Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Media Trends 2015

August 11, 2015 Comments off

New technologies are emerging all the time which give public relations and media agencies many headaches trying to keep up, but also greater control over how and when consumers are exposed to brand messages. There still are huge challenges on how to connect across media “storehouses” and how to reduce and or make sense of digital data labyrinth.

.Creatives have a much more exciting tool box these days with  nearly more advertising formats than sand in the sea….but telling a coherent, consistent, and connected multi-screen and multimedia story across a thousand seas of different platforms to a very diverse audience across generations is a challenge and an art.

Additionally, consumers ( and young kids) navigate so easily between media platforms and the entire mobile Internet, all while watching TV, playing a video game and another tablet is open somewhere close-by.  And, MarComm professionals must build strategies around this intricate set of Millenial and Generation Z behaviors. Brands and businesses need to understand the synchronized impact of these behaviors to justify continued (and increased) media investment.

And, then there are a bunch of new digital brands out there worthy of further discussion- but I will save that for another post.  The key mountain to climb for 2015 into 2016 is how to intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of so many things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence capabilities.

And,  finally, the whole wide world is always trying to play catch up technological changes going on, so if you are not formatted for mobile media then you are behind the power curve, so to speak in the hyper-cycle of “Internet Time”


As previously reported by Time, “Hacks released in October (2014) a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web. So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.


With the frenzy of Holiday shopping coming down the pike for 2015, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integration efforts to deepen throughout 2015 into 2016. It’s taken quite a long time, when you think about it.

And, despite all the technical media changes and trends there’s a lot going on out there with all things Hand Made, a Retro-Vintage resurgence, Made In America Movement and Small Business Enterprises popping up everywhere. It can be tough to straddle both worlds. But at the end of the day, I think people are looking for value with a great sense of genuine purpose, instead of always operating at hyper-speed business life cycles.

Want to know more about social media trends? Here is a detailed report put out by MillwardBrown that you can download.

Facebook & Twitter Newsy Trends

June 5, 2015 Comments off

Good or bad the social media stratosphere continues to change. This post is a brief update on Facebook and Twitter News and Trends.

Facebook News and Trends

  1. It’s no secret that Facebook post reach is significantly decreasing, and has become a serious problem for business owners who are spending lots of money and using the platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.  As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads are continuing to increase. And, with this increased demand will come increased pricing. According to an Ad Weekarticle in 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue throughout all of 2015, as organic post reach continues to fall.
  2. Introducing Instant Articles. Facebook is giving publishers a tool to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Instant Articles is a tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook and was designed to give them control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities. Read more
  3. Now you can choose to explicitly send a map of your location or another particular place as a separate message. Read more Providing a new method to send a Facebook friend your current location, the development team working on Facebook Messenger has launched a feature that provides a visual map of your current location or a destination location. As detailed within a post on the Facebook Newsroom, this action can be performed within a conversation, particularly ideal when attempting to coordinate a meeting location between friends.  Read more:
  4. Announcing Facebook Lite. Introducing Facebook Lite, a new version of Facebook for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.
    Read more

Twitter Trends & News

  1. #confused? Twitter starts explaining trending hashtags for you. Read more:
    Follow: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook
  2. Twitter’s new business advertising model, will it skyrocket in popularity?  With Twitter’s move to offering businesses more choice and flexibility in how and what they pay for in terms of advertising, more small and medium sized businesses will jump on the Twitter ad bandwagon.  The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks.

Hacked US GOVT = Not So Safe Social Media?

June 5, 2015 Comments off

What Comes Next? 5 Social Media Trends for 2015I normally do a great deal of my own research when I put a blog post together here. But, I want everyone to read is what was predicted for social media trends for 2015, that HootSuite CEO, Ryan Holmes wrote. (I’ ve reposted some parts of his article below).

Why? Well with the very recent news of OPM being hacked, I am very concerned with our rush to produce new payment systems across social platforms given the recent and ongoing hacking targeting the USA.  The following question I have that begs more professional media and communications discussion: Are we wildly scaling social media too much, too far, too fast?

Holmes stated at the end of 2014, “the challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence.”

“Increasing demand for (truly) private social media gives way to the real thing
2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks—Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few—surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware—and concerned—about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.”

“The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive—supposedly disappearing—user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.”

“since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.”

“Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.”

There is a need for the US Citizens especially our youth to know this information. Help them understand that they should not be so liberal about everything they post and tweet, and share.

Communicating Change – Spring Contest

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Alice's Seed Box for Essay ContestThe recent events in Baltimore and other cities have brought about more communication questions than answers, and these questions often do not produce the results or signigicant changes that citizens need.

I believe we can start a dialog for change through collaborative community projects.

