Home Delivery

At 5 am this morning, a stranger drove up to my house, got out of his car and walked up to my front door.

Something that happens nearly every day.

This is the insane last step in the almost crazy notion of the home-delivered newspaper.

Hundreds of reporters and editors and then thousands working in paper production, then printing, then trucking, then distribution to the guy in the car and then he drives it to my house before the sun rises. Even if I’m out of town and it just sits there until I get home, even though by then it’s even older than it was when he dropped it off.

Why bother with all of this? Because there’s a HUGE upside in the relationship between a publisher and a reader. The paper has power because it doesn’t need readers for its writers, it has power because it seeks writers (and news) for its readers.

And there lies the future of the book business. Digital home delivery. It’s the best (and only) alternative. Writing for people who can’t wait to read what you write next. And amazingly, you get to deliver it for free, without waking up when it’s dark out.

If you’re intent on trolling through millions of strangers to find a few willing to buy from you, sight unseen, you’ve got a very long road ahead.

Article by seth godin

Seth Godin is the founder of The Domino Project and has written twelve books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.


Exercises In Democracy: Building A Digital Public Library

Literacy is a high leverage, low cost path to solutions for many of the world’s problems . Here’s an initiative with great promise. Thanks to Ars Technica

Exercises in democracy: building a digital public library


Most neighborhoods in America have a public library. Now the biggest neighborhood in America, the Internet, wants a library of its own. Last week, Ars attended a conference held by the Digital Public Library of America, a nascent group of intellectuals hoping to put all of America’s library holdings online. The DPLA is still in its infancy—there’s no official staff, nor is there a finished website where you can access all the books they imagine will be accessible. But if the small handful of volunteers and directors have their way, you’ll see all that by April 2013 at the latest.

Last week’s conference set out to answer a lot of questions. How much content should be centralized, and how much should come from local libraries? How will the Digital Public Library be run? Can an endowment-funded public institution succeed where Google Books has largely failed (a 4,000-word meditation on this topic is offered by Nicholas Carr in MIT’s April Technology Review)?

Enthusiasm for the project permeated the former Christian Science church where the meeting was held (now the church is the headquarters of Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive). But despite the audience’s applause and wide-eyed wonder, there’s still a long way to go.

As it stands, the DPLA has a couple million dollars in funding from charitable trusts like the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Arcadia Fund. The organization is applying for 501(c)3 status this year, and its not hard to imagine it running as an NPR-like entity, with some government funding, some private giving, and a lot of fundraisers. But outside of those details, very little about the Digital Public Library has been decided. “We’re still grappling with the fundamental question of what exactly is the DPLA,” John Palfrey, chair of the organization’s steering committee, admitted. The organization must be a bank of documents, and a vast sea of metadata; an advocate for the people, and a partner with publishing houses; a way to make location irrelevant to library access without giving neighborhoods a reason to cut local library funding. And that will be hard to do.

Real content, real concerns

When people hear “Digital Public Library,” many assume a setup like Google Books: a single, searchable hub of books that you can read online, for free. But the DPLA will have to manage expectations on that front. Not only are in-copyright works a huge barrier to entry, but a Digital Public Library will be inextricably tied to local libraries, many of which have their own online collections, often overlapping with other collections.

An online library of America will have to strike a balance between giving centralized marching orders, and acting as an organizer of decentralized cooperation. “On the one hand would [the DPLA only offer] metadata? No, that’s not going to be satisfying. Or are we trying to build a colossal database? No that’d be too hard,” Palfrey noted to the audience last Friday. “Access to content is crucial to what the DPLA is, and much of the usage will be people coming through local libraries that are using its API. We need something that does change things but doesn’t ignore what the Internet is and how it works.”

Wikimedia was referenced again and again throughout the conference as a potential model for the library. Could the Digital Public Library act as a decentralized national bookshelf, letting institutions and individuals alike contribute to the database? With the right kind of legal checks, it would certainly make amassing a library easier, and an anything-goes model for the library would bypass arguments over the value of any particular work. Palfrey even suggested to the audience that the DPLA fund “Scan-ebagoes”—Winnebagoes equipped with scanning devices that tour the country and put local area content online.

