Rave: The Facts About Privacy, Ownership and Accountability in Social Networking

While there is no
question that the evolution of social media has made it an integral part of the
social and professional lives of practically everyone with internet access or a
smart phone, it wasn’t really until this past year or so that we saw the
question of accountability, ownership and privacy posed by even the most beginner of social networking users.  It’s true
that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide incredible (and free) services that allow you to connect and share within a global community, bringing with
it a world of brand new opportunities on a personal and professional level. However,
without properly understanding your online rights and responsibilities, you can
put yourself at real risk. We know that
reading the extensive privacy policies and legalese of these services can be
trying and confusing, so we’ve put together a basic guide (with helpful resources) to “The Big Three” social
networking sites to help you make informed decisions, and get the most out of your
social networking experience.


Facebook

2012 saw a number of
changes to the Facebook privacy policy – for one, it’s no longer referred to as
a “privacy policy” but rather a “data use policy.” It is definitely tricky to keep up with
all of the changes, and although it may sound excessive, we recommend revisiting your exposure
about once a month to ensure you are aware of what information you are sharing
with the world.  Due to a higher demand
of transparency when it comes to audience, Facebook’s newest changes include a
pretty straightforward tool to see who can see the posts on your timeline (look
at the lock icon next to Home at the top right of your Facebook page, as well
as asterisk icon next to Post when you’re writing on a timeline).

Things you should know:
– Facebook statuses
invoking copyright protection over your timeline are not legally binding and in most cases, completely useless. These
posts often go viral and can be misleading; to better understand what is being
said, check out this post.
– Some things on
Facebook are always public. Posts on public pages, gender, profile
pictures and cover photo are just a few examples. This is great if you want to lurk your ex (or
his new girlfriend’s) profile pics but keep in mind it may not be so great when
potential employers are looking at your sloppy college party profile pictures
from five years ago. 
– Contrary to popular hysteria, Facebook does not own your materials you post even after you’ve deleted/deactivated/died but in signing up and accepting their terms of service you are agreeing
to let them use your shared content. When you delete your content or account, that
agreement ends but it is important to keep in mind that any photo/status/post
that you have made that has been shared by anyone else will continue to float
around the Facebook universe.
– Deactivation vs Deletion: When
you deactivate your account, your information and shared content continues to
exist until that point when you (admit it, inevitably) give in and come
back.  If you delete your account, your
information and shared content will be deleted from the Facebook database. Things to note about deleting your
Facebook account: 1) It is, in fact, permanent. No takie backsies. 2) As stated above, any shared content will still exist in the databases. 3) In many cases, it can take
as long as three months to delete your information and content completely.
– Buck up: even Mark Zuckerberg’s sister gets confused about Facebook privacy 

Instagram

This photo sharing service found itself amidst a PR nightmare as a
result of its acquisition by Facebook-specifically regarding the new privacy
policy coming into effect Saturday, January 19.  We
understand you may be worried about the safety of your filtered selfies, food
porn and pictures of cats and we want to help you understand what all of this
means for you. 

Things you should know:
– Like Facebook, Instagram does not
own your photos.     
– Instagram heard the outrage regarding their updated stance on advertising
and as such, has reverted this section to the original terms of service from Oct 2010.
– The initial drafting of the updated privacy policy included confusing language,
leading users to believe that Instagram would be selling your photos. This is not
the case! However, just like Facebook, you have given them permission to use your photos without crediting you (or even notifying you.)
– It seems Instagram has learned from Facebook’s mistakes – the updated
terms of service that you (by subscribing to the service) agree to – protect
Instagram from class action lawsuits.

Twitter

You may be wondering “how much damage could one possibly do in 140
characters?” Well my friend, you obviously don’t follow Chris Brown. Like any social networking service, Twitter’s policy involves the sharing of
personal information and can affect your public persona and online presence.

Things you should know:
– Think before you tweet! Even if you have Twitter remorse and delete
your tweet, it still exists in the Twitterverse if it has been retweeted by other
users.  Also, anyone with the most basic
computer skills could take damning screenshots of your tweet. This happens, a lot, so think before you tweet.
– When you sign up for other websites or services using your Twitter
account, you are linking the accounts, thus allowing both websites access to
information on either site to use as they see fit  (This is usually used for sponsored tweets,
instant personalization and things of that nature).
– This should go without saying, but for those who use a separate personal
and professional twitter account, we cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you are logged into the correct one. These Twitter blunders are the biggest face-palm we see in our industry and are
also the most avoidable!

