Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Remember when mobile phones were mostly used to make phone calls? Not so much anymore.

By: Steve Scaffidi, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

If you know the name Martin Cooper, well then, you're probably really good at trivia games. He's the former Motorola employee who invented the mobile telephone way back in 1973. When he created that incredible innovation, I'm sure he didn't anticipate that his device would ever be used for anything more than making phone calls. Fast forward to 2015 and according to media researchers, mobile devices are now used principally for Internet access and text messaging.

When looking just at Internet use, it's estimated that smartphone users spend more of their time on social media apps like Facebook and Twitter than anything else. That's an amazing statistic and proof that society is really undergoing a significant shift in how information is received and processed. Nightly news broadcasts and the daily newspaper are being replaced by instantaneous communications feeds that, in most cases are unedited, and certainly not fact-checked.

What to make of this trend? There are positive and negatives. One positive aspect of this digital connectedness is that we are all now "reachable" almost 24 hours a day. You’re accessible to family, friends, co-workers or clients at any time, with a greater ability to quickly respond or react to questions or a crisis. Need to research something? You're just a Google search away from having the answer. It’s truly instantaneous information at your fingertips whenever you need it. Hard to argue with that.

The negatives are becoming more apparent as well and, if you’re like me and have children, you've probably had some of these conversations. How much is too much? If your day is spent posting and tweeting are you really being productive? There is also the ability to say too much about your own life or having to read awkward or socially inappropriate details of someone else's. The problem of "too much information"' or TMI, can quickly turn a friendly digital conversation into a mad dash to click unfollow or block a former friend. Hurt feelings, without ever exchanging a word in person, is a byproduct of our growing social media defined world.

Being "social" also has come to mean that you are up to speed on the use of these relatively new technologies. For business purposes, understanding social media's bottom-line applications is a field of study in its infancy, and one that is still being measured by "likes" and "follows" versus dollars and sales figures. If you work in a business that utilizes social media, how are you using it to improve your business? Ultimately, does the buzz created by the use of social media increase their sales?

There's no doubt that we'll all figure out the new expectations and realities of a world defined by posts, tweets and text messages. But while we're getting there, can you please stop posting pictures of your cats or the meal you’re about to eat?

How much time do you spend with social media?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

And now for more Oscars’ news…..Words do hurt

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

The hype and thrill of the Oscars is over with awards given out to this year’s recipients. It’ll be almost a full year before the next round of hype and buzz surrounding the coveted gold statuette. But wait, just when you thought we didn’t have to hear any more about the Oscars for a long, time, the fallout is starting to happen.

Most prominent is the E! News Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic who said, “I feel that she smells like patchouli oil….or weed,” referring to the dreadlocks hairstyle actress Zendaya, of Disney movies and Dancing with the Stars fame, wore during the Oscars.

Zendaya fired back on Twitter that the Rancic’s comments were “stereotypical and outrageously offensive.” The firestorm had the Twitter universe lit up with major celebrities coming out in support of Zendaya.

In another comment in very poor taste, famed actor Benedict Cumberbatch referred to minority actors as “coloreds” during an interview on the Tavis Smiley PBS show just prior to the Oscars. The insensitive and hurtful comment created huge backlash and he quickly apologized for his insensitive remarks, acknowledging that they are “racist” and “outmoded.”

I’m writing about this not because I’m a huge Oscar’s fan or that I like to hear about celebrities in turmoil. I really don’t care about either. It’s simply a reminder to all of us that what we say has consequences and that a poor choice of words can be hurtful.

These are just two current, high profile examples of society’s lack of respect for others. Sadly, it’s becoming much more commonplace. Look around and you’ll see it just about everywhere you go. And, it’s becoming more prominent as social media continues to grow and people become more emboldened by the “anonymity” they falsely feel when using it.

I think we all need to remember that we live in the year 2015 where respect for others should be the norm, not the exception.

What do you think? Is society becoming emboldened to say whatever they want, whenever they want to?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a drone taking video!

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Relations, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
The kid in me says it would be really cool to have a drone to play around with. While I’ve never really been into remote control airplanes or helicopters, drones just seem to take things to a new level and look like a lot of fun.

As an amateur photographer, using a drone would certainly open up some interesting possibilities and provide a different camera perspective.

As a former news reporter, I can see drones as the next great tool in the ever-changing news business.

But I’m still a little uneasy about the idea of a drone hovering overhead when I’m out and about. This past summer I noticed one hovering overhead at an event in downtown Green Bay and also spotted one at a local high school football game.

Now the Federal Aviation Administration. (FAA) is working on rules that would govern drone use, including the use of drones for news reporting. While the actual Notice of Proposed Rule Making hasn’t been published yet, the FAA has released a fact sheet that outlines where the rules appear to be heading.

A NiemanLab report says the highlights include:

  • A requirement for drone operators to take an FAA knowledge test
  • Drone pilots will have to be “vetted” by the Transportation Security Administration
  • All journalism drones will have to be registered with the FAA
  • Basic operating limitations: day flight only and only within the sight of the operator
  • The drone cannot fly over someone who’s not directly involved in the operation
  • Air traffic control permission will be needed in certain areas

Even with those restrictions and requirements, Matt Waite, in his NeimanLab piece, indicates that…“This is the most hopeful I’ve been about the prospects for drone journalism in quite some time.” He goes on to say…“The vast majority of envisioned news purposes are all possible within this framework.”

But drone journalism is just one potential use for the flying machines. Consider also the possibility of the local delivery of goods, filmmaking, deliveries of important support items to remote areas, and the list goes one. In fact, the FAA estimates that the commercial drone industry could grow to $90 billion over the next 10 years, if the rules allow.

What do you think? Should drones be allowed for fast food deliveries or news reporting? Are you concerned about drones flying overhead?

The PR Experts

Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
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