Don’t pull the plug!

For the past two going on 3 days I’ve felt something was missing and that’s because something is, I‘ve been without my trusty iPhone for the past 48 hours and it’s not a fun feeling. What I’ve learned from this is how plugged in we are and how powerful mobile is, at the moment my social interactions are limited. If I’m on the go I cannot interact with anyone between points A & B. No phone calls, emails, tweets and I can forget about using any location-based GPS apps like Foursquare! I’ll probably lose mayorship’s because of this mishap?!

I thought in the spirit of research for all you designers I would like to ask that others experiment with the idea of not being “plugged in”. Put your mobile phone away and try to resist using it for the rest of the week. I guarantee you that you will feel a sense of disconnect and will experience uneasiness. You really do not realize how addicting mobile can be until something like this happens.

I’m quite confident that I will reunite with my iPhone and feel a sense of wholeness once again, but until that happens I must say that it sucks plain and simple! I probably used it so much that my phone needed a well-deserved vacation and decided to get up and go. So iPhone until we meet again I bid you a fond farewell!

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Rappathon Hacking for a Change

I wanted to share my recent experience I had last week at RAPP’s Rappathon: Hacking for a Change. Last month I attended my usual Digital Dumbo event and was approached by someone about checking out this upcoming hackathon event, and being the person that I am; I’m always looking for the next opportunity to challenge myself, collaborate and learn. So I reached out and was given a brief two days before the event that laid out 5 problem areas in that we as attendees would need to solve.

Check out the brief here: Rappathon Social Media Week Brief

We were encouraged to come up with ideas prior to attending and I thought to address the problem of “How can we eliminate the barriers to adopt alternative forms of transportation such as bicycles”. My idea consisted of a mobile app which empowers and educates people on the choices they choose and the impact those decisions have not just on ourselves but our environment as well. Now known as comoti. The idea was to give people an option to choose how they move from point A to point B. The visuals would amount to icons some examples would be of walking, bicycling, skateboarding, a car, train, bus, boat or airplane.

Rapp Presents Rappathon – Hacking For Change: A New Way Of Collaboration

The app would use location based technology like Google’s map quest API, this would enable the user to input a starting and end point which would equate to travel time. The data would capture expenses, calories burned and a carbon footprint documented into weeks, months or a year but through visuals. An example would be of someone who walked every day to work from home their analysis would be for sake of argument, today you expended 120kcals; saved $10 reduced your carbon footprint by 5% in a total time of 35min 5sec. If this same user on another day chose to take a taxi the analysis would be expended 20kcals, spent $15, increased your carbon footprint by 10% and reached your destination in a time of 15min 25sec. This data would be converted into visuals and can be shared throughout you’re social networks with a gaming perspective in setting challenges for yourself or against others who partake. We could also toss in some fun stuff like you just grew a forest from a seed, this would be someone who uses alternative means consistently, or you just chopped down a tree if you chose to go in the opposite direction of decision making.

I pitched this at RAPP’s ideation session which garnered a positive response and people seemed stoked to work on it. Two other ideas pitched were Start up Start Up and Social Smack down. We were broken up into 3 teams consisting of different disciplines; in addition we had 3 stations in which the idea would stay tied to. So the idea remains at a specific station and the teams would rotate collaboration on the ideas. It was extremely difficult because we had to commit to the project and be able to detach once rotation time came. The role I played was in providing user experience (UX) and Information Architecture (IA).

The 3 ideas we worked on throughout the day was presented at this past Social Media Week hosted by Big Fuel. The panel was moderated by Wayne Pick  Camilo LaCruz   Craig Elimeliah  Paul Steketee  Ozioma Egwuonwu   and Benjamin Gatzke 

They all played an integral role in helping the teams gather their thoughts and strategically structure how it might be best to tackle the situation. Other people involved that contributed was Edwin Chog @e4c4 (backend developer), Paul Molluzzo @PaulMolluzzo (strategy), Aliona @siberiancharm (designer) and Jason Rosado @awayofart (front-end developer).

Closing thoughts: Would I do something like this again? In a heart beat! I learned what I’m capable of accomplishing under super tight deadlines working on multiple projects, 3 to be exact. That is a tremendous amount of work to take on, I had an awesome time making new friends and learning from them also. As I sit here and wonder what could have we accomplished if we had two days or a week?! Collaboration in rotation can it be the new way to innovate? What a concept.

The Friendship Effect

The Age of Social

It recently occurred to me today during my morning commute that we all posses the most powerful social media platform, it’s not an app located on our mobile phones or tablets that needs to download. This powerful platform I speak of is friendship real friendships that live outside of the digital landscape.

As I look back on the past year (2011) at how many new friendships I’ve gained through social media it’s pretty awesome to say the least. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Foursquare among others tend to initiate or strengthen these relationships which continue to foster outside of the space. But I think it’s important to note that as good as we can be navigating the new pretty interface of the next app, gaining followers & sharing content, we have to continue to practice our skills of communication when we are unplugged. Don’t be mistaken being social offline is just as much a skill as it is to be in the digital space maybe more so.

Carry on the conversation

You might be surprised to find out what you’ll learn in a f2f meet and greet. All of the little subtleties that articulate when carrying on a conversation, funny, charming, serious etc… These things you cannot experience when tweeting or leaving a wall post. I was fortunate I gained my social skills from playing in a band, touring around the world and going to clubs and that carried over into the social media world.

I’ve met some smart cool people that I’ve learned from because of social media. Social Media was the first initial connection, but when you really break it down it’s intended to be a tool to stay connected. In addition it’s better not to limit social interactions solely to the online space. So while it might be cool to have tons of friends online be sure to strengthen those relationships offline as well because these skills will not only carry over when talking about friendships but also career wise as well when interviewing for that next awesome gig.

Six Degrees of Separation is Obsolete

I’ll tweet you later

Almost everyone I talk to these days are on Twitter, I don’t think it’s necessary to explain what Twitter is as it’s well known. If you are unfamiliar with the social platform chances are you’re not so social when it comes to online. In any event I started to contemplate that old saying of everyone is separated by six degrees. Not anymore! I think one of the best features of Twitter that attracted me to the platform is the flexibility of being able to follow anyone and have a mutual exchange of tweets with that person. And the best part is you don’t have to follow someone in order to conversate, if a tweet catches your eye and generates you to respond you can do so and move on; or you can choose to follow if you like the content they share.

Unlike the Facebook platform in which you need to friend someone. Twitter has really opened the door for all of us, whether you’re looking for the next gig (first in my case) or other interest like following your favorite movie star.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

The origins of the above quote aren’t really known I believe FDR included it in one of his speeches? But I really like Stan Lee’s quote better (being a comic book fan/artist myself) used in Spiderman from Uncle Ben.


Now more than ever we need to heed those words as the digital landscape becomes more transparent and all content is retrievable. So don’t be annoying or stalk your interest or recruiters because that’s not cool and you will quickly burn bridges or any chances you might have had. But by all means feel free to be social though and contribute content that is meaningful or helpful to those who share a common interest. I enjoy speaking with friends via Twitter sharing content and seeing how their day unfolds. So in conclusion “Six Degrees of Separation” should be put to rest, long live One Degree of Twitteration!

There’s no secret that I love designing for the web and mobile space and as I continue to do so my love for it grows each day. But…it didn’t start out that way. In-fact before I fell in love with digital I couldn’t stand it. Even though at the time I wasn’t into digital and web design I was still into technology. Like a teenage girl I would glow with joy anytime I acquired a new video game or any other gadget. I’m also into illustrating comic books, growing up I’ve always been into Marvel & DC Comics and followed each the same way a couch potato would dedicate each day to their reality TV, parish the thought that I would miss an issue of Batman or X-Men.

I am aware that I have an intro post but I thought to re-post or better yet delve more deeply into how I managed to find the road I now travel. I started out probably in a typical manner reading and drawing comic books, I would wake up in the morning toss on some tunes and create my own from morning to night. The only time my mom would get a glimpse of her son would be if I was starving and in need of food, or to make a pit stop @ the bathroom. I was a crazy kid with a crazy dream of working in one of the better known comic book companies, that pretty much meant Marvel or DC comics, as those were and still are the two top dogs.
As the digital space grew I became more interested, now as a web designer I cannot imagine not tweeting, checking in on foursquare, writing on a facebook wall or most recently sharing with my circle of friends on Google+. Digital (social media) has become so integrated into my life that I don’t realize how much I tend to use it on a daily basis. I sleep with my iPhone right next to my head for christ sakes and am checking my phone each time I get a notification! I must be sleep deprived?! But who cares there’s a digital revolution happening and I’m playing a part in it, I’m not quite sure how big or small just yet, only time will tell that tale.
Regardless of anything I’m super grateful of all the people I’ve come across in this industry, I’ve connected with genuine people who are willing to help in any way they can. It’s really cool to share the same passion for an industry with so many others. Last night I attended the monthly social networking eventDigital DUMBO for what’s you status run by Carrot Creative and sponsored by Bigfuel.

I attended the event with my good buddies/RobRobCreative team @robertfpeterson and @awayofart upon entering the event we were given t-shirts to write on indicating our status and contact info. It was pure genius on the part of Bigfuel! Everyone had a complete blast, plenty of drinks and opportunities to be social. We shot the breeze with Mike Germano president of Carrot Creative which was an honor, he’s a super cool dude and someone so full of passion for creative that it’s coming out of his pores class act all the way! Avi Savar of Bigfuel is another individual who’s also a gentileman and worth getting to know. We also hung out with  fellow creative @RonnieLordi a graphic designer out of New Jersey, it was his first digital dumbo and he told us how awesome the event was and will continue to attend future events. Good for you Ronnie we always welcome anyone new creatives to the digital district.

All of this is but a small fraction which makes what I do so rewarding. As a creative I love being able to creative new exciting innovations that are functional, useful and fun to use. I realize how lucky I am to be able to do these things on this scale and I look forward things only getting bigger and better. When you love what you do and can do it on a professional level, that is the best feeling ever!

Think

Google+ Invite =myThoughts

Disclaimer: My opinions on Google+ are my impression of this new application presently, these thoughts can change later and most likely will due to learning about the platform. At the moment it’s pretty cool, maybe later it could suck maybe not idk?

Ok so yesterday I wrote a post about Google’s new Google+ project stating that maybe their “circles” idea could possibly cause one to isolate there self from new opinions or points of views. In fairness I would like to give my point of view after being one of the view to actually receive an invite (Thanks @Jerlyn). So upon entering the application it seemed as though I was logged in but not fully, it took some time for it to fully let me in (or at least that’s how it seemed?) after fumbling around for a good 10-15 minutes trying to figure out how the project functions I finally started to understand.

First impression are the most visceral usually upon entering you immediately can see that this was design in Google fashion, minimalistic, clean and fully functional. Circles seems very flexible in which you can create one with any title you so choose, the default are friends, family, acquaintances, follows and on the far left one more (blank) to create others. I’m still not sure if these circles interconnect in some way? Meaning if I add a friend to a circle which has others in it and that friend creates a circle will those two circles overlap in some way, leaving the possibility open for new connections? We’ll have to wait and see, but you can search for people who have a Google+ account.

Another feature I noticed is that Google has adopted the Facebook wall but instead call it a stream. It functions in pretty much the exact same way as FB does the difference is that it’s broken up just like your created circle groups, keeping content sharable to selected individuals. Google’s version of the like button is the +1 button so you can +1 photos, comments, videos etc… Posted photos are broken up into separate albums clickable/side scrollable and allows the viewer to comment, the background is black giving the photos a cleaner look and allows for more depth. While writing this I received a notification that someone commented me back, on the upper right of the black bar that has been getting a lot of negative reviews, there’s a red box which informs you with the number of notifications.

Now on to the users profile. It’s set up kind of in Facebook fashion but tweaked, profile picture is on the left with your friends listed beneath, the rest of the content is set up like this Name (title) then you have a gray bar underneath with post, about, photos, videos and +1’s accompanied with a blue edit profile on the right. More insights/reviews as I discover more while playing around with it.

In the meanwhile here are some shots of Google+

Google + circles = Bubble?

Yesterday Google announced its new social networking component Google+, touted as a possible Facebook killer Google+ aims to fix social media sharing. Google stated social media sharing at the moment is ridged in the fact that sharing with an individual’s network when posting an updated status is then shared to their entire network. Google says they fixed this with “circles”, circles is a function used by the application in which makes sharing a lot more streamlined. Any media updates are controlled and made possible to share within a specific group of individuals. Basically circles functions as within a social networking platform so that you can break up your entire network into subgroups or smaller specific networks.

I think the initial idea is great but it makes me wonder about another post I’ve read from Chris Matthew (@cdmtthws) of Dumbo’s Big Spaceship. In a past Think blog post “The Power of Potential” Chris mentioned “Arguably one of the strongest assets to social networks is the ability to connect yourself with people or things you may never actually be physically or socially connected to ever in your real life.”. This makes me wonder about Google+ did they take this into consideration when creating this social platform? This circle feature (while a great idea) enables the user to create social networking bubbles, I just wonder even though Google circles allows the user to create multiple bubbles (at least that’s how I understand it) will it become stale or will it entice the user to continue using the application?

From a web designer’s perspective it’s beautifully simple and put together nicely, clean, colorful and filled with easy usability the very things Google is known for. I think Google should allow these circles to inter connect in some way shape or form, while still giving the creator of the circle to admin those connectivity interactions. I for one am intrigued to see how all of this will unfold for Google.