Sarah Glenn

Never stop exploring

Easy ways to lock down your Facebook

Written By: admin - Oct• 16•12

Have you noticed all those ads popping up on your Facebook feed lately?

Annoying, aren’t they?

It is getting harder to change your privacy settings and easier for advertisers to make a quick buck off your online habits. But never fear, these easy steps can help you reclaim your information from the grubby grips of corporate America.


Use Google Chrome. Seriously. Do it. Although you can install extensions on other browsers, Chrome has the best options to keep you incognito.


Run PrivacyFix. The nifty little Chrome extension audits all the information you are giving to advertisers via Facebook and Google and gives you the option to cut off the freeflow. Have you noticed those little Pages You May Like boxes that say “Sally Smith liked Samsung and so should you”?

You can get rid of those by fixing a few settings. Unfortunately, we need programs like PrivacyFix to point us in the right direction and tell us how to change them. Easy peasy. Takes 10 minutes tops.


Instal the Ad Block Chrome extension. Once installed, it will show a little red octagon in the top right corner of your browser screen with a hand inside it. If the octagon is green, that means you will see adds on this page. If it is red, no ads for you no matter what website you are on be it Facebook or YouTube!


Want to know what your Facebook looks like to people who are not your friends? Go to your Timeline. Click on the little gear icon at the top right: 

Click on “View As …” Voila! This is what Joe Schmo creeper (and/or a prospective employer) sees when randomly searching your name.


Enjoy the internet ad free!

I was surprised to learn that my own Facebook browsing was netting companies about $1.06 in revenue annually – and I thought I was pretty well locked down! Multiply that $1 (probably much more for not-so-locked-down Facebook pages) by about one-billion people and someone is making some big money! Facebook had also been tracking my movements on 83 percent of the sites I visited. Did you know those little like buttons on news stories track your browsing history?  Most of my browsing is online news, hence the high percentage.

Now for the social sites outside of Facebook. For the three of you readers who actually use Google Plus, did you know that they mine your browsing for sellable demographic data too? If you went through all the steps of Privacy Fix, you should be able to easily lock down those settings now too.

Google has made $109.37 off me this year in marketable demographics data alone. I could have used that money myself for sure.

Although after going public Facebook had to figure out some way to make money, you still have the power to outwit their tricky data mining ways. Beat them at their own game.

Happy browsing!

Oh Pew!

Written By: admin - Oct• 09•12

Just had to pass along this fantastic article on the new media landscape. Bam! Pow! Right in the kisser we get the unfortunate news that the younger generation really doesn’t like ink on a newspaper page.

“Thirty-three percent of those under 30 get their news via social networking sites, 34 percent from TV, and only 13 percent from newspapers.

PR Daily culled the most interesting nougats from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press and sprinkled them in this palatable piece. But the crux is this: “Newspaper reach, influence, and credibility continues to drop. Daily newspapers try to reinvent themselves. Their business model is broken. The new experiments with social media will not pay the bills and advertisers are unconvinced of the value or resistant to change from what they know. And TV is next.”

So very glad that I am passionate about news sharing on its own merits, not because I am under the illusion that my work will pay the bills.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to apply at Starbucks. After all, I have to support my journalism addiction somehow.

Big Brother in Riverside

Written By: admin - Oct• 08•12

Let’s play a little game.

Put your license plate number in here and see if the Riverside Sherif’s Department has been tracking you:

Riverside County (the county just south of San Bernardino) captures images of license plates and puts them in a database to track where you were and when. And it’s not just the law enforcement folks who are doing this either, according to the Wall Street Journal blog. Private companies are getting in on the action too. The WSJ’s full article was interesting and you can read it here.

As you can see from my website, my life is an open book. If I think I’ll be ashamed of where I have been or what I have done, then I won’t do it in the first place.

About 2.2 million people live in Riverside County. About 6 million plates have been scanned. The sheriff’s 49 camera-equipped vehicles scanned about 2 million unique plates, according to the Wall Street Journal. The average plate in the database was scanned three times over the two-year period. Less than 1% of plates were tracked extensively—hundreds of times, and occasionally thousands. numbers have been collected over the past two years alone.

Our little foray into Riverside County hasn’t landed us on their database yet. But beware Southern Californians: you might want to watch out the next time you try to inconspicuously roll into Riverside.

A little boy and a Great War

Written By: admin - Sep• 28•12

One of Redland’s most interesting stories lies tucked behind the shrine of Abraham Lincoln.

Remember the post about the Lincoln Shrine (the largest tribute to the man west of the Mississippi)? Its existence began as a monument to a parent’s World War I heartbreak.

After making a fortune in oil and settling in Redlands, Alma and Robert Watchorn hoped and prayed for an addition to their family. In the 1890s their prayers were answered as Robert Jr. came into the world. But Robert Jr. died as an infant.

