Before a hashtag was what it means today to just about every major social network, it was a pound button. It was a number sign. It was a tic-tac-toe box. It was anything other than what it is today, one of the most useful and important tools used by social media marketing firms and general social media fans across the internet.
I was there, believe it or not. I saw the first hashtag ever used. It was funny because at the time I thought it was a pretty silly idea, but obviously it grew on me and hundreds of millions of others. Now, I often find myself wondering why hashtags aren’t used more often. Go figure.
Here’s an infographic from Offerpop that breaks down the long (in internet years at least) history of the four little lines.
Groupon, the former daily deals site that turned into a social deals site that is trying to turn into a marketplace site has released its first redesign just in time for its five-year birthday. They aren’t just changing colors from old-school green to clean and tidy white. They’re trying to reinvent themselves… again.
After passing up on a $6,000,000,000 offer from Google a few years ago, they’ve had ups and downs. Mostly downs. That’s not to say that they don’t have a future, but it will take more than a redesign and a new direction to justify passing up on billions.
Here’s what Mashable had to say about the new design:
When users visit Groupon now, they will see a spotlighted deal followed by personalized collections of deals and a left-hand navigation menu, which lets users browse deals by category. There is now a search option featured prominently at the top — long overdue — which finally lets users search for keywords across categories. For example, someone looking for sushi would be shown restaurant deals, as well as deals for sushi classes and merchandise.
Earlier this week I wrote a controversial piece about responsive website design that brought the ire of professionals within my industry and a flood of emails calling me all sorts of names. Yes, there were those who agreed as well, but they were the minority.
In retrospect, I sold out. I looked at the data, saw how responsive websites were not performing very well on mobile devices in industries that were heavy on data, and came to the conclusion that adaptive was a better solution for some. I stand by that statement based upon practicality, but there’s an addendum to that answer: if you want to do the absolute best practice possible, it would be to build your website from mobile up rather than from PC down.
It’s always easier to make a site more complex than to simplify it. Adding features is simply easier than taking them away. If you build your websites with the following three ideas in mind, you have the greatest chance for success:
Mobile is huge and getting huger. Assume that your website will be accessed as much if not more on mobile devices in the near future than on big screens.
People love mobile designs because they’re used to them. If a website displayed on a PC operates much the same as it would on a mobile device, it will perform better. That’s not to say that you need to sacrifice design or make your website look amateur on a big screen, but strive to make it “mobilesque”.
Touchscreen functionality and the art of scrolling rather than clicking is becoming more of a “thing” for desktop websites. Keep that in mind when you build pages.
If you take into account how your website will load, operate, and perform on mobile devices and build up from there, you will find that your overall website performance will improve. The problem with responsive websites in some industries is that they cram as much as they can to fill out the big screen and then it looks terrible and performs poorly on the small screen. Work from the small screen up and the website will do better regardless of the device.
It might be too little, too late for BlackBerry, but their latest success (though it has been marred by some scandal) is another example of why exclusivity, even for a short time, is often the best marketing tool available. Their wildly popular instant messaging app, BBM, started off as an exclusive “early access only” app. Anyone could download it but it could only be used by the “special” people.
That lasted a week. Now, it’s open to everyone, making one wonder why early access was even necessary. It wasn’t, but that’s not the point. The reality is that people love to have things that others do not. It’s human nature. Every launch should be done with some variation of this theme. Launching to everyone isn’t as effective as launching to a select few and then releasing it to the world. It’s what really made Facebook the better option over MySpace in the early days and it will always work as a marketing technique.
In this case, BlackBerry allowed anyone to download the app, but only those who had requested information about it before were able to access it. That made them feel special, forward thinking, and in some ways mildly visionary. They were rewarded by getting something that millions of other people wanted. Now, after 10 million downloads, it’s open to all on iOS and Android. This all played out well for BlackBerry. Now, if they could only make their phones as effective…
Everyone is a content producer or distributor nowadays, or so it seems. The real numbers are astounding; according to Pew, 54% of US internet users post their images or videos online.
The rise of smartphones has put a camera within reach all the time. The increase in the ease of posting on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have made it as simple as the push of a couple of touchscreen buttons. This combination has led to the rise and there’s no reason to believe that it will stop any time soon.
More than half of US adult Internet users (54 percent) post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created, while just under half (47 percent) take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing content. These numbers are both up from 46 percent and 41 percent last year, respectively.
I know the feeling that many parents get when they find out their kids are using Snapchat. It doesn’t matter how much you trust them. The first question that comes to mind for those parents that know anything about the temporary messaging system is, “are they sexting?”
Thankfully for most parents, you’re children are not. As much as mainstream media would love for us to believe that the service is evil and part of the moral degradation that is gripping our country, the standard Snapchatting teen is using the service because they really don’t want their actions as teens to catch up to them as adults. It’s a mentality that makes Snapchat such a hot service and parents need to understand that in many ways Snapchat is a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of bad things that can happen on Snapchat and tons of reasons why parents should be concerned. Even if their children aren’t doing bad things on the service doesn’t mean that they’re not receiving bad things from their friends. It’s really no different from normal real-world interactions. Good things can happen and bad things can happen. It’s all about raising them to focus on the good things and to be able to handle the bad situations appropriately. It’s about parenting.
As was noted on Techcrunch today, kids see Facebook the way adults see LinkedIn:
Kids are in a petri dish, where their every social post can be scrutinized and used against them. That’s why disappearing media startup Snapchat is important, says its investor, Benchmark‘s Bill Gurley. Teens don’t want their daily lives permanently recorded. Gurley said at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in Berlin that Snapchat board member Mitch Lasky’s kids tell him they view Facebook like adults view LinkedIn.
I still remember the moment my Dad took the picture of my friend and I in our costumes. I remember it because I’m able to go back and look at the picture to this day. It was Halloween, 1980 and I was proudly dressed up as a train conductor while my friend Rich dressed up as Jerry the Cat from the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. We happily strolled up and down the blocks near our houses, under the watchful eyes of our parents, collecting Snickers and lollipops while getting frightened by crazy neighbors who turned their front yard into a haunted house. I’ll never forget all those Halloween memories, and pictures like this are part of the reason why.
At this point in my life, all that really remains of that holiday are photos, and a few snapshots in my mind. I still remember some excitement here, a vision of a pile of candy there. I can still see my elderly next door neighbor who gave out Hershey Kisses. But a lot of what happened that night is gone. The unfortunate thing about this photo is that it’s fading along with the memories themselves. The fortunate thing is that this doesn’t have to happen anymore. Cloud storage is making it a thing of the past. Here are some of the reasons why the cloud is taking away that fear of losing your Halloween memories.
Don’t Let Your Memories Fade
One of the best things about cloud storage is that images don’t slowly lose their sharpness and brightness as the years go by. While going through a pile of photos the other day, I saw that the stuff from my Mom’s childhood was getting particularly faded. Oh sure, I could take all those ancient negatives and bring them to a photography store where they turn them into pictures again. It’s almost at the point though where it’s too inconvenient to drive to wherever that service is still done, pay the expensive price, and then still be stuck with a physical photo that is just going to fade again. In this situation, I recommend uploading them to a cloud service right away. Cloud storage services like Box, Bitcasa, Sugarsync and many others are perfect for converting these old photos into files that will stay in the same condition forevermore, saving your memories from certain doom. Bitcasa even has an “Infinite Drive” that lets you store an unlimited amount of these memories.
Say “Bye” to Photo Envelopes, “Hello” to Convenience
When I want to reminisce about Halloweens past, a lovely pile like the one above is what I must sift through. I keep all the old photos and many keepsakes in a large moving box. Many of the pictures are in plastic bags. At that point, I must rummage through old envelopes filled with photos that were once developed in a Fotomat booth in a shopping mall parking lot back in 1977.
The modern convenience of cloud storage has made all that obsolete. I remember my mother shared photos by mailing them in a large manila envelope and writing “handle with care” on the front. Now, I share my holiday photos on Twitter and Facebook from my tablet or smartphone through one of the more advanced cloud storage mobile apps. With Bitcasa, you can send friends and family a single link that takes them to a folder with dozens of photos from that glorious, candy-filled night.
Bad Weather is No Threat
When I was 15 years old a massive earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. After the 7.1 quake struck, we all watched on TV as thousands of people lost their homes in fire and rubble. This type of disaster makes many of us worry about what might happen to the precious memories of our childhood that we store in shoeboxes around the house. I specifically remember the sadness when I thought about life with no record of holidays and birthdays. The threat of tornadoes and floods still plague thousands of people who don’t realize that cloud storage is a great option. In fact, it ends this worry once and for all. Whether it’s your Facebook timeline, your Instagram feed, or your Dropbox account, those pics of beloved pets are safe on a server. If you’re interested in getting started with a cloud storage service or just want to compare some of the best out there, please check here.
Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Whether you are a sole proprietor, part of a small startup team, or branching out with a larger corporation, a few basic necessities will ensure the success of your business.