Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Public relations people tend to be inveterate data hounds, because the intelligence provided to us by research can help us communicate with our clients’ stakeholders at the times, and in the places, that they are most likely to be receptive to PR messages.

So I was very intrigued recently by a nifty interactive chart in The New York Times. Based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s American Time Use Survey, it shows how Americans spend their days. While it’s not comprehensive, I found it very interesting.

Click on the image above. Then, scroll back and forth to see who’s doing what, when. Click on the chart in any activity area to minimize it and get an interesting factoid. Change the demographics to compare and contrast.

Did you know that the majority (53%) of people with advanced degrees wake up between 6:50 and 7:00 am? Not this PR person, alas. I am however one of the very elite two percent of Americans who are already hard at work on the computer at 8:20am.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

High-Tech Device Makes You Part of the Matrix

Where body modification intersects with technology, you find the intriguing new product concept developed by Jim Mielke: a Bluetooth tattoo.

Made of silicon and silicone, it’s a thin, flexible high-tech device implanted between the skin and muscle. The top surface can be accessed through the skin. Instead of ink, the display uses minute “smart” spheres that are tattooed over the device. Tiny tubes attach it to an artery and a vein. Blood flows to a small fuel cell (which converts glucose and oxygen to electricity) and flows out again through the vein.

The new high-tech tattoo can communicate wirelessly with other Bluetooth devices, both in the outside world and — perhaps even more importantly — inside the body! Can a healthcare application be far behind? Could this high-tech tattoo be useful, for instance, in diabetes management?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Web Disclosure: The Ongoing IR Dilemma

Neil Hershberg, SVP of Global Media for Business Wire wrote an interesting op-ed in Bulldog Reporter’s IR Alert contending that web-based disclosure “still isn't ready for prime time.”

He cites a number of reasons why — one year after the SEC’s Interpretive Guidance Release — investor relations professionals are no further along when it comes to using Web 2.0 as a channel for the release of important information to investors.

Certainly, one key reason for the inertia was the horrendous financial meltdown, which began in 2007 and accelerated in 3008. In the face of chaos, Hershberg asserts, investors (and IR professionals) clung closely to what they believed to be “the global gold standard” of disclosure.

While I would agree that blogs, bulletin boards, Tweets and RSS feeds are no substitute for the traditional broad, simultaneous release of official information, they can undoubtedly be an extremely useful adjunct. As the aggregate number of analysts declines — and the number of investors using the social media rises — it’s good for the investor relations community to be prepared for an inevitable sea change in material disclosure.

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