The declining NC Brand

During his campaign, Governor McCrory often spoke of improving North Carolina’s “brand.”  Seems a worthwhile goal.  I would argue the way to get people to want to live in a state is far more based on good education and a high quality of life than lowering taxes on rich people and regulations on polluters.  The latest polling suggests that, as far as can be empirically determined, McCrory’s rebranding effort is an unmitigated disaster.

Republicans will want to brush away the results simply saying “it’s PPP,” but the fact that PPP is run by Democratic-leaning people cannot account for the fact that on identical questions asked last year and now this year, North Carolina fares much worse:

Two years ago PPP did national polls assessing the favorability of every state in the country. While southern states generally found themselves toward the bottom of the list, North Carolina was an exception. It polled among the ten most popular states in the country, with 40% of voters rating it favorably to only 11% who had an unfavorable opinion.

North Carolina’s national image has seen a strong shift in a negative direction since that time. Its favorability has dropped from 40% to 30%, while the share of voters with an unfavorable opinion of it has more than doubled from 11% to 23%. Its +7 favorability rating would have ranked it 40th in our national study of state popularity in 2011, rather than its top 10 popularity at that time.

The state’s national image has seen particularly large declines with racial minorities and women.

To be fair, one should not make too much out of these numbers, but they are a very clear indication that all the negative national publicity McCrory and his Republican colleagues in the GA have brought our state have undoubtedly hurt our “brand.”  I don’t think it’s a far leap to suggest it will make NC a less attractive place to the businesses and entrepreneurs McCrory wants to attract.  And, even if this gets better, I think the hit to NC’s reputation will take a long time to undo because improvements are not going to get the widespread, negative, national media coverage that the state has gotten this past legislative session.

Oh, no, my kids’ faces are public!

I like that Slate clearly takes pleasure in publishing a fair amount of contrarian articles.  But the end result is that some of them are just asinine.  Like this one about how I am poisoning my kids future because I post their faces on the internet.  Give me a break!

There’s a more insidious problem, though, which will haunt Kate well into the adulthood. Myriad applications, websites, and wearable technologies are relying on face recognition today, and ubiquitous bio-identification is only just getting started. In 2011, a group of hackers built an app that let you scan faces and immediately display their names and basic biographical details, right there on your mobile phone. Already developers have made a working facial recognition API for Google Glass. While Google has forbidden official facial recognition apps, it can’t prevent unofficial apps from launching. There’s huge value in gaining real-time access to view detailed information the people with whom we interact…

Knowing what we do about how digital content and data are being cataloged, my husband and I made an important choice before our daughter was born. We decided that we would never post any photos or other personally identifying information about her online. Instead, we created a digital trust fund.

The process started in earnest as we were selecting her name. We’d narrowed the list down to a few alternatives and ran each (and their variants) through domain and keyword searches to see what was available. Next, we crawled through Google to see what content had been posted with those name combinations, and we also looked to see if a Gmail address was open.

We turned to, a website I often rely on to search for usernames, even though the site is primarily intended as a brand registration service. We certainly had a front-runner for her name, but we would have chosen something different if the KnowEm results produced limited availability or if we found negative content associated with our selection.

With her name decided, we spent several hours registering her URL and a vast array of social media sites. All of that tied back to a single email account, which would act as a primary access key. We listed my permanent email address as a secondary—just as you’d fill out financial paperwork for a minor at a bank. We built a password management system for her to store all of her login information.

On the day of her birth, our daughter already had accounts at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Github. And to this day, we’ve never posted any content.

Short version– get a grip!  I suppose it’s fine that Amy Webb sees like this way (what a sad, truncated existence), but to imply the rest of us our wrong and causing irreparable damage to our children’s futures for not seeing the world in the same fabulously cynical way is ridiculous.  I don’t usually read comments, but this had a lot of good ones.  My favorite:

Yeah this article is pretty loony.

I guess I get some of the stuff that has to do with the here-and-now like not showing the kid’s home address. Though even then, if there’s an epedemic of bad actors using such information in horrible ways it’s escaped my attention. I know, it only takes one, and your little snowflake is precious and you are the most awesome parents ever but as general advice, taken to the above extreme, it’s mostly a solution in search of a problem as well as an occasion for the hyper-dilligent author to preen.

But the stuff about the future… How could any intelligent person look at the last ten years and assume they could possibly predict anything about the next ten, or even two?

Little Katie will have plenty of digital issues I am sure, but you can neither predict nor save her from any of them.

Photo of the day

Among the incredibly cool things in nature I find interesting are tidal bores– an incoming tide creating an actual wall of water.  Way back when by dad took me to see the Bay of Fundy where tides vary more than 40 feet in height from low to high and you can literally see the tide rolling in.  It was awesome.  Naturally, I enjoyed this In Focus set on tidal bores.  No Bay of Fundy here, but some pretty cool shots:

Surfers Adilton Mariano and Rodrigo Resende ride the Pororoca wave in the Araguari river in northern Brazil, on May 18, 2003.(AP Photo/Enrico Marone)

Coolest inforgraphic ever?

Oh man, I loved this Slate piece on the physics of cow tipping (or the near impossibility of cow tipping). Here it is boiled into an infographic:


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