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Visualizing the Protest: The Design Element of Occupy Wall Street

25 Oct

Shepard Fairey OWS Invitation

Three things I love: infographics, online communities, and politics.

So when I came across an article in Mashable about groups of programmers who had come together to design online tools for the Occupy Wall Street movement, I was intrigued. Developing a unified set of visual ideas for a political cause represents how offline community building leveraging online capabilities to spread ideas and generate organic conversation.

Here are a few designers I’ve found:

  • OccupyDesign is an online database of infographics that synthesize main points being advocated by Occupy Wall Street protestors. According to their website: “We aim to provide a universal visual toolset for the Occupy movement which crosses language barriers and brings a strong visual identity to the movement.”  In “building a visual language for the 99 percent,” OccupyDesign does not intend to “brand” or “design” the movement, but provide a repository of universal designs that express common concerns so that they can be used–and understood–anywhere.
  • In helping the movement articulate its ideas, AllOurIdeas asks users to cast votes for one of two goals. By allowing users to contribute ideas, AllOurIdeas is effectively crowdsourcing the democratic process, “enabling #OWS to collect and prioritize ideas in an open, efficient, and accountable way.” Users can view the results of individual votes, as well as in word clouds.

  • OccupyGeorge is a DIY project that circulates dollar bills stamped with fact-based infographics showing America’s wealth disparity. Because money is what this protest all about, anyway (…right?) So why not circulate the message on the medium? It’s a brilliant concept. The website is gorgeous and user-friendly, including links to sources for their information. The infographics can be downloaded so protestors can print at home (using their own dollar bills, of course).
Occupy George
What do you think about designers creating visual language for a political movement? Are there other designers out there who I should know about? I’m fascinated by all of this.

Sex through Social Media – Yay or Nay?

25 Jan

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I read about two new studies examining how social media — particularly Facebook — impacts sex and relationships.

On the one hand, a survey says that social networking leads to sex faster. Reuters reports that nearly four out of five women and three out of five men claim that texting, Facebook and other social networking tools make couples jump into bed faster.

Faster communication = faster possibilities for sex. Seems reasonable.

But another survey shows that Facebook destroys marriages. Over 80 percent of US divorce lawyers cite social media evidence in divorce cases as reasons for ending marriages, with one in five lawyers specifically pointing to Facebook.

Public communication = faster possibilities for private demise. Also seems reasonable.

Perhaps these surveys point to the fact that it’s good for some things to stay private. Sure, having (or changing) a relationship status on Facebook has become common. But is it necessary — or even positive — to display private or intimate details for the world to see? Personally, if I need to talk about relationship issues, the people in my life who I trust will know about it. But that’s it.

Has anyone had an interesting relationship story that played out over Facebook or social media?

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Kagan’s Senior Thesis

14 May

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I don’t normally post about political topics, but given the fact that I’m in DC and inspired by all things historical, topical and political, I had to comment about an article on Slate.com that linked to Red State, which published a copy of Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan’s Princeton senior thesis online. A letter from Princeton’s Mudd Manuscript Library requested that Red State take down the thesis since the online publication violated copyright law:

_______________

From: Daniel J. Linke
Subject: Kagan senior thesis copyright violation
Date: May 14, 2010 3:04:42 PM EDT
To: contact@redstate.com

Dear Sir or Madam:

It has been brought to my attention that you have posted Elena Kagan’s senior thesis online. (See: http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/05/13/breaking-we-have-elena-kagans-college-thesis/) Copies provided by the Princeton University Archives are governed by U.S. Copyright Law and are for private individual use only. Any electronic distribution is prohibited, as noted on the first page of the copy that is on your website. Therefore I request that you remove it immediately before further action is taken.

Please notify me as soon as possible that you have removed it from your web site.

Sincerely yours,
Daniel J. Linke

University Archivist and Curator of Public Policy Papers
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Princeton University

_______________

Commenters at Red State are up in arms, claiming that it’s their right to view Kagan’s thesis. Her thesis title is: “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933” (1981). So of course, people on Red State believe that this paper defines Kagan as a socialist.

As a Princeton alum, I understand Princeton’s policy towards fair use and copyright law in regards to senior theses. I wrote a senior thesis and it is protected under the same rules and regulations as Kagan’s, as is any other thesis written by Princeton students. This isn’t some mass conspiracy to hide her thesis or views; it is simply protecting her work as a student. All theses are available to view at Princeton’s Mudd Library. This was a student paper. Do people demand that all student papers ever written by Supreme Court nominees be available to view? How does fair use translate to online publications? (I’m looking forward to our class about Internet Law to learn more about this topic). It’s fascinating to watch political debates unfold over social media. Just because it can’t be published online does not define Princeton’s – or Kagan’s – political views. If conservatives feel that her senior thesis is a definitive reflection of her views as a potential Supreme Court judge, take a trip to Princeton and read the thesis to judge for yourself. You can read mine too. It’s about censorship.

Here is the link to Princeton’s senior theses database.

Some other interesting titles to view from prominent Princeton alums:

Shields, Brooke (1987), actor: The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, “Pretty Baby” and “Lacombe Lucien”

Duchovny, David (1982), actor: The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett’s Early Novels

Cain, Dean (1988), actor: The History and Development of the Functions of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Kelley, David (1979), writer/producer: Making Amends

Halaby, Lisa (Queen Noor of Jordan, 1974): 96th Street and Second Avenue

Bradley, Bill (NBA player & US Senator, 1965): “On That Record I Stand” – Harry S. Truman’s Fight for the Senatorship in 1940.

Spitzer, Eliot (1981), NY governor: Revolutions in Post-Stalin Eastern Europe: A Study of Soviet Reactions

Alito, Samuel (1972), Supreme Court Justice: An Introduction to the Italian Constitutional Court

Baker, James (1952), Secretary of State: Two Sides of the Conflict: Bevin vs. Beva

Whitman, Meg (1977), CEO of eBay and California gubernatorial candidate: The Marketing of American Consumer Products in Western Europe.

Remnick, David (1981), editor-in-chief of The New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize winner: The Sympathetic Thread: ‘Leaves of Grass’ 1855-1865

Coen, Ethan (1979), director and Academy Award winner, No Country for Old Men: Two Views of Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy

Kemper, Ellie (2002), actor, The Office: Isn’t It Ironic?

Epstein, Julie (2002): The Presence and Principles of the Motion Picture Production Code

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“The Power of Print”

25 Apr

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Happily flipping through my (ever-increasing) stack of magazines on my coffee table this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice an intriguing ad in both InStyle (published by Time Inc.) and the New Yorker (published by Conde Nast):

Hmm…magazines…advertising about magazines in…magazines? In direct competition against the Internet? Fascinating.

Taking out two full page ads is no small (or inexpensive) undertaking. I investigated further and came across the official press release from March 1, 2010, that announced the “Magazines, The Power of Print” advertising campaign. The top five magazines publishers — Conde Nast, Hearst Magazines, Time Inc, Meredith Corporation and Wenner Media — have joined forced “to promote the vitality of magazines as a medium.” According to the release, the campaign will launch in the May issues (or April 5 issues for weeklies) in nearly 100 magazines and on each of the publishers’ websites. The campaign will run for seven months and reach 112 million magazine subscribers. The release lists several objectives for the campaign:

  • Target advertisers, shareholders and industry influencers
  • Seeks to reshape the broader conversation about magazines
  • Challenge misperceptions about the medium’s relevancy and longevity (emphasis mine)
  • Reinforce magazines’ important cultural role

While emphasizing these messages, the release also includes statistics about magazine readership. Most interesting to me is that magazine readership has increased 11% since Google launched 12 years ago. Yet the campaign is employing headlines such as “We Surf the Internet. We Swim in Magazines” and “Will the Internet Kill Magazines? Did Instant Kill Coffee?” The latter slogan is a deliberate play-on-words, implying that the instantaneousness of the Internet — while legitimate — does not replace the quality or importance of magazines.

Here is another version of the ad:

In this video, the five publishers discuss the ad campaign:

Clearly, the print industry feels that the need to promote itself is crucial. Ironically, the ad campaign is not print-only — there is a strong digital component (see YouTube video above) and even the press release has downloadable photos. I think the magazine titans are correct in that the industry isn’t going to completely disappear, despite their claims of journalistic integrity against the millions of bloggers (myself included — I don’t claim to be a journalist by any means, nor do I hope my opinions will be referenced as anything other than a blogger’s single opinion). However, the industry MUST CHANGE in order to keep up with the Internet and mobile devices. All of these magazines already have iPad versions in place or in preparation. So I believe this campaign isn’t as much about magazines COMPETING against the Internet as much as COMPLEMENTING it as a different medium.

Personally, I love magazines. The tangible feeling of flipping through pages cannot be duplicated (no matter how cool the iPad is). Even though I may be able to read the same articles on the web for free, I will keep my subscriptions. I read magazines while I’m drying my hair. I read magazines on the plane, at the coffee shop, waiting for the doctor, while getting mani/pedis. These are rituals that I will not give up. And I didn’t need an advertising campaign to tell me so.

