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Weekly Reads: RNC proves how wildly powerful social media has become

Donald Trump: Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

This edition of Weekly Reads is linear. It all starts with our first story and then flows into content about the event that has dominated headlines this week: The Republican National Convention. The broad takeaway? Social media has become a kingmaker. That may or may not be a good thing, but it sure could be beneficial to your business.
Read more after the jump…

The Pinocchio Meter, Pants on Fire and Political Truth-Telling



As we’re in the throes of the presidential election, and when you aren’t trying to tune out the noise and are actually listening to the two candidates and their political machines, it can be difficult to figure out who is really telling the truth.

Fortunately, there are several nonpartisan fact checking sites for you to compare the candidates, and several other sites, while they may not be nonpartisan, they are informative and worth a look.


According to the website, it’s a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” On the website, you can search by topic, submit questions, check out their featured articles and more. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more after the jump…

What Can Tinkering Teach Us?

Photo by: Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta, USCDCP

Photo by: Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta, USCDCP

I’m a big fan of TED Talks and truly enjoy every moment I can catch of TED Radio Hour. I wrote a TED inspired blog post titled “Are We Too Connected to Connect” a few years ago – and what I’m about to write here reveals a theme…

Try, Learn, Succeed, Repeat…

See, my latest TED Radio experience involved an inspiring talk by Gever Tulley, founder of Tinkering School, where kids go to unplug from technology, play with tools, engage their imaginations and become better problem-solvers. Gever’s talk reminded me the power of truly immersing yourself – no matter your age – in the task at hand. Rarely are problems solved by simply reaching for one thing in the toolbox, but more frequently by trying a few options, building on successes, learning from failures and always driving toward the end goal.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – New Ways to Share Pictures and Target Your Videos

It’s an exciting week in the world of social media, with new size limits for GIFs on Twitter, a new way to schedule on Instagram, an option for geo-fencing videos on Facebook, trends to watch on Snapchat and an inspirational story of how a woodworker harnessed the power of Instagram to great results. Phew!

And, speaking of big digital news, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Pokémon GO. This phenomenon is sweeping the nation, but if you’re wondering what’s up here’s a quick primer, “Everything you wanted to know about Pokémon GO but were afraid to ask.”

Beyond the platform-specific news, you might take a moment to read this article titled, “Teens: this is how social media affects your brain” from CNN. For better or worse, the rise of social media is changing teens’ social skills as they learn to adapt to an evolving social environment largely based online. Fascinating stuff. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Read more after the jump…

Finding Your Own Work/Life Blend



At GFM we often say that we practice and encourage a work/life blend, rather than balance. In today’s plugged in and always on world of business, parenting and relationships, trying to achieve balance will almost always result in disappointment. Sometimes work trumps a personal commitment while other times personal plans or to-dos outweigh non-urgent deadlines. That is reality.

Personally, I take a lot of pride in the blend that I’ve created and prioritize each week. Most days I am up before the sun, my family and most coworkers and clients, for a workout. This creates space for completely unplugged me time without sacrificing work or family. From there I am able to be a part of my toddler’s morning routine before his day at daycare. I then aim to be in the office by 8:30 a.m. at the latest in order to dive into the day, choosing to eat lunch at my desk, unless I have a professional engagement, so that I do not have too much guilt about having to leave the office by 5:15 p.m. for daycare pickup.

None of this would be possible without a strong network at home, and an even stronger base of support – starting with leadership – about the “blend” being critical to our overall success as an agency.

GFM has a generous four-week sabbatical policy after 10 years of employment and our president Ramonna Robinson recently returned from an enriching, disconnected leave with stops for a yoga retreat in Croatia and relaxation in Italy. Following her return she wrote a fantastic blog post about her “a ha” moments. But even more valuable have been the work/life blend professional development articles she has made the time to share internally. Each of these articles validate and in a way, provides permission for us to hold each other accountable in critical ways—work product, responsibility, health and wellness and much more.

This week Ramonna re-circulated a powerful 2010 Business Insider piece from The Energy Coach about the importance of disconnecting in order to be more valuable at work and at home when you do reconnect. The week before she praised the GFM team members who schedule walking meetings or shout out around the office throughout the day for quick walking breaks around the block—based on a New York Times article about the dangers of long, uninterrupted periods of physical lethargy.

Summer is a great time to take a step back as an organization, family and individual to evaluate your blend. Are you unplugging on vacation or like Carol in The Energy Project story, addicted to checking in on emails because of its emotional pull about being important and needed? Unfortunately, I am guilty as charged in this respect.

Are you enjoying the extra hours of sunlight with a dog walk or backyard gardening? Or are you trained to get back online as soon as the dinner dishes are done?

Are you giving your team permission to disconnect by modeling the behavior yourself, or creating a cycle of 24/7 communication that no one is brave enough to break?

How is your blend?

Why Should I Care About SEO?

Content development, graphic and website design, internal communication, social media management, public relations, marketing, crisis communications, event management, video production…

With limited resources and competing demands within a typical marketing and communications team, people often ask, “why should I care about search engine optimization (SEO)?”

I’ll tell you why.

Read more after the jump…

The Shrinking Denver Media Landscape

crumpled-newspaperThe shrinking Denver media just got even smaller. Last week, the Denver Post announced that 20 journalists took buyouts, and it was followed by an unknown number of additional layoffs.

This brings the total number of newspaper reporters working for Denver’s only metropolitan daily to less than 100. In perspective, 10 years ago, there were an estimated 400 journalists working for either the Post or the now-closed Rocky Mountain News.

Without getting into the critical role the media plays in our community, here are a couple points to consider as we work on behalf of our clients to navigate the Denver media landscape:

Build relationships: It will be nearly impossible to catch the attention of a journalist, let alone build ongoing relationships with the new crop of reporters. Just think, there are 90 journalists, half of which work behind the scenes, covering a metro area with 2 million people.

Strong pitches:  Getting a client’s news in the newspaper will be even more of a challenge, and only the best pitches will succeed. Strong news hooks and trends remain important. Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Facebook Updates and the Continued Rise of Snapchat

More changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, and more new Facebook features for social media managers to utilize – all while Snapchat continues to grow and grab the attention of various demographics. This week’s key stories offer several trends and tactics for your marketing playbook.
Read more after the jump…

Sometimes you have to slow down — and other lessons learned on sabbatical

Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.

Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.

I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”

I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.

1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.

Read more after the jump…

The Impacts of Emotional Intelligence

team_work_business_template_design_graphics_549234Emotional intelligence, known as EQ, is being touted as a key ingredient to surviving any working environment. Don’t get me wrong, IQ is still important and not to be dismissed. But the EQ is playing a critical role within the PR profession as digital media, client demands and no-such- thing-as-being-offline expectations seem to be the new norm. Read more after the jump…