Picture Perfect Tuesday: The Big Apple

Little known fact about me: I was trained in photojournalism. This is why I often choose to document things other people would ignore. Like this image of a homeless fellow catching some zzz’s at a side entrance at NBC Studios in New York City. It’s not pretty, but it’s real.

The Big Apple

Fashion Fun Friday: The Tan Suit

I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again… What we wear makes a tremendous impact on how others perceive us. This point was proven in spades this week with President Obama and his #TanSuit which exploded over Twitter yesterday – to the tune of over 14,000 tweets at the time of writing this blog! Here’s a few that stood out:

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From being compared to an insurance salesman to the creation of parody accounts @BarackTanSuit, @ObamaTanSuit and @Obamas_Tan_Suit within 10 minutes of his speaking, Obama’s choice to wear the light-coloured suit while discussing the military conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine underminded the seriousness of the subject matter. Twiterverse’s reaction to the tan suit is now the subject of much discussion with media outlets such as CNN, Time and the Washington Post.

While funny, these comments are a strong reminder that the suit really can ‘make the man’ and what we wear matters. The impact of Obama’s message was overshadowed by his tan suit. Here’s something for you to consider the next time you are getting dressed: If the President of the United States’ message got lost among the tan suit chatter, how will your message fair?


Picture Perfect Tuesday: Kilmainham Gaol

I seem to be on a bit of a morbid roll with Picture Perfect Tuesdays, but sometimes the most amazing shots come from sad, lonely places. Like this image of the “death row” at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland.  During its operational years (1796 – 1924) Kilmainham played an important part in Irish history as “home” to many leaders of Irish rebellions.  Of course, today its a museum.

Shot in Ireland at Kilmainham Gaol.

It’s like…um, you know?

From daily clothing decisions to how our hair is styled, most of us put some thought into how we present ourselves.  We do this because we know that first impressions – whether conscious or unconscious – based on physical appearances. A strong handshake and smile can show confidence and receptiveness. Eye contact conveys confidence and trustworthiness.  How we present and carry ourselves is part of our personal brand. Did you know that how you speak also affects your brand?

Think back to someone who you thought was intelligent and confident… until they opened their mouth. Our choice in language plays an active part in how others perceive us and using verbal fillers such as “like”, “ah”, “um” and “you know” work against us. We’ve all been guilty of using them. They conveniently fill that little gap in conversation when we’re nervous or need a moment to shape our thoughts. How can such a small thing like saying like really, um, like affect what people think? We like all totally do it… you know?conversation-157

Those little fillers say a lot. In fact, they are formed out of habit, so ingrained in our way of speaking that sometimes we don’t even realize how much we’re using them. So much so that when you’ve made an effort to banish them, they sometimes creep back in. A few years ago, I was inspired at a communications training session to become more articulate by removing these pesky point detractors. The speaker, my then boss and company president, pointed out that defaulting to verbal fillers reduces communication effectiveness as they makes the speaker appear unsure. Whether you’re making a presentation, pitching to the media or having a conversation with your boss, the last thing you want to do is come off as confusing, nervous or unsure.

A paper on eliminating verbal fillers when public speaking from the University of Carolina, notes that “the silence that occurs when the speaker is processing the next bit of information he/she wishes to talk about may seem to last forever, but in reality, it is only a couple seconds.” Seconds! Think on that the next time you are having a conversation, giving a presentation or speech; embrace the pause, take a breath and continue with your point.  You might slip back now and again; and that’s okay. We’re all like… like human… you know?

Picture Perfect Tuesday: Doorway to Salvation

This image was taken at St. Michan’s Church located in Dublin Ireland. This old church was simple, yet beautiful.  Interesting fact about St. Michan’s Church, underneath it are five long burial vaults with mummified remains of many of Dublin’s most influential 17th, 18th and 19th century families and apparently one crusader.

Door at St. Michan's Church, Dublin Ireland

To Infinity and Beyond

As we get older, we start to think about getting our affairs in order. We do up our wills, tell our loved ones our burial wishes and we make sure they have all the necessary banking information. But have you thought about what happens to your online identity after you die? Who owns the information? Your estate or Facebook and Google?

While this might seem like a trivial thing when facing death, it’s something to think about. We spend so much time online cultivating our brand, that it seems only natural to have a plan for what happens to it after we leave this life. If you don’t have a plan, most of your social media accounts will remain live, unless a family member requests it be removed. And even then, it’s not a sure thing.  For example Google’s policy for accessing a deceased user account on Gmail plainly states that even with a death certificate, it may not grant your loved ones access.

Here’s something else to think about:

Over 10,000 deceased people on Facebook can still receive friend requests, be tagged in photos and wished a happy birthday.

I can personally speak to this as I have two friends who have passed away over the past five years whose profiles still pop up in my Facebook feeds for birthdays and other notices.

However, if your preference is to keep some form of online presence after death, Facebook can turn your profile into a memorial page so your friends can still post and look at pictures; but it removes you from the birthday reminders and the “People You May Know” prompts.

My point here is that it’s important that you take change of your online life after death. Think about what you are leaving behind and how you want your ‘online estate’ to be handled.

Here’s a great visual from WebpageFX that outlines what happens to your online self after death.