Black Geek Girl Series: Top Charitable Giving Applications of 2014

Tis the season for giving!  The holiday season is not just a time of shopping and opening presents.  In many households, doing good for charity and donating to philanthropic causes is an important part of celebrating the Winter Holiday Season.  Technology has made charitable giving all the more easy.  My top 5 charitable giving apps for 2014 appeal to many different types of users, but all make a huge impact.

1) I Can Go Without (iOS only)

I Can Go WithoutI Can Go Without is a Canadian micro-fundraising app that encourages you to reduce consumption and give what you save to people in need.

  • Whenever you feel like you can skip routine expenses, such as coffee or an iTunes download, you can use the “I Can Go Without” app to create small pledges, which are then converted into donations to charity partners such as Thirst Relief and Oxfam. The idea is to funnel some of the capital Americans spend on tiny, negligible purchases into more lasting causes

2) Charity Miles (iOS and Android)

CharityMilesLogoCharity Miles is an exercise app that works double-time, tracking mileage and raising money for different causes. All users need to do is turn up the volume and go.
By using your smartphone’s GPS to track your time, distance and impact, Charity Miles allows people to earn corporate sponsorship for charity whenever they walk, run or bike. Users select a charity before they begin exercising, and each step they take pledges a certain amount of money from a corporate donorship pool to the fund of their choosing

3) Check-in for Good  (iOS and Android)

CheckInfor GoodCheck-in for Good is a location-based mobile solution connecting individuals and their social networks with companies in order to (1) simplify cause fundraising and (2) generate new customers for local businesses. Check-in for Good is a system of online and mobile tools that leverages the power of groups through emerging mobile, social and location-based technology.
Receive exclusive offers from participating businesses when you check in.
Browse a list of causes, choose as few or as many as you want to support or add your own cause.
Choose to see the businesses that are supporting your causes.
Privacy settings are available (i.e. delayed check in notifications).
No personal information is shared about you at any time

4) VolunteerMatch (iOS only)

VolunteerMatchVolunteerMatch for iPhone is a pro bono collaboration with imc2, a Dallas-based brand engagement agency.
If you have an iPhone, VolunteerMatch makes it easy to make a difference.
Our iPhone app, available for free in the App Store and on iTunes, puts the power of our award-winning website into your pocket.
You can search for the perfect way to make a difference even while you’re on the run. VolunteerMatch for iPhone includes opportunities from over 99,232 participating organizations. All your favorite nonprofits are here.

5) Donate A Photo (iOS and Android)

JohnsonJohnson2_-Logo-640x375Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and for every photo you share through Donate a Photo, Johnson & Johnson gives $1 to the cause you want to help. That $1 does things like fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely. Each cause will receive a minimum donation and will appear in the app until its donation period ends or its goal is reached.
Your photo raises awareness:  When you share your photo, you spread the word about causes that need help, and you and your friends can help those causes meet their goals.
Your photos add up: You can donate one photo every day. Those days turn into weeks, months, and years. And you can see all the causes your photos have helped, and how
Your photo can inspire others: Share a picture that means something to you, chances are it’ll mean something to your friends, too. And the more photos you inspire, the more awareness you’ll raise.

Sitting in the (NCWIT) Red Chair celebrating Women in Tech

Carla Franklin sitting in the NCWIT Red Chair

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’d like to remind you that I am a Tech babe for life!  For years I honed my skills as a programmer (certified by Java and Oracle) while employed by some of the best companies in the world. My apps were stellar (if I do say so myself) and clients were always happy.  However, as a young programmer, I’d look around and see very few female programmers, and even fewer people of color venturing into the world of technology.  Today, I’m so excited to be co-developing some really exciting initiatives to improve the pipeline of women and underserved minorities in technology. More to come on my technology initiatives in future posts….

Carla Franklin sitting in the NCWIT Red Chair

Carla Franklin sitting in the NCWIT Red Chair

The red chair in the photo above is part of the NCWIT Red Chair campaign to support and improve opportunities for Women in Technology.  Current data on the issue shows that NCWIT’s campaign is urgently needed.  Consider the following data published by the University of Buffalo in February, 2014:

  • Women make up nearly half of the workforce, yet they held only one quarter of all technology and computing jobs in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In 2008, women earned more than half — 57 percent — of all bachelor’s degrees, but only 18 percent of the degrees awarded in computer and information science, down from 37 percent in 1985, the National Center for Women & Information Technology reported in its “By the Numbers 2009.”
  • According to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 74 percent of women in technology report “loving their work,” yet 56 percent leave their careers at the “mid-level” point — more than double the quit rate for men. And they’re leaving not because of family obligations, but because they’re dissatisfied with their jobs.
  • Only 10 percent of corporate officer positions and 11 percent of board of directors’ positions at Fortune 500 technology companies were held by women, according to the 2008 census of corporate officers and top earners of Fortune 500 companies by Catalyst, a nonprofit devoted to expanding opportunities for women and business.

I hope that more women (and men) join me in this red chair.

Bridging the digital divide in underserved communities: NY Social Media Week program

Social Media Week NY - Carla Franklin

A few weeks ago I organized a New York Social Media Week event that focused on bridging the gap between the tech industry and underserved minority communities. Entitled, Hood to Hipster: Silicon Alley’s Impact on NYC’s Underserved Communities, the two-part program focused on improving opportunities for women and minority tech entrepreneurs, and the importance of integrating technology in to community development activities in underserved areas of NYC. I was honored to have some amazing speakers and participants take part in this program. Special thanks to every who helped me make this event possible.

For more information, please visit the NY Social Media Week event listing at: http://socialmediaweek.org/newyork/events/?id=137229

——
Event Title: Hood to Hipster: Silicon Alley’s Impact on NYC’s Underserved Communities

Part 1: Improving the pipeline of Women and Minorities in Tech [Tech-entrepreneur business pitch showcase and panel discussion]

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Judges:
    • Meredith Blount — Associate, Cooley, LLC
    • Alexandra Lutz — Vice President, Global Business Strategy, Huge, Inc
    • Mike Germano – CEO/co-founder at Carrot Creative + Chief Digital Officer at VICE
    • Steve Whittier – Group Creative Director at Big Fuel
    • Carla Franklin — President, Carlin Solutions, LLC (moderator)

Part 2: Bridging the Technological Divide in New York through Community Development [Roundtable]

  • Speakers:
    • Majora Carter — CEO, StartUp Box #SouthBronx
    • Mike Germano – CEO/co-founder at Carrot Creative + Chief Digital Officer at VICE
    • Evan Hines – Acting-Commissioner/Citywide CIO , NYC Department of IT and Telecommunications
    • Kyle Kimball — President, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
    • Kai D. Feder, Dir., Capital Budget & Economic Development, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
    • Eric Adams — Brooklyn Borough President
    • Carla Franklin — President, Carlin Solutions, LLC (moderator)

Techno Fashionista: A pink swing skirt to brighten up the work day

It was so much fun to wear this ensemble to the office last week.  Colorful skirts and dresses always provide a feminine flare and a great alternative to the drab and boring work dark suit (black, grey, navy blue…take your pick…boring!).  I coordinated a hot pink skirt by “Wow Couture” with a black “BCBG” top, adorned with a beaded accent.  A pair of black peep toe shoes by Nine West, rounded out my outfit.  Ladies, don’t be afraid of color in the office. Bright hues are a great way to liven up your work day!!!!

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 1

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 2

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 3

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 4

The case against Go Daddy that may help end Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn

Recently, I did an interview with Dame Magazine regarding a landmark revenge porn lawsuit against Go Daddy.  The complaint alleges that the website hosting provider was a complicit and willing partner in harassing and victimizing dozens of women online, including the young plaintiff named Holly Jacobs.

Go Daddy Revenge PornGo Daddy refused to remove nude images and personal identifying information about the women from its servers.  The images and information was posted without the victim’s consent on Texxxan.com, a “revenge porn” website hosted by Go Daddy dedicated to humiliating and emotionally blackmailing women.  The photos that were posted to Texxxan.com, without the victims’ permission, were generally uploaded by jaded ex-boyfriends and husbands with the sole intention of harassing, menacing and causing harm to the victim’s professional reputations.  Texxxan.com and other “revenge porn” sites would often then require a “fee”  from victims in order to remove the photos and personal information.   These sites also enjoyed a significant income stream from “click advertising”.

Sounds a lot like blackmail, exploitation and coercion, right?  Well it is.  Revenge porn is the new scourge of the internet.  Why isn’t Go Daddy required to remove these images immediately? Because of a loop hole in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, which was written to protect interactive computer service providers, like You Tube, Yahoo and Facebook and others from the acts of 3rd party users who post content to their sites.  Unlike YouTube, Facebook and even Google, Go Daddy is generally unwilling to address activities on its servers that clearly victimize people, and violate federal and state laws.  Why doesn’t Go Daddy want to remove revenge porn and other criminal and defamatory materials from their servers?  From my perspective, its because the company doesn’t care about people.  Go Daddy is a privately corporation and part of a private equity portfolio that is only focused on maximizing profits for its shareholders, not with being responsible corporate citizens.  Much like an oil company that fouls the water and land with petroleum in an effort to make 200% more profit, Go Daddy is more interested in profiting from sites like Texxxan.com than doing the right thing.

Holly Jacobs

Holly Jacobs, brave survivor of Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is a form of criminal stalking, which is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.   According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%).  Nearly 3 in 4 stalking victims knew their offender in some capacity.  Moreover, women are at greater risk than men for stalking victimization. In 2012, the risk of stalking victimization was highest for individuals who were divorced or separated—34 per 1,000 individuals.

Cyber stalkerLet’s be clear, it is not only immoral, but illegal to post nude and intimate photos or video of individuals (generally women) without their permission, on websites and blogs dedicated to humiliating, harassing and drawing unwanted attention to the victims.  This is especially true when the images are accompanied by personal identifying information (name, address, employers, family details, etc) about the victims to ensure the target of this malicious act is clearly identified and maximum damage is done.  Victims with money and resources are forced to go to civil court and, at great expense, obtain court orders against web hosting companies like Go Daddy in order to compel them to remove the photos.  Some victims actually pay-off these sites (hosted by companies like Go Daddy)  in order to remove this images quickly and hopefully minimize the damage.  However, photos typically pop-up on other sites in the future as victims work to remove them, like a sick, online version of Whac-A-Mole.  This ongoing pattern of “pop-up revenge porn” keeps victims in a constant state of panic and uncertainty over their online reputation and personal safety.  It also becomes expensive when companies like Go Daddy unethically refuse to remove photos and defamatory materials.

Harassers use shame and fear of rejection by family and friends, and loss of job opportunities against victims.  They know that the world is full of “busy bodies” who would rather judge a victim for being shown nude on the internet, against her will, instead of focusing on the sick sociopath who posted the images. By refusing to remove illegal materials from its servers, Go Daddy has proven that it is just as complicit in stalking, harassment and defaming women, like Holly Jacobs, as any criminal off the street.  I really hope Holly wins.  She would be setting an important precedent that would benefit women and future generations to come.

Digital Spring Cleaning: 5 ways to tidy-up your social media life

ImageThere is a belief that a cluttered home reflects a cluttered state of mind, and disorganization in one’s life. Removing the junk from your surroundings and organizing your things can have a profound effect on your state of being. Some see this belief as part of the “Law of Attraction”, others base it on principles of Feng Shui. Either way, I believe these principles hold true for both the real and digital world. Spring cleaning is an annual practice through which we can not only de-clutter and reorganize our homes, but also clear the junk out of our social media life in order to bring more positive energy into our existence.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 67% of online adults in the United States use social networking sites. Moreover, 25% of the total time that Americans spend surfing the internet is focused in social networking and blogs, according to Neilsen. For adults aged 18 – 65+ who are actively go online, 67% are on Facebook, 20% have Twitter accounts, and 16% use LinkedIn. Living life online as an adult includes managing social networks, collecting friends and contacts, uploading photos, videos, and resumes, and actively updating status. As in the real world, a person’s social media life is prone disorganization and messiness if not periodically, and properly, maintained. I recommend an annual Spring Cleaning ritual to ensure that your social media life remains tidy and efficient, in order to reduce stress and bring more Zen into your life. As with spring cleaning for the home, I believe there are five principles that apply when cleaning the clutter from your social media life.

