2 On Your Side, Whose Side Are You On?

WGRZ announced that it was holding the first mayoral debate on Friday, September 11 at 9:30 am. Technically this is not true. Mayor Byron Brown and Council-member Michael Kearns disputed urban revitalization and the arts a few weeks ago at MindWeb.us at 464 Gallery on Amherst Street.  This discourse was promoted as a “town hall”; it was a formal exchange of views on a particular subject matter in a public meeting. To me that is the definition of a debate. This was the first webcast debate between the two democratic candidates. Sorry WGRZ but you should really make a correction.

This debate was not widely advertised except on WGRZ that I can recall. The only open invitation to the public was on the WGRZ website, the internet accessible public. The only way to view the debate was via the WGRZ website. The only method to submit a question was via an email hyperlink on the WGRZ website.  WGRZ website stated “If there is a question you would like to ask both candidates, you can do so by submitting here.” When you clicked on the hyperlink the user’s email program opened and the following email addresses were displayed:




Well, questions submitted via e-mail are just fine if you have a computer or mobile device with internet access but EVERYONE doesn’t have such digital accessibility. Many voters and supporters of both candidates were at work or at school at 9:30am this morning. I own a laptop so I was equipped to watch the debate online. WGRZ will keep the webcast of the debate posted on the site through Primary Day, Tuesday September 15th. Oh boy!

Many supporters of both candidates do not have computers and therefore no digital access. The digital divide in this city is as segregated as the city itself.

There is not only a racial disparity in the distribution of digital access in this city but also a generational and economic disparity as well. Many of the prime voters are Black, Hispanic and older adults. Did WGRZ expect people to huddle around terminals at the local library? How many voting senior citizens do you know that are internet savvy or have a computer room at the local senior center or home?

We are the third poorest city in the nation. The poor people in this city are not likely to have the digital means to watch a debate online. However both candidates need the votes of the poor people in this city, ALL the people in this city.

It is a shame that neither candidate spoke on the limited access of their debate and it’s a bigger shame that WGRZ, a television station is only offering a viewing of this debate online and not including it in their televised programming.

Brown and Kearns were talking to the people but unfortunately many of them couldn’t hear them this morning.


Obama’s Cairo Speech Hand Delivered via SMS

Tomorrow President Obama will deliver his speech from Cairo, Egypt via text messaging. The service will be available for international participants only; it is not available in the continental United States according to the registration information on the website America.gov.

President Obama will have an opportunity to spread his message globally through mobile devices by delivering his speech via text message for international audiences. Registrants can also submit comments and reply via text messages. A separate webpage will be constructed to post users comments.

Undoubtedly this is a first for a U.S. President or any world leader. Obama will almost have the whole world in his hand.

Twitter Teams With City of San Francisco and Twitizens

The residents of San Francisco can make inquiries, submit complaints and more via Twitter. Residents can follow and tweet to @SF311 to submit and receive questions as well as receive direct messages (dm) via a tweet. A city staffer is responsible for addressing tweets. The quickness of response to an issue has yet to be determined since the program is new. However I give a Twitter salute to Mayor Gavin Newsome for pioneering a partnership with Twitter and city government which hopes to provide a new media vehicle to obtain information for San Francisco’s digital citizens!

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A.T.B.(All Tweet Bulletin):Twitter Used To Post Tiller Suspect Description

This morning George Tiller, a Wichita, KS abortion provider was fatally shot as he attended church services. You can read a chronicle of Dr. Tiller’s slaying in The Wichita Eagle.

Journalists and witnesses used the social media utility Twitter to post updates as information developed. Within hours the hashtag “#tiller” (in Twitter-speak a hashtag is any word created with a “#” placed before it making it a searchable item in the Twitter search directory) was created, a limited description of the suspect (a white male), a vehicle description and the license plate number were posted via Twitter. In essence an A.T.B. (All Tweet Bulletin) was issued via Twitter. Here is one tweet, (the name for a Twitter post) sent by @anamariecox via another Twitterer, @TeresaKopec.

“Tiller killer on run. 90’s era light blue Ford Taurus with Kansas tags. Registered in Merriam, Ks.Tags:225-BAB #tiller(via@TeresaKopec)”

Well around 3pm The Wichita Eagle reported the arrest of a suspect connected to the slaying. Now I don’t know if a tweet helped to catch the alleged culprit, but the proliferation of Twitter as a crime prevention and crime watch tool is perceptible.

Crime reports are public record. Once description and crime details are made public by law enforcement, a hashtag could be created and then used to extend such information to the public. The websites for Amber Alerts, FBI Most Wanted and  National Center for Exploited and Missing Children make new media tools like cyber tiplines and wireless mobile phone alerts available to the digital citizen. Twitter can also be a benefit to community policing.

However, if used incorrectly, I can see how Twitter could set off a type of social-media vigilantism.  For example, suppose a “twitizen”, a citizen that uses Twitter, who is also part of a neighborhood watch witnesses a neighbor’s vehicle being broken into. Mr. Twitizen yells at the wrongdoer who then runs away. If Mr. Twitizen decides to post a “tweet” with description information prior to or instead of contacting the police and consequently organizes a group via Twitter to search and chase the wrongdoer, there is a possibility of negative consequences.

Many companies are seeking the knowledge of a social media specialist to market and manage public relations. Seems to me, a neighborhood watch community is a bad place for a stick up and a good place for the local police department to hire a social and new media specialist to instruct citizens on how to become safe “twitizens” and prevent my scenario from becoming a reality. A social media specialist could help police advocate to the communities they serve, responsible usage of social and new media utilities.

Most police departments have anonymous tiplines which provide citizens a means to give information about a crime without comprimising personal identity. In no way am I advocating their elimination. However I can see Twitter as an opportunity for both citizens and law enforcement to embrace social media as well as use it to work together in the interest of public and personal safety.

Visible Vote Adds Marriage Equality Update

BB received the first email from Visible Vote since adding the application to my iPhone. Visible Vote has included Constitutional Amendments To Define Marriage as Between a Man and Woman to the list of bills up for a vote by legislators.

Visible Vote is also giving away free iPod touches to the 500,000th, 750,000th and 1,000,000th vote sent to congress. The Visible Vote website is currently under construction so you will need to visit them on Facebook for more information.

WDOO (What Does Obama Order)

I think C-Span needs remedial journalism classes. Apparently they have forgotten what is news and what is not. The 8:24 video below covers the President as he orders lunch and talks to patrons (with his mouth full I might add) at a Five Guys restaurant in Washington D. C.

I understand the fascination with President Obama. I’m fascinated too. However I could do without the lunch order coverage, especially 8:24 of it. Doesn’t C-Span have a video editor? Can’t the guy go for lunch just one day without America watching it on cable news? Sometimes I think C-Span hires Hollywood paparazzi, I swear!

How soon before we see coverage of the President making a midnight run to satisfy the First Lady’s PMS cravings?

Next time Mr. President, do yourself and us a favor. I know you like to get out everyonce in awhile but could you fax the lunch order next time? It’s quicker.

McDonald’s Urban Flavor

McDonald’s new ad campaign for its new McCafé product line is permeating all media outlets from television to the internet. Coffee and coffee-type beverages such as mochas and cappucinos are big business and have mass appeal. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are undoubtedly popular coffee shops throughout the United States and abroad. Starbucks has a certain middle-income/upper-income/white collar appeal while Dunkin’ Donuts seems to appeal to lower-income/middle-income/blue collar consumers.

I recently saw a commercial for McCafé featuring R & B artist Dwele.

The smooth groove music and jazz club atmosphere with a Black audience appealed to me. The advertising worked for me. This afternoon I decided to go to McDonald’s and try one. I ordered via through the drive-thru speaker and pulled up to the window to pick up my McCafé Hot Mocha. I watched as a young African-American girl carefully placed a cup under the hi-tech McCafé machine and my prepared beverage poured forth. Then the young woman decorated my mocha with whipped cream and delicately drizzled chocolate sauce atop of it. I reached out of my car window and thanked her and she gleefully and carefully placed it in my hands. Yes, I said gleeful! I took a sip and the mocha was hot, sweet and delicious. It was a lovely consumer moment.

I began to think about other McDonald’s marketing efforts and wondered why the franchise has been so successful in marketing to Black and Hispanic consumers. Who are the people behind this marketing campaign?

Hooray for Google! With a few search words and a click I had my answer. Burrell Communications are the wizards behind the McCafé blitz. This African-American owned marketing company states a very simple and effective approach, “We began by targeting consumers ignored by everyone to learn the secret of reaching anyone.” What a novel concept! Burell’s ad campaigns embrace a distinctive urban and everyday flair that is familiar to multi-ethnic consumers.

Burrell Communications focuses more on culture and lifestyle of consumers as its base and not so much on the income of consumers. The Target Market Burrell press release delves a bit more into their understanding of multi-cultural target marketing.

Being a consumer is more than getting the best bang for your buck. The next time you see an ad that appeals to you, you may want to ask yourself, “Who’s the wizard?”

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