Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My So-Called Last Year In The 18-34 Demo

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
My So-Called Last Year In The 18-34 Demo
By Cory Treffiletti
source: Mediapost Publications Newsletter

This year is big. This is my very last year in the hallowed demographic of 18-34. Being an 18- to 34-year-old male in America has been good for me, but I guess it's time to move on and make room for someone else.

I came upon this realization over the weekend while I was partaking in some MTV, and I realized that it's very, very possible I'm no longer the target audience for their shows! I don't find the "Road Rules Challenge" (or whatever it's called) to be very interesting, nor am I totally engrossed in finding the "Next White Rapper" (The guy from 3rd Bass was good back in the day, but I don't need to hear from him anymore). No; I am no longer the core of the desirable audience for today's impulse-minded commercialism, which got me to thinking and reminiscing slightly about what happened to Gen-X.

It's sort of humorous to know that Gen Xers are now aging into their middle 30s and early 40s. The Wikipedia refers to Gen-X as people born between 1963 and 1978, though they also refer to people born from 1961-1981. Either way, I fall squarely in the middle of those ranges, so it's safe for me to consider myself Gen X and to write about my experience.

Gen X used to be hip. We were the generation without a goal. We were sometimes referred to as "slackers" -- but the entire dot-com bubble of the 90s was a direct result of our desire and ambition to build really cool stuff! We were the generation of piercing and tattoos becoming popular, basically because we had nothing better to do. We were supposed to have a lack of optimism and enthusiasm for the future - however, we were the ones who embraced the Internet and have transformed the world into the future that it is today. We embraced grunge, and of course we created (either directly or indirectly) Nirvana and Pearl Jam, which by itself should be the mark of a highly motivated and deeply creative generation.

Well, it's now 2007 and the generation who rages together ages together. We are now older, in managerial positions -- but still creating companies aimed at driving forward the growth and adoption of technology and knowledge. Of course, we also embrace terms like "viral marketing" and "social networking," all of which are slightly ambiguous terms used to explain the daily occurrences of life in an online environment where things are out of our control, and yet we still want to take credit for them. We try to harness the power of the consumer and use it for the "greater good,"which basically means we pawned off the creative responsibility for 50% of what we do and called it "user-generated content." We even convinced Time magazine to give "You" the award for Person of the Year in 2006, primarily because we couldn't figure out if there was anyone who stood out and did something more important than the rest of us. No; our enthusiasm for the future is actually quite strong, because we keep finding ways to make our jobs fun and create new opportunities for us to sell ourselves to the world at large.

We find old things and tweak them so they are new again. We routinely shake things up with new technology and try to make ourselves obsolete. It's the model of "planned obsolescence" created by Henry Ford and replicated through the auto industry. This theory requires that you create a new version of your product every year, so that the old version is no longer new and you need to buy the new one, even if you don't really need it! It works for clothes, for cars, for computers and for all sorts of technology. Are you really happy with your DVD collection? Wouldn't you be happier with BluRay?

As I age into the next demo, I join the rest of Generation X as it matures and comes into power in the world. Gen X will run for office and get into the White House someday. Gen X is probably already in the Senate, and I know Gen X is all over Silicon Valley.

It's funny to think that in 10 to 15 years, it's possible that 40-50% of the people on the floor of the House of Representatives might secretly have a tribal tattoo on their arms or the small of their backs. These people created the world we live in today, they created the Internet, or at least they created the need for the widespread consumption and commercialization of the Internet, so why can't they be running the rest of the world, too?

Of course, now my mind drifts off into space and I recollect the famous words of one Lloyd Dobler, from the movie "Say Anything": "A career? I've thought about this quite a bit, sir, and I would have to say, considering what's waiting out there for me, I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed or buy anything sold or processed or repair anything sold, bought or processed as a career..." and so on and so on.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A randomized controlled trial of a nurse short-message service by cellular phone for people with diabetes

Source: 1: Int J Nurs Stud. 2006 Apr 14; [Epub ahead of print]
A randomized controlled trial of a nurse short-message service by cellular phone for people with diabetes
Kim HS.  Department of Adult Nursing, College of Nursing, Catholic University, 505 Banpo-Dong, Socho-Gu, Seoul 137-701, Republic of Korea.
BACKGROUND: Nurse's education using telemedicine results in a decrease in blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness of an educational intervention that used both the cellular phone and the Internet to provide a short-messaging service (SMS) relating to plasma glucose levels.
METHODS: Twenty-five patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group and 26 to a control group. The intervention was applied for 12 weeks. The goal of the intervention was to keep blood glucose concentrations close to the normal range. Patients in the intervention group were asked to access a website by using a cellular phone or to wiring the Internet and input their blood glucose levels every day. Participants were sent the optimal recommendations by both cellular phone and the Internet weekly.
RESULTS: Patients in the intervention group had a mean decrease in glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA(1)c) levels of 1.15% and those in the control group had a mean increase of HbA(1)c levels of 0.07% (p=0.005). There was a significant mean change in the 2hrs post-meal glucose (2HPMG) level for the intervention group (p<0.05), with a mean change of -4.7mmol/l. The mean change in the control group was not significant.
CONCLUSION: This educational intervention using the Internet and an SMS by cellular phone improved levels of HbA(1)c and 2HPMG.

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Participatory design of a text message scheduling system to support young people with diabetes

Source: Health Informatics J. 2006 Dec;12(4):304-18.
Participatory design of a text message scheduling system to support young people with diabetes
Waller A, Franklin V, Pagliari C, Greene S.
School of Computing, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Scotland.
Effective self-management of diabetes requires considerable behavioural change and continuous support from health professionals, which can be expensive. Information technology has the potential to offer cost-effective patient support, but internet use mostly relies on the active seeking of information. Text messaging offers an ideal channel for delivering 'push' support and facilitating reciprocal communication between patient and health professional. This paper describes a participatory design methodology to develop a text message scheduling system for supporting young people with diabetes. The project illustrates how this familiar design approach can be used in a short-term project to deliver a successful medical application. Close working between clinician and software developer led to successive user-informed iterations as the clinician became more aware of the system's potential and identified barriers. The result was a reliable, functional, acceptable and usable system that was effectively implemented in its intended setting.

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Internet use can help patients with stigmatized illness, study finds

January 27, 2006
Internet use can help patients with stigmatized illness, study finds
A study by CHP/PCOR fellows finds that the Internet can be a valuable tool to help break through the stigma of conditions such as mental illness, by enabling patients to anonymously seek information and treatment.
By Sara L. Selis

