The Thoughtful Twitterer: A Pledge

I compose this pledge based on using Twitter the last three years and following (and occasionally unfollowing) over 750 people during that time. I’ve observed abundant violations to every line in this pledge. But, don’t let my pledge fool you into thinking I am a Twitter-expert; @chrishorst is a work-in-(slow)-progress.

For those of you who don’t tweet, my apologies, but this post is not for you. If you’re looking for Twitter 101; check out this insightful Michael Hyatt post. Feel free to add a line in the comments if I’ve missed any foundational traits of the Thoughtful Twitterer:


1) I pledge to talk about others more than myself.

Even though I think my own blog, book, church, organization and business are sweeter than the South’s tea; I will recognize the contributions, writing and articles of other people. Even if they are less cool than my own.


2) I pledge to give my source kudos:

I understand that it’s easier to post cool stuff as if I found it myself, but I also know that’s not very thoughtful. Even if I haven’t mastered the Chicago Style Handbook citations, I’ll give my referring friend a shout-out of some sort (e.g., “via @PillsburyDoughboy” or “Thanks @JamesTheGiantPeach”)


3) I pledge to talk with  people, not at  them:

I understand that Twitter is more like a telephone than a megaphone. I will interact with other people, ask questions about friends’ posts, and, yes,  respond when someone talks to me.


4) I pledge to be hopeful: 

Even when it feels like the world is one great tragedy, I will fight my inner Debby Downer. I won’t spend my every waking tweet bemoaning the inustices in the world, in my life, in the Church and in our political system. I will be (or at least try to be) a person of hope.


5) I pledge to not secondhand brag:

My mom might hail the brilliance of my work, but that doesn’t mean I should repeat that to all my friends and peers. Likewise, I’ll try to avoid retweeting every nice thing someone says to me or about my work. I believe that reposting someone else complimenting me is no different than me complimenting me.


6) I pledge to not attempt a tweeting battle:

I will surely want to pick fights, as there are plenty of BWC’s (buffoons-with-computers) in my world, but I will show restraint. As much as I’ve tried, I’ve never had a constructive or fruitful fight with anyone on Twitter. In fact, it’s impossible to ever have the final say on anything in 140 (or 280 or 420) characters. Thus, I’ll avoid trying whenever possible.


7) I pledge to understand the @reply:

While it’s certainly tricky, I’ll do my best to use the @reply like a pro. Whenever I start a post like this: @NicholasCage is the bomb!, I know that the only Twitterers who will see that post are me, @NicholasCage, and anyone who follows both @NicholasCage and me. I’ll fight the temptation to start posts with an @ sign unless I am directly talking to Nicholas Cage, for example. If I did talk directly to Nicky Cage on Twitter, however, I would not even bother secondhand bragging. I’d just straight brag …in a breathy, theatrical way that would make The Cage proud.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: Do you have any other Twitter tips? Let us know in the comments below.[/alert]

Apple Announces iPhone 5; Retails for $199

The technology world focused its’ eyes on Apple today during its’ 1:00pm EST announcement of the iPhone 5. The phone, with LTE technology, will retail starting at $199 and is available for preorder on Friday (ships the following Friday, 9/21).

Apple has also announced iOS6 (drops on Wednesday, 9/19), new iPods (touch and nano), and a revamped iTunes.

Stay tuned below for more updates and information. We will be updating this page regularly throughout the day.


Last updated: 2:55pm

Also intro-ing other things, like the new iTunes as well…

And now the Foo Fighters are playing on stage…




[box_help]Sound Off: What are your thoughts on the new iPhone? Will you be purchasing?[/box_help]

American Apparel vs. Western Union

This isn’t your typical ill-fitting tee shirt. It’s American Apparel. 

As an owner of two American Apparel tees, I can affirm these shirts fit well. We know they fashion comfortable garb, but we also know their clothes are “crafted with pride in the USA.”

Out of the limelight, a financial services company lurks in mystery. We see Western Union signs everywhere, but I’m guessing like me, you’ve never been a customer. Earlier this year, I pitched TOMS Shoes vs. Whole Foods in a corporate do-gooder analysis. Today’s matchup? American Apparel vs. Western Union.

American Apparel

Activists flock to American Apparel (AA) products, drawn to their fashion-forward designs and ethical business practices. AA lauds how they “pioneer industry standards of social and environmental responsibility in the workplace.” They pay their factory workers well and give back to Los Angeles, their home city. They construct quality products.

If that was the whole story, I would hail their greatness. But it’s not. They do some things well, but their problems plunge deeper than even the deepest of their v-neck man tees.

Frankly, the more I learn about American Apparel, the less I like. As a person of faith, I find AA’s blatant disregard for decency appalling. The New York Times described their marketing as “sexually charged.” AA categorizes it as “provocative.” It’s sadly ironic they are a clothing company because their ads feature very little of it. This edginess appeals to their  customers, but it isn’t winsome. It’s willfully vulgar. “Controversial as [our marketing] may be, we’ll continue to give our core audience what they crave,” their website flaunts.

Their (lack of) corporate values start at the top. Founder and CEO, Dov Charney is a real class-act. He’s called the “Hugh Hefner of retailing, decorating his stores with covers of Penthouse magazine” and he shamelessly and unapologetically exploits his female employees. Call me a prude, but I think AA cheapens women. From their leadership to their marketing, AA distills the value of women down to their dimensions. And that, to me, flies in the face of good American business and true social responsibility.

Speaking of being American, their worshiped manufacturing process drips with arrogance. I believe in free markets and believe healthy market economies are the “best broken system” to continue to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty globally. AA positions their advertising as if the only way to run an ethical company is to hire American laborers. It’s not. That’s bad economics and it flies in the face of great global companies like Gap and Apple that use global manufacturing facilities to create great jobs in developing countries.

It’s fine for companies to tout their Americanism–and for consumers to buy local–but don’t suggest companies which do otherwise are villains. This protectionist tone incites Americans (both progressives and conservatives, which baffles me on both counts, but that’s another topic) against our global neighbors. Since when is helping provide jobs for poor people in other countries unAmerican (or unChristian, for that matter)?


Western Union

Western Union pops up in the worst places. Their outlets populate seamy strip malls and dimly lit corner stores. I associate these Western Union outlets with pawn shops, money lenders and liquor stores, retailers that victimize on the chronic poverty found in these neighborhoods. While it may have been fair to accuse Western Union of this twenty years ago, it isn’t any longer.

On an evening drive recently, I did a quick stop at Western Union with my friend Clarisse, a Congolese refugee. We pulled up to a gas station and she jumped out. A minute later, she slid back in the car. Transaction complete: She had just sent $50 to her aging mother in Brazzaville, Congo. That $50 was her mother’s only income that week.

Later in the evening, her mom called. The money had arrived. Today, over $200 million will change hands though over one million transactions, just like the $50 Clarisse sent to her mom. Western Union sustains families through these transactions. In Haiti, over half of the national income comes through these transactions–––remittances–––and has been a lifeblood for millions of struggling families. They’re safely transmitting billions of dollars to and from remote places like Congo, Somalia and Laos. And, they’re doing so with transparency in their pricing.

They have outlets in every country in the entire world. They treat and pay their 7,000 employees well. And, they give generously, granting over $70M to innovative nonprofits that “connect families with economic opportunity,” aligning closely with the heartbeat of Western Union’s core business. These agencies include many top microfinance organizations (before you think I’m biased, they haven’t given to HOPE yet, but hopefully someday!). Western Union understands their unique contribution to the world–––safely transmitting money globally between loved ones–and they promote human flourishing through the opportunities they create.


The Verdict

It is a charade to claim American Apparel is a socially conscious company. They quietly erode the worth of women and loudly abhor real American values. Still, Christians line up  to print their graphics on these “ethically manufactured” tees. In contrast, Western Union makes the world a dramatically better place for poor families with very little fanfare. This match-up isn’t even a contest: Western Union scores a first-round knockout.

[box_info]Sound Off: Do you agree or disagree? What is your stance on American Apparel’s advertising. Let us know in the comments. Want another corporate showdown? Check out TOMS Shoes vs. Whole Foods. [/box_info]

Apple Unveils New Macbooks, OS X Mountain Lion, iOS 6

Photo: Apple

Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the keynote address of the company’s 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. During the event, Apple announced updated Macbooks across the board (including a slimmer, “flagship” Macbook Pro), OS X Mountain Lion, and iOS 6.


Updated Macbooks

The most noteworthy is a new lineup of Macintosh laptops, including a revamped MacBook Air, the lightest of the computers, and a thinner, more powerful MacBook Pro.

“Today we’ve updated the entire MacBook line with faster processors, graphics, memory, flash storage and USB 3 connectivity,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

“We’ve made the world’s best portable family even better and we think users are going to love the performance advances in both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.”

The high-performance MacBook Pro will include the so-called retina display used on the new iPads, giving an extra high resolution screen.

“It is simply the best computer Apple has ever made,” Schiller said.

The New 15" Macbook Pro
Photo: Wired

Source: AFP


OS X Mountain Lion

The new Mac operating system, which will release in July for $19.99, is packed with a slew of features. The update brings apps and popular features from the iPad and iPhone to the Mac, with 100 new capabilities from iChat functionality to updates in the Safari browser.

For example, Mountain Lion incorporates Notes, Reminders, and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration, AirPlay Mirroring and Dictation.

iCloud Tabs, a new feature in Safari, will show all tabs open in Safari on all other iOS devices and Macs logged in to the same iCloud account. Safari also gains a unified search/address bar into its’ interface (finally).

Power Nap is another new feature, and it will carry out functions while a Mac is charging and sleeping. New emails will be downloaded, Time Machine will automatically run, app updates will be applied and other actions will be carried out with Power Nap. This will be available on the new ultra-thin MacBook Pro (announced today) and second-generation and later MacBook Airs.

Source: MacRumors


iOS 6

Siri can now launch apps and tweet. Siri is smart about sports. It can pull in scores, game summaries and player stats. Siri integrates with Yelp and OpenTable for restaurant reviews and reservations. Siri in iOS 6 will also integrate with Rotten Tomatoes for movie times and reviews. Siri is also available in a slew of new languages and will get hands-free integration in lots of in-car systems. Also (wait for it)… Siri is coming to the new iPad.

There is also deep Facebook integration in iOS 6. Users can login to their Facebook account in iOS 6 and have instant access to Facebook in apps, the web browser and Siri. Developers can also easily add access within their apps. Facebook contacts, events, and birthdays will all sync into your iPhone.

iOS 6
Photo: Wired

Other features:


  • VIP mail: will highlight mail from people you really want to hear from.
  • Passbook: Imagine a location-enabled Google Wallet. It collects all of your loyalty cards, ticket information and other info into one neat place for easy access. What’s more, it will prompt your apps (like the Starbucks app) to open with a swipe when you actually enter Starbucks. Passbook looks gorgeous and will certainly make life easier.
  • Apple Maps: Out with the old (Google) and in with the new. Apple’s own mapping app features new maps (of course), flyover, and turn-by-turn navigation. From what we could see, Apple’s done this very, very well.


Developers will get the beta version tomorrow. Customers will see iOS 6 in the fall (with the new iPhone!!!!!).

Source: Mashable


[box_help]What are your thoughts? Did Apple meet your expectations? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]

Christian Leaders Packing a Punch on Twitter

Photo courtesy of Awaken Generation.

From the New York Times.


Why are some tweets more popular than others?

When a Twitter staff member set out to answer that question 10 months ago, he thought the answer would emerge among posts from N.B.A. players, politicians or actors. Instead, he found a mystery: a set of messages that were ricocheting around Twitter, being forwarded and responded to at a rate that was off the charts.

“They were punching way above their weight,” said Robin Sloan, who discovered the anomaly but did not recognize the names behind the tweets.

Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and Andy Stanley were not well known inside Twitter’s offices. But they had all built loyal ranks of followers well beyond their social networks — they were evangelical Christian leaders whose inspirational messages of God’s love perform about 30 times as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga.


You can read the entire article here. It’s pretty incredible to see the reach of Christian thought on Twitter. Certainly, the message is more uplifting… take a look:

Three Thoughts on the Pinterest Effect


We’re in big trouble.

You’ve heard of it: it’s called Pinterest, and it’s here to stay. If you’ve been living under a rock, Pinterest is the new social network that launched last August with tremendous success. The premise is simple: you pin an image to one of your pinboards, which is usually centered around a simple, passionate idea (e.g. “weddings” or “my dream home”).

Since launching in August, Pinterest has grown phenomenally, to the rate of over 11,000,000 new visitors per month. This is the same trajectory as Facebook, so chances are all of your female friends (and some of the guys too) are already on board. In fact, Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. They’ve also secured $27 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, with a company valuation of $200 million.

What does this mean for us? Three thoughts:


1. We’re in trouble.

Circling back to my original thought, we’re in trouble. Women everywhere are creating their fairytale weddings, homes, and even baked goods (I’m serious). This creates a problem. There are a bunch of women that are idealizing their futures, which is dangerous. Their posts are filled with, “if only I had this” or “if I had the money.”

To counteract this behavior, you need to be the ultra-man. You need to be so manly that she can’t help it. “How do you do that,” you ask? Rely on Jesus, 100%. If your only concerns are heavenly things, her only concerns will be heavenly things. You set the tempo. If she doesn’t follow, find a new woman to lead.

It’s okay to fantasize about the future… but the only idolization I want my future wife to take part in is with Jesus.


2. We get a cheat sheet.

Yo’ girl got a Pinterest? You just got a massive cheat sheet to providing everything she ever dreamed of.

The perfect meal. The perfect ring. The perfect getaway. It’s all out there in the open thanks to the power of the internet. All you need is a quick glance at a few of her pinboards and you have a great opportunity to give her those things she absolutely desires.

It also raises the stakes too: surely she’s not oblivious to this fact, so you better be the best boyfriend/fiance/husband ever.


3. It’s actually… somewhat fun.

As of very recently, Quarterlife Man has a Pinterest. For article publication purposes, we deemed it very important to disseminate our content to the fastest rising social network–––especially because a decent percentage of our readership is women. There’s also a void in the space for manly-man content (see: Board of Man). As a result, we’ve created six boards:


  • Man Stuff: The cool things a man needs.
  • Man Media: Our articles, wrapped up in one neat area for viewing.
  • Man Cave: The essentials every man needs in his abode.
  • Man Travel: The places a man should travel.
  • Man Food: Food. Steaks. Red meat. Healthy stuff, too.
  • Man Style: Clothes make the man. We agree.


You won’t see a ton of action on Pinterest; we are merely curating tastes and a feel according to our brand. I’m not sure how women can spend HOURS on the website; I suppose we’re all just wired differently. Anyway, check it out. We’d love to have to follow us… and you might as well be an early-adopter, because pinning is hot, and Pinterest isn’t going anywhere.

[box_help]Are you on Pinterest? What are your thoughts on the growing social network? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]


Quick Review: The New iPad

Photo Cred: Apple

It has arrived! The new iPad is now available, and it is as amazing as expected.  Although I am no computer genius, I can appreciate the changes they promised, and how it actually holds up when you use it.

Here’s a rundown of some of the new features:


Retina Display

The display is truly amazing.  My eyes actually had to adjust to just how clear the picture really is.  Photos look more stunning than if they were actually printed out, and I mean photos taken myself, not just the ones they preload to show how great it is.  I can’t possibly stress how beautiful the display is.


4G LTE Data Connection

4G AT LAST!!!!! The 4G connection (I got AT&T) is actually faster than my Wi-Fi connection at home.  YouTube videos load faster than you can watch them, so there is no waiting for the video to preload, and I checked it using videos that I couldn’t even get to load before (Bernhoft’s “C’mon Talk” music video, for example).


Apple A5X Chip

Again, I don’t claim to know the details of how all the inner workings of the chip work, but I can easily see how quickly apps open and load.  There seems to be almost no start up time for an app, and lag seems nonexistent as you jump from app, to game, to document, to video, etc.


In my opinion, “The new iPad” lives up to the expectation.  It is another example of Apple taking things one step further.  Though they may not be the first to do something (multi-tasking, 4G, etc), they always seem to do it the best (just ask all the “other” smartphone users, whose battery doesn’t even begin to compare to that of the iPhone. I’m not naming names… …cough, Android, cough).  Though there are no changes to the appearance, The new iPad is a totally new tablet.

Now, for the gripe… …”The new iPad”?… …really?

I can’t see Steve Jobs having allowed that to fly.  They should have stuck with the “iPad 3”.  Also, this launch seemed to be lacking the hype of previous ones.  I have stood in lines for endless hours before, but this time I was able to simply walk in at 10am, and purchase it.  There have been a few “chinks in the armor”, since the passing of Steve Jobs (the crashing servers during the iPhone 4s preorders, and during the iPhone 4s activations, the crashing servers with Siri, the cheesy names…).

It will be interesting to see how long Apple holds its place as leader (which I believe it is) in the technological world, without Steve Jobs.  He was known for running an extremely tight ship, and having the last say on all products before launch. Though he succeeded in pushing them ahead, I hope he also succeeded in training others to continue the vision.

A World Without Plastic?

Plastic problem

From the pages of… “oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-cool.”

From Mashable via PSFK, there is apparently a Plastic-Eating Fungi Found in the Amazon May Solve World’s Waste Problem.

Apparently, Yale University students and professors have found the fungi in the Amazon rainforest. What’s more, the organism can survive on just polyurethane, meaning it does not need oxygen to sustain itself.

Besides the fact that this is just really cool, it opens up a whole new window of opportunity for research and ability to become more self-sustaining. I can’t wait to see what comes of this.

[box_help]Thanks for reading. Is the sky the limit for this kind of research and development? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.[/box_help]

The New Social Diseases

We live in a fast paced and exciting world.  Everyone feels connected, and at any moment you can find out what people are up to, where they are, and what they are thinking (sometimes in 140 characters or less).

The Internet has become ingrained in our culture.  Social Networks have brought people together and have even helped topple nations.  We no longer live in the world of our fathers, and our world drastically changes with every click and innovation.

I am a fan of technology.  I do not fall into the line of thinking that gadgets and social networks are ruining our culture.  However, I do believe that there are new challenges that come along with our high tech culture.

The Internet has brought amazing things, and it’s hard to imagine life without the now common things like status updates and tweets.  But the Internet has also become another means for man to seek after the things he longs for, and the desires of man are far from always admirable.

The other day, I was driving along, listening to satellite radio, when an ad came on for a website entirely devoted to helping people have an affair and get away with it.  Their slogan was, “Show me a hot wife, and I’ll show you a man that’s tired of being with her.”

A popular men’s magazine was on the rack at the grocery store.  Its cover proudly announced, “Horny? Finally, there’s an app for that.”

Most of us have grown up in a generation where we were constantly warned of the danger of social diseases such as HIV and AIDS.  We have been assaulted by images and descriptions that can never be erased (thanks to the world’s idea of Sex Ed), all in the hopes that we will protect ourselves and make wise choices.

In the midst of Social Networks and online dating, there are new social diseases to be wary of.  It’s easy to catch the disease of instant gratification, and become overtaken by symptoms such as feelings of entitlement and dependency upon the need for just one more click or message.

Enjoy the excitement of reaching out to new people, and the experience of talking with people who you would never have had the chance to meet before things like Facebook existed, but I urge you to guard your heart and mind.  Don’t allow the Internet’s feeling of anonymity to become your excuse for taking part in things which are destructive and harmful.  Don’t use the blessing of technology as a means for your next fix of self-pleasure.

In the cyber world, conduct yourself in such a way that nothing will undermine your character.  Be alert, and guard yourself against the new forms of social diseases, which wait to infect and wear on your life.

To paraphrase Colossians 3:17:

“And whatever you do, whether in person or in posts, do it all in the screen-name of the Lord Jesus, tweeting thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Sony Ericsson LT28at Flexes Muscle With 13-Megapixel Camera

Sony Ericsson LT28at Xperia

Call it a “super phone.”

The Sony Ericsson LT28at is making waves today as product details were leaked on the Bluetooth website. Among the features: a 13-megapixel camera (WOW), 4.55 inch 720p HD display, 720p HD video, LED flash, and more.

The heavy-hitter in this news is the whopping 13-megapixel camera. The folks over at Slash Gear published some photos taken with the camera and they are spectacular. If anything, they definitely give credence to the idea that the typical point-and-shoot digital camera is dead.

I am an Apple fanboy, but leave it to Sony Ericsson to make me consider infidelity with my mobile device. The absence of an imminent iPhone 5 is making me test the waters with any great-looking Android phones… and this one certainly fits the bill.

Stay tuned for more information. The phone is rumored to be available sometime next year on AT&T’s high-speed LTE network. Its official debut is expect at CES is January.


[via Xperia Blog]