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Your Weekly Social Media Diet

So many social media sites, so little time. This is my plan for keeping on top of it all, and getting more out of your social media life.

Weekdays

Breakfast – catch up and schedule

Get the latest on what’s happening and find shareable content with Digg Reader for news and blogs, YouTrends for the latest trending videos, Reddit for trending funnies and Twitter for the big conversations globally or in your area. Instantly share the most interesting stuff using Buffer (and its brilliant Chrome plugin), which staggers your updates throughout the day. This keeps your Twitter and Facebook filled with good content, taking the pressure off in case you have a busy day. 

Lunch – respond and engage

This is when everyone jumps on Facebook and Twitter so a good time to check in on the ‘big two’. Use TweetDeck to view Twitter and respond to  engagement from your Buffered posts – thank any retweets and mentions with replies or favorites. Then have a scan for any recent developments worth commenting on or adding to your Buffer.

As you’re probably at a computer, this is also a great time to show some love on Pinterest, trawling through your feed to find great images to like and re-pin.

Dinner – longer reads

Chances are you’re in the majority that have flirted with Google+ but don’t use it regularly. I find that people get great value out of it once they start, so get the ball rolling by posting something and actively joining a conversation in a Community relevant to you or on your timeline, every afternoon. It’s a heavily American audience so early evening is a good time to start posting if you’re in UK/Europe.

This time is also when a lot of commuters are bored on the train, reading Twitter, so your Buffer should have a few scheduled slots between 5pm and 7pm. A good time to post links to well-written content (like the best stuff on Medium, for example)

Supper – prime time conversations

The peak of social media traffic in the week is always at around 8pm, in line with TV’s prime time. Conversation on Twitter is largely driven by real-time conversation around TV, so if you’re watching a popular show get tweeting about it with the hashtag, make any witty observations and retweet other people’s. Share relevant bite-sized content on the topic such as memes – as opposed to long blogs or videos.

If you’re really keen, now is a good time to put a few things in your Buffer so you have content going out to followers in other time zones while you sleep.

Weekend

It goes without saying you should try to maintain your weekday activity where possible, especially the ‘breakfast’ and ‘supper’ ones, but here are some weekend-specific to-dos:

Saturday – capture your moments

Typically the quietest day in social media as people spend the least time at screens on Saturdays, instead opting for shopping, seeing friends and doing stuff around the house. This is however when you’re likely to do your most interesting stuff so take lots of pictures with your phone’s camera app, and then Instagram them both on the day and later. Think of your fun weekend activities as opportunities to capture photos for use throughout the week.

Sunday – putting time into bigger content pieces

In opposition to Saturday, Sunday is traditionally the busiest day online, particularly in the mid-afternoon post-lunch lull. It’s when the most people are online, they have the most time and are most relaxed – meaning the best content to put out here is long-form content such as blogs, articles and videos. It’s also when you have the most time to properly produce and promote it.
Write a blog post or record your video blog or podcast in the morning, post it in the afternoon and then take the time to promote it across all your platforms. Beyond putting links with great hooks such as questions or counter-intuitive statements (e.g. Why Drinking is Good For You, Could Drinking Really Be Healthy?) generate conversation where possible through reaching out to passion centres of the topic e.g. tweet at influential people in that sphere asking them what they think, go to the Google+ Community or sub-Reddit and ask people there what they think. Remember to not take a promotional tone, but a human and conversational one.

Weekly Tasks

Twitter – follow new people, @mention influencers and keep an eye on your Buffer analytics to learn what’s working and what’s not. Use ManageFlitter to find new people to follow and clean out your Following list if bloated.

Blog – at least one post per week, but always as many as you can manage. Use Google Analytics to see what worked and where traffic is coming from.

Pinterest – find new boards and people to follow to keep your feed fresh. Pin cool stuff from around the web (sites like Tumblr, FFFFOUND!, editorial and interest-specific sites).

Periodical Tasks

Review your blog theme and any widgets you’re using. Is everything up-to-date? Is your bio still true or relevant across all networks? Do you still have links to sites you’ve abandoned?

Use ManageFlitter or Klout to chart your growth on Twitter and in social media over the year.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy it. I don’t get round to all of the above but now I’ve actually written it down in this post I’m going to start trying! Let me know any useful habits of yours in the comments below!

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The Pirate Bay Movie Now Available. Free.

Today, the movie TPB AFK (The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard) will be premiered online, free to download and even re-edit under a Creative Commons Licence. Filmmaker Simon Klose has spent the last four years following the founders of The Pirate Bay through its legal struggles, technical issues, and ongoing battle with some of the most powerful corporations on Earth. There’s a good interview with him on The Verge.

image

The Pirate Bay is still the go-to place for downloading movies, songs, software and literature, all for free, for millions of internet users worldwide. Even in 2013 it is still the only means of obtaining much of the major studios’ catalogues because of the relatively small selection still available on streaming services. But the Swedish site also stands for something more than freeloading off the creative industries, they have been fighting the much wider cause of net neutrality – the idea that the internet should be the same for everyone and not controlled or selectively throttled by ISPs, corporations or governments.

2012 saw the tipping point for online movie watching. More movies were watched legally online than on physical media such as DVD and Blu-Ray, which is a huge story for services like Netflix, LoveFilm, Sony Playstation et al. But even though the movie industry is finally waking up to the reality of the digital age, The Pirate Bay and sites like it still offer the convenience of choosing a film and knowing you can download it in full for free within an hour. I’ve always been a big believer in the convenience factor being much more significant than many people consider. Whereas most observers assume illegal downloaders just love a free ride, successful businesses such as Netflix, Kindle and iTunes show that if you just make it easy people will pay the price of a couple of coffees for a film, book or album because it’s still very good value for money. There’s also the quality assurance and nice feeling from supporting art too of course.

Hopefully, 2013 will see entertainment media even easier to access legally and give us less reason to resort to torrenting, proxy IPs and illegal streaming services etc, so the idealists behind The Pirate Bay can get on with the really important business of campaigning for an open internet. Worldwide. Neutral. Forever.

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Google Launch Project Glass: A Computer In Your Head

Today Google announced Project Glass – an ambitious augmented reality project which they’re asking for our help with here. The hardware (spectacles) and software (a simplified Android variant) work together to add the best of today’s web services to your field of vision. Sound like hell or the most useful thing ever? I’m certain this will be part of our lives within 10 years. Maddening as having an ever-present computer in your head sounds, it’s going to make pulling your phone out of your pocket and firing up an app seem like an awfully old-fashioned way to do something.

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Change: A World In Flux – My #CogsTalks @ The Hospital

Here’s the presentation I gave this week at The Hospital in London, showing my take on how the digital world is changing and why this constant change shouldn’t scare us but rather is an endless source of opportunity.

Here’s the presentation I gave and below is the full video of my talk:

Visit My SlideShare

Video courtesy of VideoJug

Any questions, feel free to comment, tweet or email me 🙂

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HOW TO: Customise New Facebook Profiles (With Free PSD)

Facebook profile customised with profile pic and gallery

There have been some amazingly creative uses of Facebook’s new profile layout recently:

Lexy Page Facebook ProfileAia Facebook ProfileThibaut Facebook Profile

You can see more cool examples here and here. There are two ways to do this, depending on whether you have Photoshop or not…

WITH PHOTOSHOP

STEP 1: Download this Photoshop PSD file:

Download the PSD here

STEP 2: Drag a picture of yourself into the canvas and put that layer behind my layer (which is essentially a Facebook screenshot with holes in) which should look like the image above.

STEP 3: Move and resize your image until you’re happy with how it looks.

STEP 4: ‘Save for Web’. Select the ‘JPEG High’ preset. In the following screen where you choose a filename select ‘All User Slices’ in the ‘Slices’ drop-down. Click Save.

STEP 5: You’ll see the 6 images you have saved are named:

  • Gallery-Pic-1-(tag-last)
  • Gallery-Pic-2
  • Gallery-Pic-3
  • Gallery-Pic-4
  • Gallery-Pic-5-(tag-first) 
  • Main-Profile-Pic

Upload these to Facebook in a new album

STEP 6: Make ‘Main-Profile-Pic’ your profile pic and then tag yourself in the gallery images to make them appear. IMPORTANT: you must tag yourself in the gallery images in the correct order, starting with the one on the very right, working your way to the one on the left.

STEP 7: Remove any unwanted news feed items from your profile generated whilst creating this. And you’re done!

WITHOUT PHOTOSHOP

For a quick, easy way to do this you can use new service profileheaders.com where you can login using your Facebook credentials and quickly create a snazzy looking profile.

Have fun, and share the fruits of your labour (your Facebook URL) in the comments 🙂

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Reeder For Mac Beta Released

The pretty-much-default RSS reader for iPad and iPhone – Reeder – has burst out of iOS and onto our desktops. My browser homepage is set to Google Reader, which even with performance-enhancing Chrome extensions is an ugly and unwieldy page, so this is real progress in my bid to stay fully abreast of the important things in the world.

It’s basic (which is great because it’s simple and clean) and we’re warned the beta is buggy but it’s working brilliantly so far and I demand that you install it on your Mac. Here’s why:

Clean Interface

Just like its mobile counterparts, this version is very clean and simple, which in the information-overloaded world of RSS feeds is a godsend. There are basically four areas of the app:

Feed Types

Show all items, your noted items, RSS feed items or items shared from people you’re following.

Feed Groups

Feed Groups

Showing the groups of feeds (as set up in Reader). I have my feeds grouped into ‘Tech’, ‘Business’, ‘Music’ etc and this makes it easy to just look at one category of news.

Feed List

Your feed items, auto-updating as much as very 5 minutes (or just press ‘R’ to manually refresh).

Reading Pane

Reading PaneJ

Just like the mobile version, displays the news story with cached image and text in a pretty Helvetica-esque font (or is it just Arial?). From here you can do various things with the above toolbar like post to Twitter, Instapaper, Google and open in your browser. This toolbar is customisable so you can just keep the stuff you use there.

Dock Icon Badge

Unlike the mobile versions of Reeder, the desktop version updates automatically as often as every 5 minutes, displaying the number of unread items in the dock which is handy for keeping an eye on the zeitgeist passing you by.

All-in-all this is a robust, simple app and has already made it into my dock and allowed me to set my browser homepage back to the calmness of google.com . Get it for yourself over at madeatgloria.com

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Thought Shower: Is the web a democracy or a meritocracy?

After a pub conversation the other night where various parties were espousing their views on the web and its democratic nature I argued that the web isn’t democratic at all, that in fact it’s meritocratic. This seemed to hold up for about a minute before realising it’s actually neither, rather somewhere between the two. In fact its characteristics are more than that and unique enough to require a name, albeit one you might get punched for using – webocracy

I’ve pulled out the definition for democracy and meritocracy. Both words, like almost all words, have several definitions listed but here they are with the appropriate definition for the usage we’re discussing:

de⋅moc⋅ra⋅cy

[di-mok-ruh-see]

the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

mer⋅i⋅toc⋅ra⋅cy

[mer-i-tok-ruh-see]
a system in which such persons are rewarded and advanced: e.g. The dean believes the educational system should be a meritocracy.

(Thanks to dictionary.com for the definitions there)

So if we were to build a dictionary definition for the webocracy what would it look like? Let’s list the characteristics:

  • The internet is a place where almost anyone in the world can create or curate, and then share content.
  • Each morning when you look at the internet it has changed from what it was yesterday. This constant change is informed by its billions of nodes. Each node is a human in front of a computer, just as you are now. Hello node.
  • Money can buy the creation, development and exposure of any content. This money can come from anywhere and need not have been generated through online activity, meaning a previously offline entity can immediately enter and penetrate the online market. Success, however the creator measures it, is not guaranteed.
  • The content you create (ie personally author) or curate (ie find and gather together) is, if you wish, viewable by anyone with access to the internet, meaning that potentially your reach is the number of people in the world with internet access.
  • You have almost complete freedom of speech on the internet, though within the mainstream (ie outside of the likes of Freenet and underground groups) there are widely adopted standards that do not permit subjects such as terrorism and paedophilia. In reality this degree of freedom is similar to that of a western country in the physical world.
  • The internet is not significantly affected by Earth’s geography.

So in conclusion, the web is a level playing field where some people just rock up better equipped than others. Talent will often out but artificial help is a definite advantage. Here’s the dictionary definition, I’ll get on the phone to Oxford English Dictionary tomorrow as I expect to see this in their next edition:

web⋅oc⋅ra⋅cy

[web-ok-ruh-see]
the unique social system extant on the world wide web in which every user operates a terminal of potentially equal value, resulting in a broad and vast cultural environment driven by the open choice of consumers and publishers, two groups that the webocracy has rendered indistinguishable. The paths between consumer and publisher are now many million times more numerous than previously existed in non-digital media.
E.g. OMG, my video of the cat licking the mirror has got like forty thousand views on YouTube, that’s twice as many as that stupid Wrigleys ‘viral’. Webocracy FTW!

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Google Buzz – Review

Phew, so the hype following yet another Google product release is starting to settle. Having had a good play with it on my iPhone here are some initial thoughts:

The initial experience of entering buzz.google.com into your iPhone browser is good. Like all iPhone versions of Google’s key products it’s a tad slow to load but when it does you’re immediately prompted to add Buzz to your homescreen. This sticks the Buzz icon amongst your apps and to all intents and purposes it acts like an app when opened.

When you’re into Buzz you can see a list of any new followers and a timeline of buzzes from those you are currently following. If you click on ‘Map View’ you see this:

This is nice. Here we can see a map with me at the middle and local buzzes displayed as speech bubbles dotted around the map. In this screenshot I’ve clicked on that speech bubble bottom-left, turning it blue and displaying the buzz info at the top of the screen (I was having a curry when first trying Buzz).

The button with the blue dot will centre the map on you. If you click that ‘Buzz’ button in the bottom-left of the map you get local buzzes in list form as in the screenshot below:

Back to the map and click the ‘Menu’ button and you get options to clear or search the map as well as choose other layers of info to display on the map like satellite imagery, traffic info, buzzes and Latitude – Google’s original location-based service which never really took off.

Here’s the map with Google Latitude data on. I don’t really have any friends but you can see my Latitude flag on there. Nice to see Latitude integration as it’s not likely to succeed as a standalone product.

Finally if you hit the ‘Local’ link in the top Google menu (where ‘Web’, ‘Maps’ and ‘More’ sit) you can not only find local businesses as before but also see buzzes posted from each place. I love this. Imagine a time when this is widely adopted. You search for a restaurant and not only can you find one, see its opening hours and read reviews but you can see real-time feedback and conversation such as “the risotto is better than usual tonight” or “the Final Fantasy group are sat at table 5. Spare seats if you wanna come join”. You might think that Twitter has this covered but when you think what a messy workaround hashtags are in connecting conversations around events etc and how short their geolocation currently falls it starts to look like Buzz might clinch this one.

So the massive question that Google Buzz raises is “who’s lunch is Google eating here?”

I personally don’t think this is a threat to anyone immediately. I predict that if people start to adopt it – and unlike Google Wave which is ultimately useless in its current form they might, due to the massive existing GMail user base – it could see off Foursquare and Gowalla by Christmas.

Some people are pitting Buzz against Twitter which doesn’t make sense. Twitter is about abstracted conversation around common events such as sports, TV shows, celebrity deaths etc and the beauty of it is that it is not tied to geography, which is why I disapproved of their introduction of local trending topics. Buzz is completely tied to local mapping. You could say that Twitter is the mind of social media, whilst Buzz is the feet.

The addition of Buzz to Google’s existing suite of admirably innovative but under-performing products such as Wave, Latitude and Profiles is no doubt part of a longer term plan to create the ultimate social platform. This vision is only now starting to peek over the horizon and if you spend just twenty seconds thinking about where we would be if all these services were bundled up with GTalk, GMail etc in a well-architectured way it starts to feel incredibly exciting, and being a self-confessed Google fanboy I’m more than happy to at least try to adopt these services and would be quite happy if Google quietly took the social web throne from Facebook.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below on the future of Buzz and Google’s campaign to dominate social media. And of course look for me in Central London on Buzz and follow me 🙂

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My Two Conclusions on Apple’s iPad

1. Its success will rely on the apps that developers make for it.
They’ve been given the SDK so many are hard at work to have apps out for the March launch. If the iPhone’s history is anything to go by there will be some mindblowing applications. Only then will potential buyers see the device’s true potential.
Also, Adobe are upping the pressure on Apple to adopt Flash support which would open up a lot of content to users.

2. It will take at least another version to become a must-have, game-changing product.
Again, this draws partly on experience with the iPhone. With Apple’s revolutionary mobile telephone, it took annual revisions based on what users were clamouring for, and what hackers were building into custom firmware, to arrive at the 3G and 3GS. I predict the inclusion of a camera in the next iteration as frankly I was amazed that the iPad wasn’t launched with one. Some might say that holding back such features is a cynical strategy on Apple’s part to sell more units to an avid fanbase who’ll happily fork out for every new version.

See you in the queue on launch day 😉

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