But the Wikimedia model, where anyone can write or edit entries in the online encyclopedia, could present problems for an organization looking to retain the same credibility as a local library. Several local librarians attended the conference, and voiced concerns over how to incorporate works of local significance and texts published straight to an e-book format, into the national library.

One member of the audience, who is also a volunteer for the DPLA, suggested in an afternoon presentation that the Library’s API incorporate an “up-vote, down-vote” system for works submitted by individuals. You could write a cookbook of Mexican food, he suggested, and if you don’t know anything about Mexican food, your book would be down-voted, and in a search it wouldn’t show up at the top of the list. A librarian sitting in front of him cautioned that appraising works before they end up in the Digital Public Library is crucial to maintaining its authority—an up-vote, down-vote system could never be enough of a sanity check. “Well if that’s true then Reddit wouldn’t work,” the volunteer shot back. Of course, the trouble is that Reddit doesn’t work—not like a library, at least, where the voices of women and minorities tend to get shut out in favor of whatever lulz-zeitgeist hit the Internet that morning.

And America is huge: how do you appraise works that may be considered offensive or worthless in some areas (anything from C-list author creationist diatribe, to sex-instructional books with illustrations, to the Anarchist’s cookbook)? The easy answer is that all information should be accessible to anyone who wants it, but some curating might be necessary to make sure every library in America gets on board. Although he stipulated that his answer was speculative, Palfrey told Ars that individuals would not be contributing to the Digital Public Library, at least at the beginning. “Libraries have done this for a long time, [appraisal] is not a new problem,” he said.

Similarly, the Scan-ebago idea is brimming with populist appeal, but Google Books is proof that it’s not always as easy as scanning and uploading documents that people want to see online. As a presentation titled “Government, Democracy, and the DPLA,” pointed out, even government testimony, while not copyrightable by law, can contain text or images that are copyrightable, like an image of Mickey Mouse, for example. Scanning books is easy, but making sure you have all your legal bases covered before you upload text to the Internet is quite another.

The Internet Archive headquarters hosted the Digital Public Library of America's west coast conference.
The Internet Archive headquarters hosted the Digital Public Library of America’s west coast conference.

And how about local book stores and big publishers? They make the content, and some of them will almost certainly try to stonewall this endeavor. But (unsurprisingly) no anti-digital-public-library publishers showed up at the conference that day. Publisher Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media played the print industry’s white knight at the DPLA’s conference, explaining to the audience how his company adapted to the prevalence of on-demand information. “We’ve insisted from the beginning that our books be DRM free,” he insisted to applause.

Brewster Kahle, another champion of digital (and physical) libraries and the founder of the hosting Internet Archive, suggested that the DPLA buy, say, five electronic copies of an e-book, and digitally lend them out, just like one rents a movie off Amazon or iTunes, which expires in 24 hours or a few days. When an audience member questioned Kahle on what it would take for publishers to nix DRM (or Digital Rights Management restrictions, which confine certain formats to specific e-book readers) for that rent-a-book idea to be more widely viable, Kahle replied facetiously, “Wanting to have a business at the end of the day?”

Kahle and O’Reilly are members of a growing number of publishing industry-types that believe that fixing books to a single e-reader platform is an unsustainable business practice that will naturally become extinct. Their enthusiasm is infectious, but the reality of DRM will certainly be a problem for the Digital Public Library in the short term, if not down the line as well. Wishing DRM away, or convincing charitable investors that’s it’s not going to be a problem, could be an Achilles heel for the Digital Public Library.

Organizing Metadata (where the DPLA can excel today)

While content is a thorny issue, what the DPLA can leverage to establish itself as a force that won’t be ignored by content providers, is the massive amount of metadata it’s collected about books, including data for over 12 million books from Harvard’s libraries. These aren’t actual books, but details about books you can find in libraries across the country. Sure, it’s not exactly a romantic liberation of information, but this data is a roadmap to everything that’s available out there, and where users can find it.

Building an API with all of this metadata is also the first step to the ideal because a digital library is useless if search doesn’t work. “It’s critical to think through search: how to leverage the distributed nature of the internet, and keep [content] in open formats that are linkable,” O’Reilly said. With an open API, the organization’s extensive database could be distributed to all libraries to build their own digital public library on top of it.

