It’s ok to be quiet in a tragedy

I’d like to clarify in more than 140 characters a Tweet I sent earlier today. The Tweet was: “Every business social account does not need to share “thoughts and prayers are with #Newtown.” If you can’t add to the conversation, don’t.”

The context came from both my Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter feed. In both, businesses and organizations were simply posting some variation of: “We’re deeply saddened by the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to all affected.”

It was overwhelming and distracting. Those kinds of statements don’t add to the conversation. Coffee places, non-profits, businesses and the like, didn’t need to say anything. At best it comes across as trite, at worst, like this Tweet from KMart, which Matt LaCasse posted to Facebook after seeing it elsewhere, comes across as very insensitive.

KMart tragedy Tweet

In a 24/7 news world, it is crucial for brands and business to follow news and revamp on the fly.

As digital marketer, Lauren Fernandez, (cubanalaf) points out, there are times when it is appropriate to say something. She replied to my tweet with, “We did so when canceling our contest today, and felt it was appropriate. I still do.”

Fernandez also adds, “It’s appropriate for brands to do so if product, company values or brand location ties into it.”

I agree with her on both points. Her first comment is the right way to acknowledge that plans changed and events and people take prescience over promotion.

Do you manage a social account for a brand or business and agree or disagree?

Self Magazine’s Shrimp and Orzo (modified)

(Note: this is a guest post from Matt LaCasse. He and I have traded recipes since before he started #cookchat.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve been seeing me use the hashtag #hawaiidiet. As a part of this diet, my wife and I get 8 ounces of meat a day, but that’s limited to seafood, chicken or turkey. Up to this point in my life, I’ve had a saying that goes something like, “If it’s from the sea, it’s not for me.” I’ve had to get over that since one can only eat so much chicken and/or turkey. So, I turned to the one place I knew I could get a fantastic shrimp recipe. The host of this here blog.

God bless Aurora. She sent me this recipe for shrimp. I’ll give the recipe (from Self Magazine) as it’s supposed to be made first:

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound medium shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup feta

#Hawaiidiet also bans dairy products, so the feta was out, and I’d never heard of capers before this, didn’t have any on hand, and so ended up substituting cilantro. Orzo was also out due to the no carbs aspect of the diet. So, here’s what I ended up using:

  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup green onions (Didn’t have an onion on hand, used these instead, worked great)
  • 1 Tb garlic powder (Thought I had garlic on hand, but I didn’t. This worked OK)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (Again, didn’t have any white wine on hand)
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbs parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 1 tbs cilantro
  • The rest of the ingredients I used as listed

This was a GREAT recipe. It was a bit spicier than I had expected, but that wasn’t a bad thing. There’s LOTS of flavor here, and I really wish I could have used feta and orzo as I have no doubt that makes this taste completely different. It was a little over-tomatoey, but I’m chalking that up to the lack of feta and orzo. The cilantro added a little citrus twist to it, which I really enjoyed and would add to the original recipe; then again, I’m a cilantro freak.

Thanks to Aurora for passing along the recipe! This and a tilapia recipe she passed along have been big hits at Casa de LaCasse and will become a part of the regular rotation.

Family Bran Muffins

These are a tradition for my husband’s family to eat on Christmas morning. Be warned, while the name is bran, the taste and nutritional values are regular, bakery inspired, delicious muffins.

2 shredded wheat biscuits (each is about 2 ½ by 4 inches)
1 cup boiling water
1 ½ cups sugar
3/8 cups butter
1 pint (2 cups) buttermilk
2 eggs
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bran flakes
2 ½ cups flour

Pour boiling water over shredded wheat biscuits. Let cool. Cream sugar and butter-or-shortening together until light and fluffy. Add cooled shredded wheat biscuits. Add eggs separately, beating until well blended. Stir baking soda into buttermilk. Add buttermilk and soda to mixture. Add salt, bran flakes and flour. Stir just to blend. Store in refrigerator for three days. Do not stir. Spoon into muffin cups (1/2 -3 /4 filled). Bake at 400 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes.

My Opinion:
I actually ran out of flour when I made this a few days before Christmas. I didn’t add the rest of the 2 cups of flour until Christmas Eve. I also added more baking soda because I prefer fluffy muffins to scone-esque ones. Every year we make these they get better.

This week’s food posts are brought to you by#cookchat. My co-moderator, Matt LaCasse and I are announcing #cookchat’s triumphant return on Thursday January 20, a 8 p.m. CST. Join us for an hour of food filled conversation.

My Thoughts on Facebook’s Privacy Policy

By now, it is no surprise that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg does not value privacy in his business model. A colleague of mine and dear friend, Matt LaCasse had a post on his blog, Public Relations and Other Ruminations stating that he agrees with making the information public, even if it results in an embarrassing photo or two of him.

I respectfully disagree. My friends call me Puritanical because even though I am well above the legal drinking age, I don’t want photos of my on Facebook with alcohol. In my hand. In front of me. Anywhere in the photo. It isn’t the image I want to portray. I untag myself from the photo and ask posters to crop or remove the photo. I believe if you’re my friend, you’ll understand.

This policy has created some issues. A former high school journalism teacher posted all the archival footage from my freshman and sophomore year online. Unfortunately, at the request of my employer at the time, I had to ask for it to be removed. It wasn’t professional enough. While I sent a nicely worded, please cease and desist request, he took it personally. Let’s just say it didn’t end well.

Initially, Facebook started as exclusive to specific colleges and people with specific .edu addresses. I liked that closed community feeling. As Facebook became open to more and more people, I stopped using it as much. Now that my parents and their friends are using it more than my friends, I use Facebook even less.

Here’s where my biggest concern about privacy comes in: other users. What’s to prevent an estranged parent or family member from posting your birthday, home address and phone number under children or relations? Nothing. Even if you don’t have this information online and are against doing so, there is no recourse should that estranged person post that information and refuse to take it down.

I do think Facebook has a great business model and public information must be a part of that. Facebook has done an exceptional job of growing their community. I just don’t know if in 20 years when my peers are running for an elected office or when a stalker finds my home address because an estranged relative listed me under nieces, how that community will hold up.