Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 7 February 2011
Portland Indymedia Principles of Unity
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: UNITY AND - YOU BE THE MEDIA ((( i )))
Topic: MEDIA

Portland Indymedia Principles of Unity

  • All portland indymedia working groups are not-for-profit. All volunteers donate their time and have agreed to receive no personal monetary gain. In otherwords, nobody gets paid.
  • All working groups recognize the importance of process to social change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics. Therefore, they shall organize themselves collectively and be committed to the principle of consensus decision-making and the development of a direct, participatory democratic process that is transparent to those involved.
  • All working groups recognize that the contribution of an individual's labor is a prerequisite for participation in the decision making process of a working group or at a portland indymedia general meeting. Individuals who are not committing tangible labor to a portland indymedia working group are encouraged to share their views but may not "block" a consensus.
  • All working groups are committed to caring for one another and their respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment.
  • Whenever possible, all working groups shall be committed to the use of free software and open source code, in order to develop the digital infrastructure, and to increase the independence of themselves by not relying on proprietary software.
  • Openess: All working groups shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and shall not discriminate based upon race, spiritual belief, gender, age, class or sexual identity. Working groups are committed to the ideal of building diversity within their activities.


 PRINCIPLES OF UNITY 1. The Independent Media Center Network (IMCN) is based upon principles of equality, decentralization and local autonomy. The IMCN is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of autonomous collectives that recognize the importance in developing a union of networks. 2. All IMC's consider open exchange of and open access to information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society. [3. All IMC's respect the right of activists who choose not to be photographed or filmed.] 4. All IMC's, based upon the trust of their contributors and readers, shall utilize open web based publishing, allowing individuals, groups and organizations to express their views, anonymously if desired. **see appendix: Open Publishing document --> still in proposal phase, at this address: http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/public/imc-communication/2001-April/001707.html http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/public/imc-communication/2001-April/000874.html 5. The IMC Network and all local IMC collectives shall be not-for-profit. 6. All IMC's recognize the importance of process to social change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics. Therefore, shall organize themselves collectively and be committed to the principle of consensus decision making and the development of a direct, participatory democratic process] that is transparent to its membership. 7. [All IMC's recognize that a prerequisite for participation in the decision making process of each local group is the contribution of an individual's labor to the group.] 8. All IMC's are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment. 9. All IMC's shall be committed to the use of free source code, whenever possible, in order to develop the digital infrastructure, and to increase the independence of the network by not relying on proprietary software. 10. All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and shall not discriminate, including discrimination based upon race, gender, age, class or sexual orientation. Recognizing the vast cultural traditions within the network, we are committed to building [diversity] within our localities.   

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:04 PM PST
Saturday, 5 February 2011
TWEET - Hear Me - ... Oh I do!... ReTweet Tweet tweet
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Social Media & Why one person usees Twitter
Topic: MEDIA

jfleck at inkstain

A few thoughts from John Fleck, a writer of journalism and other things, living in New Mexico

Social Media and the Journalist’s Toolkit

Posted on | February 5, 2011 |


Three interesting case studies this week in the use of social media in my journalism (or in one case just my life), which I hope might be of some interest to others (especially colleagues who have been skeptical of its utility – you know who you are).

twitter screen grabNew Mexico had a historic storm this week, a freeway-clogging, school-closing, pipe-freezing, gas-service-interrupting mess. One of my jobs at the newspaper is to pay attention to the weather and explain/warn as needed. I could not have done that, or done it as well, without Twitter.

Every newsroom I’ve worked in over the decades has had, as its soundtrack, the chatter of a police scanner. We know how to use that – quick bursts of information, often unconfirmed, that are worth paying attention to in a low level, background way.

My Twitter feed is like that, but on a broad range of topics. It includes, for example, a number of people working at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office, who do a great job of sending out links to their latest forecast information, interesting data, and a heads up when the weather is about to get interesting. (That’s Kerry Jones and Daniel Porter you see in the accompanying picture, passing along a link to Daniel’s latest storm update.) My feed also includes other journalists, emergency services folks (both agency and individual feeds) and a lot of regular people who live around New Mexico. When an event like our epic cold happens, the chatter picks up, creating an ambient awareness of the developing situation – tidbits to check out, alerts from government officials, journalists linking to their latest info, people asking questions, other people giving answers.

