Archive for the ‘USA’ Category


Visual Workshop Slideshow: Imagine the perfect class … what would it look like?

In USA on August 16, 2011 by CarolinaB

In a class workshop students were asked to draw the perfect class. These are their drawings:

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The Revolution Will Be Tweet’d! By The Police?!?!

In USA on August 13, 2011 by CJ

…But pictures and personal information of those looting and rioting will be Tweet’d, Flickr’d and YouTube’d by the Metropolitan Police.

Police Want Control Over Social Media Networks

The recent riots in London have presented the authorities with another area of London to patrol… social media networks.  Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger have been labeled as the “culprit” behind the violence since it was the channel that looters and rioters used to organize the chaos that began a week from today.  The Prime Minister has assured that the Government will continue to “work with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people from communicating via these websites and services”.  The Home Secretary, police and representatives from the social media industry will meet to discuss how “to improve the technological and related legal capability of the police”. As well as discuss “whether and how they should be able to stop people communicating via these websites and services”.   The Government is supposedly looking at how to block individual users rather than shutting down entire services.

But In The Meantime

The Metropolitan police have begun to take social media networks into their own hands as a way of getting the attention of the locals that there are consequences for criminal actions as well as set an example and precedence and show others that criminal and violent behaviors are not tolerated. The authorities have utilized Flickr, YouTube and Twitter to publicize the repercussions of the suspects.


The authorities have released pictures of looters and rioters that they have collected from surveillance cameras onto a Flickr page.  They are petitioning citizens to assist them in turning in information regarding the suspects listed on this page.


The Greater Manchester Police have placed a video on their YouTube channel, of their officers fulfilling their promise of prosecuting offenders and arresting suspects that were involved in looting and rioting.  In the video below you will see the officers arrive at a suspect’s home and arrest him for his involvement.


Via the @GMPolice twitter handle, the Greater Manchester Police have also begun to tweet the details of those that have been arrested for looting as well as evening releasing their personal information such as full name, birthdate, sex, and the items they had stolen.

To Sum It All Up

The police are in a holding pattern as far as how they can regulate social networking, while waiting on the government’s assistance they were creative enough to use the various social media outlets to push law enforcement’s “no tolerance” message.  Creating Flickr pages, YouTube videos with content humiliating offenders speaks volumes to how serious the authorities are about restoring order in London and it’s surrounding cities.  There is also irony in the fact that they are using social media to seek out suspects, the same channel that supposedly helped organize the riots and violence that erupted within London.


Turkey Goes Cuckoo for NBA Basketball Players

In Turkey,USA on August 7, 2011 by J. Murphy Tagged: , , , ,

In his ads for the chocolate-flavored breakfast cereal Cocoa Puffs, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird performs outrageous stunts to keep his mind off the cereal but gets distracted by words that remind him of it, leading him to utter “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”.  As a kid, I used to love these commercials.  I knew my parents would never buy me a chocolate-flavored, sugar-coated breakfast cereal (and my teeth thank them), but the animated visual of  Sonny’s enthusiasm and excitement has stayed with me for most of my life.  After all, sometimes you just can’t contain it.

Fast forward to present day, the NBA locked out its players, the second pro league to do so in 2011, that is leaving many basketball players wondering how they are going to make a living this season.  Given that the length of labor stoppages in sports can be indefinite, many players search for loopholes to make up for the impending losses in revenue and fans that come with the strife.  One such loophole is that the NBA has said it will not prevent players from working abroad during the lockout.

So while some countries are “sounding the alarm bell” on the S&P downgrade of the United States’ credit rating,  Turkey has set its sights on capitalizing on the NBA stoppage to generate new revenue to put fiscal concerns at ease.  While there are currently 6 Turkish born players in the NBA, none have done for the Turkish Basketball League (TBL) what Yao Ming has done for basketball in China.  However, while the Süper Lig football association (aka soccer) may be the spectator sport of choice for most Turkish natives to date, basketball has slowly taken the country by storm.


In an effort to connect Turkey’s sports fanbase to basketball, companies had to get creative.  With a reported 70 percent of the population under the age of 35, and the video-sharing website YouTube banned, any messaging had to be short and crisp to keep the attention of its target audience.

Below is a commerical that Turkish Airlines, sponsor of the Turkish Men’s Basketball team, aired during the 2010 FIBA World Championships (which coicidentally were held in Turkey):

The combination of witnessing the highest (top altitude of five thousand meters), fastest (fastest dunks were shot with the speed of 250 km) game of basketball ever played with members of the Turkish National Team – including current NBA star such as Hedo Turkoglu.

And the NBA isn’t shy about promoting its own interests in the country.  Nike, in work with the NBA and NBA All-Stars including Dirk Nowitzki, made a video showcasing 10 basketball courts that were donated around Turkey to ” celebrate the game of basketball and to provide young athletes an opportunity to develop their skills.”

Stephen Chernin/Associated Pres

Another tactic utilized by the TBL to bring fans to the games is spend big on the athletes that draw crowds and are active online.

Enter Allen Iverson.

Besiktas Cola Turka signed Iverson, the first overall pick of the 1996 draft out of Georgetown University spent 13 seasons in the NBA, played in 11 All-Star games (winning the MVP for two of those games) and was a four-time NBA scoring champion.  And that’s just the local press.  He also played on the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2003 World Championships in San Juan and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.  So he has drawn crowds on the global scale as well.  And that’s not counting his ability to draw crowds off the court with his words.  Additionally, he has blogged about his time in Turkey and currently sits at 940,600 likes on Facebook and over 220,200 followers on Twitter. Talk about commanding an audience.  But he is just one layer of attention Turkey has been generating since they brought Iverson over.

Deron Williams, another NBA All-Star point guard from the New Jersey Nets signed with Besiktas last month and made his announcement via twitter:

And other NBA players have followed including Turk native Hedo Turkoglu, who lead the Turkish National Team to silver medals at the 2001 and 2010 World Championships, Zaza Pachulia and Sasha Vujacic, who won a NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.  Not exactly small fish.

But then again, some would say the big fish is still being baited – Kobe Bryant – a man who needs no introduction.  While the news media will continue to make a story out of a few known details, the potential signing of Kobe Bryant brings up an important question.

How do you get more players to follow suit?

Well, fine tune your league so that it feels like playing in the NBA.  The plays, the tempo, the match ups, the atmosphere – make it feel just like you are tuning into an NBA game – even if the talent isn’t worthy of such recognition.  The pick and roll?  Bloggers say that play design defined the the end of game 6 of the TBL playoffs and locked up the championship for Fenerbahçe Ülker.

Now it would be unrealistic to assume that with all this clamor being generated during a time of work stoppage to say that the TBL could be the new development league for foreign players.  Turkey has a history of turning out role players in the NBA.  They provide intangibles and a change of tempo that helps sustain a lead while the stars rest.  They also grab the key rebound, provide the key assist or come up with the lose ball or steal that could change the momentum of the game.  But they are not the stars.

Given the timing of the lockout, Turkey has the opportunity to make big on their investment of bringing NBA stars to play overseas.  Increased visibility, greater competition, more highlight plays, and most importantly for investors – more people in the stands.  Turkey is known as a shy social media country that is only now beginning to come out of its shell.  They have the tools (brand/ads) in place and they have the players who deliver on the court and love to actively document themselves off the court.  Can’t ask for a better plug.  If I was a Turkish basketball fan, I would be going cuckoo for NBA players right now.


For Turkey’s National Drink – Less is More

In Turkey,USA on August 7, 2011 by jmpea Tagged:

Since the 1940’s, Raki has been recognized as Turkey’s national drink. The taste, the strength (it is 45% alcohol), and variety of different types of Raki (there are over 10 “flavors”) are all factors that make Turks proud of their drink. Raki continues to flood bars, restaurants and homes throughout Turkey and across the world because of its strong heritage to the country. But what about their online presence?

Based on sales and online presence, Yeni is the most popular of the Raki’s. Since Turkey’s population includes 70% of people under the age of 35, it is no surprise that they value Facebook and Twitter just as much as any other highly internet-populated country. In fact, because Turkey’s mobile penetration is larger than the internet penetration, many Turks access their social media from mobile phones. So Yeni Raki should follow suite by making sure that their online presence connects strongly with this demographic.

Yeni’s main site is strictly for the Turkish audience because that is the only language offered once you enter the site. While it has a very attractive layout, it is lacking vital information such as information about the drink, history of the product, and even contact information. I can understand how they might not feel the need to promote the product within Turkey, but there still needs to be basic content about the drink on the site. For example, one might even miss the social media buttons on the top right of the page because they are sketched in white on a light grey background making them difficult to stand out.

However, the Yeni Raki USA website is quite different. This site engages the audience through various tools such as videos, photo galleries and maps encouraging people to learn more about the product. The tabs at the top of the page make it really easy to find additional information about the beverage and navigate through the site by just one click.  There is no reason as to why Yeni Raki USA is more interactive and user friendly than Yeni Raki, especially when Raki is Turkey’s national drink. Yes, the USA site might be more detailed because it is a different audience (we tend to need more visuals than other countries) and the goal would be to educate consumers about the drink while selling the product. I get that. Yet, the same message should be implemented across the globe.

I recommend combining the sites into one. Offering an option for Turkish or English language as soon as a person enters the site with one URL and similar components makes things easier for one to navigate through.  Having videos and a tab for other products is beneficial for all viewers including those of Turkish decent.  The social media content could also be improved on both the USA and national end.  Since Facebook and Twitter are very popular in Turkey, those are perfect markets to push the product through. Here is another example of how Raki is over saturating the market with too many channels.  My guess is that the 500 people who like the Yeni Raki USA Facebook page would also be fond of liking the overall Yeni Raki page that has 10 times more likes (over 66,000). Creating one “fan page” but integrating the USA and Turkish messaging would be ideal. The same goes for Twitter. There is no reason as to why I have more Twitter followers than both Twitter pages combined.

I say condense the website and social media tools down to one each and concentrate on building the clear concise message for all audiences. Since Turks take pride in their products, that should reflect in the digital world as well. The support base for Raki is strong in Turkey so the online content should reflect accordingly.  Communicating with the Turkish audience through social media while also interacting with other audiences across the world should be a top priority.  After all, Raki is Turkey’s national drink.


Birth Tourism is Hot Prospect for Turkish Parents

In Turkey,USA on August 6, 2011 by georgetown2012

Since 2003, 12,000 Turkish babies have been born in the U.S.

There is a lot to do when expecting a new baby: schedule doctor’s appointments, prepare the nursery, take birth class, book travel to New York.

According to tourism expert Gürkan Boztepe and media sources, 12,000 Turkish children have been born in the U.S. since 2003. Many parents are simply trying to provide a better life for their children. This Turkish desire has evolved into a quintessentially American concept: a business opportunity.

While the small-scale companies have started investing in the birth market, bigger firms are also entering the market with alternative packages. The Turkish-owned Marmara Hotel group recently announced a birth tourism package that includes accommodation at their Manhattan branch offering, “an exclusive package for new mothers that wish to give birth in the USA”, with the additional bonus of the newborn child gaining US citizenship.

Turkish families are offered postpartum accomodations at the Marmara

The Marmara Manhattan, which is located in New York’s Upper East Side, said: “What we offer is simply a one-bedroom suite accommodation for $5,100, plus taxes, for a month, with airport transfer, baby cradle and a gift set for the mother.” There are also medical fees of about $30,000. The hotel has so far sold 15 of the packages.

This concept of birth tourism has incited a wave of backlash and scrutiny by those opposed to the exploitation of the 14th amendment to the US constitution, which states that all children born on American soil “are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside”. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the practice is entirely legal as long as the women can pay their medical bills.

However, for a country like Turkey that has a violent and volatile history, with compulsory military conscription, birth tourism may be an efficient option to provide a better life for their children.


New Constitution for Turkey… Could Crowdsourcing Be the Answer?

In USA on August 5, 2011 by tbrackens

“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has modernized Turkey, but whether he will democratize it is the great, unanswered question”, posed the Wall Street Journal.  The June 12th Turkish elections promised a new approach. A consensus had emerged that the newly elected parliament would start the process of writing a new constitution. The current one was drafted in 1982 by a military junta.

Erdogan has vowed to push ahead with plans for a new constitution that would be inclusive and democratic. “The outcome of the June 12 elections proved that the new constitution should be drafted with the largest participation possible and it should be a text of consensus that will meet the demands of the whole society,” he said.

So, is Erdogan slyly implying Turkey crowdsource their constitution?

Well… since crowdsourcing is simple the act of tapping into the collective intelligence of the public to complete tasks that are traditionally done by a single person or a group; then why not, especially when it concerns laws that will governing the people.

Iceland is doing it.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the government decided it was time to rewrite the rules and have a constitution that is true to Iceland and not based on Denmark’s constitution. Roughly, 950 randomly selected citizens were invited to brainstorm and discuss the new constitution. It was then agreed that the public should be involved throughout the process rather than just be allowed in to vote at the conclusion.

A 25 member constitutional council is posting draft clauses of the country’s new constitution across all digital channels as an open crowdsource digital project.  The comments that are posted on its website, or Facebook page, are being considered and incorporated into the new Icelandic constitution. The council also setup a Twitter, YouTube and Flickr page, all aimed at enhancing the transparency behind the process of drafting a new constitution,

“The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes … This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch,” says Thorvaldur Gylfason, a member of the constitutional council.

Will it work in Turkey?

