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Protesters call for cop’s resignation after social media remarks

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MEDIA — More than 60 protesters stood in front of the headquarters of the Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 Saturday, calling for the removal of borough Police Sgt. Robert “Skippy” Carroll after he posted social media comments some found threatening.

On Wednesday, Caroll, who is an FOP first vice president, posted a response on the lodge’s official Facebook page that read, “If you choose to speak out against the police or our members, we will do everything in our power to not support your business.” Then, on his own personal Facebook page, Carroll added, “Try us. We’ll destroy you.” Both comments have since been removed.

Media Mayor Bob McMahon confirmed the 25-year decorated law enforcement officer, who also holds a leadership position with the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Education and Training Commission, has since been placed on paid administrative leave.

At a separate vigil hosted by the NAACP Media Area branch and the Media Fellowship House entitled “We are Done Dying,” the mayor spoke to the 1,000 gathered in front of the Delaware County Courthouse Saturday afternoon.

“Now is the time is for Americans to come together,” McMahon said. “The killing of George Floyd has been a wake up call for America and the momentum is growing. This week, an individual member of our Media Police Department made posts on social media that do not reflect the thoughts of the borough or our police department. I can assure you that I, borough council and our police chief are taking appropriate action with regards to the matter. The Media Police Department is dedicated to serving everyone in a professional and non-biased manner.”

McMahon said the length of Carroll’s leave is at borough officials’ discretion and could be approximately 15 days.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be asked of him,” the mayor said, adding that a review will be underway. “That process has not begun yet.”

Organizers of Saturday’s event outside the FOP headquarters shared their perspective.

“This is not just an instance that is about one business interaction,” Kabeera Weissman of the Delaware County Coalition for Prison Reform said. “This is about a pattern of intimidating small business, of misuse of office. This is not the only business that Sgt. Carroll has been alleged to have intimidated. It is an abuse of his office.”

Plus, she added, it’s threatening.

“When a police officer uses his official account to threaten those who speak out against police, he’s threatening every protester in Delaware County,” Weissman said. “That is a threat that I feel and that is a threat that I feel for anyone who wants to use their Constitutional rights to peacefully assemble. When he says, ‘Try us. We’ll destroy you,’ it is a threat that contains violence and it is not acceptable.”

The Delco FOP issued its own statement, as did Carroll.

The FOP’s read: “Recently, a team member of ours posted an inappropriate comment on this platform directed at our business community, we offer our sincere apology and ask for your forgiveness. This post did not meet the integrity or values of our (1,100) members and we’re sorry for the mistake.

“We promise to do better and we have heard loud and clear the anguish of those in Delaware County and across the nation,” it continued. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our business community, residents and law enforcement as we address concerns raised by peaceful demonstrators and protesters. Our officers pledge to serve our boroughs and townships with dignity, respect and professionalism.

“Police officers across Delaware County are aware of ongoing developments in Minnesota and we send our thoughts and prayers to George Floyd’s family and friends,” it ended.

Carroll’s statement read, “This is a trying time for law enforcement. Officers are being murdered and assaulted at a record pace. Wednesday night I made a post that was poorly worded and interpreted by some as inciting violence. That was not my intention and I apologize to those who were offended.”

At least one police department represented by the FOP Lodge 27, took its own stance.

“(W)e do not share that position,” Upper Darby Police Supt. Timothy Bernhardt wrote. “In fact, we find this to be in direct contradiction to the steps we have already taken, and will continue to take, to ensure professional and fair police service in Upper Darby Township … You have a right to speak, and you deserve a police department that listens. We want a true partnership with, not only our citizens, but our businesses, regardless of politics, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity,or any other defining factor.”

He asked for the public’s discernment. “Please do not let the opinions or positions of people unrelated to our organization reflect your view of the hardworking members of our department,” Bernhardt continued. “Our hope is that open and honest communication can continue the healing process, and that ultimately, with hard work and determination, we can stay united.”

Delaware County Council also issued a statement on Friday.

“Though the FOP subsequently apologized, the damage was done, and the incident reinforced the perception that many rightfully have that law enforcement cannot always be trusted to appreciate the imbalance of power that they wield; that carrying a weapon and a badge also carries tremendous responsibility to treat the community with equality of respect, and therefore, the need for systemic reform within law enforcement in America.”

County council also hoped for unity.

“(W)e could … choose to take these events and use them as an opportunity to bring us together, and further our understanding of those whose life experiences have greatly differed from our own,” its statement read. “It doesn’t have to be ‘either/or.'”

The county leaders said more will come towards addressing the divisive issues coming to the surface now.

“We will be exploring opportunities in the coming weeks to formally bring all parts of our community, including law enforcement, to the table to create an ongoing dialogue toward the goals of much-needed reform and mutual understanding,” council said. “We hope you will join us in taking this opportunity as one to grown, and instead of dividing, to come together.”

As demonstrators chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Sgt. Carroll has got to go,” and “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police,” Weissman said the sergeant needs to leave. On Change.org, there were more than 6,000 signatures combined on two petitions also calling for his removal.