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10 Things I Like About the Internet: April 14th, 2010 Edition

14 Apr

Here we go again. Week 3 of my Top 10 List. As always, lots happening online, particularly on Twitter (check out #9).

1. This Week’s Viral Video: Sarah Palin Network. Tina Fey reprises her classic role as Sarah Palin in this week’s SNL.

2. Location, Location, Location: CauseWorld

I know the net is buzzing with changes from Foursquare, though I wanted to give a shout out to a new check-in based location service that does good for the world. CauseWorld, an app for the iPhone and Android, allows you to check in and get “karma points” to donate towards a variety of charitable causes. According to ReadWriteWeb, the mission of CauseWorld’s parent company Shopkick is to bring virtual and physical shopping worlds together. In addition to checking in, CauseWorld allows users to scan products for extra karma points. What a great amalgamation of brand marketing, local communities, social media and philanthropy.

3. There’s an App for That: A Site for Apps

I love my Droid, and now I love the user-friendly site 101 Best Android Apps that lets me search the 101 most popular apps by time frame (today, yesterday, this week, this month, and all time) and by subject matter (business, education, entertainment, etc). As opposed to lists that are published weekly by Gizmodo, Mashable, Techmeme, etc (which are incredibly helpful), this is a dynamic site that changes daily.

4. Exploring Online Communities: Lostpedia

This is neither a new site nor one that implements any novel technology, but I have to give a shout out to Lostpedia, the user/fan-generated wiki for LOST, one of my all-time favorite television shows. The site is an incredibly comprehensive encyclopedia of all things LOST, from detailed episode, character and actor synopses to literary references, trivia and mythology questions.  I recently added my own two-cents for a new LOST episode:

“Penny asks Desmond to meet her at a coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer in Los Angeles. There is no coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer. However, there is an antique shop called ‘Thanks for the Memories.'”

I’m not a World of Warcraft gal, but the WoWWiki is also a fabulous community resource.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: Mark and Angel Hack Life

I found this helpful, informative and fun blog written by a married couple who write lists about practical tips for practical living. While these are their personal opinions, I like the authenticity and personality of their blogging voice. I was particularly drawn to their blog because of this post. I’ve only read 1/3 of these…better get cracking.

6. Apple News: iAds

Also known as “Mobile Ads with Emotion,” Apple this week announced iAd, its new mobile advertising platform, part of the new iPhone OS 4.0. The platform will be built directly into the iPhone OS interface. Steve Jobs claims that iAd differs from Google Ads in that the ads will keep users within an app, rather than redirecting users to a browser window. TechCrunch provided detailed play-by-play from Jobs’ iAd demo, and emphasized that both ad agencies and app developers will be able to create interactive ads for Apple.

7. My Geek Factor: Penn Olson Infographics

Following my love for all thing beautiful, informative and cool, below are some relevant infographics from digital marketing consultant Penn Olson about various aspects of social media. These are just a handful of neat statistics — on Google Facts and Figures and Social Media Demographics — this site provides in graphic form:

8. Online Legal News: The FCC Loses Ruling on “Net Neutrality”

A federal appeals court denounced efforts by the FCC to create standardized rules for the Internet, claiming that the agency cannot require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic. Edward Wyatt writes in the New York Times that “the decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver content faster to users.” The court ruling, which came after Comcast asserted that it had the right to slow cable customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer services to view free streaming of shows and channels normally relegated to paid subscribers. The principle of “net neutrality,” in which Internet providers must provide the same speed to everyone who wishes to access whatever websites users wish to see, is central to maintaining an open Internet. Austin Schlick, General Counsel of the FCC, said the ruling would affect it’s plan, announced in March, to connect 100 million homes to broadband by 2020. TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Big Think provide good commentary on the court’s ruling from a tech industry perspective, highlighting a general consensus that the laws regarding telecommunications need to be updated to reflect the current state of the digital age.