Research has shown that people with stigmatized health conditions, such as mental illness or sexually transmitted diseases, tend to avoid discussing the problem and seeking treatment -- a situation that can harm the patient as well as others.
A recent study co-authored by CHP/PCOR fellows Laurence C. Baker and Todd H. Wagner, however, finds that the Internet can be a valuable tool to help break through the stigma of such illnesses, by enabling patients to anonymously seek information and treatment. The study, published in the October 2005 issue of Social Science and Medicine, found this was particularly true for psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
"The Internet is potentially very useful in situations where getting good medical advice out to patients is challenging," said Baker. "For conditions that can be hard for patients to talk about, the Internet may be of great benefit since it provides a chance to gain information without having to discuss sensitive issues face-to-face."
While several studies have examined patterns of Internet use among various populations -- including those seeking health information -- none had specifically examined Internet use among those with stigmatized illnesses. Baker, Wagner and colleague Magdalena Berger hypothesized that people with a stigmatized illness would be more likely than those with non-stigmatized illnesses to use the Internet to seek information and communicate about their health condition. They also hypothesized that, since people with stigmatized illnesses often don't know about available treatments, those who searched the Internet would be more likely to report that their Internet use increased their use of medical services.
To test these hypotheses, the researchers analyzed a large nationally representative survey of Internet use for health information, enabling them to examine patterns of Internet use among patients with stigmatized and non-stigmatized illnesses. For purposes of the study, the researchers identified four stigmatized illnesses: anxiety, depression, herpes and urinary incontinence. Patients who reported having one or more of these conditions were compared with patients who had one or more non-stigmatized chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension or back pain.
The researchers explored the respondents' Internet use in detail by evaluating how often they used the Internet to seek health information; how often they used it to communicate with healthcare providers, family members or others about their condition; how satisfied they were with the information they obtained online; how much time they spent on the Internet overall; and whether their Internet use affected the number of times they saw a doctor or other healthcare provider. The researchers controlled for many factors, but cautioned against drawing causal relationships given the cross-sectional nature of the data.
The study results largely confirmed the researchers' hypotheses: People with stigmatized illnesses were more likely to have used the Internet for health information and to have communicated with a physician online. Significantly, those with a stigmatized illness were more likely to report that they increased their use of healthcare services after using the Internet. In particular, people with psychiatric illnesses (in this case, anxiety and depression) were more likely to turn to the Internet for health information than those with non-psychiatric stigmatized illnesses. Similarly, people with psychiatric conditions were more likely than those with other stigmatized illnesses to report that their Internet use increased their healthcare utilization.
The results aren't surprising, the authors say, given the privacy and anonymity the Internet allows. "Online information ... can be casually perused without classifying oneself as having a mental (or other) illness," they write in their paper. "This informality may make searching for health information online less intimidating than seeking advice from a health professional."
The authors conclude that "the Internet may be a good public health education and intervention tool for targeting some people with stigmatized illness." But these benefits, they caution, assume that (1) the information patients obtain online is accurate and unbiased, and that (2) patients are not overutilizing healthcare services as a result of their Internet use. They note that "the Internet is replete with information of questionable value," and that "there have been instances of pathological use of the Internet among those with ... mental illnesses."
Despite these caveats, Wagner said he is encouraged by the study results, because they highlight the significant potential health benefits of Internet use, particularly for hard-to-reach patients. "The Internet has made it much easier for the average person to find an enormous amount of medical information very quickly and anonymously," he said. "This study shows us how patients can benefit from the anonymity of the Internet."
Wagner noted that while some physicians are wary of their patients' use of the Internet for medical information, he believes that "physicians shouldn't disregard this information; instead, they should help their patients manage it." For example, he suggests that physicians compile for their patients a list of the health Web sites that provide, in their judgment, the most accurate and unbiased information.
This study was funded in part by a grants from the Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging (CDEHA). 

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BMW's Mini Launches Online Films

BMW's Mini Launches Online Films

by Karl Greenberg, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007 5:00 AM ET


IF YOU RECALL THAT BMW'S "The Hire" series was one of the first branded Web-movie ventures, you won't be surprised that younger sibling Mini is following suit.

The BMW USA division, which has been busy teasing the program with in-cinema and outdoor ads asking "Who are Hammer & Coop?," launched the first two of six Web films yesterday: the films, one of which will debut online each week, are about action hero Hammer and his car, Coop (for Mini Cooper). The effort supports the 2007 Mini, the company's first major redesign since the car was re-introduced to the U.S. in 2002.

The films, which are directed by "Starsky & Hutch" movie director Todd Phillips and star Bryan Callen, are at

Next month, Mini will release a faux music video for Eighties band Asia's "Heat of the Moment," which will be featured in the last film.

The episodes parody Seventies action TV shows like "Mannix," and are shot with a deliberately low-budget look. They follow the exploits of Hammer--who, in the first episodes, is being chased around L.A. by burly goons in a pickup truck.

