Reads of the Week was on vacation last week while I was at digitalNOW in Orlando, which means it’s a long one this week. Again.

In years past, I’ve been envious reading the digitalNOW tweets and watching the keynote webcasts. Since I’m not an association executive, I felt very fortunate to attend this year. Without a doubt, it’s the best association conference I’ve attended. If you’re an association executive, put it on your radar.

To give you a taste, here are a few digitalNOW posts and resources. I’ll share more next week.

Conference season rolls on. Now that the Avectra Users & Developers Conference, ASAE Great Ideas and digitalNOW are behind me, the only one left, for now, is Digital Marketing for Business on Monday and Tuesday at the Raleigh Convention Center. It does not at all surprise me that a conference organized by Phil Buckley is the first result when you google “digital marketing for business.” All hail the SEO master!

If you’re in the nonprofit space, I probably don’t need to tell you about the NTEN conference that started Thursday. You can attend online or follow along on #13ntc until it ends Saturday.

My sources tell me…

Each week I’m revealing one of my many sources for good reads. Denise Graveline’s regular Friday post, The Weekend Read, on her Don’t Get Caught blog is one of my favorites. One of my good reads this week is also from Denise — Tweeting About Food, and Why It’s Smarter Than You Think. She tells you why and when it’s okay to tweet about food. So there!

Let’s talk about it

Chris Bonney at Vanguard Technology shares a list of questions associations should ask about their website. Gather some colleagues, grab some lunch and go over these questions so you can “help your association shake loose from old beliefs about your association website and start thinking about it not as a part of organization, but as your organization itself.”

Now, the reads of the week

I am not a robot. But, I may be replaceable, or at least that was my fear when I read Mitch Joel’s post about a ‘Robo-reporter’ computer program that writes newspaper articles. But then he reassured me:

“The true power in this is not how computers, algorithms and robots can now replace human writers. The true power is in how computers, algorithms and robots can now free up these human writers to do the more important work that our society requires of them.”

Phew.

You can do something a robot can’t do: convince your C-suite that your organization needs to develop and implement a content strategy. And, if you have Hilary Marsh’s presentation in hand, good money says you’ll succeed.

“The algorithm will likely replace the editor and curator.” Algorithms, again! One day, I’ll wonder how I ever got along without them. Roger Wood and Evelyn Robbrecht wrote a fascinating article about Intelligent Content at paidContent. “Written and visual content will eventually be continuously reconfigured and redesigned by the moment to accommodate data gathered about what you like to read.” That’s fine and all, but I don’t want to live in a content bubble. Hopefully I’ll always have the random serendipity of Twitter.

Where I get cranky

Stop using so many damn hashtags! “When kept to a small scale, they can ably perform their service as a filter of relevant tweets” – like my beloved #assnchat. But, Daniel Victor at Nieman Journalism Lab says:

“I believe for every person who stumbles upon your tweet via hashtag, you’re likely turning off many more who are put off by hashtag overuse. We need not banish the hashtag, but let’s start putting more thought into when we’re using it.”

Wise up, tweeps! Nonprofit Tech 2.0 identifies five types of tweets you should never post. Note number 3, please. Seriously, these are all obnoxious.

Quickies

  • Cute kitten videos are all that stand between us and the cyber-apocalypse. (The Verge)
  • Study says…blogs are still more influential than Twitter. Of course they are. (The Wall)
  • Turn your Google Analytics into an infographic with Visual.ly. (SocialTimes)
  • Note to self: the next time you’re tempted to use the word awesome… (Instead of Awesome)
  • Become a masterful note-taker. (The Atlantic)
  • Make sure you’re legally using online photos. (Lifehacker)
  • Four questions to ask before you send that press release. (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Read a poem

Thank you, Jeff Cobb, for tweeting the link to this inspiring post, Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in School. It reminded me that it’s been way too long since I sat with a poem. I’m making a date this weekend for some time on the couch with a poet. Hmm, now who should it be?

Feed your neighbors

There’s a really good reason to visit Facebook every single day, at least until the end of April. Walmart is providing $3 million in grants for hunger relief programs – that’s means 35,000,000 (yes, million) meals — for food banks across the country. You can vote once a day for your local food bank on Walmart’s Facebook page. I’ll be voting, of course, for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Happy Friday!

vote for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina

Everyone (well, most everyone) knows the benefits of content marketing. But you can’t just say to your staff, “Yeah, good idea, start doing social media.” Valeria Maltoni says, “There are three crucial challenges to overcome if you want to implement a successful content strategy” – resource allocation, workflow planning and governance.

