Social: Crowd-Sourcing For Targeted Cause or Change May Be Way Of The Future

Source:  Bloomberg.

Want to build a new man-made lake for your city park but there is no financing for it?  Well, maybe the city or state can raise taxes or sell some munipical bonds.  Well, if this long-shot publicity seeking Indigogo campaign actually can raise $1.6 billion euros, well, then maybe this could be the model for future projects or changes that ordinary citizens can follow.  And it's unlikely that a lake will cost anywhere near the amount it takes to bail out a member of the EU so the task of doing smaller projects would be far less daunting.

Let's say a small town needs to build a new crosswalk and warning lights near an area where children are known to play.  That is a manageable total that many concerned netizens will have no problem contributing. 

Of course, it would require a much more vigorous vetting process to make sure fraudulent fund-raising is mitigated. It would also require a lot of bureacracy as well as participation from elected or appointed officials to make things happen. 

There is predecent for this.  In California, voters are often asked to vote on bonds for state measures.  This happens quite a lot for cities as well.  To pay for a new school or money for research.  This often means the voters approve or disapprove of measure to borrow money for a specific need. 

With a crowd-sourced venture, everything is voluntary and funding is guranteed upon the goal of the amount being raised is reached. In the past, I've participated in crowd-sourcing that deal with helping community start their own community farms. 

Perhaps, this is the way to go forward where money is directed as specific projects instead of being through various government agencies that make things more difficult than it has to be. 

Note:  I'll be watching the Greek Bailout Fund with interest on Indiegogo.  It'll never reach its goal but it is still fun to watch how high it'll go.  


Health: Ebola Is Back, Not Sure It Was Really Gone

Source:  The Hill.

Liberia has a new case of Ebola again.  This was after it was declared free of the virus almost two months ago.  The thing is that while the scope of the news and fear has subsided here in the West, it never felt as of health organizations really declared victory in the last outbreak. 

It is entirely possible this is a new case based on a new strain. 

Social: In Libel Suit Based On Instagram, Rapper Ordered To Pay Up

Source:  CBS Los Angeles.

The Game, a rapper (I know, how original), was ordered to pay his former nanny based on his Instagram updates.  This is likely the first of its kind for a social network.  Apparently, he was no schooled in the concept that making false accusations in a public forum would end up badly for him.

Of course, this is worse for the victim in the libel suit who was awarded more than $200,000.  No amount of money could take away the pain and anguish.  And those lies are out there for all to see.  That stain would never come off.

Meanwhile, The Game is in more legal trouble for assaulting a police officer.  That'll go great on his Instagram account - go to jail, earn more street creds, and sell more albums once he's out. 

Social: Twitter's Black Users And Other Efforts To Cater to Minorities And Special Interests

Source:  Bloomberg.

Should social networks like Twitter pay more attention to users of a specific ethnity or color?  That's what this Bloomberg post seems to suggest as it interviewed one black Twitter user who just happened to be the CEO of a branding company who might just be happy to set in and help Twitter out for a handsome fee.  Okay, I might be somewhat jaded but I also wonder if there is a solution for Twitter.

The user pointed out that Twitter could have done more to promote tweets about the BET Awards.  It turned out that Twitter had a team to train event organizers including the use of Periscope.  

I see Twitter as a large landscape of ideas, thoughts, and currents.  However, if Twitter began promoting tweets more prominently than others to specific groups, I think that openness would begin to break down.

I also wonder how specifically targetted campaigns by social networks or any other companies could benefit society in general.  While it might be a smart move for the bottom line, it's unlikely to foster a sense of a whole community.  Instead, you've got that ethnic group or that other ethnicity.  I think we already do that pretty well on our own.

Perhaps, Twitter should just make it a goal of not ignoring any of its users.  Allow its platform to become one that can easily be molded by the needs and interests of the user than it is right now.  Who is to say that a black Twitter user is necessarily going to be interested in the BET Awards?

Microsoft Slowly Imploding? Layoffs, Sales, Executives Leaving

When a new chief executive officer comes on board, he usually does a bit of cleaning.  It happens with just about any companies.  It happened when Larry Page took over.  It happened when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and it sure as heck happened when Tim Cook took control of Apple with major changes.  Now, it's Microsoft's Satya Nadella's turn. However, while the previously mentioned changes instituted by those CEOs appear orderly and planned, it is difficul to put Nadella's latest changes in that category nor does it appear we'll see the end of it and see Microsoft on the verge of a new era.

First, there is the executive resignations including the former CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop.  In all, four senior executives were shown the door.  Now, comes news that Microsoft is planning to layoff more than 1,200 employees from its ad display division.  It spoke to the failure to compete with other ad companies, in particular, Google (Bloomberg).

Furthermore, Microsoft is selling to Uber its image collection group within Bing.  If Bing was healthy and competitive, it's unlikely this transaction would have taken place.  Taken a long with layoff in the display ad group, you have to be worry whether Bing is working out worse than Microsoft is letting on.

Having said that, a lot is riding on Windows 10 to reinvigorate the PC market, and to a lesser extent, the mobile phone market where Microsoft is struggling against Android and iOS.  So far, things are looking well in the Windows beta stages.  Microsoft desperate needs Windows to continue its dominance and bring in much needed revenue to cover the rest of the company to give Nadella time to grow other Microsoft's core businesses. 

Balmer has done a great deal of harm during his reign.  Sure, Microsoft made tons of money but on core products like Windows and Office while the rest of the company languished or simply failed to innovate.  For the moment, it appears that Nadella is a more astute CEO who knows the culture under Balmer has to go.  However, it'll take time as the latest changes has not instill confidence in the market or among its supporters. 

Whether you're an Apple or Google fan, you have to appreciate the competitive value that Microsoft represents in multiple markets.  And as always, more competition the better. 

Still, it would be nice if Microsoft had something more to share than what appears to be all bad news.

Social: KKK To Hold Rally For Confederate Flag in South Carolina - Likely To Backfire

Source:  Politico.

Maybe brave Americans fought and died for the South during the Civil War.  And the Confederate flag as become a symbol for that.  It has also become a symbol for hate as well as a reminder of the slave past of the southern states that have fought for the right to continue slavery. 

And with the surprisingly rising wave of calls from all across the political spectrum for the Confederate flag to be removed from state houses and public settings after the horrific shooting of a Charleston church by a white supremist looking to start a race war. 

So, a North Carolina chapter of the KKK will be holding a rally to support the flag. 

Here's the things, while we as Americans support peaceful protests, you have to wonder if this event that will likely attract a lot of media attention is going to make it easier for more right-leaning politicians to add their voices to call for the removal of the Confederate flag.

Look at it this way, there are other ways to honor and remember our Civil War history.  But with the KKK adding themselves do the debate, will southern GOP or Democrats who previously support flying the flag want to be lumped into the same side as a hate group?

The Confederate flag isn't going anywhere. It'll be in museums and history books. It just should not be flying anymore on government properties.