Let’s Chat About #Tech and #SocialGood

One of the things I enjoy doing is getting to work with companies that are forward thinking and thinking about “social good.”  Verizon is one such company.  

On a monthly basis, Verizon holds a Twitter chat, which is simply a time on Twitter when everyone and anyone are welcomed to join an open conversation about a given topic.  (Verizon likes to spice it up by usually offering a prize as well to those who RSVP, let their community know about the chat, and join the chat.  RSVP@theonlinemom.com).  

Verizon's May 8th, 2015’s #LifeOnFiOS (the official hashtag) Twitter chat was set to talk about “Technology and Social Good.”  Let’s consider some examples.

Customer Service Call Center…
Using American Sign Language

Using Verizon as an example, just scratching the surface, the convergence of “social good and technology” can be found in Verizon’s creation of a video call center that allows customers to ask questions and receive answers using American Sign Language.  It’s a social good that comes about from the emergence of a technology that allows video calling in real time.  How else might we use this technology for social good?

Verizon’s “Descriptive Video Services” Enable 
Visually-Impaired Viewers
To “Hear” Onscreen

“It’s incredibly helpful” is how one consumer describes Verizon’s “Descriptive Video Service.”  Take a quick moment to find out how the service works.  I think you’ll be pretty amazed!  What more could we be doing?

Join the Conversation/Chat

The two examples just given should get our creative juices flowing.  Join our chat or, if you missed it, add your suggestions in the comments here!  Thanks!

Technology for Social Good:
Some Works in Progress

  • Wearables that help kids with autism recognize the emotions of others from their facial expressions….
  • Augmented reality to help those with color blindness….
  • Wearables for caregivers to track their loved ones in real time….

Your turn!  Comments encouraged!  

And let's connect on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore

Please note:  I’m a sponsored brand ambassador for Verizon FiOS.  That means I do receive some compensation for our collaboration.  Rest assured, though, the thoughts and sentiments are always mine (and, I hope, maybe yours!)

You Don’t Need an Apple Watch, But You’ll Get One

Simple as that.  You didn’t “need” an iPad, but you got one.  An Apple Watch is even cooler, because it's a wearable device that looks good, feels good, is extremely functional, reliable, and here to stay.

The Apple Watch is Not Google Glass

Confession:  I was a “Google Glass Explorer.”  I plunked down $1,500 for the privilege of getting Version 1 of Glass.  They later upgraded me to a Version 2. 

Versions 1 and 2 of Glass were bust.  Meaning, they didn’t work in a way that made the device worthwhile to wear or remotely justified the cost.

I wasn’t kind in my rantings about the shortcomings of Google Glass.  It seldom worked.  Connectivity was constantly an issue.  Battery life was too short.  I liked the “Wink” app that let me wink and take a picture.  The camera and video function did work, but they certainly couldn’t justify the  cost and clunkiness of the rest of the product.

                       Apple Delivers

The Apple Watch, as one would expect from Apple, is sleek and functional and reliable.  And it’s so much more than a watch.

A Word About Watches:

The Apple Watch

Just Devoured an Industry

To be fair, the Apple Watch really isn’t a watch.  It’s a mobile computer device.  It’s a mobile phone.  It’s Siri on your wrist.  It’s your calendar.  It’s your fitness tracker.  It’s your GPS.  Get the picture?

Oh, and did I mention, it looks really good?

I’m a watch guy.  I like watches.  There’s something about the history and craftsmanship that goes into watches.  I love the simple elegance of my Longines.  I love the boldness of my Shinolas.  The stateliness of my Omega.

Nonetheless, since getting my Apple Watch, I have not taken it off (except for nightly recharging).  I am content to admire my watch collection in my watch box.  I hate to say it, but, I don’t see myself wearing one of those watches again - UNLESS, they are simply a fashion accessory to my very fashionable Apple Watch!

I think that covers it.

What do I like about my Apple Watch?

