Social Media after Death

December 1, 2016

Social Media after death

I spotted a post that a friend of mine had pushed out on Facebook of her and her husband on holidays somewhere.

I hadn’t seen her for years so I innocently posted “I hope the two love birds are doing great – must get together one of these days“.

Another mutual friend sent me a ‘panic‘ message “Delete the post, her husband died last year and she was just posting a memory as it is a year since his death“.

Oh no ….. how did I not know this awful news?

I sent my friend a private message on Facebook apologising for my colossal gaffe and offered my sincere condolences – thankfully she came back to me, was totally understanding and we actually ended up chatting on the phone.

It turns out she was happy to chat about her husband and in a strange way she was glad that someone behaved as if he was still alive..

The Last Will and Testament

I’ve been asked to go on air to chat about a newspaper article that discusses the trend of people leaving very specific instructions in their wills about keeping their social media accounts “alive” once they leave this life (or do they?).

The article claims that according to lawyers one in five people are now leaving specific social media instructions in their wills – I guess if you factor in that not all people in that supposedly older demographic have participated in social media, then it would suggest that most avid users see it as being really important.

People are nominating a social media ‘guardian’ in their wills who have the job of executing their instructions, which according to the survey are quite varied:

  • some are going as far as specifying how often their account should be updated and the type of content they want posted
  • some are requesting that a post goes from their account every single day!
  • some wish that once or twice a year some memories are posted for the person to keep their memory alive
  • the majority just wish for their guardian to reply to comments

More than half of social media users want their Facebook account maintained, which shows us that no one wishes to face the idea of someone hitting that “delete” button.

What is all of this interesting research telling us about social media and about life?

The first big observation is that it tells us that social media users while they can’t stay alive forever they do wish that their ‘digital footprints‘ stay alive…Greg is still here with us!

It also shows us that our social media presence has become our modern day ‘scrap book‘ conveniently collecting the memories that we choose to capture in our lives and this is much too precious to just ‘delete’.

These memories are a precious collection of that person’s life not only for them to enjoy but also their loved ones – maybe we should do a survey asking people if they would like if the social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away are preserved?

When you look at the very different social media platforms it does put Facebook and possibly Instagram at the top of the charts for collecting ‘memories’ from your life.

Do people who survive me really want to see my rants on Twitter about Donald Trump or Irish Water preserved for eternity? – then again all of this is part of who I am (or was!).

My last observation about this whole cheery topic is that the social media platforms need specific ways of dealing with accounts of users who have passed away.

For example on both Facebook and LinkedIn recently I have seen the platforms suggesting that I might like to ‘be friends’ or ‘connect’ with someone that I know is dead – the last thing that you would want to happen is getting a message from the social media guardian “I’m really sorry, Greg has passed away”. That would be more than awkward.

Facebook do have a process whereby the account of the person who has died is classified as ‘Memorialised‘. It is up to the loved ones to contact Facebook and invoke this process.

This means that friends and family can leave messages and memories abut that person – the word ‘Remembering’ appears before their name on that account – these accounts will not appear in public places such as ‘people you may know’ or ‘birthday reminders’.

I’m guessing that some of those who have been researched about their wills may not want their accounts classified like this?

For me I do believe that the people we love never ever leave us and I would want all of their memories to stay alive so yes, appoint that social media guardian and never delete their accounts.

As for posting on a regular basis – maybe leave that one to the people who are left behind but …everyone to their own!

I feel the sudden urge to take a photo of something nice and post “It’s great to be alive“!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

December 1, 2016

happy-new-year-banner-2016-15Before you think I have totally lost my mind (maybe I have!) I do actually consider the 1st December to be the start of the new year when it comes to business.

I know December is a crazy month when we are all in ‘wind down’ mode, seeing out the year. For some businesses in the retail sector it is even more crazy but nearly all of the hard work has been done already purchasing stock for sale and planning the various promotional campaigns.

We typically don’t start anything new in December, we don’t commit to any new projects, we don’t take on new people, we don’t change jobs, we avoid major decisions and we instead let the year wind down, we merrily fall into the round of Christmas functions, Christmas shopping and happily embrace a well earned rest.

Before we know it January is here, we take a week or two to get up to speed and we start planning for the new year with our team.

