Category ArchiveCode of behavior

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Code of behavior 15 Nov 2010 06:06 pm

What Not to Do On Facebook

The growing success of Facebook has been accompanied by waves of concern over privacy rights and sharing too much on individuals’ pages. Numerous news reports have come out in an attempt to teach people what type of information is smart to post and what is not on their personal page, all to avoid a range of problems such as being fired from a job, getting hacked, and even legal problems. The Huffington Post recently came out with a similar list of “13 Things You Shouldn’t Tell Your Facebook Friends,” which included helpful privacy tips that I had never before heard of, obvious tips, and some that were a bit absurd, bordering on paranoia of the internet. Here are a few from the article:

1. Do not post your full birth date and place of birth. Sounds like simple information, but thieves can actually find your social security number simply from entering your name, birth date, and place of birth. I had no previous knowledge of this threat, and even though I feel comfortable assuming none of my college or old high school friends would want to steal my identity, I did check to make sure that my place of place of birth was not listed. The article suggests posting a fake birth date a few days off of your own to still receive birthday messages. But in all fairness, who wants to receive well-wishes two days prior or post to your actual special day? Not me.
2. Do not use your mother’s maiden name as a security answer. The article suggests not using the question “What is your mother’s maiden name?” because it is the same security question many other sites use, such as bank and credit card accounts. I knew when reading this that my mother’s maiden name is a security answer to my bank account, and sure enough it was also a Facebook security question. I changed the Facebook question immediately. As a college student, I can’t run the risk of anyone gaining access to my small, but precious bank account.
3. Do not post your phone number. This tip may seem obvious to most people, but what many don’t realize is that posting a cell phone number on a group or event page can be just as dangerous as posting it on a personal page. Facebook groups created to collect people’s cell phone numbers after losing or getting a new phone are very common, and very often are set to “Public.” In Facebook terms, this means that everyone on Facebook, and even those not on Facebook, have access to view the page, and therefore your cell phone number. So, if a friend has recently lost his or phone and requests your number, send a private message so your number will remain private from the entire Internet.

As you can gather from this short list, personal security and privacy are nothing to mess with when dealing with social networks and the Internet. Threats range from minimal to very huge with a lot of repercussions. Yet tools like Facebook should be fun; a way to stay connected and in-touch with friends. As individuals using the Internet, we have to recognize the balance between sharing too much information and using it as the social tool it has become. But most importantly, we have a responsibility to self-monitor and censor what we post in order to protect ourselves in such a viral world. After all, what is broadcast out into the Internet remains somewhere in cyberspace forever.

Dana Prainito

About Eiler Communications &Code of behavior &Media 25 Jun 2010 12:33 pm

China: A Double-Sided Internet Policy

A current concern of the average American citizen is monitoring the content of their online profiles. In a culture where an angry post or an inappropriate photo is made available for everyone to see, it is difficult to imagine having limited Internet access due to government censorship. However, this is the existing situation in China where the government has been monitoring online content since the introduction of the Internet years ago. While U.S. citizens are censoring what they put online, the Chinese government is censoring what their citizens can access.

The Golden Shield Project, more commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall of China”, operates as a censorship and surveillance program by the Ministry of Public Security division of the government of China. The Great Firewall of China blocks website content and also monitors Internet sessions of individuals. While it is hard to find an exact number, there are rumored to be as many as 30,000 government officials working as Internet police agents. These Internet police ensure that any critical or questionable material is deleted within minutes. The government expects all Internet service providers, businesses and organizations to abide by Great Firewall of China censorship policies.

To better illustrate the present conditions in China, Internet powerhouse Google pulled out of China last January after having trouble adhering to the strict censorship policies. Google decided that it simply was not feasible to censor all their search results. A few weeks ago, China released a White Paper on Internet usage and its future for Chinese citizens.

The overall message of the paper is that China is attempting to embrace the Internet and all it has to offer. They are aiming to be “a leader in global evolution by monitoring and regulating the Internet”. According to the document, nothing that “subverts state power, undermines national unity, infringes upon honor and interests or incites ethnic hatred and secession” is allowed. Also banned are a majority of social networking sites, terror-related sites, gambling sites, rumor-spreading sites, sites that support superstitious ideas and sites with vulgar or adult material.

