Thursday, November 20, 2014

How much privacy do we have online?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

A recent New York Times piece (Americans Say They Want Privacy, but Act as if They Don’t) caught my attention. It cites a Pew Research Center survey that found that “Americans say they are deeply concerned about privacy on the web and their cellphones, but they do not trust Internet companies or the government to protect it.”

The numbers from the survey are interesting. Here are the percentages of people concerned about sharing private information through various channels:
  • Social media – 81 percent  
  • Online chats – 68 percent
  • Texting – 59 percent 
  • Email – 57 percent
  • Talking on cellphones – 46 percent
  • Talking on landlines – 31 percent
The survey also found that those who were more aware of the reports about government surveillance were more likely to be concerned about communicating private information. In addition, the survey found an equal distrust of advertisers and the government.

While many of us are concerned about sharing information online, it appears that most of us are willing to accept that privacy trade-off as we live our lives online in today’s world.

What do you think? Are you concerned about sharing information online? Does is bother you that advertisers, and maybe the government, may be monitoring your online information? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Live Tweeting: Friend or Foe?

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

I was talking with some veteran PR practioners last week, discussing the use of Twitter for work and our clients. The conversation turned to Twitter and presentations, when one of our group remarked:  “I was giving a presentation recently and I’m used to looking at the audience, but no one was looking up, much less looking at me. They were live Tweeting the entire time.” 

That led to a discussion as to whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, it means that what you’re saying must be valuable to those in the audience and they want to share your advice or thoughts. Very flattering; after all, isn’t that what you hope for when doing a presentation? On the other hand, we were all in agreement that it makes us wonder if the audience is really listening to what you have to say; comprehending it as a whole as opposed to just repeating tiny bites of information. Plus, it makes it much harder to engage with the audience when they never look up.

So is live Tweeting friend or foe? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s our job, as presenters, to find ways to connect with the audience while they’re connected to their phones. So, the next time I’m giving a presentation, I will arrive early to start conversations with attendees and get them engaged with me before I start to talk. I’ll also point out the most pertinent information in my presentation so that maybe, for just a minute, those who are Tweeting will stop and think about what’s being said before going back to Tweeting.  

What’s your take on live Tweeting during presentations?  Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in-between? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Don't let consistency stall your creativity. Try writing "outside the box"

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

We’ve all heard the term thinking outside the box when tasked with trying to reinvent an old idea or brainstorm a new one. Breaking away from traditional ways of problem solving or changing how we approach a new challenge is sometimes difficult to do. With experience comes patterns of behavior and sometimes these habits can be a barrier to creativity.

It’s no different with your public relations efforts. It’s easy to fall into that trap of familiarity when writing news releases or media alerts. You know your company inside and out, and it’s easy to go back to the same descriptive terms. But your writing tool box should include a small kit that says experimental or really out there and using that kit from time to time could stretch your creativity in ways you haven’t really thought about.

As you put fingers to keypad, think about that concept when you begin to write something for your business. Is there an expectation that whatever you are writing about has to be framed in the same way as the previous 10 times you said it? While consistency is important, perhaps putting a unique spin on a concept could spur some additional interest. Think about the example of social media and marketing. A few years ago, most businesses didn’t respect or didn’t understand the power of a social media application like Twitter. Now it’s looked upon as a launching point for new ideas and products to gauge consumer reaction and generate buzz.

Applying that same philosophy to whatever you create for your business could inspire you to reach beyond what’s normal or expected and tap into creativity you didn’t even realize you had. Don’t be afraid of finding a unique way to say something familiar. While the message may be the same, how you got there might just be interesting enough to change who pays attention to it.