Smart Speakers and Thermostats Will Monetize Life at Home – The Atlantic

As internet-connected devices and appliances accumulate, one academic foresees “the monetization of every move you make.”
— Read on

In other words: how Alexa will eventually use my Nest data to sell me a cashmere sweater – and not just any cashmere sweater but one that I really really like.

Negotiations at the IRL/URL Border | Motherboard

Great article about our relationship with the NET.

“Appropriate online behavior is characterized by Victorian gestures of withholding. Good girl Tweets are moderate, both in number and in subject matter. Speak only of your sex life and your politics in the abstract. Do not cry openly in the feed. Remain aloof and distant from any project of online self-making, preface your links with the affectless, “I wrote a thing.” One may feel “real emotions” over books, over sex, over the Mad Men finale or even video games, but today’s net is willfully dumb and cheap and base.” 

Image: Liz Barr

Read the full piece…

Negotiations at the IRL/URL Border | Motherboard.

Do as I Say Not as I Do

social media strategy

It has been almost 2 months since my last post? Oy.  Bad Social Media Strategist. Bad.

I have had a whirlwind couple of months with new projects, travel to SXSW and NY and an overwhelming amount of inspiration.  It’s all too much to fully address.  But I have been tweeting about it all and sharing quite a bit on facebook.

Last night I heard an interview with Paul Levinson. They were asking him about the “new new media”; both his book and the social media phenomenon itself. I find NEW New Media an interesting term. When Levinson wrote his book the phrase “social media” was not yet on everyone’s lips the way it is today.

Having been around “NEW MEDIA” for more than 15 years – I can say that it is always new. There is always something new. THANK GOD. I’ve been wondering why we all just have the need to “name things” and put labels on things (gee I sound like a non committal man!)  If social networking had been called foo foo networking…we would all be practicing foo foo media. This is what I am now telling people.

The talent that really moves the needle for any media; is when you know how to connect it with all the former “New Medias” (radio, print, online, outdoor, digital outdoor, lifestyle, hand to hand, etc..etc..etc..)  No one media alone will get your message, your product or your art noticed. There is the need to build an ecosystem of all these things in tandem.

So I ask not what your Social media Strategy looks like – rather – what does your ecosystem look like? You can’t just think about one thing at a time anymore….including social media. It is not the saviour. It is just another tool in the marketing mix.

Grab Levinson’s Book Here.

32 feet of books for every man woman and child

digital declutter

De-cluttering your digital life can set you free

// <![CDATA[// <![CDATA[
if(!YAHOO){var YAHOO = {};}
YAHOO.BuzzWidgetTries = 0;
if(YAHOO && YAHOO.util && YAHOO.util.Event && YAHOO.Media && YAHOO.Media.Buzz){
(function(){ var buzz = new YAHOO.Media.Buzz(“buzz-top”,{“sync”:”buzz-bottom”,”countPosition”:”after”,”fetchCount”:false,”loc_strings”:{“buzz_up”:”Buzz up!”,”buzzed”:”Buzzed!”,”one_vote”:”{0} vote”,”n_votes”:”{0} votes”}});buzz.onSuccess.subscribe(function(){ if(YAHOO.Updates){ YAHOO.Updates.Disclosure.showDialog({“container”:”yup-container”,”source”:”buzz”,”type”:”buzzUp”,”lang”:”en-US”}); } }); })();(function(){ var buzz = new YAHOO.Media.Buzz(“buzz-bottom”,{“sync”:”buzz-top”,”countPosition”:”after”,”fetchCount”:true,”loc_strings”:{“buzz_up”:”Buzz up!”,”buzzed”:”Buzzed!”,”one_vote”:”{0} vote”,”n_votes”:”{0} votes”}});buzz.onSuccess.subscribe(function(){ if(YAHOO.Updates){ YAHOO.Updates.Disclosure.showDialog({“container”:”yup-container”,”source”:”buzz”,”type”:”buzzUp”,”lang”:”en-US”}); } }); })();
} else if(YAHOO.BuzzWidgetTries

  • Buzz up! 


