See this post at my Medium account here:
The rest of the story…again
I recently wrote a post on Medium about how the news media can mislead readers and viewers about what happened at an event based on how they choose to report on it — both in terms of what they put in a story and what they leave out.
Another way news outlets can affect how news is reported is by altering the context of an article. This isn’t about the old cliche of a person’s quote “being taken out of context” either.
I had a situation the other day where a reporter covered an event and got all of the quotes right and put together what I would consider to be a relatively positive news story. And, yet, it still wasn’t quite right because the context of the entire story — the premise for why elected officials were at a location together — was misrepresented.
The story had to do with a bus tour of the city of Detroit that took place at the end of a three-day conference on Great Lakes issues. Among those on the bus were Michigan’s governor, the lieutenant governor from Pennsylvania, and the Premier from Ontario, Canada. That’s a pretty good representation of newsmakers, so we alerted media they would be making a stop during the tour and reporters could meet us there.
The interviews were all positive and all three dignitaries — particularly the two visitors to Michigan — had some great things to say about Detroit. The comeback they were seeing, the speed at which it was happening, and the lessons learned that they could take home with them were commented on by the two visiting officials.
I posted two tweets from the tour stop at @aribadler. I’m so glad I decided to put something on Twitter to share what was really happening because it ended up being the only record of the truth. The TV stations, from what I’ve been able to find — or not find in this case — didn’t report on the stop at all.
And none of the comments about Detroit’s comeback or the visitor’s impressions made it into the newspaper article. Instead, the article was about just the governor and the premier, not even mentioning that Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor was there. The premise of the story also completely altered the purpose of the tour the group was taking.Instead of talking about a look at the city and how it was being revitalized — which was the actual point — the reporter decided to tie the whole thing into Detroit’s bid for the new Amazon headquarters.
No one had even mentioned the Amazon bid until the end of the interview when the reporter brought it up as the last question.
Again, the quotes were accurate, the story was well written and the whole thing came across as positive. But since she made it seem like the governor and premier were on a tour to tout the Amazon bid, the whole article was inaccurately reporting what was happening.
In this era of #fakenews and the media’s credibility at an incredibly low point in history, it’s frustrating for me to see this sort of thing happening. Once again, I had firsthand knowledge of the whole story and saw the media manipulate it in a way that completely changed what the story was about. It is making me start to question every news story.
I have never been as skeptical of media reports as I am at this point in my life because I’ve seen too many inaccuracies and too many biased reports. And this is a prime example of how a story can be technically accurate and yet completely misleading.
I don’t think the reporter was doing anything deliberately malicious in the way she wrote her article. But seeing a piece that gets it wrong in a business where the facts and their context are vital to telling the whole story is deeply troubling.
So, once again, when you’re looking at a news report, always listen for that little voice in your head that should be whispering, “Is that really all there is to this…or what’s the rest of the story?”
The rest of the story: filtered news is as big a threat as fake news
Before you dismiss this post as political rhetoric just because of the first sentence in the next paragraph, let me point out that this is not a political post nor is it analyzing the media’s position on the political spectrum.
I had to attend the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference this past weekend, and looking at two articles produced by mainstream media outlets about the event made me realize there is something more inherently dangerous than fake news. The amount of filtered news that is arriving in our inboxes — and I suppose for some still on their doorstep — is a bigger threat to the public’s level of understanding on any given issue.
Fake news is, of course, a ridiculous blight on our society. But some of it is so over-the-top that most people who consider themselves independent or moderate in their politics and their thinking can see that right away.
But what about filtered news that is provided by what people might consider more mainstream and less-biased news outlets? It’s quite possible you’re only getting some of the story, because the whole story has been through the filtered lens of a journalist and their editor.
When I taught journalism at Michigan State University, I made sure my students understood that what they chose to put in an article was critically important — but that what they chose to leave out of an article was quite possibly just as vital.
To return to the example from this weekend, consider two articles that were produced to give people a take on whether there was a President Donald Trump vibe as statewide leaders in the Republican Party converged on Mackinac Island.
If you weren’t there and only read these two pieces, you might be confused on what really happened. Worse, if you only read one of the pieces, you would be misinformed because of the filtering that occurred.
In the first piece, posted at MLive, they ran, among other things, a photo and a cutline about Trump shirts being sold at the conference, noting that Trump support was alive and well.
Michigan News The Grand Hotel pictured Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Lauren Gibbons | email@example.com Republican…www.mlive.com
Looking at one of the photos prominently featured, which I am sharing here, one would get the impression that there was not just a Trump vibe, but an angry one at that. What they left out were photos of the other shirts for sale on that same table — the ones with quotes from throughout history, including those from other presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. And how many shirts, ties, and hats for sale were actually purchased? I didn’t see anyone lining up to buy anything the few times I wandered past the table.
In the second piece, posted at The Detroit News, two editors wrote a commentary discussing how surprised they were that there wasn’t much Trump talk on the island all weekend. They made it seem like no one was interested in talking about him and, apparently, based some of their conclusion on the lack of Make America Great Again hats on the island.
Mackinac Island — The elephant in the room was missing here as state Republicans gathered to discuss strategy ahead of…www.detroitnews.com
So, which is it? Was there a rabid pro-Trump undertow at the conference, or was it impossible to find any Trump loyalists? The thing is, both news reports are sort of right and sort of wrong.
It’s true there wasn’t a lot of chest-thumping about President Trump, but it’s also true that there were people who had Trump paraphernalia. The reality of what was going on lands somewhere squarely in the middle.
So the moral of this story? Make sure that, once you have dismissed the obvious fake news, you go one step further. Instead of just finding one report on an event from one news outlet, find at least one if not two or three more reports. By the time you’ve read three or four accounts of what happened, you might have about 80 percent of what occurred covered. Otherwise, you run the risk of proudly proclaiming how you can’t be duped by fake news only to be misled by filtered news.
The long-time radio host Paul Harvey had a regular segment called “The Rest of the Story.” While he’s long since left us, we should all channel a little Paul Harvey, wondering just what else might be going on that got left out of the news that day.
Off the Beaten Path: Fort Malden
This post originally appeared at Roadtreking
We recently planned a trip from our home in Michigan to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada so that we could take advantage of free admission as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Along the way, we took a side trip off the beaten path to an historic fort we spotted on Google Maps while planning our trip.
Fort Malden is located in Amherstburg, Ontario, about 35 minutes south of the Ambassador Bridge where you enter Canada from the U.S. It was built in 1795 by Britain to protect against an invasion by those upstart Americans. Throughout its history, it is most known for its military use during the War of 1812 and also is the site of the longest occupation of any Canadian land by the United States. Over time, however, the main building that now serves as a museum has been everything from a private residence to a lumber mill to an insane asylum.
Visitors are able to see the wide array of Fort Malden’s history through the buildings that remain and the information provided in the museum. Local college and high school students get summer jobs serving as “soldiers” at the fort and help tell the history through period costumes and exhibitions of firing muskets and cannons.
The fort sits overlooking the Detroit River, so you can always take a stroll through the grounds to enjoy the view or sit and relax by the water to see if any boats happen to float by. Coming and going from the fort, you drive through the city of Amherstburg and the entrance is basically in a residential neighborhood now. I can only imagine what the soldiers from the 1800s would think of the area compared to what they saw!
Amherstburg is located along Highway 20 in the southwest corner of Ontario. It’s a pleasant drive and we think Fort Malden is a great stop to soak up some history and wander the well-manicured grounds. The staff was very friendly and welcomed questions, as they all seemed to enjoy talking about this historical treasure that is kind of tucked away. We recommend making it a stop if you’re going to be in the area.
Maybe some day soon we’ll run into you off the beaten path. Until then, happy travels everyone!
The smiles of 2016
I have to admit that by the end of 2016 I had failed miserably and did something I told myself repeatedly not to do. I got sucked into a social media vacuum and started to believe what I was reading. Everywhere I looked, people were lamenting about how crappy 2016 was, how they couldn’t wait for it to be over, and how 2017 had to be better.
There were times when I even started to participate in the mob mentality on Facebook in which hating on 2016 became not only acceptable but encouraged.
But then I snapped out of it. I realized that 2016 had its challenges, but surely there had to be good things that happened, things that made me smile. And, thanks to a great search function on Google Photos, I was quickly and easily able to prove my hypothesis to be correct.
I typed in “smile” and “2016” in the search bar on Google Photos and, voila! There they were. Me and my family members smiling in pictures from throughout the year. I decided to put representative shots into an album to share here. If you click on the photos at that link, you’ll see captions that describe what they’re about. Or just look at all the smiles. I bet you can’t help smiling yourself eventually. (See revelation below about smiles being infectious.)
I thought that finding a couple of photos from each month would help make my point. There were many months where I had to be very discriminating and keep it to just two pictures for just two events, even though there were many to choose from.
