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learning ProfNet Connect
Aug 16, 2010, 13:54 CDT
- Member Type(s): Content Publisher
Media - Print Journalist
- Organization:DM Confidential
- Area of Expertise:Media
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Friday, March 11, 2011, 2:47 PM
1. Health: Bedbug Bites Are on the Rise, Need to Be Monitored and Treated
2. Health: If You're More of a 'Techie' Than a 'People Person,' Consider a Career as a BMET
3. Health: Innovative Programs That Enhance Patient Safety
4. Health: Mind-Body Medicine: A Viable Alternative for Alleviating Pain
5. Health: Occupational Therapy Gives Hope to Families Dealing with Autism
**1. HEALTH: BEDBUG BITES ARE ON THE RISE, NEED TO BE MONITORED AND TREATED. Dr. Joshua A. Fox, founder and director of New York-based Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery: "The incidence of bedbug infestations nationwide is growing, and along with the bugs are their bites. According to a recent National Pest Management Association (NPMA) survey, nearly all U.S.-based pest-management companies (95 percent) said they have treated a bedbug infestation in the past year. That's an increase of nearly 75 percent in the past decade. Bedbug bites mimic bites from other insects, but fortunately they are nothing more than uncomfortable nuisances. They should be treated and monitored all the same to avoid complications." News Contact: Melissa Chefec, email@example.com Phone: +1-203-968-6625
**2. HEALTH: IF YOU'RE MORE OF A 'TECHIE' THAN A 'PEOPLE PERSON,' CONSIDER A CAREER AS A BMET. Scott Percy, program director and department chair of the Biomedical Equipment Technology Department at Brown Mackie College in Tucson, Ariz.: “Job opportunities are booming in the health care industry, and the U.S. Department of Labor says that growth will continue until 2018. But if you’re not a 'people person' who would enjoy interacting with patients on a daily basis, or don’t have tens of thousands of dollars and several years to invest in education, how can you get into this high-growth field? If you have an aptitude for technology, a career as a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) might be your entree into a stable, rewarding career in the health care industry. While most hospital patients never even see a BMET, these professionals are among the most important links in a health care team. BMETs are the people who ensure that the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and other hospital staff rely on functions properly at all times. The job entails routine maintenance, calibration and repair of the equipment. A biomedical equipment technician is a key hospital support professional.” News Contact: J. Stephen Dobbins, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +1-513-830-2005
**3. HEALTH: INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS THAT ENHANCE PATIENT SAFETY. Dana Siegal, program director of risk management services for CRICO/RMF Strategies, a division of the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions: "With Patient Safety Week taking place over the next several days, we should take a closer look at innovative programs that can enhance patient safety at hospitals across the country. While the costs associated with medical errors are more than $29 billion annually, it's the fact that almost 100,000 Americans die each year as a result of preventable medical errors that should make hospitals embrace best practices that can mitigate risk while driving up patient safety." Siegal can share examples of health care providers who are proactively tackling patient safety with programs that also mitigate medical malpractice risk. She is located in Cambridge, Mass. News Contact: Jill Monahan, email@example.com Phone: +1-484-244-5300
**4. HEALTH: MIND-BODY MEDICINE: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR ALLEVIATING PAIN. Michael Ellner, an internationally renowned educator of complementary and alternative medicine located in New York City, can discuss the benefits of educating doctors and people living with chronic pain about evidence-based modalities that can help them reduce or relieve chronic pain. This is timely, based on new evidence adding erectile dysfunction to the large list of adverse effects of NSAIDs: "Of course medications have their role and their use should be an option, but continuing to ignore evidence-based tools like hypnosis, self-hypnosis and autogenic training seems like nothing short of medical malpractice to me. Doctors and their patients need to know that there is a considerable body of scientific evidence showing that mind-body medicine can offer people living with pain effective alternatives that relieve and even alleviate pain -- and these modalities have no adverse effects." Ellner is available for interviews and consults. In addition to his private practice, Ellner teaches hypnotic pain-relief techniques, effective communication and creative stress management to doctors, dentists, nurses and front-line pain clinicians for PAINWeek, a major annual medical conference. He also conducts webinars for radiologists, internists, psychiatrists, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, plastic surgeons and doctors for ExecSense, the world's leading webinar publisher for medical professionals. Ellner: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: www.ellner.info and www.quantumfocusing.com
**5. HEALTH: OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY GIVES HOPE TO FAMILIES DEALING WITH AUTISM. Shonda Schilling, wife of Boston Red Sox retired pitcher Curt Schilling and a New York Times best-selling author of "The Best Kind of Different, Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome," (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers): “Occupational therapy has given my family hope that we can get to the finish line in living with our son’s struggle with Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. The effect of occupational therapy helped Grant slow his engine down and self-regulate his responses. Also, occupational therapy has made the difference between peace and constant conflict in our household.” Schilling, located in Medfield, Mass., can also describe in detail the post-diagnosis guilt she had after learning she and her baseball-legend husband had been incorrectly parenting their autism spectrum child for years. She can discuss how, as the wife of an MLB star, she was essentially a single parent for years, and how the realities of life in a baseball family made the situation with Grant even more difficult. News Contact: Beth Mullen, email@example.com Phone: 1-301-652-6611, ext. 2963 Website: www.thebestkindofdifferent.com
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Friday, February 11, 2011, 4:32 PM
I had the privilege of attending the "Pay Attention! Social Listening Done Right" panel at this year's Social Media Week in New York. As the title of the session conveys, this was a discussion about how brands and marketers listen in on conversations happening on social media channels, separate noise from meaningful signals and properly respond to the information they glean. In the company of about 120 fellow attendees (by my rough count), I enjoyed the free-flowing conversation that touched on a handful of intriguing topics and first-hand tales of the trade.
