Welcome to KirstieJ.com. I'm Kirstie, I'm 21 years old, and I'm a college student at UCLA majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Spanish Linguistics, excited to travel and work in the social media industry post-graduation.
Cakes by Jessica
LinkedIn Profile


  »Why I Won’t Be Hitting “Like” on Facebook’s Extended Like Feature
April 26th, 2010

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or this is sadly the only website you’ve accessed in the past week, you’ve heard talk of recent Facebook reforms announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg last week at San Francisco web conference F8. Whenever Facebook introduces a change to the site, the social network’s millions of citizens invariably have a collective panic attack and proceed to have heated debates about the minimal reform, some threatening to boycott the site forever and others praising the change, until a few weeks pass and users forget this feature was never part of Facebook.

Weirdly, with this reform, I’ve seen very little uproar on Facebook itself, though perhaps this is because few (include myself) fully understand this new feature, and, besides, people have to finally be sick of declaring the end of the world every time Facebook makes a change, right? However, there has been significant discussion of the new feature on webby blogs like Mashable and on news sites like CNN, and the experts of the web industry all seem to agree on one thing: this is a Very Big Deal. The internet’s about to change.

So that’s cool. We’re witnessing some huge revolution, apparently. Whether this is true or not, eh, I don’t know. I’ll leave that to the experts to figure out. But I will say one thing: sry2say, Facebook, I’m not impressed. As I understand it, this new feature basically enables websites to include buttons in their posts that allow readers to share the content on Facebook, much akin to the well-established reTweet/share on Digg/etc. buttons. The only difference is that Facebook will be creepier about keeping track of what you re-post and use it to stalk you in the future. Right? Can someone please tell me if I’m interpreting this wrong?

So, great, now we can share interesting posts on Facebook. But we could already do that before through the link sharing feature; it just may have taken a little more effort. Now that it requires virtually no effort, my newsfeed can be more easily flooded by thousands of “funny,” “clever” links posted by people I barely know. Sweet.

See, I enjoy seeing reTweets on Twitter and reblogs on Tumblr. But there’s a big difference between the people I follow on Twitter and Tumblr and those I’m friends with on Facebook. On Twitter and Tumblr, I rarely add people I know in real life but rather people I find interesting because we share the same sense of humor or taste in websites/movies/television shows/whatever. Therefore, odds are, I’ll like what they’re re-posting. On the other hand, the people I’m Facebook friends with? Not gonna lie, most of them are deathly dull. I’m friends with them because we went to the same elementary school or hung out once. And even my close friends don’t necessarily share my same e-interests. How many times have you been subjected to the classic, “Oh my God, I have to show you the funniest video on YouTube,” only to be forced to sit through a 10-minute video while patronizing your friend with fake laughter? That’s what Facebook’s new “like” feature is, although at least you won’t have to provide the fake laughter. If I want to share a link with friends, I’ll send it directly to those who I know will actually be entertained by it, not to all 592 people Facebook calls my “friends.”

The way fan pages appear on your Facebook profile seems to be in a transition stage at the moment, so I’m not sure how they’ll ultimately be integrated into profiles, but, just because I liked an article one day doesn’t mean I want it permanently pasted in my profile, forming part of my Facebook identity. It would be fine if it only showed up in my feed, as sharing a link would have, but I don’t want it to be included in my interests as well.

Another little thing that bugs me is that liking someone’s “liking” action results in the page your friend liked being added to your profile too. No! I don’t like pedophiles! I just like that Bob Loblaw liked pedophiles because it made me laugh! And neither can I comment on his action, saying, “Hey, Bob, you might want to be careful in case the po’ po’ are trolling your profile.”

I can see the appeal for bloggers, owners of online companies, and other webmasters. If this were a real blog where I was actually trying to accumulate readers, I could include a “like” button in this post, hope a few people buy into the new feature enough to use it, and hope that those people have some friends who are actually interested in clicking through to this post, thereby boosting my site’s ratings, probably more so than having it shared on less popular sites like Twitter or Digg would do. So I’m not saying this feature won’t be widely used or make an impact; I’m just saying that I personally have no desire to do any “liking” anytime soon, though perhaps one day I’ll consider experimenting with being on the “liked” side of things.

Don’t get me wrong — I love Facebook. Sure, it’s a little overrated and the world would probably be a better place without Farmville and MafiaWars, but where else can I stalk everyone and their mom (and, these days, that expression can be taken literally — shoutout to my 21 family members of the age of 40 who now inhabit the formerly students-only site) or brag to the world via travel photos about how kickass my life is? And I have a lot of respect for any company that can be as successful as Facebook has been. But Facebook has already taken over our lives enough. It doesn’t need to get all up in the entire internet’s grill as well.

April 20th, 2010

Hooray, new layout! We’ll see how long it takes for me to get sick of this one. I suppose I should give credit somewhere to Be Sew Happy since I shamelessly stole one of their patterns and then edited it for my background, but, other than that, woot, I can take all the credit.

I love when I get the urge to redesign or create a site and then get completely sucked into it. I was so ~in the zone~ yesterday that I wound up dying of hunger when it got to be 7 or 8pm and I had only eaten a bowl of cereal all day. Er, not good, I realize, but I’m just saying it’s fun to get so sucked into something.

So, yeah, nothing too exciting with this layout, but it’s new and colorful and girly, and it’s a lot easier to navigate than my previous layout. The only problem is that having the blog on the main page puts more pressure on actually writing something interesting here, but I guess I can work on that later. [Insert subliminal messages that make you think this post is the best thing you’ve ever read.]

If you notice any serious issues with the layout, let me know and you’ll be my new best friend. Unless you don’t want to be best friends, in which case I’ll just give you a kind but non-committal thanks.

»¡Cumpleaños feliz!
December 14th, 2009

Fun fact: I officially (whatever that meant) opened this site eight years ago today. December 14th, 2001. I can’t believe I still have it. It’s gone through a lot of changes, of course, and *starsparkle* became Star-Sparkle.net, which became KirstieJ.com that’s not-so-secretly still hosted on star-sparkle.net, but, yep, here we are still today. How cute. Considering this site came pretty late in my web design years, dang, I’ve been doing this for a hella long time (oh lord, did I just use the word “hella”?).

The exciting “blog entry” I wrote that day was:
muahahahaha! after about 2 years, ive finally completed my site (although i have only been working on this for about 3 days) like the layout? fill out some forms. more sections soon.

What a riveting first entry that was. I guess I referred to it as a “weblog” back then. How old school of me. And every entry is incredibly cringeworthy.

I’m also laughing at my pathetic attempt to make money by selling ad space on my website. But I was in my PayPal account the other day for the first time in years, and it looks like I made like $8 off of it, so that’s not bad considering I had no other source of income at the time.

Since I don’t actually use this blog for much other than reminiscing about my Geocities days, I’ll say goodbye now. Happy birthday, *starsparkle*! May you and your tacky, asterisky name have a fantastic day.

»Quality Graphics
October 26th, 2009

In honor of Geocities shutting down, I’ve compiled some highlights from my Geocities-era graphic designing days. Warning: your eyes may burn from the sheer horror of it all.

First, a button for others to link me. Wtf is up with the rainbow basket weave? As far as I remember, *starsparkle* featured no information on baskets. I also used that font, Violation, in, like, every other graphic I made.

Blinkie! Oh man, guys, blinkies were so cool, and I was so into making them. I think I even paid like $30 once for Jasc Animation Shop so I could continue with it. Nothing compares to animated gifs.

From svhsy.net. I guess I was trying to edit something out of the background (probably the book title), and I thought the black scribble in Microsoft Paint would do the trick. And that font, Sevenet 7, I think it was called, was all the rage.

This was my definition of a downloadable wallpaper. I love the shadow effect, the blurred edges of her face, and the stock flower images. I’m considering using this as my wallpaper again. At least it’s better than the other one I had on svjh.net, which said “SVJH Rocks!” in size 72 Verdana with stock rose images that had nothing to do with anything.

