Podcasting, Jake and Amir, and Fat Camp

Four score and seven years ago  In 2001 our fathers Adam Curry and Dave Winer  brought forth on this continent, a new form of media, conceived in easy accessibility, and dedicated to the proposition that all men can create audio files that can be quickly downloaded, streamed, or subscribed to – a phenomenon later to be known as “podcasting.”

In 2004 The Guardian published an article by journalist Ben Hammersley called “Audible Evolution”. Many people accredit him to the podcasting boom, but NEWSFLASH  people!! podcasting was already a thing since 2001! Even in 2003, a year before Hammersley published his article, Curry and Winer organized Bloggercon, a convention held at Harvard University for the podcast community to unite and talk about podcast domination/things. BloggerConPanorama

So Hammersley was the first person to write about podcasting, and therefore is known as the guy who coined the term “podcasting”. So he promoted something that’s trendy… big deal. He didn’t even talk about the most important part of podcasting, aka syndication biznatches!!

Back to our forefathers – Dave Winer actually created RSS (Rich Site Summary/Really Simple Syndication) which allows people to subscribe to a podcast. Without Syndication there is no podcast, there’s just a bunch of audio files uploaded to a site. Thank you, Dave!!

SO, why did Hammersley (allegedly) call it podcasting? Legend has it that when Curry was in the midsts of creating the phenomena of listening to audio files on the go he had the iPod in mind. Pod + Broadcasting = Podcasting. But you don’t need to have an iPod to listen to stuff… you just don’t need to have an iPod if you wanna be a loser.

Other possible origins…

Pod (capsule) + Casting

Pod (Portable on Demand) + Casting

Pod (Poop on Deck) + Casting

Pod (Pleasant owls Daily) + Casting

Pod (Penis on Download)) Casting

Pod (Police our Dicks) Casting

To review what we learned: Ben Hammersley is a journalist who wrote about podcasting, Adam Curry invented how to get filed onto an mp3 device (I didn’t mention this earlier but you can do your own goddamn research this isn’t Wikipedia!!), and David Winer created the <enclosure> tag that allows people to subscribe to podcasts.

Like most American history, that was pretty boring, but necessary to know (I guess?). Myfavorite podcast/the only podcast I listen to is If I Were You Show, the only advice podcast hosted by Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. Before their podcast ranked #3 on iTunes, these two Jewish American BFFs wrote for College Humor and gained attention across Jewish day schools everywhere for their sketch series, Jake and Amirtumblr_nl9wwfYVaY1qzqj0jo1_1280I binge listen to their podcast via Podcast Addict because I broke my iPhone during Abroadfest and had to replace it with a shitty android for the duration of my time in Barcelona. Despite my previous jab at non-iPhone users, I don’t actually have a problem with androids – just ones that are a piece of shit.

When you subscribe to Jake and Amir’s podcast they become your best guy friends and gurus for life. They’ll make you laugh so hard on your daily commute that you spill hot coffee all over your jeans, and they’ll give you tough love advice to help you get over that guy you used to bang whose number you constantly delete in the hopes of forgetting him but inevitably re-add anyway. tumblr_static_jathumbsmaller

I’ve always wanted to make a podcast, but I haven’t yet found the Jake to my Amir that can bounce off my conversation the way they do. Fortunately for me, but perhaps unfortunately for whoever listens, my teacher has required my class to create a podcast segment. However, if you were paying attention to the history of podcasting you’ll realize that my “podcast” isn’t actually a podcast, but rather an audio file I’ve uploaded. Why is that? Because there’s no RSS! 100 points to ME!

For the past seven years I’ve been the proud attendee of Camp Pocono Trails, otherwise known as “weight loss camp” to those too embarrassed to call it “fat camp”, or more famously known as MTV’s Fat Camp.

And for the past seven years I’ve also been bombarded with questions on what fat camp is really like. So for my podcast, I invite you to listen to Fat Camp Uncovered:

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Meet My Class

One of the four courses I’m taking at CEA is called Spanish Youth since 1975: Challenge and Achievement. The year 1975 is remarkably important for Spaniards because on November 20th, 1975, the country’s dictator (more like dicktator, ammiright?) Francisco Franco died.

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Francisco Franco

I love this class. Over this semester I’ve learned more about Spain than I think I know about America, which is pretty embarrassing, but the point is that this course has totally enriched my study abroad experience by teaching me about Spanish culture, traditions, and political scandals. 

For example, we learned about Castells, an activity that is very representative of Catalan values and integral to its culture. A castell is a human tower traditionally made during large festivals. It represents Catalan strength, balance, courage, and common sense. Videos of fallen towers would make great submissions for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

The only thing is that my class only has four students. It wouldn’t be such a problem if my classmates knew how to speak Spanish, but since they don’t the hour and a half lecture is basically directed towards me. That’s okay though, because my teacher happens to be cool as fuck (as most of the teachers are in CEA). Sometimes I get the feeling she thinks I’m too much of a smartass because I carry the weight of my class, but sorry, not sorry! To understand the dynamic of my class, I need to explain the characters in it. All names are changed to preserve anonymity.