There is, for example, Melwell Romancito up in Taos, where the gas has been off for more than 48 hours. I have no idea who she is, but people started Retweeting her stuff, I followed her, and she’s become a great source of information. (She just pointed out a problem with some info that’s currently making the rounds from an earlier gas company release. Turns out we still have that info on the newspaper’s web site. Must get it fixed.) Or TaosJohn, who shared a link to the Taos Police Department Facebook page. There also are official channels, like the New Mexico public safety folks.

This is the sort of ongoing, rapid fire communication that has always gone on in a story like this – trying to reach out and communicate as quickly as possible with a range of people who might have relevant information. Twitter is simply a huge force multiplier.

The second case study is far simpler and less freighted, but has a lot of similarities.

I don’t write much directly about economics, but it is an important boundary condition for a lot of what I cover – water policy, energy, environmental issues. So I try to have a sort of ongoing ambient awareness about what’s going on in the economy, to help me understand when I need to dive into in more detail. My Twitter feed includes a list of economists and economics journalists (and probably some people who are both) that acts as a sort of police scanner for the economy. When Friday’s confusing set of jobs/unemployment numbers came out, I didn’t have the time or the expertise to sort it out myself. But that was OK, because the people I follow on Twitter did it for me in a 24-hour burst of shared links – first alerting me to the data release, then taking me through the sorting out they were all doing.

Again, this is the sort of thing I could have done (and often still do) in other ways – hunting through the econ blogs and work of various journalists or diving into the data myself. Twitter made it far easier and more serendipitous.

There are a lot of other subject areas like these – New Mexico politics and the state legislature, climate science and politics, energy policy, western water – where a carefully assembled Twitter feed of smart people chatting about what they know is an incredibly useful way of tracking what’s going on. Having the equivalent of a police scanner for the water policy beat is awesome.

In the previous cases, I am my own “curator”, picking which feeds to follow, getting a feel for who to listen to and how. The previous cases also relate directly to my job. The final case study is Egypt, where I’ve joined 39,414 other twitter users (as of 8:27 p.m. MST Saturday) and outsourced the curation to Andy Carvin. Amy Gahran at Knight Digital Media explains a bit about who Carvin is (NPR “senior strategist”, whatever that means) and how he’s doing it. The bottom line is that he’s find and sharing information at an amazingly rapid fire and amazingly useful rate.

Plus, there’s ro_bot_dylan.

Related posts:

  1. Social Media Signposts
  2. On Media and Bunk
  3. A Problem the News Media Can’t Fix
  4. Harlow the Journalist
  5. RSS

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.


I have my Twitter info page here:


~joe anybody

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:46 PM PST
Sunday, 14 November 2010
F* Corporate Media - Do I have to Explain This? - Watch The Video ((( i )))
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: F* Corporate Media
Topic: MEDIA
Fuck The Corporate Media

A compilation of video footage that is explained by the title

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:30 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 14 November 2010 8:37 PM PST
Monday, 11 October 2010
Media, Chomsky, Kevin Report, corrupt Government complexity
Now Playing: The Kevin Report (A blog I ran across reading about the media and about Noam Chomsky)
Topic: MEDIA

I found this interesting blog and wanted to share it with Z3 Readers... I believe it is written by Kevin.

The Kevin Report


Statement of Purpose

Recently it dawned on me that one of the things I most like doing is acting as a filter for people. I like going out into the worlds of information, music, and technology and picking out samples that I think will appeal to people I know, or anybody for that matter. In this way, I'm a human aggregator.

This site will be focused on current news stories that I feel offer a departure from the general agenda of the mainstream media. The term "mainstream media" is loaded, though, and many if not most of the articles I post will come from established, mainstream sources.

In any institution there will be outliers. There will be stories in the (typically mainstream) New York Times that go against the grain of the US media as a whole, for example. The problem is that many of them get buried under the din of the other stories, as their antithetical counterparts get more attention, more repetition.

Choosing stories largely from established news outlets, but which don't conform to what we might call the overall narrative of the mainstream media, gives us the ability to rely on rigorous journalistic practices while still allowing a different picture to emerge. Rarely will an established news outlet publish an out-and-out lie. Usually they skew the picture of reality by omission, by suggestion of what constitutes an acceptable range of opinion across the imaginary Left-Right spectrum, and by exaggerating the extent to which certain ideas are accepted in the worlds of science and academia, and minimizing the extent to which certain ideas are actually largely agreed upon in these worlds.

