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April 30 2012

13:00

Why Does Google+ Bring More Business To People Than Facebook?

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

Google+, sometimes abbreviated as Google Plus or G+, is a social network developed and maintained by the tech giant Google. The network was released in beta to the public 9 months ago, by the end of June 2011. The full release came in September. While the network was supposed to be a strong opponent for Facebook, it was never even close to it. The fact that many people use it today is entirely based on curiosity and mostly on Google’s name and powerful brand and not because it brings something new to the business. Or is it…?

Google estimates the social network will have around 400 million users by the end of this year, while Facebook approaches a billion. Twitter only has around 100 million users while LinkedIn with 30 million users more than the micro-blogging platform.

But while Google’s last addition to its huge portfolio doesn’t bring many new things to the table, it is a powerful tool and it is arrogant to ignore it as it incorporates great features. Actually, after closely studying and researching behaviors there, it seems Google+ can actually be an influence on your business and bring you more clients than initially expected. This might be because of the more professional look and feel G+ has in comparison with Facebook, or just because some features are better developed. While G+ will probably never reach Facebook’s success, the truth is that it doesn’t even need to – quite frankly, their niches are different.

1. Communicating with targeted potential customers

Google+ incorporates a service called ‘circles’ which allows users to define the feeds displayed on their home screen and who can see them. Privacy settings also allow users to hide the list of members in their Circles. Everything is done quick through a drag-and-drop interface. Specific content can be sent out to targeted groups or individuals instead of everybody in your network. This means that the content you deliver will only reach the people you want to.

Image by Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net.

G+ Circles mostly replaces the typical “Friends” list you have on Facebook and allows you to define your own groups. The default Circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following. A definition of the “Following” circle would be “People who don’t know you personally, but whose posts you find interesting“, according to Google. Quite like Twitter I would say.

This function makes the platform valuable because it allows everybody interested in your services, posts or updates to follow you and stay in touch.

2. Easily reaching prospects

If you have a company, then you are also in need of clients. They are the ones bringing in the profit and allowing us to continue. If something is crucial, then reaching out to them is it. Moreover, the need to communicate with prospects and potential clients is very important, as it might as well be the difference between landing a huge project or failing miserably at maintaining your company on the lifeline.

The platform allows G+ users to connect with these people and more others, including influencers and people in their respective industry. This happens first because of what described above – everybody can follow everybody’s updates without needing a friend request to be accepted. This element is quite similar to the one on Twitter, where you can follow everybody you are interested with and interact with their content. You might ask yourself why use G+ when there is Twitter. Well, firstly, G+ does much more than just allowing you to follow people. And secondly, the user’s database is to be four times bigger on G+ than on Twitter by the end of this year, according to estimates.

Image by CubaGallery.

G+ also allows you to share information with only the right people, instead of sharing it with everybody who follows you. This is something Twitter does not allow you to.

Finding people on Google+ is also really easy thanks to the powerful search function. But more about this later.

3. The professional environment

Maybe the main difference between G+ and its bitter rival Facebook is the professional and business-like environment. Although possible for them to register, 15-year-old high-school drama queens simply don’t find G+ interesting. The same with Justin Bieber male fans from all over the world. Google Plus is clearly for people interested in doing business. In this matter it is quite similar to Twitter and LinkedIn. It just attracts the right crowd.

Basically this means on G+ you will in most cases find only people whom you have something in common with, have a company, are part of the same industry or share the same interests. And this will only get better with more and more people registering and being active on their G+ accounts.

4. +1 and the search function

Google added a +1 button few months after the beta release of the service and this only improves the experience. A +1 is similar to the “Like” on Facebook. But while the “Like” doesn’t mean much more than an ego-booster, a +1 helps the user much more beyond personal fulfillment. The more +1 an update gets, the higher the chance to be found through a Google search will be. And with Google still being the most powerful search engine in the world (and will remain like that for many years to come), this is a strong feature nobody else can offer. Linking the two services was probably the smartest move of Google+.

Image by west.m.

Users can get a lot of exposure thanks to the +1 buttons, which are available in everything that can be shared on the platform, including images. And while the feature is already incredible, bear in mind that Google Plus is still in its early development phase and improvements are likely to come.

5. The showcase features

Although Facebook allows you to do this as well, the capability of turning your G+ profile into a showcase portfolio is really well developed. Google Plus not only allows you to make it a visual portfolio, but also to make it in a written format like a classic CV. Again, some similarities can be drawn with another service – LinkedIn. You can say G+ gets the better out of two worlds.

Not only the pictures can be used in order to create a visual impact, but the “About” section is much more complex than on other platforms. It contains a big range of materials, links and details about where you’ve lived and how can you be contacted.

6. Google+ Hangouts

A strong feature Facebook and the other social networking platforms lack is the video chatting capabilities. Well, just for your information, even the US President used G+ Hangouts for a press conference several months ago. This allows you to communicate with up to 10 people on your network instead of asking them to call you or contact you on Skype or other service. You have everything under the same roof and gives Google a strong advantage over its competitors.

Bottom line

Google Plus has always been an underdog to Facebook and, in the beginning, even to Twitter and LinkedIn. But it seems people found the good in it and start using their accounts much more often. And while individuals still try to get a grip of it, companies and freelancers already use it to its full potential and land clients and projects through it.

Until next time, what is your experience with G+? Why it is exactly you use Google+ instead of letting go of it like many others do? Have you ever landed a gig on Google Plus?

April 28 2012

13:00

1stWebDesigner’s Life #6 – Social Media and a CD Portfolio

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

The Boss has finally decided to get into this social media thing. Well, you know that can’t be good for our superhero, Webster, right? Also, he’s been doing a great job on a portfolio for his company, do you think The Boss will like it?

Our cartoons were awesomely designed by Jamie Sale. If you need to hire a cartoonist, just call this guy, seriously. Also, if a friend of yours asks for an advice on cartoonists for hire, you know who you’ll recommend, right? Well, I think you got it :)

Social Media

Portfolio copy

Is email social media?

Mass mailing is kind of media, and kind of social (since it includes groups of people). So, why can’t we just call mass mailing social media? I know, I know, that’s because people can’t reply back to the company, right? What about mailing lists or mail groups? People can reply and have their own profile. How does that differ from Twitter or Facebook?

I know it’s a joke at first, but have you ever thought about the power of email? I mean, the Internet is full of social media hacks talking about how you they can get you the most exposure on social media. The main thing is, are you delivering the right marketing message? Because if you are, even if you have just a newsletter people often spend the time to hit “reply” and drop a line. Even if you just wrote an article, people will try to talk to you (as I hope you do via comments ). Everything can be social, if you let it.

This is something that works for me, but I reply to every single comment I get. I try to get back to everyone so people will know that they are talking to real people it also opens the line of communication.

So, my question to you is, why aren’t you making more things social?

Spreading the word offline

Ok, ok, you don’t need to make CD copies of your portfolio and send it to clients. But, unless you spend 100% of your time in front of your computer you’ll need to, at some point, do a little networking, deliver a few business cards, talk to real people.

There are so many digital coupons out there that when I receive something cool via traditional mail, whether it’s coupons for Google Ad Words, or something equally as cool, it really catches my attention.

I’m not saying that you need to write a fancy letter to each of your clients, just that it would be nice to send them something ‘real’ every so often.

Now it’s your turn!

Hope we didn’t get too philosophical this time. But share your thoughts and funny stories with us!

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April 25 2012

21:00

Get Better User Engagement by Integrating Social Logins on Your Website

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Would you like more people to create a user account on your website? Anyone with a website that encourages website traffic to create an account always wants more subscribers. The challenge is two-fold. Most people don’t like giving up personal data to websites unless they are comfortable with them or really need what the site is offering. Reason number two, the registration process is usually time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution to both of these issues? You’d think that if you can solve the two biggest hurdles to people creating an account on your website that you’d be able to increase your conversion rate of website traffic to website subscribers. The solution is out there… It’s called Social Login, and in this article we are going to dig into what it is, how you can use it on your website, the benefits of doing so, and provide a few examples of sites who are using Social Login successfully.

What is Social Login?

Social Login options

Social Login options

Social Login is the process of letting users create accounts on your site by logging into their social media accounts. Using API calls back-end software will connect to the user’s social media account and pull in all relevant data required for your sites Registration Process. If any additional data is required by your site, but was not collected from the user’s social media account, you can display those fields, ask users to complete the form, and click a Register/Submit button. Basically this allows users to bypass a normal website registration process, simply login to their social media account, and click Register (unless extra data is required). Social Login is much less time-consuming than normal website registration process.

Integrating Social Login into Your Website

Different websites allow users to use different social media accounts to register. The key to selecting the right social media tools to use on your website starts with analyzing your target audience. What social media channels do you think most of your website traffic uses? Either that, or just go with the two biggest social media channels, Twitter and Facebook!

In order to integrate Social Login into your website you must find Social Login software to use. Here are a few that you can choose from:

Social Login software

Social Login Janrain

Websites Should Provide Both Social Login and Standard Registration Options

Social Login is a great tool for increasing the number of subscribers to your website. That said, in most cases, it shouldn’t be the only registration option. Some people don’t want to merge their social profiles with other websites. You want to give potential users the option of logging in without social media.  Some people either don’t have social media accounts on the sites that you provide as Social Login options or they don’t want to see things that they do on your website show up on their Social Media accounts. Although there are a lot of benefits of adding a Social Login option to your website, it should be an added option, not the only option.

