Rubbernecking in the Wake of the #MeToo Movement

By | Communications, Social Media | No Comments

I used to think a person finds out who their true friends are during a divorce. I was wrong. The real friends stick around after you’ve met someone new and start dating and are happy and in love again. I was surprised at the people who were more interested in the falling apart of my life than the building back up. I thought about the way we share our lives on social media, though, and became less surprised.

There’s a perception that people create these carefully crafted, happy looking lives with great vacations and beautiful families. Everything, as seen in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts looks just perfect. To me, that’s sharing only the shareable — not sharing what the user considers private. So yes, to some, that might look manufactured. And so, when a person’s life undeniably falls apart, we’re curious. Did we miss some clue in the photos on the Instagram account? Why were those last vacation photos all solo selfies?

We’re in the beginning of a movement that is going to have a lot of those online images crumbling. The #metoo movement, and today’s recognition of the Silence Breakers as the Person of the Year in Time Magazine is huge and will have an ongoing impact. It is only a matter of time before our colleagues, friends, friends’ husbands and partners lose their jobs or are called out publicly for sexual abuse or harassment.

I hope that we can refrain, as a culture, from social rubbernecking as peoples lives crumble around us. No, of course no one’s life is perfect, even if their social media would otherwise indicate. Victims will share what they wish and we should be respectful of that. Families of abusers are often collateral damage in these situations. Let’s let them be.

Let’s Talk About the Word Bitch

By | Communications | One Comment

When I was in sixth grade, Sister Edwardine, a tiny, ancient nun, got wind of some of the boys calling the girls “bitch.” Our teacher calmly gathered us and explained the origin of the word and why it was an insult when used, and why, exactly one should think twice before saying it. You could have heard a pin drop as this diminutive Dominican said, “if you call someone’s mother a bitch, you’re saying that woman is having sex with everyone in town.”

How we held it together, I’ll never know.

I don’t use the word bitch. I don’t swear much, but I’m not a prude, either. I just don’t use words that demean women. Funny how I just have a policy like that; odd little quirk of mine, being a woman and all. It was interesting to me, when only five years ago, in 2012 network television loosened the reigns and allowed “bitch” to slide. Suddenly, everyone from Betty White to Tina Fey was dropping the B-word.

Is normalizing a word the right approach? Do we “take it back” when we try to alter the meaning, and make it empowering? Does it make it hurt any less when someone uses it in a hurtful way, like when a man calls his wife a bitch in front of their children? I don’t think it does.

The sentiment is a bad one and in the upswing of women standing up to harassment, I think one small thing we can do is stop using words that demean women, even to be funny, even as a word of empowerment, even when it’s women using it with other women.

 

A major fail on Twitter this week began when user Nutella asked people to “name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.” The backfire resulted in tweets like:

 

 

 

 

 

I think we need to use better words to describe the women we admire. Do you really want to call Malala a bad bitch? I certainly don’t.

When network television adopted the word, so did the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word bitch in an office setting. NOT OK. It’s normalized so much that a middle school student casually used it in my presence to describe her own behavior. ALSO NOT OK.

You won’t hear the word “bitch” from me. I invite you to reconsider its use, yourself.

My Favorite Media Pitch Was Inspired by an OutKast Song

By | Media | No Comments

When OutKast encouraged listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture” we all sang and danced and, indeed, shook it. Remember?

 

But representatives of the Polaroid brand were either not amused or, in a stroke of genius, saw an opportunity to get some earned media attention, when they distributed a media pitch, urging fans not to shake Polaroid pictures.

Polaroid warns buyers not to ‘shake it’

LONDON, England (Reuters) —OutKast fans like to “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” but the instant camera maker is warning consumers that taking the advice of the hip-hop stars could ruin your snapshots.

OutKast’s number one hit “Hey Ya” includes the “shake it” line as a reference to the motion that amateur photographers use to help along the self-developing film.

But in the “answers” section on the Polaroid Web site, the company says that shaking photos, which once helped them to dry, is not necessary since the modern version of Polaroid film dries behind a clear plastic window.

The image “never touches air, so shaking or waving has no effect,” the company said on its site. “In fact, shaking or waving can actually damage the image. Rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely, or can cause ‘blobs’ in the picture.”

A Polaroid spokesman added: “Almost everybody does it, thinking that shaking accelerates the development process, but if you shake it too vigorously you could distort the image. A casual shake typically doesn’t affect it.”

Polaroid said its film should be laid on a flat surface and shielded from the wind, and that users should avoid bending or twisting their pictures. Of course, “lay it on a flat surface like a Polaroid picture,” doesn’t sound nearly as cool.

 

Thirteen years later, it’s still one of my favorite PR/media moments of all time. What are your favorites?

Maintaining the Sanctity of the Business Network on LinkedIn

By | Social Media | No Comments

I have had a great deal of success using LinkedIn as a business development tool. When I first began using LinkedIn, I set out to maximize the time I spend there and to keep my profile consistently up-to-date. I learned all I could so that I could teach others how to effectively use it and frequently teach workshops or coach individual client contacts to get the most out of LinkedIn.

I’m a big believer in thoughtfully developing one’s business network and so after a number of out-of-context requests to connect from strangers, I published this update.

Dear people who wish to connect on LinkedIn: I think you’re probably great and a good contact for me to have. Unfortunately, we’ve never met, and when you sent your invitation, you didn’t send a note. I don’t know why you want to connect with me and doubt very much we will interact since you didn’t see fit to share that with me in our initial chance for interaction. I simply don’t connect with people with whom I don’t have a real, meaningful connection. It’s not a dating site. It’s not Twitter. It’s LinkedIn, the social network for business. You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter @marijean and maybe you’ll introduce yourself and we’ll get to know each other and that might lead us back here. But for now, I’m not going to accept your request.  Sincerely, Marijean

 

It seems I struck a nerve because so far, more than 6,400 users have seen the post, with several likes and comments. It also generated some online conversation, which I would like to open up here. Do you agree with my position on LinkedIn relationships? Why or why not?

 

Branding — a Client-Driven Brand Refresh for the REALTORS Association

By | Marketing | No Comments

We are fortunate to have had a long-term relationship with our area REALTORS®  association. They don’t need us all the time, but sometimes there’s a project, or a training, or a one-time PR or communications need we can jump in and provide. We were excited when the CAAR team told us they were looking for an update to language about what the association offers, i.e. messaging, and a new brand identity to support that messaging. We pulled in graphic design partner Yellowfish to collaborate and exceed our client’s expectations.

The messaging that resonated with the group is:

CAAR is Your Gateway to More

  • Knowledge
  • Influence
  • Solutions

Knowledge builds more credibility, business, and revenue. Influence results from collaboration among REALTORS®, local government, and community.
Solutions and tools  keep you indispensable.

Once we gained consensus from a group of association leaders, we could move into the design phase, creating the logo, and other graphic representations to use in social media, in print, and on large banners.

Our client, Ali DiGuardo, CAAR’s director of marketing and communications had this to say: “We are extremely pleased with the logo and associated marketing pieces. We originally showcased the logo, value proposition, proof points, and imagery during our June General Membership Meeting, and have received great feedback from members. The new logo is a true representation of CAAR and how it supports its membership of over 1,000 REALTORS® and 400 support staff and affiliates.”

It was a fun project and a great collaborative effort. It’s great to see our work come to life in a popular local brand.