Geekery: Google Alerts, Domain Names + Missing Bees
Dinner of Honey by Adrienne de Boer*
As you might know from reading my bio, this whole gallery thing is a second (and rather unexpected) career for me. I worked in the internet business for a long time - I was working at some ridiculous start-up doing cd-rom development when the tech dude started talking about this whole "World Wide Web" thing. That didn't last, so I went on to work with my high school pal Omar Wasow. In 1996 we were the first people to animate a New Yorker cartoon - we set the butterfly in flight right under Eustace Tilley's monocle. (Tina Brown was charmed!)
All this is to say: there's a history to my tech obsessions. I can't write code, and I barely know how to use Photoshop, but I have been fascinated by how the internet enables communication and information distribution for a long time now. This means that I obsess over my stats (I recommend Mint, it rocks), read a million blogs and have a bunch of domain names (I have thirty-something last I checked.) I'm also a relatively early adopter of new technologies, but I tend to hang back and let my more hardcore geek friends suss things out beforehand.
According to Mint, my current top searches, in order are:
Alec Soth W Magazine
Jen Beckman [ed note: Grrr!]
How to Draw a Bunny
It all basically makes sense, except for the "missing bees" query being number two! People are really hot for information about the missing bees, and for whatever reason, my del.icio.us links to related stories make a good showing in the search results. I understand the interest - I have a Google Alert delivering me a digest of missing bee related links at the end of every day.
I am nuts about the Google Alerts. I have more alerts than domain names, which is fine because they're free. I have the obvious ego-surfing related ones: "Jen Bekman" and "Jen Beckman" (since people so often get my last name's spelling wrong) "Hey Hot Shot" and "Personism". I also have several set up for artists that I work with, and a few of friends who I enjoy stalking keeping track of online. Lately I've taken to broadening my queries a bit, there's the aforementioned "missing bees" one and also I get a digest of Eliot Spitzer related news. I'm trying to figure out what to do with one of my favorite domains, imafuckingsteamroller.com, and am hoping to get some inspiration from daily doses of the steamroller himself.
I usually go nuts with the domain names when I'm trying to come up with a name for something. I'm good at the naming thing, it's practically my best party trick. Friends regularly IM me for advice on coming up with titles for things. I founded and named mediabistro's design blog Unbeige. An IM conversation with Noah Kalina caused the name of his latest project to evolve from "Pictures of Noah K with Celebrities" to everyday/celebrity. I've had several late night conversations with Alice Wells trying to help her come up with a title for the book that is her thesis project. (I'm not sure if she went with my suggestion yet or not, but I hope so!)
My naming is not always successful. opinionomatic.com seemed like a great idea at the time, but since I can never spell right the first pass myself it's an unlikely candidate for any web destination. I am still a little in love with "predux.com" a meaningless word, but since the domain name space is so crowded it's mere six letters have a certain appeal. None of my friends like it though - they always wrinkle their noses in disdain. I keep hoping that some drug company is going to want to buy it from me for zillions of dollars one day, because wouldn't that be a good pharmaceutical name? A while ago I registered "sychophant.com" and was bouncing in my seat with joy until I realized that I'd misspelled it. I still haven't quite gotten over the sting from that yet - I am a stickler for spelling and aside from that it's a URL that I could've put to good use. As an alternative, I could build something at one of my other two favorite holdings: alittlefuckedup.com and lazythinking.com.
* Adrienne De Boer is about to graduate from SVA and is planning to move to Minneapolis shortly thereafter. As her mentor, and a fan of her work, I'm trying to connect her with some good people there. Not hard too hard what with all the minneagraphers I know, but drop me a line if you want to join the welcome wagon.