Obamacare Web Developer Grilled over HIPAA Privacy Clause in Source Code

The company hired to develop the now infamous Obamacare website CGI Inc, has taken a lot of heat for a clause in their source code that claims any information that is entered on the website is not private. This has obviously caused a stir-up in Congress and several Congressmen have spoken up.

According to cnsnews.com, Republican Joe Barton says that this clause was a violation of the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act or HIPAA that states any medical and health information of U.S. citizens is private under HIPAA. Barton sounded off on Cheryl Campbell, SVP of CGI and it was ugly. He put her on the spotlight as she stumbled over her words trying to construct a valid response.

Democrat Frank Pallone objected saying that the information required to sign up for Obamacare does not include health or medical data. Pallone claimed that this was just another stunt by Republicans to discourage people that were planning on signing up for Obamacare.

Many web developers are criticizing CGI being that they were paid a large amount of money to develop a flawed site and perhaps an illegal site. Either way this provision, (hidden from applicants by the way) does not give privacy to the applicant’s information. It’s important for web developers to remember all U.S. laws when developing any website (especially one designed for the United States Government). Having a lead developer with the tools to recognize all aspects of the project is key in any web development process. Whether you agree with Barton or Pallone, many of us are left wondering what else is hidden in the source code on some of your favorite websites. Be sure to choose carefully when you hire a web development firm.

See the video here:

True Life: My Mom Receives More Facebook Engagement Than I Do

My mother’s name is Loretta- you never forgetta (try using a heavy New York accent with that one). She’s the type of Long Island Italian mom that knows everything about anything happening around town. Now…she’s had a Facebook account for a about a year, initially created to satisfy her addiction for Candy Crush and other notoriously pointless games.

But when she’s not casting out hundreds of game requests, she’s getting tons of likes, comments and shares on her posts. In fact, with her mere 487 friends, her posts tend to receive more engagement than mine, and I work for an online marketing company! What gives?!

“Got the flu! I have been sick since Sunday… Can’t get up out of bed … I’m wiped out!”

This gem of a post received over 60 comments and 8 likes. Granted she replied to a few comments, but most of the comments were from different friends. This isn’t a sporadic example. Her updates generally always get more reactions than mine or any other twenty-something I know.

While my mom could be considered the unofficial mayor of Long Island, her Facebook prowess is a direct effect of the social network’s aging demographic.

The Facebook Age Shift

Once abundant with young millenials, many of Facebook active users are older. According to a Pew Research study last year, 60 percent of Internet users ages 50-64, and 43 percent of users over the age of 65 interact on Facebook.  Older people are using Facebook to not only connect with family members and friends, but to share photos and videos. As older people become more technologically savvy, they are beginning to see the value in social networking. In fact, since May 2013, senior social media use has skyrocketed in the last four years. The amount of people over 65 using social media tripled from 13 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2013.

Social Media Demographics

As the number of seniors increase on social media, the number of teens decrease. With the social media industry flooded with a variety of apps, it makes sense that hoards of teens seem to be leaving Facebook. In just the last three years, the number of teens has decreased about 25 percent, equating to about 3 million people. In addition, research from iStrategy found that the amount of young adults, ages 18-24, has also decreases about 8 percent. Teens and young adults are shifting to more visually based apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

However, could this mass exodus of teens be a direct effect of the growing number of older individuals and parents on the social network? Probably. Facebook’s privacy settings and its eagerness to know everything about its users most likely deterred teen usage. Teens, a demographic known for wanting to hide things from their parents, don’t like the fact that Facebook wants to make their information available to all, regardless of its privacy settings. Older people, known for their lack of Internet intelligence, enjoy sharing everything, commenting on everything, and liking everything. Hence why my mother gets more engagement than I do as a young twenty-something.

Why Brands Should Care

As Facebook ages, it’s important for brands to change their social media strategies and adhere their content for the older demographic. For instance, if a brand has a great deal of older fans on Facebook, it should propose more questions or prompt fans to answer them in the comments section. Because older fans tend to be more likely to post comments and reply to posts, it’s best to create posts that call for that type of response. Since likes are also valued less by Facebook’s algorithm, gaining more comments can help the brand pump up its engagement and boost awareness.

Brands that target younger demographics should obviously be focusing on new ways to use Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr. However, they should also make adjustments to their Facebook stratefy as well. Younger Facebook users will probably like something over commenting. But keeping in mind that younger users value more visual stimulation, brands attempting to reach teens should create a highly visual Facebook campaign with infographics, quizzes, photos and videos. They LOVE quizzes.

As technology advances and becomes more integrated into our everyday lives, we can expect the number of older users to rise… just be sure to keep an eye on your mom’s Facebook activity for the new trends.

Is Tumblr The New Social Music Source?


When MySpace re-launched last year, it seemed like it found its niche as a music portal of sorts. This wasn’t to say that it would take over the more renowned platforms like Facebook and Twitter in terms of popularity but it didn’t necessarily have to.

All that it would have to do is offer something unique compared to the competition. In my view, neither Facebook nor Twitter explored the music spectrum at length. With this in mind, shouldn’t MySpace be considered a “social music source” of sorts?

If Tumblr has a say in it, perhaps not the greatest.

According to an article on Forbes, the Arctic Monkeys were able to gain tremendous traction this past June. The reason for this was the release of their music video for, “Do I Wanna Know?” Even though it was able to attract 45 million views, it gained even more through a different platform. On the microblogging site known as Tumblr, users not only liked and reblogged the video but created sets of .gif images depicting the video in question.

The power of Tumblr is a force that’s hard to deny. Users who frequent this particular social media platform can make even the most seemingly mundane pieces of content popular. For example, you probably wouldn’t think that a .gif of a dog rolling over on a rug until it was rolled up in it would be so popular. It would be endearing, yes, but to say that it would gain traction would be tough to predict. However, with the right amount of followers and captions that are able to grab anyone’s attention, such content can become viral.

Music is no exception, which is great for those who are not exactly limited with their hobbies. This is especially noteworthy when considering that online marketing firms might have seen an outcry in response to Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr. Would Tumblr’s content be negative affected? Marissa Mayer, CEO and President of Yahoo made it a point to stress, “We really want to let Tumblr be Tumblr and let Yahoo be Yahoo.” It’s understandable that there are still those who are apprehensive about taking the word of Yahoo officials. So far, though, there haven’t been any life-changing ad placements or saturation that users might have been fearful of.

Back to the subject of music, can Tumblr knock MySpace off of its pedestal and seize its niche in the process? Tumblr is in the fortunate position of ownership underneath a global entity in Yahoo. What this means is that Yahoo’s services stand a chance of being utilized. One can make the argument that Yahoo! Music can serve a purpose but the way in which it could be implemented would have to be taken into heavy consideration. Would it become a vital part of Tumblr’s structure going forward or would it be, more or less, its own entity?

Do you feel like Tumblr has the ability to become a more audio-focused social media channel, if that endeavor is undertaken? Please leave your thoughts below!

Is “Quality of Life” Indicative of Nintendo’s Marketing?

With certain video games placing more of an emphasis on health than anything else, it’s clear that there is a demand for said emphasis. The typical gamer does not engage in physical activity as much as he or she should, so the idea of games incorporating more active elements is smart. In fact, one can make the argument that Nintendo was one of the companies at the forefront of this, given the success of its “Wii Fit” series.

With that said, the idea of Nintendo’s recent focus on “quality of life” may not bode as well and I believe it doesn’t speak well about Nintendo’s marketing in general.

This past week, The Guardian posted an article about Nintendo and how it would be turning to the health sector in order to help its business on all fronts. Given the lackluster sales of its current home video game console, the Wii U, it would make sense that Nintendo would try its hand at exploring other fields. However, does this necessarily mean that “quality of life” is the best way to go about it? One of the biggest concerns I have with this is that a good number of gamers that engage in physical activity are not the serious video game enthusiasts Nintendo might want.

For those who do not know, the Nintendo Wii was originally released back in 2006, which was during that time when mobile gaming was not as bustling as it is now. In comparison to the competition, the Wii offered not only a more affordable base price but a focus on motion technology, the latter being tied to physical activity. From Wii Sports to Just Dance, the system proved viable but that same audience has moved on. Casual players are far more intrigued by games that cost less than a cup of coffee than their Wiis, which are most likely gathering dust on their shelves.

It’s clear that Nintendo wants to drive positive attention back to its brand and understandably so, given the current state of its home console endeavors. With that said, “quality of life” might not be the kind of turn that an online marketing company would support. Instead, wouldn’t it be more in the interest of Nintendo to ramp up development on Wii U titles in house? Even though the number of Wii U owners now is dwarfed by the number of Wii owners that might have been prevalent back in 2008, the former is still a substantial number and shouldn’t be cast aside.

Perhaps you feel differently, though. Do you think that “quality of life” is where Nintendo’s focus should be set on? Do you think that Nintendo’s attention would be better served elsewhere? Please leave your thoughts down below!

Online Peace During Safer Internet Day

If I were to tell you that companies like Facebook, Google, and others would have the ability to work together, you might think that it’d be a silly claim to make. After all, these are companies that are looking to make it to the top and the only way that they can be at their best is through competition. That being said, it appears as though they made peace, at least for one day. This is where a particular time called the Safer Internet Day has to be talked about.

Those who have been bullied know all too well about the physical – not to mention emotional – trauma that it can cause. However, these days it’s like the bullying does not end at school, as the online world has been both a blessing and a curse. For as much software as there is as far as communication is concerned, there have been a number of stories of young men and women being harassed through the Internet. Stories like the one about five-year-old Disney star Mia Talericobeing sent death threats shows that this problem hasn’t faded entirely, regardless of the level of awareness it’s garnered.

According to a report on Forbes, Safer Internet Day was founded in Europe a little more than a decade ago. It was recognized throughout many places in the world but it wasn’t until recently that the United States climbed onboard the proverbial ship. Many different companies that have been in competition over the years will put their differences aside for a day in order to celebrate this day. From Twitter to Sprint, the list of supporters is more like a who’s who of global entities.

Not only does this act show goodwill on the part of the companies, but it’s easy to say that this is being done in order to keep consumer trust. Any social media agency can tell you that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are hotbeds for networking, though this can be a negative at times. What’s stopping a schoolyard bully from logging onto one of these patforms and continually harassing someone else on his or her page? The promotion of a greater level of personal security and safety on this day is understandable.

Yesterday was Safer Internet Day and the list of companies that were in support of this day is hard to overlook. While it’s likely that these companies want to appeal themselves to current and potential consumers, it’s apparent that they recognize the situation at hand. There is a clear problem with matters such as bullying and the fact that individuals can be targeted through their computers and phones is unfortunate, to say the least. The tagline for SID is, “Let’s create a better Internet together,” and it’s hard to imagine a nobler endeavor in the online world.

Nintendo’s Mobile Efforts: Salvation or Ignorance?

With the current generation of gaming platforms on the market, Sony and Microsoft seem to have so much attention on them that it’s easy to forget about Nintendo. It’s not for any supposed lack of quality, either; the titles that Nintendo creates are still viewed by many as top of the line. With the competition coming up with new ideas and keeping up with trends, though, Nintendo remained traditional for better or worse. With the mobile market in Nintendo’s sights, is the company’s luck about to change?

It’s been reported that Nintendo is looking into the smartphone market, though in a way that not everyone would have expected. While the company is not looking to port “The Legend of Zelda” for the NES over to Apple’s App Store, for example, this doesn’t mean that content wouldn’t be created. Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo of America, said that smaller experiences would be seen. The goal of this, according to Fils-Aime, would be to, “…drive you back to your Nintendo hardware.” After the initial reports, I was left hopeful and concerned for the company’s endeavor.

In one respect, Nintendo getting into the smartphone market, at least to some degree, is a sign that the company wants to keep up. Ever since the arrival of the Wii, it seemed, Nintendo was looked down upon for dragging its feet in terms of gaming in general. Whether it’s been the lack of powerful hardware or region-locked systems, a company shouldn’t stay rooted in its ways. In order for Nintendo to keep up with the rapidly changing market, the well-known company cannot simply stay the course.

That being said, is a shift in smartphone focus the best choice to make? Keep in mind that Nintendo’s current home console, the Wii U, hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire as of late. In fact, a few weeks ago Nintendo cut the global sales forecast for the system from 9 million to 2.8 million. While the proposed smartphone apps would serve as bite-sized experiences of sorts to drive people to purchase Nintendo hardware, how effective will this be? Can a small experience drive a casual gamer to spend close to $300 on a console – in addition to $60 for each new game – that’s been looked at unfavorably by the media?

