunt soon, as I’m graduating in the spring, and I hope that my experience using social media in the classroom and learning about using it effectively will help me in the hunt. Many guest speakers in my class this year have talked of the importance of understanding the theory and practice of social media.

But is this really a good thing? A number of organizations have run studies to figure out how social media use is changing how we communicate and interact with people in real life. And it looks like a lot of the results aren’t good.

So take a few minutes and find out, from The Oatmeal, just how addicted you are. Then, maybe turn off the computer and have a chat with a friend, or go for a walk, or read a book! You’ll thank me in the long run.


Disclaimer: I have Twitter open in another tab right now, and my constant checking of the updates meant that it took me twice as long to write this as it should have. C’est la vie!


October 24, 2011

The Rideau Canal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carlie @ 2:43 am

During the summer of 2007, The Rideau Canal, a 202km long waterway stretching from Ottawa to Kingston, ON, earned the designation of World Heritage Site. UNESCO presents this certification to sites that “belong to all the peoples of the world irrespective of the territory on which they are located”. The Rideau Canal is the only World Heritage Site in Ontario and one of only fifteen in Canada. This same summer, the Canal celebrated its 175th anniversary as well.


The Canal has survived now for almost 180 years. Constructed between 1826 and 1832, it was meant originally for military use – in the case of a second attack from American military, it would provide a safe means of travel for British soldiers defending what was then Upper Canada. It has withstood the conversion from military use to commercial vessels to pleasure craft, its main use today. During the Great Depression, many felt that shutting the Canal would be an effective cost-saving strategy; during the 1960s it was controlled by Transport Canada who felt that it was necessary to change the manual style locks to hydraulic, a move that could have had huge repercussions.


Although it has overcome many obstacles to survive this long, the Canal is now facing a new challenge that may be more difficult to beat – a public relations dilemma. Canal users, as well as those who live near and have other connections with the Canal, have complaints about the upkeep and maintenance of the historic waterway. And after the Canal’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these complaints could have a greater impact than just reduced boat traffic during the navigation season.


Part of the rules for the designation is that its sites must maintain a certain level of upkeep or the designation can be taken away. If this were to happen with the Rideau canal, especially so soon after it earned the designation, it would have an even worse impact on the Canal’s public relations.


The superintendent of the Rideau Canal for Parks Canada has spoken out about the complaints and rumours that boaters and others are hearing. He specifically addressed the many repairs needed to different lock stations and the story that the Canal will have a shorter navigation season next year and/or shorter hours when speaking with the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. This was a great first step for Parks to take the tackle the public relations problems that they’re facing.  Hopefully we’ll now be able to see concrete steps being taken to preserve and protect the amazing piece of history that Eastern Ontario has in its backyard!


What do you think about heritage conservation and the Rideau Canal waterway? How do you feel that heritage sites can create or use good public relations?

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