Monday, January 28, 2013

Digital Footprint Can Damage Job Seekers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Furia Rubel Marketing and Public Relations President and CEO Gina F. Rubel was recently interviewed for a digital dirt article published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The article explores how those seeking job opportunities need to be keenly aware of their digital footprint. More specifically, Gina shares how she utilizes social media as part of her staff hiring research and strategy.

To read the full article, go to Digital Footprint Can Damage Job Seekers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Facebook Graph Search – Are You Ready? Big Brother is Watching You.

Image courtesy of Facebook Screenshot
Facebook unveiled Graph Search, the latest approach to search for information on its social networking platform. The new functionality, i.e. "graph search" gives users the ability to search within their own social graph for specifics while asking questions in English – just like Apple’s Siri minus the voice command (which I’m sure is in the works somewhere at Facebook Central).

You can ask, “Which of my friends work in legal marketing, which of my friends live in Doylestown or which of my friends are lawyers?” and you will get results based on who you interact with the most and the people that meet the question criteria. You can then go so far as to say, “Which of my friends are single, which of my friends were born in 1959 or which of my friends went to Drexel University?” (Yes, I went to Drexel and no, I was not born in 1959.)

Sample Facebook Graph Search Results

Facebook was kind enough to run a sample graph search for me showing me other people in my network who live in the same hometown as me. Good thing that my husband was at the top of that list. Can you imagine if he showed up living somewhere else?! And a shout out to my friends, Natalie Wi and Maria Martino Evans ... you showed up in my sample search too. 

This new search functionality is only available in limited beta right now but I suspect that like all changes to Facebook, the company will roll it out publicly when they feel like it and there will be little ability to opt-out of having people search your content for things like, “Show me all photos taken at the beach.”

Since I travel quite a lot for business, I do like the ability to quickly filter a search to ask who lives in the city of my destination. I’m also thinking that this will be useful for planning family vacations. Recently, I asked, “Has anyone been to Yellowstone? Seeking suggestions for a family vacation.” With the new graph search, I could just say, “Have any of my friends been to Yellowstone?” Then, I could follow up directly for advice from others.

Needless to say, Big Brother is watching you! How do you feel about it?

UPDATE  2/4/13

I was on a waiting list for Facebook Graph Search until today so I turned it on (for better or for worse).

What I didn't know until using it is how refined your searches can actually be. Take a look at the image below. It's a screenshot of a search for "Friends who went to Widener University" - of course with all of their personal information redacted. I can then search further by gender, relationship, employer, current city, hometown and more. I can think of tons of valuable uses for this - especially for when I travel. Of course, for Facebook, it means more targeted advertising and higher revenues. For the rest of us, if we're going to play in the social media sphere, we just have to accept the fact that there's no such thing as privacy anymore.

Facebook Refine This Search Graph Feature

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Stop Following Inactive Twitter Accounts with Manage Flitter

Did you know that Twitter users are limited to the number of accounts they can follow in comparison to the number of followers they have? I didn’t know this a few years ago when I reached 2,000 followers, but since then, I have had to continually manage my following to follower ratio. This is certainly not a problem for high profile individuals, celebrities or push-content accounts that share popular posts like Pete Cashmore of @mashable, @huffingtonpost or @ladygaga (who has the most followers at more than 33 million), but it is the case for most Twitter users.

There are various Twitter “Following Rules and Best Practices” that you should be aware of. The rule as it relates to the ratio I eluded to above states:
“… every user can follow 2000 people total. Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following. When you hit this limit, we’ll tell you by showing an error message in your browser. You’ll need to wait until you have more followers in order to follow more users…”
Image from
During the last few years, I have found that I frequently hit my following limit and have to go back and un-follow users (especially at conferences when I’m actively networking and building relationships) who either no longer interest me or are inactive – a task that I used to do manually until I discovered Manage Flitter.

Manage Flitter allows users to filter followers and those they follow on Twitter so that users can make better use of the social media platform. Before using Manage Flitter, I was following more than 500 accounts which have been inactive (i.e. not shared a Tweet) since before 2012. That was close to 10% of the accounts I was following. I have since stopped following all of those accounts so that I can create more opportunity to follow active and engaging users.

And did I mention that Manage Flitter has a FREE option? Once you have subscribed by allowing the application access to your Twitter account, you can sort in various ways including: activity, no profile picture (another reason you should have a photo attached to your twitter account), not following you back, “fake-following” (Be careful with this one. I found many followers who are not “fake” in that list.), non-English accounts (which may or may not matter to you), and more.

