Just this week we started using Google+ to see what all the hype was about. At first we were unimpressed with the simple profiles and the lack of customization options but soon after we remembered a time when Facebook was the same way. There is no doubt that over time Google+ will grow and develop into a more diversified and detailed social network but in the meantime, it’s a nice reminder that sometimes less is more. Whether you haven’t been able to wrangle up an invite yet, you have no interest in trying it out, you hate Google, love Google or are obsessed with Facebook, this post will give you some insight into Google+ features and help you make that tough decision; to use or not to use?
Google+ places a strong emphasis on privacy features and tends to shy away from universal openness exhibited by other social networks like Twitter. Everything you do and share on Google+ revolves around your circles. These circles represent different acquaintances in your life. They are personalized and organized by you into groups such as friends, family, professional etc. Whenever you upload new content or update your status on Google+, you have the option to specify which circles can see your content.
We all like certain things and it’s no surprise that we want to follow topics online, share information and start a conversation with people who share the same interests. Sparks is a feature offered by Google+ that allows users to do just that. Just enter your interests in the Sparks search bar and Google immediately delivers a feed of content from across the internet on any topic you want in over 40 languages. You can even bookmark topics for quick future access. Sparks is well organized, visually appealing and easy to navigate making it a must-use feature that’s bound to take up a lot of your time!
Everyone loves to socialize so it’s no surprise that Google+ has managed to incorporate Hangouts as a unique feature on it’s network. Hangouts allows up to ten people to participate in a group video chat. The best part about this feature is that anyone can launch it and when you do so, it shows up in your activity stream so any of your circle contacts that are online can join in at any time. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a Google+ favourite!
Almost everyone has a smartphone these days so mobile applications are growing in popularity. Instant Upload is a photo sharing app that lets you add photos directly from your phone into a private album that you can share with anyone in just one click. As of yet, there is no limit on the file size, the number of albums or the number of photos. When it comes to video uploading, Google+ has restrictions that limit each video to 15 minutes but they allow up to 1080p resolution.
Have you ever tried texting four of your friends at once to try and plan a movie date? With Huddle, a group messaging app, you can let all your friends within a certain circle know what’s going on and you can all chat together in one place at the same time. It’s essentially like Blackberry messenger for Android devices.
Unfortunately these mobile apps are geared towards Android devices for the time being and there’s no telling if mobile apps will ever be available for Blackberry or iPhone users. Based on Google’s relationship with Apple, I doubt the apps will ever be compatible with Apple products but only time will tell.
Google+ is definitely a work in progress. There are no doubt bugs that need to be fixed and kinks that need to be worked out but it seems like the foundation has been set and from what we can tell, it’s solid this time. Long gone are the days of Orkut, Wave and Buzz. Hopefully this time Google hits a home run and gives Facebook a run for their money. With a sleek user-interface that makes excellent use of white space, new innovative features and simple functionality, Google+ is positioned to make it’s mark on social networking. Have you tried it yet? Let us know what you think!
We’ve all been there, flipping through the high school yearbook, drawing devil horns, speech bubbles and hilarious things over the photos of our fellow classmates. Take a second and imagine if social media were a high school. Would Facebook be a jerk? Would Twitter ever stop talking? Luckily for us, the vast world of social media comes with it’s very own stereotypes and this entertaining info graphic reviews them all.
See the original blog post here
Lately it seems like QR codes are everywhere, even in Windsor! We’ve seen Bozii Restaurant use one as a window decal in the front of their shop to share information with passers-by, we’ve seen Workforce Windsor-Essex use them on their business cards and even we’ve used them, attached to pumpkins to promote our launch last fall. There’s no doubt that QR codes are changing the way we share information. They are a great asset to businesses and are fun for consumers with smart phones but what about all the QR code stories that never seem to make it into mainstream news? If you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further!
QR Code Tattoo
So you’ve gone out to the bar with your friends. You start talking to a few people and suddenly you’re being asked for your phone number. Not to worry! Just hike up your shirt and have them scan your personal QR code tattoo.
QR Code Made Of Sand
There are some decent beaches in this area and once the weather warms up it’s not uncommon to find many people out exploring areas such as Point Pelee. But when’s the last time you walked along the water and stumbled across a QR code made of sand?! Apparently in Tokyo, its no big deal.
QR Codes On Shoes
North American shoe retailer John Fluevog, has taken QR codes to mainstream retail and they’ve done a great job! They’ve placed QR codes on the insoles of their new shoes and when you scan them, they link directly to a video which shows consumers how the shoe was made! Talk about providing real value with a QR code!
QR Code Hotel
In Dubai, Project Code, a hotel that will look like a massive QR code, is well underway. The photo below will show you what the hotel will look like when it’s complete. Although it’s extremely impressive, the purpose is unclear and is most likely purely for design. Whether or not it will be scannable remains a mystery, but either way, you can’t ignore how cool it is!
QR Code T-shirts
Who doesn’t love meeting new people? Imagine talking a walk downtown in your customized QR code t-shirt and allowing strangers to scan your code and be added to your Facebook friend list. An interesting Facebook app/QR code mashup allows you to do just that!
It’s that time of year again and as usual, Valentines Day has created a stir of emotions online. It seems that people either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. With social media becoming a stronger presence in our lives, holding together a solid relationship is getting complicated. Before Twitter and Facebook breaking up was a simple task involving a phone call or face to face chat, packing up all of your ex’s items into a box and leaving it on their porch. If they tried to make contact afterwards you just didn’t answer their calls. But now, with breakups becoming extremely public and relationship status’ stirring up drama online, it’s difficult to hold things together for yourself and not let curiosity get the best of you.
In a world so consumed by technology where every detail of our lives is available for the world to see (or at least a large list of approved friends), it’s awkward to announce a breakup of any kind and then endure the questions and concern that come flooding in from people you forgot you knew. While these social networks get a bad rap for hindering communication in the real world, they are still excellent communication tools when used properly. After all, you can’t rely on Facebook alone to have a mature discussion with your partner. There comes a time when a good phone call or meeting up over coffee is the most appropriate thing to do.
Unfortunately this new technology makes snooping and spying a lot easier and as a result it becomes difficult to move on, even though we know it’s over. Let’s face it, we’ve all visited an ex’s page on Facebook, creeped their photos, and checked their status’ on Twitter. With all this information available at our fingertips it’s hard not to re-visit the past when it’s one click away. YourTango.com, a love and relationship advice hub, released a series of survey results that shed some light on how social networks have affected relationships. Seventy-four percent of people look up their ex on the Internet, 86 percent admit to clicking through photos of them (14 percent of those people are married) and 50 percent called, texted, emailed or IMed an ex when that probably wasn’t the most advisable move. Arguably because of all of this mess, 71 percent say that they think about their ex too much.
As a result of these responses YourTango created a “Break Up With Your Ex Day” yesterday, February 13th. They encouraged people to unfriend, unfollow, block and basically stop stalking their ex’s online. They even created an online badge that users can post publicly once they complete the required steps to cleanse themselves of their ex. For those of you who aren’t sure how obsessed you are with your ex, you can take the quiz and find out if you need help or not. YourTango’s website also has a good amount of pro-valentines day articles that will help you choose a date idea or a movie for the special occasion but they also have a fair amount of anti-valentines day articles that any sceptic would find entertaining.
Whether you’re dating, in a serious relationship, married, divorced or enjoying the single life, keep in mind that your past is never more than a click away and only you have the power to move on with your life and put a stop to the social media stalking. This Valentines Day, take the pledge and free yourself for good!
Facebook is no stranger to Internet memes and with the introduction of the new Facebook profile, some users welcomed the change with open arms. Alexandre Oudin, a French artist, has been credited for starting the next big craze that has more and more people participating as each day passes. Since the creation of Facebook, users have always experimented with photos but the new profile redesign allows for seriously clever animations, typography and photographic magic.
By now there are tutorial videos floating around that teach users how to create some magic of their own and it seems like a Facebook banner application is also cashing in on the trend so it may only be a matter of time before this really catches on. In the meantime, we’ve searched the web and found the top 10 Facebook profile pic hacks. If you’ve been getting creative with your profile, we want to see it!
Have you ever wanted to pick up a newspaper that had articles you were actually interested in reading? Well perhaps a quick visit to paper.li is in order. Paper.li can arrange all the links you’ve shared on your twitter account into a beautifully organized, easy to read, newspaper-style format. You can create custom papers based on hashtags, lists or your entire Twitter account. You can also create a paper based on your Facebook account using the same premise.
Local culinary adventurers, Windsor Eats, have established their own foodie newspaper and share it with their followers on Twitter. The Windsor Eats Daily is comprised of interesting articles about food from all over the internet. Be sure to check them out @Windsoreats and say up to date with the latest trends and taste bud teasers!
If you’re not too fond of the content on your own pages, you can visit the website and search for your favourite twitter accounts to see if they have newspapers you can read. It’s a great way to keep up to date with all the people you follow, especially if you don’t have time to go through individual tweets on a daily basis. You can even search by topic to find some interesting new people and stories.
Newspapers based on lists are also a great way to focus on a certain topic. You can create custom lists on your Twitter account that allow you to group together certain people for whatever reason you choose. If you’re running a local bakery and your twitter account isn’t the most interesting thing on the planet, you can create a custom list from people you follow such as other bakeries/bakers and compile their tweets into a unique custom newspaper that focuses on what you do best, baking! The same premise applies to food, electronics, or any other niche Twitter category.
If you want a custom newspaper based on a certain topic like Lady Gaga’s meat dress (you never know!), you can group the related hash tags together to create a paper that includes different articles or opinions about her risky outfit. This would work for any topic on Twitter and the opportunities are abundant.
These custom newspapers are a unique way to share information especially across a platform that’s so bogged down with updates every 5 seconds. It can be hard to keep up with recent tweets, especially if you follow a lot of people! Paper.li has created an interesting concept that merges traditional media (organized and structured), with social media (spontaneous and frequent) to create the perfect combination. Regardless of the medium, news will always be a static influence in our lives and it’s refreshing to see companies like Paper.li thinking outside of the box and developing a new process of sharing information online.
Ontario’s Amber Alert program has begun a new journey through Social Media giant Facebook. As of Friday October 8th their Facebook page has become visible to users worldwide and they hope the community can help them track down missing children in the real world. In less than 24 hours the page was already “liked” by over 18,000 people and looks to provide a new sense of hope for the authorities.
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis says “In the first hours of a child abduction it’s extremely critical that we get information out to the public fast and there’s no time to waste.” This is why they are focusing their efforts on Facebook where they can post live updates and alerts that are immediately visible on the news feed.” With 15 million active Facebook users in Canada, authorities are hoping to spread the message quickly. Aside from their agreement with Facebook, the alerts are also broadcast on radio, TV, Ministry of Transportation highway signs, OLG terminals and convenience store LCD screens.
There is no doubt that this medium has created a new outlet for sharing information about missing children but as with all social media endeavors, there will always be risks. As we all know too well, when you share something online you can’t simply remove it afterwards. That content could be floating around the Internet for months and authorities want to ensure that citizens are double-checking how recent online Amber Alerts are before they take action.
Ontario is the third province to create an Amber Alert Facebook page (New Brunswick with 24,000 likes and PEI with 9,400 likes) and Canada is actually the first country to send Amber Alerts through Facebook. This seems to be the beginning of a new communication wave that, as with anything else, has its pros and cons. For now, just spreading the word quickly and reaching a mass audience simultaneously is enough to provide new hope for children across the province like the 16 out of 19 that were found using the alert system since 2003.
It’s great to see Facebook expanding beyond social interaction and becoming more mature. Businesses and organizations are finally beginning to realize the potential of tapping into the sites online communities. This is an excellent example of a provincial effort using social media to improve its reach and frequency with alerts/messages. Hopefully if everyone comes together and unites for a common cause, we can help the authorities track down missing children and potentially save their lives. If you haven’t already, please “like” Amber Alert Ontario’s Facebook page and help spread the word across the country that Social Media really can make a difference.