This is an interesting campaign I came across on Kickstarter. The concept is to redefine quality, and provide consumers with a product that will last a long time, to prove that customers would rather have quality than the current products whose lifespan is determined through careful calculations and shoddy work, ensuring its’ obsolescence in a few years time.
Personally, I prefer to purchase high quality items that will last. However, is this concept actually going to work? Will you pay nearly $100 for a unisex hoodie available in only a few select colours? One which, if it is torn, you will have to send in to be fixed? I am not sure that in the long run, this item will actually be successful as intended. Big consumer items such as appliances and vehicles are becoming more and more disposable. In a world where the satisfaction of one’s wants is as simple as owning a credit card, regardless of income, I wonder if this will be another trend, or whether the growing environmentally-conscious public will take a look at their habits and decide to make a change.
What do you think? Will today’s average, immediate gratification groomed, trend-following consumer actually wear this sweater for 10 years and send it in to be mended when needed? Or will it simply be another fad, something to tell friends about, an item without much choice for personalization that is soon relegated to the back of the drawer?
Oh Happy Day!
So… last night I got THE EMAIL. The email I have been waiting for since December. The email that officially told me where I was going to be living and who I was going to be working with this coming September. Wanna know?
Well, I got the placement I was hoping for! I will be located in Lilongwe, Malawi from September to April of this coming year, and I will be working with the Jesuit Refugee Service, assisting in running their programs. These programs centre on providing education and training to the residents of Dzaleka Refugee Camp, to improve their ability to support themselves and their families.
Dzaleka Refugee Camp is located within an hour’s drive of Lilongwe, and I will be working in the camp for half my work-week, and at the office in Lilongwe for the other few days. Dzaleka is the only refugee camp in Malawi and houses over 10,000 refugees who have fled from conflicts mostly in DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
I hoped to get this placement for the following reasons:
- I went to Rwanda in 2007 for 3 weeks and was captured by the people there. I also had the opportunity to visit a refugee camp there, and have since volunteered with a local refugee assistance organization. I have also completed quite a few papers and done a lot of research on my own about the Hutu & Tutsi people. My understanding is that Dzaleka Refugee Camp is comprised of the same people groups, which is a draw for me.
- The trip to Rwanda was run by International Teams, an organization that I love and have continued to volunteer with, and currently has a couple working in Dzaleka refugee camp (I believe one of the first year of graduates actually lived with them).
- My goals following this degree are to complete a Bachelor of Education and Masters of Library Science. I have worked quite a bit with children and youth throughout my life, and worked at a library during high school, so I do have experience in both fields, and find that jobs related to that are very fulfilling and enjoyable for me. In researching JRS, I found that they have built a library in the camp and are also focused on education. I feel that my knowledge and skills in these areas, in coordination with the environmental side of my INDEV program, will combine to make this placement 'EPIC', as my brothers would say!
Check out more about JRS & the Malawi program at these websites: http://www.jrs.net/ & http://www.jc-hem.org
Oh my goodness, I am sitting here so filled with joy as I type this! This experience feels like it is coming so soon and yet is still so far away at the same time! One more week of classes, one exam, then one more term of school before I fly from Toronto to Lilongwe to begin putting my studies of the past three years to work, and my dreams from the past decade (or longer) will become my life! Yay!
‘The Dragonfly Effect’, written by husband and wife team Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, is a book that breaks down the steps to incorporating social media into marketing and creating social change. A well-written and quick read, the theory proposed in the book suggests that four steps, named ‘dragonfly wings’, can help you use social media effectively to market your brand. The four wings will be further discussed and critiqued within this analysis.
This book and theory contribute extremely valuable and succinct knowledge to the field of social media marketing, as the authors capably demonstrate each point with their writing style and case studies, and spell out tips, how-to elements, and things to avoid in every wing and form of media. The format of the book and simplification of the process to create a social movement gives the average person the enthusiasm and tools to believe that they themselves can apply the concepts and drive change.
The dragonfly metaphor is used because dragonflies can move in any direction they want when all four of their wings are working together. The authors use this to remind their audience that in order to create change effectively, all four wings must be utilized. The dragonfly wings proposed in this model are: focus, grab attention, engage, and take action, and are laid out in a logical order that leads one through the process from initial idea to growth and maintenance of a movement. Focus asks the actor to set a single goal, break it into smaller pieces, build ways to measure success, and create the action plan. The grab attention wing sets the hook for the potential audience, using images and taglines to create brand recognition. Engage involves telling your story in a way that involves the audience’s emotions through various forms of media. Finally, take action is the push to have your audience become actors themselves by simplifying the methods of interaction and remaining in contact with them as the movement continues.
‘The Dragonfly Effect’ presents a marketing tool that can help any organization increase awareness, raise funds, and reach a larger audience. This tool is exceptionally useful for small organizations and not-for-profits, as they often find it difficult to spread their brand and increase the size of their audience. The methods introduced in the book clarify the necessary mechanisms for success that can elude those of us who do not fully grasp the potential of social media.
The principles and acronyms given by the authors help readers to streamline their story and focus, preventing unintentional inundation of their audience and building skill sets that will assist in engaging those that encounter the organization. For example, the acronym PUVV encourages the use of personal, unexpected, visual, and visceral components in advertising.
‘The Dragonfly Effect’ uses stories to tell the audience about the brand’s mission, vision, and values. These stories also facilitate emotional bonds being formed, which engages the audience. The authors recommend utilizing social media to promote the brand, but also suggest that the incorporation of encouraging and conversation-enhancing elements in the social media platforms will involve viewers further in your storyline.
Overall, I think that the authors’ arguments are valid and supplemented well with anecdotes. Their methodology inspires readers to rethink their position on social media as a tool, opening eyes of older generations to the vast possibilities encapsulated by the technology, and challenging the self-centric mentality that younger generations have when utilizing these platforms. The simple steps that ‘The Dragonfly Effect’ is laid out in – the initial four wings and subsets of lessons, principles, and tips – provide those interested in acting upon the theory with small, measurable goals to begin. The writing style is engaging and the many case studies reinforce the points that the authors make. I believe that one of the strongest arguments in favour of this effect is embodied by the theory itself – as one reads, it becomes clear that the authors wrote the book utilizing their theory as the basis for the layout. They have also gone beyond the print version, building a website for their audience to interact with and spur each other on to action. The proof that the theory is an effective means of creating social change is present in the success of the book, website, and offshoot elements such as events.
The weaker portions of ‘The Dragonfly Effect’ are in the physical structure of the book. I find that although the writing style is extremely engaging, the simple graphics and flow charts that begin with questions such as “Can you access the internet?” (pg. 163) are nearly offensive in the perceived assumption of the reader’s stupidity. I also fail to see the point in acronyms that do not spell words – I am not more likely to remember a series of words because of a random sequence of letters.
The stories of ‘The Dragonfly Effect’ in action are useful, however, the number used in the book was over-stimulating and I thought that the intended outcome was lost. There were also very few stories that gave examples of unsuccessful usages of social media. There could have been more scientific evidence of the theory incorporated, as the stories meant as ‘proof’ began to feel anecdotal. The overuse of the examples and repetition of points leads me to believe that the book was too long, and that it would be better suited to the format of a workshop, workbook, or blog. However, the theory and steps to implement it are powerful, and based on my experience of social media and social change movements, seem to be accurate and effective.
‘The Dragonfly Effect’ is a theory that is accessible and potent, and has the potential to improve the marketing of individuals, not-for-profit organizations, and other businesses that struggle to grasp the prospective sphere of influence present in social media. The inclusion of tips for various social media platforms assists individuals not familiar with the medium to embrace the technology and spread their brand. The four wings and simple steps included within provide readers with ability to act upon the new knowledge. However, the theory was simplified a little beyond what was needed, and has the possibility of leaving the reader feeling mocked. The function of ‘The Dragonfly Effect’, nevertheless, is not diminished, and the authors have successfully utilized their own theory in building their brand and creating social change through it. Readers are encouraged to put the steps into practice and share their experience on ‘The Dragonfly Effect’ website, and the writing style is engaging enough that readers will finish the book and be intrigued enough to investigate the online aspects. Overall, this book is an extremely well-written and composed theory that will assist the average person in building, marketing, and utilizing their brand to create social change through social media.
Hey cohort - do you agree, disagree, have any other points to contribute to this review? Leave it in the comments! I'd love to hear what you thought of 'The Dragonfly Effect'.
Aaker, J. & Smith, A. (2010). The Dragonfly Effect. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Baas, an imprint of Wiley.
World Down Syndrome Day
Today is World Down Syndrome Day! It is held on March 21st because the genetic marker for Down syndrome is 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has selected five Canadian Down Syndrome Heroes to represent the special abilities that people with Down Syndrome have. Take a look here and be inspired: http://cdss.ca/network/heroes/. They have also created a line of posters featuring their members and quotes.
Today, Down Syndrome International asks you to join in celebrating the lives of this wonderful minority group, and wear funky socks visibly. The goal is to have people ask you what they are about and be able to share with them your support for and admiration of people with Down syndrome. Join in!
The people I have met and people I have read about who have Down syndrome are amazing! They are full of love, care for everyone that they meet, and they accomplish incredible things. For instance, Tim is a restaurant owner and Olympic athlete, and is featured in the below video.
Here’s a look at my toe colours of the day… I hope I’ve inspired you to join in!
One of my cousins came across this TEDtalk recently and shared it. It is an interesting take on charities. I think that it reinforces the lessons that INDEVours are being taught, as we have had many courses on business, which has reinforced the perspective that Dan Pallotta shares in his talk, that we ought to treat not-for-profits as businesses.
As the talk progressed, I realized that I definitely have the ingrained reaction that he proposes as 'wrong', and I am still figuring out whether or not that needs to be changed drastically or just tweaked.
Readers - what do you think about this presentation and the principles in it? Does it echo your feelings about charity, or are
your feelings echoed louder in the methodology that Dan Pallota presents as incorrect?
This blog has become a part of one of my school courses, INDEV 303. A major assignment in the class is to create and write a blog, as a way of building our brand and learning how to network and share information digitally.
Some assignments involved in the course beyond the blog have been a one page advertisement/brochure for INDEVours, which was surprisingly difficult. It is very hard to balance the amount of data you want to include, with the necessity of a short and sweet summary. We also wrote and presented elevator pitches – a 30-45 second presentation that effectively sells you and your organization to the listener, and is targeted for that specific person. Again, not a large project, but tough to do – my parents were so sick of hearing that pitch by the time I was prepared to present! Another assignment was to read ‘The Dragonfly Effect’, a book on marketing through social media by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, and write a critical analysis of the book. I may yet share my opinion of that with you, so I will leave you hanging for now! Our final project will be a press kit that we would use to network, raise awareness, and share our information with donors.
There are two more books that we read in the class. We read ‘Socialnomics’, by Eric Qualman, a book that explores the online societies that consumers have built, and businesses that utilize social media as a tool to improve their profit and brand recognition. The third book that was read in this course is ‘Tribes’, written by Seth Godin, which explores unconventional leadership – turning people into ‘tribes’ through shared interests, communication mediums, sharing a goal/desire for change with tools that allow members to act, spreading the word, growing the tribe, and accomplishing the goal.
Lectures dealt with critical thinking, media analysis, good and bad logos, communicating successfully, marketing through social media, the incorporation of ethics in marketing, branding, and more. They were extremely diverse and interesting, and started weekly discussions between classmates regarding various topics. We also scoped out advertisements that were well-done, badly-done, or unique enough that we felt we should share with our cohort.
INDEV 303 has been a big learning curve, and it’s also been a lot of fun. As we move into the next term, we will be continuing with the second part of the course, which involves working to fundraise to offset placement costs.
Beloved: Heath | Reece's Rainbow
A little boy, stuck in an adult mental institution because of his extra chromosome. Heath is diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and is located in an Eastern European country that is open to both Americans and Canadians. The Reece’s Rainbow community has rallied around him, and he has a full grant available for his adoption – his future family needs to come up with funds for the initial commitment and homestudy fees, and they will then be able to move at lightning speed to rescue him. Open your eyes and your heart to what is the reality to so many children discarded by their societies because they are considered disabled and therefore worthless. Then look to our country and the opportunities that are present for those whom we have given the term, special needs, or the more accurate term, specially abled. Heath needs rescuing – is it possible that you know his future family?
My mom came across an interesting article a few days ago, which describes the unique way in which the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru has decided to advertise.
They have installed a billboard that condenses the highly humid air of Lima into water droplets, filters, and stores it, with a faucet waiting at the bottom for passers-by to utilize. What a neat way to assist the locals who may face difficulties acquiring potable water, and at the same time, advertise extremely effectively for the university!
Check out more by reading the article here: http://techland.time.com/2013/03/05/finally-a-billboard-that-creates-drinkable-water-out-of-thin-air/
Take a few minutes to watch the following video. It is a very interesting and surprisingly dramatic representation of the wealth distribution of the United States of America.
A few weeks ago, my mother and I were discussing the Royal Bank of Canada, as we are customers and are also shareholders. As such, we received the Annual Report, which she perused, and then stopped, shocked by the numbers. The president of RBC has an annual salary of $1.5 million, and with added bonuses, earns approximately $13.8 million per annum! We proceeded to have a long discussion about the validity of that number in regards to the amount of work and perceived knowledge contribution that he invests as the president. Does he really deserve to earn that amount of money? Couldn’t the bonuses be less and still be competitive enough to attract high-quality candidates for that job?
Then this past week, the EU voted to cap banker bonuses at twice their salary!
Read more at these links:
And today, I read a blog post by an orphan advocate, encouraging us to think about justice as children often do.
“What would happen if we compared our won luxurious lifestyles to the needs of others? Maybe things would look different if we looked at the injustice of the world and said “that’s not fair”…” – Chelsea Pearce
Read the rest of the post at http://youwillgooutwithjoy.blogspot.ca/2013/03/thats-not-fair.html.
Do you have any ideas or concerns about this? What do you think should be done, if anything, about the large salaries and bonuses at the top of the pyramid?
Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.