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Introducing #BlackSTEMLikeMe: Reflection of Black Excellence. An Exciting New Campaign from NSBE

Have you heard all the buzz about the movie “Hidden Figures” that hit theaters nationwide on Jan. 6? The movie tells the story of how three African-American Women — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — contributed vital math, engineering and computer science work to the early missions of the U.S. space program. “Hidden Figures” (which is up for several awards and was No. 1 at the box office during its first two weekends) is bringing a major focus to the often overlooked contributions of the black STEM community.


Like the “Hidden Figures” movie, NSBE, in partnership with Air Force STEM, is also bringing a major focus to African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math with our new #BlackSTEMLikeMe (#BSLM) campaign. This multimedia campaign will:

  • Encourage black men and women in STEM to share their stories and passions
  • Bring visibility to the important work they are doing
  • Show black boys and girls that a future in STEM is an incredible—and attainable—career path
  • Encourage black students and professionals to consider NSBE for additional support as they pursue their STEM goals
  • Celebrate our unique, wonderful and life-changing community—past and present!

We have great things planned for #BSLM…

Including events during Black History Month and Engineers Week in February, and we are confident it will help us reach our “Be 1 of 10,000” Campaign goal to graduate 10,000 African-American engineers annually, with bachelor’s degrees, by 2025.

We’re so excited about this new campaign and are proud to take a big step toward ensuring that the Katherine’s, Dorothy’s and Mary’s of the future get their due well before they’re overdue!

How Can You Be Part of #BlackSTEMLikeME?

  • Share STEM stories on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or via the website using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag. The best stories will be entered in our national social media webisode series. More on our webisodes to come!
  • Tweet your STEM story using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag. Don’t forget to use visuals!
  • Post your STEM story to your Facebook page, tag the NSBE Facebook page using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag
  • Post your STEM photo or video to your Instagram account, tag @NSBE and use the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag
  • Email your story and video for blog posts to
  • Or, contact me directly with ways you can get involved.

Look for your post that may be featured here.

Learn more about the #BlackSTEMLikeMe campaign, including upcoming events and other ways to get involved, at

Ten Tips To Plan Your First Twitter Event

You probably already know how successful a Twitter event can be? If you’re new to Twitter events, this blog is for you! A Tweetchat also known as a Twitter Party is a live public Twitter event, centered around one particular  topic using a unique hashtag. This hashtag allows followers to isolate a conversation and participate in a narrow focused Twitter discussion.

Tweetchats are usually recurring and are often on specific topics that regularly connect like-minded individuals. 2

Twitter parties are great branding opportunities for both large and small businesses. The Twitter party can be used to promote a brand, meet customers, announce a service, launch a product, or simply get people talking about a particular idea or campaign. They are often hosted by a celebrity or a recognizable name or “brand ambassador.”



  1. Understand How it Works – Before creating your own Twitter event, spend time evaluating the digital landscape. Follow or participate in a few Tweetchats or Twitter Parties in your industry. Do a Google search to see who is already out there chatting about your topic and follow along at the designated times. 
  2. Pick A Topic – Seems simple, right? That’s good. You want it to be simple. Pick a topic that is broad enough to bring in a large audience, but also narrow focused enough to speak directly to your target audience.
  3. Pick A Date and Time –  There’s no hard and fast rule here. Some Tweetchats  and Twitter Parties happen during the day and others may take place late night. It really depends on what you are promoting and the time your audience is online. No matter the time of day, it is best to establish a regular schedule so people can follow along and you can build momentum over time. For some that may be once a month; for others, it may be every week. Choose a day, time, and frequency that works for you and your target audience. You can use these resources to check for possible scheduling conflicts and to plan your Tweetchat.
  4. Determine The Length – Again, no hard and fast rules here. The average length of a Twitter event is one hour. Some people like to let the event flow naturally but I suggest having a definitive set start and end time so you can manage expectations. Your guests will know exactly how much time to carve out for the event and your followers will be wesearchll aware of how much time they have to be engaged in the conversation.
  5. Pick A Unique Hashtag – Keep the hashtag simple and descriptive. Doing a travel event? You may want to use #TravelTipsChat. Promoting a new product? Try a #GizzmoChat hashtag. Keep in mind the 140-character limit on Twitter when choosing your hashtag. The hashtag should be short yet also provide some connection to the topic being discussed. Also be sure to check that the hashtag you picked is not already being used. You can search for the hashtag on Twitter here. Want to learn more about hashtags? Watch my Social Media Tips: Getting To Know The Twitter Hashtag video.
  6. Find A Moderator – The moderator can be a team member, community manager, or someone who is the most active participant in your online community. For the first Twitter event, it makes sense to use a moderator who is very familiar with your business or brand. It will be the moderator’s job to keep track of the questions asked and answered, monitor the time, and keep the Twitter conversation flowing. 
  7. Book Your Guest(s) – The number of guests you choose depends on the topic. Many Tweetchats do fine with one or two people. You may want multiple guests for your Twitter Party. But, if the name is a big enough draw, one person will do. In any event, your guest should be someone respected in their field and who ideally also has a significant Twitter following. This way the guest will be active in promoting the Twitter event, you will have exposure to their Twitter following and you can be assured that you will get interesting, engaging answers to your questions. Also, it’s a good idea to give your guests a list of questions in advance. Without some advance notice, it can tricky to compose responses quickly with the Twitter 140 character limitation.
  8. Promote The TweetChat – If you Tweet them, they will come. Develop an eye-catching graphic to promote your chat. It should include an interesting image with the date, time and hashtag of the Tweetchat. Leverage the channels you already have available — like your website, blog, email list, or other social networks — to promote your chat.
  9. Host Your Event – There are several platforms to host you Twitter event. You can use Hootsuite to follow the Twitter handle and hashtag. You can use to easily follow and participate in Tweetchat or Twitter Party. Or, you can simply use your computer to follow the hashtag and add another device such as a tablet or smartphone to follow along.
  10. Recap the Tweets – The Tweetchat and Twitter Party are live events. However, you want to be able to recap the tweets and hold on to the interaction for future reference. You may want to use Storify to capture and share the Tweets and then reshare the Storify story to your networks. Other platforms like Nurph will give you start to finish, nuts and bolts integration for your Tweetchat.

Need even more tips? Check out my Social Media Tips: Step Up Your Twitter Game with a Tweetchat video.

Have other tips for first time Twitter events? Share them in the comments.

Need help rolling in a Twitter event to your social media marketing strategy? Let me know. I’m here to help!


Get a Clue: What Do People Remember About Your Site?

The tool is mainly aimed at small businesses and mom and pop stores, as well as designers who want to quickly test and idea. It’s not a bad memory game either because I’m not sure if what I do or do not remember is because of a bad design or because I need more ginkgo bolo. In any event this is a cool tool.

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You’ve invested good money in your web design, but do you know what your customers actually remember about your site? Clue, a new tool from Bay Area interaction design and design strategy firm ZURB, lets you create a 5-second interactive memory test that you can use to test what people remember about your product. The tool is available for free and you don’t even have to log in to use it.

How GetGlue Taps Into Our Emotions As We Watch TV

I’ll be the first to admit it, I checked in on GetGlue last night when I was watching Man Men and yes, I did get a badge. I got the “Must See” sticker. Then, I checked in on GetGlue when I started watching the season five opener for Dexter and I got the “Season Five Premiere” sticker. I’m not sure how emotional I am about my TV watching… wait a minute… who are I kidding… I’m VERY emotional about what I watch on TV. But to be honest, I check-in to get the badges and stickers because I am competitive as I am emotional.

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Sometimes a successful web product takes a while to find its niche. Occasionally it morphs into a different product altogether, along the way. Both things have happened to GetGlue, the service where users “check in” to watching TV shows, reading books, listening to music – indeed, to just about anything.

I caught up with GetGlue founder and CEO Alex Iskold to discuss the evolution of the product since its inception. It’s changed from an under-used geeky Firefox browser add-on, to a mainstream service where hundreds of thousands of people check-in to Mad Men and other popular entertainment shows. How has GetGlue made this transition? One word, by getting emotional.

