New Moon, Irene, Social Media (original post 9/4/2011)

(Since we just went through the Hurricane of the Century I looked back on my post last year after Hurricane Irene.  Apropos for social media, storms, and the things that follow. Some things don’t change. Enjoy!)

With the new moon last Sunday in Virgo here on the east coast it came along side hurricane Irene. Very intense earthly action was going on. For me and many others it triggered lots of stress in the form on insomnia, which ends up causing other stress related issues. Most were inconvenienced by no electricity, some had no running water, hot water, and something to cook by. It did seem #LIPA who runs the electric on Long Island took an inordinate amount of time to get everything up and running. They should have demanded 16 plus hour shifts in the beginning of the week, not just over the Labor day weekend to insure overtime pay. How does one these days get their messages out to the people and the powers that be? Social media.

I tweeted that to LIPA and looked up other hashtags (#) words to see what others were tweeting. Sure enough I came up with someone who was updating LIPA outages. I was also retweeted by WBLI and couple of other people insuring that my message got out to over 3000 people. I actually did get a response and ironically, no sooner than I did, the electricity came back on in my house. Hmm? Makes you think doesn’t it? As a public relations professional I know the power of the written, and spoken word and how contacting the right person, or persons, can make all the difference in the world in getting the message you want out across the mainstream and more. Two days later when there was a brief outage again, what did I do? Of course, I tweeted it. Almost immediately I got a response back too. Power was only out about twenty minutes but after four days of none, I wasn’t going to wait another moment to find out what was going on.

LIPA in comparison to the old LILCO needs to step up their repair process. 1985 was Hurricane Gloria and we were without lights then, but I do remember the repair trucks out in less than 12 hours after it hit, working through the night and days to get people up and running. The towns are responsible in part too by not cutting down dangerous trees with wires going through them. On a good stormy day, forget about hurricane force winds, those trees come down, take the wires with them and then everyone pays the price.

The #highway departments are responsible as is LIPA for storm damage if they don’t do their part in preventing certain calamities. My bills are ready to be reimbursed – just tell me which official to send them to. That should be the next step. Better safe than sorry next time.

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Election Day Redux (originial post July 2010)

This might be hard to believe but for all upcoming elections there must now be a paper trail.  Remember the Hanging Chads???!? They had taken over Florida during the Bush race with Gore.  The visions of those election inspectors holding up the election cards with dangling paper debris on them holds strong in my mind.  I thought we had had enough with the paper ballot.  Apparently not.  Mandated by the Federal Government back in ’08 all election districts now have to have a paper trail. 

My district, and the districts I used to live in  CT, and MA, used voting machines with levers.   I never used a paper ballot except for Junior High and High School when electing class officials.  Is it because a certain administration distrusts computers or lever based machines?  The national news has yet to comment on this new/ old trend.  What it does do for sure is create more work, and more of a need for election day workers who will have to deal with a whole host of new problems from blanks, to too much fill in the blanks, rips in the paper ballot to the new ballot tabulators machines getting jammed or breaking down. 

The election day workers or Election Inspectors must now get to the polls by 5AM instead of 5:30AM.  They work until 9PM in New York when the polls close.  That’s more than a 12 hour day for about $200 in pay.  I think the federal government needs to rethink the election process and maybe #IBM, or #Apple can step forward with an “Election Pad” (thats right I said it here two years ago!) to be used at designated election centers only.  Imagine the buzz, imagine the branding, imagine the chaos.  Then there will be election day hackers – accusations of corruption and cheating – of course using paper ballots eliminates all corruption.  Or, does it?  Hanging Chad’s anyone?