Pop Rocks: Something Named Connor Franta (and His Association with O2L) Is Trending

Connor Franta explains to his legion of YouTube fans he's "just a normal person."
"YouTube Celebrity." I read those words earlier today when checking out the trending topics on Twitter and trying to figure out why some kid named Connor Franta was dominating hashtags. I admit that I'm not up on every element of celeb gossip. In fact, it might be fair to say that my knowledge of it extends only as far as the trash magazines I buy my wife for trips to the beach and the weekend I spent as a stringer for US Weekly.

Still, when rumors about Beyonce and Jay-Z crop up or photos of Zac Ephron and Michelle Rodriguez getting hot and heavy appear in my Facebook trending stories feed, I'm aware of who these people are and may even know some of the back story. And when those things cross paths with sports or Internet nerdery, it triggers a part of my brain reserved for obscure statistics and trivia from sci-fi films. In short, I'm not completely clueless.

But, when #WeLoveYouConnor and other variations on this hashtag appeared on Twitter, I was stumped. First, to Google. No Wikipedia entry? That was surprising. I'm pretty sure one of my cats has a Wiki entry, so who is this guy who is so popular he can drive massive traffic on Twitter but not have some reference on the Encyclopedia Britannica of the web?

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Proper Etiquette for Leaving a Facebook Conversation

You totally sure about this?
"John Smith left the conversation."

For some, these words a simple fact of messaging via social media. For others, them's fightin' words. Every since Facebook gave people the power to exit a group message sent to them, they have loomed large over anyone who dares send one. Is it the easy way out of a conversation you didn't want into in the first place or a breach of "netiquette?" Sometimes, it's both. Of course, there isn't anything inherently wrong with vacating a message thread, but because Facebook decides to tell those stragglers left behind that you did leave, it can get a little awkward.

All things being equal, no one should really leave a Facebook conversation shared through a private message. Sure, it's the opt out we all wish we had when coworkers or family members continue to Reply All over and over again, but it is also the Internet version of turning around and walking away in the middle of someone's sentence, something very few of us would do during polite conversation. Frankly, this could all be solved if Facebook would simply remove the notification, but since that isn't an option, there are some guidelines you might want to follow if you are thinking of uninviting yourself from a conversation.

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Houston Not a City For Young Creatives, Says New List

"I Heart Houston" by Paul McRae (Delta Niner)
Last week PolicyMic, a website dedicated to the millennial generation, posted a list entitled "15 Cities for Creative 20-Somethings That Aren't New York or Los Angeles." The list includes some obvious choices, Ashville, NC, Portland, OR, and Nashville, TN, among others. A glaring omission from the list is our very own H-Town. That is not to say that Texas is completely left off; our "weird" neighbor made the cut at No. 4.

According to author Elyssa Goldberg, Austin is a good place for creatives because it's affordable and easy to live in, which makes me wonder if Goldberg wrote this list ten years ago as Austin's real estate market just reportedly hit an all-time high.

But before I get all hot and bothered over how Austin made this list and Houston did not, I think it's worth exploring why that may be. Branding.

Let me jump back a bit first. I moved to Houston almost seven years ago now leaving what many would call the capitol of artsy-fartsy and cool: Williamsburg, Brooklyn (For the record, it's not). When my now husband was offered the move through his company, our friends thought we were insane. "Houston?" they said. "No, you mean Austin." Nope. Houston.

What tended to follow were jokes about all of the things we would have "a problem" with - horse manure being a big one.

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Is There a Point to LinkedIn's Endorsements?

It happened again. Usually it happens about once a month, but sometimes it happens once a day. This week it happened to me five times: I'm talking about getting endorsed on LinkedIn.

There's one thing about getting endorsed for skills you have by those who are familiar with them, but what about getting endorsed for expertise you know nothing about by people who you have never met in your life? Do you ever find yourself wondering, "How do they know that about me?" or "I don't even know how to open Excel; why would I be endorsed for that?" Me too, and it seems to be happening with more regularity.

The whole concept of "endorsing" someone on LinkedIn feels strange. But let's back up for a moment because the whole concept of LinkedIn, to me, feels strange. LinkedIn, for those of you who don't know, is a social networking site dedicated to career building. Launched in 2003, the site is one of the fastest growing and now boasts over 300 million users worldwide. Some have called it the "grown up Facebook," a comparison that I don't find all that accurate, but gives you a broad idea.

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What's in Fashion: L'Wren Scott Found Dead, Madonna Goes Full On Game of Thrones, Instagram Nail Art

Photo by insidemyvault via Instagram
Gone to soon.
Every week lots of breaking fashion news hits the interwebs and I don't want you to miss one bit of it. So, I present 10 of the biggest headlines packaged by me each week for your reading pleasure. Click and enjoy.

