Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just the Same, Only Different

My dad is full of great phrases, like the classic "Don't do that... it only does that so many times." As in: "Don't zoom the lens in and out on your camera, it only goes in and out so many times." Or: "Don't play with the automatic locks on the car door, they only lock and unlock so many times."

Another one he likes is "Just the same, only different." This phrase works wonderfully when explaining why you should try spinach, when you already like lettuce.

Currently, in my line of work, I'm immersed in new gTLDs. What are they? Put simply, a gTLD (generic top-level domain) is the part of a URL at the very end, to the right of the dot. You probably know about .com, .net and .org. Well, this year, corporations and organizations will be allowed to apply for new gTLDs. It's starting to push into the mainstream media coverage, but mostly I read about this issue in domain industry media and IP law media. And there are a lot of people who oppose this expansion. To sum up the basic arguments:

IP attorney: "Creating new domains means that we'll have to protect all of our trademarks from cybersquatters across hundreds of extensions and that will cost us a lot of money and time so don't do it!"
Domain investor: "New domains are always worthless, we can't make any money off them, so don't do it!"
Businesses: "No one will ever learn to type anything other than .com at the end of a name, so don't do it!"

And I look at all these arguments against new gTLDs, and I want to say:

It's just the same, only different.

You already love and know .com. So why can't you love .web? Wikipedia relies on .org, but surely the Clinton Foundation would look nice on .ngo.

Another gem of wisdom from Dad: "Put it where it belongs." This also applies for new gTLDs. Shoes belong in the closet, and hotel websites belong on .hotel. We have complicated classifications systems for libraries to sort our information, why not classifiers online?

What I see is a lot of people not wanting to change because "it's always been like that." Well, I'm telling you, don't stick to the same old thing and get the same old result. It only does that so many times.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Slouching Toward Feminism

Nate: "I had a feminist moment the other day."

Me: "What do you mean?"

Nate: "I was working on a project and pulling a list of all the town planners, firefighters and police in a certain region and I noticed they were all men. There weren't any women at all."

This led to a discussion about why that might be, beyond general hiring sexism. That part of the conversation isn't what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write that I am so proud of Nate's ability to notice the issue, and willingness to acknowledge there was a lack of women in these types of leadership roles.

Not everyone takes the time to look around them and see these things. For myself, I see a huge gap between the number of male leaders and female leaders. I don't worry about this so much for myself, as I do for women and humanity in general. Half of our country's population is made up of women, and yet the majority of the decisions about women's health issues, including birth control are made by men.

The way toward progress is for people to recognize the gap, and to ask themselves, why aren't there more women leaders? This goes for the local level up to the White House.

Look around you today. Do you see women in powerful positions? Who are they?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Does the Government Really Care How Much Time I Spend At Starbucks?

Fast Company reported last week that the government is tracking my iPhone usage. [Link:
Use An iPhone? Yup, The Government Tracks That]

I have a few friends online, mostly that guy from college who really, really wishes he could go be a student protestor in the late '60s, who have been posting about the same topic, claiming that the government is out to get us, tracking our every movement, etc.

But I seriously doubt that the government is interested in a detailed log of my iPhone's whereabouts:

7:00 AM - on the kitchen counter
8:00 AM - on the MBTA
9:00 AM - in my office
10:00 AM - in my office
11:00 AM - in my office
12:00 PM - in my office
1:00 PM - in my office
2:00 PM - at Starbucks
3:00 PM - in my office
4:00 PM - in my office
5:00 PM - in my office
6:00 PM - at the gym
7:00 PM - on the MBTA
8:00 PM - on the kitchen counter

You get the picture. It's entirely possible that President Obama could decide to look up my iPhone locations and determine that I spend too much time at the office and call my boss and tell him I need a vacation. But plausible? No.

I do not object to the government having access to the cell phone GPS data for people who are suspected of criminal acts. And if that means they are going to have access to everyone's data, but probably only use it in criminal investigations, I'm on board.

Technology keeps advancing and at some point we could all have GPS chips implanted in us, for all we know now. In comparison, a little data storage from cell phones seems pretty innocuous.

Or, you could all just unplug and stop carrying your cell phone around with you everywhere you go.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sound Bite: Scoreless

I'm a hip social media player, and while you'll find me bopping around Twitter, LinkedIn and G+, you won't find me on Klout. Or Kred. Or Empire Avenue.

Today I got an invitation for ProSkore. And you know what, I'm not going to join that one either.

I am a real person and I engage on social networks in my own way. I don't want to be standardized, because I use every social network differently. It's not possible to objectively score my social media presence, because there's no objective way to use a social network. Twitter is not an SAT. G+ is not the GRE. Even the power players on social media are doing radically different things, and scoring them is useless. Lady Gaga uses Twitter one way, and President Obama uses it another. Both are pretty darn influential and have a lot of followers, but there isn't a way to score that.

If you want to engage with me on social media, great. I'm open to meeting all kinds of people online, and I love those I meet that are writers, marketers, political activists, photographers, technology fans, and everyone else that I talk to and hang out with.

Just don't tell me I need a number by my name for that.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sound Bite: Why I'm not a top blogger

Are you a high schooler looking to establish a personal brand? Fast Company can tell you how to do that: U R What U Tweet.

After spending literally years learning about personal branding, I've decided I don't want a personal brand. If you're Dan Schwabel, and you've got a solid brand, I applaud you. But I don't want to narrow myself into a core mission or elevator pitch. I am a complex person, with complex thoughts, and while my day job is marketing, my weekends are packed with history, art, science, and a whole host of other topics. In fact, I love my weekends so much, you won't find me on Twitter on the weekends. Or Facebook, Google +, or even on a laptop. That alone is enough to make sure I'm not a top blogger.

In a lot of my online reading, I encounter people who have to admonish themselves to step away from the screen. I am not one of those people. I enjoy a good cuddle with a cat and Law & Order reruns. I love bicycling in the warm weather, and helping my husband build his model train layout.

I know yesterday I was complaining about being "old" and not accomplishing anything. But today, I realize that if I wanted to be in that whiz kid group, I'd have to stop having a life offline. I'm not willing to make that trade.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sound Bite: Age shouldn't matter

Glancing through this evening's HARO requests, I see one journalist looking for "Tech/Social Media Professionals Under 30 in the DC area."

I don't fit this profile, mostly because I'm not in the DC area, but also because I'm 31. It's irritating to think that I work hard and achieve good results in what I do, but I'll never make that list, because I've hit my "Sell-By" date.

But hey, I'm sure I can still make a 35 Under 35 list. I have 4 years to nail that one.

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