Ello, the anti-Facebook

Over the past year, or so, there has been a lot of buzz, then lull, the buzz again about the social network, Ello.  If you know much about it, you are familiar with their manifesto:

ello manifesto

This is the crux of social media right now, in order to participate on most platforms — there seems to be an extra bit of animosity towards Facebook for this — you are giving up your privacy rights and at the mercy of data collection.  Not so with Ello.  They have even bound themselves legally to never make money from selling either ads or user data.

The real question for Ello, though, isn’t necessarily their reasoning, although there are some who question why they’ve taking funding from corporate donors.  The real question is whether users will go there and stay there and be social there.  After all, without an audience, a social network is doomed to fail.  Let’s all take a moment of silence for Google+.

Just a few weeks ago Ello’s founder, Paul Budnitz, didn’t show up to SXSW.  You’d think there would’ve been more of a concern about this, but according to International Business Times, some folks responded with praise for Ello’s concept of ad-free, data mining-free social space saying things like, “I think there’s a slow realization that if you don’t pay for the product then you are the product — understandably, because people have to monetize.” And, “I hate Zuckerberg and all his minions. I use Ello.” 

So, while it’s clear that Ello definitely has an audience, what are they going to do with it?  Well, just a few days ago, they secured another $5 Million in additional funding.  Which means that they most certainly do not intend to go gently into that good night.

If Ello were to catch on on a wider scale, their sort of mentality could change the face of social media, and indeed the internet altogether.  Think about it: what would we do, as digital marketers, if a majority of users suddenly became self-aware of all the data that is being collected about them, and they weren’t happy about it?  Now, I don’t see this happening any time soon, but Ello does stand poised to take away some of Facebook’s audience.  Will they?  Only time will tell.

A year from now we’ll either all be on Ello, or starting conversations with, “Remember Ello?”

What do you think?  Will Ello rise up and be a big player in social media, or remain a niche network?  Please share your experiences with Ello in the comments.

Ethics Involved in Publishing Graphic Images

In a day and age where terrorists are decapitating people and posting the videos of it on the internet, the question of what is ethical to publish on social media is a very important and timely one.  There can be no doubt, access to these kinds graphic images are readily available to those who want to see them.  However, is it ethical to publish graphic images on social media not knowing who may, unsuspectingly, come across them in their news feed?  Is it ethical to publish them at all?

As a mom, my mind immediately went to the images of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.  There were many graphic images of pain and chaos of children posted during and after the tragic event.

While the ones shown here are not of the carnage and death we have become so used to associating with these sorts of acts of violence, those images can easily be found by Googling for them.  The images here are still graphic, in their depiction of the fear and pain from that frightful day.

In the aftermath of the event, there was much debate over the release of the crime scene photos with people like filmmaker Michael Moore insisting the photos needed to be released to turn people against the National Rifle Association (NRA).  He said in a blog post, “And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child’s body, that’s the day the jig will be up for the NRA.”

The parents of the victims, however, petitioned to block the graphic crime scene photos’ release.  Nicole Hockley, a parent of one of the victims, said, “We worry about copycat killers and the traumatic effect the material could have on people. Veteran first responders who saw what happened were completely traumatized.”

When the Connecticut lawmakers put together a compromise to, initially, ban the photos, the reaction was mixed.  Many proponents of the first amendment, including attorney Daniel J. Klau, were not in favor of the ban, despite the graphic nature of the photos of the murdered children.  He said, “It was definitely a step backwards for a state that was historically a leader to suddenly judge itself as among the most restrictive states.”

In the end, the report was released.  The information was available to those who wanted to see it.  So was this a victory for the First Amendment, or a blatant disregard for the victims’ families wishes?  Perhaps it was both.

I think the feelings and wishes of the victims’ families of tragic events need to be honored, when possible.  However, if these images are available, the press does have a right to request them, and they should be available.  It’s then up to the press to decide whether they should broadcast these images, or not, and this is the point where the victims’ families feelings should be taken into consideration.