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17th Century Gun

Profesora (the teacher): Her catchphrase is “chang” (pronounced ch-ah-ng) and she’s a certified MILF. Her hair is always blown out beautifully, her outfits are chic and borderline inappropriate for class, and she wears only one bright, blue earring on her left ear because the other one fell out and she doesn’t feel like finding a replacement for it. I’m not sure if she’s married, but she always talks about the love of her life, her 16 year old daughter. Sometimes Profesora will bring in cool stuff for show and

tell, like a 16th century pistol, or 12th century books. These antique items comes from her household collection which she claims is haunted by ghosts. Prof can be easily distracted; one time my three classmates and I spent fifteen minutes during class trying to explain to her what the huts that sell marijuana in Freetown Christiana are like.

Megan, classmate #1: Megan is a student at Binghamton majoring in Spanish. Megan doesn’t know how to speak Spanish. Megan is also enrolled in two courses with me that are taught in Spanish. When Megan does her homework, I am very proud of her. Since she can’t understand a word that either of our teachers say, Megan plays on her phone as long as she can until Profesora says “CHANG!! Megan, if you don’t put away your mobile, I am going to take it home with me!” But Megan is lucky, because Profesora is a sweetheart and she never takes away her phone. Chang!

Derrick, classmate #2: Derrick is kind of cute, but he doesn’t really pay attention in class and he’s too skinny for me to develop a crush on. I’ve seen his friends though who are much hotter than him. I wish they would replace Derrick. Derrick is pretty boring. I don’t have much to say about him, except that I translate most of what Profesora says for him. Also, he once emailed me asking if we had any homework due for class, so I know he’s totally trying to get into my pants.

Catherine, classmate #3: Catherine never speaks during class. She also doesn’t really know how to speak Spanish. Sometimes I forget she’s even there, because I sit in the front of the class, like the asshole A+ student that I am. Catherine is very pretty but so fucking boring that her looks don’t make up for it.

Chang!

Politics! Politics! Politics! and Social Media?

Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election is largely accredited to his excellent social media campaigns. The Dragonfly Effect writes that it was “the first political campaign in history to truly harness the power of social media to spread the word, garner support and get people engaged.”

When planning his first and second campaigns, Obama knew that his speeches would be better heard over new forums, like social media, as opposed to traditional political ones. He wanted to speak to the people with open ears (it’s no coincidence he has pretty big ones) and listen to what they had to say.

But how does social media, a tool used to slide into people’s DMs, win you a presidential election? Did Barack direct message his followers asking for their number? Or did he use Facebook’s transparency and ability to communicate with a large audience to win America over? Probably the former.

Syrsly tho, Obama opened his social media toolbox and hired a team of workers who knew how to use them.

Part of why Obama won is because he addressed his campaign to the people and transferred the responsibility of his victory to his voters. His website was utilized to not only share his platform, but to also allow users to create groups to share their views and opinions. Obama created a strong, loyal following by giving voters the opportunity to communicate with the candidate and involving them in the process.

The 2008 Obama Online Operation utilized seven platforms: BarackObama.com, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, SMS/callcenters, and online advertising. In 2012 he upped his game and ditched the outdated Myspace (sorry Justin Timberlake), and used Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Flickr, Instagram, Spotify (he’s so trendy!!), and not one, but TWO Twitter accounts! Note that his opponent, Mitt Romney, only used five social media platforms: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, and Google +. It’s no wonder why he lost… no Twitter or Instagram = loser.

The Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed Obama’s, and Romney’s social media campaigns over a course of 15 days during the 2012 Presidential Election…

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…and concluded that Obama’s campaign was way more active and thus generated a larger response from users. No shit.

Following Obama’s lead, many candidates have selected a team of social media strategists to head their campaign for the upcoming election; but without as much success as the current president.

Candidate Hillary Clinton has received a lot of criticism for trying too hard to sound hip in her attempt to communicate with the younger generation.

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But bad publicity is good publicity right? By raising her head high and creating a Snapchat, Clinton has won over many celebrities, including rapper Waka Flocka.

Who knows what the 2016 Presidential Election will bring? One thing is for sure, more hilarious tweets by Donald Trump!

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Arielle’s Declassified Amsterdam Survival Guide

This was actually my second visit to Amsterdam, but I never wrote about the first time so it’s like it didn’t happened. Like when I lost my virginity.

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Medieval Amsterdam

To truly appreciate the grandeur of the bicycle ridden, pot heavy, wonderland of a place Amsterdam is, you must acknowledge the origin of the city’s name. The history behind it begins in 1250 when the city was founded around a Dam; Amsterdam was originally called “Amestelledamme” which is Medieval Dutch for “Dam in a Watery Area”. The canals within the city were originally dug for water management and defense, but are used today to transport local merchandise. They’re also used as very chill places to smoke a joint while envisioning yourself in Medieval Amsterdam. Maybe I watch too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I imagine that back then there were a lot of vampires, and if you don’t, you’re imagining Medieval Amsterdam wrong.

SO? What else is there to do in Amsterdam besides #420blazingit? TONS!!! Here is an incomplete guide of cool stuff I did while I was there that you can do to! All you need is a lighter, GoogleMaps, a lot of money, a buddy, and a portable phone charger.


The Coffeeshops

I was going to start off with the museums, but I know you just want to read about the pot. In my personal opinion, the weed I got in Amsterdam doesn’t compare to that I’ve smoked in Barcelona, but that could also be because I was buying the cheapest stuff. The city is absolutely loaded with coffeeshops which is awesome because you can pop in, blaze, and then go to breakfast right next door. The only catch is that you have to purchase something if you enter, but that’s reasonable.

The Bulldog: This was the first coffeeshop established in Amsterdam. I’ve only been to one location, but I’m sure the other four are just as dope. The music is bumping, everyone is vibing, the walls are covered in graffiti, and they have cool bulldog merchandise.

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Mirror pics at the Bulldog

Paradox: This one is really close to The Anne Frank House and The Pancake Bakery (scroll down for information on museums and food), so plan accordingly. It’s small and lowkey, but the weed and spacecakes are really cheap, the walls have dope alien illustrations, and the hot chocolate is absolutely delicious.

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Paradox

The Dolphins: I had the most surreal experience here. My friend and I took truffles earlier that day and ended our trip in this coffeeshop that was decorated to make you feel as if you were underwater. There’s a downstairs area, but we spent the entire time at the bar talking to our Jamaican spirit guide, Samora. She taught us how to buy the right kind of weed, told us about the Minion’s Holocaust conspiracy theory, and gave us life advice as if she were the Yoda to our Luke Skywalker. Samora was the HBIC at the coffeeshop. Two other girls worked under her: one was dressed in all black and was hot as fuck. Her hair was dreadlocked in a ponytail and between her deep, sultry voice and choker you could just tell she was a witch. The other girl had very pale tattooed arms, bad posture, and wore an oversized white t-shirt. She was beautiful in her own respect and you could tell that you didn’t want to fuck with her, but a vulnerable side showed through her slumped back. I think it was fate that I went The Dolphins coffeeshop that day, even though I don’t really believe in fate. It was the kind of experience where I felt like if I returned the next day the three girls wouldn’t be there and it would have been as if it the whole thing was a figment of my imagination. Samora signed the dolphin notebook I happened to be carrying around with me, because if working at a coffeeshop in Amsterdam wasn’t cool enough she also happens to be an up and coming singer! And her shit is fucking dope.

 

There are lots more coffeeshops, but these are just the few whose names I remember and worth mentioning.

The Museums

The Van Gogh Museum: I forced my friends to come with me to this museum, but they wish I hadn’t because admission was a whopping 17 euros. If art doesn’t interest you then I wouldn’t suggest going, but on the other hand how about you shell out a few bucks to fucking educate yourself about one of the most celebrated painters? Although some of his most famous paintings, The Starry Night and his Sunflower series aren’t featured in the exhibit, the museum does a good job of explaining the crazy artist’s past. In elementary school I learned that Van Gogh chopped his ear off and gave it to his “girlfriend” but according to the museum he gave it to a prostitute, and according to ABC news, neither of those stories are true.

Museum of Prostitution: This was actually one of the highlights of my trips to Amsterdam. Located in the Red Light District, the Museum of Prostitution gives the history of prostitution in the city and aims to inform people what the oldest profession in the world is really like. It has two floors and is well worth the eight euros. In fact, I would even pay 15 to get in! Every wall has an informative plaque that answers a juicy question about prostitution, and there’s even a room that shows you what the view from inside the window is like.

The Anne Frank House: If you don’t buy your tickets WAY in advance, I’m talking 3+ months in advance, you’re gonna have to wake up mad early to wait on the line to get in. Doors open at 9am and when I arrived at 8am there was still an hour and a half wait. Tickets are only 9.50 euros to see an exhibit and the annex where Fritz Pfeffer, and the Frank and van Pels family hid during World War II. It is incredible that everyday people wait hours to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust and to commemorate Anne Frank and her legacy. After the annex the museum concludes with video interviews of Anne’s classmates and friends. They low key talked shit about her and said that she was controlling and high maintenance, “but not in a bad way”. I guess that was a way to keep her grounded in our minds? Natalie Portman who portrayed Anne Frank in a film was featured saying, “Anne Frank wasn’t a saint”. I found that deeply disturbing. Why was that necessary to say? It sounds so petty and kind of like the actress is jealous of the young teenager who died in a concentration camp, but I digress.

 

The Heineken Experience: I had so much fun at to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin a few weeks prior to my Amsterdam trip that I decided to check this out too. It was quite the experience; the museum is very well planned and easy to walk around, although to be honest I wasn’t quite interested in how hops are used to make beer. I just came for the free pints and bracelet they give you which I am never taking off. What made my Heineken Experience so fun was the group of Englishmen dressed as coal minors who stood behind me  and serenaded all the visitors during the long wait for the “Brew U” simulation ride. The gentleman were celebrating a bachelor party, and the bachelor was dressed as a canary. They were hilarious, drunk, and given the opportunity I would have made-out with all of them. Boys, if you’re reading this, slide into my DM’s ;).

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My boyfriends

The Food

 

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The Dutch pancake

The Pancake Bakery: This shit is UNREAL! And by “shit” I mean food of the gods, and by “pancake” they mean “crepe”. Get whichever pancake you desire, but you’d kick yourself in the nuts if you don’t order The Dutch pancake. If you go with a buddy, or if you’re alone, I suggest splitting one savory and one sweet pancake. The last time I went I got a bacon, cheese, and mushroom omelette and The Dutch pancake.