Then came Emory Ewart who would be their only child.

Emory grew up doted on by loving parents. After graduating from Hollywood Highschool, he did what any adventurous, wealthy (and somewhat smothered) teen would do – travelled through Europe.

His timing was awful. At the outbreak of World War I, he was in Germany. It took all the efforts of the U.S. State Department to get him out of there alive.

After his harrowing adventure, Emory trained as a pilot with the allied forces. In those days, American pilots flew for whoever was in the most trouble and Emory landed with the Italians. Fiorello La Guardia (of NY airport fame) was his coach and commander in those tin can contraptions called early war planes.

He was only 22.

After months of flight training in Italy, Emory and his Italian comrades flew day and night bombing missions against Austrian airfields, railroad yards and troop concentrations. On a night mission, the lieutenant’s center engine was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He would receive a commendation for coolly executing a perfect emergency landing, saving his crew and the plane.

But the years of freezing winds in exposed cockpits took their toll on Emory. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, Armistice Day, he came close to death from pneumonia.

But he recovered, returning to California and his waiting parents.

It was not the war, but a sunburn that killed Emory Watchorn. His severely damaged body, especially his lungs, could not recover from the severe burn from a day at the beach. After a two month struggle, Emory Ewart died at the age of 25 on July 10, 1921. Robert and Alma were devastated by the loss of their only surviving child and always felt that his death was a direct result of his service to his country.

So they built a memorial.

Now, the President whose memory looms larger than the Civil War itself has taken center stage at the shrine. But if you listen closely to the war stories, they echo the patriotism and sorrow of two parents who lost their only son in World War I.

*Photos courtesy of the Lincoln Shrine.

A little shot of adorable

Written By: admin - Sep• 27•12

America’s Trust Issues

Written By: admin - Sep• 25•12

We are developing some trust issues here America.
This week Gallup let us know that 60 percent of Americans don’t trust the mass media. The same week that Gallup released its polling data, CNN read and used the late ambassador Christopher Stevens’s personal journal to inform their reporting. CNN broke a pledge to the late ambassador’s family that it wouldn’t report on the diary, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, told the Associated Press.
Yikes. What a perfect storm. No wonder we have issues.
In journalism school, my tough-as-nails professor leaned over his desk at the head of the class and with the piercing eyes of an old newsman drilled into my subconscious how crucial trust is in my profession.
“How will a reader trust what you are saying if you can’t even be consistent in your useage?!” he would exclaim, exasperated at our naive misuse of AP style.
His sage admonitions have implications far beyond what words we capitalized.
Developing a relationship of trust is a crucial part of good reporting. Your most valuable sources will only tell you the juicy things if they know that you won’t burn them. Believe me, I know. A person of integrity will get farther with both the public that they serve and the sources who they rely on if both can trust you. So CNN, why would I trust someone who goes back on their word?
Maybe that is why so many people don’t trust traditional news outlets.

Pop quiz newsies: what was Walter Cronkite referred to as? An interesting enigma in and of himself.

Even the illusion of integrity in reporting means something in the chronicles of history. At least I thought it did.

Reporters have a duty to tell Americans everything and relentlessly dig into every angle of a story. Honor that mission. Reporters have a responsibility to weigh the consequences of their actions. Think about what you say before you say it. Most importantly, reporters have to look in the mirror at the end of the day. Don’t disappoint yourself – you are not going to be a reporter forever and when retirement day comes it will be nice to have someone who doesn’t detest you.
Was peeping into Steven’s journal and publishing it’s contents newsworthy? Probably. Was it ethical? Nope. What is more important at the end of the day?
Well, reporter friends, that’s between you and the reader. What do you want your relationship with the people who consume your product to be characterized by?


Aside from the trust issues, the poll dug up some fascinating information about political parties and how they react to the news. Here are some of the more interesting parts of the poll’s findings:

“Americans tend to pay more attention to political news in presidential election years, and that is the case in 2012. However, Americans are less likely this year to be paying close attention to news about national politics than they were in 2008. The 39% who say they are paying close attention is up from last year — when Americans were paying a high level of attention compared with other non-election years – but down from 43% in September 2008,” Gallup says.

“Despite their record-low trust in media, Republicans are the partisan group most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics, with the 48% who are doing so similar to the 50% in 2008 and up significantly from 38% in 2004. Independents and Democrats are less likely than Republicans to be paying close attention, with their levels of attention similar to 2008 and 2004,” Gallup says.

TGIF Means ‘Like’ this page, duh

Written By: admin - Sep• 21•12

How many exclamations of TGIF appeared on your news feed this morning? Better yet, how many of those “TGIFs” were attached to random pictures of cute puppy dogs and celebrating clip art people? Hmmmmmm?

