The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of July 19, 2012 (“Get to know our customers” Day. Find out something new about those who keep you in business.)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • This could be a game changer for this year’s election. USA Today reports that the state of Washington will be the first state to allow voters to register via Facebook. If ever there was a way to make registering to vote more accessible to the general public, this is the way to do it. Facebook users will be able to register to vote through an app on the secretary of state’s Facebook page, and they’ll even be able to share the app on their timeline for friends to see. This is going to be the new ‘I voted’ sticker for the digital age. Kudos to the state of Washington for taking the initiative on this and force feeding democracy on those too busy to register to vote because they’re clicking ‘Like’ on the latest meme.
  • I. Love. Lists. I use lists for everything. I use Evernote to organize lists of blog ideas. I use the notepad function on my iPhone to make lists of movies to see or places around Austin to check out. When I saw this headline on Twitter, I got uber excited. Lifehacker provides the Five Best To-Do List Managers apps. I will be checking these out myself to see which works the best for me, but the prospect of using some the listed features to organize my many to-dos has me tingling with delight. What? I like lists…
  • Jay Baer offers up a really interesting post discussing the difference between Social Media Influencers and Brand Advocates. He makes some very interesting points both in how each can be useful in their own way, and how very different they can be from each other. For those of you who prefer a more visual approach, the post includes a great infographic. For those of you who have a little bit of a nerdy streak, there’s even a dig at Aquaman. Who doesn’t love a good dig at Aquaman? I’d also like to take this moment to thank Jay for introducing me to Curate.Us, which allows me to quickly clip visual snippets from sources and place them in my blog posts as you see here. It’s such a useful tool.
  • As long as Stumbleupon.com continues to find me crazy weird things like this, things I would have never found  on my own, I will continue to let it eat up valuable resources from my time. (It is a great way to stay occupied on the bus ride home from work though.) Since I found this on Stumbleupon, and there really aren’t any other links or info on the page, I can’t tell you much about who made it or where it came from. You may find yourself fiddling around with it regardless. Who doesn’t love taking 15 seconds to drag the mouse and create unique melodies? I submit that there are very few people on that list.
  • Here’s an really interesting dynamic chart following the changes in how we consume music over that last 30 years. It’s really interesting to simply watch the trends from one technology to the next. I’d love to see the jump in just the two years after the chart stops. Once again, I found this on Stumbleupon, so I don’t know who exactly created it or where they are pulling their data from, but it appears relatively accurate, or at least it makes sense. From the web address, it appears to be coming from digitalmusicnews.com.
  • Lastly, Stanford of Pushing Social shares an interesting analogy with regards to why you may not be getting the interaction you want or hope for in your blog. It seems a pretty simple concept that he discusses, but one that still so few seem to grasp in this digital world of “look at me, look at me!” Stanford always writes great stuff and is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to people for blogging advice. Pushing Social is worth following for bloggers of any caliber to find quick, to-the-point advice that you can put to use. This one is a quick read, and worth checking to make sure you’re not THAT guy that he points out in the post.
  • Last minute addition to wrench your heart a bit. Thursday night, at the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a man in a gas mask wearing all black decided to throw tear gas and open fire into the crowd. At the time of writing this, 12 are dead and many more wounded, some of them being children. I simply don’t understand it. 24-year old James Holmes has not given a motive yet, but that doesn’t matter. People were excited about a movie and he ruined their lives. Unbelievable.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? What do you think about the ability to register to vote on Facebook? Would you like to see more social integration into important parts of our society as we know it?  Are you a list-maker yourself, and do you already use any of the apps Lifehacker spotlights? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of July 2, 2012 (Did you know July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month? Also, the best month of the year!)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • Last week I had an article about Google+ coming to Flipboard, and this week it’s all about the New York Times. I’m very happy to see Flipboard getting the attention it deserves. It’s a really slick app with a great interface, and I was concerned about its well-being when I wrote my post about Google Currents and the threat it posed. This deal with the NY Times should really drive more traffic to Flipboard, and get those who potentially never used the app to check it out and fall in love with it, as many of us have. Flipboard is available for iOS devices, Kindle, and Android devices.
  • Gojee, an up and coming recipe sharing platform, looks to be getting funded up to attract some of the food-loving Pinterest crowd. Any Pinterest user will tell you that that their feed is full of boards from kitchen queens, culinary kings, expert foodies and wish lists of the less experienced (mine is simply titled Food I Want In My Face). Gojee is described as the “Twitter for food” and could potentially couple well with the multitude of recipe sharing buzz that Pinterest has created in the last year or so.
  • The plight of the small business owner is a constant struggle to stay relevant and visible in the shadow of the big guys. Although a strong online presence helps, sometimes it can feel like a hopeless battle, especially trying to keep up with all the changes that Google is doing. Here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com discussing some things to do to try to make yourself visible in Google’s eyes (and therefore everyone else’s).
  • In what will likely be a pretty important decision, a court judge ruled that Tweets are public (same as if they were shouted out in the street) and therefore should not be accompanied with any expectation of privacy. The court has ordered Twitter to turn over months worth of tweets by an Occupy Wall Street protester in order to prove that he was aware of the police orders that he was blatantly disregarding. Check out the whole article.
  • Finally, summertime is now in full swing. The fireworks really make it feel official (along with the sweltering heat, depending on where you are in the country or the world). Entrepreneur columnist Teri Evans provides some summer reading picks from multimillionaire entrepreneurs. There’s a few I’ve already heard of (and a couple standby classics), as well as a couple I might have to add to my list.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? How do YOU feel about the ruling on privacy of tweets on Twitter? Do you use Flipboard, and if not, will you use it to keep up on New York Times articles? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of June 20, 2012 (American Eagle Day, so do your country proud):

Social Gnome hoard image

  • For those of you who love those infographs, Social Times has put together some interesting demographic information on who is using the various social networks. Some of the data may come as no surprise if you follow this kind of data, but some of the data is still pretty staggering. I especially like the section that outlines how much a user is supposedly worth to the networks. I’ll take my check now, Mr. Zuckerberg.
  • As a blogger, I’m always looking for something to inspire me, something to keep me furiously clicking away at the keys and trying to get that next blog post out (and on time, to boot). Copyblogger provides some words of wisdom, as usual. This time, in an easily printable format that you can put right above your desk. No more excuses. Print it. Live it. Do it. Be a better writer. Just as easily said as done, right?
30 Best Content Curation Resources for Marketers and Business Pros

Clipped from: http://www.b2bmarketinginsider.com (share this clip)

  • Speaking of blogging tips, if you’re having a tough time figuring out what exactly it is that you want to write about, here is a list of 30 Curation Sources from B2B Marketing Insider to help you get started. Some are big news reporting names you’re already familiar with, but there are a few gems in here that I was unfamiliar with, but am definitely checking out. The article provides links and links to Twitter profiles for all 30, so you can jump right in and follow these sources to keep your content fresh and interesting.
  • Anyone who works in social media, or works digitally with clients, will appreciate the humor in this Tumblr blog “What Should We Call Social Media.” If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a must. Using animated GIFs, this blog expresses exactly what you and I are feeling when clients or their customers do things that drive us up a wall. It also approaches other great themes like “When Klout tells me it believes I’m influential in something I’ve literally NEVER talked about.” It’s a fantastic Tumblr, but be careful it doesn’t drain your day away. You’ve got clients to think about.

Clipped from: redOrbit (share this clip)
  • Great news to all of you Flipboard lovers (like me!). Google+ announced this week that it would finally be opening up its API to allow your Google+ stream to be viewable from your Flipboard dashboard. It was already possible to view your Google+ stream on Google Currents, which was one pull for me, but I’ve been wildly awaiting this announcement. This hopefully means we’ll see many more availabilities opening up (like Hootsuite and maybe Buffer!). Google previous closed-off nature with their API was one thing hurting them in the battle against Facebook. This could be a pretty major turning point for Google+ usage and integration.
  • And finally, for all you music lovers out there, this FREE app is a must-have. Band of the Day is an app for iPad and iPhone that provides a new band or artist recommendation for every day of the year. You can even go back a handful of weeks to see what you may have missed. The app allows you to preview numerous (if not all) songs by the band or artist, reviews, bios, videos and links to purchase the songs as well. It does obviously require an internet or WiFi connection. The user interface is really slick and moves smoothly through all the various screens. There may be a few artists you’re already pretty familiar with, but unless you’re a major indie music aficionado, you’re likely to find tons of music you’ve never heard before. I highly recommend this app, especially on the iPad, to anyone who thirsts for more music in their life.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Do you know of any other great music recommending apps out there? Do you use Flipboard, Google Currents, or some other dashboard for all your news gathering? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 3)

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting.

