Word of Advice to Mayoral Candidates: Do Not Hire Staffers Like “Hyman Doodlesack”

If the FDNY social media guidelines enforced a few weeks ago taught us anything, it’s that conducting yourself on the Internet as a government official or affiliate is not really that hard. Just keep the nudity and racism at bay. That’s pretty much it.

Well, one of Bill de Blasio’s staffers on his mayoral campaign never read those guidelines. Anthony “Tony” Baker, under the Twitter pseudonym “Hyman Doodlesack,” resigned this week after being exposed by the New York Post for tweeting some pretty ridiculous sentiments.

Here’s one for the record books: “In BKB Park today taking in the Sun (GOD) + signing copies of my new book, Was Columbus a Homo or Was He Just a Jew? NOW in KINDLE #pride.” And here’s another: “@BilldeBlasio Boy I love that f–king Dude, Bill de Blasio, and I can’t wait for him to kick Speaker Quinn’s bony ass in ’13. #winning.”

Obviously, the candidate was a little pissed to find this out.

“Nothing can excuse anti-Semitic remarks and vulgar insults about women. I am disgusted and shocked by these outrageous comments,” de Blasio said.

Baker was hired as an administrative assistant for de Blasio’s office and doubled as a volunteer for his mayoral campaign. This is the second run-in with a dumb staffer for the Public Advocate. Last month, another staffer Kicy Motley was knocked off the campaign too for tweeting a few “F*** the police”-like things.

This should be a lesson for the candidates here on it. You’re entering a race in 2013, a year when social media dominates virtually every conversation. Make sure everyone on you and your entire team realizes that.


We Should Be Thankful for the New FDNY Social Media Guidelines

Last week, fellow Voice scribe Nick Greene gave us the lowdown on social media informalities for Facebook. Can you post pictures of your vacation? No, please don’t. How about your political views? Stop, nobody cares. And what about a job promotion? Ugh. You get the picture.

These standards of Internet presence are raised for governmental officials (see: Anthony Weiner). Municipal figures are held to a much higher regard in our social community; therefore, their opinions are taken more seriously in the public eye. And you represent our collective body politic, so you better act like it online.

Last month, the EMT son of FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano was caught by the New York Post tweetin’ up a racist storm. He jeered at minority groups from his computer/phone keyboard, not keeping in mind that, hey, his dad is the head of the FDNY. Also, it was later found that other EMTs were posting pictures of (and then berating) their patients online.

Enter the FDNY’s social media guidelines announced this weekend, in which the department advises its workers to have some decency (read: no racism allowed) online.

Here’s a more recent example:

Edmund Schneider is 71 years old and recently retired from the FDNY. He draws a $1,500 pension from the city every month, and sells “FDNY Retiree” T-shirts from his site. On that site, he also said some really dumb shit that, as a former FDNY official and human being, he probably shouldn’t be saying.

@FDNYRetiree (also @FDNYRetired) was in charge of this “anti-Obama anti-libtard” blog. There, he posted a bunch of things about “Negroes,” “Mooslims” and “fags.” Gothamist collected a few from the original Post article that are just …

  • “Politically correct imbeciles decided to grant the ‘mostly female Negro’ 911 dispatchers virtually lateral access to the ‘mostly white male’ FDNY dispatch force. And they destroyed it!”
  • “Of First Lady Michelle Obama, he snipes, “The Mooch sure as hell has a big, fat ass! And it’s black, too.”
  • “Negroes commit by FAR the bulk of the violent crime in the United States. But why? Simple, really, it’ something called a ‘FAMILY,’ — which is foreign to the average Negro, who lives in a household run by a ‘mammy ho’ who pumps out kids like a bunny for welfare checks.”

So let us come together, hold hands and be thankful that the FDNY’s social media guidelines will immediately go into effect. Deciding what to post on the Internet isn’t that hard, you guys.


Mark Zuckerberg Will Fundraise For (Facebook Friend) Chris Christie’s Re-Election

It’s good to have someone with over 17 million Facebook friends on your side, especially when it involves a political campaign.

