Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

From Big Apple to Big Data: Making Data as Powerful as New York’s Physical Experience

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

Image via Wikipedia

It should be no surprise that New York City, run by a mayor who made his billions on data and information media, is one of the fast-moving cities trying to open up all of their data centers to provide a firehose of information to developers and other cities in an effort to making living in dense urban centers easier and more enjoyable.


At the forefront of this push is the city’s Department of Information Technology Telecommunications, which is behind an effort to create NYC Big Apps, an attempt to make an open graph of data for anyone and any department in the city wishing to make applications that can improve people’s lives. The city is even interested in sharing its APIs and data with other cities, but that may be a little further down the road.

I talked briefly with Nicholas T. Sbordone, Director of External Affairs, New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, about the NYC Open Data initiative and other moves the city is making to make the city more open. He offered me three bullet points. I’ve also included a video of Rachel Stern, who is the city’s data protagonist, below.

According to Sbordone, the city is trying to achieve the following:

        Replacing the old NYC DataMine, NYC Open Data provides datasets in a variety of machine-readable formats and as application programming interfaces (APIs) for direct connectivity to data feeds; enhanced browsing and search capabilities allowing users to search by full dataset – or by datum within datasets; visualization tools such as maps, charts and graphs; and discussion forums for user feedback and suggestions.

Moving forward, regular refreshes of data sets will follow, and we’re in the process of adding a field to the metadata that will tell users how often that particular dataset will be updated.

In parallel, we’re working to help City agencies automate the publishing of their data – so instead of their having to send it over periodically we’ll be able to refresh it on NYC Open Data as soon as they update in their systems.

Here’s a video of Sterne talking about open data and the city’s “Roadmap for the Digital City” at O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 conference a couple of weeks ago:


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Amazon Delivers Amazon Locker Service to New York City

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

Image via Wikipedia

I received an email today that will save me from the horrible customer service delivered by my local post office station.  Amazon is launching its Amazon Locker Service in New York City.

All Amazon customers in New York City now have the Amazon locker service available to them.  and it’s free of charge.



Read the rest of this entry »

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New York Times Calls To Be Heard “One of the best documentaries of the year”

The New York Times review of To Be Heard is out, and we could not be happier. Paul Brunick loved the film.  It opens today. Check it out.

Here’s the full review:

On paper, “To Be Heard” may sound like the kind of production that’s better at “raising awareness” than at holding anyone’s interest. In a straightforward vérité style, it tracks the intertwining trajectories of three underprivileged New York City teenagers whose lives are transformed by their participation in a pedagogically progressive slam-poetry program at University Heights High School in the Bronx. There are inspirational triumphs and painful setbacks, and, yes, the students read their poems in sincerely unguarded performances.

But check your cynicism at the ticket booth. “To Be Heard” is one of the best documentaries of the year.

The film offers more substantive insights into pressing issues of public education and urban poverty than many political commentators muster in a career. Situations are presented in all of their messy detail. While the psychological toll of systemic racism and pervasive financial hardship is dramatized in powerfully human terms, the film refuses to elide less readily sympathetic problems, like drug use, single-parent households and domestic abuse. “To Be Heard” contains and invites passionate debate. As one teacher remarks about a troubled student, “There is no facile solution.”

Ultimately, though, the intimacy of the portraiture is so raw that it transcends sociology. These students — Anthony Pittman, Pearl Quick and Karina Sanchez — are three of the most authentic and complex young adults you’ll find in any film this year. And each is a genuinely great writer: technically accomplished and emotionally overwhelming. They aren’t just the subjects of “To Be Heard.” They’re its stars.


Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed by Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, Deborah Shaffer and Amy Sultan; director of photography, Mr. Martinez; edited by Mr. Martinez; music by Wendy Blackstone; produced by Mr. Legiardi-Laura, Mr. Martinez, Ms. Shaffer, Ms. Sultan and Jill and Jim Angelo; released by Dialogue Pictures. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 27 minutes. This film is not rated.

Filed under: Influence, Work, , , , ,

Social Media in Education Manifesto: Truth, Quality, Integrity

I’d like to get a few things off my chest, and they involve social media marketing and community management. Here are some things that I believe form the core of social media marketing and community management, especially in the fast-paced (recent phenomenon) ed tech industry.

Tell the Truth: I have lied before. I don’t know anyone who has not. But lying is not the foundation of my business. I don’t tell people one thing about their investment in me and the work that I do and then do something else. I don’t lie about the results. I don’t lie about my capabilities. I don’t lie about the impact that social media can have on your business.

Social media and community management can be a hit or miss game. It’s mostly hit. But there will be misses. I don’t lie about those misses. And I don’t lie to clients, because a lie to a client turns into a reputation for mismanagement.

Social media has a huge potential to change people’s minds about products, industries, brands, people and organizations. It can only get that way if people keep things transparent.

Social Media Marketing is About Quality: At the end of the day social media marketing in education is about quality storytelling, it’s not about buzz and marketing.

I think women love Tiffany jewelry, not because it’s shiny and glittery. Women are not raccoons. They like it because it’s a symbol of quality and elegance, and someone loved them enough, saw the same kind of quality and elegance in them, and gave them that jewelry as a testament to that eternal sense of astonishment at a good thing.


Not because it's expensive, but because it's a standard.

Social Media is Not Marketing: Yes, some people will refer to social media as content marketing. That’s because the content is used to form an audience, and it is hoped that this audience grows, and as it grows, they talk about your product or service. But it’s not really marketing. Traditional marketing is about telling people what to think. It’s not really about rhetoric, convincing people, changing hearts and minds. Social media is about having a real conversation with real people. It’s about dealing with feelings and dealing with the truth wrapped around those feelings and the experiences an audience is  having with the content, the organization, and the community in which that audience participates.

Anyone who tells you that social media is only a new way to do marketing for education is lying to you. Please see rule number one.

Social Media and Community Management is a 24/7 Job: Social media in education is not something that you can set up, let someone do for a month or a year and then let it go. Social media is like taking care of African Violets. African violets need a lot of attention, day and night. You have to be willing to wake up and feed them. In fact, maybe it’s not like taking care of African Violets. Mabye it’s like taking care of young African lion cubs. Those things need a lot of care.

They grow up eventually. Better treat them right when they're young.

Social Media is about Connecting Offline and Online: Some people make the mistake of thinking that social media in education is about just putting up seven blog posts during the day. It’s much more. It’s about closing the laptop, folding up the iPad2 and going out and meeting people. I do this every day with the hundreds of ed tech entrepreneurs in New York City. I go to meetups with the NYC Education Technology Entrepreneurs group I created, and with dozens of other social media meetings each week. I go to General Assembly and take classes on advertising online, social networking, and the building of apps (I haven’t done this one yet, but I have my eye on one for the gaming sector).

While I am out at classes, or having drinks with entrepreneurs, I make friends. I learn about people. I engage with them. I do all of the things I do online, only I do it with shoes on.

Same same. Life offline can be a lot like life online. Very social.

That’s it for now.

I offer my services as a social media strategist and a community manager. I have over ten years experience in live TV, media analysis, traditional and new media journalism and digital PR influence. Say hello to me on Twitter @douglascrets, or connect to me in any number of ways.

My rates are reasonable, between $1300 and $2500 a month, depending on what kind of community management or social media analysis you need for your business or organization. I can even present you with dozens of pretty pictures, graphs, tables and charts that show what your ROI is on a social media campaign.

Oh, yeah, one more thing.

Social Media Management in Education is not about Campaigns:  Think of it more like training and playing your favorite sport, on the professional level, through the pre-season, the season and definitely the post-season championship series. Yes. I do that. I play it champion style.

The Thrill of Working on Social Media All Day!

And with me, you will, too.

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