There are other benefits to organizing all the metadata too. Involvement has long been an issue for local libraries, and members of the Digital Public Library’s volunteer development team suggested that the API could be used to build social applications on top of the DPLA platform, or map the database and include links to other relevant online databases of culture, like Europeana. “The DPLA could sponsor some research in managing all the metadata,” David Weinberger, a member of the DPLA’s dev team, suggested. But in the meantime, the group is relying on volunteer time from developers at occasional DPLA-sponsored hackathons.

By April 2013, Weinberger said, the DPLA aims to have a working API with a custom ingestion engine to put metadata from library holdings online, a substantial aggregation of cultural collection metadata and DPLA digitizations, and community developed apps and integration. All mostly from the help of volunteers and open source enthusiasts.

The problem the DPLA has now, explained Weinberger, is figuring out how to build an API that makes use of all the metatdata without giving weight to information that will incorrectly classify a lot of the books. Similarly, he described the DPLA’s “deep, deep problem” of “duping” which happens when two caches of data describe the same book differently, leading to duplicates. Weinberger described the “clunky ingestion engine” as “wildly imperfect.” If the project is going to get off the ground, it’ll need a lot of volunteer help, or a lot of money, and the DPLA is counting on the former, and hoping for the latter.


It has to happen, and fast

“Public education is the most radical idea in the world,” Kristina Woolsey, director of San Francisco’s Exploratorium, said at last week’s conference. “Another radical idea as big as democracy is the idea of public libraries.”

Despite the challenges facing the Digital Public Library of America, it’s a concept that needs to come to fruition sooner than later. Not simply because a Digital Library would be a professional accomplishment for many well-meaning intellectuals, but because citizens deserve a way to access, even just for the duration of a rental, the same ideas that people who live near better-funded libraries can access, without having to engage in piracy.

One of the earliest speakers at the conference, Dwight McInvaill, a local librarian for North Carolina’s Georgetown County Library, spoke of how important it is to digitize works for the good of the public. His own library’s digital collection gets over 2 million hits a month. “Small libraries serve 64.7 million people,” he said, many of those in poverty. “We must engage forcefully in the bright American Digital Renaissance,” McInvaill proclaimed. Either that, or be left in the physical book dark ages.

The Power Of Advertising At Point Of Decision

$500 CPMs?
by Steve Smith , Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It isn’t easy to impress sleep-deprived and constitutionally aloof college students with a cell phone. But I got a real rise out of a college class several years ago when I brought in the first Android phone as part of a gadget show-and-tell and showed them how ShopSavvy worked. I grabbed a Pepsi from a fellow in the front row and scanned its UPC code to bring up a polished page of details, including where nearby they could pick one up. “Whoa!” some of them said in teen parlance. They got it.

This kind of app now is commonplace and has spun off into a number of variations from both first-party retailers and third-party shopping app providers. But we still are only beginning to understand how mobile works in the aisle. The power of bringing the cloud of data and resources down to the point of sale and the point of need is monstrously powerful. This is not only tapping into a time and place, but that mood of consumption that can go in several directions. The consumer might indeed be poached by a rival retailer, as Amazon has ventured to do of late. But the in-store shopping app can also help drive a person toward the item they already are viewing on that retailer’s shelf.

Despite the reputation of shopping apps as poaching devices that turn retail stores into showrooms for online buys, the opposite may also be true, says Jim Barkow, co-founder of Longboard Media, which runs advertising into the ShopSavvy app. “Often the mobile app can reinforce the decision of buying in the store. The price differential to online may be nominal and may push in-store sales.” While obviously some real research needs to be done on this question, it seems reasonable that an app can convince the typical shopper that he or she is not going to find a better deal online — or at least not find enough of a deal to matter.

What we do know about mobile use in retail is that it taps into consumers at the height of a very energetic decision process. “The interactions are off the charts,” says Longboard’s other co-founder Scott Engler. Longboard serves ads into retail Web sites for Overstock.com, NewEgg and RadioShack. But the difference between people in shopping mode on their desktop and actually in-store is phenomenal, as Engler and Barkow observe. Since starting to feed ads into ShopSavvy they have seen users escalate their activity to referencing 30 products a month. Between 15 and 17 million people are using the app across the available platforms. The company also partners with Spotzot to drive ads into its deals engine that drives other shopping apps.