The ideas I'm putting forth here are not new or original in any way. I make no secret that most of my inspiration comes from Noam Chomsky, who along with others, has provided compelling evidence of systematic distortions of reality by the mainstream media. I consider Noam Chomsky to be the great genius of our time with respect to moral/political philosophy. He has already earned the reputation of a genius in the field of Linguistics, where his work has been undeniably groundbreaking.

Unfortunately, Professor Chomsky is all too often ignored. His works are very widely read around the world, yet in the US media, he is conspicuously absent from the discussion, unlike in the media elsewhere. But if we're interested in the reducing of human suffering, not to mention the very survival of the human race, we ought to pay more attention to this genius in our midst, an Einstein of our time, always willing to speak up and offer his opinion in the here and now, though nobody knows for how much longer, as he is getting on in years.

So it is, in general, the narrative offered by Chomsky and others that I will try to present on this blog. And the narrative goes something like this:

As citizens of the United States we have a shared responsibility for the actions of our government. Many if not most of us have little inkling of some of the injustices carried out in our names. Most of these injustices are uncontroversially accepted and well known to those who bother to do the research. The problem is that most people don't and perhaps can't bother. Most of us are too busy chasing the American dream, or just scraping by, to carefully research any topic, let alone get a wide range of news sources on current events.

For most of us, it's simply enough to get a headline here and there, or maybe to watch 30 minutes of news with commercials and fluff pieces interspersed. Couple this with the general sense we have about our country's unerring goodness, and a picture emerges of a government which values freedom, always goes to war with the right intentions, and does its best to take care of its own.

Unfortunately things are worse than this. Much worse. While it's impossible to paint the entire US government with the same brush (especially when you consider that in a democracy we're all part of the government), what we can say is that if the average citizen were truly willing to accept the reality of some of the things done in our name, there would be radical change.

We live in a time when nuance is seldom embraced. You're either in this camp or that, with no in betweens. Either America is a great force for good in this world or it's not. Either you support the troops or you don't. Either your government is good or it isn't.

Well there's a descriptor for this kind of thinking, and it's "childish". As we grow older, we learn to see more nuance. We're more willing, for example, to accept that it's ok to break the pharmacy store window to get medicine for a dying person who needs it, whereas a four year old will simply tell you it's wrong to break a window and to steal.

Embracing nuance and complexity, we can see that to attack a government which is only partially democratic - and therefore does not always speak for us - is not to attack the American people as a whole. We can see that our government is capable of carrying out the greatest good and the greatest evil. We can also let go of the notion that if our government does evil that we're doomed and that we're stripped of the soothing illusions necessary to be happy and carry on in life.

For any willing to accept reality, know this: Our government has and continues to carry out and participate in some very awful atrocities. From wars waged directly and indirectly over the years in Latin America, Indochina, The Middle East, and elsewhere, we have been complicit in the deaths and suffering of millions. Our media is to a certain extent subservient to our government, as well as the general public, who are often unwilling to accept these realities. Therefore they have done a fairly awful job at presenting the truth.

As if this weren't enough, we are in a dangerous era of nuclear capability. As our actions continue to inflame extremism throughout the world, the stakes are getting higher and higher in the US's game of global domination. Not only this, but the crisis of climate change has also received shamefully little attention and has not been presented in a truly balanced way in our media.

We very well may be on the verge of extinction as a species. And in the shorter term, with the erosion of constitutional rights in this country, the US government is on the verge of becoming an extremely tyrannical regime, its people racked with extreme poverty and inequality between the upper and lower classes, leading to less democracy, less control over what our government does, and therefore less ability to slow or stop the atrocities committed in the name of power and greed by a few bad but powerful apples.

I believe that when people are properly informed, and when they're honest with themselves, they can act to make the world a better place. This is why I spend my time finding and presenting news stories to others. In addition, I believe in the value of humor, even in the darkest of times, so I will sometimes post articles which are funny, often in an illuminating way, but sometimes just for a good laugh. And then there is the occasional randomly interesting article.

Here's hoping this does some good for somebody out there.
*Zebra3Report note
(Kevin, well I read it and it did, do some good - thanks! ~joe anybody)

Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:52 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 11 October 2010 5:57 PM PDT
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Innocent Videographer Sentenced to 300 Days in Cook County Jail
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Journilst gets 300 days in jail
Topic: MEDIA

Innocent Videographer Sentenced to 300 Days in Cook County Jail – Free Gregory Koger!

Photo of Gregory“I am astonished by the extreme measures taken against Gregory Koger, all for misdemeanor charges. This is not justice, especially for a person of his moral standing.” 
  Fr. Robert Bossie, SCJ
“The amount of work and dedication that Gregory has invested in this school and the work he has done with the inner city youth… is beyond measure.” 

Chicago inner city high school principal, on behalf of teachers, staff and students

On September 8, Gregory Koger was sentenced to 300 days in jail for videotaping a brief political statement at a public event in Skokie, IL.  When Gregory was asked to stop, he put down his video camera.   Trespass charges were brought because he started filming with his iPhone.  But videotaping is not a crime!  Filming has nothing to do with the legal definition of trespass.  The trespass law states that you must be ordered to leave, and then show that you intend to remain after you have been given notice to leave.  Testimony in court made it clear that Gregory was not ordered to leave until the police were already dragging him out of the auditorium. 

Gregory Koger was the only person harmed in this whole episode.  He was assaulted and injured by police and then charged – as is often the case for victims of police brutality – with resisting arrest and simple battery.  An important issue brief from The American Constitution Society calls these “cover charges” because they are so often used to “cover up” police misconduct.   Gregory has maintained his innocence and is appealing his conviction.
As Gregory grew up, he and his family were often homeless.  Like millions of others, he got caught up in a life on the streets and was sent to prison at age 17.  There he began to question, to study, to understand, and to think beyond himself and beyond the prison walls.  Upon his release, Gregory entered college and plunged into social justice activism. He earned his certificate as a paralegal and is employed by a Chicago attorney. 
Read Gregory’s own words here.
Gregory has inspired many, from current prisoners who see their own potential in him, to people from more privileged backgrounds.  Far from being a threat to society, dozens of letters presented to the sentencing judge described Gregory’s contributions to society, as did the testimony of seven character witnesses, including two lawyers, a priest, one of Gregory’s former professors, a businessman, a University of Chicago student whom he mentored, and others.  Over 900 people signed a petition urging the judge to give no jail time.
Despite all this favorable testimony, the judge lambasted Gregory, cited his background, and declared that he “absolutely deserved” the maximum sentence.  Numerous irregularities in this case have struck many people as politically-driven.  Among these were:

-- In April, Gregory was charged with contempt of court because the prosecution objected to his defense committee’s website.  Before the written contempt charge was even presented to her, Judge Marguerite Quinn threatened Gregory’s attorney with disbarment two times, because she had heard that his name appeared on that website.  A separate hearing was required to defeat this bizarre contempt motion.

-- When the defense submitted evidence before the trial, including Gregory’s video footage from the day of his arrest, the prosecution changed its story.  Judge Quinn allowed this, and she also refused to let Gregory’s attorney use the original police report to show the jury that some prosecution witnesses had changed their story.

-- In an extremely irregular move for misdemeanor charges, the judge sent Gregory straight to jail upon conviction, revoking bail even before sentencing.  In contrast, the notorious Chicago police detective Jon Burge, who tortured inmates and sent many to death row, and who was found guilty of felonies in June, is free on bond until his sentencing in November. 

-- In Illinois the default sentence for misdemeanors is probation. However, Judge Quinn gave Gregory 300 days, claiming he had “chosen the path of violence” and endangered the safety of everyone in the auditorium on the day he was arrested.  These claims were never made in the trial by any witness or prosecutor.  The judge literally made this up! 