As an American citizen accustomed to my First Amendment rights, the Chinese government’s Internet declaration seemed oxy-moronic. It came as a surprise that a government would allow for their World Wide Web to have kinks in it. One of the beauties of the Internet is that a majority of its content is user based. Censoring this content and restricting what is shared results in a bland, less enriched pool of resources. Is it possible for a country to attempt to embrace the Internet while at the same time control it?

Emily Rozanski

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Code of behavior &Social Media 10 Jun 2010 04:00 pm

Online Content Management: Does an Age Divide Exist?

Ann Arbor, MI, June 17, 2010 — In a day and age where people are leading parallel lives via the Internet, it’s not shocking that researchers are frequently finding new trends pertaining to social media. It’s also no surprise that with so much new information available to the public, controversy surrounding Internet privacy has surfaced. Eiler Communications finds that with the social media being such an important tactic for marketing, it is imperative that company employees manage their online content. Failing to do so not only puts your personal reputation at stake, but your company’s as well.

“As new media is evolving as another public relations tool it is imperative that clients are educated on proper usage,” explained Larry Eiler, Chairman of Eiler Communications.

With that said, the younger half of the millennial generation has been accused of putting too much information about themselves on the Internet. However, new research from the Pew Research Internet and American Life Project suggests that part of this age group (18-29) is savvier with regulating their online content than their elders.

Not just bosses and friends are interested in checking out your photos, lifestyle approach and posts online. Given that the younger millenials are putting a ton of information on display, they are limiting what other people can see. They are more likely than any other age group to remove names from photos with beer cups and delete embarrassing rants with friends.

The study done by Pew found that 44 percent of young adult Internet users limit their personal information online, while only 33 percent of users ages 30-39 claimed they did the same. The numbers lessen as the ages of users increase. In the same study, 71 percent of 18-29 year-old social networking users surveyed said to have changed their privacy settings, almost 20 percent more than those surveyed aged 50-64. The youngest age group also beat out the other age brackets in other categories such as deleting unwanted comments and removing names from photos.

At Eiler, we endorse monitoring your online content. Although privacy settings differ with each social networking sites, and some privacy policies can be complicated (Facebook). It’s an area worth looking into. Just because young Internet users have grown up using social networking sites doesn’t mean that older users aren’t capable of limiting their personal information too.

It seems Internet users ages 18-29 are motivated to manage online content because they are likely trying to find a job, internship or other work-related gig. This means that these users are consistently aware of what content their potential employers could find. In fact, 26 percent of working Internet users have employers that instill policies about online content.

If you’re not changing your privacy settings out of caution, do it for love. The Internet makes it
simple for everyone to do scouting reports. People are checking up on their love interests. According to a study done by McKinsey, 1 in 8 of couples married in the U.S. in 2006 met online. Pew’s study shows that 16 percent of all Internet users search online for additional information about somebody they are dating or in a relationship with, and about one-third of those using dating Web sites check out their dates online as well. If you wouldn’t want your potential mate to see it, it probably shouldn’t be online.

Hats off to the young millenials; they’re keeping their content controlled- and it’s for their own benefit. Let’s commend them and copy them. It won’t hurt.

Rachel Krasnow

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Code of behavior 22 Mar 2010 04:39 pm

The introduction of a new trend,, has many people talking. This website allows users to create anonymous question boxes for anyone with an account. The choice of leaving an anonymous question allows anyone to ask the juicy questions that would normally be avoided. Is a website like this a good idea? Seems to me it is something that will quickly be abused.

In an age where cyber-bullying is an everyday occurrence, people should be more cautious in regulating the web. Adolescents are continuously using new forms of social media to taunt their unpopular peers. Not only adolescents, but also some parents have joined in on the taunting, such as a mother whose fictitious MySpace account led to the suicide of a 13-year old neighbor. Cases like these are on the rise and with the ever-increasing changes in technology will continue to ostracize many of America’s youth.

Permitting anonymous posts makes it easier for bullies to get away with their crimes. They can easily say hurtful words without having to deal with the consequences. Because high school students in our society continually utilize social media, is gaining new users on a daily basis. Although may have been created with good intentions, I believe that it will quickly be misused and perpetuate the mistreatment of many of today’s adolescents.

- Sami Kraslow

Code of behavior &Media 20 Jul 2007 03:27 pm

Harry Potter and the early book reviews: the gray area of press embargoes

Unless you try to stay uninformed, you are aware of the mania surrounding the release of the latest and last book in the worshipped Harry Potter series. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows will be released to lines of people in wizard costumes at 12:01 am on Saturday (another blog post entirely).

The final fate of Harry and his posse has been speculated ad nauseum by fans and media, and an uber-strict publisher’s embargo on the books has only fueled the frenzy to find out how it all ends. Booksellers and reviewers worldwide have respectfully agreed to follow the rules of the official release date, but those crazy kids the New York Times and Baltimore Sun skipped class to smoke in the bathroom. Reviewers Michiko Kakutani and Mary Carole McCauley, respectively, not only obtained copies but also published reviews days in advance of the release.

The backlash was almost immediate, from media, readers and J.K. Rowling herself, who was quoted via her U.K. publisher, Bloomsbury, as being “. . .staggered that some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time. I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans.”

Bloomsbury and U.S. publisher Scholastic, Inc. have both slammed the Times and Sun for running the reviews and revealing so much of the plot. Scholastic has taken legal action against two sources of “leaked” books, reports the Detroit News.

From a journalistic and PR perspective, this is an interesting case study in embargoes. Some background: an embargo is a request by a source that the news it provides not be published until a certain date and/or condition has been met. They most often accompany a product launch or government announcement, the purpose being to allow journalists enough time to draft their stories so they can publish at the same time the announcement happens—not before. The obvious reason anyone would ignore an embargo is to “scoop” competition and be the first to report on a story.

Embargoes rely completely on the honor system, but it is generally understood by students in both Journalism and Public Relations 101 that a broken embargo is bad form and a violation of trust. Some sources respond to broken embargoes by limiting offending journalists’ access to future information.

In this case, the only embargo with legal ramifications is the one between the publisher and the bookseller. While this is hardly a matter of national security, and journalists apparently did not enter into any agreements of their own, the vast majority of them were clearly obeying the spirit of the law by waiting to review the book until publicly available.

Nothing will happen to either newspaper, unless you count the angry outcry from Team Gryffindor and the court of public opinion. Here are some sound bites from the Baltimore Sun letters to the editor:

“I wanted to send a quick note about how terrible it is that The Sun allowed one of its reporters, Mary Carole McCauley, to give a review of a book that is so highly anticipated and whose secrets are so closely guarded just days before the book is released . . . Not only does the reporter not mention how she received an early copy of the book, but she also gives away two major plot points in her review. While the rest of us were breathlessly awaiting the book’s Saturday morning arrival and wondering what “Deathly Hallows” are and whether Harry lives or dies, The Sun’s reporter neatly summed it up for us. It’s despicable that The Sun would allow such a thing.”

“I’m utterly appalled that The Sun published a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows two days before the book’s release, one that revealed some plot points and spoiled the conclusion of 10 years of wonderful reading experience for children and adults alike . . .This is incredibly irresponsible.”

And my favorite, I think, from Kelly McBride, ethics group leader of journalism’s Poynter Institute, as quoted in the Detroit News article:

“I think this comes down to, ‘who are you loyal to?’ As a journalist, you’re loyal to your audience. You have made no agreement with (book publisher) Scholastic to embargo information, should you get hold of it. So the information is out there, what do you do with it? You have to make decisions based on how you best serve your audience.” For that very reason, McBride doesn’t think revealing details of the plot serves the audience. “Do you ruin the ending? Well, of course not. You don’t do that when the book is released, either, because that is a disservice to your audience.”

There is definitely some gray area, but I’m siding with Gryffindor on this one.

Posted by: Rebecca

Business of PR &Code of behavior 09 May 2007 03:07 pm

Is it public relations or personal relations?

Public relations is the art of managing communication between an organization and its key constituents to build, manage, and sustain a positive, realistic reputation.

It is developing rapport and good will through a two way communication process, and fostering positive relationships between an organization and its target constituents.

Having directed the business operations of our PR firm for 20 years, it strikes me that every one of us could benefit by conducting our relationships with others by being honest, cordial, credible and always reputable. That does not always happen.

We strive to produce positive PR results for our clients with those qualities and performances in mind, why not let those practices fill our everyday lives. Twenty years of cultivating excellent vendor relationships has paid off in spades. I’ve had vendors turn around printing projects in hours, duplicate DVDs while I wait as well as many others going above and beyond. People recognize and reward those that treat them well.

It’s not that hard to be nice and smile. My grandmother used to say, “Sugar goes farther than salt.”

What would our world be if each of us took heed?

Posted by Sandy