“Believe it or not, month after month, the most-scanned products are milk and other consumer packaged goods,” says Barkow. People are doing price checks and local availability checks. “Mobile mostly is out of the office and out-of-home,” says Barkow. “It is always localized and almost always in an actual store.”

Getting advertising, whether competitive product offers or general branding messages, at that point of heightened consumer awareness is proving extremely valuable. “CPMs are north of $500 for ShopSavvy,” says Engler. “We are getting 30%-plus click-through rates.”

Alexander Muse, co-founder of ShopSavvy, confirms the CPMs and the levels of interactivity. He tells me that on non-targeted ads, they may see CTRs down around 10% to 30%. “When we target based on product and location, they climb to over 30%,” he says.

It seems plausible that at least for now, people will follow even irrelevant ads when in shopping mode. When I played with the latest version of ShopSavvy, for instance, a scan of a Halls cough drop package rendered a handsome page with a moving image of the product, links to prices and availability — but also a prominent link to an HP products page. PC printers and cough drops? Well, here still is the novelty factor of in-app advertising, and the share of voice here is singular. But one has to wonder how much being in the throes of shopping mode also just makes us receptive to marketing messages — no matter how irrelevant.

Muse confirms that when the advertising becomes category-specific and well-targeted, the price of entry is considerable.  “Our average CPM is $500,” he claims. “We sell them as $.50 targeted exposures.”

Barkow says that retailers and brands can leverage this level of interactivity and shopping energy in many ways beyond mere advertising. He believes targeted content will be the future of in-store shopping app promotions. “If someone is doing a price check, we can use mobile not just to push an ad unit, but to push more content. They need reviews and more detailed specs. We should be able to use mobile distribution to push more content at the point of purchase.”

Which is another way of saying what some of us have been saying about this platform from the beginning. Mobile is marketing’s big chance to get beyond advertising. This is where your brand moves off the centuries-old stage of being the annoying carnival barker we tolerate because he gives away tickets to the show. Now the marketer gets a chance to come off the stage and be a real part of the audience, enhance and enrich their experience and become a partner/companion — not just a shill.

Getting into the store aisle shouldn’t just be an opportunity to poach and pitch. That is a message with a very short shelf life. There is greater value to be added than that.

Steve Smith is the editor of Mobile Marketing Daily at Mediapost where he covers all aspects of the mobile landscape and writes the daily MoBlog and regular Mobile Insider columns. He also programs the OMMA Mobile/Display/Data and Behavioral series of shows and the Mobile Insider Summits. A recovering academic who taught media studies at Brown and University of Virginia, he spent the last decade as a digital media critic for numerous publications and as consultant. He also writes for Media Industry Newsletter and eContent magazine. Contact him here.

List Building: The Four Questions Every Email Capture Page Must Answer

From the folks at Marketing Sherpa, who just can’t help themselves when it comes to sharing fabulous, results based tips.

April 17th, 2012

This week I’ve been reading the MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Advanced Practices Handbook featuring W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa), as the lead author.

This handbook is full of great and actionable email advice, but Jeff particularly pointed me to the section on providing new subscribers with explicit expectations on what, when and why they will receive email after opting in.

Since it applies equally to B2B and consumer marketers, I wanted to share those tips and tactics with you, along with a fourth email element — privacy.

Here is the set-up straight from the MarketingSherpa handbook:

The time spent researching and developing eye-catching and memorable promotions that attract new subscribers is an enjoyable process for most marketers. However, equivalent effort and energy needs to go into reassuring the potential subscriber that your company is reputable and trustworthy. This is because after you have caught the consumer’s interest, and they are listening attentively, the new subscriber needs to feel safe to exchange their email address for a “special” offer.

Setting expectations right from the start of the relationship will reduce anxiety in the registration process and enable you to collect more qualified leads. Taking the time to inform new subscribers of what you will deliver yields more long-term subscribers. Adding a “join my mailing list” box with just a space to type in their email addresses will not effectively communicate expectations.


The 4 subscribers’ questions you want to answer at registration

–          What will I get from you?

The focus here is on the incentive to register, and not the value of the content. Let the subscriber know what type of communications you are going to send them, and to quietly promote the content, display a sample email or newsletter with evergreen content that will be relevant to the subscriber.


–          When will I get it?

This one is easy — just let the subscriber know how often you will be sending messages. A better idea is to allow that new subscriber set their own frequency preference for your email.