What you can do:

Sign the petition below
to Gregory’s legal defense
online through PayPal) or checks can be made out to "Gregory Koger Fund" and mailed to:
Ad Hoc Committee, 1055 W. Bryn Mawr, #226, Chicago, IL 60660
Join us in court for the appeal of the sentence and reinstating bond on September 22, 9:30am
Cook County Courthouse, 5600 W Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL
For more information, see
Email: adhoc4reason AT gmail.com

The petition below has been signed by:

August Berkshire, President of the Minnesota Atheists*
Father Bob Bossie, SCJ
Pat Hill, Exec. Director, African-American Police League*
Prof. Theodore Jennings, Chicago Theological Seminary*
H. Candace Gorman, Attorney for Guantanamo detainees
Cynthia McKinney
Michael Radzilowsky, Attorney
Joann Shapiro
Cindy Sheehan
David Swanson
Debra Sweet
Sunsara Taylor
Matthis Chiroux, The Disobedient*
*For identification purposes only

Posted by Joe Anybody at 9:42 PM PDT
Saturday, 11 September 2010
5. Using Color Names Instead of Hexadecimal
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Webmaster tips that are just about ... way over my head
Topic: MEDIA

5. Using Color Names Instead of Hexadecimal


Declaring red for color values is the lazy man’s #FF0000. By saying:

color: red;

You’re essentially saying that the browser should display what it thinks red is. If you’ve learned anything from making stuff function correctly in all browsers — and the hours of frustration you’ve accumulated because of a stupid list-bullet misalignment that can only be seen in IE7 — it’s that you should never let the browser decide how to display your web pages.

Instead, you should go to the effort to find the actual hex value for the color you’re trying to use. That way, you can make sure it’s the same color displayed across all browsers. You can use a color cheatsheet that provides a preview and the hex value of a color.

This may seem trivial, but when it comes to CSS, it’s the tiny things that often lead to the big gotchas.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:37 PM PDT
Thursday, 9 September 2010
5 Portland Companies - using the internet / wed in new ways
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: creative web use - Five companies in Portland
Topic: MEDIA

5 Portland Companies Using the Web in New Ways

The original article URL is here:  

Posted: Wed, 08 Sep 2010 07:11:23 +0000
Portland companies are generating bold new ideas for the Web
From safeguarding Internet transactions to squeezing meaning out of Twitter streams, Portland companies are generating bold new ideas for the Web.
Photo: Dustin Eppers/EnzymePDX

It’s no secret that Portland is home to some serious ingenuity when it comes to software and technology. What’s lesser known is how many varied, innovative uses of the Web call Oregon home. This list is a small sampling of the best of the Web, grown right here.

Mission: Influencing the Influencers
The Company: Twitalyzer
What They Do: Twitalyzer attempts to make sense of the vast reams of data pouring in through Twitter’s worldwide user base by carefully measuring every last detail about how you use the popular messaging/micro-blogging service. It can tell you how much impact your account has, whether you’re considered a source, sun or spider, and an endless stream of other deceptively technical variables with endearing names like Generosity, Engagement, Clout and “Klout.” The service was featured on the social networking site Mashable in May, and offers plans ranging from free personal accounts for individuals to monthly plans for heavy-duty corporate users.
Behind the Code: Twitalyzer is produced by Portland-based Web Analytics Demystified, a web analytics company headed by Eric Peterson.

Mission: Spreading the Stories
The Company: IdeaMensch.com
What They Do: Every day, the folks at IdeaMensch, whose tagline is “Passionate People Bringing Ideas to Life,” post an interview with someone who has a unique story to tell. The interviews focus on entrepreneurs or leading business leaders, and offer rare glimpses into the thought process behind people with ideas who decide to take a risk and go for it. The site’s library of interviews covers a wide spread of topics, including hangover cures, Greek wine, high-tech industry and comic books. Heavy hitters who’ve gotten the IdeaMensch treatment include marketing celebrity Seth Godin, social media leader Chris Brogan, and the titular Craig Newmark of Craigslist.
Behind the Code: IdeaMensch is the brainchild of Mario Schulzke out of Los Angeles, with Portland-based Evan Davies manning community and marketing efforts.

Mission: Making the Music
The Company: CDBaby.com
What They Do: CDBaby is one of the world’s largest distributors of independent music, with a commitment to making sure that artists are paid their due. What started as a side project for founder Derek Sivers to help his friends sell their music online blossomed into a gateway for independent musicians to get their music out to the world. Now, the site offers hosting solutions and website development for artists, a service that matches musicians with promoters to facilitate bookings, and even rentable credit card swipers that bands can use at shows to sell albums.
Behind the Code: Although Sivers sold CDBaby in 2008, the company remains headquartered in Portland. Sivers’ next projects include virtual assistant company MuckWork and free online song contest site SongTest.

