Posts Tagged ‘digital’

The Revolution Will Not Be Printed

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
The Revolution Will Not Be Printed

It’s easy to believe that since print survived radio and television it will survive the Internet. After listening to Barry Dawson, I’m not so sure. Or to take a more nuanced approach, I’m not sure it will continue to influence the culture and the economy to the extent it has since Gutenberg invented movable type more than 500 years ago.

Certainly print works better for some content and some eyes, but not news. Its immediacy seeks out the fastest and most flexible medium, and digital tools deliver. Combine original content, new distribution channels and innovative marketing and you have a potentially profitable business, as well as an alternative to ink.

Barry DawsonThat brings us to Dawson, a resident of the West End of Monroe County, a rural area of the Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania. Long inhabited by the descendants of German and Dutch settlers, the area best known for woodlands and resorts continues to transition to a bedroom community for metropolitan New York and New Jersey. Several papers, radio and television stations cover the region but shifts in the economy and the culture have gutted their newsrooms.

Enter the digital entrepreneur. Dawson grew up in the West End, moved to North Carolina and returned to take a job in radio promotion with a pair of stations in the nearby Lehigh Valley. He has local knowledge, knows how to bypass channel surfers by embedding commercial messages in programs and lives on his mobile phone. Combining those assets, he bought a police scanner, became a reluctant reporter and launched and He also integrated his site with accounts at Facebook and other networks as a way to drive traffic and measure results.

Dawson believes that with its speed to market, digital news will eventually replace printed news. It’s a natural fit. Blending content and commerce creates a viable business model. Only time and his bank account will prove him right. Meanwhile, here are five conclusions I’ve drawn from his venture:

  1. Digital trumps print for speed and relevance
  2. Mobile devices trump PCs for optimum news delivery
  3. Micro content beats state, national and international news for gaining followers
  4. In our attention-deficit culture, product integration trumps advertising
  5. For marketers, digital offers the precise measurement of the effectiveness of the ad spend.

Where do you find your news? And do you think print and the people who produce it will dwindle in importance?

Boomers lead pack in business creation

Monday, November 5th, 2012
Boomers lead pack in business creation

The new face of innovation has a few wrinkles.

Forget the idea that young bucks in Silicon Valley create all the new companies. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, older entrepreneurs start more businesses than any other age category.

“Contrary to popular belief, research shows that since 1996, Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 have had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20-34,” study authors said. “With many in this age bracket reaching retirement, but still wanting to work, entrepreneurship is an increasingly popular choice.”

Boomers represent 20.9% of new entrepreneurs, up from 14.3% in 1996.

The study suggests a couple of reasons for the trend. One is that baby boomers have the time and the disposable income to start new businesses. The other is that boomers seem to be more optimistic about the future.

Florida ranks among the highest states for entrepreneurial activity, Kauffman reports, with residents creating a little fewer than 400 ventures per 100,000 adults. In 2011, an average of 0.32% of the adult population, or 320 out of 100,000 adults, created a new business each month. That rate translates into about 543,000 new businesses being created each month last year.

The average number of existing self-employed business owners in 2011 totaled 11.5 million, or 6.3% of the adult population. Although the entrepreneurship rate declined in 2011, it remained higher than before the start of the Great Recession, which officially dates from December 2007.

Going online for a lifeline

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Going online for a lifeline

Nearly nine in ten caregivers with Internet access use the technology to find health information to help them with their duties. That’s a large pool of people: 30 percent of U.S. adults help someone with personal needs, household chores, finances and services.

The statistics come from the Pew Research Center, which conducted a national telephone survey conducted in September 2010. The survey was released this month.

“Caregivers are significantly more likely than other Internet users to say that their last search for health information was on behalf of someone else—67 percent vs. 54 percent,” Pew reports. “Just 29 percent of online caregivers say their last search was solely focused on their own health or medical situation, compared with 40 percent of non-caregivers who go online for health information.”

Pew defines the cohort as those caring for an adult, such as a parent or spouse. A small subset of the group cares for a child living with a disability or long-term health issue.

The center found that eight in ten caregivers (79 percent) have access to the Internet. Of those, 88 percent look online for health information, outpacing other Internet users on every health initiative included in the survey, from researching treatments to rating hospital to making end-of-life decisions.

How do you use the Internet to care for others?

Marketers still searching for digital roadmap

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Marketers still searching for digital roadmap

Ninety percent of companies do not have an integrated digital marketing strategy, despite studies that show an increasing number of customers migrating to the digital platform.

Only 9% of chief marketing officers say their companies have a “highly evolved digital marketing model with a proven and clear path of evolution,” according to a CMO Council study of more than 200 marketing executives. Twenty-three percent report top executives at their firms are “still trying to understand where digital marketing fits within their overall business.” And 36% say their strategy amounts to a collection of tactics.

There is some good news from marketing leaders:

  • 20% report having approval from the C-Suite to implement a digital strategy
  • 42% say they have the interest and support of their teams
  • 23% are trying to determine where digital fits within their existing strategy
  • 20% say they need to make digital marketing a strategic priority with management.

Marketers need to go where their customers go, writes Michael Brenner in a post called “Are Marketers Becoming Digital Dinosaurs?” “The point is to create content that your audience wants, in all the places where they may look for it. The point is to have your customers share your content with their connections. The point is to lower the cost of sales and to increase the effectiveness of marketing.”

And they need a roadmap to get there.

