Blair Kelsie, one of our many talented software developers, recently presented at Digitized 2011. Digitized is a one-day career conference, held at the University of Saskatchewan, for Saskatchewan high school students that presents innovations & career opportunities in I.T.  Close to 300 grade 10-12 students from Saskatoon and area attended the conference.

Blair’s topic was Social Media which he broke down into three areas: Social Aspects, Economic/Business, and Technical.  A brief summary is below.


Blair discussed the social aspects of social media and its impact on a person's reputation. Often what is put on the web stays on the web forever. Giving the example of posting pictures on Facebook, he showed the students how other people could download their image and put it elsewhere on the web without their control. He explained how not being smart about what they post could lead to a loss of future job opportunities.

The students were shocked about what information, pictures, etc. could be easily made  public and could potentially hurt their future employment. Many thought if they created  aliases then they would remain anonymous on the web.  He explained how easy it is to find  out who owns a blog/account/etc. He also discussed how social media is connecting the world and changing how we interact  as a culture. There is now up-to-the minute notification when huge news breaks (e.g.  Twitter broke Osama bin Laden's death news with approx 5000 tweets/second as the news spread).


Next he discussed the economic effects of social media and how it is being used for marketing and public awareness. Many companies are leveraging social connections to promote themselves (e.g. Facebook ads utilize the public to promote business). There has also been a rise in collective purchasing sites such as mysaskdeals and Groupon.

Of course with the rise in social media came the rise in companies that provide services to help businesses increase their social presence and manage their online reputations such as our very own StepRep.

Social Media also has a huge impact on employment where it is used for recruiting more and more often. As well, there are many jobs that didn't exist before the Social Media revolution such as Community Managers, Content Specialists, Online Customer Services, Social Media Strategists and more. There is even a social network just for business people to connect (LinkedIn).


Next he touched on the technical aspects of social media such as many social media providers offering more services to compete with other providers. Such cross-overs include Facebook offering location-based awareness like Foursquare, LinkedIn having statuses, etc. There is also a rise in services that consolidate multiple social media platforms (i.e. linking Twitter statuses to Facebook/LinkedIn/etc., Facebook "like" service).

Micro-blogging/mashing sites (i.e.tumblr, Posterous) are also increasing. These are simple ways to set up blogs, etc. to share information. Other emerging technologies are geolocation social media (i.e. Gowalla, Loopt, etc.) and social Q & A (i.e. Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn Questions, Facebook Questions, Matchpoint, Aardvark, StackTrace, etc.)

From the sounds of it, Blair put on a great presentation and hopefully sparked some interest in I.T. and software. Or at the very least, taught a few kids not to put inappropriate pictures on the internet!

Good job Blair!