Tag Archives: Instagram

From Vimeo to Periscope. Do we really need another video app?

The War for Eyeballs

First, there was Vimeo, the first video sharing website.

Vimeo allowed users to upload, share and search for videos online, and life was good.

Then there was YouTube.

YouTube gave us our fill of all the videos we could no longer see on cable or broadcast TV, all with a quick search.

Vevo popped up after that.

Vevo was a great alternative to YouTube because it had higher quality videos, without all the associated riffraff of user generated content.

Suddenly UStream appeared, and not only could you watch video replays, but you could tap into live video streams.

Couldn’t be there, but want to experience it live?

UStream let you do just that.

We had achieved video Nirvana.

Not to be left out of the fray, Facebook offered its own native video player, giving its millions of users an easy way to upload and share videos on its platform.

All of your low res, hi def, canned or live streaming video options were covered.

Right?

Apparently not.

Because then came SnapChat with it’s expiring videos.

Wait, that’s a thing?

And then Meerkat, the app that lets you broadcast yourself doing whatever to whoever wants to tune in.

And finally (and I say “finally” loosely) Periscope, which let you do the same thing.

So, what’s with all the video apps and services?

Well, video is a big thing.

No, I’m not talking about the bandwidth it requires.

I’m talking about the appetite folks have for it.

And they money that can be made.

Think about it.

Instagram has added video, so that its not just still photos anymore.

YouTube now offers “premium” channels.

Content companies, like HBO, are cutting ties with Cable companies and offering their content directly to consumers through apps and consoles.

Netflix and Hulu let you watch television and movies on the go.

Virtually everywhere you look – elevators, cabs, subways, planes, trains – video is offered.

And regular people are getting in on the action.

“YouTubers” is a thing.

Shooting a video of a melee and yelling “WorldStar!” is a thing.

People try to make “viral” videos as a way of getting their 15 minutes.

Folks earn bookoo bucks as YouTube broadcasters, creating often funny, niche content, attracting tens of thousands of viewers, and earning income as well.

Buzzfeed, FunnyOrDie, College Humor and many others’ business models are built exclusively off producing and marketing video content.

So while I think the current ‘fight’ between the creators of apps like Periscope and Meerkat is stupid, because…well just because, there is clearly an insatiable appetite for virtually any kind of video.

Have you ever watched a sensory video – the kind that’s supposed to give you tingles just by watching?

I digress.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, “do we really need another video app?”

No. We don’t.

Are Meerkat or Periscope the last of the video apps we’ve seen?

No. Not by a long shot.

There’s a war for eyeballs currently being waged.

With billions of dollars to be made.

And folks out here seeking fame by turning their cameras on and streaming themselves doing whatever.

And with all of our shiny, powerful, always-on mobile devices clutched in our collective sweaty palms, we’re all in the crosshairs.

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Filed under mobile, opinion

5 Resolutions to make Your Brand more Social in 2015

2015_loading

It’s that time of year again, where folks publicly state the things that they are (or aren’t) going to do in the upcoming year.

Cats resolve to do everything from losing weight, getting organized, finding a new job, drinking less, to saving money, eating healthier or reducing stress.

By and large, we make personal or individual resolutions, but very rarely do we devote this type of attention to our brands. But if  you think about it, was 2014 a stellar year for your brand? Aren’t there things you wish you had done better last year?

I’m sure there are.

But you didn’t.

In fact, you probably couldn’t have been more social because you don’t know what you were doing wrong.

Lets think about this for a moment, shall we?

Your Facebook page could have been more engaging. Right?

Right.

You probably could have posted more on Facebook, uploaded more flicks on Instagram, responded to more people who commented on your blog, or reciprocated more follows on Twitter. Right?

Right.

To be plain, you could have been more social.

But you weren’t.

Worry not my friend!

Here ere are five resolutions to make your brand more social in 2015.

Resolution No. 1. I will go mobile this year.

Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Did I say “mobile?”2015 will be the Year of Mobile. Brands who adopt a mobile-first approach, will far outpace those which fail to accept the fact that the mobile is the sweet spot for brands – especially in the retail and self-service industries. Mobile is the primary means through which folks are getting online, browsing and making discrete purchase/payments. With Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet and other mobile payment platforms, it’s the key to unlocking tight sales and generating revenue across screens.

One brand that has taken the importance of mobile and social to heart is Williams-Sonoma. The Williams-Sonoma family of brands, which include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, pottery barn kids, PBTeen, West Elm and Mark and Graham, have embraced mobile with mobile web properties that are simple to navigate and resulted in expansive growth of their brands online. In their annual report, Williams-Sonoma cites e-commerce as their “fastest growing business” and a “significant part of their sales success.” Other brands should look to companies like Williams-Sonoma, to see how mobile can be effectively leveraged in 2015.

Resolution No.2. I will implement a loyalty program.

Loyalty is becoming increasingly valuable to users who are looking to stretch their dollars. Who doesn’t want to be rewarding for spending money on the brands they patronize? More importantly, in this “look at me” world we live in, folks are quick to share that free coffee they just earned on Starbucks on Facebook (or Twitter) or invite friends to take advantage of a special offer (especially if it means they can earn more loyalty points for doing so).

Loyalty is especially important in the retail space. When the price of an item is virtually the same regardless of vendor, loyalty is sometimes the difference between making the sale or not. Best Buy has a particular good loyalty program, which rewards patrons for spending with them. Best Buy customers earn points for every dollar they spend, which can be redeemed for reward certificates. Loyalty members also qualify for discounts, free shipping and hosts of other special promotions. Starbucks, Sephora and Walgreens each have loyalty programs that reward customers who enroll.

Resolution No.3. I will use text messaging to engage.

Mass push notifications (aka text messaging) are a rudimentary, but effective way of interacting with your current or potential customers. Even though it seems counterintuitive in this age of smart phones, apps and responsive mobile sites, texting is still effective for reaching millions of mobile users who relish the quick tidbits of information that can be shared in 160 characters or less. One great thing about text messages is that, in addition to their brevity, you can embed links, which will let the user access greater detail, if they want, with a simple click.

Beyond the ability to broadcast messages to large numbers of people simultaneously, text messaging is far less intrusive than email, as users opt-in to receive them. Thus, there is a far greater likelihood of your messages being read and acted upon. There are a number of brands effectively using text messaging to engage with their audiences, including retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Aeropostale. Each of these brands understand the importance of text messaging, alongside their other targeted marketing efforts.

Resolution No. 4. I will use social media more.

Instagram has become the de facto platform to connect with this social demographic. But Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ (among others) still have a place with millions of users. This year, resolve to connect with your audience across multiple SM platforms. Even if you’re not creating unique content for each channel, at a minimum, make sure you’re broadcasting across all of them.

In 2014, brands like Fiat, Jockey and Burton, all made effective use of social media. By focusing on greater engagement, thoughtful campaigns and a commitment to truly using social media platforms, these brands were able to connect with and grow their respective bases in 2014.

Resolution No. 5. I will refresh my content regularly.

There is no worse sin in social media than stale content. Something new happens every day, so there’s no reason for your content to be static. Whether it’s a new sale, coupon, discount, store opening, product release, acquisition, whatever, updating your website or social media profiles with the new is always a good look for your brand. More importantly, by regularly refreshing your content, you give your users a reason to visit your site, social media space, or mobile app frequently.

I’m not talking about being social for social’s sake.

There’s nothing to be gained from spending all day on Facebook (or any other social media platform) if there’s no appreciable ROI.

I am talking about leveraging social media to enhance your brand and strengthen the ties that bind you with your current and potential audience.

As customers become increasingly more mobile and social, adopting a strategy that accepts this as a starting point becomes critical to the success of any initiative.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to adopt of develop a more social strategy or implement mobile effectively, or if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

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Filed under branding, mobile, social media

Want to increase diversity in tech? Make it cool. TechCool.org

Ethnicity in tech US

There’s been much ado about the diversity gap in tech.

The big dogs, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, EBay and Apple, have all released data, showing how much of their respective work force is made up of minorities and women.

Needless to say, the stats aren’t encouraging.

For the most part, tech is a white male dominated field.

Depending upon where you look, there’s anywhere from a 70/30 to 90/10 male to female ratio in tech.

From an ethnic perspective, the stats are far more sobering.

Generally, tech in the US is 58% white, 34% Asian, 2% Hispanic/Latino, and 2% Black (and 2% “other”).

The diversity gap stems from the fact that hiring in tech companies isn’t proportional to population.

While Blacks make up approximately 13% of the US population, they represent only about 2 to 3% of the technology workforce.

The disparity is palpable, especially when you think about the billion dollar valuations of tech companies like WhatsApp, Instagram and Tumblr, and how few people of color are up in the cut.

As a self-professed Black techie, I see this disparity every day.

In the majority of the tech circles I’m in, there are very few Black/brown faces.

We need more color in tech.

But how do we get there?

It’s one thing to know what the problem is.

It’s quite another to solve it.

Tech firms have begun recruiting at HBCUs and asking colleges and universities to recommend qualified Black students at job fairs.

But in my opinion, we’ve got to start earlier.

Obviously, exposing our youth to technology and fostering a love of math and the sciences is key.

Growing up, my father encouraged me to be an engineer.

I can still hear him in his thick Nigerian accent saying, “Chibuzor, you are going to be a engineer.”

That was his thing.

His first son was going to be an engineer, by hook or by crook.

Despite his aspirations for me, I simply wasn’t interested in joining the geek squad.

I fought him tooth and nail and I got an economics degree instead.

Today, I’m scraping together a meager existence and engineering jobs remain unfilled – or filled by white and asian men.

I could kick myself.

Who knew that Uneze had such foresight?

Why did I resist so vehemently?

Was his delivery so suspect that I gave it little to no weight?

Or was I just not checking for an industry I found to be so square?

Tech simply didn’t do it for me.

Looking back, it makes me wonder how many Black parents wanted their children to go into math and the sciences, but couldn’t instill any excitement in them to take it up?

All the Neil deGrasse Tysons of the world, much like Uneze before him, aren’t turning urban kids on to science.

My first proper experience with tech was cool.

I helped launch a Harlem-based start-up called DigiWaxx.

DigiWaxx was an online digital music promotions company that created a digital platform which made sending physical copies of records to DJs obsolete.

While it was primarily music and artist promotion, we pioneered what became the standard in digital distribution of promotional content.

The technology we employed was very rudimentary (at the time), but it was still tech.

And it gave me a glimpse into the myriad of non-traditional opportunities that existed in tech.

It also exposed me to the some really progressive folks on the leading edge of technology – most of whom were Black.

Folks like Russell Simmons and (360hiphop.com and Global Grind), had whole teams of Black techies, who simply did not fit the stereotype of tech.

Today, I’m steeped in technology helping brands to build mobile websites, mobile and tablet applications, and immersive interactive experiences.

I’m also spreading the message about how cool tech can be to Black and brown kids to help overcome the diversity gap.

How?

Well for one, I’ve started TechCool.org.

Well, I haven’t actually started it.

I just copped the URL yesterday when I was thinking about writing this blog.

And roped my man into creating a logo for me (soon come).

But that’s besides the point.

What tech lacks is the cool factor.

When most of us think tech, invariably we think nerd (sorry Neil).

We don’t think rockstar.

But tech is full of rock stars, and I’m focused on bridging the diversity gap by helping to put the cool into tech.

If you’re the parent of a young Black kid, you know they emulate the rock stars.

Well not rock stars literally, but cats in the public eye.

Roll out a phlanx of sports or media superstars, and your kids are wide-eyed, imitating their moves on the court, pantomiming their videos or reciting their lyrics.

We’ve got to elevate tech to rockstar status, to excite kids about the possibilities.

I’m starting an organization whose primary mission is to encourage young Black kids to take up technology by exposing them to the superstars in the space.

My plan is to partner with celebrities as a catalyst to spark interest in tech, and do it in a way that inspires them to explore tech professions in the future.

I did a pilot of this program a few years ago with the Police Athletic League of NYC, called the Digital University, where we gave youth first hand experience with audio and video production, web development and social media management and marketing.

We brought in DJs to teach them how to mix, VJs to show them video mixing, gave them cameras to shoot video, video editing software to create movies, and brought in a celebrity or two to keep them inspired.

The kids loved it and we opened their eyes to the numerous possibilities which existed for them to explore tech-based professions.

Although PAL ultimately opted to teach a cooking class instead of continuing to offer the program – because home ec is more important than tech..duh! – we were able to establish a proof of concept that the right program taught by the right people, with the right level of cool could connect with kids in a meaningful way.

That experience has inspired me to go all-in and form a not-for-profit singularly dedicated to rebranding the tech industry to make it more enticing to our youth.

So stay tuned for more updates as I bring TechCool.org to life.

It will probably start off with a blog, and then some speaking engagements, before I’ve got bonafide programming and a formal offering.

But I’m committed to giving tech a facelift and helping to close this divide.

Feel free to share your thoughts on my plan and hit me up if you’re interested in being a part of the TechCool movement!

 

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Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy, technology

Wanna be first at something cool? You better Brabble.


It’s not every day that you’re the first to do something.

That’s especially true in the tech space.

The minute you think you’ve got an original idea or stumbled onto the next big thing, someone drops it or says that they’ve already heard of it.

Got a great idea for a social media network?

Oops! Some kids at Harvard thought about that a minute ago.

And by the time you were up on it, you were far from a first mover.

You were on it – eventually.

And it probably took you a minute before you even were comfortable using it.

The same was probably true of Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and any of the myriad other social media trends that were once obscure platforms you never heard of, and are today the targets of billion dollar acquisitions – if not technology behemoths themselves.

And even though you may not have been there at the beginning, you probably fancy yourself “hip” when it comes to being able to spot and adopt social media trends.

Vine. WhatsApp. Snapchat.

You do that.

You may not have been first, but you were up on it by the time it became vogue.

And you were probably first among your friends or network for some things.

Shoot, I’d heard of Pinterest, but my wife actually put me on.

And now she can’t get off the damn thing.

But I digress.

Anywho, I’m about to put you up on the next ish.

What if you could have Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and Vine/Snapchat in one?

Where you could capture something in the moment.

Tag it up.

Decide who you wanted to share it with.

And post it in an instant.

See who’s posting.

Like.

Comment or respond to directly.

Share.

All from a mobile or web dash.

Well now you can.

It’s called Brabble.

And it’s barely a year old.

So you’re not exactly first first.

But you’re damn near close.

And it’s that next thing.

Trust me.

“What do you know Stephen? You couldn’t spot a trend if it walked up and bit you on the ass.”

Sure, my bum is a bit tough.

But I knows my nose knows.

What’s so great about Brabble?

It’s just another social media platform like Twitter.

Right?

Wrong!

It’s better, and I’ll tell you why.

For one, think of it as a dashboard.

Even though it IS a social media platform, what it DOES is give you the ability to manage multiple social media activities, within one place.

Sure, you can take a picture with your iPhone’s camera, and email, text or post it to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram.

Yes. You can shoot a video and upload it to Facebook or YouTube, and share it.

But once you’re done, your plopped back into your camera or photo album.

If you start from inside an app, say Instagram, and shoot a picture or video you’re stuck where you are.

And the user interface and experience for most social media platforms leaves much to be desired.

Especially on your mobile device.

Buttons are too small.

Items located too close to the edge of the screen are virtually inaccessible.

At the end of the day, you’re simply scrolling through an endlessly loading stream of posts, or pictures.

But not with Brabble.

For one, you start off with a Flipboard-like grid of images.

My Feed

You can elect to view content in either a grid or basic view.

Grid or standard view.

Clicking any image immediately pulls you into the thread of that Brabble (their version of “conversation”)

Second, the UI is basic.

Your primary navigation is found at the bottom of the screen, titled (quite simply) Menu, My Feed, Explore, Notifications and a big “+” sign to add a post (Brabble) of your own.

Like, love, Brabbleback.

Third, “liking” (one heart press/click) or “loving” (two heart presses/clicks), something, responding to or commenting on a Brabble (“Brabbleback”), is as simple as clicking on an icon and typing.

Finally, Brabbling (posting) is also super basic.

Brabbling. I think I just made up a term – must be sure to trademark that.

Hitting the big “+” sign opens up an overlay, with a large dialogue window to enter text, radio buttons you can select if you want to post to Facebook and Twitter, and icons above your dialogue box which lets you select which type of media you want to share with your post (or not).

A simple drop down next to the “Post to..” button lets you select whether to share your content with the World, your Followers, your Friends or Privately.

Brabble overlay

You can even save your posts to your Feed to send later.

This is not to say that there’s no room for improvement.

If I were going to make any changes to Brabble, they’d be few (and I could live without them).

But if I were, I’d make a persistent footer.

Generally, whenever you’re on the app, the footer is present.

Mine too deep into any individual piece of content, though, the footer goes away.

And you lose your bottom navigation.

If you go back, it returns, but there should be a persistent way to get back to “start” without having to repeatedly hit the “back” button.

It looks like the deeper you go into the app, there’s a transition from native to mobile web pages (which may account for the loss of your footer).

I could go deeper, but you get the picture.

Brabble is a cool app, which seamlessly aggregates all the things you like to do with your mobile device, into one app.

It’s not perfect, but it’s enough to make me take the leap.

And recommend it to all of you (my 42 readers).

I’ve been on the platform for three days now, and it’s pretty cool.

There isn’t a heck of a lot of traffic right now – and if you sign up, consider it part of an extended Beta.

Now go and Brabble, and be the first among your friends to be up on the latest and greatest tech trend.

And remember who told you about it when it tips….

 

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, social media, technology

Status update: 10 signs that you’re a social media addict.

Social media addictAs I was riding the train yesterday, I look across the aisle to see the faces of five of my fellow passengers – an entire row of people – buried in their mobile devices.

For the whole ride from Montclair to New York Penn Station, they remain transfixed to the little screens of their “i” devices.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

Social media addicts, the lot of them.

No small talk.

No exchanged glances.

No pleasantries.

Nada.

Expressionless faces peering into the void.

Looking around the train car, I noted that virtually everyone was on something.

With the exception of one couple deep in a conversation, everyone else – literally everyone else – was on some form of electronic device.

The lady to my left was ensconced in her Facebook feed.

The dude next to her was scrolling through Instagram.

Not to be the odd man out, I whipped out my iPhone, dialed up my Facebook app and began mindlessly “liking” updates in my News Feed.

Like a zombie, I stared blankly into my iPhone’s screen waiting for that thing – that visceral feeling – that made me ‘thumbs up’ one inane item or another posted by my friends.

And in that moment, I realized that I was addicted to social media.

Somehow, I had transformed from someone who thrived on human connections, to one subsisting on virtual interactions.

I knew something was amiss.

I also knew that I wasn’t alone.

Like the passengers on the train, there are probably millions out there, similarly addicted.

Today’s post is devoted to helping you figure out if you too, are an addict.

So here are the top 10 signs that you’re addicted to social media.

1. The first thing and last thing you do every day is check out your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed.

2. You ask people for life advice on Facebook. “Hey FB, am I addicted to FB?”

3. You’re always taking and posting selfies.

No, wait. I've got it. Hold on...just one more. No. That's not quite right. Just one more. Umm...

No, wait. I’ve got it. Hold on…just one more. No. That’s not quite right. Just one more. Umm…

4. You talk in acronyms. OMG! I’m a SM addict! SMH LMFAO

5. You constantly use hashtags. #youreaddicted #toptenlist #stephenchukumbarocks

Am I really going to search "#24yearsold"? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

Am I really going to search “#24yearsold”? Get your hashtag game right Maureen!

6. You threaten to “unfriend” or “unfollow” people.

7. You get offended when people don’t accept your friend request or follow you back.

8. You experience the “phantom buzz” even when you don’t have your phone on you.

9. You check your phone impulsively and at the most inappropriate times.

10. You start or end you day with a greeting to your “Facebook family.”

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

Are we really your family, Judith? Really?

If you exhibit any of these signs, put down your phone or tablet device, and get help immediately.

You could be suffering social media addiction.

If you don’t seek treatment right away, you may find yourself incapable of holding regular conversations and social interactions may become increasingly awkward.

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Filed under social media

Why the acquisition of WhatsApp is bad news. Facebook is the devil.

Facebook acquires WhatsAppFacebook is the devil.

So I’d be wary of anything the devil does.

Clearly a company that started off in a college dorm and became a multi-billion dollar company in the span of ten years must be in league with the devil.

If not the devil himself.

How else would you explain Facebook’s meteoric rise to the top of the social media food chain?

Sure, they’ve got millions upon millions of users.

Sure, they extract a pound of flesh from advertisers to hawk their wares to Facebook’s captive audience.

Sure, their IPO netted them a gazillion dollars.

But damn!

Enough is enough!

If you’ve been paying attention, startups on Facebook’s roster are batting zero.

Case in point.

Let’s look at the giant’s appetite over the past decade, shall we?

  • Connect U – shut down
  • Friend.ly – shut down
  • Gowala – shut down
  • Lightbox.com – shut down
  • Face.com – defunct
  • Threadsy – shut down

Suffice it to say, not all acquired companies fare well under Facebook’s oppressive thumb.

And these are just the more public purchases that Facebook has made.

There are scores of others too obscure to mention, scattered across Facebook’s post-acquisition landscape.

Facebook claims that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, but their track record doesn’t paint a convincing picture of post-acquisition bliss.

And while, Instagram, Branch and Friend Feed are still thriving on-going concerns, who can say when they will cease to please the devil and have their heads lopped off?

Facebook is a fickle beast, no?

I’m just saying.

I use WhatsApp.

I like WhatsApp.

Unlike most of Facebook’s crap, there are no distracting ads or mindless drivel mucking it up.

So you’ll forgive me if I think that Facebook’s acquisition to WhatsApp can’t possibly bode well for me and countless other WhatsApp users.

Sure, the creators of WhatsApp are making out like bandits, but who gives a fuck about them?

My misgivings are not without merit.

It’s happened before.

It can happen again.

I predict that Facebook is either going to scuttle WhatsApp completely or turn it into some ad-laden behemoth that I won’t want to fuck with.

With a track record like their’s, the devil Facebook is not to be trusted.

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Are you a Selfie Master? The art of the selfie.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘selfies.’

Selfies are simply pictures you take (and post) of yourself.

What started off as a way of capturing yourself in the moment, in the absence of someone else to take the picture for you, has transformed into a global phenomenon.

It’s so serious that selfies now have their own Olympic Games (of sorts).

The Selfie Olympics started this week and they are over the top.

Peep #SelfieOlympics on Twitter if you want to keep up with them.

Folks everywhere are taking selfies.

But there are folks out there, who have mastered – MASTERED – taking selfies.

Veritable Selfie Masters.

What makes them masters?

One glance at their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds, and you’ll know that they take taking pictures of themselves seriously.

You know when you’ve encountered a Master.

Their pictures contain the tells.

Look for the eyes.

Sometimes wide-eyed. Sometimes, narrow slits. Sometimes opened just so.

