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4 Great Green Technologies
 Celebrate Earth Day

4 Great Green Technologies
 Celebrate Earth Day
By Lynda Chervil



Just as intended, the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day is surrounded by talk of our environment, our impact on it and what we can do to better live in harmony with it.

“We’re seeing more and more people who realize that, if each of us does what we can every day, collectively, we can have a tremendous impact,” says Lynda Chervil, a thought leader and green technology advocate whose new book, “Fool’s Return,” (http://lyndachervil.com/), mirrors real-life efforts to develop sustainable energy sources.

“All the people carrying reusable grocery sacks, people who’ve quit the plastic water bottle habit, folks heating their pools or houses with solar panels – that’s what we should be celebrating this Earth Day.”

This year’s March Gallup Environment poll found that 42 percent of Americans believe the outlook for the environment has improved, up from only 26 percent in 2008.

Chervil, who studies the science behind green technology, says environmental awareness has ramped up production of affordable goods that can shrink individuals’ carbon footprints. She shares four devices she says would make a nice gift for Mother Earth on her day:

HybridLight Solar Flashlight:  These flashlights never need batteries, can be charged from any light source, and they always work. The 120 lumens model will burn for eight hours on one charge. HybridLight’s flashlights are so reliable, the Boy Scouts’ Utah National Parks Council endorse them – and they come with a lifetime guarantee. For every 10 hours of use, 100 HybridLight flashlights avert 60 pounds of toxic battery landfill waste. An added very cool note – HybridLights has a mission to light up corners of the world with little or no electricity. Recently, the company supplied everyone in a Kenyan village with their own flashlight.  Cost: Prices start at less than $20.

Bedol Water Alarm Clock: Imagine a water-powered alarm clock that’s loud enough to scare you out of bed. Bedol’s water clocks run strictly on tap water – no batteries, no nothing else. The energy comes from a natural reaction between the water and two metal plates. The smallest clocks in the line run for six to 12 weeks before the display begins to fade, indicating that the water needs to be changed. Occasionally, you also need to clean the metal plates with vinegar. Just in time for Earth Day, Bedol is launching it’s 12-by-15-inch wall-mount water clock. Cost: Prices start at $19.

iGo Green Power Smart Wall:  We’ve all heard of the “vampires” in our homes that suck up power whether we’re using them or not – everything from coffee pots to laptops. Stem the bleeding with this surge protector that cuts the suck by up to 85 percent. The unit, which plugs into the wall, has four outlets, two of which are always on. The other two automatically power down when the attached appliance is not in use. Cost: Prices start at about $12.

Pama Eco Navigator Satellite Navigation system:  This GPS system also saves gasoline by providing you with the most energy efficient routes to your destinations, and feedback on your car’s performance, so you can adjust your driving habits to improve your gas mileage. It also saves all your routes, so you can assess their fuel efficiency. Cost: Watch for pricing and availability on Amazon.

“Most of these items are not only budget priced, they save you money in batteries, electricity and fuel,” Chervil says. “Not only are you doing something great for the planet when you use green technology, you’re taking a load off your wallet.”

Lynda Chervil is the author of “Fool’s Return,” http://lyndachervil.com/, a new novel that incorporates valuable life lessons in a page-turning tale that touches on technology, the green movement, and other aspects of contemporary society. She graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and has extensive experience in consumer and commercial banking and has held positions in new business development, sales management and executive leadership. Chervil seeks to push the limits of established understanding by exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing, and, through creative writing, to expand the narrative of cutting-edge energy technology to promote sustainability.

Link Builders and Content Marketers

Link Builders and Content Marketers
By Chris Abraham


Like Reese’s, link-builders and content marketers need to combine forces because they’re two great tastes that taste great together. Link-builders tend to be more left brain — technical, logical, analytical, and objective — while content marketers tend to be more right-brain — creative, artistic, intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.
 
Link Builders are from Mars, Content Marketers are from Venus

 

 
Without the content marketers and copywriters, there’s no there there. Without copy, there’s no text, and without text, Google’s blind. Without well written, high quality, descriptive and easily understandable copy, link-builders tend to compensate by doing keyword research and writing clunky, but functional hooks that used to work well enough luring the bots, spiders, and indexing agents. And, content marketers generally suck at distribution. And self promotion. And shamelessness. And even optimizing copy for both online consumption and index comprehension. The content marketers love to write, but often are lost deep in the technology behind the scenes, whereas link-builders can go to town on tracks of copy and content, but don’t actually want to write all that content themselves, especially if that commitment requires needing to write new posts a few times a week, forever.

Circa 2014, organic search engine optimization is needing both link-building and content marketing strategies and tactics in order to get, and keep, Google’s attention. In fact, you will probably need to hire an information architect, a copywriter, and a community manager, too.

Google is becoming a Turing test for organic search. In the past, the test wasn’t hard. Now, Google’s tightening the screws. In some ways, Google is slowly implementing the online equivalent of United States Citizenship and Immigration ServicesE-Verify. The only way Google can do this is by making it harder and harder to make it to the first page of Google search if you insist on maintaining anonymity. That part of Google’s background check requires that some or all of the folks responsible for each site are “validated.” However, Google almost nevers throws babies out with the bath water; and when it does, it tends to roll back or revise algorithm updates that go too far and diminish the quality of the search results instead of improving them. As a result, Google’s been caught in a lot of untruths and lies by omission.

In other words, Google tells us what they want us to believe — sort of like parents who want you to get straight As (but who would really just be happy if you could somehow just pass). Everything that Google says officially about its search algorithm is just classic misinformation. I don’t trust anything that Google tells me about search. One thing I do know is that Google loves it when you spend money on contextual advertising. That’s true. Another truth is that Google really wants us to use Google+. Really badly.

And Google has a dynamic tension between its goals and its slogan, “don’t be evil,” and needs to ride the fine line between the misinfo and disinfo required by a the command and control regimen required to maintain a $344.7B publicly traded company, all the while still keeping Google’s culture in line with what people expect, as in not being evil.

However, I have long considered Google disingenuous when it comes to how their search index algorithm works when it comes to whether or not meta tags, alt tags, keywords, descriptions, page rank, and inbound links still carry influence.

The long and short of it: it all matters!

Google just wants us to spend less time trying to game the system, a system that can still be gamed if you pour enough raw resources, intellect, agility, creativity, and craft into the game, than more time feeding it what it wants, which is simple: useful content fast.

All the ingredients are still in the Google Pie, though in varying proportions over time. Google used to be indiscriminate, sucking down sites as quickly and as often as possible. It was hard enough to keep sucking, slurping, digesting, indexing, and serving up pages as near-real-time speeds. Now, Google’s been better able to map out the inter-relationships not only between sites, but also within sites.

In much the same way that Google used to favor .org sites and still do .gov and .edu, or how Google used to really care about how old your domain was, as an indicator of maturity and reliability, Google now is starting to favor your online community involvement: are you popular, are you timely, are you social, are you generous, are you consistent, and are you integrated?

Google is indiscriminate when it comes to where in the network your site exists. It understands context, interconnection, history, and the way organic systems actually do grow over time, rather than the way unauthentic, false, spammy networks tend to behave. Unauthentic networks of sites and links tend to rush, then tend to explode over a weekend or a couple weeks, as though produced in a movie set by a cast of thousands, and then, when they’re built, they tend to show the sort of predictable pattern indicative of clockwork, of automated systems.

More deus ex machina than the messiness stops and starts — the random seeds — of the human touch. Batch process and blind watchmaker versus the messy expansions and contractions so indicative of human creativity.

What’s more, it seems obvious that Google has the resources and the archive to check your homework against all other historical content (maybe ever produced) to see whether you’re pulling too much of a Rand Paul by just plagiarizing all of your content from other sites or taking a large tract of content and having robots and scripts mix and match them into something entirely new, but still suffering the traces of other people’s work, of their words.

