The Washington Post

When incompetence is pure brilliance: J.C. Penney’s sloppy tweets grab spotlight

Here’s a look at five ideas that could affect how we live, work and play.

1. Sloppy tweeting as a marketing gimmick. Two poorly-typed tweets from J.C. Penney earned more than 41,000 retweets during the Super Bowl. For comparison sake, in the week leading up to the game the account averaged only 20 retweets per tweet. Typing correctly and accurately was limiting J.C. Penney’s impact on social media. English teachers everywhere are shaking their heads.

Of course, if every tweet from J.C. Penney were so poorly written, the novelty and humor would quickly wear off. These stood out because they were different and daring. We aren’t expecting huge companies to be embarrassing themselves on Twitter with horrendous typing.

Last year Oreo grabbed the spotlight with its timely tweet during the Super Bowl blackout. This year, J.C. Penney may have been the biggest winner. Check back in 2015 for what some creative social media manager comes up with next.

2. A solar-powered or wireless charging iWatch? From the New York Times:

For its wristwatch, Apple has been testing a method to charge the battery wirelessly with magnetic induction, according to a person briefed on the product. A similar technology is already used in some Nokia smartphone — when a phone is placed on a charging plate, an electrical current creates a magnetic field, which creates voltage that powers the phone.

Apple has also experimented with new power-charging methods for a potential smartwatch, people close to the efforts said, though such experiments are years from becoming a reality. The watch is expected to have a curved glass screen, and one idea is to add a solar-charging layer to that screen, which would give power to the device in daylight.

3. The science of better business. Steven Overly of Capital Business interviews Steven Wendel, the principal scientist at HelloWallet, a personal finance software company. Wendel discussed how the company is using behavioral science and more:

People aren’t rational optimizers in their daily lives; there’s something more going on. I learned that behavioral science was on the cutting edge of figuring out what that “something more” is — by systematically studying how our environment and our cognitive biases affect our decision making.

4. “The eternal present.” Thanks to the Internet, old information doesn’t have to fade away. Here’s a good reminder of the potential of the long tail, via Wired:

Mozart, for example, has more than 100,000 followers on Spotify. In a history glut, the idea of fashionability in music erodes, because new songs sit on the same shelf as songs recorded five, 25, and 55 years ago, all of them waiting to be discovered. In this eternal present, everything can be made contemporary.

 5. Track the international space station with this Kickstarter. Brace yourself for some dramatic music:

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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