Tag: Facebook

Being Mobile: My Digital Life Remix (For Social Media Power Users)

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A How To in Glueing All Your Social Networks, and Making it Easy as 1, 2, HootSuite…and more

Does your work require you to communicate on every network on the internets?  Are you a creative who wants to have as much exposure for your work as is possible?  Do you just want to try out new networks for the fun of it?  Good, then keep reading.  This is particularly for those I know who want to glue their digital lives together.

Preface:  Sometime around Christmas, I took a deep breath and put the breaks on my digital life.  With a passion, I enjoy my blogging and sharing ideas with the internets.  All the dialogue and personal growth is invaluable.  But like every field, there is a time to lay fallow in order to rethink the use of the space.  After lots of presents, an amazing amount of time with lots of family and friends, and stuffing myself with too much candy and seafood soup (something my wife’s family enjoys each year around the holidays), I was ready to jump back in.

There was a problem to jumping back in, however, and I wasn’t sure how to surmount it at first.  It was twofold as well.  (1) I was bored with the Twitter/Facebook link that carried the burden of most of my digital thought-life; and (2) a lot of new social networks with different functions were starting to be incredibly interesting to me (ex. Instagram, Path, LinkedIn, Tumblr, but not Pinterest…I don’t know why).  The problem unfolded towards a greater void when I realized that I wanted all these networks, but I wanted them all to work as some mega-cyborg-like entity.  If I update on one (ex. Instagram), I want that social network to update all my others.  If I post on another, vice versa – forever and ever.  Initially I thought maybe Path might be the way to go.  The layout is beautiful and the bumpy, swaying graphics were charming.  Its music integration was brilliant – and I wanted it to work.  The hangup? Well, it created a fat entry on all other formats.  What do I mean by “fat”?  I mean, it had a huge advertisement for PATH every-time it posted a little thing.  All subtlety of posting a slight “like” of the Smashing Pumpkins song “1979” was lost in the red envelope of branding.  I could not have this.

So I tinkered with all the other sites, and I tinkered, and I broke stuff, chains destroyed, virtual links ruined…until I found a good synthesis once again.  How did it turn out?  Well:

My Current Virtual Life is Go!

I’ve successfully linked all the networks that are important to me in some way.  That includes the big ones: Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.  The classic trifecta.  Truly I don’t think most people need more than that.   But this also includes my two Tumblr accounts (Daniel Griswold Thought This, personal tmblr; and Multempire, youth ministry tmblr), my LinkedIn account as well as Foursquare and Instagram.

THE FIRST GLUE-SITES

How did I glue all the sites together?  Mostly, its in my mind, but the flow works like this:  Instagram and WordPress have robust sharing engines that can force update the other sites.  They don’t do it in a flashy way, and so it looks natural.  Most posts I have these days are in picture form with a status update, so Instagram does quite well.  It’s owned now by Facebook, so it has a robustness to it.  I update almost all my social networks through that – even checking in at sites through foursquare.  Wordpress pushes out my blogs to most sites also, through its robust Publicize feature.  Well worth checking out.

But there is something much much bigger that I need to mention.  This is the kicker.

Hootsuite

THE KING OF SOCIAL MEDIA (at the moment) – HootSuite

Back in the day I experimented with HootSuite and I found it wanting.  It was rather slow, and had lots of kinks to work out.  It was a novelty.  I checked it out again this Christmas, and it has lots its naiveté in every way.  The full version that runs in your web-browser has expanded to allow you to pull in the data from all your other social networks (the well known brands) including Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Foursquare.

There is also a mobile app that can be downloaded that has far less functionality, but which allows you to shoot out quick status updates to most of your networks.  So Remember when you just updated Twitter and Facebook automatically updated?  Now you can do that with just about all of them – at least the ones that matter.

And if you use Chrome, there is an app you can download which places a HootSuite Owl in the corner of the browser, and updates can be made as simply as clicking which networks you want to update and then typing in your content.  Submit – and boom.  This is my new controlling trifecta.  It has re-simplified an overcomplicated social network space.

Conclusion: So why does all this matter?  As new internet startups keep getting more sway, and digital pioneers continue to herald new types of services for different types of people (ex. Spotify for music, Instagram for Pictures, Tumblr for Gifs), there will be a need to bring updating, at least at a broader level, towards simplicity.  I can update FB, LI, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr at once.  It makes life simpler.  But it also allows us to reach out to more people in different ways.  My use of Instagram has changed how I see the world.  I am definitely getting sick of “selfies” and baby pictures, but some people have a truly wonderful eye and I get to see their world and I show them mine.  Its great when it works.

So dive in, check out some of the new services, and link them all together with HootSuite and others like Instagram and WordPress.  Its fun, it challenges us to think in different ways, and the discussion continues.  Have fun!

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Some Next Big Things in Tech and Lifestyle

There are a few things that I see on the horizon for tech and how we use it that will eventually effect most people online.  I thought I would share a few of my projections, since they are on my mind at the moment:

(1) Facebook and Twitter will become more and more important as communication tools. 

I believe that Twitter will be like social glue between your phone, your laptop, and your social networking platform.  Personally I use Twitter to update Facebook and I check my FB later to see what people think.  Twitter is like the free flow of ideas and resources, Facebook is the place people actually talk about it.  Those people who don’t like Timeline don’t realize how important the improvements (and interfunctionality between the two platforms) have been.  I became a developer just to get Timeline early – and the ability to share and get a pulse on what people are thinking or projecting is amazing.  We will see more and more growth here.  900 Million on FB, and 500 Million on Twitter.  And growing.

(2) Apple TV’s (and Roku’s) imminent growth, coupled with Digital over air television, will start to squeeze out cable and dish operators. My wife and I made the split from cable long ago as a cost cutting measure (though we have probably given starbucks our savings over time).  Most of our content is online through laptop or phone, and we get networks over the air on our television.  I can connect my iphone to the television so we can still watch seasons, and our PS3 plays our DVD’s and BluRays – so we can buy whole seasons of shows we like. With Apple TV about to boom – Seriously – and Hulu and Netflix back in the growth seat – as long as bandwidth continues to meet demand, standard cable and dish are going to be in trouble in the near future.  I’m already plotting to buy the $99 Apple TV unit that will run tons of online content through wifi.

Lastly, (3) Faith will begin to find more expression online.  In the past, the internet sphere has been the domain of trolls and those who like to tear things down.  I even recently read a blog about the internet being the church of Atheists, who without churches or community centers, find fellowship and debate online.  With the suburbanization efforts of Twitter and Facebook, the wild west that used be the domain of search engines, is understandable to the ordinary person.  In the last year, I’ve noticed more and more people of different creeds and religions join me in the spheres of talk and influence.  More and more bloggers are showing up and with The Huffington Post and Patheos – there are more people talking and debating than ever.  That means that the easy “Straw Man” of faith is no more.  It is easy to tear people down if they are not in the room.  People of faith are entering the online sphere.  They are trading information, praying for each other, creating content and writing – a lot.  The room is filling up and we’re seeing the awkward transition in culture.  I don’t think News Media outlets in the traditional sense really know how big this is.

So there are three things I see right now.  What do you see happening?

Observed: General Rules of Facebook Pictures

I’m a big believer that my twitter feed and Facebook statuses are not  a place for a rant, that is the realm of a well thought out blog.  So here we go.

Two developments have made it incredibly easy to share photos between people in the last 6 months.  (1) Thanks to samsung and apple and various companies, nearly everyone has a phone with a great camera on it.  I’m one of those people. But also, (2) Facebook Timeline is incredibly functional as a grid to share almost anything just by “Liking” it.  Pictures are now like water, flowing from profile to profile.

It is a bit crazy.  I have had to unsubscribe from a few people who “like” every picture they see.  It was getting old.

Also, because there are more pictures, I have observed a few general rules of Facebook photography.  For your pleasure, here they are…and I hope that you’ll assess and determine if you’re in any of these categories:

(A) Girls must squish their faces together if they are in the same picture.

(B) If I am by myself, with a phone, and a mirror – I must immediately do a photoshoot, and stick out my tongue at least once.

(C) Cupcakes, Kittens, and Dogs immediately get pics, shared and liked by everyone.

(D) New Babies will get introduced and cooed over almost immediately.

(E) Landscape photos of beautiful views are valid, and seem to pop up wildly as people travel.  Sunsets, mountains, cityscapes.

(F) Harry Potter, Twilight and SuperHero pics and trivia will be shared…and also anything Disney.

(G) Artsy photos (especially black and whites) make artsy people look artsy.

(H) David Beckham.

(I) Guys will wear stupid hats and try to look tough.

(J) Graphic designers faces will be in odd old photos.

(K) I’m glad everyone is having fun with mustaches.  Keep on.

