Friday, June 17, 2016

Social Media Rants Persist Despite Workplace Costs - By Ernie Suggs

* Great information about social media we need to help our students realize sooner rather than later. By ERNIE SUGGS ESUGGS@AJC.COM.  Originally published in the June 6, 2016 edition of the AJC

Anything you post ‘has the potential to go viral,’ expert says.

Following a social media firestorm that claimed the job of Christine McMullen Lindgren, a banker who posted racist comments on Facebook, media experts are being asked the question that might never be answered: Why does this keep happening?

“Social media didn’t cause that woman to lose her job. Her ignorance did,” said Tracie Powell, founder and editor of All Digitocracy, an online platform focused on media diversity and audience development.

“There is no expectation of privacy when it comes to the internet. None,” Powell said. “How many times must we see people lose their jobs before it finally sinks in?”

On Wednesday, Lindgren, who at the time identified herself as a Bank of America personal banker, launched an attack on Facebook in which she used the n-word twice, suggested that slavery was deserved, that welfare was common among blacks, and that blacks should pack up and go back to Africa.

Social media — most notably Facebook and Twitter — quickly pounced on her and the bank. Less than 24 hours after the Atlanta-based employee posted the rant, Bank of America fired her.

Sherri Williams, a media scholar who teaches at Wake Forest University, said these types of incidents continue to happen because people feel comfortable expressing themselves freely on social networks without realizing their comments may be perceived as offensive to a national audience.

“People are used to saying what they want on social media and thinking that their friends and followers are their only audience. They don’t realize that anything they post has the potential to go viral,” Williams said.

“But there are consequences for the racist, sexist and insensitive things people post. These kinds of posts have ended people’s careers because companies don’t want to be associated with employees who express ideas that are prejudicial. That’s bad for business,” Williams said.

Lindgren is just the latest in a long line of people who have lost their reputations or jobs, or both, over something they posted on social media.

There were the bankers in England, who were fired over re-enacting, and posting on Instagram, a mock ISIS beheading.

Or the Houston hospital worker, who in the wake of the Ferguson uprising, said police need to start mowing down black people to “purge them.”

Or Justine Sacco, who before boarding a plane in 2013 from New York to Cape Town tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” Before her 11-hour flight landed, while she was totally oblivious, Sacco had become an international pariah and had been fired from her corporate communications job.

A Georgia education official who posted online about race, religion and partisan politics was fired in January.

A n d l a s t O c t o b e r i n Atlanta, Gerod Roth was fired from Polaris Marketing Group after an errant Facebook post. Roth, who is white, posted a selfie of himself and a black co-worker’s toddler son. It seemed innocent, until comments about the photo descended toward madness. Roth said the child “was abandoned in the Atlanta projects, to fend for himself, he is deaf mute, (can’t) properly communicate and is in and out of a shelter home ...”

Richard Eldredge, digital editor at VOX Teen Communications and founder and editor of the digital magazine “Eldredge ATL,” said while bad decision-making is hardly new, personal technology has made it easier to earn a “scarlet letter.”

“If we get incensed about something, responding to it is as easy as launching an app on our phones,” Eldredge said. “I’ve seen well-respected adult professionals in this city ... post idiotic things that damage their brand and credibility.”

Williams, at Wake Forest, said while social media democratizes communication and allows everyday people and marginalized groups to amplify their voices — think #blacklivesmatter or the #beyhive — it has also become a space where bigotry can be amplified.

“Everyday individuals’ bigoted feelings are exposed through social media and we see them face consequences,” she said.

Powell, the Digitocracy editor who is also a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, trains and advises media professionals and brands on how to avoid online pitfalls.

In other words, prevent them from becoming Lindgrens.

“People don’t think about all the myriad ways information gets out,” Powell said. “Once it’s out, it’s out.”

And quick.

While Lindgren most likely was posting to engage with her Facebook friends, someone took a screen shot of her rant before she could delete it. Within hours, it was global.

“It took only five minutes for both an African-American Facebook friend to post, ‘She’s blown a gasket here, folks,’ and another to discern where she worked, presumably because the information was posted on her profile,” Eldredge said. “The lack of punctuation and the run-on sentence in the original post could indicate that it was tapped out quickly without a lot of thought via a mobile phone app. We’ve made it scary easy to post without thinking.”

Millions saw it, thousands forwarded it, and hundreds commented on all of those forwards. People even began flooding Bank of America’s social media accounts and phone lines, demanding answers (and Lindgren’s head).

“Think before you post,” Powell said. “Ask yourself, is this really something I want to put out there? Is this really reflective of me as a person, and how I want people to view me? Ask, how might others perceive this? How might this impact my job prospects?”

At Vox, Eldredge has developed a series of workshops to train teens in social media etiquette with an eye on college. One exercise encourages students to play the role of a college admissions officer and critique the social media page of a classmate, looking for questionable content.

“We’ve never held a digital imprint workshop at VOX when teens haven’t gone in and deleted certain photos or posts after a peer points out something inappropriate,” he said.

The workshops have been expanded to schools and after-school programs.

“It’s really a lesson for every single one of us,” Eldredge said. “Nobody is immune from letting their emotions temporarily take over and putting something out there that can be captured for all eternity via a screen grab. The trick is not posting it in the first place.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Helicopter Parents Produce Boomerang Kids - by Tim Elmore

I spent the last few days studying thirty years of student trends and patterns. While both K-12 and Higher Education have gone through transitions—the greatest shift in three decades of childhood is the parents.

Parents are doing their job differently than they did forty years ago.

We’ve all heard the term, “Helicopter Parent.” It’s a title we’ve affectionately bestowed upon moms and dads who hover over their children, believing that their child needs their attention, their help, their insight or their power to make it in life. These parents are all too happy to leverage that power to pave the way for their child.

Social scientists have noted the results of helicopter parenting between 1985 and 2015:

  • When students reach college they are more immature, coddled by parents.
  • They are a generation that grew up without ever skinning their knees.
  • Few have felt the pain of real failure—hence, never developed resilience.
  • Many got “stickers and ribbons” for everything; everyone is above average.
  • It is common for parents to do a daily a wake-up call for their child in college.
  • These students want their college education to continue their “bubble life.”

What Has This Done to Kids as Emerging Adults?  The following are summaries of how it has affected millions of Millennials:

  • They have an inflated view of their accomplishments—60 percent even say their grades are not a “true reflection” of their work.
  • They have trouble with faculty, who are honest with them. Professors have requested their college hire a “Dean of Parents” to handle all the calls.
  • This trend led faculty to wrongfully commit “grade inflation” at a skyrocketing pace since 1970. In 1969, 7 percent made straight As. Today, it’s 41 percent.
  • They expect prizes and praises for required behavior—like in kindergarten, when they got a “Super Sitter” sticker, just for sitting still in class.
  • They feel entitled to passing marks—and even excellent marks—simply for attendance or for turning in average work. They are the “deserving” generation.
  • 65% of college students admit to cheating. It isn’t because they’re immoral, but because they feel the pressure to get results for their parents.
  • They are still attached with an emotional umbilical cord to mom. One in five students calls home three or more times a day while in college.
Helicopters Produce Boomerangs

May I remind you of something you’ll want to consider as a parent or an educator? Helicopter Parents tend to produce “Boomerang Kids.” This was a term popularized by author Carl Pickhardt who wrote a book by this title in 2011.

Boomerang kids are children who leave the “nest” for college or other coming of age rituals, and who end up coming back home to reassess what will be next for them. These kids initially leave their parents’ homes, but end up “boomeranging” back once they’ve accomplished what they were sent out to do.

Should it be any surprise to us that this happens? The children of helicopter parents have never planned for the future on their own. It’s only natural that instead of planning for the future as college is coming to an end, they return back to mom and dad—the ones who have been there for every decision in their life thus far. Kathleen Shaputis’s 2004 book The Crowded Nest Syndrome: Surviving the Return of Adult Children, coined some of the phenomena that we now, a decade later, think of as a normal part of parenting. Later in 2015, NBC aired its first episode of “Crowded.” The tagline? “The Nest Wasn’t Empty for Long.”

A Parental Evaluation:

So, let’s do a little assessment on how we’re doing as adults today:

Helicopter Parent: Do you hover too much, over-functioning and controlling?
Snowplow Parent: Do you clear the path for your kid, making things easier?
Stealth Bomber Parent: Do you go beyond these with active confrontation?

In my book, Generation iY, I include an entire chapter on eight damaging parenting styles that our generation of parents practices far too often. I encourage you to read it as I attempt to provide a plan to ease off the controls and allow your student to mature and become self-sufficient.

Yet, here is the larger question: Do we even want this?

Do we prepare the path for the child instead of the child for the path because we secretly want our kids to remain dependent upon us? Because…it feels good to be needed and wanted? In the same way that many mothers utilized a “Nanny-Cam” in the nursery when their baby slept, parents are now requesting “Campus-Cams” to keep watch over their kids in college, as adults. While I understand the desire for campus safety, my question is: when will we cease being their “personal assistants” and empower them to grow up and be adults? When is “easy” not the goal? When do we prepare them to face the music?

Do you really want a Boomerang for a child?

* Taken from Tim Elmore's Growling Leaders Blog.  It provides tons of resources and excellent insights to help parents and educators develop students.  Subscribing is highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Six Best Summer Jobs for Students and Why - By Tim Elmore

I recently met Geoff Goodman, president of Orange Leaf Yogurt. He oversees 300 frozen yogurt stores all over the country. Orange Leaf was founded in 2008 and now employs thousands of young team members across America. The majority of them are high school or college students…much like the ones you see each day.

What makes Geoff different is his perspective on leading young team members who may not stay at one of his frozen yogurt stores for long. Instead of debating about how they can retain employees longer—he’s chosen the mantra: “America’s Best First Job.” Geoff is working with his franchisees to make Orange Leaf a “launching pad” for kids to start their careers. While at a store, they’ll learn customer service, profit and loss, resume writing and anything else they’re interested in learning about doing business well. Interestingly, Geoff said this mindset often has a reverse effect. When employers invest in young team members—those kids often stay. What a great way to embrace the challenge: “America’s Best First Job.”

I interviewed Geoff for an upcoming podcast, and he got me thinking about the kind of jobs that would be optimal for a student this summer. I reflected on the jobs I had growing up, and which ones best prepared me for my career. While the industries may vary, I recommend you help your students identify a job that fits into some of the follow descriptors:
  1. Something that’s in the service industry.
While middle class teens frequently avoid quick-service restaurants or other service industries—I believe a job that involves direct customer service is one of the best ways to get ready for life and career. Learning to serve people who are often demanding or have bad attitudes is an incredible foundation for any career. Serving such customers with a smile is almost priceless. When I hire young professionals, I’ve always had better experiences with those who’ve waited tables at restaurants or volunteered in unpleasant contexts.
  1. Something that requires patience and tenacity.
Another great “career workout” is taking a job that actually requires students to have patience, resolve and stamina. Call it old-fashioned grit. Affluent or middle class kids usually don’t pursue these kinds of jobs. Consider this, however. In a world where almost everything we want is ours with a quick click, it’s desirable to develop the ability to wait and work at something over time. I love a kid who’ll jump on a job that’s a “crock pot”—not a “microwave.”
  1. Something that requires hands-on labor and sweat.
Ponder for a moment how jobs have evolved. For thousands of years, we’ve used muscles to get our work done. Then for 300 years, we’ve primarily used machines to get our work done. Today, most of us use our minds to get work done. It’s all we want to do. While I agree—their career will likely center on their brains—getting ready with a job requiring manual labor (like mowing lawns) was an incredible preparation for me. It’s like a track athlete using ankle weights in practice, so when they compete, their legs feel light.
  1. Something that includes a task outside their comfort zone.
When a recently minted college grad enters their career, there will be plenty of tasks they’ll be asked to do that are outside of their comfort zone. Now is the time to get used to it. I am not suggesting they take a job that’s out of their “gift zone” (as that’s important for them to develop), but one that’s far from their comfort zone, that pushes them to learn. It’s been said for years, but it’s still true: there’s no growth in the comfort zone, but there’s no comfort in the growth zone. Just like a rubber band, I grow and am most useful when I am stretched.
  1. Something that does not revolve around screens and technology.
I recommend this because screens and technology today are ubiquitous. I have no doubt any student looking for a job has mastered the art of the screen. Consequently, however, as a generation their levels of emotional intelligence are low. We don’t build our EQ on a screen. We do it when we’re interacting with real people and learning to read body language and tone. I am grateful to have worked at two fast-food caf├ęs, an ice cream store and as a cook in a country club, where face-to-face people skills ruled the day.
  1. Something that exposes them to older and younger generations.
Finally, I believe it’s wise to pursue a job that places a student in the midst of multiple generations, where they not only deepen their social intelligence, but their understanding of varying perspectives and values. This will enable them to understand culture and worldviews more completely. It’s almost like travel—you get an education just interfacing with folks who are different. The job may not appear to be the most “fun” at first, but it will probably be the most satisfying in the long run.

I encourage you to help your young find jobs that prepare them for a great future.

** Copied from Tim Elmore's Growing Leaders Blog