Tuesday New Chum: Twitter, Hidden Meanings, Blue M&Ms, and Practical Majors

Some interesting news articles, gleaned from recent lunchtime skimming of the papers:

  • From the “Tweet, Tweet” Department: More and more interesting uses for Twitter are arising. The New York Times reported last week that more and more small businesses are using Twitter to promote themselves (one need only look at the roving restaurant scene in LA to see this). The Daily Breeze reported that another service allows people to send tweets to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where they will be printed and inserted in the wall. We see more and more newspapers advertising themselves on Twitter (and Facebook). So it’s growing… but is anyone listening? The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a recent study that showed most people don’t even know what Twitter is (of course, it is interesting to see that next to the ad about the LA Times on Twitter). BTW, I also wonder about the corporate impact of these companies being on Twitter and Facebook: it means that corporate firewalls will likely be opened to allow access to those sites, as they are now legitimate news sites. Once that door is open, oh the time that will be wasted.
  • From the “Find the Hidden Meaning” Department: Newspapers often run contests to collect reader photos. A few current contest have caught my eye. The New York Times is collecting photos of reader’s dogs. On the other coast, the San Francisco Chronicle is collecting photos of pregnant women’s bellies. I’m trying to figure out the hidden meaning in this. Any ideas?
  • From the “Green M&Ms” Department: Growing up, we all heard the rumors about green M&Ms. Well, CNN brings us a story about the health effects of blue M&Ms: they supposedly help your back. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that when they injected the compound Brilliant Blue G (BBG) into rats suffering spinal cord injuries, the rodents were able to walk again, albeit with a limp. The same blue food dye is found in M&Ms and Gatorade. The only side effect was that the treated mice temporarily turned blue. Hmm, medicine that turns something blue… that brings a poem to mind. All together now…

    I did not sow, I did not spin,
    And thanks to pills I did not sin.
    I loved the crowds, the stink, the noise.
    And when I peed, I peed turquoise

  • From the “Practical People” Department: The Ventura County Star has an interesting report on college students and their majors. It seems in these days of frugality and economic turmoil, students are forgoing their dream majors, instead opting for majors that will bring them a well-paying job… and trying to get that degree in less time. Actually, this isn’t much of a surprise, but it is starting to affect the programs offered by universities to attract students.