I also think this horrific incident underscores that we can’t control how others use images once they are made public.  Michael Moore is inferring that he would use them for a kind of anti-gun propaganda.  Is that honoring to the victims?

There will always be ethical issues to wrestle with when deciding to publish graphic images.  There will always be shades of gray when making those decisions.  The best course of action really is to weigh the need to share the images against the effect they will have both on the victims’ families and the public when sharing them.

What do you think?  What do you think the litmus test should be regarding when to share graphic images?

Moderating Social Media Comments

Comment keyboard key. Finger

Moderating comments is thought of as a bit of an art form in the social media world.  How to best communicate with the irate customer or dissatisfied user?  I would encourage you to look back at my blog on reputation management for a list of key components to a social media crisis plan because many of those points are also relevant when moderating comments, and I’m not just talking about the negative ones.

I think the best way to understand how to moderate comments, is to look at what other brands are doing.  Just go on Twitter and Facebook and read through a company’s few posts.  You’ll, inevitably find some negative comments and their responses.  Some good industries to look at for this are airlines; two of my favorite are KLM and JetBlue.  Hotel chains and restaurants are good companies to look at, too.  It’s like many thing in social media: learn from what your competition is doing and try to do it better.

One thing to think about when moderating comments:  What you say and do online when addressing a user’s comments is as much for those folks reading it as it is for the person who wrote it.  Other customers will see how you respond to others, and this will have an effect on how they view your brand.  So, even if you are in a bad situation with no hope of helping or bringing understanding to the complainer, you can still help your brand by providing clear, calm words that instill confidence in the service you’re providing, as an arm of the customer service, for the brand.

So, now let’s take a look at a couple of practical examples of moderating comments.  How should we moderate the following audience/customer comments if left on your organization’s Facebook page?

To a hotel:
“I am disgusted about the state of your restaurant on 1467 Justin Kings Way. Empty tables weren’t cleared and full of remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Here is one way to respond:
“Hi, <insert first name here>.  Thanks so much for reaching out to us and letting us know about this situation.  What you’ve described is not up to our standards, and I’ve contacted the manager at that location to make sure he looks into it right away.  If there’s anything else you’d like to share with us about your dining experience, please follow this link to a private chat: <insert link to customer feedback chat here>.  We appreciate your feedback and look forward to having another opportunity to raise our level of service with you. Thank you. <am>”

What did here with my response:

  • I let her know I heard her.
  • I used a conversational and calm voice.
  • I did not apologize, because I don’t know all of the facts, but…
  • I let her know it is being looked into.
  • I took the conversation out of the public view.  This is especially important if there are more bad details for her to share.  We would want to know about them, so they can be addressed, but not have them posted on Facebook.
  • I reassured her that we would do better next time.
  • I signed the post with my initials, letting her know she’s dealing with a real, trackable person.  This can help establish or build some trust with the complaining customer.

Now, a negative comment doesn’t mean that a customer won’t come back.  In fact, if that comment is handled well and the customer feels heard, you may end up with an even stronger brand loyalty from that customer.  However, sometimes, there is nothing you can say or do that will take away a customer’s negative opinion.  In those cases, it is even more important that you remain calm and take take the conversation off of social media, into a private conversation elsewhere.

Now, let’s look at an example of a comment made to a mainstream news network: 

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

(We will assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides.)

Here is one way to respond:

“Hi, <insert first name here>.  Covering the Middle East is a challenging thing, with all of the heightened emotions connected with this subject, but we at <insert channel ID here> always strive for excellence in our coverage with unbiased reporting.  Looking back last night’s report, the coverage did give equal time to both sides.  However, we will continue to listen to the feedback of our viewers to help us improve.  We appreciate you taking the time to share your views with us.<am>”

Why I responded the way I did:

  • You’ll notice I did not delete the comment due to the profanity.  I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
  • I recognized the emotion involved in his response due to the sensitive subject matter.
  • I corrected, gently, his misstatement about biased, unequal coverage.  If there are fact involved that are misstated, it is (usually) right and important to correct them.
  • I let him know we are open to all feedback — even criticism — which helps the brand look more human.
  • I thanked him.  Remember, social media is made for conversations.  Being able to respond to negative comments without loosing your head, shows brand strength.

