Disconnected In a Connected World



The Break Up

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Today many businesses are disconnected in a connected world.  Corporations seek customers.  Potential purchasers can access concisely presented persuasive information.   Clients are sold products.  Support?  Some may be available sometimes .  Web pages are Marketing Tools.  No real relationships emerge let alone evolve.  Technology used serves the organization. Commerce has too little concern for consumer needs. Executives and enterprises pay less attention to what is authentically desired.  Conversation.  In the search for potential patrons companies ignore what is right in front of their faces and in their hearts; people are gregarious.  

Humans are social animals.  We each crave a connection.  Facebook and Twitter founders understood this.  The statistics overwhelming show this.  Yet, rather than embrace what is real, organizations opt for what causes a break-up.  

The results of ongoing research shows that organizations have begun to invest in social media, but barely.  Only those companies who respond to purchasers’ real lives seem to see a need for a truer Internet experience.  Most simply stumble into the medium blindly.  Few realize that what occurs in cyberspace is a conversation.  Hence, businesses, big and small, for profit and not, use sales and marketing approaches to seek loyalty or brand awareness.

Organizational budgets reflect a lack of understanding; America is “wired.”  Please peruse the profound truths evident in a recent Pew Research Center Publication, The Future of Online Socializing, Older Adults and Social Media or Gadget Ownership.

In relationship to the technology and the Internet, most relevant for many corporations is what The Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm considers the Top 10 Customer Experience Incompetencies.

Authentic interest and Interactions are near void.  Instead, reliance on the pitfalls is prevalent.  Frequently, corporate web sites, tools available to prospective customers, and current clients are marketing ploys.  Employees are not served much better.  At times, participatory platforms are accessible.  Yet, even these do not fully engage consumers.  Unknowingly, businesses build barriers when bridges need to be built.  Perchance, organizations will look at what is thought to be wise and wonderful, then, assess.   Why is it that conventional wisdom does not work well? In the World-Wide-Web  

Study: Companies invest in social media for loyalty purposes

August 31, 2010

A conclusion that can be drawn from overall survey results is that the use of social media as a marketing tool is still in the early experimental stage. “Marketers across all sectors are involved in social media,” said DMA Research Manager Yoram Wurmser. “However, after five or six years in the space, and growing social media budgets, marketers are still testing the waters to figure out what works, with the incentive to accelerate their efforts being driven by consumers’ rapid adoption of this trend.” In fact, research from Nielsen released this week shows that consumers are spending 43% more time on social media than a year ago, making social networking and blogs the top online activity followed by online games and email.

One of the key revelations from the research is that the absolute dollar amount marketers are setting aside for social media is low:

  • When asked what percentage of their company’s overall marketing budget is spent on social media, the largest group, covering 24% of survey takers, selected “don’t know”
  • 17% of respondents said they allocated only 1% of their annual marketing budget to social media
  • 16% said they allocate 4-5%
  • Smaller companies with tighter budgets are significantly more likely than large companies to say they spend almost 50% of their marketing budget on social media.

Another key finding reveals a lack of metrics for success differentiated by objective:

  • When asked to identify the most important measure of social media success, nearly two-thirds of respondents selected “don’t know
  • Of those who identified a measurement, the largest group, covering 20%, said engaging customers to respond and provide feedback
  • 65% of respondents said they’re not using any listening tools to monitor what their customers are saying about their brand

Organizations often adopt strategies that experts say offer near certain doom. Tycoons think “If they build it, buyers will come.”  Executives “Follow the leaders,” rather than distinguish themselves or recognize the unique world that is theirs alone.  “Blatant sales pitches” scatter the landscape . . . and lose sales as well as once loyal support.  “Social media is treated as though it were a one-way street, an island, or the work of lowly staffers.”

The Ten Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites are avoided.  Sales and Marketing departments are assigned a task that is not their specialty, rather than engaging in a conversation, they create a monologue.  Information Technology departments are seen as soothsayers rather than divisions that do well in the delivery of complex tools.  Organizations mistakenly believe their webpage is all about them.  Thus, a greater disconnect is established.  Disconnects and subsequent breakups between consumers and companies that do not genuinely communicate are common.

References and Resources; Reality of a Connected Customer, Client, Potential consumer . . .

Internet, Intranet, Extranet? What The F**k?