Manage Flitter does seem to encourage users to un-follow accounts that don’t follow them back – but this is not a philosophy to which I subscribe absolutely. For example, I follow many media outlets which push content out but don’t necessarily engage in social media interaction. I follow them because I am interested in the news they have to share and as a result, I don’t expect them to follow me. Same holds true for celebrities with whom I don’t have a personal relationship, etc.

You can also learn more about each account, including volume of followers, following and messages, by hover the cursor over the username.

Bottom-line: If you’re going to use Twitter, then use it. That means actively engaging, sharing information of value, and managing who you follow by using tools that add to your productivity such as I’m hooked.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cover Girls: Furia Rubel Executives Featured on Cover of W4 Magazine

In December 2012, the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce featured several influential Bucks County, Pa. executives on the cover of its monthly member publication, W4. Gina Rubel and Laura Powers were highlighted for their dedicated service to supporting the organization through technologies such as websites, apps and promotions. Click here to see the cover in full.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to Swat the Bug: Surviving the Flu Season at Work

Posted by Rose Strong

You sit at your desk and start to hear it. Someone in the corner cubicle sniffling and coughing, another in the restroom sneezing and blowing their nose. Then they start dropping like flies. The phone calls and emails start coming in saying your fellow employees are sick and staying home. It has arrived: flu season has settled in at your workplace.

How do you survive it?

This 2012-13 flu season started early and nasty, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Statistics show that hospital admissions are up across the country with 29 states showing elevated flu counts and it’s widespread across 47 states. According to FluView, but the CDC, 3,710 people have been hospitalized since October 2012 and 20 children have died.

Here in Pennsylvania , we have six counties impacted with cases totaling between 391 and 976 and other counties are not far behind. Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa , reported putting up a tent outside their emergency room to handle the overflow of flu cases. Currently, Philadelphia isn’t in the red zone on the Pennsylvania map, but is shown surrounded by counties with high flu tallies, so it would seem to only be a matter of time before it hits the metro area.

These aren’t numbers to sneeze at! The flu is serious. It’s not a cold that you just let run its course, but something to be avoided, if possible.

So, how do you make it from now until the end of this year’s flu season without succumbing to the infection? It isn’t easy, but there are ways to prolong your survival and possibly beat it. Of course, there are the standard practices of staying away from people with the flu, like those who refuse to stay home when they’re sick, but how do you do that when you have to interact?

Here are a few hints for staving off the bug as long as possible:

Get the flu shot. I know this is controversial; however, it is an option. If you decline the flu shot, there are some other worthwhile ways to fight the viral invasion mentioned in the article by, such as avoiding crowds and close contact with those infected and a few other ideas that may help.

Wash your hands. It’s the old saying that washing your hands will cut down on germs. It’s true, but do you know how to wash your hands? This article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives good advice. Washing hands every time you sneeze, cough or blow your nose can be impractical, but I keep a pump bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk for those occasions when I don’t want to jump up to run to the restroom for a full-blown hand washing session. Following the steps several times a day mentioned in the article is highly beneficial.

The flu goes techno. You may wind up with the flu despite all these preventative measures. Consider making a date with a recliner and a cup of tea. To occupy yourself, you may want to check out the following apps available on your smart phone or tablet. These may be helpful if you’re a business traveler or commute via public transportation. Some of these apps are appropriately medical in nature and would be great for those in health care and the general public, such as the CDC’s Influenza Application. Others are games or ways of tracking the flu to help with the boredom you  may experience when you’re down and out with the bug itself.

And remember, if you have the flu, don’t try to brave it out and go to work. Stay home. This Fox News video explains about the overall cost to employers and the loss of productivity due to the flu. In today’s business world, you may be able to work remotely for which your co-workers will thank you. But, even if you can’t work from home, it’s better to just stay home and avoid infecting the office. More than ever, we need to think about the number of people compacted into offices, classrooms, airplanes and the like and consider how we spread illness. Bacteria and viruses are transmitted via elevator buttons, door handles, computer keyboards, bus and train seats and the random pen you may pick up for a quick note and they hide in many other places not mentioned in this list.

You might consider seeing a doctor for some beneficial remedies  and perhaps eat some chicken soup , which even the medical community says has tremendous value to those who succumb to a yearly viral attack.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

PRSA Philly 2012 Pepperpot Awards - Furia Rubel's Awards & Acceptance Videos

As you may have already heard, Furia Rubel was the recipient of several Public Relations Society of America - Philadelphia Chapter 2012 Pepperpot Awards in December. Our agency compiled acceptance videos for two of our three honors in the categories of brand management and website design. Below see our animated acceptance videos - we are not only proud of the awards, but also our accompanying videos...

