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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: Caught Your Eye
February 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Check out seeds as well as books? Non-techie ideas for the future of libraries

The future of libraries — the subject of my latest column — has been on the minds of a few writers around the country lately. And no wonder: Last week was the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, held right here in Seattle.

Seattle tends to turn up in the conversation.

The Atlantic zeroed in on grants the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced last week to libraries in the Northwest. The foundation is awarding several tech-based grants, but recognizing that the librarian could be the heart of the future library, many encourage good old-fashioned relationship building:

…One of the major investments the foundation is making this year is in a readers’ advisory program that will pair library patrons in Multnomah, Oregon, with librarians who will personally assist them with reading choices, building long-term relationships that will ideally transcend any technological innovations. It builds on a program at the Seattle Public Library in which readers submit answers to a short questionnaire to get advice from individual librarians on what they might want to read next. The new Oregon program will be designed as a model that librarians around the country can look to.


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November 26, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Cyber Monday: Remember Seattle when you shop online

A Seattle Times op-ed by Seattle author Maria Semple (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?“) caught my eye today. Cyber Monday is great, she argues, but whatever happened to picking up something nice at your neighborhood store? Today is Cyber Monday, the day after the Thanksgiving weekend when all good workers hope their bosses don’t catch them…


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November 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Fairy tale characters as wayward millennials: Q&A with author of a hilarious Tumblr blog

Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings creator Tim Manley both writes and illustrates the popular Tumblr blog. (Image used with permission)

A couple weeks ago I posted about one of those hilarious, addictive Tumblr blogs — this one a spot-on sendup of my generation called “Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings.”

Among the posts: “The prince and the pauper unfriended each other on Facebook because neither one could stand the other’s political status updates.”

I reached out to the creator, just in case he’d be willing to let us take a quick peek behind the scenes.

And what do you know — 27-year-old Tim Manley, of Queens, N.Y., was only too happy to oblige.

Check out the blog if you haven’t already. See if you don’t laugh out loud after a few posts (he illustrated the recent ones). Then come back and get the scoop …


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October 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM

This blog completely nails what’s weird about twentysomethings

Tom Thumb didn’t have Craigslist, but I’ll bet he had insecurities about his future. (Image: Wikimedia Commons) Oh, no. They’ve got us. A Tumblr blog called “Fairy Tales for Twentysomethings” has captured the wandering, self-reflective, digitally amplified WTF-ness of my generation. I’m serious. It’s re-imagined chunks of fairy tales (some in 140 characters, no less)…


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September 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Facebook: the anti-bully? Supporting Whitney Kropp

A page supporting bullied Michigan teen Whitney Kropp is leading a viral campaign against bullying. (Image from Support Whitney Kropp on Facebook)

You always hear about cyberbullying. And you should. Forty-three percent of teens have been victims of some form of cyberbullying over the last year, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

But then there’s this story.

High schoolers in the small town of West Branch, Mich., thought it would be funny to vote an unpopular girl, Whitney Kropp, as homecoming queen. She was humiliated — who wouldn’t be? But instead of succumbing to the kind of despair that tears up so many teens, she embraced the title. Pretty soon, so did the town.

Local businesses have donated products and services to prep her for Friday’s homecoming game, including a red dress and a ride in a convertible. Residents have pledged to pack the bleachers with T-shirts that read, “Team Whitney.” The Facebook page fueling the support picked up, as the Detroit News noted, “more likes than the town has people.”


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September 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

‘Maybe this is why we hate reading comments so much?’

If reading other people’s rants ever feels like it makes your brain hurt, there may be a reason why.

Seattle’s Sara Kiesler pointed out new research highlighted in Inc. magazine that suggests that being exposed to too much complaining can “turn your brain to mush,” according to Trevor Blake, author of the book “Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life”.

The research focuses on complaints in the office (Blake apparently is a serial entrepreneur), but it makes you wonder about how our brains react when we encounter intense negativity online, especially around touchy topics like politics.

“Seems like interesting fodder in a time when we hide Facebook posters who gripe too much and skip over the comments beneath online news articles,” Sara wrote in an email. Her subject line: “Maybe this is why we hate reading comments so much?”


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