Why not start the new year today and get a head start?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Can you tie your shoelaces in Pakistan?

November 28, 2016

shoelaces

Can you give us three examples of where you have done this work in our sector?

I saw where they were going with the question but in a way and quite respectfully it was a nonsensical one.

To make the point I started to talk about shoelaces!

Are you able to tie your shoelaces in Pakistan?” I asked.

If you’ve never been to Pakistan then you probably can’t answer this question for certain but the truth is that if you can tie your shoelaces where you are right now then there is a 99% chance that you will be able to do it there.

Once you have developed a skill, you have the skill!

When we look for “evidence” that someone has the ability to do a particular task (as in tender situations where it is often a requirement) we need to be sure that we do not use criteria that may quite possibly eliminate the very best people to do the job!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

4.5% APR on a new BMW and the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team

November 21, 2016

Rough Sleepers - Dublin Simon

I was tired and cranky on this bitterly cold Monday morning.

Bert, one of our four legged ones woke at 1 am thinking it was “get up time” and made sure that we knew all about it so we had a lousy nights sleep.

The heat was on but it didn’t really feel like it as we got ready for work. I checked my iPhone for any relevant updates and I jumped in the shower allowing the hot water to wake me up.

We had the radio on as we got ready and I listened to the news items on Newstalk including Donald Trump and Hamilton, the on-going saga of strikes and the adverts came on.

Order your 171 BMW now and enjoy an APR of 4.5%

The new Five Series BMW is due out early in the new year – hmmm, I wonder what will that be like?

I jumped on my exercise bike in the cold spare room and even though I wasn’t really in the mood I peddled like hell for 20 minutes, while I watched a documentary about the musician Moby. I stared out the window at the frost on the ground and on the top of the cars including my darling, 161 car as I peddled and peddled…phew, 20 minutes went slower than usual but I got there!

The painful getting ready for work process continued as I pulled out a shirt to iron – I hate ironing, but it has to be done.

Before heading to work we wrapped up and walked both Honey and Bert around the housing estate. I made an angry gesture to the car driver who felt he had the right of way as he swung right into us as we crossed over the entrance to one of the housing estates – jerk! I wanted to chase after him and give him a bit of my mind … (that would really get my day started well!)

We walked carefully avoiding the icy patches on the footpaths and with both hands numb we eventually got back home. I let the engine in the car running so it wouldn’t be cold when we sat into it.

We fed the dogs and put them outside, feeling really guilty as it was so cold. We opened the door to the shed so they would have a place to snuggle up if they felt like it.

Just as we were heading out the door I spotted the fantastic book, ‘Looking at the Stars’ that Martina Bergin from Dublin Simon gave me last week.

looking-at-the-stars-dublin-simon

Martina heads up the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team at Dublin Simon who basically look after those who are literally sleeping rough in Dublin. I thought about all of the rough sleepers and the homeless last night and how cold they must have felt. Can you imagine?

I quickly read one of the fantastic pieces in the book, written by a person who simply went by the name ‘Donal’ which put my ‘rough night’ into perspective.

I hope the office is warm today…it’s easy to forget how lucky we are.

Say hello to the Rough Sleepers when you pass them today – they had a very rough night.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Heartbreaking “Ape in Heels”

November 16, 2016

Michelle Obama

I couldn’t believe reading these deeply disturbing reports about people in influential roles in the United States calling the classy, intelligent, impeccable First Lady, Michelle Obama an “Ape in Heels”

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a local resident who runs a non-profit group in Clay County, a town in West Virginia, referred to the first lady as an “ape” in a Facebook post:

It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels,

pamela-ramsey-taylor

The female town Mayor, Beverly Whaling responded to this post with her own comment “just made my day Pam“.

Beverly Whaling

The town of Clay, which has a population of just 491 has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census. In Clay County as a whole, more than 98% of its 9,000 residents are white.

Thankfully a petition calling for the mayor’s resignation had gathered over 170,000 signatures, showing that people are deeply offended by such behaviour but it doesn’t disguise the disgusting, deep held, barbaric and hateful racist views that are still held by some people.

Both women have been fired or resigned under pressure from their respective roles. Incredibly Taylor after “apologising” said she was consulting lawyers to pursue legal action against people who had “slandered” her!

