Archive for the ‘Social New Media Knowledge’ Category

Released earlier this year, Skype Group Video Calling, a beta version for Windows users. In order to use this software everyone in the call must all be using the same version of Skype 5.0, but hey it’s a beta.

If this rolls out to other devices then could prove to be a killer app for the mobile social massive.

Find out more at :

http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/windows/beta/

In Aug 2007, I decided to leave my current 12 month phone contract and opted for a Sim only deal. Advantages included were not being tied to a contract, I got a reasonable amount of minutes for my buck, and as a bonus there was the choice of a free bolt on, like free 3G web access. But underneath I was preparing to purchase an iPhone.

When it did finally arrive on the market, and although it offered some great features, my HTC hardware was still kicking it’s butt. So began the long wait for an improved iPhone. Now that’s over …phew! It was time to try again. During the time that has passed my contract provider added an extra 100mins to my monthly allowance for free. Bonus. So now all I needed was a new Sim free iPhone iOS4.

The look and feel of this phone is second to none. From the side it looks like a very slick piece of machinery with it’s stainless silver attennaes, and in your hand it’s 149g weight feels like your carrying a mini screen computer that has a phone on it.

Slick Stainless Steel on the iPhone4Image courtesy of Apple

The only protection cover available currently from Apple is the phone is the bumpers. However they are not exactly useful when it comes to plugging in the 3.5mm, because although 90% of the jack can be inserted, the final click is impossible. Some friends have suggested I ask Mr Stanley to cut the edge of the hole. The problem here is that there really is no room for a bigger hole due to the proximity of the top noise cancelling microphone. Anyway the marketplace will soon be awash with cover after cover, and I’m sure they will take this issue into account. But this product is not worth £25, it’s only worth £5 Apple.

Returning now to the phone review…

Battery times have been reasonable so far, lasting 9-5 with a solid caning. But it does still need boosting during the day so do juice up when you can. By monitoring your apps and maybe using some battery status software you can always track your current usage availabilities and make of most of your battery across the day.

Switching to Wi-Fi on an average 5Mb download speed, the phone handles processes fairly quickly. It’s not lightening, but your not having to wait long at all. This makes the phone really useful around Wi-Fi spots in order to handle multiple tasks. I only have a 2.5Mps 3G speed right now, so it’s okay for most apps and sending video by email, however some web pages and particularly video can be extremely slow. But that’s a network issue so we won’t go there right now. Using 3G is still a battery caner, so really stick to as much Wi-Fi as you can for heavy web sites and apps.

The 5Mp camera with its 720 HD video is great and works well in good light. The flash and low light still is no match for a half decent compact. I really miss the anti-shake technology from my compact but software improvements or maybe an app can help there. Hope this is not a hardware issue.

A good part of the look and feel of this phone is due to the slick scratch resistant glass, I really would not attempt to test it since the other day I did accidentally leave a little scratch on the back. But in terms of keeping it clean, a dust cloth is proving to be sufficient.

As for the issue of losing signal, I simply have not experienced any type of issue like this. I do hold the phone in my left hand and I will continue to test this for a while and see if it really does lose signal, but 99% of the time, it’s fine. Most of the time the signal is behaving exactly as it sis on my old HTC.

Usability on screen has also proved to be very straight forward allowing you to easily add, edit or remove apps, set up emails easily, create video,  sending it in seconds via email and switching between Wi-Fi and 3G has been no issue. There are probably lots of other useful aspects to the maneuverability around the phone that I have not mentioned, simply because I am not a veteran iPhone user. Maybe in the near future and after a good few months of use I can report back and question the real limitations of Apple’s on-screen experience. The touch screen sensitivity is spot on and works really well.

Apple has done well to promote Apps and the world is now really understanding why they exist. Finding apps on the iPhone is a fairly straight forward process, but with a few tweaks it could be even better. For example, in the App store you can search for apps via the Genius section. Initially it shows you around 25 apps, then in order to see more there is a button at the bottom of the list to view another 25. However after installing an app from the second page, if you attempt to return to the list, it returns you to the first 25. Obviously this can get really annoying if you are 10 sheets down, or accidentally view an app way when you were just trying to scroll down. Therefore I have no choice but to write down names of apps I like and to search for them later. Other app sources like ‘App Search’ allow you to add apps to a favourite list, come on Apple, this one really is obvious.

This phone as Apple says really does change things and after two weeks in the world of the iPhone and about 300 apps later, it definitely is worth every penny. Human computer interaction has really taken a solid step forwards and the iPhone helps to bring both software and hardware to work seamlessly together, but then again, that’s what Apple are known for.

I am going to be gutted when the 1080HD 10Mp version arrives, and it will one day, because technology will continue to improve year on year. But I feel confident that this phone can handle most of my digital needs for at least the next couple of years and look forward to using/finding great apps which over the near future I will begin to write about.

Find out more about the iPhone at :

http://www.apple.com/uk/iphone/

Find new Apps at  :

App Boy : http://appboy.com/

App Search : http://appsfire.com/

On the homepage of this website it says that Mog is “The Most Sophisticated, User-Friendly Music Player on the Web”. So why have I not come across it before or none of my friends recommended it to me? I know now, it’s not accessible to the UK. So why do sites make statements like “on the Web” and show UK advertising, when everyone knows the web is worldwide.

Anyway, having done a search for one of my old twelves that I cannot find on Spotify or iTunes, I did find it, shame I can’t play it… doh!

Find out more about MOG if you want at :

http://mog.com/

I got to explore Hong Kong the other week and came across this interesting in-store promotion. See image below.

It’s nice to see even small coffee stores adopting new media to engage their customers in order to drive in new business. By the way, the coffee is not bad ether.

Find out more about Graze at :

http://www.graze.hk/en

Find out more about Four Square at :

http://vy-ber.co.uk/2010/03/14/become-the-mayor-of-mc-donalds/

New mobile phones tend to evolve towards becoming smarter and smarter, with better technology and a wider range of features. But earlier this week Microsoft who have teamed up with the Japanese manufacturer Sharp have decided to try a slightly different tactic. They have introduced two new mobile phones into the marketplace branded Kin One and Kin Two that have power but less features.

The angle of course is social media, because the Next Gens ( as described by Tamara Erickson in What Next Gen X ) or the younger generation who seem to be naturally socially driven. The target audience in mind is the 16-25 year olds, who spend most of their time, sharing photos, videos, location based content and other files with their friends.

The network carriers that will be introducing these phones to the marketplace later this year are Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in Europe.

But how much they will cost is still a major question, since the target are clearly not the cash rich generation. Take a look at the review posted by Engadget, and you can see that the user interface is more Minority Report than Apple’s clean white approach. I admit I do like the way it looks, and have always been a fan of drag and drop features. Microsoft have also gone a step further by integrating the content simultaneously to a website, which they want users to regard as a bottomless pit for file storage, called Kin Studio, which also is a very nice touch.

Looking forward to seeing more about this, and already thinking that owning one phone is clearly not enough. Who said that this phone is for the younger generation needs to think again, because it’s really aimed at anyone who likes to create and share content.

Read the Engadget review at :

http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/14/microsoft-kin-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/

Twitter has now been around a few years and is utilised by Big Brands, SME’s and individuals as a very useful communication channel. You can read more about using Twitter and catch up on some case studies at :

http://business.twitter.com/twitter101

New Twitter advertising models are emerging, allowing businesses to promote their tweets above others in order to get seen by users searching for relevant information. Twitter itself has released what they call ‘Promoted Tweets’. As you can see from the image below, after doing a search for ‘Starbucks’, their tweet is shown above the others. It can be re-tweeted like any other tweet and is paid for on a cost per 1000 basis. But do I want to see these above real time natural tweets?

Not really sure yet because although the service has just been unveiled, Twitter are taking the roll out slowly in order to find out if what they have implemented is of any value, so it’s a bit if a beta test! They will looking at feedback from people and businesses to see how successful these ‘promoted tweets’ are. Personally I would prefer all paid for advertising be place in a separate part of the page, but then again, that’s just me.

In the meantime, a new site, which is not linked to Twitter, but is also promoting another Twitter Advertising model was launched yesterday. It is called Tweetup, created by Bill Gross and Idealab. Tweetup is attempting to create a ‘Google Ad-Words’ for Twitter.

With the two models in place, what’s going to happen? There are still many people who have not yet got to grips with what Twitter can offer them today …yet the ad models are now here for those wanting to get their messages above the rest. This is going to be a very interesting battle.

Btw, since creating the above image half an hour ago, there have now been 845 more tweets related to the search query ‘Starbucks’. Is this the hype of the new ads or is this just the way it is? Twitter simply is amazing …make that 1105 wow.

Find out more about Tweetup at :

http://www.tweetup.com/about

10 years ago, marketing your website required the use of simply adding a few popular key words. This was great for bringing in traffic but the conversion rates were well off the mark.

As the dot com bubble burst, website owners demanded much more justification for their marketing budgets and this gave rise to the world of SEO. Parallel to this was the rise of Google who provided a platform for SEO(Search Engine Optimisation) to work well, and although PPC(Pay Per Click) works perfectly fine in the short term, SEO provides long term relevant traffic and growth.

But what else can you do to bring in relevant traffic to your site? Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, founders of the Hubspot have written a book called Inbound Marketing which not only covers PPC and SEO, but also explains how the use of Social Media and Blogs is also now just as important. Although not the first book about Inbound Marketing, it presents today’s online marketing strategies in a simple and digestible format, whether you are a techie or not.

If you are serious about marketing on the web, and willing to put the time and effort into utilising some or all of the ideas in this book, then you will begin to see what it takes for websites need to stay on top and continue to bring in relevant traffic.

With nearly 2 billion people across the world surfing the net, now more than ever is the time to start planning where you want your site to be for the next 5-10 years, and Inbound Marketing is what you need to start investigating.

Find out more about the concept of Inbound Marketing on this post on the Hubspot Blog at :

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4416/Inbound-Marketing-the-Next-Phase-of-Marketing-on-the-Web.aspx

Get the book on Amazon at :

In the US :

www.inboundmarketingbook.com

In the UK :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inbound-Marketing-Found-Google-Social/dp/0470499311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271112028&sr=8-1

Interested in helping scientists to spot explosions on the Sun and tracking them as they travel towards Earth? Then the Solar Storm Watch could be for you, and in fact anyone can be a solar storm watcher thanks to the Internet.

Brought to you by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Science & Technology Facilities Council and Zooniverse, the Solar Storm Watch is using the technique of crowd sourcing to help them in a number of different ways, from data processing to spotting comets.

At the website you can find profiles of the scientists involved, videos about why crowd sourcing is required, a forum to discuss your questions and opinions, teachers resources, the all important mission briefing and more.

Content courtesy of The Solar Storm Watch :

Mission briefing

You don’t have to be a science expert to be a brilliant solar stormwatcher. But if you’d like to know more about what you’re looking at, then explore our beautiful and interactive zoomable diagrams to find out about the Sun and the STEREO spacecraft monitoring it. And check out our scientists’ profiles too.

Find out more about the Solar Storm Watch at :

http://solarstormwatch.com/

Content courtesy of Zooniverse.

The Zooniverse is home to the Internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.

With nearly 60million classifications, Zooniverse is giving a prize to the person who discovers the 60th Millionth classification. What are you waiting for?

Find out more about Zooniverse at :

http://zooniverse.org/home


Blur is a game created by Bizarre Creations the people behind the Project Gotham series and Activision the pure play online and console game publisher. Due for release in May later this year, I played a demo version of the game and noticed was a social twist has been placed within the game. Although other games do have a social element, like for example being able to buy and sell cars on Forza, or set up private races in most racing games etc, but Blur is pushing the social angle a little further by allowing gamers to directly Tweet their progress using their Twitter account details.

Adding the element of a four way split screen, this game sounds like hours of fun for you and your friends.

Right now the developers are looking for feedback from gamers who have tried the demo in order to put the finishing touches to the final release.

Check out the trailer below :

Find out more about Blur at :

http://www.blurgame.com/

Find out more about Bizarre Creations at :

http://www.bizarrecreations.com/

Focusing on fashion, consumers will soon be able to fund designers directly through a website called FashionStake in return for credits on clothes. This model offers an alternative to purchasing from retailers and the communication channels of this model allows for the unique opportunity of supporting the creative process.

Not sure if it will have the same effect as the music industry had with peer-to-peer as suggested by Reuters below, but ‘crowd funding’ models are probably here to stay, and will probably sit alongside existing retail channels. If the model exceeds expectations, then there is no reason why high street retailers cannot begin to try similar models.

Nike has been offering personal sports shoes for some time now through Nike ID. So although this may not be as personal as what FashionStake are offering, but by simply giving consumers the chance to contribute is definitely a way forward.

Content Courtesy of Reuters :

NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) – An Internet start-up called Fashion Stake launching in coming weeks aims to shake up the fashion industry, just as peer-to-peer file sharing changed the music industry.

Fashion Stake will allow customers to directly fund fashion designers by browsing on-line collections and buying a stake in a collection in return for credits to buy clothes. Patrons can also share ideas with designers and vote on collections.

Read the full article at :

http://smallbusiness.uk.reuters.com/2010/04/06/new-website-brings-crowd-sourcing-to-fashion/

Find out more about FashionStake at :

http://www.fashionstake.com/

Do you need cash for a personal project without sacrificing any ownership of your idea, then Kickstarter may be for you. Kickstarter is a New York based website that allows its users to create a project with a set cash objective and deadline. Other users are then open to making contributions towards the project, however contributions are not made until the total cash objective has been met. For providing this service Kickstarter takes a 5% commission.

US based users are the only ones currently allowed to create projects, but users all over the world can make contributions right now. There are plans to roll out the full service to other countries in the future.

This is not only a simple and effective idea, it is also carries a solid E-commerce model to boot.

Find out more about Kickstarter at :

http://www.kickstarter.com/

If you like Kickstarter, you may also be interested in :

http://www.indiegogo.com

Understanding the habits of your users is an on-going process. Learning about the pages visited, time spent on those pages, new vs returning visiting numbers, keywords, geographic locations etc can help to improve the value provided by your website. If you want the exact numbers and science then you would probably need to spend money developing or purchasing a bespoke piece of code. There are vendors out there also that provide this type of software, but, at a cost.

Google has provided software for this purpose for a number of years now, and because it’s free, it has helped many people get an idea of what their visitors maybe doing. If your running a Fan Page on Facebook and you like Google Analytics, there has been a JavaScript issue that has been stopping you from using the Google Code on your Fan Pages.

Now a company in London, UK,  called Webdigi, has provided some help. For information on how to set up Google Analytics on your Fan Page go to :

http://www.webdigi.co.uk/blog/2010/google-analytics-for-facebook-fan-pages/

Inspiration courtesy of the Social Media Examiner at :

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-add-google-analytics-to-your-facebook-fan-page/

Blippy is a site that allows you to share your online purchasing habits with fellow Internet users. On their website they say that Blippy is a fun and easy way to see and discuss what everyone is buying. It works in a similar way to Twitter, in that you follow other users purchasing habits and a feed of the services they are interacting with is displayed like a list of incoming tweets. Blippy have teamed up with a number of online stores, so that not only do you share your purchasing habits with other users, but Blippy is no doubt collecting all this information in their database.

But this site might throw up some privacy concerns for some users. Within the account settings Blippy does allow you to make the information private and you can then choose the people who you would like to share the information with. Why anyone would make this information available to the public is beyond me. But hey, you have to give users options.

Find out more about Blippy at : http://blippy.com/

Read more about Blippy’s Privacy Rules at : http://blippy.com/privacy

Well done to all those mothers out there who have decided to blog, and thank you to the New York Times for giving this growing marketplace some PR. Whether your a pushy mum, or just someone you wants to communicate the joys of bringing up children there are many reasons why mothers would blog. The fact is that everyone should blog, what better way to communicate how you feel. And although its being called a blog, it is essentially a web communication application like any other. This means that who ever is in control of the site can ether let the entire Internet view the contents or it can be accessed from behind a secure password entry system to a select few.

Created by Tiffany Romero & Heather Blair, Bloggy Boot Camp is a company that organises events about blogging and social media and targets women. Right now they are planning a “Blogging Boot Camp Tour” across the United States. This is a great idea not only for providing help using technology, but for creating a community.

Find out more about Bloggy Boot Camp at : http://www.bloggybootcamp.com/

Read the New York times article by Jennifer Mendelson at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/fashion/14moms.html

An example blog :

http://www.scarymommy.com/

As we begin to use social media more and plan for new campaigns it would be wise to understand the metrics of such activities.

A company by the name of uberUV have created a dashboard to help you understand your user engagements across various social media web applications like Twitter, Friend Feed etc based on keywords and/or phrases.

Watch a video to find out how to use uberUV’s dashboard at :

Find out more about uberUV at : http://www.ubervu.com/

Content Courtesy of uberUV :

uberVU bring you community metrics and analytics. On uberVU you search for something – such as your brand or your blog. We return whole conversations in a single thread – not just the post (like on Google blogsearch), but comments to the post from all over the Web – blogs, Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed, Reddit and a lot more.