Tag Archives: trends

Monotasking Vs. Multitasking

18 Oct

In today’s high-tech, immersive society, “multitasking” has become B-I-G.  And many people frown on “monotasking.” But is this good? Can you really text and pay attention to your professor simultaneously? (LOL 🙂 )

According to study after study, no we can’t really multitask well. Here are four examples:

12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

Multitasking Is Killing Your Brain

Neuroscientists Say Multitasking Literally Drains the Energy Reserves of Your Brain

Why Humans Are Bad at Multitasking


Now consider these observations by Verena von Pfetten (a freelance writer, editor, and consultant with 10 years of digital publishing experience) for the New York Times:

“Stop what you’re doing. Well, keep reading. Just stop everything else that you’re doing. Mute your music. Turn off your television. Put down your sandwich and ignore that text message. While you’re at it, put your phone away entirely. (Unless you’re reading this on your phone. In which case, don’t. But the other rules still apply.) Just read. You are now monotasking.”

“Maybe this doesn’t feel like a big deal. Doing one thing at a time isn’t a new idea. Indeed, multitasking, that bulwark of anemic rĂ©sumĂ©s everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your E-mail and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task.”

“Monotasking is a 21st-century term for what your high school English teacher probably just called ‘paying attention.’ As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, can happen upward of 400 times a day, according to a 2016 University of California, Irvine study.”

“The term ‘brain dead’ suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.”


Click the image to read more from von Pfetten.

Art by Andy Rash

Art by Andy Rash


Is Yahoo a Good Buy for Verizon?

17 Oct

When it began in 1994 and for many years thereafter, Yahoo was a Web dynamo with tons of viewers, a leading search engine, lots of content, multiple points of contact, and more. But in recent years, Yahoo has fallen on really tough times. Hopefully, it will still have something to offer Verizon after the latter’s recent purchase of Yahoo (click here to see the current URL).

Consider the title of this Forbes article by Brian Solomon — “Yahoo Sells To Verizon In Saddest $5 Billion Deal In Tech History”:

“Yahoo was once the king of the Internet, a $125 billion behemoth as big in its time as Facebook or Google are today. Now it’s being sold to Verizon for comparative chump change. But the biggest story is how Yahoo squandered its massive head start and let each wave of new technology in search, social, and mobile pass it by. Yahoo remains largely the same company it was a decade ago — a portal that hundreds of millions of users rely on for everything from news and weather to key functions like E-mail and games like fantasy football. Yet Yahoo missed the opportunity of a generation to convert its early lead and millions of users into more than just a portal. As the attention of the world shifted to smartphone apps, Yahoo’s last advantage in the desktop world has faded.”

“The one thing that kept Yahoo afloat for this long is Jerry Yang’s risky $1 billion bet on Alibaba in 2005. That bought 40% in what would become China’s E-commerce king. Yahoo sold parts of that holding over time, but its current stake is still worth more than $30 billion at today’s prices. However, the investment was so successful that it became worth far more than Yahoo’s flagging core business.”

Now, eMarketer reports still more bad news for Yahoo and new parent Verizon:

“Yahoo is looking at sizeable decreases in ad revenues according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of worldwide ad spending. And recent news about issues with the company’s E-mail service, including both hacked passwords and news of an undisclosed surveillance program, isn’t helping. eMarketer expects Yahoo’s ad business to decrease in size this year—and not for the first time. After a 3.5% drop in worldwide ad revenues in 2015, in September, eMarketer predicted a further 10.2% decrease for 2016. We expect growth of under 1% next year, and 1% in 2018.”


Enhance Your Career Credentials

14 Oct

I regularly ask my undergraduate and graduate students: Why should an employer want to hire YOU? What can YOU offer that is distinctive?

One good way to answer to these questions is by publishing material online through your own blog or at other Web sites. By doing this, you can show off your Web-related related skills, highlight your own expertise on a specific topic, and demonstrate how well you write.

Recently, Mark Miller presented some great observations on this subject for Business 2 Community.

“Writing is one of the most productive things you can do for your career. You don’t have to be seeking attention from creative recruitment agencies in order to benefit from it, either. On a personal level, you grow your personal brand and get an opportunity to show off your communication skills–something that’s valuable no matter your field. From a job perspective, it can help you draw attention to your employer’s company, drive traffic to its site, and have a positive impact on SEO.”

“The advantages to being a published author are many, but getting started isn’t easy. That’s something I found out the hard way working closely with content marketing recruitment. I’ve spent much of 2016 developing my authorship profile, developing relationships, and creating opportunities for myself and others in my business to share our ideas and insights. Now that I finally have some momentum going, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned so you can avoid making the same mistakes and get a head start!”

Here are a few of Miller’s suggestions:

  • Know “what you bring to the table that’s unique enough to justify being read over dozens of similar articles and posts.”
  • “If you’re first starting out, begin with smaller publications even if they have much smaller readership. You can even self-publish on a personal blog or on a site that allows anyone to self-publish like LinkedIn.”
  • “Most blogs and Web sites that publish regularly and accept external contributions will have easy-to-find, publicly accessible editorial guidelines and directions to submit content.”
  • “Building up a portfolio of published articles and opinions takes time, and a lot of it. And submitting content, communicating with editors, and finally getting published will probably take longer than you think.”

Click the image to read a lot more tips from Miller. And look at the links below the image.



Here Yesterday, Gone (OR Declining Today)

11 Oct

In the early 2000s, a number of new Web and social sites emerged. Despite a lot of hype, many of them did no hit expectations and/or are not as popular today. Here are some examples of the latter.

As reported by Clinton Nguyen for Business Insider:

“Much of the internet in the early 2000s was defined by Web sites that ushered people into a new age of social media and online entertainment. Take Friendster for example — the massively popular site became a household name before MySpace, and then Facebook overtook both of them as the most popular social network. Friendster is no longer in service, but plenty of the sites that defined the early 2000s are still around, albeit in somewhat different forms. Here’s what they’re doing now.”

  • “MySpace was massively popular in the mid-2000s, before Facebook came out. [It is now a shell of its former self in terms of popularity.] Like Facebook, every user had their own wall, where strangers and friends could post comments. The draw was customization.  MySpace has completely changed since then. The company rebranded and relaunched in 2013, with an emphasis on hitting catering to musicians and record labels. Unlike Facebook, users make “connections,” not friends, and radio stations and music videos are given the spotlight on the site.”

  • Live Journal was a haven for adolescent blogging in the late 2000s. The site became popular for having both personal blogs (which could be private or public) and “communities” where users could congregate to discuss their fandoms and pop culture obsessions. Today, the site retains much of the same look, including its popular discussion sections and blog layout. The front page now has a spots for promoted posts, which users can purchase by buying tokens with real money. Most of those spots are now occupied by gossip blogs, like ohnotheydidnt.”

  • “For a while, Xanga was also used as a blogging platform, mostly by high school students, though it faced competition from similar blogging services like LiveJournal and Blogger. It had many of the same features as its competitors: a blogging space, comments section, and a “props” feature (the 2000’s equivalent of a like). Today, user accounts don’t seem to exist on the site, and the homepage displays the development team’s last note, announcing server on Xanga 2.0, though that was posted in February 2015.”

  • “eBaum’s World became popular for posting viral videos, cartoon animations, and celebrity soundboards. People essentially visited the site for the same reason they’d visit other humor/game sites — to watch crudely animated Flash videos and to play with humorous soundbites cut from interviews. Today, the site publishes user-shared photo galleries and posts with embedded YouTube videos to garner traffic. Most of the videos come with one-sentence descriptions and slightly modified headlines, and photo galleries feature images and captions lifted from unattributed sources.”

  • “Ask Jeeves was a popular search engine before Google rose to the top. The site provided basic Web searches, but its real selling point was that users could pose questions in natural language (like, “What’s the weather today?” or “Has MSFT stock risen today?” etc). The service was notable for its butler mascot, Jeeves, but he was phased out in 2006 when the service became Ask.com. Jeeves was brought back to Ask.com’s UK site for a brief moment in 2009. But today, he’s absent from all of Ask’s search engine sites.”

  • “Before Google became the world’s most popular search engine, AltaVista was a leading search engine of choice. The site featured many of the services Google offers now — Web, image, and video search options. It also featured channels with news about entertainment, travel, and more. But when you visit AltaVista today, you’re redirected to Yahoo Search. The site went through a number of hands before it was consolidated into Yahoo Search.”

Click on the image to read more from Nguyen.


Avoid Risky Password Behavior

5 Oct

Do you have only one password for all accounts? Do you use only lower-case letters in your passwords? Do you enter your password when the URL begins with http (rather than https)? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are leaving yourself wide open to identity theft and the hacking of your personal information.

For years, we’ve been writing about password safety–including providing many tips. [See, for example: 1, 2, 3, 4.] Today, let us consider WHY you might still exhibiting risky password behavior.

Recently, Help Net Security described “The Psychological Reasons Behind Risky Password Practices.” Here are a few of the conclusions:



“When it comes to online security, personality type does not inform behavior, but it does reveal how consumers rationalize poor password habits. Among key findings around personality types and online behavior, nearly half of respondents who identify as a Type A personality did not believe that they are at an increased risk by reusing passwords because of their own proactive efforts, which implies their behavior stems from their need to be in control.”

“In contrast, more than half of respondents who identify as a Type B personality believe they need to limit their online accounts and activities due to fear of a password breach. By convincing themselves that their accounts are of little value to hackers, they are able to maintain their casual, laid-back attitude towards password security. This suggests that while personality types didn’t factor into the end result of poor password habits, it does provide insight around why people behave this way.”



“’Developing poor password habits is a universal problem affecting users of any age, gender, or personality type,’ says Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass. ‘Most users admit to understanding the risks but continue to repeat the behavior despite knowing they’re leaving sensitive information vulnerable to potential hackers. In order to establish more effective defenses, we need to better understand why individuals act a certain way online and a system that makes it easier for the average user to better manage their password behavior.”


Brands That Millennials Love

4 Oct

As we have noted before, Millennials represent a huge, demanding, and challenging consumer segment for marketers. With that in mind, let’s ask: What brands are doing best among Millennials?

Recently, Moosylvania — a company involved with branding, digital, and experiential (“Digital connectivity has changed the way we interact with one another – people no longer want to consume marketing, they want to participate in brands.”) asked more than 1,5000 Millennials to select their favorite brands. The findings are interesting and some rankings may be surprising!!

In describing the top five companies in the 2016 Moosylvania study, Mallory Schlossberg and Kate Taylor report the following for Business Insider. [Note: In their article, all 100 companies are described.]:

  1. Apple — “has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are Millennials. The company’s iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, and Apple Watches are wildly popular. The company has a cultish following.”
  2. Target “owns the intersection of style and affordability. It has been giving its kids’ clothing business a makeover to be more stylish. The company also sells gender-neutral room decor and stopped labeling its toys by gender.”
  3. Nike — “When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing. It helps that it’s a massive retailer.”
  4. Sony — “is ready for innovation, from robots that can interact with humans to its wildly popular PlayStation.”
  5. Samsung — “Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with Millennials. The brand’s Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews. Tech Insider’s Steve Kovach said that Samsung’s designs have eclipsed those of competitor Apple.” [NOTE: The Moosylvania study and these comments preceded the problems that Samsung is now facing due to product safety issues. It’s unlikely that the firm would be ranked so highly today. Right?]

Click the image to see the top brands for Millennials, from 100 to 1.

Photo by Business Insider / Matt Johnston


The Fascinating Evolution of Blogging

27 Sep

Blogging has come a long since its humble origins in the 1990s. Based on Tumblr data, we estimate that there are about 310 million blogs worldwide, with millions and millions of posts each day. So, how has the blogosphere evolved over the years?

Recently, HubSpot’s Amanda Zantal-Wiener helped us answer this question:

“We’ve found that there’s quite a history behind blogs. According to the documentation we uncovered — and will share with you below — they’ve been around since 1994. They looked a lot different back then, and had many different names and meanings.”

  • 1994-1997 — “Many original bloggers, despite not having yet earned that title, were the same people who first understood the value of the  Web in the 1980s. One of them was then Swarthmore College undergrad, Justin Hall, who created a site called links.net in January 1994. It was essentially a review of HTML examples he came across from various online links, but it was enough for the New York Times Magazine to dub him the “founding father of personal bloggers’.”
  • 1998-2001 — “The later part of the 1990s saw an uprising in resources created for bloggers. Open Diary launched in October 1998 and became one of the most pivotal blogging platforms. The name was a nod to its community approach to blogging; it was the first to have a membership model that allowed members of the community to comment on the work of others.”
  • 2002 — “Technorati, one of the first blog search engines (but today a company of “advertising technology specialists”), launched in February 2002. That month, blogger Heather B. Armstrong was fired for writing about her colleagues on her personal blog, Dooce.com. While it’s not clear if she was the first blogger to be terminated because of her personal Web site’s content, it sparked a conversation about privacy and freedom of expression for bloggers.”
  • 2003 — “TypePad and WordPress launched in 2003, offering new platform options to a growing number of bloggers. That year, live blogging was estimated to have started — the Guardian was one of the first outlets on record to make use of live blogging during the 2003 prime minister’s question time.”
  • 2004-2005 — “It wasn’t until the middle part of the decade that visual content really had the opportunity to take root. In February 2004, videographer Steve Garfield , who went on to be one of the Web’s first video bloggers, declared it to be the “year of the video blog.” YouTube launched only a year later in February 2005, shortly thereafter inviting the public to upload their own videos. It actually began as a short-lived dating site. YouTube turned its focus to general video uploads (which seemed to take effect by June 2005). Huffington Post launched that May.”
  • 2006-2007 — Microblogging was introduced (sharing stories, news, and other content in the smallest format possible). “The start of life in 140 characters (or less) began in March 2006, when Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sent out the world’s first tweet. Microblogging continued to gain momentum in February 2007 with the launch of Tumblr — yet another blogging platform that encouraged users to be brief. Being able to comment on blogs was becoming less of a novelty, and more a point of contention.”
  • 2008-2011 — “During this period of four years, there weren’t many major events that propelled how or why people blogged. By 2010, 11% of bloggers reported earning their primary income from blogging.” Google  made some changes that would impact bloggers in 2011 with its rollout of the “Panda” algorithm change. A lot of that had to do with bloggers having a lack of inbound links — a link to your Web site that comes from another one.”
  • 2012In August, a co-founder of Pyra Labs — the creators of Blogger — Evan Williams, created Medium, one of the newest blogging platforms. Today, people can use it to write and publish original content, like most other blogging platforms. But Medium is continuing to blur the line between news reporting and blogging. On its Web site, the company describes itself as serving up ‘daily news reimagined, straight from the people who are making and living it.’ That year, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.”
  • 2013-present — “Recently, the creators of WordPress announced they would be rolling out the .blog domain. Until November 9, 2016, users have to apply for one of the highly-coveted domains. [and it won’t come cheap]. But here’s the cool thing about .blog — even though it was made by the creators of WordPress, you don’t have to use the WordPress platform in order to build a blog on that domain.”
  • Forecasting the Future — “How blogging continues to change will determine what our careers look like, and  all marketers, corporate or otherwise , are encouraged  to blog on behalf of their respective brands. It might seem like a lot of work, but if the evolution of blogging has indicated nothing else, it’s that the sphere will only continue to expand. And that’s something marketers should continue to pay attention to — not just the growth of blogging, but how many different interpretations [platforms] of it exist.”


Click the image to read a lot more by Zantal-Wiener.


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