Friday was my last day at Geek & Sundry, and I will miss it dearly. Working in Digital New Media and helping pave the way for that industry was absolutely thrilling, and I hope to be able to someday work in a job that allows me as much creativity and ability to take initiative and be proactive as this internship did.
If you’d like to see a history of my internship, check out http://geekandsundryinterndiaries.tumblr.com/!
So, I needed to make a digital manifestation of my final project for FemTechNet, and just to warn you, this is about to get artsy.
For my project, I chose to use the keyword ‘Transformation’ as well as the keyword ‘Bodies’. It was inspired both by the article about a site that posted nudes of women, not even nudes that women had sent to their lovers, but nudes that were downloaded off of hacked computers (here); and my own keyword video about digital corruption and compression artifacts.
My first plan was to take naked photos of myself, burn them to cds, break the cds into pieces that were unreadable, and make art out of it. Unfortunately, even if you save the photos to your own computer, if it is connected to the internet there is always a chance someone may find it. Even if it is not connected to the internet, deleting a file is never truly ‘deleting’ it on a computer, there are often ways to recover it. I found this an interesting concept, especially after I took film photography last year. In film, if you were to cut up your negatives, there would be no possible way to retrieve them. Also, if you want to shrink a photo, the original itself does not change, whereas if you accidentally save over a file as a smaller file, it chooses which parts to distort the most, although you usually can’t tell with the human eye unless you try to expand it again.
Since taking nude photos of myself was a stupid idea due to the permanence of the data of a digital photo, I burned nude photos from a modeling site called Suicide Girls to cds. I chose Suicide Girls because it is (supposedly) an empowering site, an ‘adult lifestyle brand that redefines beauty with our unique pin up girls and active, smart online community.’ I found this an interesting experience because unlike when we work with physical media and make collages, burning the files felt strange in that it was adding files/code to a disc, code that would still need to be read by a program on the other end, that could not just be viewed on its on like a photo could. I then broke the cds into pieces, making many rainbow fragments. In this way I transformed a viewable image (with the right programs) into something completely useless and inaccessible. Unlike with the digital data on the internet, this was unreachable forever. I transformed code to a physical medium, then made that medium inaccessible. I thought this was an interesting concept because women’s bodies are so easily controlled by shaming their nudity, so that even if an actress is accidentally photographed with a nipple slipping out, it goes viral. Technology is now used to spread wide-spread shame, a way to control women even more efficiently. The breaking of cds was meant to signify reclaiming power, (although in reality the photos still exist online and affect the females in the photos).
The second part of my project related to compression artifacts. I placed a mirror inside a frame, but glued the bits of cd to the surface of the mirror. In this way the cd was somewhat reflective, but not truly able to give an accurate reflection like a mirror does. I was hoping to represent the distortion of compression artifacts in real life.
One of my favorite parts about this writeup is the fact that I can’t truly express what the object is like through images, for mirrors and rainbows are so dependent on the observer. All I can show is one particular moment photographed from one particular angle. I found the parallel between feminism’s focus on context and experience, and the fact that my project needs to be experienced, not just seen, to be very interesting indeed.
So for my internship at Geek and Sundry, I mostly did analytics, but also learned a ridiculous amount about channel management and optimization from my supervisor. Thus, I have decided to take that and basically become the YouTube pro on campus. I recently became the channel manager for Claremont Colleges TV (hosted on YouTube), and have also been in talks with Silvousplaits of Game of Thrones hairstyling fame to help optimize her channel next semester (we will be abroad in the same place). I’m also applying to help run the channel for the Scripps newspaper: The Voice, but have not heard back from them yet.
Claremont Colleges TV is planning on hosting a couple of original series, and Silvousplaits wants to take up vlogging, as well as incorporating more social media into her work, so we’ll see how it goes! (I even designed her a website instead of doing hw http://silvousplaits.geekitout.net/ I don’t know if I’ll end up in the entertainment industry (I just know I like technology), but I figure I might as well hone the skills I developed at Geek & Sundry until I figure out my path!
So this has been brewing for awhile in the Scripps community, but I and some other Scrippsies have finally pushed it to a boil. We noticed that although Scripps is phenomenal in terms of the arts and humanities departments, they seem to be lacking in business, financial, and technology. This makes sense due to the fact that we have CMC, a business school, and Harvey Mudd, and engineering college next door, but what it also means is that there is no community on Scripps campus for these interests. Scripps Professionals Network aims to change that. It is currently a coalition formed by Scripps Women in Technology, Innovate @ Scripps (entrepreneurship and business), and Scripps Women in Finance and Consulting. It is meant to be a society/social group sharing resources and knowledge.
This past Friday we hosted our first two joint events: a speaker who helped shape the Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem, and a LinkedIn workshop to help Scrippsies learn to use the website better. We advertised heavily on facebook, and had a larger turn-out then expected (yay!). Unfortunately the year is wrapping up, which means we probably won’t be doing much more this semester. I look forward to seeing how it develops next semester, though!
I got accepted into the Kairos Society!
The Kairos Society is an international nonprofit organization of entrepreneurs and innovators from the top universities around the world.
See what Forbes has to say on them – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricardogeromel/2013/04/02/kairos-society-and-the-worlds-next-generation-of-new-billionaires/
Here’s my application:
I’m a technology obsessed individual who’s been playing with innovation and tech since day one. My father (a founder of a small IT firm in California) encouraged me to push anything I got my hands on to its limits (computers, websites, software, etc.) and explore as many new tech adventures as possible. I’ve dabbled in a diverse set of technologies ranging from html with neopets.com user pages and basic construction of computers when I was very young to basic python, youtube analytics, and wordpress web design more recently. Nonskill-wise I founded the Scripps College Women in Technology club, which often partners with the Scripps Entrepreneur club, intern for Geek and Sundry, a Commercial Youtube Channel, and design websites. I love networking with fellow tech savvy individuals and entrepreneurs to hear what the next wave of innovation will be, and discussing new ways to use technology to change how the world currently works and address problems previously unsolvable.
- Interpersonal: Management of project teams, Networking.
- Operating Systems: PC (including Windows 8) and Mac.
- Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint.
- Adobe Suite: InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere
- Google: Search, Calendar, Drive, Gmail, Analytics, etc.
- Websites: Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube Analytics, Trello
- Web Design: WordPress.
Anything tech related. Changing the world through technology. Educating others on technology, creating tech communities, and pushing people to become as tech-savvy as possible.
What would you like to achieve by the time you are 30?:
Unfortunately my answer is fairly vague since I don’t actually know where the tech industry will be in 30 years, but I want to do something big. I want to fill in the gaps, using emerging tech to make the world we live in better. I can’t say what technology I will be using to achieve this (30 years ago I’m sure no one could have even imagined we’d have smart phones and ipads), but I know that I want to be at the front of the wave, setting the precedent and forging the path that others will follow, with teams working under me to make sure that change is implemented.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment would probably be starting the Scripps College Women in Technology club (there is a veritable vacuum in terms of community around technology on campus, and I aim to change that). There is a lot of strong talent on campus, and I am looking to pull them together, hone their skills, and help them find their way into the work force. Scripps prides itself on being more humanities and art oriented, but I’m hoping to expand it to be more inclusive of business and tech. Scripps is a Women’s College, and I want to make sure that the women who graduate from it are tech-savvy and ready for the business world.
What are your 2 biggest strengths you will bring into this organization?
My two biggest strengths would be my desire to constantly be creating new projects, and my love of helping communities. I find myself extremely jittery if I’m not working on something I consider ‘productive’, whether that’s educating myself, working on projects for my internship, job, or school, or helping others to succeed. I constantly want to change myself and my environment for the better, and love finding where the gaps are and filling them in with solutions and ideas so that both I and the world I live in improve. This leads to my love of helping develop communities, for with communities I am able to educate others and help them succeed, success which they then use to help people they know. It is a domino effect, and I love being able to watch the people I mentor come into their own, and then use their education and skills to bring others to their full potential.
Historically, some of the most innovative and pioneering entrepreneurs have started by rethinking traditional assumptions and business models. Tell us about an area that you think is ripe for disruption, or about a way to solve new problems with existing technology and resources.
I currently work for a commercial Youtube Channel, which in my opinion is the next disruption in terms of the entertainment industry. We work daily towards using the resources YouTube and social media sites provide to create new, immersive models of entertainment, which is known in the industry as transmedia storytelling: the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. We also work with YouTube to suggest how new innovations could lead to better experiences for the audience. We address the growing range of sites and technologies used by viewers, and take advantage of the fact that traditional cable channels are barely understanding how to use twitter, let alone vine, instagram, etc. As a Commerical Channel, we set the standards for other YouTubers to live up to, and decide the path to the future.
Give us an example of how you would be able to contribute your skills and expertise to solving key challenges in either healthcare, education or sustainability.
I would use my knowledge of YouTube and my ability to form communities to reform education. The fact that YouTube is still emerging as a disruptive technology means that each user can help decide what direction it is going to go. Commercial Channels are already working towards more diversity and inclusivity in the actors on YouTube, but if I was looking to reform education, I’d love to focus on the programming, specifically on how to use critical media theory learned as a Digital Media Studies major to make sure YouTube programming has meaning, not just entertainment value (although a balance would have to be struck). As YouTube and digital programming are a new frontier, I would work towards creating communities of channels that are dedicated to educating as well as entertaining. It would not be a niche market, but rather an underlying principle of all programming. Social media is already used to digital experiences, so it’d be interesting to see how it’d be possible to use social media for informing the audience and forcing them to think deeper and more critically about the content they are consuming.
I’m super excited to see where this goes!
So early on in my internship at Geek and Sundry, Aimee hashtagged one of her tweets #interndiaries. I thought this was extremely clever, and we soon spread it to all the interns. I then realized our tweets were mildly interesting when viewed as a whole, and created a tumblr to host them, as well as photos, blog posts, and other tidbits created by us. Apparently somebody out there likes us, because we now have over 100 followers! This was one of my first forays into social media use for a business, and I’m thrilled that it turned out to be so successful, with our top post having over 200 reblogs and likes.
Come check us out if you ever want a deeper look into the lives of the Geek and Sundry interns! http://geekandsundryinterndiaries.tumblr.com/
So, I went to my very first case study competition on Saturday. I had no idea what a case study was, I had no idea what we were going to do, but Caroline invited me to it, and I was like WHY NOT. We arrived at Claremont Mckenna at 10:00 am for free pastries, coffee, and a folder containing the materials for our case study. The folder had four copies of the case study for the four Scrippsies on our team, a grading rubric, and a schedule. The case study was a description of a problem (in this case a credit union that wanted to create more branches, but wasn’t sure it had the resources to) and graphs/charts relating to the problem. We used the information in the case study to decide whether or not to create another credit union branch, and how to improve the business as a whole. We then presented our solution to a panel of judges. Crazily enough, despite the fact we had never done a case study before, we passed round one and made it to the final round where we presented again. Unfortunately our team didn’t win that round (we were up against two other teams, and they only said who won, so it’s possible we were either 2nd out of eight teams, or 3rd), but it was a very interesting learning experience, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. Also, there was a Scrippsie on the the team who won (the rest were CMCers), so I still take pride in their win.
The Women, Pedagogy, and Technology talk was an event I heard about in my Feminist Dialogue on Technology class, and I was absolutely thrilled to attend. It started with Alex Juhasz talking about the need to cross the lines dividing us, including campus lines (this was a 5C event). Then, the President of Pitzer discussed the need to temper digital interactions with human interactions. After their speeches, I was lucky enough to sit with President Klawe of Harvey Mudd (a woman who has done wonderful things for women in STEMs and who I look up to as an inspiration). Some of my first words to her were ‘Something something Lean In, although that’s not a movement I agree with or am fond of’, to which her response was ‘Oh, why? Sheryl Sandberg is a friend of mine’. Luckily she honestly wanted to hear my opinion on it (long story short, I don’t think Sheryl Sandberg is radical or deconstructivist enough, and rather supporting and playing into the patriarchy), to which Klawe responded that she was once as radical as I was, and understood where I was coming from. We talked extensively about education, women in tech, and leveling the playing field. She seemed interested in my efforts with Scripps Women in Technology, and offered to be a speaker. She is honestly someone I look up to and would like to emulate in terms of her efforts to works towards increasing representation of women in stems
The next part of the program involved breaking into groups to discuss mentors, networks, or teaching. I chose the mentor group, where we talked about the pros and cons of serendipitous mentor/mentee pairing, structured pairings, and solutions/compromises between the two. Serendipitous usually means better dynamics between the mentor/mentee because it’s not forced and controlled, but often leaves out people who don’t have initiative or luck. Structured gets more of the shy individuals, but even then participants can feel alienated by being forced to meet at certain times, do certain things, even if they don’t particularly mesh with their mentor. What might be a possible solution is training potential mentors to be more out about their identities/things mentees could empathize with (socioeconomic, sexual orientation, race, culture, etc.) so that mentees can find them, as well as training mentees how to find mentors, and what they should ask from their mentors. As I am only a junior, I remember all too well what it was like to be a first year, and to feel that everything I did was an imposition, regardless of the fact that the colleges tried to put together so many support options for me. In our group, we talked a bit about impostor syndrome, which to me seems a very possible reason so many people have trouble finding mentors. Unless mentors are outright explicit in their desire to mentor, potential mentees may feel like the mentor is just being nice at that moment, rather than the mentor wanting to form a long-term connection.
Finally, we all headed to the Pitzer auditorium to listen to different speeches on various parts of technology and education. It was a wonderful lunch and discussion, and the powerpoint presentations in the auditorium gave me a lot of food for thought. I hope Pitzer/the 5Cs continue to create events like these, and look forward to how much more I have to learn.
Friday night was the launch of Claremont’s new television channel (which will be hosted on YouTube), Studio 47’s CCTV. We watched two news shorts about the dining halls and on-campus a capella groups, a preview for an action series, and a short comedy bit. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the content, although the production values were a bit low (which was probably because we were only watching pilots, rather than the actual shows). The news was engaging and informative, the action pilot caught my attention, and the comedy sketch actually had me laughing out loud. The rest of the launch consisted of free food and the team asking for writers, actors, editors, etc. (if you are interested, email them at email@example.com). I’m hoping to work with them and use the skills I learned at my Geek and Sundry internship in order to optimize their YouTube channel, and look forward to working with such a promising program.