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At 7:00 PM tonight, October 5, 2010, I’ll be one of two presenters (the other being the Queen of Digg and all things bacon, Amy Vernon) speaking about Foursquare at the Princeton Public Library as part of their Tuesday Technology Talks series.

Even if you already know the basics, which I’ll be covering, stop in tonight to hear the second half of my presentation, in which I put the smackdown on the Agony Aunts and Helen Lovejoys of the world who are afraid that you will ruin your life if you use social media.

Hope to see you there!

Possibly Related Posts:

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

National Banned Books Week

It's National Banned Books Week, and like I've meant to do every year (but failed) I'm going to again attempt to read one banned book a day.

For reference, the top 100 banned or challenged books of the last decade are listed below. I crossed out the ones I've read all the way to completion (unlike, for example, Catcher in the Rye, which I've attempted to read several times but hate Holden Caufield so much, I never manage to complete it.)

I totally encourage everyone reading this to attempt your own Banned Books reading challenge this year as well. Also, go to your local library and see if it stocks all 100 books listed below. If they don't have a title, as why.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

Most Likely to Take Over the World

In 1999, a young girl was voted by her classmates “Most Likely to Brainwash America and Take Over the World” for her senior yearbook Who’s Who. Eleven years later, she’s working on the world domination part via the medium of social media.

Her degree in psychology from Rutgers University may come in handy later when she begins work on the brainwashing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

I can't tell you when or why I stopped using "This Book Will Change Your Life" other than it was mid-February. I was on day 40-something, and I realized I hadn't updated this journal with my adventures, so I resolved to not do another activity until this journal was updated.

Bad idea.

I do intend to return to the book, but in the meantime, bad news. Since January, I've put on 14 of the 17 lbs I lost last year, five of those in the last month.

I also, in the intervening half a year, read a hysterically funny blog post by an author trying to follow the lifestyle tips of Gwyneth Paltrow's "GOOP" newsletter for a month.

Suddenly, something clicked. That, I can tell you, happened last Wednesday when my copy of 30-Day Method by Tracy Anderson (exercise guru to Gwyneth) arrived in the mail from Amazon.com--a book I ordered because it was recommended to me as someone who liked other weight loss DVDs by other failed gurus (Jillian Michaels, kiss my fat ass.)

So, the book arrived, and I realized this was my time to get a bit loopy and Goopy. From now until December, in addition to going back and trying to restart "This Book Will Change Your Life" from where I left off, I'm also going to read the archives of GOOP. I'm going to subscribe to the newsletter. For thirty days, the 30-Day Method is going to be my Bible: I'm going to exercise when Tracy tells me to, eat what she tells me to on the days she tells me to, and I'm not going to do any other exercises or eat any other foods.

And I'm going to blog it all. Right here.

Current waist: 39"
Current weight: 171.5 (according to Wii Fit)

Tracy promises I'll drop 14" (overall, natch) and 20 lbs in the first month.

You're on, bitch.

On July 27, 2010 I addressed the Social Media Club of North Jersey on the Individual and Business user experience within Foursquare. There’s a recap of the event (along with a photo that has shamed me into rejoining Weight Watchers) available at the Axiom Media Service blog.

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Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

Unplanned Downtime

technical difficulties please stand by Dreamhost, our webhost, completed a database upgrade a few months ago, which means that I cannot upload files using WordPress among other WordPress oddities due to the database change. So, I’m going to attempt to install WordPress and hope that these entries remain intact afterwards. If not, there is (of course!) a backup, but the site may be down for sometime while I restore from the backup.

Thanks for reading!

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

I didn’t really want a Frappuccino; I didn’t even want coffee. All I really wanted to do was go home, get a shower, and curl up with a nice bottle of wine and watch the 9th Doctor take on the baddies on DVD. (Yes, I’m a nerd.) So why was I queuing in a Starbucks, playing with my iPod Touch, about to spend four dollars I didn’t have on a drink I didn’t really want instead of racing home to end a rather rough day?


You see, eight hours ago on an otherwise unremarkable morning, I’d stopped into my local Starbucks for a cup of tea, having run out at home. I don’t usually stop at Starbucks when I’m in a hurry for a cup of something hot on the go – Dunkin Donuts is cheaper and WaWa is better – but on this particular morning, Dunkin Donuts was offering a free iced coffee, resulting in queues around the block and WaWa was well out of my way. Neither of these things would usually be a deterrent except for one key factor leading up to a perfect storm of coincidence, social media, and marketing savvy: I was running late.

So, I pulled into the Starbucks I’ve passed a million times but only occasionally visited and queued up.

The line was moving fairly quickly, but I’m practically ADHD and immediately felt my mind slowing down to something less than 5000 RMP. My hand, which seems to suffer from Alien Hand Syndrome in these situations, had whipped out my iPod Touch and logged onto the Starbucks network before I even realized what was happening to me.

It was while on Twitter that I noticed a friend of mine had signed into Foursquare only a few minutes prior at this same Starbucks. A quick glance around the room, however, revealed that she was no where to be found, but on the off chance that she was in the bathroom or had moved to another store in the strip mall, I logged in.