Michael Learmonth (@learmonth), digital editor at Ad Age, was the moderator of this five-man panel:
Kyle Monson (@kmonson), senior technology editor, JWT
Shiv Singh (@shivsingh), head of digital, PepsiCo Beverages
Brian Clark (@gmdclark), CEO, GMD Studios
Ed Sullivan (@ed_sullivan), vice president of strategic alliances, Radian6
Michael Jaindl (@jaindl), chief client officer, Buddy Media
Instead of typing out a play-by-play of the discussion, I've rummaged through my notes and have spotted four main points that I'll recap below. If you would like to watch the entire session, head over to Social Media Week's Livestream video of the event.
The panel was kicked off by Learmonth, who noted that though big brands are now listening to conversations happening in the realm of social media, "any 2-year-old" can do that. The real question, he asked, is: "What do I take from all of this information and how do I act?"
This led to the discussion of the following topics, among others:
1) The challenge of separating noise from meaningful signals: Singh was first to offer his thoughts on this, the "heart of the challenge we face." He said that the information gathered through social listening "only makes sense when it's put in the context of other information." Digital dashboards that help his company track how they're faring against their competitors in the social space are interesting when they're placed beside volume data and brand-health data so correlations can be observed. Singh added that while his company listens to conversations on a daily and hourly basis, "The challenge continues to be separating the noise from meaningful insight, and then data that can be actionable and data that we can respond to in a real-time sense."
Sullivan, whose company makes software and analytics to help deal with this issue, added, "The good news is that as more money is being invested into social media as a medium, as part of a fabric of a company's strategy, there are really cool tools that are coming out to actually help that entire process of finding the right piece of information, the right nuggets, and getting them to where they need to be."
Monson (who, funny enough, was monitoring the tweets about the panel with his laptop) added that the trick is putting the right person in front of all the information who can interpret the data and make the right decisions in a timely manner, an inherently risky task that might go against a marketers' nature.
An easy way to discern the noise from the signals, according to Jaindl, is to start paying attention to anything with a question mark: who, what, when, where, why and how? This is a good place to start if you want to know what you should respond to.
2) How companies should respond/act: Once you identify the important signals, the issue becomes how you should respond to them, if at all. One of the more intriguing points of the conversation occurred when Learmonth brought up an example of Virgin America sending a traveler a $200 voucher by way of a direct message on Twitter because the traveler's flight was delayed. Monson contrasted this with an airline responding to an angry tweet with just an apology and explanation, and drew the "common sense" conclusion that brands shouldn't get involved with a customer's moment of despair unless they can actually do something about it. "If you can't do something, you're just reinforcing the negative perception that I already have of your brand because my flight's delayed."
Clark pointed out that sometimes people will tweet in anger without wanting a response. He added, "The novelty of, 'Oh look, the brand actually is listening to me,' I think, over the next few years is going to be replaced by a sort of creepiness about, 'Oh, the brand is listening to me.'"
The recent Wheat Thins commercials, where consumers who tweet about the brand are visited by a yellow van and a film crew, and given a pallet stacked with boxes of Wheat Thins, was used as a possible example of this. "Now, at some point that novelty's going to wear off and that's going to be creepy," Clark said. He then told members of the audience who partake in social media listening that they are "professional voyeurs," and that there are creepy ways to use the information gathered from these activities. Clark warned that every brand that messes things up will change the landscape of consumer reaction, forcing brands to be more sensitive to this matter of privacy.
Later in the discussion, Singh brought the conversation back to gray areas when he called out "the elephant in the room," which was Facebook. While the giant social networking site clearly houses a wealth of valuable conversations for brands and marketers to tap into, the problem is that only a small slice of that is open to viewing and listening via brand pages and public profiles. Monson dubbed this walled-off information the "holy grail."
"And that's the big missing thing," said Singh. "Listening is never going to be totally scalable until we can listen to that, or we can at the very least model out the impact of what's happening on those pages." He stopped short of saying whether Facebook should actually be opened up to this extent or not, but did say he thinks what keeps Mark Zuckerberg up at night is the decision to make Facebook profiles private instead of public by default, which is the opposite of what Twitter has done.
3) Determining who brands should respond to: While it's easy for brands to respond to customers who are either big supporters or detractors, "How do you find the normal people out there?" asked Learmonth.
"Normal people don't make footprints in social media," said Clark. After some laughter, he continued, saying, "People who make footprints are having an extreme reaction. They either really love the brand or they really hate the brand."
Monson added that brands often respond to sentiments not held by the larger community. Nevertheless, Clark noted that by responding to extreme reactions, brands are showing that they're actually listening.
During the Q-and-A time later in the session, when the panelists were discussing the concept of influencers, Jaindl made the point that brands might want to worry a little bit less about who their influencers are. "Everybody has a little bit of influence, and I think people like brands that are genuine and treat everybody equal," he said. "So if someone's looking at a brand and they say, 'OK, that brand is only responding to who they think has 'influence' -- that comes across as a little bit insincere." Jaindl's bottom-line suggestion was, "Stop trying to figure out who the influencers are and start responding to everybody."
4) The perils of using Twitter as a focus group: "There's a danger in putting too much stock in what Twitter users are saying, I think, because they're not always going to be representative of the audience," said Monson regarding the idea that social media conversations may offer a glimpse into the future for brands.
"You end up with 'Snakes on a Plane,'" Clark added.
Learmonth added that listening to what consumers are saying online led to the failed attempt by CBS to bring the show "Jericho" back on the air.
"It's so tempting to use Twitter as your focus group because it's free, it's pretty easy to mine what people are saying and it's easy to throw those results into a PowerPoint deck," said Monson. "But I think you still need to actually talk to humans because…humans talk in different ways than they do on Twitter."
My takeaway: While many subjects were covered in this discussion, the overall sentiment that I walked away with was, well, more of an image -- an image of a child on a quest, trying hard to wield a large sword. While it's clear that social listening is a potent new tool that can benefit brands and marketers, there's a distinct tension between that and the cost to the unknowing consumer. As it stands, there's much to be learned about listening, responding and balancing this task in the grand scheme of bigger strategies. The path to the holy grail might be blocked, but it doesn't mean people will stop searching for other ways to that prize, no matter how many times they might fumble their weapons along the way.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 1:58 PM
Blogging has taken a backseat to Twitter and other social media darlings. After all, reading and writing brief tweets is much easier on the fingers and mind than "long-form" posts are. But does that mean blogging is becoming obsolete?
The answer, in 140 characters or less, is: "No."
According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 14 percent of teens ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-29 were bloggers at the beginning of the year. This reflects a noticeable drop from the 28 percent of teens and young adults who blogged back in 2006.
On the other hand, 11 percent older adults over 30 were blogging at the beginning of 2010, up from 7 percent in 2006.
One major reason for these trends is the widespread adoption of social network sites by younger users, while older users lag behind.
"Nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults use social network sites," according to Pew. "By contrast, older adults have not kept pace. Some 40% of adults 30 and older use the social sites in the fall of 2009."
Despite blogging's decline, it's hard to make the case that Twitter, for example, renders the communication medium obsolete. "Many bloggers tweet not out of sense of masochism but self-promotion," wrote Derek Thompson of The Atlantic. "Nobody tweets an article saying "Don't read this!""
He adds, "The role of communications media -- blogging, tweeting, aggregating -- is to extend the circle of engagement, not build walls."
Blogging offers a forum for discussion and networking that remains unrivaled by streams of tweets and status updates. Anil Dash, who has been blogging about Web technology since 1999, shared the following in an interview at Web 2.0 Expo NY:
If I spend an hour writing a couple hundred words about a really interesting challenge that we face as an industry, as a society, as a culture, sometimes I'll get the person that I'm writing about to respond. I could write something about Twitter and get somebody that works at Twitter to respond, or write something about government and get someone who makes policy to respond. That's still a thrill. It also kicks off really meaningful conversations. I think that's all you can hope for.
