Posts Tagged 'Social Media'

Talk Is Cheap 7.0: The return of our social media conference

Posted by Camille Wallace, student, class of Spring 2015

Only two short months after beginning Centennial’s corporate communications and public relations program, myself and five talented students came together to host Talk is Cheap.


Talk is Cheap 7.0 team (L to R): Lynda Jess, Alison Gavan, Anna Muir, Nikita Patel, Nancy Cho and Camille Wallace


We were extremely excited (and a bit nervous) to coordinate the seventh incarnation of Talk is Cheap. Hosting a keynote event for Centennial College came with high expectations, but we were up for the challenge.

Each year Talk is Cheap relates a subject to social media. Based on the widespread use of social media platforms, we chose to discuss the importance of branding on social media. The night began with a panel discussion moderated by Martin Waxman and included panelists: Mark Munroe, Richard Marginson and Monika Rola. We encouraged guests and Tweeters to join the conversation using the hashtag #TALK7. We had participation from not only our guests, but from interested Twitter users from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Panel discussion moderator, Martin Waxman and panelists: Mark Munroe, Monika Rola and Richard Marginson

Panel discussion moderator, Martin Waxman and panelists: Mark Munroe, Monika Rola and Richard Marginson

Talk is Cheap also featured 12 workshops hosted by top industry professionals on topics including crisis management, digital media, selfie culture and media relations. Workshop hosts in attendance included Brad Ross, executive director of corporate communications and lead media spokesperson ‎for the TTC and Heather MacGregor, corporate communications and media relations coordinator at LCBO.

Heather MacGregor, LCBO

Heather MacGregor, LCBO

Brad Ross, TTC

Brad Ross, TTC

Although Talk is Cheap is not a charity event, we wanted to help support Leave Out Violence Ontario (LOVE), an organization committed to helping youth affected by violence. We contacted a variety of sponsors who generously donated towards our raffle. Thanks to our sponsors and guests we raised a grand total of $600 for LOVE’s media arts program.

Guests donating in support of LOVE

Guests donating in support of LOVE

At the end of the day we had an amazing experience coordinating Talk is Cheap 7.0 and we’re sad it’s over. We learned a lot from planning our first PR event and want to share a few event-planning tips:

  1. Be flexible – Things don’t always go according to plan, but this isn’t the end of the world, stay calm and remember everything will be okay.
  1. Have a backup plan – Sometimes plan A doesn’t work out, so make sure you have a plan B and even C just in case.
  1. Talk to your guests – It’s important to keep your guests happy. Talking to them is the best way to ensure they’re having a great time.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself – Things won’t always be perfect, so don’t stress the small things.
  1. Everyone loves food – Having several food sponsors donate not only helped minimized costs, but also kept our guests very happy.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers and guests for making Talk is Cheap 7.0 a success. A very special thank you to Barry Waite for your support, we couldn’t have done it without you.


Why MTV was wrong to fake-hack their own Twitter account

This post, by Centennial CC&PR program coordinator Barry Waite, appeared originally on

Hacking social media sites is quickly becoming a hot trend. In the past week, Facebook was hacked and several Twitter accounts were the subject of takeovers. Most notable was Burger King; their Twitter feed was rebranded with the familiar golden arches of rival McDonald’s for several hours on February 18. Many of the tweets sent from the account while it was hacked were offensive and racist, and were retweeted hundreds and hundreds of times ensuring the hack went viral, creating lots of bad publicity for Burger King.

Then Jeep’s Twitter account fell victim to a similar hack. It seemed as if nobody online was safe.

MTV HackThe latest high profile hack happened Tuesday, with the takeover of MTV’s account by BET (Black Entertainment Network). But this one was different. It turns out that the MTV hack was a publicity stunt staged by the network to raise awareness of a BET live event in Los Angeles. While the prank may be in keeping with the MTV brand, it sets a dangerous precedent that other high profile brands would be foolish to follow.

Social media is a powerful tool for building relationships, particularly for brands looking to connect with consumers. The brands that are most successful on social media are the ones that have built a relationship based on authenticity and trust with their followers, and use it to reinforce their brand online. Most have very sophisticated social media policies that ensure everyone tweeting is on message and respects the brand, and the trust of their followers. In my opinion, messing with that trust for a short burst of publicity isn’t worth the long-term damage you risk.

Given the dramatic increase in followers Burger King got after being hacked (up 18% or 15,000 followers in just one hour), and the attention MTV is getting with its prank, why not stage a hostile takeover of the Twitter feed for a few hours to generate a torrent of publicity and the sympathy that comes with it? Now consider the negative tweets — the racist bile associated with the Burger King account for that time — being retweeted repeatedly while connected with the brand. Consider the resources needed to manage inadvertent outcomes that might result in the mainstream media or with key stakeholders. And consider someone might find you out. Would anyone ever trust you again?

Most would argue that brands are too smart to go down that road. However, in today’s competitive environment the pressure to create a viral sensation and generate online buzz can lead down many roads.

