Socialized Networking

It was just another Saturday afternoon as I drove along Sunset Boulevard. In fact, I was heading back from the East Side performing my usual geekery at my weekend daytime coffee spot (not my weekday nighttime one) when I saw this from the seat of my MINI. Don’t worry – the traffic signal was red, then.

And the billboard tripped me out. It actually said “Social Networking.” And to illustrate the point of the the concept (with nothing particular to say about it, per se – just the mention seemed to suffice) there were a few, varied tequila drinks next to the bottle of Patron. Patron be the common thread that binds all us geeks together! Or is it?

I’m going to get metaphorical here. Patron isn’t my favorite (4 Copas and Tezón are) nor is it even made with the best ingredients but it is certainly the most well-known. It’s assumed to be the highest quality because people generally don’t bother to do their research and Patron is where they default*. Patron, though, is most likely the only tequila brand that could afford the Sunset Boulevard space. It was indication that “Social Networking” wasn’t just geekery anymore. The concept had gone mainstream.

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Twitter Ground Rules and Etiquette

twitternotchat

Wallpaper by actiondatsun on Flickr

I don’t write a lot of web- or tech-related posts.

But I feel compelled to speak. At *cough* *ahem* 7,500 updates personally (with my first tweet occurring sometime pre-November, 2007) it’s been eye-opening seeing Twitter really – and I mean, really – blowing up. This is because it was a pseudo-blog concept that blew up with people I actually knew in the physical-before-online sense. What’s even more surreal is actually explaining “what Twitter is” to my coffee shop friends because they see me on it in my browser or they’ll see my Twitterific docked and have heard about it – and so they ask me to fill them in. It signifies a new era, truly. “Viral” has taken on new meaning.

Los Angeles is wicked viral, dudes.

In another time and place, you could do an “Oh it’s a geek thing” -type brush off of the explanation. But now people actually wanna know what the hype is all about and it’s not another “personal page phenomenon” (e.g. Facebook, MySpace – though they all try to be like Twitter now). Here’s a tip-off: I don’t even work in web. But people want to know “What is the point? How does it work?” Because contrary to Twitter themselves, the point is NOT “What are you doing right now?” And for the first time in my young memory, it is mostly ageless and not trending towards a particular age group (contrary to what Details Magazine thinks). This time, it’s social media that’s inherently harder to bluff. Not only does each profile take time to establish – but Twitter is built on interactive history and relationships – and patterns are there to be judged for themselves. You put time into it or you fail to exist. One thing exists for sure: The mob. Who else would we brag to about our unexceptional lives?

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Seduced By Pinkberry

The granita

Despite the fact that my previous posts about Pinkberry were less-than-favorable, I ended up on the list of bloggers invited to the original West Hollywood location to try a “new taste” they had been cooking up before taking it public*. After all, Pinkberry got its first boon virally – and they were going to tap into its original source of traffic marketing to give them the publicity they wanted again.

Tara, Shelly, Me

Ohh…granita. Smoothie. Liquid yogurt. Yogurt Drank. So this is the next accessory. And the point of it all is as simple as being a less threatening driving hazard, since you don’t have to consume this Pinkberry with a cup and spoon – only a straw. Point taken. I think we can relate to that, being metal-encased Angelenos and all. No need to justify anyone else‘s road rage, now.

The Drank tasted good. Call me biased – since my verdict on the yogurt had been read so long ago, and repeatedly – but I enjoyed the granita more than the yogurt. Unlike Caroline, I have yet to try Starbucks’ Sorbetto but I can imagine they are similar. Clearly the exact same in targeted demo, though. But there is a good amount of tang in the smoothie and I think this is the medium in which I can appreciate the “grit” in the yogurt taste.

The granita was also filling. When Tim and I mentioned this observation to Pinkberry founder, Shelly, she exclaimed, “Good!” while giving us two thumbs up. 😉 So as for meal substitute, the granita can definitely fill that role if you happen to not mind being nutritionally challenged. The small size had even made me full, but heck if I couldn’t squeeze another one in just because it was free – and I did.

The Pinkberry folks treated us bloggers well. They set up a DJ and gave out goodie gift bags with gift cards, Pinkberry tees and pins. They also made sure we were sufficiently stuffed with either granita or yogurt for the night. So yeah, I admit it. I’ve been seduced by Pinkberry in a kind of one night stand. So as a token of my appreciation, I’m letting you all know that you can try the granita starting tomorrow (Friday, September 12) at 6 Pinkberry locations. The ones in the L.A. area are the original West Hollywood store and the one at the Farmer’s Market at Third and Fairfax, connected to The Grove.

Pinkberry
868 Huntley Dr
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 659-8285‎

6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles
, CA 90036
(323) 933-2516‎

Anybody want a free American Apparel Pinkberry Men’s Medium Tee? It says, “I [swirl] Pinkberry.” 🙂

*Thank you, Tara Met Blog!

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On Writing And Authenticity

Slash’s autobiography has been on my coffee table for awhile. It’s a steal-borrow from Roycifer, who was done reading it. I kept the book there because indeed, I was reading it. And while I meant to finish it, the truth of the matter is that I’m simply not good at finishing much of anything. Now the book is an excuse for an edgy coffee table book.

Apparently, his story was meant to come back to me in some way. I had recorded the first volume of the HBO Documentary series The Black List, and he was the very first featured. I thought the documentary did a remarkably well job at bringing out the poignancy in each person’s unique black experience. Everyone talked about something different – whether it was about growing up or just one of many lessons learned at work – but the common thread they all had was that they talked about a moment or whole experience that really meant a lot to them. Perhaps instances that changed them in order to give them deep meaning or insight.

I can’t wait for the second volume; I hope there are at least four.

What Toni Morrison had to say (as many things she has to say) really spoke to me:

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The Ground Rules

I’ve been writing on this blog solidly for a little over a year now. It’s a rather short time, but in reality I’ve been regularly writing online in one form or another for about 5 years total. I’m no blogging diva but I think I can reflect on a few ground rules that I’ve established personally by now as far as the role the medium has (and doesn’t have) in my life.

So, these ground rules probably have more to do with personal blogging than with the subject-specific. It might complete the picture to know that I’m trying to piece these “rules” (or should I say “minutiae”) together only now. It’s not like any of these are hard-and-fast; they’re definitely up for revision so feel free to disagree … or tell me in any way that I’m 100% correct.

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I Don’t Believe In Yelp!

If you live in one of multiple American metropolitan areas, you are likely familiar with Yelp! The concept is pretty simple in that you log in, create your profile, and begin reviewing business establishments. Their mainstay is restaurants. In the case of Los Angeles, there are a whole gambit of places to eat – so I think it’s safe to say that I live in the center of one of Yelp!‘s target demos. In a place where you never run out of places to eat, you will certainly run across some pretty shoddy food and/or service once in awhile.

So then, you’d think that it follows that hip Angelenos who want good recommendations on where to eat and where to avoid might thank their lucky stars that there’s Yelp! to help them figure that out.

A little over a year ago was when I really heard about it blowing up. It was also when I first created my profile. I have probably reviewed random places I’ve eaten 11 times since then, which is certainly no match to really active Yelp! users. I see there are “elite” members in that they have written over a certain number of reviews (100, I believe).

So then, you’d think that it follows that these elite reviewers really know what they’re talking about since they’re pros at writing reviews on the internet.

Just wait a minute.

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9rules Submission Day

Want To Join?Today marks the 24-hour period you can submit your site to 9rules. There are only 3 such days per year you can do this so get on out there and make a difference. Or submit your blog, that is. 😉

According to Chawlk user Elle‘s impressive 9rules Case Study (and general concensus), The Triad has been pretty selective about who they’ve admitted:

  • Started: Apr 2005 with 16 blogs
  • Round 1: Apr 2005, 127 applicants, total members: 31 blogs
  • Round 2: Jul 2005, 359 applicants, total members: 46 blogs
  • Round 3: Nov 2005, 509 applicants, total members: Not sure
  • Round 4: May 2006, 700 applicants, 111 new members
  • Round 5: Oct 2006, 1190 applicants, 134 new members
  • Round 6: April 2007, Ongoing applications, Not sure

The case study cited above incorporates the past 9rules before the very-recent spin-off of Chawlk.com. While we’re on “Version 3.0” right now, Version 2.0 was ambitious in that they tried to create a community integrated with member content. Some members left as a result of not feeling the commitment to contribute to that community. Later, as the 9rules Triad have realized, ambition is best and most effective channeled and focused on one particular thing. So now, on 9rules, you will only see the aggregation of member content.

While I’ve enjoyed the community of 9rules and still do, I am in full support of this separation and resulting focus on the original philosophy of 9rules. Members are what made 9rules special and this continues to ring true. 🙂 So submit your blog and sell it to The Triad – it’s worth it to see if it makes the cut! I think it is also a great opportunity to really scrutinize and reveal how your blog can be improved.

NY Subway May of the Internets
A visual of the internet as a NY Subway Map.
Check the upper right in this subway map to see where 9r is on teh interwebz.
Credit goes to orli via Flickr.
 
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Posted in Web

Brandishing The Leaf

This settles it. I’m officially a member of 9rules – and I’m super stoked about it.

9rules - We Share What We Know

9rules is a wonderful blogging network aggregating feeds of independent blogs with quality content. So I’m honored that you will be able to find me amongst writers, designers, developers who put out the best content on the web. You can find the blogs categorized into many different communities. Whether you want to read content specialized in the financial, automotive, design, commentary, religious or dozens of other (loosely) sorted subjects, 9rules is the place to go!

They welcomed me into the Personal Blogs community in their Round 5 of submissions. Woo. I’m happy to be a part of the family. 🙂 (If you’d like to become a part of 9rules, your next chance to apply for Round 6 is May 7th – for 24 hours. After that, they close submissions until August. Such rounds occur only 3 times per year.)

Their exciting relaunch is today so definitely head on over sometime today to check what all the buzz is about. (I’ve been hitting “refresh” the past hour or so, guys.) 😉 You can also try Chawlk, which is a forum where a lot of 9rules members and non-members hash out random topics, web-related and not. The people I’ve met on this network are one-of-a-kind, and I can’t speak of a better group on teh interwebz. We have thought-provoking conversation with minimal incendiary comments – this level of discourse is really hard to match. It’s a great group of people, period. 🙂

Special thanks and congratulations goes to The Triad of 9rules (Mike, Tyme, Scrivs), who worked really hard on this relaunch. And thanks for accepting me! Muah!

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You Are (Not) What You Blog

Anyone who knows me – in person, in the flesh, on the raw – might be able to name a few mannerisms of mine. Those who know me well will be able to go further than that, perhaps even to the kind of guy I would and wouldn’t go for. The type of movie I would pay to see in the theatre or would wait to see until it’s on DVD. The places I would and wouldn’t hang out at on a weekend – day and night.

And then there are those who appear to glean that sort of information – and more – from what I write in this blog.

Some things are only natural to assume. For instance, if you’ve read my posts about cars, you would know that my personality doesn’t particularly favor SUVs nor Japanese cars – but instead the unreliable German kind, with all the little plastic pieces, electrical drivetrains and failures to boot. If you’ve read the posts recounting the outings I’ve had in the city and what fun I’ve had on them – more formerly than recently – you could assume that I love where I live. Or, you might be able to draw that conclusion merely from the URL and title of this blog.

Sometimes, though, and I don’t restrict this to blogging, you can tell more about the person making the assumptions than the subject whom they’re drawing conclusions about.

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