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Author Archive for Carter Breazeale

Saluting Our Veterans

The odds are high that there’s a military veteran in your life. We all know someone, be it family or friend, who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and while we’re immensely appreciative of their service each day, Veterans Day is a special mark on the calendar every year to acknowledge their sacrifice to our country.

Speaking personally: I’m honored to call a group of venerated veterans my friends. Today they make their respective livings as emergency medical physicians, marketing executives, and IT technicians, but they’ll always be Army Rangers, Navy Corpsmen, and Marines. They’re the faces you meet daily that you may not know have put their lives on the line to secure the freedoms that you enjoy.

I’ve been privileged to get to know this group, and while we don’t necessarily talk about their individual experiences in combat, it’s abundantly apparent in their personalities that time in the military has been a defining aspect of their character.

It’s understated, but commands respect—as it very well should.    

At PR/PR we want to extend our unending thanks to the veterans who have served in defense of this nation. You are what makes America the wonderful country that it is.

Another Online Cautionary Tale

Does the time change have you feeling extra aggravated this week? Perhaps the added stressors of the coming holidays have got you a bit on edge, or one of your coworkers is just getting under your skin a little more than normal. You open your Twitter feed and begin to rage-type, ready to shout your frustrations into the digital void. Stop typing immediately, because it could cost you your job.

Especially if you go extremely over the line like former Cleveland Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead, who took to Twitter after Cleveland’s loss on Sunday and decided to threaten some of the users in his feed.

That decision immediately cost him his job.

Everyone is aware that social media behavior can get you into hot water, yet each and every year we hear of a high profile firing directly related to content posted online. A handful of celebrities have had to apologize for past posts, or in the case of Jermaine Whitehead, find themselves unemployed because of a moment of frustration.

The cautionary tales abound, but for some reason the message still doesn’t seem to connect with some people. I’m sure you’ve seen it on your own newsfeeds—the uncle with the propensity to overshare online, the aggressively political friend from high school. Some people just have a penchant for stepping in it on the internet.

Former Cleveland Browns defensive back Jermaine Whitehead is one of those.

So whatever has you especially annoyed on this Tuesday afternoon: be sure to keep it above board on your social media profiles.

Be Aware of the Blue Buckets

Happy Halloweek! While we topped out at 90(!!!) degrees yesterday, the decorations are out in full force and so will the trick-or-treaters on Thursday evening. You may have seen news stories pop across your Facebook newsfeed drawing awareness to those costumed participants carrying blue buckets, so we’re going to talk about that a bit in today’s blog.

Campaigns for social awareness have exploded on Facebook, and it’s unfortunate that many of them end up being products of exaggeration or simply turn out to be flat-out false. According to this online campaign, trick-or-treaters sporting blue pumpkin buckets have been diagnosed with some form of autism, and it was devised to diminish judgement of older children (or even adults) with the disorder as they ring doorbells.

The post may have triggered your skepticism—but it’s absolutely true! The campaign began last year with a post from Alicia Plumer, mother of a 21-year-old autistic son who loves to trick-or-treat. So no reason for alarm bells when an older child with a blue pumpkin bucket rings your doorbell, this is an actual social campaign designed to do some good and create happiness.

Of course there may be some who decide to abuse it, but don’t let the exceptions drive the rules—let that candy fly.

You’re right to be cynical when it comes to social media-driven campaigns, but in the case of the blue bucket this Thursday, keep in mind that there’s someone with autism behind that vampire mask or goblin hood.

Social media can be a medium to do worlds of good, and this appears to be one of those cases. Happy Halloween!  

Twitter Looks to Battle Deepfakes

It’s still hot and humid here in Florida, which is more of a bug than a feature of our autumn weather here in Orlando. The leaves don’t really change down this way, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that the weather will relent sooner than later.

On the topic of things not being as they should be, let’s discuss something insidious on the internet: deepfakes. We’ve discussed deepfakes on PR/PR’s blog before, highlighting one of the recent features of social media that seems certain to make its presence felt at your Thanksgiving table this holiday season. In short: They’re fairly high-quality videos where someone (likely of the political ilk) is seen saying something they definitely didn’t say.

They’ve been seen as a major threat on social media as we head into the 2020 election season, and now Twitter is being proactive about combating the predictably coming wave of deepfake videos—and it wants its users’ help.

They have not explicitly developed a policy regarding deepfakes, but the company is seeking feedback from those on the platform on how to best battle fake videos moving forward.

It’s not a solution, but it’s certainly a move in the right direction.

CEOs of social media platforms have been scrutinized and dragged in front of Congress for the role they played as a conduit for misinformation leading up to the 2016 election. It’s an area where the major players have dedicated time, effort, and money to shoring up as the calendar moves from autumn to winter, and winter into spring—election season.

We’ll see if it works to limit the digital deception that plagued the internet nearly four years ago.

Social media is an extremely valuable tool. It’s also an extremely potent weapon. It’s extremely unlikely that Twitter will be able to lock down its platform to deepfakes or other online propaganda, but it’s a positive sign that they’re working with their users to limit it.

The Battle for Your Ears

We’ve all seen the rapidly changing pace of the tech industry, but we’re now hearing it, too. Yes, I’m talking about the market ever-competitive market for earbuds, which aren’t just about listening to your favorite playlist anymore. Always-listening smart assistants, email platform compatibility—these are just a couple of the features that are transforming the earbud landscape.

Apple’s AirPods changed the game when they were released in 2016, showing that wireless headphones utilizing Bluetooth technology were the future for the listening space. Since then there’s been an influx of new products to the marketplace, all of them competing for the opportunity to earn your eardrums.

There’s been no shortage of technology updates to common accessories. We’ve got smart watches, health-monitoring bracelets, and even smart glasses on the release docket for 2020. The tech space hasn’t been as much about reinventing the wheel as it was in previous decades, but honing in on improving the day-to-day objects that we keep on our person.

Headphones have come a long way since the veritable cans that used to cover our ears and the wire-framed, foam covered headsets of the past. We’re no longer constrained and tethered by wires if we don’t want to be, with most new smart devices shunning the headphone jack altogether.

That’s made the fight for earbud supremacy one of the more intriguing tech battles to come. In a space where we’ve become accustomed to upgrades to screens and operating systems and physical features, earbuds and headphones are catching eyes (and ears) with digital upgrades and integration with existing smart devices.

It’s the new frontier for tech, and it’s been an exciting one to watch.