Benefits of Using Social Login on Your Website

Adding Social Login to your website can be an extremely beneficial use of your time and/or money. Here are a few of the numerous benefits that Social Login offers website owners:

  • Add More Subscribers – Websites that have added Social Login as an option for their account registration process have increased the number of subscribers from 10% to hundreds of percent.
  • Easier Registration Process – Social Login is usually MUCH easier for users than a normal website account registration process
  • Go Viral – When users are logged in to their social media accounts from your website it’s much easier to post information from your website to their entire network. Most Social Login software already has this feature built-in. This means that for every user who creates an account on your website through Social Login, the potential for you to capture their friends as users increases dramatically over a standard registration process.

Is Social Login Safe to Use?

Social Login Privacy

Is Social Login Safe?

Image Credit

The simple answer is YES. The long answer is slightly more complicated. Social Login is typically very safe with regards to your personal data getting into the wrong hands. That said, using Social Login to sign-up for a website simply opens a user up to yet another API call that’s transferring personal data between his social network and your website. There’s always a little risk that something will happen that will either cause the API call to break and data to be leaked or for someone tapping into it and stealing data. All of this being said, there’s also safety concerns for any type of registration process whereby consumers provide their personal data to a company/website. Social Login is typically extremely safe, but it does open consumers up to just another avenue for their personal data to fall into the wrong hands. In my opinion the risk is pretty low.

Examples of Websites Using Social Login

There are hundreds of thousands to millions of websites around the web that use Social Login. Here are a few examples of websites who successfully use Social Login:

Pinterest

Pinterest, in the news recently as they were purchased by Facebook, currently allows users to login with either their Facebook or Twitter account. It will be interesting to see if they switch that to Facebook-only moving forward.

Social Login Twitter Facebook

Social Login Pinterest

HubSpot

HubSpot, an online marketing software company with a very large user base, allows users to login to Hubspot with their Google Account.

Social Login Google

Social Login HubSpot

iVillage.com

iVillage.com provides the most flexible of all of the sites that we are going to review in this article. They offer a standard registration process whereby they collect Email, Username, and Password. iVillage.com also lets users register and login via Social Login. Users can choose from a variety of social networks to connect to their iVillage.com account, from Facebook and Twitter to Yahoo! and AOL.

Social Login

Social Login iVillage.com

ESPN.com

ESPN.com provides users with both a standard registration process and Social Login registration process in order to create an account on ESPN.com. ESPN have decided that most of their website traffic is on Facebook, thus they have gone with the Facebook Connect Social Login option.

Social Login Facebook Connect

Social Login ESPN.com

Adding Social Login to Your Website

Will you add Social Login to your website? Depending on your needs, integrating Social Login into your website will either be pretty quick and easy (think WordPress plugin), or a little more time-consuming and/or expensive. That said, no matter how the integration process plays out for you, one thing is pretty clear, your users will appreciate it and more people will sign-up for an account on your website. Let us know if you are currently using Social Login and what you think about it by leaving a comment below. If you aren’t currently using Social Login, do you think you’ll look into integrating it into your website?

April 22 2012

09:14

Le vittime “illustri” del patto Facebook-Instagram

Il primo a dare l’addio era stato Jack Dorsey, co-fondatore di Twitter. Una storia lunga la sua. Jack era stato tra i primi investitori di Instagram. Aveva sperato di integrarlo con Twitter. Ha tentato di acquistarlo in più di un’occasione. Se l’è invece lasciato soffiare sotto il naso dal terribile Zuckerberg.

Poi è successo anche a Phil Schiller, uno dei boss di Apple, (senior vice president of worldwide marketing) mica cosa da poco. Phil se l’è presa col fatto che Instagram, dopo aver rilasciato l’app per Android ha snaturato la sua natura di “piccola” comunità per appassionati di fotografia. La dimensione di massa che ha raggiunto Instagram, non è più in linea con lo spirito iniziale, sostiene.

Uno come me farebbe notare al maestoso Phil che è un po’ la stessa cosa che è successa ad Apple nel tempo. Da fenomeno di nicchia a quello che è oggi. Ma è meglio farsi i fatti propri. Dicono che non sia una pecorella molto docile.

La verità è che Instagram era un’esclusiva iOS e Apple, finché è rimasta tale, ci sguazzava. Un annetto fa circolavano leggende secondo cui l’aumento delle vendite degli iPhone era dovuto proprio alla Instagram mania. Niente di ufficiale, capiamoci. Ma quanto basta per capire la portata del fenomeno.

Schiller, nel suo ruolo ad Apple, ha dovuto dire basta dopo il tradimento di Instagram con Android. Un’altra vittima illustre per l’applicazione di photo sharing.

Ma a Kevin Systrom, di Schiler, interessa poco. L’app per Android ha fatto il botto. E lui siede su una montagna di un miliardo di dollari chiedendosi ancora se tutto quello che è successo sia vero.

April 19 2012

21:00

5 Pinterest Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Dominating Pinterest

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

After only 24 short months, “Pinterest” has become the 3rd most popular social network under Facebook and Twitter. Not even Oprah or Tom Cruise can compete with those statistics! Pinterest is dominating the social sphere and webmasters are taking advantage of the profit-busting potential it provides.

Are you a passionate, pinning, Pinterest patron? (Say that three times fast!) If you haven’t “pinned” your way to the top just yet, you may not be aware of all the juicy secrets Pinterest offers. Let us help you dominate the Pinterest world and squeeze out every bit of possibility it offers.

For those who have never heard of Pinterest (where have you been?), read this article first on how to use Pinterest to direct more traffic to your website.

Lifestyle

If you want to be successful on Pinterest, you must understand the premise of the platform. Pinterest is like “eye candy” for users.

Pinterest is all about LIFESTYLE. If you can discover how your products and services can enhance users’ lifestyles you will be a Pinterest success story!

1. Pinterest Web Pages

Get creative! Find ways to promote your brand without shoving it in people’s faces. As a web designer, create a site or a page on your own website specifically for Pinterest images and design some creative graphics.

Zulily created an entire page of “Pinables” and encouraged people to pin them as an incentive to receive credits:

Zulily-Pinables-Cheat-Sheet-Dominating-Pinterest

Image Credit

WARNING: Do not pin images from only your main website. Vary your images to include those your audience would love. Build a community, not a self-absorbed profile.

For example, a restaurant may pin images of the tasty food from its kitchen, but it should not stop there. To add more intrigue it could “pin” breathtaking images of the places from which the food originated such as Italy or France. By displaying related, interesting images, you will gain more followers because when it is time to “pin” your own content, you will have more eyeballs looking at it.

Excessive advertising on Facebook and Twitter will turn away your target audience and cause you to lose fans/followers. The same rules apply to Pinterest.

2. Infographics

Useful infographics spread virally on Pinterest. Create an infographic with tips that will help your target audience and pin it for all to see. As of two weeks ago, this infographic published by Angie’s List was “re-pinned” more than 14,000 times:

Lego-Wall-Cheat-Sheet-Dominating-Pinterest

Image Credit

Note: This wasn’t just another infographic. It provided instruction that was useful to viewers. The more you can solve a problem with your images, the greater the chance it will land on the “Popular” board.

3. The “Popular” Board

Pinterest has a “Popular” board where all the most popular pins reside. When your pin has reached this board, it most likely has gone viral.

The easiest way to reach the Popular page is to get featured on the individual category pages. Every time you “pin” an image, it has the potential to reach the top of a category page. Each of your boards is assigned a category. Change a category by editing the board and choosing the correct one from the dropdown menu.

Category-Edit-Cheat-Sheet-Dominating-Pinterest

Originally, Pinterest allowed users to publish one pin, per hour, per account to reach the coveted category pages. But since people have been abusing the system and spamming, this rule has changed to one pin allowed every 24 hours. And I don’t expect this to remain since Pinterest is constantly changing its terms to ward off spamming activity. Some pins never even reach the category pages and the experts are still trying to figure out the Pinterest algorithm.

To enhance your chance of going viral…

  • Submit content at the times most people are using Pinterest. Experts suggest posting between 5-7 a.m. EST or 5-7 p.m. EST, when people are waking and starting their day or done with work.
  • Comment on related pins on the “Popular” page to gain some additional visibility. Just be careful not to spam!
  • Pay close attention to the type of content Pinterest features on its “Popular” page. Pin similar content and relate it back to your brand in a creative way.

4. Connect!

Add a “Pin It” button to your website or blog so users can pin your images to their pinboards.

Did you know that you can find out everyone who is pinning content from your website? Use this information to connect with the Pinterest users who are “pinning” your images.

Use this url but replace 1stwebdesigner.com with your site’s url.

http://pinterest.com/source/1stwebdesigner.com

5. The Potential

If you are a web designer, not only is there potential to spread the word about your own services, but there is also great opportunity for more client work. By creating infographics that instruct, and building your Pinterest board, you are showing potential clients how important graphics and images are for the web. Stress to your clients the importance of “image branding” and you could extend the breadth of your services.

