View of NYC from West Orange, NJ
As I look outside, it is snowing once again here in New Jersey. The kids are home for Spring vacation, so at least no more snow days will be used. The clocks have been changed, so now there is more daylight in the evening. The calendar tells us that Spring is here. Opening day in baseball is literally days away. Of course, much of the snow that falls today will start melting tomorrow and become slushy, and in the next couple of weeks, we will see temperatures above 60 degrees.
But spring always seems to be a time for optimism. It's usually neither too hot nor too cold (present exception excluded). Actually, for someone here in northern New Jersey, this optimism must be reaching new heights today with a single winning Powerball ticket valued at $338 million. Outdoor events are becoming more frequent - picnics, concerts, 5K races, parades, and more.
The outdoor light even feels a bit different, as the sun sets in a position in the sky different from early winter. In fact, just a few days ago, the light was hitting the New York skyline in an amazing way around sunset. Despite the cold, my family decided to pick up a few things at a pizzeria and have an in-the-car picnic. About a dozen or so miles from New York City as the crow flies, there is a beautiful, hilly Essex County park, Eagle Rock Reservation. The view is incredibly panoramic on a clear day, from the George Washington Bridge to the north to the Verrazano Bridge to the southeast. Although the sun sets in the west, the lighting to the east was impressive. What makes Eagle Rock even more wonderful is that there is a very touching, beautiful 9/11 memorial that faces the skyline. In clear sight is the rebuilding of the New York City skyline, including the new World Trade Center.
Spring is about things coming back to life. Whether it is nature renewing itself as we go through the four seasons, or seeing a great city continuing its recovery, it is a positive feeling.
A sign of Spring
So much for Groundhog's Day! If I'm not mistaken, Punxsatawney Phil reported that we would have an early Spring this year. Well, March 20th has come and gone, and this morning we woke up in northwest New Jersey to a coating of snow and ice.
Just as luck would have it, we have tickets for the April 7th Mets-Marlins game at Citi Field, and after a week with temperatures predicted to be in the 60's, there is a chance of light snow in the AccuWeather long-range forecast for that date. I remain optimistic, however, as the forecast will probably change a million times between today and the day of the game. As a matter of fact, I think it would be fascinating to pick a day several weeks ahead and monitor how many times and in what ways the forecast does in fact change.
This brings me to a couple of pet peeves about TV programming. Most of the time, the Weather Channel is very informative and right on top of breaking developments, particularly when dangerous storms are approaching. But how many more programs and reminders do we need about asteroids and other cataclysmic, global events? Most people just want the current forecast. OK, perhaps one of those Weather Channel jackets from L.L. Bean as well? But the Weather Channel is not alone. If you find the Travel Channel, it can be a great place to learn about various destinations and cultures. Sometimes you can practically smell the foods being created - OK, that's a stretch. Except perhaps around Halloween, do we need to be constantly bombarded with shows about ghosts? Speaking of which, it's hard to believe that next year will be the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters!
Soon we will probably complain that it is too warm, but Spring on the East Coast can be beautiful. Cherry Blossom season is at our doorstep, with great annual events in Washington, DC and Newark, NJ. In my household, we count our blessings with the weather, that the worst of our problems was lack of power for nearly a week, first with the surprise Halloween snowstorm in 2011 and then during Hurricane Sandy exactly a year later. Even earlier in 2011, parts of our town suffered horrendous flooding as a result of Hurricane Irene. For those still rebuilding in New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy, we hope that the improving weather will make it a little easier to move forward in impossible circumstances.
We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
These days, most companies have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or some combination of the three. There are also other social media channels that businesses of all sizes have discovered. Regardless of the social media outlet, managing the messages that these sites convey to readers can be a major challenge. If managed well, it can help keep happy customers and attract new ones. If done poorly, it can turn away current and prospective customers.
An article this morning on CNN's website provides a case in point. A United Airlines passenger traveling from California to Texas to see his dying mother needed to make a connecting flight. The flight crew informed the pilot, who radioed ahead to the second flight. Not only did the passenger make the connecting flight, but this story was featured very prominently on CNN's website. While it might be difficult to quantify, this wonderful gesture reflects very positively on United. In the very competitive airline industry, which so often is focused on on-time performance, projecting a human face may have done more to win over new customers than comparing performance would ever do.
Letters to the Editor - out of control? While the CNN story in and of itself is refreshing to read, social media can sometimes seem like it's out of control. Letters to the editor in newspapers are perhaps a precursor of modern social media. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental to the fabric of the United States. The one challenge that comes across on the websites of many news organizations, however, is that it is difficult to control the comments that appear. Perhaps this is a decision by CNN and other outlets to let all comments be published. It would seem, however, that by removing inappropriate comments by readers, the value of the letters to the editor would be greater. Even this wonderful story about the airline passenger contains a host of idiotic, sometimes offensive comments. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are intended to encourage the free flow of ideas, whether you agree or disagree with them. Respect for others is a value that should be strongly encouraged. By not taking responsibility to moderate the comments that appear on various media websites, it can turn away readers.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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