Waffles + Hotdog stands: These stands cover the city’s streets, but they close pretty early so you have to get them during the day. The hotdogs aren’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s cheap and good enough for a student traveler. The waffles on the other hand… they melt in your mouth. I’m allergic to Nutella but I’ve seen my friends orgasm over Nutella waffles, so I’m obligated to suggest ordering that.

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Hotdog sold to me by very friendly, slightly obese elderly man.

Hot chocolate: You can get this literally anywhere that serves food. Amsterdam has the best hot chocolate I have ever had, but that’s probably because I haven’t been to Belgium yet.

Bagels and Beans: This is a very adorable, quaint, and affordable place to get plain, sweet, and savory bagels. The hot chocolate they serve comes as a glass of warm milk with a cup of milk, or dark chocolate pellets that you mix into the drink yourself. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it’s pretty fun to DIY and Snapchat it. My favorite part about this chain store cafe is that there are plenty of outlets and free wifi 🙂

The Cheese Shops: Amsterdam is sprinkled with cheese shops filled with free samples. If you get hungry during the day just pop into one of the stores, peruse the products as if you’re going to buy something for your parents, and sample every damn cube of cheese offered. Pro tip: don’t try this if you’re the only person in the store and you don’t intend on buying anything. It’s rude, and pretty awkward when the shop owner stares at you while you freeload. When I went to Amsterdam when I was 16 with my family we spent an hour in the Old Amsterdam Cheese Store and my brother and I ate our weight in stroopwafles (also a notable Amsterdam dessert to try) and cheese.

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Me when I was 16, wearing oatmeal shirts.

The Nightlife

On my first trip to Amsterdam I went to a Galantis concert which was dope, except I arrived pretty late because I was under the impression that the headliner wouldn’t go on until after 9:30, but Dutch shows are punctual and I missed Peanut Butter Jelly :(. The following night my friend and I went to Bierfabriek, a restaurant bar known for its abundance of peanuts (which I am allergic to). We met a beautiful German man who rolled a joint for us and helped us smoke it before we went to Disco Dolly, a club that our friend who studied in Amsterdam the semester before told us to check out. The line was too long and the local girls behind us said they didn’t know why it was so popping because it’s just an average club. They also said they’re jealous of the American Dream that everyone has in the states because in Amsterdam everyone is just chill and unmotivated.

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Bierfabriek. Not pictured: peanuts.

Anyway, after having no luck with the clubs, my friend and I decided to leave the Red Light District and call an uber home. Just as it arrived three tall boys ran into us and convinced us to stay out with them instead of ending the night early. We agreed and gave the uber driver the boot. For the next few hours we roamed the city and smoked joints on the canals as if the five of us had been longtime friends. The boys were best friends from school in Rotterdam and were only there for the night. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t invite them back to our place because we were staying in a family friend’s house and my friend had a boyfriend; not that I wouldn’t mind an orgy with hot German, French, and Swiss guys.

On my recent visit to Amsterdam I had much better luck with the nightlife. On Friday we pregamed at the bar in our hostel, became friends with the bartender, and went to Sugar Factory for an entrance fee of 13 euros. Holy moly, I coulda done without that! It was cool to see how the Dutch party in a club, but the music was essentially the same the entire time and got super boring. I did meet the most beautiful man I had ever seen who towered over me. Just as I was closing in a deal he got distracted by some girl friends who entered the club and stole the man who I will forever refer to as the one that got away. Saturday the bartender from the hostel invited us to a coffeeshop with his friends and this old guy, Antonio, who they had just met. I forgot all of their names except for Antonio, so I called them all Antonio and they just went with it. Bartender guy was trying to hook up with my friend, but when he realized she had a boyfriend he switched gears and tried for me. I wasn’t into it, but I was into his hospitality. Dutch boy #2 kind of looked like a coke addict, but was very sweet and a true gentleman. Dutch boy #3 was too tall for his body and was kind of socially awkward, but I think that’s because he was nervous to be around girls. He was never without a joint in hand, and he told me that he smokes a gram of weed a day. The boys bought us drinks, smoked us out, and took us to a different coffeeshop where one of them worked. It was really cool to go inside after closing hours, so I suggest making a cool Dutch friend like mine who can get you access to that.

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Dutch boys #2 and #3

The plan was to go to the Red Light District to see a peep show, but I was extremely tired, it was raining, and we had to wake up super early to beat the line for the Anne Frank House. The Dutch boys sent us off in one of those bike cabs. I tipped him three extra euro because when I asked him if it was hard to ride with us he said, “Actually, no. Eh, because you are ladies actually it was quite easy”.

My thoughts on the Red Light District: it’s cool to walk around at night and see the girls in windows, and the boys staring at the girls in windows. The area is full of tourists, which could be a bad or good thing depending on your outlook. Definitely worth a visit.

Other Fun Shit to Do

The Sex Palace: A lot of people spend 50 bucks to see a live sex show. That’s dumb, just watch porn! A more authentic, and affordable Amsterdam activity to do is see a peep show for a euro a minute. My friend and I entered a small closet sized room and when we deposited our euros a window opened to reveal a not so sexy woman touching herself on a revolving couch. She looked fucking miserable, which made me fucking miserable. I felt so sad for her. The worst part was that I didn’t realize she could hear everything I was saying about her life. Oh well.

