The Internet Is The New Town Hall – People probably already know about a couple of ways to log formal gripes with their city about things like downed tree limbs, crummy garbage service or graffiti. A person could call up their councilmember, or file a 3-1-1 ticket or even turn up for a public meeting. These methods, though, have been found to be be intrusive and inconvenient. But what if people never even had to contact City Hall about needed road repair on Main Street because City Hall already saw their tweets? Cities are trying to go where the people are already publicly expressing themselves thanks to IBM’s Smarter Cities program. The program’s software claims it can determine aggregated public opinion – positive, neutral and negative – in the millions of data points that make up social media ramblings.Cities would be able to answer questions like: Are parents in Chicago supportive of the teachers’ strike? What are New York subway riders saying about the new trash program? Or what are Los Angelenos about the crackdown on pot dispensaries? These sentiment analysis tools work precisely because people have made so many of their private thoughts publicly available in cyber space. From a city’s perspective, the Internet is the new town hall. “Think about health care services, think about the pothole, think about the bus and transportation capability that could be rerouted and moved as a result of understanding things a few minutes sooner,” Chris O’Connor, vice president for IBM Industry Solutions Software says. As many have experienced, five minutes can make a huge difference in a traffic jam.

Via The Atlantic


Forget Information Overload, It’s Information Just-Right-Load – Contrary to many experts’ warnings that the “always-on” media environment has “overwhelmed” audiences, a study by Northwestern University and the University of Michigan found that participants said they felt “empowered” and “enthusiastic” about the volume of information at their fingertips, not overloaded. Participants expressed near-unanimous enthusiasm about the new media environment stated the report. Instead of feeling burdened by choice many participants enjoyed the freedom it brought, especially the range of information available online. Social networking sites didn’t receive that same endorsement from interviewees, who said that when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, it’s the quality of information not the quantity that turns them off. There is a distaste for activities on social network sites, suggesting that many people are annoyed by what they perceive as the minutia of people’s lives fed to them through Facebook and Twitter.

Via Huffington Post


Grocery Stores Gain Edge With In-Store Dieticians – There’s been an explosion of interest in having a dietitian among grocery store retailers in the last three or four years.  According to Phil Lempert, a grocery industry expert, the dietitian’s role is expanding. “The field of nutrition is getting more and more complicated,” Mr. Lempert said. Dietician services are sweeping the grocery business as it tries both to capitalize on growing consumer awareness of the role food plays in health and wellness and to find new ways to distinguish themselves from competitive food retailers. Sara Steinbach, a grocery store dietitian, relayed she had never seen interest in the position so high. “I think retailers are starting to see our value,” she said. “They can document increased sales of healthier items; the e-mails from shoppers wanting appointments; and the invitations from manufacturers wanting us to come to their conferences.” From Hy-Vee to Wegmans to Whole Foods are providing dietitians to their customers for in-store consultations, store tours, cooking classes, assembling take-home meals and taking biometric screenings.Communities are even using their services for presentations in schools, local businesses and even help communities set up their gardens.”Customers don’t have a lot of time or don’t know what they’re looking for.The claims on the front of the packaging aren’t always about nutrition, or sometimes they just don’t know what’s important,” Kristen Decker, a Hy-Vee dietitian says. Shoppers are looking to stores to help educate them on complex topics and help them navigate their choices especially in the confusing realm of nutrition.

Via NYTimes


Google Keynote: Marketing Worth Sharing – Tom Fishburne, a cartoonist that frequently speaks on innovation, marketing and creativity, was the keynote speaker at Google’s “Think Branding” event this month. Tom shared five insights about creating marketing worth sharing.

1 – Technology can’t save a boring idea but it can accelerate a remarkable one.

2 – People don’t buy brands because of what they do. They buy brands because of why they do it.

3 – Being mass market does not mean appealing to everyone. By appealing to everyone, brands end up being meaningful to no one. And you have to be meaningful to be shared.

4 – Don’t be a one-hit wonder. A loyal following is more important than a viral video. Continuity trumps virality.

5 – Marketing is not about convincing audiences how awesome brands are. Marketing is about helping a brand’s audience become more awesome.



Learn This: JOMO – The “Joy of Missing Out” (JOMO) is the counterpoint of the much talked about FOMO or “fear of missing out.” In an age where social media has made us even more aware of the things we are missing out on, JOMO is an attitude that embraces the enjoyment of knowing that there are folks out there having the time of their life at something that you are choosing to skip. There’s a lot of pressure in society to constantly update where you are, what you are doing and whom you are with. The JOMO attitude can help relieve the pressure and anxiety of constantly comparing your life with that of your friends.

NYTimes | August 25, 2012

Watch This: Tickets are on sale for a planned political debate between Jon Steward and Bill O’Reilly. The event, officially billed as “O’Reillv v Stewart 2012: The Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” costs $75-$100 a ticket. For those who can’t afford to attend, event organizers are going the route of Louis CK and offering viewers access to a live stream of the debate Saturday, October 6th at 8PM ET. Cost for a streaming pre-order is a more wallet-friendly at $4.95, with half of online profits going to charity.

Try This Site:

Pardon me – are you friends with Grey Poupon? Grey Poupon released a Facebook app which uses an algorithm to interpret a user’s percentage of good taste. Those who wish to ‘like’ the brand will have to have their application reviewed based upon specific lifestyle measures ranging from proper use of grammar, restaurant check-ins, books read and movie selections. Those accepted into the exclusive Society of Good Taste will have access to special deals and promos. Are you fancy enough to be friends with Grey Poupon? Try it out here.


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