Short Takes

By Christian Hamaker

‘Dead’ Languages? Not Any Longer

GraphicHundreds of the 6,909 catalogued languages won’t be passed on to the next generation, but that number is not as high as it might be were it not for the cellphone—especially in rural parts of countries outside of North America.

The U.N. says the adult literacy rate is 39% in major cities, although the rate dips substantially in rural areas. In Africa, the fastest-growing cellphone market in the world, texting has become the preferred mode of communications. People have an incentive to learn to read so that they can text.

A case in point: The N’Ko language, spoken in eight West African countries, was thought to be an endangered language. Now it can be recognized for emails, tweets and websites, even displaying on iPhones, increasing the likelihood N’Ko will survive well into the future.


Could Mail Cutbacks and Netflix Streaming Break The Internet?

The chief executive officer of Netflix has predicted a slow decline in the company’s DVD mail-delivery service. As the company’s customers move toward streaming options for their Netflix subscriptions, the impact on the Internet could be significant. Thomas Barnett, senior manager of thought leadership marketing at Cisco, predicts that online traffic will increase Graphic50%, and that’s on top of the 30%–40% annual data increases network providers are currently experiencing.

Those percentages are eye-popping, but Barnett isn’t worried. He says current network capacity is sufficient to handle the increased demand.


Top 10 Wireless Predictions for 2012
  1. Recession likely to hit smart device sales.
  2. A boost in mobile advertising and mobile gambling.
  3. Mobile coupons to drive mobile commerce market despite economic stagnation.
  4. The year of the quad-core processor.
  5. Windows 8 OS to fuel Nokia revival and disrupt tablet market.
  6. More high-profile malware attacks on mobile devices.
  7. Transformation of sensor market for mobile devices.
  8. Social gaming to become a major mobile play with introduction of synchronous gaming.
  9. Online, mobile and physical retailers will begin to fuse into one market.
  10. loud mobility to drive collaborative communications.

Source: Juniper Research

Top 9 Rural Small Business Trends for 2012


  1. Strong farm commodity prices mean strong local economies.
  2. Some places get “just one more” oil boom.
  3. Supporting the local economy takes more than “shop local.”
  4. Self-employment continues to rise.
  5. Ruralsourcing brings more high-tech jobs to rural areas.
  6. Government cuts hurt.
  7. Online doesn’t mean in front of a computer.
  8. Online reviews make everyone a local.
  9. ural broadband drives business development.


We Like Ourselves! We Really Like Ourselves!

 GraphicResearchers who followed the Facebook pages and networks of approximately 1,000 students at one college over four years learned that the strongest factor in Facebook friendship was shared cultural tastes—although not in all cases.

People who were classified as preferring lite/classic rock music and classical/jazz were much more likely to form and maintain friendships on Facebook. Those who enjoyed darkly satirical films were similarly drawn to each other on the social media site.

No other music categories or film genres showed similar predictive patterns in terms of Facebook friendships.



College Degree Required? Think Agriculture, not Architecture

GraphicStudents headed for college in the fall might be surprised by the findings of a recent study on college degrees and their worth in the current market.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce said that those with bachelor’s degrees in the arts (11.1%) and the humanities (9.4%) are among those with the highest unemployment rates. More shocking is that those with architecture degrees are even worse off (13.9%).

Who fares best? Those with degrees in health (5.4%), education (5.4%) and agriculture and natural resources (7%).


Four ‘Don’ts’ for Email Copywriting
  1. Don’t bury the lead.
  2. Skip information a subscriber already knows.
  3. Keep your focus.
  4. Avoid weak calls to action.



Tablet Ownership Doubles. Are Your Websites Ready?

The number of tablet owners nearly doubled over the holidays, rising from 10% to 19% of Americans. A report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project also said that men and women are equally likely to own tablets.




In the world of mobile telecom, 2011 saw:

A large increase in app creation and downloads

! 1 billion apps downloaded worldwide each month

A surge in the use of social media mobile platforms

! 166% increase in Facebook mobile users in the first half of 2011 alone
! 103 million wireless tweets posted each day

A continuing explosion in data traffic

! 8 trillion texts were sent—up 1.1 trillion from 2010
! 1,800% increase in traffic on U.S. networks predicted in just four years

Competition and choice

! More smartphones purchased than PCs in the United States
! More wireless subscriptions than people
! 2 billion networked mobile devices by 2015
! 4G services being rolled out by at least six carriers