Why didn’t I delete the comment due to the profanity, even though it was, essentially bleeped-out?  Personally, I hate any use of all profanity, but in this case, the comment is made on Facebook.  I think responding on Facebook is actually different than doing something like moderating a comment on your own discussion board or blog, and it’s important to try to not be too heavy-handed in such a public setting.  Also, the profanity needs to be looked at in context, believe it or not.  Is it threatening?  No.  Is it attacking?  No.  The user is just REALLY frustrated.  He is creating his own brand for himself for other users to see in using the profanity.  When you, as the moderator, respond with understanding and kindness — especially in the face of a comment that contains profanity — you create an opportunity to elevate your brand to the other readers.

What do you think?  Would you have left the profanity, or deleted it?  Do you consider Facebook and other social media sites to be different than your own personal blog or website discussion boards?  Should there be different standards when moderating?

Reputation Management

Reputation management is a tricky thing in today’s social media landscape.  While the days of rogue tweets being sent out by an employee seem to be much fewer than in previous years, the power of social media when it comes to a brand’s reputation is huge.

The best thing a brand can do to be prepared for times of crisis is to have a solid plan in place.  Having strategies in hand whether you’re dealing with a disgruntled customer or employee, or are on the wrong side of a trending hashtag, are crucial if you want to make the best of of a bad situation.

Key components to a social media crisis plan are:

  • Reply swiftly.
    • People don’t just want a quick reply, they expect one.  Not replying quickly is equated to not caring.
  • Acknowledge you are listening.
    • Even if you’re in a holding position, let them know they’ve been heard.
  • Be honest about your mistakes.
    • Did you make a mistake?  If so, apologize.
  • Be human.
  • Write like you would talk to them if they were in the same room with you.
    • “I’m sorry… “ “I know how you must feel..” “We will work to make sure this will never happen again…”
  • Explain why it happened, and explain your course of action.
    • What will you do, and what have you already put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Follow up afterwards
    • This isn’t always done, but following up after the crisis has ended is an added layer of customer care.

Unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks had such an occasion to test out their social media crisis plan on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  After their incredible comeback win against the Green Bay Packers in overtime of the NFC championship game, the Seattle Seahawks posted a photo of their inspirational quarterback, Russell Wilson, as an MLK Day tribute on Twitter.

Here is a copy of the tweet:

They later deleted the tweet.

Many folks responded very negatively on social media, expressing negative comments that the Seahawks would compare winning a football game to the fight for civil rights.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 15.07.35

This was just one of many, many tweets admonishing the Seattle Seahawks for what many believed was a poor choice of a MLK Day tie-in.

The Seahawks then issued this apology:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 15.05.24

After which there were more mixed comments.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 15.05.11

So, let’s evaluate their response, based on the key components listed above.

  • Reply swiftly.
    • The Seahawks posted the initial tweet at 2:45 and by 4:28 had issued their apology.
  • Acknowledge you are listening.
    • Deleting the tweet and issuing the apology also does this.
  • Be honest about your mistakes.
    • They even used the words “We apologize.”
  • Be human.
    • The Seahawks were clear that they did not intend to make the comparison to civil rights.
  • Write like you would talk to them if they were in the same room with you.
    • They didn’t sound detached; they used a tone that was sincere. (and I’m a Packers fan!)
  • Explain why it happened, and explain your course of action.
    • Again, they said they didn’t intend to make the comparison of a football game to civil rights.
  • Follow up afterwards
    • I didn’t find any follow up.  I don’t think it was necessary in this case because the offended party wasn’t just one person.  To have followed up after their apology may have reminded folks of their mistake after the crisis had dies down.