Another Jasc Animation Shop gem = the star transition. So, so classy. Also classy is that font that everyone and their mom used. I think it was called Font Diner.com Sparkly or something. Wait, what? Oh, never mind. I thought that name sounded too ridiculous to be true, but that’s in fact what it was called.

This is mostly here for me to comment on the “teehee.” So cringeworthy.

Yet another star transition! I think I had like twelve of those on every site. Also note the Sevenet 7.

I guess there was a page where you submitted your favorite Sweet Valley Junior High pairing in exchange for a graphic. The fonts! The terrible quality! The faded edges!

WHY are there stars in her eyes? And what’s with the terribly unsmooth text?

Wow, what a shame. And I’m sure I could find even worse examples if I looked harder.

Check out XKCD if you haven’t yet today. The site’s redesign for the day is amazing. Best thing I’ve seen all day (perhaps all week). Also, I’m very happy that “RIP Geocities” made it as a Twitter Trending Topic. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my mourning.

»Goodbye, love
October 25th, 2009

Let us take a moment to bow our heads in silence for the passing of a very dear friend, Geocities.

When I first read that horrible message greeting Geocities fans upon logging in, the one that announced, “GeoCities is closing on October 26, 2009,” I knew tragedy had struck, although I was happy to know that at least I would have a few good months left with my dear friend. But the world kept spinning madly on, and, at last, the day arrived. Today. The day before the death of Geocities.

I’ll give you a few moments to dry your tears, because it’s difficult to read the screen when your vision is obscured by sorrow. No need to tell me that you haven’t been crying, it’s just been raining on your face. I empathize with your distress. How come we’ve reached this fork in the road, and yet it cuts like a knife?

Okay, all exaggeration (and Flight of the Conchords lyrics) aside, I am pretty sad to see Geocities go. I doubt I would have even logged onto it in the past few years had I not known it would be shut down soon, but it was nice having it out there, because so much of my early teen years was spent on that site.

I actually hated Geocities at first. I was a hardcore Homestead fan and refused to use Geocities, mostly on the grounds that I didn’t like its pagebuilder as much (these were the days before I knew anything about HTML), so, as a result, I came to Geocities pretty late in the game, probably around 2000 or so. I don’t have a screencap of my first Geocities site (on this computer at least), but I remember it being light blue with small Verdana font and a picture of me water-skiing. That soon transformed into a two-frame site with navigation at the top and a few pages of content, and eventually that site turned into *starsparkle* (what a quality name), for which I bought the domain Star-Sparkle.net in January 2002 and still own today. What’s funny is that even after I owned the domain with hosting, I still kept most of my files on Geocities because I was so used to using it. Classy.

Even though that was the first Geocities site I had, the first one I really used was SVJHNet, a fansite for the book series Sweet Valley Junior High (yeah, super awesome), which I co-owned with this girl from Washington named Jessica. I don’t remember how I ended up co-owning the site with her, but she knew some HTML while I was still using Geocities Pagebuilder, but I began looking at the coding for the pages she had designed, and, from that, I figured out HTML, which would end up being a very handy tool for years to come. That site is probably my favorite Geocities memory, just because I learned so much from it. I think that was early 2001-ish, when I was 11/12. I had been into web design for a few years before that, but learning HTML was definitely much more legit. I believe svjh.net was also my first domain (it forwarded to the Geocities page), so that’s another fun milestone. It cost $35 for a year of domain registration, which, geez, that’s expensive, considering I registered kirstiej.com for a year for $1.09.

Aside from those two, I had a ton of other sites, ranging from other fansites to award sites to “cliques” (the early version of fanlistings, I guess, but I guess even fanlistings are rather passé now) and tons of other sites. Sadly, in my attempt to archive them all before tomorrow, I found that many of them were deleted off the Geocities servers. I would have loved to have them all for nostalgic purposes. At least I have the few I found.

So, Geocities, my dear friend, thank you for the years of fun and all that you taught me. You were a huge part of my life years ago, and I wish you a very fond farewell.