“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!”

Spiders web

Spiders web (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Ever heard that saying before? 

 

I have pondered over the last few weeks on the saga involving Vicky Price and Chris Huhne.  I know all the furore has died down now, but I couldn’t help thinking how aptly their situation demonstrates that lying and deception are never, ever the right option.

 

Apart from knowing that Chris Huhne was a Member of Parliament, I knew nothing of Vicky Price or the scandal that seems to have surrounded them both, prior to this penalty point saga.  I do think however, that the whole affair is quite sad, especially as the entire family, will most likely be negatively affected.

 

Vicky Price alleged that she was coerced into taking her husband’s speeding points.  The trial judge was not convinced.  However, approaching this from a completely feminine perspective, we will never know what pressure Vicky Price was subjected to before she agreed to this act.

 

From all the news reports, Vicky seems to have suffered most of the criticisms, while her husband whose original actions form the root of the affair seems to have received a more sympathetic response.  Much has been made of the fact that she is highly intelligent and should have known better.  But sometimes, when it comes to affairs of the heart, intelligence counts for nothing as some women who seem tough as nails in other aspects of their lives, are often soft as putty when it comes to emotional matters.

 

This penalty points incident happened ten years ago, when regardless of the state of their relationship, they were both living as husband and wife with a family unit to maintain.  Whilst not in any way meaning to condone some of her actions, we know very well, that women will go to any ends to protect their family, no less so in the circles in which these two parties operated.  After all, the political , personal and financial stakes for both of them were very high.

 

Then we have the issue of the husband’s affair, which ultimately led to the total breakdown of the marriage and which no doubt tipped her over the edge – ‘hell hath no fury than a woman scorned’ and woe betide the man who forgets that!

 

It is very hard to comment without sounding judgmental, but I have reflected on this issue from a christian perspective ever since it first came to light, and more so in the past few weeks since the trial.  And I have asked myself the question, what would I have done differently if I were Vicky Price?  I cast my mind back to an article I wrote in March of last year about our calling here on earth in our unique position as women.  That article extolled the virtues of being a Proverb 31 woman i.e. trustworthy, resourceful, industrious, generous, with excellent domestic as well as housekeeping skills, and a ‘fear of God’.

 

And so I would like to think that if I found myself in the same or similar situation as Vicky Price at any time in my life, that the last on the list of those virtues (‘fear of God’) would enable me to make the right decision.  But then, we are all human with all the human frailties that comes with the human condition!

 

May God strengthen us women to always make the right decisions whatever the                   circumstance.

 

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A Journey on the “Busyness” Bus to a Place called Park

email overload

Busy Busy Busy

Those of you who are business people will somehow resonate with this, I am sure.  Life as a business person gets so hectic, especially if you are a one man band.  So hectic in fact, that sometimes, driven by the adrenalin and the buzz that you get from building your business, you lose touch with your inner-self.  I guess that’s what happened to me just before Christmas. Things were going so well, business growing and expanding, plans for new projects in the pipeline and very much looking forward to the Christmas season.  But a visit to the doctor on account of a swollen knee, which then led to a Health MOT soon stopped me in my tracks!

Routine checks revealed that I was very anemic.  Blood transfusion was contemplated although thankfully not carried out.  But a stark warning to REST, drink lots of fluids especially water and a prescription of high dosages of folic acid and iron tablets meant that I had no choice but to heed the doctor’s orders.  This have meant absolutely no work, no social media and a reduction in my workload – except for honoring outstanding contracts.

So, for those of you who have wondered where I am, I have been resting at a “Place called Park”.

Just catching up slowly and with time enough to wish you all a fantastic New Year ahead, and to urge you to take regular stops on your journey on the “Busyness Bus”, otherwise you too might end up at a “Place called Park”.  Which mind you is not a bad place to visit when all is said and done, albeit not under the same circumstances that got me there!

Wishing you all a Blessed 2013

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PS – If you haven’t had a health MOT – especially if you are over 40 years old, then I urge you to have one done now.  Getting regular checks will avoid any nasty surprises.  But most importantly, listen to your body.

