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Local

Parr builds a mission with words and technology

Ben Parr spends a few hours at a local coffee shop working on his laptop. As co-editor of the Mashable social media news Web site, Parr is recognized as an authority on social media and has been interviewed on CNN television and spoken at various conferences. The Princeton High School graduate is the son of Ernie and Nid Parr and currently lives in San Francisco, Calif.
Ben Parr spends a few hours at a local coffee shop working on his laptop. As co-editor of the Mashable social media news Web site, Parr is recognized as an authority on social media and has been interviewed on CNN television and spoken at various conferences. The Princeton High School graduate is the son of Ernie and Nid Parr and currently lives in San Francisco, Calif.

PRINCETON — Princeton native Ben Parr wants to change the world, and he'll no doubt use cutting-edge technology to do it.

Parr, 24, is co-editor of Mashable, a social media news Web site that covers the latest trends and news on hundreds of social networks including Facebook, Google, Twitter, My Space and YouTube. Mashable has a readership of more than 10 million people worldwide. The target audience for Mashable is anyone who’s interested in the news, media, technology and social spaces, Parr said.

A 2008 graduate of Northwestern University with a double major in political science and the science of human culture, with a minor in business, Parr now lives in San Francisco, Calif., where he works from his home. Mashable does not have or need a central office, he said.

Before going full-time with Mashable, Parr worked with a variety of computer and media outreaches, including as programming and product management for Facebook, interactive content manager for the SpineHealth health information Web site, and as project manager and promoter for Free Lunch, a social networking application start-up.

Parr began writing for Mashable in his college days, became an associate editor at Mashable last spring and was named co-editor this fall.

As co-editor, Parr said there is no typical day, but most days are spent writing, editing and in management responsibilities. Mashable has 15 full-time employees and several dozen contributing writers. As co-editor, Parr has also spoken at various conferences and has also been interviewed on CNN News, talking about social media issues like Facebook security.

However, Parr’s writing isn’t limited to Mashable. While in college, he started working on his first novel, which he completed shortly after graduation. The book is a science fiction novel with a working name of “Desel." He hopes to finalize the publishing of his book in 2010. If the book goes well, he’s got a five-book series in mind. In addition to his book and Mashable writing, Parr will also have an article published this spring in the national Playboy magazine.

Though a writer and editor, Parr said he sees himself first and foremost as an entrepreneur. He and a celebrity friend, whom he declined to name, are working on an IPhone application which he hopes to complete in 2010.

When asked where he sees himself in five years, Parr said he would like to be running his own company and changing the world. He will still be writing, doing media and building. However, his work of building may not be in the form of bricks and wood, but in the form of building a company or building an idea, Parr said.

“My goal in life, plain and simple, is to change the world,“ Parr said. “Building something is what I like to do the most, whether it’s a company or an idea or something else. I’d like to build something everyone could use or care about.”

Looking down the road, Parr said there’s always room for improvement, as an individual, as a country and world wide.

"You can always do better and improve yourself in some way, and you can always improve the world in some way," Parr said. "That’s my goal, to make an impact on the world.”

Parr is the son of Ernie and Nid Parr of rural Princeton.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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