01 December 2012

Off the Post

Garbled Garber.
During Saturday’s MLS Cup, ESPN sent out a call for questions from Twitter to Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, using the hashtag #FCBootRoom.

With the promise that a few of our questions would be posed to the Commissioner during the halftime interview, I—like many, many others—sent our queries.

“The best queries will be answered by MLS Commissioner Don Garber during the halftime interval.”
ESPN- The Boot Room, 01 December 2012

They asked one question from Twitter. 

One question. 


Here’s the single question asked of the commissioner from Twitter:

Here are the questions I had:

And here is a Storify collection of some others they missed:

And a couple of my favorites:

What a wasted opportunity; worse than Donavan’s miss in the first half. In any case, I hope you enjoyed the Final. We can discuss Beckham’s future when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.    

07 September 2012

Educating Twitta’

Student Twittucation.
Twitter is being used in many different ways. For business, news, and just plain fun, it has become the default sharing engine for many of us. We are able to create our own little information bubbles based in the topics we’re interested in, and tailor conversations around each of our points of preference.

But how are we preparing our next generation to harness this resource? In 2006, I started working with the Intel Education Foundation team showing teachers around the globe how to incorporate emerging technology into their classrooms. While developing ways to reinvent established pedagogy to include emerging and evolving advancements, I discovered Twitter. And Blogger. And a number of other services we now take for granted. 

It seems like every day there’s a launch of another resource which could make our education system better. As long as we use them. The highly motivated among us can gather Ph.D.-level knowledge and skills with nothing more than a Wi-Fi connection using tools like iTunes U and YouTube, and Codecademy.

Are these resources being incorporated into the de facto education systems we force onto our youth? The question is becoming more and more important as our unemployment rate remains at difficult levels while potential employers are desperate to fill skilled jobs. We need to make sure that we are creating workers for the next economy, not just creating students who can fulfill some politically motivated standardized testing quotas.

In a few weeks, NPR‘s “Tell Me More” will host a live forum in conjunction with member-station WLRN in Miami to talk about the state of education in the U.S. The broadcast, part of the compelling StateImpact project NPR has been producing, will air 10 October, but you can participate in the lead-up to the show right now on Twitter. Host Michel Martin has invited listeners to begin a conversation before the broadcast using the #NPRedchat hashtag. If you’re interested in participating, let them know now. 

We should all be doing more to make sure that we are building the right kind of education system for today’s students and tomorrow’s innovators. And in this election season, now is the time to make sure those who are responsible for implementing changes are hearing what we are saying. If you have thoughts, don’t remain silent. Our progress depends on your participation. 

Gather your ideas. Post them on Twitter. Share them with your friends, family, and elected officials. And we can talk about them more when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

06 September 2012

A Notion for the Nominated

Tweet the Vote.

During last week's Republican convention, the most ReTweeted update came from a Democrat: President Barrack Obama. Obviously inspired by Clint Eastwood’s appearance in Tampa, President Obama was able to capitalize on the distraction from Mr. Romney’s keynote address that Mr. Eastwood provided.

As I watch the Democrats gather in Charlotte this week, I hope that they are more disciplined in describing the platform they have developed. In an attempt to help in that cause, I humbly submit the address I wish our President would deliver Thursday night:

