Is Beauty Only Skin Deep? GlamourGals Uses A Social Network To Prove Otherwise

See this post in its original format on Girls In Tech

As women in a mostly male-dominated field, it’s easy to have a tenuous relationship with the idea of ‘beauty.’ After all, we want people to focus on the skills and savvy we bring to the table, and not necessarily on the brand of purse we put down on top of it. If you’re a female who deals regularly with developers, this balancing act can be even more precarious. How do you justify spending time on hair and makeup when most of the men you’re working with would rather worry about HTML than hygiene?

But, it’s hard to ignore the effect your appearance has on your confidence. And, any successful woman – or man for that matter – will tell you that confidence is a key component of that success. So, many of us still take the time to do our hair. To put on a little makeup. To pick out that perfect outfit. It doesn’t make us any less skilled or savvy, it just makes us feel a little better as we go about our daily business. What we don’t realize is how lucky we are to be able to do that for ourselves. And, that’s where GlamourGals comes in.

GlamourGals is an organization that arranges makeovers and beauty treatments for women in nursing homes. By hooking young women up with their elderly counterparts, the organization provides both parties with opportunities to foster meaningful relationships, and also helps those elderly women to get that same little beauty boost we all know and love. It also has an amazing social media component, in its use of a proprietary networking site for all of its chapters, which helps the organization keep infrastructure costs low and connectivity high. Started in 2000, GlamourGals is now having its tenth birthday party in LA, giving glamorous gals across the LA area the chance to celebrate and support this very worthy cause.

The party is at Bimi Restaurant, on February 25. There will be complementary cocktails, raffle prizes, food and gift bags, and the whole thing kicks off at 6pm. Hosts include Lauren Berger and Laurel Kaufman of our very own GIT LA chapter, and Girls in Tech members get $10 off ticket prices through the first week of February. So, break out your best beauty products and start primping – this is one event worth getting all dolled up for.

What: GlamourGals 10th Birthday Party

Where: Bimi Restaurant, 11917 Wilshire Blvd

When: Feb 25, 2010 (6-9pm)

Register Here

Seesmic Look: My Slightly-Longer-Than-140-Characters Review

Seesmic Look ScreenshotIf you haven’t checked Seesmic Look out yet, it’s worth downloading and playing with a bit. Good way to hone in on who’s talking about the specific stuff you’re targeting vertical-wise, and also a good way to visualize what’s trending. Not a replacement for the desktop twitter client, but certainly a good enhancement, especially if you’re looking to amp up your relationship-building and trend-targeting efforts on Twitter.

The Presidency: Barack Obama Needs A New Narrative…Or Any Narrative At All

Obama Twitter Don’t get me wrong, I love Obama. I also love Junot Diaz. And, on this one-year anniversary of Obama’s historic inauguration, I think Diaz has a very valid point.

Obama needs a narrative.

Politics, particularly in a country founded on openness and democracy, will always be two parts narrative, one part action. When you need the people’s support to stay in power, then you need a way to get the people on your side. And nothing does that better than a good story. This is even more true now, in this age of 24-hour news channels and 24/7 Twitter streams. Not to mention the Facebooks, FriendFeeds and flavor-of-the-month social networking sites. To be a part of this brave new world of interconnectedness is to be a kind of constant storyteller, providing a persistent voiceover narration for that life you so happily share with your social network.

Sure, 70% of US adults are still just spectators of this storytelling stream. But, the other 23% of us are actively, regularly and — some might say — obsessively shaping a daily story about who we are, what we do, where we go and what we think. And yes, 17% of people don’t participate at all. But I’d venture to guess those folks love a good story as much as the majority of us do. Otherwise, we’d all find better things to do with ourselves than watch American Idol — not to mention talk about it ad nauseum all the time.

There was a time when our national stories were shaped more by the media than by ourselves. When the news told us what was happening, the press secretaries told us what the politicians were thinking and the publicists carefully controlled exactly what leaked and when. That time is changing. With the rise of so-called citizen journalism, the burgeoning blogosphere and the ability to tweet a pic that ends up on CNN, the story is becoming as much – if not more – about the people at the scene as it is about what’s going on behind the scenes in the newsroom. Or in the White House briefing room, as the case may be.

I’m not saying there’s no place for the fourth estate in this brave new world. Far from it. As the daughter of two long-time, old-school journalists, I am a major proponent of the power of professional journalism and of the power of a pulpit from which the news is dispensed with a level of expected objectivity that no blogger will ever be able to match. In a world where everyone not only has an opinion, but has an outlet for those opinions, we need somebody who holds themselves accountable for reporting the news without any opinion at all. Not that all self-proclaimed journalists do that now (ahem, Fox News). But, that’s what professional journalism should be. At least in my opinion.

And that’s why Obama needs a narrative. A narrative that is about him. A narrative that comes directly from him. A narrative that is shaped by his opinions, and his opinions alone. Because if he doesn’t tell his own story, and the story of his presidency, then there are plenty of other people who are ready and willing to do it for him.

And while some of them may be objective and even, dare I say, journalistic, there are plenty of people who won’t be. Who don’t care to be. Who are just telling their own daily tales, and just so happen to be weaving Obama’s presidency into their personal narratives. And I didn’t elect them. I voted for President Barack Obama. And I’d like to hear who he is, what he’s doing, where he’s going and what he’s thinking. And I’d like to hear it from him please. Apparently, so would Junot Diaz.

Spam Pics: Good Spam Does Exist!

Once again, the internet saves me from an otherwise headache-of-a-day. In this case, a headache caused by multiple server crashes and a mild sinus infection. Of course, as is generally the case, turns out today’s problems were nothing that a little processed meat product couldn’t cure. In this case, we’re talking about the lovely piece of spampersand above — a perfect example of all the good things that can happen when one mixes sculpture, grammar and pig products. At least, we hope that’s actually pig product.

Anyway, once again, I have to say thank you to the fine folks of the viral web for providing me with a lovely late-afternoon laugh. And, this might be the only time I can confidently say that a piece of internet spam just totally made my day.

First Person Tetris: Nostalgia + Dizziness = Gaming Gold?

Do not adjust the settings on your screen. That screenshot is indeed sideways, and it is intentionally so. That’s what it looks like when you play first person tetris. Which is why I could only stand to relive this particular childhood memory (oh, how I miss my Gameboy) for a few minutes before I had to either pause the game or pick up the puke bucket.

That said, this rotating retro throwback is a pretty ingenious idea, not to mention well executed. The site is simple, the interface is straightforward and — most importantly — the game is still as fun as it was when I was riding in the back of my mom’s Expedition during middle school carpool.

All in all, I have to give this one a great big geek chic chick shoutout. At the end of the day, there’s only one word for something so straight-outta-the-90s awesome, so say it with me folks…this site is totally rad.

Write The Cover Letter For That Job In Social Media: How To Tips From A Regular Resume Screener

See this post in its original format on Girls in Tech.

So, you’re looking for a social media job. You want to be a content coordinator, a social media marketer, an editorial executive, whatever. You’ve polished up your resume, rounded up your references and picked up the perfect pair of interview shoes. You email every one of the social networking jobs on the web. And then you wait. And wait. And wait. And meanwhile, I’m sitting at my desk, sifting through resumes and wondering why we can’t find anyone halfway decent for social media openings at our company.

So why aren’t you interviewing with me? Well, assuming you’re a qualified candidate, then the problem is probably your cover letter.

You see, your cover letter is a lot more than a simple intro for your resume and references. It’s a first impression of your qualifications. And, in many cases, it’s the only impression that busy person on the other side of the screen is going to get before they decide to dismiss you completely.

So, how do compose a killer cover letter? Simple. Just follow the three P’s. Personality, profiles and proofreading.

Personality is probably the trickiest of the trifecta. Social media certainly ain’t a 9-5 gig, so when I’m screening resumes, I’m always aware that I’ll probably end up spending more time with the person we pick than I do with my friends and family combined. A little personality in your cover letter is a great barometer for me when making those decisions. But, show too much personality, and you might come across as unprofessional. So, I’ll gladly read colloquialisms, creativity and even the occasional quip. Emoticons and excessive exclamation on the other hand will probably get a less positive response.  And don’t forget, one person’s treasured triple-exclamation-point sign off might just be another one’s personal pet peeve. (Hint, hint).

If you’re applying for a job in social media, the profiles part should be the easiest part of this equation. Just make sure you include links to all of your social media sites. And you might as well include the personal and professional. Don’t think I’m not gonna google it if you don’t. When we’re hiring for a heavy social media job, we want to see people with a presence on the social web. So,I’m looking at your ratio of Twitter followers to followers, your number of tweets, your social aggregator accounts, your blog, your boyfriend’s blog — whatever I can find to prove that you know your way around the web. You don’t need to have your fingers in every profile pie, but you should have some background in this whole social networking scene. If you don’t, then you better have a backup plan for proving to me that you’re the person for the post.

Last, but not least, make sure you proofread. If I had a nickel for every typo, grammar gaffe, misused word or spelling mistake I’ve seen in cover letters over the past year, I could probably afford to just fund the invention of a robot who would cover all of our open job posts, so I’d never again have to stare in disbelief at the cover letter of a college graduate who can’t tell the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there.’ Seriously, I can’t stress the importance of proofreading your cover letters enough. This is also true for emails sent from mobile devices. If it’s the first piece of writing I’m going to be seeing from you, it’s worth a few extra minutes of meticulousness.

At the end of the day, crafting a killer cover letter comes down to this: you could have the best background of anybody on the web, but if your cover letter is awful, it’s like hiding a gorgeous gown under a crappy coat. What’s the point? If you’re going to invest in the gown, make sure you spend some time on the outerwear too. After all, it’s the first layer of your first impression. And, the first step towards scoring a chance to show off those interview shoes.

Dating: iPhone Applications for Food Will Save Your Butt (even if you don’t exactly have an iPhone)

See this post in its original format on Speed LA Dating.

So, you’re tooling around town with that special someone when suddenly, hunger strikes. You need food, and you need it fast. You also need it to work for your low-carb, low-fat, macrobiotic vegan diet. Or however it is you happen to be eating this month. Hey, nobody’s judging. It is LA after all.

Fortunately, in this land of Mozza and Matsuhisa, Oki Dog and Kogi BBQ, there are as many options for satisfying your stomach as there are surgeries for stapling it up afterward. Which begs the question – when you’re standing on the sidewalk in a strange part of the city, trying to impress your date with that perfect palate pleasing pick, how do you figure out which restaurant is the right one?

Lucky for you, there just so happens to be an app for that — and no, I’m not just talking about the drool-worthy biscuits at Animal on Fairfax. I’m talking about the kind of app that accessorizes your phone and makes your life a whole lot easier in the process. And, in fact, there are multiple applications that can turn your favorite iPhone, iPod, Droid, Hero, Blackberry, Palm or carrier pigeon into your very own, personalized Zagat Guide. Okay, so you’re probably not going to find an app for your favorite carrier pigeon. But, I guarantee you, any of these apps will help you find a place that’ll serve that sucker up on a silver platter.

Everyone knows about Yelp. Even my mother – who thinks Twitter is something you do when you’re stifling laughter – knows about Yelp. But, did you know that Yelp has a secret, special feature? It’s what’s called an “Easter egg” in the web business, and basically, it turns your iPhone 3GS into a 3D experience. Using technology known as augmented reality, the Yelp app will literally layer Yelp’s listings over the real, live world. So you can literally see what’s near you, and what other people think of the place — sort of like google street view for your cell phone. Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry. The Layar app will do the same 3D thing with even more features — you can set favorites, see stories about what you’re looking at and more. And, it works on any Android phone, as well as on the iPhone.

Augmented reality is awesome and all, but what if you just want to find a place that fits your picky preferences? Enter UrbanSpoon. This fun little app lets you set up a search by location, cuisine and cost. You can also set separate filters like popularity, no chains, distance, etc. Or, for a really fun experience, just turn it on, and shake it up. It makes a sound like a slot machine and serves up a random mix of results — perfect for picking out an appetizing adventure. You can get it for the iPhone and Blackberry, and you can also get it on any phone via text.

So, you’ve shaken your phone, seen the wonderful world of augmented reality and finally picked the perfect place to take your date. Now what? Well, if you’re smart, you’ll bust out yourOpenTable app and start setting up some reservations. Don’t have an app-friendly phone? No problem. Just hit the mobile version

iPhone Addiction: Mums the Word

If you ask any of my family or friends, they’ll tell you that I definitely have a favorite accessory. An accessory that also just so happens to be the one gadget that’s been pretty much glued to my palm since the day I first picked it out in the apple store.

It’s my iPhone. And, as much as I complain about it, I know that at the end of the day, I only have one person to blame for my full-blown iPhone addiction. And it sure ain’t Steve Jobs.

That’s why I so cherish those moments in life that help prove the practicality of having a smartphone permanently fused to my palm. And that is why I’m enjoying my mums so much.

You see, two weeks ago, I was standing in the flower aisle at my local Trader Joes trying to figure out which bouquet to buy. I love having fresh flowers in my house but I hate spending so much money on something that just dies. It hasn’t been an issue in a few years because I haven’t been able to afford extras like fresh flowers. Even now that I can, I still want to make the most of my money at the market.

So there I was, standing in the flower aisle, staring like an idiot at all these beautiful bouqets. Unlike the TJs I normally go to, this one didn’t have little signs saying how long each arrangement could be expected to last.

I was at a total dumbfounded loss. Until my phone buzzed, delivering a foursquare update and a reminder of its existence with one simple vibration. And, two clicks of my keyboard and one google search later, I had my answer. Apparently, mums WERE the word. Gorgeous yellow ones on sale for $4.99 to be exact.

Two weeks later, and the big, bright, beautiful bouqet is as big, bright and beautiful as it was the day I bought it. Google was right. And once again, my phone was handy in a totally practical way. Not that being able to play Oregon Trail while at a bar isn’t practical, but I’m not entirely sure it would stand up as a strong case for my app addiction at the local ATT anonymous meeting. Although I could always argue that the dysentery made me do it…

Drew Olanoff: From @Drew to @thatdrew to My Friday Afternoon Google Reader Stream

Great interview with Drew Olanoff (formerly of @Drew) in Lalawag today. As usual, Sean Percival asks the questions I would ask if I were to suddenly find myself deep in conversation with the unofficial spokesman for all things social good (not to mention all things anti-cancer). It’s definitely worth a read for a little Friday afternoon inspiration.