Pin Away!

Remember that Pinterest is not just another avenue to promote your products and services. It’s a site that caters to the brands that can creatively display via images and videos how to fit their products and services within users’ ideal lifestyles.

Pinterest is still on an “invite only” basis. If you would like an invite, please let us know in the comments below!

Join 1stWebDesigner on Pinterest!

Additional Resources:

02:51

How to Utilize Social Media Sharing Badges in your Blog

Internet marketing is the best way to slowly ramp up a crowd for your website. Repeat visitors are the attraction to help your brand sink into all areas of the web. And social media has provided just another tool for marketers everywhere to achieve this task.

featured image for Digg, inc.

If you run a blog then surely you’ve seen these small badges practically everywhere. Some of the more popular digital magazines have incorporated them into the layout as a powerful marketing solution. The embed code is very easy to work with, and I highly recommend bloggers of all areas to try out a few.

Selecting your Networks

Before even looking into the code you should spend some time thinking about which networks are the right solution for you. Back 4-5 years ago bloggers were limited in the amount of social media badges. Digg was a powerhouse and barely anybody was using StumbleUpon (compared to 2012, anyways).

But currently there are so many growing networks for both web and mobile, you have your pick of the litter! Facebook shares and Retweet buttons are very common solutions. This is probable since these markets are huge and do not cater to any specific niche. But as you break down into smaller areas you can find sharing badges for very topic-specific blogs.

BallTribe social news community for sports fans

To provide some examples BallTribe is fantastic for sports-related posts. The community is small but engaged in the content, thus you can build a lot of traffic to your articles. Another social news community Dzone caters to the likes of web developers, server administrators, and software programmers.

If you’re looking for an entire compilation you would have more luck checking through Google. There aren’t a whole lot of posts which round up social media networks. So you will have to perform some additional searching around on your own. I have a small text file saved on my computer with a list of active social communities.

Supply Prime Real Estate

The user experience should always come first when considering these types of changes. If many of your visitors do not care to see or use these badges they will just get in the way. And if you have too many in one place they will ultimately disrupt the flow of your content.

The simplest solution is to include a whole section of social media badges in one area of your post. This could be towards the top near your header or smaller metadata. But I have found a lot of success moving badges towards the bottom of your content. Just as visitors are done reading through your post it gives them a chance to share or vote through external sites.

Hongkiat blog social media voting badge

Additionally you can build a small toolbar right above the comments section to house these vote badges. This will catch a lot of eyes from users scrolling right through the page. I have seen a few designs such as on Hongkiat’s blog where the badges actually float off to the left or right side of the layout. These become non-intrusive elements and still just as easy to access for those interested.

The Hype behind Google+

Google has recently hit the market with their own social media badge. Google+ is a new network in competition with big-boy Facebook and has garnered a lot of support. It should be noted that their +1 badges behave slightly different than the majority of sharing badges.

Google+ Logo pin w/ iPhone

With social news you generally have visitors voting on your story, and after a certain amount your article may go popular. With other social networks like StumbleUpon your visitors just end up sharing links to their friends. But with Google+ each vote gives your post URL a little more credibility.

This means when users go to search in Google your post may turn up higher in the results. Granted this +1 button is not the only factor considered within Google’s SERPS. But your ranking in Google+ does pertain directly to popularity among the online community.

Submit Your own Links

It’s certainly a no-brainer to consider submitting your own links to these networks. For starters it gives your profile a bit of credibility when people can find links back to your website. Additionally you have a lot more control over the amount sharing.

This is especially true if you run a small network of marketing accounts. You can easily garner up a quick 5-10 retweets if you have some extra Twitter accounts lying around. Additionally you can move your posts into Digg’s upcoming area with just 15-30 votes. Most front page stories hit around 90+, so you may not make it that far without some extra support.

Working late at the offices - web design studio

To get your community interested in voting you have to make it as easy as possible. Nobody wants to be the first guy to submit your link into any of the networks. Who honestly has the time anymore?

But if you already have the story submitted it’s a lot easier for visitors to just vote up on each of your badges. Of course, this doesn’t need to be done meticulously with every post. But certainly give credence to your more popular articles and gauge their performance over time.

Adding Badges to CMS’

There are quite a few popular CMS solutions for bloggers to utilize. It’s no question that WordPress is one of the most popular options this day in age, if not honestly the most popular. But of course you’ll need to have your own web hosting unless you want to go through their own custom free services.

Google Blogger online sharing plugins

Although WordPress does supply a steady amount of bloggers, Google’s Blogger is a free alternative which offers many of the same features. Although one big downside is that WordPress users have access to thousands of free plug-ins and template themes. Blogger and Tumblr users have a similar market, but they are nowhere as developed as Automattic.

A fantastic plugin Social Media Widget is free to download and easy to install on any WordPress blog. It includes a default host of badges such as Digg, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Delicious, and a whole lot more. If you’re looking for a specific solution check the social media tag which lists all WordPress plug-ins related to social media.

garland red and blue banner

Additionally there was a great post on Mashable in 2011 focusing around this exact topic. There are plenty of code examples to be found around the web, but you generally get the best results by hand-coding your own buttons. On each social networking website look through their footer links until you find the sharing page. This will include default JavaScript code to embed within your layout and save you time.

Conclusion

This small guide should give you an idea of how powerful social media can be. If you take the necessary precautions adding these sharing badges into your layout will almost guarantee more unique traffic. If you have found similar successful methods of Internet marketing through social media, please feel free to share your ideas in the post discussion area.

April 18 2012

13:00

Facebook Buys Instagram. How Will Microsoft React?

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Instagram is a free photo editing and sharing application which was launched in October 2010. It allows its users to take photos and apply one of the many digital filters available, then share it on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. When the application was launched, it was only available for Apple mobile users (iPod, iPhone, iPad) but in April 2012 they made it available for Android as well. The application is being distributed for free via App Store and Google Play. Because of the application’s popularity, many social networks made modifications and tweaks on their websites for Instagram users because only after one year of existence, Instagram had 10 million users already.

About The Purchase

Image Source

On April 9, 2012, Facebook made an announcement regarding the upcoming purchase of Instagram. Instagram, with only 1 application, only 13 employees, is supposed to receive $1 billion in cash and stock. Until now, Instagram had only two rounds of funding, first in February 2011 when the company raised $7 million from a variety of investors and $50 million in the first week of April when the company was valued at $500 million. While these funding rounds, especially the first one, helped the company grow and expand, no one had ever expected this purchase to be worth $1 billion. While this may sound like the “purchase of the year” and there aren’t doubts it can be it, Facebook played very well. It is being said that Facebook itself, is worth $100 billion which is exactly one hundred times more than what they are going to pay for Instagram. While someone may think it is a lot for a company to give such a big sum when it only holds $10 billion in its hands, it isn’t exactly like that. Probably Facebook and specifically Mark Zuckerberg didn’t care much about the sum paid. Of course they won’t go insane and pay dozens of billions but keeping away such an amazing start-up from the hands of Google or Microsoft, is worth much more worth than the money they paid. It was probably thought by the “Big Daddies” that Instagram would be killed on its development road. Facebook has waited for a while before they decided to purchase Instagram, it’s most likely they’ve understood its real value only after the second “wave” of funding and after extending its market. We can remember the “Flickr Story” when in 2005, Yahoo (a prosperous company at that time) acquired Flickr , for only $30 million making it the most popular photo-sharing web site.

Microsoft At the Moment

Image Source

Over the years, Microsoft has been building a series of successful products, making the company stronger and stronger.. It survived many civil actions against it. However, even if it has been really stable and growing over the past decades, it now faces a few problems. In 2011, it has been reported that Microsoft, Dell and Intel combined are worth the same as Apple. This makes Microsoft leave the leader position on the technology market. Microsoft has always been recognized for its Windows operating system, it isn’t so successful with web products. The company tried a few products which only became stable but not phenomenal. Bing, their search engine, is well known for being stable and receiving a majority of its traffic from Internet Explorer users, who represent  52% as of 2011. Since 2007, they have renovated and updated their products, by releasing: Windows Vista, Widows 7, Windows Mobile and recently announcing the beta consumer preview of Windows 8. An unexpected move by Microsoft was done in May 2011, when the company decided to buy Skype. Skype was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion , the biggest purchase the company has ever made. A very large amount was indeed invested but probably having Skype under its wing, Microsoft will get on the top of the leaderboard soon. We only have to wait and see how Skype will evolve and what marketing strategy will be used by Microsoft to keep this product alive and attract more users to it.

Why Microsoft Doesn’t Buy Successful Web Companies

Image Source

We can see that Microsoft isn’t very successful at building web products if they aren’t associated in a way with its OS or big properties the company owns. That’s why the company should make the appropriate conclusions and with the financial possibilities it has, either investing a lot into themselves, so they could become the leaders again, or, begin buying successful web products and companies that will have success. Except Skype, Microsoft hasn’t bought anything very significant that would still be appropriate to show as an example, a few reasons this hasn’t happened are:

  • The Company Sees No Benefit in Spending More Money

I highly doubt this is the main reason why Microsoft didn’t please us with a revolutionary web product with the current value of approx. $200 billion. However, it could still be a reason. There aren’t any financial details how much was spent on developing the Windows 8 OS so we can’t rule out anything, at least for the time being.

  • There aren’t Opportunities on the Market

Well, this is more possible but still it depends on what the heads of Microsoft would like to aim at. While there aren’t any revolutionary ideas available for purchase, there are more possibilities in the social media sector. I suppose that Microsoft has an eye on both, Twitter and Pinterest. While Twitter is a more stable, day by day growing social network with a really unique idea, they may aim at Pinterest more because even though it was launched only in May 2010, it has become the third most visited social network, overtaking such networks like Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn. In my opinion, Pinterest isn’t a great business opportunity for Microsoft because it may fail in a year or two. I wouldn’t give Pinterest a longer lifespan than 3 or, at most, 4 years. Twitter has been around for a while, and while it’s been quietly killed by millions of spammers using Twitter for their benefit, a radical change in user policy and a better fight with the audience which isn’t using Twitter as it has to be used, can solve and make Twitter a very prosperous company.

  • They are Preparing their own Product

This is the most possible prediction I can think of. I think, they will be releasing a product to rock the web together with the new Windows 8. Its has been already said that Microsoft has success with almost every product related to its OS, so, why wouldn’t they use this benefit and release a web service really close to the new OS? They could even win some mobile audience if this service will be implemented as a primary one on the Windows mobile as well.

Microsoft, Twitter & Facebook and Instagram

I don’t believe Instagram is a big opportunity loss for Microsoft. For Twitter? Most likely, but not for Microsoft. Microsoft aims on software and products used by masses. I think a mobile photo sharing service wouldn’t interest Microsoft because of one important factor. They don’t have any acceptable space to use the respective service. Facebook will be using Instagram as an addition to its mobile version, as the current Facebook version for phones isn’t very well thought out and isn’t ready yet to be used by masses. Instagram will be the “final touch” which will encourage Facebook users to use the mobile version of the site more. I suppose Twitter was thinking about having a collaboration with Instagram, but definitely not buying it. Twitter can’t afford paying 1 billion for a photo-sharing company with the 2010 estimated revenue of 140 million dollars.

Conclusion

I believe Microsoft isn’t really worried about the recent acquisition of Instagram. Microsoft has other priorities at the moment and if they are not planning the release of any social network in the upcoming days, then, they don’t have much to lose with the loss of Instagram.

April 17 2012

21:00

April 14 2012

13:43

Google+ Gets a Make-over: Will it Become the Apex Social Network?

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Ever since its inception, Google+ has had its share of (rightfully deserved) attention. Hailed as the Grim Reaper for the likes of Facebook by some, and another (soon-to-be-abandoned) experiment like Google Buzz by others, G+ has always been in the spotlight, ever since day one of its existence.

Now, loving (or hating) a particular social service depends on personal preferences. However, that does not mean we can take the goodness that G+ brings to the table, away from it. Recently, Google+ has undergone a massive revamp, facelift, redesign. Here at 1WD, even though we aren’t generally intrigued enough to denote an entire article to a particular website’s redesign, with the level of attention that G+ tends to receive, it makes sense to take a deeper look at it.

However, before we take a look at the new G+, let us first spend some time discussing the old one. As most of you must’ve seen, earlier, G+ was divided into three columns – and a horizontal bar on top for search, profile, etc. Clean, simple, minimal – and so on. Truth be told, the old Google+ reminded us of Facebook’s layout, of course without the blue color.

The Redesign

Layout

Unlike the older design, the newer look of G+ does away with traditional layout. Now, the interface is packed with buttons, that provide both menus and sub-menus (on hover). Shades of gray have been used to complement the white interface – overall, the new look does well, and is impressive. Plus, the buttons and menus ensure that there exists a properly defined hierarchy on pages.

Actually, the new layout of G+ is way more complicated than the older one – you have the chat segment to your right, adjacent to the suggestions/trending sections, the navigation buttons on your left, and of course the main content stream right in front. Links about your circles sit in a horizontal bar on the top of the main segment, but below the extra-large search bar.

The new G+ Layout

The new G+ Layout

Speaking of colors, the primary portions are in white while the secondary portions are in gray. Also, Google+ comes with its own Nomenclature:

  • Navigation strip on the left: RIBBON
  • Buttons on the Ribbon: APPLICATIONS
  • The main content region: CARD
  • Region under each post with comments, shares, etc.: ACTIVITY DRAWER

Icons

The older Google+ had simple, abstract icons – the newer one retains the simplicity, but has added some amount of gradience and subtlety. The icons in general are not prominently colored, but they become full colored as soon as you hover your cursor over them. In fact, this color-on-hover effect is visible all throughout the new G+ interface.

Icons in G+

Icons in G+

Sidebar

Right between the main content region and the chat section, lies the sidebar, containing useful stuff such as ‘Trending’ (popular hash-tags), ‘You Might Like’ (people/pages that resemble your interests) and ‘You Might Know’ (people you might be knowing). The sidebar is neatly organized and yes, the hover effect is visible on the links.

G+ Sidebar

G+ Sidebar

Profile

Once you open your profile page, the first thing that will meet your eyes is the cover image – an obvious import from Facebook. However, unlike FB, G+ has also placed a default cover image with, well, bubbles. The profile picture, unlike the previous layout, is now placed on the right hand side – and is bigger as compared to the profile pictures on Facebook.

Profile in G+ with Cover Image

Profile in G+ with Cover Image

Drawbacks and Criticism

Nothing is perfect. While the redesigned Google+ does have many interesting features, it has also received its share of criticism.

For a start, the website is a good example of minimal and responsive web design done incorrectly. If you are on a large display, you will be greeted with an awkward level of whitespace. There is a patch for the same, but it exists only for Google Chrome users – if you are using a different web browser, get used to the whitespace, until it is cured. Alternatively, you can try being innovative, and share some hilarious laughs owing to the whitespace:

A G+ whitespace meme

A G+ whitespace meme

Source

And another one:

Another G+ whitespace joke

Another G+ whitespace joke

Source

You can check out some more similar jokes here: One | Two | Three

Apart from that, certain features of G+ redesign look blatant imports from FB – apart from the cover image, the chat box is now on the right (with names and profile pictures), and so on.

Google+ – Present Promises, Future Dreams?

Google have had their share of experimenting with social networks in the past – Wave, Buzz and even Orkut – all were launched/adopted with a lot of hype, but fell out of favor quite soon. At the moment, Google+ has over 100 million active users. Compared to Facebook, this user base is relatively small, but keeping in mind the 140+ million user base of Twitter, G+ surely has a good chance to be the second most used social network. Obviously, Google does not seem to have any thoughts of abandoning G+ like its previous experiments.

With the new redesign, Google+ is trying to stand apart. The aim is not to project itself as an alternative to Facebook, but instead, to carve an identity of its own (much like Twitter has done). The new interface is surely fun to use, and has certain interesting innovations. The initial hiccups can and will certainly be taken care of, and once that is done, G+ can propagate itself as a social network with its own distinct identity, not merely a clone of Facebook.

The above aim is well highlighted in the new look of G+. The design gives prominence to features that are identified with G+ – Hangouts, for instance. While features such as cover image for profiles are clear imports from FB, overall the design is refreshing.

What are your thoughts about recent Google+ redesign – love it, hate it? Why?

April 11 2012

14:00

Can You Smell What “The Rock!” is Cooking on Twitter?

Close the window right now if you don’t know who is The Rock! He follows ZERO users and is being followed by over 2.5 millions users on Twitter. As a side fact, his facebook page has 6.4 million likes. His wikipedia page is full of praises for the legend and YouTube is flooded with his videos. The Rock is simply the most important reason behind WWE’s social media success just because of his engaging twitter habits. He forces his fans to “Bring It” in every aspect of their life and people go mad when they read a reply (he replied to me too) from “The Rock!” himself on twitter. A Hollywood superstar, a Twitter superstar, a Facebook superstar, a bestselling author and of course the WWE superstar – the Rock has come a long way all on his own. Today I will dig into the human side of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in order to understand how he keeps Twitter trending.

He replied to me within 2 minutes!

Yes! That isn’t a fake screenshot. I sent a tweet on Twitter before I started working on this article. I tagged Dwayne and pat came the reply. Let me just bask in glory for sometime before I move on to the rest of my article.

His quotes are simply over-the-top

My fingers are itching to write about Dwayne’s recent success in Wrestlemania 28 but sadly, this ain’t an article about Wrestlemania. Rather, this one is about how smart (actually how honest) Dwayne is on Twitter. When you go through his tweets then you will notice a pattern and a purpose. All that he wants is to spread love. The beast is all about commitment to fans and he is doing that so well.

Before we move on, let us fall in love with few more tweets from Dwayne:

He replies “Instantly”

At times celebrities give up on their Twitter accounts and let agencies control it for them. They don’t want anything messy to destroy their names and their status. What I can infer from such an act is that they are dumb enough to run away from reality. Look at this man, The Rock! He will reply to his followers all by himself. You can feel The Rock in his replies. You will fall in love with him and he will love you back instantly.

