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!
Okay, not really. I prefer to type on my laptop. However, it’s not always the most convenient option, so I do a lot of work on my iPhone.
This brings me to the topic of this blog:
The “Sent from my iPhone” automatic signature.
Some people hate it. Others, including me, love it.
Sure, it seems a little dry and bland, but I think it actually serves an important, meaningful, and relevant purpose.
Since I do a lot of work on-the-go, when I send an email, I want people to know it’s from a cell phone so they understand why it may seem brief and unformatted. Obviously, if they get that message at the bottom of an email, they’ll know that I sent it without access to my computer, a full keyboard, and programs.
In an effort to make that generic "Sent from my iPhone" message clear and a bit more conversational, I modified my automatic signature to read: Please excuse any typos, this was sent from my iPhone.
I always proofread my emails, but sometimes, typing on a tiny little keyboard gets the best of me and yes, there are sometimes typos. While they certainly have a negative impact, noting that your message was sent from a smartphone actually reduces that damage. A study from the University of Oklahoma found that email recipients are more forgiving of typos and mistakes if they realize the message was sent from a mobile device.
Here are a few other email signature modifications ideas:
This was sent from my iPhone. Please excuse brevity and typos.
Please excuse any spelling/grammatical errors as this message was sent from my iPhone.
This email may be brief as it was sent from my iPhone.
Personally, I appreciate anyone who makes an effort to answer my emails or who sends me important information while they’re away, busy, or not in the office. I can handle a few typos if their intention was to get back to me as soon as possible.
I have mixed emotions when I think of my overall experience as an entry-level reporter. I got my first job in television news seven years ago in Virginia. It was a roller coaster and can best be described in a pie chart because I like organization… and I also like pie.
Here’s the breakdown:
15% Accomplishment for landing a job out of college
10% Bitterness for getting laid off after 18 months
25% Gratitude for the blessing in disguise of being laid off
20% Fortunate for getting the experience I needed to advance in my career
30% Wonder for how in the world I survived off a tiny small market salary
The thought of that $21,500/year salary still makes me sick… especially paired with, at the time, $65,000 in student loan debt. You know what? I survived. Here’s how:
I only bought items on sale/special:
I found the cheapest, quality grocery store and was a loyal customer. I looked at the sales flyer, made a shopping list, and stuck with it. I had a weekly grocery budget and never exceeded it. I also relied on the grocery chain’s fuel points to save money on gas. Same rules applied to shopping for clothing, accessories, and household necessities.
I used a debit card or cash:
You can’t spend money you don’t have, right? Exactly.
So, I avoided using credit cards. There was always the occasional exception but for the most part, I stuck with my debit card or cash.
I did things myself:
I'm a girly girl. I like wearing nail polish, putting on makeup (sometimes), and styling my hair. While I would never consider cutting my own hair, I did save money by getting it cut dry. I also painted my own nails and waxed my own eyebrows. When it comes to makeup, I committed by buying off-brand or drugstore items, which saved a lot of money. There are plenty of high quality and cruelty-free products available. I still use many of the same products because I will never in my life justify spending over $30 on a foundation.
I worked a second job:
When my student loan repayment kicked in, I desperately needed additional income. I browsed Care.com to look for babysitting jobs. I ended up getting hired to nanny for a family twice a week. The extra money every week made a huge difference. This family was so wonderful and friendly. I was really fortunate to work for them. It was an added bonus that I loved their dogs, so they also hired me as a pet sitter.
I worked a third job:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And by going… I mean going to work at a winery. It’s no secret that I love wine… so when a local winery was hiring weekend bartenders, I was intrigued. It paid well by the hour and also gave me the opportunity earn tips. Honestly, some days I made more money in three hours at the winery than I did in eight hours at my full-time job.
I said no:
If I couldn’t afford to go out with my friends, I was okay with saying no. I didn’t have to tell them I couldn’t afford it, I just told them I was busy, had other plans, or was relaxing. Having other part-time jobs definitely helped with this. If I was working that meant I was making money instead of spending money somewhere else.
I refinanced my student loans:
I shopped around for the best refinancing deal and lowest interest rate.
CommonBond gave me a much lower interest rate and better pay-off plan. This month (August 2019), the lender and finance company is offering a referral deal. If you use my affiliate link* to refinance your loans, you’ll get a bonus $200 sent to your PayPal account. That’s a pretty good deal.
Of course, every individual situation is different. These are goals I set for myself and they worked. Seven years later, these goals continue to work for me. No matter your paycheck or how much debt is involved, there are always ways to cut spending, save money, or even make more money. How do you commit to sticking to your budget? Let me know!
* This post contains an affiliate link with Commonbond. This means if you click the link and choose to refinance your loans with Commonbond, this blog will receive commission at no cost to you. In fact, you will get a bonus $200 for refinancing your loans through that affiliate link. Funds earned will be used for operational costs such as website, domain, marketing, and outreach.
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.