About Kathy Drasky

Kathy Drasky

Kathy Drasky regularly writes about online culture. She also writes “US and Under,” a feature about the unique similarities and interesting differences between Australian and American culture on her blog KazzaDrask Media. Her marketing and communications work with the ANZA Technology Network, Advance Global Australians and with various Australians and Australian enterprises has led to at least a dozen trips Down Under.

An accomplished digital photographer, her photos have appeared in 7x7 Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Google Schmap.


Latest Posts by Kathy Drasky

Ringo Starr Unveils Photograph, An eBook On 72 Years Of His Life

June 9, 2013 by  

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Ringo Starr is one former Beatle who is not afraid of embracing the 21st century.

Yes, it’s true. Ringo has written an eBook!

Aptly titled Photograph (after his 1973 hit solo single released after the Beatles broke up), the 72-year-old drummer shares the story of his life via pictures, video and audio.

While there may be a bit of interest in seeing snaps of baby Ringo growing up in Liverpool or an older Ringo traveling the world, the ultimate sales trigger will be the 100 never-before-seen candid photos of the Fab Four during their catapult to fame and years as the best rock band of the 20th century during the mid-to-late 1960s.

The eBook is actually an iBook, available exclusively from Apple’s iTunes on pre-order for $9.99 now (for delivery on June 12). In addition to the photos, you’ll also get video and audio narration by Starr himself, who says, quite frankly, “These are shots that no one else could have. I just loved taking pictures and I still do.”

Bravo, Ringo!

Sources: Apple.com and FStoppers.com

On Yahoo’s Purchase of Tumblr: A Whoah Nellie Culture Clash?

May 28, 2013 by  

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Photo Documenting Meals: Food Porn at its’ Finest

May 2, 2013 by  

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A couple of months ago there seemed to be a mini-backlash against us amateur mobile food photo junkies taking pics of our meals. This wasn’t just at your classy carpaccio-serving joints (pictured at the left), it even happened at a McDonalds!

But it was a backlash against providing a hungry audience with a steady stream of “food porn” that never really went anywhere, for which I’m pretty happy about. I’m taking a much needed break from crazy-busy self-employment (doing 6 weeks work in 4) to take a road trip around the Gulf Coast, New Orleans and then up to Austin, Texas. I intend to take plenty of food photos along the way.

Prior to the mini-anti-food-photo revolution-that-wasn’t, I had already been questioning my need to take pictures of my food. Was it caused by some childhood Christina Crawford clean-your-plate edict now manifesting in I’m an adult with a camera inside my phone rebelliousness? A need to document eating at some really good restaurants? (But then how do you explain 45 shots of some nachos made at home?) Or just finding food beautiful, like others gorge on landscapes, flowers or babies (or babes)?

I’m guessing that when it comes to taking photos of your food there is no right or wrong (unless your flash is going off in someone’s face while they’re trying to eat). It most definitely can be annoying, not only to the diner who is being harassed by your flash, but also to your dining companions, especially when you won’t let them touch their food until you’re finished with your photo essay. (The carpaccio shown above was not mine.)

Yet taking photos of our food has become a part of our online culture. Like the shopper on his cell phone at the supermarket, the baby with an iPad, the noncommittal responses we get (and give) via a text message or to a Facebook invite rather than just saying “No.” In the case of taking photos of your food however, someone can actually benefit from this annoying behavior. The restaurants. After all, your photo of their food on Yelp! or FourSquare is free advertising. Even an empty plate can speak volumes.

A Mouseketeer’s Death Stops Online Assault on the Iron Lady

April 12, 2013 by  

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Margaret Thatcher died this week in the UK, which was the dead (pun alert!) of night US time. The former British Prime Minister (1979-1990) was 87 years old and had been in deteriorating health for some time.

Thatcher and her politics were much like those of her contemporary, Ronald Reagan. Which led to a torrent of anti-Thatcher comments making the rounds on the social network channels by the time most Americans were sipping our morning coffee. Americans felt obliged to butt in. Those old enough to remember some of Reagan’s less humane policies took the opportunity to pile on and say bad things about Thatcher, who was also known as “The Iron Lady”, and last year was portrayed on the big screen in an Oscar-winning turn by Meryl Streep.

