Stephen and Laureen Harper Lighting the Menorah Incorrectly

Stephen and Laureen Harper Lighting the Menorah

Photo Rights Reserved to PM Stephen Harper

By: Ariella Linovski

Every image conveys a message. Especially in the world of Canadian politics, where every photo is meant to persuade.

Here is a photo of Prime Minister Harper  and his wife Laureen Harper lighting a menorah on Chanukah at his home with a rabbi. What might the Prime Minister want to convey with this photo? What message is  he trying to project?

Some possibilities include:

  1. I’ve converted to Judaism and this is pretty fun!
  2. Laureen and I do things together. We love each other.
  3. I am a friend of Jewish people.  I support the Jewish community.

While the third point is likely the intended message, the PM has made one large PR blunder with this photo. Prior to his foray into being a Jew for the day, our dear friend’s communications people did not do proper research.

As a result, Prime Minister Harper is lighting the menorah incorrectly. During Chanukah, Jewish people are supposed to light the middle raised candle first, and then use that candle to light the rest. Maybe the rabbi in the photo was too modest to have the heart to tell the PM he was doing it wrong. I guess it doesn’t actually matter since Harper isn’t Jewish. But any Jew who has ever lit a menorah will say “Hey, this dude is lighting the menorah wrong.” Not exactly the best move when you are trying to convey that you go out for beers and falafel with the Jewish community.

Nonetheless, we  should all thank the PM for teaching us a great PR lesson. Don’t try to be someone you are not. You might end up looking silly.

Next time instead of doing a religious ritual that only Jewish people generally do, the PM should attend a Chanukah party to show his support for the Jewish community. He will get to eat delicious greasy food. And his PR people won’t have to clean up a PR mess.

Instagram and Facebook: Invasion of Privacy

By: Ariella Linovski

In the last few days there has been a huge backlash against Instagram for its new privacy policy and terms of service.

These changes mean that Instagram can:

  • sell users’ photos to advertisers without notification or payment
  • share users’ information with Facebook, and
  • share users’ information with other affiliates and advertisers

Users can’t opt out of this policy unless they delete their accounts by January 16, 2012.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company has similarly been shifting to allowing users less and less control of their own photos.  I became aware of this when a person who I did not know commented on one of my wedding photos. This happened because although I only allow my Facebook friends the capability to view my photos, Facebook changed its default settings to allow friends of friends to see any newly created Facebook albums.

As well, for each photo that users upload to Facebook with a mobile device, the default is now public, regardless of your previously selected privacy options. Users now need to specifically change the privacy setting for each photo that they upload with a mobile phone. This makes maintaining privacy on Facebook a burden.

Users, including myself, do not like having their personal information compromised and exploited by social media sites for profit.

In an era where professional life is intertwined with personal life, users need to keep their personal photos private. The more access advertisers have to Facebook and Instagram photos, the less likely that these social media outlets will thrive.

I see users’ dissatisfaction with Facebook’s and Instagram’s privacy policies playing out in 3 main ways:

  1. Users will leave Instagram and Facebook for other social media sites with better privacy policies
  2. Users will watermark their photos to prevent advertisers from using them
  3. Facebook and Instagram will come up with a different business strategy

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Based out of Ottawa, Ariella Communications is a leading firm in public relations, government communications and crisis management.

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Fred, the company dog. Photo by Taylor Jackson

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