Longform

Masters of Cyberspace

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"I knew from working for both English and Spanish media outlets that there was a very clear line already "defined" about what it was to be Mexican and what it was to be Mexican-American, or just American, by generations, educations, the whole deal. But that didn't feel like my reality," says Alanis.

"I'd started other projects before, mainly things that I hadn't had a passion for, and over the course of time I would just lose interest in them. I can go days without sleeping because there are so many things that I want to incorporate, create and share with the people that stop by my blog and communicate with me. I enjoy doing what I'm doing," Alanis says.

What Alanis says follows a common thread throughout every conversation we had with Beck, Nielsen, Karnavas. Keep it fun, keep it simple and above all, enjoy what you are doing.

THE WINNERS
Blurbs by Jeff Balke, Craig Hlavaty, Mandy Oaklander, Brittanie Shey and Katharine ­Shilcutt

Best Local Activism Site

SaveKTRU.org www.savektru.org

Despite ultimately losing the battle to keep KTRU's alternative format and Rice campus location, the people behind the movement were organized and their Web site was a well-oiled extension of their effort, which probably should be expected; these are Rice grads after all.

Best Start-Up Blog

Do713.com
www.do713.com

This rapidly growing blog/social calendar Web site features near constant updates on a very wide range of Houston-area events. The site ramped up quickly through tight Facebook integration and incessant Twitter and e-mail promotion. It's certainly one to watch.

Best Sports Blog

Crawfish Boxes
www.crawfishboxes.com

In a city filled with a lot of media-affiliated sports blogs but not very many independents, Astros fan-run blog Crawfish Boxes stands out. Unlike most fan blogs and Web sites, Crawfish Boxes is professional, frequently updated and highly informative.

Best Sex Bloggers

Mr. and Mrs. Gentlenibbles
www.gentlenibbles.com

Gentle Nibbles is a Houston swinger's Internet oasis. The husband-and-wife pair grew up religious in the Bible Belt, but now they pen hot stories, polls and sex advice for the swinging set. Even if you don't subscribe to swingdom, stop by for a few minutes of addictive browsing. It'll be the sexiest education you've ever given yourself.

Best Flickr Pool

Houston Museum of Natural Science
www.flickr.com/groups/hmns

Any organization can set up a Flickr pool and solicit fans or members for shots to be milked for publicity or ad purposes (heck, even we did it.) But the Houston Museum of Natural Science stands out for creating not just a group but a community, complete with photo challenges, meetups and opportunities to get one's photos critiqued.

Best Use of Video in Entertainment

Keep Houston Rich
keephoustonrich.com/khr

The story of Houston's mixed bag of a personality could take words and words to tell, but Keep Houston Rich manages to tell it in short video snippets, complete with a little snark, as the name implies. From Frederica von Stade's final performance at Houston Grand Opera to a time lapse of a Metro Trail being dressed in red plastic wrap, it runs the gamut of all that makes this city rich — culturally, that is.

Best Wi-Fi Spot

Bungalow Coffee
1219 Marconi, Houston
www.facebook.com/bungalowjava

Hidden around the corner of Montrose and Dallas in an adorable bungalow and dawrfed by high-rises, this unassuming spot offers coffee and free Wi-Fi in what feels like your best friend's living room. But it's not the locally roasted Java Pura that reined us in. In addition to free Internet access in a subdued environment, the cafe also lends out iPads to customers.

Best Real Estate Blog

Swamplot
swamplot.com

It's the only blog brave enough to take on both the Robin Hood Condos and the Ashby High Rise and still survive with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Gus Allen and his team of tipsters and dedicated commentors often has us muttering to ourselves, Who knew real estate could be so fascinating?

Best-Designed Site

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts
www.mitchellcenterforarts.org

Clean white backgrounds and gray and red text highlight nostalgic art and a gorgeous header that looks hand-­lettered. The Mitchell Center's Web site is so cool it could have been designed at Bauhaus. Its simplicity isn't skin-deep, though. The site is drop-dead easy to navigate, putting the emphasis on the performers, not on the playbill.

Best Use of Facebook to Promote a Business

MMM Cupcake
www.facebook.com/MMMCupcakeTruck

Most of our Facebook friends bore us with inane little motivational quotes, pictures from vacations we can't afford and maddening Farmville gaming updates. The MMM Cupcake truck is actually doing the Lord's work by telling Houstonians where the truck is posted up at so you can snag a few of its desserts all over the city. This is one profile you won't want to "hide" on your feed, though your personal trainer probably wishes you would.

Best Twitterer
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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty