@Takoma Park Folk Festival

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So today we were at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. 


It was a combination of food, chachkas, art, dance, and music–thank G-d, it was a good time!


When we were going through the booths, I came across this one artist pictured here. 


A little scary looking at first, but actually seemed nice enough and he stopped to speak with us. 


I asked about his very cool jacket.


And he told me, how he had actually made it with all the artistic things on it, including spikes, skulls, medals, patches, and even a pair of teeth!


Then he took off his jacket and turned around to show me his vest. 


On the back was this awesome fighting foe.


I said feigning surprise:

“Oh, and it says RESIST on top?”


He replies:

“Yeah, never miss an opportunity to share a message!”


I thought to myself this guy is pretty smart, especially as he started to explain not only his jacket, but the meanings behind some of his other artwork. 


Creativity is a wonderful thing–especially when no one gets hurt :-)–and it immediately sparks interest and dialogue.


How’d you do that?  What gave you that idea?  How do you use it?


The boring becomes exciting when another soul expresses itself. 


Yes, we’re all the same, but also we’re all different!


It’s by “going there,” you explore and learn new things.  😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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People Nutrition

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This is an risque t-shirt this lady is wearing.


It’s a big nutrition label. 


And she’s wrapped in it!


I’m not sure if this is a gag or fashion statement or even a sexual thing.


Is she advertising that she’s like the food?


What was really funny though is by her butt…it says 


“Moschino chocolate tastes good.”


Maybe that should be a black box warning!


Uh, this is way too much information for me. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

The Trouble With Communication

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So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.


There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.


Boy, this is a real conundrum.


The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can’t see. 


And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can’t hear. 


So neither are getting any messaging across. 


This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 


Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 


They don’t really care to listen or understand the other person. 


It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 


Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. 


To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person–what’s in it for me (WIIFM).


In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.


We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not 4 Valentines Day

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Valentines Day is the holiday of love. 


And this photo is not the message you want to see or expect today–of all days!


Anyway, they were selling this sleep mask at the mall.


One one side, it says “Ready”–yeah, a little forward, but problem welcome by most partners.


On the other side, it reads, “Not 2Nite”–gasps and disappointment for sure. 


What type of Valentines Day are you going to have?


Love is in the air, enjoy!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Twitter BESTS Facebook

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Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain’t seen nothing yet:


Unadulterated News & Messaging 

Twitter is where you can hear it from the President’s mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What’s even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan…that is some unbelievable access we now have. 


Speed of Information To Market

Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what’s happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 


Our Very Social Identity

Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  


It’s Populism As A Movement

Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what’s really important to them. 


Operating On A Global Open Platform 

Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you’ve got to be “friends” to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it’s open and on Twitter. 


Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence

Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous “What I had for lunch today” tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 


Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. 😉


(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter’s prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Trump Twitter Genius

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President-elect Trump is a Twitter genius!


At 70-years old, he has managed to use a millennial social media tool to take on the world, and despite opponents questioning of his temperament, so far he has unequivocally won with it. 


Using Twitter, Trump defeated candidates from Cruz to Clinton in running for president of the United States and at a fraction the cost.


Using Twitter, Trump has shaped not only policy discussion, but national sentiments around healthcare, over-regulation, tax reform, and even updating our critical nuclear deterrent capability. 


Using Twitter, Trump has strengthened alliances and friendships with nation and states from Israel to Taiwan and decreased escalating tensions with Russia. 


Using Twitter, Trump has put competitors and adversaries on notice about bad behavior from China to North Korea.


Using Twitter, Trump is setting the stage for correcting economic problems and imbalances from unfair trade practices to shipping jobs overseas.


Using Twitter, Trump gets around media bias and messages and connects directly with the people of the world. 


Of course, it is critical to vet important communications and ensure they are accomplishing the goal, but this needs to be weighed with the ability to reach out and get the message out quickly and effectively to the masses…and it’s a most fascinating and delicate balance that needs to be achieved. 


So far though, we are no longer working at the speed of government, but at the speed of the Internet. 


This is an incredible awakening in politics, but also for everyone on the incredible power of social media tools to communicate directly, unvarnished, and with impact, and no one has done it better than Donald Trump. 


The mastery of social media will continue to depend on messaging with speed, significance, and effect balanced with the vigilance as to exactly when to hit that crucial send button to the Twitterverse and the world. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Words Have Meaning

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People can be so careless and callous with their words. 


They say stupid and hurtful things. 


Sometimes, they may try to couch or sugarcoat what they are saying, so you need to put 2 and 2 together. 


Yes, that’s four…bang!


Whether it’s transparent or hiding behind a veil of political correctness or mischievousness, you get the messaging. 


Everyone has an angle, as they say in Hollywood. 


Is it benevolent or malevolent or perhaps just dopey does. 


Either way, words are very important.


It’s called communications and you send out messages verbally and non-verbally. 


Rule of thumb:

“Clarity, conciseness, and coherence.”

Often, the messaging can be confused…like the old game of telephone or just in-coherency of words or thinking. 


So which it it–there is no return policy to speak of or there are no returns allowed.


Tell me damn it! 


Why can’t the English learn to speak english? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)