Things I Love Thursday (Sort Of)

Instead of doing the traditional TILT this week, I figured I’d point you in the direction of the one place on the web where I’ve started automatically (and instantaneously, thanks to their awesome bookmarklet) sharing all the fun pics and pieces I come across during my daily travels on the world wide interwebs. It’s also home to any random pics I take with my iPhone while actually out and about in the real world (yes, sometimes I do leave my desk). It’s full of fun images that catch my eye, and it’s become my own little specially styled sanctuary on the web, full of pretty things that inspire and engage me. In other words, it’s where I put all sorts of  things I love all week long, not just the ones I’m loving on any given Thursday.

So, without further ado, please to enjoy…(drumroll please)…my Tumblr.


Groupöupon: For The Social Media Nerd Who Has (Or Wants) It All

Groupöupon is the web’s newest luxury goods destination. From the makers of the popular social coupon service Groupon, Groupoupon promises the kind of elite status that only the most high end of haute couture can give you.

Take their exclusive eau de toilette – Presence, which retails for the low price of less than $2,000 a bottle.

According to the site,  “Water is the essence of life, and now you can exude the essence of water with Presence, the world’s first water-scented designer fragrance. Raw hydrogens skimmed from the Tibetan Borealis are unified with pure arctic oxygen to create this subtle yet unmistakable fragrance. Like a chameleon, Presence adapts to your mood. Today it recalls the faint memory of an autumn fog; tomorrow, a bath in the purest lunar spring. Its stillness can inspire beauty; its beauty can inspire contemplation; and now, its Presence can be yours.”

Of course, Groupoupon’s incredible selection of the world’s most glamorous goods doesn’t stop there. They’ve got the ultimate boardroom accessory – the gilded crown. And, of course, the latest in ultra-sleek, faceless watches.

With quick and easy registration – just submit to a retinal scan, and shoot them over some simple documentation of your annual income – this site’s a cinch to become the next big thing in blinged out buys. And, I definitely know where I’m spending this month’s paycheck (money collage, anyone?)

Easter Egg Hunt: Google Edition

Who doesn’t love an Easter egg? And no, I’m not talking about the kind you ruin your heirloom kitchen table painting. I’m talking about the type of easter egg that quickens the pulses of nerds from 4chan to Foursquare. The kind of easter egg that keeps entire forums afloat. The kind of easter egg that makes a developer’s day.

Yup, I’m talking about those quirky, crazy coding tricks that can be unlocked by doing certain things on certain sites. From naked chicks in Grand Theft Auto to the famous Facebook lens flare trick, there are more easter eggs on the web than there are in the seasonal aisle at your local CVS right now. So why do devs do it? Well, because it’s fun. And when you spend all day staring at code, you take your fun where you can get it. And then you hide that fun so that only the coolest of your core users can find it. Unless of course, you happen to be Google. In which case, your easter eggs are easier to spot than Lady Gaga’s phantom phallus. Especially when Mashable decides to fill a slow Saturday by publishing 5 of them for all the tech world to see.

Of course, that doesn’t make them any less fun to play with. Especially if you – like me – have some time to kill on your own slow Saturday. After all, the new Real Housewives episode doesn’t hit the rerun airwaves for at least another 30 minutes. . .

Twitter Spam & Phishing Attacks: Avoid Them With One Rule of Thumb

Frankly, I’m getting a little sick of everyone always bitching about Twitter phishing attacks. Don’t get me wrong. I understand how awful it is to lose control over your own accounts to evil spammers trying to sell weight loss tips and sex advice to your friends. But it’s one thing to have your account hacked. It’s quite another to be dumb enough to fall prey to this latest round of ‘Is This You?’ phishing attacks.

Clicking on unsolicited links in a direct message is a lot like leaving all your doors open on a hot summer night and then being surprised when you end up with bugs in your house. Whether you know the sender or not, it’s a stupid thing to do. Especially since all it takes is two seconds to reply with ‘hey, did you mean to dm me that link or is it spam?’ Hell, you can send that & still have 90 characters left to fill in your message. And those two seconds could save you innumerable hours of spam-fueled tsoris (excuse my Yiddish).

So yes, spammers do suck. And phishers are the bane of the modern web user’s existence. But, that doesn’t mean we have to let them dominate the conversation, especially not when there’s so many more interesting things we could be tweeting and blogging and status updating about. And definitely not when all it takes is a two second defense mechanism and a little bit of brains to protect yourself from all those all-too-obvious phisher’s lines.

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…

Track Your Online Content: Privacy & Technology (And You)

See this post in its original home on the Girls in Tech blog

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement yesterday about the changes being made to Facebook’s privacy structure, it looks likeMichele Salahi State Dinner White House Crash Facebook Photos Salahi White House #privacy is about to have yet another run as the trending topic du jour. Well, that and that couple that crashed the White House dinner — as Demetri Martin would say, they’re like the herpes of hyped up news stories. Scheming social climbers aside, privacy is one of the web’s biggest concerns. As girls in tech, we talk about it all the time. Are our identities safe? Are our personal and professional brands secure? Are the kids in our lives making smart choices when they surf?

Months worth of memes have been made out of relatively minor changes to Facebook’s privacy policies in the past, and the comments are already piling in to the Mashable Article discussing this most recent development. It’s easy to understand why people get so worked up over what happens to their information on the internet. From cookies that track our every click to the fact that between docs, mail, maps and search, google knows more about you than your parents probably do, it’s clear that there’s plenty of reasons to make even the sanest surfer paranoid about what they post. As the product manager at a growing user generated content site, I deal with difficult decisions having to do with privacy all the time. What our decision making process always comes back to is a simple question: what would we want someone else to be doing with our data? Nine times out of ten, the answer is simple: give the user as much control over their content as you can.

Of course, as a user, it’s up to you to take advantage of that control. Fortunately, there are as many tools to track the people tracking you as there are mistresses in Tiger Woods’ skeleton closet. There’s google privacy dashboard, which allows you to see all the data points that google’s got about you. You can also set up a google alert that will let you know when new content about you is indexed by the search engine’s spiders. Keotag lets you put in a key word, and see what people are saying about it everywhere from Technorati to Twitter. And, Boardtracker lets you do the same sort of thing across multiple comment boards. Which means you can post your complaints about the new Facebook privacy policy today, and see all the trolls’ responses tomorrow.

It ain’t exactly privacy per se, but it’s pretty powerful stuff nonetheless.  At the end of the day, I strongly believe that the best privacy policy on the web is still the one you set up for yourself by watching what you post, where you post it and what gets said about it after you leave. However, if that’s too complicated for you, then just remember this simple rule: if you’re going to crash a White House dinner, don’t post photos of your uninvited self shaking hands with the president on Facebook. Unless, of course, your personal privacy policy involves a camera crew from Bravo and a hefty chunk of reality show change. In which case, I’ll see you on Thursdays at 10 in my living room.