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Explore the Interactive #YesAllWomen Tweet Map

Explore the Interactive #YesAllWomen Tweet Map

I started working with the #YesAllWomen tweet archive I built this week.  This is the largest archive I have dealt with so there have been some new challenges. There were over 107,000 tweets and retweets during the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, but this was about 5 times that size.

The geocoding for the map below happens in batches of 10,000 tweets, so it will be a while before it is completely finished.  In the meantime, you can explore this copy of the map while the encoding continues.

Notes:  While some people have granted Twitter permission to embed their exact location in the metadata of their tweets, I strip that data out of the archive before I publish anything or make the download available.  I know people had to opt-in to include that data, but I am not convinced that everyone who opts-in to that really understand what it means.  The locations used on the map here are general locations as people have specified on their profile and are not tied to any specific tweet.

This method is safer, in my opinion, but it definitely introduces errors into the map.  Many people use odd abbreviations or whimsical phrases for their locations.  The encoding algorithms try their best, but they are not perfect.  For example, someone from Southeast Missouri used SEMO as their location and the encoding resulted in their tweet appearing to come from the town of Semo in Fiji.  Another person used “Under the moon” as their location and the encoder believes that to be somewhere in western Russia.

So with that in mind… enjoy the map.

Scott Abel on Software Selection Strategy

Scott Abel on Software Selection Strategy

Scott Abel, in his Flexing Your Content column for EContent today, discusses the best approach to selecting tools to make the work of content staff easier and/or better.  His points are equally valid for virtually any software selection process.  And I can tell you this with complete confidence:  Your IT staff will really appreciate it if you follow Scott’s advice and ask the right question at the beginning.  Sharing what you hope to accomplish is definitely the best way to start.

As a content strategy consultant, I’m often called upon by brands seeking to find ways to solve complex content challenges. Far too often, they start off their quest for a solution by asking the wrong first question: “What software do we need?”

This is the wrong first question for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is that software products are tools, not content solutions, no matter what software company marketing mavens would like you to believe. Tools help content professionals solve content challenges and meet business goals. Tools, by themselves, do not solve content problems.

Be sure to read the whole column at  Selecting Software: The Right First Question.

RIP Maya Angelou – Now Go Read a Book!

RIP Maya Angelou – Now Go Read a Book!

Maya Angelou was found dead by her caretaker this morning (May 28, 2014) She been in somewhat poor health and had canceled recent scheduled appearances.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family:

Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.

–Guy B. Johnson

I first encountered Maya Angelou’s writing with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the 1969 autobiography about the early years of this prolific and outspoken African-American writer and poet.  While I am not a big fan of poetry in general, I have almost always enjoyed Angelou’s poems when I have encountered them.  Her command of the English language and her ability to convey ideas with power and clarity has always entranced me.

In much of Dr. Angelou’s later work, especially when speaking to large crowds, she stressed the importance of reading – ‘voraciously and constantly’ – and to never stop learning. To me, the most appropriate way to reflect on her life and work is to read a book.

If you have never had the opportunity to read or listen to her work it may be time for a trip to the library.  Here in Philadelphia, the Free Library has a lot of her writing available in ebook or audiobook format that can downloaded and enjoyed at home.  This is just a small portion:

Maya Angelou's Diigital Materials

To access these materials, you just need your library card number and pin handy when you visit the Library’s ematerial portal. You can use the site to check out audio books or ebooks that are currently available to place a hold on materials that are already checked out.

In her own words…

Trying to select a favorite quote of Dr. Angelou’s is very difficult. Her skill as a poet and writer has resulted in a phenomenal number of touching and engaging quotes.  On Goodreads, there are 13 pages of her quotes.  Rather than try to select my favorites, here are  a few that I like that have been shared on Twitter.

11 Memorial Day Fails

11 Memorial Day Fails

As I mentioned a few days ago,  many Americans have lost sight of what Memorial Day is all about.  During this time we’ve set aside to remember the final sacrifice made by men and women in service to the nation, the last thing a company should be doing is trying to exploit the holiday in their marketing.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting companies shut down or turn away business on this holiday weekend, but please stop using the actual holiday in your marketing materials, especially if what you are selling has nothing to do with remembering the fallen.

It is now early Sunday morning, and this kind of stuff is already all over Twitter and Facebook, but mostly on Twitter. But before the tackiness, I am glad to see I am not alone in my feelings.

Memorial Day Tackiness

These have shown up since I posted this:

Cyclone Cups

Whole Foods


Please Stop Wishing People a Happy Memorial Day

Please Stop Wishing People a Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day has its roots in Decoration Day in the latter part of the US Civil War.  The first widely publicized observance of Decoration Day was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865 when newly free black folk came together to  memorialize the graveyard of 257 Union soldiers and labeled the soldiers buried there the “Martyrs of the Race Course” on May 1, 1865.

David W. Blight described the day:

This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.

Based on my own personal and very unscientific observations, I have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, Americans under the age of fifty do know really know exactly what Memorial Day is all about anymore.

A quick look at an Google Image Search for Memorial Day shows how muddled the message has become:

Memorial Day Image Search

One of them was even an animated gif… with sparkly glitter:

Memorial Day Sparkles

Lets Get it Right

The root of this problem is that we have two major US holidays that focus on the military: Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is quite clear on the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day:

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. (my emphasis)  In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.