Well, there are many more – but these are what I observed lately. Especially the first few.  Warning: If I see any dragons, fairies, or excessive use of Photoshop, I will likely unsubscribe.  Keep it real people.  Thank you.

Etiquette Guidelines for Posting Images on Your Facebook Timeline (and thus – everyone’s newsfeed)

When I heard about timeline, I got excited.  I actually registered as a developer and switched over early.  Though I don’t care about the stalker-ish mini-feed they introduced (which I pretty much ignore), I love the functionality, and how it really has gone from a place to share your words and thoughts, to a place where image becomes a whole new world of communication.  Passing around funny memes has gotten so much easier, but in order that we do not get deluged by ridiculous ridiculousness all the time – we have to ask ourselves, when is it appropriate to post an image to share on Facebook, especially with all 3,000 of your very different friends (with very different tastes…and political views).  So how do I decide when to post?

(1)  I ask myself, would all 3,000 of my Facebook friends think this is insightful, witty, true or funny?  If no, I make a group for those who will, and send that image to them.  If yes, then I post to my timeline, and thus, everyone’s newsfeed.

(2)  I then second guess myself and ask a few more questions before I post to the Facebuniverse.

(a) Has this image been posted by eleventy billion other people?  If yes, I do not post, but rather “share” someone else’s.

(b) Does this image come off as mean-spirited, and seem to purposefully offend a group in a disrespectful way?  Though I do not always do this perfectly (because of the different folks I’m friends with), I do not post these things.  I would rather act with grace and care for all the people I let into my circles.

(c) Is the argument being presented in this meme/image logical?  Humor is funny if it is true and in good spirits.  Humor is not funny when it is ignorant and the logic is full of holes.  Though we all post stupid things sometimes without thinking, take a moment to ask, “Does this actually make sense?”  If it doesn’t, your point, your laugh, or your viewpoint is shallow (and yes, I will unsubcribe from your updates).

(d) Did I post something or “Like” something like this within the last hour or two?  My timeline can only take so many airbrushed pictures of unicorns with philosophical sayings.  This becomes gaudy, and what you thought was “neat” becomes a nuisance.  Remember that you are a responsible caretaker of other’s timelines, and you want to represent yourself well.

(e) No, I will not join you in your game.  No, I won’t give The New York Times the right to tell everyone what I just read.  No, I don’t want to see every song you have listened to today (and most of the time it is a bit awkward), and NO, I will not click on anything you have if you are prone to be “hacked”.

(f) Concerning blogs, make sure to write well and have a nice pertinent image that can be neatly displayed next to your text.

So there is a simple list of things I would think or consider when posting to all 3,000 of your friends.  Otherwise, make a group and do whatever you like.  Peace.

I just got hit by a comet – and that comet was composed of a Japan Anime-ized NSYNC on Facebook, Makeup, and Girls on the Internet – What?

My bud Matt ( @Wiatt  ) shared this video by the boy band “Heart2Heart”.  The visual style of the young guys seems to be an anglicized version of female Japanese (Anime like) pop bands. It is awefully bad.  So bad that I had to wash down the video with this Japanese boy band, which was much better because I have no clue what they are saying.  I’m hopin that this doesn’t catch on.  As you can see, this new video is just about as popular as Rebecca Black’s first video – and as Matt said in his FB post – this isn’t an SNL video, its for real:

Personal Review of Google+

Google as a search engine is a fortress.  Bing and many others have not successfully dented the dominance of Google as the major search engine of the United States.  Our language reflects it.  I tend to tell people to just “google” something if I can’t remember the web address.  Good for them.  They dominate common internet.  But something has been growing up alongside the internet.  Basically the gated communities of the world cyber-sphere, and the main one is Facebook.  Google can see Facebook’s dominion behind the gate growing larger and larger.  Within Facebook, there is an ultrapersonal way of organizing data and searching it out which is to seek out actual people and their profiles.  Having friends that feed you data, and Facebook having users that give them data on interests, is a huge money maker.  So naturally, Google must compete, and thus Google+

My thoughts:

I’ve been using Google+ since I got invited about two weeks ago.  It started slow as there was no one on that I really cared for and there was a learning curve with many of the elements.  As more people have joined, there has been a trickle of items in the newsfeed, but people are basically cutting and pasting what they’ve already posted in Facebook.  That is definitely not a draw to start moving over.  Facebook already has the masses, so going over to do something that I’m already doing doesn’t make much sense.  The general rule is that people will do what is most convenient.  Not good for google.

What they are doing right:

(1) The circles option has developed into a great way to make a work flow for a creative group I’m in.  There are three of us and we have had a hard time utilizing FB and email to get us motivated to write and do comics for our webcomic group.  Google+ had us easily and instantly sharing information and having conversations and posting new content/planning new ventures.  It has been a boom for us creatively.  The best thing about this is that it is seperated from the masses of other people who have joined G+ and havent begun to use it.

(2) They integrate a lot including on their Mobile App.  I downloaded the app and noticed that they’ve also put some features like Foursquare in there with location service and GPS location capabilities.  Looking through the simplicity and functionality of the mobile app was the first aha other than business flow, I’d had for Google+.  I think if they gain active people, this will be a plus.

What doesn’t work:

(1) The quasi-contacts from Gmail that have no faces are freaking me out.  I’m not sure where Google is going with this because so many people haven’t made Google Profiles yet.  It think that I shouldn’t be allowed to place contacts in my circles until they are actually Google+ profile made members.  It feels like a ghost town in the larger realm.

(2) The branding and feel are a bit gaudy.  The refined shades of blue in Facebook feel more soft and easy to spend time on.  Google’s Blues Yellows and Greens clash and make the place feel cacophonous.  I’m hoping for it to be more refined in the future.

Conclusion:

Use Google+ if you are looking for another space to separate from the multitudes on Facebook.  G+ is a quiet place where you can make a small circle and use it for business/creative flows.  It works well that way.  The good news is that you can just have both tabs open and compare the experiences yourself.  Good luck.

“Wake up, wake up son of my country. Come down Egyptians.”

(Picture from the New York Times – click pic to jump)

The last few weeks, Tunisia rebelled against a dictator, and the news around the world was that an Arab country had risen up against a hedonistic dictator and taken back their country.  In the United States, often the means of revolution (social media sites Facebook and Twitter) was the main story.  These cute entertainment communication tools we use, have allowed an oppressed people to rise up.

This week, the news is being rocked again by Egypt, who have been under a similar heavy handed ruler that most have never had a hand in putting into power.  The young are disaffected, ready for change, and so rebellion erupts possibly from the hopes sparked from their Tunisian brothers and sisters.

Some of the story points that stick with me are fascinating.  The rebels and the police all stop for prayers, and they exchange water in respite.  The title of this blog is what has been heard chanted as they leave the mosques. “Wake up, wake up son of my country.  Come down Egyptians.” (NYT’s article).  As I read these words, I see the eloquence and deep identity that comes out of being held down without freedom to express oneself.  It just explodes with a violence, but the words are beautiful.  They have thought them through.

Connecting to my own life in a strange way, I am half way through “Mockingjay” in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and there is a similar rebellion faced at the “Capital” of that book.  The different districts are subservient to the dictator President Snow, and slowly, as they realize the ridiculousness of their docile position, and the lack of necessities, they rise up, and District sacrifice their lives for something greater than themselves – the right for the next generation to live as free people.  Hopefully – Free to be Good people.

I can’t help but think that “Revolution” is on the minds of many people as we come into an age of Global Awareness like never before.  Especially the young who have access to ideas and thoughts from all over the world and are able to exchange them at lightning speeds.  I think that the world is on the verge of changing in many more ways than just a few uprisings in sporadic countries.  Governments will slowly begin changing too, in response to the needs of more people being more connected, which means more accountability.  In countries that have had no accountability for a long time – be ready for the checks and balances that may destroy the power bases built on secrets, lies, and destruction of people who know the truth.

Lastly, it will be interesting to see how Twitter and Facebook continue to be used, but these sites are turning into large corporations with large profits.  How long will they be able to remain tools of revolutionaries without governments trying to destroy them.  The NYT article talks about how the British telecommunications company Vodafone has already acquiesced to the Egyptian government’s demands to stop service to certain areas.  On one hand there is a liability and public safety concern, on the other hand – are you prolonging more public enemies to run corrupt governments which can continue to harm the people.  Corporations get caught up in this political and moral dilemma and at the center of it is the idea of Freedom, because of basic Human Dignity given to them by their Creator, and who have the right to live, and think, and build what kind of world they need to remain safe, have food and shelter, and perhaps to go a bit farther – to seek happiness (or perhaps peace).

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but I am praying for everyone involved in the Egyptian conflict.  Like the martyrs in the book of Revelation that cry out to God, “When? When?” will Justice be served and our murderers be prosecuted.  There is an appointed time, and at some point – everything that seemed so solid breaks loose.