Canal tour: Don’t book a tour online – you can save three euros if you buy a ticket for a tour once you get to Amsterdam. There’s an audio guide you can listen to, but it’s pretty boring and time is better spent sitting outside where you can feel the fresh breeze. It’s nice to go if the weather is pleasant, and the hour boat ride is BYOB. Hell yeah!12919632_10209411567588573_1550731191075862221_nVondelpark: There’s another lovely park in Amsterdam that I didn’t get the chance to go to, so I’m just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Vondelpark is absolutely gorgeous, but small. It’s a perfect place to pick flowers for your hair, to eat a picnic, and to eat your magic truffles.

Pro Tips

  1. Find somewhere to buy alcohol to pregame the pregame because bars are expensive. Liquor stores close early; like seven pm. Plan accordingly!
  2. If you’re broke and don’t wanna spend a lot of money on food, go to a supermarket. They have really amazing (cheap) sushi.
  3. If you’re thinking about whether you want to take magic truffles or not, just do it.
  4. Don’t buy all your weed in one place. Experiment with the strands and go to different coffeeshops.
  5. Don’t take uber or taxi. Use the tram system, or walk. Don’t be a fucking princess.

Marta Alonso: Taking Instagram by Storm

“So you want to know how I am so successful at such a young age?” said Marta Alonso, a guest speaker for my journalism class.

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Marta (left) and me (also the left).

She sported an oversized tan suit jacket over a classic white top, dark denim jeans, and leather high heeled booties that screamed “I’m cute, but don’t fuck with me”. Before she even began the lecture she prepared on her rise to success I knew I wanted what she had; ambition, confidence, and a hot bod.

After graduating ISDI (Institute Superior para el Desarrollo de Internet) in 2008 Alonso said it was difficult to even think about finding a job because of the global economic crisis. At least she had an excuse for being bleak about her future, it’s 2016 and I can’t even think about getting an internship! But, as her successful story goes, she caught a break and began working at Thinklink in 2009. Alas, her “break” lasted about five months when the company closed; but as one door closed, another opened.

In 2010 Alonso’s boss asked her to help him create Muuby which would be one of the first digital media and social advertising companies in Spain. “I had no idea how to build a company, but I had nothing to lose. So, I put in all the savings I had towards Muuby and gave it a shot,” said Alonso.

Release a breath of relief, because the risk the young entrepreneur took paid off. Alonso created a campaign for Spain’s Doctors Without Borders called “pastillas contra el dolor ajeno” (pain relief pills).

The campaign sold tins of pill shaped candy whose proceeds would go towards actual medical pills. Muuby’s successful Doctors Without Borders campaign won them their biggest client, Spanair.

For about two and a half years Muuby’s staff was on a high. But, as life goes, the airline went bankrupt in 2012. Not only was this a serious loss for Spain, and an inconvenience for citizens with cancelled flights, but the end of Muuby and Alonso’s second career. spanair-operations-suspended

“It was the experience I had because in two years I learned how to build a company – after all, it was a good learning experience,” Alonso said.

This is the part when her story starts getting good. Alonso had always been interested in Instagram and used it quite frequently to find out the hottest fashion, travel, and food trends. She was one of the first people to join Instagram in 2010 when she created @IgersBCN (Instagramers Barcelona). Initially it started as a hobby, but within one month she had 1,000 followers.

Alonso invited all her followers to meet at a bar to get to know each other and to bond over mutual interests in photography, art, and travel. 200 people showed up, and at that moment something clicked for Alonso.

“When I saw that everyone who came was posting pictures from the meeting and talking about it, I realized the potential of Instagram as an advertising platform,” Alonso said.

This realization is what head speared her title as Instagram Guru. As @IgersBCN grew, people from all over the world slid into her DM’s asking her for Instagram strategy help to create a community like she did. Today there are over 400 Igers groups in 60 countries that congregate regularly to take photographs together while meeting new people.

Alonso’s curious spirit that created Igers landed her another gig from a different airline, Vueling. The company wanted her to create a campaign to commemorate the 50 million passengers who flew Vueling.  Alonso utilized Igers by asking users who flew Vueling to submit photographs of their travels. The photos were then pasted on an airplane to create the first art exhibit in the air.

Alonso’s ability to use Instagram as a tool for advertising attracted the Catalan Tourism Board. They wanted her to invite the ten best Instagramers around the world on an all expense paid visit to Barcelona to promote tourism in Catalunya. One of the perks of being a journalist, Alonso said, is that they’re invited by companies to do shit for free all the time because then they’ll write about it.

After freelancing for a while and absolutely #winning at the game, Alonso landed a job as Head of Digital for Edelman-Spain.

Marta Alonso @ Edelman-Spain
Marta Alonso @ Edelman-Spain

“Huge corporations are like turtles, they’re slow moving. It’s hard to make innovations in a fast way. I felt like a bird trapped in a small cage who couldn’t fly free,” said Alonso.

After quitting Edelman-Spain, Alonso was able to spread her wings and in 2014 she create Circle Line, a digital storytelling agency, where she continues to work today.

“Instagram is a global display that lets you sell your product globally,” Alonso said. “Many companies don’t even have stores, instead they give products to influencers who Instagram themselves wearing them”.

Although excessive social media users receive a lot of backlash for constantly taking photos and tweeting and never being in the moment, Marta Alonso managed to make a high paying career out of it, as have many other Instagramers.

In March, 2015 Alonso released her first, “and I think last” book, called “We Instagram”.

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Under the Influence

Not only are famous people rich as fuck, but they also get free stuff all the time. It makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint, but from my perspective it’s totally unfair. Just because I only have 360 followers on Twitter doesn’t mean I’m not as influential as Beyonce, there are tons of other reasons too! I want the free shit too ya’ll; I’ll wear the heck out of anything you want me to, as long as I don’t have to pay a single dime for it.

The reason that the rich are getting richer is because businesses realized the potential of utilizing influencers to promote their products.

Influencer marketing targets a more niche audience than any other type of advertising because of the power the influencer has on their audience. We trust people who are like us, and people who we want to be, so if we see them wearing a74-army-pants-and-flip-flopsrmy pants and flip flops, we’re gonna wear army pants and flip flops too.

Take Kate Middleton for example. Designers love to send her free clothing because as soon as she’s seen wearing it “The Middelton Effect” ensues. Whatever she dresses in is immediately sold out in stores.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye’s kid, North West, got 50 grand worth of Stella McCartney, Hermen, and Giuseppe Zanotti (I have never heard of this brand but I assume it’s expensive because I can’t pronounce it) products.

During the Winter Olympics in Suchi, 100,000 condoms were given out to athletes at the Olympic Village. That’s about 35 condoms a day for each athlete… but anyone would need that amount of they were built like a god.

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AF fo’ lyfe yo…until they pay you cold cash not to wear it

On the other side, Abercrombie and Fitch pleaded Jersey Shore star “The Situation” to not sport their brand:

“We are deeply concerned that Mr Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and the producers of MTV’s Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand. We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response.”

The bottom line is that commercials are more effective on specific platforms, because when you advertise something to everyone, it loses its effect. Bloggers like Girl With No Job and podcast hosts Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are given stuff for free all the time because of how influential they are.

SO, if you want to get free $hit from your favorite companies, you just gotta have the charisma and personality that compels people to follow you! Easy as Crème brûlée, aka it’s extremely hard and I’m still waiting on my complimentary shipment of PopSockets after publishing a very evangelist article

How to Succeed in Journalism Without Really Trying

The emergence of social media has made journalists very defensive of the status of their jobs, and for good reason. Platforms like Twitter, Vine, and Snapchat help propagate citizen journalism which is defined as “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.” Journalists argue that there are professional rules one must adhere to when informing society, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to check grammar when tweeting about a plane crash in the Hudson River.billboard1-citizen-journalism

As an aspiring journalist, I can understand how civic journalism can be annoying. Professional journalists busted their asses to get their degree for a job, and some average Joe is gonna undermine all their effort by being at the right place, at the right time and recording it? You betcha!

Hot and British gentleman Paul Lewis explains what civic journalism in his amazing TED Talk. I highly recommend watching it because he is hot and British (and informative, I guess).

Today it’s possible to become a journalist without having to even study it. Yup, that’s right… no need to take Journalism Law, Writing Reporting and Editing, or Visual Communications to spread the news, all you need is a smartphone, and Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, and Vine. Pick your potion. Oh, and according to Dan Grillmor, author of We the Media, you also need to be meticulous, precise, impartial, transparent, and independent. So maybe it’s worth it to get that journalism degree…Ethics-in-communication

So while civic journalism aggravates some professionals, others have embraced the phenomena that social media mothered with the purpose of improving their news platforms, like The Guardian. They created Guardian Witness, an app that promotes civic journalism by asking its readers to submit videos, stories, and photos they deem have journalistic value. This is an extremely good tactic because promoting civic journalism actually gives them more information that they don’t even have to pay for! Cha-ching!

So maybe you don’t think that being active on social media equates to what it takes to being a journalist; well, you’re kind of right! BUT, here is another video about the impact civic journalism can have on society which you MUST WATCH because it’s about the three little pigs.

The Evolution of Graffiti in Barcelona

Street art in Barcelona is vibrant. It’s colorful. It’s wild. It’s everywhere. Graffiti covers the exterior of trucks, shopkeeper’s shutters, side streets, and stop signs; but as unregulated and unruly as the craft appears to be, there is a certain etiquette that the graffiti community must follow.

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Rule #1 was broken

Rule number one: don’t cover someone’s work with your own. However, breaches happen all the time because sometimes an artist is young and foolish, or the mural wasn’t good enough to keep around, or because the perpetrator had beef with the artist and wanted to give him a big “fuck you”. An artist whose work never gets tagged by someone else shows that he well respected by the street art community.

Rule number two: “You should always ask permission to take a picture of a graffiti artist when he’s painting” says Mike, a tour guide for Barcelona Street Style Tours  “or they might end up with a fat fine”.

An artist faces immense danger when he holds a spray can in public in the dead of night. In Barcelona, a graffiti writer can be fined up to 3,000 euros for their art. The city council considers street art to be something that holds no purpose other than to vandalize the streets with its distaste, but others admire the colorfully painted walls that ooze with creativity and provoke introspection with their social commentary.

