11-13-08

Canned Heat - Going Up The Country

 

Great song, but this video was clearly dubbed. Notice how Jim Horn (long beard) starts playing the flute after the music starts - from the wrong end.

11-13-08

Super Mario Brothers Wall Graphics

For sale at ThinkGeek for $75.

11-13-08

Google Flu Trends

A new service called “Flu Trends” launched on Google.org a few days ago. This service attempts to predict flu outbreaks by looking at flu-related search queries on Google.com. The data is broken down by State and conveniently displayed on a U.S. map (pictured below).

 

It will be interesting to see how accurate this really is. If it is, then it will greatly assist public health officials in preparing for regional epidemics. It would also be interesting to know if Google took into account States with a high number of medical and nursing programs. If not, Google might mistakenly report an influenza outbreak in New York City the night before a big exam day.

Flu Trends is Google’s second health-related service. In May it launched Google Health, an online database that lets you securely store and organize your health information in one place. Earlier this month, Medicare began encouraging Arizona seniors to use the service as part of a pilot program meant to streamline and improve healthcare.

11-12-08

Automata - English Comedian

 

An amazing automation by Jean Roullet from the late 19th century. More on Roullet and his company here.

11-09-08

Tips for Monitoring and Controlling your Company’s Online Reputation

With the web as open as it is, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to control their online reputations. Power that had once rested solely in the hands of corporate PR groups is now shared among consumers with an internet connection and the will to make themselves heard. If someone has a bone to pick with your product or service, they’ll blog about it, mention it in a forum, or write about it in the numerous consumer review websites out there. This openness can be great for consumers, but only if the negatively is warranted. If it isn’t - and the consumer is either acting ignorant or has a problem that can easily be remedied - then companies should make every effort the contact that person. This not only makes a happy customer, but can potentially create a brand advocate. Of course, you first need to know where to find them…

 

The Blogosphere: The most unmoderated place on the web tends to have a lot of corporate chatter. Start with a search on Technorati, currently the most popular blog index. Google Blog Search, IceRocket, and BlogPulse are also excellent resources.

Forums: Also known as message boards, these niche websites thrive on community participation. Users have a tendency to speak their minds, often masking their true identities. A popular forum topic can easily lead to hundreds of blog posts, news articles, and Twitter posts. BoardReader is undoubtedly the best place to start your forum search. BoardTracker is also a good one.

Twitter: The most popular micro-blogging platform is an excellent resource to find real-time opinions of your product or service. More importantly, posts made to Twitter often turn into full blown blog posts - so it’s best to catch them early. There’s a great little tool called TweetScan that automatically monitors Twitter and informs you (via e-mail or RSS) when a post is made matching your search criteria. Mark Collier of “Search Engine Guide” wrote a more in-depth article on this topic.

Search Results and News Stories: Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts both let you sign up to receive alerts via e-mail when a keyword-relevant news article is published or a specific website is updated.

Professional Services: If you don’t have the time (or will) to monitor the web on your own, you can always hire it out to companies like Reputation Defender.

 

It’s important to note that simply reaching out to your customers online is not always enough. Heavy social media users also like to see companies embracing the same technologies they use. This might include creating a company Facebook page or MySpace profile - or setting up a company Twitter account. Corporate presences on these website can also make a company more visible within search.

Any websites or tools I missed here? I’d love to hear about them in the comments…