Social Kitty

Observations of a Social Media Cat

Are you a PIRDN (pre-internet relic / digital native)?

leave a comment »

Recently my niece Jill, who was born in 1980, posted an article about the last generation to remember what life was like before AND after the internet. I found it fascinating that her generation and ours (some of us) have this thing in common.


There’s probably been no change in society so dramatic since the invention of the printing press. How lucky that we’ve been here to witness the impact the internet has had, as it was happening.

The advent of the internet can be broken down into subsets regarding life on the internet before and after. How many of you can relate?

  • Email and learning how to use it
    • “Why shouldn’t I use all caps?” (some people still don’t get this)
    •  “I didn’t get that email” (remember when there was no request for receipt?)
  • E Bulletin Boards
    • “Wow, there are people who want to talk about my hobby?” (you got up early to check on that thread before work)
    • Learning to avoid arguments and one-upmanship (remember before flamewars existed?)
    • What’s this new GUI thing? (good thing you knew how to type)
  • Online Gaming (remember BEFORE there was nothing more pressing than whacking your opponent in Doom or Quake?)
  • Skype, FaceTime (hard to imagine now that you couldn’t see distant young relatives grow up without ever meeting them)
  • Social Media (remember that thing with numbers, buttons, dials and a handset that you talked into? Does anyone still have a parent or grandparent who sends jokes via email?)

What’s sad and ironic is about the internet is that it divides people into separate camps. There are the digital natives as opposed to the prehistoric critters who will never fully benefit from its use. There are those who:

  • get it VERSUS those who don’t get it or refuse to get it
  • think they’ll lose their connection to people if they use it VERSUS those who think they’ll lose their connection to people if they don’t use it.
  • criticize others for being dependent on it VERSUS those who criticize others for still using the phone book

Then there are those of us who are straddling the line between these divisions. It’s second nature for us to understand both worlds. Some of us still have to teach a parent or grandparent, carefully ensuring we don’t become impatient and just give up. (“Sweetie, can you get me on the interwebs?”) But we’re the best ones in the world to help them, because we remember learning too while it developed.


And there’s a lot of controversy about how worse or better off we are now that the world has been changed forever by always having this tool at our fingertips. Pre-internet relics can list every negative impact it has had and digital natives will argue that for every negative, there’s a benefit.

Which side of the line are you on, or are you straddling it? Are you guilty of any of the following?

  • an incessant need to look up every detail that becomes a question or argument
  • checking social media 10 or 20 or 50 times a day
  • allowing constant notifications dinging, buzzing or adding exciting little red badges to your apps
  • all out rage when people use their devices in theatres and meetings, even after reminders
  • criticizing couples or friends at restaurants, who don’t interact but attend to their devices (is it really so wrong?)
  • scheduling screen-free time for your family (enduring their whines) so they’ll understand what it was like


Ok, so you’re in both camps. Congratulations, you are a PIRDN! You’re in the club with us combination pre-internet relic / digital natives.  I think it’s kind of a good place to be – in a class of our own!

Written by Sheila Gregory

August 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

What’s in Your Social Media Policy?

with one comment

Can Social Media Policies in Canada include anything an employer wants? California has recently passed laws to restrict an employer’s use of policies that are too controlling.

But what about Canada? Can employers demand the Facebook passwords of employees to check up on their whereabouts or off-duty activities? Can employers discipline an employee for comments made about a boss or co-worker in her own personal account? Should there be a balance between employee privacy and the company’s business interests?

Where are we in employment law in Canada on this issue? Has anyone experienced a clash between the law and your employer’s policy?

Written by Sheila Gregory

July 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with one comment

Sheila Gregory:

How do I apply for my kitty to be a Catvertising star?

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

Toronto-based ad agency John St. knows what the people want, and it’s not commercials. It’s cat videos.

In this parody video, the agency who brought us the viral sensation “Pink Ponies: A Case Study” is now turning its attention to another animal, one that has effectively taken over the Internet: Cats. That’s right: Fluffy, funny and adorable cats.

(MORE:Kitty vs. Metronome: The Epic Duel, in 3/4 Time)

The serious (and hilarious) video discusses how cat videos are becoming “an unbelievably effective new business tool,” which John St. promises to capitalize on by creating the world’s first and only catvertising agency, complete with kitty video studio. Their stated goal is to integrate cat videos into every part of the consumer experience. We say, bring it on.

