Apr 4, 2013

The Glass Explorers Need Your Help: Thoughts On Cyberbegging, Collaboration and Causes (BEDA 1)

Disclosure: I am an invited #IfIHadGlass Explorer and I am looking for help with a Glass-related project. Learn more here. This post is part of a larger project called Blog Every Day April, which began in 2009 with author Maureen Johnson. This April, I'm combining BEDA blogs with VEDA vlogs to create something every day. I hope you're inspired by this post to take part.

Look at Glass. A photomosaic was compiled by Jeff Thomas, combining all of the #IfIHadGlass invitees on Twitter.
Even before being invited to become a Google Glass Explorer, I saw folks asking for help online, both financial help to purchase the device/pay for their travel and creative help in developing their ideas. You can call the financial portion fundraising, sponsoring or even cyberbegging. Whatever you call it, Explorers are looking for financial contributions online to first make a purchase and then travel to San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York to pick up that purchase.

Mar 27, 2013

Networking vs. Collaborating - A Response

First, watch this, because Rosi says it A LOT better than I do:

This is part of what I've been talking about for my ideas for my Glass community. But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I want to talk about the two concepts of Networking vs. Collaborating.

Over the past six years or so, I've worked mostly in the startup scene in New York, or what the nerds like me might call 'Silicon Alley'. There are LOADS of industry events: meetups, monthlies, talks, conferences, festivals, workspaces. In 2012, I learned the difference between the two types of people in this industry. I'm pretty sure they exist in all industries, and correct me if you think I'm wrong, but at any industry event, you will find these two types:

Type A: The Networker

Networkers are sometimes unhappily employed, but mostly unhappily unemployed and feel it is their sole goal in life to meet every person at the event in the hope of getting hired, meeting a potential funder for their next big idea, and reaching into their pocket to complete their conversation with the exchange of information (whether via business card, Bump, or Evernote Hello). Some even measure the "success" of an event by how many cards they have left at the end of the night. You can always spot the networker: they are dressed sharply, they stand out, but in a conspicuous way. They are usually focused on meeting their own ends. Like sharks, they don't turn their heads and gaze around. They focus, hone in, move directly. All of their conversations pointedly come back to one topic: themselves. Their ideas, their process, their mission all take center stage.

I must confess: I was a networker. Two years ago, after a somewhat crushing job loss, I started attending industry events in large part to find a gig. By early 2012, on any given day I was preregistered to attend 5-10 different events having to do with social media or a related content marketing topic. I was trying to get hired. My applications weren't being received well, so I took matters into my own hands...literally. I had business cards done up and printed high quality copies of my resume to carry with me at all times. I went out of my way to turn almost all conversations back to me. After all, I needed a job.

Can you guess what happened? Nothing. No one called. No one hired me. I didn't walk out of any event with a job or even a job prospect. After all, who wants to work with a person who, like Rosi echoed, seems selfish or self-centered and is only interested in meeting their own ends? No one, that's who.

Around this time, I specifically joined a meetup for a topic I knew little about, in order to gain some perspective and maybe have some new talking points for striking up conversation (again, selfish). Little did I know this is what would change the course of my year.

Type B: The Collaborator

Collaborators are about ideas, concepts and visions. They may be employed or unemployed, but regardless of how they pay the rent they aren't focused on finding new work or even on their own work. You will find them at industry events, but they are there more likely to celebrate achievements of their peers or hoping to be inspired by complete strangers. When they strike up conversations, it's not to "sell themselves" or to bring conversations back to them, but to be inquisitive and learn about the folks around them. They are focused on how they can learn from you, how they might benefit from staying in touch, and best of all how they might create something with you. Every friend you have ever met is usually a potential collaborator in some way or another. And possibly vice versa.

Shortly after joining Storycode (the NY Transmedia monthly meetup), I became transfixed by the idea of storytelling and it's relationship to communities and collaboration. Every show I watched, every fic I read, every movie I saw became not about performances or who looked right or about judging the surface, but about the narrative and the delivery and how it made me feel. I was excited to discover something new in myself, something that had clearly been there all along just beneath the surface.