–          Why should I sign up?

You want to answer two subscriber questions: “Why should I care?” and “What’s in it for me?”

Explicitly spell out the features and benefits the subscriber will receive in detail. Be descriptive and fact-based with this copy.

What you want to avoid is simply saying, “Sign up for our FREE newsletter.” Write from the subscriber’s point of view and explain how the opt-in for your email program will help the new subscriber solve challenges and eliminate pain points.


–          Privacy – how will you handle the data I give you?

Provide a link to your privacy policy at registration, and an even better tactic is to provide a very simple bullet-point list of the main aspects of your privacy policy.

Be sure to explain that the subscriber can hit the link to the full policy, but providing the basic information in a very easy to digest form can help reduce anxiety about sharing personal information in the opt-in fields.


Designing the registration page

Obviously part of the design and content of the registration page involves answering the four questions just highlighted in this blog post. Here are a few more tips to make the most of that click that landed a potential new email program subscriber on your registration page.


–          Creative consistency

Make sure the landing registration page looks similar to the ad or email that earned that click. This means using a consistent brand image, language in the copy, and tone so the new subscriber knows they are at the correct place.


–          Getting the sign-up is the only call-to-action

In MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Certification courses, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, makes it a point to emphasize that there is no place for “unsupervised thinking.”

Your registration page has one goal – to capture an email address. This means:

  • Don’t sell your products or services on the page
  • Don’t promote events
  • Don’t provide links that navigate away from the registration page.

You should, however, do that type of promotion on the “thank you” page new subscribers are sent to after a successful opt-in.


–          Third-party validation works

I’m going to pull this advice right from the handbook:

Third-party endorsements can go a long way in reducing a potential opt-in’s anxiety and apprehensions in sharing their email address. A well-written endorsement from a satisfied customer can evoke confidence and trust in your brand.  A video testimonial can be even more effective as people cannot resist hitting the play button.

A softer and more low-key endorsement tool is a subscriber counter. Seeing how many other people are benefiting from your email communications can establish you as a reputable source of information in the minds of potential email members.

Comprehensive pictures of the actual incentive gifts or newsletters can bolster the credibility of your brand and message. Conversely, consumers may interpret stock photos and generic sketches as insincere and hurt your brand’s integrity.


Keep your form fields short and simple

Research from MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report found that 65% of marketers reported new subscribers filled out forms with one to five fields.

Consumer marketers often only asked for a name and email address. B2B marketers usually wanted a job title and company name as well.

One exception to this, for companies with limited sales resources, is that adding more required fields provides both Marketing and Sales with more information to immediately begin the lead qualification process. This particular tactic applies more to B2B marketers than consumer marketers.


For more information, check out this video of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin speaking about how to craft an email and match the message to the decision patterns of the recipient of the email:


To wrap this topic up, Jeff told me this:

As our work life and home life continue to overlap, so have the communication tools we use every day. For the B2B marketplace, it’s common for the technology used to purchase backsheets for photovoltaic modules to be employed in the same manner as that used to select a new golf club.

This shared practice reveals that their customers’ priorities are not with the communication channels – direct mail, email or face-to-face meetings – but rather the relationship it has with the brand. The channel merely delivers the solutions the customer desires on the media tool they prefer, making the channel subservient to our relationship.

With the customer in control of which of the brand’s channels he or she wants to communicate, it is even more important to set expectations and only deliver what content was agreed upon. If the expectation is not met, the customer in one click can cancel his or her subscription.

Content Curators Are The New Superheros Of The Web

From Fast Company  BY Expert Blogger Steven Rosenbaum | 04-16-2012 | 6:17 AM

This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

Yesterday, the ever-churning machine that is the Internet pumped out more unfiltered digital data.

Yesterday, 250 million photos were uploaded to Facebook, 864,000 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube, and 294 BILLION emails were sent. And that’s not counting all the check-ins, friend requests, Yelp reviews and Amazon posts, and pins on Pintrest.

The volume of information being created is growing faster than your software is able to sort it out. As a result, you’re often unable to determine the difference between a fake LinkedIn friend request, and a picture from your best friend in college of his new baby. Even with good metadata, it’s still all “data”–whether raw unfiltered, or tagged and sourced, it’s all treated like another input to your digital inbox.