– Jeff Widmer

Older adults embrace technology

Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Older adults embrace technology

They may not spend most of their time sending text messages but older Americans are embracing digital technology. They use the internet, join social networks and own mobile phones, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

The center reports that as of April 2012, 53% of American adults age 65 and older use the internet or email. This is the first time that half of seniors are going online.

A third (34%) of internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18% report that they do so on a typical day. Most adults in this age group still rely on email to communicate, with 86% of internet users age 65 and older preferring that medium.

As for devices, the center found a growing share of seniors–69% of adults ages 65 and older–own a mobile phone. That’s up from 57% in May 2010.

– Jeff Widmer

You are the network

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
You are the network

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, has written a book with sociologist Barry Wellman showing how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making and personal interaction. This new system of “networked individualism” offers some advantages in liberating people from the restrictions of tightly knit groups.

Here Rainie explains the themes of Networked: The New Social Operating System.

– Jeff Widmer

Survey gets a read on e-readers

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Survey gets a read on e-readers

A fifth of American adults say they have read an e-book in the past year. They read more frequently than their print-loving counterparts and they’re more likely than others to have bought rather than borrowed their most recent book.

Those are some of the findings of the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Reading Habits Survey, which was released this week. As with most research from the Pew Center, the report goes into some detail. Here are the highlights:

  • A fifth of American adults have read an e-book in the past year and the number of e-book readers grew after a major increase in ownership of e-book reading devices and tablet computers during the holiday gift-giving season.
  • The average reader of e-books says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.
  • Some 30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now.
  • The prevalence of e-book reading is markedly growing, but printed books still dominate the world of book readers.
  • E-book reading happens across an array of devices, including smartphones.
  • In a head-to-head competition, people prefer e-books to printed books when they want speedy access and portability, but print wins out when people are reading to children and sharing books with others.
  • The availability of e-content is an issue to some.
  • The majority of book readers prefer to buy rather than borrow.
  • Those who read e-books are more likely to be under age 50, have some college education, and live in households earning more than $50,000.

Most of the findings in the Pew report come from a survey of 2,986 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted on November 16-December 21, 2011, that focused on people’s e-reading habits and preferences.

Across the digital divide

Monday, March 26th, 2012
Across the digital divide

The stakes continue to rise for print publications.

Last week came news that for every dollar publications earn on their digital editions they lose ten times that amount in print advertising revenue. A new survey out today suggests that gulf will only continue to widen.

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. marketers plan to spend more on social media display ads in the coming year, according to a study by Advertiser Perceptions. Some 31% expect to spend more on ad networks/exchanges and 15% plan to spend more on agency trading desks. An 80% increase in the mobile space will lead an overall increase of 43% ad spending, eMarketer reports.

Whether the shift is good or bad is a moot point. It is what it is. The eyeballs have moved to digital. Print needs to migrate, too.

Digital graffiti

Thursday, August 11th, 2011
Digital graffiti

We try to ignore spam, the unsolicited email and comments on our blogs designed to sell everything from male enhancement to website development. Judging from the text, much of it comes from people who grapple with English as well as ethics. Their pitches would be funny if we didn’t have to waste so much time weeding the mailbox or disinfecting our blogs. But like physical graffiti, some of the defacement is fascinating. Like admiring a tattoo without committing to one.

Take the reaction from a post I did on The Builder Buzz, a new feed about innovation in the building trades. The post is called “ABC Green Home debuts at Pacific builders’ show.” The comment goes like this (as Dave Barry says, I am not making this up):

“Thank you for picking the correct go over this excellent, I am fervently about that not to mention real love reading through a little more about this kind of article. As long as promising, as you may generate specialist knowledge, wouldn’t you reactions posting an individual’s web page with a lot more particulars? This is very useful for i am”

WordPress flagged the author as “autoblogging” at, a website hosting and traffic optimization service, so we can assume this is a bot. The host is listed as Los Angeles-based Ubiquity Server Solutions, which apparently facilitates bulk email blasts.

Makes you long for the good old days of Nigerian bank scams. At least those messages have a plot.

My personal blog seems to attract the greatest amount of spam. Most of it is promotional and contains links to websites that offers products or services (and I’m being kind here). You can tell from the URL but you can’t always suss that out from the comment itself. Case in point: this pitch for a free iPad and iPhone:

“Hello! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask. Does building a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I’m completely new to operating a blog but I do write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. App”reciate it!”

The text sounds legitimate until you look at the clues: a suspect URL or email address, poor grammar and punctuation and the favorite phrase of the digital parasite, “This is kind of off topic.”

More like questionable ethics on the part of the business that hired this person.

That random comment follows an earlier blast from a spammer linking to the same URL but using a different email address at Yahoo! That one starts “My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.”

Almost? If you’re going to flatter, you might as well go all the way.

Then there’s the other black hole of time and money, the email inbox. Back when I was using a permission-based mail system it calculated that over five years 98% of all messages received were spam. The server software where I work must use a smarter algorithm because we get very little spam but the personal mailboxes reek of the stuff. Just today I received notice about horoscopes (“Click here now for Your Free Prediction, Free Tarot Reading, and Free Biorhythm”), diets (“Safely lose 20-30 pounds in 30 days!”) and dating (“Love is there. We can help you find it.”)

I predict the only thing we want to find is the off button.

Back to blogs. Here’s one more example of digital pollution to close the show, from an erstwhile marketer trying to sell laptop cases:

“Throughout the great scheme of things you actually secure a B+ with regard to effort. Where you actually confused us ended up being in your particulars. You know, people say, the devil is in the details.”

No, the devil is on the Internet.