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Internet, Intranet, Extranet Defined

Might we delve deeper into the world of technology. The Ethernet, once ethereal now exists in every avenue of our lives.  We have heard the terms; Internet, Intranet, and Extranet.  Might do these mean to us personally and professionally? Perhaps, it is best establish a working definition for each of the platforms.  Countless experts have written on the topic, the features within the various systems, and the variance in use. Steven L. Telleen, Ph.D., Researcher and former analyst with Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, California explains the distinctions most succinctly. In The Difference Between Internet, Intranet, and Extranet Dr. Telleen writes, “Today I think of Intranets, Extranets, and the Web as collections of content. An Intranet is a set of content shared by a well-defined group within a single organization.  An Extranet is a set of content shared by a well-defined group, but one that crosses enterprise boundaries.” In an earlier observation, Telleen, stated, “The Web, in contrast, is an unlimited group.”  In his more recent characterization, that element is unchanged.  He does however, assert, “These terms may continue to evolve in meaning.”  

What is most true, and particularly evident in the Ethernet, change is a constant.

Change and Cyberspace Comes to the Corporate World


Today, in our travel through time and cyberspace, I hope you will appreciate, as I have come to; the study of electricity is analogous to the Ethernet.  Each validates the notion transformations are invisible to the human eye.  Turn a switch on or off and things happen.  Instantaneously, it would seem, if a toggle were moved in one direction the room is filled with light.  In another position, darkness pervades. An engine starts or stops.  Press the power switch on your computer, or click on your Internet browser, and the world (world-wide-web) opens up and lets you in.  We do not necessarily see what occurs; nay understand it.  Yet, our personal universe is altered.  

In commerce and cyberspace, change occurs in every moment.  Internet, Intranet, and Extranet conversions occur all around us and metamorphosis surrounds us.  Whether or not we are aware of these evolutions, the progression will affect us.  Indeed, it has.  Please consider your own corporation and communications within.  Electronic mails are ubiquitous.  Employees in your office likely scan, share, and collaborate on files.  Most companies have a website.  More have begun to acknowledge what is inescapable in modern-day societies, Facebook directs more online users than Google.

“Marketers must focus on social marketing in addition to traditional search, as customers have a multi-pronged way of finding information,” said Jeremiah Owyang, a Web strategist for the Altimeter Group, a San Mateo consulting firm with clients like Gigya. Mister Owyang went on to state, “The clear-cut channels of yesteryear are now an intricate set of connections.”  

As we all understand and live, presently, many of us “Go to Meeting” from the comfort of our homes, clothed in pajamas or jeans.  We “do lunch” at cyberspace cafés.  We talk through text or instant messages.  Colleagues in cubicles separated only by a few feet feel no need to leave their desks to make a statement, or request a file. Office workers prefer to send an electronic mail message.  

Communication through cyberspace is easier and effortless.  Yet, regardless of how we try to communicate a tone, the reader will interpret the essence through his or her own emotional reaction and respond accordingly.  Thus, the reality lives.  People relate to those they know personally, trust explicitly, and are friendly with, even if only on facebook.

This is the reason for the rise in Internet interactions.  The World-Wide-Web is a constant conversation unlike the Marketing monologue most businesses offer.  TurboTax has realized the strength of relationships off and by extension online.  This big business decided to dive more deeply into what reaps abundant dollars.

One of Gigya’s clients is financial software maker Intuit Inc. Seth Greenberg, Intuit’s director of national media and digital marketing, said the company is betting on social media to draw customers to its TurboTax Web site this year. The tax preparation program generates about $1 billion in revenue in the 10 to 15 weeks leading to April 15.

Half of TurboTax’s 20 million users are on Facebook and each has an average of 150 friends. Intuit is using social media to generate more buzz about the program through the sharing of product reviews and answers to tax preparation questions.

Greenberg coined the phrase “friend-casting” to describe how Intuit is using social media.

“We actually want our customers to be our best sales force, not us,” Greenberg said. “Enabling our 20 million-customer base to be a word-of-mouth army for us is much more interesting.”

Any of us might recognize as Mister Greenberg has: friends, family, and familiars talk. What someone we know says speaks volumes.  A recommendation, a referral, the thought that Mom, Dad, brother or sister might reject the services of a particular company because any of these individuals had a very bad experience, weighs heavily on the minds of corporate Executives.  Tycoons understand the tonnage known as brand awareness and appeal.