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So, last year I posted this very sceptical blog on the ‘unholy alliance’ between Cam and Clegg. I think, a vast multitude of you will join me in saying that we are not surprised as to how things are panning out as the results in the recent May elections showed.

OK. let’s do the autopsy. How long has this marriage been? I have lost track, it has been such a loveless, lacklustre, boring affair that anniversay date has gone unnoticed for me. You see, this ‘coalition thing’ has been the type of marriage that no-one in the family wants but the couple decides they are going to do it anyway? You know the type I am talking about don’t you – every family has at least one of these to contend with. It’s the type of marriage where when there is a family gathering, and the said couple enters the room, all the “aunties” (and sometimes some uncles) huddle in a corner, give each other the eye, push their mouths up at the couple and snigger under their breath. And doesn’t this ‘alliance’ between Cam and Clegg falter under scrutiny!

In contrast to the image last year or whenever it was, where they strolled out to the Gardens all smiles, to meet reporters and to announce their ‘marriage’, quite recently, the body language has been markedly different. They stand poles apart at News Conferences, they speak separately, not in unison anymore.

However, one thing that has remained the same is Cameron’s aggressive stance and Clegg’s subdued, defeatest demeanor. But what did we expect? In my blog last year, or whenever it was, I observed the coalition as an ‘unholy alliance with the balance of power firmly tipped in favour of Cameron.

So now, what we have are all the aunties in both camps (i.e. the people including you and me who voted in the May elections) wagging a finger, giving each other the eye, pushing up our mouths and saying loud and clear as the aunties do “we told you so!”

So once again, don’t let your business be a victim of the Cam and Clegg effect – remind yourself of the things to consider before you partner with anyone that I set out in my blog last year or whenever it was and be careful where you lay your bed!

This Blog Post is a ‘tongue in cheek commentary on the Coalition governmet. The views are my personal views and do not reflect those of Cay Moore’s Associates.

Cay_Moore

Call me a sceptic, but from the moment I saw Cam and Clegg in that garden on the evening of the election results last year, I knew something was very odd.  Well, apart from the fact that they look as if they were somehow related by blood!

You see two things came to my mind at the time:

  1. Cameron is too much of a strong personality to really want a coalition government, and the converse could be said of Clegg – too “soft” to handle Cam.
  2. This coalition is an unholy alliance that would end in tears.  You know, the kind of relationship that you try to warn your best friend about, because you have a gut feeling that it won’t work?

One year on, and it seems that my instincts were right.  Cam and Clegg aka Tory and Lib Dem do not present a perfect fit.  I don’t care…

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There is Life after Redundancy

“When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”                                                  “When one door closes, another will open.”

These are just some of the quotations that we are familiar with, words used to console ourselves in the face of adversity. But we all know that it is easier said than done. After all, when that adversity is being made redundant, or losing your only means of livelihood. And when you know there is a mortgage to be paid, young family to support, it can be daunting.

In times like these we need more than a few quotations to see us through. We need a strong faith and belief in something other than ourselves that will guide and take us to that positive destination. For me that is my faith and belief in a God who not only created me, but who promised, that he would never take me to a place where I cannot survive.

And so it was on the 31st of July 2009, after several months of due diligence, and consultations and toings and froings with management and trade unions that I switched off my computer for the last time.

By the time I had packed away the last items from my desk and walked away from the building where I had worked for nearly twenty years, I knew there and then, that I wanted to do something completely different with my life. I wanted to tap into my creative skills and talents, and to use these to provide services that I really enjoyed.  I wanted to do things for the good of others in my community, my church, my family, my friends.

Losing your job can be very demoralising, and unless you have the confidence in your abilities, and a strong belief in your self-worth, you may find yourself falling into the clutches of despair.  But there is help available and you do not have to go through the process alone.  O.K., as far as I am concerned, there is still a lot that could be done to support those people (men and women) over the age of forty who lose their job, but there is still some support available.

If you are faced with redundancy, in most cases, your employer must provide you with support during the process.  Some very good employers will offer post redundancy support albeit for a limited period.  I would advise you to take up all available offers of help.