Mission: Securing Payments Online
The Company: Iovation
What They Do: With so many options to make payments online, there’s now an incredible amount of ways for the sneaky to snag credit card numbers, initiate fraudulent “chargebacks” against vendors, and launder cash through virtual currencies. Iovation’s suite of online services can perform instant reputation checks against buyers to guard against fraud before it happens, and can identify known fraudulent users who have been reported by other watchdog bodies. The applications are present virtually anywhere the Internet and monetary transactions intersect – from the financial sector to online gaming and gambling.
Behind the Code: Iovation’s co-founders, CEO Greg Pierson and VP Corporate Development Jon Karl, both hold degrees from Oregon State University.

Mission: A Watchful Eye, Inside Your Site
The Company: New Relic
What They Do: VC-backed New Relic sums up its very technical offering in a simplistic statement: “to monitor and troubleshoot Java and Ruby apps.” With software products constantly migrating to the Web as opposed to installed programs that live on your computer (think Google’s Gmail versus Microsoft’s Outlook), an entire new ecosystem has been created – that is, of ways your favorite Web application could possibly break down. New Relic’s RPM tool tracks performance and offers troubleshooting assistance when Web applications act up, and just recently reached more than 5,000 active users – including big-time corporations like Sony Music, AT&T Interactive and The Washington Post.
Behind the Code: While the company is officially headquartered in San Francisco, its Portland office recently moved into a new space downtown.

The Tip of the Iceberg

This list is just a start – there are many local outfits innovating on the Web. Know of a Portland or Oregon company making new strides online? Let us know in the comments.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:46 PM PDT
Monday, 16 August 2010
This is backward thinking (Pro capitalist rip-off) disinformation / Spin / Bullshit and Deception
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Screw this concept! To hell with oil! Tax em and then lets all stop using. More Media Lies & Spin!
Topic: MEDIA

August 12, 2010http://detnews.com/article/20100812/OPINION01/8120340

Gary Wolfram: Oil tax will hurt national economy



There should be no doubt that our nation's flagging economic recovery has been disappointing.

Nationally, unemployment was supposed to be held to less than 8 percent by the stimulus bill, but a year and a half after the measure's passage, joblessness is above 9.5 percent. Michigan's unemployment rate is at 13.2 percent, with a loss of 400,000 jobs since the beginning of 2008.

So it would make little sense to address the unemployment problem by increasing the cost of producing many of our goods and services. Yet that would be the effect of the Obama administration's proposed $80 billion tax increase on the oil and natural gas industry over the next decade.

Elementary economics tells us that if the marginal cost of production is increased, supply is reduced, resulting in decreased output and higher prices. In this case, the tax increases will result in less oil production in the United States, and increased costs of shipping and transporting oil from other countries. An additional $80 billion in taxes on oil and gas must result in an increase in the price of oil and gas, along with reduced employment in the industry and also in ancillary industries.

Despite the very large incentives that taxpayers have given to renewable resources, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that four-fifths of our energy needs will come from fossil fuels in 2030. It clearly is not possible that the reduced employment in the oil and gas industry can even in small part be made up by increased employment in such areas as wind turbines and solar photovoltaics.

This, however, is but the tip of the iceberg. Since oil is an input into the production of such disparate industries as fertilizer, plastic syringes, synthetic fibers, and detergents, there will be an increased cost in the production of these goods, resulting in a reduction in employment in each of these industries. In addition, the cost of delivering the mail, flowers, packages, packaged goods -- everything that is shipped by road or by rail, will also increase, affecting employment.

The 19th-century political economist, Fredric Bastiat wrote that the difference between a good economist and a bad economist is that the bad economist sees the "seen," but the good economist sees the "unforeseen."

In other words, the good economist is aware of the unintended consequences of a policy action.

If we follow the unintended consequences of this tax further we notice that millions of Americans own stock in oil companies directly through 410(k)s, or because they are owners of mutual funds that own oil company stocks, or indirectly through the ownership of these stocks by their pension funds. These Americans will all see a decline in their wealth as the return to holding oil company stocks falls.

But the consequences do not stop there.

Suppose your pension fund holds stock in FedEx. The increase in the price of oil due to the tax will increase the price of gasoline and jet fuel, driving up costs of FedEx, reducing its earnings, lowering the value of the stock, and reducing the assets of your pension fund. It is important that Congress understands that voting for this tax is a vote for the unintended consequences of the tax as well.

We should also understand that companies in the oil and gas industry already pay about half of their earnings in taxes, nearly double the tax rate of the rest of the Standard and Poor's Industrials -- 48 percent to 28 percent.

So, rather than equalizing the tax burden across industries as some have claimed, the oil tax would further exacerbate the tax differential that already exists.

In the Sherlock Holmes story, "A Scandal in Bohemia," Sherlock admonishes Watson: "The problem with you Watson is you see but you do not observe."

Whether Congress enacts a tax on oil and gas production depends upon whether your congressmen and senators follow Holmes's advice or act like Watson. Those who think they are merely taxing oil companies are like Watson -- failing to observe that the jobs of many Michigan workers will be sacrificed though the unintended consequences of their actions.

Gary Wolfram is the William Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College. E-mail comments to letters@detnews.com">letters@detnews.com.

© Copyright 2010 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Friday, 13 August 2010
5 of the best practices on how to use "social media sites" to promote events
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: Using the social medai to promote your event - here is the first 5 tips out of 10
Topic: MEDIA

Top 10 best practices on how to use social media to promote your event (Part I: #1-5)

socialbarWe often get asked “How can I leverage social media to promote my event?” So we started collecting best practices from event organizers who use Eventbrite. We pulled them all together in this post to help you get started down the path to social media glory. But it’s important to note that social media is a clunky gun, not a silver bullet—it’s a channel, not a strategy. The best way for each event to utilize this channel will vary depending on who the target audience is and how they engage online.

It’s no silver bullet. That said, social media can be an incredibly powerful promotional tool, allowing you to reach more of the people that care about and ultimately want to attend your event. When people share information about your event with their network, that message carries much more weight than a traditional ad. It’s a personal endorsement of your event. Social media is also the perfect tool to generate buzz, to get people talking about your event in a recorded fashion where others can stumble across it and get caught up in it too. It’s not a new phenomenon. That’s how people have promoted their events from the beginning: get people talking about it. What social media brings is the ability for anyone to discover the chatter, giving it far more reach and power.

But it can be a game-changer. We’ve built a lot of features into Eventbrite to support sharing of events through social media and we see the results every day. Facebook is the greatest driver of traffic to our site, which means people are sharing your events on Facebook, their friends are seeing the posts show up in their feed, and they are clicking on the links that bring them back to your Eventbrite event page. That’s really exciting, and I hope you can see the powerful implications that it has on the way events are promoted and discovered.

Some guiding principals

1. Choose the platforms that make sense for your event. There are a few options when it comes to promoting your event through social media, and each has unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn show who’s attending and aggregate conversation about the event in one place, while Twitter provides the opportunity for anyone to discover the event. Building your own social network around your event may be the thing to do if you have an appetite for building a richly branded online experience, but it won’t give you the virality of established social networks. Look to strike a balance across several platforms—but most importantly, understand where your target audience is already engaging. Identify existing communities by searching on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums, monitor Twitter conversation, and locate the platforms that have the most activity. This is where you’ll want to place the majority of your efforts.

2. Define success metrics and don’t underestimate the effort required. To new users, online communities might look self-sustaining. They’re not. Facebook, Twitter and the rest all take work, ideally in the form of a dedicated individual who can keep dialogue flowing and seed productive conversations. Continuous new content and engagement tactics are required to grow the vibrant community necessary for achieving buzz around your event. Define success metrics so that you know how you’re tracking—number of fans or followers is a great place to start, but engagement metrics are most important. Facebook’s Fan Page dashboard gives good stats and there are some great free Twitter analytics tools (we use Twitalyzer) that can measure engagement levels of your tweets.

Use Facebook to create a destination for engagement

3. Publish your event to Facebook. From right within the Eventbrite management console you can publish your event to Facebook and it will automatically create a Facebook Event, pulling in all the event details from Eventbrite. You can publish the event as a stand-alone event created by your Facebook profile or as an event associated with a specific fan page. Facebook Events allow you to easily invite your friends and fans and it makes it easy for them to share with their friends. It creates a central location for attendees to begin to connect and share their excitement for the event.


4. Create a Facebook Page. For larger events a dedicated page may be appropriate as a central location to engage with attendees and people interested in learning more about your event. The best pages that we’ve seen post updates almost daily, giving fans a window into the planning process of the event. Have you just secured an amazing caterer? Has an exciting speaker agreed to attend? Has the event received coverage in the media? Multi-media is always compelling: if you can share photos of the space or get the main attractions (speakers, artists, etc.) to post quick videos on their thoughts for the event, it really helps to bring it to life. The Facebook fan page is not only a great way to get your attendees excited, but also to get them involved in the event itself by asking them questions that can influence the content or the agenda.

Facebook Fan Page

5. Invite friends and fans to attend and help spread the word. Search Facebook for other fan pages on topics related to your event and engage with the users there. Become a fan of that page, and you can then write things on their wall. I would carefully craft your message so that it doesn’t look like spam (people react very negatively to spam), letting people know about the event and why they should attend. Include a link to the Eventbrite page or the Facebook event when you post so users can click through for more content if they are interested. For example, a benefit concert featuring Slash went to the Slash Facebook page and told the fans that slash was going to be performing at their benefit concert rather than just saying “Support this great cause and attend this concert.”

You should also reach out to specific individuals who may be connected to your event topic or specific friends that you think would be interested. For example, say John is a big industry influencer. You can “Send John a Message” through the link that’s under his picture on Facebook. Again, be VERY careful to not sound spammy but instead let him know about an event that you think he would be interested in and why. Keep it short and include a link to your fan page encouraging him to be a fan and also a link to the Eventbrite page. You can cherry-pick these individuals to connect with, but the real value will come when he fans your page or posts that he is attending the event and his whole network sees it.

Stay tuned for Part II of this series covering Twitter, LinkedIn, and building your own community.

Related posts:

  1. Charlene Li: 5 ways to keep the social media buzz after an event On Tuesday, April 13th, social media guru Charlene Li—author of...
  2. Charlene Li on social media strategy: The pre-event gameplan Yesterday we were thrilled to host a webinar featuring Charlene...

Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:46 PM PDT
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Digital Activism - Something To Consider
Now Playing: Information - or - Inspiration
Topic: MEDIA

Two Paradigms of Digital Activism: Empowering With Information Versus Engaging With Inspiration


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 At the recent e-STAS Symposium on Technologies for Social Action, it became evident to me that there are two dramatically different paradigms of digital activism: empowering with information and engaging with inspiration.

In the first paradigm of digital activism, you work with a disadvantaged group that suffers from limited access to even the most basic information and tools for self-expression. So, you use simple-to-use digital devices like Nokia mobile phones and Flip video cameras and simple-to-use digital technologies like text messages and online video to enable them to access basic information and share their own stories. Frontline SMS, Ushahidi, Freedom Fone and Video Volunteers are good examples of the ‘empowering with information’ paradigm of digital activism.

In the second paradigm of digital activism, you work with a group that is anything but disadvantaged. This group is at ease with using always on internet and mobile devices, both for instantaneous access to information and for self-expression and social interaction. Here, the digital activist isn’t trying to solve a crisis of capability, but a crisis of caring. Here, the aim is not to empower with information, but to engage with inspiration. Move On and iJanaagraha are examples of the ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm of digital activism.

Usually people associate the ‘empowering with information’ paradigm of digital activism with emerging Asia and Africa and the ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm of digital activism with affluent North America and Europe.

At e-STAS, it became evident to me that these two worlds coexist in India. First, Osama Manzar talked about empowering 1.2 billion Indians by giving them access to information and a voice to tell their own stories firsthand. In the next session, I talked about inspiring 50 million young, urban, educated, connected Indians to use their already influential voices as engaged citizens, not only as consumers.

At e-STAS, it also became evident to me that activists who look at the world through the ‘empowering with information’ lens often limit themselves to using digital technologies to create and share content, while activists who look at the world through the ‘engaging with inspiration’ lens use content as the starting point to leverage the conversation, collaboration, community and collective intelligence layers of digital (social) technologies. So, the video of the 21 year old widow in rural Africa becomes the starting point of a campaign to end war, or a community that helps her collect enough money to buy a cow.

The point here is not that one paradigm is more important than the other; the point is that both paradigms co-exist, in more contexts than we think they do.

So, if you are an activist, think about whether you operate from the ‘empowering with information’ or ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm and ask yourself how your cause can benefit from both.

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:22 PM PDT

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