Google’s way too smart for you to get away with cheating. If a simple high school English teacher can run her student’s essays through a plagiarism checker before awarding grades, don’t you think Google is always checking our work?

So, if you spend all your money on techies, then you’re not spending enough money on creating new content, new words, new essays, new resources for Google to offer to its users.

Google’s lying to us aspirationally. Google is on a vision quest to make us better trained at offering more and better content on their behalf, but also up to their standards as well. They want us, on our own and out of our own treasure, talent, time, to give us Google quality content: original, useful, educational, informational, wise, accurate, truthful, entertaining, but also quick, optimized, responsive, and also perfectly rendered on any device.

Lacking That, Google Will Always Go Around You

If you don’t feed Google what it wants, Google will choose Google+, Yelp, Wikipedia, or the news, instead of you, your products, and services.

And, if the current trends can be read into the future, the noose is tightening.

While the current crop of SEO specialists (who are often closer to black hat, no matter what their websites state) are still well worth their paychecks, at least for now, why not spend a little more time hiring storytellers, strategists, designers, writers, and artists to better convey what you’re about, how you’re different, and why Google’s users would be better served to visit you than some “better” site that Google made on your behalf, if you’re lucky, or your competitors’ superior sites, if you’re not.

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Chris Abraham

Principal Consultant at Gerri Corp.
Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital, including online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement and Internet crisis response.
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Brooks Introduces Social Media Bill to Increase Public-Private Collaboration

Brooks Introduces Social Media Bill to Increase Public-Private Collaboration 


As Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications (EPRC), Representative Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) introduced the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014. EPRC Ranking Member Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ10), Vice Chairman Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS4) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA15) are all original cosponsors. The bill – H.R. 4263 – expands both the membership and influence of the Department of Homeland Security’s Virtual Social Media Working Group. The new group will include representatives from the private sector and will be required to file a yearly report with Congress.

 

 
“During the recent tragic explosion in East Harlem, we once again witnessed the powerful role social media plays in disseminating information and coordinating response and recovery activities during a disaster,” Rep. Brooks said. “Last week, people were logging onto Facebook and Twitter for links to local news stories and to view firsthand accounts of damage. City residents were checking social media for vital information such as street closures, where to get assistance and also taking to social media to share their thoughts, and comfort fellow New Yorkers. Social media is not a trend, it’s a new reality.

When used properly, it can save lives and mitigate damage during very challenging situations. In 2013, the Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee heard testimony from cutting edge corporations like Google and Palantir, as well as state and local stakeholders on the topic of social media in emergency management. We learned the potential for greater success is within reach, but there needs to be greater collaboration among all parties involved. By adding representatives from the private sector to the working group, this bill will allow a wider range of stakeholders to share best practices and make recommendations for improvements to government partners.”

The Virtual Social Media Working Group has held meetings since 2012. By requiring the group to file a yearly report with Congress, the legislation ensures members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have an opportunity to review findings and address areas of need. It will also ensure local officials receive more information on using social media to effectively disseminate critical information.

“Far too many local officials lack the understanding of the importance of social media and need guidance on how to use it most effectively in a government setting,” Brooks said. “The working group will provide much needed guidance when it comes to strategic planning and staffing for local communications personnel.”

The legislation expands the diversity of voices providing expertise and offering solutions. In addition to the current chair of the working group – the DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology – the new working group will be co-chaired by a state or local official. The bill also requires members from the working group to come from outside of the federal government. This will include representatives from state or local government, non-profit disaster relief organizations, academia and the private sector.

The new working group is required to hold its first meeting within 90 days of the enactment of the legislation. Its yearly report must address several factors including best practices, recommendations for improving the use of social media and information sharing, and a review of the training available on using social media.

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis where she focused on public safety issues. For more information on Congresswoman Brooks, please visit www.SusanWBrooks.house.gov. To read her recent op-ed in Social Media Monthly, click here. To learn more about the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, click here.