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

  1. Update your look: Stop posting that picture of you taken 15 years ago on LinkedIn or Facebook. Either the recruiter won’t recognize you when you go for that job interview, or the girl that you’ve been flirting with on Facebook will run from you thinking that you’re a stranger, if you attempt to meet her in person (this actually happened to a friend of mine, LOL). Invest money in getting new headshots to post to your online profiles. Also, take time to review and update your resume on your professional profiles to make sure that it reflects all of your recent accomplishments. You should actively update your professional profiles with changes in education or job status, because its easy to forget. Recruiters may be overlooking you for some great job opportunities because your job information is out of date.
  2. Get rid of things that you’ve out grown, and no longer fit: Culling my friends and contact lists is an essential house keeping activity that I perform at least once a year. Overtime you randomly add people that you barely know or with whom you no longer communicate to your social media profiles. Many of these people should no longer have access to your personal status, contact lists and/or photos. Just like that old pair of jeans from high school or college, in life, we often out grow friendships. Delete these people from your contact lists. Stop hoarding and collecting friends (who aren’t really your friends) in your social media life. You don’t really really have 1000+ friends (or even 500+). Its nothing personal, you’re just reducing the clutter.
  3. Sort and organize your Professional vs. nonprofessional items: Sort activities and people in your digital life according to their professional status in your life. Remember to maintain a professional boundary with co-workers and colleagues. Some people belong on your Google+, Twitter or Facebook friends list, others you may want to limit to LinkedIn. Not everyone who is an active participant in your life should have access to every thought, opinion or swimsuit photo that you have.
  4. Get extra storage for your all of your stuff: Invest in a Dropbox, Google Storage, Flickr or SnapFish account. Its worth it the money and set-up time. It offers a great way to backup files and data, in case your personal computer is stolen or the hard drive fails. It also provides a more secure and private method, compared to Facebook and Google+ for storing photos and videos.
  5. Make sure your that your belongings are protected: In the digital world, protecting your belongings means insuring that your privacy setting are turned on and up-to-date. Avoid over-sharing. Limit your status, family photos and personal thoughts to only those with whom you trust enough to share these details. Remove old pictures and/or change their visibility to people on your “Contacts List” who don’t need to see them.

The revolution will not be televised, but it may occur via social media…

The revolution will not be televised, but it may occur via social media...

Gil Scott Heron

Today’s social movements seem to always start via the internet.  Modern day revolutions are digital revolutions. Nowadays revolutionary movements seem to only gain traction through social media, which feeds the social transformation like dry brush near a smoldering camp fire.  One random spark reaching the right network at the right time creates an inferno.  Would the world know, or care about Joseph Kony without social media? Where would the marriage equality movement be without the NOH8 and related campaigns? Anytime I see a social idea grow from a fledgling spark into a full-fledged digital movement that takes on a life of it’s own in the real world, I think of  Gil Scott Heron’s critically acclaimed poem, The Revolution will not be Televised, which starts out:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised….

Its true you know… the revolution will NOT be televised.  Television distracts and confuses.  It makes you mistake “fair and balanced” one-sided opinion for news, buy into reality drama and fools us into believing that 24-hour headline news that only focused on 2-3 major stories in a day provides us with a global view of the world. Like a drug that makes you feel like you’ve floated outside of your body, reached nirvana and have unlocked the secrets of the universe, TV provides and escape from reality, that fools and consumes the mind.  Admittedly, my guilty pleasure is reality TV. I only watch occasionally, like going to McDonald’s or eating chips, reality TV is my brain’s fast food. It holds no nutritional or substantive value other than escape from reality, but I’m do it like most other people.  Social media, however, provides an opportunity for me to plug back in, on my terms.  I especially love the social media movements…the digital revolutions.