That may be easier said than done even for a relatively small country; last reported population was 73.7 million people in 2010. Turkey has just 1.07 percent of the world’s total population, which equates to one person in every 94 people on the planet is a resident of Turkey. Whilst, the majority of the population is considered Turks (79%), the largest minority group is the Kurds (15%), who were widely referred to as “mountain Turks” instead of a distinct ethnic. The lacking of acceptance and/or tolerance is an ongoing theme in Kurdish-Turkish conflict.

According to a July 27th article from Kurdistan Tribune, in the span of two weeks, the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, has killed at least 20 Turkish soldiers. Although the 68 year-old ban was lifted, the Kurdish language to this day is still barred from public schools, Parliament and other official government institutions such as judicial courts. Relations were further exacerbated when judicial officials refused to seat the elected pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to parliament. The killings, the ban, the denied seating are just a few examples of the strained relations occurring in Turkey.

But, a new all inclusive constitution that represents all people in Turkey could led the way to amending the grievances of Kurdish people and successful demonstrate the importance of civic engagement.  The people of Turkey have already shown they are ready. Their recent June 12th election is evident of the people’s willingness to have a more balanced and inclusive government. And last year, more than half the population voted to endorse modifications to Turkey’s constitution, making the military more accountable to civilian courts and giving parliament – the 550-seat Gran National Assembly (Buyuk Millet Meclisi) – more power to appoint judges.

And the tweets coming out of Turkey signal the people are ready.

  • #Turkey‘s society is crushing the military; an obstacle that stands in the way of constructing democracyis being removed”
  • Turkey: Why not prepare the constitution online?

Crowdsourcing is definitely a good way to get up close and personal with needs and expectations of the people. The process has the potential to make the government truly about the people. Taking input from citizens, allow for a more collaborative form of government. The unseasoned ideas offered give the government clear insight into what’s important to the citizens and what they want to see happen in their country.

So if Erdogan is going to reach to the public to create a constitution, then social media channels must be utilized as form of communication for democratic reform. Facebook is the leading social media network for many in Turkey. 84% of all Internet users have an account on Facebook says a report by ComScore; followed by My Space. Turkish Mynet, Netlog, and Kalpkalbe. Public discussion, ideas, deliberations and updates can be achieved through social media as evident of Iceland’s approach and the “Give a Minute” campaign inspiring New Yorkers.

Simply put, this is an opportunity for Turkey to blend the traditional legislation process with mass participation. Hopefully in the end, the people will be pleasantly surprised by the collective brilliance instead of dismayed by individual intolerance and short-sidedness.


Spiderman Planning to Weave a Web in China

In USA on July 31, 2011 by tbrackens

Stan Lee, the creator of the comic book Spiderman has plans to bring superheroes, whom are based in Shanghai and/or Hong Kong to the Chinese big screen.  The comic book legend announced a joint venture with a Hong Kong investment company that aims to roll out a new superhero franchise targeted at Chinese and foreign audiences.

“I have been eagerly awaiting this great opportunity, — a chance to combine the best of American superhero epics with the best of Chinese and Asian classical filmmaking for a motion picture that would be excitedly received worldwide,” Lee said in the statement.

272 million on instant message, 222 million on online video, 108 million on online shopping and 40% of the people creating user-generated content according to Jim Tobin, whether Spiderman is live action or animated, it should do very well.  Maybe because the three “Spider-Man” movies starring Tobey Maguire made a combined $30 million in China and the two “Iron Man” movies featuring Robert Downey Jr. made $23.2 million, according to the box office tracking website Box Office Mojo.

Or maybe the Spider-man superhero will do well because the trending topics in the Chinese micro-blogging scene typically consist of non-news content. According to a Hp study, the team has found out that most of the influential authors on China’s popular micro-blogging platform, Sina WeiBo, who are responsible for the majority of “retweets” that are made tend to focus on non-news topics such as “follower-contributed jokes, movie trivia, quizzes and stories”.

Therefore, with the power of Weibo, which has more than 140 million users, the possibilities are endless for Spiderman to offer a digitally enhanced experience to China’s netizens. On the site multimedia content is integrated directly into the website’s interface, so that no one ever has to leave. Celebrities and members of the media elite are already there and currently have a huge presence on the site—frequently upload content straight to Weibo for their follower-fans to engage with.  For example, Chinese actress Yao Chen currently holds the most popular account in China, with over six million followers. As a result, the personal accounts of fashion industry figures often attract more followers than the accounts of large fashion media brands.

Weibo is more than a place to build a following. For Spiderman, it can be an incredibly powerful real-time research and testing tool. You can immediately see how the market and your following will respond.