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What's in Fashion: Topshop Is Coming, Ban the Fanny Pack, Target Photoshop Fail

Photo by Eastgate Basildon via Wikimedia Commons
Every week lots of breaking fashion news hits the interwebs and I don't want you to miss one bit of it. So, I present 10 of the biggest headlines packaged by me each week for your reading pleasure. Click and enjoy,

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WhatsApp With Facebook Taking Over the World?

Double the pleasure, double the fun.
I try my best to keep up with all the web goings-on that the kids are into: For one, it's a part of my job and for two, it makes me feel not so old. But I won't lie; I had never even heard the word WhatsApp before two weeks ago when my step-mother, who lives in Mexico, suggested I download it so we can chat. Yes, my step-mother told me about it. I am lame.

But now, WhatsApp is all over my radar - and everyone else's who cares about Facebook's world domination -- due to the purchase of the app by Mark Zuckerberg and Co. If you are like me and had not heard of the app before, or even before reading this right now, it is basically a text messaging application that enables you to chat with people via the Internet. It's like Skype but for texting, and it's free for the most part.

Last week, Facebook shocked the universe by buying the app for a whopping $16 billion dollars! Billion with a B. Thus far, this is the largest purchase of a start-up ever in the history of the word start-up.

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Uber & Food Trucks: How the Internet Stokes the Flame of Once Little-Known Causes

Internet users hope a grassroots campaign will give Uber a foothold in Houston.
When Howard Dean was a Democratic candidate for president, he did something no other national candidate had ever done -- no, not the scream in Iowa -- he raised a significant portion of his campaign funds using the Internet. That might not sound like a big deal today, but at the time it was revolutionary, and it substantively changed how candidates, big and small, raise money for campaigns and causes.

Now anyone with a cause or a business offer can raise money online. And if you are able to tap into a small niche group and its desires, you can likely bring in quite a bit of cash. Social media, in particular, has become a rallying point for problems most of us didn't even know existed...and often didn't care about.

Last year, Houston city council chambers were packed with young mostly urban dwellers. Having raised awareness for their cause using social media, they rounded up followers on a Tuesday morning and, one after another, strode to the podium and passionately made their case. You might think the cause was violent crime plaguing neighborhoods or broken streets badly in need of repair, but you'd be wrong. In this case, it was food trucks, and not complaints over their health and safety, but rather the demand they be allowed to operate downtown -- an ordinance had long prevented it.

Before this "problem" was publicized through social media, very few people even realized it was an issue. In fact, despite the extreme rise in popularity of food trucks over the past few years for those who live in or near the city, it is barely a blip on the radar for the vast majority of Houstonians.

Yet food trucks are another example of a niche cause turning into a political debate thanks to the web.

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Pop Rocks: 1995 Newsweek "Why the Internet Will Fail" Essay Actually Predicts Its Successes

Categories: The Web

Imagine how THIS would have freaked people out in 1995.
In 1995, Newsweek writer Clifford Stoll decided the Internet was nothing more than a passing fancy. He was so convinced, he penned a hearty screed decrying prognosticators who suggested the Internet would amount to anything more than a noisy, cluttered nuisance of random data. Stoll was, obviously, quite wrong. He even admitted as much in a comment response to Boing Boing's story about the recent resurrection of his piece on a blog, saying "Of my many mistakes, flubs, and howlers, few have been as public as my 1995 howler."

But what is fascinating about the story "The Internet? Bah!" is how eerily accurate much of it is, just in the opposite direction. Many of the things Stoll believed would never happen actually happened and in remarkable fashion. But, digging deeper, Stoll wasn't wrong about everything and he did hit upon a significant problem plaguing the web today without being close to understanding its magnitude.

First, let's address what he got wrong.

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Beauty 2.0, Makeup in Your Pocket but Less Messy

Photo by Cherise Luter
Beautylish brings me inspiration even in the line at the post office.
It should come as no surprise that fashion brands have adopted the mobile format en masse. An industry built on aspiration and impulse buys wants nothing more than to dwell in your pocket so the "buy me" message never goes interrupted.

Not only has the fashion industry jumped on the mobile bandwagon, but so has the beauty world. BeautyNow, a soon to be launched mobile optimized website for last minute beauty appointments, is attempting to bridge the gap between the customer and the salon. Think Blink by Groupon or, as founder Kathleen Jennings calls it, OpenTable for beauty appointments. The Houston based company is set to launch in the Houston and Dallas markets in Spring 2014, but hopes to help maintain the beauty regimens of busy woman everywhere.

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