Internet Socializing Not Bad

According to the New York Times, Mizuko Ito, a research at Univeristy of California, Irvine, claims that internet socializing, which has caused fear in many parents, is not necessarily bad. She says, “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

The study, part of a $50 million project on digital and media learning, used several teams of researchers to interview more than 800 young people and their parents and to observe teenagers online for more than 5,000 hours. Because of the adult sense that socializing on the Internet is a waste of time, the study said, teenagers reported many rules and restrictions on their electronic hanging out, but most found ways to work around such barriers that let them stay in touch with their friends steadily throughout the day.

This article article touched on two parts: the apparent fear of internet usage and the inter-woven presence of new media in everyday life.

In regards to the first topic, it seems pretty outdated to view social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook, as something unknown. The study came to a conclusion that “there’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online. Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports.” Duh? It’s pretty surprising to me that a lot of people still don’t get this.

Secondly, we all have to realize that new media is the future, and we better get accustomed to it. By getting accustomed to social networks and new media, teenagers begin to understand how to take advantage of the new communication mediums. For example, it seems almost necessary to have a LinkedIn nowadays. Moreover, people learn what is safe to put in their Facebook profiles. I mean, come on, even Barack Obama is using YouTube to deliver his radio chats. Moreover, many traditional journalists use Twitter now. Communication has changed and there’s no turning back now. Better get used to it, or get left in the dust.

Jessica Mah’s $500 to Startup

Jessica Mah, 18-year old entrepreneur, launches her startup, internshipIN, today. Her total cost was about $500 and roughly two weeks of development time. She started the website with two other friends (Arielle Patrice Scott and Andy Su) at UC Berkeley, with her story here:

internshipIN began at Gypsies, the local Italian restaurant in downtown Berkeley, where Arielle and Jessica discussed how they planned to change the world. They knew it had to do with helping other students and startups, they just didn’t know how. They were only a couple of bites into their pasta when the laptops were busted open and they were discussing implementation and design – internshipIN was born.

But Jess knew she was going to need Andy on board to make it happen. Arielle’s stomach went crazy waiting to find out if Andy would agree to join the team or not. She didn’t wait too long, however, because a couple of hours later, Jess and Andy were already working on a prototype. (what a great way to procrastinate math homework!) With only five nights of coding, the two of them were able to launch the first beta.

InternshipIN is a job board, specifically focused on the internship matches between employers and students. InternshipIN allows employers to make job posts, while also crawling other job boards, such as SimplyHired, for internship-specific listings. The website’s goal is help smaller companies find good talent for a fraction of the price.

Moreover, getting that first summer internship is pretty hard. When I was looking for internships a few summers ago, I remember how nerve-wrecking it was. I had basically no work experience, and there were not any specific tools to help me out. This website aims to fill that niche. Another website that students may find helpful is InternshipRatings.

Overall, internshipIN is a good example about just getting your product out there. Their website is very minimal, but it works. The next step for them would be to get user feedback and continue to iterate on top of that. I wish them the best of luck.

Start A Blog

I sound like I’m from 2004, but start a blog! Loren Feldman, who usually goofs on Silicon Valley, makes an excellent speech why you should start a blog. In the world of social networks, blogs are the decentralized form of them. Be passionate about what you write and people will discover you. Even if no one visits your site, at least you’ll get practice writing.