Dwayne enjoys Twitter because it gives him instant feedback and helps him stay connected with his fans on the move. The Rock also uses Twitter to encourage and motivate his followers. And, oh boy, they do get motivated. Look at me. I haven’t slept all night and it is 7:00am while I am writing this article. He is crazy and so are his fans.

He Tweets at 3 AM

The Rock! has the habit of getting up between 3 AM and 5 AM for five days a week as he loves to train while the sun is coming up. It is this time at 3 AM while the world is sleeping when The Rock! sends out tweets that go viral. See, it is the commitment of this man towards his fan and his work that makes him tick. Can’t you see that?

He has attitude!

The Rock follows no one on Twitter! Isn’t that something? And, guess what? This attitude goes well with his profession where the champ is always in the arena, fighting! His tweets and his replies are full of energy and attitude. He will throw it on your face so that you realize how important life is for you. His tweets make sure that you are up and on the move during every second of your life. He can even make you feel energetic while you are fast asleep. He is truly The Rock! And, he has attitude which rocks. Hell Yeah!

It is HIM on Twitter

As I said before, The Rock! isn’t like other celebrities who take help of their entourage in order to sent “safe” tweets. The Rock controls his Twitter account all by himself and all the tweets that land up on Twitter smell of his fingers. It is this personal touch that literally forces his followers to indulge in sessions with him. If it wasn’t for the reality of The Rock! on Twitter then I don’t think his popularity would have been whatever it is right now on Twitter.

He organizes Rock Talk!

Rock Talk is another idea of The Rock! that indulges his followers into chat sessions. The Rock! willingly sets apart time and during this Rock Talk all he does is send replies to the questions that his followers post for him. It is simple and it works. People love his answers and the amount of time he spends with them on Twitter. Why won’t they follow him and fall in love with him? I don’t see one reason.

The Take Aways

See, I agree that you might not be a celebrity and this will be one major hurdle between you and a huge followers count. But, the path to Twitter success is very simple. Really.

  • Reply to people’s tweets and tell them how cool they are.
  • Indulge in regular connections with people who matter to you.
  • Retweet their tweets and tell them that their tweets were informative.
  • Be their online friend.
  • Leave tweets that motivate people.
  • Occasional fun is always invited by everyone.
  • Be strong and committed.
  • Tweet regularly without any huge breaks as this leads to follower turn offs.
  • Give time to those who are following you.
  • Lastly, be honest! Please.

Conclusion

The Rock! is one of the very few celebs on Twitter who are themselves. He is part of the very rare breed of Twitter users who worship the basic idea behind the 144 character social networking website. He is honest and makes you on the top of the world. Basically, he is everything that a celeb on Twitter should be. And, if you aren’t following The Rock then you are really missing out on some of the very motivational tweets. To wrap up, you get to read incredibly inappropriate, but funny, dirty joke right on your Twitter timeline.

March 23 2012

21:00

Unleashing Facebook Page Timeline Tips with a Riveting Showcase

After Facebook launched Timeline for profiles, it was pretty obvious that the social media giant would eventually push similar changes to Pages. Are you excited about the new Timeline for your Facebook Business Page or do you dislike the change? Unfortunately, you don’t have a say in the matter. On March 30th, Facebook will automatically convert your page to the new Timeline format. Numerous changes affecting designs, analytics, postings, and more will take effect, so before you make a move, take a look at some of these important Facebook Page Timeline Tips.

Cover Image

The cover photo encompasses the width of your Page with a dimension of 851 x 315 pixels. Facebook recommends using the image as a creative representation of your brand or product offerings and forbids advertising and self-promotion. The cover image should not include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
  • Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.

Scroll down to see some creative uses of the cover image.

Tabs and Apps

The tabs located below your profile image will be automatically transferred to the right side below your cover photo once the Timeline publishes. You are allowed 12 total apps. Four apps are displayed while users must click to see the remaining eight. The Photos app cannot be moved.

Social-Stars-Apps-Facebook-Page-Timeline

  • The app size has increased from 520px to 720 px.
  • Facebook allows a custom thumbnail image (size is 111 x 74 pixels) to showcase each app.
  • These images can be used for call-to-action, specials, or to call attention to your Welcome Page. (See next section)

The Problem!

If you were directing “non-fans” to a default landing welcome page, you are now out of luck. In what seems to be an attempt to urge businesses to use advertising, Facebook removed the ability for Page admins to send non-fans to a default welcome page unless they pay for advertisements. Your welcome page will still be present but it will be transferred to your apps.

How do you get around this default landing page problem? Here are some creative tips:

  • Draw attention to your Welcome Page app by making the custom thumbnail image a different color so it stands out from the background.
  • Add text to compel the visitor to click.
  • Direct outside traffic to your Welcome Page app instead of directly to your Timeline. You can still use the “Like gate”.
  • Pin a post so it is featured above all others on your timeline. (See post section below)

Need a little inspiration? Here are some Facebook Pages that creatively use their Welcome Page apps:

Social Identities

Notice the welcome page (I added the arrow for emphasis)

Social Identities also directs outside traffic to the welcome page. When you click the Facebook icon on the website, the link directs you here:

Rocket Media

Rocket media used colors that stand out.

Social Stars

Profile Image

That small square on the lower left of the cover photo is the profile image. Choose wisely because this becomes the thumbnail for your Page featured next to your posts and other content on Facebook. It measures at 180 x 180 pixels, but should be scalable to 32 x 32 pixels. This space is the recommended spot for logos and brand identity images.

Posts

Posts have new functions which can be changed by clicking on the upper right corner.

Post-Options-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Star a post to increase its size and expand it to both sides of the timeline. Change the date to make a post appear at any location of the timeline. If you “pin” a post, it will appear at the top of your timeline for up to seven days.

The Timeline wouldn’t be what it is without the ability to add Milestones. Milestone posts extend the entire width of the Timeline and allow businesses to chronicle important times in history. Coca-Cola and the New York Times have used this feature to display life-altering historical events and interesting company facts.

Liked Button

When you “like” a Page, the “like” button changes to “Liked”. When you hover over it, Facebook gives you the opportunity to remove posts from your news feed, which is close to “unliking the Page”, or add it to an interest list.

Interest lists are similar to Twitter lists. Encourage your fans to add you to an interest list.

There is also new research that suggests that addition to interest lists increases your EdgeRank score.

Direct Messages

Customer service is enhanced with the new direct message feature. Fans can contact you and have private conversations.

Page Name Changes

Facebook allows you to request a name change for your Page. Here is a link to the request page: Click here

Admin Panel

The new admin panel is user-friendly and tracks your activity from one interface.

Activity Log

Within the Activity log, manage your post functions and control what appears on your timeline.

Activity-Log-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Additional Resources

Before we move on the amazing Showcase of Facebook Timeline Pages, I wanted to give you some additional resources that discuss the Timeline and its many features:

Also, do let us know your experiences with the Facebook Page Timeline in the comments section!

Showcase of Facebook Page Timelines

Many businesses have already jumped on the bandwagon and launched their Timelines. Here are some examples for creative inspiration:

Make Use Of

Toyota USA

Ford Motor Company

Fox News

Red Bull

Magnolia Bakery

Social Ups

Fabienne Fredrickson

Smart Women’s Institute

Smart-Women's-Institute-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Pic Scatter

PicScatter-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Dressing Your Truth

Dressing-Your-Truth-Facebook-Page-Timeline

March 20 2012

21:12

Twitter: la grande menzogna

La popolarità. Se non ce l’avete la potete comprare. O meglio, ne potete acquistare un vago surrogato.
Funziona così, è semplice, è alla portata di tutti o quasi. Sempre se siete così imballati di grana e così ardentemente desiderosi di buttare i vostri risparmi in stupide edonistiche velleità a cui nessuno darà mai peso dopo esservi goduti i vostri cinque minuti di gloria.

La differenza fino a poco tempo fa la facevano i gioielli. I diamanti da un milione di carati che scintillavano al dito di una donna, le scarpe di Giuseppe Zanotti o le borse di Jimmy Choo. Per gli uomini, la differenza agli occhi di una donna la faceva una Panda 750 CL o una Maserati.

Poi è arrivata la crisi. Le cose hanno cominciato a buttare non proprio bene un po’ per tutti. Certe esternazioni si sono ridimensionate. Ci siamo buttati su Apple. Sfoggiare un iPhone nel 2008 in Italia era considerato il segno per eccellenza del nuovo status symbol sociale. All’epoca faceva figo. Tantissimo. Rimorchiavo da paura solo strusciando le dita sullo schermo per sbloccare l’apparecchio.

Poi però è arrivato il boom e l’iPhone ora lo vedi in mano pure ai ragazzini, pagato a rate con i risparmi di papà. L’avevo notato da tempo. Non avevo più lo stesso charme quando lo agitavo sotto gli occhi di una qualche miss che avevo puntato. Allora ho deciso di cambiarlo con un Samsung Galaxy Note.
Vi piaccia o no, lo dite voi che le dimensioni non contano. Ma questa è un’altra storia.

Arrivo al punto. Ora c’è Twitter. La popolarità si pesa in termini di followers. Se ne hai tanti sei figo. Se ne hai pochi non conti una mazza. Percezione comune. Dato di fatto.

I VIP aprono un account e schizzano in un giorno a 50.000 followers. In due giorni a 100.000. Poi crescono a multipli di 20.000 a seconda della loro disponibilità economica.

Vi dico come funziona. Molti profili sono veri. La maggior parte finti. Comprati a blocchi di qualche decine di migliaia presso agenzie specializzate che fanno solo quello. Pompano i vostri account di followers. Non lo fanno gratis. Si fanno pagare e pure un bel po’.

Se volete essere seguiti da 50.000 followers accomodatevi pure. Se ne volete 100.000 siete i benvenuti. Basta la vostra carta di credito. Poi però non vi lamentate se sarà come conversare con una città fantasma. Date un’occhiata ai followers dei VIP. Sono decine di migliaia di profili che hanno al massimo tre o quattro tweet. Seguono migliaia di utenti e sono seguiti a mala pena da una dozzina.

Guardavo poco fa l’account di Geppi Cucciari. 50.107 followers. 4 Following. 0 Tweets. Quando si dice, ti seguo sulla fiducia.

Già lo so i maligni che stanno pensando. Vi stronco subito perché non ho voglia di litigare. Io non sono VIP. Ho solo un blog che ha racimolato 53 milioni di visite e un’account Twitter attivo da settembre del 2007. Ho impiegato 3 anni e mezzo di nottate davanti allo schermo del portatile per arrivare a 44.000 followers. Ho anche speso un mucchio di tempo ad ammorbarvi con 30,200 tweets. Se avessi investito meglio il mio tempo adesso magari avrei una decina di bestseller pubblicati da Mondadori. Ma mi accontento delle piccole cose. Preferisco uscire a cena con le ragazze che conosco su Twitter. Quindi non provateci nemmeno, vi censuro i commenti. Giuro.

Io non sono l’unico caso. Siamo in tanti. Cresciuti parallelamente alla crescita di questo social network. Molti sono arrivati dopo e l’hanno avvelenato con quello che è puro spam.

Un’ultima cosa. Le persone non sono così sprovvedute. Vi dico un paio di formulette per sgamare gli inghippi. 100.000 followers, un migliaio di tweet e una decina di following è no buono. 100.000 followers, 100.000 following è no buono. Fate le vostre proporzioni per regolarvi su quando un account è reale o pompato.

Se però proprio volete i vostri cinque minuti di gloria, confidando sulla superficialità della gente che si basa solo sul numero dei vostri followers, bene, buttate pure i vostri soldi comprando followers.

Non vi ho detto una cosa. È una strategia pericolosa. Perché se Jack Dorsey e i suoi se ne accorgono, nonostante siano in qualche modo tolleranti, rischiate che vi chiudono l’account. Per sempre.

A quel punto ci sarà poco da fare. Dovrete ricominciare da zero, con un account nuovo di zecca. 10 followers al giorno per i prossimi 10 anni.

Dopo non venite a piagnucolare da me.

Vi avevo avvertito in tempo che in fondo è tutta una grande menzogna.

March 15 2012

20:24

Google ha ucciso l’innovazione: ora è solo una advertising company

Il nome James Whittaker ai più non dirà niente. È un ingegnere che fino a qualche giorno fa lavorava a Mountain View, California, al 1600 di Amphitheatre Parkway. È uno dei luoghi più famosi della contea di Santa Clara che ospita il quartier generale di Google.

Qui, negli uffici del Googleplex, arrivano centinaia di curriculum ogni giorno da parte di ragazze e ragazzi che provengono da ogni parte del mondo, desiderosi di entrare a far parte di una delle aziende più innovative e di successo della nostra epoca.

Per alcuni è il colpo della vita. Per altri un’enorme delusione.

Whittaker appartiene alla seconda categoria. Dopo alcuni anni decide di tracciare una linea col proprio passato a Google e consegna una lettera di dimissioni senza troppi drammi o rimpianti. In molti lo incalzano e gli chiedono spiegazioni per quella scelta apparentemente sconsiderata.

La risposta arriva dalle pagine del suo blog e fa riflettere. Perché non è il solo a pensarla così. Perché i malumori di alcuni insider di Google strisciano ormai da diverso tempo in rete. Perché qualcosa nello spirito iniziale della creatura di Page e Brin è ormai cambiato e forse aveva ragione Steve Jobs nel sostenere “don’t be evil: it’s just a bullshit.”

Google che abbiamo conosciuto non esiste più. La compagnia che motivava i propri impiegati ad innovare è solo un ricordo del passato. La nuova Google è un mastodonte che si è trasformata da una tech company ad una advertising company con un unico mandato aziendale: attrarre inserzionisti sulle proprie pagine.

Larry Page sembra ossessionato esclusivamente da Facebook. Il nuovo corso aziendale è quello di puntare sul “social”. Google+ è diventato una priorità assoluta. La tiepida accoglienza che ha ricevuto da parte degli utenti pare stia togliendo il sonno alla triade Page, Brin e Schmidt. Mark Zuckerberg a Palo Alto se la ride, seduto sopra una fortuna di 800 milioni di utenti valutata 100 miliardi di dollari.

Google Labs, l’incubatore di idee che ha sfornato Gmail, è stato chiuso in tutta fretta per evitare di disperdere inutilmente energie e focalizzarsi sul core. Managerialmente parlando è una scelta che può avere senso. Le cantonate, a onor del vero, sono state clamorose. Buzz, Wave, Latitude, solo per citarne alcune.
Ma Google non è nell’immaginario collettivo un’azienda come tutte le altre. Con la chiusura di Google Labs è venuto meno uno dei simboli più significativi dell’innovazione interna. Molti hanno storto la bocca. A molti non è andata giù. Molti si sono sfilati e sono passati alla concorrenza. Dicono che a Facebook si respiri (ancora) tutta un’altra aria.

La vecchia Google era un posto speciale in cui lavorare. Forse la nuova non lo è poi più così tanto.

March 14 2012

10:00

6 Simple Tips on How to Market Your Infographics

Today, Infographics are everywhere on the Internet, there is an infographic for almost every popular subject. From serious topics like marketing to seemingly simple ones like apps and bedtime stories are made into infographics. We saw the trend back in 2010, when internet marketers were thinking of a better way to market content. Top ten lists were being overdone, and there was a huge need for interesting content, people were getting bored by the typical content marketing techniques seen up to that point.

Content was, and will always, be king. Google loves new and fresh content. But generating new and interesting content was getting tough. There were top ten lists that everyone was doing (read over doing) and there were videos not everyone could pull off or were boring. So there was a huge demand for something in between.

What makes an infographic go viral?

So, what is an infographic actually? It’s basically information graphics, where by otherwise boring and bloated information is made interesting by using graphics. Fair enough. But what makes it viral?

1. Information in digestible capsule format

Infographics always comes in an easily digestible format. Small, cute and interesting graphics make the data even easier to understand and amazing. Today, many infographics we see are otherwise boring information, that are made interesting by using graphics.

2. Data that is useful

Most infographics have informational data that is really useful to people.  Like this one.  The information is so useful that you want to print it out and hang it on your door for quick reference, this is the compelling factor of any infographic.

3. Catering to our short-term attention spans

Today, all of us have a very short attention span. We cannot spend more than a minute on anything on the internet. This is the reason why even when all the information is available on Wikipedia, we don’t read it all. But with infographics, we grasp everything even with our short-term attention span.

So, how do you market an infographic today?

That is our question today. With so many infographics being churned out lately, how can you stand out and be difference from the rest? Let’s take a deeper look.

1. Submit infographics to Infographic Directories and Blogs

There are several places that accept infographic submissions and feature all of them in a very nice way. There are no processes to get into though, all you have to do is submit the infographic and hope that it will be displayed on the site. Most directories do not have an acceptance policy which means that the infographic will be displayed the moment you submit them with a link to your original source. Some of them however take some time to review the submission and publish it in due course.

Here is a good list of blogs and directories:

  1. Visual.ly
  2. Chart Porn
  3. Flickr Infographics Group
  4. Daily Infographic
  5. Charts Bin

2. Make a paid submission to Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon is a great resource when it comes to visually pleasing content. They have a dedicated category for infographics that will get you thousands of hits every month if you submit your infographics. But getting in there can be tricky. If you make the submission from a weak account, then chances are that the infographic will be buried. But instead of taking the risk, make a paid discovery on stumbleupon. The standard Paid Discovery plan is a flat fee of $0.10 per unique visitor. There are also options for higher and lower priority serving. But its a highly effective way of marketing your content to the right people.

3. Keep the tools ready for social sharing

The basic necessity for any infographic is to make sure it can shared on social networks. When people view the infographic, make sure there are enough social bookmarking tools beside it to ensure easy sharing to all networks (or the ones that are relevant to your market). While this sounds like a seemingly basic thing to do, many bloggers and designers get caught up with making the infographic so perfect that they miss out the very basic purpose of it. Which is to get as many links from other blogs as you can and build social media traffic.

4. Submit to Reddit’s Infographic Subreddit

Reddit is where the new memes and sensations of the Internet appear first. It’s from where the rest of the social networking sites, get inspired for great content. And Reddit has an exclusive subreddit at (reddit.com/r/infographics) for infographics. Stuff posted here will probably not appear on the front page, but will be featured on many blogs and Tumblr feeds as there is a big community of infographics fans watching over the subreddit.


5. Leverage the Pinterest community

Pinterest is in the spotlight these days. With praises from funding managers and social media gurus alike, this seems to be the new thing in the valley. And rightly so, because like StumbleUpon, Pinterest gives you some amazing traffic for visually pleasing images and cool pins. Infographics is one category that always gets a lot of repins and likes on Pinterest. And for each repin and like, the chances of getting a new visitor to your site is increased. Watch out for the referral stats on Google Analytics.

6. Influential Blogger Outreach

Another powerful way to market your infographics is to get one of the influential people in social media to share your infographic. It could be someone with a lot of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, or even a page that has a lot of fans. Of course, you cannot go blindly and ask them for a tweet but if your infographic is good (which I assume it is), search for an influential social media user from the same niche as your infographic. For example, if your infographic is on “Valentine’s Day and Love” you might want to consider approaching couple of the female social influencers on the list. Talk to them and hit a deal, like two tweets at the peak hour for $50. There are many unlisted social media influencers out there who can do it for you. Just that you need to spend some time finding them.

Summary

Infographics are a great way to get some attention, build your brand, build links and get some viral social media traffic. It hits all the above points with one stone, and that’s the beauty of it. But since the idea of infographics is getting over done these days, the solution is to come up with newer illustrations, newer ideas and visualization techniques that grab people’s attention. The wow factor is very relevant here. All you have is the first 3 seconds. If you can get their attention in the first 3 seconds, you’ve won. All the best.

March 12 2012

20:46

Yahoo! avvia un’azione legale contro Facebook per violazione dei propri brevetti

Scott Thompson, il nuovo CEO di Yahoo!, lo aveva preannunciato la scorsa settimana: sarà guerra se non si troverà un accordo. E dopo il fallimento della trattativa privata tra i due giganti del Web, Yahoo! ha appena depositato, presso la corte federale, un’azione formale contro Facebook per violazione di alcuni dei propri brevetti tecnologici.

Secondo le accuse, Facebook starebbe utilizzando alcune tecnologie sviluppate da Yahoo! nell’ambito della pubblicità on-line, del social networking e dei sistemi di messaggistica, senza sborsare un centesimo per i diritti di utilizzo. Kara Swisher di All Thing D ha fornito alcuni dettagli su una breve dichiarazione rilasciata sulla questione da parte del board di Yahoo!.

“Nel corso degli anni Yahoo ha investito importanti risorse nella ricerca e sviluppo che hanno portato alla registrazione di numerosi brevetti che sono stati concessi in licenza ad altre compagnie. Queste tecnologie sono il fondamento del nostro business, con più di 700 milioni di visitatori unici al mese, e rappresentano lo spirito di innovazione su cui Yahoo! è stata fondata. Sfortunatamente, la questione con Facebook rimane irrisolta e siamo pertanto costretti a chiedere un risarcimento ad un tribunale federale. Siamo confidenti che le nostre ragioni prevarranno.”

Assomiglia ad una storia già sentita. Zuckerberg pare esserci ricascato. A pensar male si commette peccato. Ma se i fratelli Winklevoss avessero davvero ragione?

March 10 2012

10:00

Master Social Networking Using Engag.io

Part of web working is being a part of social networking sites. Let’s face it, some days these sites are just a pain in the neck to keep up with. Sure you may have a great conversation going on Twitter or Google+, but what about that landing page you should be creating for your eagerly waiting (and paying) client? Engag.io can help you manage your social networking conversations more efficiently so you can mix some pleasure into your business.

How Engag.io can make you more productive

The most basic reason you will be more productive using Engag.io is, you won’t need to hop all over the web from sites to site answering a tweet here or reply to a comment on a blog thread there. Everything is done from a single inbox.

Being that you aren’t going off to the site to reply to messages, you are less likely to get distracted by what other people are doing. Think of it like looking at your email while offline. You can see what you need to attend to, but you can’t get any new messages to distract your flow.

Setting up Engag.io

You will need to make an account. The process is pretty easy, you need to pick a username, enter in an email address and a password. Once you are in, you need to grant access to all of the sites you have accounts for.

The most popular sites are available.

Using Engag.io to manage your messages and replies

Like I mentioned earlier, Engag.io is kind of like an email program. Most likely, you will spend a good chunk of your time in the Inbox. The Engag.io Inbox is really no different than your Gmail inbox. You can see all of your recent messages and can reply to the messages. See how this is less distracting already?

When you open your your inbox you will see unread messages just like your email inbox. If you grow tired of a thread, you can mute the particular thread or even the site. When you mute something, the data is still collected but does’t show up unless  you unmute the site or comment thread.

Other parts if Engag.io

There are other parts of this web-app you may spend some time looking through. First off is your Contacts list. This contact list is a little different than what you may be used to. It isn’t a list you just add in everyone you want to talk to. This contacts list is only people you engage with.

This may seem a bit strange to some. But really, do you honestly need to import all of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and everyone in all of the Linkedin Groups you belong to? Nope, you just need to manage the conversations you are currently involved in. That’s why you have limited contacts. If you want to add more people to your contacts list, you need to talk to more people.

If you are on Twitter.com, how can you tell quickly who you are talking to the most? You really can’t accurately tell can you? The Engag.io Dashboard will be able to see that. The dashboard is kind of an analytics for your engagement. When you are looking around here you will see how many times you talked to your contacts and the top sites you comment on.

One of the coolest features of the Dashboard is how you can see where your contacts are commenting and their comments. You will also see a list of their top sites. If you find that someone who is an acquaintance who you want to know better is commenting frequently on a site, you can also comment there more. Being in the same places more often will liken the chance they will open an email you send them.

Pros and Cons of Using Engag.io

Pros

  • The most popular social networks are included.
  • Everything you need to manage existing conversations is all in one place.
  • Comments are searchable and can be shared.
  • It’s easy to see who you communicate with the most and where else they are commenting.

Cons

  • You are limited to a single account per social network.
  • There is no option to start a new conversation with an existing contact.

Final thoughts

When you are using an application to manage your social networking messages versus managing your profiles there are differences that may seem like you aren’t doing much. Let me ask you this question. If you shut off the television and read a book, do you feel like you should be doing something else too? Just because there isn’t the constant bombardment of information doesn’t mean you aren’t spending your time well.

How do you manage all of the conversations on your social networking sites?

March 09 2012

20:32

INSTABOOM! Instagram per Android: a 48 ore dal lancio. Forse…

Instagram su Android. Se ne parla da mesi. Era stato annunciato imminente a dicembre dello scorso anno. Smentite, mezze conferme, rumors, continui rimandi.

Kevin Systrom, fondatore e CEO della popolare applicazione di photo sharing per piattaforma iOS, aveva confermato con un laconico “ci stiamo lavorando”. Tante speculazioni, pochissime certezze, Nessuna data certa all’orizzonte.

Le priorità prima di tutto. Systrom era impegnato con Mike Krieger, l’altro co-fondatore di Instagram, ad intascare un pacco di finanziamenti che secondo le quotazioni del Wall Street Journal avrebbero fatto schizzare il valore della loro creatura a $500 milioni di dollari.

Poco in termini assoluti. Ancora lontanissimo dalle cifre stratosferiche di Facebook e Twitter che sfondano le decine di miliardi di dollari. Ma pur sempre venti volte il valore che Instagram aveva appena un anno fa.

Tredici impiegati in tutto. Nato appena due anni fa. Venticinque milioni di utenti. Non sono numeri che lasciano proprio indifferenti. Soprattutto quando hai ancora a disposizione un mercato immacolato di più di trecento milioni di device targate Android con un tasso di crescita di 850.000 unità al giorno. Fatti due conti, qualcosa come 6 milioni di potenziali clienti di Instagram a settimana.

Le voci continuano a girare. Da qualche giorno si fanno più insistenti. Sembra che domenica 11 marzo, dal palco del SXSW 2012 di Austin, Systrom lancerà la tanto attesa versione di Instagram per Android.

È solo questione di ore. Abbiamo tutti grandi aspettative. Potrebbe essere uno dei più grandi successi di sempre da quando le apps sono sbarcate sugli smartphone di nuova generazione. Si aspettano cifre record da capogiro.

Caro Kevin non deluderci anche questa volta.

February 29 2012

16:00

How to Use About.me as Your Online Business Card

You would probably ask, ” I already use so many services – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, YouTube etc on a regular basis, what’s the need for another one?”

Well, about.me is not really just ‘another one’ , it’s a service meant to put together all your other services. It’s a neat way to merge your multiple online profiles scattered across different service providers in one single identity – either for your personal use or for professional purposes.

For me the professional angle sounds more interesting. Imagine if you could have clickable links on your business card to your LinkedIn, your resume, your portfolio, client testimonials etc, about.me is exactly like that. It’s basically your business card online with links to the services which promotes you and gives the visitor an idea as who you are. So next time rather than providing someone with multiple links to your online accounts just direct them to your about.me page.

In this post I will walk you through the story of about.me in brief, then visit some nice about.me pages to gather inspiration and then proceed step by step to create one.