According to Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg, the social network billionaire, will hold a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out in Palo Alto, California. The donations are intended to go towards Mr. Christie’s re-election efforts later this year; a race where he maintains a 60% approval rating over the only Democratic competitor so far, State Senator Barbara Buono.

In 2010, the two met when Mr. Zuckerberg decided to donate $100 million to the Newark school system. He announced the enormous amount on the Oprah Winfrey Show, alongside Mr. Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. And, ever since then, the three have worked together on improving education in Mr. Booker’s stomping grounds.

In terms of electoral prospects, Mr. Christie has been riding off a wave of applause from his state. His Sandy recovery efforts (and friendship with Pres. Obama during it) landed him on the national stage; his snubbing of the Republicans in Congress for delaying aid money won him widespread acclaim; and his appearance on SNL probably helped a bit, too.

But the news of Mr. Zuckerberg’s fundraiser is important for a few other reasons.

In the tradition of social media politics, Silicon Valley has always sided with the Democrats. Whether it’s West Coast liberalism or the younger faces in the Democratic Party that underlies this relationship, this is pretty much a known fact in 2013. So, Mr. Zuckerberg’s fundraiser for a Republican governor speaks volumes on two levels: it cuts into the opposite side’s base and, as we all know, this guy has a ton of money to go around.

And, as we mentioned a few days ago with Cory Booker, winning the Internet is key in campaigns nowadays. Picking up Mr. Zuckerberg’s endorsement adds to that notion for Mr. Christie; now, all he needs to do is an AMA on Reddit.

It remains to be seen, of course, if Mr. Zuckerberg will throw his weight behind Mr. Booker’s senatorial run in 2014. If he does, the same rules will apply, minus the being-a-Republican factor. Nonetheless, cherish the 17 million friends and the vault of money behind them. It can get you a long way.


The Last Year Of My Life, Brought To You By Facebook

On average, an ordinary, freedom-loving American spends about eight hours a month on Facebook. That’s sixteen minutes a day, seven day a week, ninety six hours a year. Simple math aside, Mark Zuckerberg has you under his watch for eight full days. And, if you have Facebook on your smartphone, well then…

Some might use that tidbit of information as viral proof that, yes, the Mayan calendar is definitely accurate. Others might attribute this social media addiction to an absence of interpersonal communication in the self-obsessed  digital age. And other others might just be on Facebook right now, too busy to care about those dumb statistics. But what do we Facebook-digest in those eight full days of the year?
Of course, we have cat photos, baby photos, last night photos, lyrics as Facebook statuses, funny articles to share, memes, gifs, jpegs, m4as, mp3s, blaring political statements, endless events, birthdays, declarations, proclamations, graduations and consolations on the stream of informational consciousness that is the “News Feed.” None of these items bare any repeating.
But, this year, the day-draining site’s engineers have taken it a step further to remind you how much time you’re living/wasting with their product. The bubble has been reinforced when Facebook rolled out the new “Best in 2012” feature yesterday. When I logged on in the morning, personal listicles of what the social network deemed ‘The Biggest Shit These People Have Done’ on and off of the computer screen popped up on the screen like acne.
I took a look at what my 2012 existence was worth in cold hard megabytes, according to Facebook’s logic. And, you know, I learned a lot about what I’ve been up to. But I still (nor never will) have no idea if I feel happy about myself.
I learned that I was in a bunch of blurry photos with people.
I learned that I have made exactly 153 new friends, many of which say ‘Happy Birthday’ on my wall once a year.
With that being said, 109 friends posted on my wall on July 15th, 2012. The rest of my friends who didn’t? Well, I don’t talk to them anymore so I wouldn’t know.
I learned that I went to Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, in mid-August. I don’t remember what happened that trip because I didn’t take any pictures. Facebook made sure that I would notice my mistake.
However, Facebook also reminded me that I went to Montreal in October and did take pictures. Lucky me!
I learned that, in November, I registered to be an organ donor as an attachment on my request to switch voting locations. It was done strictly for scientific purposes.
I learned that I started (and soon left) a blogging job for a separate company that I’m pretty sure was a mob front. Good grief.
I learned that I shot photos of street art and stickers. Nobody liked them.
I learned that a friend of mine once thought I looked like this guy:
I learned that I opened up a book once and found the following message. Also, I am still absolutely positive that this summarizes America’s discontent with their elected representatives more than anything else than exists on the World Wide Web:
I learned that many of my friends enjoy my post-graduation fears.
I learned that I started working at the Voice almost a year ago.
And I learned that 2012 has come to an end.
The “Best of 2012” feature is this uncomfortable satisfaction for us users as we edge our Internet heads into the new year – one abound with even more memes to dissect and GIFs to laugh at. It is Facebook’s way of telling you that you are a member of society. Just look at everything you’ve done! You went to North Carolina! You became an organ donor! And you told people about it! More collectively, you told Facebook about it!
It is this awkward shift in social media to further solidify your bond with everyone else around you, whether it’s a geotagged tweet, an Instagram of the beach, a check in on Foursquare or, in this case, a Facebook timeline of all the (mostly) great times you had with those people over the past few months. And, looking beyond 2012, you can always go to the end of your social network: last stop on the timeline – birth. Man, oh man, how the Internet and ourselves are transforming right in front of our eyes (read: monitor).
I’m getting too deep into this for my own good. I need to get back on Facebook. Onward into another year of stalking.

