Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Your Communications Measurement Reading List for May 2017

There are so many recent articles to read related to communications measurement. Here are some of the most interesting:


Invasion of the PR Body Snatchers, Part 2

Last month we featured a section of news about robots taking over PR jobs. Here’s a bit more in-depth:

  • A bot that knows 30 minutes after publication if an article will go viral.These are the bots powering Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post efforts to build a modern digital newspaper” is a transcript of a talk by at the International Symposium on International Journalism. Spoiler: The Post has about a 100 bots that write stories and help get stories written.
  • Stop worrying and learn to love the bots. From Andrew Phelps and the same symposium as above comes “This is how The New York Times is using bots to create more one-to-one experiences with readers.” Spoiler: The Times is building some way cool bot-human cyborgs to combine the best of both.
  • Build your own chatbot without coding. Amazon Lex makes building bots easier with “a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text… to enable you to build applications with highly engaging user experiences and lifelike conversational interactions.”
  • Robots will take your marketing job, too. Read Christopher Penn in “The Next Evolution of Analytics is Proactive:” “If a machine can successfully drive a car – a literal life or death scenario – then executing a marketing campaign should be trivial by comparison.”
  • Can lab rats outwit the scientists that use them? And if you’re interested enough in AI to have read this far, you’ve probably already seen Maureen Dowd’s Vanity Fair article about Elon Musk. It’s a survey of current thinking on AI by a dozen or so very smart people. Especially what they think about Musk’s favorite nightmare that AI will destroy humanity. What 98 percent of the article fails to consider is that if this human-killing AI is really that smart, it’s not possible for us relatively dumb humans to anticipate what it will do…
  • …plus, we can’t read AI’s mind. Deep learning computers can’t always tell us how they learned how to do something. They can predict a patient’s schizophrenia, but they can’t help us learn how to do it. Read “There’s a dark secret at the heart of artificial intelligence: no one really understands how it works” at Business Insider.

Fake News

For your Next Cocktail Party

  • Parrot heads. Escaped pet birds are teaching wild birds to speak English, says Treehugger.
  • I Skype dead people. Startup plans to use people’s social media footprints to build artificially intelligent 3D avatars—after they are dead. Don’t laugh at the prospect of social media enabled zombies; apparently 36K people are now waiting for Eterni-mization. Read more at The Hustle.

In Case You Missed It

Proof that humanity survives in the corporate machine.Closed RadioShack’s Facebook page hurls F-bombs at customers, becomes internet legend.”


A tip of the curation hat to Nieman Labs, The Full Monty, Christopher Penn’s Almost Timely News, and The Hustle. Each is an interesting and informative resource.


Bill Paarlberg
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Bill Paarlberg

Bill Paarlberg co-founded The Measurement Standard in 2002 and was its editor until July 2017. He also edits The Measurement Advisor newsletter. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
Bill Paarlberg
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