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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An election unlike any other provides valuable lessons

By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Depending upon what side of the isle you lean, you were either exuberant very late last night (er, um, early this morning) or extremely disappointed. Setting the outcome aside, one lessen I think became quite clear is how social media has changed the way politics is perceived and how it is minimizing the impact traditional media plays in our election process.

Thinking back to the presidential elections I’ve witnessed (sadly, a lot which shows my age) prior to social media, most citizens got their news from just a select few national media outlets. In the early 80s, there were three national television networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) and a few national papers. In the 90s, that number grew with the addition of a few more national media, but citizens had little option but to look to these outlets to get their information to formulate their decisions.

In addition, with limited ways to get their message out, candidates had to seek out these reporters and position their messaging to generate coverage that would be positive for them. This gave reporters a significant amount of influence. It also meant people placed a high degree of trust in what was being reported and who was doing the reporting. Hence, you had such news stalwarts as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw who were trusted in providing their audience with accurate information. 

Fast forward to 2016 and I believe that influence has waned significantly as candidates can now circumvent the media through social media platforms and speak directly to their audience, without the filter or fact checking of the media. It also allows the public to go to a variety of sources to find information instead of relying on a “small” group of traditional media for information. 

Perhaps to some detriment, the public can also choose to review information from sites that present information from only their political view and don’t accurately portray the other side, leaving little, if no, opportunity to get a full perspective of the candidates.

Whatever your political view, I think this election highlights that social media has definitely changed the landscape of politics and how future campaigns will be managed.