Therefore, I and my colleaques at Flatlands Avenue LLC  though their Patriot Made Audio project are offering free garden seeds for spring planting, as part of our celebration of Mother’s Day and spring.

Therefore would like to inspire some of our own “seeds of hope and seeds of change” through a spring garden essay contest about how you would propose to help create hope and change.

Send your essay to  and please put Spring Garden Contest in the subject line. The deadline is Sunday, May 10th on Mother’s Day (before midnight).  We look forward to awarding three individual seed boxes filled with a variety of seeds, to three lucky winners.

All you need to do is send us an original short essay proposing how you would best use the seeds by growing food for yourself and for others, and how you’ll further save and share new seeds with other family members, an organization. or as a joint collaborative project in your community.

The best ideas or most creative plans win!  

Potentially, in time, hundreds of people could be fed, at little to no cost through our seeds of hope and seeds of change spring contest. Such a project could feed change and better communication in communities.

The essay must be 500 words, or less.

The seed boxes are original pieces of art created by me (Alice Fisher).  This past weekend, I refurbished a few cigar boxes (hand sanded, painted and varnished them) and then packaged up a selection of her own heirloom, non-genetically modified (NGMO) seeds which I grew, dried and hand saved by myself on my small farm in Frederick County, Maryland.

The essay deadline date is Sunday, May 10th at midnight, and if you need some ideas for your essay, try a quick visit to for more information and inspiration about gardening.

Rita Rich at Flatlands Avenue would like to follow-up with the winners in about three or four months with a special podcast interview, once your seeds of hope seeds of change projects have been implemented, and with any pictures you’d like to share as well.

We have three handcrafted seed boxes, filled with 10 – 14 different seed varieties which we’ll send out FREE to our three winners.

These simple hand painted boxes would possibly make a great Mother’s Day garden gift, or some kind of project for all the senior moms in a community, city or for a school to feed children.

The seeds, will keep for up to 25 years, if they stored in a freezer, and can be used for many years to come.

Please share with us your gardening dreams and creative community ideas, and we’ll share with you our seeds of hope and change from my very own garden.

It’s our way of saying, Happy Mother’s Day and happy gardening to you and yours, as you build memories together.

Seeds hold the promise of hope and change, maybe even better communication. Email us your essay at   Please write Spring Garden Contest in the subject line.

AP Style for States Abbreviations

March 14, 2015 Comments off

We live in a rapid news “now” world., What I am seeing, as we move away from traditional media outreach through the use of press releases is that people are forgetting AP style formatting. There is indeed a science and art behind writing a press release. Below is a list of AP Style State abbreviations. So, I am providing a reference for those who may be interested.

Note: AP Style state abbreviations differ from their corresponding US Postal Service abbreviations, are in parentheses.

  • Ala. (AL) — for Alabama
  • Alaska (AK) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ariz. (AZ) — for Arizona
  • Ark. (AR) — for Arkansas
  • Calif. (CA) — for California
  • Colo. (CO) — for Colorado
  • Conn. (CT) — for Connecticut
  • Del. (DE) — for Delaware
  • Fla. (FL) — for Florida
  • Ga. (GA) — for Georgia
  • Hawaii (HI) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Idaho (ID) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ill. (IL) — for Illinois
  • Ind. (IN) — for Indiana
  • Iowa (IA) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Kan. (KS) — for Kansas
  • Ky. (KY) — for Kentucky
  • La. (LA) — for Louisiana
  • Maine (ME) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Md. (MD) — for Maryland
  • Mass. (MA) — for Massachusetts
  • Mich (MI) — for Michigan
  • Minn. (MN) — for Minnesota
  • Miss. (MS) — for Mississippi
  • Mo. (MO) — for Missouri
  • Mont. (MT) — for Montana
  • Neb. (NE) — for Nebraska
  • Nev. (NV) — for Nevada
  • N.H. (NH) — for New Hampshire
  • N.J. (NJ) — for New Jersey
  • N.M. (NM) — for New Mexico
  • N.Y. (NY) — for New York
  • N.C. (NC) — for North Carolina
  • N.D. (ND) — for North Dakota
  • Ohio (OH) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Okla. (OK) — for Oklahoma
  • Ore. (OR) — for Oregon
  • Pa. (PA) — for Pennsylvania
  • R.I. (RI) — for Rhode Island
  • S.C. (SC) — for South Carolina
  • S.D. (SD) — for South Dakota
  • Tenn. (TN) — for Tennessee
  • Texas (TX) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Utah (UT) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Vt. (VT) — for Vermont
  • Va. (VA) — for Virginia
  • Wash. (WA) — for Washington
  • W. Va. (WV) — for West Virginia
  • Wis. (WI) — for Wisconsin
  • Wyo. (WY) — for Wyoming
  • Also: District of Columbia (DC)

Here’s an example of how to abbreviate a state in a sentence using AP style:

In Detroit, Mich., the weather today is sunny and warm. 

