NPR’s Social Media Experiment

Huddleston Tax CPAs is an accounting firm in Bellevue, Redmond and throughout the greater Seattle area.

This is Lauren Katz: She works for NPR and it was her idea to see what would happen if NPR “swapped humans for robots” late last month.

Katz’s idea came from manually tweeting out select stories from NPR’s RSS feed at night after they’d already been tweeted by the automatons. Apparently, people pick on the human touch and she noticed increased engagement with her manual tweets. This positive reception convinced her that livetweeting NPR’s entire tweeter feed for 5 days would be a good idea.


npr for redmond blog


“During the five days of manual updating, there were 142,219 visits to NPR’s website from @nprnews tweets — a 45 percent increase from the average (98,213) of the five weeks leading up to the experiment … Links tweeted by @nprnews were clicked on nearly 100,000 more times than links shared automatically the week before, information from its account revealed. And the account gained 5,010 followers — about 14 percent more than the week before.”

Those are amazing numbers … and certainly a great PR stunt … which obviously you can’t rule out as a factor in the spike of followers and retweets, but a 45% increase? That’s huge, and more importantly it’s entirely organic and sustainable. Those followers, after all, were picked up fair and square–with engaging content.

There were some drawbacks, of course … Primarily, the intensiveness of livetweeting for a national news organization “every eight to 10 minutes.” Katz said:”…I found it really hard to write human tweets and keep up with everything else I was doing. I did it, and we were there all week, but it takes more manpower if we want to continue it.”

The  question then for NPR is how practical would it be to continue with livetweets? Maybe a mix of automatic RSS tweets and livetweeting?  What do you think? Leave us a comment in the comment section …

If you enjoyed this article, why not follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook while you’re at it? You can always expect interesting, engaging content on our blogs!


What Hamburgers Say About Your Neighborhood

Last week, we broadcast planetmoney’s story on gTLDs. Read our post about the ever expanding Internet! This week’s post returns to Planet Money for inspiration (because it’s a really excellent source for finance stuff that you can check out here).

This is a hamburger (in desperate need of “the works”).

Any red blooded American meat-eater will tell you this premise is a “juicy” one: “How Long Would You Have to Work to Buy a Burger in Your City?”

All puns aside, is this is a good question? Sure. Some of the findings are predictable, but others will certainly provide plenty of food for thought! Zing!

If you’re curious, the data was collected by matching average income by zip code with average burger prices.

Across the board, from east coast to west coast, the findings are the same. In higher income areas, it takes considerably less time to earn enough for a burger. Not a surprise, really. This is what the article has to say:

“… Residents in fancy neighborhoods don’t have to work as long to buy burgers, even though burgers are more expensive in fancy neighborhoods.”

For example, in the Upper East Side in Manhattan the average income is a little more than $75 an hour, and burger prices hover around $9 or about $3 more than in surrounding areas with lower income averages. Of course, $3 more for a burger while an increase isn’t astronomical.

So that’s good news, right? Even an expensive burger is still fairly affordable no matter how much you make. Correct! Know why? The ubiquitously low cost of making and selling burgers. It’s pretty cheap.

Which leads us to another conclusion. Uniformity in hamburger costs means hamburgers are not a good indicator of wealth whereas something like housing which varies a great deal by zip code is. But we’re not looking at real estate costs, we’re looking at hamburgers, and there is still a lot to take away from these findings.

Hipsters in Brooklyn are broke, pay a lot of money for hamburgers and spend their time making Mexican hats. True story.

In trendy neighborhoods with lower incomes, burger prices may still be relatively high (higher than  expected) because the restaurants in those neighborhoods attract people who earn more. In the real world, these are areas like Echo Park in L. A. and the Lower East Side in Manhattan–you know, trendy places. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for example, the average wage is about $29 an hour while burgers still cost as much as they do in Manhattan.

An interesting exercise would be to see if you could predict the neighborhoods where gentrification is an issue  just by looking at the map. Hint: Higher burger costs, lower average income is a good place to start.

All in all, this is a pretty interesting read and the graphs are excellent. All of the information is there. What is it telling you and what do you think of our post? Write us back in the comments section! Thanks and have a great week!




New gTLDs!

Update 5/2/14: This link explains the introduction of temporary domains. It works this way–A couple marries and purchases a domain at .wed to celebrate their union. After the wedding, interest in that event will drop off a great deal, and its site will go “unused and unvisited.” However, to avoid that kind of stagnation, the owners of .wed have decided to jack up prices in the third year from less than a hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars effectively vacating that domain for new users to buy and own.

If you’re curious, the owner of .wed is this company, Atgron. Its CEO and the apparent progenitor of this new idea is Adrienne Mcadory, a former IT project manager at the Pentagon. She was interviewed in the NPR podcast we based our post on. You can listen to the podcast here.



Do you own a website? If so, the chances are high you’re  using a domain address that ends in .com which makes sense as its the most widely used and easily recognized domain ending in use today. Although, due to ICANN’s expansion of new generic top level domain addresses or gTLDs there is a chance that could change. Planet Money’s new episode, “The Wild West of the Internet,” does a good job explaining the history of .com, and what the introduction of these new domain names means for its future and the future of the whole Internet.

ICANN, which stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, CA, and is responsible for introducing all of the new gTLDs that include such endings as .ninja, .kim, and .link. (Actually, here’s ICANN’s list of new domains.)

One of the benefits of new domains being introduced is that it opens up space for possible new domains and could lead to cleaner and shorter web addresses which helps out both businesses and consumers.

If you’re interested in buying one of these new domains, it’s not totally out of the question. But most of them will inevitably be owned by large corporations. If you are the owner of one of these domains, however, you can look forward to setting all of the rules for the way it will be used including the fee for the cost of using it.

Of course, as Planet Money points out, this isn’t the first time new domains have been introduced. ICANN introduced a handful of new domain names around the turn of the century that were bought up by businesses interested mostly in preventing their competitors from owning them and not necessarily expanding them into viable online locations.

What do you think about this latest development in web domain names? Good, bad, doesn’t matter? Let us know in the comments section! Have a nice week!