I do not want to make it sound too simplistic, because there will be ups and downs.  Particularly, during the first few weeks/months that you are at home thinking about what you are actually going to do or how you are actually going to go about achieving the goals that you have set yourself.  But with a strong will and enough determination and lots of patience, you can get there.  I speak from experience, and I will briefly share some of these experiences with you here in the form of some do’s and dont’s.

Things to do before, during and after losing your job through redundancy or otherwise:

  • Do take all the available help from your employers.  Use this time to ask as many questions you like about the redundancy or circumstances surrounding your job loss, your employers are legally obliged to give you adequate support during the process;
  • Do complete a skills audit, think about all the things you are good at, the things you enjoy doing and the skills that you might need to upgrade.  I wish I had actually done this whilst I was still in employment, because there is a wealth of opportunity for you to make a living from your skills whilst still in employment.  For example, if you are good at cake baking but your paid job is being an accountant, you could set up a cake business and earn extra income outside of your 9 to 5 job!
  • Do update your current cv or prepare a cv if you haven’t already got one.  CV’s have become hugely competitive tools, especially in the current job climate and you may need help with perfecting your CV, particularly if it’s your first time of putting one together.  There is a very good book on the market 7 Keys to a Winning CV by Mildred Talabi, ISBN 978-0857191588 available from Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and other good bookstores which you might find very useful.
  • Do not bury your head in the sand.  Face up to your situation and talk about it to whoever you feel comfortable, your work colleagues, your family, your friends, employer advisors etc.  The more you confront the situation, the stronger you will become in dealing with the issues that need sorting out;
  • Do let people you know aware of your impending situation.  They might be able to offer you help in so many different ways.  If they don’t know, they can’t help;
  • Do embark on personal development – if you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will;
  • Do network – there are a variety of ways of networking for free, contrary to popular belief.  Fact is, it is not what you know, but who you know.  You will not get that new job, or launch your business by staying indoors.
  • Do form good habits in the early days when you are at home.  Advice on this issue tends to differ, but I would recommend that you do not become a slob or a couch potato.  Form the habit of getting up at a reasonable time each day, and dressing as if you were going outside of your home, even if it is down to the shops.  Slopping around in your dressing gown all day, will not do your self-esteem any good, and will not stand you in good stead when it is time to go back out to work.  It is very easy to develop bad habits!
  • Do keep your spirits up – a positive outlook will take you far.  A prospective employer or prospective customer will not appreciate it if you are negative about what or how you are presenting.
  • And finally, remind yourself daily that no matter how dire the situation might seem two things remain true:   ‘there is life after redundancy’ and ‘this too will pass!’

Cay Moore is the owner of Cay Moore Associates and Cay Moore Events Management.

Cay Moore Associates:
Web: www.caymooreassociates.com
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Cay Moore Events Management                                                                                          Web: www.caymooreeventsmanagement.co.uk                                                           Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CayMooreEvents                                             Twitter: @caymooreevents

Copyright 2012 Cay Moore                                                                                                           All rights reserved

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What are the Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross refer to a series of pictures or other artistic representations used to depict the last events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although commonly used in conjunction with prayer and meditation as a spiritual devotion during Easter, they can be used at any time of the year.

St Barnabas Church in Mitcham holds a beautiful devotional on Good Friday each year at 2:00p.m.  Yesterday’s service was led by Fr. Joabe Cavalcanti and Rev Trudy Payne and I have included some excerpts from the devotional below. If you are not able to get to a service near you, then perhaps just reflecting on this devotional might keep you in touch with the most important event in the Christian Calendar.

Good Friday at St. Barnabas Church, Mitcham

Good Friday at St. Barnabas Church, Mitcham

Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death (Matthew 27:22-26)                        Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                               Pilate asked what crime Jesus had committed. It was a good question. Jesus has annoyed the religious leaders, of that there was no doubt. He had been critical of the social and religious structures. He had healed the villagers; he had told stories to the crowds; He was probably a threat to law and order but was this enough to condemn him, to end his life? But he would not defend himself – the storyteller was silent now and the crowd was noisy and Pilate handed him over to be crucified.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Let us pray for all who administer justice, all who face trial this day, all those incarcerated and those falsely imprisoned.

