Every Snapchat User’s Worst Nightmare

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon.

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon. Via Forbes (article linked)

Snapchat, for those who have never heard of it before, is an app which boasts that it can share images directly between users for up to 10 seconds. Initially, it was stated that after these 10 seconds or less, pictures were “obliterated”, or shredded pixel from pixel to never be seen again.

Sounds harmless enough right?

The app, whose interface is clean, simple, and bright and inviting, has taken on a darker purpose among some. Some users use the app to send goofy faces to their friends, record short clips from concerts, or snap vanishing images of the mundane. Others however, use the app’s promise of “shredded evidence” to send more explicit content.

Yes, just like ‘sexting’. Exactly as bad as it sounds.

While the app does have safeguards against users that attempt to take screenshots of pictures, it would appear that the veil of safety had been lifted as a new generation of “hack” apps have emerged to lower the privacy of these “snaps”. In the ‘early days’ of the app, an alert would go off when iOS users cleverly tried to screenshot images, notifying the sender that their picture was no longer ‘transient’ and was permanently saved. However apps like SnapCapture,  SnapSave, and various others now enable users to capture pictures without alerting the image or video.

Brace yourselves, snapleaks are a thing now.

The result? That silly picture of you and your friend doodling cat ears on each other might surprise (but not horrify) you when its posted to Facebook. Or in worse cases, that ‘sexy’ picture meant for your then-boyfriend might be your now ex-boyfriends next submissions to snapchat pics on reddit. YIKES.

No matter what you snap, make sure you’re ok with the rest of the internet seeing it too, because chances are, they will.

Government Shutdowns: A Brief Primer

nickcage

Chances are, you’ve heard about the government shutdown (who hasn’t), but seeing as the last major shutdown was back in the 90’s you might not be entirely familiar with what a ‘shutdown’ really is. In America’s history there have been a grand total of 18 shutdowns, the first occurring in October 1, 1976 when Gerald Ford vetoed a bill, citing overspending as his reasoning. The result was a partial shutdown which lasted until early October 11.

Generally speaking, major government shutdowns are somewhat rare. So why are we currently shut down?

In a nutshell the current reasons that we are in a government shut down are these:

  • Republicans had hoped to dismantle Obamacare
  • Congress members have been trying to dismantle support in each others’ parties

Or more succinctly, we are currently enduring one of the most ineffective congresses of our time.

So what in effect does this mean?

  • An estimated 800.000 Federal employees are furloughed, or an unpaid leave of abscence
  • National parks are closed
  • Passport offices are closed
  • Members of Congress continue to receive pay 
  • Government websites and social media will effectively go silent
  • National Zoos are closed
  • Domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and other federally-funded efforts will lose funding
  • Certain school receiving federal funding will close
  • Intelligence agencies will lose 86,000 of its civilian employees, and their ability to detect threats will be diminished.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lose funding towards vaccinations (including the flu) and disease-prevention research and will be unable to monitor or track outbreaks of infectious diseases.
  • Military paycheck will be on hold despite the fact that military personnel are still working.
  • Coast Guard patrols will be weakened (less patrols in water)
  • Death benefits for military families will be cut
  • Gun permits put on hold
  • Visa applications on hold
  • The National Institutes of Health will not accept patients unless ordered to do so by director
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will halt all safety inspection
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify program is now offline.
  • 45 public fountains will lose water
  • The Federal Housing Administration and the USDA will be unable to process loans
  • The Social Security Administration says it won’t respond to Freedom of Information Act Requests during the shutdown. (via Mother Jones)
  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will stop all new offshore renewable-energy projects
  • The National Zoo’s “Panda-cam” will go dark
  • The Environmental Protection Agency will all but shut down at midnight
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will run out of funding for regular payment checks
  • US Geological Survey will cease scientific research & water analysis
  • Disability payments will cease
  • Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro adoption program will cease to function
  • Winery permits put on hold
  • Food stamps are in essence, gone.
  • Automobile defects will be left un-monitored and recalls will not happen on defective machinery
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will furlough 52% of its staff (including FDA)

Etc, Etc, Etc (or keep reading more effects at Mother Jones)

So what is a ‘government shutdown’? In a nutshell, the simplest way to explain it to family and friends would be:

“A federal clusterfuck”

Let’s hope no wildfires break out or zombie-virus outbreaks happen while we are federally  compromised.

