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Hello, Lifestage. Goodbye, Privacy?

August 29, 2016 - Posted by

For a while now, I’ve been wondering what hot new app will draw in teens now that the olds are braving Snapchat. Facebook is ready to win them back over with its new Lifestage app.

The app itself is pretty simple- lots of video, Snapchat-style overlays. Were it gets interesting are the settings. It’s directly targeted at high school students, and when 20 or more students from the same school activate the app, they’re automatically connected, no friending required. No one over 21 is allowed.How do you do, fellow kids?

That last part is where things get…dicey. Lifestage has no privacy settings. Anything posted is visible to everyone in the network. While the site is only visible to users, there’s no verification that the user is actually a student.

Generally, tech reporters see Lifestage as a Snapchat competitor. People who remember Facebook’s early years are having waves of nostalgia for the good old days. And there’s a fair amount of pearl-clutching around the legitimate privacy concerns.

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center released a study on Americans’ attitudes toward privacy and data sharing. One interesting discovery was that people under 50 were considerably more comfortable sharing information on a social platform than those over 50.

Makes you wonder if teens will be more comfortable with Lifestage than adults.


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

How do you face a crisis?

August 17, 2016 - Posted by

In preparation for the upcoming September 9 breakfast Crisis Communications in a Social Era, the Morningstar team provided us with a preview of what's to come:Crisis Communications Breakfast

We can all agree a company’s brand and reputation are essential for its continued success. If your business is like most, you’ve spent years building a position of respect. In a moment, a crisis can put that all in jeopardy.

In a 24-hour news cycle, a crisis does not allow for any timeouts, and it rarely is a question of if, but when these situations will arise. In recent years we’ve seen Aramark handle challenges with food quality at The K, Southwest Airlines experience a massive technology failure, and Chipolte face E. Coli contaminations.

As communicators, we can all learn from these incidents and the best practices developed over the years. Planning is key, and a commitment to transparency and accuracy is essential. Join my colleague, Brian Van Note, and I on Sept. 9 as we discuss crisis communications in a social era. You’ll head back to the office with the following takeaways:

  • Steps for creating your crisis communications plan
  • Tips for communicating effectively in a crisis
  • How to use social media to your advantage before and during a crisis situation
  • Three immediate actions steps that will help position your company for crisis communications success

We all hope we never have to face a crisis. But if we do, we’d rather be prepared than scrambling. We look forward to seeing you at Grand Street Café next month. Register today at the SMCKC eventbrite page.


About the Author:
Tricia McKim is vice president at Morningstar Communications. For more than 10 years, she’s helped companies refine their message and communication strategy to create content that drives results.

Twitter needs a moment

August 15, 2016 - Posted by

In official coverage, Twitter announceYour Twitter Mentionsd that it’s expanding its Moments feature to “influencers, partners, brands… and in the coming months, everyone.

Examples shared in the blog post range from the newsworthy (Gymnast Simone Biles at #Rio2016) to activist (deray mckesson’s archive of Ferguson 2014) to the blatantly promotional (this Bud’s for you).

So kind of like Instagram’s new stories, but with fewer captions written on the pictures and more of a focus on unfolding events. To be fair, Moments have been around since 2015,  but Instagram wasn’t interested in stories till people liked them on Snapchat.

Too little, too late?

Coverage of Twitter isn’t focused on its ability to cover then news -- it’s been focused on Twitter’s reputation as one of the least friendly places online (links mostly sfw, but the topics gets…icky). Abuse has been a long-standing problem for Twitter, and it has an impact. People routinely use nicknames for a certain Presidential candidate to avoid drawing the attention of his followers, both human and bot. Microsoft had to pull an AI chatbot off the platform within 24 hours because it was learning abusive things.

Recently, Twitter did take action. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended for his role in encouraging abuse against actress Leslie Jones. Still, Twitter made sure to point out that the ban was because Yiannopoulos didn’t follow the terms of service, not due to anything he said.

Still, Yiannopoulos is gone, and Jones is doing some glorious live tweeting the Olympics.

Where to go from here?

Twitter has a mess on its hands. There’s high turnover with company leaders, a shrinking user base,  and the nasty reputation. Still, people don’t seem ready to give up on its potential. Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed and Nausicaa Renner at the Colombia Journal Review both offer up insightful long reads about how Twitter found itself here and what it can do to turn things around.