This post is a reminder to myself, mostly, but I figured others might as well learn from my revelations.
First, take a look back each year at all the great things that happened. Look at your own smiles, because they are infectious.
Second, don’t get sucked into the mob mentality on Facebook and other social media sites. Just because “everyone is doing it,” doesn’t mean you have to. (I’m sure my mom, may she rest in peace, would appreciate that I am finally listening to her.)
Third, treasure what you have in terms of family, experiences and time. If you make the most of those, all the negative stuff gets put into perspective and you can simply let it drift away on a river of smiles.
So farewell, 2016. Maybe you weren’t that bad after all.
And 2017, let’s go. I am looking forward to the adventures and smiles you can offer. I can’t wait to take advantage of them!
There is a greater challenge than dumping a bucket of ice over your head – are you up for it?
A few weeks ago, you couldn’t get away from it no matter how hard you tried. Friends, family and celebrities were getting in on the viral publicity stunt known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was on the news and it was in your news feeds on every social media outlet you frequent. But this isn’t just a rant about that viral maelstrom, so bear with me.
The ALS Association notes on its website that since July 29, they have received $115 million in donations, mostly due to the publicity of the viral video challenges and responses.
That’s great, but one of the things I found frustrating about the Ice Bucket Challenge was how many times I saw people doing the challenge and challenging others, but not really connecting with the reason for it. I saw many videos where ALS wasn’t even included in the video or posting — just Ice Bucket Challenge, as if buckets of ice water had become the new fraternity initiation tool. Too many people didn’t know why they were dumping ice water on their heads or what ALS is really all about.
Most commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” because of the famed baseball player who died from it, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. According to the ALS Association, the disease “affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”
It all sounds very clinical and I wouldn’t expect people to have cited all of the details in their videos. But I would have liked people to remember more about why they took the challenge. They needed to remember the people and the families affected by this horrific disease. They needed, for once, to not let a viral video be just another flash in the pan. They needed to think about what they can do to help with ALS patients and families now and in the future.
I participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge along with a number of coworkers and colleagues. I made it a priority for us to produce a video at work that did more than just showing legislators and employees getting ice dumped over us, although I’m sure that made some people happy just on its own. We talked about why we were doing the challenge, what the disease involves and encouraged people to stay connected with the cause well into the future.
For us, it was personal. Our chief of staff at the Michigan House of Representatives is Norm Saari. His son, Eric, was our inspiration as he was battling ALS and we wanted to do what we could to honor his challenge in life with our challenge to raise funds and awareness. We did well, raising more than $5,000 with our efforts.
I can only hope we raised awareness, as well, which is part of the reason I’m doing this blog post, too. As I wrote earlier, this isn’t just a rant. Sure, there are plenty of things I could write about what happened with this campaign from a public relations perspective or as a review of social media activities for fundraising.
But, instead, I’m writing this to urge you to find out more about ALS. To keep folks like the Saari family in mind. And as a tribute to Eric Saari.
Because Eric died on Sept 18. I never met him and now I never will. But I will always remember him. Not because he was the reason I had a bucket of ice water dumped over my head to become part of a viral video sensation. But because any time someone asks me to give to a disease-fighting cause, I will be thinking less about the disease and the tax write-off and a lot more about the affected people and their families.
So, thank you, Eric, for showing me something I never realized I needed to see. Rest in peace; challenge accepted.
A device is worth more than the sum of its apps
I generally don’t give haters my attention, because you can’t help someone who refuses to learn and relies on knee-jerk emotional reactions to things instead of becoming educated and reaching an informed conclusion. But sometimes I’m reminded of a phrase I heard once and latched onto:
“I blog because not only do I have an opinion, I cannot keep it to myself.”
The haters and beraters attacking Google Glass and its users seem to be growing in number and intensity, at least according to the sensationalistic press that can’t wait to breathlessly tear down that which they don’t understand.
But the same media that is looking to report on the problems associated with Glass also tend stick with the notion that Google’s wearable computer is defined by its apps, which isn’t something they do with other tech devices.
Headline after headline will tout that “Google Glass allows wearers to X…” or “Google Glass does Y.” The thing is, often the most sensationalistic headlines are grossly inaccurate because the feature they are reporting on isn’t inherent to Glass but rather is provided by an app created by a third-party developer.
