Feb 19, 2012

Google Plus Plusketeers Challenge

Photo Courtesy: Alex Rozier
Jose trying to cross a room in San Bernardino, Guatemala
How much is your Hangout worth?   

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how I was going to “monetize” my Hangout, I’d be a rich woman.

With emerging technologies, the pressure to figure out a way to make money on this new platform is intense.

For some businesses, if something doesn't hit a financial grand slam immediately, it’s benched.

I hear routinely, “Sarah, that’s great you’re able to talk with your audience live during a newscast but how are Hangouts going to benefit your station’s bottom line?” Well folks… I think I've figured out a way to monetize my Hangouts….in a way that would make even Robin Hood blush.



A few years ago in Guatemala, I watched the 8 year old boy pictured above crawl through vomit on the floor because his family couldn’t afford a wheelchair. In 2007, I met a mother in Vietnam who’d been carrying her son in her arms for 31 years because he had no other form of mobility.

These are just two of the millions worldwide who are part of “The Culture that Crawls.” They are victims of landmines, poor nutrition, crocodile bites and agent orange. They are spat upon, looked down upon and in some countries, all but forgotten.

What do these people who crawl have to do with monetizing Hangouts?

Antonia Lopez Crawls Toward a P.E.T. Cart in Central America
Fifteen years ago out of a one stall garage in Columbia, Missouri, a gentleman by the name of Mel West built a mobility device to navigate places where wheelchairs can’t go for instance in the mountains or the jungle. 

All it took were three wheels, a few pieces of wood, a hand crank, and a chair. Today, it’s a called a P.E.T. cart or Personal Energy Transportation device. Initially, this device was intended to mobilize one man in Zaire, Africa. 

Fifteen years later, with the help of volunteers, he's mobilized more than 30,000 people in 93 countries worldwide. Even though it was a tiny one-car garage, Mel used his platform for good.

Courtesy Firoze Shakir
Mumbai, India
When I first created my Google Plus account back in July, I was drawn to photos taken by +Firoze Shakir. I couldn't take my eyes off of his stream because his images reminded me of others I've met who live on the ground in poor countries. It was as if his pictures were speaking to me. A photographer in Mumbai, Firoze routinely photographs street people, many of whom had lost arms and legs and lacked adequate mobility.

Firoze’s images of people crawling shared alongside Google Plus posts about the new iPhone, stood in great contrast to me.  

It made me question the true value of what I was sharing. Whether it's one G+ follower or one million, if you have the ability to respond, then you have responsibility.




Use your platform.  Join the Plusketeers.

The Plusketeers are a group of individuals from around the world who met in Google Plus Hangouts. You can join us by using your platform to share stories about people on the bottom of the world's pile of human misery and ways we can help them.

Today, along with the leadership of a group of G+ Merrymen, we're launching a million dollar Plusketeers Challenge….a way for all of us to realize the true value of the G+ space.

We’re monetizing our Hangouts alright…..but instead of turning over everything to the Sheriff of Nottingham, we’re giving it all away....100 % to charity.

You can contribute to the cause here or choose your own cause under the “G+ Plusketeers Challenge", help us crowd source a logo, and share this blog post through G+ and other social networks.

Here are some ways you can be part of the G+ Plusketeers Challenge:

  •  Monetize my G+ Hangout by sponsoring the On-Air Text Announcement for $250, the price of a P.E.T. cart.  Hangout Text appears in stream of my G+ Followers.    
  • Donate to my cause on our Crowd Rise Page. There, you can also donate to other Plusketeers Challenge causes like Camp No Limits & Honor Flight.  Donor names are added to our donation scroll.
  • Reshare and +1 posts about the $1M Plusketeers Challenge 
  • Seek out corporate sponsors who smell like rich mahogany and many leather bound books.
  • Suggest other charities we might support 


What’s your Hangout worth?

I hope mine is worth a million dollars, enough to buy PET carts for 4,000 people but it's not just my cause. 

Whatever your passion…whatever your Nottingham, we’re asking you to take up arms with us in the Sherwood Forest. All for One and Plus One for All.  We may take a few arrows but using Hangouts for anything less….would be an error.


Feb 7, 2012

Storify Wrapup of MO Primary

Here is a collection of social media on the Missouri Primary

Feb 5, 2012

Nielsen TV Ratings: Measuring a Sprint with a Sundial

U News @ 11 with a g+ Hangout
Plenty of TV stations have dipped their toes in the water of interactive news and I have a theory why television stations aren’t finding the water inviting.  Could it be the chilling effect of an antiquated “TV” ratings system?
Much like U_News @ 11, KOMU’s hybrid newscast, these new interactive newscasts have a layer of social media with 140 character soundbites, Facebook posts and in my case…. guests are interviewed on TV via Google Plus Hangouts.  The blending of TV newscast with on-line news has never been easier thanks to G+ Hangouts because people are now able to watch your newscast from two different perspectives.  As much as KOMU’s interactive newscast is a glimpse into the future, the TV ratings system in many markets is a throwback to the past.
In Columbia, MO, market #138, viewership is measured with paper diaries sent via snail mail.  The paper books are mailed to a sample of people in our viewing area.  Those sampled are asked to write with a pen or pencil the shows they watch and then mail that document back.  No, I’m not making this up.  Larger markets have “set top boxes” that measure viewership automatically but there are many markets like ours that rely on viewers to fill out ratings diaries by hand.
Now I ask you….when’s the last time you responded to a mailed-in request to complete a survey?  Sometimes, the survey is conducted via phone…a landline of course.  If you read your mail and use your landline, God love ya but that paper survey doesn’t come close to measuring all of the platforms where people are now consuming our content nor does a set top box (STB) in the larger markets.  Take Google Plus for instance, we have 550, 000 who’ve circled us on that platform.  How many of those people watching via Hangouts are measured in the Nielsen ratings?  Zero.  How many who watch our streaming newscast online are counted in our Nielsen ratings? Zero.  And then… there’s mobile.
So advertisers:  Why are you still asking for a station’s Nielsen numbers?  Stations:  Why are we using these numbers to set our advertising rates?  If it’s because there’s no other alternative, then I’d like to ask someone who’s reading this to please innovate a comprehensive alternative that measures local TV stations’ content consumption on ALL  platforms….including Google Plus Hangouts.
As TV stations move toward multimedia companies in the future, we have to have a comprehensive ratings plan or “broadcasting” will certainly be stuck in the past.  It’s like promoters of a Swedish House Mafia concert trying to sell those seats to Elvis fans.  Right now, we have one accepted form of measurement for TV and no accepted form of measurement for broadcasting within a social media stream.  Social media isn’t just a portal to our TV content anymore.  With Hangouts now, it IS our TV content.  I wonder who will be the first to cut their landline in terms of the traditional ratings system? Plenty have tried but some have gone back to Nielsen because there are few widely accepted alternatives.  If we can innovate newscasts that blend TV and social media, then why can’t we innovate and agree on a comprehensive ratings system to measure all of the places where people see our content?
G+ Hangout ratings anyone? In the news business it doesn’t matter how fast we run if the sprint is being measured with a Sundial…. we will never know the real winner of the race.