The State of Language in 2013

Apologies for not updating in a while; the city moves fast and time moves so quickly its easy to forget the little things!

At any rate I wanted to address a growing trend in language as I’ve witnessed it as both a former college student and as a (semi) functional member of society. In high school, many may remember the trials and tribulations of conquering the English language: studying those pesky SAT words until your eyes bled, mastering the art of the elaborate college essay, and perhaps even learning to decipher Shakespearean.

via simply steph

In college, those essays became magnificent reports, spanning pages with any elaborate word that could boost your page count before resorting to the dreaded size 14 or 16 ‘.’ marks. In some cases competition would arise in classes with presentations, and you may have found yourself ransacking dictionaries to trump your classmates with fancy words like ‘elucidate’ and ‘explicate’ to make yourself seem more informed. If you were an English nerd, you probably even made flashcards of words to toss around regularly to stump your opponents in arguments, hoping to shut down an overconfident instigator with verbiage that seemed both alien and intimidating.

Or you may have just been ‘queen of the powerpoint’.

via Zodhana Yoga

However somewhere along the long walk to receive that diploma or perhaps when you finally finished your studying to settled down to watch a reality show in television, you may have noticed a jarring contrast in the way language was changing; one might even say ‘devolving’.

When we were younger, words like ‘internet’ and ‘Facebook’ entered the dictionary to address new standard nouns found in our culture. In 2012, alongside words like ‘copernicum’ which described a very specific scientific endeavor, words like ‘sexting’, ‘aha moment’, and ‘man cave’ joined the pages of Merriam-Webster. As I sit and type this post, ‘bougie’, a noun some may recognize from rap lyrics, has been newly added to the ranks of prestigious words.

But it isn’t just the words we use; it’s the words we don’t use anymore. When I was little, I’d be called ‘moron’ or ‘idiot’ or ‘nincompoop’ (admittedly more so by older people) but would rarely encounter outright obscenities. Nowadays anyone we find displeasing is more often referred to with words that requires asterisks to shield their true identity: it’s not enough to be a “stupid idiot” anymore, now everyone is a “f***king idiot”. This is most visible in our pop culture: our movies, our stand-up comedy, memes, our television shows, and our music are now riddled with enough obscenity to make a grown sailor blush.

via Doug Savage

It’s almost as if our culture has either grown too lazy to think of clever ways to dispatch a good insult and has relied on our dulled sensitivity to the words to get away with just about any artful arrangement of ‘f***ks’ they can muster (sometimes even utilizing the word as every part of the sentence). Comedy roasts in particular has devolved so far that it is nearly impossible to have 10 minutes without a ‘bleep’ noise from the censor (who must have exceedingly impressive muscles from the sheer volume of ‘bleeps’ he must administer, I’m sure). In the original Dean Martin roast of Betty White, there were far less lewd mentions and obsessive profanity:


However when Comedy Central re-roasted Betty White for her 90th birthday, the sheer volume of lewd, profane, and truly graphic ‘jokes’ was a horrifying display of how far our humor had devolved. And the most shocking part of all was how completely normal this type of humor was received by both Betty and the studio audience…as if no good joke can be told without an accentuating ‘f***k’ for good measure.

Our reality television highlights some of the most foul-mouthed and quick-tempered of persons; often exhausting blurred mouth patches and ‘bleep’ noises so often that it becomes tricky to even discern if the person is speaking English or fluent ‘swear-anese’.

via Bad Girls Club (TV reality show)

It would seem that in 2013, language is already on a tricky path downward into the underbelly of ‘lazy insults’ and ‘easy jokes’ all with asterisk-ridded “swear words” firmly rooted at the core. Will we ever return to the days of witty comebacks devoid of a wholesome helping of obscenity?