I don’t recall seeing any headlines about iPhones doing something or the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch doing something else based solely on a third-party app that was written by someone not associated with or approved by the manufacturer. In fact, they even tend to ignore facts about the devices themselves, such as the Gear having a camera. (That means people can clandestinely shoot pictures while appearing to check the time on their wrist. How many bars and restaurants have you heard about banning Gear?)
Google Glass is a platform with amazing potential. It is exciting to watch the Google Glass community discussions on Google Plus as people chat about what they envision wearable technology like Glass being able to help us do in the future, and sometimes in the very near future. Entrepreneurial app developers are finding new ways to entertain, aid and support Glass owners. Sometimes they hit the mark, sometimes they come up with something silly, and sometimes they create an app that is just pointless. It’s the same thing that happens with Android developers and iOS developers, although that tends to happen less with iOS due to Apple’s near-maniacal control over their universe.
So the next time you see a story lambasting Google and its Glass users for doing something outrageous or creepy, consider whether it’s the device, the user or the app that should be the focus of the article. Two of the apps that have received a lot of over-the-top news coverage include the ones that let users record their sexual encounters and another that provides information to the wearer based on facial recognition. (Having just typed those two descriptions in the same sentence makes me wonder if a new app – Google Beer Goggles – might help avoid some awkward morning-after guessing games with the person you met at the bar last night and suddenly found yourself waking up next to this morning. But I digress.)
Is the sex video app pointless and stupid? Sure. Is it Google Glass’ fault? No, because it’s a third-party app that has to be side-loaded to Glass, something many users don’t even have the knowledge or guts to do with their very expensive new tech device. So, the headlines really should have been, “Black market app for Google Glass lets you record sexual encounters.” Or, regarding the facial recognition app, we should have seen “Google Glass hackers create app to capitalize on facial recognition.”
After all, I don’t recall seeing news alerts about “Motorola phones have a porn problem.” But that’s because the media correctly reported, “Does Twitter’s Vine have a porn problem?”
And I don’t remember seeing headlines that read, “Want to practice your illegal alien smuggling skills? Get an iPhone.” That’s because the media correctly reported it as, “Want to practice your illegal alien smuggling skills? There’s an app for that.”
Google Glass is a piece of hardware with built-in software and the ability to add new functionality through applications. The services those applications provide can change the use, but they do not change the nature of Glass being nothing more than a machine.
How we as humans adapt and use that machine is important, but it often can be the fault of the user practicing poor judgment or tapping into a third-party app if something goes awry. A device is worth more than the sum of its apps and should not be judged by them, no matter how stellar or stupid they might be.
Customer service and marketing: You Can’t Fix Stupid
I am quite certain I’m not alone when shaking my head periodically over stupid marketing mistakes or frustrating customer service travails. Over the past few weeks, I have shaken my head so much though that I’m growing concerned about the impact on my brain from all that jarring movement.
The missteps have involved utility and cable companies, retail stores, a major bank, and a daily newspaper. And there isn’t any social media outreach or clever slogan that can replace simple research or focusing on good customer service instead of focusing on how to address complaints. In other words, stop staring so much at the trees and take a broader look at the forest you’re creating from time to time.
First, let’s talk about marketing miscues.
While watching the Olympics on TV the other night, an ad came on for WalMart, not a bastion of union love and Made in the USA pride for sure. The ad was about how much WalMart is pledging to support U.S-made products and the workers who manufacture them. Unfortunately, the marketing department at WalMart apparently doesn’t have too many classic rock fans on staff. If it did, they would have caught that the theme song they decided to run at full volume during the commercial was Working Man by Rush, which is an iconic Canadian band.
Then, just this weekend, I received an unsolicited email from one of my credit card companies offering a hassle-free, credit-check free increase in my credit line. I just needed to click the button linked in the email and I would be on my way. Spam! you say? Actually, I think it’s legitimate, but there’s no way to prove it. The most ridiculous part is that the bank has a Secure Messaging Center that allows you to correspond with the bank (and vice-versa) within their system once you’ve securely logged into your account. I have forwarded the email to the address the bank uses for customers to report phishing attempts so that they can either start working on this fraudulent scam or walk down to the marketing department and smack someone upside the head.
I also noticed this weekend that my local daily newspaper, the Lansing State Journal, ran yet another letter to the editor that was factually inaccurate. As a media relations professional, it has always frustrated me how much newspapers claim to pride themselves on truth and accuracy, and then fill their opinion pages with rubbish. I’m not lamenting opinion columns by newspaper staff or the public that might have a different take on an issue than I do. I’m talking about people printing absolute falsehoods because the newspaper fact-checks their news but lets opinion trample the truth. It makes it tough to believe the marketing pitches from a newspaper about how they can be a trusted source when they are printing things that can’t be trusted.
Perhaps all marketing departments should hang a poster in their offices of comedian Ron White and his great line, “You can’t fix stupid.”
Customer service is becoming a bit of an oxymoron in many companies, too, with a focus on outreach through social media to address concerns people have. Here’s a concern I have: your customer service is horrible and whitewashing it with public relations outreach after the fact isn’t going to save you.
A classic example of this is the cable company Comcast. For years now, @ComcastCares on Twitter and other outlets has been touted as a great example of social media customer service that is responsive and well-liked. Unfortunately, Comcast as a company is considered vile by many of its customers. Just say something on Facebook or Google Plus about Comcast and watch the hate mail pour in on your comment stream.
I discovered HBO GO is available as a channel on my Roku streaming device. I was excited because it meant I could stop using Comcast’s menu system that is as complicated as the family trees on Game of Thrones. In a strange twist, I actually started watching Game of Thrones after receiving a free subscription to HBO from Comcast because they were trying to make up for a massive billing mistake on their part. Unfortunately, Comcast isn’t one of the cable companies that allows you to log in to HBO GO on Roku. When I lamented about this on Google Plus, I tagged Comcast and ComcastCares. Of course the main account ignored me but ComcastCares responded within minutes. It wasn’t a particularly good or useful response, but at least I knew someone had heard me.
A local municipal utility company in Lansing, Michigan also suffered a massive credibility crisis back in December when ice storms wiped out power lines and the electricity they provide to area residents, in some cases for more than a week. Information was hard to come by and what was being delivered was questionable in terms of accuracy. After a public outcry over the Lansing Board of Water and Light needing to do a better job, the utility’s response was to post an opening for a social media coordinator. Of course! That makes perfect sense. After all, when I’m frustrated with a utility because my pipes are about to burst and food is rotting in my refrigerator, what I really wish I had was some great outreach via Twitter. Or, maybe, I’d rather have my electricity restored. And perhaps the money spent on social media whitewash might be better spent on restoring power and making sure it stays on.
Some days, I don’t think some places even care enough to try anymore.
Take a local store in my town called Meijer. It’s a Michigan-based company so many friends and I have tried to look past problems it has because we want to support the home team. The biggest issue people complain about is growing frustration with a reliance on self-checkout lanes that have lackluster scanners and a cumbersome layout. Most people who lament about not shopping there anymore seem to cite that as reason number one for their decision. I have learned to shop there at night since their checkout system is a bit more tolerable with fewer customers trying to use it.
However, a recent trip there and responses to complaints I filed about my experience have forced me to join the flock of those seeking my groceries and home supplies elsewhere. It was shortly after 10 p.m. when I stopped in to buy a few things, the bulk of which were in the toiletries section. Ten o’clock in the evening is late but not very late and considering the store is open 24 hours, it seemed too early for entire sections to be shut down for cleaning. But, alas, I left empty-handed with not a single toiletry item in my bag. When I inquired at the “customer service” counter about that section of the store being entirely closed off to customers, they shrugged and told me sorry, there was nothing they could do. I reported my frustration with the situation and the response to corporate headquarters. They forwarded it to the store manager who emailed me to say he was sorry, but cleaning was necessary and had to be done some time. I agree, but as I mentioned the store is open 24 hours, so how about cleaning at 2 a.m., or only cleaning certain aisles at a time instead of shutting down an entire corner of your store!?
Frank Eliason, the founder of ComcastCares and now Director of Global Social Media at Citi, recently wrote about social media and customer service on a LinkedIn post. It’s a great read and I recommend taking a look, but here’s the line that really stood out to me:
I have yet to find a more important job than Customer Service. It is sad that people feel it is beneath them, because some day businesses will realize how important it is to their own success (or failure).
Well said. After all, no matter how good your PR and marketing teams are, they will never overcome horrible customer service. Fix the customer service first instead of whitewashing it with cool tech tools. And take the fun stuff away from the marketing teams for a while so they can spend time on the front lines dealing with customers and their personal frustrations. Maybe then you’ll be able to market your product without it resulting in a violent shaking of heads.
UPDATE: I’ve written a follow-up post about replies I received from the various organizations.
Shooting the newest cars with the newest camera
My wife, Jessi, and I were fortunate enough to attend the Charity Preview of the North American International Auto Show the other night. So, of course, I had to put Google Glass to the test.
The buzz around the new cars and trucks was interesting, but more amusing for Jessi were all the direct and indirect comments she overheard people making about me wearing Google Glass. At one point, we both ended up the focus of attention when TV 4 decided to interview me and get a shot of me taking a picture of Jessi. The interview ended up on the cutting room floor, but the video of me taking Jessi’s picture made it on air.
Glass performed admirably all night long. We used it for turn-by-turn navigation from Lansing to Detroit and then I shot pictures and video with it all night long, plus held a Google Hangouts conversation with my daughter while sharing some of the pictures with her. By the time we left, the battery was down to about 18% so I plugged the charging cable in for my turn-by-turn navigation to get out of Detroit and back on the freeway headed home. I probably didn’t have to do that, but I didn’t want to risk taking a wrong turn in Detroit by having Glass suddenly conk out. Considering how much I used it during the show, I was pleased with the battery life, but that is in the context of having a battery that Explorers know doesn’t perform great to begin with.
I used Glass in new ways a few times during the night and was more impressed each time I did.
I took a picture of the NAIAS Car of the Year, which is the Chevrolet Corvette. I then uploaded it to Google+ via Glass with a caption that said, “congratulations Chevrolet! #autoshow.” Google automatically adds the #throughglass hashtag, as well. I added the caption by speaking it, which impressed me because the crowded floor of the auto show was noisy, and Glass picked up everything I said all night without a hitch. I do wish two things would be addressed. First, most people speak in complete sentences when adding a caption, so the default should be to capitalize the first word. Second, I couldn’t figure out a way to tag Chevrolet even though I know they have a Google+ page. I deleted the first caption I spoke because when I said “at Chevrolet,” that’s what Glass typed. I don’t suppose it would work to have every use of the word “at” make the @ symbol, but maybe Google could come up with some other shortcut for tagging. (I later opened the Google+ app on my phone and added the @ sign so Chevrolet was tagged.)
As I mentioned earlier, I shared a number of photos with my daughter who was not attending the show, adding captions verbally each time. I sent them to her via Google Hangouts. She was able to see them almost instantly and replied back to me; the replies came in as notifications on my Glass and I was able to read them without getting out my phone. I noted later that the entire conversation, including the pictures, was on the Hangouts app on my phone. That synchronization was handy to use as a reference and to show the conversation to Jessi later.
I also used the translation technology for the first time. By telling Glass to translate something and then looking at a sign, I was able to read the German phrase Audi was using on its display. Glass provides a literal translation, so I suspect it’s not entirely correct but it gave me a good idea of what Audi was trying to convey. (Instead of “projecting,” I believe Audi means they are “advancing.”) In the picture at right, I created a vignette of the original sign and the Google translation, but when it’s live, you only see the main screen. Looking at a sign written in a foreign language and watching the words magically change to English is, well, magical.
Several other things happened besides the TV interview because I was wearing Glass, too. For one, I had complete strangers strike up a conversation with me — after all, that thing I’m wearing is a natural conversation starter. Being an Explorer is definitely an adjustment for my introverted personality. Most people see me as outgoing and not shy in the least, but I still have difficulty with “small talk” and generally will stay lost within my own thoughts at public events. Glass is forcing me to change that behavior.
The funniest conversation was toward the end when one attendee who had clearly been enjoying the free champagne all night said, “That is so cool! You’re like one of only 4 people in the world with those!” One of the most humorous and yet potentially frustrating conversations was when someone talked to me about the woman in California who received a ticket for wearing Glass while driving. They said, “Did you hear about the lady in Oregon that was arrested for wearing those?” It was humorous in how far from the truth it was, and yet potentially frustrating because I can only imagine how many people form their opinion on something like Google Glass based on thirty-third hand information about a news snippet.
Shooting the newest cars with the newest camera was a lot of fun. I don’t think Jessi believes that I made the Ford Escape’s hatch open by waving my foot underneath the rear bumper, since she couldn’t get it to work.
Overall, most of the technology I saw at the auto show was impressive, although I still wish car manufacturers would spend less time figuring out how to connect our dashboards to Facebook and more on how to provide windshield wipers that won’t freeze up in the winter. Nevertheless, a couple of manufacturers have decided to embrace wearable technology like Google Glass and I’m excited to see what they can come up with. After all, the future driver is right around the corner, and they will probably be wearing a computer.
For more highlight photos and videos from the auto show, visit my Google+ album.