The saddest thing for me is that Donald Trump’s, distasteful, hate filled election campaign has made people like Pamela Ramsey Taylor and Beverly Whaling think suddenly that it is now quite ok to say “out loud” what they have always been thinking.

If the incoming President can say successfully spout lies and hateful rhetoric and is cheered on by nearly half of the electorate then why can’t I?

What lessons has the world learnt?

What lessons have our impressionable young people learnt from the distasteful campaign that they have just witnessed ?

The hate is just beginning and our world has become even more horrible.

Stand up to it.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Don Henley – Life lesson from a 69 year old

November 6, 2016

Don Henley - Cork

Cork was privileged once again to have some of the best musical acts in the world visit last summer as part of the Marquee series of gigs. Night after night we were spoilt by a wide range of acts, something for everyone.

The atmosphere is relaxed and fun and you get to experience your favourite artists in quite an intimate setting – while it’s not a small pub it is a big, fun tent and its up to you how far you want to push up the front to get as close as possible.

The bands invariably pick up on the fantastic atmosphere and gigs turn out to be brilliant – Robert Plant, The National, Neil Young, Duran Duran and Gavin James were some of my personal favourites down through the years.

This year Don Henley from The Eagles was announced as one of the acts and we didn’t waste any time picking up tickets.

A few days before the gig the announcement came out via the media that there was going to be a strict policy about no pictures and no mobile phones!!

My immediate reaction was to get really angry..

Who the hell is this guy to dictate to us, his fans, the ones who buy tickets and albums, how we were to enjoy our night? It’s not just his night, it’s our night

If I want to “capture my memories” on the night by taking a few pics so I would have them forever isn’t that fair? Isn’t it unfair to dictate the opposite?

Was he so precious that people taking pics would disrupt him in some way – was he back in the dark ages and had he missed the point in some way?

Sure enough heading into the marquee that night the stewards were everywhere passing out the ‘no pics‘ warnings, there were signs everywhere. The message was clear ….hmmmm.

The gig started and incredibly this 69 year old was unbelievable – his voice was perfect and instead of being the stuck up, cranky musician that we may have expected we got the opposite.

He started with some classic songs and my phone was burning in my pocket – I wanted to take it out, I wanted to take pics, I wanted to tweet …I wanted to capture and share these precious moments and have them forever.

And then something happened.

Instead of getting frustrated I relaxed. There was no point worrying about my phone and capturing these moments so instead I could just listen and totally embrace them!

I wasn’t the only one feeling like this and you could feel everyone in the crowd totally focused and immersed in this wonderful gig – we all listened without distraction to this musical giant mixing new country songs with older classics.

Someone close by us took out their camera to take a pic – in a blink a steward was over getting them to stop. They were spoiling the gig – we all wanted that person to put their phone away.

Don Henley played song after song, took a little break and came back out for his encore.

He thanked the crowd for being so good and for respecting his request to not take pics and then he invited everyone to take out their phones, ‘Hotel California‘ started and everyone now took the pics they wanted.

In a funny way the cameras became a huge distraction and in a flash (pardon the pun) we all understood why Don Henley, this 69 year old wanted us to take a break from our phones.

It turns out the ‘no phone’ rule wasn’t about him at all, he was giving us a rare gift.

Stop ..enjoy the moment, right now!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

No “Protest Pressure” for the Homeless

October 30, 2016

Jonathan Corrie, Homeless man in Dublin

The Luas drivers and their Union knew it – go on strike, Dublin is upside down, the owners are losing money and keep it up for long enough and the pressure will make the other side buckle.

Win!

The teachers and their Union have just started the same process – go on strike, parents all over the country are upside down and keep it up long enough and the pressure will make the government buckle and they will get what they want.

Win!

The Gardaí and their Union will do the unthinkable and start the same process – go on strike, communities all over the country will not be safe. Keep it up for long enough and they will certainly get what they want.

Win!

The thing with all three of these professions is that they have a lever, a big pressure point that can be used to force what they want – If we do this they won’t like it so we can force a win.

What do you do if you are homeless?

There are more of you homeless every single day and every night. There is no “Union” and no obvious pressure point that can help you to force real change. Jonathan Corrie, a homeless man passed away near Leinster House in Dublin a few years back and as unfortunate as that was it managed to create “a stir” for about 10 minutes.