Path not Pinterest

Path – The mobile-only network

Path

You can’t talk about emerging social networks without bringing up Path. I won’t spend too much time discussing this one, as I’ve actually already written a blog post reviewing it here. There are still some aspects of Path that could bear improvement, and for me it’s still not quite engaging, since I haven’t succumbed to adding a bunch of randos yet. I think it sorely needs some sort of way to search out common interests for those of us who don’t have a bunch of friends on it. Otherwise, it’s a great mobile app with a fluid interface. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s worth a look, especially if you’re heavily involved in the mobile sphere.

Another network that just came to my attention as emerging is Social Dashboard. I came across this article thanks to Repost.us, and I have requested to be accepted as a beta tester. For now, you can read up on this “socially conscious” network (or is it a browser? Not sure yet). The big deal with this network is that there’s a major focus on respecting user privacy, not profiting from user information, and streamlining with other networks. Sounds interesting and I hope to get more information to share soon!

5 years ago Facebook replaced MySpace. 2 years ago the movie “Social Network” exposed Facebook’s beginnings. Today, Facebook’s User Agreement permits them to sell your behaviors to the highest bidder. Social Dashboard is being developed as the next leading social network. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB…

Continue reading

Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 2)

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting. A couple I’ve been invited to as Klout perks (and I’m a sucker for free stuff and exclusive access) and a couple are already establishing themselves well.

LoveIt touts that it is “your personalized visual community where you can easily share everything that interests you, find people who have similar tastes and discover new things you may not have found otherwise.” That’s all well and good, but I haven’t been able to find a single thing that distinguishes it from Pinterest other than the cute squirrel logo. I came across LoveIt as a Klout perk, gaining early access to it. Once I signed up, It was immediately evident that it was going to be a Pinterest-type site. I gave it a chance though, and began actively searching for things that differentiated it from its predecessor. Now, I understand taking an idea and trying to improve on it with new features or better functionality, but this is not the case. LoveIt is exactly like Pinterest. I can’t find any distinguishing characteristics. If I’m missing something, let me know. Otherwise, if you already have Pinterest, skip this one folks. It’s not worth starting your boards all over again. Sorry LoveIt, you’re just not original enough for me to love it.

Image from Learni.st

Learni.st is another social network that bears similarity to Pinterest. This one, however, makes certain to distinguish itself from its predecessor both in improved functionality and cause. Learni.st is meant to be a learning community. As their help board puts it “Use Learnist to share what you know. Create a Learn Board on a subject you understand and add ‘learnings’ by pointing to existing web videos, blogs, images and documents. Anything.” The site cleverly has an entire section of Learn Boards dedicated solely to the user experience, complete with FAQs, problem reporting, feedback and terms of service. Learni.st is currently in live beta, where you can sign up and use some of the site’s primary functions. You can get full access if someone invites you (see below if you’d like me to send you an invitation to get started!).

There are a handful of key distinguishing factors that I think make Learni.st pretty cool:

  • Your interaction is more than just liking or re-adding (i.e. repinning) a post. You can actually check off that you’ve ‘learned’ it, and your profile will keep track of your learning progress in specific categories. In this way, you can actually visually build up your credibility in a category by showing how many blogs you’ve read, videos you’ve watched or articles you’ve perused. You can also check up on others’ progress on their profile and see if they’re a resident expert, or still have some work to put in.
  • If someone has a Learn Board that interests you, you can follow and like that board. Even better, if you have something you think would make a great addition to that board, you can suggest a learning for that user. Suddenly boards can become community projects, which enriches the experience of other visitors to that board.
  • Let’s face it. Some sites just aren’t pin friendly. Either the images don’t come up to select, or the ones that do come up are rubbish (or ads for something unrelated). Learni.st lets you get around that by allowing you to directly link to an image URL or upload your own images. I’ve found it nice to use a grabbing or snipping tool to capture something from the page and save it to my computer, then upload the image to represent my learning. You may even be able to use Curate.us to create an image, although I haven’t tried that yet.
  • As is becoming a standard, you can add an applet to your bookmarks bar, allowing you to ‘Learn It!’ whenever you’re browsing the web. I really dig that ability. Streamlining is key.

