Tag Archives: social media platform

Hello, Ello? I hate Facebook too! Where’s my invite? UPDATE!

ello

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the anti-Facebook social media platform, Ello, that’s been all over the news.

Okay, okay.

I’m slightly exaggerating.

It hasn’t been all over the news.

It launched way back in March (that’s like five years ago in tech years), and has only recently been getting mainstream attention.

Primarily because the CEO, Paul Budnitz, has been making waves with his controversial statements about Big Brother Facebook.

The usual suspects.

The usual suspects.

Oh, wait…you haven’t heard of Ello?

I see that some background is in order.

You’ve probably seen the Ello logo – the eyehole-less black and white smiley face icon that sits atop user’s headshots – and thought, “WTF?”

And you wouldn’t be alone.

Ello is a new social media platform, released several months ago, that lets it’s users post status updates, photos and GIFs, as well as comment on their friends’ posts.

It’s being touted as the antithesis of Facebook, because it has no ads, the mainstay of the social media world.

And a real break from how most social media networks operate.

Their manifesto (called “Manifesto”) clearly speaks to the significance of being ad free.

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

But it’s only quasi-free.

Sure, if you’re using the platform “naked,” it’s free.

If you want to add any features, you’ve got to upgrade – to just the features you want, of course – for a fee.

This customization, allowing users to create an Ello page unique to them, is another feature which sets Ello apart from Facebook.

As someone who hates Facebook for introducing paid (or “sponsored” rather) ads into my feed, Ello seems like a breath of fresh air.

Who wouldn’t want to read their friends’ inane drivel devoid of pesky ads clogging up their timelines?

Sign me up!

Oh, wait…Ello is invitation only.

I, for one, am at a complete loss for how I have not yet been invited to take Ello for a test drive.

Earth to Ello!

My 1,015 readers (as of this morning) are dying to know what Ello is all about.

And they shouldn’t have to troll the interwebs or chance upon an article in Mashable, Engadget, Techcrunch, Business Insider, or some other marginal publication, to get their tech news, when I’m all they need read!

Me thinks too much of myself, me thinks.

I digress.

Point is, Ello is staking its claim as an alternative to Facebook.

And the future looks rosy (for now).

Time will tell whether their gambit pays off.

I’ve requested an invitation, and received a reply (letting me know that I’d have to wait).

I was hoping for a "Welcome to Ello" message. Instead, I got this. SMH

I was hoping for a “Welcome to Ello” message. Instead, I got this. SMH

So I’ll give you the inside scoop as soon as I can.

UPDATE

As of 10:31 am EST October 1, I am officially Ello-ed!

Nick Beck is my dude!

Nick Beck is my dude!

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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

The IPO is Nice. But Quiet is Kept, Facebook’s Micropayments Are the Truth!

With this IPO, big brother is getting bigger.

While everyone is agog over Facebook’s IPO, and $100 billion valuation, blah blah blah, a more interesting undercurrent (for me at least) is the fact that they made more than half a billion dollars from micropayments on their payments platform.

More than half a billion dollars from micropayments!

If you’re not familiar with micropayments, they’re discreet payments made within platforms like Facebook, to purchase real and (often) virtual goods.

Micropayments (or micro-transactions) were initially developed as a way of enabling the sale of online content.

They were envisioned as small payments ranging from a few cents to a few dollars.

Micropayment transactions enabled people to sell content on the internetand served as an alternative to advertising revenue, which was traditionally the only real way to make money online (we’re talking pre-ecommerce proper).

Having been steeped in the mobile world, I’m abundantly familiar with micropayments, and the impact that integrating a seamless billing mechanism can have on a campaign, business or business model.

Micropayments work well on mobile because content companies connected to mobile aggregators are able to tap directly into the carriers’ billing systems.

As such, they enable subscribers to purchase ringtones, wallpapers subscribe to alerts and other premium programs, without having to input credit card or other payment details.

KGBKGB made a killing on mobile!

KGBKGB was one of the most successful mobile content companies to implement an effective premium campaign using mobile billing.

KGBKGB is like Wikipedia for your phone. Text a question to 542542, and for 99 cents, they’ll send you the answer.

Other companies, seeing the success of KGBKGB, soon were launching their own programs, leveraging WAP or mobile sites, to offer increasingly sophisticated products and services to mobile subscribers.

Zynga made mirco-transactions a real strategy for social media gamers.

If you’re familiar with Zynga, then you’ve probably seen the most effective application of micropayments in a mobile, online or social media context.

Zynga, the creators of Mafia Wars and Farmville (among their other titles) popularized the practice of encouraging users to pay real money for virtual goods and currency.

If another person sends me a Farmville request....

Built primarily within Facebook’s platform, Zynga’s social media games, allow users to make purchases within their games, monetizing their games.

I’m sure that a large part of Facebook’s micropayment revenue comes from Zynga’s successful implementation of it’s intra-game payment model.

Facebook’s payment platform, which game developers are required to use, is becoming an increasing contributor to it’s revenues, making Facebook less reliant on advertising sales as the sole revenue generator.

Much in the same way that Apple takes a percentage from music publishers and authors who make their content available for sale in their store, Facebook takes a piece of every payment transaction within it’s platform

A large part of why Facebook may continue to be successful, comes from the popularity of their platform and developers’ desire to access this massive audience.

I’m sure that their IPO will be equally successful, as folks belly up to the bar to get a piece of what may invariably be the largest initial public offering ever.

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Filed under digital advocacy, mobile, opinion, social media, technology

Ning: Was never a fan and (now) never will be.

I just got this email from Ning advising me that unless I moved my Ning account to a premium version, my account would be deleted.

Pay us, and we'll 'renew' your network.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ning, it’s an online platform for people and organizations to create custom social networks.

At the time I created the particular account, that Ning was now placing on the chopping block, I was helping a client explore which of the various platforms to use to help build their social media footprint.

Ning was definitely one of the frontrunners (at the time) due to all the buzz in the industry about what Ning was doing in the social media space.

Several brands I work with, had established Ning social pages, to varying degrees of success.

By and large, it appeared that bands and musicians were the most active users of the Ning platform.

But ReverbNation was also doing the same thing (only better).

Anywho, the love affair is clearly over, and the powers that be at Ning have decided that if you’re not anteing up, you’re not staying on their platform.

Period.

Where you were once able to maintain an account for free, Ning now requires that you have a premium account.

Mind you, Ning is shameless in their efforts to drive premium enrollments.

When I visited the site pages they were taking down, I was presented with this pop-up screen:

Shameless tactics!

Curious, I filled out the form, and check the email I received after signing up to access the (now defunct and inaccessible) page.

Dear Network Creator...you're screwed!

Shameless!

I’m not interested in ‘bringing back the network’ so on February 10, my little research experiment is going where all unloved web pages go to die.

And about that client, they now have a burgeoning and thriving community…on Facebook.

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, rant, Smack talking, social media

My nieces are so over Facebook.

Facebook, some people are so not into you.

As a technology and social media evangelist, I regularly recommend that my clients explore using technology and social media platforms to reach niche audiences, by employing the medium used by these audiences. Invariably, services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and their progeny feature prominently in my discussions.

With the ever-increasing number of users, and the development of widgets and other technologies, like Tweetdeck, which enable users to access platforms on-the-go, social media services are becoming inextricably intertwined in the way many of us live our lives.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the younger you are, the more familiar you are with advancements in technology, and the more readily you adopt them. Conversely, the older you are, the more out of touch you are when it comes to technology and social media platforms.

Take me, for example. I’m fairly adept at texting, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. But when compared to my 21 year old brother, I’m a sloth, groping blindly to grasp the nuances and intricacies these platforms have to offer. I figured that my little microcosm reflected the real world. However, as of recent, my assumption has been turned on it’s head.

You see, this weekend, I spent some time with my nieces, students at Spellman, and I was amazed to learn their perspective when it came to their use of, and familiarity with technology and social media platforms.

My older niece is a texting monster. Every few seconds, her Blackberry Curve is buzzing. She regularly engages in multiple conversations simultaneously. With many of her friends far away at their respective homes, texting became their main form of communication.

She loathes Facebook and Twitter, as unnecessary invasions of privacy. She sees no purpose in posting every intimate detail of one’s life online and believes that it gives strangers (i.e. friends of friends) access to information that they would otherwise not be privy to if they didn’t know you personally. Her younger sister, also an avid texter, is similarly Facebook and Twitter averse.

Both of them regaled me with stories of the various ‘beefs’ raging on Facebook, caused by one person posting a status update or picture that offended another. They narrated one instance in which the reputation of one Spellman student was put on full blast, because people she had friended, engaged in a smear campaign using the viral nature of the platform to spread misinformation about her.

This lack of privacy and ease for abuse has made many, like them, very Facebook averse. So while Facebook and Twitter are all the rage for some, for others, not so much.

As this little insight into social media from my nieces demonstrates, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And while brands may have different concerns from college students, many of the issues they face will be similar.

Knowing which nodes to tweak to reach which person becomes invaluable as user preferences differ widely. The digital and social media marketing mix employed by brands should be designed to tap into the digital spaces in which folks naturally congregate.

At the end of the day, I encourage my clients to jump, feet first, into the technological/social media fray, because you can’t have a dialogue with folks, if you don’t speak the language.

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