How to win friends and influence people…

I love apps, gadgets and widgets. I am always trying to think of ways these little bits and bytes can go into the history arsenal.  Here are two that I am particularly fascinated with this week.  I should also mention my attention span is shot glass sized so I loose interest in apps, gadgets and widgets as quickly as I discover them. These have the potential to keep my interest  for a while…

The first is Empireavenue. CNN describes it well “It bills itself as the Social Stock Market, where you can grow your social capital online. Here’s how it works: You discover people online and then based on scores or share price invest virtual currency in their profiles by buying shares in the Social Stock Market. After a bit, you’ll get used to the weirdness of having strangers bid ‘social shares’ on your ‘social wares.’ Sounds kooky, but all the cool kids are doing it.”

Considering the ride the actual stock market is on this week I am fascinated by the idea of growing social capital online! Check Empireavenue  out here:

The second app that I am interested in right now is Sonar.  I am totally into this one because it CREEPS ME OUT! That said, I can see the possibilities for awkward academics with iPhones sitting in a room starting silently at each other like 8th graders at a school dance.  Sonar is a place based app. According to the website “Sonar uncovers the hidden connections you miss everyday, in real time, in the palm of your hand.” Sonar geotracks you and catalogs your check-ins.  It also aggregates your Face Book info and Twitter feed compiling a basic profile of you.  It does the same for others.

Say you are at the grad student reception at AHA and you notice a tall goddess eating olives off a little pink sword.  She is humoring some dork in khaki pants as he describes his research on Colonial shoe laces in excruciating detail. You glance at her name tag as you slink by…an Ivy Leaguer…you go to Nort East Central Mid Western State…what would you two possibly have in common?  You adjust your frumpy blazer, pat down your cow-lick and attempt to muster up the courage to approach…but wait! what if she studies 19th century French sexuality or Ancient Mesopotamian weaving…if only you knew, if only you had a window into her life.  Well, if you have a Sonar profile and she has a Sonar profile Sonar’s geotracking will determine what you and the olive goddess have in common.  Maybe you both follow Ashton Kutcher on Twitter or maybe you both posted pics of visits to the Grand Canyon last summer.  Maybe you both appreciate the musical stylings of Ke$ha or maybe you both list Lost as a favorite show …whatever the commonality, Sonar will let you know. You will have a much better opening line than shoe laces guy. So, adjust your high wasted jeans and pocket protector and then saunter on over to Sonar at:  I love apps…

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About Katherine O'Flaherty

I received my PhD in History from the University of Maine in 2010 and received a C.A.S. in Education Leadership: Student Development in Higher Education in 2012. My major field of study is modern US history. I focus on Immigration and Refugee History, Environmental History and Modern Irish History. I am currently working on two projects. The first is a book length piece about extradition, deportation and political prisoners in the late 1980s tentatively titled "The Longest-held Prisoner at the Manhattan Correctional Center: Joe Doherty, Extradition and Deportation in the post-Cold War Era." The second is an article about the short lived Maine sugar beet industry and the politics of Maine agriculture in the 1960s. In 2013 I became a Faculty Fellow at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. Prior to relocating to ASU I served as an instructor at the University of Maine in Orono teaching US History surveys, Immigration History and a few interdisciplinary courses about the state of Maine in addition to teaching in the Honors College. Additionally, I taught Intro to Sociology at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine. When I am not teaching and researching I do some consulting and educational assessment. I work hard, watch a lot of TV, spend tons of time on Netflix instant view, read many blogs and listen to hours of NPR. I check my email 110 times a day, teach many of my classes online and obsessively check Facebook and Twitter. I like books, dogs, trivia and snow. Contact me at: or follow me on Twitter: @katherineofl
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One Response to How to win friends and influence people…

  1. Pingback: A Little Blue Bird in the Hand « Stillwater Historians

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