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Category Archives: Education

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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The True Social Power of Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything)

The True Social Power of Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything)
By Asher Feldman

Forget late night talk shows, long form magazine profiles where the reporter explains what you’re eating or those daytime panel free for alls — the best way to get your message to the people these days is simply by sitting behind the keys of a computer.

Celebrities (and their publicists) have come around to utilizing Reddit, “the front page of the internet,” as a key stop on promotional tours. With more than 16 million unique users each month since October, it’s no wonder. And bringing your big name to the question and answer forum subreddit r/IAmA and its more than 5.2 million subscribers offers A-list-celeb exposure potential.

But how useful is Reddit as a promotional tool, really?

Does answering whether you’d rather face 100 duck-sized horses or a singular horse-sized duck get you the bang for your buck (or your typing time)? Using social analytics, we can determine just how powerful Reddit has become as a platform for promotion — oftentimes to the chagrin of the most devoted Reddit users.

General Sentiment focused in on a sample of 19 of the site’s most popular AMAs (Ask Me Anything) from March 15 to April 15. From movie stars like Harrison Ford to World War II vets to authors and professors, some of the top-rated AMAs since mid-March have proved just why the AMA is such a popular forum — you can learn anything about anyone who offers themselves up.

Using the General Sentiment social analytics platform, we compared both overall volume of media mentions across the social web and tonality of the conversation regarding the subjects of the 19 AMAs to measure how well spent time on Reddit is. And the answer seems clear — it’s totally worth it.

Of the 19 AMAs, the subject of the AMA saw their overall media mention volume grow by more than 174 percent on average during the day of their AMA and the next two days compared to the month leading up to the AMA.
 

 
None saw a bigger bounce than “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, whose mentions jumped by nearly 600% after answering questions about discussing multi-legged nightmare creatures with Guillermo Del Toro and his Batman covers.

Comedian Hannibal Buress saw a similar bounce after he explained to the assembled Reddit crowd that his mom wanted to name him Louis and discussed whether or not he was a “juice comic.”
 

 
But it’s not only volume of chatter that goes up — bringing your message to the people also raises your status with the people of the web. By measuring sentiment during the same time frames, General Sentiment calculated that average sentiment for the 19 participants went up by more than 30 percent when comparing the before and after AMA time periods.

“Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage saw a 102 percent sentiment bump in the days following his well-received Reddit AMA, where he discussed his lack of a hairbrush and his love of hummus. Meanwhile former “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings saw a 140 percent increase in sentiment after he named his dream Jeopardy contestant panel.

Understandably, all of these AMAers had something to promote, so while the correlation between volume and AMA appearances is convincing, it is not as verifiable, given the extensive promo tours each celeb, major or minor, endures. The sentiment spikes enjoyed by most of the AMA subjects, however, suggest Reddit is truly a strong and, more importantly, a positive platform to get your message to the consumers.

Just make sure you don’t try to push too hard — a quick search for “Rampart” might let you know why Woody Harrelson isn’t going back to Reddit anytime soon.

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Asher Feldman

Asher Feldman is an analyst at General Sentiment, a Long Island, N.Y.-based social media analytics firm. Find them on Twitter @gensent.
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