Based on their reaction, the Seahawks clearly had a plan in place to deal with a social media crisis, or, at the very least, had a team in place to deal with the crisis when it happened.

What do you think?  Did the Seahawks do the right thing?  Would you have responded differently?

My Introduction to Social Media Ethics

holding hands

Greetings!  Thank you for visiting my blog.  My name is AnnMarie.   I’m a wife, mom, avid reader and sometimes writer, and I have a secret desire to someday be a polyglot.  When not online (and often in conjunction with being) you can find me cheering on my favorite sports teams.  Currently, I work directly with non-profit organizations, helping them tell their story in this digital world.   This blog is, primarily, a reflection of my curiosity about how to help brands and organizations form lasting relationships with customers, volunteers, and donors via social and digital media platforms.

While I was not an early adopter of the social media phenomenon like folks like Gary Vaynerchuk, once I joined the social media party, I became one of the most enthusiastic participants.  Now I’m the host!  As a professional, I think it’s always important to keep learning in this field.  The landscape is always changing, but many key concepts are lasting.  Recently, I’ve become more interested in the ethics involved in social media and digital publishing, so for the next several months that will also be one of the focuses of this blog.  What’s okay to publish, tweet, share, etc, and what’s not?   How do those choices effect people, brands, and the world around us?  I am fascinated by the the legal ramifications of ethical social media choices, but also how they effect things like brand loyalty.

Since I currently work with a viewer-supported television station and also a private school, things like privacy and copy write issues are usually my biggest ethical challenges.  What are the biggest social media ethical challenges with your clients?

Engaging Your Customers Through Video — A Closer Look at Vine

What is Vine?

Vine is a short-form video sharing social network (Wikipedia, 2014). It allows users to record six-second long video clips (WikiHow), which, on the surface, doesn’t seem like long enough to record anything worthwhile. However, in the Twitter age, where brevity is key, the six-second loops on Vine have inspired creativity in a way that sets it apart from longer-form videos. After capturing the video, it can then be published through Vine’s social network and shared on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook (Wikipedia, 2014).

While it is primarily a content network, the best Vines also engage other users, making it a social network, too.


Vine was founded in June 2012 and was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 (Wikipedia, 2014).   Vine debuted on January 24, 2013 (Sippey, 2013).  Until recently, Vine existed solely as a mobile app. Vine Web profiles, which can be accessed directly from a desktop or laptop, allow users the convenience of enjoying Vine on a larger screen, where they can watch Vines in TV mode, which will, undoubtedly, contribute to folks spending even more time on Vine (Cicero, 2014).


Vine’s key feature is its brevity. Six-seconds isn’t a long amount of time to get your message across. As a result, marketers are forced to created content that is “both highly engaging and highly condensed” (Cox, 2014).

While many initial Viners were using the platform for quick pithy or comedic moments, brands like Lowes and GE have shown that using Vine as a form of content marketing, providing useful, educational videos can “create a strong connection between brand and audience, adding meaning to the relationship” (Thomas, 2013a).

Vine videos loop, which means that they will keep playing over and over while you are watching them. Target is a great example of a brand that takes full advantage of this feature.  As you can see, Vines are also embeddable (Tiland, 2014).

Much like Twitter’s retweet feature, on Vine you can “revine.” This allows users to share content from others with their followers.

Vine’s video recording feature is stop-motion capable. This allows users to stop and continue recording to the same video later (Brouillette, 2014). This feature has enabled the most creativity on Vine.

Vine uses hashtags, which make exploring content on their network easier.   It also has verified badges for high-profile users (Mashable).

A drawback for Vine is that users need to record their videos on the network itself, rather than have the ability to upload previously recorded content. Initially, only the most tech-savvy users could get around this by using, what I would consider, a complicated hack (Kif, 2013). Now there are several apps that allow users to upload recorded content. This is an important outside feature for marketers that allows us to edit our content rather than recording directly in the Vine app, which doesn’t give much leeway for error.

Another drawback is that Vine does not restrict nudity (Tiland, 2014).

Target Market, Users, and Growth

The majority of Vine users are teenagers and young twenty-somethings, thus comprising a much sought-after demographic for marketers (TopTenSM).  The majority of users are single, and the average age is 18.2 (DemographicsPro).

Vine saw a 515% growth from February 2013-December 2013 (comScore, 2014).

Comparisons & Competition

Comparing a short-form video service like Vine with YouTube is “like comparing a Tweet to a blog post” (Cox, 2014). The constraints of Vine’s brevity actually inspire creativity and ingenuity from its users.

Vine’s primary competition is Instagram video. When Instagram introduced its fifteen-second video feature in June 2013, some wondered if it would be the end of Vine (McGrail, 2013). After all, Instagram already had a built in audience of 130 million users on an app that allowed easily uploaded content – a feature that Vine lacked.

However, Vine is uniquely useful to marketers, again, due to its brevity. Brands are “tasked with creating compelling content that people will enjoy and share, creativity and originality is key.” For brands that have embraced the “creative nature” of Vine, Instagram video doesn’t offer anything new (Thomas, 2013b).

Best Practices For Brands

Using Vine is much like having an elevator speech prepared (Sonoso, 2014).  There are a lot of great tips and lists of how to best engage and use Vine to promote your brand.  You can find some good ones here, here, here, and here.

Here is my list:

  • Engage other users.

Testimonials are great for this, as are contests.  A great way to engage other users is to ask users to create your content for you.  The best brands on Vine all do this.  Most recently, Milk-Bone gained followers through a Vine initiative where they offered $2,500 and a year’s supply of dog treats (Johnson, 2014).

  •  Share interesting content regularly.

Whether that’s spotlighting staff, sharing tidbits about your company’s history, or showcasing your production process or finished product, sharing content that interests users is a key to developing brand loyalty on Vine.  Content is key, but consistency is the other half of that equation.  Making sure you keep giving your followers a reason to engage with you.  Post regularly.

  • Use hashtags.

It may seem like a simple thing to mention, but you’d be surprised how often they’re not used or not used effectively.  Hashtag use ensures that your Vine will be searchable easily on the network (Cicero, 2013).  Creating specific hashtags for contests helps engage users and also makes it easier for you to track results.

  •  Be sure to cross post.

A well produce Vine video should be shared!  Make sure you not only share your Vine videos on Facebook and Twitter, but that you write good descriptions when you post them (Brouillette, 2014).


For more information about Vine, see my Prezi HERE.


Brouillette, P. (2014, May 29). #HowTo: An Overview of Using Vine for Brands and Businesses. Retrieved from http://www.searchinfluence.com/2014/05/howto-an-overview-of-using-vine-for-brands-and-businesses/

Charley, C. (2013, April 26). Getting Creative with Video Marketing on Vine. Retrieved from http://www.siliconbeachtraining.co.uk/blog/vine-twitter-marketing

Cicero, N. (2013, June 3). Samsung Makes a Marketing Splash on Vine for Android. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/samsungvine/

Cicero, N. (2013b, July 30). 5 Vines are tweeted every second – Visualizing Vine [Infographic]. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/vineograph/

Cicero, N. (2014, January 3). Vine introduces Web profiles. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/vine-introduces-web-profiles/

comScore Data Mine. (2014, April 11). Camera Content Drives Surge Among ‘Mobile-First’ Social Networks in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2014/04/camera-content-drives-surge-among-mobile-first-social-networks-in-the-u-s/

Cox, J. (2014, February 26). Fruit of the Vine: The Race to Conquer the Six Second Video Platform. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/coxy/2210121/fruit-vine-race-conquer-six-second-video-platform

Cunningham, Tasha. (2013). 10 creative ways to use Vine to promote your business. Retrieved from http://miamiherald.typepad.com/the-starting-gate/2013/07/10-creative-ways-to-use-vine-to-promote-your-business.html


Hines, K. (2013, March 4). 16 Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter Vine. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-vine-creative-uses-for-business/

Johnson, L. (2014, June 23). Dogs Drive Vine Views for Milk-Bone Builds more than 2,700 followers in month-long push. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/dogs-drive-vine-views-milk-bone-158529

Kif. (2013, August 13). Hack Vine to Upload Videos Shot Outside the App. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/08/ht-custom-vines

Mashable. Vine. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/category/vine/

McGrail, M. (2013, June 21). Instagram Video for Brands and Users: Experts Weigh In. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/mike-mcgrail/1549791/instagram-video-brands-and-users

Sornoso, E. (2014, February 20). How Marketing on Vine Can Help Your Business. Retrieved from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/marketing-vine-can-help-business/88313/

Thomas, J. (2013a, May 10). Lowe’s Case Study: The Difference Between Fun and Useful Content in Social Sharing. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/jonthomas/1448666/difference-between-fun-and-useful-content-social-sharing

Thomas, J. (2013b, June 27). Why Instagram Isn’t A Vine Killer. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/jonthomas/1562441/why-instagram-isn-t-vine-killer

Tamba. (2014, January 30). [Infographic] The rise of Vine. Retrieved from http://www.tamba.co.uk/thinking/blog/the-rise-of-vine/

Tiland, R. (2014). Things You Should Know About YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and Instagram. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2014/05/04/things-you-should-know-about-youtube-vimeo-vine-and-instagram/

TopTenSM. 10 vine social media strategies for your business. Retrieved from http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-business/10-vine-social-media-strategies-for-your-business/

Sippey, M. (2013, January 24). Vine: A New Way To Share Video. Retrieved from https://blog.twitter.com/2013/vine-a-new-way-to-share-video

Wikihow. How to upload videos to Vine. Retrieved from http://www.wikihow.com/Upload-Videos-to-Vine

Wikipedia. (2014). Vine (service). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vine_%28service%29

My Email To God

This blog is about social media marketing, and we’ve been looking a lot at different kinds of content marketing and integrated communications. Well, today I’d like to focus on email marketing, and I’m going to use myself as an example. I’ve been asked to market myself, so I’ve crafted an email blast that I’d send out to my ideal employer. This is going to be unconventional, but I wanted it to be genuine, so here it goes. . .


Dear God,

My name is AnnMarie Calo, and I am so happy to be working for you.   I know you’ve been with me since I was a little child growing up in church. I loved seeing my father speak your words of faith, hope, and love from the pulpit each Sunday morning. Watching my mother quietly work behind the scenes, not wanting any credit, just desiring to serve you while serving others. Church was always one of my favorite places to be; I grew up feeling like your house was my home, too.

As I grew up, I grew closer to you. Sometimes I stumbled, and you caught me; I made mistakes and you helped me to see the reasons behind them. I have certainly not lived a perfect life, but I have been trying. Seeking. Serving.

I was blessed to be hired as the Youth Director at a church in Orlando, Florida and to stay there for several years. You used that time to help me see how I could use the skills you gave me to point others to you. This was a revelation. I designed webpages and wrote large and small scale youth program outlines and handbooks. I learned how to research and teach. I recruited and managed volunteers.  You were laying a path for me.

I was fortunate to attend programs at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute for Youth and Theology. These Forums helped me to grow as a Christian and as a ministering professional. I became a better teacher and communicator. I learned more about integrating technology in ministry. Then I spent time reading and researching books, while working at a Christian conference center, as their book store manager.

Sometimes I’ve strayed and this path has become wild and rough, but I always felt you there and knew you were with me.