What’s happened is the web has gotten better at making data. Way better, as it turns out. And while algorithms have gotten better at detecting spam, they aren’t keeping up with the massive tide of real-time data.

While devices struggle to separate spam from friends, critical information from nonsense, and signal from noise, the amount of data coming at us is increasingly mind-boggling.

In 2010 we frolicked, Googled, waded, and drowned in 1.2 zettabytes of digital bits and bytes. A year later volume was on an exponential growth curve toward 1.8 zettabytes. (A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes; that’s a 1 with 21 zeros trailing behind it.)

Which means it’s time to enlist the web’s secret power–humans.

If you want to understand how fast curation is growing on the web, just take a look at Pinterest. The two-year-old visual clipping and publishing platform has now surpassed 10 million users, making it the fastest-growing web service on the web ever, according to Comscore. Comscore reported that Pinterest was the fastest independent site to hit 10 million monthly uniques in the U.S.

Curation is the act of individuals with a passion for a content area to find, contextualize, and organize information. Curators provide a consistent update regarding what’s interesting, happening, and cool in their focus. Curators tend to have a unique and consistent point of view–providing a reliable context for the content that they discover and organize. To be clear, Pinterest both creates tools to organize the noisy web and, at the same time, creates more instances of information in a different context. So it’s both part of the problem, and a solution. The trick is finding the Pinterest pinboards that you like, and tune out the rest.

Sites like BoingBoing and Brain Pickings are great content curators. And now brands are getting into the act. Harley Davidson’s site Ridebook features content in culture, style, music, and travel. And increasingly, curators are emerging as a critical filter that helps niche content consumers find “signal” in noise. Jason Hirschhorn’s Media reDEFined newsletter distributes posts on digital media, mobile, gaming, and web content. A barebones newsletter of links, it has become a “must read” curated daily offering for anyone trying to stay in touch with the fast-moving pace of change in media. But curation isn’t limited to media. The Haymarket-owned site Clinical Advisor now curates web video for nurse practitioners.

Superheroes are extraordinary humans who dedicate themselves to protecting the public. And anyone who’s trying to keep their head above the proverbial “water” of the web, the rising tide of data and information, knows that we need super-help…and fast.

So anyone who steps up and volunteers to curate in their area of knowledge and passion is taking on a Herculean task. They’re going to stand between the web and their readers, using all of the tools at their disposal to “listen” to the web, and then pull out of the data stream nuggets of wisdom, breaking news, important new voices, and other salient details. It’s real work, and requires a tireless commitment to being engaged and ready to rebroadcast timely material. While there may be an economic benefit for being a “thought leader” and “trusted curator,” it’s not going to happen overnight. Which is to say, being a superhero is often a thankless job.

The growth in content, both in terms of pure volume and the speed of publishing, has raised some questions about what best practices are in the curation space. Here’s where you should start

1.  If you don’t add context, or opinion, or voice and simply lift content, it’s stealing.
2.  If you don’t provide attribution, and a link back to the source, it’s stealing.
3.  If you take a large portion of the original content, it’s stealing.
4.  If someone asks you not to curate their material, and you don’t respect that request, it’s stealing.
5.  Respect published rights. If images don’t allow creative commons use, reach out to the image creator–don’t just grab it and ask questions later.

How will curation evolve? A group of curators led by blogger Maria Popova are promoting a Curators Code. But this new collection of attribution symbols is getting early mixed reviews. New York Times columnist David Carr called the code a useful attempt for “creating visible connections between seemingly disparate pieces of information.” But others pointed out that the hyperlink has been providing attribution for years.

One thing I’m sure of–the web is going to keep growing fast. And the solution to making sense of the massive volume is a new engaged partnership between humans and machines. There are a number of companies building cool solutions you can explore if you’re looking for curation tools. Among them: Curata, CurationSoft, Scoop.it, Google+, Storify.com, PearlTrees.com, MySyndicaat.com, Curated.by, Storyful,Evri, Paper.li, Pearltrees, and of course Magnify.net (where I hang my hat).

So, if you’re ready to be a superhero, now’s the time. The web needs you. Your readers need you. All you need is a web browser and a cape. The rest is up to you.

