The incredible candour of blogging millennials

Hands down, the best conversations happen in these three places: long drives in cars, wherever smokers congregate outside of pubs and parties, and photocopy rooms.

Indeed, it was in the business school‘s photocopy room last week that my associate dean John Conrad remarked on two things about the first blog posts that our first-year advertising students are writing for my Writing for Marketing class.

He said they were good. But he also said something else that resonated with me long after he left.

“They’re unbelievably candid and they seem totally unafraid to open up about themselves,” he said (or something to that effect).

We didn’t get to finish the conversation, but his remark got me thinking. Are millennials becoming more open as a result of the proliferation of social media use among their generation?

As a result of the exponential growth of blogging, this was without doubt the easiest semester yet to convince first-years of the benefits of maintaining a blog to develop personal brand.

But students were also remarkably open in their first posts about all manner of personal aspects of their lives, ranging from fears over public speaking caused by traumatic childhood experiences to getting fired as a result of self-publishing stupid stuff on social media sites.

Photo from

Photo from

According to workforce millennials expert Dan Schwabel, millennials (also known as Generation Y) are more likely than any other generation preceding them to post personal information online.

If you read this week’s posts—and especially last week’s—you’ll see some anecdotal evidence of this new openness.

I love it.

I’m a part-time teacher and it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know my students a little better through their writing. After all, if I have to spend a whole weekend indoors marking, what better way is there to spend it than getting to know my students?

Would you like to get to know them, too? Please allow me to introduce you to my Top 10 (or maybe 12) favourite first-year bloggers this week:

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 1.32.06 PMBrent Goff writes about glossophobia and reveals that, while most of us suffer from speech anxiety, we can still become skilled public speakers.

Jason Manuge writes about Instagram’s integration of advertisements while poking fun at hipsters. If you don’t know what a hipster is, learn here.

Tina Ciccarelli writes about the pervasiveness of hashtag speak and explains what all the fuss is about.

Sarah Chapman writes about a novel billboard positioning strategy she learned about in her Integrated Marketing class.

Swedish international student Maja Jordahl tells us how Swedish clothing company Bjorn Borg is using its underpants ads to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Japanese international student Nonoka Kaneko introduces us to the wacky and entertaining world of TV ads in her homeland.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 1.53.19 PMSky Bonner reveals how a thoughtless social media post got her fired. The next time you carry out that saucy stunt with your pals, consider not posting it on Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, she suggests.

Ciera Jones writes about the effectiveness of the GoPro camera company’s novel new ad, which features not a first-person point-of-view skydive, biking adventure, or rip curl surfing adventure but a firefighter rescuing a kitten.

Kelsey Jeffries shows she has a way with words in her post about Poopourri, flower scents for your toilet bowl. She makes a real effort to seek out the fragrant spray and learns that Poopourri isn’t yet available in Canada, eh.

Sara Mcleod writes about the power of consumers in our social media-driven world.

Victoria Butler reveals how the music video industry has left advertising ethics behind and has completely flip-flopped on its once strict stance against product placement. She wonders if consumers will revolt.

Traveller Faith Casselman provides a stirring personal account about how she conquered her childhood fear of presenting by teaching English to children in northern Thailand.


About teachingteacher

Business communications instructor, journalist, corporate communications writer and media trainer ... and Masters Candidate M.Ad.Ed.
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