In the not so distant past, I was a child. I ran around, did dumb things, stuck things where they weren’t supposed to go(don’t read into that any further), and played. I played the hell out of playing. At the time, my playing had very little to do with a screen: tv, phone, ipad, ipod, gameboy, etc. It was me, maybe some more children, and our imaginations. It was a damn good time. Technology is destroying our, and every generation prior to ours, notion of childhood. Read the rest of this entry »

How many times have you caught yourself trying to study for that test tomorrow or writing that 10-page paper due in two days, but found yourself inevitably on facebook, twitter, or youtube or some other distracting website or blog that draws your attention? It’s a problem our whole generation can relate to, yet finding the motivation to actually break this bad habit seems close to impossible. Well, now there’s an app for that.

Introducing Self Control, the Mac app created specifically for distracted individuals such as me and you. And when it says self control, it means business. Once the timer is started, the user cannot undo the blacklisting of the webpages or any other application. Read the rest of this entry »

In the mid-nineties, the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), a revolutionary indigenous people’s movement based in Chiapas, Mexico, began calling for an international network of independent media makers to combat the narrative being put forth by the major corporate media outlets. Specifically, the Zapatistas saw this as a tool to help win the fight against neoliberal globalization policies (what Subcomandante Marcos terms the Fourth World War) and to promote international solidarity. By far the most well known of the responses to this call are the Indymedia Centers (IMCs), a network of bloggers, journalists, radio stations, newsletters, video producers, etc. from cities all over the world.

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A new trend in the world of e-commerce is the phenomenon of “group buying.” The best-known player in the group buying game so far is Groupon. Groupon offers a geo-targeted “deal of the day” for users, as well as other “great deals nearby” which users can take advantage of. The way the service works is the site posts a deal which does not officially go into action until a certain number of people commit (with a credit card number) to buy the offer. When the offer “tips,” or enough people accept it, users are sent a printable “Groupon” to bring to the retail establishment. While Groupon set the groundwork, many other companies are catching on to this highly profitable trend. Read the rest of this entry »

During my time at NYU so far, I have held internships in the marketing departments of a few nonprofit arts organizations.  All of them bring in young interns with the same goal: to get their company on all the big social networking sites. I would sit at my desk for hours on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Foursquare updating profiles and adding new friends, all in an effort to make this company stand out from the rest. The most difficult factor in all of this however, was taking classical art forms like ballet and connecting them to new age media and technology. When working in an older demographic, it is hard to find your audience on social media. Therefore, I am hoping to research the successes of classical arts (focusing primarily on ballet and opera) on Facebook  and Twitter.

Surprisingly, I have already found that American Ballet Theatre and The Metropolitan Opera have over 130,000 and 86,000 fans respectively. These numbers rival the most popular celebrity fan pages. So what is it about the relationship between classical arts and new media that is so successful? Why are fans that normally turn their noses up at new technologies so eager to get on Facebook to interact with the arts? Classical arts companies are struggling to turn a profit every year, and yet they are more popular on Facebook than Perez Hilton, Ryan Gosling, and Orlando Bloom.

With these arts fan pages growing daily, I have to wonder—is social media going to revive classical art forms? Will Facebook bring more people to Lincoln Center to see Giselle this year? Will Twitter help to sell out the Met when La Traviata is playing? I want to watch to see if and how these organizations are making use of their enormous fan bases, and if in fact it will make any difference at the box office.