Caught My Eye, Crossed My Mind

CROSSED MY MIND (Social Media) … The world around us is certainly changing fast.
A few years ago my family took a rare vacation to Disney. At the “Magic Kingdom” there is a slow moving ride that stops at different stage areas for a couple minute presentation of what life was like for the American Family during a particular decade. I do not recall this ride’s name but I found it fascinating.

One stop was the 1920’s, then the next was the 1930’s with the same American Family featured in it. As the ride moved onto the next stage, the characters didn’t age but the household items and technology around them changed to what the family within their homes. This ride continued in 10 year increments until current life in the American home, leaving you to wonder what the next 50 to 100 years would bring forth as change.

When comparing change decade by decade, things seems to have picked up since the 90’s. It seems like changes from week to week, month to month and ceratinly year to year have taken a more heavy roll than in past decades in our homes and businesses. Change is now all around us in a whole other world we created through the internet, known as “social media” – a “sort of real but kind of virtual” realm.

Change is usually supposed to mean the addition of ease or comfort, certainly a step ahead. But with change always seems to come issues.
I have been scratching my head and wondering where an issue I am seeing with Social Media grasping control of personal life and forcing itself onto the professional realm is going to end up?

Our office can receive up to 1,000 emails a day on our server from various folks around the world. Some of these emails are for advertisement, others are press releases, some are junk – they all have to be sorted outside of a “junk mail” system. Obviously a large chunk of my day is filtering through these emails to ensure everything legit goes to the right newspaper department, while responded to a sizable percentage of these emails myself.

Around six months ago, I started to notice that on top of nearly 50% of incoming emails, whether the emails were from a personal email address or from a business email address, that photos began to appear around the size of a business card on top of the email (visually the main focus on the email). These photos are associated with the sender, not necessarily the business the sender is representing.

I initially liked this feature as many of these folks I know well, some of them are in my “social network” family. Example – if Jane Smith from the “First Bank Of Noname” emailed a press release about something taking place at her bank, her social media profile photo appeared with her email, a nice way of personalizing the email, despite the fact she did not authorize her photo to appear.

However as time has continued and the more I see these social connection features force themselves without permission into our professional emails systems, the more I believe they infringe on personal life.

When I receive an email from the Ohio Department of Insurance and it has a man’s family photo taking the graphic lead in their email (because that is likely the photo was used personally on his Twitter and/or Facebook account) then I feel it takes away from professionalism, especially when I am not connected with this gentleman in anyway in the social media realm. In addition, do you want your family photos representing you if you are sending a business email out?

What if a lawyer had to send an email representing a client? “Dear John, stop harassing my client before we see you in civil court.” Oh, by the way, here is a picture of my six year old and I shooting baskets to start the email – though you didn’t approve of such a personal graphic? Odd stuff going on in the email / social media realm folks.

It has become popular in recent months on Facebook and Twitter to replace your personal social media photo with a “cause” photo. Two popular ones I have noticed recently is if you support gay marriage a red box with an equal sign, replaces your social media photo so that everyone you converse with online knows your stance on gay marriage. Other popular image replacements have surrounded gun control, right to work, presidential candidates, union / anti union, etc.

There is little research on google on the subject unless I am completely missing online discussion on the matter and not using the proper key word search (or more likely I have one evening a week free to spend with my family and it is not going to be ate up gooling). I have noted however a suspicion on why your social profile photo may be appearing on your business email account, outside of your knowledge.

If you have 800 friends on Facebook and any of these friends – friends are friends (I’m confused), then many email programs including Outlook 2013 will now assume their social profile photo should go with a professional email that is not even connected in anyway to the social account and assume it is ok to place with the business email. Pretty vague details, but that is the best I can come up with on why I am seeing hundreds of photos a day of folks private social media profile photos on top of their emails sitting in my inbox.

Chalk another technological advance toward going bad or in the wrong direction (two good tech steps forward, one back).

Drones that can spy on our enemies overseas and keep our personnel out of danger = a good thing in my book. When the “powers that be” in our government think they can monitor its citizens = technological bad thing.

Social media that allows family and friends around the world to “connect” = a great thing. Social media that places your personal beliefs into the forefront of your business emails = bad thing.

I have had guns, pentagrams, gay rights, political beliefs and even the middle finger arrive to my inbox on top of business emails. Nothing like being invited to come test drive a vehicle, yet on top of the email and the size of a business card is the gentleman appearing to be drunk in a bar and flipping off the camera!

Watch what you post on your profile photos folks, unless you want the world to know! Your personal life is being mingled into your work place emails and I bet most of you reading this column didn’t even know about it. I am willing to bet I just made some employer’s ulcers start bleeding again.

Employer – “Susie, can you go submit donations for the charity cause on email this afternoon?” And, “Oh ya, please take your half naked drunk photo from this weekend off your facebook profile page as it is on top of your charity email requests”.

Crazy world we are living in.

CAUGHT MY EYE (Athletic Coverage) … Another sports season, another round of “why is my kid’s sports activities not appearing in your newspaper, why do you give favor of some local sports teams over others?”

I have stated this over the past 11 years numerous times, we will print 100% athletic activities that are issued. Because there are hundreds of local contests and we have a small staff, we physically cannot make every contest in person. There is not a newspaper I know that can pull off such a feat. But we guarantee if local coaches from any level will provide statistics and game results they will be published.

Part of the vision that pushed me into considering being a Hometown Newspaper publisher out of college was remembering the poor media coverage given to my high school football team back in the early 90’s. At my school the only successful football season seemed to be when none of the basketball athletes were injured post football season (basketballs school at the time). I believe the best record ever in football was 5-5 or 6-4 at our school, but records of 2-8 were pretty common.

When we went undefeated in the 90’s and the local and regional news coverage basically ignored our efforts, it planted something into me on how unjustified it was that we went 10-0 yet bigger schools with just a few wins were receiving large articles and television coverage.

At that time a large group of parents including my own even went out of the way to contact local and regional media to let them know there was a “Hoosiers” sort of story developing in Northwest Ohio – it did not matter, we received little in coverage. (Hoosiers – 80’s movie on the true story of a little farm school winning the State Championship). The vision of covering small local news stories (whether sports related or not) was planted in my mind because of my past disgust and the fact I love the small town news that many in bigger media outles would think is unworthy.

With this passion stated again, I want to stress we will print 100% of stats and results sent to us. This includes varsity, junior varsity, freshmen, junior high, elementary sports and even non school affiliated programs.

All we need is for coaches and parents to utilize technology that allows better communication than anytime in human history. Yet strange enough, if I open archives from the 1970’s coaches and parents communicated better concerning submissions than they do now.

Game stats, article and even photos may be submitted to our sports department: tim@thevillagereporter.com or faxed to 1-866-512-2853.

CROSSED MY MIND … As always, if you have a local news suggestion, please drop an email my way, we want to hear from you! I may be reached at either publisher@thevillagereporter.com or publisher@wauseonreporter.com.

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