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September 5, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in social media, Health Care, COVID-19, news.

More than 40 health care organizations along with 40 physicians from throughout Western New York have issued a statement calling on area residents to ignore social media misinformation about COVID-19 treatment and prevention and asking them to follow the recommendations of doctors and scientists. 

Among the organizations: Erie County Medical Center, Veterans Affairs, Kaleida Health, Horizon Health, Lake Plains Community Care, and Independent Health.  

Among the physicians signing the letter is Dr. Michael Merrill, former chief medical officer at UMMC and currently an executive with Independent Health. 

To view the document with the statement and a list of all the supporters of the statement, click here (pdf).


These organizations and the individuals signing below say the following message is correct and reliable. Social media posts may be incorrect. Find reliable, science- based information sources, such as the CDC.

We are experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases in the region. You should wear a mask in indoor public places, even if you are fully vaccinated. Please wear a mask in outdoor settings if it is crowded or you expect close contact with others.

Wearing a mask will protect you. It will protect people around you. And the more people who do it, the more we protect the community. This is similar to littering. If one person litters, no one notices the impact. If many people litter, it creates a problem for everyone.

The risks of the vaccine are far lower than the risks of COVID-19. Please get a vaccine. Even if you are healthy, it is best not to get the COVID-19 infection, because you can spread it to vulnerable people without knowing.

92% of recent COVID-19 deaths in Erie County are in people who are not fully vaccinated.
There is evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are SAFE during pregnancy. Infection with the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy can cause poor outcomes for moms and newborns. One study showed if a mother gives birth while infected with COVID-19, they have a 5 times elevated risk of dying.

There is NO evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. However, the COVID-19 infection CAN affect future fertility. You are not protected by your racial, ethnic or age group. COVID-19 is not like influenza. It is 10 times more fatal.

Why get a COVID-19 vaccine if we still have to wear masks and practice social distancing? We must use every tool available to control the pandemic. Each tool contributes toward “flattening the curve” and reducing, for example, the number of critically ill patients.

Why should I get the vaccine when people who are vaccinated can still get COVID-19? The COVID-19 vaccines were designed to prevent serious infection, hospitalization, and death. All of the current US vaccines provide very strong protection against all of these outcomes, with protection against hospitalization and death greater than 90%. Most vaccinated people who do get COVID have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms and are much less likely to be hospitalized or die.

How do we know the vaccines are safe in the long term? In the history of vaccine research, most vaccine side effects appear within a few weeks and almost all appear within six months. We now have data for well beyond six months for people who have received the COVID-19 vaccines, and it continues to show they are extremely safe. More than 360 million doses have been given in the US. At no point were shortcuts taken or safety compromised.

November 17, 2020 - 1:26pm
posted by Press Release in news, Genesee County government, social media.

Press release:

Genesee County today announced the launch of its official Facebook page (facebook.com/geneseecony) and Twitter account (twitter.com/geneseecountyny). The digital social media tools will be used to regularly communicate with the citizens of the County.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the County plans to utilize the pages to communicate important health and safety measures along with general news about the county. Content will be in the form of graphics, videos, news articles and more.

“Given how COVID-19 has impacted our community, we felt the time was right to launch these channels to easily connect with our residents with and get information from their local government in a timely manner,” said Genesee County Chair Shelley Stein.

“Not only do we want to communicate with our community about the pandemic, we also want to showcase the many things that make Genesee County a unique and special place to live, work and play.”

“Creating social media channels is another way for us to communicate to residents and taxpayers, our businesses and visitors to our community,” said Matt Landers, Genesee County manager and Budget officer. “It’s also important that we are streamlining information with other county departments, especially the health department that has its own social media channels. This will enhance the efficacy of our communications.”

September 30, 2019 - 1:29pm

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies has received the 2019 Excellence in Social Media Award from the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). The award was presented September 20, 2019 at a gala ceremony held in conjunction with PIA’s Board of Directors meeting in Orlando, Fla.

The award honors a PIA member agency that uses nontraditional communication tools to effectively further the goals of the organization. 

“Our goal was to create a social media presence that is professional, credible, interesting, visually pleasing, educational, and tells our story in a compelling way," said David S. Boyce, Tompkins Insurance president and CEO. "This award validates the success of our efforts, and we are proud to be honored in this way."

The 2019 PIA National Excellence in Social Media Award was sponsored by the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

“One of the first groups to fully embrace social media, a few years ago, was independent insurance agents,” said Lauren G. Pachman, esq., PIA National counsel, director of regulatory affairs and a board member of NIPR. “In fact, PIA National was one of the first groups anywhere to bestow an award for excellence in social media, beginning in 2010.”

“Since that time, we’ve seen an increase in the sophistication—and the positive results—of the use of social media marketing by independent insurance agencies,” Pachman said. “Today, we honor a PIA agency that has taken agency social media marketing to the next level, the winner of the 2019 PIA National Excellence in Social Media Award, Tompkins Insurance Agencies.”

About Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc.

Founded in 1875, Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc. is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 different companies.