There are more and more bodies in sleeping bags and under cardboard and gradually they are more and more visible on our Irish streets. Today there will be a few more homeless than yesterday and tomorrow there will be more again – while it’s a huge problem there is no big “lever” that these poor people can use so there is no opportunity to apply any pressure to try to force a solution.

If this was a problem that affected enough of us there would be a solution , until then…

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

A Stick to beat yourself with or a Value to promote?

October 24, 2016

Carlsberg - Probably

Organisations make claims about their products and services the whole time, proudly celebrating key attributes that they believe make them special. When these attributes are an integral part or a key essence of these brands these attributes might be incorporated consistently into their messaging.

A very effective way to express your most special attribute as part of your branding is to introduce a tagline, which can then be used the whole time in conjunction with the product/service brand name.

When we think about some of the popular car brands we can see how taglines can be used to express something special about the range of vehicles that carry the brand name:

JaguarThe Art of Performance

BMWThe Ultimate Driving Machine

ToyotaThe Best Built Cars in the World

These taglines are typically used in all communications including adverts, brochures, packaging and even press releases consistently so that over time they become so synonymous with the brand that a consumer can recite them when they hear the brand name.

When companies develop these taglines for their brands they are creating a clear “experience” expectation with the customer – they should only make these declarations if they believe they can live up to them.

If Toyota declare that their cars are the “best built cars in the world” then they must commit to manufacturing quality cars. If a customer has a bad experience Toyota must respond from a positive place and do everything with the customer to demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Taglines and #Hashtags

With social media communications I find a very effective way of reinforcing a key message is to incorporate them into the #Hashtags that might be used when posting. Even better, if there is a tagline for the brand this could be used in the #Hashtag – if the tagline is too long then maybe some keyword variation could be used.

In the examples we gave above Jaguar might use #ArtOfPerformance, BMW may use #Ultimate and Toyota could use #BestBuilt.

VW - Clean Diesel

Sticks and Values

I was chatting with a client and we were developing a strategic communications plan for them and as part of this work we were discussing their social media messaging and the use of #Hashtags.

While the client was using a tagline consistently on all of their branding they were strangely very reluctant to use it as their hashtag.

This really confused me and I pushed them on it.

It turns out that while they were happy to make this quality claim on all of their branding and communications they were unhappy using it on social media because their feeling was it would be a huge ‘stick to beat them with‘ if anything ever went wrong.

But, shouldn’t the tagline be the same whenever you use it?” I asked

Yes, but on social media it’s different” was the clear response. “Sometimes things can go wrong, often through no fault of our own and the customer will hammer you quoting your hashtag/key message. For this reason we don’t want to use it.”

My belief is that you shouldn’t make a proud claim if you can’t stand over it. If you can stand over it then online should be no different to any other form of communications.

Your special attributes should always be celebrated, they are never sticks!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Your past biting you in the ass

October 10, 2016

Can you imagine Hillary Clinton in her car heading to the airport having left the Presidential debate with Donald Trump. This was one of the biggest moments in her whole life as it was his.

Many of the reviewers of the debate criticised her as she failed to land the killer blow over the comments he was caught making on his famous bus ride.

The truth was she couldn’t land the killer blow because of what her husband Bill got caught doing when he was President, which Donald correctly stated was one of the worst incidents ever for a US President!

Sitting in her car she knew it and of course Bill also sitting in the car knew it. What was she thinking, what did she say?

“Love you dear” 

“Love you too”

Both Donald and Hillary are both caught in a horrible loop because of their past but at least in her case it wasn’t her who did the particular deed.

While it’s easy for all of us to stand in our glass houses we are being reminded of the valuable lesson that crazy stuff we might do today could easily bite us in the ass just when it matters most.

P.S. We don’t all talk like that in the locker room.

Greg Canty 

Head turned ..

October 10, 2016

I’ve been really good this holiday break, managing to give my head a much needed rest from work.

To avoid the mountain of emails and little issues and tasks when I return I’ve tried to briefly check emails every second day for an hour (it always ends up being two hours!) and quickly deal with the few things as required.

Today I’ve let my head get turned back to work stuff so the warning alarm bell has gone off.

STOP!!

Mojito please ….

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland