Tag Archives: Twitter

Get Back! Take a trip down the AfroBeatles rabbit hole.

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Its been almost a month since Yoda placed me on my AfroBeatles mission.

He planted the seed and I have meticulously tended to it.

Day by day, I’ve given the AfroBeatles my focused attention.

Fast forward to today and I’m steeped in AfroBeatles lore.

I’m subsumed by the Fela Kuti Beatles collaboration in this alternate universe.

As I learn more about Fela, the individual, the prospect of this imagined group, The AfroBeatles, is even more intriguing.

Its been made all the more real, by my examination of the actual people.

Every day, I’ve been listening to the music, watching videos and researching.

I’ve queried my relatives on their impressions of Fela coming up in Nigeria.

Probing to determine what they thought of him as a person, musician and revolutionary.

I even downloaded This Bitch of A Life by Carlos Moore onto my ipad.

Its an auto-biography of sorts on Fela.

Fela This Bitch of A Life

Fela’s candid impressions of his life, and his experiences, told in his own words and from the perspective of those closest to him, provide a real depth of understanding for who he was.

It gives insight to why he held the convictions he did and what made his message so controversial.

Yoda gave me Revolution In The Head, the definitive “must read” on The Beatles.

Revolution In The Head

The first 20 pages put the Beatles in a light I had never previously considered.

As opposed to being a bunch of guys putting messages into their music, music was their message, and their lyrics an afterthought.

My targeted Google searches on both Fela and The Beatles unearthed troves of information, casting more light on who these guys really were.

And I’m not the only one.

Every day there are more blips on Yoda’s mental radar.

I’ve been manning the AfroBeatles online and social media command center, and the blips are there too.

A steady stream of blips congregating around certain AfroBeatles properties.

Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, are all seeing clusters of regular activity and steady growth.

Which tells me that AfroBeatles is sticky.

It could be a bunch of Yoda’s little disciples, doing his online bidding…

But hey, blips are blips.

Eventually we’ll arrive at a tipping point.

Right now, I’m listening to Get Back vs Colonial Mentality.

And once again I’m tapping and typing.

When the Beatles recorded Get Back in 1969 the song just came to them.

Over the course of a few days, they followed an idea for a song.

A rehearsal and twenty-something takes later, Get Back was here.

By contrast, Colonial Mentality came from Fela’s observation of African behavior over time.

Colonial Mentality became a scathing critique of the African adoption of English ways, to the exclusion of their own cultural traditions.

The mashup of these songs and their messages forces me to ponder how we are all trapped in constructs not of our own making.

Like Yoda’s little experiment.

Sometimes, we are creatures of accident.

But at others, we are conscious cognizant willing participants to these constructs.

I know I sound crazy when I talk like this, but stay with me.

Take this trip down the rabbit hole with me.

Watch Get Back on YouTube…

Or listen to the special Independence Day playlist on SoundCloud…

And tell me that you’re not intrigued.

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Filed under branding, music, social media

Digital game changers: Social media interns

social media interns

I regularly extol the virtue of interns.

Having been an intern myself, I know how much I learned from simply being in a professional environment.

Benefits flow both way.

For the intern, it’s a great opportunity to grow and develop real world skills.

For the business or brand hiring interns, it’s an excellent opportunity to pre-screen potential future staff and get work done at the same time.

I routinely recommend interns, for both the free labor (yeah, I said it) and the inherent skill set today’s interns bring to the table.

Back in the day, interns were simply young people you took under your wing.

It was more of a mentor/mentee type relationship.

You were the sage, they the sponges soaking up knowledge at your feet.

They interned specifically because they wanted to know what you knew.

Experience the real world.

Build their resumes.

And hopefully land a paying gig after college if they played their cards right.

Interns could type, make copies, get coffee.

All the grunt stuff that secretaries executive assistants were for.

Interns of today, however, provide far more valuable than interns of old.

Why, you ask?

Social media, that’s why.

Eff typing and making copies.

These kids today know social media like the backs of their hands.

They routinely Facebook, YouTube, Tweet, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine in their sleep.

They tweet, post, like, share, and favorite more times before their sugar-laced breakfasts, than you have in the past year.

They engage more forms of social media than you and I even know exist.

More so you, than I, but I digress.

They’ve got time on their hands and spend an inordinate amount of it on social media.

Their mobile devices are virtual extensions of their fingers.

Have you ever seen kids texting without looking at their screens?

Or speed texting?

Unlike my generation, these kids are growing up with the technology that still baffles most of us.

Of you, rather.

My point is that today’s interns are bring a lot more to the companies with work for in this new technological and social media landscape.

They get it.

Inherently.

The understand the nuances of social media, as no two platforms are alike.

There is a distinction between Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube and Vimeo.

Snapchat and Vine.

Instagram and Pinterest.

For some organizations, the whole social media learning curve can be steep.

But virtually every brand has an online and social media presence.

I won’t beat you upside the head now about it, because I know that you know you need it.

More importantly, you need people who know it.

The ability to sustain that presence turn upon whether you have people within your organization, with an intimate understanding of the inner workings of each platform.

And bodies.

To sustain a successful online and social media presence, you’re going to need the bodies to throw at it.

As my friend James Andrews put it, you’ll need a social media command center.

And while you could pay a social media expert to man the helm of all your social profiles, you’ll get far more bang for your (free) buck with (social media savvy/connected) interns.

Cats I’ve turned on to the importance of social media – and social media interns, are killing it.

I’m talking followers and likes in the tens of thousands (peep Free Angela on Facebook).

So sleep if you want, but if you’re really interested in turning your social media around, get you some interns.

I mean who else is willing to work for Doritos and a reference?

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, social media

It’s a digital world. Why are you still analog?

analog vs digital

We are a digital generation.

Our lives are inextricably intertwined to technology.

Wherever you look, there are signs of the digital era.

Think about the last major storm or natural disaster you heard about.

Mobile phones and Twitter were how most people first reported or got wind of them.

That’s powerful.

If you look at your own behavior, you’re checking your email, text messages or social media accounts on your phone.

These activities didn’t exist a decade ago.

There was no Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

Smart phones were still several years away from being mainstream.

Or affordable.

But today, things have changed.

Smartphones, social media, texting, instant messaging, wifi.

We can’t imagine living without them.

See something interesting? What do you do?

Whip out your phone, take a snap or shoot a video and post.

Can’t remember the name of song on the radio? What do you do?

Dial up the Shazam app on your phone or Google the lyrics.

Need directions? What do you do?

Hit up MapQuest for turn-by-turn directions.

Why am I going into all this?

Because for all the advances that are taking place in technology, I still hear people say “why do I need this or that” and it drives me absolutely bonkers!

I was in Miami for a few days, and I came across (yet another) brand, a hotel, without a mobile website, app or any form of social media.

When I started talking about all the reasons why they should have any one (or all three) of these things, they pashawed me like I was talking gobbledygook.

They went on and on about how their demographic used computers.

Wouldn’t use mobile phones to make reservations.

Weren’t on Twitter or Facebook.

And have no need for an app.

Despite my eloquent arguments to the contrary, they gave no ground.

It was only when I showed them the mobile site of one of their competitors that the lightbulb went off, and they finally understood what I was talking about.

But it shouldn’t be this way!

How is the digital world growing, changing and advancing by leaps and bounds, but folks are missing it wholesale?

Sure, traditional ways of doing things still work.

Want to advertise a sale at your store? You could take an ad out in the paper.

Or place an ad online.

If anyone sees either, they’ll know that you’re having a sale.

The one who sees it in print will have to get in their car, drive to the store and then check out what’s for sale.

The one who sees it online can go right to your site and check out what you’ve got for sale, right then and there.

If they’re on a mobile device they can browse and buy on the go.

The difference between the two are night and day.

Know ye this: I’m on a mission.

To bring analog cave-dwellers to the digital light.

It’s going to be a long road.

But I’m ready for the challenge.

Analog heathen beware!

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Filed under digital advocacy, mobile, social media, technology

And so it begins. Has Vine become the “in” thing?

A few days ago, I posted about Vine, the social video service launched by Twitter on Thursday.

Vine users can create short, six second videos, which can be published to their Twitter, Facebook and/or Vine profiles.

Well it seems that the world has gone Vine mad in the space of a few short days.

Over the weekend, at least two different sites have popped up, built off of the Vine phenomenon.

The first, Vinepeek, is a real time aggregator of Vine videos.

Vinepeek basically broadcasts an endless stream of these six-second Vine videos.

Since all Vine posts are public, viewers can see videos from everyone in the Vine network.

It’s really buggy, and videos frequently freeze, requiring you to reload the page often.

Another service, Justvined.com, lets viewers watch the last 20 videos on Vine.

justvined

The service is very simple, and offers few options beyond watching videos muted or with volume.

This service is buggy too.

If you visit the site from your iPhone, good luck with getting your browser back.

The videos launch automatically, one after the next, in an endless stream of annoyance.

I had to kill Safari to stop the madness.

Despite the limitations of these initial forays, the interweb is literally abuzz with Vine.

Every day new articles pop up about how marketers can use Vine to promote their goods and services, the abuses of Vine (aka Vine porn), and of course, the fallout between Facebook and Twitter over Vine.

Several blogs posts have been devoted to Vine etiquette, the proper way to create Vine videos, and conversely, why Vine signals the end of the world.

But whatever your perspective, Vine has clearly captured the attention of the (media) masses.

Whether Vine will be a flash in the pan or not remains to be seen.

But I suspect that Vine, like Pinterest before it, will develop a massive user community (aka eyeballs) that brands would be remiss to ignore.

One good thing about Vine is that fact this it is a video medium.

And brands can use it more effectively than long form videos, which requires a user sit through the entire thing.

Smart marketers will figure out how to sell folks in six seconds or less.

With the Superbowl coming up, I wonder whether the powers-that-be at Twitter had the foresight to buy up some of that Superbowl ad time.

Outside of the natural buzz they’re getting from the geekorati who are already up on these techie trends, the Superbowl represents an unprecedented opportunity to get Vine in front of the (tech-ignorant) masses.

But I suspect there are already several hundred thousand Vinies? Viners? out there already.

By the way, what is the appropriate verb for making Vine videos? Vining?

I’ll bet you the Crispin Porters of the world are already hard at work coming up with Vine pitches for their brands.

So what do you think?

Is Vine here to stay?

Are you planning to Vine?

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, iPhone, mobile, technology

Do you Vine? Twitter launches micro-video sharing app

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Have you heard of Vine, Twitter’s latest spinoff?

In a nutshell, it’s a micro-video sharing app that’s currently available for iPhone users.

The app launched yesterday, and it essentially allows Vine users to post short 6 second videos to Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

What’s the big friggin deal, you ask?

Well they’re not any old six second videos.

They work like GIFs letting you create clever stop-animation style videos.

And it’s easy as pie to do.

All you do is turn on your phone’s camera from within the app.

There’s a little camera icon in the header.

Then you hold your finger to the screen.

As long as your finger is touching the screen, Vine records.

Lift you finger, recording stops.

Press the screen again, recording starts again.

Lift it, it stops.

Each time you press the screen, a green progress bar shows you how much recording time you have left.

When you’ve hit your six second limit, a green check box appears on the screen.

Press it and you’re presented with the option to post to the Vine community, Twitter and Facebook.

Toggle the switches to select your preference and viola! You’re done.

Getting set up with Vine is a cinch.

You can register with your Twitter account or sign up via email.

From there, you’re prompted to confirm your profile details.

And then Vine gives you a short live tutorial to show you how to use the app.

In addition to letting you create your own short vids, you can browse through the creative contributions of other users from the ‘Explore’ option in the app.

There’s also an ‘Activity’ option in the menu, which stores all of your activity within the Vine community (likes, shares, comments, etc.).

Posting micro-videos to Vine is the video equivalent of Tweeting.

You’re posting short bursts of content that followers consume like potato chips.

It’s so super easy to use that I can see this thing taking off.

But what do I know?

There’s already a bit of controversy surrounding Vine’s release.

Apparently, unlike most other apps being introduced nowadays, you can’t sign up for Vine with your Facebook account.

And there is some question as to whether you can actually post to Facebook via the app.

When I tried, there appeared to be a glitch in the matrix.

Although I was presented with the standard access screen, the app crashed when I elected to allow the app to post activity to my profile.

Hmmmm…

Anyway, if you’re interested in yet another social sharing app that’s a monumental waste if time, Vine is right up your alley.

From my short time with it, I foresee it being quite addictive.

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, social media

Like me and I’ll like you back. Reciprocity, social media style.

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If you’re a member of any of the many groups on Linkedin, you may have seen a thread inviting members to ‘like’ a fellow member’s Facebook page.

In exchange, the owner of the page will like the pages of participating members back.

Similar campaigns have been floated for folks to follow one another on Twitter.

These types of initiatives operate on the honor system, with participants adding their respective Facebook URLs or Twitter handles only after they’ve like fellow participants’ pages.

I’ve participated in a few of these exchanges (purely for investigative purposes).

But I had to stop once I started seeing status updates of dog walkers, podiatrist and various other nondescript entities and individuals I didn’t really know, popping up on my Facebook page and inside my Twitter feeds.

While the idea was good, the end result left much to be desired.

Now you must know that there is a certain etiquette underpinning initiatives such as these in social media.

It’s the principle of reciprocity.

Essentially, the principle of reciprocity dictates that one good turn deserves another.

It started with Twitter.

When I first joined Twitter, they actively promoted reciprocal following.

If someone followed you, the proper protocol was that you followed that person back.

When you only had a few followers, reciprocity seemed like a great idea.

Simply by trolling through Twitter, you could follow a whole bunch of folks and (with the etiquette of reciprocity) have them follow you back.

Great right?

Only theoretically.

But finding and following people on Twitter was a manual, labor intensive process.

You had to find an follow cats one at a time.

Boo hiss! Who has time for all that?

Then services like TweetSpinner came and changed the game.

TweetSpinner (and services like it) allowed you to automate the find-and-follow process, which could only heretofore, be done manually.

Simply plug in a few keywords and search filters, and voila! you had a whole list of like-minded folks, which you could follow, en masse.

Even if only a small fraction of them followed you back, the ratio with which you were identifying and following meant that you could grow your followers exponentially faster than you ever could before.

Soon Twitter found its numbers exploding as users scurried about trying to build larger and larger followings.

Ashton Kucher famously challenged CNN to see who could reach one million followers first.

Ashton won.

Not to be left out in the cold, Facebook also encouraged social reciprocity.

Facebook went from fans to ‘likes’ and soon everywhere you looked, folks were liking each others’ pages (and content within pages).

Someone puts up a picture, video, song or clever statement, what do we do?

Like it, of course.

Get a favorable comment from someone, what do you do in return?

Like their comment, what else?

Liking has become such an important commodity, that brands have been dropping like widgets on everything they produce.

Email newsletters, digital flyers, event pages, you name it.

The concept of liking has become so pervasive, numerous white papers have been devoted to the subject.

Still, many are unsure of the value of ‘like’ currency.

But I believe that it’s a good measure of a brand’s stickiness.

While there may not be a lot of data to support the relationship between Likes and conversion rates, it’s clear that brands that interact with their audience (as defined by the folks who have liked your page) derive some benefit from the exchange.

A trend thats starting to gain traction, is the concept of paying it forward.

#followfriday, retweets, re-pins, shares are all examples of the ways cats are paying it forward online and in social media.

Adding new content and keeping your pages fresh give folks a reason to visit, re-publish your information and like your page.

Now get out there and like somebody!

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, social media

ReTweet This: Twitter’s Emergency Request Policy Sucks

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When I first heard about Twitter failing to provide police with the information about the user who posted threats about committing mass murder at the opening of Mike Tyson’s play, I thought, “what a bunch of a**holes!

I mean really?

In the wake of the massacre at the opening of Dark Knight in Aurora, I would think that anyone receiving a threat involving a mass killing would be more than willing to comply.

Even more so, if that threat were communicated over a public forum or via social media.

I wouldn’t have imagined that Twitter would have refused to turn over user information to police, especially when that request was made pursuant to Twitter’s so-called “Emergency Request” provision.

Twitter’s Guidelines for Law Enforcement, states, in pertinent part:

Twitter evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis. If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving the death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it.

So you can imagine my dismay to learn that police had (in fact) made their request consistent with Twitter’s policy…and were still denied!

I get it.

No company which has an obligation to protect the privacy of its users, wants to be perceived as failing to maintain those boundaries, by simply bowing to every request from law enforcement.

And I’m sure that there are many less-then-emergent requests they’ve received over time.

But where the content being published is public, and the user voluntarily broadcasts their musings for all to see…

Or worse, when the user intends to cause panic or alarm, then the cost of protecting the privacy of an individual (crazed) user should definitely be outweighed to the benefit of protecting the public from menace.

In this instance, Twitter’s position was that there was nothing particularly specific about the threat.

Nothing specific?

Did dude have to put a time in the Tweet?

I’m going to kill 600 people on Saturday at 1:30 pm CST.

A Twitter spokesperson added that if law enforcement wanted their records, they could obtain a subpoena to obtain them.

And, in fact, that’s precisely what the police did.

Three days after their initial request, Twitter was subpoenaed and turned over the records.

Three days later.

You have an emergency request provision FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT and you felt comfortable denying a request for information about a threatened mass murder by one of your users?

Not that I wish harm on anyone, but how effin’ crazy would Twitter have looked if dude actually followed through on his threat prior to being subpoenaed?

Is that what it takes?

And let’s be real.

Does this guy have any legitimate expectation of privacy, that Twitter should have taken such a stance?

No.

He’s a nut job.

And Twitter is nutty too.

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Filed under opinion, rant, social media

I’ve got no Klout? Gimme a break!

I’m like a gangsta without a gun…I’ve got no Klout!

I just created an account on Klout and was appalled to discover that I had an influence rating of 10.

10!

Mind you, the Klout measures influence on a scale from 1 to 100.

So you can imagine my shock to learn that I had the influence of a kumquat.

In my professional self, I regularly discuss influence as measured by services like PeerIndex, Twitalyzer and Klout, as points of reference for how individuals and entities can assess the impact of their social media.

But I hadn’t thought of the type of influencer I was.

I publish a blog for chrissakes!

True. I haven’t published very regularly since April…

And I’ve completely fallen off the wagon on Facebook…

Can’t recall the last time I pushed a flick up on Flickr either…

But of course I have influence!

I’m registered with virtually every social media platform (of significance) under the sun.

When I signed up with Klout, I registered my Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress and Instagram accounts.

Even though I’ve got a Blogger and Tumblr account, I left those ones out because I rarely use them (but perhaps I’ll go back in an add those too….hmm).

And every so often, folks comment on my blog posts, retweet my tweets, share my Facebook updates, watch my videos and generally seem to respond to my virtual ramblings.

But clearly not enough for Klout to feel that I have real influence!

Damn you Klout!

Now I’m not really smarting about my dismal Klout rating.

Yes I am.

But it does present a compelling case study for how influential one really is online.

Prior to registering with Klout, I had received numerous requests from friends and associates (via Facebook) to join Klout.

To me, it was yet another app fracturing my attention online, that I would have to show some love.

Unless, it’s one of those truly useful apps, that runs in the background, without you having to log in and actually do anything, and actually provides value, I’m sure it will go the way of many of the social media platforms/applications vying for users/user attention, and fall into obsolescence once the sheen wears off.

But who knows, I may find Klout truly useful and have a change of heart.

I doubt it.

The relationship with Klout has already started off a bit too rocky for my taste…

…an influence rating of 10…

Klout you’ve got some m*tha f*ckin’ nerve!

PS If you’re within the sound of my blog, please throw some K’s on a bruh!

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Filed under branding

Enough with the Acronyms! Plain English please.

Enough with the jargon. Plain English please!

The other day while giving a presentation, the client asked, “what does RAID mean?

We had been talking about servers, storage and protocols for preserving and backing up data – not roach spray.

And RAID had been introduced because it would continue to function even if one of the drives were damaged or inoperable.

Eventually, we explained that RAID was an acronym, which stood for “redundant array of independent disks.”

It’s a form of storage technology that combines several drives into a single unit, making it robust and reliable (and relatively inexpensive as servers go).

Reflecting on that meeting, I was struck by the frequency with which we tech types use acronyms as if they were common parlance.

The reality is that there is so much alphabet soup out there, that it’s difficult for techies to keep up, much less lay folk.

So today’s class will focus on defining some of these acronyms, and building your technical lexicon.

I’m sure you’re familiar with SMS (short messaging service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), DRM (digital rights management), CPM (cost per thousand impressions), yada yada.

Here are four terms you may not know, but should.

LBSlocation based services.

Tech speak: LBS is an information or entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through a mobile network which uses information on the geographical position of the device. We are the Borg. You will be assimilated.

The Borg can use LBS to find you.

Plain English: LBS is a system which lets you send and receive information from your mobile phone, based on where you happen to be at the moment. Common uses of LBS include finding the nearest ATM machine (BoA), tracking a package (Fedex) or locating a specific destination (Google Maps).

NFCnear field communication.

Tech speak: NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

Plain English: NFC is technology that makes life easier and more convenient for people by allow them to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect to electronic devices with a touch. Common uses of NFC include opening a car with your phone (ZipCar) or exchanging contact information (Bump).

APIapplication programming interface.

Tech speak: API is a source code-based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.

Plain English: An API is a way of putting data into and getting data out of a system, without having to manually type that data in yourself. APIs are simple tools developers create to help other developers make the most effective and efficient use of their code. Many mobile apps out today employ APIs which let you register or log in using your Facebook or Twitter credentials.

GUIgraphical user interface.

Tech speak: GUI is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands.

Plain English: A GUI makes it easier for people to learn, use and implement, through the use of icons, graphics, and menus. Think Apple.

So the next time you hear a techie waxing eloquently in technical jargon, you no longer have to nod your head knowingly (while totally ignorant to what’s actually being said).

You can jump in that convo and throw a few around your damn self!

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, technology

When Good Apps Go Bad (aka Bump You’re Obsolete)

Does anyone bump anymore?

Remember Bump?

Bump was the app that let you literally ‘bump’ your iPhone with another user to exchange contact info.

When it first came out, I thought it was the most ingenious app ever!

So, of course, I downloaded the app, and was ready to bump with all comers!

Whenever someone asked me for my contact info, I pulled out my phone and asked if the person wanted to bump.

I would push my phone furtively at them, grunting ‘bump, bump’ incessantly.

Usually, all I got back were quizzical stares.

I guess I was one of the very few who actually got bump, because I wasn’t really bumping with anyone.

Whenever I was in a position to use bump to exchange info, the other person didn’t have Bump.

The few that had it, didn’t know how to use it.

The ones that had it installed, didn’t have their contact set up and thusly, couldn’t bump with me.

After a few (too many) instances of bump fails, I just stopped using it.

It was too frustrating.

How many times would it take for me to realize that Bump just wasn’t that joint?

I don’t think I’ve used it in over a year.

I haven’t been asked by anyone to ‘bump’ in even longer.

But for some reason, I’ve still got it on my deck.

So I opened it up today, to see what (if anything) I’ve been missing

Apparently, you can use Bump to share pictures and music too.

You can connect with Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin now as well.

And there is a messenger function, that lets you message other Bump users remotely.

I did a Google search for Bump recently, and they’ve also got an Android version of the app.

The new Bump logo.

Does anyone even bump anymore?

There are a heck of a lot of ratings in the iTunes store (over 300,000), but are folks really using Bump like that?

I doubt it.

But hey, what do I know?

Do you have an app that you were once ga-ga over, thanthat now, you treat like a hump-backed stepchild and you don’t even look at?

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, opinion, rant