Monthly Archives: March 2014

When #Hashtags Go Wrong

hashtag 2Hashtags are funny things. It’s easy to get so caught up in coming up with a few perfect words to sum up a new campaign that you completely overlook potential problems. Even breaking news stories and big brands fall prey to hashtag fails:

  • #nowthatcherisdead was intended for mentions of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following her death. However, US audiences frequently misread it as NowThatCherIsDead, leading to false reports that the singer had passed away.
  • When The Hobbit movie was released tweets promoting the movie in Switzerland included the movie title and the country code for Switzerland (CH), leading to…#hobbitch.

Even perfectly appropriate hashtags can fail due to bad timing.  Local Kalahari Resort is located in Sandusky, Ohio and used the #sandusky hashtag to promote Father’s Day events in 2012. Probably not a good idea at a time when “Sandusky” was in the news for other (definitely not family-friendly) reasons.

With those warnings in mind, a few quick tips before you slap a hashtag on your next campaign:

  • Google it – Is the term you’re considering already associated with something? Can it be connected to current events?
  • Translate it – Does the term mean something negative in another language?
  • Drop the capital letters – If you run the term together with no capitals, can it be misread? (For an epic fail on this one, just Google “susan album party.” Susan Boyle’s PR team wasn’t having their best day…)
  • Research it some more – Run the term through to see if it’s already in use, and check for alternate meanings.

A little research now could save you from appearing in the next edition of  “How Not to Twitter.”

Giving the Gift of Life: Paint it Forward

#TaylorBlue #OutliveYourself

#TaylorBlue #OutliveYourself

For those who know me, you already know that I love to paint my nails. However, when I stumbled across OPI’s “Taylor Blue” nail polish, I didn’t know it would have the impact on me that it did.

On March 15, 2010, Taylor Storch lost her life in a tragic skiing accident while on vacation with her family. It was then that her parents made the decision to donate Taylor’s organs: the ultimate gift of life.

Taylor’s organs saved the lives of numerous people, including a 39-year-old mother in Arizona who desperately needed a heart transplant. This tragic, yet beautiful story of donation was featured on ABC News and brought Taylor’s mom and dad  together with the recipient of their daughter’s heart.  With a stethoscope in hand, Taylor’s mom was able to listen to her daughter’s heart beat one more time. (I highly suggest having tissues close by when watching this.)

Taylor’s Gift Foundation was formed to spread awareness on organ donation and re-gifting life. As one of its fundraisers, the Foundation partnered with OPI to create the Taylor Blue nail polish.  When you purchase this nail polish, you are encouraged to post photos to social media with #TaylorBlue and #OutliveYourself along with a message about organ donation.

I purchased my bottle of Taylor Blue back in December- but it’s not too late to buy it! It’s actually perfect timing because April is National Donate Life month. So whether you purchase this nail polish for yourself or a friend, please remember how important organ donation is. According to Lifebanc, Northeast Ohio’s nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization, more than 3,000 Ohioans are on the national waiting list with approximately 1,700 in NEO alone. That number grows to 118,000 people on the national waiting list when you include the other 49 states.

But YOU have the ability to save the lives of up to 8 people through organ donation and enhance the lives of more than 50 people through tissue donation. All you have to do is say YES. If you do one thing today, please consider signing up to be an organ donor. It only takes a few minutes of your time–which may give someone else a lifetime.

How to become a registered donor:

  1. Visit and select your state from the list
  2. Fill out your information
  3. Share your decision with friends and family- it could spark them to do the same!


Do you control technology or does it control you?

photo courtesy of: My name is Chris Baldwin and I suffer from smartphone anxiety and technology overload. As I watch my Google mail load, I’m often holding my breath. I have a to-do list every day but often get sidetracked from emails, texts and social media distractions that I can’t seem to push aside.

Do you feel like you’re always checking your smartphone? Or always sending a text or reading posts on Facebook? You’re not alone. On average, Americans interact with their smartphones 150 times a day. That’s a recipe for information overload.

According to author, scholar and consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, I’m not alone. I heard Alex speak last week at the National Association of Independent Schools conference in Orlando. Alex is the brainchild behind Contemplative Computing or learning to use information technologies in ways that help you be more focused and mindful, and to protect you from being perpetually distracted.

I highly recommend turning off your technology to hear Alex speak and if not, read his book, The Distraction Addiction. As he points out, nothing great ever happens through distraction. The key is learning how to use technology to focus.

We’ve never lived without technology but just because you can sleep with your smartphone doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Reading a text or checking Facebook or LinkedIn is like a shot of dopamine for your brain. Social media companies have figured this out and know how to grab our attention… and never let it go.

Alex’s message is to use technology to “extend our minds rather than facture them.” He mentioned there is a big push to turn off or unplug from technology. Ad agency JWT notes this in its 2014 trends update. There are even apps to control the interruptions on our laptops such as Ommwriter, Mac Freedom, LeechBlock and Stayfocused.

I guess I’m ready to put my smartphone away for a weekend. My wife refers to my iPhone as wife 2.0 because it never leaves my side. Want to try to put down technology for a day or two? Your timing couldn’t be any better. March 7 and 8 are the National Day of Unplugging. I can’t wait to give it a try but am a little nervous about all of the email waiting for me on Monday.