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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

Hold the phone!

Posted: December 13, 2012 - 6:00 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Are you tied to your smartphone 24/7?

Maybe you’ve used it to look up some statistics about our obsessive-compulsive relationship with our phones …40% of Americans have checked their phone while on the toilet … 30% of our British friends would rather give up sex than go a week without their phones … 50% of Americans sleep with their phone next to them … 66% percent of us suffer from “nomophobia” – a fear of being without our mobile phone.

Maybe you’ve even read the research that says our brains aren’t really wired to be constantly engaged and technology is changing our personalities. We multitask ineffectively … post narcissistically … withdraw from face-to-face interaction … act and react more rudely based on a perception of anonymity.

Have you asked yourself what’s so important? Why it’s so urgent? How it’s impacting your priorities (your work and the time with family and friends, not to mention going to the bathroom and sex)?

Have you asked yourself whether you manage your technology or it manages you!


Instant replay

Posted: October 18, 2012 - 5:01 PM ET - by Elisabeth

This week makes two years we’ve been “on the air” with AIRtime; every other Thursday we’ve shared an idea, an insight, a laugh. … and we’re going to replay some of our favorites, starting with one from the self-proclaimed “queen of three-way calling.”

Contrary to popular belief, I am a fan of technology. I am fascinated and delighted by the technological advances that allow us to communicate quickly and effectively as a virtual agency. I’m like the queen of three-way calling around here!

Seriously, smart phones, Google apps and Skype are just a few of the tools that help us to interact with each other and our clients efficiently. In many cases, we have even been able to expand our services or avert crises.

Yet (couldn’t you just feel that coming?), there is truth to Marshall McLuhan’s expression “the medium is the message.” Some advancements can create a barrier to your audiences’ receptivity to your message. Let’s take me – and texting – as an example. I wish I could declare my beloved iPhone a “No Text Zone.” Not just in the car. Everywhere!

If it’s such a burning issue that you need my attention RIGHT NOW and you are interrupting me with an urgent tone being emitted from my phone, then why isn’t it ringing? If you know me well enough to text me, you probably know how annoyed I am by the abbreviations and grammatical shortcuts that are inherent to texting. You also know that I am not hip enough to know whether your are Laugh(ing) Out Loud or wishing me Lots of Luck and that I am old enough to think BFF is a typo. If it’s not urgent, send me an email. If you’re 1) a client, 2) somebody I like, or 3) you give it a catchy title, I may even skip over the 50 or 60 emails ahead of you and open it first. … and if you have called and/or sent an email, enough already!

I recently signed up to follow a particular marketing guru on Twitter and was surprised to receive four – 4! – text messages promoting books, lectures, etc. Now I’m no guru, but I know it’s not a smart strategy to run up my phone bill for text messages and expect me to spend more money on your product or service. I selected Twitter as my preferred format to receive the information.

If you ask me, I will happily tell you how I want to receive information from you. … and here’s the most important part of this post: So will all the rest of your stakeholders. Let each stakeholder tell you whether he or she prefers phone, email, text message, Twitter or another channel. Don’t annoy them before you even capture their interest.

For me, if it is really important, pick up a phone. … or you could set yourself on fire and run through my office. If it’s urgent, I’m going to need to feel the heat.

Originally posted on November 12, 2010


Social media marketing … are you buying it? Or selling it?

Posted: March 22, 2012 - 3:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Photos and videos captured on smart phones, opinions on everything and everyone … you can post them on your Facebook page, tweet them or blog about them. You too can be a citizen reporter or a pundit of the run-of-the-mill.

If you’re wondering what’s next, you’re already behind.

Today, you can be a connoisseur of … well, anything … on Pinterest. It turns out you can be a marketing guru too!

Earlier this month, American Express introduced a “Tweet your way to savings” program; cardholders can tweet current AmX promotions using hashtags and receive savings when they make a purchase. I guess it’s not so different from the online stores that offer you credits for referring friends … except that you’re telling the world, not just a few confidantes who like the same brand of shoes or electronics.

Privacy issues aside, I’d love to hear what you think about this variation on the theme of marketing through third-party endorsements.

Are you ready to move from “iReporting” to “iRecommendations”?


“Chance favors the connected mind.”

Posted: October 6, 2011 - 9:50 PM ET - by Elisabeth

My last blog post addressed the critical role of emotional connection in communications (with a little help from Brene Brown).

My mind wandered down the path of wondering if emotional connection has been helped or hurt by technological connection.

There are lots of arguments that we have more connections with less depth thanks to face book, Twitter and other social media formats … that we have fallen into the trap of texting rather than talking and emailing rather than interacting?

I don’t advocate tech talk over face-to-face interaction, but it’s not all bad.

“The great driver of scientific innovation and technological innovation had been the historic increase in connectivity and our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people,” according to Steven Johnson, author of “Where Good Ideas Come From” and yes, another great TED speaker.

Take four minutes to listen to his great, visually interesting presentation and it may just inspire your next great idea!


Is my smartphone really smarter than I am?

Posted: August 25, 2011 - 7:05 AM ET - by Elisabeth

I think technology is wonderful thing. My business has thrived on the access to information and 24/7 availability that computers, tablets and especially smartphones ensure, and technology has definitely presented new, inspiring ideas I might not have found without social media, apps, and the like.

… but I’m reading more and more frequently that the stress I feel (okay, pretty often), the moments of “overload,” and the (let’s say occasional) lack of creativity or insight might be the fault of all my tech toys too (thank God it’s not the chemicals in my blonde highlights).

More experts than I can begin to name have addressed how much we need to disconnect from technology for our mental health.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article that we don’t know how to be bored anymore … and he argues that boredom is source of creativity: “Experts say our brains need boredom so we can process thoughts and be creative. I think they’re right. I’ve noticed that my best ideas always bubble up when the outside world fails in its primary job of frightening, wounding or entertaining me.”

All these articles I keep reading (yes, on my fabulous little iPad), made me wonder …

Are we so focused on “connections” that we don’t really “interact” anymore?

Look around at a restaurant or event; how many people are looking at the phones or tablets, not even interacting with the people around them. Think about how many of your hundreds, or even thousands, of facebook friends you really talk to.

Are we so busy “gathering information” that we’re not really “learning” anymore?

How many news articles did you really read about the cause of the earthquake vs. clicking on the photo of the tipped over lawn chair.

And, for myself, I have to wonder … Is my smartphone really smarter than I am? At least when it’s battery runs down, I know I have to recharge it.

So I’m off on a little vacation … to recharge my batteries and reconnect with family and friends. I’ll try not to let the outside world frighten, wound or entertain me. Maybe I’ll try to be bored … but, in that case, I’ll probably just catch up on sleep in a sunny lounge chair.

See you back here on September 8 … maybe I’ll get a creative charge by then!


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