Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #173
July 29th, 2007

Bloggers take aim at city governments — and hit home

Some websites are watchdogs, others are just scurrilous, but their influence on the cities they cover is growing.
“Grandpa Terrace” didn’t mince words. He wanted the mayor of Grand Terrace, a small city wedged between two scenic mountain ridges in San Bernardino County, run out of office. […] His rants helped fuel a recall effort last year against the two council members. Although the campaign ultimately failed, his blog was another example of the growing influence of citizen journalists roiling communities across Southern California, many of which rarely are covered by newspapers or other traditional media outlets.
Source: Jonathan Abrams, Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2007

The rise of cyberbullying

A study last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project based in Washington DC found that one-third of US teenage internet users have been targets of cyber-bullying. Meanwhile, as online communication evolves from instant messaging and chatrooms to social networking sites and YouTube, the venues where bullying occurs are becoming both more central to young people’s lives, and more public.
Source: Phil Mckenna, New Scientist, July 19, 2007

New Amazon Startup:

[Amazon sent me the following e-mail last week.] “As a valued Amazon customer, we thought you would be interested in one of Amazon’s newest websites called Askville. Askville is a friendly gathering place where you can ask questions on any topic and ‘get real answers from real people’. It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests, share your knowledge, or just enjoy reading questions and answers submitted by others. It’s new, it’s fun, and it’s free!”
Source: Amazon, July 23, 2007

Free information for the taking

There’s a wealth of free resources out there–online databases, audiobooks, museum passes, and help so that you can find even more resources. You just need to know where to look.
[Lombardi gives examples for the following categories: databases, e-books, audiobooks, etc.]
Source: Candace Lombardi, CNET, July 24, 2007

HBS Cases: How Wikipedia Works (or Doesn’t)

HBS professor Andy McAfee had his doubts about Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia created and maintained by volunteers. “I just didn’t think it could yield a good outcome or a good encyclopedia. But I started consulting it and reading the entries, and I said, ‘This is amazing.'”
So when the concept of “Enterprise 2.0” — a term coined by McAfee on the general idea of how Web 2.0 technologies can be used in business — popped up on Wikipedia, McAfee beamed. “I was bizarrely proud when my work rose to the level of inclusion in Wikipedia.” Then, however, a turn of fortune took place. A “Wikipedian” nominated the article for deletion as unworthy of the encyclopedia’s standards. McAfee thought, “It’s not even good enough to get on Wikipedia?”
Source: Sean Silverthorne, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, July 23, 2007

From UF and IBM, a blueprint for ‘smart’ health care

What people have come to expect in cell phones and personal communicators may soon become common in health-care devices and products at home and in medical offices, thanks to new technology announced today by the University of Florida and IBM.
The technology creates the first-ever roadmap for widespread commercial development of “smart” devices that, for example, take a person’s blood pressure, temperature or respiration rate the minute a person steps into his or her house — then transmit it immediately and automatically to doctors or family.
Source: University of Florida news release, July 24, 2007

Online Newspaper Audience Rising Twice As Fast As General Internet Population

Newspapers’ online audiences are rising at twice the rate of the general internet audience, according to research by Nielsen//NetRatings for the Newspaper Association of America.
Among the findings of the report, which was based on existing and ongoing data collected in Nielsen’s @Plan survey: An average of more than 59 million people (37.6 percent of all active internet users) visited newspapers online each month during Q1, a 5.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen//NetRatings NetView custom analysis. During the same time period, the overall internet audience grew just 2.7 percent.
Source: David Kaplan,, via, July 24, 2007

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