It’s like I wrote that last post and then hibernated for the rest of the winter. Sure felt like it to me. After that last post I started two huge jobs that didn’t wrap until the end of February and now I’m finally caught up.
The iTwixie relaunch was probably one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. Starting with the database learning in November and ending in PHP development – juggling WordPress plugins and theme wrangling. An extremely rewarding process that has brought on all kinds of skill growth for me. Especially in the MYSQL/WordPress database environment.
Anyway the site is up and check so check it out. As a unregistered member you can checkout the main blog and get a great feel for the site. Or register your daughters and explore the site with them. We are going to be adding tons of exciting features over the next few months.
I enjoyed working on a 152 page booklet in January that was fun because there were no elements of the design process I didn’t understand. Meaning as a master of indesign I didn’t have to research how to make every pixel go where I wanted it. The main challenge there was the tight deadline. I had about two weeks to the first draft done. Printed and delivered now, you can view it on AiP Self Study.com.
Uploading a Creation Rex archive is on my to do list. I was able to restore the blog but I lost all the pictures from 2010. Due to my WordPress management incompetence at the time. Way back machine does have a copy of the most recent posts but I’m not sure how far it goes back. When I have a free night I’ll pull what I can down and add them back.
I’m managing a podcast again, sort of, for my church. Getting the weekly sermons online and making sure the website is in order. Podcasting is where I started to really get into web development and I always feel good about serving new audio on the web.
Homebrew! Check out my homebrew blog. Mainly a journal for Brian and I but we like to keep it real with our antics while documenting the homebrew process and our path to master brewers.
February 22, 2012 is our second annual BFFs in Blue day on iTwixie. I’m wearing my blogger of the month tshirt in part of the celebration. Best friends are a critical part of a tween’s like so celebrating the people close to them is a big deal.
Good friends are a critical part of my life so here is to all of you!
In late November and early December we worked on a program for iTwixie users called Boredom Buster. We carry out Boredom Buster when an extended holiday or break happens in the year. Our goal is to give users something special to do on the site in addition to our regular content.
For the holidays in 2011 we pulled out all the stops and build a jam-packed schedule for two weeks. We had extra games, book clubs, chats, contests and even a special magazine. I made the logo sometime in December and recorded myself drawing it in Photoshop. This is the first time I did a screen capture of me drawing something, but I had a lot fun with it. My skills are not that strong in logo design so I was pleased with how this came together.
Recently I’ve been dinging into video games for girls and the topic is extremely unresolved. If you Google the phrase you find some pretty weak results. I was expecting a healthy debate of conversations in the returns. Maybe even some games claiming to be the solution.
While there are a few sites out there specializing in games for girls, those sites are pretty awful. Sites that specialize in this genre typically make the same game over and over and presented in different skins. These games lack any educational content and perpetuate the restrictive stereo-types about what girls are interested in. They are overly draped in pink and bedazzled. Sure they look flashy but there is no content, I digress.
Video games and girls has been a pretty talked out subject over the years. The subject has been studied, researched, developed, implemented and in my opinion left unresolved. Back to my Google search. As of this post the top organic return is a link to this Ted Talk in 1998 with Brenda Laurel. I really like what she had to say and based on my experience with iTwixie I think they were onto something. However the game they developed was a bit shallow in my opinion. Perhaps modern development would take their concept deeper.
I think they missed the mark in terms of creativity, meaning something fantasy based could have gone a long way.
This subject is something I’m still investigating and am open to conversation. So please drop me a line and share your thoughts. Ultimately, I would like to find a great resource of games for girls, or perhaps start developing them on my own for iTwixie.
Two of a few iTwixie inspired illustrations I’ve made recently. Leaning heavily on the style of John Ritter the best way I know how to make original images.
Girls Around the World
Our theme for December is Girls Around the World. I’m working on our monthly newsletter and wanted to make a custom image for this month. Most of our users are in the United States so it is more about getting them thinking globally.
I moderate a chat once a week. On this particular week I told the girls that I was going to draw something while they were chatting and they would influence the outcome. The conversation started around music, what is an iTwixie girl’s color, and then what you wanted for Christmas (one girl was all about the long board), and another jumped in and said I should add flowers.
Tonight I watched a film Art & Copy. It hit me in an unexpected way.
This movie is about emotion. It explains why and how some of these old timers do what they do. The people featured in the film make statements that explain why I am who I am (sort of). Seriously it was a fresh view into this mindset that I didn’t know I occupied. I haven’t felt this fresh and raw about what I do in a long time.
My life has gone through an intense amount of change in the last year, and the dust is still settling. Zoom to – I’m excited about my future, especially at iTwixie. The other reason for this post is this video. Which captures the mission, the feeling, the emotion of why it is important to empower children and drive self-esteem. I’m not saying buy Nike but they get it here.
Ever since I started working with iTwixie, I’ve developed a business-to-business site that will extend our services and take advantage of the work we are doing with tweens. Allow me to introduce you to Tween Trends.
I know I’ve mentioned Tween Trends here before, but today is special because we are officially announcing the site. I’m excited to reach this phase as it’s been a few months in the making and now functions as our home base for much of our business related initiatives on iTwixie.
What We Do
As we moderate and work with tweens each day we glean specific insights such as trends and interests. These findings are compiled and published in a monthly issue of Tween Trends. We publish these issues for free! Cool right. If you are interested in receiving tween trends just visit the subscription page.
Our insights are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also design a custom study of tweens or ask simple questions one at a time. To learn more visit our announcement post with a comprehensive list of services and explanation.
Keeping it True to Tweens
Much of what I’ve done the past few weeks has been centered around social responsibility and quality content for this age group. Understanding how certain brands are doing it wrong when it comes to reaching this age group and applauding companies that are producing positive products have become my daily routine. We are looking to reach companies who work in the preteen demographic and help them better understanding a tween girl and what engages her.
Lab Coat Revolution
Rebecca and I had a conversation yesterday about wearing iTwixie lab coats to a science event. Our reason was to create some engaging contend for iTwixie itself. At first I thought it was a silly idea, but as the concept started to sink in we realized iTwixie girls are more lab coat oriented than, say, apron wearers. These girls excel in math and science and they are not Barbie girls. We know they are creative and curious about the world around them, so why not use a lab coat as a symbol to empower a generation of thinkers.
I’m excited for the future of Tween Trends and iTwixie. This new site is just one more step in our mission to build the best online community for tween girls.