In fact, while this video is supposed to be pure satire, we think that John St. is on to something here. Catvertising…

View original 60 more words

Written by Sheila Gregory

August 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Are you blogging for the sake of blogging or a burning desire to write?

leave a comment »

I recently got into a little discussion with Chris Brogan on his post about his idea to sell ideas for blogging. It seems odd to me that there are people who want to write a blog but have no topic and will pay someone to give them an idea.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Chris Brogan – I subscribe to his e-newsletter, read his blog, follow him on Twitter and I highlighted him in a previous post here on Social Kitty. I also hope he makes a ton of money from people who can’t think up a topic for themselves.  But I can’t resist a good debate so here is what appeared in the comments section under his post Blog Topics Rides Again on July 16, 2012:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * ** *

sgregory57 • 2 days ago

Just MHO: if you have to ask someone else “what should I blog about” then you shouldn’t be blogging.

Chris Brogan MOD • 2 days ago • parent

Some folks feel that way. In 2011, 624 people felt differently.

sgregory57 • a day ago • parent

Hope my comment is not considered an affront. I am interested in human behaviour and wonder what motivates those 624 people. They are the ones that want to blog but have no topic, yes? Doesn’t that seem odd to you?

Chris Brogan MOD • 15 hours ago • parent

Athletes have a coach.
Chefs look for recipes.
Masters students go for PhD.

There are lots of cases where people look for inspiration externally to spark internally.

* * * * * * * *

After his last comment, I was going to reply again.  But I thought if I keep on debating this on his blog, people might mistakenly think I just want an argument and enjoy being belligerent.  (Opinionated, who me?)  Really, I just like to analyze human beings to bits and pieces so I apologize to anyone who thinks I have gone too far. So here is my next comment, but I will not post it on Chris’ site since it has turned into a post of its own:

Yes of course you are right Chris, we all need inspiration. But an athlete, a chef and a Masters or Ph.D. student would clearly all have a topic in the first place, even if a little inspiration was needed.

Asking someone what to write about (and actually paying them for ideas)? Well I don’t know but to me that just seems backwards.  IMHO a writer has a burning desire to record their thoughts, ideas or stories.  It could be typed or written in a personal file or journal or diary.  I think you do it for yourself first.  A blog just takes it that step further into sharing with the world if desired.

I think that writing comes from somewhere inside.  To me it is about an uncontrollable urge to discuss, debate, record, offer or analyze something you are passionate about. It comes from a desire to share something which is maybe entertaining, informative, educational or helpful to others. It may be a desire to share your history or simple stories of the past. It may simply be about how cute your cat or dog is. I think it comes from a natural tendency to explore and discover the world, relationships, nature, the cosmos, business, how things are made, human behaviour, cute things that kids say . . . whatever.  The list could go on forever. It really doesn’t matter what the topic is. And there are people who want to blog but have no topic? I think they should look at their life experience and draw from it. And if they have very limited life experience, not to worry – it will come.  Maybe they should just blog later in life.

If you let them, your ideas will spring forth and will not be controlled – they will have a life of their own and your blog is just the instrument that puts it out there for the rest of the world. If others find it valuable, then that is the icing on the cake. But then icing a cake would be a topic for the chef mentioned above!

Written by Sheila Gregory

July 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Parks Canada issues gag order

leave a comment »

Have you read this article about Parks Canada issuing what essentially amounts to a gag order on its employees regarding the agency and the Conservative government?

IMHO, this agency is just asking for trouble.  Do the communications staff at Parks Canada not understand the power of Social Media?  With so many online platforms and networks available to them, I predict that staff will rebel!  They will find a way to say anything they choose, possibly even when restricted by a formal agreement as part of their continuing employment.  Just one question:  Have you ever heard of the online group called “Anonymous“?  Anonymous will probably grab this headline and build a fire with it like you just provided them several thousand Airmiles for free gas.

I plan to follow this story to see how courageous the union employees become.  Management will toe the line, I’m sure.  It will be especially interesting to see what ex-employees have to say after many of them receive their termination papers due to cuts.  And in support of free speech, retirees might have a mouthful to contribute!

I was a civil servant for many years and had lots to say about the municipal government for whom I slaved (opinionated? who me?).  But even I, a lowly supervisor, felt the potential wrath of those with power. So through better judgement and a desire to have a roof over my head and eat, my thoughts remained in the bubble over my head.  I did not utter (write?) a single critical comment publicly.  Of course I didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Google+ etcetera back then.  Hmmm, what might I have done if all these networks had been available to me then?  Maybe I’ll reach back to the craziness of the 1990s leading up to the day I was called to the big HR boardroom at Metro Hall to receive my final papers and tell the story all these years later.  What have I got to lose now?  And let me assure you folks, it’s a doozy!