Furia Rubel has long been Philadelphia personal injury law firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig LLP's agency of record, providing strategic marketing and public relations counsel and services to the law firm. We designed a new website focused on increasing awareness of Feldman Shepherd’s successes while reinforcing the firm’s brand and national reputation through a myriad of communication tactics. The campaign resulted in more than 14 million media impressions and a consistent increase in visibility supporting business development.

Seeking top-of-mind awareness among existing and potential clients, Para-Plus Translations, Inc. contacted Furia Rubel for strategic assistance in 2011. In 2012, we designed and launched the new Para-Plus website,, garnering a top nod from PRSA Philadelphia. The website was designed to segment translation and interpretation services while providing more user-centric content and a streamlined experience. The results were increased site visits by 120 percent within 40 days, increased average length of visits and more online inquiries with less emphasis on phone screening.

We do hope you enjoyed these videos featuring illustrations by Pat Achilles and animation by TD Post & Animation.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Where’s the Handwriting? The Importance of Handwritten Correspondence.

 Posted by Rose Strong

Since we’ve just gotten through the holidays, I was thinking about all of the cards, photos, newsletters and gifts sent to and from Furia Rubel in the past month. It seems to me that the holidays are still a time to send something to those we care about or those who have made even a small difference in our lives over the past year, however, does anyone send a personal note anymore?

Many years ago, right out of high school, I worked as a florist. As a business that provides people with something unique for the special events in their lives, we always handwrote each message on the tiny card that came with each purchase – especially when the giver didn’t order in person or for some reason didn’t write their own message. Today when you have a flower delivery, like anything else, there is typically a computer- generated card pinned to them and it’s just not quite the same.

Where has the art of writing a letter gone? It seems to have gone by the wayside in exchange for schedules filled with technology that make deadlines tighter and our lives too cramped with other things to take time to correspond with paper and pen.

At Furia Rubel, we send out personal birthday greetings to our clients, friends and others who we work with throughout the year. It’s a nice gesture that has always gotten great feedback from folks. This past year, we designed our own branded birthday cards for these occasions. Marketing and PR is all about making lasting relationships and we think personal notes for any occasion help to encourage good will and strengthen relationships.

Personally, as one who has never been able to send a birthday message without the word belated on the card, however, my intentions are good as I have a stash of beautiful stationery and cards just waiting to be sent. And with email, text messages, Twitter, Facebook and other social media, we tend to send messages using these vehicles instead of setting aside a few moments to pick out a card or even use some note paper and write to someone.

During a recent conversation here at the office, a co-worker remarked about how disappointing it is to see that people send condolence messages via social media. It would be hopeful that folks are also incorporating a handwritten letter or card immediately after hearing of a death through Facebook or Twitter, but considering the state of technology today, I’m not so sure people aren’t just Tweeting their sympathies.

Who among us doesn’t get a small thrill out of seeing a handwritten envelope peeking out of the stack of bills in the mail? I know it can brighten my day to receive a short note from a friend or family member. And that’s where the key to this comes in for me; a short note is all it takes. Just a small gesture of saying hello, wishing someone cheer or giving an update on happenings in and around my own life.

It’s hard not to think about the letters sent back and forth across the sea during WWII, from love notes sprayed with perfume and home-town updates to Dear John letters. They were all handwritten and brought with them a sense of the personal through the handwriting, the stationery, the stamps, the possible scent of lavender and mostly the emotions that can only be conveyed and interpreted through the written word. Today, our soldiers and their families keep in touch with email and Skype, still personal, but very different from reading those words on paper. 

Not one to make resolutions in the new year, I do try to make goals to improve upon some of my many shortcomings and this year I want to write more letters by hand. Knowing I can make someone else feel good with such little effort is a goal that I hope to achieve this year. How about you?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Damages: Recap from TLI Litigation Summit, Part V - The Legal Intelligencer Blog

In September 2012, Gina F. Rubel attended The Legal Intelligencer's first annual Litigation Summit and captured highlights from various programs shared throughout the event. She recently authored a blog for The Legal titled, "Damages: Recap from TLI Litigation Summit, Part V," which recaps the damages program presented by Frank D. Tinari, the principal economist of the Tinari Economics Group, along with Kristin Kucsma from the same organization; Jane A. North, a partner with Deasey, Mahoney, Valentini & North; and Lawrence R. Cohan, a shareholder with Anapol Schwartz. Read the full blog post and take-aways from the program at Damages: Recap from TLI Litigation Summit, Part V.