Weight of Brand Awareness, Brand Appeal, and the Affect in the World-Wide-Web


Moguls are mindful of the fact that each of us, in every walk of life is affected by the assessments others make.  No organization is exempt from public scrutiny.  Just as mothers and father search to find the best babysitter, our parents also model the need to evaluate a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. Countless caregivers, before a baby begins to walk, will work to ensure that their child goes to the most celebrated school.  

An education company, a for-profit, public, or private institution must be concerned with what the customer base thinks.  Reputation is everything if a business expects to increase earnings, sustain salaries, and preserve profits.

Tycoons only need to imagine the influence of college graduates, parents, professional persons ages 35 to 54, who as of January 2009 represented a 276% growth rate amongst facebook users.  This percentage has doubled in a mere two-month period.

Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, guardians, and even we, as individuals, prepare our progeny and ourselves for the finest education.  Our careers capture our attention from the time we are first asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We wish to pursue the best and be the best from birth.  This is the reason that private schools test 4 and five year olds before an application to a prestigious program is accepted. The vast numbers who work to be Valedictorians speaks to the truth; be it for a business or a business school, a religious institution or an industry that works with private and religious school Educators, public opinions matter.

Hence, within a very short period of time, businesses, en masse, have built blogss.  Chief Executive Officers have also chosen to submit their thoughts words and muses.  Facebook and other “fun” and well-followed forums have served to expand Executives’ awareness.  Perhaps, this is why today, tycoons envision investments in Internet, Intranet, and, or Extranet applications.  Undeniably, the Industrial Revolution evolved into the Information Age and brick and mortar business have become far more mobile.  Today, we meet and greet our clientele through electronic mediums.

How did this happen?  Almost invisibly, advancements began behind closed doors.  The concept of global connectivity was first born in the August 1962.  It was not until 1972 three years after the formation of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a branch of the United States Department of Defense, that a research team successfully fashioned a computer-to-computer chat

By 1994, very little had changed with the exception of a report, entitled “Realizing The Information Future: The Internet and Beyond.” This document served as a draft for what would become the information superhighway. In April 1995, a true evolution occurred.

NSF’s privatization policy was terminated. The NSFNET Backbone was declared defunded.  Delphi followed by other commercial networks moved in.  Today, we are all connected constantly. If you doubt this, look at the numbers, as well as the reality you live.  Microsoft Corporation certainly has.

Who is online?  What do users do? How might Businesses Benefit?


A web-based company, YouTube, which in 2008 was only three years old, received 13 hours of uploaded video every minute!  Now, at the ripe old age of five, YouTube has 24 hours of video uploaded every minute!  In two short years, the number of uploads has nearly doubled.

In 2008, The Washington Post noted, “The site logs hundreds of millions of views a week.”  Can we begin to imagine how many people are online at YouTube at any given moment now that the site has grown even more popular?  Probably not.  Nor would most companies be able to comprehend the earning potential.  Nevertheless, what each of us likely know is that we have viewed a YouTube video or two.  Perchance, you saw one last evening on the news.  Indeed, you may have sent a tweet that said, “Wait until you see . . .” From January 2009 to February of the same year, in one month, Twitter grew 1382 percent!  

People of every age tweet.  Fastest Growing Demographic; women Over 55.  Men between 45 and 54 are not far behind.  Essentially, Facebook is Your Father’s (and Mother’s) Social Network. Still, neither may be your online home.

Perhaps, you are not amongst the 3 to 4 million that in 2008 used social network technology.  You may not include yourself in the later and greater groundswell of social media growth that occurred in 2009.  You possibly could not comprehend as Forrester Research reported in the Fall of that year, Number of Social Networking Users Has Doubled Since 2007.  

Indeed, this veracity has inspired Microsoft to integrate Social Media into its latest release.  In February 2010, banner headlines read, Microsoft adds social networking to Outlook.

The mammoth technology company has read the reports.  Microsoft moguls have acknowledged, businesses must think Tribalization.  They have tried and failed time and time again,  However, Microsoft has finally concluded they must fuse, or infuse the future into their business model.  Observers are reminded of the past; Microsoft came late to the Internet party.

Perhaps, you too, or your company’s Executives, might wish to evaluate the evidence Microsoft moguls appraised.  You may choose to be amongst the movers and shakers such as Bill Gates, who admittedly, ultimately realized, in what might have been one of those moments of verbalized frustration; it is wise to examine the energy that is electricity and the Ethernet.  

People-centricity, which more recently has become Microsoft’s mission, seems to have been born out of a recognition followed by abundant research.  President Gates’ insight might have been as my own.  Upon further investigation into Internet, Intranet, and Extranet applications, I had to acknowledge that one or each of these platforms are popular, preferable, and even, surprisingly, profitable.  After a quick scan of the statistics Microsoft’s most senior Chief Executive could have concluded as I did in an earlier time.  the question I most needed to ask was “What the F**K is Social Media?”

The answer, I believe lies in what was before and Only “One Year Later.” The Ethernet is electric.  To be effective, any Internet, Intranet, and Extranet system must honor the veracity visible in the numbers.  Please ponder the presentations.

Please stay tuned, or tune in again.  The next treatise on this topic will further examine the once unimaginable.  The Ethernet, just as electricity, is the essential element that moves modern-day civilizations, commerce and citizens worldwide.

References for Internet, Intranet, Extranet realities . . .

Press; Personality, Opinion, and Profits



Top Ten most ridiculous news stories

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Throughout America, the sun rises, sleepy souls awaken, and people turn to the media of choice.  Millions move towards the radio.  More power-up the television.  Countless persons do as their parents did before them; they pick up newspapers, which lie in wait on the porch.  People want to know what is the news across the nation, or at least they did just a short time ago.  Today, perhaps surprisingly, most forms of media have far less appeal than they had just a few years ago.  The ethnic press is still productive.  What Wall Street classifies as “hyper-localism” appeals to the masses.  It seems what survives and thrives in the press is personality and opinion.  Unadulterated accounts are not of interest to those who think them selves highly informed.

In survey after survey, Americans state they know their community and are very familiar with happenings in this country.  They watch television.  The public listens to the radio.  People in this country read.  Yet, indeed, the evidence demonstrates despite a wealth of information accessible to most, if not all, citizens of this country grow increasingly ignorant, unaware of more than what a popular program or a chosen channel wishes to air.  No matter the age of the audience, according to The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Americans know far less now than they did in 1989.

In recent times, a Presidential Election, consumed the  constituency for near two years.  Yet, the electorate, who thought themselves actively engaged, actually knew less about politics than they had in decades past.

Those who reside in the United States correctly speak of the incredible transformation; however, they do not wish to acknowledge Americans have been dumbed down.  Sure, people may posit their neighbors are not as bright, but let no one question the quality of the facts the more fluid are familiar with.

Let us suppose, by some freak accident, change truly came to America.  Would the public comprehend the climatic arrival of transformation?  Might the people imagine the impossible had occurred.  Would anyone in this country be the wiser?  Probably not.  There is reason to believe people would continue to be inspired by the trivial, the trite, the trials, and tribulations of a temptress, the taunts, all that can be seen in seconds on television, in a YouTube video, or on a social network site.  The information revolution has not altered affairs, at least not for the better.

In the last half century, the Information Age has given birth to greater conformity.  There are seemingly more options, and in actuality, fewer.  Five-hundred cable or satellite channels translates to the abandonment of an honorable agreement ‘in exchange for serving the “public interest,” TV stations get to use the airwaves for free.  

Currently, that creed is but a dream lost to the six major corporations, General Electric, Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, News Corporation, CBS, and Viacom, serve as town criers.  These organizations persuade, propose, pontificate, and profess to be without bias.  Rarely do the reports attempt to be objective or reflective.  

Why should these private, for profit industries report what may be most relevant to people who trust the press to inform when sex sells.  Scandal sweetens the pot, or return on revenue.  Smut can be spun, and it is always time for silly season.

American audiences, people of every age love what bring the broadcast business lots of loot.  People are happy to absorb all the “news” transmitted by these radio and television stations.  Citizens in this country seek entertainment, forms of escapes, and enthusiastically  entrepreneurs furnish the fun.  Media moguls call what titillates profound and the people buy the bull.

For the most part, the public is generally satisfied with the press.  Most believe that the word they receive is fair and balanced or at least a reliable source of information.  In 2008, stories of Sarah sizzled.  Paris was a plus in the dull day of an average American.  Lindsay looked good and then she appeared to be less lovely.  Barrackamania was a beautiful distraction.  The now President Elect proved to be the change America could believe in.  However, as the country settles into a time of transition, some wonder what will they do for excitement.

A few murmur; might change have come and then left.  Citizens, spectators, the American audience awaits the next trend.  What will be the talk.  They tune in, turn on, and hope talk radio, television, or the technological wonder known as a computer will bring the latest American Dream.

More and more, those anxious to consume the news, check out celebrity hype.  People search for the stars.  They soak up any and all information online.  Too much technology is never enough.  To few reliable references; well, typically that goes unnoticed.

Print is still thought profound, although there is less of it to be found.  No matter the medium, the message is massaged and the words are probably, the product of a merger.  One paper is as another.  Each network is owned and operated by the very few persons who prosper from an ill-informed public.  Knowingly or not, most Americans turn to familiar forms in search.

People peruse the titles prominently known papers produce online.  They read blogger rants that reference mainstream media sources.  Indeed, well over 1 in 4 Internet users in the United States blissfully log into AOL Time-Warner accounts.  The world’s largest media corporation controls one fourth of media dissemination in cyberspace.  While that may all be well and good, if the news were hard, and the audience hearty.  Neither seems to be the case.  Today, Americans view reality television, car chases, crash, or trash.  Tune it in.  In America, the people say turn it on, morning noon, and night.

In the competitive world of commercialism, in-depth, quality news coverage, has not survived.  In a 2001 study, executed by the Joan Shorenstein, of the Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, dramatic changes in what was once critical journalism are documented.  Did anyone notice?  Was this topic covered on the news?

Soft news (that is, news that is typically more sensational, more personality-centered, more entertainment oriented, and more incident-based than traditional public affairs news) has increased sharply in the past two decades.  News stories that have no public policy component have increased from less than 35% of all stories in 1980 to roughly 50% today.  In the early 1980s, about 25% of news, stories had a moderate to high level of sensationalism; today, nearly 40% of news stories have this feature.??

Critical news (that is, news about the failings of leaders, institutions, and policies) has risen steadily in recent decades.  Negative coverage of presidential candidates is an example.  In 1960, about 25% of the evaluative coverage of candidates was negative in tone.  In the past three presidential elections, more than 50% of the coverage has been negative

Negative or nonsense; that may be the truer assessment.  The press pretends to enlighten; yet, for the most part it seeks to entertain.  Few realize the folly of what has become the American way.  In this country, the average Joe or Jayne consumes junk food and junk news.  

In recent months, change was the theme.  The issues of import during this recent election were those most frequently covered.  Each day Americans awoke to eat it up. . . the goodies, the gossip, and what makes the public grunt.

10. Hillary Clinton citing Obama’s Kindergarten essay titled, “I Want To Become President”

9. Mike Huckabee’s ongoing “buddy cop movie” with Chuck Norris

8. Obama Girl

7. Paris Hilton for President

6. “Terrorist Fist Jab”

5. Hillary Clinton’s drinking beers and taking shots of Crown Royal

4. Barack Obama bowling, or, “The Altoona Massacre”

3. Wardrobe-Gate: Sarah Palin’s $150K (or more) clothing caper

2. Joe the Plumber

1. “Lipstick On A Pig”

In 2008, the electorate considered the profundity of these topics and then selected a President, or perhaps, the mainstream media conglomerates chose for them.  Few knew more than what was delivered through airwaves, more than what was mentioned in print, more than the prominent six companies that comprise the press wanted them to know.  Hence, Americans must wonder, if change were to come, would we the people read of the transformation, or might the possibility of a true revolution never be realized, or at least, it is likely not to be seen on a computer screen, heard on a radio, or watched on television.

Reliable Sources . . .

Citizens Vote; Democracy In Question

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In this a Presidential election year, citizens of this country are intensely aware, every vote counts.  The world witnessed, in State after State people scrambled to the polls.  Voters of every age have turned out in large numbers.  The sprint to the White House is on.  Most every electorate wants to join in.  the people wish to return to power.  Much is at stake.  The people want to participate in the process.

In America, in a democracy, government is defined as organization that operates of, by, and for the people.  The people choose who will represent them in the Executive and Legislatives Branches.  Executives appoint persons to occupy Judicial seats.  Supreme Court Jurists may serve the public for a lifetime.  Legislators also have infinite influence.  Members of Congress make laws and approve nominees.  Thus, those who speak and stand in for the common folk have much power.

Hence, it is essential, before the average Joe or Joanne casts a ballot they must be very well informed.  When the American people vote they place their lives in the hands of a few.  Access to the candidates is vital if people are to make an informed decision.  During a Presidential election year, it is imperative that the people, one and all, be given an opportunity to meet and greet the hopefuls.  A President of the United States is the single most important being on the globe.  He or she is superior to all other officials who reside in this region.  Since the United States is considered the world’s only true Super Power, the President of this nation is virtually omnipotent, or at least some often act as though they are.

It is for this reason the electorate must choose wisely.  Each adult needs to ponder, who is the person who will best represent my interest?  Which Presidential hopeful will serve persons in every community equally?  Who will work for the common good of the people and not for personal fame and fortune?  There is much to research.  Reflection needs to be deep and thoughtful.  The public must ensure that a Presidential aspirant knows of and wishes to honor the desires of his or her constituents.  However, this determination is difficult to make.

Most of the citizens in this country only see the hopefuls in well-crafted, scripted moments.  Television and the Internet dominate the delivery of news about the candidates.  Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported.

The internet is living up to its potential as a major source for news about the presidential campaign.  Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they regularly learn something about the campaign from the internet, almost double the percentage from a comparable point in the 2004 campaign (13%). ?

Moreover, the internet has now become a leading source of campaign news for young people and the role of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook is a notable part of the story.  Fully 42% of those ages 18 to 29 say they regularly learn about the campaign from the internet, the highest percentage for any news source.  In January 2004, just 20% of young people said they routinely got campaign news from the internet.

[T]he proportion of Americans who rely on traditional news sources for information about the campaign has remained static or declined slightly since the last presidential campaign.  . . .

By contrast, the proportion of Americans who say they regularly learn about the campaign from the internet has more than doubled since 2000 – from 9% to 24%.

While it may seem that mainstream media has less of an influence of the electorate; indeed, the reverse may be true.  When we assess the sources of information accessed on the Internet we realize, corporate control still speaks volumes.

People who rely on the internet for campaign news turn to a wide array of websites.  The most frequently mentioned online news outlets are MSNBC (at 26%), CNN (23%) and Yahoo News (22%).

Few constituents know more than the media allows.  What the press makes available is extremely limited.  Independent-minded persons believe they know more.  Yet, these persons are also influenced.  Chant as the indies might, the media is hostile to anti-establishment candidates, John Edwards, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee, the three barely-acceptable do appear on stage.  Corporate controlled columnists recognize it is important to appear unbiased.

Americans must wonder of those whose exposure is eliminated.  Perchance, constituents might consider the plight of Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich.  Presidential aspirant Kucinich was excluded from the American Association for Retired Persons [AARP] debate in the Hawkeye State.  In Granite country, ABC News declared Dennis Kucinich would be barred from the dialogue.  Silver State voters were not able to see the profound Presidential hopeful on stage.  He was relegated to the streets allowed to speak only to the neon lights.  The Palmetto State decreed, “Dennis, this is not your kingdom.”  Indeed, you are locked out in this land of liberty.  Texas told its tall tale.  Dennis Kucinich would not be the hero in the Lone Star State.  Ultimately, the only Presidential hopeful who is a member of a Union, endorsed an authentic Universal Health Care program, a Single Payer, Not For Profit plan was forced to withdraw his name from the ballot.  Perhaps the lack of press coverage played a role.

While Congressman and Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich was ahead in many Progressive surveys, among the general public the candidate remained an unknown.  In August 2007, the aspirant was heard to say “Polls are a function of name recognition, not a function of whether people support your ideas.  As people become aware of my candidacy, the evidence of that support is going to rise.”  Yet, sheltered from view few voters ever knew who Dennis Kucinich was or is.  Fewer still know when or where they could cast a ballot.

Confused Florida voters try to cast ballots in Super Tuesday primaries

The problem?  Florida had its presidential primary Last week.