A snip of what the Learni.st interface looks like

The team at Learni.st are obviously still working out some bugs, since it is in beta, but they have been amazingly quick to respond, and the turnaround and communication is unparalleled. This is a great set of people, with an awesome mission, and brilliant customer service. I’ll be using Learni.st for a while. I want to see this one launch.

There are a couple areas of potential improvement. An on-site notification of interaction (likes, follows, comments, etc) would be great. To my knowledge, there is not anything set up aside for email notifications. Also, tagging people in comments would be nice, especially if you want to recommend that someone checks out the board. This may help with inter-board traffic, which will enhance the social feature a bit more.
Are you using Learni.st already? Do you want to check it out with full functionality? If you leave a comment below and email me at robzaleski1@gmail.com (if you’re not comfortable tossing your email address in a comment), I will send you an invitation for full access! Watch for part 3 of this series next week.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Download the app and go here to subscribe.

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of May 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Clip of repost.us grabbed using curate.us

  • If you’re not already aware, there are two excellent tools for sharing great content: Curate.us and Repost.us. Curate.us allows you to clip an article or webpage and share the image in a blog, email, etc. (like what you see to the right here.) Repost.us allows you to embed an entire article, like you would a video, into an email or blog. These are fantastic tools, especially if you know a bit about HTML. Another special thanks to Jay Baer for using this tool in his daily One Social Thing emails newsletter, which is how I found out about these tools.
crowdfunding-nets-millions-for-game-developers1

Image credit: Entrepreneur.com

  • An interesting article from Entrepreneur.com’s blog talking about the use of crowd funding to finance video games. Those seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in backing are finding that they’re getting well into the millions in some cases. The article warns that this should still be considered the exception, rather than the rule. I’m interested in seeing how well these games do financially once they actually hit the market and they’ve promised copies to all the backers – the very ones who would have been their market in the first place. Will solely realizing the game be enough, or will the meager profits steer creators away from promising free merchandise for backing?

Photo credit: TechCrunch.com

  • TechCrunch featured an article spotlighting recent investment into Chicago startup Belly, who is trying reinvent the customer loyalty aspect of social business “through gamification, digital check-ins and a <sic> iPad setup for businesses.” It sounds like it would at least get rid of those pesky customer loyalty keychain cards everyone hates. Although, “scanning” or “swiping your Belly” just doesn’t have a great ring to it. It sounds kinda weird, actually. Nonetheless, this is a start up to keep an eye on.
  • I have a guest post on The Social Penguin Blog this week discussing 4 Important Aspects of Handling Online Reviews. If you have customers that review you online, this is something you really need to take a look at.
  • If you haven’t read my previous post this week on Google Currents vs. Flipboard, check it out. I’ve made myself a Producer on Google Currents as well. You can go here (https://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAow7ZynAQ/robzie_social) to subscribe via Currents if you have the app. I do recommend downloading and using it if you read articles and publications on your mobile device (iOS or Android). It’s pretty slick. Also…I need to get to 200 subscribers so that I can actually be found via search. When you first submit your content, people can only subscribe with the link provided. Help mmeeeeeeeee. :D

Credit: TheOatmeal.com

  • And finally, I leave you with a laugh. As usual, The Oatmeal gets it right, and makes it hilarious, with their State of the Web, Spring 2012. This captures some of the highlights of what we’ve seen in recent internet and social media news. Things such as Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, a jab at Google+, and constant gamification.
If we haven’t already, let’s connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m always looking to grow my network. If anything, I share interesting and funny things.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know.

Now go get your social on!