Laurie Beth [thegrottotweets]
What is your specialty in the interactive world?
I run a community center for the children of Baby Boomers, Generation XYZ. It's called Laurie Beth's Grotto, is LGBT friendly, and incorporates discount shopping, blogs, business opportunities, entertainment and non-profits geared toward the 18-40 crowd.
Where can we see some of your work online?
You can visit the Grotto at www.lauriebethsgrotto.com, the blog is at http://lauriebethsgrotto.wordpress.com, and the overview is at www.squidoo.com/lauriebethsgrotto.
What kind of projects do you usually undertake?
I'm always blogging and tweeting about media, politics, non-profit activities and current events. Plus I'm always looking for links to new and interesting things in those categories for the website. I also freelance in article writing, copywriting and data entry.
What was your first job in the field?
This is my first job! I'm a 2008 college grad so I'm very new to just about everything!
What is your professional background? What did you do before?
I worked briefly in retail the summer before college, but the majority of my professional experience is in library science. I worked in preservation and special collections for four years during college, and now I work as a clerk and programs assistant at the public library. As I said above, I take freelance gigs when I can get them in both expository and opinion writing, and in data entry.
With which technologies do you normally work?
I use Twitter.com, Wordpress.com, Squidoo.com and the GDI (http://freedom.ws/index.dhtml?sponsor=lauriebethsgrotto) interface for my main website.
Do you work by yourself, or in a team? how is that team?
I work by myself, but I get tons of support and resources from the Twitterverse!
What was your first computer, and which is your current?
This is my second computer; both have been Dell Latitude business laptops.
Online virality: isn't it the same as traditional word-of-mouth?
Yes and no. I think thanks to television and the Internet, the world has gotten much smaller--you can reach larger, more diverse groups of people in a shorter period of time, and the growth of media in general feels like a journey toward doing that as much as possible, at least for me. I like to use "Seinfeld" as an example of this; in my experience a lot of New York, Jewish, East Coast sensibility has become understandable and relatable to people across the country since that television show became a hit. Something that was a very closed-off, regional attitude and way of thinking and speaking became more of an overall American attitude in some respects when people started watching "Seinfeld" in other areas across the country. It made an enormous impact; so much of the dialogue of that show, as regional as it seemed at the time, has been absorbed into American vernacular. Entertainment has always done that, but as media changes it becomes easier. I think for many of us who have made the Internet--and especially Twitter--a major part of our lives find ourselves thinking of things in a more international, global context than we were before. New media is an incredible educational tool.
Do you think the digital gap is a social problem? What would you do to accelerate digital literacy?
I don't know. I can't imagine that this wouldn't be a rich man's game; even though more and more members of the middle class, like myself, are taking access to computers and the Internet for granted, most people still don't have access, especially on a global scale. I don't know how to fix that, but I do know that it's one of the major reasons why we can't lose television. It's easier to get access to it, and it crosses generational lines better than the web does. I may be having a torrid, passionate love affair with the web, but the love of my life will always be television.
What were you doing in March 2000, at the height of the "dotcom bubble"?
I was in eighth grade. And a television junkie even then. The web didn't really become a major part of my life until late high school, more so in college.
In the current interactive world, what is the most relevant trend?
Twitter. There is absolutely nothing like it.
What do you see interesting about the Web 2.0 phenomenon?
I think the Iranian election was the most relevant and stunning usage of social media to date. The fact that the US State Department requested that Twitter postpone their scheduled maintenance because it was the only way that the protesters could get through the government-issued firewalls is pretty staggering, and it certainly crystallized for me the power of social media. Those weeks in June 2009 were eye-opening and inspiring.
I am also constantly in awe of my generation's enthusiasm when it comes to using Twitter and other social networking platforms for community outreach and to increase awareness for social causes and for non-profit organizations. I love connecting with non-profits on Twitter.
What would you do to terminate Internet spam once and for all?
I wish I had an answer for this! Considering we all still get junk mail in our *real* mailboxes (Publisher's Clearing House, anyone?) I doubt there's a way to eliminate it completely.
New York, USA