We embrace spring cleaning for our homes and our lives with open arms but what about our digital lives? Aren’t our social media accounts just as in need as our closets when it comes to purging and organizing? If your digital life could really use a good cleanse, consider these simple tips that will have you feeling better in no time:
Clean up the Clutter
We’re all guilty of using social sign ins across the internet because let’s be real, creating a new account login every single time we want to use an app or service, is way too time consuming. The problem is that many of us have been using social media for a decade so every time we use Facebook to authenticate a login through another app or service, we can end up with hundreds of apps that have access to our information on a regular basis, even if you haven’t accessed them for years. While we’re not asking you to stop using social sign in, it’s important to keep an eye on which apps have access so you can purge unnecessary connections. To do this, head to your Facebook page and click the arrow in the blue bar at the top of the screen. Select settings and then choose “Apps and Websites” along the left hand side. You’ll see a list of active apps that you have given access to and you can remove items right from that screen by selecting them and choosing Remove.
Polish Your Reputation
It’s no secret that your online reputation matters and employers are searching candidates on a regular basis. How would you fare if your employer looked you up today? While we all do what we can to protect our privacy and ensure we’re sharing and engaging appropriately, it can be hard to track down all the not-so-great decisions we made prior to caring about the workforce. Use a service like Scrubber Social to clean up embarrassing posts all the way back to the creation of your account so you can stop wondering what people are unearthing from the past when they look you up on social media platforms.
Give Your Accounts A Purge
It’s not hard to accumulate hundreds (or thousands) of followers over the course of time on each social media platform and while it’s always nice to have reassurance that you’re worthy of a follow, who you follow back mindlessly is half of the problem. Go through your social media accounts, specifically the accounts that you follow, and don’t be afraid to purge accounts that just aren’t serving you any more. Whether they were accounts you followed to enter contests or businesses you connected with years ago that you just don’t like anymore, removing them will lighten the load in your newsfeed and help you better curate the information you see and interact with on a regular basis. Tread lightly though, the last thing you want is to upset an old friend and cause an argument over an “unfriend” scenario. If you’re on the fence about removing someone on Facebook specifically, try the unsubscribe button instead so you can avoid their updates and all the drama of fully removing them from your circle of friends.
Create New Habits
Moving forward, the best way to stay on top of your social media accounts is to create new habits so you’re always conscious of the decisions you make. Get into the habit of daily maintenance that can make things easier for you in the long run and help you stay on top of things with minimal effort.
You’ve probably heard about it by now; the new king of content aka influencer marketing. There’s no denying that customers are smarter now than ever before. They don’t trust brands like they used to so they look to real humans to recommend products and services and that’s exactly how influencer marketing was born. If you aren’t familiar with what it means or how it works, you’ll want to take notes because it’s already a huge force in the marketing industry and it poised to continue growing as the years pass.
Super excited to be a sponsor for WEtech Alliance’s 2nd annual Nerd Olympics. The event brings together the Windsor-Essex tech community in a fun, team-building competition to challenge the mind & body. It kicks off with the official Opening Ceremonies and Nerd Torch lighting ceremony before the first event on Tuesday September 5th.
Sixteen Tech Company teams will compete in a series of events spread out over the course of three months and just like the real Olympics, they’ll be able to win Gold, Silver & Bronze 3D printed “medals” for each event. The whole event will culminate with the Closing Ceremonies happening at the Tech Awards on Friday November 17th with a presentation of the coveted Nerd Cup.
As a social media challenge sponsor, Blab will be providing all teams with a unique social media challenge that they’ll need to complete for points. The best part? Blab will be at the closing ceremonies to present the challenge award to the team who did the best job. Stay tuned to Blab and WEtech Alliance’s social channels for updates and announcements as the event progresses and don’t forget to follow along during Blab’s challenge week from September 25 – October 1st to see the entries submitted in real time online. Let’s go nerds, you got this!
Last night Steve Jobs, former CEO and co-founder of Apple, passed away at the age of 56. Today it is clear that the world has lost a brilliant mind and a passionate entrepreneur that revolutionized technology through his design, marketing and creation of personal computers and mobile devices.
In 2005 Steve Jobs addressed the graduates at Stanford University. He shared with them his life story and his advice as they move forward and progress through life. It was a moment that I’m sure many of them won’t soon forget. His message was simple, “stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Thanks to Steve’s innovative designs, businesses like mine exist and thrive. I can run my business using only an iPhone and a Macbook computer. I can listen to my music, update all my social networks, keep up to date on industry news, manage invoices, share files and do an infinite amount of other things at any given time. The technology that he dedicated his life to has helped make mine easier and the same goes for many businesses. There are jobs that exist today because of his desire to push the world forward and these technological advancements will continue to create jobs far into the future.
In the past 30 years, Steve Jobs managed to build an empire out of a garage based business. He grew Apple into the powerhouse brand that it is today and along the way he shaped the way people listen to music, share information and view the world around them. There is no doubt that his passion for technology and his drive to succeed has opened up a world of possibilities. His desire to change the world has blossomed into a legacy and it is certain that not many business men manage to make such dramatic and positive changes to human civilization. Let’s celebrate the life of an icon whose imagination knew no boundaries and whose creativity shaped our future.
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!
When we wrote about Groupon a few weeks ago, we were happy to pass along the concept of preparedness to ensure that any group buying transaction pushes your business forward. In the process of researching, we’ve come across an online tool directed at businesses participating in group buying deals and it’s definitely worth a closer look.
As expected, the group buying industry has seen its fair share of growth recently. It’s no secret that consumers love a good deal and that more people are jumping on the bandwagon to save money. What fails to make news, however, is the industry’s downside. Businesses worldwide are beginning to open up to the concept of group buying and many have already begun experimenting by launching deals in their local area. The problem is that many of these businesses are slowly loosing what seems like a hopeless fight. In order for this industry to survive and continue to thrive in the future, merchants need tools and support to succeed. If the businesses can’t make it work, then there are no deals to be had! Cue the solution.
In June 2010, small business owner David Wachtendonk decided to take Groupon for a spin. At the time, there were no tools available to merchants so they could manage their own deals online. In search of more substance, David pulled together his own team and created some tools to solve his problems.
“I wanted to have more control and these new tools helped me achieve my goals,” said David, “Later on I realized that what I’d created to make my life easier could help other people as well!”
Frustrated with the lack of concern exhibited by popular group buying sites, David and business partner Christopher Lee set out to offer their services to other struggling merchants. And just like that, MobManager was born! Finally, merchants offering group buying discounts had a place to evaluate, analyze and plan for the future to ensure success for their business.
MobManager allows merchants to manage redemption, track ROI and even offers a loyalty feature that lets them follow-up with deal participants. The loyalty feature utilizes permission-based marketing, creating automated, opt-in, drip marketing campaigns. In addition, business managers can get a better understanding of their daily deal campaigns by using MobManager’s dashboards and reporting capabilities to answer questions like, “How much revenue is being generated per customer?” or “Is this daily deal campaign profitable?”
In the future, MobManager hopes to become part of a standard redemption process that will provide customers and merchants with a better experience and, in turn, positively impact the industry itself. Only time will tell if group buying is here to stay but in the meantime, services like MobManager are making the process a lot more painless for merchants that are interested in exploring new territory. To learn more about what services MobManager offers and how they can help your business, be sure to visit their website.
A few months ago we posted an article about new entertainment check-in applications like Miso and Get Glue that allow users to check into television shows, music, movies, video games and more. The rewards are mostly stickers unlocked by watching special shoes or networks with the occasional discount for Get Glue users on the network’s website merchandise. IntoNow operates on the same basis except the app rewards users for checking into commercials instead of actual programming. The best part is that the rewards are a lot more valuable than a sticker! The app just launched in January and has partnered with PepsiCo to offer a delicious reward to users.
Here’s how the app works; consumers download the iPhone check-in app IntoNow and hit it while the commercial plays on TV. Audio-fingerprinting technology then recognizes the ad and a coupon gets downloaded to your phone for a free 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi Max. The best part for PepsiCo is that once a coupon has been received users have the option to send out a notification to all their friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as on the app itself. There’s no doubt that this is an experimental move for Pepsi Max but they’ve agreed to honour 50,000 of those coupons while getting a better idea of the potential of interactive ads.
The Pepsi Max television commercial revolves around the theme “Field of Dreams” and features many baseball players from the past and the present. The ad is already available on Youtube and is posted below. It will air during MLB games and through the end of the year. The deal is the first major brand implementation for IntoNow but if consumers catch on, it definitely won’t be the last!
IntoNow uses advanced fingerprinting technology so they not only know what consumers are watching, but also if they’re watching it live, recorded on a DVR or on some other recordable device which is very important information to advertisers. It even works if you check-in using the Youtube video! The technology, created by Auditude earlier this year, was initially intended to recognize shows and insert ads online. It takes the technology only four to twelve seconds to recognize a given clip. They have a catalogue built up of ads that have run in the last five years or so, which means chances are, whatever your watching, is recognizable.
Since it’s launch in January 2011, IntoNow already boasts 600,000 downloads and 3 million tags. It was purchased by Yahoo at the end of April for $17 million.
Surprisingly, IntoNow isn’t the first to give consumers a reason to check-in to TV commercials. Mobile music app Shazam partnered with Old Navy to offer the first 1000 users that tagged an original song during an Old Navy commercial a free pair of jeans. The main difference between this mini promotion and IntoNow’s entire foundation is that they offer the ability to check into any and every TV commercial. For advertisers it shows them who is watching their ad and it allows them to reward that attention ultimately driving offline behaviour.
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!
Happy fifth Birthday Twitter! It seems almost preposterous that the social media behemoth has already survived 5 years and in reality, things are far from slowing down! Just like any successful business, Twitter has a story to tell so it only seems fitting to take a look back, see how Twitter started, and how it became the platform it is today.
Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, all programmers at Odeo Inc in California, were the creators of Twitter. They were looking for a way to send messages on their cell phones while trying to re-invent a dying company and thus Twitter was born. On March 21st 2006 Jack sent the first tweet “just setting up my twttr” and in the blink of an eye, a communications revolution had begun. The name was originally inspired by Flickr and was chosen over other alternatives including FriendStalker and Dodgeball. The dictionary definition of Twitter is “a short burst of inconsequential information.” According to Jack it was the perfect name because that’s exactly what the product was.
Fast-forward today, 200 million users later, and an early tweet in 2006 by Dom Sagolla stating “Oh, this is going to be addictive” seems quite accurate! Almost 460,000 new twitter accounts are started each day and more than 140 million tweets are sent out on a daily basis. Twitter has exploded from 8 employees in 2008 to over 400 and still growing. Because Twitter is a private company, their sources of revenue are not completely clear, but they list their revenue at a modest $150 million annually. They also license their stream of tweets to Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Twitter is said to be worth about $4.5 billion dollars. The possibilities for the future are endless. Twitter could start selling traditional ad space on their site or even start charging for premium accounts that push business to their sites. The only thing we know for sure is that Twitter is no fad!
The 140 character “tweets”, which are the heart and soul of the site, are a length that was chosen for a reason. The founders knew that the limit for SMS was 160 characters so they figured 140 characters would leave enough space left over for a username. At first, typing in 140 characters seemed outrageous to a person with a lot to say like myself, but the micro blogging platform is one you become used to and it forces you to focus on what matters instead of wasting characters on nonsense.
These 140 character updates have ultimately changed the media, business and even the world of politics. News has a new medium with live tweeting and updates, political messages are now widespread and no longer controlled by a single group of leaders, and businesses are re-defining customer service and employee communication. The future seems bright with Twitter as new technological advances and creative uses of the platform are popping up everyday. So, in honor of five years, it only seems fitting to honor the social media giant that started a communications revolution and has allowed us to declare our cereal addictions, bad habits and personal preferences to the world since 2006. Cheers Twitter, may we celebrate many more years in the future!
It seems like the process of networking has changed a lot over the past few years with the development of new technology. Gone are the days of filing business cards and keeping business contacts on blocked social media profiles. Things have changed and the wide world of mobile apps has a lot to do with it. We’re using our smartphones to make our lives easier in every aspect so why not use them when we make new connections? Take a look at our top three mobile apps to help push your networking practices into the 21st century.
Described as the “ultimate networking app,” Hashable offers a unique user experience that takes it roots from the check-in craze. Sure, all your friends are checking in to restaurants and TV shows, but have you ever considered the concept of checking in with a person? Luckily for us, Hashable has! As a user you can track your meetings, calls and other events either privately or publicly which makes it easier for you to remember who you spoke with and why. You can type in another persons email address or Twitter username to exchange contact information directly with them and you can even expand your network by watching who your friends connect with.
One of the great things about Hashable is it allows you to connect and network on the go through your smartphone so if you make a connection in an unexpected place, you don’t have to worry about not having a stack of business cards on you. What Hashable focuses on is tracking your strongest relationships and in a world so heavily dependant on constant communication, this free app makes the stress of networking and keeping in touch less of a burden.
Have you ever lost an important business card and in turn, an important contact? If you answered yes then this app is definitely for you! CardMunch allows you to take a photo of a business card and it then pulls important information like the name, phone number, email, website, and address, and creates a new contact on your phone in seconds so you’ll always have that contact’s information no matter where you go. Business card enthusiasts can leave their binders at home because this app will save you a lot of storage space! With a simple flip of your phone you can also view all the business cards you’ve snapped photos of in a beautiful rolodex style.
If you’re a fond user of Linkedin, you’ll be happy to know that CardMunch is owned by Linkedin so scanning a contact’s business card and adding them to Linkedin through the app is only a one-click process. As a user you’ll also have the option to use the search function if you’re looking for someone but can’t quite remember his/her name. As for storage, CardMunch can either add your contacts to your iPhone address book or create a separate CardMunch address book to keep you more organized; the choice is yours. On top of all these features is peace of mind. CardMunch automatically backs up all the contacts you’ve added through the app on your web account so you can log in anytime, anywhere, and retrieve lost data.
I think the best part about this app is that it’s completely free! As networking professionals, we’re always looking for tools to make mundane tasks easier and to integrate social media into our every day lives so CardMunch is definitely worth it!
Networking online can be a difficult process. It’s never easy to find the right people in the right place and as a business person you never want to scare them away with a sales pitch. The folks at Quora must have asked themselves, “Why doesn’t the internet have a place where professionals of any ranking can ask business questions and participate in conversation?” After some intense brainstorming and planning, Quora was born! As a networking professional, using your skills online is important and Quora helps connect you to a vast array of people including CEO’s of major North American companies and even business enthusiasts who just want a place to connect and talk.
Using your knowledge on a specific subject to help another business person in need, is better than any hard sale tactic that would typically drive them away. What Quora does is give you an opportunity to show others what you’re made of and have intelligent discussions about topics that are near and dear to you. As a user you can ask or answer any questions you want, you can follow topics that interest you, communicate through messages, add connections and create a biography. You can log in via the website or through the free app for your smartphone. This is one social network you can’t afford to miss out on!