Start Making Sense

The idea of curating the vast sea that is the Internet is not new. For at least a decade now we’ve been trying to make sense of it. Blogging was a good start for many of us — but the millions of blogs that we created in the process only contributed to the problem: too much good information and not enough good ways to find it.

In late 2011 I came across a service called ScoopIt and started curating the topic “What People Are Talking About Online”. Two years later, ScoopIt is making a play to be the leading online curation tool with its new “humanrithm” technology, created in part by sourcing its regular users like KazzaDrask Media for feedback on how its curating process could be improved.

With billions of us logging onto the Internet everyday, something has to be done to help streamline the information overload that will soon lead to parts of the Internet spontaneously combusting under its own weight. It is inevitable that cute puppies, cranky cats, Candy Crushes and twerking interns will bring down our online society unless a new wave of curation emerges to save us from ourselves. ScoopIt is a great start. It can be used by professional communications teams and individuals who just want to create a sensible platform for their personal interests — and all in between — to start making sense of the Internet.

In the (near) future perhaps what we will log onto in the morning will not be a Google homepage or an Internet browser, but a list of topics that are of interest to us — carefully curated by trusted human sources who use a smooth platform like ScoopIt that creates sharp-looking sites without ads, without distractions. Try it!

Ringo Starr, 21st Century Man, Compiles eBook about Best 20th Century Rock Band

Ringo Starr is one former Beatle who is not afraid of embracing the 21st century.

Yes, it’s true. Ringo has written an eBook!

Aptly titled Photograph (after his 1973 hit solo single released after the Beatles broke up), the 72-year-old drummer shares the story of his life via pictures, video and audio.

While there may be a bit of interest in seeing snaps of baby Ringo growing up in Liverpool or an older Ringo traveling the world, the ultimate sales trigger will be the 100 never-before-seen candid photos of the Fab Four during their catapult to fame and years as the best rock band of the 20th century during the mid-to-late 1960s.

The eBook is actually an iBook, available exclusively from Apple’s iTunes on pre-order for $9.99 now (for delivery on June 12). In addition to the photos, you’ll also get video and audio narration by Starr himself, who says, quite frankly, “These are shots that no one else could have. I just loved taking pictures and I still do.”

Bravo, Ringo!

Sources: and

Yahoo Buys Tumblr, Brady Bunch Reunites to Share the News

Every once in a while someone covers a story in more depth and captures the essence of the news more acutely than the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and every tech, social media and marketing mashup blog combined. We think this gif by Bob-O-Rama pretty much nails this morning’s blockbuster announcement that Yahoo just bought Tumblr.

Unless you’ve been under a rock offline this Monday, you already know that flailing, yet formidable Internet powerhouse Yahoo has purchased the hip microblogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion.What might that mean to you? Click here.

Yahoo, has been trying to upgrade its image. Hiring ex-Google VP, Marissa Mayer to take over as CEO last year was a first step in bringing those who grew up watching “The Brady Bunch” on TV in its first iteration (i.e., age 40+) a little further along into the 21st century. In late baby boomer and early Gen-X’er (or Generation Jones‘) defense, we were at one time known as early adopters of email, listservs, online bulletin boards and all things Web 1.0.

Enter Web 2.0, social media, smartphones, apps and microblogs. Tumblr, in short, is popular with people who can create memes and gifs like this one by Bob-o-Rama.

We think you understand. And if this first take on the acquisition is anything to go by, expect interesting things in the future from the new Yahoo now featuring a side of Tumblr.

Source: Bob-o-Rama. Visit his site, and show some love.

Facebook By the Numbers

It’s been nearly a year since the Facebook IPO that shook Wall Street. And while none of the investors who bought into to the super-hyped IPO are millionaires yet, here’s some numbers that should support long-term investment, courtesy of Digiday.

  • Facebook collects over 500 terabytes of data every day.  
  • One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook.

That is probably all you need to know if you’re betting on Facebook funding your early retirement. A few other numbers though support Facebook’s role in our online culture, and are subject to interpretation. They undoubtedly are going to make some people rich (or richer). Those with their eye on the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, pornographers (or maybe sex therapists) and divorce lawyers, to name a few.

  • One-third of Facebook’s 18-34 aged female demographic check Facebook when they first wake up, even before going to the bathroom.
  • 18-24-year-olds on Facebook have 510 friends on average.
  • Links about sex are shared 90 percent more than any other link on Facebook.
  • Facebook has been linked to 66 percent of divorces in the U.S., with 81 percent of the nation’s top divorce lawyers claiming clients have cited using social networks as damning evidence against their spouses in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Facebook continues to be a landmine for those under 18 to navigate. Kids will be kids after all. Bullying and bad influences are hardly new. What’s new for parents is that these activities, which typically took place in the schoolyard, cafeteria, gym class, behind the bleachers and maybe in that ancient fossil known as a diary, now take place online.

  • 87 percent of bullied teens were targeted on Facebook.
  • 59 percent of parents have talked to their children because they were concerned about something posted to social media.
  • 43 percent of parents check their children’s Facebook profile daily.

The only stat we came across that really warrants more study is this one:

  • 85 percent of women are annoyed by their friends on Facebook. 

Which probably contributes to the 61 percent of Facebook users who have voluntarily taken a break from the social network. But – bullied, divorced or merely annoyed – we keep coming back. All of 1.11 billion of us.

Sources: “12 Alarming Stats About Social Media” from DigiDay; “Number of Active Facebook Users Over the Years” from AP.

Overabundance: Taking Photos of Our Food

A couple of months ago there seemed to be a mini-backlash against us amateur mobile food photo junkies taking pics of our meals. This wasn’t just at your classy carpaccio-serving joints (pictured at the left), it even happened at a McDonalds!

But it was a backlash against providing a hungry audience with a steady stream of “food porn” that never really went anywhere, for which I’m pretty happy about. I’m taking a much needed break from crazy-busy self-employment (doing 6 weeks work in 4) to take a road trip around the Gulf Coast, New Orleans and then up to Austin, Texas. I intend to take plenty of food photos along the way. (Follow me on Instagram if you like food and road trips!)

Prior to the mini-anti-food-photo revolution-that-wasn’t, I had already been questioning my need to take pictures of my food. Was it caused by some childhood Christina Crawford clean-your-plate edict now manifesting in I’m an adult with a camera inside my phone rebelliousness? A need to document eating at some really good restaurants? (But then how do you explain 45 shots of some nachos made at home?) Or just finding food beautiful, like others gorge on landscapes, flowers or babies (or babes)?

I’m guessing that when it comes to taking photos of your food there is no right or wrong (unless your flash is going off in someone’s face while they’re trying to eat). It most definitely can be annoying, not only to the diner who is being harassed by your flash, but also to your dining companions, especially when you won’t let them touch their food until you’re finished with your photo essay. (The carpaccio shown above was not mine.)

Yet taking photos of our food has become a part of our online culture. Like the shopper on his cell phone at the supermarket, the baby with an iPad, the noncommittal responses we get (and give) via a text message or to a Facebook invite rather than just saying “No.” In the case of taking photos of your food however, someone can actually benefit from this annoying behavior. The restaurants. After all, your photo of their food on Yelp! or FourSquare is free advertising. Even an empty plate can speak volumes.

Will Social Media Win the Australian Federal Election?


Social media surely wins elections in the US. Barack Obama is two for two on the back of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (well, Instagram was a new addition to the Obama campaign’s 2012 arsenal).

But can it do the same in a country of 22 million, where voting is compulsory?

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (think Obama) is campaigning to hold onto her seat against the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott (think George W. Bush). But the similarities don’t end there. Many Australians do not like Gillard, for reasons they find hard to articulate, fairly similar to the Obama haters. Deep-seated prejudice is most likely at the core of both groups (anti-women, anti-black), but in the 21st century it is terribly uncool to be either of those things.

Enter social media to help us sort it out. While Americans got reality broken down for us with a series of memes that showed Obama as a forward-thinking progressive (he supports public television, women’s rights and understands you’ll never achieve world peace with militia riding roughshod on horseback), Australians are a bit more of a direct lot.

Witness the tweet making the rounds that spells it out for Aussie voters, who by the way, if they don’t like what’s on their plate can vote for third-party candidates or simply mark their ballots with an “X”. As long as you show up and be counted.

The election is five months away. Which gives this campaign a distinctly American feel as far as endurance goes. Australians are used to much shorter election cycles and will have to eat their spinach to keep up with this one.

For a more thoughtful look at the campaign (so far) and the accomplishments of Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, read “A Fair Go for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.” For something on the lighter side, visit the Tumblr blog “Julia Gillard’s Shoe.”

Traditional Media One Ups Social Media in Marriage Equality Race to the Finish Line

This week’s marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) have been nothing short of historic. For the generations that have come of age since America’s last civil rights victories in the 1950s and 1960s, which is pretty much social media’s biggest demographic everybody, the tidal wave of support has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Facebook and Twitter feeds turned into a sea of red and pink, as gays, lesbians and supporters changed profile pictures to a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo designed specifically for this week. And, in true social media fashion, silly riffs on the original were fast and furious, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Peeps Easter candy getting into the act. That’s social media for you.

So, who can blame some older school ways of getting the word out like digital and print, and namely Time magazine, from wanting a piece of the fast-breaking action? Professional and armchair SCOTUS watchers will tell you that it is nearly impossible to read any court decision based on the brief hearings conducted by the nine justices, regardless of their typical liberal or conservative leanings. But tweets and blog posts coming from Washington were cautiously optimistic that both California’s Proposition 8 (which took away the right of gay and lesbian Californians to marry) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of same-gender marriages performed at the state level, were on their way to the discrimination dustbin.

While decisions on either case may not come from the SCOTUS until the end of June, what are remaining print sources supposed to do? Time took a gamble this morning when it issued the digital version of its print magazine (still four days away from newsstands) proclaiming “Gay Marriage Already Won.” For good measure, there will be two versions of this cover, one showing two women kissing, the other showing two men.

Granted the subtitle of the four-page digital story claims that while SCOTUS may not have decided the issue yet, the American public has. (Surveys report anywhere from a solid 51% of Americans now favor marriage equality to upwards of 60%.) The younger and more social media-savvy those surveyed, the higher the supporters go – which according to Time makes marriage equality a done deal. New people being born and old people dying is a tradition older than marriage.

All this is good news for equality, justice and a country that claims everyone is created equal yet has an ugly law in place that denies same-sex married couples 1,138 rights afforded to opposite-sex married couples (including Social Security benefits, inheritance laws, joint tax filings and immigration – just to name some of the most devastatingly denied). Of course, should SCOTUS buck the court of public opinion later this year, that will probably be a much more serious story than Time magazine’s print edition taking a leap of faith to try beating social media to the finish line with this story.

Which brings to mind another Time magazine cover from 16 years ago next month. Essentially Time scooped all its mainstream competitors back in April 1997 when it detailed sitcom star Ellen DeGeneres decision to out her TV character as a prelude to her own coming out in real life. (Yes kids, life was so much more complicated in those early Internet days). DeGeneres’ bold move at the time was worthy of a national magazine cover that (temporarily) ended her television career. I think we all know how that turned out.

Photo credits: Time magazine covers courtesy of To see the alternate gay marriage cover featuring two men, click here

Peeps for Equality

Is your Facebook newsfeed smothered in a sea of red and pink this week? What’s it all about? Well, the original version, a pink equals sign on a red background, is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo (traditionally yellow and blue). It’s been turned red and pink for marriage equality.

This week, two ground-breaking civil rights cases are having their day before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). First up, on Tuesday was California’s Proposition 8 case – which took away gay and lesbian couples’ existing right to marry in that state. This was followed by a case called United States v. Windsor, challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing any marriages performed in states where same-sex marriage is legal.

Getting a seat in the highest court of the land is tough business, and for a lot of us, Washington DC is really, really far away. But, a majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage (surveys range from a solid 51% to upwards of 60%), and want everyone to know. Posting the HRC-generated logo was a first step on Monday.

As the week moved on, and the arguments before SCOTUS came to a close, social media began to take itself far less seriously as it is wont to do. A number of riffs on the HRC red and pink logo began to emerge, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Peeps Easter candy getting into the act.

Clearly, the court of public opinion has weighed in heavily on the side of equality. has a gallery of some of the more creative versions.

Photo source: “The Best Variations on the Red Equals Signs”,

First Social Media Pope, Benedict XVI, Resigns in Vatican Speech Given in Latin

Just two months after he joined Twitter, Pope Benedict XVI (aka @Pontifex) has resigned.

The 85-year-old head of the Catholic Church said he would step down at the end of February because he felt he could no longer fulfill his duties.

Unlike celebrities, world leaders and the other 200 million Twitter users, the Pope did not use the social media platform to tell the world the news. Instead, he read a speech in the ancient language of Latin to a gathering of cardinals at his residence in the Vatican.

The Pope had over 1.5 million followers on his English-language Twitter account (last December he launched accounts in several languages), yet he wasn’t much of an avid Tweeter. He (well, more likely his communications team) tweeted just 34 times in the two months since joining the social network. And he only followed eight others – not surprisingly, they were eight of his other accounts, pretty much defeating the purpose of engaging with his audience.

Sources: “Pope Benedict Resigns in Historic Move”, Yahoo!7News and “Twitter Users Top 200 Million”, The Australian.

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