Fear and loathing in social media land: why I finally embraced digital communications

By Marie-Noëlle Morency

I was never afraid of spiders, the dark, or going on an airplane. But for the longest time, I was scared of digital communications. I knew I would have to jump on the social media bandwagon sooner or later, or else I would risk damaging my career as a communicator, and miss out on opportunities to really get in touch with my audience and start meaningful conversations. And as Janice Redish explains in her book Letting go of the words:  ”Social media is pushing the web to be even more conversational”.

But each time someone at the office would ask me how we should adapt a campaign for Twitter, or how to optimize blog posts, I would stare numbly at my screen thinking: ”Oh boy, there are so many platforms to know about, so many technical stuff to master, how in the world will I ever keep up?”

And then I remembered. When I started my career at Monster.ca back in 1999, Internet was kind of new to most people. Looking for a job online was strange and a bit scary. I was then Content Manager, writing articles on how to prepare for job interviews on this cute little orange iMac. It was amazing, thrilling, challenging yet stimulating to be a pioneer and to change the way people would look for jobs. So If I fully embraced innovation then, I certainly could now!


Armed with this newfound motivation, I started to browse programs until I found the new McGill professional certificate in Digital Content and Community Management. To my surprise, I instantly became passionate about the endless possibilities that social media offers, and rapidly saw how I could use it to increase the reach and impact of our marketing campaigns at Randstad, or even to expand my indie-folk band fan base.

Soon I developed a keen interest in visual storytelling. As Suzanne Fanning, President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) explains in a recent Forbes article on 2014 Digital Trends: ‘’Images and videos have become the go-to viral tactic, and will continue to expand as brands can use visuals to interact with their consumers and the newest group of influencers–visual influencers.’’

Inspired by the learnings and class discussions from the first course, I tried a few new tactics as part of our Women Shaping business campaign, developing podcasts featuring our female leaders, creating infographics to show the results of our study, using Linkedin and Twitter to reach influencers, and posting quotes and pictures from our panel discussion events in Montreal, Calgary and Toronto on Pinterest and Facebook. The campaign is way more compelling and engaging as a result!

Looking back at the last few weeks, I think I fell in love with my profession all over again. Social listening, visual storytelling and community building definitely empower today’s communicators to ”give brands a voice”, as senior copywriter Jessie Sternthal beautifully puts it. I love to develop original and impactful content. I love to craft stories that will resonate with people. And I’m not scared of social media anymore. Quite the opposite in fact, as I understand now that there’s never been a better time to indulge my passion for communications.

2 thoughts on “Fear and loathing in social media land: why I finally embraced digital communications

  1. To embrace the developing web at its start is brave. To embrace it again in its modern capacity is just plain smart – and a little scary. Your story reflects the change you’re trying to keep up with by sharing your own experiences of keeping up. You do a great job of sharing the value of this certificate through the learning and application you’ve already experienced. I was engaged from start to finish and can see there are more stories to come – nice post!


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