I want to live my life for you, God. Can you lead me once again? When I see companies like the Kendrick Brothers and Pure Flix, I get excited about what you’re doing in the entertainment field. It would be wonderful to work with those pioneering folks.  Even Central Florida company, Journey Box Media is showing exciting and relevant content that shares you with the world.  When I visit a new church, I instinctively begin to see what I could do to help them with their communications — especially if they’re not using integrated marketing to best reach people with their message of hope.  I love seeing churches near and far leveraging technology and integrated communications to reach your people.  Real Life Christian Church and Life Church — who actually does church online — are two great examples of this.

I truly love where I currently work.  I work at a Christian school as the marketing coordinator where my focus is on the management of the school’s social media platforms.  Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, I’ve seen tremendous growth in engagement.  I also have the opportunity to teach the yearbook class and several enrichment classes that have helped me grow both in my planning, leadership, and my design skills.

Recently, I was invited to join the team at Christian television station, Good Life 45 as their social media manager.  It’s an exciting time of new branding and the production of new programs like “Welcome Home” and “Real Talk.” It’s hard to think about asking for more.

What I will ask for is continued opportunities to serve you and help share your love with the world.  I believe that you’re leading me on this path to help me become better equipped to continue to serve in you in the communications field.  Being a part of the University of Florida’s MassComm Master’s program is certainly doing that!  Perhaps the names of the places I work for will stay the same, or maybe they’ll change.  My ideal situation is wherever you want me to be, Lord.  So, instead of asking for more, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you and to let you know I’m ready for whatever comes next.  Here I am.  Send me.

Classic & Social Media — Working Together

Classic marketing — wasn’t it great?  Picture Don Draper presenting the next great ad campaign idea to Chevrolet in a smoke-filled room.


The advertising business used to be planned for and over a long period of time, and the communication with customers was always well considered and reviewed.  In today’s fast-paced world, that almost sounds antiquated, doesn’t it?


The thing is, classic marketing as we know it — print, radio, and television — still plays a part in a good multimedia marketing plan, and it’s still about branding.  The difference is that now customers want to have experiences rather than products, and today’s marketing professionals know just how to seamlessly have a brand engage with their customers.

Let’s take a look at McDonald’s.

In the past few days, McDonald’s introduced a brand new mascot, Happy. The reviews were far from mixed.



If these were still the days of Don Draper and his Mad Men team, after the panic had subsided, there would be a response in the form of a full-paged ad in the New York Times, or perhaps a new television spot.  Nowadays, we have the luxury of social media.  Rather than use a classic form of media, McDonald’s chose to respond right where they chose to announce the mascot to begin with.

Rather than panic at the immediate public dislike of their new mascot, McDonald’s chose to capitalize on their media exposure and make light of the complaints.  This was advertising genius.  In a crisis situation, social media marketing far outshines the classic approach.  The immediacy of both the customer feedback and the company’s response shows how powerful social media marketing is.  Its spontaneous nature led to the negative feedback, but also opened the door for McDonald’s clever response.  The point is we are still talking about it.

As one article on Time.com states:

According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

While, naturally, McDonald’s would’ve preferred Happy to be warmly embraced by their customers, any time someone hears about their new mascot — no matter the reaction to it — it’s giving McDonald’s free advertising.

McDonald’s uses a multimedia marketing plan, integrating social and classic media.  In this recent print campaign, McDonald’s chooses to not use any descriptions — in fact, they don’t even identify their brand on the posters — showing that their classic menu items need no introduction.

They support their print ads with a commercial.

They’re also using this new YouTube commercial to capitalize on this summer’s World Cup and encourage customers to download an app to play a new trick-shot game.  As it says on their YouTube channel, GET THE APP, GET THE FRIES, PLAY FOR GLORY.

While all of McDonald’s advertising has clearly been well thought out and planned, you never know how the public will react.  They may even take it upon themselves to make a documentary like, “Supersize Me,” or a teacher may challenge his students to debunk it.  In today’s media saturated landscape, the one thing you can count on is your customers having opinions and sharing their reactions and comments with you immediately.  They may tweet or blog or comment or even make a YouTube video.  The one thing you don’t want is for them to be silent.

Crowdfunding A Children’s Book


I am very interested in the idea of crowdfunding.  Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.  One of the most popular sites that facilitates crowdfunding is Kickstarter.  I’ve had experience using GoFundMe, but never Kickstarter, so I was looking forward to finding out more about it.

Thanks a billion

Immediately, when you visit their page, you see their banner thanking those who have chosen to fund projects.  This is a great reminder of the power and reach of crowdfunding.  I really like Kickstarter and the way it’s organized.  I like the opportunity to browse — even by location — for projects that may interest me.

Kickstarter Florida Childrens Book search

I was browsing through the projects on Kickstarter to see the kinds of projects people were looking to get funded.  There were lots of different and interesting things.  There were theatre projects, art projects, STEM projects.  There were things for kids, staff picks, and more.  I decided to look for a children’s book to fund in Florida, since that’s where I live.  There several projects to choose from, many of which had already been funded.  Visually, I was drawn to The Laundry Dragon project in Tampa by M.C.A. Hogarth.

Kickstarter Dragons Page

There was a very eye-catching video on their page, and they are very close to reaching their funding.  The author has already had eight previous projects created and funded, and has also helped fund forty seven projects.  I really appreciated that she has helped other projects, and is not just there asking for funding.

FInded projects

Projects the author has previously had funded

Projects the author has previously backed

Projects the author has previously backed

M.C.A. Hogarth offers several incentives for helping to fund her book.  The most popular is for $20 she will give you a copy of the book in the summer, after it is printed.


When I clicked through to help fund the book, I noticed that there is a warning that there are no guarantees, and Kickstarter does not investigate those who are asking for funding.  I found this unsurprising, since there are so many projects looking to get funded.  It did make me wonder how many projects reach their funding, but don’t make good on their promises.  I’d think it would have to be a fairly low number.  Otherwise, crowdfunding would quickly loose its appeal to those looking to fund projects that interest them.

where projects come from

I found this whole process very interesting to research.  I’ve written a series of children’s books, just for fun, but I’ve never really thought about getting them published.  Crowdfunding seems like a viable option for doing it.


Google Me?


I Googled myself this week.  Have you ever done it?  If you haven’t, I would highly recommend it.  It’s really important to know what people can find out about you in such an easy way in terms of reputation management.  I didn’t think I’d be surprised by what I found, but I was, somewhat.

I must admit, I don’t cast a wide net with my digital footprint.  I don’t intentionally put my full name out there.  It’s for that reason that I’m not going to post any screen shots or specifics about what I found in connection with my name.  Although I write a blog and have social media accounts, I really like my privacy.  As a person who values privacy so much, Googling yourself is an even more important exercise.

On Twitter, I don’t use my name, nor do I on Instagram.  I also don’t use my last name on Facebook.  However, obviously, I do use my full name at work.

Google yourself

Most of the things I found had to do with where I work.  I found my name listed under a few forms on my company’s website.  This was not a surprise.

I also found my name listed as a soccer coach from when I was a volunteer coach over a year ago, which was a surprise to find.  I was also surprised to find my name listed as a small group leader from a church I used to attend.  I didn’t realize any of that information would be available so publically.

Im being Googled

My LinkedIn account did come up, as did my Tyba, which I recently created after starting grad school.  I saw a “shout out” someone had given me on Facebook for a share where they used my full name.

I checked out the images, and only three of all of those possible were actually me, and they pertained to my work and my LinkedIn account.

I Googled two of  my email addresses, and some newletters for my father’s church came up, which I didn’t understand.  I checked out all of the links and that helped me remember that I used to run a community service project out of his church, and my email address was listed several times in their newsletter as a result.

I wish googling myslef

Most of what I got seemed to be different search sites to help someone delve deeper.  Too bad, I’m just not that interesting.