If you think that social marketing has reached a gimmicky low, you’ll get more than a few laughs by following Condescending Corporate Brand Page.

In a world where companies crave clicks and likes and shares and retweets, CCB takes a step back and shows us just how absurd we really are by re-sharing and mocking the worst of the worst in corporate gimmickry. It’s not only funny, it’s an eye opener.

If you are in the communications industry and do not follow Condescending Corporate Brand, well, here is the link. Chop chop!

I’ll even share this picture of a smiling puppy to get you to click as I myself descend into social media absurdity.

Happy Friday everyone!

Mid-Day Slump Buster

Written By: admin - Sep• 20•12

It’s here! That magical time of the day when more work sounds just as appealing as a punch in the nose. Your rear end has sunk semi-permanently into that office chair, draining every last ounce of motivation from your system.

Hence, you are probably surfing the internet mindlessly. Ahhhh, that’s why you are reading this!

Well workday warriors, once you are done surfing and guilt sets in, let me help with a few simple exercises.

My time with the American Council on Exercise taught me one pretty important thing: our bodies were not designed to sit at a desk all day. Remember how you feel in the morning after being somewhat still in sleep mode? You are stiff and your brain is a little fuzzy, right? Compare that to how you feel now.

The supports and padding between our joints compress and stiffen as we sit (or lie) still. Our blood pumps slower and we need a little movement to get going.

So let’s move – professionally of course so that we don’t look like weirdos in front of the whole office.

Sit up straight in that office chair, feet flat on the floor and let your head fall forward. Just let it drop and feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Now take a deep breath in. Fill up those lungs with as much fresh oxygen as you can, heaven knows your sapped brain needs it right about now. Relax, tilt your head to the right, gently rest your right hand on your ear and take that epic breath in once again. Now to the other side. Don’t worry about tipping your head back right now, it might just make you dizzy.

Next, sit up as straight as you can in your chair then just let your body round forward. But try not to whack your forehead on the desk. That would be embarrassing. With another monumental breath in, come back up to a straight back, maybe even arch it just a tinsy bit.

Yogis believe that the thoracic spine area is the center of energy production. Engage that spine and you are tapping into a geyser of natural energy.

Repeat that curling and sitting up straight move three or four times, trying not to let your neck get too floppy.

Next lift your feet off the floor and circle our ankles 10 times to the right and 10 times to the left. With feet planted firmly back on the floor and tight core muscles making sure your back is hugged in nice and safe, raise your hands over your head and open and close your fists. You can do this as many times as it takes to get blood flowing through your arms or until the person at the cubicle next door starts to wonder about you …

Voila! Five minutes and you are a happier, healthier desk jockey. Now you can reach forward for that work you have left to do instead of the coffee.

For a little mental stamina, remember Friday is just around the corner.



*All exercises are suggested for those without pre-existing neck, back or shoulder injuries. If it hurts, don’t do it!

Diversify Time

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•12

Announcement everyone!
In addition to my love of journalism and social media, I am also a closet granola cruncher. Yes, my online friends, I am a tree-hugging, yoga-practicing certified fitness trainer. And it is time to blog about it.
Why make this revelation on my journalism-themed blog? Because recently I have realized that I talk the talk as far as social media engagement is concerned. But friends, I do not walk the walk.
As a freelance consultant, I advise others how to beef up their online presence by following two simple rules: communicate and engage.
I find ways to reach out to your readers and consumers in an online world through the principles of relationships-based communication.
But developing a relationship requires a little vulnerability on your part. He who wants to receive trust must also give of himself.
OK, I give. People don’t like to be preached at as far as government policy, journalism best practices and theory. Frankly, I might be the only person in the universe who gets a rush talking about these topics. There is a lot more to me than just journalism (although some may wonder).
So I am diversifying the blog, applying the advice I give to so many others and putting myself out there.
Content will now include the fitness tips and tricks of the laziest exerciser in the world. It will also take a more conversational tone. If you want to make a friend, every so often you have to talk about what interests them. If there is a fitness, social media or other topic you want me to research and post on, let me know. I am just curious enough to tackle anything.

Really? You follow that?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•12

I am taking a little break from in-depth media analysis to publish the lighter side of communication trends.

Don’t worry, those raging diatribes about the future of hyperlocal news will be back soon. In the meantime, check out what people are saying on Twitter in your corner of the world. gave some interesting insight into what is trending on Twitter these days in Southern California. Hey, not all unsalaried journalists like to pay for Radian6, OK.

Trending hashtags were #DMV, #breaking and tornado. Trending videos were by Young Deezil and Lil B.

At least Romney’s fundraiser fop-ah was fourth on the trending links list.