listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say…

GlobeIf you wouldn’t broadcast it on radio or television then don’t broadcast it on your social media accounts – that is certainly a rule that we should all live by regardless of our position in society. When it comes to public social media accounts, high profile users and celebrities are not off limits and not an exception to the “be nice” rule. There are several examples of celebrities behaving badly on social media – unfortunately, we are all pretty immune to their rants at this point.

Huey Morgan of the BBC went on a rant when his colleague won a prestigious radio award instead of him – he ripped her program apart and attacked her professional abilities. Thankfully the subject of his rant handled the situation beautifully and didn’t escalate the rant into anything more than an angry and ungrateful man blowing off steam. In fact, the next morning, Morgan posted a series of apologies both to his colleague and for his behavior in general. While Morang shouldn’t have posted those remarks in the first place, he was correct in posting a public apology as soon as he came to terms with what he had done.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Enter Kanye West. At this point, we are all pretty accustomed to seeing and hearing West’s rants on social media; however, that certainly does not make it okay. The unfortunate part about West’s typical rants is that there is never a good reason for them and there is rarely an apology after the dust settles. It’s like the man just has a permanent chip on his shoulder and he enjoys picking fights with anyone that rubs him the wrong way. While it’s incredibly annoying, it doesn’t seem to be hurting his career at all (which is highly unfortunate in my opinion).

Golden RuleIn the end, it shouldn’t matter if you are famous or not – we all need to be held to some type of standard on social media. I always find it incredibly annoying when celebrities complain about not being able to live private lives – in my opinion, you sign away your private life the second you sign a contract for a movie or television show. The same goes for social media – don’t except to have a private social media life if you don’t have a private real life. It’s simple really – if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.

Ta-ta for now!

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How Much Is Too Much?

How much is too much? When it comes to using graphic photos in journalism and reporting, the line between “just right” and “too much” is quite thin. Graphic images can take on many different forms as well – it’s really in the “eye of the beholder” to determine if an image is too graphic for their liking. When discussing the topic of graphic images, our minds tend to immediately think of tragedies big and small. One of the most recent large-scale tragedies that we’ve seen was the bombing during the Boston Marathon in 2013.

The events of April 13, 2013 were large documented via social media. News outlets took to their Twitter feeds to update followers in real time and share up-close experiences with followers in faraway places. It was something that many of us had not experienced before – a tragic event being documented and updated by both “official” organizations and everyday citizens in rapid and real time. Because of the quick nature of the updates, many news outlets reported incorrect and misleading information. Not only were false reports floating around the Twitter-verse and beyond, so were questionably unethical and graphic images of victims, runners and passersby.

BostonOne image in particular gained a great deal of press – the image can be seen here to the right. Many may say this image shows the depth of hurt and pain that this event caused so many people and the incredibly first responders and volunteers that sprang into action. However, there is a different side to the story. There is a great possibility that this image reached the airwaves and Twitter feeds long before the man had a chance to contact his family and friends. How would you feel if this was your loved one and you found out he was seriously injured via a Twitter post? What if your child happened upon this photo? How would explain it and the events that took place? I’m an adult and a great deal of the images posted on this day were too hard and “real” for me to handle – I can’t imagine what would go through a minor’s mind when viewing such images.

This is just one case of news organizations utilizing potentially graphic images without fully thinking through the ethical implications of doing so. Thinking back to the events of September 11th, social media wasn’t even a factor in how the news reported the information on that day. Can you imagine how different the information from that day would have looked if Twitter and Instagram would have been a part of it? It’s almost scary to think about the amount of graphic images and videos that could have easily been shared with millions of people that day – in a way, we are probably better off to have not had the immediate and rapid-fire access that we have today. How different do you think the news coverage would have been if we were living in a “social” world in 2001?

While it is important for news outlets to share information and updates with the public, it’s equally as important for them to ensure they are doing everything possible to act ethically. Ethics is one big gray area and something that we might find offensive might not rub anyone else the wrong way. It’s a fine line that news organizations walk and there will probably never be a “right” and “wrong” answer to the age old “is this ethical” question. However, journalists can certainly use better judgment when it comes to sharing potentially graphic images.

Ta-ta for now!

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Tweeting Through Tragedy

HeadlinesWhile I’m not a real runner, I was definitely part of the “¼th of people” that learned about, and followed, the Boston marathon bombing via social media. At the time, I worked with two people that were actually running the marathon and our entire office was following the race via our social accounts. Because of this, my co-workers and I learned about the incident relatively quickly and we were able to stay on top of the information pouring in from the scene and surrounding areas. As the story continued to develop, it became increasingly more difficult to decipher the correct information from the false reports.

It’s easy to see how misinformation gets spread so quickly – when CNN first tweeted incorrect information about a suspect’s arrest, it was retweeted over 3,000 times. However, when they sent out a corrected tweet with accurate details, it was only retweeted 1,500 times. Whether this is because users would rather create “drama” or because the correct information wasn’t as “exciting” as the false information, we will never know. Because of the rapid nature of social media, specifically Twitter, it’s imperative that news organizations have their facts in order before tweeting – in situations like this, news outlets strive to be the first to report new information; however, they should focus just as much (if not more) time and energy on being the first to report accurate information!

copsNews organizations aren’t the only ones at “fault” during times of struggle and tragedy though. Often times, other organization take situations like the Boston marathon bombing and spin it into a marketing opportunity. Specifically, the Ford Motor Company took a heartfelt “thank you” to the first responders and turned it into, what seemed like, a full blown advertising ploy. We have no real way of knowing whether or not this was Ford’s intention, but the photo seen here certainly did not sit well with a great deal of people. Personally, I don’t have a huge problem with Ford’s message here – I don’t think it’s the most appropriate way to say “thank you” but it certainly beats not saying anything at all.

When it comes to organizations or individuals asking for “likes” to support a person pictured in a post, often someone who is sick or injured, my feelings are torn. While I do think that particular person would love to see how many people “like” them, I would hate for the person to read the comments on these types of posts. The comments can very quickly escalate to rude, nasty and offensive political battles on extremely personal and sensitive subjects – that is certainly not what I would want a sick or injured person reading! In these cases, however, I don’t tend to feel like the organization asking for “likes” is doing it for purely selfish reasons. In general, I think their efforts are sincere and honest.

partyAlong those same lines, I don’t think that companies or individuals posting “normal” things in the midst of situations like the Boston marathon bombing are necessarily unethical. While it might rub some people the wrong way, it could also be a way of showing the “bad guys” that we will not let their actions affect our daily lives.  I do think that it’s more acceptable for individuals to do this rather than businesses or organizations – it might be best to not spam your users with sales pitches during these situations. If brands don’t wish to address the situation directly, they should at least keep their posts general and not “in-your-face” advertising.

Ta-ta for now!

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Social Media Serenity

Social HeartFor quite some time, it has been taboo to check your social networks while “on the clock.” However, with social becoming such a driving force behind our businesses, it’s not surprising that many companies have relaxed their social usage policies. We now have entire teams dedicated to monitoring and contributing to social media platforms which requires them to be living and breathing on those sites. But what about those employees who are not directly involved with their company’s social media plans? Are they able to check their social sites while “on the clock” or is inhibiting them from completing their work?

According to a Microsoft study in 2013, “nearly half of employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity.” The study goes on to say  that “blocking and banning policies are ineffective, giving traditionalist supervisors a false sense of control that, in reality, has been slipping away for years.” From a personal standpoint, I am not directly involved in my company’s social efforts yet my Facebook tab is open pretty much all day long on my computer (and I check the app on my phone when I’m not at my desk). Having this open does not take away from my workplace productivity in the least. In fact, I’m intelligent enough to know that if it did begin to take away from my efficiency I would simply close the window and move on. Being able to jump over to either my personal email or my Facebook profile during the day helps to give my brain a break and, in turn, allows me to refocus on my work tasks if necessary.

By allowing your employees the freedom to explore their social networks during their work day, you’re showing that you trust them to be responsible and act ethically. Like Best Buy’s social media policy states, it’s important to remember your responsibility to your company both on and off the clock. If your employees know that you respect and trust them, they are much more likely to speak positively about your company when they are off the clock.  In the interest of fostering trust and respect, I do not think that it’s ethical for an employer to monitor an employee’s computer usage. The only exception would be if the employee’s work is suffering and/or tasks and assignments are not being completed on time.

It’s important for companies to ensure that their employees are made aware of their social media policies and that they know when updates to the policy have been made. How the company chooses to advertise these policies to their employees depends on the nature of their business. The best way to share policies might not be the same for an engineering company and a bakery! Whether it’s an email blast, a team meeting or signs in the hallways it’s really up to the company to decide what method works best.

Ta-ta for now!

listen-laugh-love

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Old vs Young – The Privacy Debate

FacebookThe last time I checked my Facebook privacy settings…about five minutes ago, before I started writing this blog! Prior to that, I couldn’t even begin to guess. I’ve had the same basic privacy settings (and basic profile information) since I created an account ions ago. I do adjust/tweak/check my privacy settings each time Facebook goes through one of their “face” lifts – in all honesty, I generally only pay attention to my photo privacy settings. In college, I started being extremely careful of the types of photos that I would get tagged in – I held a high position in my sorority and, in order to practice what I was preaching, I needed to ensure that I represented myself and my sorority in the best possible light.

Moving on…I wholeheartedly believe that a great deal of privacy concerns comes from older generations – folks who are just now getting into the social media world and have not grown up with their info out in the open. However, it’s funny to me that these older generations are pointing their fingers at us young kids for “over sharing” on the internet.

Case in point, my friend’s parents recently relocated to Florida and built a beautiful new home. However, there were a few aspects of their new home that weren’t really what they had discussed with their builder. So, what does her father do? He takes to the building company’s Facebook page of course. However, he doesn’t just leave an angry comment. He proceeds to leave his full name, address, phone number and email address demanding that someone get in touch with him. When my friend stumbled upon this, she immediately called her father flipping out and telling him to delete the comment right away! Older generations strike again!

Facebook2In terms of journalism, privacy is a tricky situation if you ask me. In the debate example we viewed this week, the privacy issue is at its trickiest! Do you, as a journalist, send a Facebook friend request to the former girlfriend loosely connected to a murder investigation? Is it in your own best interest to go out on this limb and jeopardize your journalistic reputation? Or, are you really even jeopardizing anything? Personally, I think that if you’re sending this girl a Facebook friend request, you need to be forthcoming with your information. Your profile needs to state that you are a reporter working for XYZ news; however, I don’t think you need to state this information in a separate message to the woman. It is part of the former girlfriends’ responsibility to check on the person sending her a friend request – if she sees no reason to deny you, then great, use it to your advantage! However, if she does deny your request, deal with it and find another way to gather information.

Ta-ta for now!

listen-laugh-love

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