To the tune of 3.65 million responses when I Google “Periscope app.”
I realize I’m not contributing to the content marketing vortex.
Yet, when I read most of these posts, I don’t see too many people talking about the realistic implications for brands.
Sure, I see the upsides. I’m excited. I get all the opportunities.
Livestreaming trade shows.
Livestreaming product launches.
Livestreaming puppies (see: Barbox).
But, with everyone urging brands to jump in, I see very few people (as usual) talking about the nuts-and-bolts of what this means on a corporate level.
For example, as with any new tool, on the corporate side there can be a resistance to try something out right away (contrary to what people think about the “shiny object syndrome”). Convincing companies to experiment with a new tool can be tough (not everyone is Mtn Dew or Red Bull). So, you have the adoption issue right off the bat.
But, I see a handful of other issues I’m sure midsized and larger companies will struggle with when it comes to Periscope and Meerkat, too.
Meerkat and Periscope use “ephemeral” video (I can never say that word). It’s here one minute. Gone the next. Cool for kids and people who love tools like Snapchat. Not so great for brands who like to actually see something they’ve worked hard to create for more than 30 seconds. Brands want to show off. Brands want content they can stick in an archive and refer back to at some point. Brands want content they can stick on the web and make searchable, so people visit their site and buy stuff from them. The archiving aspect of this is a big turn-off for brands, I think. Note: Periscope does offer brands the chance to save a video for 24 hours.
So, you take the video, You stream the video on Twitter. You interact with fans. Then, it’s gone? Isn’t that the conversation marketers are having with management right now? The “ephemeral” video component of this should not be under-played–that’s a big issue. Sure, for people who use tools like Snapchat, this is second hand now. But remember, not all brands are using Snapchat. And, most brands have egos–very large egos. So, if they put a lot of time and effort into creating video content, they want that video content to then live on their YouTube channel where people can like, comment and share it. They want to use it in e-newsletters. They want to point to it from advertising. The “ephemeral” aspect of video can actually be a huge turn-off for brands.
For many brands, video is still a big production affair. Videographres. Assistants. Full-day shoots. That’s video for a big company (not all, but I’d say many). It’s also costly since they typically don’t have the resources to do video in-house. So, along comes Meerkat/Periscope. You can now livestream video on your iPhone. Cool! But here’s the thing: Most brands may think that’s “cool”, but it’s not remotely “doable.” They’re simply not comfortable with it yet. Again, I’m not talking about ALL brands here (I just saw Target do some interesting things with Periscope for a product launch this week). But, I do think this is a big issue for a LOT of brands. This involves legal. This involves management. This involves governance. Once brands can dot all those is and cross all those ts, we may be in business. But, that’s going to take a while.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m just as excited about the possibilities for brands around livestreaming video as you are. But, I also want to be realistic. And, as someone who’s worked for big companies before, and as someone who consults with big brands now, I can tell you–there are hurdles. And, they are very real.
So, maybe we just need to be a bit more realistic about how this all unfolds. Brands and marketers are excited about livestreaming video, sure. But implementing it might be a bigger challenge than most people think.
photo credit: Twitter’s Periscope App TODAY Show NBC via photopin (license)]]>
Of course, that’s on me. I could turn those off anytime I want. But, I chose to turn them on initially to see how mad the rush was to the new platform.
And boy, has it been a mad rush.
In case you haven’t heard, Meerkat is the new social video app that uses Twitter as its engine to share live video streams across the web. And, it’s much like Snapchat–once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
Like many of the previous new social media apps and platforms, tons of folks (especially in our world–PR and marketing) have rushed to try out the new tool.
As a result, we’ve seen everything from local tech nerd and new space150 VP of everything, Greg Swan, Meerkat a car wash (see above) to folks like Gary Vaynerchuk setting up advance Meerkats of his #AskGaryVee show.
So, we’re obviously very much in the experimental phase.
But, the question on everyone’s mind is really pretty simple: Will Meerkat blow up and becom the next Twitter? Or, will it flame out as fast it as it came on the scene and become the next Ello?
Since the topic is bound to come up with colleague and clients in the next week or so, I thought I’d share my thoughts here:
It’s that time of year. Yep–it’s that time when agency folks and digital geeks from across the country gather in northern Texas for one week to talk all things digital and interactive. What better time to launch a soon-to-be-killer-social-media-app? Twitter capitalized on that timing years ago. Foursquare–same thing. Meerkat knew what it was doing. Now they have thousands of geeks captive in Austin later this week who will be sharing their every move on video (spoiler alert: This could get ugly. I mean REAL ugly. And I plan on tuning in!). At the very least, Meerkat should earn a nice chunk of additional media hits, and completely flood Twitter streams across the world.
From a marketing standpoint, nothing seems hotter than video content right now. Facebook is pushing it hard–so hard that video content is completely crushing text, link and photo updates on the platform. YouTube continues to be an “A platform” with marketers and advertisers. And, surprisingly (to me, at least), brands continues to flock to Vine to partner with “influencers” to co-create content. So, along comes Meerkat. Social video–powered by Twitter. That makes sense right now, right? Feels much more Twitter than Ello to me.
I thought this was Ello’s big problem from the get-go. It didn’t solve a problem for users. Sure, it CLAIMED to solve a problem (no more brand advertising!). But really, it didn’t (Turns out, no one cares about that). Now, Meerkat doesn’t solve a problem either. No one was clamoring to share real-time video streams on Twitter. But, truth be told: it’s just fun. That’s what you’re seeing right now. People having fun. And that’s a big part of social media. I wouldn’t discount that at all. So, does Meerkat have a viable value prop? Not really. But, people are having fun right now. And, if they can sustain that somehow and figure out a way to refine the experience a little, again, I’m feeling much more Twitter than Ello.
From a marketing perspective, the big issue with some of the other social apps/tools unveiled recently has been they’re simply not useful. What’s the immediate use for Ello? What about Path? Brands never hopped on that one. But Meerkat is stupidly easy to use. And, it could end up being a fantastic storytelling tool for brands. Boom–instant usefulness for marketers. Think about the potential, just from a storytelling perspective. I know it’s ephemeral, but so is Snapchat and brands are already all over that. To me, it could be a GREAT publishing tool–for media outlets and brands. Again, much more Twitter than Ello here.
One question we’ve heard a lot in regards to Meerkat so far: How is this any different from Ustream and other livestreaming tools of the past? To me, one big thing comes to mind: It’s effing simple. I mean, REALLY effing simple (you can probably figure out what “KIFS” stands for). Anyone who has tried it knows what I’m talking about. Oh, and it actually works. I remember the early days of Ustream when the video stream would routinely go down. Now, that was years ago–tech was different. So, that’s not entirely fair. But man, Meerkat is awfully easy to use. Much easier and more intuitive than Twitter was back in the 2007. And a helluva a lot easier and more intuitive than Ello was (I still can’t figure that one out). Again, more Twitter than Ello.
So, as you can see, I guess I’m leaning HEAVILY toward Meerkat being the next Twitter–not the next Ello.
The reality is it’ll most likely fall somewhere in the middle. How far it leans toward Twitter or Ello will be the question. And, that will determine if marketers jump in and start using it was a storytelling tool.
What are your initial thoughts of Meerkat? Think it’s got a chance to be the next Twitter?]]>
I love going back and 1) Giving back to the an organization that gave me so much over the years, and 2) Seeing who is going through the APR process.
I’m not sure I’m the right person to talk about “technology”, but I guess given my business and its connection points with digital marketing, I may know enough to be dangerous.
In my presentation, I tried to set things up by taking a look back at where we’ve come from when it comes to tech in PR.
Just look at what PR tech looked like in 1985:
Everyone remembers where they were when they got their first word processor, right?
In 1995, technology looked like this in the PR world:
The Mac Classic is one of the computers I grew up with. This model was actually on the scene earlier than 1995, but it gives you a good sense for what tech was like 20 years ago.
Now, what about 2005?
This is what YouTube looked like just 10 years ago. THIS! Can you imagine?
Or, think about what cell technology looked like 10 years ago…
What does PR tech look like today? We now have access to technology like smart watches:
And, virtual reality, which was laughable 10 years ago:
Pretty crazy to see how far we’ve come in the last 30 years, huh? From word processors to virtual reality that is so damn real it actually makes you sick.
Where will tech be in another 10 years? That’s the question you hear most often. And, it’s the one everyone wants an answer to.
While I’m no technologist, I think it’s fun to take a peek at the future from time to time. After all, who could predict that Facebook would become an essential took for PR pros in 2005? Or, that you would be able to produce entire brand videos right from your smart phone?
Safe to say, technology can amaze us, and exceed our wildest expectations fairly easily.
So, predicting what will happen in another 10 years in 2025 is next to impossible.
But, I’ll take a shot
From the get-go I was a pretty big Google Glass doubter. It just seemed too early. The hardware was too geeky (and offensive in some cases; you remember “glassholes”, right?). And the software needed fine-tuning (if you ever tried one on, you know what I’m talking about). But, the second, third and fourth generations of such wearables will improve. And, when they do, they’re going to start to completely change the way we tell stories. You saw a glimpse of it with Victor Oladipo at the NBA Draft last year. My feeling is we’ll see much more of that by 2025 as wearable tech gets better, and people start to open up a bit more to the possibilities.
It feels like we’re almost at a tipping point with Facebook. I know the stock price is crushing. I know user numbers continue to grow. I know it continues to be the dominant platform in social media marketing. I know all that. But, I just can’t shake this feeling that Facebook will take a big plunge in the next five years. And, when it does, it’s going to take a BIG plunge–like a MySpace-like plunge. It’ll fall completely off the radar. Remember, for as fast as tech can enter our lives, it can leave our lives even faster. Case in point: Blackberry (remember when Blackberry was THE mobile phone a while back? Look at them now). But, when Facebook falls off, social media won’t go with it. Social media and its landscape will merely shift. Another platform will step in. Another tool will shape our experiences. I have no earthly idea what that platform or tool will be, but I guess the idea here is to keep paying attention. Because when the landscape shifts, it is going to SHIFT. Big time.
Look, I’m no virtual reality bobo. And, I’m not an expert either. I’ve really only tried it a couple times (including Oculus Rift at a MIMA event last year, which was downright incredible). But, I do know two things: 1) Right now, motion sickness is the biggest issue to mass adoption, and 2) It’s still pretty expensive for a headset (save the Google Cardboard option) and fairly futuristic in the minds of *most* people. So, VR has to fix #1 ASAP. And, they will. And, they need to win folks over in #2 (and they will), and bring the prices down (which they also will). Given all those issues are addressed, VR will become a key tool for PR folks in 2025. Heck, it’s already happening in very niche spots (check out what the folks at space150 and Victory Motorcycles did with VR at a recent trade show–pretty effing cool, and the only way I’d EVER ride a motorcycle!). VR is coming folks. So, start thinking of how you can use it NOW.
The funny thing is we’re already there with the technology. You may have heard of it–Google Hangouts. But, many organizations (big and small) need easy video conferencing that can exist behind a super firewall where employees can discuss proprietary information. That’s the key. And, I think it will eventually happen. It HAS to happen, right? I mean, for those who have been on an audio con call (OK, that’s everyone, right?), you know how frustrating a audio con call with 5 or more people can be. People talking over one another. Awkward silence. The inability to read body language. And, we HAVE the technology NOW. We’re just not far enough along yet. But, it’s coming. And when it does, it’ll put an end to my taking conference calls in my sweat pants and Homer Simpson slippers
Content is king. Right now. But, what about five years from now? Will companies still be investing millions in content marketing? Or, will we be knee deep in what Mark Schaefer refers to as the “content shock?” I tend to fall closer to the latter. And, when that happens, all these content marketing tech companies are going to dry up pretty quickly. I get it–content marketing operations like Scripted have their place. You need fast, cheap content. You hire it out at a lower price. Makes sense. But, it only makes sense in the current content marketing arms race culture. When that goes away (and, I tend to believe it will), the companies that support it go away, too. And, we largely go back to employees within organizations developing good, quality content. The way it really should be.]]>
But, I couldn’t help but think. Sure, we want to teach our kids about the RISKS of the internet. I’m with you–I want the same for my kids (and I’m starting to talk to them about this kind of thing now, and they’re in grade school).
But, what about all the wonderful potential the internet and social media holds? Don’t we want to teach our kids about that, too?
Isn’t that even MORE important than teaching them about the risks?
Couldn’t any class cover BOTH?
I say yes–and would LOVE to see such a class taught to our kids. And, I’d take it a step further–I think it needs to be taught at all levels. It’s that important in today’s society.
And yeah, any class would involve lessons around online privacy and cyber security, as Baer points out.
And, I would also add in an element of how others are using social media for cyber-bullying and how to manage that. You don’t think THAT would get support from Mom-and Dad-paying taxpayers across the country?
Like I said, I think the other half of this coin is teaching kids how to use the internet for good.
I mean, these kids are learning how to use the web at a very early age now (for my kids, that was about age 3). But, are they really LEARNING how to use the web? Or, are they merely adapting to it and figuring it out on the fly?
Now, adapting isn’t all bad, but there’s some legit weight to organizing a class and cirriculum taught by an actual teacher about how to actually use the internet to learn, invent and make the world a better place.
It actually boggles my mind why we’re NOT teaching this in some shape or form right now.
I know some schools have adopted iPads in the classroom. Good for them. Using technology in the classroom is a great thing.
But, that’s significantly different from teaching kids how to USE the internet. BIG difference.
For example, why couldn’t we teach out kids:
* How to effectively search for information on the web (and no, just typing something into Google does NOT qualify–anyone can do that)
* How to use social networks to find and connect with the right communities–folks who can help you learn about a particular topic, develop a new product, or make the world a better place to live (withe the context of being careful WHO you meet and talk with on the internet).
* Maybe most importantly, why aren’t we teaching our kids how to CREATE on the web? I mean, there’s a whole new legion of folks who are CREATORS on the net today. Those people are thriving–really thriving. And, to a large extent, they’re self-made. Why isn’t the education system embracing this as a form of artistic and personal expression? Isn’t that a big part of what education is supposed to do?
When I asked my son about what they teach him in the computer lab, he mentioned three things.
* They teach them how to illustrate poems (OK, illustrating poems, I’m on board; it’s creative expression at least; but this should be one of many forms of creative expression they discuss)
* They teach them how to change your desktop (OK, again, that’s useful but very how-to-run-a-computer 101; I would argue there are many more useful how-to-run-a-computer-type tips and lessons we could teach our kids before we start with “how to change your desktop”)
* They teach them how to type (I do like this; however, keep in mind, most of the kids I see typing these days STILL use the hunt-and-peck method; I still contend the class I took in typing as a high schooler was one of the best and most useful classes I EVER took!)
Now, at a fourth grade level, you probably don’t need to be getting into cyber security issues and online bullying (I think that comes in middle school). But, I do think you could cover a few of the areas I mentioned above.
Namely, how to search the internet for information. Maybe some discussion around what social media is and what it works (believe me, at fourth grade, they’re already hearing about it, and in some cases, using it).
What do you think? Shouldn’t we be teaching our kids the power of the internet instead of constantly trying to protect them from it?
photo credit: IMG76 via photopin (license)]]>
Wait, is this for real? Are robots going to steal communications jobs? ARE ROBOTS TAKING OVER THE WORLD?
After I calmed down a bit, I decided to look into this a bit more for myself. I started by asking for a demo of a tool called “Wordsmith.”
According to the site, Wordsmith “transforms Big Data into narrative reports by spotting patterns, correlations and key insights in the data and then describing them in plain English, just like a human would.”
Sounds pretty cool, right? What does that look like in real life right now?
Think Fantasy Football. Think about those personalized reports you receive that tell you specifically about YOUR team. Those may be written by a robot like Wordsmith. In fact, if you play Yahoo fantasy football, those reports were in fact written by Wordsmith.
And they’re a lot less robotic than you might think.
Want a bit more relevant example to our world? Look no further than AP. Yep, that AP. They’re using Wordsmith to auto-generate quarterly earnings stories–actually, they’re generating a whopping 4,400 of them a quarter.
Why is AP doing that? Because those reports were a drain on their resources and reporters. And, apparently, Wordsmith can do it for a fairly reasonable price (check the site) and free up reporters to do more work they’re trained to do (more reporting less almost-admin-type work).
So, what does this look like (conceivably) for us as communicators?
Not a lot, for now. Unless you have a data set you can give the robot access to.
But, in the meantime, as we figure out new uses for this kind of tool, one use that DOES have potential RIGHT NOW: Using Wordsmith to generate monthly reports.
And this is where my demo comes in. I took the 30-minute spin around the block with the tool last week. The Wordsmith folks ran me through just how easy it is to generate monthly-type reports using Google Analytics.
Here’s an example of what the report looked like from my blog:
Now, there’s nothing special about what Wordsmith is doing here. Monthly reporting 101. But you know what? This would save me–and vendors and agencies, in general–A LOT of time!
The reports the tool generates aren’t perfect–they need work. But, they’re a good start. With a few tweaks here and there, most are probably client-ready faster than you might think.
It’s worth a look as a time- and cost-saving measure.
For now, I don’t think you have to worry about a robot taking your job. But, tools like Wordsmith may just have a spot in your communications tool basket in the years ahead.
photo credit: striatic via photopin cc
Early adopters were handing out invites. And people were snapping them up. Hell, people were BEGGING for them. BEGGING!
Lots of tire kicking I’m sure went on over the weekend. And, I’m sure we’ll see tons of posts this week about how Ello is going to be the next Facebook. Or, how it isn’t (whoops–we already saw that post).
But, here’s the funny thing. Through all this testing and “early adopting” (although, to Jeremy Pepper’s point, testing new platforms is something you owe to your clients), Ello isn’t going to be the new Facebook. It’s not going to be like Twitter was in 2007. It’s not going to take off.
And you know why? Nope–not because the “beautiful, clean social network” isn’t easy to use (it’s not, in my opinion). Not because it’s ad free (they’re hanging their hat on this). The answer has nothing to do with technology.
And everything to do with behavior change.
Getting people to test out Ello–OK, that’s not too tough. Especially when you’re talking about the plugged in of the plugged in, which was what was happening last week.
But, to get people to give up Facebook or Twitter and start using Ello wholesale? That’s something completely different. And, let’s be honest, that’s what you’re asking people to do. Because, the average person (heck, the above average person when it comes to digital) just doesn’t have time to keep up on all these networks. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yo. I mean, the list is getting pretty damn long.
So, to change that behavior–that’s REALLY tough.
I know, I know, people will say Twitter took a while to take off. And that was once a very small niche network. But you know what–that was a MUCH different time. Twitter didn’t have to compete with itself. It didn’t have to convince people to leave another network to come to it. There was no other network (just Facebook, I guess). Yeah, I know about Plurk. But man, that was REALLY niche. I’m talking big numbers here.
So, if Ello is going to be successful, it needs to win some of those folks over. It needs to “convert” people, to use marketing language.
And I know, I know, maybe Ello isn’t trying to be the next big social network. But, even if it’s going to be niche and survive, it’s going to have to gain a following.
And, that’s going to be tough because it has a few key things working against it right now:
1: It’s not all that user-friendly. It took me a while to figure out how to post–and apparently, I’m not the only one (David Armano also struggled). If you’re going to “convert” people, it HAS to be easy. Huge deal-breaker here.
2: WHY? What’s the “value proposition”, as they say? In other words: Why should I spend time on Ello? Because they protect my privacy? Because it’s ad-free? Those are nice, but they’re not strong enough reasons for people to convert.
So, Ello will go and quickly as it came, I’m afraid. I may be wrong, but that’s why I see right now.
It’s just awfully tough to build a new social network from the ground-up these days with all the existing competition.
PS: If all that wasn’t enough, it looks like Ello is venture-funded, which can be a big red flag re: their “manifesto” as this post points out.]]>
* Find compelling visuals worth sharing that aren’t overly brand-focused
* Building a community within the platform from scratch
Am I right?
Most brands don’t have a ton of Instagram-ready visuals just sitting around. Sure, they have catalog photography. Great brand pics. Advertising visuals. But, by and large, those aren’t the kinds of pics that usually work really well on IG.
