Usually when someone pulls out their phone to snap a picture at a restaurant, it’s to document a particularly delicious or showstopping meal. Now, people are using photos to tell North Carolina State University assistant professor Benjamin Chapman about food safety issues. Chapman asked readers of his Barfblog to send photos to Instagram and Twitter showing what they perceive to be food safety problems at restaurants, grocery stores and other public facilities.

His said his goals are to raise awareness and generate public discussion about what people know about food safety, and then later to use the data in a research project. And if the spotlight puts some pressure on the food industry, Chapman said that’s fine too.

Since he began collecting photos back in September, Chapman has received about 150 submissions, many of which can be seen at the Citizen Food Safety website.

From apples falling on the ground and dirty lipstick marks on a glass, to hand washing signs, thermometer use and some pictures of what might qualify for the world’s dirtiest bathroom, Chapman said the submissions show people really do pay attention to food safety hazards. (read more…)

Kickstarter’s unfortunate and inaccurate reputation of being a place where dreams get magically funded has been wholly corrected by recent media coverage. It has become overly apparent that running a Kickstarter campaign is not easy; it takes a lot of work around promoting and leveraging your networks, exercising every connection you have to drive traffic to your Kickstarter page. Lucky breaks are few and far between.

AvePledgeByCatAs we have come to understand that the difference between a success and failure are primarily around the creator’s network and promotional efforts and having a video, there hasn’t been a lot of information about what quantitative and tangible aspects of a project help it to succeed or fail. I set out to answer some of the most pressing questions on creators’ minds. Michael C. Neel collected data on more than 73,000 successfully funded and failed projects, with end dates from May 2009 to January 2013, and posted his findings. (read more…)

This is Part 4 of a four-part series. For more insight into the Three S Model, check out this introduction, complete with a handy infographic, as well as Part 2, which features a deeper look at making content searchable, and Part 3, which looks at creating snackable content.

No doubt, consumers today are very social in their information gathering. Facebook alone collects almost 3 billion likes and comments per day, and Twitter reports a daily average of a half-billion tweets. As companies develop content marketing programs, user engagement is becoming a top indicator of success. Therefore, marketers must ask: Is this content something our community will share? If each piece speaks to the passions and interests of the community, then that answer is yes.

At last month’s Content Marketing Summit, hosted by Rise Interactive and my company, Skyword, leaders from IBM, Rise Interactive and Norton by Symantec gathered to discuss strategies for producing “shareable” content to generate brand awareness through search and social media. (read more…)

This is Part 3 of a four-part series. For more insight into the Three S Model, check out this introduction, complete with a handy infographic, as well as Part 2, which features a deeper look at making content searchable, and Part 4, which looks at making content shareable.

Today’s consumer has a very short attention span — and it’s shrinking rapidly. The average individual has an eight-second attention span for online content — that’s one second less than a goldfish and 12 seconds less than he/she had about a decade ago. So if marketers want to make an impression, they need to do it quickly.

The challenge of producing concise, compelling and “snackable” content was a key topic of conversation this year at the Content Marketing Summit hosted by Rise Interactive and my company, Skyword. “People don’t have the time to sift through information that may or may not be relevant,” said Leslie Reiser, speaker and program director of IBM WW Digital Marketing. (read more…)

Researchers are testing how helpful social media can be for raising awareness of health care issues or as a tool for prevention.

In a study that hits on both counts, UCLA researchers set out to see if African-American and Latino gay men would voluntarily use health-related Facebook groups to discuss HIV issues, such as stigma and prevention, with a goal of getting them to request an at-home HIV test kit.

Study participants either were assigned to a general health group on Facebook or to an HIV-prevention group. Both groups were created by the research team and not accessible by the general public.

Peer leaders began the conversations to gain the support and trust of members, introducing topics using multimedia methods, said researcher Sean Young, assistant professor at the Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine, Department of Family Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Over time, participants took over the peer leader roles and initiated their own conversations. (read more…)