Making a Case for Face-to-Face


In a recent USA Today article, Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, expressed his views on how technology would influence the world 30 years from now. What was surprising was that he felt that the future was all about the past. Yes, this is the same man that changed the world of communication and caused me to think and speak in hashtags. #Crazy!

Although he suggests looking to the past, he does foresee that “personal technology will infuse nearly every facet of American consumer life. The impact will be so far and wide that it might be taken for granted as daily life.”

This is when a light bulb went off in my head. As technology changes the way we share information, are we forgetting how to use the original communication tool – our voices? Is face-to-face communication becoming a thing of the past?

Take for instance, a ride on an elevator. Instead of a delightful good morning, I’m often greeted with the click-clacking of texting by one individual and the barely audible sound of the music coming from the headphones of another. I am lucky to even receive a nod of acknowledgement.

Cell phones are banned in New York City schools, but the dependence on technology is also so strong that some teens are paying to have their cell phones stored while in school. On a recent airing of Morning Edition on NPR, they discussed how entrepreneurs are parking trucks near schools and charging a dollar a day to store cell phones. Students can’t bear to part with their device on the way to school, so they simply pay to store it until the end of the day. Addicted much?

The effects of technology – more specifically social media – have also made their way into the office. Human resources managers are encountering more and more applicants who lack fundamental face-to-face interpersonal skills. Daniela Sierra, human resources manager at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that she finds only one in 10 applicants suitable for employment.

With the addition of various modes of communication, we are failing to properly develop face-to-face interactions. When we speak to each other in person, there are many factors that influence the conversation. Words make up only approximately 20% of human communication, while body language makes up for the other 80%. Email, text messages, tweets and Facebook statuses all lack tone, pitch and body language.

I can’t predict how the world will be in 30 years, but I do know that we need to create a balance with the tools that we use for communication. As a millennial, I remember a time before Facebook and as I’ve experienced the many technological advances over the last decade, I myself am still adapting. I stop texting and give proper eye contact when conversing with someone; I refrain from tweeting my every move in life; and I attempt to say good morning in the elevator, minus my electronic leash. And as technology and social media continue to grow, I will continue to make a case for face-to-face.

Photo credit: Jhaymesisvip

A Liar Tells the Truth about New Media


Media strategist Ryan Holiday recently released his new book, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media  Manipulator.   Holiday wields an impressive résumé working for big-name clients such as “fratire” author Tucker Max, Linkin Park and high-profile clothing brand American Apparel. He coins himself as a “media manipulator” and is infamously quoted as saying:

“If you were being kind, you would say my job is in marketing and public relations, or online strategy and advertising. But that’s a polite veneer to hide the harsh truth. I am, to put it bluntly, a media manipulator. I’m paid to deceive. My job is to lie to the media so they can lie to you. I cheat, bribe, and connive for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands and abuse my understanding of the Internet to do it.”

When I began to whittle down the gist of Holiday’s (unethical) book, it discusses publicity strategies to create buzz in the blogosphere. A particular dark-art promotion strategy he used for Tucker Max’s film, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, was to place anti-Tucker Max stickers on billboards and around the community. Holiday then proceeded to e-mail pictures of his sneaky-sticker-bandit deed to feminist blogs while posing under a pseudonym. Consequently, his wily “stickering” strategies eventually went viral and then snowballed into this, this, and this.

Holiday’s sticker-phantom maneuver represents how easily it is to exploit new media. Unfortunately, it means that traditional news sources can be easily swayed by these manipulation tactics as well. Trust Me I’m Lying definitely highlights how inside sources and facts for news stories might not be fully accurate nowadays — especially if they originate from bloggers.

Holiday’s confessions regarding how easy it was to dupe online media reflects urgency for the public to understand that when there’s a lack of fact-checking and an “old-school” editor in place (as in the case in most blogs), information can easily be manipulated for “infotainment” purposes. And ultimately, liars like Holiday can evade media’s accountability.

Stephanie Mishler is a recent Rollins College graduate and served as assistant account executive at Linda Costa Communications Group. She is an avid blog reader and feels crushed that Gawker might be half-accurate … or a quarter at least.

Roll a Mile in My Shoes

It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month – time to consider the variety of accessibility issues many American workers tackle each day, as well as the contributions they offer our economy and communities.

It’s a topic I’ve been forced to ponder in the past three months, as I’ve recovered from surgery to repair a broken foot bone. I spent two months rolling around on this trusty “knee walker” and over a month in a walking boot. My new limitations made the simple things I’d always taken for granted — getting my kids to school, grocery shopping and driving to work — difficult, or in some cases, downright impossible.


Fortunately for me, being a writer doesn’t require two working feet. And my kind, considerate colleagues helped me get in and out of the office … even holding an umbrella for me on stormy days.

Fortunately for them, I mustered enough strength to avoid acting like Michael Scott after he accidentally burned his foot on a George Foreman grill in this legendary episode of “The Office.”

But as I “scootered” and hobbled around the office, I learned that nearly every aspect of my day — at home and at work — was affected by my disability. Of course, my temporary experience in no way compares to the struggles braved by those with enduring physical disabilities at work, home and public places.

Fortunately for those who do confront significant accessibility challenges, Linda Costa Communications Group client The Center for Independent Living (CIL) offers a wide range of training and resources in pursuit of its mission to promote inclusion and eliminate barriers to independence. And with events such as this weekend’s “Stroll ‘n’ Roll,” CIL gives folks the chance to test their aptitude at navigating the world in a wheelchair.

What better way to deepen your understanding of others’ mobility challenges than facing your own?

Staff writer Erin Heston is grateful to be walking again. And that the nickname “Scooter,” bestowed by her kind, considerate colleagues, did not seem to stick.