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Location-Based Apps: Removing the Private from Private Jet Travel?

Each year during the unrivaled 10-day interactive/film/music festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, millions of digital users across the globe wait to see the latest, greatest app unveiled and to learn how it will change the way we interact with each other on a daily basis. Twitter and Foursquare were each introduced at SXSW. And this year didn’t disappoint.

Highlight, an iPhone-only location-based app (watch for an Android version soon), goes beyond your traditional check-in app. This promising breakout star declares it is “a fun, simple way to learn more about the people around you.” You sign in through Facebook and Highlight notifies you when friends or friends of friends are nearby. You can message the person or “highlight them.” Basically it lets you bookmark a person you want to meet or communicate with. Simple. Relationship-building. And potentially cover blowing?

Since attending the festival, I’ve been giving considerable thought to Highlight and its role in aviation, an industry that prides itself on giving business people the opportunity to come and go in full stealth mode.

Convenient or Creepy?

The big-brother, sixth-sense factor increases with each location-based app advancement. Being a social society, we want to connect with people. But do apps like this push our privacy limits?

The aviation community might be a tightly knit one, but stop for a moment before you check in next time on Foursquare, Facebook or Highlight and ask yourself these questions.

  • Should pilots use location-based apps on company time?
  • Is it a violation of the passenger or company’s privacy?
  • Does it inadvertently place information in the hands of the competitor?
  • What are the implications to business and in particular to the privacy long associated with flying on private aircraft?

Privacy Concerns in Aviation

Any time you meet someone, you automatically access your internal checklist. If this person is someone you want to know better. If you have mutual interests. If there could be business opportunities down the road. Highlight could be your new best friend. Or your worst enemy.

Art, Animals and AIDS

Last night was one of the best of my life. Which is strange, because I’d been dreading it for weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I was honored to be named the 2012 Donna E. Sweet Humanitarian of the Year, but no one really likes to be put in the spotlight that way. And, of course, none of us merit those kinds of accolades on our own. It’s our supporting families. Our never-let-us-down colleagues. Our always-there networks of friends. It’s when we come together that we make a real difference.

And, I guess that’s what made last night so life defining. Seeing the funky, fun Crown Uptown Theatre sparkle with best buds and fellow crusaders. Watching a video of our agency’s two-decades-plus of pro bono work. Being absolutely blown away by the inspired performances of the St. Anthony’s Lion and Dragon Dance Team, Wichita Chinese Dance Group and musician Shuyue Cao. I found a piece of confetti still in my hair when I woke up this morning.

Dr. Sweet got a big laugh when she commented on my passions – art, animals and AIDS – and what I’d accomplish if ever I move on to the next letter of the alphabet. What can I say? You don’t pick your causes; they pick you. I didn’t earn this recognition on my own. I feel so indebted and grateful to those who love and lift me up. You know who you are. Thank you.

Check out photos of the event on our Facebook page.

The Last Word On Smart eMail Signatures

Do’s, Don’ts and Maybes

  • Use standard black/gray fonts. This helps ensure your signature isn’t too visually overpowering and that it’s visible on all screens.
  • Remember to preview on mobile devices. Note, if it takes more than a second to scroll through, it’s probably too long.
  • Avoid quotes. It’s an email not a novel. Plus you never know how these words will be received. Will the recipient feel preached to? Offended? Bored? Irritated?
  • Don’t use v-cards. They add to the email size and can either be confusing for those who aren’t experienced with them or annoying to those who receive them constantly from you. Just send once. Not with every email.
  • Resist attaching non-work-related Twitter, Facebook and blog addresses. It can be confusing to the recipient to mix business with personal communication. It can also imply corporate endorsement of your personal thoughts and activities. A real no-no.
  • Confidentiality clauses are necessary, but keep them as short as possible.
  • Avoid being unprofessional, but use creativity in your signature design. It should complement your brand.
  • Use caution if you decide to include graphics. Many email servers send them as attachments. These can be blocked. Even if they aren’t, the attachments increase file size and more often than not end up distorted on the recipient’s screen. You can design a nice looking signature without graphics.