This is just a bare bones guide to navigating the world of social
media. Up here on the fourth floor,
while we celebrate the use of our social media and can’t say enough about the way
it has revolutionized our personal and professional lives, know that it is a
minefield out there. In any case, the best way to protect yourself online is to use common sense when you post anything, anywhere. Realistically, if you wouldn’t say it or do it in front of your sweet grandmother, should you really be posting it online for the whole world to see? We encourage
everyone to revisit the privacy policies of their social networking services
and join the discussion.








Year in Review: PR Wins and Sins of 2012

You win some, you lose some as the saying goes. Here are our top PR #wins and #sins of the beautiful year that was 2012. 


Wins
LEGO
Imagine you’ve been saving up for an amazing pair of shoes for over a year. Every penny you make goes to your shoe fund. Finally, you have enough money to buy them, only to find out they’ve been discontinued and all your saving has been for nothing. Well, if you had been lusting after a discontinued LEGO set, like 11-year-old James Groccia, the outcome would have been different. James had been saving money for two years so he could buy The Emerald Night Train set ($100), only to find it had been discontinued. He wrote a letter to LEGO explaining how he couldn’t afford what sellers on eBay were asking. Guess what arrived on his 11th birthday? The train set. What makes this feel-good story even more timely with the holidays around the corner, is that James has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Not only does he love LEGO, the LEGO playgroup that he’s a part of helps improve his social skills, allowing him to socialize with kids his age. Kudos, LEGO. This is the type of positive PR that no campaign could generate.

Pizza Hut
We. Love. Pizza. Honestly, if we could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which we do sometimes, don’t judge) we would. That being said, we can’t say we would buy the “fresh dough with a bit of spice”-scented perfume Pizza Hut sent to 100 of their Facebook fans. The perfume received a ton of buzz and, though bizarre, was something different that stormed the Internet. We can only imagine that this has set some sort of precedent…what’s next, Big Mac mouth wash?

Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza comes in perfume you can have pizza any time. 

Coca-Cola
A bit more experiential marketing than PR, but still awesome nonetheless. If fans/the whole world weren’t excited enough for the newest James Bond film, Skyfall, Coca-Cola went and created a Bond-like obstacle course for unassuming members of the public. Not only was this a great campaign that created (we can only imagine) amazing word-of-mouth buzz from the participants, but it was also screened as a commercial in movie theatres, furthering the hype. Living out a secret agent fantasy? Check. Well played, Coke.



McDonald’s
The McDonald’s advertising/PR campaign ‘Our food.Your questions.’ was a smart way to address all the negative press surrounding Micky Dee’s food sourcing and ingredients. Instead of a campaign where the company created and answered its own questions, McDonald’s crowd-sourced the questions, a move we’re seeing more and more often. The questions range from “Why do people on blogs say there is [sic] eyeballs in your chicken nuggets?” to “How do you make your special sauce for the Big Mac?”. Whether you believe the answers or not is a different question, but it has created the type of public goodwill the brand needed after this


Dear Micky Dee’s, how come you taste so good at 2 a.m.? 
Sins

KitchenAid
When tweeting from a client account or a company account, we
can’t stress how important it is to be extra conscious of what you’re tweeting.
Save your own account for the personal, I-hate-my-boyfriend tweets. Case in point, the person who tweeted from
mega-cool brand KitchenAid’s account “Obama gma even knew it was going to be
bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president #nbcpolitics”. Yikes. First, it’s in extremely poor taste to tweet about
someone’s recently-deceased relative. Second, you shouldn’t be tweeting your own opinions from someone else’s (corporate) Twitter account, especially one that has over 30,000 followers. KitchenAid’s Cynthia Soledad stepped up immediately and assumed responsibility with the below tweets. Definitely the right thing to do in a sticky situation. 



Immediately assuming responsibility for a (now fired) team member’s actions is a step in the right direction. 

Burger King
We’re not sure what possessed a Burger King employee to a)
stand in containers of lettuce b) take a picture of himself standing in said
lettuce and c) post the picture to social media. YOU’RE GOING TO GET CAUGHT. And
that’s really gross. Three employees were fired but it’s safe to say we’ll be
staying away from Burger King for a while.

Ick, salad feet.
Chick-fil-A
This one was a doozy. President and CEO Dan Cathy made some homophobic and
anti-gay marriage comments (in the public sphere, no less) which led to the
realization that Chick-fil-A’s charity, WinShape Foundation, had donated
millions to political organizations opposing LGBT rights. Not cool. Activists
began to boycott the chain, the mayors of Boston and Chicago blocked the
chain from opening any new stores in their cities and San Francisco mayor Edwin M.
Lee made his opinions clear by telling the chain not to come any closer than their current location 40 miles away. The company has apparently now “
ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights“, but it’s unclear whether this is true.


