Friday, August 17, 2012

Medium. The new Pinterest?

Today has been a great day exploring new ideas about travel and the future of communication! Ironically, one of the courses I will be taking in Europe is called Media Futures, so I'm excited to get there and get started.

First, I started looking at phone info today for UK countries. Raymond has been researching this for awhile, but today I thought up a good idea (I think)! Basically, we thought we had two options: pay our American phone companies a lot of money to make them international or buy or rent a phone when we get there. Alternatively, today I wondered, what if we just take one of our old phones we don't use anymore and get an English sim card when we get there to make it useable? That way it doesn't matter if we're jail breaking it or whatever--we don't use the phone anymore anyway.

I suggested the idea to Raymond and and his text response was, "omg. OMG. We could!!!"

I think that means I had a good idea. Yay!

Then I started looking at things with my bank. When I stopped into Bank of America the other day to talk about traveling, they basically told me my current debit/credit cards should work in the UK, but they will charge me a 3% fee every time I swipe it because they have to convert the currency. This is true for any time I would use the card except with a couple certified bank they have a partnership with. However, what I looked into tonight is a BofA Travel Rewards credit card. Raymond suggested it weeks ago but then I forgot about it. 

Through this particular credit card the bank will not charge the extra 3% fee for ANY currency conversion, meaning it will save me a lot of money and not make me pay cash for everything! The only problem? I applied online and they said they would get back to me within 30 days. Since I leave in 18... that might be a problem. Worth a shot though, even if my parents have to end up mailing the card to me! Again, something I wish I had looked into a couple months ago.

We're also figuring out classes. Newman here in Wichita is actually entering the classes we're taking in Birmingham into the course catalog here, so we can enroll and get full credit!

Another site I've been looking at (thanks for the recommendation Theresa!) is It's full of cheap travel deals including airfare and hotel rooms, and even has deals for entertainment and theatre tickets. I'm so impatient to explore Europe and save some money while we're at it!

Finally, the future of communication I alluded to earlier. I read a news article about a new Twitter blogging platform that made me really curious, so I looked up this new company called Medium. Basically, the idea is that it is a middle of the road blogging site, a place to give a little more info than Twitter, but not have a full blogging page to keep up and maintain. The site was created by the same designers as Twitter and Blogger, so of course I was intrigued. Although it isn't ready yet to be fully used, the beta looks really cool! 

Another way to describe it is blogging Pinterest. There are different collections of short, concise, topic-specific blogs ready to be explored. For the DIY enthusiast, there's a collection for that. Travel lover? You can check out sites and locations other people have been and hear about how they got there (tips and tricks for certain places). When you like something, it improves the rating of the blog and automatically pushes it to the top of the collection, so you don't have to look through all the bad to get to the good (or the same pinterest post 50 times!). It allows people to share ideas in complete sentences about a lot of different things. Their personal blog doesn't have to have a specific idea or point of motion! Hopefully this kind of social media can help people move toward writing actual sentences again instead of only sharing other people's work and trying to only squeeze ideas into 140 characters. 

Basically, I'm excited to see the work in progress. In my opinion, once they really get it up and running, it's going to shoot Pinterest out of the water. By the way, anyone think the Pinterest app needs some serious help?

That's enough of that for now.
Rachel :)

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