The High Cost of Ignoring Social Media

The rise of social media has changed not only the speed of news, but also necessitates a change in PR strategy.

The traditional press release announcing that your company was well-prepared for a disaster and able to minimize its effects might not reach all reporters in a timely manner.  First, press releases take time to prepare (hopefully you’ve mocked that up ahead of time as part of your crisis communication planning and just have to fill in the blanks).  Second, traditional releases may ignore or undervalue citizen reporters who use social media.

According to the CDC, not engaging with publics on social media can have the same negative effects as not returning a reporter’s call.  If your agency isn’t representing itself on social media, chances are high that someone is commenting on your disaster somewhere in cyberspace, and the CDC warns that citizen reporters and possibly even mainstream reporters will seek out content on social media whether or not it is an agency-sanctioned source.

Establish Credibility Before a Crisis.  It’s important to establish your agency’s credibility on social media, with official Facebook and Twitter pages that contain your logo and contact information.  Your social media credibility should be developed before a crisis if possible, with regular updates to your Facebook and Twitter feeds.  This will allow reporters (both citizen and traditional) to gain a sense of what your agency is really about and have a way to contact you with questions.

Listen, Listen, Listen! It’s important to monitor conversations about your brand or agency online.  This will allow you to address questions or correct assumptions as they come up.

Pediatricians: Communicate Social Media Risks to Adolescents

This cannot be said enough: pediatricians (and parents!!!) need to stay abreast of social media trends to help protect children.  Social media takes what might have been considered innocent (though not well thought out) pranks and amplifies them, extending the reach and making any negative outcomes both public and longer lasting.

Vine, an iPhone app that helps users capture six seconds (and only six) of video and then share it with friends and followers, has some teens making ill-advised decisions in the public sphere.

Matt Espinosa, a 16 year-old Virgina boy, has amassed quite a following of (mostly) younger adolescent girls through his Vines.  This past weekend, he organized a meet-up with his fans at a mall in Fairfax, Va.  The screaming pre-teens created such riotous chaos that other shoppers and security guards thought there was a shooting.  Espinosa is cute, no doubt, but this new ability to organize crowds via smartphones can lead to trouble, costing taxpayers and businesses money, and may not be the sort of fame he’s proud of in 20 years or so.

Last week, another teenage boy, Obi Nwosu, attempted to film himself jumping over an oncoming car for Vine.  He was hit by the car – and it was all caught on film.  Nwosu posted it to Vine originally, but then deleted it realizing that he shouldn’t “do it for Vine.”

The thing most teens (and many adults) still don’t seem to understand is that nothing is ever permanently deleted from the Internet.  It didn’t take long for the video to resurface and quickly gain cringe popularity.

Socialmediaphobe’s bottom line is, once again: pediatricians, talk to your patients (and their parents) about social media.  The speed of social media fame is incredibly fast; stunt videos that they may think make them cool can be dangerous and permanent, and have long-lasting implications on their health, their future college and job opportunities.  Many of today’s youth only access the Internet from their smartphones, making it even harder for parents to track their activities – and more important!  Keep abreast of changing technologies so that you can talk to patients about making good choices.

Parents of Teens: Beware the Vine (When Viral Marketing Goes Awry)

Just when you thought it was safe to give your kids an iPhone: adolescents have a new, potentially viral, way of making a name for themselves (and landing in jail, the emergency room, or on your local news).  Vine, an app that allows you to record and loop six seconds of video (and only six) all from your iPhone, requires a steep ramp in creativity as it helps savvy brands (and teens) to reach fans.

How much can you do in six seconds? GE’s six second science fair is perhaps one of the most inspirational, strategic, and targeted use of Vine I’ve seen:

It’s a fast, relatively inexpensive way to reach a lot of people with a condensed message.  And, the social media kickback doesn’t hurt either – a few popular, company-generated vines can inspire crowds to make their own, using your hashtag to increase their reach.

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 10.07.59 AM

Unfortunately, Vine’s become an inexpensive way for today’s teens to record and amplify their antics as well.

Matt Espinosa, a 16 year-old Virgina boy, has amassed quite a following of (mostly) younger adolescent girls through his Vines.  This past weekend, he organized a meet-up with his fans at a mall in Fairfax, Va.  The screaming pre-teens created such riotous chaos that other shoppers and security guards thought there was a shooting.  Espinosa is cute, no doubt, but this new ability to organize crowds via smartphones can lead to trouble, costing taxpayers and businesses money, and may not be the sort of fame he’s proud of in 20 years or so.

Last week, another teenage boy, Obi Nwosu, attempted to film himself jumping over an oncoming car for Vine.  He was hit by the car – and it was all caught on film.  Nwosu posted it to Vine originally, but then deleted it realizing that he shouldn’t “do it for Vine.”

The thing most teens (and many adults) still don’t seem to understand is that nothing is ever permanently deleted from the Internet.  It didn’t take long for the video to resurface and quickly gain cringe popularity.

Socialmediaphobe’s bottom line is, once again: parents, talk to your kids!  The speed of social media fame is incredibly fast; stunt videos that they may think make them cool can be dangerous and permanent, and have long-lasting implications on their health, their future college and job opportunities.  Many of today’s youth only access the Internet from their smartphones, making it even harder for parents to track their activities – and more important!  Know what your kids are doing, filming, and viewing online, and talk to them about making good choices.

This is something BatDad captures quite well – in a rather big-brotheresque way sure to make most parents smile.