The Story

Launched in December 2010, by Ryan Freitas, Tony Conrad and Timothy Young, the San Francisco-based startup was acquired by AOL within four days of launch. Brad Garlinghouse, President of Consumer Applications, AOL, quoted “about.me is more than just the aggregation of social profiles, it allows people to easily express themselves in an increasingly noisy environment full of disparate social experiences”. The acquisition according to Young will enable the service to “piggyback” on the AOL’s large userbase.

The success of about.me, I believe comes from the fact that a true personal brand identity is associated with the .me domain. The site uses a very simple user interface, allowing users to set  up their page in a few minutes, backed by strong back-end analytics which make it easy for a user to see how many people viewed their profile pages and which social networks they went on to view from there, thus providing users with deeper insight into how to build and market themselves online.

Inspiration

For inspiration you can checkout the pages in the featured section found on the bottom of the first page and the pages of the founders of the site.

Featured pages

Page of Tony Conrad, one of the founders of about.me (http://about.me/tonyconrad)

Page of Ryan Freitas, another founder of about.me (http://about.me/ryanchris)

Creating your own page

Step 1 : Sign up

Start by signing up and creating a unique url for you as about.me/your-name

Step 2 : Register

Register your name, write a short biography about yourself or leave it for later. Choose the tags which you think are appropriate to you or your work.

Step 3 : Customize Background

Your page is now online! Customize your page by changing the background, there are some in-house templates that you can use. However since about.me is all about branding yourself try using a high-resolution image of your own to fill up the entire screen, works pretty well for most of the pages

Step 4 : Biography

The next step is writing a short Biography, here you can write something about who you are and what you do, if you have skipped it in step 2.

Step 5 : Color and Font settings

Edit the colors to suit your background and your taste. Change the font likewise.

Step 6 : Add services

Now this is the most important part of setting up the page, adding the services. There are a few popular services. Choose the ones you are subscribed to and would like to add to your profile. Once you click and choose any of them you will be redirected to the website of the service, where you need to login once and approve permission. You are automatically redirected back to your about.me page once you have authorized the use of the service.

Step 7 : Add contact preferences

Set up your contact preferences using the contact tab. I have selected email contact and AOL chat option, which remains visible on my profile.

Step 8 : Using Analytics

Click on the Dashboard and select ‘Profile Statistics’ to view how many people have visited your website.

Click on the ‘clicks’ tab and you can view the statistics of your added services that were visited in the selected timeframe. I believe this is a very good feature in analyzing which of your online profiles are most viewed, and as I have said earlier it can serve as a useful insight to brand yourself.

Step 9: Find friends

Click on the Account and select ‘Find Your Friends’ option to see who are already on about.me. Once you find your friends from your other networks you can ‘fave’ their profile, and it will be added to your favorites.

Step 10 : Ready to go

The last step is sharing your newly made page with your friends on other networks who are not yet on about.me or are not aware of this service. Inspire them to join or have a look at your page by selecting ‘Share Your Profile’ from the Account tab. You can alternatively send emails with link to this page using the e-mail option.

So there,my friend is my business card online. Its simple, sleek and easy to share.

February 17 2012

10:00

Why Your Business Must Go Social [Infographic]

Your grandma is probably on Facebook by now. So why on earth isn’t your business?

It’s time to get real, and come to terms with the fact that social media networks are not just for teenagers anymore. Even setting up something as simple as a customized Facebook fan page can enhance your brand online. Studies show that socializing is important for maintaining a happy and a healthy lifestyle. So it kinda makes sense that the same holds true for businesses, no?

Read on for some cold hard facts about why social networking is a must for you and your company.

Shared by our friends from Wix!

your wix business must go social
Via: Wix.com

February 16 2012

21:00

How to Twitter and Facebook and Still Get Things Done

It almost seems like magic the way that most social media juggernauts tweet, update Facebook, upload YouTube videos and respond to comments, seemingly nonstop, all while still managing to get work done. This is an issue that I have struggled with for quite some time. Recently, however, I have been exploring techniques to help myself better manage my time during the day, get more work done, and still remain engaged in social media.

Scheduling in time for social media


Once I began scrutinizing my daily work flow, one of the first things I discovered was that, while I was keeping a steady stream of engagement, the stream of engagement was chaotic and sporadic. In the social media world this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, if you are trying to get real work done it is actually a huge distraction.

Every time I broke my train of thought to answer a tweet or respond to a Facebook comment, I was breaking down my productivity and inevitably getting less work done. So I hit Google with a few quick searches, looking for some advice. I quickly realized that the main problem was in my lack of planning and scheduling. Maybe if I devoted a fixed amount of time to social media engagement I could keep from breaking my concentration multiple times an hour.

Image by Habatares

I decided to make a list of the most important social media interactions and execute them all within 10-15 minutes. My initial list looked something like this:

  • Browse Dribble, bucket a few great pieces, follow a few great designers, comment on any good shots.
  • Check Google Reader and add any worthwhile articles to Buffer (will talk more about this later)
  • Respond to any @ replies on Twitter
  • Respond to any interesting Tweets in my HootSuite feeds
  • Browse StumbleUpon and find something worth sharing
  • Reply to any comments on my blog

This list is in no way complete, nor is it a one size fits all. Your list might look completely different. Maybe you find the best engagement on Facebook. Maybe you’re more of a Forrst user. Maybe you’re an avid Yelper or Stack Overflow user. Your list should be tailored to your preferred networks and preferred level of engagement.

Use it


You’ve got the list, now use it. And if you can’t accomplish it in 10-20 minutes, keep working on it until you feel it can complete it within a reasonable amount of time. Now go through the list once in the morning, then put it away, focus, and get some work done.

Making the most of your time


Now that you have a simple strategy for social media engagement without wasting time, using different tools can really help you get the most out of these small windows of interaction:

Scheduling tweets


An obvious problem with the 10-20 minute strategy is that you run the risk of flooding your streams with links and content in a really short period of time. Some of your followers/friends might not care for this as it feels spammy and can be kind of annoying.

Using a tool like Buffer can minimize this by scheduling your tweets to be shared at different times of the day. I’ve never been a huge fan of scheduling tweets but I have realized that, like most social media techniques, there’s a right and a wrong way to use it. Putting link shares on a schedule is fine because there’s no time factor. No one cares whether you actually shared an article right at this moment or shared it this morning and it’s just now showing up. However, any tweet which answers the question “What’s Happening?” should not be scheduled as it can be really misleading to your followers. I’m open to other opinions here, this is just how I’ve come to see it.

Social media dashboards


Social media dashboards can help you manage your social feeds and allow you to engage more quickly, efficiently and maintain a higher level of quality within your interactions. I’ve used a few social media dashboards here and there but the one I’ve settled on is HootSuite, mainly because it works well overall and is free. I also recommend Seesmic or TweetDeck, both of which are pretty solid and well vetted. If you know of any others which are worth mentioning, please share in the comments section below.

Practice makes perfect


The first time you employ the 10-20 minute engagement strategy, you may be left feeling like you haven’t done enough. This technique isn’t common and is pretty much the opposite of the way we are used to doing things. Just stick to it and you’ll start seeing the benefit within the first day. The more you work at it the better the engagement will become.

Social media apps and integration tools


In the past, social media apps and integration tools which cause mobile alerts and desktop notifications have led me to dramatic decreases in productivity. This might not be a huge distraction to everyone but, if you’re like me, when you see a growl notification, a red number on top of a dock icon, or hear your phone vibrate on your desk, you can’t help but check it.

If this sounds like you, the main advice I can give you is to examine your social media apps and tools and ask yourself if you really need them on during the day. Are they really worth the distraction and loss in productivity? If the answer is no, uninstall and stick with the 10-20 minute strategy we discussed earlier. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when work has actually been done :)

Social web browsers


A social media web browser can be a great way to stay connected to your various networks during the day. Be careful though, as they can quickly become a hefty distraction. I don’t personally recommend using a social media browser while you are working but, during down time, they can be really useful and a great way to keep up with your networks.

An obvious contender here is RockMelt. I have a couple pals who use it and rave about it. RockMelt renders like Chrome, but as I mentioned above, I don’t recommend using it for development.

I haven’t come across many other decent social web browsers (aside from the now deadpooled Flock). Do you know of any other contenders? Let me know in the comments section below!

Going Dark


The best thing you can do to minimize social media distractions is to go dark. The goal here is to cut yourself off from the networks which are distracting you and taking attention away from your work. Pretty much anything which produces alerts, notifications or messages is a potential distraction.

This concept was tough to wrap my head around at first. Once I gave it a try, though, I saw immediate results. My time in the “zone” increased and I felt more accomplished at the end of the day. This might seem scary at first, but try it for an hour, then two hours, then three and you will see a notable increase in productivity.

If you want to get extreme, I recommend shutting off your phone and logging out of your email as well. It might not be wise to ride a blackout like this for too long, but a little time in the dark side will help you appreciate the light side even more!

Conclusion


Engaging in social media is one of the best things you can do for your digital self. Creating relationships and engaging others is extremely important. It only becomes a problem when social media engagement interferes with your other projects and tasks. Hopefully I have helped you come to realize that the solution comes down to scheduling, proper time management, and of course the occasional blackout :)

Do you have any other tips for keeping up with social media without losing productivity? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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