reddit co-founder visits; get tickets here
Dubbed the “Mayor of the Internet” by Forbes, and one of the greatest believers of the Internet’s democratic potential, reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian will visit Wesleyan on Thursday, December 5 as part of a 77-college book tour to promote his new book, Without their Permission. With a 140 character limit, he describes himself as:
Startup guy making the world suck less: reddit, breadpig, hipmunk, Y Combinator. Investor, speaker, host of Small Empires, author of Without Their Permission.
Ohanian is now part of the NYC tech scene and extols the idea that “all links are created equal,” which means that this AMA (ask me anything) with Amanda Palmer ’98 and her husband is on the same level as the AMA with Heemz ’07. But mostly, this means that Ohanian believes people can do awesome things together when they use the right platform effectively.
In 2011, Ohanian was involved with the Internet activism against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Cyber Intelligence & Sharing Protection Act (CISPA). Ohanian was invited to speak in front of Congress and subsequently asked the reddit community what he should say in his testimony. When reddit blacked out its home page in protest on January 18, 2012, Wikipedia and Mozilla followed suit, and Google posted a link to a page protesting the piracy bills. Afterwards, legislators were barraged with 10 million petition signatures, 8 million calls, and 4 million e-mails.
Ohanian’s new book is a lot about “harnessing the power of the web for good,” and along the way, he shares his philosophy about entrepreneurship. In a teaser for the book, he had more to say about this (and to Stephen Colbert), in the eloquent, hyped up way I imagine a successful 30 year old tech start up philanthropist to sound like:
“If a campus as tight-knit and progressive as Wesleyan can’t come together to defeat yesterday’s monopolist and incumbent powers, then maybe it just can’t be done.”
Peter Frank ’12, the famed Internet entrepreneur who ran the CollegeACB empire from his Fauver dorm room and made his way into the pages of TIME Magazine before selling the site in 2011 for an undisclosed six-figure sum, is back in the game with a new start-up. Not quite as juicy as the ACB (but probably far more useful), Frank’s latest venture is Texts.com, a “lean, green, student-first platform” for students to buy and sell textbooks to and from each other online. The start-up made its Wesleyan debut on Foss Hill around 4:20 p.m. yesterday; you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s a service that provides free pizza to stoned Wesleyan students at all hours of the day (that’s my new start-up idea, don’t tell anyone):
With help from Lisa Sy ’13 and Benjamin Halpern (a student at Mount Allison University in Canada), Frank aims to build a “commission-free, zero-fee, student-to-student textbook exchange” that eliminates the middleman.
Now you can relive your awkwardest Internet glory days on
livejournal MySpace Tumblr.
Jesse R-S ’13: “‘My Little Needle’ was a song by the Alkaline Trio, my favorite band in 5th grade. I presume it’s about heroin.”
Last month, Yatta Zoker ’14 (screen name: ” tumblinhottie05″) launched a Facebook event (the all-capsed “OMG I JUST REALIZED I DON’T HAVE YOUR SCREEN NAME“), began soliciting fellow WesKids’ AOL screen names and corresponding photos, and inadvertently set off a wave of contagious AOL nostalgia (nostAOLgia?). The submissions came flooding in, and with them torrents of comments, likes, and general look-back-and-laugh hilarity. Naturally, the results are worthy of archiving on Tumblr, and Zoker has finally gotten around to putting one together: “hey, what’s your sn?” If you missed all the fun, you can still submit your own screen name to the Tumblr via this link.
“I’ve always thought of old screen names as a hilarious insight into people’s past pysches,” Zoker explained to me in an
IM email. “The Facebook event was initially meant to be the start of an archival project for my Photo II class, but it didn’t fly as fine art. Smh. Regardless, it’s been a blast. Screen names are such a beautiful display of the struggle for tweens to create identity. Also, mostly, lol.”
In the meantime, we’ve compiled some of the highlights below (leaving out last names, because no one wants this crap showing up on Google). Relive your awkwardest Internet moments below, and for more AOL nostalgia, check out “your away message.”
If you’ve followed the Steubenville trial in recent weeks, you may have found some of the media responses disconcerting. Instead of providing support for sexual survivors, popular media outlets like CNN lamented that the conviction will impact the once-bright futures of the rapists. In these comments, CNN did not detail how Jane Doe was harassed online and slut-shamed by her community (and America at large) for reporting the crime and pressing charges. CNN did not lament how rape culture creates an environment that renders survivors of sexual assault afraid to talk about their experiences and ashamed of something that isn’t their fault. One in five women in the United States is sexually assaulted and 60% of these attacks go unreported to the police. It seems like there’s something wrong with the common discourse of sexual assault.
The unceasingly inspirational Lena Solow ’12 wants to provide messages of hope and positivity for survivors that were so lacking from many Steubenville responses. This blog is not just for Jane Doe—it’s for any survivor who seeks affirmation and encouragement. Solow writes, “This is a place to consolidate messages of hope and encouragement and affirmation for sexual assault survivors. Created in response to the backlash, victim blaming, and all-around horrifying language about the Steubenville rape case. If Jane Doe, the Steubenville survivor, searches for messages, there should be something else available for her, and for all survivors of assault.”
Here is a link to the blog, “Messages for Survivors.” You should definitely check it out and even contribute if you feel so inclined.
The official theme for their capital campaign is “#THESISWHY.”