Muppets take a stand against Chick-fil-A. 

American Apparel
Dear American Apparel,
Do you realize people DIED during Hurricane Sandy? People
lost their homes, all of their belongings and memories. This is why you
probably shouldn’t exploit a natural disaster and have an online sale. Really? Let’s be real here, as Brian Clark tweeted, “An American Apparel
Hurricane Sandy Sale? Which 22-year-old genius intern came up with this one?”.
Preach it.



Hey kids, it’s not cool to exploit natural disasters. 


Rant: PR Nightmares

As PR pros we try our very best to prevent spelling mistakes, learn everyone’s name and provide media with the information they need for their stories. 

However, we’re not perfect, and we can admit that mistakes do happen. While we cringe when we see them going down and exploding on the Twitterverse, we empathize that everyone has an off day and can make errors.


Today, we’re summarizing some of our worst nightmares that could happen as a PR pro, as inspired by PR Daily. We won’t lie, some have happened in real life, but we work hard every day to ensure that they are avoided. 

Pitching plights 


Pitching a round up or gift guide story idea for a client to an outlet, only to see it come out the next day – and realizing that you missed your opportunity.

When media go directly to the client about a story, even though you pitched the idea – cutting you out of the equation. Hard work for nothing.

When you pitch a great story and the outlet decides to run with it – just not with your client. 

Having to send out 50 personalized emails, but forgetting to take out the FWD in the subject line to a couple of writers.


Sampling sorrows
Sending samples on the wrong courier/UPS choice, meaning it gets there too slowly and misses the media’s deadline. Awkward.

Having FedEx lose your packages, only to have them show up weeks later, destroyed. 

Socializing and social media
Accidentally tweeting something a little harsh from the company Twitter instead of a personal account. Then rushing to delete it before it’s retweeted. 


Embargoed information leaking on Twitter. 


Tweeting a misspelt client handle (not necessarily a nightmare, but still annoying).

Almost falling…or actually falling at fashion week in front of the media lounge.

Wearing a walkie-talkie and making a weird face every time someone talks in our ear, looking to the outside world like we’re confused, crazy, constipated or all of the above.

Release woes


Sending out a release with track changes. Ack. 

Sending
a release to the wrong list.

Having an invite approved by the client with the wrong Four Seasons/Intercontinental, sending out the camera call (also approved) with the wrong address and then showing up at the wrong Four Seasons/Intercontinental, only to then call everyone to tell them to go north.

Realizing you forgot to get a reviewer to sign an embargo letter, after they’d already started screening or reviewing.

Sending out an Oshawa media alert to an Ottawa media list (with the media list attached). Don’t ask how that happened. 

Call me, maybe? 


Addressing an email to the wrong outlet (an editor at FLARE instead of FASHION, for example).
Calling media member by the wrong name. (Example: Derick is not Shinan. Nor is Jian) We’ve seen it happen more often than you think. When a media member forgets ours, we shrug it off. And if we forget? Social media suicide. 

Camera calls vs. breaking news, always a gamble, you never know what’s going to happen.

Planning an event or party for weeks, then day of, pouring rain, blizzard or three other, bigger parties have suddenly been scheduled for the same night. #EventFail


Being quoted as a media spokesperson when we weren’t expecting to be quoted or worst, being interviewed on live radio without realizing until it’s too late. This has happened!

And the rest…

Waking up every hour on the hour in a panic, because you think you’ve overslept for an early morning show segment.


Sending something to print thousands of copies, with a glaring typo. After client approval. 

Having to send through bad coverage is never a good thing. 

Crisis communications. 

Media, Darling: Paige Dzenis

Paige Dzenis is the
associate online editor for FASHION Magazine, where she covers all things
beauty, the latest wardrobe choices of Kate Middleton, parties and fundraisers
across Toronto and other pop culture moments. Paige also paints her nails on a
weekly (if not more frequent!) basis for FASHION’s Nail Corner column which
features designer and trend-inspired nail art designs.




Twitter: @paiiige, @fashioncanada
Website
www.fashionmagazine.com/blogs


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon?

Yes! I started writing at a young age – shout out to the Town Crier newspaper
for giving me my first column (all about pre-teen life) when I was 11 – and did
a B.A. in media studies, always thinking that post-grad I would end up in
journalism. However, I started a working in advertising as a copywriter and
then creative director. I could have easily continued down that path, but after
five years I decided it was “now or never” and, well, here I am.


Where would you like to be five years from now?

Hopefully in Toronto, but I’ll have lived in another city/country between now
and then. I also have always wanted to have kids at an early age, so… babies!


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

You won’t want to hear this, but: it’s all about being in the right place at
the right time. Practically speaking, start working, no matter what the job is.
My first full-time job was being a secretary for Saudi Arabian engineers, but
those skills got me in the door for my next job, and so on and so on. Entry
level jobs are extremely hard to come by these days, but once you have a few
years of work experience under your belt – no matter the company or
industry – it’s much easier. And, just like in high school and university, extra
curriculars are everything. Be involved in the industry you want to work in,
make connections, do social media properly and it will all work out.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 

CBC Radio is my everything. I have my morning routine down to an exact science
based on whatever segment Matt Galloway or Anna Maria Tremonti is doing.

Online, I check Buzzfeed, Gawker, The Cut, Toronto Life, Slate and a whole slew
of blogs constantly, but generally any breaking news comes through Twitter.


And TV-wise, I’m obsessed with Law and Order SVU and my PVR records such
classics as The Voice, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, Person of Interest
and Nashville. Oh, and I’m rewatching the entire series of Gilmore Girls right
now.


Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?

I always love backstage beauty interviews. I’m into my third season covering Toronto Fashion Week and World Mastercard Fashion Week and it doesn’t matter how crazy it is, the makeup artists
and hair stylists are always so enthusiastic and energetic. It’s contagious.

Worst interview… basically any time an “exclusive” turns into a PR saying “Oh,
we ran out of time so now five of you have to go in together and can ask one
question each.” Come on!


Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“The girls who ask for orchids get orchids.” It’s from my mom, and basically a
mantra about making sure your goals and objectives are known not only to
yourself, but to anyone who could influence your life. Works for both your
career and personal things.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?

I try to always be positive. It’s not necessarily a “rules of attraction”
thing, but I don’t believe in dwelling on negative emotions. Keeping a smile on
will always transfer into making someone else’s day, whereas sour puss-faced
people are the most uninteresting and uninspiring people to interact with. I
also never use the word ‘jealous’ because it really just means “I wish I could
do that thing too but I refuse to take control of my life and make it happen.”


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?

When you’re sending an invite to an event, please include a text version of the
details with your invite jpg. I hate transcribing tiny text from an image when
making a calendar reminder. Copy-paste is so much easier!


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

I once tweeted with a friend about a nail polish colour she was wearing and a
week later it arrived on my desk. No hashtags or @brandnames were used–just
the genius monitoring of a PR pro.


I hate?

Product samples that arrive in too-large boxes and with unnecessary,
over-the-top press materials. Throwing these things directly into my recycling
bin hurts my soul.


I love?

Horses! Will someone send me a horse, please?


Reading?

Um, I tend to keep many things going on my nightstand at once. Right now it’s:
the latest issue of Descant, the third Game of Thrones book, The Omnivore’s
Dilemma
and a teen fiction series by the Go Fug Yourself girls.


Best place on earth?

Texas. Houston, Austin and Marfa.


Dinner guest?

My sister and I cook dinner for our parents every Sunday night and it’s pretty
perfect.


Hero?

My mom. She has progressive MS and yet everything I said earlier about avoiding
negativity and staying positive? I get that all from her.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

WhatsApp. I’m an Android girl, so WhatsApp is the only way to get my emoji fix.


Pool or ocean?

Ocean! Or pool! But lakes are beyond terrifying.


Voicemail or email?

Email. Though as long as you’re not calling to make sure I received an invite
or a package, please call.


Fashion week show you’re most looking forward to?

Joe Fresh. It just hits the right notes every single time.

City Living: The Pros and Cons of dating a PR pro

Today on the fourth floor, we’re talking about dating a girl in PR. We’re not going to lie, dating a PR girl can be
tough at times – we’re independent, opinionated and will often correct your
grammar on text.  But, there are some significant pros when it comes to dating us – like our loyalty and passion, outgoing personality and ability to talk to anyone in a room.

Inspired by
recent posts on NYCPRgirls, we thought we’d give you a more comprehensive breakdown of
the pros and cons of dating a girl in PR. Voila! 

CON
We’re often overanalyzing
situations.
PRO
But we can find
the positive in most situations.
CON
When we’re at work, we probably can’t text, or sext, or have idle banter via social media. What can we say? We’re busy!
PRO
We aren’t (or can’t be) stage 5 clingers. We just don’t have the time. 😉

CON
We’re busy at night too. 
Our job
requires us to be out anywhere from 2-5 nights a week to a barrage of events,
cocktail parties, launches, etc.

