Let's talk about fake news.
The term, known by many as of recently, has been used for a long time.
I mean, honestly... do you know anyone who actually wants to hear or read fake news? I don't... or at least I hope I don't. Anyway, unfortunately, fake news is spread quite often. From my experience, a lot of fake news is actually spread by people who don't even know they're spreading it. Yikes.
I'm here to help guide you through sharing factual news with a method that I'm going to call the Four-Rs. Before sharing an article, make sure it is:
Let's break down each R and explain its purpose.
This is probably the easiest way to rule out fake news. If you see a link with headline on social media, click the link before you decide to share or retweet. Sometimes the article is click-bait. This means it has a bogus headline, just to get you to click on the website. Not cool. Anyway, this fuels into fake news because that bogus headline may generate conversation. If hundreds of people share an attention grabbing headline... without clicking the link... hundreds more will see it. I'm not good at math, but I'm pretty sure that means tens of thousands of others could see it too. Without clicking the link, you won’t realize the headline is untrue. And if you re-share, you’re contributing to fake news. It's a never ending cycle.
This step is a little more in-depth... and it takes effort on your part. Keep in mind that just about anyone can create a website. (Proof: I made this one for less than $20.) So, since anyone can create a website, it also means that they can basically share whatever they want. That said, the best way to find out if something is real is by looking at the source. Once you're on the website, go to the "About" page. This page will give you a clue as to where the article is generated and its intention.
Here's an example from The Babylon Bee, a well-known satire website:
Other satirical websites include the Daily Mash, the Onion, the Civilian, the Spoof, the Beaverton, and the Borowitz Report. So, bottom line… if it's noted as a satire website, don't expect much "real" news. If it's run by a policy group or advocacy organization, don't expect an unbiased perspective.
Checking the relevance of an article is important. Digital media articles live online for a long time. This means you’ll need to look at the date of when it was published. If it's an article about a missing child, the first thing you should do is check the date. If it’s from a few years ago, or even a few months ago, look for an update. Don’t share a story about a missing child from three years ago who was also found three years ago. It’s not necessarily fake news since it was once true; however, it’s no longer current news.
This is really a combination of the first three Rs. Taking responsibility is a way to become an educated news consumer. If the article seems far-fetched... maybe it is. It is your duty to fact-check before sharing something that could be fake news. As consumers, we must be responsible for the news we watch, read, and share.
There are also dozens of free resources to learn how to consume news. Click here to check out a free course from edX.
I decided to dedicate my quarantine-weekends to self-development and educational opportunities. I've been reading, writing, blogging, and learning. I recently discovered HubSpot Academy, which is an online resource inbound marketing, sales, and customer service/support training. Last week, I signed up for HubSpot Academy's Social Media Strategy Certification course which consisted of eight lessons and an exam. It took about five to six hours which I split up over several days. The best part about this course is that it's FREE! I just passed the final and am so excited! Yay! I love that the certification includes these badges for social media and digital communication.
The course focused on social media strategy, trends, monitoring, campaigns, engagement, and policy. It was really interesting and full of valuable information. I highly recommend this course to anyone who uses social media to build a brand. The lessons address all types of brands from personal and influencer marketing to business and organization marketing. It also explains how you can use social media to attract new consumers and utilize their channels to share your message. It's a great certification for your resume or LinkedIn to let others know that you're knowledgable in social media and its many uses when it comes to ROI and brand recognition.
Click here to learn more about this free course and to sign up. There are dozens of other courses and certifications as well. I think the next one I'll take is on Content Marketing which explains blogging, SEO, and analytics. HubSpot Academy is such a great resource for free learning! I hope you can take advantage too!
Throughout my years in Eastern North Carolina, I've had the pleasure of working with the BBB serving Eastern North Carolina on several projects and campaigns. This organization is truly an asset to businesses and the community.
In April, the nonprofit's communications team reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in coming on an episode of the new "Brunch with BBB" podcast to talk about how COVID-19 is impacting the news industry. I was so honored and, of course, said yes!
The podcast's hosts, Luis and Catherine from BBB serving Eastern North Carolina, were so wonderful! We discussed news trends, small businesses, the housing sector, and nonprofits. I was so excited to share how some of my friends (and my husband) are adjusting their business services during this time. I also had the opportunity explain the current needs of the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina since I serve on the board of directors.
From this experience, I also learned that I'm a much better interviewer than interviewee! Ha! Seriously... I was so nervous and said "umm" a million times! Goodness gracious - I'm embarrassed! I think I'll keep asking questions rather than answering them.
I encourage you to check out the Brunch with BBB podcast as they add new episodes weekly. Luis and Catherine regularly feature special guests to inform business owners and consumers about current marketplace trends. Be sure to also follow BBB serving Eastern North Carolina on Facebook and Instagram for relevant and important consumer information, awareness campaigns, and scam warnings.
I hope you're all doing well! Continue staying healthy, safe, and positive!
It’s a time of uncertainty.
COVID-19 is uncharted territory and millions of Americans are struggling. While some are losing jobs, others are working overtime to meet industry demand.
If you’re somewhere in between, you might be looking for ways to help. Public health experts say that the best way to help is to flatten the curve. That means protecting yourself and others by preventing the spread of the disease. This includes recommendations like thoroughly washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and staying home.
As we're encouraged to stay away from others, there are still plenty of ways we can help our communities and work to make a difference even if we self-isolate.
1. Support Local Businesses
If you typically dine-out, continue supporting your local restaurants during this time. Order take-out or delivery from your favorite locally owned restaurant just as often as you would visit them otherwise. Additionally, if personal finances allow, order online from locally owned stores and boutiques. Even if these shops are closed , some may still be filling orders behind closed doors. Share your experience on social media and encourage your friends and followers to also support small, locally-owned businesses.
2. Write Reviews
Write a positive reviews or recommendations for your favorite locally owned businesses, services, authors, entertainers, etc. If they're not open or servicing the public, you can still use this time to boost their ratings on outlets like Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
3. Pick Up Litter
If you're talking walks, consider picking up litter as you go. You’ll need a plastic bag to collect trash, another bag if you want to separate recyclables, and gloves to avoid touching objects with your bare hands. You should also wear a vest if you’re along a road and use a pick-up stick for added safety. Be sure to follow local safety recommendations. Click here to learn more about staying safe while making a difference from the Doing Good Together organization.
4. Give Blood
As group restrictions are in place in cities and counties nationwide, most blood drives are cancelled in an effort to limit community spread of the virus. However, with fewer donations, there is an even greater need for blood. Despite the pandemic, there are still other emergencies happening and people are still getting blood transfusions. Contact your local blood bank to see if you can schedule a private appointment. Be sure to talk to them about the step they’re taking to ensure a clean and safe donation experience.
5. Fill Out Your Census
Take time to fill out your 2020 Census questionnaire. It won't have a direct impact right now, but it will help your state and locality in the future. I completed mine online and it took less than 10 minutes. The U.S. Census Bureau uses this data to improve your communities, determine seats in Congress, and designate proper funding for things like roads and schools.
6. Foster a Dog or Cat
Many shelters and rescue facilities are working to find temporary homes for their adoptable animals during this time. Best Friends Animal Society has seen an overwhelming response to foster efforts. However, it may not be the case for your local animal rescue organizations. If you’re able to foster a furry friend, reach out to a shelter or rescue and ask how you can help.
7. Make Protective Masks
Help to protect health care workers by crafting and sewing protective masks. JOANN Stores released a statement saying it will open its classrooms and offer supplies to anyone who wants to help make these items. The fabric and craft store says participating locations will offer sewing machines, free materials, and guidance for those who plan to donate their creations to area hospitals. Click here to read the full statement.
8. Share Encouragement
Organize a card, e-card, or letter drive for those considered essential employees. These types of employees are those who have to physically go to work rather than working from home. This includes, but is not limited to, health care professionals, pharmacy workers, law enforcement, first responders, grocery workers, truckers, civil service employees, journalists, mail carriers, etc. If you know someone employed at an essential business or within an essential industry, they might be able to offer advice on how to execute a card drive. These cards or letters can be handmade with low-cost materials you already have at home. This could also be a great activity for children who are home from school and looking to stay busy. Include a note of positivity, encouragement, and gratefulness for their commitment to their profession and their desire to serve others. I know firsthand that hearing, or reading, the phrase “thank you” goes a long way – especially while working long hours during a national emergency.
9. Help Battle Food Insecurity
Reach out to your local food bank, Salvation Army, or Meals on Wheels. These groups are providing more meals than ever and could use your help. They may need volunteers, donations, or funding. Click here to find your local food bank, click here your local Salvation Army, or click here to find a local “Meals on Wheels” provider.
10. Offer Your Assistance
Check on your family members, friends, and neighbors. While this might sound silly, because we should probably do this anyway, it’s a good reminder. Order or pick up groceries for someone who is unable to safely go to the store. Give them a roll (or two) of toilet paper or paper towels. Send them a meal delivery from a local restaurant. At the very least, tell them you’re thinking of them and offer your help if needed.
What ways are you helping your community?
Please share in the comments.
Together, we will get through this difficult time.
Have you ever purchased something because it looked really great in an advertisement?
Thanks, Instagram fam.
While some purchases were a waste of money, some others were incredible. I'm here to talk about the incredible ones. Here are five products that I bought because I saw them on Instagram. I'm sharing them because I love them enough that I think you should buy them too. The holiday shopping season is upon us so you might even find a few gift ideas or stocking stuffers.
This $9 razor kit is only the best $9 I’ve spent all year. Your Billie Razor starter kit includes the handle (I have the DreamPop color), a magnetic holder, and two five blade razor cartridges. I shave every day thanks to my Italian genes and change my cartridge every 10 days or so. These blades are sharp and great for sensitive skin. My shave is super close and I rarely nick my skin. The magnetic holder is brilliant. I also use the shave cream which is a great value. It’s silky, smooth, and hydrating… plus a little bit goes a long way.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve used loofahs… you know, those plastic, mesh poufs. I was replacing them every few weeks since they quickly got gross – and I didn’t want to clean my body with a nasty loofah. Washcloths aren’t much better. I knew there had to a better alternative. Then, one day… Boie USA popped on my Instagram feed. This scrubber is made from a BPA-free antimicrobial material. While it’s exfoliating, I’ve also found it to be spray tan safe. I will still need to replace it about once every few months, but it’s worth it! I paid about $30 for a year’s supply of the body scrubber and added in the face scrubber too. These products are also made in the USA and 100% recyclable. My 22-year-old brother also has one and loves it. This is a great stocking stuffer for any guy or gal in your life. Snag this holiday deal for a skin care bundle with a body scrubber and face scrubber for only $14.
Speaking of clothing… have you ever been obsessed with a pair of comfy pants? Like, you want to wear them every day? That’s me with Lunya’s Siro Pocket Legging. I love lounge wear but realized that the cheaply made pajama pants were just that… cheap. They’d fall apart after a few washes. I decided to splurge on a pair of leggings from Lunya after reading reviews. After wearing them for just an hour, I decided they’re worth every penny. The Siro Legging has pockets and a wide wasteband. It’s also breathable and doesn’t have cross-seams. Make sure to read the size chart. I’m usually a small with most leggings, but I’m a medium with this brand. Lunya has hundreds of other products too for men and women on its website. Click here for $20 off your first order.
PS. If you need to buy a gift, check out the Washable Silk Sleep Mask. A luxury one-size-fits-all sleep mask always makes the perfect gift.
I also recently purchased the cooling and brightening eye balm. It's another great product! I use it on the weekends when I’m make-up free. It’s also great to apply throughout the day, over makeup, as an illuminating pick-me-up.
If you use Instagram, chances are you’ve probably noticed some of the products in this post pop up on your feed. It's honestly hard to click through without seeing dozens of advertisements. I can assure you that this list only includes items that really impressed me and that I will continue purchasing. Happy shopping!
*This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read this site's disclosure policy.
Maria Satira is a full-time journalist and part-time blogger, freelance writer, and content creator. She loves sarcasm, rescue dogs, and red wine. She despises bland food, poor grammar, and litterbugs.