Friend Fork in the Road on Facebook!

Hi there, friend. Not only are we on Twitter @ForkintheRoadVV these days, but you can like us on Facebook at ForkintheRoadVV.

Our Facebook page is a vibrant source of everything a New York foodie like yourself could dream of. For examples of some of the content, just check out a few of our posts from this week, including Clarissa Wei highlighting McDonald’s Unwrapped, a cooking class which used strictly ingredients from under the Golden Arches. Or how about Mallory Stuchin’s roundup of five great restaurants found in Little Italy. Or, hey, the weekend is almost here, so why don’t you check out my thoughts on pumpkin beers? C’mon, make Zuck proud, and click that little ‘Like’ button.


Brand It, Post It, Sell It: How Millennials Are Reshaping Business As We Know It

Laura Murray, an FIT student by
day and live music photographer by night, has a fascination with exposure:
“Being able to show people things that are going on all over the world sounds
incredible.” She admits on her website that she has a “slight case of
wanderlust” and her dream job would be a band’s designated photographer. To
satisfy and achieve both journeys, she had to start off with basic grassroots
marketing that required little cost: she handed out promotional marketing cards
anywhere she snapped photos at, made up stickers with her name on them and
assisted photographers in every way possible. 

But her biggest obstacle was the
ambiguity that came with a popular form of artwork like photography: she had
equipped herself with skills in the field throughout high school and college
but she also knew that thousands of other people her age could muster those
same talents.

“It seems that everyone with an
SLR (single-lens reflex) camera these days wants to get into photography, just
no one knows your name,” she said. It was her goal to stand out among the rest
– a credo of the entrepreneurial spirit. In the usual fashion of small
business, she had to brand herself. And what better way to do that by using her

“Besides my own personal Facebook, I try to make any other presence on the Internet geared towards associating my name with photography,” Laura noted. In order to do so, she had to create a small business that would tell her viewers what they were being seeing and by whom; thus, the company formally known as ‘Laura Murray Photography!’ was born. Once this happened, she took to social media to establish her photographic existence online. Her Facebook page, which currently has over a thousand fans, is a living resume of her small business. Besides showcasing all of her developed work and telling audiences where it has been featured, it links to her Twitter (cleverly named “@laurashoots”), which updates her followers of her new projects and where she’s shooting next; her Tumblr blog, which features the progress of those projects; and her website,, which is a hodgepodge collection of everything she has done over the years, from cityscape pictures of Manhattan to eye-witness videos of Ground Zero the night the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death infiltrated the airwaves.

She has made connectivity with her followers the driving force behind her digital self. Every platform she has activated online is linked back to each other, forming a social media gallery for any viewer. The Twitter account leads to the website, the website leads to the Tumblr and the Tumblr has a link to her Facebook page – an endless cycle that creates maximum exposure for her brand online. “I can upload all of the photos in a [Facebook] album and let kids tag friends that they see, therefore spreading the page to people who might not have known that it existed before,” she said, “Same deal goes for Tumblr.” By weaving together the World Wide Web to fit her company’s needs, her reach is endless with the chain-reaction click of a mouse.

