Texas Fire Information Consolidated #txfire

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Twitter Updates: hashtags #txfire, #centraltxfires, #txwildfire

Facebook:

Important Websites:

Bastrop Fires #txfires

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***Update: Please see the updated consolidated #txfire list here.***

There are a dozen fires burning across Texas today, with the fire in Bastrop being one of the largest and least contained.  So far, the fire has consumed 30,000 acres and approximately 600 homes.  Smoke can be seen and smelled from Corsicana to Corpus Christi.  Dozens of fire stations across the state have dispatched fire fighters to Bastrop and other counties in trouble.

On Twitter, you can follow updates through hashtags #txfire and #centraltxfires.  Important Twitter feeds: @centexredcross, @KXAN_News, @keyetv, @txstormchasers, @statesman, @PreparingWilCo, @texas_wildfires.

On Facebook, there are a few places where people are putting information regarding evacuations and relocation of large animals and livestock.  Bastrop Co Fire Large Animal Info on Facebook has offers for open land where you can take large animals.  People are also posting to Texas Storm Chasers Facebook page.  Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management on Facebook has information for residents and those nearby.  American Red Cross of Central Texas on Facebook has additional information for evacuees.

More information on shelters and available assistance can be found here.  Evacuees are being asked to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well site so a count can be taken and family members can search.

UPDATE: According to @keyetv (KEYE TV Austin): Bastrop ISD is closed today and tomorrow.  This includes extracurricular activities.

UPDATE: Texas Fire Support on Facebook if you want to help fire victims.  We Are OK in Bastrop for people to post that they are safe – however, I recommend you please use the Red Cross Safe and Well site listed above.

UPDATE: Steiner Ranch is now being reopened to residents ONLY.  Must show ID at checkpoint.

UPDATE: @firetxnews is following fire incidents for Houston and surrounding areas.

UPDATE: To help – Donations are being taken at Texas Wildfire Relief.  Information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.

UPDATE: KXAN News – Austin is asking anyone in need of volunteers to post to their FB page.  People are also posting there if they see any other fire threats.

UPDATE: Magnolia TX Fire and Evacuation on Facebook for those closer to the Houston area.  Austin American Statesman has a great page on area fire updates, school closures, volunteer information and evacuation/shelter information.

Central Texas Fires on Facebook, although I would urge you to use one of the pages already established.  This one seems to be too general.

Texas Interagency Coordination Center has a great map of active fires in the area.

UPDATE: Austin Statesman has set up Central Texas Wildfire Recovery on Facebook.  Leon County Emergency Management on Facebook.  Tomball Fire Marshal’s Office on Facebook.

Texas Forest Service website reporting Texas Forest Service responded to 22 new fires for 7,544 acres, including 10 new large fires.  In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 181 fires for 118,413 acres.  It appears that in the past 48 hours, more than 700 homes have been destroyed.

UPDATE: Williamson County Office of Emergency Management on Facebook

UPDATE: KVUE Austin-area wildfire donations – ways to help fire victims.

UPDATE: Greater Austin / Bastrop Fire Relief – Austin Disaster Relief Network

Just Ask Your Kids…

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I think this is brilliant.  As a tech marketer, I think the most important aspect of marketing communications is to keep the explanation of technology as simple as possible.  Sometimes, we get too caught up in the bits and bytes, speeds and feeds, and forget the true value of what we are delivering.  Technology wouldn’t mean anything unless it helped people produce, create, communicate, develop – cheaper, faster and smarter. 

I hear people all the time say, “My kid knows more about [fill in the blank – social media, web design, networking] than I do.”  So, why not have children explain cloud computing?  One of the most complex – yet easy – themes in technology today.  That’s exactly what Accenture did in the YouTube video below – have the digital natives explain it to us old folks. 

I Had Cancer

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The purpose of social media is to connect people – make the world smaller and help facilitate conversations.  Therefore, I am loving this new site called I Had Cancer.  I Had Cancer is a social support network with the mission of helping people deal more effectively with life before, during and after cancer.  It was created by Mailet Lopez, a cancer survivor, who wanted to help connect people currently in treatment, survivors and supporters in order to help overcome the “feeling of isolation and confusion that accompanies the disease and treatment.”

These days it seems like everyone has a story.  Completely by chance, I became a volunteer for the Cancer Support Community (formerly Gilda’s Club) in North Texas.  Then, in May, my 32-year old sister was diagnosed with breast cancer – the first cancer diagnosis in my family. 

Mailet has created a platform for people to share their story, and connect with others in their area and around the world.  I Had Cancer is still in beta, but I am hoping the site takes off.

TabCo Reveals Itself

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In July, I had mentioned that a “company” called TabCo was using social media to build hype for their tablet launch on August 15.  Well, the time has come – and TabCo is…drumroll….Fusion Garage.  huh?  who?  A long way from the Google, Nokia and Cisco guesses that people had.

Fusion Garage announced two products today: the Grid 10, a 10″ tablet; and the Grid 4, a 4″ smartphone/mini-tablet.  Both sport the new GridOS, based on the Android kernel, and support Android applications.  Both Grid devices also have seamless state allowing you to sync content while moving from one device to another or to your desktop, and “the Wheel” –  a pop-up menu that allows the basic cut/copy/paste functions as well as delivering automatic search recommendations, product reviews, Wikipedia entries, etc.

I’m more interested in the marketing aspect of this launch – so, if you’d like to know more about the product itself, you can read PC Magazine’s article about Fusion Garage and their products.

As for their multimedia marketing, this could be another lesson in the “You Can’t Force Viral” chapter.  At the end of the day, the WhoisTabCo channel on YouTube had total upload views of 214,893 and only 291 subscribers; and the WhoisTabCo Facebook page had 1,503 fans.

However, their hype did force PC Mag, ZDNet, Gizmodo, Engadget and others to immediately publish stories about the products – albeit somewhat prematurely since none of them have received the Grid – which likely would not have happened if the tech writers knew it was the maker of last year’s panned JooJoo tablet.

So, did Fusion Garage’s campaign accomplish what it was set out to do?  Likely not.  I don’t think the buzz hit as many viewers as they would have liked.  But, in an over-crowded tablet market, for a company with a blemished reputation, they did get some early publicity that would have likely not happened without their “Who is TabCo?” campaign.