Month: April 2018

One Step Closer to Quantum Computing

20 qubits have been entangled together and put into one network. Huge… computing is about to get “spooky” as Einstein would have said. In high school physics, electrons bounce between two layers, like a car changing lanes. But in reality, electrons don’t exist in one place or one layer — they exist in many at the same time, a phenomenon known as quantum superposition. This odd quantum behavior offers a chance for devising a new …

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Millennials, Boomers, and Marketing

Interesting to note here as well: Millennials face a near-future of heavy automation and artificial intelligence that Boomers did not have to face as they moved into their 40’s and 50’s. Jobs, as we knew them thirty years ago, are becoming rarer. The divide between these two groups will only grow. Perhaps that’s another reason that social institutions Boomers associate with stability and normalcy (churches and nonprofits in my experience) are seeing their numbers (and finances) …

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Computational Explosion

Sergey Brin, President of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), on the computational explosion over the last few years and near-future possibilities of quantum computing in the annual Founders Letter: The power and potential of computation to tackle important problems has never been greater. In the last few years, the cost of computation has continued to plummet. The Pentium IIs we used in the first year of Google performed about 100 million floating point operations per second. …

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Google’s Podcast Strategy

“Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years,” says Google Podcasts Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen. Source: Exclusive: Inside The New Google Podcasts Strategy That Could Double Audiences Worldwide

Bible Domains

When the society — which lists several conservative Christian “founding partners” on the get.bible website — first applied for the rights to .bible, it pledged to provide wide access to “all qualified parties” interested in Bible issues. Soon after acquiring the domain name, though, ABS barred publication of material it defined as “antithetical to New Testament principles” or promoting a secular worldview or “a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs.” Source: Who owns the .bible? …

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What is Local SEO?

Here’s a good read on the thinking behind “local SEO” and how to implement some of the strategies on your website. We do this for a number of clients when we build or revise their sites, particularly churches and nonprofits (and small businesses) who really depend on local search traffic in fundraising or awareness campaigns. Local SEO is about how to optimize your website to rank better for a local audience. A website gives you the …

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“touch instead of keyboards”

I think people who grew up with keyboards and mice will never be changed, but I think kids born within the past few years, who are growing up using touchscreen phones and tablets, will probably be the first generation to model their computing usage around touch instead of keyboards. We older folks just assume that word processing and spreadsheets are the computing model that will be here forever, but I think computing history indicates the …

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“How can I get on the first page of a Google Result?”

SEO still matters as a part of your marketing mix. This helps, though… Google has introduced infinite scrolling to mobile search results pages. Where there used to be page numbers at the bottom of SERPs there is now a “more results” button. Tapping on the button will trigger more search results to load within the same page. Source: Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling Mobile Search Results – Search Engine Journal

“Why does church marketing fail?”

From Pew Forum’s Religious Landscape Study I recently had a question from a friend who attends a small church with a smaller budget but interested in marketing and outreach their congregation about the pitfalls of church marketing. “Sam, why does church marketing fail?” So with her permission, here’s my response… The reason most church marketing and outreach efforts fail is lack of follow-through and consistency. We all want the quick dopamine release that comes with …

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Should I still advertise on Facebook?

Good read about what to do “now” with Facebook advertising… The Facebook privacy quake has already forced the Facebook to change the way they handle and collect consumer data. That’s changing their advertising platform. And there’s more to come. Source: Facebook Advertising: What’s Changing, What’s Not, & What To Do

Episode 146: And In the End

Dr. Thomas J. Whitley and The Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss things we pass down and the best way to sign off. Support Thinking Religion Links: Karas Kustoms

Facebook Alert Day

This is going to be quite the talking point for many Facebook users today… “All users will receive a link at the top of their News Feed outlining which apps they use and what information each app uses, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said in a statement. Users whose data may have been improperly harvested by Cambridge Analytica can expect to receive an additional message like the one below: “We have banned the website ‘This …

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You should blog

Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. We could say goodbye to the creepy targeted ads and the algorithms, to the Nazis and bots and propagandists, to the harassers and the people selling hate. We could stop being spied-on for profit… Or we can make the moral choice of renewal, of planting new bulbs and helping this old tree, a little bigger now, flower again. Our hearts …

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RSS in 2018

There’s so much wrong with this post, but I’ll point out my biggest gripe here… RSS (like podcasting) doesn’t need the metrics of behavior tracking for it to be a success. It’s distributed. It’s not commercialized. It’s not tracked with clicks based on eCPM’s or eCPC’s or brand quality engagement views. And that’s ok. It serves a heck of an important purpose. Let’s all start using RSS readers again, btw. The internet will be a much …

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Twitter’s Developer Problem

While Facebook continues to stumble through its public relations crisis over how it has handled developer access to user data, Twitter has been having its own issues with its developer base … just in a self-inflicted manner. Twitter’ developer problem goes back to its decision to pivot the service into an advertising mechanism back in 2010 as it faced questions about monetization and shareholder returns. It’s simply shocking to me that Twitter executives are still …

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Moving beyond links

I’ve long argued that “links are dead” (going on a decade now). Some of that was hyperbolic to discuss the need for a better mechanism to derive value or information from one site to the next or from a marketing campaign. It looks like Google might be moving beyond links as well and towards more of an “entity database” where the connections and relationships between search terms are prioritized. I can get behind that. The …

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Stripe now offers subscription billing

Good move here, particularly for small businesses… That’ll allow them to handle subscription recurring revenue, as well as invoicing, within the Stripe platform and get everything all in the same place. The goal was to replace a previously hand-built setup, whether using analog methods for invoicing or painstakingly putting together a set of subscription tools, and make that experience as seamless as charging for products on Stripe. Source: Stripe launches a new billing tool to …

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Don’t fall for lots of likes and retweets

Also good advice for churches and nonprofits doing social media marketing on a shoestring budget: Bots manipulate credibility by influencing social signals like the number of aggregated likes or shares a post or user receives. People see a large number of retweets on a post and read it as a genuine signal of authentic traction in the marketplace of ideas. Do not fall for this. Trends are basically over—they’re too easy to manipulate. This goes …

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Facebook’s Growing PR Crisis

Facebook’s announcement Wednesday and others last week reflect a major shift in the company’s relationship with third-party apps. In the past, developers could get access to people’s relationship status, calendar events, private Facebook posts and much more data that was highly valuable to advertisers, including political campaigns. Now they will be required to go through a much stricter process. Source: Facebook says most people on its vast social network may have had their public profile …

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Democratized Engineering

Worth your time to read the whole piece, especially the Cathedral / Bazaar analogies… In fact, you could say that bad engineering, just like good engineering, has helped turn technology into the most powerful force for change in the 21st century. Engineering has been incredibly democratized and it’s been good for engineers. Today’s engineers are in greater demand than ever. And yet design—and designers—seem perpetually threatened by democratization. I’ve been a designer for two and a …

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