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:


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…

Screenshot 2016-04-14 11.00.39

…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.

Screenshot 2016-04-14 11.16.08

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!

Screenshot 2016-04-14 11.25.19

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.

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”.


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.

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.

#TwitterLives: If I forget Twitter, let me forget how to use my right hand

There’s been a lot of buzz recently concerning Twitter’s stance in the social media world. After a huge decline of online traffic within the past year, rumors from headquarters suggested a change to the classic reverse chronological order feed to an algorithmic one in an attempt to revamp the platform.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 1.45.09 AM.pngTwitter CEO Jack Dorsey refuted the claims to keep #riptwitter at bay by denying any such change. While the Twitterverse is alive, it’s hardly thriving, which not only threatens hundreds of people’s jobs, but also puts an extremely useful social platform at risk of extinction.

When I first joined Twitter in 2012 I used it to record the ridiculous things my 10 year old campers said. But as I got older, wiser, and subsequently funnier, I used my refined  humor to tweet original content no longer inspired by children at a weight loss camp.

For the past few years I’ve been totally immersed in the Twitter world. It’s been my outlet, my friend, and my source for current events. Instead of writing in a journal, I wrote 140 character sentences for everyone to see. Instead of reading a book, I read the live newsfeed. Instead of talking to a friend when I was upset, I turned to Twitter to boost my spirit. My thoughts were exclusively carried out in 140 characters and I mastered cutting down sentences

Clearly I am a huge fan of this amazing social media platform where anyone can become a (D-list) celebrity. While I use Twitter primarily as an outlet for creative thinking and entertainment, it’s not solely for having a good laugh.

Twitter has been useful in delivering breaking news to the public before the mainstream media could even get ahold of it. Remember the plane that crashed into the Hudson River in 2009? On his way to help rescue passengers from the flight, Jans Kums snapped a picture of the accident and used Twitter to spread the news.

This social media platform also played a strong role in pulling Spain out of a horrible economic crisis in 2011. #TheSpanishRevolution was an online movement created by respectable Internet celebrities to improve the democratic system. They fought for their rights through silent protests in every major city in Spain, and camping out in plazas.  The Spanish government dug itself into a deep hole of high unemployment rates, and even higher housing prices, populated by incompetent and corrupt politicians, failing banks, and outraged Spaniards.

The movement, 15-M, was born on May 15 (which is how it got its name) when over 15,000 citizens camped out in the Catalunya Square in Barcelona (where my school CEA is located) chanting slogans like, “Fucking once every four years isn’t a sexual life, voting once every four years isn’t a democracy” while they received the short end of policemen’s sticks.

Masks inspired by "V for Vendetta"
Masks inspired by “V for Vendetta”

To make a long story short, Twitter played a huge role in pulling the country out of its crisis by utilizing the platform to organize silent protests and spontaneous gatherings that petitioned against the civil injustice from the government.

Considering the beneficial global impact Twitter has, I was absolutely shocked to hear about its possible death. It’s a live feed of what people around the world are feeling, seeing, and thinking; how it could not flourish among a generation of avid social media users who would rather Snapchat their food than eat it? Perhaps there is the problem – society has become so accustomed to watching videos, snapping photos, and being visually stimulated by photos of food that reading a maximum of 140 characters on Twitter has become too challenging and mundane.

It’s sad to see a progressive generation let such a useful tool for political activism, entertainment, and breaking news go to the grave. My message to everyone who thinks that Twitter is dying: pull your head out of your ass, and follow me on the best social networking service.