That was the promise we had when we all first discovered the Web. Someday it would bring us all together and we'd be able to have these conversations. It's not perfect. It's not ideal. But in some small way here's somebody like me -- with no portfolio, I didn't go to an Ivy League school, I didn't have any fancy social connections when I started my blog -- and it has opened the door to me having a conversation as a peer, as somebody taken seriously, in realms that I would have never otherwise had access to. That's the greatest privilege in the world.
Of course, not everyone can get bigwigs to comment on their small-time blogs with readerships made up of only friends and family. But blogs offer everyone a chance to share their in-depth knowledge or perspectives on a topic in a way that 140 characters tossed into a quickly moving stream can't. (We haven't even touched on the SEO opportunities that blogs open up.)
So go on, start posting on that neglected blog again, or create one for the first time. In an age when vintage clothing is hip, blogging will be trendy again sooner or later. Be a trendsetter and reap the benefits in the meantime.
Friday, October 8, 2010, 4:32 PM
What a difference a summer can make.
In the span of a few months, NBA superstar LeBron James has gone from being one of the most popular athletes in the country to one of the least popular. This is, of course, due to his ill-advised "The Decision" on July 8, otherwise known as "The Televised Stomping of Cleveland's Soul."
The Q Scores Company has numbers to tell the story. Before James' public announcement to take his talents to South Beach, 24 percent of the general population thought well of him, while 22 percent thought poorly of him.
These were strong scores, given that the average sports personality has a positive score of 15 percent and a negative score of 24 percent, according to Henry Schafer, executive vice president of The Q Scores Company.
However, 14 percent of the general population now views James in a positive light (a 41.6 percent drop), and 39 percent sees him in a negative light (a 77 percent plunge into unfavorable territory).
This puts him in some distinguished (or is it disgraceful?) company, making him the sixth most disliked sports personality behind Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Kobe Bryant.
Bryant is back in the good graces of many and he's not having any more troubles getting his mug back in commercials. Why? Championships.
Before the injury to his ribs last weekend, Vick was on the fast track to redemption. Why? Because he was playing phenomenal football.
While Woods has had his golfing struggles since trudging past his messy divorce, he was already a winner of 71 PGA Tour events before his personal disaster, which could be why he still has a good shot at mending his public image.
This season will be about James' quest for his first NBA championship, but the underlying storyline of whether he can repair his public image or not will be just as engaging to watch. The easy answer seems to be that the two missions are one in the same, and that simply winning will compel the public to forgive his trespasses. But are there other measures he can take, short of saving lives back in his hometown of Akron, Ohio?
My hunch is that if James just keeps his head down, keeps a short leash on his tongue and plays his brains out on the basketball court, he'll be just fine. After all, at just 25 years old, he has many years to make people forget about this indiscretion.
Nevertheless, James' off-court team will have just as difficult a task as his on-court team this season, and I can't wait to see how both will fare.
Friday, September 10, 2010, 5:04 PM
Google Instant is cool and all, but what are the true implications -- for searchers, for marketers and for everyday consumers? The jury's still out on all that, but here are some early thoughts from some smart people:
1) For search marketers: John Ellis at Search Engine Land discusses the potential harm Google Instant will inflict on regionally targeted keywords. He also thinks that ad impressions could drop, given how Google will try to adjust its rules for counting them. Maybe the most interesting consequence Ellis notes is the potential doom that Google Instant spells for long-tail queries.
2) For research firms: Ryan Singel at Wired.com writes about the conundrum Google Instant will be for marketing research firms like comScore, which was already having a hard time making sure their monthly market-share numbers were accurate. The big question is: What counts as a search now?
3) For TV viewers: Tim Carmody at Wired.com wonders what the benefits will be for TV viewers. He thinks it could be a boon for this segment of couch potatoes, since Google Instant integrated with Google TV could make searching for programs and channel surfing with a hard-to-type-with remote much easier.
4) For mobile users: Jessica Dolcourt at CNET looks at how Google Instant could be great for mobile users. Like TV viewers, mobile users have to grapple with inconvenient "keyboards," so having Google Instant there to guess at what the complete query is would be a relief. The only potential drawback here is signal strength and how that might drag down its effectiveness.
I'm intrigued at the possibilities Google Instant presents. The four ideas above are just the tip of the iceberg, and it will be exciting to see where it all ends up.