When I finally let go of networking as a means to find work in early April, it was then that opportunities to collaborate began falling into my lap. I was very fortunate to be able to compete in Storycode's first story hackathon (my first hackathon ever!) and my team delivered the Best Use of Twilio earning us a prize. We didn't win the Grand Prize (the team that did was AMAZING), but I was just so happy to work alongside people with a creative goal. Since I was the most outspoken and energetic, people assumed I was "team leader" but I never saw it that way. We all worked together, tirelessly, for over 24 hours to create a compelling narrative and even launch a website. I didn't care about the prize as much as I cared about seeing our vision come to reality and our story told.

Around the same time I began working on the fan conference MISTI-Con, which I'm saving for another post. Or maybe a video. Suffice it to say I can't wait for that collaborative effort to happen this May and the team behind it is truly awe-inspiring. I can't believe how soon it is. about six weeks away!

Later that month, a friend of a friend asked if I might be interested in working on his webseries (which I will not tell the whole story of here -- it's another post I'm working on) and it was the first time I had been that excited about something in the Potterverse in a long time. I was just coming down from the Storyhack high and the seven or eight months I worked with the webseries team were so rewarding. I got to work with all of these amazingly creative people and make some lasting friendships. I hope I can collaborate with them all again someday and create more cool things.

This brings us to my most recent foray into collaborating: creating a community around Google Glass that allows people who are unable to attend fan conferences and conventions to experience that ultimate fan joy and excitement, while also giving me a new way to experience something I've grown so accustomed to that I need to break out of my comfort zone. While I'm still developing how this will work come May (which is the start of convention season and my expected launch) I've never experienced (in the tech industry) the outpouring of support that I have received from the Glass Explorers community on Google+. Since my submission, to getting shared by bigwigs at Google, to visiting the Google offices, to being invtied to join the Glass Explorers beta testing program (!), it has been an incredible last few weeks. More importantly, it has all started with community: I looked to friends to help craft my submission, I looked to peers to discuss ideas I had, and now I'm looking for support to fund those ideas.

I'm still working out how my community concept will benefit people who are less fortunate and how I might be able to bring the experience of a convention to people who might not have the opportunity to see it, but my mind is also bursting at the seams with tons of other ideas for collaboration and community. I want to bring it to Brooklyn Young Filmmakers and talk with low-income residents about first-person filmmaking. I want to have Glass Enthusiast meetups with Camp Interactive kids and come up with ideas for how augmented reality and microinteractions will change computing in our world. I want to connect with other explorers and connect coders with non-coders to create truly amazing things. Things that will benefit all people.

I think community, in a sense, is about thinking big: bigger than you and bigger than me. Part of what Google's moonshot thinking is the endless possibilities of what collaboration and community mean. You coan't go it alone, focused internally, and expect good things to be created out of thin air. You need to connect with others to make magic. To me, community is like networking for a purpose; for a greater good.


If you're reading this Rosi, your video has truly inspired me (as they often do), so thank you. We are lucky to have the internet age and the communities (fan or otherwise) that we do. Indeed, we are also lucky to have opportunities to create media and attend events all over the place to celebrate the things we love. I think you make another great point in stating that communities are all around us, whether in someone's mind waiting to be born or existing in meetups and conventions and industry events. I didn't even realize how many people in the Potter community were trying to create something until last year and I've been (what I consider) an active member for more than six years! Truly, community and collaboration start with talking, with a spark between two or more minds that ignites excitement and passion to make something amazing. It can be as multi-layered as a website that delivers content to fans in all the flavors of their world, or as simple as spending the afternoon making a silly video with your friends:

How are you collaborating and creating? What tools are you using? Tell me in the comments. Maybe if you see another commentor's thoughts it will inspire you or it will spark a collaboration between you. Like I always say, you'll never know if you don't try.

Mar 7, 2013

Help Me Fund My Glass Explorer Edition with "The Glass Registry"

Best case scenario in the next few weeks: I'm chosen to be a Glass Explorer. I create my choose-your-own-adventure blog and YouTube channel for when I attend conferences and conventions, allowing an audience to choose what programs, meetups, and sights I go to. I can show the world life through Glass. I can create be a Glass Explorer meetup group chapter for the NY/NJ Metro area.

Worst case scenario in the next few weeks: I'm chosen to be a Glass Explorer but I don't have $1,500 to pre-purchase the device.

How can I avoid this dilemma?


When I set out to answer this question, my first thought was about community; the impetus of my #IfIHadGlass application. Sure, I could use Kickstarter or Indiegogo or any crowdfunding platform, but wouldnt that be getting ahead of myself? What sort of perks and rewards would I offer? Maybe backers could choose the color for one backer reward? I couldn't think of much more than that. These platforms are based on creative projects where there is usually a tangible result, like a DVD or an album or a event or an invention. Or, in the case of campaigns for non-profits, collaborators will offer creative rewards of their own making like a special piece of art or a personalized something-or-other.

This was less of a creative project than those. It was, for all intents and purposes, the funding of a purchase. Like one would with a stereo. Or a computer. Or a car. Which brought me to my next thought.

When Dodge put out this 30-second spot earlier this year, I thought it was such a genius idea. Heck, if I was a driver myself I'd probably start a Dart Registry (especially for a car that has WiFi-- let's be real, that is awesome). You can tell who these folks are marketing to- the crowdfund-loving, wedding registry-jealous youth of America. And why shouldn't they be jealous? Saving up for a car is tough. Ask any 16 or 17 year old that.

What if I could do this with Glass? The Glass Explorer edition, according to Google's terms, would be a pre-order of $1,500 (plus applicable tax). If I could somehow use Dodge's idea to catalog each piece  or part (visible or known) of Glass with a rudimentary price tag, I could create a registry online and let folks PayPal me the cost of an item. I would hold on to all of the cash gifts until I got notified of being chosen for #IfIHadGlass, upon which point I would transfer the money and pre-order the device. Easy.

Not so easy. How was I going to find a list of all of the parts of Glass? I'd read countless articles and watched The Verge's video and read their article about eighty times, but that wasn't the answer. And how would I name them? Or find pictures of them?

Enter the Google Glass patent application, a Google Image Search for "parts of spectacles" and +Ben Lang, who recently made a gallery collection of hi-res Glass images available at his website after sourcing them from across the vast interwebs. You can find that collection here.

Using all of the above, I went to work.

First, I broke down a list of parts (and the subsequent images I would need) into four lists of approximately 31 registry items:

  • 1. Frame, Bridge & Inner System - Total $375 (10 items)
  • - touchpad, accelerometer and gyroscope casing $50
  • - flexible aluminum frame & bridge $125
  • - pad arms (2 total) $12.50 each (total $25)
  • - nose pads (2 total) $7.50 each (total $15)
  • - convertible solder (for sunglass attachment) (2 total) $5 each ($10)
  • - accelerometer $75
  • - gyroscope $75

  • 2. Arms, Ears, & Temples - Total $375 (10 items)
  • - inner speaker $75
  • - mini (or micro) USB output (for charging) $50
  • - temple arms (2 total) $12.50 each (total $25)
  • - temples (2 total) $50 each (total $100)
  • - earpieces (2 total) $12.50 each (total $25)
  • - battery casing $25
  • - battery $75

  • 3. Glass Display & Camera - Total $750 (8 items)
  • - display and camera housing $25
  • - multi-resolution camera $125
  • - light sensor for camera $50
  • - display prism housing $50
  • - display prism $250
  • - gesture-capacitive touchpad $125
  • - camera compartment $50
  • - Glass button $75

  • 4. Other - Total $350 (3 items)
  • - choose the color of my Glass $200 
  • - certified pre-owned Sprint MiFi card $50
  • - sunglasses attachment $100

After this, I searched for a gift registry website that would not only allow gifts of my own making, but allow a direct link to my PayPal. MyRegistry does both of these, as well as allow you to import Pinterest pins, which I next decided was the perfect place to host all of my images and price tags. Simple, but detailed. I made the pins, imported them, and tweaked the MyRegistry settings. VoilĂ !

Now the The Glass Registry is complete. Allow me to explain how you can help fund my Glass!

Step 1: Leave a comment when you enter the registry so I know you visited.

Step 2: Visit The Glass Registry and choose the part you would like to fund. 

Step 3: Click "Give as Cash Gift" once you've decided what part and send the amount of that part.(please note: My Registry charges a handling fee per cash gift, on a rising scale; see site for details)


Step 3: Give any amount (as little or as much as you wish) by clicking the "Give a Cash Gift" button in The Glass Fund section. (handling fees still apply)

Step 4: Help me fund my Glass beyond your gift by liking the registry on Facebook (see the 'like' button in the upper right corner) and sharing it on any of your social networks (buttons right there as well).

If for some reason I am not chosen to be a Glass Explorer, I will be donating all of the money I raise to Camp Interactive, a a not-for-profit organization that works with inner-city kids, empowering them "through the inspiration of the outdoors and the creative power of technology." I've worked with CI in the past (while at Livestream) and they are an awesome organization that has a really amazing mission. So, rest assured, no matter what happens, your gift to the fund will go to someone who needs it. In addition, if I am chosen I hope to invite the CI kids to one of our monthly Glass Explorer meetups to allow them to experience Glass for themselves.

You can give to The Glass Registry right now, or if not, you can share it with your social networks and help me in a different way. Whether or not I am chosen to be a Glass Explorer, I'm super excited to see what happens next on my journey.

Thanks for reading. Here's hoping the wait for our #IfIHadGlass notifications will be not much longer.

Feb 26, 2013

Notes on The Last Few Days: It's Been A Bit Overwhelming

It started with a video.

Then a thought process. 

Then a blogpost.

And now it's becoming a full-blown obsession.


The last few days have been amazing overwhelming awe-inspiring squeeful and as my Tumblr friends would say /FEELS. After I submitted my Glass Explorer application I wrote a blogpost on my process and pushed it to my networks. Little did I know the big G was watching. :-) 

Not only did the Glass team see my posts, but the following morning the Communications Director for Glass +Courtney Hohne reposted it to her networks. I was so thrown by this show of support for a nobody like me. It made me wish that the Glass team themselves were choosing the invitees for the Explorer program and not an independent jury. Alas, such is life.

As if the day couldn't get any better, one of my friends who works as a technical sourcer at Google, +Claire Watkins, read my post and invited me to Google's New York office for a chat.

In the spirit of full disclosure: I've never worked for Google nor have I ever been to their office, despite my having worked on 111 Eighth Avenue's 15th floor at Livestream. Claire and I are acquainted through a mutual fandom friend and are not related nor do we live together (no matter how awesome that would be). For many years, this friend spoke of Claire, who runs RupertGrint.net, as one of her closest fandom friends, but we only met a couple of years ago. Having run my own fansite and podcast for a short time, I had heard of Claire through other friends at MuggleNet, the world's leading source for Potter-related news. I now consider Claire a friend and fandom colleague.

Back to my story. Claire took me (and my large ridiculous suitcase I had to carry because I was on my way to travel by bus to New Jersey) through a quick tour of the Google offices. Keep in mind I worked in this building for almost two years and never set foot on Google soil, so I was a bit excited. The conference rooms are lush and the cafeteria is gorgeous. Lunch hour was already over, so we grabbed a few drinks and chatted on the veranda.

