Forced to unplug and re-connect

Image of cracked iPhone screenToday marks day number three without my iPhone. I’ve read about others who have unplugged by choice and remember thinking to myself that was something I doubt I could adapt to easily.

I’m first to admit I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone. I’m constantly checking email, reading news stories and dabbling in my social media accounts.  My out-of-office message even says that although I’m on vacation, I’m still available. That’s telling. But when you have an accident like I did, cracking the face of my iPhone that renders it unusable, you have no choice but to unplug… and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, I would go as far to say it was freeing.

My connection to the world had collapsed

Sure, it helped that I was in holiday mode and my days were action packed. Had I not been on vacation in a remote town with no access to solutions, I’m sure I would have handled the situation quite differently. I know for a fact I would not have been as calm, thinking my connection to the world had collapsed and I assure you, I would not have been going on a fourth day without my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely panicked at the sight of my phone – now shards of a glass held only together by its’ sturdy  protective cover. I started exploring options right away from a land line, but after the initial shock, I was forced to accept this unfortunate mishap and I had to remind myself I was on vacation after all – which by definition is: relaxing, enjoying, and kicking back. I decided I was going to take it in stride and enjoy  what was left of it.

So, I guess THIS is what being unplugged is all about

From this experience I was forced to slow down. I convinced to myself, (and possibly out loud), ‘So, I guess THIS is what being unplugged is all about’.  I’ve made a pact to myself; and that is to check my phone less frequently – and more so off hours; to not be slave to every ding or ring I hear and each push notification I see. I am going to focus on the things that are most important to me beyond my electronic world – and just turn the damn thing off. Other than self-admitting my addiction, here are a few things I’ve come to realize as a result of being forced to unplug:

1. Pen to paper.
I started writing this blog post by hand. With a pen and paper  – remember those things? I actually got writing cramps and finger calluses (also known as writers bumps).  I started itemizing the balance of my vacation plans on said paper and making to-do lists. I actually connected my random (and sometimes convoluted) thoughts, instantly feeling more organized. I documented action items to cross off, instead of relying on the ding of my auto reminders – like a microwave announcing dinner is ready. These things are in a paper book that I now carry with me and add to frequently, by writing them down – things I can’t so easily dismiss. It also inspired me to start a personal journal again.

2. Me-time.
Being without my phone, I was a lot more relaxed. It had me reading complete novels in a matter of days, something that would have taken me weeks with the constant distraction of my phone. I realized how much I missed reading. I broke in a new pair of running shoes and went for brisk walks (sans phone) and stopped thinking of where I was going to get my next Wi-Fi connection along the way. More me-time is definitely on the top of my to do list!

3. Real connections.
Most importantly, this experience has me wanting to connect in person; to have face to face meetings and lunches with cherished colleagues and friends. Something I mistakenly confused with a ‘like’ or ‘comment’ to a post as a sufficient way of staying connected. Wrong on so many levels!

When I came home to the city, I wasn’t as frantic to get in touch with the repair shop like I initially wanted to. I’m told that when I do finally take my phone in to be fixed,  it could be another few days before I get it back, and you know what?  That’s perfectly fine.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

5 ways to issue your news

image of airplane folded newspaper Issuing regular, professionally written news releases will open doors to the media and can have positive outcome on your business. But before putting pen to paper, think about how you want to issue your news. 

News releases are often lumped together as one single PR tool, however, there are different types of news releases with subtle differences in how they convey your message to the media. Continue reading

getting engaged

Public Relations, by definition, includes ongoing activities to ensure your company has a strong public image. Just as media is finding its way with a new online business model, so must business. Social media has re-defined PR and helped shape how companies can leverage their online reputation. It’s all about is creating content that captures media and target audiences while addressing your business goals. There are many elements of PR that can help you do this with the net effect of increasing website traffic, optimizing search engine rankings, and ultimately creating new business. Here are few… Continue reading

the joke’s on who, exactly?

I’m all for companies who issue releases that provide a little humour for the entertainment value on April Fool’s Day – as long as it is obvious and all good and all in fun. In fact, some organizations have been pretty clever this year…

Yesterday, LinkedIn listed under “People You May Know” the likes of Albert Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood. Google was having a little fun too. If you typed “Helvetica” in the Google search box, your font would change to Comic Sans. They went as far to announce a new technological advance in its popular Gmail application, motion-controlled email.

Some companies went a little further (and over the top in my humble opinion).  Virgin announced its company founder Richard Branson had bought Pluto in order to reinstate it as a planet. Ikea released its ‘newest product’ via YouTube video: The Hundstol, or dog high chair, which confused consumers who asked about availability.

There’s a belief that all publicity is good publicity… but is it really?

I believe that ‘news’ should be exactly that… Continue reading

add a little Google juice to your PR

One of the most effective ways to tap into news about your industry is through Google Alerts. Not only is it free, but also provides you with some valuable insight and enhances your PR efforts.

Using Google Alerts will help you…

  • Know what media coverage your competitors are getting.
  • Monitor a developing news story about your products and services.
  • Find out what news angles are of interest to journalists for your industry.
  • Target reporters and editors who are interested in your space.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You enter a query that you’re interested in.
  2. Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
  3. If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.

I recommend to all clients who want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news to set up several alerts. Continue reading

read, watch and follow.

Media, journalists, and publishers are leveraging social media such as facebook and twitter to distribute news content and engage their communities.  In the past, it was important to read a vast array of newspapers and magazines, to watch the major television outlets, and listen to local radio news programs in order to keep track of the amount of news coverage about the issues your organization is promoting.
The same is true today, but it can now be done online from social media platforms giving “read, watch and follow” a whole new meaning. There are very few media outlets who don’t use social media and some use it more effectively than others. From a PR perspective, the best advice I can give is this…
  • Read the tweets and facebook updates from media outlets.
  • Watch the conversations being created around the news that is being reported.  Become a fan of the media outlets facebook page and follow their twitter feeds. Be an observer.
  • Follow the source of the news. Find the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic and search for articles by those journalists and start following them on twitter. Their twitter profiles usually indicate the topics they cover… for example:

image of twitter profileimage of twitter profile

I have created a list of Ottawa-based media outlets on both twitter and facebook.  If you would like to add to the list of media outlets or want to report a broken link, please do so by leaving a comment.

paying for news content

Newspapers have been struggling trying to find a business model they can use in the online world and a few have adapted a subscription model which only allows readers to see a portion of a story before paying. But even if the paywall pays off in the short term, isn’t the longterm price of a weaker readership base too high? Times in the UK were one of the early adopters who have been Continue reading