The question is will things be turned around, or will the Fail Whale land forever?


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

The Smart Approach to Influencer Marketing

August 8, 2016 - Posted by

From the videos we watch to the recipes we try, information and entertainment has gone social. As these new tastemakers and experts emerge, we scope their style on Instagram, laugh at their YouTube videos, and attempt their DIY blog suggestions.

People who make great content can build a loyal audience, and companies have found partnering with these influencers is an effective way to reach their fans.

Justin Goldsborough and Allie Wilmes from FleishmanHillard offered some tips for launching an influencer marketing campaign:

  • Do your homework – Automated tools like Tapfluence can help you get started, but don’t underestimate the Influencerimportance of getting familiar with an influencer before you start working together. Don’t expect a blogger known for vegetarian recipes to suddenly start cooking steaks, and a YouTube star known for off-color humor may not be a good fit for a conservative company.
  • Get a good contract – Allie and Justin couldn’t stress this one enough. Spell out your expectations for your content requirements and compensation. If you don’t want an influencer to work with your competition for 90 days, now is the time to discuss it. You may be able to negotiate reuse rights for content that the influencer creates.
  • Let the influencer be creative – Giving up creative control can be terrifying for many companies, but when it comes to working with influencers, it can make the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. Influencers know what will resonate with their audiences. Too much “sales speak” is likely to backfire.
  • Tie the campaign to KPIs or key performance indicators – Well-done influencer campaigns can do much more than generate clicks.  Something as simple as an exclusive coupon code can help you track the impact.
  • Keep it legal – As influencer marketing gets increasingly popular, the FTC has established guidelines for endorsement.  Kim Kardashian, Lord & Taylor and Cole Haan have all found themselves in trouble.  Don’t add your brand to the list.

Want to learn more? Check out the presentation for more great tips and case studies.


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Excited about that event in South America?

August 1, 2016 - Posted by

You know, that event that happens every four years, where teams come from around the world to take part in athletic activities? Rule 40The one happening in a famous beach city in Brazil?

Most of us know them as the 2016 Summer Olympics. But according to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Rule 40, we have to be careful what we call it.

Rule 40 is a part of the Olympic Charter that controls how an athlete’s likeness is used for promotions during the event. According to Sports Illustrated, “Rule 40 was established to ‘to preserve the unique nature of the Olympic games by preventing over-commercialization’ and to protect Olympic sponsors, who spend millions of dollars for exclusive marketing rights during the Olympics.”

It prevents what the IOC defines as ambush marketing, or attempts by non-sponsoring companies to use the games to promote itself using certain key terms, like 16 Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Medal, Challenge, Games or Victory.

It puts brands such as Under Armor, New Balance and Oiselle on notice. All three have long-standing sponsorship relationships with well-known athletes competing in the games. The guidelines have loosened in recent years, but it still leaves athletes watching their language online.

Companies are watching their language, too. The United States Olympic Committee has warned non-sponsors to avoid using trademarked terms in hashtags. That means no #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.

You can learn more about Athlete Marketing Guidelines for Team USA on their website. Or you can join in the protests with a generic running shirt of your own.

Just be careful what you tweet.


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Are you ready for some #ChiefsCamp?

July 19, 2016 - Posted by

Have you signed up to go to one of our VIP #ChiefsCamp dates during Kansas City Chiefs training camp? You might be wondering what this event is going to be like. It's something we've never tried before, and we're already very excited about it. We've been working with James Royer and his Chiefs social media team, and from what they have planned - this is something you're not going to want to miss.

Here are a few updates on what you can expect:Official #ChiefsCamp Shirt

  • Breakfast! The Chiefs team is providing an amazing spread.
  • When you buy a ticket to this event, ALL of the proceeds will go to a Chiefs' player charity. This time the beneficiary for the event will be Noyes Home For Children in St. Joseph, Mo., an organization that provides and care for children by caring for them and giving parents the time and support they need to solve life’s challenges.
  • There will be a special SnapChat filter for camp as well as SnapChat Face Swap stations built around the area. Fans will be able to swap faces with some of the Kansas City Chiefs players.
  • There will be an official LIMITED EDITION social t-shirt available to attendees.
  • Have you ever tried a Gif’n Station? This is a device that takes three pictures in succession to create an animated gif, and then allows you to share that gif on your social media pages. (This will be on the Sunday date only.)
  • Do you like Chiefs merchandise? The fantastic Chiefs social media team will also be giving away a signed Chiefs jersey to one lucky attendee, and have some additional items to give to the entire crowd throughout the day(s).
  • We aren't sure who yet, but there WILL be a player visit to the tent after practice available for autographs and pictures.
  • There is also one final surprise that includes a special exclusive SMCKC group merchandise discount. We don't have all the details, but we will unveil this at the event.

