Feasting and Hunger

$1 = 3 meals

by Alys Drake

This week will be a week of celebration. Holy Week for Christian families and Passover for Jewish families.

At my home, we will celebrate Easter this Sunday with a lot of food. Ham, beans, barbecue ribs, slaw, potato salads, regular salads, rich desserts, and wine will all grace our overflowing table.

We do not know hunger in this house. And it’s a safe bet that if you are reading this post, you don’t know hunger either. However, in the Mid-South, nearly 23% of children are food insecure. Seniors are the fastest growing food insecure group; 19,000 seniors are currently served by various agencies in the Memphis area and The Mid-South Food Bank anticipates that number to grow to over 30,000 in the next few years.

My husband and I are reading the Bible in chronological order with our Sunday school class at Christ United Methodist Church. Just this past week we were in Deuteronomy. These particular passages are frankly a little tedious to read. Moses is preparing the Israelites for their new lives in the Promised Land by reminding them of God’s commands and it gets a little repetitive.

But one passage stood out to me. It was Deuteronomy 24:19-21. In this passage, the Israelites are commanded not to harvest everything in their fields. They are to leave a few sheaves, olives, and grapes behind for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. These are the people who lived in poverty. Today, we have no such safety net for the poor.

On March 29, the #MemFood13 Good Friday Food Drive will take place. You can help provide a safety net those in need by taking your nonperishable food donations to Easy Way, 814 Mt. Moriah, First State Bank at 5384 Poplar Ave; Ste 200 (Inside the Hobson Building across from Mercedes Benz of Memphis) and 3607 South Houston Levee Road in Collierville.

An even easier way to help is to make an online donation. Every dollar donated buys three meals for Mid-South families.

Happy Easter and Chag Pesach Sameach!

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Don’t Like This Post!

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by Alys Drake

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Personally, I love the interaction with friends, especially those I don’t get to see often. My marketing background likes it too for the interaction businesses can have with their clients, particularly local businesses and non-profits. However, that’s also the area where I hate it.

Facebook has rules and, for whatever reason, some businesses and non-profits tend to to ignore those rules. “My Facebook page is too small; no one will care if I do this,” many say.

Maybe you’re right. And maybe you aren’t. Do you really want to take the chance of losing all the fans you have worked so hard to get? The one thing that gets me hot is contests.

Almost daily, I see Pages run contests that violate Facebook’s Page Guidelines. “Like this post and we’ll choose a winner from the likes,” they will say. Maybe they think that will get them engagement but it could get their page shut down. The Guidelines say

“Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.”

It dosen’t say “maybe” or “sometimes” or “it depends.” The word they use is “MUST.” Also, read this:

“You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.

You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.”

It’s pretty clear to me. You must not ask people to like a post, a page, a picture or ANYTHING in order to win a contest. MUST NOT.

This is not hard. And if you are a social media consultant or a marketing and public relations professional, and you allow your clients to do this, it’s YOUR fault when their page goes missing one day.

Facebook makes the rules. We don’t have to like them but it’s their playground so if we agree to be a part of their community, we MUST follow their rules. Here’s the last sentence from the guidelines page:
“We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.”
So, follow the Facebook rules. Or have fun getting all your fans back.

Making progress!

So proud of my sweet daughter!

Where in the world?

First of all, I would like to say how humbled and honored I am to have gotten so much support from so many people. I am truly blessed! Thank you all ❤

This past week has been productive!

First, I said a bittersweet goodbye to my beloved car, Heidi. I'm sad to see her go, but grateful for how she will help cover some of the expenses of my DTS!

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Second, I took a trip to the Shot Nurse to get my Yellow Fever and Typhoid vaccines. Not very fun… But better safe than sorry when traveling to my outreach location!

Last but certainly not least, I finally got my passport in the mail! Such a relief and one step closer to making this happen!

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Next up is getting my religious worker’s visa so I can live in the UK for several months. Please pray that the visa process goes…

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An Open Letter to the Media

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by Alys Drake

When there is a tragedy, you have the terrible responsibility to inform the public. Please don’t interview witnesses who are children. I don’t care if their parents give permission. The parents are probably too traumatized to make a rational decision as well. What good comes from it? These babies are already damaged and you want to put their reactions on the air? For what?

Not for me. I immediately turn off any program that shows it. Which has meant I haven’t watched much of the coverage for this latest mass shooting.

I think it’s lazy reporting at best and intrusive and a violation at it’s worst. Instead, find adults who can tell you what it was like for the children but don’t interview the children themselves.

Find stories of compassion and heroics and focus on them. Please don’t make us relive the horror over and over. We have a responsibility to our children to help them make sense of the senseless. As the media, you have the responsibility to report the news with accuracy and compassion.

