Thursday, February 26, 2015

Twitter analytics

Twitter just offered me an analysis of my followers. I've checked out a number of data visualization apps for Twitter in the past, and those took much longer to process the data. As this is form Twitter, it already has the data and gave very fast results. I found it interesting that the majority of my followers are male, 69% in fact. I'm not certain if that's a reflection of general gender representation on Twitter or of the fields of interests connected to my account.

I got this :

38% Marketing

38% Entrepreneurship

30% Leadership

30% Startups

18% SEO

Top interests?

47% Tech news

47% Technology

47% Politics and current events

41% Business and news

41%Business news and general info

38% Marketing

38% Entrepreneurship

32%Business and finance

30% Leadership

30% Startups

I'm not surprised as my top city is NY at 12%.

Of course, Twitter is offering this as a way to interest me in Twitter ads, but there are no strings attached in checking out the stats. Another service you can use for Twitter information Quillconnect.narrativescienceIts particular spin on data reporting is storifying your account and letting you know how your posts compare with those of your connections on average. It also offers some advice to gain engagement, though I chose to ignroe it, as I am not going to go out of my way to tweet about television. I think it actually mistakes the tweets about biased media reports to be tweets about television, as I don't really discuss programming otherwise.
Related posts

Twitter Analytics Puts Cards on the Table

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ignore this piece of advice

If you believe that the purpose of social media is to be all things to all people and don't want to change your mind, stop reading here. Click over to this Hootsuite blog for advice you'll want to follow. I follow a different path.
I have no issue with the first part of the blog. It advises people to Google themselves to see which one of their social media outlets returns high-ranking results. That insight could be helpful. In fact, I learned recently that I really should Google myself more often to get beyond the hits of the articles I've published. It was such a search that revealed my Twitter profile is what landed on a list of big data bloggers back in September. I only happened across the list months later.
Yes, it makes sense to keep abreast of what is your key identifier for those who happen across your posts. I post a lot on Twitter and quite a lot on Google+ because that's where I share links in all categories that interest me,  professionally, personally, and even politically.  I post less on LinkedIn because I limit myself more to professional interests, though I do sometimes throw in some links from the other two categories. For Facebook, my brand pages get less than my personal page. I post very little on Pinterest and never contribute to Instagram or YouTube.
I know all that without Googling results because I know my own habits already. Now if I were to follow the advice of the article linked to above, I would resolve to set up a YouTube and Instagram account and  spend a lot more time on Pinterest. But I have not intention to do so. That's because I'm playing to my own strengths and interests rather than trying to be all things to all people.
There really is no way to please everyone. That's the moral of the story of the father and son who set out to market with a donkey, one of Aesop's Fables. You can read a really short version of it here.  There are those who would favor the father, favor the son, or favor the donkey, and by trying to please them all, you lose sight of the real objective of the journey and devote all your time to juggling positions.
The thing about branding is that it works so long as it is focused. The focus is not just in the message but in the medium. If you're pushing fashion, it makes sense to get your message across in a visual medium. If you're pushing ideas, you may want some illustrations, but you likely have to also choose words that explain and clarify.  If that's the path you've chosen, stick with it. Veering off to tend to pictures diverts your time and attention, which can detract from your core identity. I'm not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and if I try to be, I'll just lose my own flavor. 
Yes, I know that video deliver great metrics.  know that pictures garner more shares and likes than text. I don't object to using pictures or even embedding videos, yet, my primary medium is the written word. It's the way I like to get my information and the way I like to present it. Other people do a better job at creating images, infographics, and videos, and so I will leave them to it and concentrate on what I do well. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

3D printing for cars: not just for prototyping

Efficient supply chains can be identified by a handful of components: proximity, flexibility, and minimal waste. Now, the automotive industry is hoping to capture some of these same benefits through the use of 3D printing. 
Though it hailed 3D printing as the "third industrial revolution" in 2012, The Economist  cautioned that it "is not yet good enough to make a car." Since then, though, 3D printing, referred to as the additive manufacture in the auto industry, has advanced to the point that car bodies can and have been printed. In future, additive manufacture will likely be an integral part of the car supply chain, and not just at the point of creating models for design or rapid prototyping. 
This past year, Deloitte University Press published a detailed study of the future prospects for car manufacturing in an article titled 3D Opportunity for the Automotive Industry. The value of 3D printing for rapid prototyping and realizing innovative new design has already been established across industries, but it can also be used in manufacturing the end product. That is what has the potential to really transform the supply chain for the car industry.
Read more in 

3D Printing Reshapes Automotive Supply Chain 

See the carbon fiber body of the Strati car beign printed in this video.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Half truths and whole lies

Nearly two years ago, I thought about "Where to begin?" in writing and the option of not beginning at the very beginning but in the middle of the action. The tactic can also be used in nonfiction, but in that case there is a moral imperative to not distort the actual sequence of events to direct sympathies in a particular direction. Emotions change depending on how an event is reported.

Here's a recent event from some local news: Trapped in his bathroom during a raging fire, a man and had to be rescued by firefighters and rushed to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

If that is what you read, you'd likely feel very sorry for the man who suffered in a fire.

That account is correct, though it is not what is highlighted in the news story headline.  As it turned out, the man who had to be rescued set the fire himself.  He caused property damage that left many tenants homeless and caused another man to need treatment for smoke inhalation. His motive for arson? He was angry about being evicted. Some people may think anger of that sort justifies destruction that harms other innocent people, but most people would lose all sympathy for an arsonist.
Half a truth is not only a whole lie but a way to misrepresent the arsonist as victim.

Cutting out the actual background to events completely changes our perceptions and distort who is in the right and who is in the wrong. That is well-illustrated in a story of reaping what you sow in "The Little Red Hen." If you jump to the end of the story without the beginning, the hen sounds selfish and mean. She tantalizes the other animals with the freshly baked loaf and then refuses to share with them. Clearly, then she's the bad guy.

But that's not the point of the story at all. It only makes sense if you read it from the beginning and see that at every step involved in baking the bread, she had asked the others to share in the work. They always refused. That's why she said they can't share in the results. If you're committed to a narrative that demonizes red hens, then you'll leave out the crucial steps along the way to the baked bread. while fiction does allow you to set your boundaries where you will, a news report needs to be more comprehensive about the beginning, middle, and end.