Archive for March, 2007

Geek Shirts: a SXSWi Photo Essay

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

SMITH Magazine’s first annual SXSWi Geek T-Stream, a mostly cotton wonder of personal expression. Thanks everyone—you look marvelous.

Watch as a slideshow and download on our Flickr stream. All photos are posted under a Creative Commons license.

Click on photos to enlarge; mouseover for previous and next.

Nerdy girl gone wild P1010049.JPG P1010052.JPG Dogster's Ted Rheingold & Molly Bloom's Molly Ditmore P1010055.JPG
P1010056.JPG P1010110.JPG He draws She draws P1010136.JPG
P1010134.JPG P1010133.JPG P1010132.JPG P1010131.JPG P1010130.JPG
P1010128.JPG P1010123.JPG I'm blogging this P1010119.JPG P1010118.JPG
P1010117.JPG P1010114.JPG P1010109.JPG P1010106.JPG P1010105.JPG
P1010104.JPG P1010103.JPG P1010102.JPG P1010101.JPG SMITH's Smith
No, he doesn't want to... P1010098.JPG Guaranteed P1010093.JPG Barney hata
P1010091.JPG P1010087.JPG P1010086.JPG P1010084.JPG Laughing Squid's Scott Beale
P1010073.JPG Nice font P1010064.JPG P1010062.JPG P1010061.JPG
Twitter bug P1010059.JPG P1010058.JPG P1010057.JPG RUWT
Kevin Smokler at the FrayCafe

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Ze Frank

Friday, March 16th, 2007

184875799_aad93b1dbb.jpg Tomorrow is a milestone day in the happy life of personal media history. That might sound dramatic, but March 17 marks the end of Ze Frank’s year-long experiment called The Show, in which the man who first rose to viral fame with his How to Dance Properly video vowed to create a three-minute video every weekday for a year. As many of you reading this know, he did it—offering rapid-fire social commentary mixed with a singular showmanship. Mainly, he is smart and funny and a circus master of the medium.

387771581_926b7aeda9_1.jpgIf I was still working at Yahoo Internet Life (where one of my savvy coworkers found Ze back in the day), I’m sure we’d name him person of the year. So let’s just go ahead and do that anyway. Why? The Show is everything working to its potential in this rapidly changing world of personal media. Seven habits of a highly effective Ze Frank media include:
1) Offering an obsessively, compulsively updated endeavor with a strong point of view (it really couldn’t get much stronger);
2) Fostering an audience that are also contributors. Viewers (aka “sports racers”) can upload their own video intros or use the wiki to remix Ze’s work, create their own, or simply answer the call to his silly challenges, like creating the ugliest MySpace page;
3) Remaining independent and keeping your street cred;
4) Doing the above while managing to find multiple revenue streams. Ze’s include a traditional sponsor in the shape of Dewar’s, an inventive form of micropayment in the shape of duckies that contain fortune cookie like paid messages from fans, as well as so-called meaningless products;
5) Lathering up a steady stream of media friendly stunts, like his call for his fans to create an earth sandwich;
6) Extending your brand to every platform available, like mobile and downloadable audio.
7) Above all, always being entertaining and addictive.

Do those things and your personal media project will connect with an audience—which is what Ze Frank did these past 365 days. In his words: “And what better way to connect with people than by staring and talking straight at them?”

In the spirit of SMITH, after the jump are some of our favorite episodes of The Show that specific address personal media making. I’ve embedded the first video, and provided links for the ones that follow. (more…)

Tonight: Memoirist Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

One of our favorite memoirists, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, reads tonight with David Bell and Cheryl Burke at KGB Bar’s Drunken! Careening! Writers! series. And Josh’s six-word memoir is one of our favorites: “He wore dresses. This caused messes.”

Are You Watching This? (And Other Passions)

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

When you hear someone say they’re creating the “MySpace of boomers, bakers or self-portrait makers,” it’s probably your cue to go read a good book. The real talk of the Net is the emergence of smaller communities formed around specific passions—for people who like to make things, or dig vampires or love cats and dogs (the latter two communities created by Ted Rheingold, whose presentation on passion-centric communities is required reading for anyone creating one). All this is especially on my mind right now as arguably the year’s most important month in the couch potato’s calendar has arrived: March Madness. And appropriately timed to college hoops mania is the just-launched RUWT? (Are you watching this?), a new community created around the singular obsession of watching sports on TV (tagline: “How many instant classics have you missed?). Mission: keep you from missing instant classics like last night’s double OT barnburner between Dallas and Phoenix. (more…)

“I’m Kind of an Old-School Dominatrix” (and other hot moments from SXSW)

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Ze_pod.jpgSome panels broke out during the party that was SXSW Interactive these past few days. With Emergen-C and SMITH co-conspirators Tim Barkow and Rachel Fershleiser as my copilots, I managed to make it to many great panels, speeches, and live events (podcasts are available for many now). The big stars of an inspirational and exhausting long festival were our friends at Twitter (who helped launch our six-word memoir contest a few months back and now are the talk of the Net), the mini-Moo cards that were flying in and out of insatiable networkers, micropayments in the form of flowers and duckies that are a promising online revenue stream, and the inimitable Ze Frank (above), who hosted the 10th SXSW Web Awards to perfect pitch—and a reminder that the Web cannot wait to see what he has cooking next after his year long online video experiment comes to its awesome end on Saturday. I’m thinking talk show.

Later in the week, I’ll blog about some specific sites and ideas I had the pleasure to discover in Austin, but in the spirit of laziness and post-SXSW crispiness, for now here are five of my favorite lines from the conference.

1. “To a lot of bloggers, the only thing worse than being on Gawker is not being on Gawker.” —Alyssa Shelasky, during the “Do You Blog on a First Date” panel that also featured the unstoppable Rachel Kramer Bussel, who knows a lot about sex, cupcakes and good memoirs. (more…)

The benefits of booze? The big question one man dared to ask.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

87039824_d156570a57.jpgCan a story improve with the help of booze? Well, that’s the question Esquire set out to answer in its April issue—not a bad question to ask, I might add. Let’s face it: we’ve all hit that roadblock when writing only to turn to a glass of wine (or four) in hopes of finding an ounce of inspiration. In my case, that end result usually requires a re-write—but that’s neither here nor there. Still, a little nip never hurt anyone (as I enjoy my first glass of white). (more…)

Every Picture Tells a Story

Monday, March 12th, 2007

picture-1.pngThe image on the right shows the distribution of affluent families in New York City. (Just in case you had any doubts about which is the tonier side of the Park.) It was prepared by CUNY sociology professor Dr. Andrew Beveridge, using Social Explorer, the statistical mapping website that he’s helped to develop.

Unlike some of the really fun academic online toys out there, Social Explorer is open to the public and free to use. The interface of the maps feature can be a little slow, but the range of information that Social Explorer puts at the fingertips is impressive, integrating census data from 2000 back through 1940.

You want to see the geographic location of individuals of Iraqui ancestry according to the 2000 census? No problemo. The percentage of people employed in the arts/entertainment/recreation trades? Oh, hello, New York City. Hello Memphis. Hello Disneyworld. Hello almost all of Nevada.

Sociologists probably have important uses for all this, but I call it fun.

(Image from the Gotham Gazette.)

GOOD Lists “The 51 Best* Magazines Ever”

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

Spy.jpgEveryone loves a list, so it was savvy of the newish L.A.-based magazine GOOD to run a list of the 51 best magazines of all time. Best-of lists like this are even more fun in the internet age, when comment-enabled stories make it possible to argue, bicker and posture (which is the real joy of ranked lists, of course) not just with your friends but with obsessive strangers from all over.

Read the list, but don’t miss the comments. Esquire, The New Yorker, Life, Playboy, and The New York Times Magazine take the top five spots. Vogue, weirdly, ranks underneath Lucky magazine (ouch!), at #s 45 and 44, respectively. My beloved Sassy rates a very respectable 25.

When you’re done, take a gander at GOOD itself, a print mag and website purporting to be “media for people who give a damn.”

Hat tip: Helen Jupiter.

Ninja Love

Friday, March 9th, 2007

I’ve had a rather long afternoon of switching all my work-related materials from my personal laptop to the laptop provided for me by my day job; going from Mac to PC is less than relaxing. (Flame wars about which is better officially not allowed, by my own personal decree.)

So, because I need a rest, and something mindless to laugh at, here we go, an answer to the eternal question “Can ninjas love?” provided by, of course, YouTube’s personal ninja.

Call For Submissions: Firehouse Stories

Friday, March 9th, 2007

271768875_e123ffbc69.jpgThe company firedog is tapping into our storytelling times—and offering quite a tidy bounty. Topic: A personal story about how a local firehouse has demonstrated service to your community. If your story is chosen as one of 10 finalists, firedog will give you a “techover” that’s said to be worth $10,000 (i.e. you’re going to have kickass wireless speakers by the time they’re done with your pad), and the fire station receives $20,000.

Cool old fire truck>>Flickr>>Creative Commons>>3dhighway

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