PRO
If you like
events, and you don’t mind fending for yourself throughout the night, then you’re in store to
check out some fun parties! Double PRO – we won’t always join you in a cocktail,
especially when working, but you’re very welcome to take advantage of the open bar. (…and gift bags and yummy treats…). 
CON
We will most definitely
correct your spelling or grammar while texting.



PRO
Think of how
much better your texting skills will become!
CON
You will be
judged by your online profile or lack thereof. LinkedIn counts. Update that
shiz.  Twitter followers (when applicable) are also taken into consideration. Facebook is too, in that if you’re updating it every 5 minutes, clearly you have too much time on your hands and we’re not able to handle that.

PRO
We are experts
at doing a two-minute background check on pretty much anyone.


PRO
When we’re
well dressed, we’re really well dressed. It’s part of our job (and one of the parts we enjoy most).

CON
When we have
a rare night off, our outfits can be….let’s say ‘very relaxed.’ Or when we’ve been working late 5 nights in a row. Deal.
  
PRO
We will
always have a suggestion about the trendiest, newest restaurant to try.
CON
We will judge
you if you pick somewhere horrid. Choose wisely, friend.



There are likely many more that we can think of – maybe even enough to inspire a follow up post.





DG for the win!

Today on the fourth floor, we’re proud to announce that our very own boss lady, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, is nominated for PR Professional of the Year in the first-ever BizBash Toronto Readers’ Choice Awards. The awards are based on reader votes, so we’re calling on our friends, family, readers and colleagues to help our fearless leader take the award this month.

#debgeeforthewin
Photo credit: Jessica Blaine Smith


You may know Debra from her work talent-wrangling at TIFF, managing the crowds at fashion week or any number of projects she’s worked on since founding rock-it promotions in 2000, but we want to bring you the inside scoop on DG. So today, we present 10 secret reasons why she deserves your vote:


1. Debra has a poet’s soul. No, really. She studied creative writing at Concordia University and always dreamed of becoming a poet. However, that soul also has a pragmatic side that encouraged her to channel her love of writing into something more lucrative than poetry.


2. She can hook you up. Not only is she keeper of the keys at some of Toronto’s most exclusive events, one of her first jobs was working for a dating service.

3. She’s the
woman behind the man in the mask.
From
working with Woody Harrelson, who starred as the comedic superhero
“Defendor” in the movie of the same name, to marrying Matt Austin-Sadowski,
who, once upon a time, was a green Power Ranger, DG is basically the industry’s
own Pepper Potts.



4. She’s also a fairy godmother. Or at least according to her adorable three-year-old daughter, whose favourite game is “Fairy Godmother,” with Debra cast in the lead role.


5. She tweets it like it is. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, Debra’s tweets are always on the pulse of Toronto. 


6. She’s a pioneer. A strong supporter of social media, she was one of the first PR pros to recognize the unique voice of social media, and in particular bloggers, creating controversy by inviting them into the tents at fashion week years before the term “street style” was part of our everyday lexicon. 

7. She has great taste. Debra was the first person in Toronto to start a full service gifting lounge company called Tastemakers (along with VP of Operations, Leesa Butler). Modelled after swag lounges in the U.S., she recognized a missing niche here and eight years later, has sparked some competition, but still has the best lounge at the festival.


8. On the Fourth Floor. rock-it was the first boutique agency to start a daily lifestyle blog back in 2010. Not one day has been missed since it was launched. The Media, Darling feature is our most popular and has attracted praise from competing agencies and journalists, alike.

9. Once you are part of the family, you stay part of the family. Many of rock-it’s clients have been on the company roster for many, many years. Drake Hotel, Alliance Films, Loblaw Companies, Fashion Design Council of Canada, Frigidaire and Electrolux, to name a few. Debra considers all clients to be top priority and always goes the extra mile, whether on vacation, weekends or evenings.


10. She’s a cool boss. Do you get to Google Tumblrs, do each other’s hair and attend wine tastings
during office hours? ‘Cause we do. Plus, we love our flexible dress
code, the fact that we can bring our dogs to the office, and
occasionally start our emails to her with “Hey, man.”

For these reasons and more, please support #debgeeforthewin and help her take the award at BizBash’s Celebrate Toronto Events 2012 reception on May 22. Visit bizbash.com/torontovotes to cast your vote! Voting is open until Thursday, May 17 and you can vote once per day, every day.