Sunday, September 29, 2013

Texting zones: The fight against texting and driving

Picture via Mashable 

The publicity surrounding texting and driving is one that is not going to go away any time soon. There have been numerous campaigns surrounding it, the inventions of things like of Bluetooth to avoid it, and pledges signed by celebrities in opposition to it. The latest fight against it is taking place in the state of New York and is the result of Governor Cuomo's invention of "texting zones". 

According to a recent Mashable article, new highway signs will say things like, "It can wait: text stop 5 miles". When I first read this article, I assumed that there would be spots designated just for answering calls and texts off of highways. However, this is not the case and the new spots will be existing rest areas and rest stops. Governor Cuomo is hoping that the new signs will simply act as reminders to drivers that they can safely address their phone calls and text messages in a timely, yet safe manner.

The state will issue about 300 signs to be placed on New York's highways and rest areas. According to Governor Cuomo, the situation has become so dire that creative ways to keep people safe need to be created. Safety needs to be the main concern and it has become evident that technologies like Bluetooth and Siri are simply not enough. 

I am curious as to whether or not this will be successful. Could a simple sign encourage drivers to hold off sending that one text to their friends? Would people really be willing to pull over at a rest stop just to get back on the busy highway 30 seconds later? I really have no idea whether or not this will be successful, but I truly hope it is. Technology will continue to evolve, but that requires people's intelligence to evolve as well. It's a simple problem with a simple solution. Don't text and drive.

To sign the "It Can Wait" pledge, click here. To read the full texting zones article, click here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tips and Tricks - The Best Features of iOS7

Apple has released iOS7 on September 18, the latest update to its mobile operating system that runs the iPhone smartphone as well as the iPad and iPod Touch.  According to Apple, "... our purpose was to create and experience that was simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable- while building on the things people love about iOS.  Ultimately, redesigning the way it works led us to redesign the way it looks.  Because good design is design that's in service of the experience."  Almost a week later, Apple's customers and critics have had time to play with the new features.  I have compiled a few of the best tips and tricks of the new iOS7.

Shutting Down Apps-  With the old iOS, if users wanted to close out apps, they would double tap home button and choose the apps that they wanted to close. In iOS 7, after the double tap, apps now appear as a series of screens users scroll left to right (similar to how mobile Safari might organize multiple pages). To close apps, users simply swipe up.  iOS7 revolves around the art of multitasking and having the ability to run multiple apps at a time while still preserving battery life.  
Photo via Apple

FaceTime -  A really great feature of the updated FaceTime on the phone is the availability to call anyone with an iOS from anywhere in the world with or with out wifi. This saves the hassle from having to use a third party program to  call someone.

Control Center - This new feature lets the user change the most popular settings such as screen brightness or Airplane mode all with the swipe of a finger.  Apple promotes this feature as "Do what you need to do. Quick."  Some of the main features of this simple swipe up is the ability to turn on or off airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Do Not Disturb, and the screens orientation and brightness.  Instead of double tapping the home button to control the music, you can now play, pause or skip a song right on this screen.  Apple put the most used controls on this screen such as flashlight, timer, calculator and camera.
Photo via Apple
New Camera Features - There are more options of the camera right in front of you. High Dynamic Range and Panorama are just a swipe to the right.  My new favorite feature of the camera is the new iOS7 which has a photo filter option with 9 different filters to choose from (displayed below). The best part of this is that it can apply the filters before even taking the picture.  Photos are organized a bit differently, as well. There are the standard albums, but when you tap the Photos icon at the bottom left, you can view images as "collections" sorted by date.
Picture via
iTunes Radio -  This free streaming radio is very similar to Pandora.  The more you listen, the more personal your favorite stations become.  Additionally, iOS7 users can now stream the internet for a musical experience with no ads via iTunes Match.
Photo via Apple

Blocking Numbers - With the new iOS7 update, there's now the option to block unwanted callers.  The feature will block any phone calls, iMessages or FaceTime calls from contacting you.

Being an iPhone and iPad user myself, I have really enjoyed the new software update.  I feel that the new design makes the phone look, feel and run with higher precision and elegance.

If you want to read more about the iOS7 update, check out Apple's Website !

Sunday, September 15, 2013

LinkedIn launches "Bring in your Parents Day"

Picture via

I'm sure many of you have heard about "Bring your child to work day" and I'm confident that some of you have even participated in it. For those of you who haven't, however, it is simply a fun way for a company to involve their employees' children while allowing children to get an idea of just what their mother or father does for a living. LinkedIn has taken this tradition, along with results from a recent survey, and has created a global event where children bring their parents to their job in hopes of decreasing the generation gap.

The survey took place in the UK and found that nearly half of parents do not understand what their children do for a living and that over one in four workers think that it would benefit them if their parents had a better grasp on their profession. The survey also allowed LinkedIn to compile a list of the top ten most misunderstood jobs and they are the following:

  1. UI Designer (82%)
  2. Data Scientist (63%)
  3. Social Media Manager (59%)
  4. Actuary (59%)
  5. Sociologist (53%)
  6. Sub Editor (51%)
  7. PR Manager (42%)
  8. Investment Banker (41%)
  9. Radio Producer (34%)
  10. Software Developer (34%)
As future PR pros, it is probably not shocking for you guys to see social media manager and PR manager on that list. Almost every time I speak about public relations around people who are not in the industry, I am overwhelmed with questions about what exactly the job entails. As for the social media aspect, many people who are my age or in the PR industry are familiar with the aspects of social media. However, many adults (especially my parents) really have no idea and I feel that they could highly benefit from this LinkedIn initiative to decrease the generation gap.

On November 7, 2013 LinkedIn's "Bring in Your Parents Day" will take place in fourteen different countries. The day hopes to give parents a better understanding of what their child does, which will hopefully lead to more satisfied children and parents. As of right now, 46% of parents do not fully understand their child's job, yet 97% of parents say that they are proud of their children for their career success. 

I absolutely love this idea and feel that many people could benefit from it. As someone who is very close with my parents, I would be delighted to have them come into the office for a day and see what I am passionate about. I feel that if they fully understood, conversations would be more in-depth and relationships would be strengthened. 

If you want to learn more about the survey and the results, click here!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What other brands should take note about Chobani's recent crisis

Picture via Chobani

It is undeniable that at one point or another, a brand will face some type of crisis. What sets mediocre brands apart from spectacular brands, however, is how these brands decide to handle these crises. In my opinion, Chobani displayed genuine concern for their consumers and expressed sincere apologies for the mishap.

For those of you not familiar with what happened, Chobani decided to pull the product off the shelves and voluntarily recall all yogurts made between specific dates in their Idaho plant due to mold contamination. This recall was not enforced by the FDA, but was decided upon by the company due to wanting to uphold the highest quality of yogurt. Chobani is all natural and does not use preservatives, which is probably why this mold came about in the first place.

Once the yogurt was recalled, Chobani immediately stepped in and issued a statement in which they took responsibility and apologized for their mistake. They also responded to users on Twitter and immediately updated their website to ensure that customers had access to what happened in their own words, as well as the words of the FDA. The exact statement issued by CEO Hamdi Ulukaya was: 

Ulukaya uses direct language and takes full responsibility for what happened. He explains it in a way that any person could easily understand and indicates how truly sorry the entire company is. He addresses that they care about their consumers and are attempting to right the wrong. Finally, they are shipping out fresh products and are offering full refunds or replacements for tainted products. In essence, it is unfortunate that Chobani experienced this crisis, but they handled it with astonishing grace and depicted excellent crisis communication skills. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Social-media wall" makes debut at US Open

Picture via Ubergizmo

It's undeniable that social media and technology are constantly evolving. The newest invention to take the stage is occurring in the sports world and made its debut at this year's US Open. It is called a "social-media wall" and is literally a 50 foot screen that will display fans' and players'  social commentary in real time. The wall will feature both negative and positive feedback and will be accessible by all.

The screen will basically be a massive TweetDeck on display for entertainment. In addition to tweets, the screen will also broadcast Facebook posts and Instagram updates. People who cannot attend the US Open will be able to feel as if they are a part of the event because they will be connected with the attendees through this social-media wall. 

In order to show up on the "social-media wall" people will be required to use the hashtag #usopen. All posts will be monitored by IBM and IDS so it will not be a complete free for all. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if this takes off and whether or not people will be receptive to it. If it does, I honestly could see this being the next big thing and an essential feature at all major sporting events.  

To read the full article, click here