Over at Copyblogger, Barry Feldman shares nine ways you might be losing your audience’s trust without even realizing you’re doing it. Take a look at his list. How does your online behavior match up? I love his parting advice:

“So be good. Be ethical and honest. Be present. Be like the people you trust most — the ones who are happy to help you. Emulate the people who help you, because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s lucrative.”

Geoff Livingston writes about wearable computing, specifically Google Project Glass which “empowers two things: sharing and accessing information anywhere.” How will this impact marketing? He speculates that we will rely less on the written word (no!) and mobile platforms, and more on visual and audio communications.

“It is happening again,” says Augie Ray. “New technology is coming. We’ve all seen it and many are dismissing it as creepy, unnecessary or unimportant, just as many once mistook PCs, the Web, smartphones and social networking as creepy, unnecessary or unimportant .” He’s also talking about wearable technology combined with social media, and explains how marketers can prepare for these changes.

Anthony Ha at TechCrunch reports that Hearst, “a publisher that was previously known for a contrarian strategy that kept the Internet at arm’s length,” is revamping all its online magazines with a responsive, personalized design. This is what we will all come to expect – responsive and personalized. Is your organization keeping up? 

Back to basics for a moment. If you’re new to Twitter, be sure to read this piece by Nonprofit Tech 2.0: Eight Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make When They First Join Twitter. And if you’re not a nonprofit, read it anyway, the advice applies to any individual or organization.

The Angerosa Research Foundation is asking association executives to participate in the Association Publishing/Media Nondues Revenue Study. This benchmarking study will:

“Gauge how association publishers are building new and existing revenue streams in their publications and e-media. The study investigates advertising and paid sponsorships across all types of media, including periodicals, books, digital publications, websites, social media, and apps. It aims to breakdown revenue by media type, assess staff compensation practices, determine sales policy best practices, and much more. Results from the study will be used to develop benchmarks for organizations to compare their own practices and identify new areas for revenue expansion.”

The findings will be released in the spring. As a former association magazine publisher, this is a fascinating topic for me. I’d love to see and write about some of the results.

If you’re a hiker, you must put the Grand Canyon on your bucket (or backpack) list. A few years ago, we were lucky enough to get a reservation for a night at Phantom Ranch down at the bottom of the canyon. The hike down the South Kaibab trail was unbelievably beautiful. The hike up the Bright Angel trail the next day was grueling, but also stunning. You can get a taste of the true awesomeness on Google Map’s Street Views.

The best Valentine this week (besides the one from my honey and the heart-shaped pizzas I made): the American Cheese Society’s heart-shaped box of cheese. Cheers for cheese!

Happy Friday!

Photo by the American Cheese Society

Photo by the American Cheese Society

 

 

Steven Rosenbaum says, “Stop knocking curation.” I agree. There’s a big difference between aggregation and curation. I can do without the daily paper.li aggregations. I rarely read them, even if one of my tweets is featured as a “top story.” Too many of them don’t have the human (or curator’s) touch. However, as Rosenbaum says, “Information overload drives content consumers to look for human-filtered, journalist-vetted, intellectually-related material. This hunger for coherence isn’t unreasonable; it’s essential.” He’s talking about curation, like this post. My Reads of the Week posts take some time to put together, but I love doing it, and I appreciate when others do the same. Long live curation!

Are you making marketing’s biggest mistake? It’s an easy mistake to make. Jay Baer warns us about making assumptions based on our own experience — a dangerous thing to do as a marketer. He says that Marketers from Mars, a new report from ExactTarget, “found big differences between how marketers (that’s you and me) use social media, compared to how real people (your customers) use social media.” Watch his two-minute video and check out the data in the infographic. A good wake up call.

I make my living providing content that helps businesses educate clients and prospects, so I’m obviously a big advocate of content marketing. Fact: it works. Andrew Hanelly at TMG is in the same camp. He says, “What was once a secret weapon to savvy brands is now a marketing staple. And if it isn’t yet for your organization, it probably should be.” He provides a list of reasons to embrace content in your marketing mix and backs them up with data and charts.

