Gal’s Guide, Calling for New Writers!

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Fellow Chicagoan Blagica Stefanovski is looking for some gal pal writers to contribute to her Gal’s Guide, an online resource for women in their 20s living in the Windy City. You don’t have to be in your 20s to contribute, but if you have something constructive, insightful and helpful to say, make sure you get in contact with Blagica.

blagica.pngShe’s gotten several requests for more regular content, as well as requests to become contributing writers on her site. Now’s your chance to send in a writing submission, or nominate someone that you think would be a good fit for the Gal’s Guide. As a forewarning: clean up your Facebook profile first! That means no outlandish party pics for the world to see. Make ’em private already!

As you can see, one of Blagica’s most recent posts on Gal’s Guide has an interesting tie-in to the last post I did right here on KristenNicole.com. Click here to get in touch with Blagica.

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An Ex-Teen Reconsiders The Privacy Status Option

I’ve personally noticed in the past week that kids have more options these days for social networking, and every once in a while it gets scary. I know that this isn’t entirely new, but through a few personal experiences, it’s been drawn to my attention in more prominent manner as of late. My little brother is a pro at taking pictures of himself using his camera phone, and a few other pre-teens I know have taken to online dating. Dating?

Now, when I was a teenager, social networking made up a good portion of my time, especially as it had begun to really pick up steam just as I was getting ready to trek off to college. Back then we didn’t really have private profile status options, or niche networks to choose what type of information went where. And as a teenager, I was fully aware that “putting myself out there” was somewhat risky business, but I still wasn’t fully cognizant of what all that meant.

When it came down to it, I was probably sharing more information than I needed to. Teens are far more aware these days, but parents still have a growing concern over the amount of information that their kids are placing on the web, even if it’s in the for of an image, and not always a direct phrase or set of data that would be immediately recognized as personally identifiable data.

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So are me and my friends just getting older and wiser, and have kids these days learned from our mistakes? Then again, it could just be the “phase” excuse, where teens do things that the rest of us don’t understand, and we call it a phase, hoping they’ll grow out of it. Just like we used to shop at Spencers and PacSun, we would now rather head over to Macy’s and Brooks Brothers. But will things like additional status options for social networks solve the problem?

There are a few additional issues to look at as well, one of which is the fact that giving teens the options doesn’t mean they’ll take them. In response to such attitudes, which could lead to a bit of “mommy and daddy know best” reactions, there has been a good amount of regulation in conjunction with th social networking providers themselves to protect the youngsters.

How far will that go, especially as social networking now extends across devices, in multiple manifestations, such as mobile hand-helds and video games? While I regret to see such a strong push for increased regulation (like permission slips), I am interested to see how the powers that be will further respond to the rapid ways in which social networking options make their way into every corner of our lives.

Twitter Economy: The Coral Reef of Social Networking

I’ve been watching Twitter for quite some time now (haven’t we all?) and it’s become one of those movements that has a lot of potential, so we’re stuck waiting and watching, to see in which direction it will go. While most websites layer in new features on a rather consistent basis, Twitter hasn’t needed to do so, thanks to its API and a lot of addicted developers. The economy of Twitter has long been building up steam, and I have been waiting and watching to see how others will take advantage of it. With some of the recent applications that have launched, I’ve had a renewed opportunity to explore the Twitter economy, and thought I’d take a look back over the past year.

What initially sparked my interest was the way in which the Daily Woot began using Twitter to announce their regular specials on random items. It seemed like the perfect fit, and I imagined other businesses would find similar ways in which to integrate announcements to large sets of people for a direct economic gain.

That didn’t seem to gain traction on a larger scale, and applications that let you post images, tinyurls, and jargon translated into pirate talk began to emerge at lightening speed. None of them really took you outside of the central Twitter experience, but most seemed to work perfectly from third-party apps, such as Outlook or AIM. Very valuable for one’s own closed Twitter network, but with the growing number of social media sites that have integrated Twitter or Twitter-esqe concepts, as well as the growing number of sites that seek to aggregate and extract Twitter data for statistical or search purposes.

So in looking at popular parasitic networks that support a great deal of third-party services, there’s the obvious culprit in MySpace, and more recently Facebook. These both have avenues for allowing other services to leverage their user bases and draw them away from these respective social networks, if only for a short while. What I have yet to see is a comprehensive way in which the content coming from users has been leveraged for substantial purposes outside of the direct Twitter networks.

Perhaps I’m thinking about things in the wrong way–maybe Twitter doesn’t need to layer in more features (even in the face of multimedia competitors like Pownce and Tumblr), and even larger blogging platforms like WordPress, which has just released Prologue), and perhaps the best use of Twitter is its basic formation of streaming updates from a slew of people that can access its portal through various means (hence, the Twitter economy).

twitio-logo-spaced.pngThis coral reef of social networking doesn’t need to change, and the flurry of activity going on around it will enable Twitter to remain the same for some time to come. So what are the next steps for the Twitter economy? Should Twitter reach critical mass, there’s even more ways in which Twitter’s metadata can be used, more so than the applications we’re seeing now. For example, twit.io has started down this track with a classifieds-type system. What happens next is that twit.io and others like twemes manage to make Twitter hyperlocalized, allowing users to take Twitter content outside of the realm of an immediate network to gain from this massive cross-section of shared knowledge.

In the same way I wonder if Facebook status updates will ever become archived and searchable, I wonder how the Twitter economy will evolve as more rich applications integrate its service, and other applications build out the utility potential of the very concept of Twitter.

Kristini: Conceived at DEMO 08.

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I’ve spent the past 2 and a half days in Palm Desert, CA, soaking up the sights (and sounds) of DEMO 08. This being my second time attending the classic conference, I’m beginning to pick up on some of the traditions that have been cultivated as only traditions can be: over time, with lots of dedication to a unified experience (i.e. branding).

As fun as the Jam Session was (and as happy as we all were to find that it was open bar), I thought it high time to start creating some sub-traditions of my own. With the help of a few choice friends, namely Brian Solis, Frank Gruber, and several other fine folks, we thought up a lovely way to apply all of this web 2.0 ideology to the simple act of mixology. That’s right. We made up a cocktail.

Well actually, I’m certain we didn’t make up a cocktail, but being my usual undecided self, I had a hard time telling the bar tender exactly what I wanted to drink. I had a taste for peaches and mangoes, so Brian was savvy enough to have the bartender create one mashup of a drink. I don’t know exactly what goes into this delectable mashup martini, but it’s been dubbed (by people other than myself) the Kristini. I graciously accept the bestowing of my name upon a martini so yummy.

Now that we’ve developed the Kristini, we thought it would be great to release a platform, where all mashups are welcome, and can play together in this world of collaborative cocktail-mixing. Discussions have already begun for the Mashtini, which would be in honor of my place of employment. Given the pink and blue theme of Mashable, the Mashtini will have to be made with blue Curacao and a heavier liquid that’s pink in color, which will sit on the bottom of the martini glass. Any ideas? Let us know if you’d like to join this movement and offer up some drink recipes of your own.

[image credit brian solis]