We’ve got multiple e-mail accounts, social networks, media streams, blogs, websites, electronic calendars, instant messages, phone contacts, online bills, passwords coming out of our ears and screen after screen after screen of computer stuff to back up, share and sync.

That doesn’t include the virtual reams floating in the ether, enough to fill the Library of Congress more than 40,000 times, said Douglas C. Merrill, former chief information officer for Google, Ph.D. in cognitive science and dude who wants to help us better manage our digital clutter.

“That’s 32 feet of books for every man, woman and child in America. We’re drowning in information,” said Merrill, who nearly wrecked his health helping to manage the details of taking Google public.

Merrill, once an information scientist at the Rand Corp., struggled with dyslexia as a kid, so de-cluttering — digital and otherwise — is a huge priority for him, so much that he’s written a book on the subject with James Martin, “Getting Organized in the Google Era.”

We all know about clutter offline, but our digital selves have filled up in a huge way, too. We’re suffering, but we can’t dig out or keep up with rapidly changing and proliferating tools. Geeks do. They track products and reviews — and have the time and skills to test them. The rest of us fret and stress.

“I have several e-mail accounts. I have several websites. I’m constantly behind returning phone calls. It’s a good day if the number of unread messages is below 200,” said Berit Brogaard, a St. Louis college professor and single mom to a busy 6-year-old whose life also needs to be managed.

Anybody looking for a non-urgent e-mail reply from Brogaard might be waiting awhile. She relies on a few canned e-mail responses that she stashes in Gmail and rolls out when she’s swamped, like this one for close friends:

“Hey there! Miss you. I am insanely busy. Sorry for being so lame. Will fill you in soon.”

Merrill, who left Google for the music company EMI, then his own financial startup in Los Angeles, said a good place to begin a digital de-clutter is accepting that our brains are lousy multitaskers, among other bad things. They need all the help they can get in clearing out space, just like our computers and smart phones.

Another good place to start is taking heart in the array and flexibility of today’s tools. He offers these tips, acknowledging there’s no one-size-fits-all answer:



Abandon the notion of “filing” and “folders” as a way to alleviate anxiety over a messy computer desktop, Merrill said. Folders, the paper and digital kind, must be maintained, and your brain must remember what you’ve put in them.

“The problem is we can never find the information we’ve stored, so we wind up with folders and folders we don’t know what to do with,” Merrill said. “Search is the new organization. Search can set us free from the clutter of our imperfect minds” by allowing us to get a little messy. No time is lost on meticulously filing and hunting for folders when well-defined searches are used.

Desktop tools don’t have to be fancy or expensive. They’re everywhere, including right there in Windows and operating systems for Macs and other computers. Tools like Google Desktop or Spotlight allow you to search with the same ease you enjoy for the Web. Quicksilver is popular with geeks.

“The goal is to keep yourself from being overwhelmed emotionally by not making your brain do what it’s not good at. Computers are good at searching. You’re not. They’re good at remembering. You’re not.”



You’d think Mr. Google would have no use for paper. Not true.

“I think paper’s great for certain things,” Merrill said. “It’s still important.”

He uses huge sticky sheets that he plasters on his walls when he’s brainstorming a big idea. They’re easy to move around as his thoughts firm up. He also uses paper for legal and tax documents that could be scanned into electronic files only to be retrieved and printed on demand when lawyers and accountants require hard copy.

The idea of a paperless office has been bounced around for three decades. In the early days, Google itself required employees to submit a trail of paper forms for reimbursement of expenses, Merrill said.

The goal is to be more efficient, so evaluate digital tools versus paper, or digital as a backup to hard copy when trying to decide. Are you looking for storage alone? Do you need to share information with many people at work, or with a small group of trusted loved ones in emergencies? We need wills, contracts and life insurance policies on paper, but should we take the time to scan them for sharing and protection?