What’s more, the changes have been good for GetGlue. It has experienced strong growth this year. Iskold told me that “in the month of August alone we saw over 8 million ratings and check-ins.” That’s about 300,000 ratings and check-ins every day. GetGlue currently has over 600,000 users and is, according to Iskold, riding “an upward trend in the social entertainment market.”

People Get Emotional About Entertainment

“The big insight was that [the product] needs to be emotional.”

GetGlue changed its branding and launched a new website,, last November. It changed almost overnight from a geeky browser add-on called Blue Organizer to a destination website called GetGlue. Mobile applications followed soon after.

“Once we launched the website,” Iskold told me, “it made a world of a difference and ever since [we’ve had] exponential growth that continues to increase.”

It wasn’t until the re-launch that Iskold and company realized that their core users are emotional about the things that they’re watching on TV and the things they’re consuming.

“It was because we kind of stood back and said, what we need to do is create something that will be a fit for entertainment. The big insight was that it needs to be emotional. Our users are really emotional about GetGlue and about their entertainment – so that strikes the chord with them. That was a big turn around for us.”


Apple Updates Ping, Makes New Social Network More Useful… so they say

“On Saturday, Apple pushed out an iTunes update (to version 10.0.1) that adds, among other things, the ability to use Ping within your own iTunes music library. Before, you could only “like” and comment on music found within the iTunes Store, but now there are “Ping” buttons found within your own music collection, too.

In the new iTunes, when you hover your mouse over a song in your library, a “Ping” button appears. When clicked, this button allows you to post that track to your Ping profile or visit the artist’s profile page in Ping, where applicable.”

This is all well and good but if I don’t have anyone to “Ping” with why bother? I life Apple but with like most of their goods and services, you have to wait until version number 4 before you can really get a fully functioning product. I’ll check back in on Ping after the Christmas holidays.

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When Apple launched Ping, its new music-focused social network found within iTunes 10, the response was decidedly lukewarm. The effort felt incomplete, as if its social features had been rushed out the door before the service was fully built. Ping lacked the most basic functionality, including the ability to rate non-music purchases and an inability to take into account your own music ratings. It also lacked personalized recommendations for artists to follow (apparently everyone likes Lady Gaga) and, at the last minute, Apple pulled Ping’s Facebook integration, too.

Still, we cautioned that disappointed new users shouldn’t give up on Ping yet – the features it needs to be successful aren’t beyond Apple’s grasp. And this weekend, Apple added two new features that prove the company isn’t giving up on Ping yet, either.



ivi TV Sues Major Media, Claiming Right To Internet TV

Here’s a nice twist on the side of the digital video company. Chalk up one for the tech team!

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Another digital video company has ridden the wrong side of some copyright issues in running television programming via the Internet. But in an unusual twist, the company — Seattle-based ivi TV — has decided to sue first. 

The company launched last week and immediately received cease-and-desist notices from all the big TV broadcasters and media companies: NBC Universal, CBS, Walt Disney, ABC, The CW Television Stations, Fox Television, Major League Baseball, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, WGBH,, and Seattle-based TV station group, Fisher Communications.

Because of its technology, ivi TV said it complies with copyright laws, and in a complaint filed earlier this week says “secondary transmission of an over-the-air primary transmission is not an infringement of copyrights in the works contained in the primary transmission.”

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court in Seattle, Washington, on Monday, as “a preemptive move to discourage needless litigation from big media.”

Todd Weaver, founder and CEO of ivi TV, says: “ivi is not another Pirate Bay or Napster trying to gain from others’ works. Rather, ivi wishes to work with content owners in helping them to realize new revenue streams and reach more viewers from around the globe.”

The company says ivi TV “gives people what they have wanted for years, easy-to-use live Internet TV anytime, anywhere to almost any bandwidth speed on a growing number of Internet-connected devices.”