Madam Chairman Wasserman Schultz, Vice President Biden, Democrats, and my fellow Americans: In order to continue moving this country forward, I accept your nomination.
I accept so that we can keep implementing the vision we laid out four years ago in Denver. I accept to make sure that we stay on the path of prosperity we have embarked on together. I accept to make sure that in another four years, there will be no question that you, and I, and every American are better off than we are today, and much better off than we were four years ago. 
I stood before 80,000 of you democrats in Denver in 2008 asking for you to believe in the vision I had for us as a nation. And, while tonight's venue is a bit smaller, I still believe in the grander and greatness of that vision. Now, I don't think any of us were prepared for the hurdles we encountered in our path to a more prosperous future, but we are Americans, and we have never shied away from the tough jobs. In fact, we tackle them. That's one of the qualities that continue to make us great. And no economic turmoil, or natural disaster, or obstructionist politician can keep us from moving forward, together, as one nation.
We live in a country that no longer fears Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda top lieutenants. We live in a country where none of our soldiers are fighting in Iraq. We live in a country where students will no longer be shackled by the burden of student loan debt, and where your healthcare is not more expensive, just because you are a woman.
Now, maybe that vision was a bit over-ambitious, but I would rather be accused of our ideas being too bold, than too bland. Too grandiose than too quotidian. Too inspired, than too insipid. Just last month, we put a vehicle on Mars. On Mars. Through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, a team of some of our brightest men and women–including a Systems Engineer with a mohawk–helped guide the Curiosity rover to the surface of another planet. That's the ambition we need. That's the vision I have, and that's the type of dedication I need from you to help make it happen. Dedication that will lead us to strengthening our education system, so that we will lead the world in college graduates by 2020. So that we can create a workforce, not for the jobs of yesterday or today, but so we can develop an new kind of education for the economy of tomorrow.
We need to continue to invest in ourselves. In our future. And not just so that America can continue to lead the world in awe-inspiring accomplishments and innovations, but to lead in art and film and music and dance. To continue to be the envy of every advanced nation as a symbol of what can be accomplished when we believe in ourselves. We will create an America where it's easy for a student in the Research Triangle here in North Carolina to build a business based on an idea that came to her late one night in her dorm room. An America where we have invested enough in our infrastructure so that a craft beer maker in Colorado can safely deliver his newest batch to neighborhood markets on roads we built. An America where we invest in alternative sources of energy, so that workers in Iowa can turn the boom in wind power technology into new jobs and new opportunities. An America where we help industries when they need it, so that when they recover, they can create things like the Chevy Cruze which is being built entirely by Americans in plants and factories and offices in Ohio.
Investment in ourselves also includes making sure that everyone is treated equally, in every home and in every workplace and in every courtroom. That's why, as my first act in office, I signed the Lilly Ledbetter act, which ensures that equal work is rewarded with equal pay, no matter what. That's why I repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell, so that service and love of country can coexist with love of another, no matter what. And it's why I enacted the Affordable Care Act, so that you can get the healthcare you need, no matter what.
I want to keep working for you. For us. For a better tomorrow. A tomorrow with a bigger Middle Class. And through a fair, simple tax reform, we can both tackle the deficit and strengthen the Middle Class families that in turn will strengthen America. The sad truth is that the lobbyists and corporations who are taking advantage of our current tax codes aren't passing any of the money they're saving down to you. No, they're keeping it, and telling us about it every time the report their record profits. By spreading the tax burden out more evenly across all Americans, including those who avoid elevators in parking garages because they have elevators in their own garages, we can rebuild a Middle Class that is no longer aspirational, but attainable.
These investments in our future also mean taking care of those who take care of us: our firefighters, our police officers, our nurses and our service men and women stationed around the country and around the world. We ask so much of them, we should be able to give them the support and tools they need, not just to do their jobs, but to excel and prosper after those jobs are finished. 
Our armed services have responded every time we've called. And we owe them a lot. That's why we implemented a responsible end to the war in Iraq, handing control back to the Iraqi people, and brought our troops home. These brave men and women, and the ones serving in Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, or anywhere else on our globe, ask nothing more from us than our support when they come home. And that seems like the least we can do. We have fought to expand and improve benefits for veterans and their families. We've granted them more access to healthcare. And we've improved the number of educational and occupational opportunities available when they come home. But we're not done yet. We can do more. So much more. And with your help, we can continue to move these efforts forward for another four years.
Now, there are a lot of things we cannot control. Apparently, we may not be able to control the tides, but we can control the waves of negativity that greets us every day as we watch the 24-hour news cycle. When we started this journey together, we knew that the road would be tough, but we were undaunted. Because we had faith. Faith in each other to pull together to get what needed to be done so that it benefits us all.
Sometimes, politicians are too isolated. So concerned with getting re-elected, they close themselves off to new ideas. These next four years, with your voices as a clarion call, we need to show our elected officials, myself included, that not every good idea comes out of Washington DC. They can come from anywhere and anyone. Not just those with influence. Not just those with lobbying groups. Not just those with overseas bank accounts or who think corporations are people. You know, just once, I'd like to turn to a TV station, or pick up a newspaper, or see an update on Twitter which says, "Bi-partisan agreement reached for the good of the country." We can do better. We must do better. And with your help, we will do better.
We are a nation of ideas. And we are a nation of actions. But far too often, the types of debates, and the tenor of these debates, have stifled our ability to get anything accomplished. That's why it's been hard for some Americans over the last four years. There is no doubt, however, that our country is better off now than it was on that historic day in January. We have been working together to tackle many of the problems that faced us at inauguration. And since then, we have witnessed 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth. That didn't come easily. But our ideas are working. Maybe more slowly than we had hoped, but they are working. And to keep them working, I need you to help me over the next four years. 
Our vision of the United States is shaped by us. This is still our time. It's our time to continue looking forward to the work that is yet to come, and yet to be done. To look forward to a day when a student in Nevada, or a National Guard member in Florida, who were brought here years ago by parents looking to give their child a chance at a better future, has the opportunity to become a citizen, and make a difference in people's lives, instead of hiding in the shadows. To look forward to a day when a grandmother in Virginia doesn't have to decide between paying for pills or paying for potatoes. Forward, to a day where a man in Virginia can finally marry the man he's loved for decades. And forward, to a day where we can cooperate on a budget proposal, even if it comes from a Wisconsin Congressman. 
We are privileged to live in a country where even if we don't all agree on a particular idea, we–all of us–can discuss them in a way that makes it clear that the idea is more important than which side of the aisle it came from. A country where we have the responsibility to make sure everyone will continue to be better off than we were four years ago. And when we look back, four years from now, we can say, "Yes we did move forward," to an America where we look out for each other. Where we help one another. Where we worked together, in finding common ground among our differences toward a better tomorrow. Forward to a place where even a man from Hope and another from Crawford can work together to create something greater than the sum of their parts
That's why tonight, I'm looking to you California. And I'm looking to you New York. And I'm looking to you Pennsylvania. And to all of you dedicated Democratic delegates to help me finish what we started in Denver four years ago. We created hope. We created change. Now, let's carry them forward.. Forward, to finish what we started.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless these United States of America.