Station 2: Jesus takes up his cross (Mark 15: 16-20)                                          Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                Soldiers taking the chance for a bit of fun. They had a heavy day ahead. Soon they would have to put on their public face – Disciplined, controlled, efficient. But for now a bit of a lark with the lads with no risk of recrimination. Dead men tell no stories, and Jesus was going his death.

We pray that we might give our lives to the service of God, accepting the trials and difficulties of the pilgrimage of this earthly life.

Station 3: Jesus falls for the first time (John 12: 23-25)                               Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                 Jesus was exhausted. He was in pain. He was going to his death. The cross was heavy and he fell. He was flesh and blood like us, he was struggling.

We pray for all who feel weighed down by anxiety, stress or concern for those whom they love.

Station 4: Jesus meets his Mother (Luke 2: 22.25.34.35)                                     Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                  She was going to be there at his end – She who had been there with Him at his beginning. She was his Mother. She had fed him and cradled him and watched over his growing. Whatever he had said and done, He was still her son and she would not desert him now. Whatever pain of his she could embrace she would. And in the meeting of their eyes there was love, suffering and shining.

We pray for all parents, those who look after loved ones who are sick and suffering and children who suffer at the hands of others.

Station 5: Simon of Syrene helps Jesus to carry his cross (Luke 23:26)      Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                               Simon of Cyrene, what a tale you have to tell! You helped Jesus. You gave him your strength on the streets of Jerusalem. Willing or unwilling, You, Simon have become a part of his story, and he part of yours, for you helped him, when he needed you. What would we give to be Simon?

We pray for all who have helped us on our Journey of faith. For all who are struggling with their faith at this time and all who have fallen away from the Church.

Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (Matthew 25: 37 – 40)               Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                             Wiping faces, faces full of sweat and tears. Wiping faces is something we try to do gently and lovingly; something that cleanses and soothes. For those in pain or in trouble, wanting them to know that they are loved and cherished. And when we wipe the faces of God’s little ones we are wiping the face of God.

We pray for those who bring comfort and care to others. For all who work in the medical profession and all involved in with aid agencies.

Station 7: Jesus falls a second time (Isaiah 53:7)                                        Meditation and  Prayer                                                                                                                 I am finding it hard to watch you Jesus, to see you struggling, to see you on the ground. Into your silence I want to shout: ‘Why do we keep on hurting you? What have you done wrong?’

We pray for those caught up in warfare, for victims of terrorism, and those who lie in poverty because of the greed and injustice of others.

Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23: 27 -28)         Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                 Weep for the mothers and children of Jerusalem, for Israeli and Palestinian, for Jew, Moslem and Christian, for the strangers in their midst. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that her people may live together in justice. Pray that all people may live together in peace.

We pray for those who eagerly await the coming of the Kingdom and who try to witness to it as a present reality in their work for justice and peace.

Station 9: Jesus falls a third time (John 15: 18 – 20)                                    Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                I am not sure if I can watch you much longer. In his pain I see my pain, in his falling I feel myself falling, in his cross … in his cross I am included. He carried it for me – for me, and my enemies, and my friends.

We pray for those whom we love, those whom we struggle to like and those who find us difficult; for the grace to truly accept difference.

Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments (March 15: 22 – 24)                            Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                          Stripped now – of clothing, of disciples, of friends. Alone, naked and vulnerable, with nothing to protect you from the pain to come.

We pray for the downtrodden and the rejected. For the refugee, the victim of prejudice, all who are deprived of their rights and freedom.

Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Luke 23:33, 48, 49                                Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                  We look on from a distance: A distance of time and space and culture, and yet even for us it hurts to watch Jesus dying. It hurts to know that we are rescued. It hurts to know that we are cherished and loved.

We pray for all who contemplate ending their own lives. Those who work in hospices and face death daily and for those who await execution and can find no joy in being alive.

Station 12: Jesus speaks to his mother (John 19: 25 – 27)                               Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                  On the cross, Jesus gives his mother to us. As Eve was the Mother of All the living, the Blessed Virgin now becomes the Mother of all Humankind. Mary, the Christ-bearer, is also the bearer of a new creation.

Station 13: Jesus Dies (Matthew 27: 45 – 46)                                                              Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23: 44 – 46)                                   

Station 14: Jesus is taken down from the cross (Mark 15: 42 -45)                        Meditation and Prayer                                                                                                                  Jesus is dead and lies in the arms of his mother. Death is hard and final. And yet, whatever happens on this earth, children never die to their mothers. In the memory of those who love them, loved ones remain. And for us, and for all God’s people, our hope is safe in God. From the swaddling bands to grave clothes, all the days of our living and dying, we are cradled and wrapped in God’s love.

We pray for all families and especially those which have experienced the death of a child. We pray for all who mourn with no hope in the resurrection.

Extract from the Hymn:                                                                                                                         How deep the Father’s Love

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from his reward?
I cannot give an answer;
but this I know with all my heart,
his wounds have paid my ransom.

©Stuart Townsend 1995
Kingsways Thank You Music

St Barnabas Church can be contacted at the following address.                                                  St Barnabas Vicarage 46 Thirsk Road Mitcham Surrey CR4 2BD http://www.stbarnabasmitcham.org/events.php

Do come and visit with us, a warm welcome awaits you!

© Cay Moore 2012 All Rights Reserved

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“She shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

So on the 8th of March the World celebrated International Women’s Day in recognition of women who have moved and shaken the world – past and present.

I want to reflect on International Women’s Day from a different perspective, I want to take us back to the beginning, when God was with Adam in the Garden of Eden and said to Adam, you are not really happy, are you?  You are not really complete are you?  Go and look among all the creatures that I have already created and see if you can find a companion.  By the time Adam had named all the animals, it was pretty clear that none could be a suitable counterpart.

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2, 21-23).

And why am I going back here?  Because I want to remind us women that from the beginning, we were formed for a purpose.  We were formed to do great things, Adam could not exist without a woman.  But let’s not kid ourselves, because the reverse is also true, Eve could not have existed without Adam.

However, as women we need to be mindful of our purpose here on earth.  Let us not make the same mistakes that Eve made.  In the creation story, Eve is the main character, a mover and a shaker, she is portrayed as being fiercely independent and strong-minded. But in retrospect, the outcome of her actions, could probably also warrant the descriptions either of arrogance or naivety?

What I want us to do is to look into ourselves and analyse who we are as women, individually and collectively.  It doesn’t matter whether you are married or single,  I want you to recognise that your purpose on this earth is very, very significant.

In Proverbs chapter 31, verses 10 – 31,  we see the definition of a what a strong, virtuous woman should be like.  They include characteristics such as trustworthiness, resourcefulness, foresight, industriousness, generosity, domestic skills,  business skills and fear of God.

English: Scroll of the Book of Proverbs

Don’t bother about the skeptics who ridicule the definition, as being just a wife skivvy.  If you are or are striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman, you will know that you are anything but.  You will know, that as the Proverb itself states, “you, woman, are far more precious than jewels”.

Ruth is one of those women who epitomises a Proverbs 31 woman.  (summary credited to http://www.bible-topten.com/heroines.htm#RUTH)

Ruth had the good sense to listen to someone older and wiser than herself, and most of us women could learn a lot from her.

But her common sense is not the only reason the story is popular. Ruth was loyal to someone who needed her (her mother in law Naomi) and had been good to her in the past, even when the sensible thing would have been to cut and run. It turned out to be the right decision.

Naomi was financially destitute but she was street-wise, with a remarkable knowledge of the world and of men in particular. This proved more valuable than money. She told Ruth how to go about prodding Boaz, an eligible bachelor, into proposing – a skill that many young women today would like to learn. Ruth recognized good advice when she heard it, and acted accordingly.

Are all the women in the bible Proverb 31 Women?

Far from it!  There were some women in the Bible that might not have been able to tick all the boxes of a Proverb 31 woman, but who in their own special way did fantastic things for their family and their communities.  Consider the following (summaries credited to www.womeninthebible.net):

Sarah (Genesis 11 – Genesis 22)

Sarah’s life was blighted by the lack of a son. In a society that measured women’s worth by their fertility, Sarah was barren. In a spirit of noble self-sacrifice she offered her slave Hagar as  surrogate mother to her husband Abraham. The plan back-fired: Hagar bore a son, Ishmael, and her status shot up in the tribe; Sarah became even more despised.

God came to Sarah’s rescue. She conceived a son, Isaac, whom she loved with the protective ferocity of a lioness. She became the foremother of the Jewish nation.  (There are some Jeremy Kyle moments in this story, but you will have to read it yourself to get the gist!)

Rebecca (Genesis 24; Genesis 25:19-34; Genesis 27)

The woman who deceived and got the better of her dying husband – not a comfortable subject. People would prefer to read about characters who are clearly good or bad, with no ambiguities in their behavior. But this is not how people really are, and this is one of the stories in the bible that shows the good and bad in all human nature.

The story of Rebecca makes it clear that women can feel ambition, love greatly, deceive, and be self-sacrificing.  Rebecca was a leader of people and an organizer of the future who used the abilities she had in the best way that she could.

The illustrations above are aimed directly at each one of us.  Let us strive to be the best woman that we can be, not just on International Women’s day but every day – the world needs us!

P.S. There are many more stories of brave, courageous, humane women in the bible, you will find some of the stories rather juicy too!  So get reading …  http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Blessings.   Cay.

Copyright 2012 Cay Moore

All Rights reserved

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The Pitfalls of Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Blogs, Tumbler, Digg-it, YouTube all form part of a huge plethora of online networking applications which are all the rage at the moment.   Many of us have accounts with one or more of these sites, but not many of us are clued up to some of the legal implications surrounding the use of these applications.  What makes it even more complex, is that there is currently no separate social media law governing these applications.

Most of the litigation cases, both here in the UK and in the Unites States, have centered around defamation, libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, music piracy and incitement to violence.  Consequently, the outcome of such cases have been determined by the application of the law that currently governs each area i.e. Defamation, Intellectual Property Rights Law, Data Protection, and Privacy Regulations. One can only speculate that as the use of social network for business purposes proliferates, we will see far more causes for action here in the UK and elsewhere and subsequently more clarity on the law surrounding these issues.

Traditionally, networking mediums such as Messenger, facebook, and YouTube were used by individuals for personal use, for example you would have people linking up via webcam attached to their computers and having ‘face to face’ conversations with friends and families around the world.  However, there has been an increase in recent years in the number of businesses that are using social media as a marketing and branding tool, and herein lies the problems.  Although there has been this increase in usage, businesses are not treating online media as the asset that it really is and consequently, they are not making provisions for safeguarding these assets and or minimising the risks attached to their use.

So, what are some of the pitfalls of online social networking from a business context and how can businesses protect their valuable assets?

                                                                                         Determining Ownership

The typical scenario is where an employee, with or without permission, sets up an online account (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.,) on behalf of the employer.  Inevitably, issues arise around ownership of the account, the followers and any online content including tweets, status updates, images, external links etc.

My first thought would be that much would depend on the employer’s social media policy if there is one, and on the terms of the employment that govern the relationship between the employer and the employee.

Secondly, with reference to the copyright laws as they exist in the UK, we know that copyright is usually vested in the person who created the piece of work.  However, different rules will apply when the work was created in the course of employment, where copyright will be held to belong to the employer, unless the employee or contractor’s working agreement specifies otherwise.

The ongoing case of Phone Dog Media v Noah Kravitz  (United States) should go some way towards clarifying some of these cloudy issues and might even set a precedent for future litigation cases over ownership of social media accounts.  Here, the employee  Noah Kravitz, is being sued by the employer Phone Dog Media, for  keeping Twitter followers that he attracted while working for Phone Dog Media , after he had resigned from the company.

Falling foul of Defamation Law

This is another area that contains some thorny issues, which can be further clouded by that blurred line between a person’s duty as an employee and his rights as an individual.  Defamation law, has historically balanced one person’s right to freedom of speech with another’s right to not have his or her reputation unfairly attacked.  However, recent surveys have shown that a vast majority of people using social networking sites are unaware of their responsibilities and consequently the legal implications of their online exploits.

From a business point of view, tribunal cases in the UK have centred around employees wittingly or unwittingly posting damaging or libellous comments on social media networks about their employer, other members of staff or the employer’s clients.   The basic rules of publishing are very simple:

  • verify facts;
  • don’t misrepresent information.
  • don’t post anything that would be deemed offensive to readers;

Breaching Data Protection and Privacy Regulations

Issues can and do arise around the handling of data and in particular, the disclosure of potential sensitive personal  data e.g. an employee’s salary, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation or even disciplinary records.  Consideration also has to be given to disclosure of sensitive commercial data about the company’s products or operations.  Steps must be taken to ensure that employees are made aware of their responsibilities with regard to these issues and the consequences of their actions if they get it wrong.

There are well documented cases around breaches of privacy regulations usually involving Celebrities.  Two very notable cases involved a UK celebrity and his attempt to use a super-injunction to block reports of his alleged affair and an earlier case involving renowned American actress and singer Barbara Streisand’s unsuccessful attempt to sue a photographer and a media company.  She wanted them to remove pictures of her mansion that were included in a publicly available collection on their website on the grounds of invasion of privacy.  As a result of  Streisand bringing the action to court,  420,000 more people visited the site than otherwise would have done were it not for the court action.  This case, somewhat of a precedent, actually resulted in the now commonly used term “The Streisand effectwhich in layman’s language means that attempts to restrict accessibility of information or content will inadvertently generate further publicity.

So, how can businesses protect themselves from the perils of Social Media networking?

As the use of Social Media becomes an integral part of the marketing and branding strategy of businesses, so it becomes imperative that businesses develop robust Social Media strategies.  A good social media strategy should:

  • inform the businesses’ social media policy;
  • be practical and inclusive;
  • be aligned to existing relevant HR Policies governing employee’s conduct.

A policy is only effective however, if employees are made aware of its existence and are thoroughly briefed on its application.

Below are some of the issues that should be included in any social media policy:

  • The employer’s attitude to social media;
  • Guidelines on communicating with the employer’s stakeholders through online networks;
  • The importance of observing confidentiality in line with Data Protection Principles;
  • The importance of observing privacy in line with the Privacy Regulations;
  • The employer’s position with regards to defamatory or libellous comments posted online about the employer, or its stakeholders;
  • Unequivocal warnings about the sanctions that would be meted out, including disciplinary action and even termination of employment;
  • A statement as to whether or not the employer will be monitoring social networking sites.

Whilst it is almost impossible to police social networking sites and to keep track of employee’s online exploits, having a robust policy will ensure that all parties will enjoy the benefits of online social networking.  Employers will be confident that they are managing the associated risks and employees will enjoy the freedom of online networking within         pre-defined boundaries.

This is the full text of a post that was first published in Ezine Articles http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Pitfalls-of-Social-Media&id=6813853

Cay Moore is the owner of Cay Moore Associates, a dynamic business providing professional administrative and events management services.

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New Year Wishes

Hello,

I wanted to wait until all the “online noise” had died down before posting my wishes for a fantastic 2012 to all my customers, friends, and wellwishers.

2011 has been a year of stepping out, taking stock and consolidating, all rolled into one.  There were highs and there were lows, but all together, every single day was worth it.  If your experience has been similar to mine, I urge you to not give up – follow your dreams, at your own pace and have faith.

I would really like to thank several people who wittingly or unwittingly have made my journey so much more easier than it otherwise would have been.

  • My long suffering family – who have had to listen to me go on about my ideas, put up with fending for themselves when I am out networking, meeting clients or organising events, have the house taken over by flowers and balloons etc.
  • My Church family at St. Barnabas Parish Church in Mitcham, Surrey.
  • Those of my friends (and each of you will know who you are) who have offered themselves as sounding board for me and my ideas, supporting my trial events and giving me excellent feedback.
  • My networking colleagues, the excellent team at Merton Chamber of Commerce; Octavia at The Twenty Ten Club; Bella Networking Events; Jo at La Avril Boutique; Jennifer at Seriously Good Cakes, Amma at Amzie’s Design, Vanessa at Lovely Gorgeous Things and Enekpen at Capsule Grandeur; Viv Oyolu at Dream Corner; Andrea at Green Bean Marketing; Sharon at EntreprenewsHub; Andrew at Marketing Maverick; Karen at Prime Time Business.
  • My Collaborators: Angela Clarke; Del at The Bouquet Shop; Everton Reddie at Sharpe Photographics; Devon Ayton at ADE Photography; Laverne Wynter at Lyrically Expressed
  • My former work colleagues and friends Ian Purvis, Barrister; Samina Khan, Barrister; Christine Tozer Solicitor; Kim Minott; Chris Lewis and Stella Beston, who always go out of their way to enquire of my business exploits and to lend their support in varying ways.
  • My online networking family on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and not forgetting visitors to my websites.
  • And last but not least, all the clients I have had the pleasure of serving during the past year – don’t forget that you qualify for discount off your next purchases in 2012!

If you are reading this, and we have not already crossed paths, then please do connect with me so that we can grow together in 2012!

With Warmest regards,
Cay

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Christmas Blessings to you all

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Going it Alone: Planning for your unavailability

by Cay Moore

If you work as a sole trader, have you considered what would happen if you couldn’t fulfill a contract due to illness or other such eventuality?

Last year my father suddenly took ill and had to be hospitalised on the weekend that I had an order for decoration services for a christening that had been booked many weeks before. Having a sound working knowledge of contract law, I know the importance of providing for substitute workers into consultancy agreements, so I make sure that all my contracts include such a clause.

However, the dilemma for me was that my named substitute worker was unavailable to fill in for me on that occasion. Fortunately for me, I had done most of the preparation earlier in the week. All that was left to do was to finish inflating some balloons and then to actually hang the arrangements in the venue. Needless to say, it was very traumatic, as I had to leave my father in hospital for two hours, in order to fulfill my order. Letting down my customer at such short notice was simply not an option, a decision I knew my father would have supported.

More recently, I suddenly came down with a severe bout of flu and cold which left me debilitated for over two weeks. It was so bad that I had no choice but to impose a strict “no action of any kind” on myself. (O.K., I did spend a lot of that time indoors catching up on some online social networking). But it suddenly dawned on me that if I should fall ill during a busy period, it could be quite disruptive, especially if I didn’t have anyone who could fulfill my contract for me.

So what are some of the likely implications and what can you do to manage this scenario?

Depending on the service that you are providing and the terms of your contract, not being able to deliver a service due to ill health could have catastrophic effects.

The truth is that whilst most clients will sympathise with your situation, they will still expect you to deliver the service you promised or at least make provision for this to happen. Simply apologising will not suffice and could actually result in negative feedback for your business.

Secondly, putting yourself in your client’s shoes, not delivering a service could have serious financial consequences for them, especially where the service that you are providing forms a significant part of a service that they are delivering to a third party. For instance, your non-delivery could lead to loss of profits and severe business interruptions for your client.

There are two simple ways of counteracting the negative effects of not being able to deliver a service due to ill health or other emergencies which render you unavailable:

Including a clause in your contract for services for the provision of a substitute worker of comparable skills to yourself to step in and deliver the service. A simple wording for such a clause could read:

    • “If the Consultant is unable to provide the Services due to illness or injury on a certain date he shall advise the Client of that fact as soon as reasonably practicable and shall provide such evidence of his illness or injury as the Client may reasonably require.
    • The Consultant reserves the right to appoint a suitably qualified and skilled Substitute to perform the Services on his behalf”.                                                                                                                                                        Taking out the appropriate business insurance to cover any possible claims for damages from your client due to non-delivery of your service.  O.K. the unexpected does happen at times, but in today’s competitive market, it is not enough to just say sorry I am unable to deliver, clients demand a lot more and it is up to you to go to whatever length necessary to keep your clients happy. After all, a happy client means more referrals for you. And when you are a sole trader, referrals are your single most important and effective marketing tool!

So, if you are not in the habit of providing for substitute worker in your agreement, now is the time to start doing so, it could save you money and your business reputation.


Cay Moore, EzineArticles.com Basic Author

Cay Moore is the owner of Cay Moore Associates, providers of business support to sole traders and small and medium-sized businesses.



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