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Charities braving a New Frontier… and Thriving

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The internet have revolutionized so many things and made every day activities so much easier. The internet has lent its hand to charities and has made it simpler than ever to donate and gain knowledge of the issues. When online you can search for a charity that you are passionate about and would love to get behind and support. I am not saying that giving to any other charity is a bad thing, your contributions will still do its work, but having the extra passion behind your donation will help . Using the internet to find and donate to charities will open your eyes to issues you never knew were occurring. There is a lot of good in the world the good including charities, but the astonishing amount of charities out there just goes to show there is a lot of bad too. You may see an issue and it can spark desire from within to donate or get involve.

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You can easily find reviews and the amount of proceeds that the charity gives to the cause online. 40% of people go to the internet before they give money to an organization. When looking to donate you don’t want to give money to an organization that does very little and spends most of the money advertising. For example any companies slap on a pink ribbon to their products to try to get you to buy them and none of the money you spend goes to a charity. There is no law against it because it is not a regulated symbol. Doing research on these issues is easier than ever with our good friend the internet. There is an entire site called “Charity Navigator” that gives you the information needed to donate smartly. The site even has ranking to transparency, meaning how open the organization with the people giving them money.

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The web makes it easy for individuals to start their own charity. If someone finds an area that is underserved or an issue in their local area it is easy to start up a charity. With sites like GoFundMe people can start raising money in a matter of minutes.

Finally with the internet you can have celebrities like Hugh Jackman challenge his twitter followers creativity to tweet about their favorite charity for a prize of 100,000 dollars and a huge donation to the winning charity.


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For Mature Audiences Only: Business is Business

As we discussed in class, the development of internet technologies has opened a lot of opportunities for small businesses to operate, because of the extended division and specialization of labor. One section of small business owners are artists. An advantage of using the internet for artists is being able to showcase their artistic style like a portfolio for others to see.

Melissa Taylor, my sister, artist and owner of Katastrophic Design, however, reminded me that while the internet makes it easy to start a new business, that doesn’t mean that those businesses will be successful. “Just because you can do your own marketing doesn’t mean you know how to do it or you’re good at it….You still have a lot of challenges. In my experience it’s taken a lot of years to understand how to be better at running a business…. [The internet] helps in a lot of ways, but it makes a lot of challenges as well. You have to stand out. That’s the way it is [for everyone].”

AccKatastrophic1ording to my sister Melissa, while some aspects of running a business are unique to the internet, what makes an internet business successful is often the same as what makes any regular business successful: a good product, a focused brand and product line, and good customer service.

Melissa’s Katastrophic Design is a clothing brand consisting of a fusion of wearable and wonderful lingerie and casual wear.




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The Rise and Fall of Online Dating

Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe right. Repeat. If you’re not familiar with Tinder, it’s an app that enables users to swipe “left” if they see someone they don’t find attractive and swipe “right” if they think they are attractive. Eventually, other people who have also swiped right for you, will be considered a “match,” enabling the two people to communicate with one another solely off of the person’s perception of the other person’s appearance. This app currently has over 50 million users and is on the rise. The ease of use is very popular for people as it only requires you to provide a picture of yourself to get started.

Online dating first originated in 1995 with the ever so popular “” Since then, thousands of online dating services have been created. Many of these sites have gotten more and more specific to who they are targeting. For example, “Farmers Only” is a dating site that caters to cowboys, cowgirls and anyone who has an interest in farming/animals/etc. “Christian Mingle” is another site that specifically targets Christian men and woman looking for a mate. Over the years, online dating has proven to be very popular for single men and woman looking to meet someone.

With the creation of smartphones, however, the use of apps that serve as “dating-like” services have become more popular than traditional online dating sites. This is mainly due to the ease of access and ability to connect to the service at anytime, anywhere. While it makes it easier for people to “match” with others, many people have different motives in mind when using an app like Tinder or Grinder (men interested in men). It seems as if these apps have discretely encouraged a hook-up culture among its users. Dating services are on the decline, as most require you to fill out a lot of different information about yourself before you get started. Also, most of these apps are free and don’t require a paid subscription like dating websites.

Currently, 45% of the users on Tinder range from 25-34 years old. Over 9 billion matches have been made on Tinder. Each day, there is an estimated 1.4 billion swipes that take place on the app. The most shocking stat that I found was that only an estimated 54% of Tinder’s users are single. While this service is increasing its users every day, it seems as if culture is straying away from old school methods of meeting people as well as traditional online dating. The ways of getting introduced to someone from a friend, co-worker, family member/etc. seem to be getting less and less popular as people are continuously looking to find a mate quickly and can do this by using apps like Tinder.


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What makes Facebook Successful?

About 71% of online American adults use Facebook, a number that has remained steady since 2013. While only 56% of internet users ages 65 and older now use Facebook that number has been increasing over the last two years, up from 45% who did so in late 2013 and 35% who did so in late 2012. The reason that so many elderly people are able to use Facebook is because of its simplicity. While twitter has hashtags, @ symbols, and other intricacies, Facebook is designed for the common man with a clean, easy to use template. It’s

Among Facebook users, the average number of Facebook friends is about 155 but the when asked how many of those they would consider actual friends, the median was around 50.

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Facebook is also used as a connection tool with 93% of Facebook users say they are Facebook friends with family members other than parents or children, 91% say they are Facebook friends with current friend, and 87% say they are connected to friends from the past, such as high school or college classmates.

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Vlogging: A Hobby or Career?

During the early 2000’s, the concept of video blogging came to life. This new form of media brought a more personal quality to the digital world. Looking beyond still photos, people were able to capture their lives through short videos and share them with the digital community. Viewers not only became familiar with the vloggers appearance, but also began to connect with their personality and chose to invest their time into the vlogger’s channels.

Now, this concept may seem invasive or narcissistic–why should we care about what people are doing on a daily basis? Yet, there was a tremendous positive response from the digital community, specifically the YouTube community. Quickly the video blogging concept expanded exponentially to genres such as gaming tutorials, beauty tutorials, comedy films, DIY tutorials, travel guides, everyday life and much more.

Here is where it gets interesting: some vloggers not only vlog as a hobby, but rather as a career. The top Youtube bloggers have created an incredible brand for themselves, establishing an immense following of loyal fans. Starting with a few simple videos, these vloggers have launched a career of film making, book writing, key note speaking, and a variety of other paths.

An example of such success is Zoe Sugg, an English 22 year old who has conquered the beauty/lifestyle vlogging genre. In 2009, Sugg created her channel, “Zoella,” which focused on beauty and fashion tutorials. After experiencing social anxiety and panic attacks, vlogging helped Sugg cope and overcome her struggles. After 2 years of vlogging, Sugg gained a large following on her channel and her popularity escalated. 7 years since her channel launch, Sugg’s vlogging journey has led her to achieve a following of 10 million subscribers, establish multiple YouTube channels, produce a beauty product line, and publish a book.

To learn more about Sugg, watch this adorable video:

A second example is a pair of British twin boys named Jack and Finn Harries. Their Youtube channel, “Jacksgap,” originated during their gap year in between high school and college. Jack uploaded his first vlog 4 years ago, which currently claims over 3.2 million views. Since then, the Harries twins have curated a multi-platform brand which eloquently tells their adventurous, free-spirited story. Their vlogging experiences have led them to travel internationally, partner with global corporations, advocate for social justice and impact the lives of millions.



… and now


These avant-garde millennials have pioneered another avenue for web-based careers, demonstrating once again that a career does not have to be a 9-5 day job. Instead, a career has the potential to be unconventional- something that has the ability to impact the world.


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Selfie: Today’s Means of Communication

The world’s hottest messaging app, Snapchat, uses video as a means of communication. ‘Snaps’ can last up to ten seconds and can only be viewed once. Currently, Snapchat is valued at $19 billon. The inventors of Snapchat including Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown from Stanford University target users between the ages of 13 and 24. Fifty percent of the seventy-seven percent of college students who use the app, use Snapchat for communication purposes only. Companies such as Buzzfeed, Comedy Central and Vox are charged $750,000 per day to advertise their ads on Snapchat.

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So what are the secrets to Snapchats’ great success? Spiegel pooled the accessibility of the Internet along with the fast pace of today’s media to develop an app that would be used on a mass scale. According to Spiegel, “The proliferation of smartphones that began with the launch of the iPhone means that we’ve entered an age in which our computing devices are more personal than ever before.”  He notes that this period in history should be termed “More-Personal Computer” instead of the “Post-PC” ear. The “More-Personal” era has impacted how individuals communicate, share information and update their social media accounts.

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Spiegel’s vision for Snapchat is based off the concept of taking the ‘Internet Everywhere.’ Snapchat provides their users with the ability to share photos and messages instantaneously with just a simple push of a button. Thus, users and their friends can make a memory universal even if they are miles apart. Snapchat is the solution to the disconnect between media and how it is shared. According to Spiegel, self-portraits are today’s most popular form of self-expression and identity which promote ephemerality in today’s media sphere. He states, “The selfie makes sense as the fundamental unit of communication on Snapchat because it marks the transition between digital media as self-expression and digital media as communication.” In terms of ephemerality, individuals feel more connected to one another when they experience events together. Snapchat provides this means of communications where users feel as if they are conversing in real life. The detected success of Snapchat is discovered in the messaging app’s ability to combine pervasive connectivity with real-time communication.

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Roosters in Austin, TX, Reaching New Heights due to Alien Invasion

Although the idea of poultry in the air and a global extraterrestrial takeover is part hilarious and part terrifying, I’m not referring to our feathered friends. Rather I’m referring to a movie that recently hit box offices called Lazer Team, a comedy fantasy/science fiction film produced by Rooster Teeth Productions and funded by their loyal fans. Raising $2.5 million dollars (over 300% of their  intended goal) through an indegogo campaign it’s a wonder how what started as a five man team making a Halo machinima web series developed into an icon of the internet.

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