Have we piqued your interest? This city loves the Chiefs and they definitely know how to go big. We are excited for these two dates and hope to see you there. If you haven't gotten tickets for one of the dates yet, it's not too late (although tickets are going fast). Head to our eventbrite page to sign up today.

How to kill a Jigglypuff

July 18, 2016 - Posted by

Bet that got your attention, didn't it?jigglypuff

Last week our team lead came in and asked, “How would you like to do something I’m almost positive you’ve never, ever done before?” I’ve found that anytime someone asks me that question I’m going to answer “I’m in” 90 percent of the time. Then, he unveiled this:

“You know the atrium area? We’ve got a Pokémon GO character in the center of it. People are coming through the chained area after hours and it’s setting off alarms. I need you to get rid of it.”

With the recent release of Pokemon GO, Nintendo has literally hit pay dirt with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. “On July 8, only 2 days after the app’s release, it was already installed on 5.16 percent of all Android devices in the US,” writes Joseph Swartz in Digital Vision. “Over 60 percent of those who have downloaded the app in the US are using it daily, meaning around 3 percent of the entire US Android population are users of the app.”

But what do you do if one of these popular characters finds its way into a place it shouldn’t?

He explained that there is a webpage you can go to essentially let Pokémon GO know and have it removed. Turns out, we’re not alone. “Pokestops” as they’re called, are showing up in inappropriate spots all around the United States.

Rolling Stone reports, “As people roam the landscape on the prowl for Pikachu and other Pokémon, there’s been quite a few stories about odd Pokestop locations, including graveyards, hospital delivery rooms and Holocaust memorials.”

On the page, you can submit a request to have the Pokémon removed and then Nintendo’ Pokémon team goes to work to make it happen. Are you in a similar situation? Here’s how to go about giving the ax to an unwanted character:

  1. Go to the Pokémon support page.
  2. Select “Report an issue with a Gym or Pokestop” the “Submit a Request”How to get rid of a Pokemon
  3. On this page it will ask you for information about the location of Pokémon including the latitude and longitude. You can find this by using Google's map help
  4. In addition, it could be helpful to include a screenshot from Google maps or Pokémon GO (with the Pokémon in question) to help them see the actual place.
  5. Click “Submit”

Afterward you’ll get a web confirmation that says the team has received the request and is working on it. You’ll also get an automated email that says they’re no longer accepting suggestions for Pokemon Gyms or Pokestops. That part threw me, but I’m hopeful that Nintendo has things under control.

I’ll keep you posted on how things progress, but in the meantime I would love to know if you’ve experienced anything like this either personally or professionally.


About the author:
Marc Vasquez is the Communications Co-Chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City. He possesses more than 16 years of both agency and corporate public relations and social media experience. Marc is also a past president of the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America chapter. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. By night is the sidekick Robin to his superhero 8-year-old son who believes himself to be Batman. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007.

Why the world should care about Pokémon GO

July 14, 2016 - Posted by

If you’ve been any on social media sites, you’ve seen it. Pokémon is everywhere.

Actually, you’ve probably seen it even if you’ve stayed offline. People pausing in the middle of sidewalks, phones out, interacting with well, and apparently empty space.

Welcome to Pokémon Go.

What it is
Pokémon Go is a free game for for Android and iOs. It’s part of the Nintendo franchise of trading card and video game fame. Pokemon GO Hits the InternetOnly instead of playing in an entirely virtual world, Pokémon Go uses the phone’s camera, clock and location data to make it look like Pokémon are part of the world around you.

Players, who call themselves trainers, travel to different Poke stops, where they catch Pokémon, and gyms, where trainers battle their Pokémon and connect with one another. It’s a pretty appealing combo: The Kansas City Star called it “part bird-watching, part geocaching, part trophy hunting, with a heavy dose of mid-’90s nostalgia.”