And, here is how to use a city (and state) in the dateline.

DETROIT, March 14, 2015 –

Remember that, in datelines, the city name is in all capital letters. If necessary, follow it with the state abbreviation –– not the U.S. postal code.(For example: KANSAS CITY, Kan. or KANSAS CITY, Mo.)

However, these states are always spelled out: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

The following list are US domestic cities that stand alone, with no state abbreviation.







*On a regional level, additional cities may stand alone should the newspaper staff decide so.

“Can We Live on USA Made Only?” Interview

September 30, 2014 Comments off

To Write or Not too Right?

March 16, 2013 Comments off

image We are raising future generations who may not be able to write, period.  I guess I would be considered a cursive loyalist.  I mean I worked so hard to learn this skill and was so proud to be able to write like adults. It felt like a secret language in and of it self, when I was a child.

Does it bother anyone else that cursive writing may be on the way out? Are you concerned that your children or the very next generation of children won’t even know what it is, much less how to write in cursive.   If I were choosing a school for my children, I would seek out the ones that still teach the basics.  And, then add in technology, as a secondary or third tier requirement.                     I love modern technology. But we should not give up teaching written communication, more importantly, cursive writing.

“For centuries, cursive handwriting has been an art. To a growing number of young people, it is a mystery. The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC’s is revealing some unforeseen challenges.” ~Katie Zezima, The New York Times, Published: April 27, 2011 “The Case for Cursive.”

Cursive handwriting has been taught for more than 300 years in U.S. schools and has gone through various phases as noted in another similar blog.

It was once the primary method of communication. And, my grandmother Edith Faulstich was a collector of letters and “covers” all hand written, of course. The oldest hand written letter I ever saw was a clay tablet from Eygpt, the she had in her personal collection. Another was from the 1700’s with a red wax seal on it.  I was very young back then, but the handwriting was alluring and sexy.

Handwriting, was used for all public documents, such as land deeds, legal paperwork, and business records, and for personal letters and even generals’ orders in battle. The quality of cursive writing was an indicator of social status and educational level (Mehegan, 2009; Supon, 2009; Wolfe, 2009; Wallace & Schomer, 1994).

For decades, American students spent 45 minutes every day learning and practicing cursive writing.

Until the 1970s, penmanship was a separate daily lesson from first through sixth grade and a separate grade on report cards. Since that time, however, its importance in the elementary school curriculum has declined steadily (New American Cursive Penmanship Program, 2009; Carpenter, 2007; Pressler, 2006; Francis, 2000).

For more reading, here is a very recent article on the cursive debate:

  • Common Core State Standards for what students are expected to learn have been picked up by most of the states in the union. Those standards don’t require cursive. Keyboarding skills, however, are featured in the writing standards. That means most states no longer have a mandate for teaching cursive.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, the Zaner-Bloser Company, which has been publishing a penmanship curriculum since 1904, recommended 40 minutes of handwriting instruction per day. By the 1980s, it suggested just 15 minutes. Zaner-Bloser offers course work through eighth grade but admits that schools rarely buy writing materials beyond the third grade.
  • According to a 2007 nationwide survey on handwriting instruction by researchers at Vanderbilt University (Graham et al., 2007), cursive handwriting is still widely taught in U.S. public and private schools. The researchers surveyed a random sample of about 200 teachers in grades 1-3 in all 50 states. Ninety percent of the responding teachers stated that their schools required instruction in handwriting. In schools that taught handwriting, 50 percent of second grade teachers and 90 percent of third grade teachers offered instruction in cursive handwriting.
  • In Zaner-Bloser’s 2005 national survey, a majority of elementary school teachers reported spending one hour or less on handwriting per week Suddath, 2009; Kelley, 2007).  Teachers reported that they spent about 60 minutes per week, or 12-15 minutes per day, teaching cursive. Graham and colleagues (2007) cautioned that survey results were based on self-reported numbers and that a separate study with direct observation of 22 teachers in one school district found that far less time was devoted to cursive handwriting.
  • Graham and colleagues (2007) also reported that school districts varied significantly in the amount of handwriting instruction they provided to students. For example, the researchers visited second and third grade classrooms that offered virtually no instruction in cursive handwriting.

In general, their observations of U.S. classrooms found that the emphasis in U.S. schools have shifted from the formation of letters to the ability to write legibly and efficiently. Other researchers have noted that cursive writing’s declining importance in the curriculum is reflected by a lessening of the standards used to evaluate it. Over the years, the goal of teaching penmanship has shifted from “high quality” to “legibility” (Pressler, 2006; Wallace & Schomer, 1994).

Share this post if you support cursive writing as core curriculum in schools and across education.

We can’t dare forget how to communicate with written language…..will we soon be a society of illiterates?


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