Month: February, 2013
While working on a client project together, we reached out to our great friends at S Design Inc., suggesting their team tackle the Wild West world of social media graphic sizing.
There are a few social media icon sizing guides floating around the web, but nothing really definitive, that we can pass along to clients and friends who want to make sure their Facebook cover looks perfect and their YouTube icon is legible.
So here they are, social media graphic sizing templates for Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Again, big thanks to S Design.
If you are interested in learning more about social media, branding and all aspects of marketing, considering joining S Design, Smirk New Media and other area experts at the M3: Marketing Minds Meet Conference, March 13 in Oklahoma City. Click here for more information and to register
Less than three weeks ago, Twitter launched its newest project titled “Vine” – a video sharing service that allows users to attach short, 6-second clips of video with sound to their tweets or post as a stand alone video on the Vine platform.
Many believe Twitter purchased Vine to try and compete with the popular Instagram app, which was sold to Facebook last year. Since the buyout, Instagram has been integrated into Facebook so pics can be easily posted to your page, but has conversely removed certain viewing capabilities on Twitter – causing many Twitter fans to look for alternative image sharing apps. Within 24 hours of the launch of Vine, it became the Number 1 app in Apple’s iTunes App Store under social sharing apps.
Vine is easy to use and no editing is required like more complicated video apps, however, Vine has some serious challenges ahead.
Yesterday, technology industry news site TechCrunch reported that Apple has changed the age rating on this new app to 17+ from its initial 12+ rating. Why the change, you ask? Porn.
Shortly after the launch of Vine, users began complaining about inappropriate clips being posted. Twitter and Vine quickly sprang into action and began censoring searches containing graphic terms, as well as the ability to block users. The issue became really problematic when human error promoted a Vine clip to an Editor’s Pick that contained hardcore porn.
So what have we learned from all of this? First, the change in rating to 17+ is appropriate. Until Vine can do some thorough vetting of its users and weed out most of the inappropriate content, it’s best not to let your 14 year old download the app. Second, pay attention to new apps. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an app called SnapChat that I felt parents should know about (read about it here). The more you know about these apps and what they are being used for, the better prepared you are as a parent.
Happy Fat Tuesday All,
Successful social media platforms have taught us complacency is digital death. I could name some names, but I probably don’t need to.
The most popular platforms are constantly evolving and striving to improve. These changes usually initiate users to verbalize growing pains, but that generally falls away and the redesigns become the norm. Most users don’t recognize this fact, but the redesigns keep people interested and help the platforms remain popular with users once newness fades.
Pinterest is the latest platform to attempt a redesign. Its new look attempts to improve upon the visual appeal that helped Pinterest become the fourth most popular social media platform in the world. The changes are subtle, but will hopefully improve the user browsing experience.
When selecting a pin today, a popup, quick view version of the pin appears in the middle of the screen. A small description, options to like or repin, the ability to comment and a small recap of the interactions the pin’s had appear.
In the resdesign, the visual pin is much larger. As you can see in the screenshot above, when viewing an individual pin you’ll be able to see the board the pin is posted to and thumbnails of other pins on that board. In the lower right hand corner of the screen, you’ll get thumbnails of other recommended pins from the user that originally posted the pin. The new pin is designed to encourage more exploration and effectively recommend things you might like to see by your viewing history.
Pinterest could take some cues from YouTube on supplying better recommendations to users. Ever get on YouTube to watch one video and look up from your screen hours later wondering where the time went? Pinterest is doing well in this area, but can always improve. By December 2012, the average Pinterest user spends an hour on the site. Twitter’s average user only spends 36 minutes and Facebook’s average time is only 12 minutes.
Pinterest upgraded their simple topic navigation at the top of the page. They’ve replaced that with a slider tab at the upper left of the page. You’re going to have the option to choose from the classic topics, pins from the people you follow and what’s popular on Pinterest.
Finally, Pinterest is looking to improve both their web and mobile interface. Their mobile app has been riddled with technical and functional issues since its inception. There is a huge disconnect between the web and mobile Pinterest experience as it is now. Designers are working on creating a seamless browsing experience on all mediums.
Pinterest released a new iPhone and iPad app update yesterday. Version 2.2 will enable you to edit and delete pins. Also, you’ll be able to delete pins on your Apple device.
At this point, all of these features are still in beta testing. Only a lucky few will experience these new features for the foreseeable feature. I hope to be one of these lucky few. Check back on the Smirk New Media blog for updates on any additional developments.
There are plenty of entries in the Big Book of People Who Have Underestimated Social Media (and the Internet) including entertainment executives, snarky marketers, defenders of traditional content creators, Joe Theismann, etc.
Added to the list recently was another casualty from the Oklahoma Legislature. The latest and greatest social media case study came with the debate HB1895, which would have eliminated the Oklahoma State Arts Council and its grants to arts events and organizations around the state.
When word got out about Rep. Josh Cockroft”s bill, the social media community jumped into action to smack it down.
Jonathan Fowler, the business leader who supports the arts and the Norman Music Festival, was pleased with how social media rallied behind the arts and how quickly the word spread.
Here”s what Fowler said in an email to Smirk New Media: “I was very impressed with the outcry on social media networks and how that translated into real action. I so often see photos for some “cause” where I am told to like or share something, and if I don’t then that clearly means I am the enemy of that cause. Those photos rack up thousands up on thousands of likes and shares and rarely translate to real action to benefit a human being. This was totally different.”
Fowler went on to say, “This went from outcry to action quicker than I ever expected. In addition to that this wasn’t just a liberal, or arts community driven effort. All over Oklahoma people from both sides of the political aisle and the business community came out in support of the Oklahoma Arts Council. It was a great example of the positive power of social media.”
The bipartisan support for the arts on social media used the #HB1895 in their discussions about the bill, and the Oklahoma Artist Coalition meeting featured #vocal4okarts. Next, a Facebook page Oklahomans Against HB1895 created another place for Oklahomans to organize and pledge their support to the arts online. The page facilitated a conversation on how the individuals think the arts positively impacts the state.
Kyle Golding, CEO of the Golding Group, a business consulting firm which supports and helps many non-profits, also spoke out for the arts. Golding followed (and spurred on) the conversation on both Twitter and Facebook.
“I started posting economic impact facts, linked to my blog post about arts and economics and the NEWS OK video about the arts conference,” Golding said. “After that, I posted the Economic Impact Report. Finally, when Rep. Cockroft stated in an interview he had received “1,000 emails, but only 4 were negative” I reposted that quote with his email address. That”s when his office started responding directly with a form email that was basically his blog post from the week before. That email was spread all over Facebook, showing how insincere he was in responding to citizens.”
Wrapping up the conversation is Jennifer James of Oklahomans For the Arts, which keeps an eye on such bills and defends against them.
Jennifer attributed this success to social media and the grassroots community as a whole.
“After a moratorium was placed on the Art in Public Places Program, Oklahoma”s art leaders led by Jim Tolbert, knew that we were facing a possible sea change with public funding for the arts,” Jennifer said. “These leaders created a new nonprofit to advocate for increased support of arts, culture and arts education in Oklahoma and they named it Oklahomans for the Arts. Our focus since that day has been primarily on public funding for the arts via the Oklahoma Arts Council.”
The Oklahoma Arts Council posted its own response to the legislation in a blog on January 23. The post explained that 85% of its funding comes from state appropriations. Also, 80% of the Arts Council budget goes directly to projects in communities all over the state through grants.
“With limited funds, and a part-time director, OFTA sought to advance arts advocacy almost exclusively through social networking,” Jennifer said. “We”ve been active on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger for nearly two years. Just two or three days before we learned of HB 1895, we reminded our friends on Facebook about the struggle Kansas has had since they lost their arts council two years ago. We even said, “This could happen here. We did not know then that the language for HB 1895 had been written in early January.””
In 2011, Kansas became the first state in history to completely eliminate funding for the arts. That caused the state to also lose over $1 million in matching funds from the National Endowment of the Arts. After extreme public outcry, some funding has been restored, but its budget is less than half what it was in 2010.
“Our board believes grassroots advocates are the best people to advocate to lawmakers on behalf of the arts,” Jennifer said. “OFTA monitors legislation and serves as a resource of information. We push things out to our social networks, which includes a robust Mailchimp list. We plant seeds and then hope they germinate. That is what happened with HB 1895. Arts advocates owned this cause and it took on a life of its own. We don”t attempt to control advocates or what they do. Some created their own Facebook pages against the bill. Others initiated T-shirts and bumper stickers. Many wrote unique letters and spoke out with their own unique voices. This was truly a grassroots effort. OFTA”s job is to provide our networks with consistent, accurate information. Oklahoma”s arts advocates defeated HB 1895.”