Archive for December, 2009

Go Ahead, Ask Away

December 31, 2009

Messing with Formspring now. Not really sure why, but it seems like a pretty cool little app.

So, fire away, I am on Formspring now.

I’ll do my best to keep up.

Twittering the Hall of Shame

December 26, 2009

So here it on Christmas Night, and I am trying to catch up on some reading and came across this interesting tidbit.  The DA in Montgomery County TX is going to share the names of people arrested in his jurisdiction on Twitter.   This is not convictions mind you–its arrests.

For me, its kind of a flashback to one of my first jobs at a tiny radio station in Rockland County, NY.  The news director who hired me had a quantity over quality policy.  So each shift, each editor and anchor had a quota of stories they had to write.  It wasn’t about the content, it wasn’t about the journalism–it was about the count.  So, we pulled out press releases from the local DA about DWI indictments.  Stories went something like this:

“The decision to allegedly drive drunk was a bad one for <insert name>.”  We would round out with some basic facts (location of the arrest, score on breathalyzer etc) and we were one story closer to the quota.

But did it serve any kind of true journalistic or community purpose?  When Kathleen Rice was elected DA in Nassau County, NY she ran on a platform of being tough on DWI.  She took to the local papers with the names of those convicted of DWI.

But this is a new twist, and one that has legal bloggers asking questions.  And I have to admit, as a member of the fifth estate I am too.  Y

Yeah, its public information the arrests.  And there are times it can be salacious–but really, is this what we are down too?

What’s next for Twitter or Foursquare or Gowalla?  Red marking the location of sex offenders?

I am never one to promote prior restraint–it’s almost antithetical to being a good journalist.  But in this case, there is no conviction, there is no real asset to the community–I suppose there can be some good PR for the DA–but then he can always name these people a “person of interest” because it’s the same thing.

The People Have Spoken: I’m Not So Bad Off

December 15, 2009

I very accidentally found out that just when I think things are going as bad as they can, from the outside it may not be so bad.  Perhaps the grass can be greener.

Last weekend a bunch of stuff went on (family, friends, loved ones, holidays)-you know just a bunch of stuff.  I was talking with a friend of mine who reminded me of FML–you know what you may say in a bad situation, “F*ck My Life.”

And as advertising has taught us–there’s an app for that as well.  So, I added the FML app to my iPhone and started sharing the happenings of my weekend and why I feel FML.

And much to my surprise, the community-hundreds of people at a time, determined that things are not as bad as I think they are.

My FML’s have been rejected.

And I think that’s a good thing for me.  After all, here I was thinking, “Wow, I am f’d.”  And hundreds of people didn’t think so.  Its kind of cathartic actually.

While I am not saying that every issue can be helped by simple crowd-sourcing, it is a powerful tool.  Let the people speak and they will determine just how worthy the cause is.

My friends at BNet recently pointed out some of the intrinsic value of crowdsourcing and why it makes sense.

From a business perspective–increased creativity, new voices in the decision making process and a true look into what I like to call vox populi (Google it).  It comes with some downside too, because business can’t control the conversation or the expectation.  Its a bit of sharp edge to walk.

However, it also answers the question–now that I have Tweeted, shared, Digged and Wiki’d everything-what happens?

Well the answer is conversation–and perhaps as I learned, things are not as bleak as they appear, or at least that is what the vox populi is telling me.

Its the same as all the other deals: Location, Location, Location

December 11, 2009

For the last five years I’ve heard, read or been told that “this is the year of mobile.”  Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of a year of mobile.  Rather I think its a progression of the way data flows and the ubiquity of better devices.

And as data flow gets better (despite what my friends at ATT are saying) and devices get better 2010 may finally be the year of what was called LBS (Location Based Services) a long time ago.  And by long I mean three years ago.

Now there are core mobile based products like Foursquare, Gowalla, Aloqua, Where that let a user find friends, locations, places, things to do all based on current location and a database.

Now this should be hugely appealing to sales folks and brands because when I am in the heart of Manhattan and looking for a burrito chances are the top item closest to me wins–and that has value.  The problem right now is figuring out what that value is.

The other problem is conveying that value.

Yeah, any sales person will tell you its all bout location.

And any brand will tell you its all about proximity

But is this the year it all comes together?

Guess I’ll Have to Go Old School This Time

December 4, 2009

12/5 UPDATE:  So it took two calls, but got the appointment I needed.  Still, it would have been better to search online for the test–would have cost everyone less in time and resources.

I’d like to think I am pretty tech savvy.  Yeah, there are some things I don’t get and probably don’t need to get, but overall I am certainly more than able to leverage the tools of my trade to do research, fill in blanks and  get things done.

As I tend to remind people though from time to time, at the end of the day we can do 1000 things exactly right, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.

Case in point is my five-day quest to find a lab to perform a very specific medical test that my doctor has prescribed.  Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong.  But I did a blood test a few weeks ago and there were some abnormalities–I chalk that up to mostly being north of 40.  So my doctor asked me to go have this test done.

Pretty easy I thought.  My health insurance company has a pretty good website, I am sure I can put in some keywords, locations and piece of cake–data.  Not so much.  I can get a list of labs near my house or near my office but I have no idea if they perform this test.

Sounds like a solvable problem right? Just a quick call, because this data has to exist somewhere in the insurance company database, right?

Yeah, not so much.  After waiting on hold for 15 minutes the guy at my insurance company offered to do the same search that I did and give me a list of places I can call.  So I ask him, “Can’t you search by procedure or test?”  “No,” is his response.  “Did you want me to send you a list?”  “No,” I responded.  “I already have that.”

So I figure I would ask my pals at Google.  After all Google knows everything right?

Yeah, not so much.

Now, I can do some deep reading and scare the crap out of myself with what if’s about results of this test, but I still can’t find a place to actually get this test done.

So, to the phones I go.  A little old school for you.

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