Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why You Should Be Reading Everyday

By: Ashley Vickney, Account Assistant,
Leonard & Finco Public Relations

In today’s tech climate, you simply open your favorite social media app and are able to discover the latest trending news story within seconds. While this is great on the go, we aren’t getting the meat of the story any longer. Case in point, in an article released by the Pew Research Center, I was surprised to find out that what the average American adult believes and what scientists believe are two very different things. In that same article, it was noted that for the first time since 2004, more Mexicans were leaving the U.S. than were entering.

As public relations professionals, or humans in general, it is important to convey the truth. Not just what it may seem like. Reading also gives you more knowledge in which to draw inspiration from, keeping your ideas fresh!

Keeping that in mind, here are 5 ways to add at least 15 more minutes of reading into your day.
  1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier: Instead of checking your email right away, read your local newspaper’s top three stories (in print or online) and then go to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or another national newspaper and read their top two articles. That extra 15 minutes leaves you well-informed locally and nationally as well as ready to take on your day. 
  2. Sign up for daily emails: Email services like TheSkimm and Need2Know are great tools to get a lot of information in a little amount of time. They also offer click through links if you want to know even more details, and they’re hilarious which is a great way to wake up. 
  3. Read memoirs, biographies and autobiographies: Events that play out in the news are rarely represented completely and these books tend to give great insight into the thoughts of others. It also shows you that the people we look up to, often have the same doubts and similar challenges that you do. 
  4.  Take time to read during your lunch break: Do you take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for lunch? Take half of that and read a book, a newspaper or catch up on trending topics using Twitter or Facebook. You take time to unwind from your work and get more reading in. 
  5. Read for 20 minutes before you go to sleep: Grab that memoir, biography or autobiography and read before you go to bed. You’re more likely to get a better night’s sleep, and you met your reading quota for the day!
By just adopting one of these, you’re on the road to being more informed and more inspired. What are looking forward to reading?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Are you "cool" under social media fire?

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

Most of us have probably read a social media post that has infuriated us or, at least, prompted a desire to fire off a snarky or snipe-filled response. Here's a couple I captured off the internet:

"I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motor city and yet no one here knows how to [expletive] drive."  This was written by an auto industry contractor, who probably didn't think it would offend anyone, unless of course you're from Detroit or work for an auto manufacturer. The message here is know your audience, and most importantly, consider who it is that pays your salary.

"The truth is going to bury you and your entire camp." This threat was sent out by an NFL football player via Twitter in 2014 and resulted in the player being suspended  by the NFL,  released by the team he was playing for and a lawsuit. Plus, he irrevocably damaged his reputation. Eleven words that changed his life.

It's always a good idea to take a breath when tweeting, posting or responding to anything that raises an eyebrow on the first take. That's not an easy thing to do and, certainly, there is always a time and place for a direct response to anything that offends or irritates.

Being calm under fire is certainly one of the traits that most people aspire to, but it can be a challenge. Knowing when to respond can be just as important as how you respond. In many ways, disputes over email and social media have replaced face-to-face arguments as a principal source of friction in the workplace and the size of the company doesn’t matter.  Many of the major companies in the U.S. have had some rather embarrassing public exchanges on social media. No one is immune from it. Good employees can make mistakes, and unintended meanings or unexpected responses are certainly part of the spontaneously combustible world of instant communication. 

In the past, when you had to walk down a hallway to interact with a boss or a fellow employee, you at least had time to consider what it was you were going to say. With the advent of email and social media, you can literally fire off a response in seconds. That’s definitely not enough time to decompress, edit, or even reconsider your thoughts. 

Whether you're extremely agitated by something you read, or just want to add your "two cents" to a conversation taking place on social media, think carefully about what you say, before you say it. A moment of thoughtful contemplation may save you from a whole lot of heartache. Doing so will allow you to add careful and considerate to your list of personal skill sets. Your reputation and your boss may thank you later.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Are you ready for longer Tweets?

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

In its relatively short history, the only thing certain about social media is that it will change. Whether we like it or not, Facebook launches something new on a regular basis. And Twitter may soon be looking to make a major change.

Now that those of us who use Twitter have gotten used to the 140-character limit, there have been multiple reports that the character limit will increase. The number being bandied about is a 10,000 character limit, which matches the limit Twitter has for its Direct Messages. 

It’s easy to see why Twitter is looking to shake things up. When compared to Facebook, Twitter is lagging far behind. In fact, more than 1.5 million people use Facebook at least once a month, about five times the number of monthly users of Twitter.

Reaction hasn’t been very positive. A recent piece noted that…“Part of the beauty of Twitter is how spare it is. It is low pressure, a chance to dash off a witty comment or a photo while you wait in line at the grocery store.” The Bloomberg piece goes on to compare the length of a 10,000 character Tweet to the length of a family Christmas letter.

It should be noted that reports are that the “look” of Twitter won’t change that much. You would still only see the first 140 characters of the tweet, but there would be some indication that if you click on the tweet it would expand to reveal the additional content.

It will be interesting to see where Twitter goes with the character limit. I, for one, look to Twitter for the quick updates and don’t see the advantages of longer Tweets. What do you think?

By the way – this blog checks in at about 1,640 characters.