New Year, Old Goals?

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Well, we’re now 31 days into the New Year. How are you progressing with those resolutions you made just a month ago? Have you already shed 50 pounds? Have you landed on the moon or won the lottery? No? Well, me either.

One thing I learned is rather than setting unreasonable, nearly unobtainable resolutions, it’s better to set reasonable, month-by-month goals. For example, I vowed to lose two pounds per month this year. At the end of the year, there should be 24 pounds less of me to love. Can I lose more than 2 pounds per month? Probably so. But mentally, the idea of losing a mere two pounds is a lot easier to digest than than unreasonably believing I’ll shed 10.

It’s a new year, but are you taking old goals or resolutions into it? If so, it’s time to get serious. Do you want to look back at 2016 still trying to accomplish the same things you were hoping to accomplish two or three years prior? Set obtainable milestones. Hit those and keep going. It’s a snowball effect and that snowball is packed with your ideas, ideals and desires to make you a better you. What are you waiting for? It’s a new month. Time to get cracking on those old goals.

 

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Check The Website: That Diploma Could Be Fake

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Fake degrees
Fake Degrees

Okay, as a student who is pursuing a Master’s via an online program, a story in today’s The New York Times shook me just a little. Okay, it shook me a lot. A Pakistani company, Axact, posed as an online education empire with “hundreds of  universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.”  Their websites are glossy, enticing and offer degree seekers opportunities to get degrees in nursing, civil engineering and dozens of other disciplines. The website includes endorsements on the CNNi Report website and enthusiastic video testimonials. “Students” have invested tens of millions of dollars in their online education. However, the whole thing is just a stock photo, software company scam.

In this Digital Media, Website and Search Engine Marketing Age, many of us assume that most websites, especially websites promoting education, are legitimate. However, “Axact makes tens of millions of dollars annually by offering diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools. Fake accreditation bodies and testimonials lend the schools an air of credibility. But when customers call, they are talking to Axact sales clerks in Karachi.”

So, how do you know if your online program is legit? Ask graduates. Check the school’s accreditation. Research teachers (Axact’s professors are paid actors). Should you turn to other websites to check the authenticity of the first website? Inquiring minds and leery IMC students want to know.

Pakistani College Website
Pakistani College Website

Sources:

The New York Times: Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions

The Pakistani Man Accused of Making Millions from Fake Degrees Paid 26 Cents in Tax Last Year 

Enhancing a Digital Identity: Apple Wants to Get You There

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Apple Navigation
Enhancing a Digital Identity

Emerging media is now a must in enhancing a company’s brand. Even global, well-known brands are constantly seeking ways to expand and improve their brand by introducing new product lines or even acquiring start-up companies. What do I mean? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s look at how Apple is planning to take a bite out of the GPS industry.

It was announced yesterday that Apple acquired Coherent Navigation, a startup brand focused on GPS technology. Most likely, this is a move to improve its Maps service which competes with Google Maps and others. Coherent’s co-founders all joined Apple in the last several weeks and Coherent’s domain name has been redirected to Apple’s network. Coherent specializes in precision GPS. Apple is supposedly overhauling its Apple Maps.

Apple, now a household name on continents around the world, continues to enhance its identity by integrating its services into every aspect of our daily lives. What time is it? Let me look at my Apple Watch. Need to send a text/take a photo/do online banking/track your steps/set your stopwatch/read the latest news/see what your friends are eating for dinner/post a picture? Press the home button on your iPhone. Need to get from Point A to Point B? Apple’s got you covered.  Soon, the term “brand enhancement” will be obsolete, replaced with “brand reinvention.” I look forward to the days when my optometrist asks me to stare into the retina display and tell her what letters I see. My response: “A.P.P.L.E.”

Ethics & Lawmakers Can’t Keep Pace With Emerging Media

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Consumer privacy is an issue impacting marketers and consumers in the ever expanding world of emerging media. However, laws and ethics are not capable of keeping pace with rapid tech growth. The world has become a dichotomy of Old vs. New. For example, “Employers can get into legal trouble if they ask interviewees about their religion, sexual preference, or political affiliation. Yet they can use social media to filter out job applicants based on their beliefs, looks, and habits” (MIT Technology Review).

Regulatory gaps exist because technology is emerging so rapidly, that laws simply can’t keep up. These great divides exist in employment, lending practices and in every area impacted by emerging media. Preeta Bansal, a former general counsel in the White House, explained ” that effective laws and standards of ethics are guidelines accepted by members of a society, and that these require the development of a social consensus” (MIT Technology Review). 

While laws and ethics have evolved over centuries, modern-day technology has catapulted to what was once an unfathomable level. There was once a time when cell phones were as big as briefcase and Facebook was restricted to dormroom use. Now, the poorest citizens of remote areas have access to smartphones and are liking and sharing on Facebook. There has been public outcry and even lawsuits over unlawful surveilence. However, those concerns pale in comparison to the data collected by mobile app developers and Web searches.

Is it possible for law and ethics to catch up with technology? Can we draw a line in the sand over what is legal and ethical? If that line is drawn, will it be quickly wiped away by selfie-stick-using-beachgoer?

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Suggested articles:

Laws and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace With Technology

The Future of Technology Isn’t Mobile, It’s Contextual 

Privacy – The New Luxury Product?

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Is online privacy an oxymoron? Can the two thoughts share the same cosmic space, or will there be an immediate implosion upon impact?

Ripple Effect

Let’s face it, the world we live in, with all its technological and communication advances, is not designed for privacy.

The modern digital world is based on sharing, not the principle of “leave me alone unless I say otherwise.” In this new world, personal privacy has become a concept organizations profess to value, but do their best to eliminate in order to learn more about…well, everyone actually.

The reality is that if you have a social media, blog, or commenting account, you have no privacy. If you use Gmail,Office 365, or connect to the Wi-Fi at the mall, you have no privacy. If you have a SmartTV, a post-1990’s car, or a Fitbit, you have no privacy. Most of the activities we participate in every day are, in some way, chipping away at your privacy.

While this change in the privacy paradigm isn’t necessarily…

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Smile For The Selfie Stick

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selfie-stick

My husband and I attended a two-day outdoor concert in Atlanta over the weekend, filled with thousands of music lovers, a sea of outdoor armchairs and adult beverages. Amid the sea of people, sweat, adult libations and grilled turkey legs, one thing stood out more than any other in the million-degree Georgia heat: adults with selfie sticks.

As we tried to find a pathway through the thousands of middle-aged concert goers, I was repeatedly apologizing for bumping into the long reach of selfie sticks. Seeing adults smiling while holding a stick feet away from their sun-drenched faces made me wonder a few things:

1. When did taking a selfie become so serious?

2. Shouldn’t there be an age restriction on selfie stick purchasers? Say, no teenage girl over the age of 16?

3. Why in the world are grown MEN obsessed with getting that perfect shot of themselves?

4. When is the selfie stick craze going to end?

An Ohio State University professor recently looked at the selfie stick obsession among men. Jesse Fox, assistant professor  of communications, explained in OSU’s school newspaper: “…The obsession with selfies among men is a reflection of an underlying psychopathology. Using a recent study of her own, she found that men who obsess with selfies score higher on the narcissism scale” (Breit Bart, 2015). Based on my non-scientific study this weekend, I would tend to agree.

Are selfie sticks a fad, phase or forever available at a Walmart or online retailer near you? In the meantime, please excuse me if I inadvertently bump into your long metal rod holding your smartphone as I make my way down to the cement pond. Cousins Elly May Clampett and Jethro Bodine will be calling you soon, asking you why you borrowed their props.

Related articles:

Use a Selfie Stick? You Might be a Psychopath: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/02/use-a-selfie-stick-you-might-be-a-psychopath/

Selfie Festival Known as Coachella Boldly Bans the Selfie Stick: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/03/coachella-boldly-bans-the-selfie-stick.html

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Generation X. Who?

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Photo of Four Generations
Generations

There are numerous articles and blogs which teach how to target youth and millennials. However, there’s another important group which is often forgotten. Who, you might ask? Those Pee Wee Herman-loving, 80s big-hairdo-wearing, Friday Night-videos-watching, Back-to-the-Future fanatical women and men of Generation X. The 34-48-year-olds are next in line to replace the baby boomers as a “cash cow for marketers.”

In a youth-obsessed culture, the now middle-aged Cosby Kids Generation now consists of 60 million adults; 25 percent of the adult population. Gen X is the third-largest generation, just behind boomers and millennials. In general, this often forgotten group is optimistic about the future. Being a member of such a distinguished assembly, it often feels like we’ve got one one hand on an iPhone and the other hand on a push-button phone. We’re sort of in the middle of two worlds. We’re young enough to embrace technology, yet old enough to value some semblance of privacy. Some are all over Facebook but feel that’s enough. Instagram, Twitter, Vine…you don’t need to know everything about me. We refuse to “do it for the Vine.” Well, some of us, anyway.

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, President & Founder of GrowBiz Media, explains in an article that marketers who wish to reach this eclectic group might find it helpful to appeal to the following:

1. Their desire to provide for their families

2. Their desire to take care of themselves

3. Their desire to play it safe

Do you think the mature Gen X is an important group to target? Non-upscale Xers, those earning less than $200,000, tend to earn more than their baby boomer and millennial counterparts.

Suggested Reading: Marketing to Generation X and Y: http://www.marketingprofs.com/7/fleischner1.asp

Reference:

(Rieva Lesonsky) Gen X: How to Market to the Forgotten Generation. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/gen-x-how-to-market-to-the-forgotten-generation/