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A Thesis and What the Fuck Am I Going To Do With My Life? February 24, 2010

Posted by Nick in education.
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I’m a senior at Georgetown and one of my majors is sociology, of course this is one of the few majors at Georgetown that requires all students to write a senior thesis. This thesis is due at the end of April and I haven’t started, fuck. My thesis is about whether or not the internet, specifically web 2.0 tools, are capable of building a strong oppositional civil society in non-democratic countries. Using China and Iran as case studies I will examine how the internet is used by traditional forms of civil society like NGOs to mobilize people and how social media has been used to build grass roots movements. Of course I will also be looking at how the governments of these countries use the internet as a form of social control in an attempt to atomize any oppositional civil society as well. Hopefully, I can figure some of this shit out and get it down on paper before its too late…

Really, this entire thesis is indicative of a bigger problem for me. Do I continue on to graduate school in sociology next, I’ve already heard from some PhD programs and I am waiting on several more, or do I leave school to pursue a career in internet or social media? I see no reason that I can’t write about technology and work for (eventually run) a company, but grad school and full-time employment are two different paths for sure. I don’t have much time left to decide, but until I do I’ll just keep pursuing both paths so I hopefully have numerous options.

More will come about the details of my thesis as well. Until then wish me luck figuring out my life.

Mint Helps Manage Your Money February 18, 2010

Posted by Nick in technology.
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With Kublax, a British clone of Mint, recently entering deadpool because it couldn’t find another round of funding (*a new letter from Kublax CEO says that Kublax may be bailed out by SimplyFinance) I thought it would be a good time to write about Mint. Mint is a website that links with your bank accounts and credit cards to monitor your spending and bill paying. It allows you to set up budgets that can range from one time things or can reoccur monthly for things like your cable bill or grocery budget. Mint is now owned by Intuit (turbo tax guys) but it is still an awesome, free service that helps you keep your money in order. For anyone, but especially for young people not used to budgeting for all your own bills, I recommend you give Mint a try and see just how much money you have to spend.

Zynga is worth what?!? November 24, 2009

Posted by Nick in social media.
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Zynga is far away the biggest and most aggressive social gaming company out there. Its ads are everyone on facebook and it is growing rapidly. Traffic has increased to over 200 million monthly active users and it now employs over 600 people. Its revenues are projected to be over $200 million this year and will probably at least double in 2010.

But most importantly and most impressively, is the Bloomberg report that Zynga may be valued at $1 billion dollars if it is headed for an IPO in 2010. But, it seems like Zynga is in no need for money as in continues to just rake it in so there is the possibility that we won’t be seeing an IPO in 2010 and the company will continue to grow.

Whether you think these games are of any quality, you can’t deny that this success is impressive and that virtual goods really are turning out to be an important way to monetize online games. I’m certainly impressed, want to cut me in on that action Zynga?

EA Completes Acquisition of Playfish November 10, 2009

Posted by Nick in social media.
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ea_playfish

Yesterday, EA completed its acquisition of major social gaming company Playfish for between $300 and $400 million dollars. This is the first real merger of video game and social game teams and the potential is enormous. It is likely that EA will find new ways to monetize social gaming since it doesn’t want to risk tarnishing its name with scammy lead-gen offers. This will expand the abilities of all social gaming companies to make money. It is also likely that we will start to see social games available on the console, just like you can access facebook from your xbox 360, you will be able to access Pet Society as well. As the first major gaming company to move into this space, look for EA to set the pace until another major social gaming company (Playdom, Zynga) is purchased. Social gaming has an important future in the world of gaming and it makes sense that major companies like EA are moving into the field. For more about the future of social gaming, check out this related article at Mashable.

The Skype Founders=Win November 8, 2009

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Skype Founders

Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, founders of Skype, got exactly what they wanted. In a battle with eBay, the Skype owners won a 14% stake in the company and board representation. In addition, that have moved on to start a new music company called Rdio. Rdio is gaining steam quickly and is assembling a killer team that should allow it to compete with the best of whats already out there. For more about the team being assembles by Rdio, check out the article at TechCrunch.

Professors on the Hotseat November 5, 2009

Posted by Nick in education, social media.
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Hotseat is an awesome “new” way to integrate social media into the classroom and boost class participation and engagement at the same time.

Hotseat is a new app in development that uses Twitter, Facebook, text message, and a web interface to allow students to comment or ask questions on what is happening in class in real time. Two classes with a total of 600 students are currently testing the application at Purdue University about 75% have used Hotseat to ask questions, critique the professor, or vote on topics to be covered.

The real question is: Is it useful? One professor testing it says it does exactly what it is designed to, increases participation. Really, with the popularity of social media on the university campus, I think it is certainly a useful tool and an interesting way to engage students.

Check out the article at Mashable as well.