For the truly nervous, storing numerous login names and passwords can be done on paper, but since it’s recommended that passwords change substantially at least every six months, that could be time consuming. Merrill suggests e-mailing yourself password hints.

Plenty of software power and browser tools are available for sorting dozens of passwords. The important thing, he said, is to actually change passwords and make the changes substantial.



A paperless real-world desk isn’t realistic at the end of each day, but well organized piles by subject, project or function will do a lot of good to relieve the stress and guilt of walking away from a cluttered work space that looks like a pile of loose ends.

Merrill suggests taking an hour each week to evaluate what’s on your desk, determining what can go, what can be converted to digital, what needs to be in a physical file cabinet and what remains on your to-do list.

Some people swear by hard-copy task management planners, but the Web is full of online apps to do the same. Online to-do apps can be easily updated on the go.

Having several e-mail accounts may be another of your unavoidable realities, but they don’t need to be a source of stress. Use Gmail or smart phones, for instance, to check accounts for you so you’re not constantly jumping from one e-mail server to another.

“Get rid of the wasted effort,” Merrill said.



Twitter, Facebook and other social networks mean different things to different people. They’ve become a business tool for many but remain entertainment or a way to stay in touch for others.

Either way, many interfaces — like Tweetdeck — exist to integrate our busy social network lives that often have us posting frequent updates or sifting through the output of others.

One that Merrill likes, mostly for Twitter, is Brizzly. It offers support for viewing pictures online, expanding links that have been shortened, for people with multiple Twitter accounts, and includes some features for Facebook as well.

“I don’t want to clutter up my life with having to go to Facebook and do this and go to Twitter and do that,” Merrill said.

Experiment Results: 2 Weeks Sans Facebook

online suicide

I recently conducted my own small behavioral science experiment. I quit Facebook. Now I’m not just talking about not visiting – I’m talking deletion.  Not as far as committing “online suicide” via the folks at – but i did just erase myself. There were a number of reasons. But mostly I wanted to see what would happen.

The Results List:

10 emails from people telling me they went to find me on FB and then asking me “where i went”?

5 emails from friends asking me “are you okay?”

i missed 4 birthdays of people very close to me – meaning I was a day late remembering – that’s missed.

I didn’t get to see my friend’s vacation photos while he was traveling over the holidays.

Both of my brothers picked up the phone and CALLED ME. TWICE.

I spent 3 hours at a time on the phone with a few different friends catching up.

I finished 2 books.

I cleaned the house, got more laundry done and in general made more progress “around the house”.

I was aware of less news – not that I missed Haiti or anything – but i didn’t know about it IMMEDIATELY. Despite having NY Times alert on my iphone.

I missed all the esoteric links that a few friends post regularly – the “fun links” that are the bizarre and interesting articles that suck you in to websites you haven’t heard of.

I looked at my email less often purely because I was looking at the Iphone less often due to not facebooking continuously.

This said – I paid more attention to my surroundings but was frustrated by the thought of not being able to share them. I missed being able to post photos to communicate what i was seeing.

I noticed that my brain now “thinks” in “status updates” language – stop  sort of like I constantly have a western union telegram in my head – stop.

I missed SCRABBLE! BUT – I will tell you this – my dog plays scrabble online. With MY scrabble friends – how dare he. (this was the absolute one thing i couldn’t give up!)

I went on AIM more – but i felt like i was cheating whenever i logged on.

I blogged on my own website!

I’m still a bit skeptical of foursquare.  Online USED to be a mystery to people…there was something interesting about being a part of the “small community” that got it….now that it’s big and EVERYONE “gets it”….I’m not so sure.

Maybe I have more in common with my 12 year old niece than I think – she doesn’t want me to see everything on her profile and I’m not allowed to make comments. Aunt Erin is just not “cool enough” i guess!

I’m back but i do think i’ll be limiting my time. Not sure if I will reinstall the facebook app for iphone just yet….

Rethinking the Long Tail Theory: How to Define ‘Hits’ and ‘Niches’

Great article on the power of the niche – or perhaps the lack thereof. At the very least a healthy debate. The Netflix $1mm Prize will have so much more outcome than just a new recommendation system for Netflix. It is surely a form of crowdsourcing research!

Article Image

Published: September 16, 2009 in Knowledge@Wharton 

Using data on movie-rating patterns, new Wharton research challenges current thinking on the Long Tail effect — a widely publicized theory that suggests the Internet drives demand away from hit products with mass appeal, and directs that demand to more obscure niche offerings.

In a working paper titled, “Is Tom Cruise Threatened? Using Netflix Prize Data to Examine the Long Tail of Electronic Commerce,”Wharton Operations and Information Management professor Serguei Netessine and doctoral student Tom F. Tan pull information from the movie rental company Netflix to explore consumer demand for smash hits and lesser-known films. Netflix made its data available as part of a $1 million prize competition to encourage the development of new ways that will improve its ability to introduce customers to lesser-known titles they might find appealing.

Read the whole article here

Slate Goes Feminist?

I’ve been seeing alot of chatter recently about feminism; even a male friend took the “which feminist are you?” quiz on facebook – and it all seems to be driven by the luanch of the new “feminist” blogzine Double X from Slate. The NY Times has an interesting take below.  I’ve spent some time on the site and not sure how I feel about it. As a child of the 70s I often tease my mom about being a part of the “bra burners” and setting the tone for “you can have it all” that has come under some backlash recently. So far while reading Double X there seems to be a decent amount of intelligent thought and discussion; but there is an undertone that i can’t put my finger on – parts of me feels it’s “angry” other parts feel it’s “in your face” too much; trying too hard. There has also been a decent controversy brewing over Double X versus Jezebel and whether either of them do well to portray current “feminist” thought. That Jezebel is taking us backwards in how women are viewed.

I definitely come from the generation that never would have decribed themselves as “feminist”. It was a word that always had the angry female connotation.  And perhaps it was because I was brought up in the land of equal rights. It was a given for me and many of my friends that we would always have the same opportunities as the boys we were around. When “Backlash” was published it definitely spoke to my generation. So now I’m wondering if Double X is supposed to even be for me? Is it for someone younger? It’s unclear.  Also I’m not sure that there needs to be a separation for political news and debate between the boys and girls; didn’t my mom and her generation fight hard to rid us of that?  Why can’t the current women centric sites raise the level of the debate amongst their already existing platforms and be taken seriously?  Does this mean that the original Slate is now a men’s mag? As someone who gets the niche marketing need – I just wonder about oversegmenting based on gender.  Hmmm perhaps I’m wrong – and maybe it’s time to start a Redbook for stay at home dads?

A Blog Geared to Women Yields a New Site for Slate


Article Tools Sponsored By By JENNA WORTHAM Published: May 11, 2009

The editors of a new Web site for women from the people behind Slate have Sarah Palin and Eliot L. Spitzer to thank. Their foibles, in part, supplied the gas to help transform a chatty blog into a full-blown Web magazine.

The new site, Double X, which is set to start publishing Tuesday, grew from a group blog created on Slate in October 2007 called The XX Factor, after the pair of X chromosomes in women. The blog featured commentary on politics, sex and culture from several women who write for Slate, including Meghan O’Rourke, Hanna Rosin and Emily Bazelon.

Driven in part by coverage of the presidential election from a woman-centric perspective, the blog consistently ranked as one of Slate’s top 10 features, leading the three women to propose that Slate turn the site into its own online hub.

“It became immediately obvious that a different kind of discussion happened when women were writing,” Ms. Rosin said.

“Women’s magazines never get it quite right,” Ms. O’Rourke added. “It seemed like an opportune moment to jump in and lead the conversation.”

The blog was performing well enough that the company agreed to the proposal, said Jacob Weisberg, Slate’s editor in chief. The three women are co-editors, and the managing editor is Jessica Grose, formerly an editor of the Gawker Media blog Jezebel.

“The appetite for women’s content has never been stronger,” Mr. Weisberg said of The XX Factor, which Slate says drew a million visitors a month.

To turn the blog into a full-fledged Web magazine, the site will draw from a number of contributors to include commentary and critiques of popular culture, film and television, home design and family life, along with features like personal narratives from women on surviving the recession. Double X has also formed a partnership with Google to offer a news feed focused on women on the site.

Although the editors describe the site as a savvy, intellectual, feminist antidote to glossy, celebrity-obsessed women’s magazines, it will not turn away male readers, which they say have made up 40 percent of the blog’s readership. The site has recruited several men to contribute essays about parenting and fatherhood as well.

Double X is the latest addition to the Slate Group, owned by The Washington Post Company, which has recently expanded its cluster of offerings to include a video site called Slate V, a financial analysis area called The Big Money, and The Root, a news and opinion site for black Americans.

Mr. Weisberg says he hopes that the steadily rising appetite for woman-centric content, which more than half of American Web surfers checked out in December, according tocomScore, will sustain the site despite the economic turmoil facing the media industry.

“It’s a nervous time to start anything new,” Mr. Weisberg acknowledged. But so far, he said, the response from advertisers has been promising. The site has been able to attract ad dollars from major consumer companies, including Sprint-Nextel.

Did You Know?

a team put together this AMAZING video of facts, figures and tidbits that I cannot stop thinking about – and showing to everyone I know.  It really is phenomenal and everytime I watch it – It just makes me stop and think, what could I be doing differently, better, less of, more of – what should WE all be doing differently, less of, more of…there are so many dots to be connected inside this 5 minute piece…



one of the things that drew me to interactive/digital was information. databases. it started with the idea that i always knew in my GUT who i wanted to market a certain product to – but the internet – it just helped me find more of them, more about them, gave me info on people i hadn’t thought of targeting, info on how to target them better….anyone who knows me knows that i’m a fact junkie. and that i love musing and wondering about the why and how of it all….i love to “glean”. the data — to know what people are like minded about what things…what connects us all…shivers in my brain 🙂

so today is an exciting day as it is the day that google publishes the year end “zeitgeist”

which is googlegod’s report on the global search terms of the year.  yep – i’m actually fascinated by it – in fact LOVE zeitgeist. love. (as an aside i also enjoy hanging out for a few minutes every so often at metaspy – where i just saw as i clicked for the hyperlink that there are a lot of people searching for flowers and why would any florist not be investing in local online advertising or SEO…but i digress.)

zeitgeist – where we can now officially say that sarah palin is the biggest – wel most searched – star in the world.

read it and weep kids.

zeitgest for the world….

It baffles:

Chuck Norris fastest rising in South Africa? (apparently from a fantasy poll that had him beating obama.)

It confirms:

Google does rule the world (orkust, google, youtube always ranking most popular)

It begs the question:

why do they translate the arabic searches into english but not the thai, russian, korean or chinese?

It educates:

india’s 6th central pay commission website is highest rising #9 which leads me to believe that ALOT of people in India went on “the dole” this year.

It fascinates:

#6 in france? pages jaune (yellow pages) why???

the dutch love miley

and the most fascinating is alexander graham bell rising fast in hong kong.  there is no explanation from google…and with a little of my own googling i can only surmise it had something to do with some iphone coverage and the youth of hong kong do not know that mr bell invented the phone.  but i could be wrong…perhaps someone else knows? please correct or confirm my assumption!

It confirms:

here is the US?  this vampire thing aint goin away anytime soon.  despite the fact that i canNOT just get into True Blood!