“Graffiti is not the lowest form of art…The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit…They say graffiti frightens people and is symbolic of the decline of society, but graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people: politicians, advertising executives and graffiti writers,” English graffiti artist Bansky wrote in his book, Wall and Piece

“The law regards graffiti as something that soils the public space, devalues our heritage and visually degrades the urban fabric,” a city spokesman told The Guardian.

But the imposition of new laws in 2005 prohibiting street artists to decorate Barcelona with tagsthrowups and murals might not inhibit their artistic motivation.

“I don’t think the laws are ever going to stop the graffiti movement because there’s something mischievous about doing something you’re not supposed to be doing. Now there’s this rush of adrenaline that artists feel when they create something, and that high is addicting” said Mike.

C. Berkeley professor Greg Niemeyer once said, “Graffiti is a life force in a city, that says to every citizen, I’m alive, the city is alive. A city without graffiti is like a field without flowers.”

So why is the government so intent on plucking the flowers of Barcelona, a city that was once referred to as “the mecca for graffiti” where artistic restrictions never exited and painters were free to express themselves and communicate their frustrations, successes, and opinions with their neighborhood?

Graffiti emerged in Barcelona in 1975 after the death of Francisco Franco, the Spanish tyrant who had suppressed Catalan culture for the entirety of his reign. Upon his burial in the Valley of the Fallen, Barcelona entered a countercultural movement called The Madrilenian Scene, or La Movida Madrileña, characterized by freedom of expression, recreational drug use, and an uplifting sense of liberty and repossession of Catalan culture.

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And thus, the Bohemian Culture was born and nurtured by writers, photographers, painters, singers, and graffiti artists. Barcelona graffiti really exploded in the 90’s with the influence of MTV and the hip-hop culture overseas in America. In 1992 painting public walls was criminalized in the effort to clean up the city in preparation for the Olympics.

Of course, that didn’t stop the movement from growing. In 1994 two young entrepreneurs, Jordi Rubio and Miguel Galea, changed the graffiti industry when they created Montana Colors, the first store to sell a spray can that met the needs of graffiti writers. The fame and success of their store helped promote the cultural revolution spreading across America and Europe.

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Painted with Montana Colors

Barcelona enjoyed its golden years of graffiti from 2000 up until 2005 when tourism began to boom. In order to attract more investors and tourists, the government imitated New York’s 1990’s Times Square clean up, which was allegedly accredit to Rudy Guiliani. The former mayor of New York used the “Broken Windows Theory” to reduce the high rate of crime in Manhattan. The theory was created by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling who found that crime begets crime, and minor criminal acts lead to larger ones. Graffiti was thus considered to be a gateway to grander misconduct, and thus it became the government’s goal to remove it from from the premises.

The irony behind this strategy to remove street art lies in its inception. When graffiti emerged in New York in the 1960’s it was used as a way to protest urban policies that failed to prioritize certain parts of the city, like the Bronx neighborhood. Citizens living there felt the quality of their life deteriorating. They translated feelings of abandonment by the state into feelings of rage, which they expressed through graffiti. And so, ironic to say the least, urban planning, the catalyst of the graffiti movement, is what then attempted to remove it without addressing the underlying social and economic problems behind it.

However, upon seeing the success of Guiliani’s project, Barcelona followed his example. But what the government fails to understand about the essence of street art, its core and soul, is that it is a form of self expression. An artist will not put down his spray can because he is told to by the law; instead he will be inspired by the new social injustice to paint even more to communicate his fury with his neighbors.

Community members of the Raval area dedicated a small garden surrounded by walls colored with street art to represent the injustice of the death of a local business owner, Juan Andrés Benitez, a homosexual man who was allegedly murdered by the hands of policemen. Despite being known for its abundance of homosexuals, Catalan police are known for abusing their power and mistreating gays. After separating a fight between Benitez and another man, El Yazid, Benitez was handcuffed and given five blows to the head. He reportedly died from a heart attack caused by the punches.

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“If you assault one of us, we will all respond”

The graffiti on the walls that enclose the garden communicates the neighborhood’s sentiments towards the gross discrimination and total misuse of power by the policemen who have yet to be punished. The fury that the people have against this injustice is what provoked the graffiti on the memorial; but not all street art comes in the form of angry messages to the government.

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Chef Love

Chef Love is a particularly notable street artists who uses food and soda cans to communicate happy messages.

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El Pez

El Pez, or The Fish, is notorious for the smiling fish he paints all over Barcelona. The artist uses the smile on all his paintings because it communicates a universal message to all passersby; be happy!

In an effort to reclaim the celebrated reputation that street art had before the imposition of laws tainted it with a negative stigma, Mapping Barcelona Public Art and On-1st film produced Las Calles Hablen, (The Streets Speak)a documentary about graffiti. The movie serves to educate the community on the importance of street art by explaining its history, motivations, and cultural significance to Barcelona.

At Least Spanish Netflix Has Fuller House

Being away from home for such a long period of time is really hard, and not just for eight year olds who are shipped off to summer camp for two months. Studying abroad has been extremely trying, but at least I have Netflix to cheer me up. I used to have hola downloaded on my computer so I could access my American Netflix account, but after finding out that it hacked and broke my friend’s account, I uninstalled it immediately. Fortunately, Spanish Netflix has exactly what I need to keep me from spiraling into a deep depression: Fuller House. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks as highly as I do of the Full House reprisal:

Longtime heartthrob and Grandfathered star John Stamos joined Seth Meyers on his late night show to read harsh critic reviews on the premier of Netflix’s Fuller House, none of which had any mercy.