Why it matters
The game itself may sound a little silly if you never succumbed to the allure of Pokémon in your childhood, but you’re actually looking at the future. Even the venerable Wall Street Journal agrees on that point.

Pokémon Go is the first game to create mass appeal using augmented reality, which overlays the offline world with interactive virtual elements. It’s similar to virtual reality, which creates an immersive experience. Between computers getting more powerful and the increasing adoption of wearable devices, we’re likely to see more and more augmented and virtual games. (Extra Nerdy Extra Credit: The Scientific American reports that, technically, this isn’t quite augmented reality, but it’s close enough for most of us.)

The game also shows how online and offline worlds can work together. Trainers have been gathering to play, and lots of the coverage talks about the social interactions they’re having. People are even planning Pokémon Go Crawls. Small businesses are taking advantage of the foot traffic to attract new customers. The game maker says sponsored locations are coming soon.

Warnings, Warnings, Warnings
There have been plenty of dire warnings about Pokémon Go making the headlines, too. They fall into two categories: data privacy and physical safety.Pokemon Rules by the KCPD

The data privacy concerns have been addressed, mostly, but original versions of the game gave the developer full access to ALL of a player’s Google account-- search history, private documents, location data, contacts, you name it. Niantic Labs quickly released a fix and said it was unintentional.   (And if you haven’t installed the update, go get it now.  We’ll wait.)

As for the physical safety? Well…the problem with combining the real world and a virtual one is that things can get messy. There have been car crashes, robberies, and an assortment of sore legs and sprained anklesKCPD has you covered on how to stay safe. 

Where we’re playing
Businesses and organizations all around Kansas City are getting in on the fun. Pokemon have been seen at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Public Library and various local businesses. Johnson County Community College is organizing campus tours, and the Roastarie was inspired to make a new drink by a Pokestop nearby.

Now go have fun and catch ‘em all. And tweet us your pictures when you do!


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Now you see it, now you don’t

July 12, 2016 - Posted by

Delete may still be the default, but Snapchat made it much easier to hang on to snaps with the launch of its new Memories feature. Memories is basically an in-app photo roll, backed up on Snapchat’s servers. Users can later access things saved in their memories and remix them into new snaps and stories.SnapChat Memories

The change is a big deal for Snapchat, since the vanishing images was part of the appeal of the app, at least in the eyes of many users. Technically, that wasn’t always the case. In 2014, the company settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that pictures could be recovered in some cases. Plus, it was always easy to download or screen capture a snap and save it to your phone. The app is becoming the main way to share big moments for many of its 150 million users, and Memories will make it easier to search and retrieve pictures from those events.

The new feature was announced just a month after a major overhaul of Stories into the new Discover section. Snapchat has also been dealing with an influx of the olds (you know, anyone over 23.)

Facebook Live Charts New Territory
Facebook is still figuring out the role it plays in reporting news. Although it recently seemed to be backing away from news coverage after the scrutiny on trending topics, the role it plays in spreading news is hard ignore when the week’s most-watched video shows the aftermath of a police shooting. It’s a far cry from an Ice Bucket Challenge.

The company is still defining community standards for streams showing violent events. For now, it doesn’t plan to take down newsworthy video, even when it deals with sensitive or violent topics. This particular video was briefly unavailable, which Facebook says was a glitch and not the result of moderation.Instagram Cleans Up

Instagram Automates
In a more traditional development, Instagram will be launching automated comment moderation tools for business pages. The new tool will automatically filter out words and phrases that are reported as offensive. Based on the screenshots, it looks like an all-or-nothing filter, but it still looks easier than the manual moderation happening now.


About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Elections Are Live!

July 11, 2016 - Posted by

If you're an email-receiving member of SMCKC, you should have received an email to vote for new members of the SMCKC board for the positions of President, VP, Advocacy & Technology.

These elected members will take over in August. The nominees are listed below:

President: Michael Levine - Michael's Twitter and LinkedIn

VP: Carolyn Anderson - Carolyn's Twitter and LinkedIn

Brenda Hill - Brenda's Twitter and LinkedIn
Kristen Waggener - Kristen's Twitter and LinkedIn
Adrianne DeWeese - Adrianne's Twitter and LinkedIn
Lauren Vaughn - Lauren's Twitter and LinkedIn

Technology: Hal Gottfried - Hal's Twitter and LinkedIn

Voting ends Wednesday, July 20 at midnight CST.