Girls Rule: What People Are Talking About Online This Week, Jan. 21-25

In a week that should have belonged to President Barack Obama, taking the oath of office for his second term and making a courageous speech dedicated to equality for all, it was the ladies around him who captured the social media spotlight.

My! How much Malia and Sasha Obama have grown since we first met them back in 2008. The First Kids are now 15 and 11, respectively. A teen and a tween together putting up with hours of pomp and circumstance make for great Internet memes, like this one: 23 Reasons Why Sasha and Malia Stole the Inauguration. Out of 23 reasons, there are plenty to pick as a fave, so we’ll choose two. Malia photo bombing her little sis as she tried to take a picture of the ‘rents kissing, and Sasha’s cool turtle phone case. Thanks Malia and Sasha for erasing the Bush twins from our collective memories once and for all.

During the Inaugural lunch, it was First Lady Michelle Obama’s chance to claim another piece of Internet immortality. Sitting next to her husband’s arch nemesis, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Michelle O. could no longer hide her disdain. When the Speaker apparently made a joke to the President, the First Lady gave an epic eye roll. GIFs galore on the first “shade” were fast and furious.

Leave it to our departing Secretary of State, former New York Senator, First Lady and, if the 2016 election were held today, our next president Hillary Clinton to take this week’s top prize for Internet sensation. Wearing a smart green suit and a new pair of specs, Clinton strode onto Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a long-awaited hearing in front of Congress on actions taken following a terrorist strike in Benghazi last September. This was far from Clinton’s first time at the hot seat rodeo, and she took a bunch of cranky old men and Tea Party nitwits to task. While her words were great, we know attention spans are short and the information highway can be a nightmare to navigate. Check out “How to Deal with a Mansplainer Starring Hillary Clinton in GIFs” for the ultimate recap.

We realize we’ve dropped a few new terms this week. That’s one of the things we love about surfing the ‘Net all day. Keeping up with the latest lingo. Here’s a handy glossary sourced from Urban Dictionary:

  • GIF: A form of computer image that moves as an animation, because it consists of frames, like a movie with no sound. Pronounced “jif”.
  • Mansplain: To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether.
  • Photo bomb: Intentionally or unintentionally ruining an otherwise normal photo (e.g., jumping in front of the camera when the photographer is ready to shoot their subject and sticking out your tongue).
  • Shade: Acting in a casual or disrespectful manner towards someone (e.g., rolling your eyes at the Speaker of the House might be referred to “throwing some shade”).

There’s more online conversation happening over at our sister site, “What People Are Talking About Online”.

Photo courtesy of

Obama Sworn in for Second Term as President

Congratulations to President Barack Obama, who was sworn in to his second term at noon today in a private ceremony.

In accordance with US law, the President is to be sworn in to start a new term at 12 noon on the 20th of January. Because the 20th fell on a Sunday this year, the ceremony was private and low-key, with just members of Obama’s immediate family on hand. Tomorrow the pomp and circumstance of Inauguration Day will take place in public.

Click here for the January 21 Inauguration Day schedule.

In a sweet nod to equality, the second term for our first African American president kicks off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the day American’s pay homage to slain civil rights leader.

How soon is now? That’s the civil rights question looming over Obama’s second term for those who still suffer on-the-books inequality. Will he continue to fight for full federal equality for gay and lesbian Americans? In his first term, his Administration declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. While cases challenging the 1996 law are now in front of the Supreme Court of the US, the Republican Party continues to defend DOMA as the law of the land.  And millions of LGBT Americans remain second class citizens, unable to access many rights heterosexual Americans take for granted – like equality in housing, employment and marriage. How soon is now?

Photo by KTDrasky (taken in San Francisco, with an iPhone 4S).


Is Social Media Creating Its Own Planet? What People Are Talking About Online This Week, Jan. 14-18

With all due respect to social media industry analyst Brian Solis, who wrote an insightful piece entitled “Is Social Media Creating a Lonely Planet?” just this morning, we offer up its alternate universe: “Is Social Media Creating Its Own Planet?” based on what people are talking about online this week.

In the category of “What planet are you on?” we’ve got a couple of doozies. First up, have you heard about the Notre Dame football star named Manti Te’o who is either the victim of a cruel hoax, or quite the hoax master himself? Te’o either created a fictitious girlfriend who died during football season bringing on the sympathy big time (can’t hurt when you’re up for the Heisman Trophy), or met a woman who really was his girlfriend, except she wasn’t who she seemed. For the time being she has vanished – either in a car crash or from leukemia, or both. You’ve got to read this one for yourself, but it reminds us of that latter-day Aretha Franklin dance hit, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” 

Our second story in the “What planet are you on?” category is a more serious one. The Internet has always been a hotbed for conspiracy theorists, so we suppose it was only a matter of time before they got a hold of one our tragic mass school shootings and tried to debunk it. A group of “truthers” have emerged in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that claimed of the lives of 20 five- and six-year-olds and six of their teachers last month. The truthers say this shooting didn’t happen. The children are all still alive (where exactly is not specified) and actors were hired to play the roles of first responders and parents. Again, this one needs to be read to be believed.

On a lighter note:

  • An American man working as a programmer outsourced his own job to Chinese workers who he paid a fraction of his salary while he went to the office each day and surfed the ‘net, watching a bucketload of cat videos.
  • Actress Jodie Foster, long-rumored to be gay, didn’t exactly tear down any closet doors during a speech she made at the Golden Globes, but her rambling talk that managed to mention both Honey Boo Boo and Mel Gibson temporarily took the Twitterverse to another dimension.
  • Attending events can be so all-consuming, sometimes you don’t have time to snap that Instagram, fire off tweets and update Facebook. Yet it’s so yesterday if you don’t make this happen in the moment. That’s why you need a social media butler to accompany you to your next big thing. That’s right, expect to see more low-budget versions of us social media types offering to document your every movement while you seemingly enjoy yourself as the world continues to turn throughout 2013.

There’s some more grounded stuff going on, too. Visit our sister site “What People Are Talking About Online” to get back to Earth.

Jodie Foster Gay #Duh: How Social Media Killed the Open Secret

Leave it to Jodie Foster, the venerable 50-year-old star with the 47-year career, to unbalance the Twitterverse in a way the social network has not quite experienced yet.

Sure, the hijinks and hoo-has of thousands of public figures have lit up Twitter, the online stream-of-consciousness of social media about once a week over the past half decade. But Foster kicked things up a notch with a rambling, off-kilter, pop culty, coming out speech at last Sunday night’s Golden Globe awards that made for an instant tweet-up.

Foster, who was being honored with a lifetime achievement award, took the opportunity to touch on topics that are obviously near and dear to her – her need for privacy and her need to confirm an aspect of her private life that has long been, in pre-social media parlance, an “open secret.”

Really? Jodie Foster is gay? #duh

paraphrases about half the tweets fired off in the nanoseconds after Foster said,

“I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age.”

Which was eons before we watched shows like the Golden Globes with a mobile device in our hands, and tweeted along, making comments that are now a part of the online record, instead of just saying things to our TV screen that fell into the empty void of our living room.

The tweets seemed split about 50-50, between giving Foster props for finally publicly coming out and dissing her for not doing it sooner. But those who took advantage of online journalism, like actually reading the transcript of her speech the next day in the Los Angeles Times, can see that in addition to making a speech that started with a line from an old “Saturday Night Live” sketch, touched on reality show fever (shout out to Honey Boo Boo?) and underscored her friendship with the much vilified Mel Gibson (hey, he’s no homophobe, he’s a lezbro!), Foster did something that the average gay or lesbian person does all the time. She came out…yet again, by saying:

“…in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up [come out] to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”  

That’s right. Foster did this for those of us she hasn’t yet had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, to working with, or sharing a healthy juice drink at one of those West Hollywood joints Perez Hilton’s people always snap photos of her and her kids and a random galpal at. According to her speech, Foster has been coming out since the Stone Age (probably 1975). In fact, that is probably why all the #duhs.

In the Stone Age, before Twitter and all other forms of social media, there were things such as “open secrets”. Foster’s sexuality – like Rock Hudson’s – was one of them. Fortunately, Foster’s coming out was under much happier circumstances than Hudson’s (he was actually “outed” by the death rattle of AIDS). Unfortunately, for Foster, our share-all social-media-fied culture demands comment. Which runs counter to any so-called need for privacy for just about anyone. 

While there are so many positive aspects of social media, there are negatives, too. One of the biggest is the shortness of the news cycle. Four days later, Jodie Foster’s speech at the Golden Globes is pretty much rendered to the scrap heap called “so 10 minutes ago.” But, for those who have a nose for history (or maybe actually recall this in real-time), you will know that Jodie Foster’s plea for privacy may have more to do with an incident that occurred in March 1981 involving a psychotic would-be assassin named John Hinckley, Jr. who took a bunch of potshots at Ronald Reagan and his security detail in an effort to impress none other than Jodie Foster.

The Twitterverse would have had a field day with that.

Sources: The Los Angeles Times and HuffPost Celebrity, “Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes Speech Latest in a Series of Bizarre Soundbites“.

Of Phablets and Photos: What People Are Talking About Online This Week, Jan. 7-11

Let’s proclaim 2013 the year of the “Ph” – since we all know no one ever looks back at these statements at the end of the year to see if anyone was right.

But if we were the type of blogger to make big predictions (we are), here are three for 2013, and they all start with what should become the 27th letter in the English alphabet – the “Ph”:

Phablets, Photos (Vaporizing) and Photos (Printed for (Posterity).

What’s a “phablet“, you ask? Think “phone” plus “tablet” – and you have a “phablet”. Neither an oversized phone, nor an undersized tablet, phablets will provide you with the best of both worlds – mobility and management. Your tablet is too big to fit in your pocket or any purse smaller than the size of a bike messenger bag. Your phone is too small to manage some of those on-the-go details that need a little more attention, like email attachments, bill pay and watching episodes of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” It’s a nod to the Baby Boomers and Gen-X’ers coming up right behind them with bad eyesight from too many years in front of computers. How many times have you not been wearing your glasses and answered your cell phone only because you couldn’t see who was calling? The phablet – already available from Samsung and others, and coming soon from many more – will put an end to taking a call from someone you don’t really want to talk to right now.

Photos that vanish into thin air before they can do much damage and photos that you want to have an actual print of will also be hot in 2013.

Snapchat is currently the rage among the 13-25-year-old set. We forgive you if you fall outside that demographic and haven’t heard about this phenomenon. We trust that if you are a little older, you are familiar with the former New York Congressman with the unfortunate name of Weiner. He certainly would have benefited from Snapchat, which would have vaporized his photos of his private parts he “sexted” to a woman who was not his wife via Twitter. Snapchat is most likely being used by future world leaders right now to send their friends career-ruining shots of all kinds of debauchery. Snaps that will self-destruct in 10 seconds. Before you label all youth as f*cked up sex fiends, take heart. We also hear that kids use Snapchat to send photos to their friends of people sleeping in airports and other mundacities when life throws you a moment of nothing to do.

Wondering what to do with all those Instagrams on your phone? Polaroid is coming back into the photo game with a new concept called the Fotobar. (Okay, so they missed our memo on the “Ph” is hot trend.) At a Fotobar (the first is due to open in Delray Beach, Florida next month), you stop in, wirelessly beam your photos to a “bar-top workstation” and bam! – you get a print. Those of you over that charmed 13-25 demographic may remember the original concept of the Polaroid. Point, shoot and in a minute you had a photo in your hand (a crappy photo, but nevertheless, something concrete to show for your effort). Fotobar mimics that concept, only now you are pointing your mobile phone at a workstation and going home with a canvas print (or several other styles to choose from).

This isn’t all that people are talking about online this week, just a small sampling. For more on what you might have missed while you were working, or playing Candy Crush Saga on Facebook, visit our sister site, What People Are Talking About Online

Photo credit: Oso Media/Alamy via The Guardian.

Snapchat My Email

If you’re over 25 (or under 13), you are forgiven. Those carefree, youthful years between 13 and 25 are the sweet spot demographic for our connected culture’s latest cause célèbre. Snapchat is an app that lets you send a photo to one – or hundreds – that has a shelf-life of about 10 seconds. You set the limits, but once your friend(s) see the image it will vanish from the online ether before you can even think to share it.

To get adults’ attention, the typical stories making the rounds are that Snapchat can really up your sexting game. If Anthony Weiner had Snapchat instead of Twitter, he’d be President by now (or at least still have his seat in Congress).

You get the…um…picture.

For those of us of a certain age sending an image of a private body part that will self-destruct in 10 seconds has absolutely no appeal. Our body parts – private and public – are self-destructing on their own, thanks very much. But, retool that concept for email and you’ve got my attention.

With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in our minds – including the one about better managing email’s role in our life – a Snapchat for email is sounding like a much needed product.  

What if all that email imploded in 10 seconds? That is, you’ve got 10 seconds upon seeing a subject line to click “Yes” – worth dealing with, or simply do nothing. By doing nothing, the offending request vanishes into thin air, never to be dealt with. Imagine – not just avoiding that call to come help clean up the park this weekend or those pesky reminders that your car payment is due – but having no guilt about ignoring them or the chore of unsubscribing.

Okay. Well, I’m not really going to ignore my bills. But cleaning the park instead of hanging out on Facebook this Saturday morning – you’ve got to admit a Snapchat for email is sounding mighty useful. 
Image courtesy of Snapchat.

366 – A Photo a Day for 2012

Click on link to play video now: 366 – A Photo A Day For 2012 by KT Drasky

Enjoy this (relatively) quick look back on the year that just was for KazzaDrask Media. It started as an experiment. Try taking a photo a day with some of the fun lo-fi apps and filters available from the App Store for the (then) new iPhone 4s. It ended as a study in iPhoneography and a document of a year gone by – street scenes and signs in and around San Francisco, visits with friends and family and great trips and travel. Three continents, four countries, 15 states and more than 40 cities. Enjoy.

If you’re thinking about doing a Photo a Day project for 2013, read this: 10 Tips for Shooting a Daily Photo Project for 2013.