Robert Perez

Orlando Sentinel

February 5, 2008

Millions of Americans in 24 states are turning out vote to in Super Tuesday presidential primaries from Georgia to Alaska today.  Meanwhile, some dedicated if confused Florida voters are trying to, as well.??

Elections offices across the state are reporting hundreds of calls from voters wanting to know where they can vote today.  The answer is that Florida already had its presidential primary — last week.??

“We’ve had over 100 calls at least over the last two days,” said Kathy Adams, a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Election Supervisor.??

Closer to home, Orange County elections officials say they are dealing with a combination of confused voters from Florida and California.??

“One of my staffers has figured it out,” said Orange County Election Supervisor Bill Cowles.  “They are California voters going online and looking for the Orange County [California] election office and calling us instead.”

Of course that doesn’t explain the man who showed up at a polling site this morning in Orlando wanting to vote, Cowles conceded.?

Nor does this story enlighten the electorate as to why, in this the Information Age, so little is known, or shared with expectant voters.  If people do not know to ask, instructions are not given.  Votes, as important as they are, in 2008, are not counted.  In this the Twenty-First Century, not only is Florida a foible, California has come to encapsulate election fraud, folly, or failures.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble.

By Steven Mikulan

LA Weekly

February 5, 2008 3:22 PM

Election cross-over dreams become a nightmare

Last Friday members of the nonpartisan election group, CourageCampaign.org, were surfing the Web when they discovered a blog posting noting that Los Angeles County voters faced what organization spokesman Rick Jacobs calls “bubble trouble.”  In order for any of the county’s 776,000 voters who have registered Nonpartisan to vote in the open primaries for the Democratic or American Independent parties, they would have to mark an extra bubble on the ballot naming the party for which they wished to cast a cross-over ballot.  After a weekend of research, Jacobs says, CC.org contacted the office of L.A.’s Registrar of Voters on Sunday and were told it was true — an extra bubble had to be inked, and, yes, it could prove to be a big headache on election day.  The bottom line: If the “declaration” bubble is not inked on a Nonpartisan ballot, the voter’s presidential preference would be voided, though not the part pertaining to propositions.

By noon election day, CC.org’s worst fears were realized as voters began complaining that poll workers hadn’t pointed out the extra bubble.  The registrar’s office has tried to get word out to its workers about the issue but at this point, it’s impossible to know how many votes have been lost.  One thing is certain, however: It will be impossible to conduct a recount of the cross-over ballots because voters were handed both Nonpartisan and Democratic ballots and there are cases where the bubble numbers for candidates from different parties overlap.

Common characteristics, the overlap, be it in bubbles, ballots, or the barrage of disinformation is unavoidable.  The public peruses multiple sources, seeks infinite references; nonetheless, little of what the people know is untainted or from an independent and genuinely reliable source.  In this global village, we are all connected, interconnected, on the Internet, near the television, or scanning the periodicals.  Each is owned by one of the six, General Electric, Time Warner, Walt Disney, News Corp, CBS, or Viacom, all of whom are friendly with the others.  Internet users say this matters not to them.  However, in truth it does.

Well, you might comfort yourself by thinking about cyberspace.  Think again.  The dominant Internet service provider, America Online, is combining with already-number-one Time Warner- and the new firm AOL Time Warner would have more to lose than any other corporation if a movement grew to demand antitrust action against media conglomerates.

Amid rampant overall commercialization of the most heavily trafficked websites, AOL steers its 22 million subscribers in many directions-and, in the future, Time Warner’s offerings will be most frequently highlighted.  While seeming to be gateways to a vast cybergalaxy, AOL’s favorite links will remain overwhelmingly corporate friendly within a virtual cul-de-sac.

Hype about the new media seems boundless, while insatiable old hungers for maximum profits fill countless screens.  Centralization is the order of the media day.  As Bagdikian points out: “The power and influence of the dominant companies are understated by counting them as ‘six.’  They are intertwined: they own stock in each other, they cooperate in joint media ventures, and among themselves they divide profits from some of the most widely viewed programs on television, cable and movies.”

So, Americans please take no comfort.  Do not think you made an informed, independent choice. All that you read, all that you heard, what you viewed was influenced. The decision was made before you knew you could have had a choice.  This, the United States, is not a democratic system.

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