Written by Sheila Gregory

June 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Use the internet to get off the internet!

leave a comment »

How many of you use the online social service at  I discovered this site when I was looking for groups of women like me to have some real life fun.  I only see my long time gal friends infrequently because we are all so busy and don’t live near each other.  So I was delighted to find a wonderful group of women in my area who go to a variety of events, restaurants, movies and any other activities that interest the participants.  I am a total social animal online but I enjoy face to face social contact even more.  So I had to do something to vary my information intake and reduce my screen time. I wanted to hear the chatter of people’s voices and see the expressions on their faces.

Thanks to the organizer, the group has had a wonderful time meeting, chatting, bowling, eating, dancing, relaxing, going to each others homes and so on and so on.  I am sure that stimulates business because I don’t think any of us would have spent our money in the some of the venues available in our area had we not met each other.  Here are some of the places we have been and had such a wonderful time that I just had to tell you about them:

The Briars – In March 2012 our group organizer managed to secure a great rate for one of the lodges that could accommodate 10 of us.  We’ll never get that price again so I am very thankful I was involved.  We ate, we danced, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we had spa treatments, we treasure-hunted, we ate, we played games, we swam.  We became known there as “THE TEN” and had a  fantastic time!

Eggsmart –  This is a nice little breakfast place we went to one Sunday morning not too long ago.  Diner style with great food, great service, average price.  There are several locations so we went to the one closest to us.  There is a store locator on this website so you can find the one nearest to you.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We met some new members and had a nice chat that day. The place was packed!  They did not get great reviews on Urban Spoon but I would not let that stop you.

Nino D’Aversa Bakery –  The group meets up here occasionally for coffee & treats or brunch.  The service is a running joke between us all but we still like it and continue to go there.  They seem to have lots of customers but if you read the reviews you will wonder why!  They are not complimentary at all and I know why from first hand experience. Once we had to share our ketchup bottle with the whole restaurant.  However, we are a pretty easy going group and like to linger over our food & drinks.  They never rush us out and the location is convenient for us.  Here is another Urban Spoon review.  The negative comments about the service are all true but again, don’t let that put you off.  The desserts are a little pricey but just amazing!  My favorite is the Fudgy Wudgy Chocolate Cake!  I gain weight just thinking about it!

The Chance Dance Centre – I am not attending this meetup but a bunch of our members are taking some classes there and seem to be enjoying it immensely!  The organizer was smart enough to ask for an introductory price for the group and the owner actually did the first lesson for free!  Smart move because they got business out of it for doing so.

If you find yourself online 16/7 or more (like me), then USE THE INTERNET TO GET OFF THE INTERNET! Check out and look for a group in your area.  You will be amazed at the variety of interest groups there are with people who want to get together to learn, have fun, meet professionals in their industry, read/review books, eat, dance, etc, etc!  The choices seem endless but if you don’t find a group that fits your interests, you can start up your own!

And if you do sign up for a group, please come back here and let me know what you did and if you enjoyed it!

Written by Sheila Gregory

June 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Whats My Line: Community Manager?

with 3 comments

Those of us who are interested in working in Social Media Marketing might go searching various keywords on job boards online, including Community Manager, Communication Coordinator or Social Media Professional.  However, I do not like these titles.  I would like to see a new term being used to described these members of the marketing team.

The whole point of Social Media networks is for the participants to create content, engage and get into the 2 way nature of the communication.  So do they want to be managed?  I doubt it.  I think most of us register on the various platforms because we want to have a conversation about something we are interested in and we want to find others who are interested in the same thing.  We want to share information or our thoughts or experiences.  Do we want some “Social Media Professional” poking their nose in and directing us to products or services they are trying to push?  I do not think so.

Now this “Community Manager” or whatever, may be quite welcome if he or she is solving problems, answering questions and providing valuable customer service on their sites in which case there may be an argument for calling them by that handle.

However, I rather like to think that the person who works for the organization is also a person who just likes to talk about what they like and share information from the point of view of  just another group member.  So my vote for the most common professional title to use would be “Community Participant” or “Social Media Participant”.  What do you think?  Do you have another title that fits?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers

%d bloggers like this: