Ah, Maryland. Home of crab cakes, the Baltimore Ravens, and The Wire.
But more importantly, it is home to the 2018 NSA Winter Conference. This year’s conference is taking place next week, February 16-18, at the beautiful Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, and of course Russell will be in attendance.
The NSA Winter Conference always presents an excellent opportunity to network, learn, and have fun, so it’s written in ink on our calendars every year. Registration is still open for first-time membership applicants, so please don’t miss out on one of the marquee events of 2018.
Will you be joining us? If so, come say hello!
So with all of the insanity that dominates the news cycle, every once in a while a truly nutty story breaks that just doesn’t seem to receive enough attention. Overshadowed by the daily politics du jour, these stories register on the radar for a day or so, and then seem to vanish from the world’s collective conscious.
This week’s story? Strava.
Haven’t heard of Strava? Neither had I, until this story began making the rounds. Strava is a fitness app that compiles data from users who utilize fitness trackers such as FitBit and Jawbone. A social media site of sorts, Strava uses this data to highlight running and jogging routes around the globe and displays them on a Google Earth-style satellite map.
Sounds intriguing, right? Of course it is! You can connect with others who work out in similar areas, possibly meet a jogging buddy, discover unique routes for your morning run.
But you can also identify undisclosed U.S. military bases around the world.
Yep. That’s the issue with Strava.
Users online began to notice high areas of fitness activity in places like Syria, Djibouti, and Iraq, and immediately deduced that it was the result of military personnel using their fitness trackers and connecting to Strava. Essentially, working out on secret military bases broadcast their location to others users around the world.
Yet another unforeseen, unintended consequence of geo-tagging and social media. Strava and the government have referred to it as a “security oversight” that will be rectified, but it’s not hyperbole to say immense damage has already been done.
Let this social media debacle serve a lesson: be careful with geo-tagging!
No rest for the weary. Russell is packing up the official PR/PR mobile office (suitcase) and hitting multiple stops on the first quarter public relations tour.
So where are we headed?
The first stop will be the chilly Northeast, as PR/PR makes our annual appearance at NSA’s Winter Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. NSA’s 2018 Winter Conference will take place Friday, February 16th – Sunday, February 18th.
Then it’s on to the arid West for the final–final—Lady & the Champs on March 9th and 10th. Early Bird registration prices expire on January 30th, so take advantage and reserve your seat now!
And the final stop on our early year trek is picturesque La Jolla, California, for the Indie Family and Friends Forum, March 16th – March 18th.
We hope you’ll join us for one of these fantastic events over the next couple of months!
For an excruciating 38-minutes, people in Hawaii were under the impression that they were about to die. A bit after 8 a.m. local time on Saturday, an emergency alert was issued in error, indicating that a ballistic missile had been launched and was inbound.
Chaos immediately ensued.
There were videos of people running in no direction in particular. Stories of families huddled in bath tubs covered by mattresses. Videos of adults ushering children into the sewers.
It was something from a movie, but for those in Hawaii, it was terrifyingly real.
38-minutes. They waited for the end for 38-minutes.
After that time had passed, Hawaiian officials took to radios, televisions, and Twitter to announce that the alert was the result of human error. Yes, human error. In an attempt to run a test, someone clicked the wrong option from a drop-down menu. That seems an extremely cavalier procedure for a system that sends millions of residents and tourists an all-caps alert that death is near.
Can we get some two or three-party verification and approval, please?
Thankfully, it was an error after all. But for those on the Hawaiian islands on Saturday, it’s a moment that will be etched in their psyches forever. This massive error would be terrifying at any moment, but at a time where our leaders and adversaries are exchanging barbs of increasingly fiery rhetoric, it amplifies the horror of reality. Things need to ratchet down, and procedures need to be reevaluated.
As my alma mater, it’s a wonderful feeling to finally be able to say it: Congratulations to the UCF Knights, 2017 College Football National Champions.
With their undefeated season and triumph over Auburn—who defeated both Georgia and Alabama—in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day, the Knights sealed the deal on a season for the ages that saw them go 13-0 two years removed from going 0-12.
Oh wait—Alabama are actually National Champions? Yes, of course they are. But UCF’s Athletic Director Danny White has shown his public relations bona fides by talking up the University of Central Florida as the true holders of the title, generating elation, confusion, and anger. But most of all: he’s generated conversation.
A PR masterstroke.
By declaring UCF as National Champions, Danny White is driving the debate over the way in which the College Football Playoff Committee decides who is worthy of inclusion into the four-team playoff. As a non-Power 5 school, UCF has zero opportunity to break in to the top-four and secure a spot in the playoffs, even if plays a perfect season.
So what does Danny White do? Proclaims the Knights as the real champs. Sells “National Champions” merchandise. Changes UCF Football’s Twitter handle to “2017 National Champions.” Throws a parade at Disney World.
All of this has continued the talk of UCF’s victory over Auburn on major cable sports outlets and print publications like Sports Illustrated and The New York Times. PR brilliance. A week after the Peach Bowl, major media is still discussing UCF and the College Football Playoff system.
Do Danny White and former coach Scott Frost really believe that UCF are the rightful champions? If you got them into a dark room I guarantee they’d tell you otherwise. But with White sounding the bullhorn with his controversial stance on how teams are chosen to participate in the playoffs, he’s bringing awareness to a system that dreadfully needs reformation.
So here’s to you, UCF: you’re National Champs to me.