Nintendo’s foray into the smartphone market is one that I hold a moderate amount of hope for. To me, there should be more focus placed on the Wii U situation itself as opposed to looking into an entirely different market. Why isn’t Nintendo putting more of an emphasis on creating extra games for that particular system and advertising it in a way that a social media agency would approve of? Even so, Nintendo has fought out of dire predicaments in the past and now it’s a matter of seeing if they can do it again.

Netflix and Bingeing Based on Demographics

Shifting from setting a schedule to waiting until episodes are uploaded, it’s apparent that the way television is watched has changed. Netflix is arguably the greatest example of this, as the idea of bingeing has become so common. What is noteworthy as of late is Netflix’s latest series named “Turbo Fast,” an animated show for children. Even more worthy or note, though, is the idea that binge watching an entire season will not be present with “Turbo Fast.”


According to an article on Bloomberg Businessweek, Netflix plans to only release the first five episodes of “Turbo Fast” later this month. Alone, this idea is not out of the ordinary but it’s important to cite how other exclusive series have been structured by comparison. For example, Netflix released the first full season of its exclusive comedy-drama series, “Orange is the New Black,” at once. This meant that it was easier for people to sit down and watch all 13 episodes during a dedicated Saturday. This method is better known as “binge watching.”

Seeing as how “Turbo Fast” is not going to follow a similar formula, one has to wonder what the reasons for this are. First of all, it is worth noting that the way that adults watch shows is very different from how children go about the same activity. Typically, adults have better concentration and it’s easier for them to breeze through entire seasons of television shows, provided they’re engaging enough to sit through. Children, on the other hand, may either struggle with keeping their focus on their shows or will simply watch a particular episode over and over again.

Secondly, it seems like “Turbo Fast,” in particular, is going to be released in batches during the holiday season. Joris Evers, a Netflix spokesperson, said that it was during this time of year “…when kids viewing usually spikes.” The Just for Kids option on Netflix is what drives many parents to keep their subscription going, so it’s up to the company to bring as much content to it as possible. If Netflix was to simply release the entire first season of “Turbo Fast,” perhaps many kids would actually sit down and watch it in its entirety instead of losing focus. If this were to happen, Netflix would play its proverbial trump card too early.

The object of an online marketing company is to focus on given audiences in order to appeal to them. Netflix, because of its focus on multiple audiences given the range of shows and movies it streams, has to do the same. Strategies between children and adults are going to be different, which goes without saying. As it stands, what is most important is making sure that the attention spans tied to both crowds are kept over the course of time.

Does Facebook Need the Power of Television?

It goes without saying but the conventional way of watching television has slowly but surely faded away. With such services as Netflix and Hulu, people do not have to worry about setting up schedules for the sake of catching the latest episodes of the thrillers that they enjoy. However, does this necessarily mean that TV has become useless in the way of marketing? For those who are doubtful, Facebook plans to make the most out of this medium as possible.

It was recently announced that Facebook would go after TV advertising, which will be done through a rather unique system. Its video ad strategy will cover three different points that will come together in order to help make said strategy effective. Firstly, the market will be seeded with an initial campaign; a teaser of sorts, one could say. Secondly, a huge advertising spend will be put into place in order to direct attention to the product or campaign being targeted. Thirdly, and finally, awareness will continue through “sustained” media.

It’s not hard to see why Facebook has decided to make this change, especially when considering just how much time people spend online every day. For example, on my off time, it’s not uncommon for me to surf Tumblr while paying little to no attention to the television. It serves as background noise but nothing more. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that TV, in general, has become a fruitless tool. If anything, other types of platforms have expanded so much that they offer services which TV on its own cannot.

Not only did the video deck made by Facebook spoke about the marketing behind video ads but how they compare to TV networks in general. According to a particular graph made possible by Nielsen statistics, Facebook can reach 70% of people between the ages of 18 and 24. Major TV networks, on the other hand, can only reach anywhere from 55% to 61% of individuals in that same group. For the longest time, only TV could appeal to an entire populace. To say the least, Long Island marketing – as well as other forms of marketing – has changed.

When looking at this system, one can present the query, “How can any company make use of this concept?” Facebook is different than most, seeing as how it has a dedicated user base that very few companies can claim to possess. In addition, with fewer people spending time watching television, the fact that they will spend time utilizing other platforms for their enjoyment can support multiple claims. Amongst them has got to be that Facebook chose the ideal time to go after TV advertising dollars.

Rebecca Black’s Viral Takeover Through Humility


Does anyone remember “Friday?” It’s likely that it will become all the more familiar once you hear the few opening notes of the song that went viral two years ago. Since that time, Rebecca Black, who performed the song, seemed to stay relatively under the radar, which usually indicates the 15 minutes of fame cliché that’s easy to tie to any Internet fad. Fifteen might not be enough, though, as Black went viral once more; this time, it was through a surprising show of humility.

A few days ago, Black posted a new music video on her YouTube channel called “Saturday.” Very much tongue-in-cheek in relation to “Friday,” one can only describe this latest lyrical outing as a skit that Saturday Night Live would show if Black was the special guest. With a number of references to “Friday,” cereal bowl and all, it’s all but given that she’s making fun of herself, which was arguably the best route to go considering the backlash that “Friday” gave her. If you think that “Saturday” did anything but earn attention, you would be mistaken.

Since “Saturday” was posted, it gained over 12 million views, which should be worthy of note alone. However, the ratio between likes and dislikes is practically even, with the former just edging over the latter. Keep in mind that “Friday” was heavily disliked when it came to the surface back in 2011, meaning that “Saturday” may be looked at as more of an improvement in the eyes of the audience. It’s safe to assume that Black understood why so many people disliked “Friday,” so her next creation had to be something that was more self-deprecating.

It proved to be the best creative decision, as Black earned a number of comments that actually praised the video. While it goes without saying that there were those who lambasted “Saturday,” a good number of YouTubers spoke positively about not only the better lyrics but in how her singing improved. If you were to get the opinion of Long Island marketing experts, “Saturday” seems to be more of a platform that was designed to showcase the improvements on Black’s part while “Friday” was more of a grade school project not unlike a model volcano that failed to spew faux lava.

In fact, earlier this month, Black posted a video that showed her reaction while re-watching “Friday.” While she was visibly embarrassed at points, she wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself. The fact that she was able to do so indicates a greater level of humility than many Internet personalities lack. From a karmic standpoint, perhaps the viral nature of “Saturday” is well-deserved.

Blue Light of Death & Addressing Early Console Faults

Sometimes you never get it right the first time; the same matter of thinking can be applied to video games. More specifically, it is not unlikely for it to be drawn to the arrival of new consoles. It’s understandable that plenty of hype circulated around the systems of the eighth console generation, Microsoft’s and Sony’s efforts included. In terms of the latter, though, there have been a couple of concerns with the fleet of launch PlayStation 4 consoles.

Following E3 this past June, it seemed as though everyone’s eyes were focused on Sony. They were interested in what the PlayStation 4 had to offer, considering that it was initially able to trump Microsoft’s own Xbox One in many fields, used game implementation and DRM in general included. Of course, Microsoft turned those less user-friendly features around but many gamers would agree that the damage was done. Sony was looking to have a faultless launch but did it happen?

Dan Race, a Sony spokesperson, said that there have been a number of issues reported in terms of PlayStation 4 hardware. The most recent one, from what I have seen, has been dubbed the “Blue Light of Death.” Not unlike the “Red Ring of Death” tied to the Xbox 360 of the past generation of consoles, the “BLoD” would cause consoles to simply not function. Users wouldn’t be able to play through the litany of titles at launch, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Resogun included. Looking at the matter objectively, though, it may not be as tremendous of an issue as the aforementioned “red ring” tied to the 360 a number of years back.

It’s been said that the “BLoD” only impacted less than 1 percent of all PS4s, which isn’t unreasonable when considering the very nature of technology. Keep in mind that most consoles released during the past decade or so have had their problems. Even the PlayStation 3 and its own “Yellow Light of Death,” while unfortunate, didn’t impact consoles on a great scale. Consumers, for the most part, realize that there are going to be technical problems out of the gate. It’s just a matter of either enduring them at the onset or waiting to purchase until they are addressed.

For those who haven’t invested in the PS4 yet, it is easy to say that they are biding their time before making the purchase. The sheer power of Sony’s latest achievement is tremendous and it seems like every social media agency can bring attention to it. However, with such power comes the risk of technical problems down the road. For early adopters, it’s a matter of crossing one’s fingers and hoping for the best.