Government, Social Media

Everyone Celebrating NC’s Low Unemployment Rate Except News & Record

NC Unemployment Rate Drops Below National Average to 6.2%.  “April unemployment rate falls to 6.2 percent in NC” is the headline most papers used.  N&R’s headline reads “Still ‘some room to go’ for North Carolina’s economy.”

Why do hundreds of headlines celebrate the unemployment rate drop, but the N&R takes a glass half-empty approach.  Would the headline be the same if Democrats were in power in NC?

Some of the other headlines for that AP story from around the country:

Unemployment Declines in Carolinas Far Outpace US – Wall Street Journal

State unemployment rate falls to new low

Unemployment continues to drop, state added jobs

April unemployment numbers show more people at work


News & Record's Headline  About Unemployment Rate Drop in NC

News & Record’s Headline About Unemployment Rate Drop in NC

Sun Easter Sunday
Charity, Social Media

Little Mention of Easter in News & Record on Easter Sunday

Why is there so little mention of Easter in Easter Sunday’s News & Record? It’s mentioned in the body of Beth McKee-Huger’s piece, but not in a single headline. In a couple of other pieces, it’s used as a date reference. Can anyone explain the editorial decision-making behind this?

The Newseum in Washington, DC has a neat feature with front pages of newspapers from all over the world  – but view them quickly as they are only available for that day.  An interesting study would compare the coverage of Easter in various media outlets including social media.

North Carolina’s Newspapers’ Front Pages:

Asheville Citizen-Times     Easter mentioned in bottom right footer

Charlotte Observer     Easter prominent photo mid-page and article and advertisement in footer

The Daily Courier – Rutherford    Walk to Calvary with cross being carried, prominent with photos

The Daily Dispatch – Henderson    No mention of Easter on front page

The Daily Herald – Roanoke Rapids    Prominent story with cross and photo

The Enquirer Journal – Monroe    No mention of Easter, not even in their Today in History list with various events from today’s date

The Fayetteville Observer    No mention of Easter

Gaston Gazette    No mention of Easter

Herald-Sun   No mention of Easter

Hickory Daily Record   Prominent story titled “He is Risen” (top story and just below it is an even larger article titled Got Beer?), plus Easter ad in footer.  **This is my favorite front page

High Point Enterprise    Header and main prominent story about Easter, only other article on front page is about church pianist/organist world record holder, it is the only front page with all faith stories

Independent Tribune – Cabarrus    Prominent Easter story with multiple photos

The McDowell News – Marion    Header mention of Easter, story on a church mid-page

Mooresville Tribune    Header mention of Easter, Christian music story

News & Observer         Prominent story on Easter food

News & Record     Story on right side about a church – passing Easter reference in article

News Topic – Lenoir    Prominent Easter photo with cross, also header mention

The Star – Shelby     Prominent Easter story with multiple photos including Christ on Cross re-enactment

Star News – Wilmington     Brief mention of Easter’s Holy Fire celebration in Greece in bottom right

Times-News – Hendersonville     Header saying Happy Easter with flower photo

Winston Salem Journal     No mention of Easter

Are the papers responding to consumer preference in their markets?  Are these editorial decisions?  Will you see churches having to hire PR firms to promote Easter stories in the future?





The Blogger is In
Social Media

Blogging Advice from the Greensboro’s Blog Bosses

People blog for a lot of reasons.  I reached out to the local blogging community and received lots of great advice.  The following is a jumble of those thoughts.  I played 52 pickup with their sentences and my own.

The contributors include Billy Jones, Ed Cone, Lex Alexander, Jeff Martin, George Hartzman, and Roch Smith.

Why Do You Blog?  What Advice Do You Have?

To understand the medium

First, to understand the medium itself in its early days.

Creating the new media/journalism landscape

Helping to create a new local journalism landscape was my primary focus for the longest time, and the thing with the most lasting value. Much remains left to do on that front.

Have something to say about a topic

That quickly led to a focus on areas that interested me, in which what we now call social media was having an impact: politics, journalism, and pop culture.

Write about what you know, and write about what you care about. Ideally these will be identical, but if they’re not, go with what you care about and use part of that caring to learn more about the subject as you go.

Write about things you know about and care about. Take some time, experiment and find what appeals to you is good advice.  Add value, not volume.  Get things right the first time.

Eventually the love affair ended and I was ready to quit. Then a subject came up that I was passionate about.

To build a record on a topic.

To pay attention.
Writing in a way that builds a body of work on specific topics allows one to understand certain aspects of those topics better over time.  The frequency, origin and consequences of events pertaining to those topics becomes clearer when observed over time— when one pays attention — giving a better understanding of their true nature. Over time, one starts to see patterns and connections that reveal more than the occasional observation.

To put it out there

Sometimes, blogging is a way for me to “put it out there,” — for the “record.” To say, “I’m watching.” “I see this.” “This is questionable.” “This is praise-worthy.” That may not influence public opinion en mass, but it contributes to the slow-drip and, often enough, is noticed by those who are involved with the topics of my commentary.

Some things need to be said.  Some things need to be repeated.  My fave are those things which probably should never be said at all.  I enjoy the right and the ability to comment on injustice wherever I find it.  As a result, I have many enemies and few friends.

Resource of information

Become a resource of information for other Internet users.  A few of those readers would explore the rest of my site and become regular readers.  Others read the free lists of not so widely known search engines. Any time I went looking for something and couldn’t find it all in one place or what I found came up short I published a list on one of the pages in the background of my site. Then I wrote a short blog post linking to it not so much to tell people about it but to direct the search engines to more easily find it. In other words, I made myself necessary.

Organize my thoughts

To practice organizing my thoughts; to research and think through topics; to test my assumptions and conclusions. Writing with some seriousness of purpose makes me a better thinker and, therefore, a better communicator elsewhere as well.

Tied into my day job

Along the way, I found blogging to be a natural and useful adjunct to my jobs as a writer and editor.

I started out blogging in an attempt to sell a product. (Not a good reason) That failed but for a short while before the economy crashed I managed to earn my living at it. Unfortunately my reader demographic was largely under $35,000 a year so they fell quickly and so did my blogging for a living. By that point I was in love with doing it and continued.

For Me

Make me think, expand my viewpoint.

I write because I can’t NOT write, and the blog is one convenient outlet among many. If anyone enjoys it, great, but I do it for me — not to market myself, but because doing it makes me feel good.

I think blogging made me a better writer, thinker, and listener. I hope it made me a better person. I’ve told my kids many times that when I look back at my life I almost never think, man, I wish I’d been more of a dick. Blogging reinforced that lesson for me.

Time intensive

I quit because I loved it and I had other stuff I wanted and needed to do.

I started again because once I’d broken the habit of being a multiple-times-a-day, constantly-engaged blogger (and be warned that it is a powerful habit) I felt I still had something to say about my community, and still wanted a place to write.

And try not to allow it to become an obsession.

Better way to communicate than FB, Twitter

And I found that with FB siphoning off the old flow of link-blogging and cat pics, the longer pieces I want to write were a natural fit for a blog.

But then you’ve experienced the failings of Facebook or you wouldn’t be starting a blog.

Building Traffic

Driving online traffic is a multifaceted endeavor. But if you blog just for the sake of traffic, the blog won’t do well.

Don’t chase traffic, chase good ideas.

When you drive significant enough amounts of readers to the other website to get their attention. Some being stat whores like myself will simply look to see what others are saying about them but sometimes they will respond with links in-kind. Sadly, blogging etiquette isn’t as closely followed as it once was.

You’ll want to be selective in who you link to in blog posts.  That said, outbound links can drive inbound traffic when your link sends traffic to other blogs.

Participate in discussions on other blogs.

Be transparent

Be transparent in your blog postings, by which I mean be clear on what each post is about, and write only about that, explaining, among other things, why you’re writing about it (i.e., why you care about it and think other people might, too).

Continuing on the transparency theme, if you’re writing about something that you care about and that you have a financial or personal interest in, say so — that honesty builds trust. But you’re not obliged to go into detail. If you want to blog about something in which you have a financial interest you don’t believe you can safely disclose at the time you want to blog about it, then find something else to blog about it.

Engage and treat others nicely but be careful

If you get commenters, engage with them, particularly the ones who ask questions. You can ignore trolls unless they threaten to drive off other, legitimate commenters, in which case just ban them.

Treat people online the way you would treat them in the physical world.

Your blog, your rules. And in close to 25 years of participating in online communities, I’ve never been in one that didn’t eventually require a moderator.

Also,be careful. You have something to lose, and there are folks out there who don’t, and relish the idea of taking a scalp — any scalp. Hope your skin is thick.

Why are you blogging?

Why are you blogging? Answer that and you’ll go a long way towards knowing what you should be doing. No one size fits all.

Complicated answer – part to learn a new technology/skill, a more comprehensive outlet than FB, creative writing outlet, alternative to friending people on FB, marketing my companies, learning what others think about issues – broadening my viewpoint, thinking aloud on certain issues and making the system more transparent, and blowing off steam.

Welcome to the party.

The Office Time Machine
Entertainment, Social Media

The Office Time Machine – Cultural References by Year

The Office Time Machine is a series of videos that pull out The Office cultural references and sorts they by year.  It’s a time capsule of sorts.  You can visit the page and watch several years in a row.  Sports, Movies, TV, Books, Music, Politics, Food/Drink, Technology, and other references abound.

The Office Time Machine

The Office Time Machine

I suggest starting with your birth year – in my case, 1969 and letting it run forward.  There’s probably a drinking game that could be developed out of this.

1969 – Born

1976 – 7

1980 – 11

1987 – High School Graduation

1991 – College Graduation

1994 – Internet Usage Kicking In, but notice only reference is to

1999 – Married

2003 – Children

2012 – Final Year of The Office

To pick your year and start – visit The Office Time Machine.

Madison - Pawn Social Media
Social Media, Travel

Pawn Shop Social Media? Really???

I was walking through downtown Madison, NC and spotted this:

Madison - Pawn Social Media

Madison – Pawn Social Media

My first thoughts were – Who’s going to like a Pawn Shop on Facebook?  And if you’re pawning stuff, do you really have a computer or internet service?  Wouldn’t it be kind of depressing?

But then I visited M&M Pawn Shop’s Facebook Page

M&M Pawn Facebook Page Header

M&M Pawn Facebook Page Header

M&M Pawn Facebook Posts

M&M Pawn Facebook Posts

Clearly they need a graphic designer to pawn some stuff or trade for some upgrades to the page.  But looking past the aesthetics, it’s pretty interesting.

1) I saw some stuff that that I might want to buy (so the page may be more useful for people purchasing items, rather than those hocking them).

2) It’s interesting just to peruse what people pawn (in a reality show type way)

3) Pawn shop or not, it’s great to see a small business linking Bricks and Mortar with Social Media Efforts (because many do not).

In the end, I wound up Liking their Page and will probably stop in store sometime.  Effective marketing.  

Their pink sidewalk pig, as tacky as it is, made me stop as well.  You have to wonder if they just thought it looked funny or if they were subconsciously referencing Pearls Before Swine.

Madison - Pawn Pig

Madison – Pawn Pig

Pearls before swine” and “casting pearls” refer to a quotation from Matthew 7:6 in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, implying that you should not put what is valuable in front of those who will reject the notion that it has value and furthermore that they will seek to diminish or destroy what you offer.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Given that this pig is actually wearing the jewelry – is the message that some Pigs will realize the value and put them on?

Carolina Plott Hound - NC Conservative News Aggregator
Government, Social Media, UNC

GO’s Ascent with Carolina Plott Hound

Carolina Plott Hound, the top NC conservative news aggregator, has published three of Greensboro Observer’s stories in the last week.  Today CPH’s top story is Obamacare (ACA) to Cost UNC $47 Million.  Last week they linked to stories about UNC Financials and UNC Foundation Financials – both stories contain Excel spreadsheets and detailed numbers in an effort to provide greater transparency to the people of our State.

Carolina Plott Hound - NC Conservative News Aggregator

Carolina Plott Hound – NC Conservative News Aggregator

Social Media

Greensboro Company Seeking Web Developer/Programmer

Web Developer/Programmer



We are searching for an outstanding web developer to be responsible for developing innovative, reusable Web-based tools. The applicant should be able to develop specifications and make recommendations on the use of new and emerging technologies. Programming, graphic design and database administration are all elements of this position. Experience and/or knowledge of mobile apps is required.


  • Work closely with an in-house graphic/interactive designer to produce visually appealing material for websites and mobile apps.
  • Convert raw images and layouts from a graphic designer into CSS/XHTML/HTML5 themes.
  • Determine appropriate architecture, and other technical solutions, and make relevant recommendations.
  • Communicate with efficiency and accuracy any progress and/or delays. Engage in outside-the-box thinking to provide high value concepts.
  • Alert colleagues to emerging technologies or applications and the opportunities to integrate them into operations and activities.
  • Be actively involved in and contribute regularly to the development community of the CMS of your choice.
  • Develop innovative, reusable Web-based tools for activism and community building.

Required Skills

  • BS in computer science or a related field, or significant equivalent experience
  • 3 years minimum experience with HTML/XHTML and CSS
  • 2 years minimum Web programming experience, including PHP, ASP or JSP
  • 1 year minimum experience working with relational database systems such as MySQL, MSSQL or Oracle and a good working knowledge of SQL
  • Experience with programming, development and deployment of mobile applications
  • Development experience using extensible web authoring tools
  • Experience developing and implementing open source software projects
  • Self-starter with strong self-management skills
  • Ability to organize and manage multiple priorities­

Restaurant Investors is a restaurant company with multiple concepts operating and in development. We offer career growth and competitive benefits. We are located in the Greensboro, North Carolina area. Restaurant Investors is a well-capitalized company and it’s parent company, Kotis Holdings ( is the Triad’s largest retail shopping center developer. New locations and growth are a part of company objectives. Competitive benefit package available.

Beerby is our proprietary beer app available for iPhone or Android. It allows you to track and take notes about what beers you drink, find good beer near your current location, discover bars that carry your favorite beers, compete with your friends and more. We are looking for a developer/programer that can help us take this app and new ones to the next level.

Info about the company and restaurant concepts:

And also some news updates on the following sites:

Salary commensurate with experience.  Apply through contact form.

Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom
Restaurants/Food, Social Media

Bathroom Hallway Primitive Twitter

I saw this primitive version of Twitter in a bathroom hallway at the Persephone Bakery in Jackson Hole, WY last month.  Overlooking the poor location (it was a small space) and hygiene issue, it was an interesting idea.  You take a recycled slip of paper (pre-torn into small slips), put it in the old typewriter, type a note, then place it on the wall with a thumbtack.

Poems, love notes, jokes, messages between people, adages and observations covered the wall.  The thought-provoking question is – Why?

Perhaps because it was a machine or toy, people wanted to play with it.  A new technology to a youth.  A nostalgic one for someone older.  Maybe a grandfather wants to show his grandson in the same way a grandson wants to show grandpa the latest technologies.  Or perhaps a means to connect with someone that you know, or someone you haven’t met.  Sitting in the dining area watching the hallway to see if someone reads the message, if it makes them smile, laugh or frown.  Did people feel like they needed to type something to fit in, because everyone else had?  Or did they dismiss it as too cutesy.  What did it say about the person if they stopped to read, typed something or didn’t type something.  When more people were around, did some people use it more often, or less often.  It could have been a way to leave a mark, to let people know you were there.  Or writing a note in response to something you saw on the wall – to chime in or to contradict.  Did they choose to type their name on the slip and was it a real name.

It makes you also wonder if people reading the slips took down any objectionable ones or was that up to the management.  Were there unwritten rules for typing on the wall.  And did the bakery put the typewriter in as a marketing idea or for inspiration.  I didn’t type a note, but I kind of wish I had.

Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom

Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom

Slips of Paper Serving as Primitive Twitter
Slips of Paper Serving as Primitive Twitter

Proximity Suite
Social Media

Blogger Breakfast, Barack’s Bedroom and Bordeaux Blending Result in Blog

Most of my Friday was spent at the Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro.  It involved a breakfast meeting, Bordeaux blending dinner and being lucky enough to get bumped up to the Presidential Suite.  Saturday morning, with perhaps a judgement impairing hangover, I decided to launch a blog.

The day started with a breakfast meeting with a local blogger to talk about some web and tech projects we’re planning to tackle this year (websites, domain management and monetization, and the Beerby app we acquired).  My longtime web developer is retiring and that, coupled with the new projects, has me searching resumes and reviewing proposals.  We’ve reached out to UNCG and NC A&T, posted a job description on (included in follow up post).  Perhaps the interesting discussion planted a seed about blogging.

Apparently blog seeds need lots of wine to cultivate them.  That night we attended the Proximity’s Blend Your Own Bordeaux Dinner.  The winemaker, Trinchero, lays out four single grape wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot (they didn’t include Malbec, which was probably wise given the quantity of wine).  These grapes are typically used in blending a Bordeaux or Meritage wine in the Bordeaux style.  You have four small carafes of wine in front of you and the trick is to make your own blend.  Typical blends are high in Cab Sav and Merlot with lesser roles played by Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.  There is also a competition for best blend name, but alas our Cab Ride of Shame and Chat the Front Door didn’t win.  The dinner was paired with rooms, so a group of us gathered in one of them and stayed up late (well 40-something late which is midnight).  Have you ever noticed that people that have too much to drink sound and look like stroke victims?

We got back to our room and I vaguely remember going to sleep.  When we checked in, we had the good fortune of getting bumped up to a very nice suite on the eight floor.  I learned that President Obama had stayed in that room and that his entourage took the entire 7th and 8th floors.  The room had several sitting areas, a dining area, two full baths, and a separate bedroom and sitting area.  The view was amazing, with lots of open land in Green Valley below that could easily house a Trader Joe’s and shelves of their two-buck Chuck.

Proximity Suite

The next morning, thinking how odd it was that I too was pondering health care as I was searching for Advil, I had the presidential idea of starting a blog.  I’m a big fan of technology and social media, so this seemed like a good idea.  Of course, my blog may be as disastrous as‘s launch and my grammar as bad as Sal Leone’s. But I welcome any and all suggestions/corrections.

On Facebook, I changed course over the last couple of years and culled my friends list down from the hundreds to less than 100.  I use my LinkedIn profile to connect with most of my professional contacts.  I’ve tried Twitter, but I can’t look at my phone that often.  Much of my posting is through my various companies Facebook pages – Kotis, Darryl’s, Marshall Free House, Pig Pounder, Burger Warfare and Yo Daddy. I enjoy reaching down past the layers of management and having short conversations with the restaurant guests.  Each of those pages has its own personality, so this will be somewhat different.  I picked Greensboro Observer because 1) I had the domain, 2) it will contain my observations, and 3) it’s as close as I’ll get to owning a newspaper.

I tend to gather much of my news by reading the News & Record, Yes! Weekly, Rhino Times, Triad Business Journal, WSJ, USA Today and BBC News on my iPad.  For some local dish I also visit Greensboro101, Billy’s, George’s blog and TriaggregatorFec’s and Ed Cone’s.  Each has a different voice and I skim through for interesting stories or comments.  Carolina Plott Hound has some conservative editorial headlines from all over the State, The Daily Tar Heel for UNC news, and I also use various alerts and search terms.  I’m sure I’m leaving some out, but this isn’t an acceptance speech.

The topics I plan to cover in this blog include:  Commercial Real Estate, Restaurants, UNC System, Government, Beer/Wine/Mixology, Travel, Social Media, Technology, and Architecture. I’m going to post a few articles at once to get it started, then likely settle into 1-2 posts per week.  Again, I welcome any feedback and hope you’ll enjoy the blog.