Author Archives: Ben Hock

Disasters in the Digital Age

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It’s hard to believe that when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 we were living in a T9-texting world without smartphones, Twitter and Instagram, and only college students could use Facebook. Since then, we’ve learned to harness technology and social media to respond to breaking news, including natural disasters. We can declare ourselves safe on Facebook, act as amateur photo journalists on Instagram and donate to charity efforts via Twitter. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma reveal that while Americans continue to demonstrate resolve and resourcefulness, the tools we use to react to natural disasters have changed.

Social Media Today: How to Use Social Media to Stay in Touch Before, During, and After a Disaster
We’re usually explaining why social media is essential to bolster marketing campaigns, but in times of crisis it’s a necessary form of communication. Be sure you are prepared by ensuring you follow key accounts on social and have a game plan, just in case. Read more after the jump…

Even Professional Designers Need a Creative Outlet: Part 2

A few months ago, I decided it was finally time to carve out some time to work on an animated short film outside of work. Though I knew I would not be able to commit to an hour or more of extra work per day, I promised myself to work on this new endeavor for at least five minutes every day. The five-plus minutes could be spent taking notes, writing the script, drawing characters or designing landscapes. Read more after the jump…

What is COVFEFE? Potentially an Amendment to the Presidential Records Act

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The internet went into a flurry after Donald Trump’s Twitter typo, trying to decipher what exactly he was trying to say. As expected, memes erupted instantly. Now, however, the word might actually have a meaning. On June 12, Rep. Mike Quigley (D. Illinois) introduced a proposal that would amend the current Presidential Records Act to make it illegal for the president to delete social media posts. The proposal’s full name is the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act.

Digital Trends: COVFEFE Act Would Make it Illegal for the President to Delete Tweets
Rep. Mike Quigley previously introduced the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (MAR-A-LAGO) bill. The man loves politically charged acronyms! Read more after the jump…

This Week in Social Media: Emotions, Emoji and Bitmoji

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It turns out that Instagram might not be the best social media option if you’re looking for a pick-me-up. According to a survey of 1,500 teens and young adults in the U.K., Instagram is associated with the highest levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO (“fear of missing out”). Though it has its benefits, like self-expression and community building, Instagram users also reported feelings of inadequacy and negative body image. More reason to only follow dog accounts!

Time: Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health
Though all five of the social networks (name them here) surveyed received negative marks for sleep quality, YouTube was the only one to have a positive net score for health and well-being. Read more after the jump…

Using Bad Press to Educate the Masses

A couple weeks ago, the Golden State Warriors finally found out they would be playing the Utah Jazz in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. To many Warriors players, the news came as a disappointment, but not because they were concerned about facing the Jazz in a seven-game series. The confident Warriors were simply hoping they’d be spending their off nights in a more exciting city than Salt Lake.

Read more after the jump…

Even Professional Designers Need a Creative Outlet

As the director of creative services at CenterTable, my goal is to make sure our clients have all the tools they need to visually tell their stories. I love the variety of projects I get to work on and all the amazing businesses and nonprofits I’m able to collaborate with. Telling meaningful stories is what inspires me to become a better designer and a more creative problem-solver. However, for a long time I’ve missed telling my own stories through art and design. Read more after the jump…

Stop and Think Before You Post

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Some of the world’s biggest advertisers have created public relations disasters for themselves by entrusting the wrong people with their social media accounts, not thinking critically about what they were posting or tackling issues they shouldn’t. Treat this as a reminder to mitigate backlash on social media by solidifying your voice and keeping content consistent with your brand. Always do research when you are unsure about what you’re addressing, or don’t address it at all. Finally, don’t mix up Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. C’mon man!

Social Media Fails

Entrepreneur: The 12 Worst Social Media Fails of 2016
Entrepreneur offers a reminder of what big brands did wrong last year, and the fallout that ensued. Although many of the examples seem unbelievable, they could easily happen to any brand that doesn’t take the necessary steps to fortify their messaging.

Twitter

The Verge: Twitter Might Build a Paid Subscription Service for Power Users
Brands and news organizations will likely be able to pay for an optimized version of Tweetdeck that will allow them to more easily access analytics and alerts. The company is currently conducting a survey with select users to see what new features would be most welcome.

Digital Trends: Twitter Says It Shuttered 377,000 Accounts that Promoted Terrorism
Twitter has been accused in the past of not doing enough to combat extremist activity, but its most recent transparency report states that it closed nearly 377,000 accounts between July and December 2016 due to material promoting terrorism.

Instagram

Digital Trends: Instagram Is Rolling Out New Safety Features, Will Blur ‘Sensitive Content’
Although it hasn’t specified what “sensitive” means, Instagram is attempting to avoid unwanted content from appearing on users’ feeds by placing filters over images that might be offensive.

On the GFM/CenterTable Blog:

Project Highlight:

cocd-website-featuredCenter for Out-Of-Court Divorce | Website Design & Development
Our team brought COCD’s brand guidelines to life by incorporating photography that exemplifies their mission and advances their message to key audiences. And, as a new organization, our team continues to work with COCD to optimize and update the website to suit their needs as they grow.

Fake news? Fake support? Fake Instagram? Rest assured, this is the real Weekly Reads!

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People often filter themselves to appear a certain way in different social situations, some more drastically than others. We adapt to fit into all the little worlds we reside in throughout the day. But what about how we present ourselves in the digital world? Just like in the real world, some people are their genuine selves online, but many others use that space as a way to live the life they wish they had. If we do filter ourselves online, at what point do we, as humans, fool ourselves into thinking our digital persona is our true self? Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Snapchat and Instagram Continue to Battle for Advertisers

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The competition between Snapchat and Instagram has been heated since Instagram unveiled its Stories feature in 2016. Since then, the two have been fighting to gain control of not only users, but money generated from advertising. Currently, Snapchat and Instagram Stories both reach about 150 million people a day. With a similar audience size, Snapchat and Instagram have to differentiate themselves to advertisers through their ad capabilities, something that both companies are constantly working to address.

Read more after the jump…

Pantone Picks a Cheerfully Optimistic Shade for 2017 “Color of the Year”

groundfloor-media-pantone-color-year-2017Every year, the Pantone Color Institute selects its “Color of the Year,” which is the color it feels best encapsulates the mood and attitude of the coming year. After what many (including me) have felt has been a tumultuous year, Pantone decided on a cheerful, yellow-green shade as the color of 2017. Introducing, Greenery (aka Pantone 15-0343): Read more after the jump…