Three Things Thursday: Google Maps are BACK! And some other stuff.

Maps App for iPhone Steers Right (via The New York Times)

This piece of news has restored my faith in humanity and has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, the world won’t end next Friday. I know this seems a bit dramatic, but if you know me personally, you know that I have very little sense of direction.

Life without Google Maps has actually been a bit of a nightmare. The MapQuest app was alright, but definitely more useful for people who you know, drive. Not people who rely on public transit and their own two feet to get around like me.

I just downloaded it right before I started writing this post and am checking it out for the first time. The article I’m citing is right. It’s fast, it has a clean design, and has more options than it did before. You really need to check it out for yourself to believe it – it’s everything we’ve been missing, and more.

After Instagram Breakup, Twitter Adds Photo Editing and Filters (via Wired)

You can no longer embed Instagram photos into your Tweets in a move from Twitter this week. (You can still click the link to see the image, but it won’t open up for you in your feed like it did before). With more and more people using mobile for, well, everything, this is going to be kind of a pain.

For me personally, I don’t send photos from Instagram to my Twitter feed all that often. I tend to use it as its own channel. However, I am curious to know what the typical consumer behavior is and how this is going to impact Instagram and Twitter usage.

To try to fill the void in our filter-loving hearts, Twitter has added a photo editing tool.

Twitter Filters

Photo via Wired

I haven’t tried it out yet, but it was definitely a smart move on their part.

Facebook Shows You Your Year in Review (via Mashable)

Everyone is having the end of the year (and possibly the world) craze, and Facebook jumped right on board with that. Yesterday I noticed a 2012 Year in Review option on my Facebook profile. Naturally, I checked it out.

Year in reviewIt was pretty cool. Definitely worth checking out.

Three Things Thursday: Twitter Updates and ThanksGIVING

Apologies for not posting last week. I was en-route to Syracuse to spend the weekend with some friends – I’m sure you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.

I’m sure a lot of you expected me to do post election social media analysis, but there really wasn’t anything new and exciting to report, and I think people are kind of over it at this point. The only cool thing was that Obama’s victory Tweet featuring a photo of him and Michelle hugging was the most retweeted Tweet EVER. Kinda awesome.

It was actually quite difficult to find three interesting social media marketing tips since the Internet was saturated with election coverage, but here goes…

1) Now You Can Add Interactive Images to Your Tweets (via mashable)

Apparently ThingLink enables users to make their images interactive – including embedding links to videos, audio, and adding text.

Essentially it turns an image into a “jumping off point for a range of online destinations.”

It’s pretty cool, but I’m not really sure how pervasive this will be. You can check out an example of it here.

2) #GivingTuesday (via

We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but this year on Tuesday, Nov. 27, you may find yourself participating in the launch of #GivingTuesday.

Essentially, the idea is that this will be the kick-off date to holiday donations. Partnering with a bunch of major companies (Microsoft, Cisco, and Sony to name a few) #GivingTuesday hopes to get people to together to “create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.”

Am very curious to see how this will take off.

3) You Might Have Gotten An Email From Twitter About Your Account Being Compromised, It’s Real (via techcrunch)

Twitter is sending out e-mails to its users to let them know that their account “may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter” and that they need to change their password.

TechChrunch was actually a victim themselves!

Personally, I have been receiving a lot more spam direct messages than I ever have in the past. The solution is always to change your password – maybe this is something we all should consider doing more often just to protect ourselves. I know it’s annoying, but it’s a lot less annoying than having 50 people Tweet you to let you know you need to change your password.

Five things Friday: Early Edition

I’m posting a bit early because I have to be at the office at 6:30 am for a physical service day. Hope ya’ll don’t mind! 

1) Physical Service

Me and my buddy Nick mulching at the 2010 Great American Litter Clean Up.

Today marks the last time I will be doing a physical service project with City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley. After two years of working into the night to trace murals and showing up super early to set up paint stations and greet volunteers, I can’t believe its over. Physical service is one of my absolute favorite aspects of the City Year program. I really hope that I can participate in service events with City Year Boston in the coming years.

If you’re interested in checking out some of the amazing service projects our site has done this past year, check out our Flickr collection.

2) Literally Unbelievable

So I love The Onion. I even showed it to my students last year as part of newspaper club to explain to them what satire was. One of the funniest (or saddest depending on how you look at it) things about The Onion is that people are stupid enough to think that it is actual news.

I just started following this Tumblr account that shows when people post Onion articles on their Facebook as truths. If you need a good laugh or a reminder of how idiotic people can be, check them out and follow them. I get at least one good laugh a day.

3) All Stats

Speaking of Tumblr, two of my buddies created a really awesome account called All Sats. Basically it takes two of my favorite social media personas (The Creative and Information Sharer) and puts them together in a really clever way.

Oh, you should follow them on Twitter too.

4) Romney 2012

It’s official. Mitt Romney is running for President of the good ‘ol US of A.

If I was a betting person (which I’m not… I wasn’t allowed to bet on sports when I played college soccer due to NCAA rules and still haven’t shaken that fear) I’d say he has a pretty decent shot.

I’m actually a fan. I mean, hell, the dude even looks like a president. I’m even impressed with his website; which is saying a lot for a Republican candidate. If he wins the nomination, it will be one heck of a presidential election. That’s for sure.

5) Twitter Upgrade

According to an article in the Mercury News, Twitter is planning some pretty awesome (and long awaited) upgrades in terms of photo sharing. Pretty soon, you will be able to upload photos right through the site and soon after that, they will roll out the feature for aps to be used on the iphone (which I reaaally need to purchase… my Blackberry just isn’t cutting it anymore).

I’m excited for this. Now if Netflix would expand their library, all of my Internet needs would be met.

Get to know me March Mondays

Since I love alliteration almost as much as I love myself, I decided to do a monthlong weekly series where I will give you a chance to get to know me better. I’ll also be doing one of those 30 day challenges over on my Stuck in the Middle Tumblr if once a week of me writing about myself just isn’t enough for you.

There are so many ways to tell the story of who you are. In City Year, I’ve had the opportunity to do it in several different ways. One of the ways we build trust and community with one another is to share the story of our life. I recently made my Life Map during Advanced Training Academy.I have done it before; generally it is a written/drawn representation of what led you to where you currently are in life. The first time I did it, I drew the typical life path. Birth, childhood, college, etc.

This time I decided to describe my life’s path through the social media networks I have been apart of. Nerdy, I know, but trust me on this.

Live Journal was the first social media network that I ever signed up for. I was about 14 years old, and it was the first time I ever started blogging. It’s so weird to think that this was 10 years ago now.

Back then, blogging was more of a public diary than anything else. It was an outlet for my friends and I to talk about our joys, our mundane days, but mostly our passive aggressive teen angst. Sooo much drama came out of Live Journal posts but it was a cool time. I wish that as many of my friends now blogged as they did then.

And then came Myspace. I got this when I was around 16. I mainly used it to check out bands I was into, post photos of different things I was doing and stalk my less than loyal high school boyfriend.

At this point in my life, I was still pretty self centered in the sense that to me, social media was my chance to kind of “star” in my own show.

It was also marked a really dark time for me. I was really untrusting of my boyfriend (not like he deserved any sort of trust) so social media wasn’t really a positive experience for me at that time.

I signed up for Facebook a little while before I went to St. John Fisher College. That was back when you actually needed a valid college e-mail address to sign up.

Getting Facebook was a growing experience for me. It made me start thinking about presenting myself online in a more professional way. While I may not have done that at first (and still haven’t quite gotten there) it was the first time I realized that my profiles and pages aren’t just for me and my close friends. Anyone can really see them and I need to be aware of what messages I’m sending.

This is when I started using my social media presence for a purpose besides sharing what I was doing that weekend. This coincided with my decision to dedicate a year of my life to service with City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley.

I have been tweeting for @CityYearSanJose for over a year and now it is something I hope to do professionally for other non-profits. We shall see!

I started using Tumblr. when I moved out to San Jose for City Year. It started out as my outlet to share my service, but has more recently turned into the place where I share things I design, quotations that inspire me or videos I have created.

It’s a great place for me to check out photography, typography and funny charts.

When I got LinkedIn was when I realized that my social media outlets weren’t individual things used for individual purposes. They were all parts of my whole personal brand.

This was the time when I embraced integrating my passion for service, love of design and my writing/communications skills and saw that there was some market value in there. It is what has led me to want to study communications management in graduate school rather than non-profit administration.

Finally, WordPress. I had been blogging using WordPress for City Year and City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, but didn’t get my own personal WordPress for awhile.

Recently I decided to purchase my own domain name (if you didn’t know already, this is where you are RIGHT NOW), This was me literally investing in what I am doing, and for someone who doesn’t make much money, this was a big step even if it is only $25 a month.

What started out as a fun hobby for me has turned into what I want to do with the rest of my life. Social media is exciting, powerful and most importantly, fun. I’m excited to see where it (and I) will go with it in the coming years.

The great UberTwitter blackout

On Friday I was going about my business (which includes tweeting for @CityYearSanJose) when I discovered that UberTwitter wasn’t working. I didn’t really think much of it, since Twitter doesn’t work right every once in a while. But later on in the afternoon when I tried to tweet again and noticed that my timeline hadn’t been updated in hours, I got worried. There was also a little message at the top of the screen from Twitter saying that UberTwitter was being suspended.

That’s when I panicked.

I immediately hopped on my computer to see what the hell was going on and I soon found out that UberMedia (the parent company of UberTwitter) had violated some of Twitter’s terms and conditions, which included:

A privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users’ Tweets in order to make money.

Twitter said that they “were in conversations” with UberMedia to resolve the problem, but it wasn’t clear when (or if) UberTwitter would be back. Begrudgingly, I downloaded Twitter for Blackberry to wait it out. It sucked.

People ask me why I prefer UberTwitter over Twitter for Blackberry and the biggest complaint I have is that you can’t (at least as far as I know) have multiple accounts on Twitter for Blackberry, while that is possible on UberTwitter. I suppose its the same argument as people who say the AT&T i-phone is better because you can surf and talk. It just doesn’t matter to some people. But to me, this was a huge deal breaker.

And I wasn’t alone. I saw a friend tweet “If I can’t UberTwitter, I don’t want to use Twitter at all.” While I doubt either of us would have stopped using Twitter altogether if UberTwitter wasn’t reinstated, it still would have pissed us off.

And that was what bothered me most about this. Twitter did this to punish UberMedia but really I think it just pissed off a lot of Twitter users. Twitter should have done a better job of explaining why this was happening and it would have been nice if we were given some notice. Some of us rely on Twitter to be able to do our jobs and when it is unexpectedly not available, it sucks.

So yeah, Twitter, you made your point and you got your way. But next time you decide to throw a hissy fit, try to keep your users in mind. And don’t try to console me by telling me to sign up for Twitter for Blackberry because it is crap. Maybe if Twitter had a better application program for itself, people wouldn’t need to use UberSocial. Just a thought.

Social media personas I love

So last week I mapped out for you the social media character types that I really can’t stand. As I promised in that post, here is the flip side. These are the types of social media personas that I follow diligently and re-blog and retweet to my heart’s desire.

1) The Sharp Tongue

I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to have an immature sense of humor… those of you who know me best can probably attest to that fact. So naturally, I love bloggers and tweeters who exemplify that immature (and sometimes dirty) sense of humor. I’m also a sucker for celebrity gossip (lame, I know), so when you put those two together, there is a great shot I’m reading your blog. While I do check out Perez Hilton every other day or so to update myself on gossip, I never go a day without reading Dlisted. Michael K is absolutely hilarious. From his “Hot Slut of the Day” feature to his banters about “Mah Boo” Anderson Cooper, he keeps me rolling in laughter all while keeping me up with the Kardashians. Who could ask for more?

There are also quite a few Twitter feeds that I enjoy.

They include: @FakeAPStyleBook, @NotGaryBusey@StellaRTwot@theandyorr and @skittlesbeard

2) The Creative

I love typography, photography and graphic design. Thankfully Tumblr exists to assuage my appetite for creativity. Some of my favorite Tumblr accounts to follow are: I Love Chartsideaboner (Note: a lot of his stuff is NSFW) fuckyeahhelvetica, hellonewyork, The Avid Eater and  Puffin’s Nest.

3) The Activist

As I’ve mentioned about a bagillion times in my blog, I am an AmeriCorps member and I really, really love community service. Lucky for me, there are a lot of other people out there who are just as passionate as I am about national service.

Some of the people I know through City Year that represent this well include: @MichaelMessina, @WStephenAnfield, @RomelAntoine, @Mamawooster, @LauraPeterPants and @MissnoTORIous

4) The (Interesting) Information Sharer

I’m a news junkie. Therefore I love it when people share interesting information with the world. One of my favorite places to get news from is I follow them on Twitter and receive an e-mail with one good piece of news a day. I like that it is a blogger and designer community where people can submit work and share, well, good news.

Some other folks that do a good job of sharing info include: @BillKuchman and @Ckanal

What are some of your favorite bloggers, tweeters, photographers or designers? I’m always down to find new addictions to follow…