Archive for the 'Unsolicited thoughts' Category

Offsetting your Cyberself

As “green” goes mainstream opportunities to offset one’s carbon footprint are becoming increasingly prevalent. Individuals can estimate their carbon footprint from household energy consumption and travel through many of the calculators available online. What I’d love to understand is the overall carbon footprint created by the thousands of servers around the world that host ever-increasing (rarely purged) heaps of useless online content (ahem, like my own).

According to an article in the Scoop Independent News, “a moderate size server has about the same annual carbon footprint as a gas-guzzling SUV getting 15 miles-to-the-gallon.” I was also shocked to find the following statement in Julian Bleecker’s Techkwondo blog: “Every year, every Avatar in Second Life produces CO2 emissions equivalent to a typical, honking, bloated, arrogant SUV driving 1,293 miles, based on the assumption that this kind of SUV generates 1 lbs of CO2 per mile.” The analysis is worth the read.

Growing numbers of large corporations are establishing carbon offsetting programs for good showmanship if not out of sincere social responsibility. But as the internet starts to grow its own long tail with the proliferation of Web 2.0 / 3.0 start-ups, I wonder how much of the overall IT-generated footprint is actually offset. I’m all for community-generated content and the democratization of media, but it’s important for users to understand that “free” web space comes at an ecological cost.

How many social profiles would average 20-somethings maintain if they had to offset their cyberspace consumption? And would it be worthwhile to blog “about nothing” if I had to offset my way in? If anyone out there has a model for measuring this type of thing, I’d love to see it.


Yelp gone frat boy!

I love Yelp. They’ve done a great job to date of executing on a very logical idea and the product continues to be relevant and useful on a regular basis. I read reviews, write reviews, find great information and often comic relief on Yelp. But when I get an email encouraging me to ‘show my Yelps!’ (it’s Mardi Gras… get the reference?), my inner Yelper dies a little. Here is a snapshot of the email I found in my inbox this morning:


Normally I would think “eh, sex sells” and move on, but I thought this was an interesting topic for a post… not the use of sex to promote a business or an event, but the use of that precious user data to appropriately segment and target your customers. Given the requirements for opening an account, Yelp must at least know my age, gender, and location… (30, female, San Francisco). Were I 30 and male, or 22, female, living in Miami, this campaign could be rationalized. But at 30 and female, “thoughts of girls (and guys) going wild” (a.k.a. public orgies and vomit) aren’t enticing. Neither is the thought of being surrounded by skinny, hot, half-naked girls.

So I wonder… does Yelp even target by demographic, or is this the mass mail that was sent out to all of their users? And if it’s the latter, why not use imagery that’s more Mardi Gras themed (notice that only one girl in the photo is sporting beads… and they might not even be for Mardi Gras)? Beignets and Hurricanes, perhaps. Colorful masks, floats, jesters, Krewes, etc.

User opinions are helpful if a) they are likely to parallel your own or b) they span a diversity of opinions, allowing you to make a well-informed decision. Receiving marketing emails like the one above leads me to believe that frat boys are Yelp’s primary demographic; therefore, Yelp reviews don’t satisfy either of these conditions for me.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not quitting Yelp – I still love it!  I just feel that they should think more with their brains and less with their…

Superbowl Observations

I was hoping to talk some post-game smack, but since the Bears had their asses handed to them pretty much after the first quarter, I’m posting the following observations of this year’s Superbowl.

It’s getting “gayer” (are we getting less homophobic?):

  • Snickers commercial with men kissing
  • Chevrolet commercial with half naked ugly guys
  • That other chip ‘n dales ish commercial (can’t remember the sponsor)
  • Prince performing at halftime

You know you’re watching the Superbowl in San Francisco when:

  • Three guys show up late to the Superbowl party because they were at a yoga class
  • Male roommate schedules a haircut during the game
  • Superbowl party guest brings a bottle of wine

There were only a handful of quality commercials:

  • Bud Light: Rock Scissors Paper
  • Bud Light: Foreigners in English language class (my brethren were well represented)
  • Coca-Cola: Grand Theft Auto parody
  • Nationwide Bank: K-Fed making fries


Twitter feed

  • Regained access of my Twitter account. Spam deleted; back to semi-annual tweets. 5 years ago
  • RT @nprnews: 'Million Hoodie March' Planned In New York To Protest Killing Of Trayvon Martin 6 years ago
  • I haven't had a @Schmendricks bagel since the Super Bowl. I think you need to make more... and I'd like to request an 'everything' bagel. 6 years ago