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Lessons from Project Glass: Why embracing technology is not optional

By Megan Totka

Devices like smartphones and tablets have become such a part of everyday life that they’re almost an extension of our bodies. As technology progresses, so does the ease of use. The capabilities of personal electronics today would have been the stuff of science fiction only a decade ago. It stands to reason that the emerging technology of contemporary times will be fodder for pop culture jokes a decade from now.

While all of this rapidly-evolving technology serves entertainment and convenience purposes, it has also revolutionized the way that businesses reach customers. If you have a website, social media accounts or a mobile app attached to your company, you are already very aware of the power that instant technology has in the marketplace. Just when you think you know all there is to know about cutting-edge customer experiences through technology, something new emerges.

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Walking the digital tightrope: The perils of co-branded employees

By Megan Totka

Before businesses began to really cash in on the power of social media, people were signing up for Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts in the privacy of their homes. These platforms allowed a new medium for self-expression, along with networking opportunities. Businesses began to see the advantages of connecting with their customers and started using social media, too.  Just over five years into the social media boom, it is not uncommon to see individual accounts with hundreds, or even thousands, of followers or friends. While there is nothing wrong with being popular in online circles, an unexpected consequence has arisen for businesses: co-branded employees.

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Social media gaffes: They can happen to anyone

By Megan Totka

Missteps are increasingly becoming a part of the landscape for business social media. While unfortunate, those of us who run social media pages as businesses are still only human – and make human mistakes.

Some of these gaffes have more dire consequences than others. One of the most recent posts-gone-wrong was on the night of the first presidential debate. This particular post came from the KitchenAid brand and quickly became top business news. KitchenAid tweeted:

“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”

Many people found this tweet to be rather offensive. It was shocking, too, coming from such a neutral brand as KitchenAid. We don’t typically expect the company that manufactures stand mixers to have a particularly strong political view. This tweet was broadcast to about 24,000 of KitchenAid’s followers before it was deleted from the company page.

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Don’t believe everything you read: Why journalism still matters

By Katie Parsons

In an earlier post, Leo Valiquette wrote about the rise in incidents of plagiarism among high-profile journalists. Leo contends that the timing of this increase is no accident; forgetting ethics that were learned in Journalism 101 is part of a larger cultural shift stretching professionals too thin. With newspapers, magazines and broadcast entities operating with skeleton staff and individuals being asked to do more online, it is no wonder that facts appear to be falling through the cracks.

Many journalists are not happy with the current state of things. Dozens of staff at the Chicago Tribune recently sent a petition to newsroom editor Gerould Kearn asking him — begging him — to do what he could to convince executives to discontinue the use of the content creation company Journatic. The Tribune had farmed out nearly all of its suburban coverage to the data mill, whose own executive talked publicly about how reporters simply do not need to live in the communities that they cover. He offended a few journalists in the process and then proved his own statement wrong.

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