At the end of the day, it’s the public relations professionals who are called in to try to get things moving in the right direction. The truth is: No amount of good PR can help you recover from bad judgment. With global concern over hacking, and the serious consequences it presents, you don’t want to be seen encouraging it or, worse, staging a false takeover to garner short-term attention.

It’s a social media strategy as juvenile as most of the content on MTV.

Our Intent: Change the World

On Tuesday, March 22nd, Corporate Communications & Public Relations students at Centennial were thrilled to welcome social media activist, writer and mom, Mallika Chopra, to the Centre for Creative Communications for “What’s Your Intent?“.  Mallika, daughter of world-famous author Deepak Chopra, is the founder of, a website focused on personal, social and global wellness. Mallika’s intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.  To that end, CC&PR students were challenged to tackle a social issue they felt was important and relevant to them, and develop a solution using social media.

Ten groups participated in the event, presenting in front of a panel of judges made up of Mallika; Nate Horowitz, Dean of the School of Communications, Media & Design; and Gabriel Bedard from Centennial’s Global Citizenship & Equity office.  Mallika and the judges were incredibly impressed by the quality of the presentations, which were done as five minute pitches to the judges, and covered issues as diverse as managing stress caused by social media and commuting through to homophobia, cyberbullying and the plight of Canadian polar bears.

After difficult deliberations, the judges named Shaurya Uppal‘s Intent on combating illiteracy the winner of the competition.  Second prize went to Jacqueline Demers and Andrew Miller for their Intent on creating a more positive environment for TTC riders, and third prize to Aviva Cohen, Nicole Czorny, Ashlee McMillan, Sherine Kerr-Stewart and Daniel Puiatti for their Intent to raise awareness about surplus food.

What's Your Intent winner Shaurya Uppal with Mallika Chopra

Here’s a run down of the What’s Your Intent presentations:

Are You Polar Bear Aware? – Isabel King, Lisa Rowland, Kristin Sagan

Our Intent is to focus attention on the issue of global warming’s impact on polar bears, and to raise awareness for the WWF through a youth focused Facebook contest.

Kristin Sagan, Lisa Rowland & Isabel King

Post Love – Bindya Jairam, Oluwadamilola (Lola) Okunlola, Natalie Paranavitana, Nadine Paranavitana

Our intent is to raise awareness on the issue of cyber bullying through a social media campaign including a YouTube bullying PSA video competition.

The "Postlove" Team

Enabling Literacy – Shaurya Uppal

My intent is to focus on the growing Canadian literacy problem. I will be suggesting the start of a not for profit reading and literacy club that will provide a centralized cyberspace of educational resources and social reading clubs.

Feed the Need – Aviva Cohen, Nicole Czorny, Ashlee Mcmillan, Sherine Kerr-Stewart, Daniel Puiatti

Our intent is to raise awareness about surplus food, hunger and the institutions which connect them, such as Second Harvest.

The "Feed the Need" Team

Insights on Insite – Dimitri Bariamis, Dani Laidlaw, Alicia Ramautar,  Lisa Timoshenko, Tristan Torralba

Our intent is to focus attention on the public health and human rights benefits of Insite, the safer injection facility in Vancouver, by creating a social media campaign and website to act as a hub of conversation and support in the lead up to the challenge to Insite in the Supreme Court of Canada on May 12.

The "Insights on Insite" Team

No Homo (phobia) – Brittany Flamank, Tiffany Kallinikos and Jon Koidis

Our Intent is to reduce homophobic slang (i.e. “that’s gay” and “fag”) in the Toronto area. By setting up social media sites that encourage pledges to stop this type of language used, we hope to create awareness about this relevant issue.

Tiffany Kallinikos, Jonathan Koidis, Brittany Flamank

Emotional Sress: What Gives? – Alexandra Grand, La-Toya Williamson, Maria Serraino and Melissa Riley

Our intent is to create an online space for young adults to express themselves and to navigate through their emotions while helping themselves and others at the same time. This social media tool is an outlet for dealing with emotional stress which could eventually lead to larger emotional issues.

The "What Gives?" Team

Say It Loud! – Laura Foulds, Jaclyn Medeiros, Bailey Scott

Our intent is to encourage grade ten inner city students be involved in their school communities with the ultimate goal of getting them off of the streets and engaged in positive behaviours by introducing podcasting.

Jackie Medeiros, Bailey Scott, Laura Foulds

TTCnoEvil – Jacqueline Demers, Andrew Miller

Our intent is to help make the TTC a safer and more positive experience by urging riders to share stories of positive experiences and follow proper etiquette via social media.

Andrew Miller & Jacqueline Demers – Jose Carlos Medina Cornejo, Cassandra Damiris, Urvashi Dholakia, Sean Roberge

Our intent is to create on online resource that allows people to; identify causes of stress, share stress relief techniques and build a social media tools that enable us to warn and protect each other.

The "" Team

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this event that we hope will become an annual challenge.