God bless and guide the parents of the dead. God bless and guide the law enforcement community who must identify the dead. And God bless and guide the media charged to inform the public.

On Radio, People and Community

When I was young, I would love to listen to the radio. I was star struck by the disk jockeys and can remember the thrill of finding a distant signal from St. Louis or Chicago on the AM dial. This was before FM radio, before MTV, before YouTube, satellite radio or iTunes.

Today, my children could not care less about radio nor can they understand the thrill of tuning in a distant radio signal. After all, they can find any music they want online. If they want to know what’s happening in Chicago, they can Google it.

Radio continues to struggle. I know it and I hate it. Those who are still on-air on local radio live a precarious life. Corporations, of course, want a profit run radio. I don’t deny them that. They rely on shares, ratings, books, whatever it’s called, to prove to advertisers that their station is the most popular in one demographic or the other. I understand the need for measurement.

However, these corporations are forgetting something very important. They are forgetting about the one thing that will save local radio from the onslaught of internet radio and satellite radio: engagement with the community. In Memphis, there is a great radio station that appeared to have the corporate backing to be engaged with the community. All of the on-air talent is encouraged to use social media to connect with listeners and they do it well. They have an active Twitter account and Facebook fan page with great engagement in both platforms.

This station embraces being local and supports local events. Their talent is seen at all types of events, even events that the station is not a direct sponsor. It’s been great to see them embrace the community and leverage social media in that engagement, as I believe that this increases loyalty to the station.

But last week, they made a big mistake.

They fired, without warning, an eighteen-year veteran of local radio and one half of their popular morning show. It was shocking. Why? All she could say was the station was going in a different direction and it didn’t include her.

The next morning’s show was painful to listen to without her. Her on-air partner could say nothing about her absence but anyone who listened could hear the pain in his voice. After all, he had been fired from another station owned by this same group as part of a three-person morning team some years before. She was one of those left behind that time.

You would like to think the corporate guys would have learned the first time, but no.

So today, I am upset and disappointed. Not only because of who was fired, but the way it was done.

There is still no official statement from the station. All traces of her are gone from the website. They removed negative comments to their Facebook fan page and barred those who posted in protest from future comments. Not smart. You already have an upset fan base and you make them even more upset by banning them from the community and telling them nothing?

Community. That is what will draw listeners to local radio. Community is not shares. Community is not ratings or books. Community is made up of people and people listen to the radio. People like knowing she has two kids in local schools and he has one in college. People grieve when his mother dies. People celebrate when another personality announces a marriage or a baby. This is not how you treat your community.

I still love radio. I love the people on radio and I will continue to support them, even when those in charge of the future of the station can’t see what’s right in front of their faces.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

GET READY MEMPHIS! Great ad campaign or just annoying?

ImageFor weeks and what felt like months, Memphis radio listeners have been subjected to a huge radio buy running a commercial about a guy intrigued by billboards up around town saying “It’s About Time” and “Get Ready Memphis.” He prattles on about how he can’t wait to find out what it’s all about and the ad runs so often, I think I’ll scream when it comes on.

Since the campaign started a few weeks before Easter, I assumed it was for a Christian organization.  It reminded me of an ad campaign that ran in Memphis and all over the country in the late 1970’s called “I Found It.”

It had bright billboards all over town proclaiming “I Found It” and I think it even had a smiley face. Radio ads backed it up. When the reveal came, the “it” was Jesus and the organization behind the campaign was Campus Crusade for Christ. They came to our door at home to “share what they found” and my hilarious mother told them, “We are Episcopalians,” before slamming the door in their faces.

So when Easter came and went without a reveal, I was curious. Maybe this was a civic organization promoting a better way for Memphis. It could be promoting civic pride and love for Memphis. Okay, I can get behind that, even if the commercial annoys me. I’m all for anything positive for our city.

This morning, the reveal commercial began running and the campaign is for a car dealership. I won’t say who they are because I refuse to give them any more publicity, but if you live in Memphis, you know who they are and probably bought a car from them before, I have.

I don’t know who their agency is, but I’d be embarrassed to be a part of that team.

What could have been a good way to bring a city together ends up being a crass way to get people to go to a revamped car sales website. Gross.

And I know there are those who will say any ad is a good ad if people are talking about it and I’m talking about it. I couldn’t disagree more. Maybe there was a time when that worked. Today’s consumer is too savvy for that. They have grown up having ads pushed down their throats and have learned to discriminate. That’s why social media has become what it has.

People look for community and for messages they can trust. Get Ready Memphis? And it’s for a new way to buy cars?

What an effing disappointment.