Twitter Ads to Soon Be Targeted Based on Who You Follow

I’m not sure what the uproar around targeted ads is all about. If you are going to force feed me an advertisement, why not make it an ad that I might actually want? Why do so many of my friends find this invasive? I think Facebook does a great job of targeted ads. I send a much time giving a “like” high-five to the Facebook ads on my page as I do to things posted on my friends pages.

Having said that, however, I’m not sure that advertisers who target their marketing towards me based on the people I follow on Twitter will work. I follow a great group of people (and some not so great, but still entertaining as hell) and I’d dare say that many of us do not have the same tastes in… well… much of anything except our love of technology. Good luck with that Twitter… I guess you have to grow the business somehow.

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Twitter Ads to Soon Be Targeted Based on Who You Follow

Photo: Twitter

Shiva Rajaraman, Twitter’s product manager, revealed at a London ad conference Tuesday that the service will soon allow advertisers to target users based on who they are following and what type of information they are searching for. “With its new targeted ads, Twitter could allow Hewlett-Packard to promote its tweets to people who follow Dell, for example,” the Financial Times explains. Twitter did reassure marketers that users’ personal details will not be shared with advertisers. “Who you follow is a good indicator of what you are interested in,” Rajaraman said. “As we move forward, we are going to implement targeting mechanisms that allow people to engage their audience in that way.” Continue following Katy Perry at your own risk. [FT via Vallywag]


We love our computers — but love Macs best (I don’t make this stuff up people!)

Apple’s consumer satisfaction rating rose last year, blowing past its rivals with a score of 86, up from 84 in 2009. This year marks the seventh straight year in which Apple led the PC category. Steve Jobs must be doing something right!

“The biggest asset Apple has had for a long time is its commitment to innovation,” said David VanAmburg, managing director of ACSI, an Ann Arbor-based research group. “Others are improving, but the whole world watches Apple when it comes up with its new products each year.”

Amplify’d from David Goldman, staff writerFirst Published: September 21, 2010: 3:49 AM ET

NEW YORK ( — Americans’ satisfaction with their personal computers has been on the rise for the past decade, but consumers still overwhelmingly prefer Apple’s Macs to Windows PCs.

An American Customer Satisfaction Index report released Tuesday shows all PCs steadily improved in 2010, with consumer satisfaction rising an average of 4% over the past year. Consumers are the happiest that they’ve ever been with their computers, the 16-year old survey found, with PCs scoring a rating of 78 out of 100. That’s up from 75 a year earlier.


Showcasing The Urban Heartbeat Using Geo-Based Tech

For all you who said “I’m not sure I want everyone to know where I am”, but now “check-in” religiously and for those of us on a race to collect badges and titles, SpotRank in Action is doing some interesting things in with geo-location technology that you might want to check out. Yeah, I know, “you’d NEVER want anyone to have THIS much information on you” right. After that wears off… I’ll “see” you online1

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You are here.

And so are a million other people, except, now, there’s a way to get real-time information about them.

Using anonymous location-based data compiled from tens of millions of devices, companies like SpotRank create data maps, opening an entirely new window into where those humans are.

Marshall Kirkpatrick in his related article on Read, Write, Web sums the service up like this:

Imagine being able to look blocks or miles away from where you are and see how many people are hanging out at an intersection — in real time. Add a layer of precisely located Twitter messages, Foursquare check-ins, Flickr photos and other social data and what have you got?

See more at

Spray-on tech could power consumer devices

Now I’ve heard everything… a spray-on that can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic to make it vivid with color.  I’m not sure how it works, I’m not even sure if it works but I’m fascinated by the possibilities!



A new spray-on polymer could lead to the development of e-readers that display not in black and white, but in every color of the rainbow. When combined with solar technology, the new treatment could power portable electronics and even homes and businesses.

Developed by scientists at the University of Florida, the new spray-on polymers can reflect or transmit any color of light. With a simple spray, they can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic.

“When you look at simple LCD displays or a Kindle with its electrophoretic display, you are looking at something that changes from white and non-colored to black,” said John Reynolds, a scientist at the University of Florida who led a team that developed the clear-to-black polymers.

“That’s what this newest paper is about, but we’ve also developed polymer coatings for all the other colors of the spectrum,” he added.

Most e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook, don’t produce their own light. That is why, like a paper book, you can’t read them in the dark. These devices instead reflect light from the sun and other light sources.

These screens have been around for a while now and work well for small, portable devices like e-readers.

For larger areas, like roadside billboards or glass windows, where flexible materials like thin plastic might be used, the existing technology is not practical. What Reynolds and his colleagues, including Andrew Rinzler, also at the University of Florida and the company nRadiance, wanted to develop was a spray-on technique that would allow much larger displays.

The clear-to-black polymer is only the latest in a series of color-changing polymers developed by the Reynolds group.


Read the Full Story here:


The Heart of Tomorrow’s High-Tech Cars: Smartphones

Last week, even GM’s OnStar decided to take the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, announcing that it would start running popular smartphone apps such as the social-networking phenomenon Facebook and online music service Pandora on its connected car systems. I’m still not sure WHY?!?

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Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

Rather than struggle to keep pace with new technology, car manufacturers are increasingly relying on smartphones to provide tech features.

While technology races ahead, gear built into cars is increasingly left in the dust. And that’s about to change: Your car is about to join the app revolution.

For years, car manufacturers have struggled to keep pace with new technology. They add old wireless connections even as faster, newer standards are introduced. They hide hard drives in headrests while larger, cheaper drives keep coming out.

Just look at GPS navigation: A new $170 portable navigation device is more accurate and has more features than the built-in $2,000 option the dealership wants to sell you. That’s because it takes years for a car to make it from the drawing board to the showroom, while new gadgets and apps appear every day.

So automakers like BMW, Ford, and GM are changing their tack. Instead of trying to stuff dashboards with the latest technology, like gigabytes of memory or dedicated computer systems, they’re designing more streamlined systems that simply connect to drivers’ smartphones. 

The idea is to rely on those devices to provide the communications

and computing power to deliver new services and features. After all, what’s more current, your iPhone or your 6-year-old SUV — which was designed before there was such a thing as Facebook, or Twitter?


Flash Defeats HTML5 in Round One by a Knockout… or so they say…

I get it, Adobe Flash is kicking HTML 5 in the butt. This is not good news for our team, who has to develop products for our clients. It’s great news for our sister company, a design team, because they get to charge double the price for double the work to come up with two versions of the same product. Personally, I long for the day when HTML 5 can raise the bar and set the standard but alas, I don’t think that day is coming… at least not anytime soon. Now, let the Apple haters take center stage… I’m ready for you!

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Developer Chris Black made this video showing how Adobe Flash and HTML5 perform head-to-head on a simple Web animation (in this case, a bouncing ball). He uses both an iPod Touch and a Google Nexus One–the latter of which is tested both on Flash and HTML5–to test frame rate and smoothness while zooming and panning.

The results are pretty interesting. Many key figures in the tech industry, most notably Steve Jobs, have forsaken Adobe Flash, mostly used for Web video and animations, in favor of the possibility of HTML5 performing those same duties more efficiently, sometime down the road. Google’s Android supports Adobe Flash, though reports on its usefulness have been mixed (most say to only use it when needed for video, otherwise load times will be painfully slow during normal use). But most people haven’t seen HTML5 in action compared head-to-head with Flash.

This video shows Flash absolutely crushing HTML5 in frames per second, as well as in its ability to continue to play the animation while zooming and panning. HTML5 is consistently several times slower in framerate, and often stops completely during a zoom, not to mention requiring far more battery life than Flash.

The caveats, well laid out by Wired, are many: HTML5 is a very early project, and probably wasn’t optimized properly for this test. Black even admits that some things, like “Gradient fonts, drop shadows, basic video and simple transitions are probably better suited for HTML5.” But his conclusion is that HTML5 won’t necessarily destroy Flash and that some applications are better suited for Flash than HTML5 (and vice versa, of course). Maybe that’s why Apple allowed Adobe back into the App Store.

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