“Special HERE!” Foursquare said.

Curious, I clicked.

“As mayor of this store, enjoy $1 off a NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blended beverage. Any size, any flavor. Offer valid until 6/28.”

I shrugged, ordered my tea, and carried on with my day.

My curiosity, however, was peaked. When I arrived at my destination, I logged into the Wi-Fi network and jumped onto Foursquare’s website, curious to see how close I was to being the mayor of Foursquare, especially since I was one mayorship away from the “Super Mayor” badge that I’ve been trying to win for so long.

Current Mayor: Priscilla J.
Number of Visits: 5
My visits: 5

I was one visit away from becoming the mayor of Starbucks and getting that “Super Mayor” badge!

All day, all I could think about was logging in on the way home to get the badge. “It seems so stupid,” I kept telling myself, trying to talk myself out of spending more money, “but I could just get, like, a scone or something. They have those little mini donuts that are seventy-five cents or something. I could just get one of those.” (Honestly, I could have just walked in, logged in, and walked out, but that’s so not in the spirit of the game.)

Convinced that I’d merely spend the smallest amount possible on the cheapest item on the menu, I pulled into the parking lot at 5:30pm that evening. There was only one person ahead of me in line, so I logged in as quickly as I could.

“You just ousted @cillajenkins as the mayor of Starbucks Coffee on @foursquare! http://4sq.com/aPC4sa” said the first message, immediately followed by the more important, “Congratulations! You just unlocked the “Super Mayor” badge on @foursquare! http://4sq.com/cejdqs”

And then the Special popped up again.

“As mayor of this store, enjoy $1 off a NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blended beverage. Any size, any flavor. Offer valid until 6/28.”

“Can I help you?” said the friendly guy behind the counter who looked all of fifteen years old.

“Um…” I said, the message staring at me. “What kind of Frappuccino is good?”

“You can now get a Frappuccino however you want it!” he said, “but most people like mocha.”

“Um, okay then, I’ll take a Mocha Frappuccino and, uh, can I have my Mayor’s discount?”

He looked down at my phone.

“Awesome!” he said. “I just found out about this when I checked in for my shift!”

“I found out about it when I checked in for tea!” I replied.

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

It seems to happen every time there is a major media blowup about some child who was murdered, raped, or pushed into suicide that the Helen Lovejoys of the world come out with their torches and pitchforks, screaming “Down With the Internet! Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children!” Recently, the untimely and tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince, who was bullied, harassed, and physically assaulted in school and in public, became the new cause du jour when someone discovered her online profile was filled with mean messages urging her to end her life, not unlike Megan Meier, who was bullied into suicide by the mother of a school frienemy, Lori Drew.

the internet doesn't hurt kids people hurt kids
Wikipedia is a parent-approved website on the Internet. As you can see, it is safe for children.

Because, you know, it’s not the perps who are responsible for their behaviors. It’s the Internet!

When I was thirteen, I was picked on relentlessly in middle school, much like Phoebe Prince, for being the new girl, so I sought out friends on local BBSs (anyone remember those?), and began riding my bike all over Burlington County, NJ to meet up with people I spoke with on there.

“But it was different then!” people cry. Yes, it was different then — there were no parental controls; most parents didn’t understand networks and the budding internet back in 1993. There was no profile with a name, face, age, or any other identifiers. There was no COPPA Act. It was just myself and a stranger, chatting in a DOS-based system with now way to prove that Tigger2 was actually the anguished, angst-ridden teenager I said I was. It was possibly the least safe time to be flitting around the internet, but there I was, and here I am today.

By the time I was 16, I had an online journal which is how most of the people on Facebook and Twitter know me, as the precocious teenager whose entire coming-of-age the read as a live-action Catcher in the Rye or (as I’d prefer to be compared) The Bell Jar. I posted pictures, I named names of friends, locations, and my high school. I told people when and where I was going to summer camp. As time progressed, I learned about libel and other serious concerns due to kind adults who would inform me that an entry I wrote, if found by others, might get me into trouble, but that was long after I began writing. In 1996, it was an age of few controls and a lot of wild west-style lawlessness on the internet; and yet, I came out of that one unscathed too.

You might call me lucky, as many concerned adults who read my site did, but I never felt lucky. I took calculated risks. I dated three men — one of whom is now my husband — I met via my website, only meeting up with my long-distance loves after I saw photos and webcam conferences and then, finally, called them at the home number they’d give me. My first online boyfriend, who ended up being my prom date and possibly one of my first truly serious relationships in life, used to joke with me that for all I knew, he was some sort of crazed “ax murderer.”

“For all you know,” I would reply, “so am I.”

My ex-husband, who would get drunk and twist my arm or pinch me so hard I’d bruise, who once hit me in the head after throwing a full can of soda at me, I met in the real world, via my place of employment, like “normal” people.