It was nice to talk about Glass with someone at Google who is as much in the dark as we all are. We talked about my blog, my ideas for a community of Glass Explorers and meetups in New York, and she wished she could apply to be an Explorer herself (unfortunately Google employees and contractors are not eligible). She joked that she once saw some Glass team members and begged to take a photo with them, but they declined for obvious reasons.

As someone who has always admired Google's innovation and their forward-thinking treatment of the user-creator relationship, it was so nice to walk the halls and quickly realize that this company is a lot like other big companies. In fact, walking the long corridors between departments reminded me of my days working at Walt Disney World. 

There was so much secrecy shrouded around the "magic" behind the Magic Kingdom (where I started on the property in 2003), but when you finally saw behind the curtain (or in this case "in the tunnel") you realized that companies are made up of real people working together to make magic. The cafeteria is there. The guide maps tell you which direction to what department. The custodial and security teams are sharing laughs during a quick coffee break. Things are usually just run-of-the-mill on a day to day basis. What is exciting however is the knowledge that somewhere in the building, someone is putting on a Cinderella wig preparing to change a little girl's entire world. In this case, I could imagine a Googler working on the Mirror API or debating color names for future models.

Later that same day, +Sarah Price, Community Advocate for Glass, also showed her support for blogpost and my application. Today, a community of Glass Explorers, developers, pioneers, and would-be Explorers are all showing their support & excitement about ideas I had. It's nice to be appreciated, especially after months of full-time job searching and thankless freelance work. 

There's been a few articles I recently read that I want to shed some light on as well. Chris Davies over at Slashgear recently connected Google Now and Glass much like my post, saying both "are still young, but there’s a lot about the future of Android that rests upon their reception and development." Davies nailed it. I wouldn't be surprised if Glass' success meant more collaboration between the two teams. 

Another story at Engadget, which was posted before the now infamous UI footage I'm calling "the 'OK glass' heard 'round the world", speaks to the rumor that Google retail stores will open this holiday season. For me, this was an eventuality, a "when not if" situation. You can be sure it didn't take the Windows 8 store in Times Square for me to realize that Google would be launching brick & mortar loactions by 2013's end.

I want to mention lastly how amazing it's been to connect via G+ with not only supporters of my own ideas, but also with the folks who've had hands-on real-world experiences with this wearable tech I think can change the lives of so many fans out there. Hopefully I'll get my Glass invite, make my pre-order, and attend my Explorer event in the weeks and months to come, but until then, it's been so nice to meet you all and discuss where we think Glass can go. The possibilities really are endless.

More to come, so stay tuned.

Feb 24, 2013

Applying to Be A Glass Explorer: The Step-by-Step Process I Took Making My Google Glass Beta Tester Submission

Last year, Google revealed two game-changing pieces of tech: Google Glass and Google Now. Like everyone else I was pretty amazed by both. If you haven't seen either of these, watch the following videos before reading on (both from the folks at Google):
After seeing one video, and then only a couple of months later the next, I knew that Google was leading innovation for the future the way I want to see it. But even more so I knew that there would be incredible applications for everyday consumers, and more importantly, for total fangirls like me.

Let me start by saying that if you know me personally, you already know I consume more media than most, get easily obsessed with it, and have been providing my own perspective/commentary on the world of pop culture since 2007 via social media and fan forums. But for those of you who don't know me, I'm what Tyler Oakley, or pretty much anyone on Tumblr, calls a "professional fangirl." It started as an all-consuming love for The Boy Who Lived (that's Harry Potter to you non-nerds) and his story, and extended into years of travelling, lifelong friendships, career opportunities and the ability to create lasting memories for others. In short, I went from your typical everyday fan to a superfan helping to plan a Potter convention in just a few years.

The innovation of Google Glass and Google Now were so important to me is that I've always felt technology should be seamless. That said, the minute I could own a device that supported Google Now I ran to my local Sprint retailer and got one, only then to wait for my operating system to update. In just the first day of using Google Now, I avoided taking a particular bus due to a delay, was reminded of a friend's birthday, and did a quick Google search on a company I was working with at the time. This wasn't what made Google Now a killer app for me though. That came when I started applying it to my life as a fan.

In a typical day I consume 4+ hours of media, be it blogs, articles, tv shows, movies, music or books. Social media has made it easy to comment, share thoughts, and review what I consume, but Google Now made me feel more up-to-date than ever. Suddenly I know if the teams my family likes are winning, which actor had been nominated for what role as awards season drew nearer, and I can quickly plan conference and fan event trips in a single swipe. Best of all, the wealth of knowledge that could be googled instantly to settle an argument (mostly about Star Wars, obviously) has changed life as a fan dramatically. 

After watching the first Google Glass concept video (above) my immediate thoughts were on how it could change my fan life. I quickly imagined being able to snap photos in the middle of a concert, grab video of meeting a celebrity, and navigating conference cities without the need of tablet and phone screens. Luckily, Google Now was the start of making things more seamless as a fan and that came at the tail end of 2012. I was sure Google Glass was a pipe dream for someone with a very limited budget like me. Obviously it wouldn't be available for a few years anyway.

This brings us to last week. After waking up I check my social feeds and saw a friend has posted about becoming a Glass beta tester. Moreover I found #ifihadglass was trending globally. I was sure people were just talking about how they would use it, until I saw this link which lead me to this video:
Glass has become reality. This is real footage, not a concept and not a work of fiction. We as consumers now have an opportunity to beta test what could change the way we use tech in our lives. After reading the rules, terms and FAQ, I was on board. But how would I make my application stand out?

Like with so many other things, this past week I have depended on my amazing community to help me plan my submission for the Google Glass Explorer program. I knew I was going to use a powerful montage of clips from life as a fan, but I wanted to know how my friends would use Glass to change fan experiences. Conversations across all of my social nets quickly turned to topics like second-screen apps, internet piracy, and food blogging as we started sharing how we would use the device to capture all of these amazing moments and navigate our world better.

Then my good friend Jon Rosenthal who runs the NY Harry Potter fan meetup group said I should aim for the group experience. Truly, this is what being a fan is all about. Of course, we do all experience fandom differently, but my life as a fan has always been about social events, travel, news, and sharing with a community of like-minded nerds. 

How could I apply this to my submision? Last week I was visiting with two of my closest friends (both of whom I met through fandom) and we discussed at length what someone in my position could do to create an enhanced fan experience using wearable tech. Wouldn't it be amazing to give fans who weren't as lucky as us the opportunity to see the convention experience firsthand? What if when I attend  two (or more) cons this summer I could wear Glass and allow a community to vote or choose what programs I attend? The result would be amazing. 

Not only does this present an opportunity for viewers or followers of my social accounts access to a first-person POV via photo, video and Google Hangout, but it also breaks something I consider a personal boundary. Conventions and conferences have become the norm for me. Each summer I visit a new city and spend time with friends, exploring and dancing and meeting up. However, in recent years I've stepped back from attending formal programming (roundtables, meetups, workshops) and preferred spending time with my small circle of close friends. If I gave an online community the opportunity to choose where I went, who I spoke with, and what programs I attended (heck, even what tourist sights I went to see) it would change the way I experienced these events and the cities they took place in. I was definitely on to something.

Several drafts and arguments on sentence structure later, we came up with this as a start to my 50-words-or-less summary:
If I had Glass, I'd be thrown out of my comfort zone by allowing my online community to decide where I go and what I do at conventions. This choose-your-own-adventure experience would change the way I interact with my fandom.
But that was only part of the task. How would my 15-seconds-or-less montage be compelling or present enough usefulness that Google's jury would choose me?

For me, the next task was simple. Find 15 seconds worth of video (and maybe one compelling photograph) to illustrate what it might be like to use Glass as a fan. I've been known to document a fandom event or two, so there wasn't a lack of footage. 