A national campaign supporting the Web films--via Mini USA's ad agency of one year, Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners--includes trailers running in 1,900 cinemas through March; billboards in New York's Times Square, on Sunset Boulevard and in Miami; movie posters, print ads; Internet campaigns on MySpace, YouTube, and accessories and merchandise for sale online.

Mini plans a March-issue print push to increase visibility, given the brand's history of favoring quirky and whimsical one-offs over spectacles. Instead of Mini's slaloming around binding staples or careening around magazine margins--signature Mini advertising during Crispin Porter + Bogusky's purview of the brand--Mini will run something of a print roadblock.

Rolling Stone magazine will run an issue in March in which the Hammer & Coop films will be pitched on both front and back covers, and in 10 full-color pages within the magazine; an eight-page spread on the films, with a fashion theme, will run in March issues of Maxim, Stuff, and Blender; Premiere magazine will run a faux cover and five pages of "coverage" by staff; and Health magazine will integrate the campaign into its highly read monthly workout poster.

Trudy Hardy, Mini marketing manager, who has been at Mini since its inception, says the challenge was creating awareness and buzz for a new Mini that doesn't look strikingly different from the previous model. She says that because many of the new version's differences are under the hood and inside, a subdued pitch would likely get caught in the clutter.

"We are seeing more and more people doing inserts, and what was unique and breakthrough is becoming the norm," she says. "So we are looking at new ways to approach things." She said that teasers on YouTube have garnered 18,000 hits since they launched this month.

Also, Mini will be the latest virtual entity on Second Life, following Toyota's Scion, Pontiac, Mercedes (which went virtual on Second Life last week). Per Mini, Hammer and his car will be on--or in--Second Life.

Unlike BMW's "The Hire" films--which were not at all about touting specific product attributes, but about putting a kind of aesthetic halo around the BMW brand--the Mini "Hammer & Coop" films boast product attributes by making Coop a talking car--albeit a British one--in the vein of Eighties TV show "Knight Rider." "We actually gave Coop a personality, a voice, so while there's really an interesting dynamic between Hammer and the '07 Mini through the films, they talk about all the new features of the car," says Hardy. "It is really much more about the product."

In one sequence, Hammer can't find the keys to Coop, so the car explains, "just push the button," demonstrating that new feature. "Coop," says Hammer, "you continue to amaze."

After a fast start and year-over-year growth in sales, Mini's position in the U.S. softened last year. Through September, the company reported 29,770 Minis sold--a drop of 7%, compared to the 32,010 cars reported in the first three quarters of 2005.

Hardy says Mini has not made plans thus far to extend beyond six episodes, but "we will wait and see what the reactions are. You want to make sure you leave the door open."

Karl Greenberg can be reached at
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Mercedes Launching Showroom On Island In Second Life

Mercedes Launching Showroom On Island In Second Life

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007 5:00 AM ET


MERCEDES IS FOLLOWING NISSAN, SCION, and Pontiac--as well as some 30 other brands like Sony, American Apparel, and Adidas--into the Matrix-like virtual world of Second Life.

The company said that on Tuesday, it will launch an "island" in the digital South West district of Second Life. Inhabitants will be able to visit a virtual showroom and drive virtual Mercedes-Benz cars on a virtual track.

Mercedes will also launch the showroom with a concert.

At the showroom, Mercedes will have vehicle presentations, a stage and video screen for visitors to see films and TV advertisements. Visitors will be able to download a compilation of songs from Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape collection for free, and every visitor will be presented with a virtual Formula 1 racing suit and a helmet as a gift.

But Mercedes, like others who market in Second Life, is also providing its own portal to the landscape, via And during the launch of its Second Life presence, Mercedes will have a virtual PR person at the dealership for members of the media, or virtual doppelgangers of real reporters.

According to Linden Lab--the San Francisco-based company that created Second Life--there are 3,664,703 "residents," 1,253,228 who logged in within the past two months, and roughly 25,091 online at press time.

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