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Eli Fennell
The Key to Social Media is Being Social
The Key to Social Media is Being Social

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Updated: The Three Branding Opportunities in the Local Knowledge Panel

Google is always testing new ways of organizing and presenting Search results, including Local Knowledge Panel results. Business owners must be aware of these changes, and of the benefits of claiming and optimizing their Google My Business listings.

In the following article, I discuss the three opportunities for business branding in the Local Knowledge Panel, including:

Your Business Logo
Your Map & Search Photos
Your Business Description

I've also updated the article to reflect the removal of Recent Posts on Google+ from Local Knowledge Panel results.  Actively Posting to your Google+ Page might still be valuable in other ways, but is no longer of benefit for Local Knowledge Panel results.

#LocalSEO   #LocalSearch   #Branding  

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Facebook's 'Fake News' Feature Is Live (and Here's What It Looks Like)

in response to widespread criticism that they helped foster and circulate 'fake news' in 2016 which may have impacted the outcomes of major elections and votes (the U.S. Presidential Election, Brexit, etc...), Facebook is finally starting to go Live with a new feature that flags disputed articles.

Sourced from fact checkers, all of whom vow adherence to Poynter's principles of non-partisan fact checking (such as Snopes and the AP), the feature both warns users when they may be sharing disputed articles, makes them confirm that they wish to post it anyways, and flags the posted article.

St. Patrick's Day 2017 proved a fortuitous time for its launch, as the feature's first major victory over fake news involved flagging articles about 'Irish slavery'. While many Irish people came to the New World as indentured servants, at least some of these for unjust reasons, and were often mistreated (both by those to whom they were indentured, and by society at large), the specific articles flagged by this feature go farther than this to erroneously claim that the Irish experienced centuries of mass chattel slavery, like the African slaves (or maybe even worse), and that biased history books fail to mention this.

This is not an insignificant distinction. Some instances of indentured servitude may well be argued to have fit a certain definition of 'slavery', but chattel slavery is a very specific type: racial, generationally inherited (i.e. the offspring of chattel slaves are also chattel slaves), legally defined as a form of property ownership, constituting a true 'market place' for the buying and selling of people, etc..., etc...

Both issues are well worthy of consideration in their own right, but the assertion that there was a period of 'Irish slavery' legally, materially, and morally equivalent on-the-whole to the chattel slavery of Africans is an overstatement and a distortion of proper history.

It is no coincidence that the voices most loudly promoting these theories are associated with white supremacist philosophies, the point being not to highlight the cruel treatment another oppressed group (the Irish), and perhaps gain greater sympathy for African slaves, but rather to devalue the history of black slavery and its attendant consequences on their descendents.

#SocialMedia #FakeNews

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Streaming TV May Have Become More Trouble Than The Problem It 'Solves'

The early promise of streaming TV and Movie services was the Nirvana of the 'cord cutter' and a la carte entertainment: pay only for the shows, movies, networks, etc... that you watch, and stream them any time from any internet connection (or even offline in some cases) without also paying for bundles of hundreds of TV, Movie, and even Music options you don't want, and control them all from the smartphones and computers you already use every day instead of learning to use set top boxes and remote controls.

Well, the reality hasn't exactly worked out that way. Instead, the streaming services have all landed upon the strategy of competing with each other for exclusives, both by licensing exclusive content (sometimes temporarily), and by developing their own content offerings.

The result is that, at any given time, the shows, movies, and networks (if any) available through streaming video services vary considerably. The same services may have very different content offerings from month to month, and worse, different services have very different content offerings from each other. And some of those exclusives, especially in-house original content offerings like Netflix and Amazon original shows and movies, may never become available on competing services.

Do you like multiple original content offerings from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu? Then you'll have to pay for all three, sneakily borrow access to other user accounts, or resort to piracy. The costs of these services, of which there are at least half a dozen that have become household names by now, can easily add up to more than the cost of a television bundle. It's enough to make you wish someone could offer a discounted fee for a bundled purchase of multiple streaming services.

Instead of making channels, content types, and even specific pieces of content a la carte, the streaming services have just become new channels and content bundles in their own right, and you can't even bundle these services together for a discount, and it's doubtful they'll ever agree to participate in such bundling.

The death of set top boxes and remote controls is certainly welcome, but instead of solving the other problems of the traditional content delivery mediums associated with exclusivity and bundling, the streaming services have made these worse.

#StreamingVideo #Disruption

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Maine Court Appeal Ruling Hinges On Lack of Oxford Comma

The Oxford comma, a comma that comes before the coordinating conjunction (and, or, etc...) in a sentence, is one of the oldest grammatical controversies.