For the icing, I wanted to find one lasting first-person image that meant fandom to me. I had plenty of pictures from when my friends and I had seen JK Rowling read in 2007. We had camped out, stood in line and somehow got in to her reading after a long-sleepless night waiting outside of Carnegie Hall. A picture of a signed book wasn't enough, and worse I could be disqualified for intellectual property violation.

Combing through my Instant Uploads on Google+ I found it. The perfect image:
Yes, this was not my first time meeting JK Rowling (or as fans affectioantely call her "Jo"). When we heard she would be signing her new book "The Casual Vacancy" at Lincoln Center last year, the question became not how we would get in, but what time we would start camping out, where we would have to set up, etc. There was nothing to stop us, including an online box-office snafu which caused the theatre to oversell and subsequently meant the event moving to a larger auditorium. 

That night was memorable for so many reasons, but mostly because it was Rowling's only US public event for her first adult book. We knew we couldn't take photos with her, but taking photos of her signing was permitted. This snpashot represents the ultimate fan experience. To the non Potter fans at home, think about that one piece of music, that one story, that one athlete that changed your life in a moment or with a word. Now imagine meeting and speaking to that person. To me, that's a memory that lasts a lifetime.

After choosing that, I tweaked my submission's wording and (after seeing a +1 by the Project Glass team themselves) decided to apply only via Google+. Here it is, my application and video paired with the photo above:
#IfIHadGlass I'd allow my online community to decide where I go and what I do at conventions. Taking me out of my comfort zone would create a choose-your-own-adventure life and moments like these would be less about finding my camera and more about capturing lifelong memories. 

Here is a description of the clips I chose and why:

1) Having just purchased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on release night in July 2007, we walked out of Barnes & Noble in Union Square and were greeted by this sea of several thousands of people waiting to get their books. I've never been to San Diego Comic Con, but I imagine it is something like this, except all the time. Up until that point, I had never experienced being in a crowd that big, especially a crowd of Potter fans.

2) Meeting a fandom friend in real life for the first time is incredibly special. There are countless moments like this caught on video, with much waving, hugging, smiles and tears. After a problematic trip from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to the Hilton Chicago Hotel (something I could probably have avoided wearing Glass), I entered the hotel and Terminus 2008 to find my friends Sasha (from Wisconsin) and Lily (from England). This was my first time meeting them both and all the stress of travel melted away as they welcomed me.

3) While in Toronto for Prophecy 2007, I attended only my third (but by that point the biggest)) wizard rock concert ever. Like so many others, I made sure to capture a collaboration of two of my favorite bands performing on stage: The Remus Lupins and Harry and the Potters. There would be many more moments that week, but I can't forget being surrounded by everyone singing along to the songs that had been the soundtrack of my summer.

4) One of the promises I made to myself when I realized Azkatraz 2009 would be in San Francisco was to see the Full House house. Laugh if you will, but I combed that conference hotel for friends and rallied a group together so a childhood dream of mine would finally be realized. We took photos and laughed, but we knew what we really came for: a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something super fan-tastic. Turning the camera on the group, we sang the Full House theme right then and there.

5) [spoiler alert] Our fandom has always had a flair for the dramatic. In the summer of 2007, at the height of what would be known as "the summer of Potter," cosplay was becoming a well-known artform. Seen here are a few enthusiasts reenacting that infamous scene from Deathly Hallows after Harry's "death." These impromptu performances have since become commonplace, but never cease to delight fans wherever they occur.

6) I caught this tender moment in the Hilton Chicago ballroom. We had spent most of the day jumping, dancing and being the crazies that we are at a day-long wizard rock festival. Not every concert lasts forever, so at each show we take a moment to go arm-in-arm during the now-legendary last song that ends with the lyrics "the weapon we have is love." Almost every Harry and the Potters concert ends this way, a tradition that I hope will continue.

7) [is there any more magical number?] In a community like this, you get to know people, but there are some you always look up to, even after the transition from stranger to friend. As the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, Andrew Slack has taken fandom a step further. He inspires young people to become social activists using the concept of a "Dumbledore's Army for the real world" with other fandoms recently being utilized in tandem with Potter. This clip was my first time meeting Andrew who later became a colleague and is now a dear friend. His work is an example of what one can achieve through imagination and belief in the impossible.

