Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Will Social Media Breaks become Smoking Breaks for the Millennium?

In an age when people are smoking less and checking their phones more for messages, likes, and shares experts asking is time for the workplace to introduce the social media break? According to Gary Martin CEO Professor of the Australian Institute of Management, the answer is a strong yes. In an opinion piece published on 10th January in the Australian morning paper, the Herald Sun, Gary calls on employers to make provision for a social media break, akin to the smoking break or the Australian slang "Smoko" whereby social media addicts can check their Facebook, Instagram or whatever before going back to work. Gary qualified his position in an interview with 3AW radio host Tom Elliott in which likens social media addicts - junkies - to cigarette smokers.

Smoking breaks have formed an integral part of office life, ever since smoking in places of work from at desk to break out areas, was banned, and anyone looking to get their nicotine fix would have take their habit outside. Since the smoking break became an accepted norm, and somewhat misunderstood as a break entitlement in addition to the regular breaks employers offer. Now it seems the need to check and engage on social media has become equally addition to the point where reports show it is interfering with day to day work. In identifying this problem Gary Martin lists two types of at work social media users;

  • Those who check social media every five minutes and up to 100 times a day
  • Less infrequent social media users who spend anywhere from five to thirty minutes checking their messages.

Proposals for a social media break are aimed primarily at the first group who provide the biggest challenge which needs a solution. As well as the need there is also a feeling of entitlement to regularly check social media in work time since some employees claim they check work related messages and emails on their own time. Others argue that they should have the same entitlement to a social media break as smokers do to a cigarette break - although currently under UK law businesses are only required to allow one 20 minute rest for the first six hours of work, and whether or not this is paid is as at the employers discretion. Either way it seems that most users just can't help checking their phones to the point where it disrupts the work flow, leading employers to take action. Gary stated one employer - a fast food chain - instigated a policy of confiscating phones from their casual workers, then handing them back at the end of the day. Those workers who wouldn't comply were not offered their choice of working hours. Gary however feels this is too extreme and that rather than fighting the problem it would be better to find a workable solution;
"People are still going to check social media even if organisations try to block them. They're just going to pick up their phones and use their personal handsets."
 A social media break therefore provides that much needed solution - staff can take fifteen or twenty minute breaks to check their messages, and engage with followers and then return to work having had their quick blast of dopamine satisfied. The major risk, some warn is that it could kill the much needed social interaction that a smoking break offers, however Gary is reticent that this is already happening and cannot be stopped. Employers need to adapt to this and install working solutions without it impacting on the needs of the business.

Are you an employer frustrated with your staff spending too much time on their phones? Do you offer such a break to your employees or are you stricter in enforcing a no phone check during work hours?  

Employees - would you benefit from a social media break? Do you feel, just as smokers seem to get a designated smoking break, that you are entitled to a social media break? 

Monday, 28 January 2019

[Film Review] - Fauve

Big things truly do come in small packages and with his first foray into short film, Canadian writer/director Jeremy Comte has already made a big impact on the film festival circuit garnering over 65 noteworthy nods. Sights have been set however for the ultimate movie accolade for any aspiring film maker, the OSCAR and Comte has his eye on this prize as "Fauve" is in contention for the Best Short film.

"Fauve" is the tale of two boys, Tyler and Benjamin (played by Felix Grenier and Alexandre Perrault) who love to do what boys do best - one up each other in a never ending series of power play games. Their latest antics on an old rail line playing on derelict trains, leads them to a virtually empty surface mine, a grey barren looking place. There the seemingly never-ending playground turns into a setting for the usual tricks and pranks which suddenly turn deadly.

Comte and his director of photography Philippe Lesage create an eerie foreboding feel to the film's dual settings from the haunting eeriness of the abandoned rail, to the bleak and grey barren landscape of the surface mine. This sense of isolation is amplified by the absence of any other people - we are not even allowed to see the driver of the dump truck through the mine so for the viewer an increasing sense of isolation but for our two young protagonists, a huge playground with no grown ups to spoil their fun. This juxtaposition of grown up dread with child-like innocence sets up perfectly the unfolding tragedy which when it happens hits as hard as a thump to the chest. 

"Fauve" is an exercise in compelling storytelling, using seemingly innocuous locations to set up and execute a story of a modern spin on the classic cry wolf tale. Grenier and Perrault as the two boys at play revel in their fun but are such good little actors that when the play turns into panic the fear and loathing tugs at the heartstrings and keeps viewer attention gripped to the end. 

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Two Balloons - An Animated Love Story [Film Review]

Bernard and Elba are two lemurs, star crossed lovers, travelling amongst the clouds in their purpose built airships. Across the picturesque cloudy sky they send affectionate notes to one another by carrier pigeon and soon plan to meet on the other's ship in the air. Danger arrives in the shape of a destructive storm that threatens to wreak havoc on their love and lives.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Travel Ban: Make America Laugh Again - Film Review

Written and Directed by Samy Chouia
Starring; Aron Kader, Maz Jobrani, Ahmed Ahmed, Ramy Youssef, Paul Elia, Bassem Youssef, Amir K, Feraz Ozel, Travina Springer, Melissa Shoshahi,
Tehran Von Ghasri, Sammy Obeid, Dave Merheje, Peter Shahriari
Running Time: 1hr 31 mins

Travel Ban is the story of being brown and immigrant in Trump's America as told through the eyes of comedians of middle eastern descent.

Aron Kader
I often use the phrase "you have to laugh; you'd go mad if you didn't." In a world in which Donald Trump is now President of the United States of America the world has certainly gone mad... so what we need is some laughter. Samy Chouia's documentary brings us those laughs but with a chilling context. It opens with comedian Aron Kader on stage talking about how America is a tolerant society, where there is no Xenophobia, religious hatred, bigotry inter-cut with footage of verbal and physical abuse against Middle Easterners, Hispanics, generally anyone who is not white American. With this stark juxtaposition Chouia sets the tone for the story that is about to unfold. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Art of Chat - 5 Tips to Craft a Cracking Interview

One of the most important skills in journalism is the art of the interview. Some presenters on TV make it look easy, and if you have a confident vibrant personality then it can be. Whether you are reporting the news, or putting together a feature you should always include an interview with a key figure in your story, this gives your content gravitas and legitimacy. Yet there is more to interviewing than simply being garrulous or comfortable chatting on the sofa; and it is more than just a simple Q&A, and so asking the right questions, in the right manner are essential skills for the interviewer. I have interviewed numerous people from all walks of life including film stars, film makers, teachers, entrepreneurs and politicians, and all my training did not prepare me for the roller-coaster ride that interviews can be. I have learned to adapt my style and questioning skill to not only suit the subject of my interview to get the answers I need for my project. So, here is my quick guide to putting together the perfect interview.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

AI - Putting Intelligence in Digital Marketing

Ever considered how AI is changing the shape of Digital Marketing in 21st Century. Shane Barker, Founder CEO of Content Solution & Gifographics has, and in his article "How AI Is Changing The Future Of Digital Marketing" he makes a big case for why businesses should embrace AI for their marketing needs. In some ways AI has already crept into our day to day lives through smart devises, Chatbots, even self-driving cars, all run by technology incorporating AI. Don't think for a second though that any of this is a prelude to a machine take over a la "Colussus The Forbin Project" or even "The Terminator." 

Source: Pixabay