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5 Steps to Painlessly Conducting and Mapping Your Next Crowdsourced Survey

So, you want to crowdsource the data for your next survey, planning study, or public involvement strategy. Awesome! Don’t have a GIS budget for mapping it? Here’s 5 steps to your professionally mapped crowdsourced survey or study painlessly and, perhaps most importantly, for free:

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A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Smart Interactive Google Maps

Planetizen recently debuted their Google Maps for Planners course for $15/mo. We don’t think you need to pay to learn how to use a free tool.

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U.S. Women Are Dying Younger Than Their Mothers, and I Have a Few Theories Why

The Atlantic posted a blog entry yesterday entitled, “U.S. Women Are Dying Younger Than Their Mothers, and No One Knows Why.” It discussed, alongside a map, that women are projected to live shorter and perhaps lower-quality lives than their mothers across the United States. Both the author and researchers expressed utter confusion as to why women weren’t living as long in certain areas of the country, since they found no meaningful pattern. I think I’ve found a pattern in the data.

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7 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Help Build The New Economy

  1. Go to the pumpkin patch with your family and friends. The new economy is centered around localizing industries, including food production. Get out to the family farms, pick some pie apples, pears, and the perfect pumpkin for that one design you saw on Pinterest. Fall asleep tuckered out and remember that your choice helped many local families put food on the table through the winter months. Don’t know where to go? Find local farms through this awesome web tool. Continue reading

Planners, Architects: How to Build a New Media Presence Your Competitors Will Covet

If the thought of navigating social media, blogs, and whatever the heck a ‘meme’ is makes your throat tighten, New Media for Designers and Builders is for you.

Steve Mouzon is an architect, urbanist, author, blogger, and photographer from Miami. Mouzon’s newest book, New Media for Designers and Builders, is an e-book guide for anyone in the built environment fields (urban planning, civil engineering, architects, etc.) to start understanding and refine their skills in a dozen ‘New Media’ nodes. It’s written for those who know very little about the inner workings of blogs, websites, and the like and who don’t have time to go back to school to learn.

Mostly written for the marketing of firms, projects, and organizations, Mouzon’s conversational style and casual tone reads much like a For Dummies book. His writing style is very concise and segmented for easy and quick reading without allowing the reader to become overwhelmed.

This is definitely a guide for beginners. If you have professional experience with online marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing, I would not suggest you pick this particular title up.

My favorite bits of advice:

  • “Be remarkable.”
  • Get your crappy work out there for critique as soon as possible. It’s the only way you’ll get better.
  • Always ask, “What can I do to help?”
  • Use about 120 words in a tweet to allow room for quoted retweets.
  • Anything to do with PR, or public relations.
  • All of the “Top Ten Rules for _____” subsections. Even a social media vet will gain helpful tips or reminders from these subsections.
  • All of the “Best of ____” subsections. Follow everyone in these subsections now. Right now.

However, I was disappointed by New Media in a few ways. Mouzon mentions multiple times that he will update readers with new techniques via the companion website.

If I were Mouzon, I would revisit:

  • The format. It is an intensely linked e-book. Many online education groups have successfully started websites with guides, articles, and tips in much the same manner that Mouzon seems to be shooting for. However, the segmented and heavily linked method of communication found in New Media is more reminiscent of an education website with a paywall. I’m not convinced that this had to be a book as opposed to simply an education website with a paywall.
  • Image choice. The vast majority of images were not conducive to the comprehension of the reader and were simply stock photos or images.
  • Discouraging the reader. I believe anyone can learn anything and anyone can use any tool. You do not need to be young to be a nimble SEO, social media, or web marketing strategist: you just need to learn and know how to apply your knowledge.
  • WordPress. WordPress is a wonderful, free, online blogging platform. Please give it a thorough second chance, Mr. Mouzon. You do not need to know a lick of HTML or CSS (which is the language WordPress uses, not HTML as New Media suggests) to use the WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) web editor. It’s very similar to writing in Microsoft Word.
  • Carefully introducing yourself to new fans. Mouzon never discusses why he’s a good source for learning how to navigate new media, so it’s difficult for a new fan to tell whether he’s a credible source.

Overall, Mouzon has a considerable amount of advice to offer fans of his work– or just those who are jealous of his social media prowess– who are nervous about the New Media landscape. I even followed one of his tips while writing this review. (Can you tell which one?)

A PDF version of the book is available for purchase here. Once the iBook version goes live, Steve will send a coupon code to everyone who bought the PDF version for a free iBook version. This also puts you in line for free updates whenever Steve update the book. A Kindle version of the book is in the works and should be done shortly, according to Mouzon.

Steve Mouzon’s Contact Info:
P: 786.276.6000 | Email | Twitter | Facebook | Website

This book review does not reflect the views of Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative (TPUDC), only the views of the author. Neither TPUDC or the author were compensated by Steve Mouzon for this review.