Geoff Livingston’s interview with Andrew Keen is a must read. They discuss a bunch of meaty topics, including the downside of transparency for individuals, the importance of “dark spaces” and invisibility for creatives, the rise of influencers, narcissism fueled by new media, and the danger of the echo chamber. Lots to chew on here, but I loved this less meaty remark: “I loathe MSNBC equally as Fox because neither of them actually reports the news.” So damn true although their fan bases would argue differently.

I love seeing associations experimenting with new ideas, so kudos to the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Michelle Bruno just returned from their Convening Leaders conference and says, “More than any specific program feature or technological innovation, it was PCMA’s attitude toward digital disruption that was so obvious at the event. They must have trepidation about keeping pace with technology and the future of meetings—their members surely do—but they didn’t let that paranoia stop them. If the level of experimentation at the meeting was any indication, PCMA is always in beta, trying new form factors and delivery systems.” Let’s hear more stories like this – they inspire all of us in the association community.

When I started reading Nilofer Merchant’s post, Having a Point of View, I thought it was about writing, but it’s about much more. She’s talking about leadership: “To have a point of view is to know why you’re there, to be able to signal your purpose or organizing principle so clearly that the “reader knows”, even before he or she dives into the details. It attracts talent, it creates allies, and it focuses the work. When you have point of view about what matters to you and why, your chances of “changing the world” rise exponentially.”

Here’s a helpful post from one of my favorite writers about digital life, Alexandra Samuel. She shares three tricks for monitoring Twitter mentions and trackbacks. These “tricks” have been part of my digital schedule for a while. They will help you be a better social citizen. Alexandra says, “The whole point of seeing all these links is to engage with them, ideally by replying to any questions or substantive comments, and perhaps by thanking some or all of the folks who have tweeted about your work.”

My community service for the week: take the advice in this Lifehacker article and plug up your computer’s (and network’s) security holes. Adding this to my to-do list.

Happy Friday!

Protectin' Ur Intertubez (photo by Dennis Hamilton/Flickr)

Protectin’ Ur Intertubez (photo by Dennis Hamilton/Flickr)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

What a crazy week, I’m trying to get lots of work done before I take time off during the holidays. I must practice what I preach.

Bill Sheridan at the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) interviewed Daniel Pink about his new book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Bill asked Dan what he thinks is “the most important skill in today’s rapidly changing environment.” His answer: adaptability. Dan said, “You need to be able to change and adapt. I think people have difficulty with that. Dealing with ambiguity has become profoundly important today. Things are just inherently murkier than they ever have been.”

Bill’s post is required reading. Earlier this year I wrote about Generation Flux and one of its defining traits, the ability to learn new skills. It’s a message we must pound into our brains, and apparently it’s a message that Tom Hood, MACPA’s CEO, preaches as well. Bill said he even has a formula for it: L > C. “That is, in order to flourish, your rate of learning must be greater than the rate of change.” Put that on a t-shirt. In the comments, Tom shared a link where you can pre-order Dan Pink’s book and get freebies too. For a preview, check out the six-page introduction.

My other favorite post of the week is by Colleen Dilenschneider. In Social Media: The Every-Department Job in Nonprofit Organizations, she explains how the job of the marketing professional “has evolved from being a single funnel to media outlets streamlining promotional messages on behalf of an organization, to serving as several funnels to different, targeted demographics based on content from several different departments in a manner that achieves an organization’s long-term goals.” That’s why social media is an organization-wide responsibility, not just marketing’s job.

Siv Rauv provides a very helpful (and illustrated) post at Business 2 Community on how to use social media as a customer service tool. You could use this as the basis for a procedures manual. He says, “It is clear businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media as a customer service platform. Ignore it and you might miss out on building solid relationships with customers, lose a customer, or worse, fuel the wrath of an already angry customer. Respond and receive real consumer feedback, improved brand image and loyal customers.” 

I enjoyed Sarah Lacy’s piece on Pando Daily about what Judd Apatow’s kid can teach us about the Twitter generation. “Basically Judd Apatow accepted what most parents should probably accept: Any control over privacy or what your kid consumes is at best illusory.” It’s fascinating to see the types of skills and attitudes younger generations are naturally adopting because of these new digital platforms. Good lessons for all of us.