Who f***king knows.

3 Healthy Celebrity Gossip Alternatives

“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”-Joseph Conrad

This has been quite the week on celebrity gossip: Kim and Kanye had a baby (as of yet unnamed), Amanda Bynes…probably did something outrageous, Will.i.am shockingly did not get accused of stealing any more songs, and Demi Lovato made some sort of ‘therapeutic’ new album.

While you were probably following along ravenously as Amanda Bynes continued to tweet utter nonsense and critics tried to speculate on baby names of the newest Kardashian-West…weren’t there more important things going on? Here are 3 things you should be paying attention to instead of the latest celebrity gossip machine:

  1. Hassan Rouhani won the Iran election, becoming a controversial new leader in the shadow of former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who seeks to patch Iran’s relations with the global community.  Though some of dubious of whether this will bring peace to the region, for the moment it seems that there will be major positive changes in store (The Guardian).
  2. Brazilians are now protesting the FIFA World Cup, as they believe this high-cost event will suck money out of the country and locals will be barred from watching the events due to high ticket costs. Despite violent protests in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, local authorities report that they are confident they can maintain order in the streets (ABC News).
  3. A man from Oregon recently received letters written by his father during World War II. Initially won in an auction and gifted to Ms. Shawn Story as a birthday present, Story didn’t feel right keeping the letters and did research to find Army veteran Dilbert Steele’s (the author) family. She was able to track down his son, Gary Steele, 55, to Portland and gave the letters to him. Containing incredibly personal information, these letters brought closure to Gary Steele, and piece of mind to Story.

So the next time you feel tempted to dive into a fresh new post of PerezHilton.com or People Magazine, take a moment to type ‘world news’ into Google or Bing and read a few news articles that actually matter.

Happy Father’s Day

Also, don’t forget to check out my recent blog article for Likeable Local🙂

3 Reasons You Need To Stop Making Fun Of People’s Majors

With the Class of 2013 accepting their degrees and striding into today’s job-market, I’ve noticed a trend that is not only rude, but probably a waste of time: This trend is belittling what our peers chose to study in college. It’s important to remember that what you chose to study was a personal decision, and it should be respected as such, and just because one person may not end up with a job in the field of study they choose to pursue is no reason to mock them for it.

In a recent article by Buzzfeed, the validity of the private school education was openly mocked, displaying ‘uses’ for degrees that were not only degrading, but not in any way funny (My degree has not been used as a doorstop, window prop, or laptop coaster, I can assure you). What we need is to inspire students to pursue their dreams, most specifically the ones that inspired them to go to college in the first place. So without further ado, here are 3 compelling reasons you need to stop making fun of people’s majors:

  1. They might get hired before you do. In a 2009-2010 publication by Anthony P. Carnevale, Ban Cheah, and Jeff Strohl, it was estimated that recent graduates faced a 8.9% unemployment rate (mind you this was 2009-2010). However of these, the recent graduates of the Arts, Architecture, and Humanities faced the most difficult unemployment rates among their peers (9.4-13.9% unemployment rate). Similarly Yahoo took a closer look at the census materials used in the aforementioned article, and found that some of our favorite major fields of study to mock had the lowest unemployment rates: Agricultural Science ranked 3rd and Communications ranked 4th (surprise to no one, Health ranked 1st). Statistics aside, if someone you mocked gets hired and later you have to use them as a connection for a job, that could be rather awkward.
  2. There are more constructive things you could be doing. In the time it took you to look up an article mocking someone’s major study, you could have perused a Mashable job board, applied to a position on LinkedIn, searched for alumni/alumnae from your college to connect with, or even given your resume spa treatment. There are a plethora of places you can send off your resume (like a message in a bottle) but sometimes it can be tricky to get started. Before you send your friend pictures of your resume being used as…anything other than wall decoration…take a look into some great places to start, like this handy writeup from CareerBuilder.
  3. Your might not work a job in your major field either. When you begin your precarious job search (I say precarious because it can be scary), identifying your true passion and where you aspire to work can be just as difficult as when you were deciding on a major field of study (if not more so). While you may have had an undying love of architecture, or a passionate love of fine art…you may find yourself making a 180 degree departure from what you studying to pursue something similar or bearing no relation to what your read about in textbooks. You may find that your studio arts passion is enlivened by graphic design…or you may find yourself in love with the competitive nature of sales. You may even find that you want to go back and reinvent yourself and go headfirst into philanthropy or non-profit work. Whatever the case, spend your energy focusing on your career path, not nitpicking the lives of others.

Hope this helps, and good luck class of 2013!

Dear Class of 2013

By now you have probably received your fill of guidance from major influencers such as Richard Branson, Tom Keene, and Gary Shapiro (and so many countless others); told you must follow your dreams, forget your dreams, be very afraid, be confident, be passionate…be a lot of things to succeed in the environment in which you are about to embark.

It’s going to be a bumpy road.

I’m not Richard Branson, but I’ve seen a plethora of mixed messages being hurtled at the upcoming class of graduates: everything “You’re going to be great! Take risks” to “You’re totally screwed, be very very afraid” and I thought that perhaps it was the right time to throw in my two cents.

So here’s my loose change.

So class of 2013 (most notedly from Goucher College, my alma mater) what advice I have to give to you is cut through the clutter of mixed messages and focus on what you want to do and who you want to be. The best advice ever given me, was to seek a culture I wanted to be apart of above a listed job position; rather than scan through massive lists of uninspiring job listings, look for that one special listing that speaks to you from that one company you would kill to be a part of. You might not get it off the bat, but keep it in mind when applying to you second choice (kind of like you did in college). Similarly, when looking for advice and scanning other articles titled “Class of 2013” only read the articles from the influencers whose accomplishments speak to you most.

The only thing they don’t teach you in college.

College is great for a whole lot of things; you learn a plethora of information, introduce you to new life experiences, and for the most part college is what you make of it. But there is one essential element in life that college will not teach you, and neither your parents nor your friends can instill in you. Passion has to be a part of yourself you develop throughout your college experience and you must demonstrate to those around you. It doesn’t matter how perfectly white and well-laid out your resume is, or how perfectly put together you look in your interview; your passion for what you do needs to outshine your patent loafers.

To summarize:

  • Focus your search
  • Find your niche
  • Wear your passion on your sleeve
….And breathe!
Hope this helps!

A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps!🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

Cold Tweeting: The Modern ‘Cold Call’ For Influencers

In marketing you may have heard of the term ‘cold-call’ or a call made spontaneously to pitch an idea to a potential customer or  client you don’t know, on behalf of a company, service provider, etc.

On Twitter, the same technique can be utilized to boost influence. Anyone who follows me may have noticed that I have not been reaching out very often to handles I do not follow, and this has been done on purpose. When this blog post is published, I will only have 338 followers on twitter, and what I hope to demonstrate through initiating ‘cold-tweets’ after this post, is the effect that genuine ‘outreach’ tweets can have on the influence of your handle.

So how does one ‘cold-tweet’? The first thing you should consider is who you should reach out to; don’t tweet to someone you don’t anticipate holding a conversation with. You can find them by searching a topic that you find interesting (for example, bakers in Brooklyn, search “Brooklyn Bakers’) or by looking at the left-hand sidebar of who Twitter thinks you should follow.

Second, obliterate any ‘salesy’ or ‘pitchy’ tweets from your mind, because you aren’t about to sell this person something: you are about to initiate a conversation. Before you type anything, look at their bio on their twitter profile and read it. All of it. Then read their last few tweets and come up with a friendly response to one of them or type out a tweet referencing a recent conversation. Imagine you have just bumped into them at a posh café…..or at Shake Shack.

