Thursday, December 1, 2016

How much is too much Politics?

By: Steve Scaffidi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

One of the concepts I heard the most about during the latest political campaign was election fatigue. Most of us – at least those with landlines or who are still plugged in to cable TV or satellite – were bombarded with phone calls and ads extolling the virtues of a particular candidate. And most of the ads were at the expense of the other candidate who was depicted in, let's just say, unflattering terms.

As someone who works in the communications business, I appreciate the work and energy that goes into creating a campaign ad, and the incredible passion that agencies, and campaigns for that matter, have for their candidates. But on the other end is a public who has spent the greater part of a year – more than that if you live in Wisconsin and remember the recall – listening adnauseum to these ads to the point of mentally and physically unplugging to avoid them. And that means actually ignoring the phone and turning off the TV, a scary thought for the folks who spend millions of dollars putting these messages out there.

As recent headlines note, the election process continues on, and the candidates – both losers and winners – are showing no sign of stepping off the gas. There are continued discussions, recounts, and media appearances that are intent on keeping the focus on an election that, in the past, would have ended in November.

So, yes, the public has been, and probably will be for a while, fatigued and tired of what seems like an endless election cycle. Is there a benefit for society and our country in all of this? Are we more engaged? Not if you measure engagement by voting, which showed a slighter lower turnout in 2016, than in 2012.

But if you consider conversation and communication as part of an election engagement measurement, maybe so. Ratings for political shows on the networks broke ratings records, and if talk radio is any indicator, it was certainly on people's minds.

Can this saturation of politics be good for us? Only if it results in increased voter participation. Talking it out may make people feel good about their opinions, and that sometimes translates to a better sense of well-being, but elections still matter. Action still matters more than talking about doing something. At least if the people winning the elections actually listen to the folks who voted them in!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The spirit of giving

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means time off from work, turkey and all the fixings, football and, of course, Black Friday for those who dare to get their shopping started. After several years of Black Friday creeping earlier and earlier into Thanksgiving, some store chains and malls are moving the openings back to Friday. I’m all in favor of that, but to be honest, I’ve never been much of a Black Friday shopper.

For me, the holidays are about family and friends. It’s also about community. This is a great time of year to think about ways to give back and do something for others. Here are just a few thoughts:

  • Volunteer – Even if you have a lot of people to shop for, think about taking some time to help out with your favorite nonprofit. Volunteers are the key to the success of most charitable organizations. The Christmas season is a great time to ring bells for The Salvation Army or prepare a meal at the local homeless shelter. Giving your time and energy is a great gift during the holidays and at other times of the year.
  • Plan an office fundraiser – You can turn a work lunch into a fundraising event or maybe plan an office bake sale to raise money for charity. Even if you have a small office, if everyone gets involved, the nickels and dimes do add up.
  • Collect food or toys – Many organizations are looking for non-perishable food donations or toys during the Christmas season. If everyone in your workplace donates a couple of cans of food or a toy, those items can collectively make a difference for those who are less fortunate this holiday season.
Charitable efforts in the workplace can also lead to improved teamwork. And you’ll also reap the benefits of knowing that you’ve done something to help those in need.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Epidemic of Oversharing

By: Allison Barnes, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
We can all think of at least one friend on social media who posts too much, whether its baby pictures, political opinions, what they’re eating or what they did over the weekend. It’s fun to see what people are up to or what they have to say, but after a while newsfeeds seem to be flooded by the same people, talking about the same things over and over again. As a young professional, I understand the fun and business sides of social media, but I don’t understand where people lose their filters and share too much. Are we attracted to the idea of people liking our photos, being jealous of what we are up to, or think people really care what we have to say? Let’s evaluate this epidemic and ways to avoid being “that friend.”

I try to be cautious on social media; do we really know who is watching our profiles? Will my boss, future employers, parents or future children read this someday? Privacy settings change without us being aware of it. Just because a private account on Twitter says “this account’s Tweets are protected,” one of your followers could retweet you and other people can see it. I once asked a colleague who I was not Facebook friends with to search my profile because I wanted to see if my privacy settings worked. While my posts and photos did not appear on my profile, every profile picture and cover photo I had ever posted did. We don’t know how long our imprint on the internet will last, so let’s leave something to be proud of. Check your accounts privacy settings occasionally and “edit” your profile to best represent you.

For young professionals, remember to watch what we say, how we are representing ourselves and how we represent the businesses we work for. The freedom to share what we want, when we want and who we want to share it with, is not exactly easy. Friends can share, tag, and mention whoever they want without our permission. Don’t be afraid to remove the tag of yourself on a photo or ask a friend to take down a post on social media. It they’re a good friend, they will understand.

So how do we decide what to share with the world and what can wait to be shared in person? Consider who will see your posts before posting them. How will my parents or friends feel if I shared this with others? How am I representing myself? Photos and comments live on the internet forever. Do you want your future children reading an inappropriate comment you wrote, 20 years from now?

When I am unsure if I want to post or tweet something, I usually don’t share it. Another option is to try waiting a few hours or sleeping on it before posting. After a good night’s sleep, you might realize how the post may appear to others or you may have completely different feelings about the topic.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, photos or stories with the world. Social media is an expression of who we are, and I think our profiles should reflect our personalities. Let’s take a step back every once in a while to evaluate what our profiles say about ourselves.