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Move the Meter: Humble Hopes for 2018

A tumultuous 2017 leaves us hungry for new possibilities
January 8, 2018

A new year in its infancy inevitably brings a torrent of resolutions, goal-setting tools and year-end reflections to our social media feeds. In 2018, many of us are anxious for a reset.
What made 2017 noteworthy?
Historic hurricanes and horrific shootings. The solar eclipse and the eclipse of DACA. Powerful female leads in Hollywood blockbusters and the power of the #MeToo movement. The rocky road of cryptocurrency and the catastrophic rise of depression and suicide among America’s youth.
No wonder we’re feeling a bit battered and bruised.
The new year is off to an optimistic start at SE2, at least — not least because our agency is celebrating 20 years in business in 2018.
Here’s a few other things bringing us reason for hope in the new year.
Director of Outreach and Engagement Eric Anderson:
Most everyone (trolls aside) can agree that online harassment is unacceptable. But what constitutes online harassment? Turns out it’s pretty hard to define. A new Pew Research Center study explores several scenarios and demonstrates the challenges in creating consensus on what crosses the line. If it’s this hard to pin down what is and is not harassment, imagine how hard it will be to restrict. That said, difficult conversations may signal progress on a vexing subject, one that affects everything from the larger civil discourse to individuals’ personal mental health.  
Editorial Strategist Katharine Brenton:
With time to spare over the holiday break, I took my four-year-old daughter to her first movie — Coco. To say she loved it would be an understatement, so the next day we were back at the theater, popcorn in hand, for a second showing. As someone who has always gravitated to the language and culture of Latin America, I relished Pixar’s celebration of Mexican heritage and the traditions of Día de los Muertos. (We saw Coco in English though it is also screening in Spanish.)
Compared to the animated movies I grew up with, I appreciate how today’s children’s movies are enlightened with strong female characters and focus on diverse cultures. Contrast that with The Little Mermaid, for example, my favorite film growing up but one that makes me cringe as an adult. Despite her promising future under the sea, Ariel the mermaid makes a deal with a dangerous villain, sacrifices her voice, abandons her home, and forsakes her family – all for some guy she doesn’t even know. This is not a character I want my daughter aspiring to.
Coco’s characters, on the other hand, offer lessons of love, family and memory that I hope make a lasting impression.
Director of Account Services Kate Julian:
Google AdWords is giving marketers one more avenue into consumer consciousness. Now instead of targeting customers using only anonymized email addresses and demographics, AdWords will let advertisers use consumer phone numbers and mailing addresses to target audiences.
Creepy? Maybe. Effective? Google hopes so.
Phone numbers and mailing addresses often prove to be more reliable than email addresses, as emails update more frequently. And Google’s terms still forbid — in order to avoid trolling —  brands from using third-party consumer data purchased for targeting purposes.
For folks in the behavior-change business, our organizations still need consumer permission related to how their personal data is shared. But if an organization has the trust — and home address — of a constituent, they’ll have another way to ensure their message is delivered.

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