“If he does not resign, the Media Police Department needs to fire him,” she said. “The Media Police Department also needs to look at how it is dealing with accountability for its officers. This is a cultural problem for the Media Police Department. It’s systemic and it needs to stop.”

Weissman continued, “Black Lives Matter is a call for valuing the humanity of black people. It is not a call against police but we will speak out against police brutality and against police racism.”

Septuagenarians Paul and Fran Sheldon social distanced as best they could at the protest and felt, despite the pandemic, it was important to attend.

“I want a police that is responsible to the citizenry and that protects all citizens,” Paul Sheldon said. “Skippy does not seem to fit that category.”

His wife, who’s lived in Media for 20 years, was aghast.

“How can somebody in that position just think that it’s all right?” she said. “He’s trained. He’s a professional in policing and de-escalation and he chooses to escalate something that’s based on racism … It’s beyond belief that he can feel comfortable doing that and it’s beyond belief that people can say, ‘Oh, it’s all blown over now. We’ve made up.'”

She, like others at the protest, felt the sting of Carroll’s words.

“It wasn’t just between Skippy and this (business owner),” Sheldon said. “It was between Skippy and all of the residents of Delaware County. I believed that Media was safe. I believed that.”

When asked if she still believed that, she paused. “It doesn’t matter,” she added. “It really doesn’t matter.”

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Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

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Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

Making your business stand out from others in a crowded marketplace is key to its success. High-quality products and services, a smart pricing strategy, and effective marketing are just the basics. The most successful entrepreneurs have a few extra tricks that separate their business from the rest of the pack.

Tell a strong story

Businesses need to do two things to succeed; be relevant and distinctive. As Steven Hess, founding partner at WhiteCap, explains, doing one without the other will lead to failure. “Being relevant on its own leads to a focus on price and an inevitable sublimation into the sea of sameness, and customers will not look for you,” he says. “Being distinctive without solving a problem leads to gimmickry and longer-term weakness. You have to do both, and one way of uniting the two is with a strong story.”

This could focus on the founder’s story, what led them to set out on their business journey, how they identified the problem they are solving, and how they are solving it uniquely. Stories can also be drawn from customers; how are they using your products or services? What problem does it solve for them?

“You also need to look at how your competitors are presenting themselves and then present yourself in the opposite way,” says Hess. “This will feel uncomfortable, and most businesses fail at this point. Why do ads for cars, financial services, estate agents, etc., look the same? It’s because most of us don’t want to stand out. We’re afraid to fail and be seen to fail. But if we are not being seen, being distinctive and solving a real problem, we’ve already failed.”

Focus your messaging on customer needs

A company’s messaging has to be focused on its potential customer’s biggest wants and needs. It should clarify what people will get if they buy from you, what transformation they will see, and how they will feel afterward. “Most importantly, it should communicate what people will miss out on if they don’t buy from your startup,” says business growth consultant Charlie Day. “When you shift your messaging from simply trying to grow a business and make money to focusing on your customer’s biggest wants and needs, the sales and growth will come, and it will set you apart from others.”

Target an underrepresented audience

This can be a powerful way for startups to stand out. “By focusing on a group that larger companies often overlook, they can differentiate themselves and appeal to a unique and untapped market,” says Vladislav Podolyako, founder and CEO of Folderly. “And by providing solutions to the specific needs and challenges of this audience, startups can establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base.”

For example, a fitness startup targeting older adults can stand out by offering specialized classes, products, or resources. By providing solutions to the physical limitations of older adults, the startup can differentiate itself from other companies, address the unique fitness challenges faced by older adults, and build a loyal customer base.

However, as Podolyako points out, this strategy must be carefully thought out. He says: “The startup may be associated with an older audience only, so you should work with PR agencies to get the positioning right and potentially think about creating a sub-brand.”

Differentiate your social media strategy

A unique voice and communication style will make you stand out on social media. However, it’s not just what you say but what you do that makes the difference. “If everyone is offering ‘how to’ tips on LinkedIn, create some short form behind-the-scenes videos. If everyone is doing special offers on Facebook, publish some tip-based stories,” says Catherine Warrilow, managing director of Daysout.com. “Make yourself accessible for customer support on the social media channels used by your audience, for example, via What’s App or Messenger.”

Respond promptly to customer calls

Making it easy for customers to contact you and get a response is vital for customer engagement and retention. Yet, businesses are surprisingly poor at answering their phones, listing phone numbers on their websites, and responding to voicemails. It’s a massive turn-off for customers, as a survey by global communications company Moneypenny revealed, with unanswered phone calls topping the list of consumer gripes, cited by 43% of respondents, followed by annoying hold music (35%).

Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny, says: “Customers use the phone when they have an urgent or sensitive issue to discuss, so companies cannot afford to provide a poor call experience; business will be taken elsewhere. By mastering the art of call handling, businesses can keep their customers happy and loyal and boost the bottom line in the process.”

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …

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