At the same time, it’s tough to build a community from the ground up on Instagram. With paid advertising still relegated only to the big spenders, most brands are left to build organically (for now).
But wait, there’s a potential solution that gets at both these needs–and it doesn’t cost a dime (well, kinda): Reposting user posts.
Instead of coming up with your own content (all the time, at least), what about reposting your fans’ best pics that mention or feature your brand?
Why not involve your community in YOUR community as you get it started?
Doesn’t reposting fan pics get at both these key problems?
Even brands that don’t need the help sourcing visuals are using reposting apps–like Indian Motorcycles.
Or, brands you may have never heard about–like Starkey (an organization that produces hearing aids–disclosure: ACH Communications client):
OK, so this makes sense, right? Although I’m a little perplexed as to why we haven’t seen more brands use these tools yet. Regardless, it seems to be an easy, cheap and effective way to source content and build community on IG.
The question is: What app do you use? Which one makes sense?
I thought I’d break down three of the more popular reposting apps on Instagram: Regram, Repost and InstaRepost.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all three:
First, here’s what the main Regram app looks like when you open:
If you hit “Regram” in the bottom right-hand corner, this is the screen that pops up.
After you choose a location for your watermark, you can select between reposting on Instagram (or Twitter). Hit that, and you get this screen:
After putting your final filter on the image, you’re then sent to the final IG screen before posting:
The Repost app interface is a bit different than Regram. The biggest advantage: Easier to scan.
Select a pic and you’re sent to this screen:
As you can see, you have the opportunity to reposition your watermark, just like you did with Regram. You can also make the watermark lighter or darker. Hit repost and you’re sent to this screen:
Interface of the R&R app is similar to Regram. Looks just like your Instagram feed.
Select a pic and you get the following screen:
Again, ability to reposition the watermark is there. You can also lighten or darken the watermark. Just like the other apps. His repost and you get this screen:
As you can see, the apps don’t offer a lot of different features and functionalities.
All have the ability to reposition the watermark. All seem fairly intuitive and easy to use (outside of those annoying ads on the free versions).
I’m just not sure I see a lot of differences. So, it kinda seems like a personal preference.
At any rate, I do believe the strategy of reposting IG pics from fans/customers is worth pursuing. Obviously, your legal team should be involved in that initial discussion, but after you’ve got them on board, reposting from Instagram can be an effective way to source content and build community, at the same time.
It’s a fascinating technology. And the applications for many niche audiences (cyclists are the one I think hit the home run here) are crazy cool.
But here’s the thing: This isn’t going mainstream anytime soon.
I know, I know, Google got a ton of press and buzz when it started talking about Glass in February. In case you missed it, they even ran a little contest asking people to give examples of how they’d use Glass in exchange for a pair later this year (note: As of yesterday, it looks like Google started notifying the winners–all they have to do now is plunk down $1,500 and travel to NY or San Francisco for the privilege of wearing these technological wonders).
But make no mistake about it: This technology is still a bit ahead of its time.
I agree, it definitely has niche uses. Like I said, cyclists are in prime position to take advantage of this. And like Olivier Blanchard said in a post I made on Facebook about this, they will also pay top dollar for it.
But outside of those niche audiences, I don’t see too many people plopping down $400 just yet for a pair of these bad boys.
It sounds like Google is talking to a bunch of different eyeware companies (Warby Parker?). but, I still think these glasses look entirely too geeky and futuristic for the average person. Look at the reaction The Verge contributor Joshua Topolsky got when he wore them for a month. Lots of sideways glances. And yeah, I understand it’s a new technology, but people are pretty damn vain. I mean, there’s a reason Warby Parker has blown up. People don’t want to look foolish in public.
Like I said above, for cyclists, I totally get this. Makes a lot of sense. Other industries where I could see this working include: Security (bouncers), medicine (surgeons), and museum tours (love this one), just to name a few. So yeah, there’s a number of niche uses–I just wouldn’t get too excited about these things going mainstream soon.
For those who use Siri, you know what I’m talking about. Voice commands have major flaws–so far. It’s frustrating to most. That technology needs to get MUCH better before Glass will be an option for the everyday citizen. If not, I could see people testing these out and bringing them back in a week saying they couldn’t operate the glasses because the voice commands just couldn’t get their directions right. And, keep in mind they’re going to sell them for $400-500. It had better damn well work if I’m plunking down that much change for one of these things.
As much as all us digital folks hate to come out of our protective digital shells, most folks still like the real world. They like talking to real human beings. To walk downtown and chat with a friend. To go to a restaurant and have a great dinner with family. You start adding these glasses to the equation, and suddenly people float off into their own little digital world. You think smart phones are distracting–wait til people start wearing these things around town! I just think the majority of folks still want real-world interactions–not ones manufactured through a digital environment while you’re walking/driving in a real one.
For everything that’s uber-cool about Glass (and there’s a lot to like, despite my take here), they have the potential to be VERY dangerous. You think smart phones are distracting? Wait til people start using these things while driving. Or, walking down the street. I can see people bumping into other people while walking–or into buildings/lamp posts/cars/etc. Obviously, legislation is probably not far behind. But, as they roll them out, safety has to be a big concern.
What about you? You’ve undoubtedly heard the news about Glass. What do you think? Will they be mainstream after the official launch next year?]]>
This move by Google has angered thousands across the Internet, with the exception of at least one person: Me.
Because I transitioned to Feedly–a much easier and more efficient way to view and consume your feeds, blogs and sites you follow on a daily basis.
I’ve always been more of a visual learner. It’s why I love reading magazines so much vs. the newspaper (which can be more text heavy).
And that’s actually a good metaphor for Google Reader (the Wall St. Journal) and Feedly (ESPN the Magazine).
I know you’ve heard all about the alternatives to Google Reader last week, but I’m here today to encourage you to switch over to Feedly. I’m not getting paid to say that–I just think it’s a superior tool. And here’s eight reasons why:
Feedly says it’s been anticipating this move for some time now, so they’re prepared. They have a seamless transition plan in place. Take advantage before July 1.
Much like other Google products, Google Reader wasn’t the easiest thing to look at. In fact, it was pretty damn utilitarian. And, some folks liked that about Google Reader. I didn’t. I prefer Feedly’s much more magazine-like layout. It’s easier to scan (key for me). And, because it includes images with many posts, it gives me more visual clues as to what they post is about–and whether I should read it.
One of the newer Feedly features is its new integration with Buffer, the popular social media sharing tool. By clicking on the sharing app within Feedly (usually in the upper right-hand corner), you can share directly to Twitter, Facebook or G+. But, you can also share via Buffer–an option more people are using to spread out shares throughout the day.
I love that I can organize my Feedly the way I want it. The tool gives you the opportunity to play with the layout in a number of different ways.
By date/time of post:
In magazine layout:
In more of a mosaic-type pattern:
And finally, in full article mode:
You can also organize your categories with a few simple clicks. Simply click on “organize” under your name in the upper-left-hand corner and you’ll get this pane:
Once you’re here, you can mark posts as read by blog/site, delete blogs/sites you no longer read and see how many posts are in your queue. Plus, you can add categories with a simple click. No new functionality here compared with Google Reader, but I just like the way it’s layed out visually.
Besides coming in varieties for iOS, Android and Kindle, the Feedly app is just plain better than Google Reader. Check out a screen grab of my iPhone app below:
Look how pretty it is? Seriously though, how easy is this to scan and filter through while you’re on the run? And the best part? Posts are so easy to share using the mobile app. Just click on the share box in the lower left-hand corner and the follow scroll bar appears on the right-hand side (see below). You can share via email, Twitter, Facebook, G+–or through Buffer (see again, below).
The iPad app is just as easy to use–here’s a glimpse:
Same concept as the iPhone app–easy to scan by swiping, and easy to share. Exactly what you need to read and share easily on the go.
Another way to find new blogs within Feedly: The “explore” function. You can find it on the right-hand-side of the page–it’s the little spyglass icon. Just click on that and you’ll get this pane.
This gives you a number of options: Search by the topics Feedly has suggested (middle), use Feedly’s “Starter Kit” (bottom), or the easiest way, just search by keyword/topic at the top. Three easy ways to search and find the blogs that are important to you. The search by keyword at the top isn’t an exact science, but it should complement your existing searches (try Alltop for this–best way to find new blogs by category).