“It’s doubtful that there will be a more painful 2016 TV episode than the Fuller House pilot,” wrote Daniel Feinberg from the Hollywood Reporter.

“How fucking rude!” replied an appalled Uncle Jesse.

Like Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Full House reboot is either dearly beloved or strongly detested. With the exception of Michelle Tanner, all the familiar characters from the show’s predecessor appear on the pilot; so what makes the sequel so terrible?

“There’s a point where nostalgia becomes more like necrophilia, and Fuller House immediately crosses that line,” read Meyers from a Washington Post review.

While comparing the reprise to having sexual intercourse with corpses might be a little dramatic, there’s no question that Fuller House has disappointed fans with its cheesy acting, annoying laugh track, and obsession with following a predictable storyline for every episode that ends with a hug and a moral lesson.

Fuller House is like a porn parody without the porn,” the A.V. Club wrote.

Stamos shared that there is in fact a newly released porn parody called “Full Holes” that he claimed, or jokingly claimed, to have binged watched 40 times. “It’s really specific with the catchphrases, I think there’s a lawsuit…” said Stamos.

If the parody is as good as Uncle Jesse claims it is than perhaps the portion of the audience that grew up watching Full House in the 90’s should ditch Netflix and get their Tanner fill on Pornhub.

The problem with creating a sequel to a series that was the foundation of many young adults’ childhoods is that while the fans grew up and matured, Fuller House didn’t. Kimmy Gibbler’s state of mind is stuck in the ‘90s, as is her choice of clothing; DJ Tanner-Fuller returns as the sweet faced girl-next-door we cherished; Uncle Joey is still a child in a man’s body; Uncle Joey and Aunt Becky are as hot and madly in love as they were 20 years before; Stephanie Tanner turned out to be as rambunctious as her tween self foreshadowed, and Danny Tanner still gets turned on by cleaning supplies.

Stamos and Meyers laughed as they read the last and best review from the New York Times, “The series begins as a sitcom family reunion. It becomes a self-conscious, dated and maudlin reminder of the ceaseless march of time and your inevitable demise.”

Despite America’s rejection of the long awaited reprisal of a once beloved TV show, Netflix signed Fuller House for a second season.

Amores Minúsculos

I’ve always said that in the future I think I’ll get divorced. I’m not like planning it ahead of time, I haven’t even been in a serious relationship yet (yes gentleman, I’m single!) – but I grew up in a split household and that exposure strongly influences my marital day dreams. No pity necessary; the best thing my parents did besides have my three brothers and me is getting divorced.

The better explanation as to why I think divorce is inevitable for me is because I believe in having multiple best friends. Allow me to explain, if you will: a best friend is someone who you turn to to bitch about everything and nothing; who you don’t mind texting 15 times in a row with no response; who you don’t have to cover your pimples up for; who you trust to look through your phone because you’d never talk shit about them; whose sorrows and successes are your own and vice versa; a best friend is your soulmate.

My mom thinks that I throw around the word “best friend” too loosely, like some kind of floozy. But I can’t restrict myself to having just one soulmate BFF! I’ve got my fat camp best friends, Jewish day school best friends, and college best friends – none of whom I could ever rank on a scale of who I like the most. There’s so much pressure to have one favorite color, one favorite movie, and one best friend – but with so many incredible options it’s impossible to choose.

It’s true that my past holds a graveyard of lost friendships which I thought would be eternal; but such is life. I’ve fallen out of love with many best friends who I used to hold very dear to me. They say that the person you marry should be your best friend – your best friend who you fuck and are totally not platonic with. But if I can have numerous amounts of platonic best friends who can leave my life as quickly as they entered it, how can I have faith that a marriage will last forever? How do I know which best friend is the
right one to commit my life, mind, body, and soul to?

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Cartoon by Alfonso Casas

The answer to my seemingly unanswerable questions came to me this past weekend when I saw a play with my dad at the Club Capitol theatre. Amores Minúsculos (Tiny Loves) was the only performance he could find spoken in Spanish instead of Catalan, Barcelona’s dominant language. It’s a short stage adaptation of a comic written by Alfonso Casas.

The romantic comedy followed the story of five characters: Nacho the homosexual hunk who works at Bershka but dreams of publishing his comics; David, a heterosexual male in an unhappy relationship who unknowingly is the protagonist of Nacho’s comic; Jaime the dork in search of inspiration for his novel, which he finds in Eva, a mysterious, hot girl who claims to know the day she will die; Laura, an uptight accountant and Nacho’s best friend; and Carlos, a DJ/singer/producer who finds himself uncharacteristically falling for Laura.amoresminusculos3.jpgThe message that the play gave to its audience is that there is no “grand love” but rather “tiny loves.” There is no such thing as a perfect soulmate that lasts forever. What’s real are the relationships you fall and thrust yourself into with all your heart and body, because you’ll never know what the expiration date is. It could be as little as three days after opening yourself to that person (without refrigerating) to as long as 70 years. And if it spoils, so what? On to the next one.