The Intersection of Healthcare, Cancer and Twitter: It’s Here, Folks

I am an unabashed fan of The Simpsons and one of my favorite episodes is that in which Homer details all Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 4.14.08 PMof the 188 jobs he held in the first 400 episodes.  Myself, I have worked in the public relations agency world for three agencies, as a college professor, I’ve had my own company, worked for the federal government, for a Chinese behemoth that became the largest IPO in history and as a contractor for a federal agency.  So yeah,  I sometimes wake up feeling professionally like Homer Simpson.

My current job at the National Cancer Institute has brought me more job satisfaction  than I think I’ve ever experienced.  Most days, I get to go home with the feeling that, since I am in communications, I did something to help connect patients, caregivers, researchers, doctors, clinicians and others.  Cancer rightfully scares the hell out of many people, and what I have experienced is that those who suffer from or care for those who have this terrible set of diseases crave is information.  

While many people still get information about cancer from sources like their doctors, cancer.gov or 1-800-4-CANCER, increasingly, people are turning to social media for information, support and resources.  Every day, I’ve tried to to do my best at helping to make people aware, on a large scale, of the cancer-related information available to them during my tenure at the NCI.

What I am proudest of though, is what started as a crazy idea and ended up being what Audun Utengen, of Symplur called “unprecendented.”  I knew for some time that Siddhartha Mukherjee‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” would become a PBS documentary co-produced by Ken Burns and Barak Goodman.  It was a three night,  six hour very accurate portrayal of the book (March 30 – April 1, 2015), but one interwoven with compelling interviews, personal stories, triumph and tears.

My crazy idea

My whole train of thought began with what we could NOT do, and that was to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to capitalize on the fact that millions of Americans would be watching a program about the past and present of cancer research and treatment.  Millions of people were going to be focused on cancer.  As the nation’s engine that drives basic cancer research, we at NCI had to do something that would have an enormous and lasting impact on those impacted by cancer.  But what?

Big screen/small screen
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Live-tweeting #CancerFilm

Based upon the premise of marrying the “big screen/small screen” phenomenon for events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars (remember the Oreo cookie tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl power outage?), what if we could get people to watch the film, and cancer experts could simultaneously provide running commentary and information about cancer – as the facts or stories appeared on the film?  In essence, what if we could live-tweet one of the most important online events about cancer – EVER?  The hashtag, #CancerFilm had already been registered and was in use, and we were thinking big.

Then what?

I knew that NCI’s lone voice was not going to be enough to have the impact we craved.  Luckily, the National Cancer Institute has a vast network of cancer centers as well as an engaged group of advocates.  So we reached out to them and said, “What if we did this – but on a really big scale?”  Well, we were fortunate enough to live-tweet all three nights of Emperor with a group of 18 partners:  cancer centers, advocates,  clinicians and many, many more.

So what happened?

After a tremendous amount of planning, preparation, coordination, we had our plan in place.  When one of many possible cancer topics were mentioned during all three nights of Emperor, the NCI, our 18 partners and others were ready to provide the information in the moment in which it was mentioned.  For example, when the very popular topic of immunotherapy was mentioned, many experts provided links to additional resources in real-time:Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 4.27.39 PMBut we still had the question:  if we all got together and a threw party, would anyone show up? Would people engage in an online conversation about cancer on Twitter while a compelling documentary was airing (across all U.S. time zones, each night beginning at 9:00 pm ET)?  With baited breath, each night I ran reports that were made possible by the Healthcare Hashtag Project, and based upon the tweets that I saw fly past on my Tweetdeck screen, I knew that we were on to something.  And I hoped that it would be BIG.

The results:

NCI, our partners and thousands and thousands of other Twitter users did, in fact, live-tweet using the #CancerFilm hashtag, providing information about the past and present of cancer treatment, but we couldn’t stop there.  So the day after the last night of the documentary, all of us in the partnership (and some new organizations and individuals) conducted a highly successful Twitter chat about what many believe is the future of cancer treatment: immunotherapy.

What I saw flying past my Tweetdeck screen during all three nights as well as the chat on the day after the last episode was people asked questions, engaging in dialogue, arguing and discussing.  And most importantly, that was made possible by the “big screen/small screen” connection.

There are two sets of results that I count.  The first one is quantitative.  Our social media experiment resulted in:

  • 443 million Twitter mentions in three and a half days;
  • 56,565 tweets;
  • 12,234 participants;
  • All three nights and during the chat, our lead Twitter account, @theNCI, was the #1 influencer according to the Healthcare Hashtag Project;
  • The NCI  and our partners drove the discussion that resulted in one out of every four tweets (more than 120 million mentions); and
  • People found value in the information we provided:  @theNCI saw more than 32,000 engagements (favorites, shares, clicks, video views, etc), indicating that we really were giving people the cancer information that they wanted, when they wanted it.

While the numbers are big, and even if one supposes that, as according to Twitter, only 2-5% of all tweets are actually seen, that is still means that people saw and reacted to between 8.8 and 22.5 MILLION tweets.

What really mattered

While the numbers were beyond our expectations, what really mattered is what we could not measure, the qualitative part:  somewhere, there was someone watching and tweeting who was battling cancer and craved information;  somewhere, someone recognized that clinical trials can be a first option, not a last option; someone read about the tragedy and promise of the past and present of battling this terrible disease; and somewhere, someone realized that if they were nearing the sunset of their own battle with cancer, they learned about palliative care  – and discovered that they had the right to choose how and where their cancer journey ended.

Take-aways

What prompted this blog post was an June 9 article in the highly respected Public Library of Science (PloS) blog by Sally James (‘Second Screen’ for Health Care Messaging: Looking for Lessons from #CancerFilm) in which others called the effort “unprecedented” and “an explosion of people talking about a disease.”  In the PLoS post, Sally wrote:

“Media relations expert Greg Matthews believes the social media explosion of #cancerfilm will inspire others to attempt to re-create it.  “Anyone who saw the impact that #cancerfilm had on the online health ecosystem is going to be building on that model – it was phenomenally successful.”

Those are wonderful words to read and the social media experiment, while a tremendous amount of work, collaboration and cooperation, was the most gratifying professional effort that I have ever undertaken.  And if it inspires others to re-create it, all the better.

So even after some amazing numbers, I still tried to focus on what is most important:  getting cancer-related information to those who need it most.  I hit the “reset” button on my job every day.  Innovation is needed because cancer doesn’t wait, so I don’t either.

Can we truly measure the most important impact, reaching people in a moment of need?  No way.  Did it happen?  I am certain of it.

That’s why I love what I get to do every day.

Mark

P.S.:  In case you have not read my disclaimer page on this site, my Twitter account nor any of the other places online where my words are littered, know that the views expressed in this post are mine and mine alone and do not represent those of the National Cancer Institute nor Kelly Government Services.

 

 

 

 

Dear Mass Media and Social Media: Help Stop Terrorism

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 8.17.18 AM

There are way too many mornings when I awake to read another front-page article about an innocent person who is killed (now, often beheaded) by implacable, bloodthirsty terrorists.  These stories appear often in the online equivalent of above the fold (or for people who still buy papers, really above the fold).  This morning was no exception when I read about the beheading of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist.

From my own memories of September 11 to the “Je Suis Charlie” movement to these latest horrific videos, a thought occurred to me that stirred up memories from when I was a kid.   Growing up a baseball fan, the only games I got to watch were those broadcast on network television on Saturdays – the Game of the Week.  In the 1970s, it became in vogue to either streak across the field or run around like an idiot until you got tackled, hauled off and likely released a couple of hours later – so everyone could see you on network TV.  It still happens (see below), but the impact is largely confined to social media (this video has more than three million views):

 

In the 70s, the TV cameras used to follow these idiots, tracking them while they tried to elude either the police or stadium security and the announcers would often provide commentary.  Then, someone came up with a great idea:  STOP SHOWING THE IDIOTS.  By denying them what they wanted most – “exposure” on television, the craze eventually went away.

I have been around the media for a LONG time and know that in about every news room in America, the mantra of “if it bleeds, it leads” holds true.  The more gruesome the killing, violence, hostage situation, you name it, the more the editors salivate at the increase circulation numbers, eyeballs or TV ratings.  it’s true: newsrooms love this stuff.  If you don’t believe me, ask a reporter.  It gains eyeballs, clicks and readers.

Bloodthirsty animals like ISIS are now exploiting traditional and social media to boast and show off their latest atrocities, and at least the media that I read are more than happy to write prominent articles about it with pictures of some poor soul kneeling before someone in the last, humiliating moments of their lives. And yes, I showed  the image above, but to make a point.

There is an all-too-familiar pattern to what is happening today in the poorly named “war against terror.”  It goes like this:

  1. Sadistic, media-crazed barbarians kidnap an innocent civilian
  2. Said barbarians issue a picture or video, demand ransom and publicize their latest prize
  3. Media carries the story, along with quotes from said barbaric group
  4. Demands are not met or ransom is not paid
  5. Innocent person gets killed, often in bloodthirsty, dramatic fashion, such as a beheading
  6. Sadistic animals release a video and a statement that is carried VERBATIM by media outlets all over the world, becoming a megaphone for said barbarians
  7. Impotent world leaders express outrage.  Today’s statement from the Japanese government was “Japan strongly condemned the killing, saying an “atrocious act of terrorism” had been committed and that the country was “outraged by the horrific act.
  8. Fueled by world attention in mainstream and social media, sadistic, media-crazed barbarians prepare to re-feed the media beast that lives off of “if it bleeds, it leads.”
  9. Repeat.  Again, and again.

Don’t believe me?  How about Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University?  He says:

“Terrorism is basically a media phenomenon,  You can look at it as a species of psychological warfare waged through the media. Which means that while we know terrorists influence the media, media coverage also influences terrorists.

Well, I don’t own guns.  I can’t drop bombs.  But I am pretty smart and have worked in communications since the late 1990s, and here’s my piece of unsolicited advice for the print, television, radio and social media decision makers:

STOP REPORTING ON OR POSTING TERRORIST CONTENT.

YouTube and Twitter have done their best to deny social media as a venue for these animals, but it’s difficult and this stuff goes viral – fast.  According to a September 2014 article, Forbes reports “With 100 hours of new footage uploaded every minute, YouTube says it doesn’t, and couldn’t, prescreen content, relying on users to flag violations.”  I get it.  These two platforms have the best of intentions, but are overloaded.

But I’m not done.

ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News and others:  stop reporting on beheadings.  Major newspapers like my hometown Washington Post (on which I learned of the latest atrocity), deny the terrorists a cheap propaganda victory.  Online news outlets like the Huffington Post: think about what you can do to help win the poorly named “war on terror,” ignore the spike that you’ll see in web traffic and stop being their publicists.  

Does this apply to every act of terror?  Certainly not.  Events like what happened at Charlie Hebdo can and must be reported.  BUT – for those editors who make the “write or don’t write,” “report or don’t report” decisions on individual acts of terror accompanied by insane rants, ask yourselves an important question:

By reporting on acts of bloodthirsty violence, are you interested in helping terrorists get out their propaganda, or are you interested in making money?

It might seem complex, but it’s actually pretty damn simple.

Stop showing the idiot on the baseball field.  Go to commercial.  Deny the idiot/animal their platform.

And take away their power.

Image: Heavy.com

The Cost of Doing Business Online: Trolls

Internet Trolls

There have been way too many instances of late in which online detractors or idiots (read: trolls) have shown up on my social media radar screen.  I envision many of them looking like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, but I continue to be amazed at how people can take legitimate social media activities and turn them into their own personal platforms for extraordinarily insensitive commentary.  Free speech?  Sure.  But exercising free speech still doesn’t excuse you from being a complete moron.

Example #1:  Season Affective Disorder Twitter Chat

An agency of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has conducted several Twitter chats, covering a wide variety of topics related to mental health.  I don’t have any scientific data to back it up, but I imagine that it’s hard for people to go on a highly public and visible platform like a Twitter chat, discuss their own mental illness or feelings of depression – and have their comments linked back to the personal profile.  It must be really hard.

On November 13, 2014, NIMH conducted a Twitter chat about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – good timing as the amount of light available in daytime hours in going down many places and SAD affects a lot of people, especially at this time of year.

As I’m working, I’m watching the chat out of the corner of my eye, when one particular tweet showed up – and told me that the trolls have arrived:

What?  Racist?  And what the hell are those pictures? I suppose that one could argue that the troll on the other end of the tweet may well have suffered from some form of mental illness, but then I saw another tweet:

As people were discussing how certain light boxes how shown to be very effective at helping those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, the troll posted this:

Not cool.  It then occurred to me that whomever was doing this was trolling a Twitter chat on mental illness – a tough topic for people to talk about, let alone in a highly public way.  To their credit, no one, especially those at NIMH engaged with this troll and he/she eventually went away.  I believe, however, that making light of mental illness during a social media event pretty much makes you a complete asshole.

Example #2:  New England Patriots and Twitter

November 13 must have been International Troll Day.  Ask the New England Patriots.

With a brand new Twitter account and in an attempt to quickly reach one million followers, their social media team created a clever way to attract people to their Twitter account and have people follow them – they created a Twitter bomb.  The Patriots’ social media team enabled people to enter certain text and said text would appear verbatim on the back of a Patriots’ jersey in the form of a tweet.   They were expecting people to enter their last names, a neat way to show your Patriots fever.  A very cool idea for whomever came up with it:

And that’s when it went wrong.  Very wrong.  As the Boston Globe wrote,

99.99 percent of their fandom who just wanted to share in their social media celebration. But it’s always that 0.01 percent that causes 100 percent of the problems.”

And that 0.01 percent did exactly that, creating a jersey using the “n word” made up of letters and numbers.  And unfortunately, it went viral.  A troll had gotten through the keyword filters that the Patriots set up (I am not going to post the tweet as not to give the person further exposure) and before the Patriots’ social media team could react, the post went viral (it was up for more than an hour, which is the only thing for which I would criticize the effort – you have GOT to have a warning system in place if you automate an effort like this).  After said hour, the tweet was taken down, but as I’ve said in the past, the Internet is forever and screen shots rule the day.

Trolls 1, New England Patriots, 0.

Much has been written about this mistake, so I won’t provide a lot of additional commentary.  My only point would be that if the Patriots were looking to go from zero to one million followers using an automated method (and they were going to sleep at some point), there is no way possible that humans could have prevented this.  Moreover, most of the social media accounts I manage have keyword filters as well, but the 0.01 percent of the trolls will always find a way to do 100 percent of the damage.  Thankfully, no one got fired. And the Patriots social media team quickly apologized:

Like the Globe writer, Bill Speros commented this was a mistake fed by clever trolls:

“If every person in America was fired after they made a mistake at work, our nation’s unemployment rate would be 99 percent by the end of next week.”

Agreed.

Where there is the Internet, there will always be trolls.  No matter how serious the subject, nor how insensitive the message, there will always be someone about .01 percent more clever and devious than a good social media team.

Does it mean we should stop?  No way.  I’ll keep doing Twitter chats, Google Hangouts and maintaining many social media properties – but I do so with the knowledge that on one particular day at one particular time, I’ll get trolled.

It’s the new normal, and the unfortunate cost of doing business online.

Image credit: Dr. Platypus, Flickr Commons

Why You Might be Measuring the Wrong Web Analytics

Measurement

Having done some incarnation of online work for the last 17 years, I would bet that the number is into the hundreds of the times in which I have had to justify/sell/validate/excuse/explain the use of online tools and tactics (to many a dumb-ass boss).  Now, with the advent rise and domination of some social media platforms, this has become a little easier.

While I no longer have to explain what a “page view” is (well, actually sometimes I do), most social media tools give me a sense of what we now ultimately call “engagement.”  Page views, click throughs, Likes, Shares, Comments, and re-tweets.  These are pretty numbers and even more impressive when you do things like add up the number of hashtag uses for a Twitter chat and the “impressions” number comes into the millions.

Are we measuring the right things?

Ultimately, when we talk about the social media/web person’s nirvana, it’s a page views, in whichever form it exists.  This means that through advertising, social media, some other web site, email or direct link, some web surfer came to your page! Well, this is something that we’ve been trying to do since I started in the business.  And the bigger the number, the easier it became to “sell in” your online projects as having had an impact.

Courtesy of my friend Eric Berto, I read a piece in yesterday’s Gigagom about a new service/product called “Chartbeat,” which has me questioning the metrics that we’ve been using for years. Here’s why:

  • While page views is still the mother lode, unless you have a very sophisticated system, most analytics packages will give you total page views and average time on the page.  It’s up to you to determine if this is “success.”  Do 1,000 page views and an average time on your page constitute success?  Maybe.
  • Do a lot of page views mean that you have attained success?  Well, maybe.  It depends upon what you are comparing it to – it has to be apples to apples.  I don’t compare this blog to the online version of the New York Times for obvious reasons, those being daily humiliation and feelings of inferiority.
  • Finally, and something that I have talked about repeatedly (and in a September 15 post on this blog as well), your first step in ensuring that you online efforts are, at a minimum, measurable, and at a maximum, a success, is determining what success is.

Completely utter and random sidebar:  my only problem with Chartbeat is the fact that, sadly and irritatingly, it reminds me of Don Johnson’s then horrendous and tortuous attempts at becoming a singer in his 1986 song “Heartbeat.”  Now try and get it out of your head.  We now return to our regularly scheduled blog post.

So what is “success” and how is it measured?

The Gigaom piece I mentioned above talks about an intriguing.  Rather than measuring the traditional factors like page views, here’s what Gigaom has to say about Chartbeat:

For some time now, media companies and content producers of various kinds have been trying to convince the rest of the industry — and especially advertisers — to move away from flawed measurements like pageviews and unique visitors and focus on measuring attention (emphasis mine). The Financial Times, the Economist and even viral sites like Upworthy have been at the forefront of this movement, and so has web analytics firm Chartbeat — and now Chartbeat says it has become the first analytics company that is certified to measure reader attention.”

Reader attention?  I like the sound of that.

It’s great if you can get thousands of people to come to your web site, but you need to get their attention in order for them to read, digest, understand and perhaps even share your piece of content.  There is a big difference between a click and someone actually digesting and internalizing what it is you want them to read:  and having them take the action that you want them to take.

Here’s more about what Chartbeat says they offer, in an “Attention Economy“:

Chartbeat looks at a variety of factors…including what portion of the page is within the viewing window (so it can tell you how far down someone got in the article or piece of content). But the crucial one is to sense whether someone is actually looking at the page, and it does this by tracking movement or interaction — based on the fact the average user touches the mouse or keyboard at least once every 4.8 seconds.”

What would we all love?  Well, for one, I would love to have heat maps of readers’ eye Charting reader eye movementmovements for everyone who hits your pages (I wrote about this and how recruiters read resumes for Shelly Kramer’s V3 Integrated Marketing Blog), but unless you have volunteers and labs, are NSA or North Korea, you are never going to have the ability to measure precisely how every single visitor reacts to every single piece of content on every single page of your web site.

I have not used Chartbeat, but am intrigued by the concept that a company has worked on ( for some time, apparently), figuring out what “engagement” actually means.  Well, I believe that it means what we want it to mean – which is how much of an impact our content has on readers.  Many different social media platforms use this term in their analytics dashboards, but their definitions vary.  Engagement, as defined by Chartbeat, sounds like one of the better ways to measure something that has become an accepted, albeit highly subjective, industry standard.

So who’s right?

The answer is that I don’t know, and am passing along this information having read an article on third party site about a platform I have never used.  BUT – and it’s a big “but,” if Chartbeat can actually accomplish what they claim to (and with some high profile initial clients like the Economist on board, there has to be something of value there) they are simply giving social media and online professionals the opportunity to further quantify and measure what we should have been doing all along:  judging how much attention people paid to our content, vs. how many times they hit our pages.

Good luck, Chartbeat.  Sounds like you are looking at the right things.

P.S. – If you are interested in PR measurement and analytics and don’t already know of their work, I strongly encourage you to get to know Katie Paine and Shonali Burke.  I’m hopeful to hear from them in the comments as they know a LOT more about this topic than I.

 

Update Post: The Wiki White House Web – Sorry, Dan

My political prediction black eye
My political prediction black eye

Disclosure/side noteI had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present on a topic with a member of the White House Digital Engagement team on September 19, 2014.  It got me thinking.   I’ve had this blog for some time, so from time to time, I go back and read what I’ve written, predicated or been a blowhard about to see if my predictions came true.  Some did, while others crashed and burned.  And being AT the White House with the digital team reminded me that I had written a post about the likelihood of a “digital presidency.”

In my 4th most popular post ever, “Reality Check: There Will Be No Wiki White House, Dan” from December 1, 2008, I got cranky when Dan Froomkin, writing for the Huffington Post (and who apparently really, really hates George W. Bush), made several predictions about what an Obama administration White House web site would look like.  I doubted and probably even mocked most of his predictions.  While probably much of what I wrote was in reaction to his snark about the “stodgy, wheezing version of whitehouse.gov” of the Bush administration (I had friends who helped build and maintain that site), guess what?

I was wrong.  About just about everything.

No one every goes back and slams a weatherman for being wrong.  Sports prognosticators, unless they are engaged in gambling rackets gentleman’s wagering clubs, rarely get their feet held to the fire (literally) for their erroneous predictions.  But the Internet is forever, and if I go out and criticize someone’s predictions, I should be able to stand up to scrutiny six years later.  So here’s a quick synopsis of what Dan predicted, what I responded with, and what the currently reality is now.   It’s a score card, and it’s not pretty.

White House blogs:

What Dan predicted: “Imagine a White House Web site where staffers maintain blogs in which they write about who they are and what they are working on.”

My response: “White house staffers may, in fact, be allowed to have their own blogs, but they will be so watered down by legal concerns that I fear that they might turn into a Twitter feed: ‘Just went out for coffee.  Tastes burnt.’  In a town where secrets are coveted but leaks like a sieve, there would be little compelling news to keep a blog fresh, but more importantly, interesting.  The lawyers will do what they do, which is lawyer things to death.”

The score:  Dan 1, Mark 0.  Proof point:  check out the White House blog section, authored by White House staffers, covering a wide variety of topics.  And it’s not someone ghost writing for Obama;  it’s the staffers themselves giving their takes.

Streamed (video) meetings:

What Dan predicted: “…some meetings [will be] streamed in live video.”

My response: “Only the most vanilla meetings will be streamed.  There is a reason why reporters are kicked out of the room when the real stuff happens.  Anything else would be staged like a FEMA press conference.”

The score:  Dan 2, Mark 0.  The White House streams meetings here, and has done a fair amount of Google Hangouts, which, although heavily scripted, still count.  So an online meeting is an online meeting.

Public Calendars

What Dan predicted: …a WhiteHouse.gov on which “… the president’s daily calendar is posted online.”

My response: “The President’s Daily Calendar would have to omit outside appearances, which would gut its effectiveness, because of Secret Service prohibitions.  And why tell the opposition party that you are meeting on something that you might want to keep in-house.  To do otherwise would be stupid.”

The score:  Dan 3, Mark 0The President’s daily calendar is here, but it’s certainly not complete (again, probably for security reasons) – or I must have caught him on a really light day.

Policy Wiki

What Dan predicted: “And while that may sound impossible, organizations like Wikipedia provide one model for handling vast quantities of user-submitted content with great if not perfect success.”

My response: “Major policy proposal proposal workspaces?  Too many cooks spoil the broth.  Research Selogene Royale’s presidential campaign in France.  She turned her Web site into an electronic “listening tour” and requested policy input from French voters.  She ended up with a party platform that stretched from Normandy to Nice.  This is good in principle, and lousy in practice.”

The score:  Dan 4, Mark still zilch.

Campaign Promises

What Dan predicted a site on which “… progress towards campaign promises is tracked on a daily basis.”

My response: “Trust me, the Republicans will do that for them.  And if they don’t keep a campaign promise, do you think the Web site will have a big, red “X” in the “We Didn’t Keep This” column?”

The score:  Dan 4.5, Mark .5.  While WhiteHouse.gov does an impressive job of touting President Obama’s accomplishments (why would it not?) NO political Web site EVER is going to detail broken campaign promises, like this newspaper does.  (And yes, it just feels nice to put a .5 on the board).

Miscellaneous

What Dan predicted: “Because the Internet doesn’t look kindly on information that just flows one way. To live up to their promises, the president and his staff are going to have to do more than just talk — they’re going to have to listen, and respond.”

My response:  Screw it.  Let’s just say again that I was wrong.  See below.  Score:  Dan 5.5, Mark .5, with two caveats.  First, the Obama administration has had the good fortune (and wisdom) to take advantage of timing to become the first “digital administration.”   I think that any political operation worth their weight in salt would have taken advantage of standing social media tools.  Heck, even George W. Bush’s Facebook page has, at the time of this writing, 4,084,849 Likes.  So had his administration served at a different time (or Hillary, or someone else), somebody would have stepped forward and developed a digital strategy that puts information where people already surf and are likely to see it.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one area of the site that I bet even its inventors regret: the Petitions page.  This section …”a new platform that gives all Americans a way to create and sign petitions on a range of issues affecting our nation.  And if a petition gathers enough online signatures, it will be reviewed by policy experts and you’ll receive an official response.”  And you get get this with just 5,000 signatures in 30 days.

Imagine the poor bastards who have to respond to every crackpot idea that gathers enough political steam – and then assign a group of people to respond to it?  My guess is that this was a little bit TOO popular for its own good, because very quietly, the administration raised the amount of signatures required to trigger a White House response to a whopping 100,000 signatures in the first 30 days.  I bet I heard a sign if relief from the White House petition team.  Go get some sleep, guys.

But back to the topic at hand.

Ouch

I read a what I labeled a pretty much a snarky, dreamy-eyed HuffPo piece and essentially tore the predictions to shreds.  Most the commenters on that post agreed me with as well. And as you’ll see from my own score card, I pretty much got my ass handed to me in the prediction department.

Sorry, Dan.

You were right, and I was wrong.  I guess we DO have a Wiki White House.

Image credit: David Alexander via Flick Commons.