It reminded me of a quote often attributed to another great actress, Bette Davis, who held fast to the belief that you should never say anything bad about the dead. When informed that one her enemies in the film business had died, la Davis responded with, “Good. She’s dead.”

No one could say a bad thing about head Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, whose death at the age of 70 later on this same Monday, California time, knocked the Thatcher hate offline for a few hours. It took happy memories – perceived and surreal – from watching Annette on the “Mickey Mouse Club”, in all those beach party movies or as head spokeswoman for Jif peanut butter to call off the hounds over here.

And that’s the way it should be. Annette Funicello was an American treasure. She was ours. Margaret Thatcher was not. And just because social media didn’t exist when Ronald Reagan finally succumbed in 2004, after years spent in the same dementia-laden wilderness Thatcher was exiled to, was no reason for Americans to dump on Thatcher.

Now, it’s time to say goodbye…

Australian Politics – Julia Gillard vs Tony Abbott: Will Social Media Win All in the Election?

April 11, 2013 by  

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Social media surely wins elections in the US. Barack Obama is two for two on the back of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (well, Instagram was a new addition to the Obama campaign’s 2012 arsenal). But can it do the same in a country of 22 million, where voting is compulsory?

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (think Obama) is campaigning to hold onto her seat against the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott (think George W. Bush). But the similarities don’t end there. Many Australians do not like Gillard, for reasons they find hard to articulate, fairly similar to the Obama haters. Deep-seated prejudice is most likely at the core of both groups (anti-women, anti-black), but in the 21st century it is terribly uncool to be either of those things.

Enter social media to help us sort it out. While Americans got reality broken down for us with a series of memes that showed Obama as a forward-thinking progressive (he supports public television, women’s rights and understands you’ll never achieve world peace with militia riding roughshod on horseback), Australians are a bit more of a direct lot.

Witness the tweet making the rounds that spells it out for Aussie voters, who by the way, if they don’t like what’s on their plate can vote for third-party candidates or simply mark their ballots with an “X”. As long as you show up and be counted.

The election is five months away. Which gives this campaign a distinctly American feel as far as endurance goes. Australians are used to much shorter election cycles and will have to eat their spinach to keep up with this one.

For a more thoughtful look at the campaign (so far) and the accomplishments of Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, read “A Fair Go for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.” For something on the lighter side, visit the Tumblr blog “Julia Gillard’s Shoe.”

Photo credit of Julia: News.com.au.

Which Seth Actually Hosted the Annual Oscars?

February 25, 2013 by  

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The Daily Dot reports that hundreds of innocent people were confused earlier this month about who was hosting the 85th annual Academy Awards telecast in Los Angeles, California.

In our usual two-screen viewing fashion, several were both dazed and confused when they looked up from their Twitter feed to discover it was not actor Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, The Green Hornet) hosting the awards, but rather Seth MacFarlane (creator of the TV series “Family Guy” and director of the foul-mouthed talking teddy bear movie, Ted).

Rogen (@sethrogen) tried to correct the first tweet he noticed that identified him as the host, but the Twitterverse could not be stopped. So, the actor decided to play along, tweeting:

So psyched to be hosting the Oscars tonight! Its gonna be a great show!

Ultimately, Rogen was outed by one @IamBeccaStanley who tweeted:

@sethrogen don’t be a jerk. You’ve confused hundreds of innocent people #Oscars2013

Which was promptly retweeted by Rogen. Game over.

Meanwhile, the real Seth who was hosting the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane, has woken up this morning to mixed reviews of his gig. He gets points for his unexpected singing and dancing ability, and loses points for nearly everything else (see The New Yorker’s “Seth MacFarlane and the Oscars’ Hostile, Ugly, Sexist Night”). By the way, there have been no tweets from @SethMacFarlane since Saturday night.

Photos: Top: Seth Rogen. Bottom: Seth MacFarlane.

Source: The Daily Dot, “Seth Rogen Trolls Twitter into Believing He Hosted the Oscars”.

During This Year’s Super Bowl, Twitter Comes of Age

February 7, 2013 by  

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Two-screen or second-screen viewing is a 21st century experience. If you own a mobile device (or really like to sit with your laptop on your actual lap), you have no doubt engaged in the practice during major television events. The Super Bowl is the ultimate in major TV events. And social media – Twitter in particular -  serves to underscore that.

Getting ready for the Super Bowl this year at my house involved chilling Chardonnay, making a cheese platter and organizing Dungeness crab and sourdough bread for the second half (yes, we live in San Francisco). But along with the food and drink being moved in front of the big screen, I also brought my iPhone and iPad for texting and tweeting. They were essential to the experience, which for me includes snarky comments about the ads and entertainment and very little to do with the game.

People like me used to be annoying to our spouses and others who just wanted to watch the game (or the awards ceremony or the the election returns). Our running commentary was unappreciated. On Twitter, though, there are hundreds who find us funny, charming and insightful. We know this because they respond and retweet some of our best moments, like:

“Fun sold out” #tacobell

when the person sitting next has no idea what we were talking about.

Twitter and its short and sweet 140-character micro-blogging platform is indeed the social network of choice for going two-screen. The steady stream of comments – or tweets – a user can make typically offends no one. In fact, I gained three new followers during the show. Make 10 or 12 posts to Facebook in an hour and see where that gets you!

Lance Ulanoff, the Editor-in-Chief of Mashable, writes a glowing tribute to Twitter – and pronounces its performance during this year’s Super Bowl essentially its coming of age. Ulanoff even goes so far as to declare Twitter the winner of this year’s Super Bowl (and not the Baltimore Ravens).

Twitter will turn seven this year, but most early-day users came on board between 2007 and 2009. During this time, Ulanoff writes “Twitter transitioned to a rich, crowdsourced, micro-burst newsfeed” which makes it perfect when something that is truly changing the world is happening…or Beyonce’s half-time performance blows a circuit breaker at the Super Dome.

According to Mashable, there were 24.1 million tweets made during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, a breakdown of 268,000 tweets per minute (TPM).  This may make Super Bowl XLVII the most tweeted event in history (so far). Mashable previously reported that Election Night 2012 was the most tweeted event with 20 million tweets.

Source: Mashable.com

Happy, Lonely or Neither: Is Social Media Creating Its Own Planet?

January 23, 2013 by  

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“Is Social Media Creating Its Own Planet?” based on what people are talking about online this week.

In the category of “What planet are you on?” we’ve got a couple of doozies. First up, have you heard about the Notre Dame football star named Manti Te’o who is either the victim of a cruel hoax, or quite the hoax master himself?

Te’o either created a fictitious girlfriend who died during football season bringing on the sympathy big time (can’t hurt when you’re up for the Heisman Trophy), or met a woman who really was his girlfriend, except she wasn’t who she seemed. For the time being she has vanished – either in a car crash or from leukemia, or both.

Our second story in the “What planet are you on?” category is a more serious one. The Internet has always been a hotbed for conspiracy theorists, so we suppose it was only a matter of time before they got a hold of one our tragic mass school shootings and tried to debunk it.

A group of “truthers” have emerged in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that claimed of the lives of 20 five- and six-year-olds and six of their teachers last month.

The truthers say this shooting didn’t happen. The children are all still alive (where exactly is not specified) and actors were hired to play the roles of first responders and parents.

  • An American man working as a programmer outsourced his own job to Chinese workers who he paid a fraction of his salary while he went to the office each day and surfed the ‘net, watching a bucket load of cat videos.
  • Actress Jodie Foster, long-rumored to be gay, didn’t exactly tear down any closet doors during a speech she made at the Golden Globes, but her rambling talk that managed to mention both Honey Boo Boo and Mel Gibson temporarily took the Twitterverse to another dimension.
  • Attending events can be so all-consuming, sometimes you don’t have time to snap that Instagram, fire off tweets and update Facebook. Yet it’s so yesterday if you don’t make this happen in the moment. That’s why you need a social media butler to accompany you to your next big thing. That’s right, expect to see more low-budget versions of us social media types offering to document your every movement while you seemingly enjoy yourself as the world continues to turn throughout 2013.

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