Miss M's Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Final Chapter

And so, in the end as it was in the beginning, I start with a blog and I end with a blog. For the MoMA, I did the following:

I wrote the article that was featured in The Monitor, and the interview was then posted on the Art Mobs website

I contacted the following museums with the official Press Release on the project:
Brooklyn Museum
Cooper-Hewitt Natural Design Museum
Dia Denter for the Arts
PS 1 Contemporary Art Center
Museum of the City of New York
International Center of Photography
Artists Space

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Vive Le Target!

Those who know me well can imagine my dismay when I learned I had to watch a movie about, of all things, Wal-Mart. I am a full-fledged Target Queen (young and sweet... you get the picture) and I have no shame in admitting it. After watching the Frontline special, it really fueled why I love Target so much. Even though Wal-Mart's smiley faces are kinda cute.

The Frontline special, titled "Is Wal-Mart Good For America?" ,was an eye-opener to say the least. "Global retailers are the most powerful retailers," states one man in the film. He's right. From low prices to supercenters (t-bone steaks and clothes, really Wal-Mart?), retail chains will do anything to please. The movie showed the great lengths that a reatiler will go through in order to maintain their reputation as the best. Although in Wal-Mart's case, they will now have to try harder to keep their status alive because of their relationship with other companies, like Rubbermaid as evidenced in the movie, and also with overseas companies. The courtship with China has angered many people, including, oddly, a former Miss America One of the men interviewed in the movie, discussing Wal-Mart's bully-like status, is right on "target" when he said that Wal-Mart is "shrewd" and "They have their volume orders to back them up". Didn't Limp Bizkit have a song like that? "It's my way, my way or the highway..."

But, Wal-Mart is smart in the way they conduct their business. They have that Donald Trump way of negotiating, they use a Telzon gun to keep track of product levels (at my job, we use them for the same reason), and they really want their customers to know that they will lower prices for you in any which way possible (The Passion of the Christ for $19? Nice!). However, money seems to be coming in before the customers. GNU-Linux is the anti- Wal-Mart. They are the ones who want to work with the public, for the public. This is why they broke free from Microsoft. In order for them to pursue free doucumentation, Linux couldn't be ruled under the Microsoft monarchy anymore. But Wal-Mart and Linux share one common thread- trust. Linux loves their employees and feels no need to bog them down with absurd security measures. And Wal-Mart, they love showering their employees with morning meetings! Which would you rather work for? No worries about pass words or getting the opportunity to vent about your 98 cent socks? I think I know your decision and I don't blame you. Might I offer you one more piece of advice? Choose Linux for the trust factor. And for retail paradise, visit the creme de la creme

Do you want more insight on the tragic Wal-Mart and the hero Linux? Do you want a better opinion than mine? Check out Christina's post Walmart Vs. Linux where she gives greater detail into why Wal-Mart can't hold a candle to Linux. And who would have thought Usher and "fear" would be in the same blog post? See the connection at Meghan "thank God she posted" Doran's post My way, my way/What I say goes, and I'm in contr... It's a long title, but it's great read. And I seriously forgot how hot that Usher jam was...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Gotcha by the Tail

I usually enjoy the holidays. You know, having a truly long break from school and spending time with the 'rents and relatives. But the downaward spiral to the holidays has got to be the timing. Thanksgiving and Christmas are sandwiched together during the most obscene season- Shopping Season. Don't get me wrong- give me money and I'll spend it. But getting in my car to go to the mall, only to be stalled for an hour in the parking lot because the woman driving the Odyssey doesn't want to walk the extra foot to the doors, is a hassle beyond comprehension. I think I speak for those who take a particular liking to online shopping. It's fast, simple, and you can do it in your pajamas (I mean, you can go to the mall in your jammies, but you get my drift).

Thinking about a woman's greatest past time, I really took a notice to Chris Anderson's definition of The Long Tail. He clarified what I thought I knew all along- that online shopping is the way to go. But what he taught me was that the reason behind the sheer popularity of Amazon and Netflix is strength in numbers. "Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after sevices," he says The unlimited selection unlocks that door for us, for those who are stumped about a required book for class or how many movies Jude Law actually starred in last year. We are given a pass to explore this treasure chest, one that is more open than the typical store at the mall.

Perhaps the greatest part about all of this is the connection we have to our fellow online shoppers. Do we not enlist our peers to judge that swanky top? The new piercing? Or the potential significant other? On sites like Amazon, recommendations are listed so that we, as a confused shopper, can see what everyone else likes. We then take their opinions to heart and purchase their choice. We feel confidant because they were confidant in their purchase. I think that organizations are like us online shoppers. They search for something that will benefit their business, once they find it, they consider if it is good enough. They enlist vital opinions to help them make this decision. Once they take this on, they are fulfilled in their needs. I'm not sure if I am explaining this right, but I'm just thinking in my terms on how organizations use this. In some ways, I think that this also lies with competition. When two major organizations are competing with each other, like shopping giants Home Shopping Network and QVC the title of champ lies with loyalty. Whoever has the dedicated fan base can raise the bar in sales and popularity. And, I believe, that is when the winner takes it all. And has found the "tail".

Care for some more insight on the Tail? On his post The Long Tail Chris reflects on finding the saving grace that is Netflix and the positive effects of The Long Tail. And Meghan's post, with the fabulous title of Wag Your Tails Everyone! offers a cool link to a Long Tail illustration and her words of wisdom always end the passage on a high note. I'm ending this by saying that I'm sick of the word "tail" right now!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sharing Rhymes With Caring

When I first got Internet access at the young, impressionable age of thirteen, I was beyond excited to be finally included in the loop that was America Online. My cool screen name and profile. And then there was the homepage! But now, I've cooled down to practically arctic with it, feeling a little more comfortable with my blog and firmly establishing the notion that AOL Tech Support indeed embodies Satan. But one thing that I really love about AOL is the Favorite Places list. Mine is chock full of interesting little websites that I forget the address for and ones that I visit everytime I'm online. Now, hardly anyone is into the AOL hype (although those Julia Roberts voiceover ads are quite good). But the Favorite Places list has gotten an upgrade, in the form the folksonomy. What was personal to us, is now public on various sharing sites. Before I kind of interpret what I think its definition is, I feel that Favorite Places was Jessica Simpson when she first come out onto the scene. Cool, but only interesting to some. Now, with sharing being the norm, Jessica Simpson is EVERYWHERE and riding the popularity wave until it crashes onto the shore.

In my own words, and my words are open to interpretation, I feel that a folksonomy is a collection of a world of things that can be categorized and organized in a way that we can all use it. It then becomes a full collaboration of photos or links that people can share with their fellow Web cruiser. Again I say, open to interpretation. But I feel that the ideal word here is share because that is what we really are doing. On the Internet, we are just an alias of who we are in reality. In virtual reality though, people can get into our core and look at the pics or even muscial creations we post in these forums. We might not know these people in real life, but we trust them in our Internet life. We want them to get to know us better, as do them. And so, if you want to look at my Flickr page and check out the photo of my dog, Lucy, be my guest. But don't think you feel the need to have to send me e-chain letters that promise bad luck if I don't forward them.

As for organizations, I think that they are of use to them as they are with us ordinary folk. The Web sharing of links and pictures could benefit an organization because they offer a wider spectrum than talking face to face or simple researching can provide. I equate it to a chain reaction. One person says that they need to find out more about charities. They go online and can check out tags that link to articles about charities, websites that are home to charities, and even forums for people who have benefited from these charities. Everybody wins. A great research session was conducted and the voices of people that they never met helped them with that research. It is almost a revolution from the original ideas of chat rooms. We got to talk to someone from the United Kingdom in a chat room. But now, the same Englishman posted his pics from Charles and Camilla's wedding for all of us Web geeks to see. Howard Rheingold says in the to-the-point titled article Steal this bookmark!, "You meet people who find things that you find interesting and useful..." As in the case of organizations, they all connect to one another because they are in the same boat after all. Each contain useful information that the other needs. They might be in competition most of the time, but late at night, one employee is checking out the links posted by the enemy, who wants to share his Internet treasure. And that is teamwork.

And now for something completely different... Check out the boldness in Meghan's post Putting the "Folk" Back in "Folksonomy" She dares to step up to the plate (quick baseball reference) and argue with William Gibson about his thinking the Internet is a waste of time. Read as she proves him wrong! Crave more about the mysterious folksonomy? Chris's post Folksonomy: A Way To Organize Information states what I think is ultimately true about the folksonomy. It's easy and it's beneficial, even a child can use it. After all, a child knows how to share.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pottery and Pop Tarts

Reading the beginnings of Chapter Three of The Cluetrain Manifesto, I found a connection between the author of the chapter, Rick Levine, and the previous writer, Christopher Locke. Both men have a deep bond with society and the technology that binds us. However, as much as I enjoyed Mr. Locke's bluntness in telling readers how the Web is indeed spinning its threads around us, I took a better notice to Mr. Levine.