  1. It looks good.  Yes, fashion matters.
  2. The battery life works.  I wish the Apple Watch battery lasted longer than a day, but, a full day works.  And that’s what it gives you, a full day.
  3. GPS on the Apple Watch is more than a gimmick. Punch in a destination on your iPhone.  Directions will appear on your Apple Watch.  Clear and simple enough for you to not have to look at your phone, but to simply glance at your hand on the steering wheel and see what’s coming next.  Plus, it taps you to tell you which direction to turn.
  4. The watch really works as a phone!  Seriously.  Better than Dick Tracy’s!  You can make a call or receive a call easily on your Apple Watch.  Press the side bar on the phone.  It shows you your closest circle of family and friends you’ve designated.  Your favorites.  Your frequent calls.  Tap one or scroll through the list using the crown of your phone and you’ll see a picture of the friend/family member you want to call – or message! – and tap.   Dialing or answering a call is super easy and you don’t need to put the phone next to your ear.  Keep it on the steering wheel.  You don’t have to shout.  It won’t become your first option for calls, but it’ll work well whenever you want it to.  (Perhaps even more important is your ability to see who is calling in a glance and dismiss the call for later if you'd care to.)
  5. The Apps are easy to use and the alerts are easy to control.  The sensationalist stories whined about too many alerts and too many apps.  When you get your phone, go to the Apple Watch app an your iPhone and decide which apps and alerts you really want.  It doesn’t take long to bring sense to your phone and app screen.
  6. Temperature and appointments.  I like being able to look at my “watch” face and see what the temperature is outside and whether I have any upcoming appointments.
  7. Text messages.  It’s nice to be able to see a text message without taking having to take out your phone.  And the watches mix of ready-to-use replies makes dispensing with many messages an easy tap.
  8. Siri on your wrist.  Ask her whatever you want:  “Hey, Siri….”   (Usually takes me two to three shouts.
  9. Personal fitness coach.  I like getting reminders that I have been sitting too long and that it’s time for me to stand up.
  10. Fitness tracking.  I need to explore this more.  I like the benchmarking it does for me.
  11. Paying with a flick of the wrist.  Haven’t done it yet, but, it’s there.
  12. Opening my hotel room door.  Haven’t done it yet, but, it's there.
  13. Best Nearby Things to Do.  Trip Advisor on my wrist, geo-tagged.
  14. Breaking news alerts.  Easy to read.  Tap for the full story.  Don’t know how it is, but, it IS easy to read
  15. Ping my iPhone (to help me find it!)  Misplaced your iPhone (again!).  No worries.  Swipe your watch to a screen with an icon of your iPhone.  Tap it.  Your phone will emit a loud “pinging” sound.  You don’t need to set this up.  It’s there.
  16. Easy to do a screen save.  Just press the bar on the side of the watch and simultaneously press down on the crown of the phone.  You'll hear the sound of a photo.
  17. Great apps and an easy swipe to access them.  You’ll see when you get one.
  18. The alarm is helpful.  It appears on your watch when you've set a reminder and it's easily cleared without fumbling for your phone.
  19. Facebook Pages!  A social media marketer's delight!  You can get those important alerts on your wrist so there's little time delay and less worry.
I’m sure I’ll be updating this post with new items as I explore my watch more.  But, I think I’ve given enough for you to get the picture.  You will want – and eventually get – an Apple Watch.  And the convenience it offers will ultimately justify the buy.

To those who scoffed about the future of wearables….well, a million plus sales of the Apple Watch have already proven them wrong.


This shouldn't happen with an expensive watch.  I got the edition with the black leather watchband.  After having and wearing the watch for a couple weeks, I helped set up a picnic on a hot day.  Apple Watch leather band + a little sweat = a mess.

Anyone else have this problem?  (I'll be stopping by the Apple Store this week.)


Visited a local Apple store that, at time, didn't have any replacement bands.  They suggested I call Apple Care, which I did, only to be instructed to return to the store and request again a replacement band.  This time they had one of the leather bands in stock and replaced my defective one.  Guessing mine was an anomaly, as I haven't heard from anyone else with a similar problem.

By the way, bought one of Apple's "Milanese loop" watchbands:   elegant, with a powerful magnetic end to the band that closes securely, to an almost magical effect.  $150.

If you’re interested in more content about Wearable Tech, please join me on Twitter:

A Young (20) Prince Tweets About Youth, Terrorism, Social Media & #Peacemaking

Photo Credit: @RJCJO (Royal Court's Twitter)

Young people are the largest group of Internet users and extremist groups spread their poisonous ideology across social media platforms, luring victims into their dark world under religious pretexts. 

~ His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II

At age twenty, the dashing Crown Prince of Jordan, His Royal Highness Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II, is the youngest person to have ever chaired a meeting of the 15-member Security Council of the United Nations.  He did so while serving as President of the Council on behalf of his country for the month of April 2015.  Appropriately, the meeting he chaired was a debate on “The Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace.” 

Noting that more than half of the world’s population is below the age of thirty, the Crown Prince cautioned:

We are in a race to invest in the hearts and minds as well as the capabilities of the youth.  The ideologies of darkness can reach where the armies cannot, as modern communications have provided to every voice an opportunity to reach every ear willing to listen.

The Prince’s remarks, promoting youth in the peacemaking process, were tweeted - first in Arabic, then in English - to Twitter, with the hashtag, #AlHusseinUNSC, from the verified Twitter account of the Royal Hashemite Court, @RHCJO.  His remarks, in Arabic, were also posted to YouTube, with English subtitles, shared via Twitter.  Photos of the event were posted to the Royal Court’s Instagram and Tumblr accounts. 

The Royal Jordanian Court has consistently demonstrated a deep command of social media – and an ever-deeper desire to promote peace, tolerance, and opportunity, especially for youth, in a region troubled by violence and despair.

There are few people better poised – or possessing more poise – than the Crown Prince, when it comes to commanding leadership, particularly among the youth of the world, in promoting peace.   His royal family claims direct lineage to the Prophet Mohammad.  The Crown Prince is the 42nd-generation direct descendant.

The message delivered the by the Crown Prince to the Council, and tweeted by the Royal Court to the Twitterverse, is one that demands to be shared, as the alternative is, as the young Prince warned, a void that will be filled “by enemies of humanity,” magnified in reach by “modern communications,” social media.

The Young Are the Prime Victims 

of Terrorism and Extremism

Just as his father, King Abdullah II, has made the point that the majority of victims of terrorism are Muslim, the Crown Prince observed that the “prime victims” of terrorism and extremism are the young.

Lured by Promises of 

Heavenly Rewards

‪”Young people are the largest group of Internet users & extremist groups spread their poisonous ideology across social media platforms, luring victims into their dark world under religious pretexts,” he cautioned.

Social Media Mustered By 

Terrorists to Target Youth

The Crown Prince cited some of the ways in which social media is being enlisted by terrorists to target the young.  In particular, he noted that terrorists are using high-tech videos to “misleadingly fascinate” young viewers and to glorify “terrorist crimes as great achievements.”

Alliances for Peacemaking

Observing that the Internet and social media have become fertile grounds for the recruitment of vulnerable young, the Crown Prince called for the formation of “‪alliances that can reach out to members of their generation and lead the youth’s public opinion to adopt values of coexistence, respect for diversity and rejection of violence.”  It is a lofty and pressing goal.

A Generation at Risk from Extremism

Noting that there are “nearly 73 million jobless, young men and women, and more than 14 million young refugees and displaced persons,” the young Prince declared that the susceptibility to extremism knows no geographic boundaries in a world where so many young people are confronted with joblessness and hopelessness.

Touching on the need to address massive unemployment, the Crown Prince called for investment in the “the capabilities of youth.”

Takeaways from the 

Crown Prince’s Talk 

  • The young are both the primary victims of terrorism and the primary targets of recruitment for terrorism.
  • It is because of their “huge potential, self-confidence, and ability to change the world,” that the young are targeted for recruitment by terrorists.
  • Terrorism’s enemy is humanity, regardless of religion, gender, age or nationality.
  • The war on terror concerns us all.
  • “Swift measures” should be taken to “stop feeding the fires of terrorism with the blood of our youth.”
  • “Poverty, unemployment, ignorance and weak familial ties create fertile ground for extremist thought.
  • More than half of the world’s population is under the age of thirty and the majority is in developing countries.
  • Social media must be used to create alliances that promote peace.

Terrorists Tap Twitter and Other 

Social Platforms for Recruitment

A March 2015 Brookings Institute report, looking at a time period of between October and November of 2014, estimated that there were “no fewer than 46,000 Twitter accounts supporting ISIS,” with a maximum estimate of 90,000 accounts.

Tweeting Support of Terrorism?  

There was an App for that.

Brookings reported that terrorists even developed a mobile app to send out automated mobile messages to Twitter supporting terrorism.  According to Brookings, “At its peak, it sent tens of thousands of tweets per day.”

The report also noted that ISIS supporters were much more active than the average Twitter user.”  Its study identified a group of 1,575 accounts that “tweeted more than 50 times per day on average, with 545 tweeting more than 150 times per day.”  According to Brookings, these “prolonged bursts of activity” caused “hashtags to trend, resulting in third-party aggregation and insertion of tweeted content into search results.”

Terrorist Accounts Sometimes 

Buy Their “Followers”

Supporters of terrorism aren’t above buying followers.  Brookings noted that pro-terrorism accounts tended to have more followers than the average Twitter account and that some of the accounts with larger followers had used spam bots to fill their following.

Hope from a Future King

In the face of extremism and terrorism, a young Crown Prince has managed to provide a vision of hope for “the largest generation of young people in human history,” “where peace, equality, respect, dialogue, coexistence and acceptance of differences are core values.”

To build on the message of youth involvement in peacemaking, the Crown Prince concluded his remarks by announcing that Jordan would be hosting a conference on “The Role of Youth in Making Sustainable Peace,” sometime in August of this year, “aimed at enhancing the capabilities of young peacemakers in confronting extremism and terrorism.”  It cannot come too soon.

If we aren’t connected on Twitter, please feel free to join me there:  @GlenGilmore

PLEASE NOTE:  In March of this year, I had the privilege of touring Jordan with a group of bloggers as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board, as a travel blogger, @TravelEsquire.  From that experience and an earlier visit to Jordan as a speaker at a tech conference, MENA-ICT, I have come to have a particular fondness for the efforts of the Jordanian leadership and people in promoting peace in the region.  A visit to their country will demonstrate that tolerance and mutual respect for diversity have found a home in Jordan.  This writer hopes others will follow that great model and the leadership of a future king.


Center For Middle East Policy at Brookings, The ISIS Twitter Census: Defining And Describing The Population Of Supporters On Twitter. Washington, D.C.: March 2015.