Blogger Ethics: The Quest for a Genuine “Like”

My blogs have been discovered by a group of Internet users who claim to be making so more than $120,000 per month working very little, all online, from beautiful, remote locations.  While I appreciate the readership, I want to feel as though people are actually “liking” my posts, not just blindly clicking the button in an effort to grow their network.

All the “likes” come from apparent wordpress users, but they all link to Project AWOL and advertise making easy money. It reminds me of the signs you sometimes see on roads with high traffic telling you you can work from home and make thousands of dollars per month. Times infinity.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about blogging online.  Growing readership is not easy or necessarily organic.  When I get new readers, I find it exciting, and I visit their sites and see what they are about.  I don’t follow sites I’m not interested in. I don’t follow sites to get follow-backs.  Maybe I’m too old-school for this game.

Unlike the 19 year-olds who claim to run Project AWOL.  This is NOT an endorsement of their work, but the YouTube video is interesting.  Somehow, it seems more like a cult than a business.  

Social Media Planning: Make a List and Check It Twice

Tasked with reading non-fiction by my daughter’s third grade teacher, last night we cuddled into bed to read one of my favorites from her shelf: Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women.  The last time we read it together, I must have skipped the introduction.  So, this was the first time I realized that the Apgar scoring system that screens newborns for potential health emergencies immediately following birth was created by a woman: Dr. Virginia Apgar.  I was struck by how such a seemingly simple checklist could make such a significant difference in the lives of many children, including my own preemie (now the third grader, thriving and healthy).  I’m thrilled that Dr. Apgar was a woman, but what got me thinking was really that a checklist could be considered an invention.

Image

Image from exkaliber.com

This reminds me of a book I read over my brief summer break from graduate school, recommended by a professor (and later discussed on Stephen Colbert) by Dr. Atul Gawande: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.  In this book, Dr. Gawande suggests that something as innate as communication – in the form of lists – can drastically improve our chances of getting things right in times of crisis.  As a busy working mom of two children, I don’t just use lists in times of crisis, I use lists EVERYDAY!  The first thing I do when I sit down at my desk each morning is write a list of important tasks for the day. I don’t always get to all of them, but somehow the process of writing them down, and crossing them off as I go, pleases me.  It helps me to focus more on the moment, knowing what will come next and what I’ve already accomplished.

When I talk with organizations about using social media, I hear a lot about how overwhelmed they feel already by tasks and endless email inboxes; they say that using social media just isn’t a priority for them.  Social media is not a passing fad.  Social media has changed the way customers communicate with businesses, requiring increasing transparency; it’s changed the way and speed at which news is delivered; it’s allowed people to develop a sense of community with peers across distances.  These changes are here to stay – the world is smaller and more transparent, and a lot more preoccupied with their new iPhones.  The thing is: using social media does not necessitate obsessively checking Twitter and Facebook.  If done right, it means selecting the platforms that seem appropriate for your organization, deciding how to use them strategically, and then setting a schedule (i.e., making a list).  Set aside a time of day, maybe 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to check-in on your social media accounts, check for mentions, and respond to comments, then let the rest go.  Set up your account so that you’re alerted each time your brand is mentioned in social media and trust the system.

After all, there are only 24 hours in a day.  Make a list, check it twice, and for heaven’s sake, keep your smartphone away from the dinner table.

Non-Profits Use Tweetchats to Discuss Social Media Best Practices: #CLE4good

Sharing best practices is good for business!  It doesn’t mean sharing all your engagement methods or branding secrets; it means gathering in the Twitterverse to share things you have in common with those in your community, building bridges of success together by sharing what works for you and what doesn’t.  This sense of community is even more important if you work for a non-profit, as you may not have the resources to hire a full-time social media strategist, may not be sure how best to use social media with the resources you have, and may be able to learn from (and teach) your peers.

Courtesy of: wikipedia

Courtesy of: wikipedia

Imagine my surprise as a Clevelander when I scanned through what was trending on Twitter this afternoon and found #CLE4good.  #CLE4good is hosted by The Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation), and is a great opportunity for local non-profits to get together and discuss issues and opportunities in their area.  Go Cleveland!

I’m breaking up with my iPhone (or at least making it sleep on the couch)

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

I feel a bit like Runny Babbit this morning.  I’ve had a bit of insomnia for several nights now – mostly due to the kids’ transition back to school, a sick puppy, and the stress of family life.  I’ve broken my own rule…  I have been checking my email, Facebook, sometimes even Twitter, multiple times each night.

I keep my phone at the bedside because it’s a reliable alarm clock – regardless of potential power outages, my phone has consistently sung me awake for years.  I put it on airplane mode because I find that do not disturb doesn’t work in all cases, and I don’t want the beeping or buzzing interfering with the little bit of sleep I get.  When I started freelancing for a client in a different time zone, my sleep habits changed.  Or were ruined.  You’d think having to type in a password, then turn the airplane mode off would be enough to make me stop to consider the possible consequences to my health.  I’m now checking email around midnight and at 3am fairly consistently.  This morning, I was unable to fall back to sleep, and actually ended up getting up to start my day.  NOT GOOD!

According to a news release today, I am not alone.  It seems that many of us struggle with the feeling of being always-on.  We have become so attached to these mobile devices that we don’t feel whole without them.  Image from sfgate.com

Image from sfgate.com

I am NOT in this age group and my smartphone is not this snuggly!  After so many lost hours of sleep this week, I have the sunken, black eyes of a zombie and can hardly speak in complete sentences.  And so, I’m ousting my smartphone from the bedroom.  I’ll buy a digital alarm clock with back-up batteries and will not look back.  Turns out, there are things that can actually wait until morning, but sleep is rarely one of them!  Socialmediaphobe needs a nap…