My husband, David, was a reader of my first online journal which started on Geocities and migrated from there to my own domain, bitterfame.com. He knew me during my first marriage, watched that marriage disintegrate, watched me date other men, and finally asked me out via Trillian. We “dated” for four months before we ever saw each other in person. As of this June 16th, we’ll be married for four years.

My story is not unique. When I attended the first ever conference for online diarists, JournalCon 2000, in Pittsburgh, PA., many people there knew me and each other online from the internet, and mostly only as readers of the others’ lives. There were dozens of us staying in the same hotel, parting together, eating together, and none of us had any idea what the other was like until we met up in the Westin Hotel that Friday night.

Amazingly, no one was murdered, raped, or kidnapped!

The truth is, the internet isn’t to blame when children are abused. In fact, as both the Megan Meier and Phoebe Prince stories point out, it’s the people you know in real life that are the most dangerous to a young person, who are able to inflict the most harm. This should surprise no one: children are most often abused and kidnapped by a parent, relative, or someone else known to them than by a stranger, and that statistic holds true for rape and murder among adults as well.

I remained safe online not because I was lucky, but specifically because I grew up on the internet, never told that the internet was a bad or scary place, that I often had candid conversations with my Dad about what I was doing online. (If it was forbidden, that NEVER would have happened!) I also probably wouldn’t have been comfortable enough to date men I met through my website, and I felt safer with them than I did with random strangers my friends would pick up at bars, because I was Internet street-wise from learning safety at an early age. (And, possibly, because my parents and friends weren’t online to harm me!)

Kids today are growing up with the internet too, at a time when it’s MUCH safer and more controlled (overly so) than it was when I was growing up. Those who don’t learn to navigate it with a parental figure helping them when they’re younger are going to be behind, and when they do get away from Mum and Dad, they’ll be as reckless as most college freshmen drinking and fucking themselves into oblivion because it was kept away from them for so long. It’s the kids who didn’t know how to use Facebook who’ll put up pictures of themselves smoking from a bong and then wonder why they got busted for possession, who put every banal thought on Twitter and end up with a stalker because they didn’t keep their Foursquare friends in check.

My suggestion to any parent who’s scared of the Big, Bad Internet is to stop being afraid of it! Allow a 13-year-old onto Facebook to interact with his/her friends with the following rules:

  • A parent must actively supervise at all times.
  • The profile is completely locked down except to friends and relatives.
  • Before a person can be added as a friend, parental supervisor MUST approve that person, and only friends from school/the neighborhood/IRL activities/etc. who are personally known to the child will be allowed to be friended. Give the person the “Over For Dinner”: ask yourself, “Do I know this child, relative, child’s parent, or teacher well enough that I’d invite them over for dinner? If the answer is no, then hit the ignore button.
  • BIOS lock-down the computer (if PC. I’m sure there’s similar security for Macs) so that the child cannot turn on the computer in the middle of the night and get around the HUGE security holes in Windows that even I was able to exploit at that age.

This is a very Vogotsky-inspired approach to the internet: by supervising actively and being involved in decision making, you model the skills needed for that child to eventually be successful on the internet by his or herself — and at an age where that modeling will still be successful, rather than at 16 or 17 when it’s far too late.

It’s like training wheels — I’d never advocate giving a child a bike and letting them go crazy, but I’d also never advocate not owning a bike because of the slim margin of chance that a car might some day hit them or a pedophile may grab them.

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

Jimmy Choo Joins the Cult of Foursquare

Jimmy Choo's Catch a Choo marketing campaign

Win a pair of Jimmy Choo trainers by following "CatchaChoo" on Foursquare

Just when you thought the Wall Street Journal might win a prize for Awesome Use of Foursquare for Marketing, premium designer shoe brand (beloved by fashonistas and wannabe Sex and the City girls everywhere) Jimmy Choo launches an incredibly creative campaign.

Jimmy Choo, London, have taken their shoes mobile, going to seriously hot spots around the city and checking in on Foursquare every time they arrive. Those lucky enough to check in on Foursquare, find the venue, and get there before the Choo bag leaves get to select their very own size and style Jimmy Choo trainer (that’s sneakers, for us Americans) for free. The trainers, by the way, retail for between $465.00 and $595.00.

So, what’s so special about this promotion? Well, honestly, everything. Most brands have been using Foursquare for one of two purposes. One–the most obvious one–is to bring foot traffic into a location by offering specials to frequent patrons and free goodies or special discounts to the Mayor of a location. The second has been in line with mostly media companies: have different venues unlock different, unique badges for Foursquare users in order to drum up more followers on the social media circuit. (Example: to unlock MTV’s badges for various Jersey Shore cast-approved night spots, you have to be a friend of MTV first.)

Having the product go mobile and, essentially, asking fans to stalk the product is innovative and down-right fun, like a scavenger hunt on the move. This livens up a quickly crowding medium with a new idea to be explored, one whose simplicity should leave other marketers wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Catch a Choo, win Jimmy Choo trainers

Your invitation to stalk a Jimmy Choo intern in London to get free shoes!

Mirrored from Most Likely to Take Over the World.

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