Whitson Gordon at Lifehacker gets the Public Service award this week for showing us how to fix ten annoying problems with Facebook, Twitter & other social platforms. Something to do over the holidays!

I’d like to say I’ve been a longtime advocate of poetry, but that’s not true. Although I’ve read my share over the years, I’m a recent convert to its powers. John Coleman discusses the benefits of poetry for professionals at the Daily Good. He says, “Poetry teaches us to wrestle with and simplify complexity,” develop our creativity and sense of empathy, and more. He mentions several poets who were also successful business professionals, but left out one of my favorites, William Carlos Williams, a physician.

I’m sleeping better now that The Walking Dead is on hiatus until next year. No more nightmares about the end of civilization, running out of water and food, and hiding out from sociopaths. Yes, I get a bit too emotionally involved in stories. Even though this show is really about the living and not the dead, fellow fans will love this visual record by the National Post’s Andrew Barr and Richard Johnson of all the zombie kills and the tools used to do the deeds. Daryl’s in second place for kills – they better not kill him off!

Happy Friday!

The man himself (purloined from Next LOL)

The man himself (purloined from Next LOL)

Tomorrow my Twitter avatar will don her Santa hat, a sign the holiday season has officially begun. I expect to add about five pounds to my already slightly voluptuous (I like that better than “overweight”) body during this season of abundance and excess. Unfortunately, many people can’t even afford to put dinner on the table, forget feasting.

You can spread your holiday blessings to those who have less by contributing to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s Holiday Meals Drive. Any new, lapsed or increased gifts will be matched by the Stewards Fund, so it’s a doubly good time to give. If you’re not an NC resident, I bet your local food bank would appreciate your donation too.

Here’s one for the association crowd by ASAE’s Joe Rominiecki at Associations Now about the Member Concierge at the California Dental Association. Every association needs a Member Concierge! It’s time to focus on the basics and hire someone who will welcome, listen to, and keep in touch with new members and then share what they learn with the rest of staff. So smart and well worth the budget investment.

I still see a lot of blogs that illegally (and unethically) use someone else’s photos. Yeah yeah yeah, they don’t know any better. Well, that’s why I feature posts like this every once in a while. Nobody really wants to do the wrong thing, do they? Sssh, spare me the truth. Rhonda Hurwitz shares 5 Ways to (Legally) Use Photos in Social Media on Your Blog.

Staying up on my soapbox, you all know how much I love Twitter. It’s not blind dumb love, it’s based on cold calculating logic – I learn and connect. Donna Kastner agrees: No Time for Twitter? You’re Missing a Professional Development Feast. Come sit down at the table!

Lauren Sinclair and the team at MultiView agree too. They love the knowledge nuggets they get from Twitter. “Twitter also gives executives the chance to learn from and have dialogue with various association thought leaders,” like, they mention, my pal, KiKi L’Italien, the host/moderator of the weekly association Twitter chat, #assnchat. Love that hashtag!

“One of the first things you learn in Google’s Power Searching class is that if you know about the magic of CTRL+F then you are in the top 10 percent of all searchers. That made someone like me, who uses the word find function on the regular a little cocky about my searching skills.” Me too, Rebecca. In You Google Wrong! at The Atlantic, Rebecca Greenfield shares a bunch of helpful Google searching tips.

How many people are in space right now? I often wonder about that, don’t you? Well, wonder no more. There’s a website for that!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

In one corner, a company that made a mess of customer service and then made it worse with social media. A moving company threatened to sue my friend’s wife because she wrote a negative Yelp review about them. The company also purchased positive Yelp reviews, deleted negative Facebook updates, and doesn’t seem to know how to dig itself out except by digging deeper.

“The beautiful part of the Internet is that everyone can now be a publisher. The scary part of the Internet for a company like <name> is that you don’t always know who you’re sending crazy intimidation letters to and how they might respond,” says Phil Buckley, the guy in the other corner. They picked the wrong guy to piss off, Phil happens to be an SEO and Online Reputation Management (ORM) expert. He has a lot of friends, and many of them are also ORM experts. The experts think this makes a great case study – you can’t buy that kind of publicity!

And, Happy Birthday, Phil!

Jeff Cobb at Tagoras is in the midst of updating their Association Learning Management Systems (LMS) report. He and Celisa Steele have been talking to LMS vendors and participating in demonstrations of platforms. He’s identified four association learning technology trends: “I can already see that there are at least four areas in which some very significant progress has been achieved over the past couple of years. I’m labeling these broadly as integration, convergence, mobility, and analytics.” Exciting times for associations with the educational innovations that await!

As our use of new social and digital platforms and technology evolves, irksome issues crop up, well, they’re irksome for some, not all. A sports reporter was “reprimanded” by the University of Washington athletic department for excessive tweeting during a basketball game. Sam Laird at Mashable writes, “As the ability to provide real-time updates becomes more and more common — and as the line between reporter and spectator becomes increasingly blurred — should the rights to live updates be protected to the same degree as TV and radio broadcasts?” Another example of an organization having a tough time giving up control? Or are their rights being infringed? I tend to side with the reporter on this one.

One more Twitter item: can we all just agree that you should never retweet something without first reading it? Good. I’m glad you see it my way, you’re a good citizen.

How different would the world be if everyone had access to high-quality education and a bigger world of ideas? Call me a dreamer, but I think we’d have less crazy extremism, ignorance, and poverty. Maybe the $20 Aakash tablet made by Suneet Tuli’s company, Datawind, is a step in that direction. Christopher Mims at Quartz reports that India’s government wants to distribute Datawind’s tablet to India’s 220 million students. It would be cheaper than buying textbooks. Tuli wants to educate the “ignored billion.” He says, “Our effort in all of this was to use technology to fight poverty. What happens when you try to make it affordable at this level?”

“Calling all publishers, editors, and content creators: If you’re creating content for a business, you are marketing. But you might be missing out on all that you can achieve with your superb content if you are not content marketing.” That’s the rallying cry of The Content Marketing Manifesto by Monica Bussolati, her recently released e-book – a call to action you should heed if you run a business or organization. I’ve only skimmed through the book because I’m planning to read it this weekend, but I can already tell I’m going to be reading along saying “Yes!” out loud, and probably learning a good deal as well, and as usual, from Monica.

Blogs are one of my favorite content marketing tools, but they’re also a great way to think out loud and become part of a larger conversation, according to Seth Godin. “No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging,” says Tom Peters. He goes on: “And it’s the best damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude that I’ve ever had.” Well then! Maddie Grant found this short video of Godin and Peters talking about blogs. It’s only 1:38 minutes, come on, click!

For those of you who read last week’s post and had doubts about an old band led by two guys in their late 60s: I’m happy to report that The Who exceeded my expectations, and my boyfriend’s, whose expectations were much lower. They did the entire Quadrophenia album, followed it up with five Who classics, and then a quiet version of Tea & Theater with just Roger and Pete on the stage. The highlights of the evening: Roger’s voice and efforts to get every note and scream right; Zak Starkey’s Moon-like melodic bombastic drumming (he is so damn good); video solos by, rest their souls, John in 5:15 and Keith in, what else, Bellboy; the mesmerizing Quadrophenia instrumentals; and being in the same room as Pete. Long live rock.

Happy Friday!

Young Zak Starkey with godfather Keith Moon (credit unknown)

The morning after Sandy hit I read a post by John Herrman about how we use Twitter during disasters. “Twitter’s capacity to spread false information is more than canceled out by its savage self-correction. In response to thousands of retweets of erroneous Weather Channel and CNN reports that the New York Stock Exchange had been flooded with “three feet” of water, Twitter users, some reporters and many not, were relentless: photos of the outside of the building, flood-free, were posted. Knowledgeable parties weighed in.” Wisdom of the crowd?

Andrew Razeghi at Fast Company asks whether we should hire someone for what they know or whom they know. IQ or Klout score? He uses Edison and Tesla as examples of success (or lack of it) based on the strength of networks – Edison had a strong one, Tesla didn’t. “This difference between innovating privately and innovating out loud is one of the most significant differentiators between successful innovators and those that fail. It largely explains the success of new venture accelerators, corporate new venture groups, and even academic researchers. Those with the most robust, engaged, and diverse social networks win.”

Does this sound familiar? You’re excited about the potential that content marketing will bring to your company, but once you start thinking about what it will take, you feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even begin. Don’t despair. At Copyblogger, Eric Enge provides “9 tips on how to build a lean content marketing team in a way that might just make the size of the task a lot more manageable.”

Do paywalls work? Mathew Ingram at GigaOm says “the New York Times is clearly something of a bellwether — and in particular, a sign of whether paywalls can (or can’t) make up for the ongoing dramatic decline in advertising revenue. Unfortunately for anyone in the industry who was hoping for a definitive answer, however, the paper’s latest financial results are a mixed bag.” Association professionals will be interested in reading what he thinks about the membership model as an approach.

Anna Caraveli is one of my favorite association bloggers. She has written before about the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), a virtual professional network of veterinarians, not an association, that has “a growing membership of 49,000 and healthy profit margin.” How do they do it? Anna describes seven “practices from VIN that will help you translate aspirations and promises into new capabilities for engagement, relevance and innovation by embedding them in your organization’s DNA.”

The company that controls William Faulkner’s works has filed suit against Sony Pictures Classics, because Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen, included a line from As I Lay Dying. Dave Itzkoff at the New York Times says, “It hinges on a single scene in the film, when its time-traveling protagonist, played by Owen Wilson, states: ‘The past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party.’” I read somewhere that one of Faulkner’s relatives is behind the lawsuit. I guess nobody ever explained Fair Use to him or her. This one should be thrown out, I’m sure every author, dead or alive, and lawyer would agree.

Finally, a feast for your eyes. Phillip Davies at The Guardian takes us behind closed doors into London’s hidden interiors. The photographs by Derek Kendall reveal “an amazing architectural heritage that rivals some of (London’s) most visited and celebrated sites.” Wouldn’t you love to take a tour of these secret places? Imagine sipping on an ale in The Black Friar!

Happy Friday!

I want to visit this Black Friar some day. Photo by den99 (Flickr).

“Sometimes I try to leave my narrow path and join the swirling mainstream of life, but I always find myself drawn inexorably back toward the chasm’s edge…”

He’s a dark one, Edvard Munch. I always knew he was the broody type, but until I learned more about him from John Coffey, deputy director for art at the N.C. Museum of Art, I had no idea how haunted and anxious he was. “Troubled, but powerful,” says Architects & Artisans.

Last Thursday I was invited by the museum to attend the media tour of Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print, so I expect to be a bit Munch-obsessed for the next month or so. But unlike Munch, I’ll do it in a celebratory, not despairing, way. To get a taste of the exhibit, check out the collection of tweets from WRAL producer Stephanie Beck.

If you’re in NC, I recommend seeing it, or for double the pleasure, wait until October 21 when an exhibition of still-life masterpieces visits us from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

I’m featuring the work of Jeff Cobb twice this week, not because he’s a North Carolina guy, but because he published two good posts about lifelong learning. On his company blog, Tagoras, he asked why associations don’t have a bigger presence in the conversation about the need for lifelong learning and skills-retooling in today’s learning economy. “As far as I can tell, we do not yet seem to be offering much of a voice in the public conversation about the growing skill (and knowledge) gap and the critical need for effective lifelong learning.”

Read more on DIY retooling in this New York Times article by Shaila Dewan: To Stay Relevant in a Career, Workers Train Nonstop. I would say “to stay relevant,” period. We’ve had or will have many careers in our lives.

The other great post from Jeff was on his Mission to Learn blog about his “learning walks.” Thanks to his idea, I’ve stayed out longer on several of my walks around the neighborhood because the podcast wasn’t quite over.

Peg Tyre wrote at The Atlantic about a failing Staten Island high school that identified the underlying problem for many of their students: their “inability to translate thoughts into coherent, well-argued sentences, paragraphs, and essays was severely impeding intellectual growth in many subjects.” After much research, they retrained teachers and reworked the curriculum by “placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class.” The results? Higher graduation rates and test scores, and inspired kids.

When I moved to California in 2004 from Washington DC, one of my friends said I would have no problem making the adjustment because I was “bicoastal.” She was right; I loved my life in Sacramento and only returned to the east to be with my honey. Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience digs into the cultural differences between the east and west coasts, specifically Boston and San Francisco. I grew up south of Boston and spent a lot of time in SF while I lived in California (my brother and friends lived there), and I think she’s on to something here.

Last one – a practical one, ICYMI, Kevin O’Keefe shares a guide to Twitter language and acronyms.

Happy Friday!

This is not your typical Madonna. This one might need a cigarette soon. (Edvard Munch, 1895-1902, Museum of Modern Art)

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