But always with a ‘come hither’ expression, regardless of width.

Check the mouth.

Sometimes smiling. Sometimes serious. Sometimes with puckered lips.

But, somehow, always inviting.

Peep the pose.

Sometimes with their head thrown back. Sometimes bent slightly forward (with generous cleavage). Sometimes in repose.

But always beckoning you closer.

It takes work to master the selfie.

It doesn’t just happen by accident.

You’ve got to be committed.

Learning to hold your camera or camera phone just so takes practice.

Getting that smile that looks genuine, and not rehearsed, requires dedication.

Keeping your outstretched arm from being in the shot, and appearing to have had the picture taken by someone else, is high art.

Selfies are an art form.

There, I’ve said it.

Selfies are an art form.

Think about it.

Do you look good in every photo you take of yourself?

Be honest.

No. You don’t.

Know why?

You’re not a master.

Admit it.

You aren’t committed.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t take a good selfie to save my life.

No matter what I try, my forehead is always too big, or shiny or enveloped in shadow.

Don't stare at the top of my forehead. You may go blind.

Don’t stare at the top of my forehead. You may go blind.

Even with my best efforts, my hairline is too scruffy, unkempt or appears too far back on my head.

Am I mad because my hairline appears to be receding?

Am I mad because my hairline appears to be receding?

If I’m conscientious or not, my clothes look disheveled, ill-fitting or dirty.

Why do I have a picture in my 'man-jammies'? Anyone?

Why do I have a picture in my ‘man-jammies’? Anyone?

Generally, when it comes to selfies, I end up looking a hot mess.

It’s not like I don’t try to take a good picture.

Shit, if I’m really honest, I take dozens – dozens of shots, trying to get just the right angle or perspective.

I rarely succeed.

I end up looking like a cow in a fisheye lense.

But that’s just me.

Alas, I am not a Selfie Master.

Perhaps one day, I will have mastered the art of the selfie, and will join their storied ranks.

For now, I’ll just suffer through self-photographing mediocrity.

What about you?

Are you a Selfie Master?

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Peer-to-peer. The (past and) future of social.

morpheus

Do you remember Morpheus?

How about Bitorrent?

Who can forget Napster?

Why am I asking about obscure software companies?

Peer-to-peer, that’s why.

These now mostly-defunct software companies were trail blazers, the precursors to modern-day social media networks.

What’s peer-to-peer?

Only the most important thing in the world, that’s what!

Wikipedia describes peer-to-peer networks as follows:

peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a type of decentralized and distributed network architecture in which individual nodes in the network (called “peers”) act as both suppliers and consumers of resources, in contrast to the centralized client–server model where client nodes request access to resources provided by central servers.

In a peer-to-peer network, tasks (such as searching for files or streaming audio/video) are shared amongst multiple interconnected peers who each make a portion of their resources (such as processing power, disk storage or network bandwidth) directly available to other network participants, without the need for centralized coordination by servers.[1]

When you think peer-to-peer, it probably conjures up images of networks of interconnected servers, passing digital files between them.

And you wouldn’t be far off.

The internet did start off as a collection of interconnected computers, sharing data, after all.

But I’m not talking about the hardware (or software) itself.

There’s more to social media than file sharing.

Don’t get it twisted.

Social media is about sharing.

Whether its a gif, photo, video, song or simply information, social media is THE way information gets disseminated online.

But that’s just one part of the equation.

The bigger issue are the peer networks – the underpinnings of social.

pure peer network

At its core, social media relies heavily on peer networks.

Nodes exerting influence on and over one another.

Without the cooperation necessary to allow one computer to access another, peer-to-peer networks would never have come to be.

Similarly, social networks work because of the inherent trust that exists between people.

Even if only loosely.

For the most part, being connected to someone (in a social media context) is like being vouched for in the Mafia.

You’re vetted by who you’re connected to.

The more connected you are, the more trusted you’re perceived as being.