When you set up new categories in Feedly, it does a nice little Spotify-like thing for you: It recommends blogs it thinks you might like based on the ones you’re following already. In this case, it’s taking the PR blogs I’m currently reading and suggesting a few it believes I might enjoy. I don’t always follow these blogs, but I like that Feedly is suggesting them.
Another neat little feature in Feedly: You can track what you’ve been reading. Just click on the “history” link in the bottom left-hand corner and you can see all the posts you’ve clicked on and read in the past day/week/month/year. It’s like your own little Feedly bookmarking system!
My lone drawback to Feedly (which is also a drawback for most other reader tools) is the lack of integration with an effective social bookmarking tool (namely Diigo, which I use or Delicious). Guessing that may come soon.
So, those are my reasons for using Feedly. Convinced?]]>
After reading the post, I thought it rung a little hollow.
Partly because the extensions the author was suggesting were fairly obvious (the Facebook extension? Really?) and partly because two of the extensions listed supported the company the author works for (fine to promote your company, just don’t overdo it).
I community manage a few pages for a couple clients–and interface with the teams that do for a handful of others. So, I have a bit of experience in this area. So, I thought I’d give you a bit more meaningful list today–a series of 13 Chrome extensions community managers can REALLY use. A list of extensions I’m guessing many of you may not have heard of.
Create and edit blog posts right in Chrome with this extension. Supports WordPress, Typepad, Blogger and Tumblr, among others.
Grab screen captures AND annotate them with this handy extension. Capture or clip selected area, then annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text. It even has an eraser to blur sensitive information. Great tool for community managers who have to share screen grabs from time to time–and annotate to customize.
Cool little extension here. Let’s community managers hover over images on a variety of social networks and the tool allows you to view them at their full size–without loading a new page. Nice time-saver.
This extension allows you to surf the endless array of Google images with a 3-D view–all with ease. How does this help community managers? I’ll often use Google images as a source of inspiration for a post. Or, as a place to look for the *kind* of photo I want to use for a Faceobok post or blog post (then I’ll go find one I can use on FlickR–or create one).
This handy little extension is kinda like a cross between Delicious/Diigo and Evernote (if you’re an avid Evernote user, you can probably ignore this one). Allows you to clip and save just about anything you find online and store it in one, easy-to-find spot (that’s accessible via laptop, tablet or phone).
Great extension for Evernote power users. Allows you to save whole pages–or just highlighted sections of pages–directly to your Evernote account and notebooks.
One huge issue for community managers? Proofreading. When you kick out as much content as a community manager does in a day, you need to make sure all your i’s are dotted and all your t’s are crossed. This wonderful extension allows you to do that–right in social networks like Facebook and multiple blogging platforms (as well as Gmail). Very nifty.
Another issue for community managers–one most don’t like to talk about? Wasting time. This productivity extension is great because it automatically limits the amount of time you spend on those sites that suck your valuable time. Maybe it’s TMZ. Maybe it’s Pinterest (if you’re not working there). Maybe it’s SomeECards. The extension is very customizable–you can even block entire web sites or domains.
With the amount of time we spend each day/week on Wikipedia. this little extension is a nice time-saver. No need to open up new tabs for Wikipedia–this baby does the trick right within your existing tabs.
Community managers are notorious for having about 46 tabs open at any given moment. This handy extension allows you to navigate those 46 open tabs a little more effectively. Sort by when you created the tab, title or domain. And restore recently closed tabs (nice feature).
This extension allows you to click on any word on the Web and get an instantaneous definition. That might be helpful, instead of running to dictionary.com every time you have a question about a word’s meaning, huh?
One of my personal favorite extensions–and one I’ve been using for a while. Rapportive allows you to see all sorts of information about your contacts–right within your tab. Email address, social networks, photo. It all helps you paint a better picture of who they are–and where to find them online. And what community manager wouldn’t want more information about key community members that are sending them emails within Gmail?
Great extension that makes social sharing a breeze. One-click sharing, in effect. And it supports nearly 300 different social networks including all the major U.S. networks.]]>