With the Oxford comma, John invited the strippers, Bob, and Mike to his bachelor's party; without it, John invited the strippers, Bob and Mike to his bachelor's party. These sound like two very different types of parties, do they not? Nonetheless, some people hate the Oxford comma with a passion.

The differences of interpretation that can arise from the lack of an Oxford comma can be quite comical. And now we have another argument in its favor: legal clarity.

Delivery drivers for Maine milk and cream company Oakhurst Dairy have been fighting in court over whether they qualify for overtime. Oakhurst argued that their duties were exempted from overtime pay, but the drivers argued, in part, that the absence of an Oxford comma favored their own interpretation.

While they lost their initial case, on appeal the judge sided with the drivers. Grammar matters.

#ThatHeadlineThough #GrammarNazi

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Solve This Chess Puzzle To Help Scientists Prove the Quantum Nature of Consciousness

Oxford Professor Sir Roger Penrose thinks the human mind can still beat computers, and he wants your help to prove it, by solving a chess puzzle.

The puzzle, visible below, cannot be solved by computers. The number of potential moves is so great that all the computing power on Earth couldn't crunch them. Consequently, a computer will either just fail entirely to calculate the outcome, or will assume a Black victory because of its greater number of pieces.

According to Sir Penrose, however, this problem can be solved by a human brain, relatively easily in fact, and he claims there are many such 'unsolvable' problems human minds easily solve, which in theory is only possible if consciousness arises, at least in part, from quantum mechanical phenomenon, making the human brain less like a classical computer, and more like the emerging technology of quantum computers.

What we call insight (as in 'a sudden insight came to me just then') or intuition, then, may seem like such mysterious phenomenon, and so hard for us to explain in words, not because they are magical or paranormal, but simply because it doesn't depend on brute force computation to derive a simple solution from infinitely complex problems.

Sir Penrose plans to study the brains of individuals able to solve these sorts of problems, and hopes thereby to find the tangible proof that until now has been lacking to prove the theory of quantum consciousness.

#BlindMeWithScience #Neuroscience #QuantumComputing

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Google's Area 120 Releases 'Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger'

Google's startup combinator Area 120 is hitting the ground running. The group, which helps Google employees bring their '20% Time' pet projects to fruition, released their first app, Uptime, a YouTube chat-with-friends app, in the iOS App Store just a few days ago.

Now they've already released a second app, colorfully named the Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger. The new app, for Android and iOS, is also a chat app, this one designed to allow you to chat by voice in real time, while also converting your voice to readable text and automatically converting appropriate parts of the message into emojis.

While Area 120 isn't necessarily making Google's messy messaging strategy easier so far, it should be remembered that these are essentially side projects. Some of Google's best products, including Gmail, started as side projects over the years, and Area 120's purpose is to help the company continue to foster such solutions. Some of these may become successes in their own right, others may provide valuable lessons and features for Google's main product line, and some will fail.

What do you think about this new app?


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Google's Area 120 Launches YouTube App Uptime

Google's startup combinator Area 120, which helps employees develop their '20% Time' projects, has just released its first app: Uptime.

Designed to make sharing and chatting about YouTube videos with your friends easier and more enjoyable, the currently iOS-only app theoretically offers a superior social tool for YouTube sharing than the native YouTube chat and sharing functionality.

Have you tried Uptime? What do you think?

#SocialMedia #Uptime

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Google's New reCAPTCHA Is Invisible

Google's reCAPTCHA is one of the most popular systems for securing websites and apps against bot visitors and users.

Over the years, the system has evolved, first from one that forced users to type a set of words or characters to prove they were human, to more recently allowing most users to authenticate just by checking on a verification box.

It is now taking its final, inevitable step: automatically approving most human users in the background. Google has apparently learned enough about the differences between human and bot users to know the difference without requiring the user to approve anything. This should make thousands and thousands of websites easier to use for millions of users.

This likely will not work, however, for hyper secure users, such as Tor Browser users, who block Google from tracking their web activity.

#Google #reCAPTCHA

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Florida Lawyer Has Literal 'Pants On Fire' Moment In Arson Trial
A Miami, Florida Lawyer, Stephen Gutierrez, became a walking cliché when, while defending his client in an arson trial, his pants caught on fire.
The incident was apparently caused by a malfunctioning eCigarette in the Attorney's pants pocket, and was not a clever bit of intentional courtroom theatrics. Perhaps most ironically, his defense was that his client's car spontaneously combusted, and was not deliberately set on fire.
It's too bad for Mister Gutierrez and his client that he can't offer up this incident as Defense Exhibit A.
#OnlyInFlorida #FloridaMan

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Microsoft Shutting Down Socl Social Experiment

Microsoft's little used and easily forgotten, a social experiment for 'collaborative consumption', is shutting down after an unremarkable half decade after launching.

Did you use Will you miss it?

#SocialMedia #Socl
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