Sure, social media is (somewhat of) a popularity contest.

But online, this popularity translates into trust.

Or credibility, rather.

I feel like I’m rambling.

There was a point to make in there somewhere…

Oh right!

Social has its origins in peer-to-peer networks.

Think about Facebook.

It was originally designed as a peer-to-peer network of Harvard students.

Now it’s a collection of numerous peer networks.

And all other social networks work in much the same way.

LinkedIn. Twitter. YouTube. Instagram. Pinterest. Google+.

As soon as you set up your account, what do you do?

Find and follow all your friends.

The folks most reach out to first are invariably people you already know.

Not to say that we don’t extend our virtual reach beyond the safe confines of people we know.

But when we do, there are usually less than six degrees of separation between us.

What was the point I was trying to make again?

Oh yeah…peer-to-peer networks are the underpinning of all modern day social networks.

If you’re interested in building a successful social network presence, focus first on your peers.

Those people closest to you, who you can rely upon to follow you, like your content and share.

Without a whole bunch of cajoling, bribery and/or sexual favors.

Once your peer network is in place, the sky’s the limit.

Or at least getting that next batch of friends/likes/followers won’t be quite as difficult.

Note: If this post comes of as rambling and incoherent, that’s because it is. But read it, re-read it, and re-read it again. It will eventually make sense.

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Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy, social media

Like to blog? Get Blogsy.

It’s been a while since I reviewed any apps.

So today, I decided to take a look at the apps I have on deck and talk about one of them.

Checking out the apps on my iPad, the choices are many.

I’ve got them arranged (roughly) by category: productivity, social networking, entertainment, finance, etc.

Since I find myself opening up my social networking dash quite often, I figured I’d write about one of them.

I’ve got nine apps designated as social networking: AIM, Facebook, Blogsy, WordPress, Find Friends, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite.

Now which to write about…

With the exception of Find Friends, each of these bad boys gets run.

And since I’ve already written about WordPress on at least one occasion, that brings us down to seven.

Hmmmm…

I guess I’ll do this scientifically.

Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…

Blogsy it is!

So Yoda put me up on Blogsy a minute ago.

If you’re not up on it, Blogsy is a blogger’s dream app.

In one spot, you can create blog posts, tag them, drag & drop photos and video, and post to virtually any blogging platform.

Sounds too good to be true right?

But it is!

Blogsy has a powerful dashboard that lets you access any of your supported accounts, including YouTube, Vevo, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr, and Facebook, all from within the app.

You can configure all of your accounts in Settings, and access them in the handy drawer conveniently tucked away on the right side of Blogsy’s main window.

In addition, its got a built in browser, that lets you find and grab content from the Internet and drop it right into your post!

I initially started this post in WordPress (force of habit) before switching over to Blogsy to complete it.

What better way to demonstrate how something works?

So here is a shot of me launching Blogsy in the built in browser.

And here’s a preview of this post inside of Blgsy.

And here’s a video from YouTube.

In addition to being able to grab stuff from virtually anywhere, you can also publish directly from Blogsy to any of your blogs.

Case in point: I published this right from my iPad.

Or save your drafts locally or in your platform of choice.

It’s really a complete, well thought out and super convenient app, and I highly recommend it if you’re a power blogger like me (not really).

Not that there aren’t some glitches.

For example the drop and drag function is a bit wonky.

Placing an image or video exactly where you want it to go can be…challenging.

Your text goes all haywire and its hard to know where your image or video is going to end up.

If you’ve got multiple blogs, like I do, figuring out which one you’re in and making sure you’re posting to the right one is a chore.

And getting around the app take a bit of getting used to at first.

But I found that messing around a bit will help you to not freak out and figure out how things work.

Anyway, I dig Blogsy a lot.

And I think you will too.

So get out there and blog(sy)!

Note: I am not being paid by Blogsy to endorse their product. But if anyone from Blogsy wants to cut a brotha a check, I’d be much obliged.

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Filed under apps, iPad, technology