9. Getting Excited For…The Future of Twitter

Lots of big announcements about the future of Twitter on the heels of Chirp, the Twitter developer conference in San Francisco. Besides declaring some major milestones, there’s already drama brewing between Twitter and developers. Twitter’s impressive growth indicates that social media is not only growing more powerful technologically, but also as a business tool and cultural phenomenon:

  • Twitter Statistics from Chirp: Twitter has over 105 million registered users, receives 180 million unique visitors per month, 75% of Twitter traffic comes from third-party apps, and there are 600 million search queries on Twitter per day.
  • Promoted Tweets: Twitter’s much-anticipated program for making money off advertising, Promoted Tweets will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Although Twitter argues that this program differs from ads, Twitter users seem to be confused about the value and nature of promoted tweets. What do you think — are promoted tweets equivalent to spam?
  • Library of Congress To Preserve Twitter: In what I personally think is a very cool move to that validates new media as important cultural literature, the Library of Congress has announced that it will digitally preserve ever public tweet since the site launched in March 2006.
  • Twitter Acquires Atebits: In its third major acquisition, Twitter acquired Atebits, the start-up that develops Tweetie apps for Mac and iPhones.
  • TweetUp: A new venture that aims to make money by allowing Twitter users to bid on keywords to give their posts top ranking. The service will organize posts according to popularity as measured by how often readers retweet and click on links contained in the posts.
  • Points of Interest: Twitter’s new feature that will use geo-tagging to identify physical places. The feature will show a map and a stream of Twitter activity nearby: a real-time view of what’s happening at a particular place at a particular time.

10. Just For Fun: Create Your Own Google SearchStories

I absolutely loved Google’s SearchStory ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Now, YouTube has a channel where you can create your own Search Story. Can’t wait to play around with this!

10 Things I Like About the Internet: April 4th, 2010 “iPad” Edition

4 Apr

Here is the second weekly installment of my soon-to-be viral hit list of 10 cool things I found on the Internet this week. Bold? Ambitious? Why not! Bring it on, Internet! And bring it on, iPad!

1. This Week’s Viral Video: IT’S A TIE, with a theme. Boys Will Be Girls and He’s Not a Single Lady.

LMAO. The Ivy League comedy sketch troupe Harvard Sailing Team shows how Boys Will Be Girls. They had more than 600 new YouTube subscribers within a day after posting this video. The girl’s response is worth watching, though not as funny in my opinion.

And here, a boy cries because he’s not a single lady. Oh, if he only knew the tears of real single ladies.

2. Location, Location, Location: SimpleGeo

As the explosion of location-based apps continues, one of the coolest new startups that launched out of private beta this week is SimpleGeo. The service offers a suite of geo-data products for purchase and is positioning itself as the single access point of geo-data for app developers. Robert Scoble reported on SimpleGeo’s buzz from the Where 2.0 conference (the fact that such a conference exists for developers says plenty). According to articles on TechCrunch and Mashable, SimpleGeo will offer two products – the SimpleGeo Storage Engine and a Marketplace – for companies and developers who are looking to capitalize on the geo-data trend. SimpleGeo offers different pricing models depending on the API call usage. SimpleGeo’s founder Matt Galligan mentions in an interview that the products will also work with non-profit and business sectors. I’m looking forward to seeing the proliferation and different uses of geo-data across industries. Should be interesting.

3. There’s An App for…lots of things…on the iPad

There’s an overwhelming amount of news about yesterday’s iPad release. Gizmodo had a great app review marathon liveblog and also has a list of essential iPad apps. I was lucky enough to play with an iPad yesterday, and I must say that Plants v. Zombies and Marvel Comics looked AMAZING. The graphics are unbelievably beautiful. The only apps not readily available for the iPad? Microsoft Office. Surprise surprise. See #6 and #9 for more on the iPad.

4. Exploring Online Communities: GOOD and GlobalGiving

I recently signed up for a subscription to GOOD Magazine. I’m in love with GOOD’s mission: “a collaboration of individuals, businesses and nonprofits pushing the world forward.” The website is an incredible collection of articles and message boards where people can post and comment on ways to make “good” in the world, whether through government, business, art, design, education, green initiatives, etc. As an experiment, GOOD is offering people to “pick their price” of their subscription. Granted, they only offer two choices – $20 or $5o. Both offer one year subscription to GOOD magazine, full access to Good.is website (which can also be accessed for free), and a GlobalGiving credit in the total amount of your subscription. (With $50 you also get a t-shirt and your name mentioned in the magazine). Why donate 100% of the subscription fees to GlobalGiving? GOOD offers two reasons: “1) it’s smart business and 2) we believe in this.” GOOD acknowledges that most magazines don’t make money off subscriptions or newsstand sales. The subscription model reflects GOOD putting their “money where our mouth is and empowering people who are driving change in the world.” GOOD reflecting Good business practices in a 360-degree fashion.

