Monday, November 19, 2012

NBC News' Mara Schiavocampo is not ashamed of her Twinkie affection. Now, she's stocked up for life

NBC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo shares why Twinkies have a special place in her heart, and why she bought herself a lifetime supply.

By Mara Schiavocampo, NBC News

In just a few days, a box of 100 Twinkies will arrive at my house. Given that I eat one Twinkie  — maybe two — each year, these should last at least 50 years. That's the point. I'm stocking up on a lifetime supply of Twinkies.

When I first heard that Hostess was filing for bankruptcy a few months back, I immediately dismissed the idea the company could actually close. "They'll work it out," I thought. I figured there was no way that the brand behind Twinkies, Ding Dongs and those cupcakes with the squiggly line, would cease to exist. It seemed impossible. Hostess is as American as Wonder Bread.

But when things started deteriorating in the last few weeks, I began to panic. Why? Because like so many people, I have a very deep emotional connection to Twinkies. I ate them when I was little. My mother kept the individually wrapped snacks around the house and every now and then I could have one. They were the ultimate treat.

I love everything about Twinkies. I love how soft and spongy the cake is. I love that second bite, when you really start to get into the filling. I love that they come in pairs. I love the way they look and smell. I even love the little cowboy Twinkie on the box. They are my single favorite junk food indulgence. If I had to order my last meal, I'd request a pair of Twinkies for desert (mashed up with ice cream, naturally).
As I look around and see how others are reacting to the news that Hostess is closing down, I realize I'm not alone. This isn't about snacks. This is about personal ties that often go back to childhood. This is about the ultimate comfort foods — treats that makes you feel like a kid again.

And even thought it's been reported that Twinkies may live on, just the possibility of it all disappearing makes me sad. It marks the end of an iconic American company, and for so many of us, our most valued treats. In life, when I've been really, really down, a Twinkie would always cheer me up. Good thing I have that lifetime supply coming. I'll need it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Social Video App Vodio Rolls Out Deeper Social Integration

Video discovery app Vodio has rolled out a new iOS design which turns any Facebook Page or Twitter profile into a video channel, and adds in more content from YouTube along the way.

The platform — which is like Flipboard for videos — now allows you to search for a friend, celebrity or brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and subscribe to those pages to see what page owners are watching.

The updated Vodio app is now available in the Apple App Store.

Instead of scouring the web looking for the hottest and most shared new videos, Vodio populates the app with videos it predicts users will be most interested in based on behavior and their social graph. This means it recommends videos based on your own social profiles, videos you’ve watched in the past and now your social connections. The recommendations are included in various categories including tech, comedy, style, sports and buzz.
Unlike other video aggregation apps, which typically pull content from a fixed source, the company has been tracking thousands across the web since its launch in January. It has since attracted more than 200,000 users — 5,000 of which are active each day.

“Our goal is to give our users the easiest entry point for video consumption with the most natural and intuitive video experience available on the iPad and iPhone,” said Jonathan Messika, CEO of Vodio Labs. “We wanted to take the experience of finding videos beyond the act of merely subscribing to a certain feed of content, and rather create a system that pulls together all the videos available out there on the web and create channels that would match the things you’re interested in.”

The app already has some high-profile fans, including Avril Lavigne who said she uses the service often to connect with fans.
“I’ve been using Vodio for months — it’s a great way to stay connected with fans and find out what’s popular on the Internet right now at the same time,” Lavigne told Mashable at her Abbey Dawn Fashion party in September, which was in part sponsored by Vodio.

Lavigne shared an assortment of exclusive videos during 2012 New York Fashion Week that were only available through her Vodio channel.