I appreciate you allowing me this indulgence, and welcome your comments. The posts here have again been sporadic, I know. Unfortunately, that will continue until this election is over. Remember, even when I’m not here, you can always find me on Twitter. Wherever you track me, I hope to see you on the ’morrow on the Web.

20 June 2012

Harnessing Complexity

Suited for real-time.
Twitter’s importance in Cannes continued on Wednesday as CEO Dick Costolo presented a seminar called, “Harnessing the Power of Real-time Connections.” During his talk, Mr. Costolo reportedly presented examples and advice on how to turn cultural events into real-time marketing opportunities.
“We live in a world where the conversation—if we pay attention to it—can lead to a campaign.”
Dick Costolo- Cannes Lions, 20 June 2012
The recent introduction of hashtag pages gives brands, marketers, and event organizers a consolidated presence within the Twitter framework to promote a real-time discussion. They also give Twitter a potentially huge new source of income. But is this the Holy Grail of revenue that Twitter critics have been looking for? Maybe. And here’s why.

The new Web product enables a lot. For Twitter, these new pages provide a way to create a community, within its own domain, to anyone with a marketing budget. For promoters, the pages offer another outlet to create and craft a consolidated conversation. And for users, this new endeavor offers the opportunity for a meaningful tête-à-tête with the accounts and interests they track.

Let’s take the highly-touted NASCAR partnership as an example. Searching for #NASCAR leads you to a branded, and presumably purchased, page of results which features updates from a select group of accounts. Twelve of these accounts are highlighted in a “Top people” section, but updates from all other accounts are quickly accessible through the “View all Tweets” link. 

This is a great way for Twitter to curate posts from some driver, track, and sanctioning body accounts. And even if you’re trying to find out what other people are saying about NASCAR, this is much less intrusive than most pop-up ads, and presents contextually relevant content based on the NASCAR search term. However, it does leave me asking a few questions:
  • Which accounts get included in the results?
  • How did they get selected?
  • Did they pay to get included?
  • How can I get my updates include in the search results?
  • What about the accounts I follow?

This effort could be the first, big step toward a fast, flexible advertising product. Marketers could customize which accounts and topics are included in ad buys as circumstances change. Real-time adjustments would allow conversations to emerge and evolve naturally while still supplying campaigns the ability to promote their ideas.

Now, making sure you have a team in place that can accurately and adequately monitor and react to an ongoing event can be tricky. Just ask McDonalds. Or Kenneth Cole. Or Netflix. But that is a larger topic for a longer day. Like tomorrow, the longest day of the year. Find out if I tackle it when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

19 June 2012

I Cannes Haz Lions

Did you see the #CannesLions hashtag floating around on Twitter today? Touted as the “the world's biggest celebration of creativity in communications,” The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is taking place in France this week. Why is this relevant to this blog? Because Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-creator, Co-founder, and Executive Chairman—as well as Co-founder and CEO of Square, Inc.—was named Media Person of the Year. 

In a press release, Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, pointed out that through Twitter, Mr. Dorsey has given us a new way  to share and learn from each other.
“The power and simplicity of what he has created has made Twitter a social phenomenon.”
Philip Thomas- Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 15 May 2012
We can’t just focus on Twitter as the primary reasoning behind the award, however. Mr. Dorsey’s work with Square deserves an equal share of the credit. These two efforts, combined, weigh into the title “Media Person of the Year.” Focusing solely on Twitter gives too much credit to Mr. Dorsey’s efforts there, and not enough to his efforts at Square, not to mention the influence of fellow Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

In any case, a hearty congratulations go out to Mr. Dorsey. For Twitter. For Square. And for democratizing information for us all. Information you can find again here when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

18 June 2012

Migratory Story

Hashtags from car tags.
Thanks to a wonderful change in my employment status, these posts can start up again. It’s been a long while since my last update here, and Twitter has changed considerably in the interim. They’ve got a new look, a new address, and even a new Larry!

I hope to return to the almost-daily regularity of my previous entries. With Twitter growing so quickly, and its influence on politics, advertising, and sports becoming larger and larger, I have no doubt that there will be plenty to pontificate about. 

As always, if you have something to add, let me know. Post it here in the comments, or—better yet—send me a note on Twitter. Either way, I’ll see it when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.