What is GlobalGiving? It’s an organization that connects donors with community-based projects that need support. GlobalGiving has pre-screened over 700 grassroots charity projects and gives donors the ability to connect with these projects in a positive, transparent way. You can filter causes by issue (women, education, technology, etc) or location, and GlobalGiving ensures that your tax-deductible donation will be available to the project within 60 days, and donors have the option of covering the 15% administrative fee, after which the entire donation goes to the charity. GlobalGiving is a great site to list grassroots projects and have donors find you, and a great example of crowdfunding.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: We Are Hunted

A very cool site that tracks the 99 most popular emerging songs in the world. You can create your own chart of favorite songs and the links allow you to play full versions of the songs (as well as purchase them). There is also a filter showing the 99 most popular songs mentioned on Twitter and 99 most popular remixed songs in the world. You can also filter by genre and date (popularity today, this week, this month). A great new way to find music!

6. Apple News: Get Your iPads! Hot of the Presses! And at Best Buy!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock and/or without the Internet, the news, live blogging, discussion, discourse and overwhelming excitement over Apple’s iPad release on April 3rd was, well, overwhelming. Here are some articles I found informative and interesting.

New York Times Live Blogging iPad’s Release and a summary of the blogging

iPad By the Numbers: statistics on prices, percentages, and estimates for iPad sales

How Green Is My iPad? Op-Ed Chart in the New York Times. Let’s just say books are still in play.

Is the iPad Magical?

iPad Gets Half-Hour Product Placement on “Modern Family”. The show is really funny and worth watching, by the way.

Mega A-to-Z list of iPad Reviews

My favorite business idea for the iPad:

7. My Geek Factor: Things for Twitter

Now that I’ve figured out Twitter, it’s like a new toy. Here are some blogs, apps and info I’m exploring to help with my Twitter usage:

TwiTip: A blog to getting more out of Twitter

Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week from Mashable

5 Big Twitter Trends to Follow Right Now: how Twitter is shaping journalism, television, and business

MonkeyFly extension for Google Chrome: A client interface built-in to the Twitter homepage. Add columns to show @mentions, DMs, RTs, etc. MonkeyFly has customizable capabilities like TweetDeck or HootSuite, but you don’t have to leave the Twitter site.

Helpful people to follow on Twitter: @Twitter_Tips, @SocialNetDaily, @CleverAccounts, @kikolani, @jeffjarvis

8. Online Legal News: Google Earth to the Rescue!

So this isn’t real online legal news as much as an example of how online technology and social media are helping the legal system. Mashable reported how Google Earth helped a Deputy in Florida arrest a man charged with dumping his one-ton boat. The Deputy found an archived satellite image of the boat in question parked near the suspect’s house. Mashable also has a list of ways law enforcement uses social media to fight crime. While I’m pleased about the positive use of these applications, how “Big Brother” are we going to get? Where do we cross the line between safety and invasion of privacy with surveillance?

9. Getting Excited For…Subsequent Generation iPads

I was lucky enough to play with a friend’s iPad yesterday. It’s cool and beautiful, and certainly, the upcoming emergence of tablets will forever change personal computing. Personally, as much as I love Apple, I will never buy their first generation products. We all know that, within the next 6-12 months, a much better, faster, functional, cheaper version will be on the market. I understand the hype and excitement of being “the first” to have a new toy (though I wouldn’t wait outside starting at 3 AM to buy ANYTHING), but why not be patient and spend money on a better piece of a equipment with better software in a few months? Everyone who got the first generation iPod and iPhones were miserable in the long run (slow, short battery life, expensive, etc). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of a different result. There’s no difference with the iPad. I will want one eventually, but I’m waiting it out. Cory Doctorow lists several reasons why he isn’t even interested in buying an iPad. Sure, it may be gadget of the zeitgeist, but it’s still cool.

10. Just for Fun: GroupÖupon Exclusive

With the plethora of online April Fool’s jokes, my favorite by far was from GroupOn, or should I say GroupÖupon, “an invitation-only, private sales site offering designer apparel and accessories to the consumer elite.” There is a place to “Assert your exclusivity” and the list of titles is just hilarious. Prospective members must supply documentation proving their net worth, along with other proofs of status, including sex tapes or domestic organizational charts. I’m not sure what a Dowager Marchioness is, but that would be a fun title to have. Good luck getting approved!

New York Times Chatroulette StumbleUpon!

29 Mar

Check out this cool application created by a journalist who works for The Guardian in the UK. It’s a Chatroulette, StumbleUpon-style application for New York Times articles. Press on the button and it will take you to a random Times article posted in the last 24 hours. RSS reader be gone! (OK, not really).

http://nytimes-roulette.appspot.com/