And then wait. You might get a response, you might get nothing, you might get followed. Either way, plan to send out 3-4 of these day, and observe what happens. The power of a ‘real’ follower versus a ‘bought’ follower is enormous and those following you will begin to notice that you’re a human, not a mindless retweeting robot.

Hope that helps!

Snapchat and Vine; The Basics

There has been a lot of discourse on social apps like Vine and Snapchat, and what they they mean for social media, social networking, and content sharing. Here’s the basics you need to know:

Both apps boast very engaging content opportunities; Snapchat allows for temporary snapshots in time without the consequence of suspect images or video resurfacing across the internet in unflattering ways (long story short, less ‘Weinergates“). Similarly, Vine allows for short video that is highly shareable, engaging, and allows for a high level of creativity. One succeeds because it is temporary, the other because it is a permanent moment encapsulated in short video.

Snapchat operates detached from social networks, and offers an addictive way to interact with others similar to conversations; a back and forth exchange which is unrecorded, and fleeting.

Vine operates currently as a content creator which can be shared on Twitters in place of (or to compliment) content.

Because they are so different in application, I think both have drastically different futures. With Snapchat, there is a shareable component in that snaps can be downloaded before being sent , allowing people to use them as they would a vine (but without the seamless integration). I feel that Snapchat has the potential to outlive the social networks in the sense that ‘compromising images’ can now be shared more fearlessly than before on this platform.

However I do not think Vine cannot function as a standalone. Unlike Instagram, which is available on both Android and iOS, and is inherently ‘more shareable’ Vine relies more heavily on being peppered across Twitter, but is only available for iOS. Now owned by Twitter, Vine does have the ability to be used to its highest potential, but if Twitter ever died out, so would Vine. As far as I know, vines cannot be shared on Facebook, but I doubt this capability would ever impact its success.

Questions? Email me🙂

3 Quick Resume Fixes

Does your resume need a quick touch-up? Here are three incredibly simple fixes you can apply right now to perk it up a little!

1. “Professionalize” you email

If you are still using PrettyBallerina110@something or ILoveBacon290@somethingelse or any other email that reminds us uncomfortably of the 90’s, it might be time to do some spring cleaning. As you go forward, you want to put your best foot forward and impress. You email address might be one aspect of your resume you haven’t addressed yet, and if you are still using a college email, this might not be a big concern. However, sending off your resume with a ‘childish’ email might be a big turn off to recruiters.

Some quick fixes?

Try using ‘Firstname.Lastname@(whichever service you use)” or “FirstinitialLastname@(whichever service you use” 

Already taken? Try to keep your new email as uncomplicated as possible. While being expressive and being creative isn’t a bad thing in life…on your email and your resume, you should always take the safer option. Be professional.

2. Pick a font. Yes, just one font.

Comic sans, Papyrus, and Courier were all awesome fonts in their heyday: people put them on everything and they were much beloved. Fast forward to the 2000’s and most people have dropped the silly fonts for more clean and consistent fonts like Helvetica and Arial (and some Times New Roman too). If your resume has alternating fonts or multiple colors, it might be time to make some minor adjustments. The first (and best) change you can make, is set all the writing on your resume in one clean legible font. I feel confident in saying that no employer will see the humor in a resume written entirely in Wingdings or Dingbat. Similarly, while Chalkduster is playful and child-like…it can come off woefully childish; much like wearing a Barney the dinosaur tie into a corporate interview. If you do nothing else, make your resume all one consistent and clean font, and do it soon.

3. Check your spelling.

This might sound a bit silly, but always check you spelling every time you revise a resume. Between auto-correct, spellcheck, and whatever else is built into your word processor, there is always the off-chance that a company name, employer name, or job title can be woefully altered by accident. Always check that your name is spelled correctly , as it is the first thing an employer will see (and it just looks dumb if you mess that up). This also applies to everything else you do in your job search; check your contact’s name, check the company’s name, and check any name you’re going to have to put down in writing. Never EVER misspell an interviewer’s name in an email, and better yet, turn off spell check and do it by hand. Your resume will thank you.

I hope this helps! Happy Spring Cleaning!