In the first few paragraphs of Chapter Three, Mr. Levine goes back in time to reflect on his apprenticeship with his father in the family' s shop. He talks of molding the clay, bruises evolving, and strength tested as he threw pounds of this mud. Despite the blood and sweat that arose, Mr. Levine looks fondly at the results. "Pots are made by people," he says, "...Smaller things -- mugs, cups, pitchers -- touch me as well. They're fitted to a potter's hands, reflecting their measure." No matter how tough this craft seems to be, Mr. Levine spoke of it from the heart. Like everyone who has a passion for something, whatever you do on the side, the passion lives on. Those who want to be athletes or actors know the power of their craft. As in Levine's case, his fingers spending more time stroking plastic keys than smooth clay, he still refers to himself as "a potter's kid". That is true humanity unshielded.

Mr. Levine proceeds into a discussion of the Web, using his title as a craftsman in pottery as a craftsman of all things used in his work and life. In the Web, there is always someone behind the digital curtain. The masked wizard who edits and processes countless web pages so that they are suitable for the unsuspecting Web cruiser. However, the "raw" content on the Web appeals to us more and more. Those who use the Internet often can tell if something doesn't sound as to the point as it should. This is where chat rooms and e-mail come in, the forums to which we vent our disagreements and solutions to this obstacle course known as life on the Web. I feel about e-mail as Mr. Levine does. If I write to you, write back NOW so we can keep the conversation going. Whereas normally if I receive a phone call, I take six months to return it. It seems like picking up the phone takes so much effort. E-mail is the only natural and fast solution.

Briefly tapped upon by Mr. Levine was the subject of spam. My AOL screen name has "Dr" in it, indicating doctor. So it's no surprise that I get countless e-mails on Botox, Prozac, and Zoloft among others. The wizard who controls the web pages also wants me to get cheap skin injections. The discussion of chat rooms was really of interest to me. I hardly go in there anymore, but I was always baffled by getting the opportunity to talk to someone beyond the sea so easily from my suburban home. My best friend and I (quick story here!), entered a Britney Spears chat on AOL six years ago, when she was at the "height" of her career. Miss Spears was live and answering questions posed to her by her adoring fans. My friend and I asked her the obvious question at the time, "Who's your favorite Backstreet Boy?" The chat was coming to an end, my friend and I feeling cheated by Brit for not answering our question. But then, the last question posted for her, was, drum roll, ours! We felt like we talked face to face with the pop tart. And the next day at school, we shared our moment of glory with everyone. It might be just a "chat room", but people can get to know each other better and feel more close-knit through that rambling chat progression. By the way, her favorite Backstreet Boy was Howie.

With the subjects of chat rooms and e-mail in a common swirl, the benefits of them are more than just finding someone to talk to. Lyndsay's post what's that i hear? states that even though we will always be in a company's hands, as consumers we can join together with fellow buyers and "exchange ideas" with the various products that the company throws at us. And I loved Elena's fabulously titled post Look, everybody! We Have Our Voices Back! because she simply puts down the definition of "self expression" and its relation to the Web. Once we search within our imagination to show people our true selves, the outlet that welcomes us with open arms is our friend Internet.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Work Sucks, I Know

I'm really taking an interest in this Cluetrain Manifesto. I didn't think I would, but it knows society. The authors knows how we tick. To me, it is as if they are the voice of every Web rat and Internet obsessive that is out there. You know who I'm talking about- those who spend their entire existence on the Web, chatting, IM'ing, e-mailing, blogging! The list really does go on. As I'm writing this post, I feel I fit in with what Mr. Weinberger has to say in Chapter Two.

I am writing this having just come home from my job. I work at a supermarket, in the bakery, where I just put in six hours of having to deal with people and to provide them with every ounce of attention I have to give them and only them. I don't even take a break- I punch for it and I work through it. It's that rough sometimes. Mr. Weinberger's section called "How to Hate Your Job" was this bell ringing insanely from my computer speakers. At my job, I am managed- I have a uniform, a nametag, a demeanor I must express called "treat your customer like your neighbor", and knowing that actions do speak louder than words. If you ignore a customer, it is so much more worse than not saying "Have a nice day", which I never say. And as for "professionalism", I'm the poster child of what it isn't, having once uttered the s-word accidentally in front of a nun and also just coming off as plain snooty. I just want people to know that I don't come into your job to harass you, so DON'T do it to me.

This is where Mr. Weinberger spoke to me. After a hard day of being closed inside a tight space, I am home right now, online, writing for my pretty blog. I am checking my e-mail and talking to my friends. I have my screen name, my own personal alias to which I am free of any boundaries. I can speak my mind, the true voice of Jill is out in the open. I couldn't wait to go online because I could be me. Mr. Weinberger also spoke of how we use home pages to get our identities on the Web and to provide an even greater sense of freedom. A prime example is my own personal homepage Life is a cabaret where if you want to know me, take an eternity out of your life and read my page. And, for those who are seriously WAY TOO INTO THEMSELVES, check out the man who represents that feeling the most, Bill O'Reilly. His website BillOReilly.com is proof that freedom of expression on the Web is alive and kickin'. We don't care how bad the page is, as long as that independent feeling is indeed felt, that's all that matters. He is right- if the Web can rid us of being sheltered, then we are not chained down. And if the Web shall falter, we will look somewhere else to fill the void.

As always, my clever classmates are vocal on the Cluetrain Manifesto. Alexis's post "The Longing" Disagreement is a good read because she expressed a different view on Mr. Weinberger. She talks about how he didn't bring up the topic of in a managed world, is the Web indeed managed or are we to assume it's not? A second opinion to read is Jeni's post Us and Them because she summed up the point of Mr. Weinberger's words by stating the Web is readily there for us to explore, we can't just pass it by. A totally true statement.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I Wonder..

I was broken, bent out of shape

I was naked in the clothes you made

This is believe is the best way for me to introduce my thoughts on Chapter one of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Normally, I would just start up with saying, “I liked his points, blah, blah, blah….” BUT, because I enjoyed Christopher Locke’s words so much, I decided to start my post like he started his chapter. The previous two lyrics I wrote are the next lines to the song “Trip Through Your Wires” from U2’s album The Joshua Tree. The two lines before the ones I’ve listed are the one’s Mr. Locke uses to intro Chapter one. Any author who starts a piece of writing using song lyrics, let alone U2 lyrics, is smart as a whip in my book.

What I enjoyed so much about Mr. Locke’s thorough look at the Internet was how visibly blunt he was about our society. We die, he says. True that, son. But he speaks for us when he talks of the longings that we have- going back to our old childhood haunts, how we can’t freeze time, and how we shouldn’t worry about the “wicked witches” but the bazooka that a kid can pack at recess. We are so high-strung about the world that you start to feel sentimental. Like Archie and Edith Bunker, “Those were the days…”

I really took an interest in Mr. Locke’s assessment of how excited America was when the Internet first caught on fire. I remember when I first got AOL- version 3.0, slow as hell, but I didn’t care. I was finally online, going into chat rooms, sending e-mail, and visiting my first website ever (a Spice Girls fan page-give me a break I was 13). It took FOREVER to load up, but who cared?! Everyone thought the Internet was this secret that only the Trumps and Murdochs of the world used. Ha ha, we got your secret you stupid moguls!!

Mr. Locke was true when he said that the Internet is a cheap form of data and transport. Like American freedom and opportunity, it’s ours as a public for the taking. We need to seize it, the way companies seize control of each other and our money. He is right in saying that many corporations aren’t paying attention to the increased consumption of the Web. They might be here now, but later on we’re going to be saying “A Honda Civic? What’s a Honda?” They won’t have the credibility they once treasured.

Mr. Locke discusses corporations as being the wall that divides technology from further expanding into our culture. He talks about tearing down this wall and letting us stomp on its rubble. The one thing that, oddly, popped into my head that reminded me of such was Howard Stern’s debacle with the FCC. He spit in its face and crossed over to satellite radio, further trashing the government and keeping a ticking clock on his website
HowardStern.com as to when he is leaving normal radio. To me, he tore down the censorship wall that separated him from doing his show, his way. And now, he’s moshing on their crumbs and using the Web as his ticking bomb of what will surely be an extreme departure from normal radio. And just to go back to Mr. Locke’s points about how nothing is ever good enough, (the car needs to be bigger, the girl needs to be blonder) I thought I should bring up my employer Shop Rite Supermarkets. We’re in a competition with a better store right now, and the owners believe that we need to redo our floors and change our structure to try and top them. I equate it to getting plastic surgery when you don’t need to.

My fellow classmates also shared their opinions on Mr. Locke's writing. Jessica's post Let's get connected
really struck a chord with me because I use the Internet in the same ways she does (e-mail, blogging, etc.). And with the way the media juices the Web for all it's worth, you can't help but wonder what will become of it years from now. Deanna's post We die~ The Cluetrain Manifesto spoke of what I previously stated. You look at your neighborhood and wonder "Where did it all go?". But what I really liked was the way we as a society use the e-mail to talk about people without their knowledge. We can "talk" about them, but it's in words and it's not being "spoken". Also, with Instant Messages, we can truly peel away our protective layers because we are not speaking to someone face to face, just computer to computer. No hidden identity, just an online alias for which we speak from.