The firm operates 17 offices in Western New York, seven offices in southeast Pennsylvania, and six offices in Central New York. A part of Tompkins Financial Corporation, (trading as TMP on the NYSE - MKT), the agency is affiliated with Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Trust Company, and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com.   

July 21, 2015 - 3:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, GCC, social media.

Press release:

From friends to followers, tweets to YouTube, Snapchats to YikYaks -- future students at Genesee Community College will one day have the opportunity to study all the nuances of social media marketing. The College's Board of Trustees has approved a new Social Media concentration within the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Business Administration degree.

With the Board's approval, the program will now be submitted to the State University of New York for approval, and later to the New York State Education Department. The College expects the program to available in the Fall of 2016.

The new concentration will provide GCC students interested in business careers with a third option -- one which focuses on the cutting-edge business, marketing and communication methodologies that predominant in today's global marketplace.

The new 62-credit concentration builds from the existing Business Administration curriculum, which provides a strong foundation in business and marketing principles, professional sales, computer applications and a selection of nine elective credits.

New Communication Technologies (COM120) and Introduction to Creative Problem Solving (CPS101) are among the courses Social Media students will take along with: Principles of Marketing (BUS213), Advertising (BUS203), Entrepreneurship (BUS225), Intro to Computers or Microcomputer Applications (CIS102 or 116), Web Publishing (CIS113) and Web Design and Implementation (CIS204).

"We've seen a number of students opt into courses that provide them the most modernized business program giving them a strategic advantage for a cutting-edge business career," said Kathleen Schiefen, Ph.D., GCC's provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

"Built around the same basic business administration coursework, these students will focus on the marketing uses of social media-such as search engines, and become technically competent using the strategic advantage of cutting-edge business degree."

GCC's Business and Commerce division currently includes the following programs: Accounting; Business Administration; Business Administration: Supply Chain Management concentration; Economic Crime Investigation; Entrepreneurship; four Fashion Business programs in: E-Commerce, Event Planning, Fashion Design, and Fashion Merchandising Management; Sales and Customer Service; and Tourism and Hospitality Management. All of the programs are open to new students of all ages, and can begin this fall semester, which starts Aug. 24.

In other business, the Board of Trustees heard a positive report from Kevin Hamilton, vice president for Finance and Operations, on the status of summer construction work for the capital project. Currently, the project involving the complete renovation of the cafeteria at the Batavia Campus and some updates at the College Bookstore is on schedule with completion targeted before the start of the fall semester.

January 18, 2015 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, social media, le roy hs, yik yak.

School officials in Le Roy have put up these posters in the hallways of the high school.

On Thursday, Principal Tim McArdle sent a message to parents about Yik Yak and said administrators were talking with students about use of the social media network, which is designed for anonymous posts that can only be read by people in the immediate area.

While the apps developers say it was designed for college students, there have been issues nationwide with high school students getting on the app and using it for bullying.


January 15, 2015 - 3:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Le Roy, social media, le roy hs, yik yak.

Yik Yak, the controversial social media app that allows users to share messages in complete anonymity to be read by people near their locations, has prompted Le Roy HS administrators to seek parental help in controlling its spread.

Principal Tim McArdle sent a message to all parents today informing them that Yik Yak use has been reported by students and there have been complaints about it already.

"Based on reports by students, individuals in our school community over the last few days have been using this app to bully others and post very degrading comments about students and staff," McArdle wrote in the message. "We have been in contact with other local districts that are experiencing the same situation this week."

The Batavian reported earlier this week that administrators at Batavia HS were aware of the app and monitoring its impact on campus life.

Yik Yak has garnered a good deal of national news coverage because of complaints of bullying and threats by users.

McArdle said administrators addressed students about Yik Yak during lunches today.

"We let them know the negative impacts that social bullying and harassing have on their fellow students," McArdle wrote. "We also encouraged students who may be negatively impacted to come forward and seek help. Students were invited to sign a pledge to delete the app from their phone. In just the first day alone we had a great turnout of students pledging to do this."

The app has been blocked from the school network, but that won't prevent students with mobile devices and their own online access from using the app.

"We now need your help as parents!," the principal wrote. "Please talk about this with your child and discourage their use of this app."

February 14, 2013 - 1:41pm
posted by Kelly Rapone in social media, public relations, copywriting, blog posts.
Company Name: 
Genesee County Chamber of Commerce
Job Type: 

Services to be Performed

The purpose of this contract is for the company to receive support in the areas of online marketing, PR, communications, social media and general outreach support to the Tourism Marketing program of Genesee County


The contractor will provide the following services within the budgetary constraints:

March 15, 2011 - 12:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC, chamber of commerce, social media.

About 20 local business owners and managers attended a talk by Kevin Manne at T.F. Brown's this morning on social media, sponsored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Manne, new media specialist for Genesee Community College spoke about how digital media is empowering customers, how that power can be harnessed to benefit a business and how to effectively promote a business on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube.

Previously: College hires new media specialist, sees rapid online growth

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