News & Updates

News and Perspectives from Integrated Media Strategies

 

School scores failing grade for poor teacher website pagesSchool Districts and educational organisations in the United States face many of the same issues – tight budgets, large personnel cohorts, tens of thousands of students, and thousands of teachers. They face logistics issues with busing kids, have to display frugality in using taxpayer money, need to tell the many success stories provided by their students and teachers, must keep parents in the loop, and face the daunting prospect of communicating catastrophic events like school shootings or extreme weather.

One would imagine that school websites would be considered key infrastructure and that they’d be adequately staffed. You'd be wrong. Many would get a failing grade if they were evaluated. Other districts risk litigation daily due to poor online practices that are unlikely to change unless they are forced to do so at enormous cost - costs that are unnecessary had the district been smarter about staffing, Content Management platform selection, and having management experience in communications workflows.

LeadershipOrganisationsForNewsIntegrated Media Strategies has published a directory listing leadership initiatives across the continent, working closely with the African Leadership Institute (AFLI).  It can be found at the AFLI website in the grant-funded Project Pakati subsite.  The data for the directory was compiled by AFLI as part of a Ford Foundation grant-funded initiative to get more young leaders into real positions of power where they can impact the decisions being made on the continent.  Africa is the youngest continent on the planet - with more than 60% of the population under 25 - yet it's leadership is geriatric.  The data led to a report that was published and presented at an event in August 2018, titled An Abundance of Young African Leaders, but No Seat at the Table in Nairobi, Kenya.

GoogleSearchAMPEmailCompanies relying on their websites for strategic positioning, content marketing, and sales should monitor their Google Search Console regularly.  This may seem obvious, but for many small businesses where owners wear many hats, taking the time to do so can seem like a low priority.  We advise our small business clients to do so monthly, more often if they are running any online marketing campaigns.  On behalf of one of our clients, we recently received a Google email saying: "New AMP issue detected for site..."  

AMP is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, which is an open source initiative. For a variety of reasons relating to its business model, Google is heavily invested in the mobile web, so when you receive an email like this, pay attention, as it is negatively impacting your website's search results.  In this particular email, the reason given was: Custom JavaScript is not allowed.  Integrated Media Strategies builds only open source sites and uses vendors who produce well-coded commercial open-source licensed extensions, so it seemed odd that something had changed, prompting the email.

biofuelswiki domain for saleThe domain biofuelswiki.org is for sale.  Interested parties can purchase the domain only or the domain and the files associated with the wiki when it was operational.

The principal at Integrated Media Strategies was a founding member of the team tasked with launching an ambitious initiative to develop advanced biofuels in North Carolina. With all of the state's liquid transportation fuel being imported, a strong case was made for an agency to provide leadership on coordinating the technical, biomass-related, economic, legal and other issues needed to attract technologies that could manufacture advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol and analogues for diesel, jetfuel and gasoline.  With big oil throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at anti-biofuels messaging to retain market share, I determined that an assymetric approach was needed to counter misinformation put out by the petroleum industry.  The Biofuels Wiki was launched and grew to more than 11 hundred articles over a two-year period from more than 250 authors across the globe.  It became a premiere and authoritative site of scientific and explanatory content, attracting a monthly average of 35,000 topic views.

PasswordHackCalcFor millions of people, password management and online security is opaque and maddening. Websites with password requirements tell you they have to be a specific number of characters long, be upper and lower case, have numbers and sometimes even special characters - like $#%^1mpo55ibleToRemember! So many people have scribbled passwords in the backs of notebooks shoved into their desk drawer. In many instances, these books or pieces of paper include passwords to sensitive accounts like bank and .gov accounts. In others, the accounts are associated with social media and other public-facing accounts. In the event of an account breach or a fire, the loss of these passwords can lead to firing or even loss of control of online accounts that directly impact how one makes ones living.

Some sites, to reduce the pain of creating an account, may let you choose your own. Users then often choose a 'difficult' password they can remember and use that same password over and over.

image post 1Today is the fifth anniversary of Integrated Media Strategies. For many small businesses, surviving five years is a significant milestone.  For my company, the first year and a half was an Everest.  I'd left a corporate environment helping North Carolina develop a sustainable advanced biofuels sector to start up my company.  I needed the personal flexibility to support my wife whose breast cancer had returned.  I juggled the responsibilities of managing a startup with trips to the hospital for surgery, radiation, and pain management.  My laptop travelled with me.  I serviced clients on hospital wifi and from my Samsung Note.  When they sent her home, I set up a desk at the foot of her hospital bed in the living room to care for her and for clients scattered across the globe, collaborating with designers and data geeks in North Carolina and Australia in between catheters and tracking her meds.  She lost her battle against breast cancer, which had stalked her for the entire 13 years of our marriage.  I lost a friend, a counsellor, my book-keeper, and the co-founder of my business, and so much more. The struggle in the long, dark nights with little sleep while caring for someone for whom the stakes are so much higher teaches hard lessons that simply are not found elsewhere.

 

 

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