In an opinion piece that appeared in The New York Times, the essayist William Deresiewicz labeled Laura’s age group of college students and twenty-something’s as “Generation Sell” on the idea that “the small business is the idealized social form of our time.” In a city like New York, this statement has been proven all too true. Driven with a mixture of ambition and new forms of the appropriately named “social” media, the Millennials, named for their coming-of-age at the turn of the century, have taken a hipster approach to the marketplace – they no longer rely on large corporations that are as old as their parents  and do-it-yourself has replaced do-it-for-someone-else. As a result, the product they sell is no longer tangible; it is themselves. 

But where did all of this rugged yet marketable individualism in the twenty-first century come from? How did the “go get ’em” nature of the entrepreneur model inspire a generation that is accused by its predecessors for its apathy and laziness? Michael Smith, an advertising executive at BBDO NY and a self-designated “43-year-old,” explained that the Millennials are simply doing the best with what they have. 

“They don’t have money for a big advertising agency,” he said, “[Social media] is a natural fit because the younger generation is so savvy with it.” Being savvy comes with the property: as of December 11th, 2011, Facebook has over 800 million active users, 200 million people tweet regularly and Tumblr has 37 million blogs with 46 million posts on average in a single day. According to a note posted by Facebook itself, 65 percent of these 800 million people are between the ages of 13 and 34 – a souvenir of the website’s original access that was strictly limited to college students and high school students soon after. The analysis company Quantcast did a similar demographical study for both Twitter and Tumblr. The results were strikingly close to that of Facebook: users under the age of 34 made up 62 percent of all Twitter accounts and 64 percent of the total Tumblr blogs. With this being said, it is evident that those aspiring to enter the rankings of the young entrepreneurs are already pre-disposed to social media mastery. 

But what is most appealing, according to Michael, is the unprecedented amount of time and money saved by these social media tools: “When I was twenty years old, if I wanted to reach anyone this younger generation wanted to reach, it would’ve taken me an entire summer,” he said, “You have the ability to be that connected, which would have been unthinkable twenty years ago.” The example of Laura’s photography is a testament to these changing times. In a matter of minutes, she can upload all the photos she took at a concert that night to Facebook and have them seen by her 1,000+ fans in no time. Rewind twenty years: the Millennials’ parents would still be walking to the film store to pay to have the concert shots developed overnight in the time Laura typed her username and password at the social network’s front gates.

However, besides ‘standing out’ and branding oneself to appeal to a larger audience, another method to the marketing madness that “Generation Sell” has attained is the art of expanding niches hidden in bigger companies. With the product range covered by companies like Amazon and Google, young entrepreneurs have sought to specialize in the nook and crannies of these websites rather than conforming to their larger layouts.

Michael Costaras was annoyed with YouTube; as an NYU student, he found it difficult to find entertaining prank videos in the cluttered mass of the millions upon millions of videos uploaded everyday, especially when he wanted to procrastinate studying for an exam. “YouTube is too big. It is basically a video search engine,” he said, “You use it when you know exactly what you’re looking for – not to browse.” Costaras wanted a website he could go to where the videos were of quality, not quantity, and searching for them would not be an issue. So he decided to create the site himself.

Reaction Faction, an Internet start-up that describes itself as ‘the Exclusive Prank House,’ was founded on this alternative idea. Its logo features a clown and the name for the site was derived from the nature of the videos submitted: users have the ability to watch candid camera pranks and the comical reactions that ensue. To immediately start garnering viewers, Costaras created a Facebook page and Twitter account to inform the social media universe that the website would be having a grand opening contest that offered $100 each, a small initial investment in comparison to much larger companies, to the five funniest pranks, which would be judged by Costaras and the site’s other webmasters. He also wore and gave out t-shirts that had the domain name ‘’ written on them to take the marketing off the computer and onto the streets.

The contest was a hit and Costaras received over fifty unique videos for the website’s launch, all of which are now featured on the homepage. The contributors are now awarded ‘Prankster Points,’ which translates into t-shirts and other prizes to come based on their activity with the website. Although it is currently a simple prank video headquarters online, he wants the website to transform into something much bigger: “We also hope upcoming comedians and entertainers use Reaction Faction as a forum to gain exposure.” 

What Costaras did, along with which thousands of others his age are now doing, is the use of inward looking marketing or, in other words, asking the question, “What would I want?” instead of “What would they want?” In an e-mail message, William Deresiewicz explained that this thought process separates the small business generation from the past. “You tend to begin from personal passion or desire- what you want to do- rather than perceived need- what you think other people want,” he said. This “Generation Sell” that he coined is not selling products for other companies; they are selling the oddities and quirky aspects of their varying identities to customers.

This indifference towards what the mainstream is selling is what gives the entrepreneurial youth its hipness tendency. Hence why the use of social media and the do-it-yourself design it offers has become customary – it allows specialization to thrive. To Deresiewicz, this is key: “Design seems to be very important – web design, product design, store design if there is a retail space. In other words, the package, and the package is all about looking hip.” And, contrary to popular belief, this is not a marketing movement that is necessarily a byproduct of the 2008 recession; according to Deresiewicz, the notion to downsize came long before but the consequences of these rough economic times have created a bastion for people like Laura and Michael. 

We are in “an economy that’s less conducive to large, slow-moving corporations and more conducive to small, nimble ones,” he explains. As the Internet sped up everything, businesses that stuck to the usual brick-and-mortar structures to maintain the face-to-face relationship with customers are only now catching up the exponential acceleration of society that has taken hold. Small businesses have grabbed hold of these people that are on the go and formed an entirely different kind of relationship with them; one that is much more intimate and longer lasting than the outmoded salesperson pitches of Willy Loman types. 

“Social media is central to the small business craze. The new entrepreneurial spirit predates them but they put it on steroids,” Deresiewicz said. Whether it is checking in on Foursquare or being updated via Facebook, customers have become collaborators with these new companies and the creators behind them. However, the branding does not stop there; by even joining these websites, we can all have a chance to become a product. “They’ve enabled everybody to become a ‘business’ or a ‘brand,’ even if they’re not selling anything. Basically we’ve all become instant entrepreneurs of ourselves.”

Forget about the commune mindset of the hippies, the anti-conformism of the beatniks or the nihilistic nature of the punks -“Generation Sell” has no time for that. It continues to package and deliver itself via start-ups and social media with little care of who agrees or not. From organic food trucks to vegan bakeries, from micro-blogging to tweeting, and from digital photography to online prank videos, the individual and his or her preferences fuel the DIY culture but not in the corporate sense that has been established over the past thirty years. The old way of doing things will either be adapt or disappear. It’s the human brand that is now cool – buy in or be square.


Millennial Music: A Look at How DIY Technology Is Changing the Game Forever

Open. Click. Send. In a matter of seconds, Max Schieble’s pre-recorded vocal track from America appears in the e-mail inbox of his bandmate Danny Lentz, who is abroad in Paris. Lentz receives the file, pulls out a violin and plays his part from memory. The file is sent back over to Schieble, who then puts it through the mixing grind of free software programs including Logic, GarageBand, and ProTools (all downloaded in “the glory days of MegaUpload”).

Once on iTunes, an upload to SoundCloud and Band Camp — all free sharing programs that link to social media — is a token of victory. At a remarkable speed in a “more or less cost-free process,” Pharaohs — a jazz-pop group that Schieble and Lentz co-founded, along with other rotating band members, two years ago — have created a song.

Enter Converse’s Rubber Tracks. The famous Americana shoe manufacturer of Chuck Taylor’s opened a free studio in Brooklyn last year in an attempt to brand the DIY movement and bands within it, like Pharaohs. And the company did this by appealing to a cost-sensitive demographic: According to Keith Gulla of Converse in a press release, the company wanted bands to “help overcome one of the biggest hurdles in their career: affording studio time.” Converse provides the gear, the audio engineers, and the space to create; all a band has to do is apply and show up.

That’s it — no strings attached or sign-up fees necessary. And as an option, a band can choose to let Converse have publication rights to the produced music in order for them to pump it through their website and social-networking presence.

Like Converse, the once-online, now-in-Brooklyn clothing company Mishka offers their brand name as a free platform for artists soaring in the blogosphere. By releasing mixtapes online with Mishka’s name and insignia on them, local New York rap acts like Ninjasonik and Mr. Mutha****in Esquire have gained fame and success without either party shelling out the big bucks.

As with many of today’s hopeful recording artists, Pharaohs have circumvented the shackles of money, time and distance by knowing their way around a MacBook. Although Schieble points out this isn’t his preferred way of recording (in his opinion, “Pharaohs’ music loses its essence a bit” with a lo-fi sound), the DIY process represents the extraordinary synergy that now exists between the Internet and a band. But someone, or something, has been left out of the mix: the presence of a middleman, a/k/a the venerable record label. Long one of the pillars of the music industry, labels are going the way of MySpace: ignored and outdated.

Since popular music awakened in or around the 1950s, the record label’s job has been simple: Sign a band, help them make music, and promote that product by all means possible. It was the authority figure that bands had to overly impress to in order to get airplay. But the transfer of power away from this top-down hierarchy began at some point in the mid 2000s. While music blogs and Facebook slowly invaded the Web, performers like Lil Wayne and Drake used the sites’ sharing capabilities as an advantage by releasing free mixtapes that went viral in minutes.

This symbiotic relationship is the modern-age alternative, demonstrated by the unprecedented act of clothing companies being involved in music production. Instead of signing an agreement or contract, the record label is quickly being replaced by the record collective, where two parties benefit off each other’s brand — in this case, the company’s name generates hype for the band’s music and vice versa. It is the natural application of DIY logic to marketing or, as Schieble understands it, “having a PR-oriented group backing you, and that’s it.”

Singer, songwriter, and Millennial musician Andy Gruhin is an unusual holdout with a major label — in this case, Sony. But he still has his generation’s mind-set in the signing situation and recognizes the trend that is taking place: “We live in a time where Arcade Fire won a Best Album Grammy for a DIY album. The labels are losing power every day. Art has no price.”

Because of this, he signed what is known as a “publishing deal” with the record titan, in which Sony is strictly responsible for marketing and nothing more. By doing so, Gruhin can create and play his own music without “selling my soul and risking my dignity to take advantage of people.”

Another example of this Millennial concoction is Danny Rose and Aya Tello’s A mini Tribe Records, whose m.o., in Rose’s words, is to “reinforce a spirit of artists for artists, not CEOs for music.” In a space like this, he believes that “it’s all about bands making their mark and creating their own content, not about what will sell well or get more cash flow” — a common mantra of the Internet, where personal self-branding and uniqueness is encouraged.

To Rose, this is where the bigger names lose the battle. Limited to radio and TV — mediums the Millennials increasingly tune out — major labels “carelessly spend money trying to guess at how their artists fare.” Although he admits that public relations and marketing still require some financial support, promotion via social media is cutting costs by market specification: “Now we can directly access our fans and target the ones we want to target for free; this cuts upkeep by a lot.”

In what he sees as a “family,” musician Phillip DeVries is a member of the A mini Tribe clan, opposite Rose in the collective sync but “both in the same boat of obscurity.” He explains that the collective works by lending a helping hand where need be: if one vocalist is needed in another’s recording, a simple exchange is made. In his opinion, the days of having simple name recognition through live shows are in the past: Now, as the 21st-century circuit, “the Internet, in a way, becomes the new record label.” Thus, Rose becomes a partner to DeVries, not an owner.

DeVries has played in Greenwich Village music venues with his group Broken Down Engine, which includes drummer Lucas Brown and bassist Dominick Chang. After recording with Rose’s equipment, DeVries’s blues guitar is channeled through music blogs and Facebook — the “hype machine,” as he calls it — to reach a larger audience.

But with all this potential for maximum exposure, the expectation bar can sometimes be set too high. Or as superstar Kanye West reportedly once said, “It’s not cool if no one listens to you.” Aware that Facebook or blog attention does not automatically translate into real-world success, DeVries falls back on the live approach of his musical forbearers, like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn: “It’s the live shows where you play well and have people start talking about you.” With everything else online, the live show is the only offline device in the Millennial setup.

Nick Dierl of Life or Death PR & Management — the group that does promotion work for big names like SoCal rock pop duo Best Coast and erratic rap clan Odd Future — agrees that cyberspace has its limits. Even if your music permeates the blogosphere, “being Internet famous is still very different from having fame in real life,” he said, “Now, more than ever, it’s really important for bands to be on the road winning over fans.” Using, as an example, Odd Future — a group known for its Tumblr and Twitter takeovers — Dearl explained that the group has succeeded because it delivered on its hype.

For Neil Patel, this trip-up results in the only real cost for the DIY movement: “The only thing hitting bands right now is a touring band with gas prices.” Patel started booking shows at the age of 15 in Atlanta, Georgia, and, four years later, created the hardcore punk collective Back to Back Records.

Even as a record label owner himself, he admits his own outmoding: “I think, now, more than ever, you don’t need record labels, and bands should be DIY,” Patel remarked. To avoid paying any overhead promotion costs whatsoever, he scours the social networks to sell his product: “I’ve never paid for marketing. I spend time on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and message boards to promote Back to Back’s stuff,” he said. The records he releases for bands are available on “donation download,” or a pay-what-you-want basis — a distribution scheme unheard of with major record labels.

For him, “punk and hardcore is a lifestyle” that he transformed into a business: “[The music] saved my life,” and all he wants to do is release 7″ LPs by bands that he loves listening to.

From Patel and Rose’s collective structure to DeVries and Schieble’s chop-and-screw recording, the attitude becomes clear: Everyone can participate in an activity without one player dominating the rest; a leveled-through-technology playing field exemplified in social media and software programs. With help from companies like Converse and Mishka, the top-down record labels’ job responsibilities can be replaced by a bottom-up generation that is tech-savvy, skeptic of their parents’ ways and anti-authoritative.

As the summer ends and Lentz returns from Europe, Schieble plans on paying a visit to Rubber Tracks to record Pharaohs’ first full-length album. Besides the $2.25 MetroCard fees to get to and fro Brooklyn, they’ll pay nothing, and, to Millennials, that’s the way it should be: “[The Internet] is democratic,” said Schieble. “In that sense, it’s the ideal American way of making music.”


The Heat Wave Will Destroy Your Social Media

Yesterday night, while we were blasting the A/C indoors, catching up on the second season of Breaking Bad via Netflix, we noticed that the reliable video service was down. So we decided to snap a picture of the screen, add a Hudson filter and upload it to Instagram. But that wasn’t working either. Finally, after two technological fails, we tried our fall-back social network: Pinterest.

Static? What was happening?

Last night, the Internet was rocked with power outages that left the three procrastination titans down and out. Now, you might be asking, how does cyberspace shut down?
Well, In Virginia, there is an Orwellian place called the Elastic Compute Cloud, where Amazon runs a data hub that controls Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest. With heavy winds and extraordinary heat, the center collapsed, leaving the social networks high and dry. And the tweet world was abuzz with angry comments by people who presumably had nothing else better to do on a Friday night.
Netflix and Pinterest were shut down for some time but service was restored by the end of the night. Instagram, on the other hand, remains totaled: as of this moment, my Instagram feed is down due to a “Response Error.” This does not prove well for any of us; or, as Gawker‘s Louis Peltzman points out, “If you don’t Instagram your Saturday brunch, is it even worth the empty calories?” Brunchocalpyse?

With temperatures yesterday and this afternoon hovering around 95 degrees, it looks like the heat wave last week was just the beginning of what is proving already to be a helter swelter. But, this time, it seems as if it’s back with a vengeance: in the past two days, millions of people have lost power due to 100+ degrees – in Washington D.C. had its highest temperature recorded for June yesterday with 104. Severe thunderstorms have inflicted damage across the country and more is expected to come as we move into Sunday.

But forget the actual physical damage. In the Information Era, trees falling down are outmoded by data towers falling down. In other words, it is hot. And we cannot photograph one minute of it.
Oh, the social networking horror.

Orthodox Jews Rent Citi Field For (Women-Less) Meeting About How Scary The Internet Is

Thousands of male Orthodox Jews will make Citi Field seem like a 10-year-old’s tree house this weekend, when they hold a women-less meeting about the risks of the Internet.

Orthodox Jews, as you may know, have a practice of strict gender separation, so woman will be able to watch the conference, but they have to do so on televisions at schools and event centers in Borough Park and other Orthodox neighborhoods, according to Hamodia, an Orthodox newspaper.

More than 40,000 Orthodox Jewish men are expected to pack the stadium — and nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium — to discuss the “dangers” of the Internet, and how to use it in a religiously responsible way.

A spokesman for the group holding the conference tells the New York Times that the dangers of the Internet aren’t just porn related, but that social media also poses risks to traditional Orthodoxy.

From the Times:

Speakers at the rally in Queens will not seek to ban the Internet, but
rather to raise awareness about how, unmonitored, it poses a grave risk
to the community, said Eytan Kobre, a spokesman for the organizers. The
risk, he said, comes not only from pornography, but also from social
media and the addictive pull of the Internet, which can limit human
interaction, reading and study.

“These are the same concerns that people across society — in academia,
in psychology, parents, spouses — have about the Internet,” he said.
“But here is a community that is actually standing up and coming
together and putting our money where our mouth is, to express a unified
communal resolve to address the issues.”

As the Orthodox Jews discuss the dangers of the Internet inside Citi Field, a counterrally called “The Internet Is Not the Problem” will be going on outside of the stadium in an attempt to draw attention to child sex
abuse that occurs in the Orthodox Jewish community.


NYC Social Media Entrepeneurs: Ballin’ Like Rappers, Still Hysterically Caucasian

Oh, man. Blogs are funny. Bloggers are funny. People who blog and own blogs, or blogging platforms, are particularly funny. In this case, we have David Karp, the young high school-dropout wunderkind behind microblogging platform Tumblr. Who looks like this. And ‘stunts’ like this: he supposedly once left a $1,000 tip at Lure Fishbar in SoHo. He is, however, no rapper. In fact, quite the opposite.

Karp’s been digging himself in quite the hole lately, as evidenced by two posts causing a stir amongst his (also mostly white) constituency/readership/user base. Last night, Maureen O’Connor — who’s gone after Tumblr before for taking a user’s domain and giving it to Pitchfork Media — posted an item on Gawker regarding a question Karp posited on his blog: “Can I use the word ‘nigga’ if I’m quoting a song?” O’Connor’s response was hysterical in eight different ways, particularly this:

For the record, the answer is: Only if you divert eye contact, mumble, trail off awkwardly, then send a tweet about how embarrassed you are, so anyone who overheard can retweet it and you can find out if your black friends are mad.

She also noted that a few users quit in a huff and some people have been posting pictures of “black people crying,” which sounds exactly like the kind of nonsense fairly common in the Tumblr community. Of course, he also followed it with this context:

I imagine nobody would suggest it’s offensive for a white person to share the recording (perhaps excluding the RIAA), but printing the word felt different enough to make me hesitate when making a post earlier. Just curious.

But is probably aware that most of Tumblr’s user base — most of whom “follow” Karp’s blog — are young, passionate, sometimes illiterate, and also, as young passionate sometimes illiterate people on the internet are wont to be, melodramatic. Which goes without speaking for the rest of the internet, who’re passionate and illiterate to varying degrees. But this is how they “grow.”

Smartass that he is, Karp followed it up with another post today, excitedly noting of a certain rapper who was incarcerated some time ago: “14 days until T.I. is out of prison!”

Obviously, even talking about another race at this point is going to earn David flack from someone who’s red to the touch. But, comedy of comedies, he even got rapper T.I.’s prison release date wrong. Either way, there’s nothing like stirring up a little trouble to stir up a little publicity, as evidenced by this post. Another fact: people don’t actually quit internet services in protest over any “issue” en masse other than the service not being up to snuff compared to the competition. If that were the case, Facebook would be emptying out over privacy concerns, and everyone would use Bing instead of Google, so on and so forth.

Then again, everyone on the internet’s apparently some kind of casual racist, so there’s that. Karp’s in the clear so long as he doesn’t poach whoever’s squatting Spike Lee’s domain. Then the people are really gonna be “upset.”