Tired of capital campaigns yet? Too bad. Making movies is expensive, and #thisiswhy thesis filmmakers Gus Vita ’13 and Dema Paxton Fofang ’13 (otherwise known as The Artist Formerly Known as Bamenda) are asking for your help in the form of a Kickstarter and an IndieGogo campaign, respectively. Vita’s asking for $3,000 and Fofang’s asking for $1,000, which comes to $4,000 total between the two of them, which still only amounts to .016% of the budget of Michael Bay ’86’s next $25 million opus (and that’s not counting the extra millions for advertising), so throw them a bone, will you? (At any rate, both of them have raised substantial funds towards their goals as of this posting—but they need more.)
You’d be right in assuming that filming is complete for both movies, so why raise money now? As Fofang explains it, “both of our projects were shot on 16mm, and the post-production process for that format is quite expensive. I’m currently spending long hours each day editing the film on a Steenbeck, and prepping for the final stages of post-production.” A cursory glance at Fofang’s own fundraising campaign reveals in detail where the money’s going: hiring a negative cutter to assemble the final cut, hiring a professional sound mixer to optimize the soundtrack, answer prints, color correction, telecine, festival distribution fees.
Wait, festival distribution fees? For real? If you donate, that means you can take credit when one of these films becomes the next Beasts of the Southern Wild and shows up on Oprah and gets problematized by The New Republic or whatever. Click past the jump for a bit more information on both films.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, wesstudent has been having some problems this morning. This isn’t just you — this is happening all across campus. For now you can use wesguest (ask a friend for the password). Or you can use the ethernet jack in your room. Don’t call ITS! They can’t help you and they’re getting calls from everyone else, too! For now we’re all waiting on the fix.
[Update from hermes, 10:35 am]: Wesstudent wifi is working again… for now.
[Update from Zach, 11:57 am]: And we’re back. Here’s the explanatory email from the one and only Karren Waren:
A problem in PeopleSoft affected multiple systems this morning including our ability to email campus-wide lists. Moodle and wireless were also among the prominent systems affected. While we are rapidly moving toward resolution, not all systems are completely restored. We will send a follow-up email this afternoon with an updated status.
We apologize for the delay in notification, we had to find alternate means of emailing the constituents on campus.
tumblinhottie05 (aka Yatta Zoker ’14) wants your screenname.
Because, OMG I JUST REALIZED I DONT HAVE YOUR SCREENNAME.
As part of a photo project, she is collecting (1) your screen name, (2) why you chose it an, (3) a picture of you from that time. Check it out on Facebook, or you can send her an email at yzoker@wes.
That haircut, those braces, those hats and pimples and generally painfully awkward moments, bring ’em out to shine. And reveal the early digital alias your tween year old self chose as the perfect fit for it all.
It’s that time of year again: you’re spending winter nights hunkered down in front of the Macbook and drafting cover letters for summer internships so you can work for free, gain valuable experience, and maybe someday sue the shit out of your employer. (You may even get an op-ed in the Times out of it!)
Trying to land an internship at a “boutique investment bank” on Wall Street? Take it from one admittedly average finance major at an admittedly average university who wrote a bizarrely frank, candid cover letter that apparently garnered him attention from “entire listservs of Wall Street bigshots.” Via Gawker:
“This might be the best cover letter I’ve ever received,” exclaimed one recipient. “THIS IS AWESOME,” capslocked another.
Others weren’t interested in wasting time on platitudes while someone else was snapping him up.
“No joke, I think we should consider this guy,” said one investment banker who was two forwards deep. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy gets at least a call from every bank out there.”
This post is in response to Tragedy and Facebook Statuses, a recent “WesleyingSpeak” by tuna.
My mother texted me Friday morning with news of the Sandy Hook shooting. At first I was just kind of numb. I combed through all my usual news sources, hoping to find more information. At this point, only the shooter had been confirmed dead. I went to lunch and continued to study for my film final.
However, about an hour before I took the test, “confirmed” reports started emerging: Around 26-28 people were murdered, most of them children, all of them shot down by a single, initially misidentified man. Again, I was overtaken by numbness. I tried to put the tragedy out of my head as I worked through my final, and afterwards I just sort of collapsed in my room. My mom called to tell me she loved me, and I watched Obama’s speech. I cried.
I thought about all of those kids who wouldn’t go home that day. I tried to think about what I was doing at that age. Little six-year-old me would’ve been swinging in the backyard, watching Scooby-Doo, and begging her mom to read me just one more picture book. I couldn’t help but think about the lives of these children, past, present, and future.
And then I wrote a Facebook status:
This Procrastination Destination post is about Twitter. Have you heard of it?
The Internet woke up this morning to the strange and potentially disturbing news that Paul McCartney will be fronting a reunited Nirvana (or, more accurately, surviving members of Nirvana’s rhythm section) at tonight’s 12.12.12 Sandy relief benefit concert. As the AV Club tells it, “McCartney allegedly told The Sun that he didn’t even know who he was playing with when Grohl invited him to ‘jam with some mates,’ and that he was surprised when ‘somebody whispered to me, “That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.”‘” There’s no guarantee that McCartney will be performing songs by the Beatles or Nirvana, especially considering he told The Sun that he “didn’t really know who [the surviving members of Nirvana] were,” but it’ll probably be weird and disorienting anyway, and it sure is fun to imagine combinations of songs by both seminal groups, isn’t it, Internet?
The AV Club comment thread is naturally brewing with erudite snark, ranging from “I guess Kid Rock wasn’t available” to “They should call this new supergroup the Grateful Dead because both Kurt Cobain and John Lennon must be now grateful that they are dead,” but the real winner is the new Twitter hashtag this unholy collaboration has spawned: #nirvanabeatlessongs. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but here are some of my favorites: