Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A look back on the blogging project

This project has been both enjoyable and hard for myself. I came into it with expectations in myself and my ability to make this work and was pleasantly surprised in the way it ended.

I found myself having a lot of trouble getting this blog off the ground and finding things to write about. I had ideas, but the information I needed to make those ideas work was never really available, or at least not in the form that I needed. AS the semester continued I found myself straying from the original theme I had picked of "Youth representation in the media" towards what I seem to be writing about now ""youth trends" and "Generation Y". This is not to say that the shift in subject made the project a cake walk. I found myself with so much information to work with at any given time I would save entries as drafts to come back to in an attempt to get as much as I could in, that I would become overwhelmed.

I think, if given the chance to start again, I would make a point to cut down on the amount of links and half written pieces that I started for myself and try and focus on a few at a time. It would make finding the 4-5 posts we needed to make per week a much easier goal than it was.

What this project really did do was open me up to the world of blogging and get me discussing them with friends outside of class and with my family. While I'd like to continue with this blog(perhaps not on a regular basis, because I dont really think anyone is reading it) I do have plans in the work for three more blogs.
New blog 1: The Great Boston Pizza blog. Boston has bad pizza, and I've had plans with my friend Garvey to go hunting around boston for the BEST pizza in the city. The original plan didn't include a blog, but after being inspired by the Burrito Blog I heard about on the Phantom Gorumet, I decided that "Hey wait! I can do this in blog form and have a way to record my findings." I don't think I would have had that thought had it not been for this class.
New blog 2: Overheard In Boston. I will admit that this is 100% a rip off of Overheard in New York. Sorta along the lines of PostSecret in that it's fueled by reader submissions, it's based on conversations overheard throughout the city instead of postcards. This is another joint Jen/Garvey project.
The final of the three new blog ideas is the most important of them all.
New blog 3: This blog is actually what I originally wanted to do with this class project, which is to have an Urban Explorers blog. It would be mostly photo based, things taken around the city or things that I see whenever. It wasn't feasable for the purposes of this class because I doubt there would have been nearly enough writing for it to have worked. I have a few friends that want in on it and we're already in the planning stages to figure out what we want to do with it to make it work. After reading a few blogs out there I realized that shared blogs aren't all that uncommon.

I didn't expect to end this project with three more lined up and ready (four if you count my original for this class). I did realize that although I have a lot more work that I need to do, this is something that I felt really comfortable with this class. I learned that in terms of what was available in the industry I found something I liked doing and had fun with. I think that might be best and biggest surprise of all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


One thing I really don't need in my life is a reason or excuse to sleep in late. So, it's probably a good thing I don't go to Duke University. Newsweek reported on a new trend at Duke, where professors are recording their lectures as podcasts and making them available to students.
This new form of learning, known as "course-casting" by the schools that participate in them, is not meant to fully replace going to class and learning in a classroom, but merely to suppliment them. I cant tell you right now that if that was available here I might find myself having some trouble pulling myself out of bed. However, it would make taking notes and focusing on the important parts a lot easier if i was given the chance to go back and listen at my leisure over and over again.
Newsweek repoted:
But converts say course casting is an easy way to add a much-needed jolt to the large introductory courses most departments must offer to underclassmen each semester. Students "aren't interested in absorbing every word like passive sponges," says Richard Lucic, a computer-science professor at Duke. Weaned on fast-paced music videos and thrill-a-minute game systems, students often complain that 90-minute lectures are mind-numbingly dull. The technology makes it easier for professors to enliven lectures with guest speakers and primary-source material. Some professors actually act more like DJs than Ph.D.s, composing musical intros, adding gong sounds, jokes and other aural cues to emphasize important ideas on the digitalized version of their lectures.
Generation Y, with our short attention span strikes again!

big budget without the big name

I get asked a lot why I don't write for my college newspaper, and once I get past telling them that I have no desire to write for a living like many of my peers do, I would probably have to send them this article from Newsweek to read. It amazes me that some schools are able to have a huge budget for a daily paper, while a school like mine has a weekly that most of the student body considers a joke. This isn't to say that there aren't good people who know how to write on staff, but after reading about the million dollar budgets, sponsers, and consultants some student papers have my heart sank just a little more.

Newsweek was careful to point out:
Critics point out that big-budget college newsrooms don't necessarily produce better journalism. "You can find good-quality reporting at the smallest college, just like you might find it at a big paper," says Tom Rolnicki, executive director of the Associated Collegiate Press, who singled out the weekly Advocate at two-year Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., as an exceptional college paper.
That aside, maybe we just need to find ourselves some sponsers and bump things up a notch or two. Go big or go home.

parents spying on teens

Big Mother is Watching: Spying on Teen Blogs

Just a quick little post that touches back on past discussions: the Wall Street Journals wrote about parents reading their children's blogs.
We all know it's a possibility, but there's a reason "friends only" and filters are options on sites like livejournal. Just sayin...

Live and learn kids.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bloggers rights for students

Boing Boing posted a brief piece on Bloggers Rights. We had been made aware of this site earlier in the semester when we talked about bloggers rights and copyrights, but there wasn't as much focus on student rights explicitly.
So, I present to you

Bloggers rights for sudents


Fun, random and GOOGLE

Here's something fun for everyone:

I came across an entry on Boing Boing today about an online gallery of Google logos. Most everyone I know uses Google for something every now and then (or all the time). So I'm pretty sure you've seen the special holiday logos I'm referring to at some point in time. Well, here's your chance to look at them in an online museum of sorts. Enjoy!

Google logos through the ages

New blog alert!

Ok, so maybe this blog isn't new, but it's new to me and I felt the need to share it.

Bostonist is a self described "website about Boston and everything that happens in it". It's an interesting read and it's put together by a group of individuals that don't seem much older than myself. I recommend it.

The article that caught my eye was on burritos in Boston as I went searching for the reasoning behind the name change The Wrap underwent unveiling itself as Bolocco. Any Northeastern student can talk to you about The Wrap and it's landmark status on campus. Besides, any blog that let's me know where free burritos are available can't be all that bad.

targeting youth the german way

Interesting article on how German politicians want to attract the undertargeted youth demographic to get their interest and hopefully get them out to the polls.

Some of the interesting DO's and DON'TS include:


Young people live in scenes (for example hip hop). The use of the right scene codes is essential for a successful campaign.

Co-operate only with organisations that have a modern and open-minded image and activities.

The internet is the leading media of the youth culture. Without a modern, attractive internet appearance that guarantees personal advantage for the users a campaign will not reach the first-time voters.


No pseudo-teenager communication style (‘cool’, ‘hot’, ‘mega’).

Don’t communicate too aggressively. Young people should have the possibility to decide themselves on how close or distant they want to be to the message you are communicating.

Don’t lecture! First-time voters want to be persuaded as equal partners and not to be lectured.

Here's hoping someone passes this on to the politicians in time for the 2008 election.


More on Generation Y at work


So, USA Today published an articlerecently on Generation Y in the workforce. It touched on how we're doing and that we've got more financial smarts than those who came before us and how we're being actively recruited. IT also mentioned that we're all about change and don't see ourselves in the same place for our entire careers.

and one of the humorous responses it got sending my google alerts into a frenzy:


Sometimes it's the simple things

With all the talk about the internet and fun toys and gadgets that everyone seems to have these days I came across something so ridiculously simple that somehow managed to keep a group of 20 some year olds entertained all night.

The item: A rubber ducky, a rubber Nomar Garciaparra Ducky to be exact.

Someone stole it from the bathroom of a party we were at and it spent all night passing hands. At a few points their may or may not have been some fighting for posession of the duck.
It's kinda funny that something as simple as a bath toy that squeaks could keep all of us entertained for the evening. There was a stolen wooden elephant at one point as well, but unfortunately I don't have pictures of that to share.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(the duck, or as it came to be called "Black Nomar" due to the somewhat dark skin color that didn't make any sense)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(Mike holding the duck. He had possession of the duck for most of the night and was dubbed the "modern day Harpo Marx" seeing as he stopped speaking and would only reply in duck squeaks when the duck was in his hands)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Being broke is the new black

Part of being a college student is that cash flow is tight. It's the first time in a lot of student's lives when they have to budget what little money they have and how to spend it. Now, according to an article on SMUDailyCampus.com, student spending is increasing and alongside that so is their debt.
This is a growing phenomenon that is spreading across college campuses. The overall clothing appearance remains high quality, due to the designer necessities such as jeans and purses; however, the quantity is there to keep students from repeating outfits.

I say walk across any college campus in this city and count the ipods, north face jackets, and whatever other hot and expensive, but ridiculously trendy items are and you'll lose count quickly.
Before you get the wrong idea or think of accusing me of pointing fingers, let me be the first to admit I happen to fall under this description too. I would be lost without my jacket and my ipod.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some day my prince will come and he'll be loaded

The New York Times ran an article this past Thursday about Cinderella and how she's become more princess than pauper in the last few years.
The general idea was that girls like all the trimmings and the end result, and not the hard work that Ciinderella actually went through to get to her princess stage. While I don't think any girl would deny that the life of a princess is something they'd pass up, there is something to be said about bypassing the hard work aspect of things. I can remember playing "dress up" as a child, but the evil stepsister/obstacle was alway a part of that.
People are already questioning Generation Y and our desire for instant gratification, so I can only imagine how this next generation getting ready to follow us will appear.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Everything old is new again

I love the 80s. My roommate loves the 80s. In fact, I think most people my age loves the 80s. VH1 certainly wants me to love the 80s. I just wanted to make this quick little post because I thought it was funny over anything else. The 80s are back, or rather, they have been back for a few years now. Ask anyone you see dancing the night away at any given 80s night in a city near you.

Gas IS too expensive

Interesting commentary from the University of Connecticut on college students taking their time getting their undergrad degree. As a student at a five-year school this seemes relatively normal, but the article made some great points that it's not that we're lazy as much as it is the job market and the ability to live comfortably once we have our diplomas in hand.
The Daily Campus, who published the article made their final argument:
Generation Y exists, breathes and works, not so different from the rest of humanity. We've simply been the first generation to be desensitized by life's evils and secrets at a young age, before entering the real world, as seen through a computer screen. Generation Y is not doomed - safe as we can somehow, someday manage to find jobs. Until such a day arises, there are few reasons to leave school or grow up, other than to explore the world, but gas is too expensive.

"there's even a club for eating cereal and watching cartoons"

The title of this comes from my tour guide at George Washington University my senior year of high school. Four years later I still remember the tour, along with his excitement over "rocks for jocks" being offered and his declaration of a hangover due to excessive partying in the frat house the night before. Needless to say his speech didn't win me or my father over and I made my way to Boston instead of D.C..
That being said, you can't fault the guy for trying. Apparently my generation is not just needy and whiny, as i said in my previous post, but we also like to join things and stay entertained...no matter what our interests are. So we go right out and do them.

Gen Y sparks rebirth of school clubs

Generation Y goes to work

A fairly short and interesting article from MySanAntonio.com about Generation Y entering the workforce. There was a focus on the expectations of Gen Yers and the realities of their qualifications and what a first job really means.
Younger professionals are accustomed to having a sense of control, receiving constant feedback, and being rewarded frequently for performance. Early in the interviewing process, they are prone to want full disclosure regarding salary, benefits and possible promotions. They may even ask what they will be doing with a company 10 years from now. Boy, those are tiresome interviews. Though we wish that we had a crystal ball, the fact of the matter is that they stopped selling those things.

followed a few paragraphs later by:
Another complaint I hear is that recent graduates don't want to do entry-level jobs. "It's a huge bath of cold water," Farnsworth says, when some new employees realize what a first real job entails. She says they want the "cool" manager positions, but "a lot of them don't understand the people at the top work really dang hard." Young workers need to hear how their work, however menial, is valuable to the company.

I think it's all somewhat interesting considering I go to a job/work oriented school that pushes to get you out there working those 'first jobs" while still in school. However, after reading this I wondered just how whiny and needy my generation is.

Last night my friend Laura and I decided to pass up the usual Halloween activities of partying, drinking, and costumes and went and saw Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lover's tour at the Garden. It was, as anyone who knows and has heard what Gwen Stefani has to offer, a sensory overload, but a good time. Our seats were incredible down on the floor(i think...that's what it seemed like) right in the center. So we had a good view of everything on stage AND going on around us.
Due to traffic we arrived mid-way through the Black Eyed Peas opening set. This gave us plenty of time to sit and relax with the friends of Laura's that we met up with. One look around the Garden and you could see that the age range of the concert go-ers was a healthy mix of pre-teen girls in concert tees towing their parents behind them, older teens and college age girls in halloween costumes and a surprising number of women in their mid to late 30s.
While killing time we noticed that there were two TV screens above the stage that were displaying text messages thanks to Verizon(hello cheap plug). We decided to send some in the hopes that people we knew would see them if they were there lost in the crowd. We also decided to go get drinks pre-show. I learned a cold hard lesson that one cannot buy alcohol at the Garden with an out of state license until they are 25. So word to the wise, an in-state license is the way to go if you want to drink.
While being treated to the whole album plus two new songs Laura and I found ourselves a little distracted by counting how many times Gewn dropped the f-bomb on the audience and talking about the article in the Boston Herald yesterday(about the appropration and potentially offensive misuse of asian culture).
Lack of drinks and my heels killing me aside it was an incredible time and lots of good energy. I'll try to give a better update/breakdown later.

Time to eat a cheeseburger

The growing trend in teen models according to MTVNews.com seems to be the natural and realistic look. This is not to say the make up and hair on these models follows the "less is more" string of logic, but that the models themselves with their body types are more like the every day girl next door than in years past.
Real girls with real hips are giving the waifs of runways past a run for their money. The fleshier Average Janes (who

happen to look a lot more like you) now gracing the pages of teen magazines
are the latest sign that the fashion industry is pushing the idea that "imperfections" are what really make you unique and beautiful.

I'm a little torn, as a girl body image is definitely something that weighs heavy on my mind, but at the same time I'm not reading magazines to see people exactly like me. Cosmogirl's editor-in-chief Susan Shulz addresses this issue in the article
"For years, girls write in and say, 'The models are too skinny!' But when you do a 'real girl' story, those are the ones that typically rate low in reader surveys," she said. "So it's like, they say they want to see these real girls, but then they don't really like those stories. So what's going on here?"

I think multiple types of bodies are great, but I don't want fashion magazines to over cater to everyone in an attempt to diversify their pages. It just ends up seeming forced to call attention to it.

On a side, but somewhat related note, I recently realized at the ripe old age of 23(in 2 weeks) I feel about 10 years too old for MTV. This probably puts me out of the range for the magazines referred to in this article and dates me in terms of what was popular when i was growing up and pouring over fashion magazines.

Short, sweet, and Jesus

Someone once told me that the the sign of a college student is an article of North Face clothing and the obvious ipod headphones. I might have looked down in embarassment when I was told this due to the fact that I'm a proud owner of both. The trend seems to be growing, and while younger kids mght not be as addicted to the North Face, the increased use of ipods is growing.
The Christian Church has come up with a cross shaped lanyard for ipod shuffles hoping to jump on the ipod train while promoting a good clean lifestyle.

I chuckled, I know a few non-religious individuals who would love a few of them.

How to attract college students and keep their attention

I ran across an entry on OKDORK about 10 successful tips for college marketing. It was a humorous read, and I laughed because most of it was true. The most true of all of them being the use of the word "free".
"Free" especially used with the word "food" will send any student low on cash to an event.

5- free

My favorite words in college were “cancelled”, “post-poned”, “beer”, “party” and best of all “FREE”. “Free” is the one word that can grab any college students attention, no matter what the context; free beer, free sex, free food, free day, etc.

Sure, they might just be there for the food, but getting them in the door is 90 percent of the battle anyway.

Link: 10 sucessful tips for college marketing

Students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, New Jersey were asked to remove all online journals and profiles from the internet in an effort to help protect them from cyberpredators. Anyone who didn't comply was going to risk suspension. THe school lcaims this is for safety reasons and not censorship, but I'm not so sure.

Officials with the Diocese of Paterson say the directive is a matter of safety, not censorship. No one has been disciplined yet, said Marianna Thompson, a diocesan spokeswoman.

She said the ban has been on the books for five years but is only now being strictly enforced. Thompson said students aren't being silenced but rather told that they cannot post online writings about school or their personal lives.

I don't know what teenager wouldn't write about their school or personal life. It's what weighs most heavily on the mind at that age. And be it paper or electronic form, kids are going to write about those things. In addition to the censorship aspect to all of this there's the whole idea that these kids are being cut off from the way they've learned to socialize and express themselves.
Supporters of the student's said:

It would be better if they taught students what they should and shouldn't do online rather than take away the primary communication tool of their generation.

Most students I know are taught how to use the internet, in terms of how to search for things and how to use a website, but we are not taught the ettiquette and how to use it in terms of behavior. Multiply that by the thousands and you have what makes up a college campus full of students who know how to search for paper resources, but are running wild in all sorts of ways In everyone's defense the internetis still fairly new and changing rapidly in the ways that we use it and incorporate it into our life. However, the basic idea is still there.

What this brings me to is that, the Pope John XXIII Regional High School is a private institution with an appropriate use policy for the internet, much like the one we all had to sign and agree to every time we use a computer on campus. I'm willing to bet most Northeastern students glanced through it at the most and clicked "accept" in an effort to get their instant messenger up and running. While I don't see Northeastern University banning the use of popular sites like Myspace, Livejournal or Facebook anytime soon, it does bring back this Facebook related issue from earlier in the month

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blue Eyed Devils

This past week I've been hearing a lot about Prussian Blue, the cute little blonde haired and blue eyed little girls who look innocent, but are white nationalists with an album and a music video out. They're apparently a little more popular than I or the people who have been informing me about them would like.
Lamb and Lynx Gaede are 13 year old home-schooled twins who look like they could be the next set of Olsen twins, but their message isn't quite so clean. What I find interesting is this brings the idea of home-schooling and the first amendment into question.
Their mother, April, is especially proud of this:
April home-schools the girls, teaching them her own unique perspective on everything from current to historical events. In addition, April's father surrounds the family with symbols of his beliefs — specifically the Nazi swastika. It appears on his belt buckle, on the side of his pick-up truck and he's even registered it as his cattle brand with the Bureau of Livestock Identification.

While I am all for the first amendment and the right to home-school your children(if done properly), this leaves me fairly uneasy. I understand that parents have a right to impart their beliefs on their children and guide them through life, but on the other side of that I think school is incredibly important in its ability to socialize children/youth and attempt to teach respect.
The idea that these two girls are becoming increasingly popular bugs me to no end. It's just something to think about.

ps- I really wish I had a picture that could go with this to help illustrate further what a mind-bending concept this all is.

Prussian Blue Website