So thank you all for your feedback, help, counsel and for dealing with the tech-obsessed fangirl through another obsession. If selected to be a Glass Explorer, I will be borrowing/raising/begging for the $1,500 price tag money to fulfill my "choose-you-own-adventure" dreams. Of course, I'll also document everything along the way. I hope I've inspired those of you who haven't yet applied to do so. I don't want to be the only nerd wearing these and Google's independent jury is choosing 8,000 invitees nationwide, so get going. You can submit via Google+ or Twitter as long as you follow the rules and accept the terms

Now, I wait. Wish me luck!

Jan 4, 2013

Why I'm Starting (Yet) Another Blog

UPDATE 2/25: Just want to be clear, when I said I was "leaving social" I meant as a full time community manager or social media marketer. I am still very active in the space and will attend events and use networks personally and professionally. For those who have asked, I'm currently freelancing in PR and I'm interested in working in tech, media, and entertainment. And yes: you can hire me.


The first time was before blogs really existed.

The second time was when online journals were the first social networks.

The third time I wanted to be a big deal.

The fourth time I wanted to let you know about all of my deepest obsessions.

The fifth time I wanted to keep my deepest secrets close and only share them with a few people.

Now... I just want to write.


Hi! First post. Exciting, nervous, altogether daunting. I have no idea what this will become or even what it will be. For now we'll just call it a journal. Things too long to tweet, thoughts not right for vlogs and sentences that run on and on will go here. Basically I'll ramble. You can decide now whether or not you want to keep this in your RSS reader. I won't be upset if you aren't feelin' it.

This will likely be mostly words. I am pretty well known for sharing all but my most private thoughts online. In fact, putting myself on the internet became my gateway drug to getting the internet to work for me. Now that I'm getting ready to take a step back from that world, I think it's time to go into long form writing again. That and it's like...so in right now you guys. /sarcasm

See, I'll probably do that lot. Put something here that will be slightly nerdy or sarcastic where you'll have to ascertain on your own that I'm not being literal. Can you handle that? If you can, I think we'll do just fine.

So, yeah, I am LEAVING SOCIAL!!! I can't do it anymore. I'm so burnt out on startups and dotcoms and apps and shares and buzzwords. Social Media Week (which I just habitually wrote out as SMWNYC but then rewrote as it's actual name because there is a pretty up-there chance you have no idea what an SMWNYC is) is around the corner and I don't even know if I wanna go. I think it was a recent job interviewer (yeah, I'm unemployed again too, surprise!) who said to me, "Honey, I have been in the business since before e-commerce, so you can save the buzzwords for those who give a shit" when I realized it was probably time to stop. I mean, I had gotten SO used to everything that even buzzwords like "transparency" and "engagement" had stopped making sense. I mean, I wasn't even trying not to talk like them anymore. I had given up trying to set myself apart. I became... a sheep. (had became? have become? Grammar was never my thing)

I've been looking back on my resume and trying to sum up what I did in each role and I literally didn't understand a word of my old resume. It made almost no sense. And fuck if it doesn't make sense to me, it's definitely not going to make sense to someone who is expected to read the damn thing. Even though let's be honest, what hiring managers or recruiters are still reading resumes for content? I was hiring interns two years ago and the only things we were looking for were formatting errors and typos. We were not-so-nice, what can I tell you.

Yes. I am headed for a career change. To what, well, I will leave that for another day, but let's just say that it's the only thing I've been doing in the past two years that is fulfilling. Those close to me are supportive and while a few years ago qualifications and fancy pieces of paper would have meant more to me it's the support of people I've learned is what truly matters.

I'll try to keep these simple and to the point. The basic gist is I'm blogging and I really don't care if you read it or not. Leave a comment if you have a question. Otherwise, well, you know what to do.