Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is social media turning us into ego maniacs?

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
I’m dating myself a bit, but I remember the days when family photo albums were filled with photos of your family and friends. Fast forward to 2014 and photo albums have gone digital and the family photos have been replaced with the "selfie."
Selfie congratulations
(Photo credit: kevin dooley)

For those that aren’t the most tech savvy, selfies are when you take a photo of yourself, most commonly using a smart phone, and then uploading the photo to any number of social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or many others.

What I find intriguing is the growing number of people that are just taking photos with only themselves in it and posting it for their friends and family to see. In many cases, the selfies are poses of them doing mundane things such as sitting at the beach, relaxing in their backyard or, on rare occasion, posing in front of some historic monument or iconic symbol that identifies where they were at when they took the photo.

My interest is piqued because I often wonder to myself, “Are these people that self-centered?” Did these selfie picture posters truly go to the Grand Canyon or view the Golden Gate Bridge all by themselves? Of course, that takes me to another level of thought and that is, do these selfie fanatics not have any friends?

Yes, I’m sure many of them do but they’ve become so self-absorbed that it seems they forgot to include their friends in the photo.

I say this to those selfie crazed photo bugs. Look ahead to your twilight years. Imagine sitting around with your grandchildren or great-grandchildren and showing them the photos that encapsulate your life and showing them nothing but pictures of yourself. If you were easily bored with the photos from your parent’s photo albums, imagine what you grandchildren will think when it’s nothing but you in every photo.

What are your thoughts? Are we so worried about trying to be the focus of our world that we forget to include others in it? 
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Best Ways to Use Video

English: Video Icon2
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard  & Finco Public Relations

Times they are a changin’ – and rather fast. In recent years, we have been told that social media is all about content, content, content. Creative content will get you noticed, spark conversations and have people coming back for more. And while the basic ‘content is king’ idea is still true, how we create and share what we have to say has continued to evolve.

According to a recent post on Social Media Today, experts say that videos are 53 times more likely to show up on the first page of search results. In other words, video can be an effective tool to drive people to your website, so if you aren’t on board, you better be soon.

Creating and posting videos are pretty easy these days with the popularity of Vine and Instagram or simply using the video capabilities on a mobile device. Just point, shoot and post, right? Uploading a video might be easy, but coming up with what the video should be about can be a challenge. Consider these ideas to help get you started:
  • Don’t make a commercial. Who likes commercials? Think about sharing a story or an experience. Make the video relevant to your business, not about selling a product.
  • Give advice or offer expert tips that people can use and will want to share with others.
  • Be interesting! The ‘face’ of your video should be someone who is upbeat and comfortable in front of a camera.
  • Have fun and be creative. Videos give you a bit more freedom to have some fun. If you have a good time making the video, people will have a good time watching it.
  • Keep it short. Think about your story and how long it will take to share it. Will a six second Vine video work or do you need a bit more time? Think about how long someone will be willing to commit to watching. I watch a lot of videos on my phone and if it’s too much longer than a minute, I pass it by unless the headline really intrigues me.

Video can be a fun way to reach and engage your audience. But before you start filming, be sure you have determined how video will be incorporated with the rest of your social media strategy and how you can measure its success.

How do you use video? Feel free to share some tips that have (and haven’t) worked!
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Search engines hit hard by court ruling

Facebook: The privacy saga continues
 (Photo credit: opensourceway)

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

A ruling by Europe’s highest court this week may well have serious impacts for online search engines, particularly Google as it’s the predominant search engine used in Europe.The ruling provides Europeans the ability to request that sensitive information about them be removed from Internet search results. 

The case stemmed from a man in Spain who argued that his right to privacy was infringed upon after search engine results revealed details of his home being repossessed and auctioned off. The details came from a story in a local newspaper.

Since the court’s decision, the Internet has blown up with people weighing in on both sides of the issue. Many applaud the court for giving privacy rights back to individuals. Those opposing the decision claim that allowing people to restrict what can be found online restricts free speech.

I can appreciate both sides of the argument. I understand that everyone should have the ability to access a wide variety of information. For many, including me, it helps us do our jobs better. I use the Internet regularly for research. However, I can also appreciate and fully support the right to one’s privacy.

Although slightly removed from my teenage days, I can understand how people in their youth put things on their Facebook page or other social media sites that may seem harmless and goofy now, but that can severely hurt them later as they begin their careers. People sometimes do foolish things, particularly teens, and I don’t feel it’s right to punish them forever. My thought is that people have the right to their privacy and that if they choose to have something about them removed from the searches, they should have that ability.

Having said that, I do feel that legitimate news stories should not be blocked. In the case that led to this ruling, I feel the courts should not have ruled the way they have. It was a legitimate story in a reputable newspaper.

What are your thoughts? Do you think you should have more control over your own privacy on the Internet?

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

How good are you at multi-tasking?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Susan Finco
Multi-tasking is almost an obsession for many of us. Making the most of today's technology, we take great pride in being able to do several things at once, or in quick succession. It certainly makes you feel more productive. But it also tends to foster the belief that we have to be connected every minute and respond to every call, text or email instantaneously. We tend to believe if we aren't doing two things at once, we somehow aren't making the most of our time.

But this double duty, and the impatience to get an instant response, doesn't always equal great results or make for positive, productive relationships. How often have you been in a meeting and realize half of the people there are checking their phones or other devices instead of paying attention to what's going on at the meeting? If you're on the job, whether as an employee or as a consultant, doesn't the meeting organizer deserve your undivided attention? Not to mention if you're the one paying attention, you can count on someone asking you later, "what was so and so talking about?"

We've all been out for a meal with a friend who is constantly looking at their phone or responding to texts. Pretty annoying isn't it? I once saw a couple at an upscale restaurant and, the entire time they were eating, he was watching a movie on his IPad. Why she didn't walk out was beyond me.

Some things lend themselves to multi-tasking, like doing the laundry while catching up on your favorite show. But when things really matter (when you're at a meeting, you're out for dinner with friends or your significant other), it's time to back away from your devices and pay attention. Your work and your relationships will be better for the effort. It's something we all need to learn (myself included)!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Even in a 24/7 connected world, it’s OK to disconnect

By: Angela Raleigh, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Smartphones and tablets have made it easier to be connected 24/7. Whether for personal or business use, we keep our mobile devices on all the time.

While being connected 24/7 and having the latest apps may seem like a convenience for just about anyone, it's important to remember that it's OK to put down your phone and live in the moment.

Think about the last time you were out in public and looked around. How many people were staring down at a smartphone, tablet or some other mobile device? Or think about how many times a day you turn to your phone to check the time, read texts and emails or log in to update a Facebook status or tweet out the latest information? Probably more than you think because it's become second nature to check our phones during conversations, meetings and even at the dinner table.

Smartphones do provide quick, easy access to information and fit into our back pocket. But as society becomes more dependent on being connected there is a higher expectation to always be available and to respond instantly, which isn't always possible.

Remember, it's OK to step back and disconnect. Maybe you let a phone call go to voice mail or stop looking at emails and social networks after a certain time at night. No matter what you choose to do to disconnect, it's good for your own sanity so you can recharge and be ready to perform your best.