[Image: Flickr user Zach Dischner]


Seth Godin introduced me to this initiative. He makes a strong case for a world full of possibility based on literacy.

One Worldreader’s  “costs is buying the ebooks that go on the Kindles they’re giving to students.


Tell me again why a publisher in the privileged world is charging Worldreader for these books… the incremental cost is zero, and the opportunity cost is vanishingly small. What a great opportunity to seed the market, to encourage literacy at no cost to the publishers and to bring education and books to places where they are scarce. What happens to book publishing and to the authors involved if a million or ten million kids grow up reading their books? (Not to mention the impact on the kids and our world…)

I’ve pledged all twelve titles from the Domino Project–if Worldreader pre-loads them, we’re honored to have them on the device.

Now the real question: what publishers are going to step up and say yes with their entire catalog? If you’re an author, ask your publisher. And if you’re a publisher (even a big New York City one–especially a big New York City one) then this is a great chance to say yes, go!”

More info is right here.  What a great idea. I wonder who wants to read about health and nutrition?


12 Mobile Apps to Help Boost Productivity



I couldn’t resist sharing these. I’m interested in several to test drive.

PR and communications practitioners are no longer solely trading tips on their favorite computer programs or gadgets. Mobile applications are fast becoming the go-to choice for busy professionals looking to be more effective and efficient at their jobs.

A survey on social CRM and mobile capabilities by Nucleus Research , earlier this month, reveals productivity increases 14.6 percent on average when using mobile apps and 11.8 percent with social CRM. Mobile apps won’t necessarily minimize your workload; however, adding them to your mobile toolbox (beyond supplementing email) can help make integration with existing technology and services a whole lot easier. Thus, helping you stay competitive and relevant.

Applications for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone

  • SpeedTest.Net: Android and iPhone fans (sorry Blackberry) can optimize their smart phone and/or network through real-time download and upload graphs that measure connection speeds.
  • Morning Coffee: Every savvy professional needs to stay in the know. Start your day off right with your alarm, news, RSS feed, and more, all in one app.
  • Dropbox: Maintaining file integrity can be a daunting task. Cloud technology at its finest, Dropbox automatically accesses, saves, syncs, and shares your files on the go via the app installed on all of your native devices.
  • EasySign Mobile: Digitally sign Word docs, PDFs, JPEGS, and more without having to print or scan paper documents.
  • HopStop: Never get lost or stuck while commuting again. Named one of “25 Essential Android Apps for Travelers” and a “Top 10 Mobile App for Travel” by Travel Magazine, HopStop helps you find door-to-door transit, walking, biking, taxi, and hourly car rental directions in over 100 cities.
  • Neat Call: Use this app to streamline meetings from scheduling times to actual communication, including: conference calls, web meetings, video conferences, and chat rooms all in one place.

Android Only

  • AndroZip File Manager: If you’re an Android user, you probably know how hard it is to receive and organize large files and documents on your phone. With this app, open encrypted and compressed files and archive and modify existing documents.
  • Google Goggles: Text search is so 2010. Currently in beta, this app let’s you search the web using pictures rather than struggle to come up with keywords and phrases.

Blackberry Only

  • Blackberry Messenger: This instant messaging app for Blackberry smart phone users allows you to socialize over other Blackberry applications, connect with your favorite music collection, communicate in real time, and build your network. For those of you who have changed devices, but still have friends on the Blackberry network, a beta version is in the works.
  • Battery Boost Ultimate: Save your battery and optimize its usage on your Blackberry to enhance performance.

iPhone Only

  • Engage121: For Engage121 (BurrellesLuce Social Media Monitoring) subscribers, this app lets you monitor your community’s conversation and respond in real-time without being tied to a desk.
  • Notability: Enhance your note taking experience with handwriting integration, PDF annotation, typing, recording, and organization. Then sync with Dropbox.

BottomLine: No matter your productivity needs, interests, or preferred mobile device, there are hundreds of apps that can help you work more efficiently. BurrellesLuce WorkFlow also helps you work smarter by providing all of your media planning, monitoring, and measurement services in one convenient and easy-to-use tool that you can access online or via the mobile web. So whether your coverage appears in print, online, or broadcast – BurrellesLuce monitors all of the media that matters most to you, including proprietary, copyright-compliant sources no other service provides.

About BurrellesLuce

Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™. Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.

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