Month: April, 2012

23 Apr

Is BranchOut gaining on LinkedIn?

Mike Koehler life, LinkedIn, Nerd culture, social media, the internet is great Tags: , , , 0 Comments

By Jessica Findley

LinkedIn is considered to be the world’s largest professional network with over 12 million members and counting. It helps you connect with trusted contacts- colleagues, friends, administrators, etc. LinkedIn enables you to exchange ideas, knowledge and opportunities with your particular network of professionals. It is also a place for employees and employers to put themselves out there. For professionals on the rise, a LinkedIn profile provides space for resumes, recommendations and suggested connections to give them a push start.

However, a Facebook application founded in July 2010 is giving LinkedIn a run for its money.

It’s been two years since BranchOut’s beginning, and the application already has 25 million registered users. After just one year it had 3 million open job listings, 20,000 internships listed and was already active in 60 countries in 15 different languages.

If that’s not competition, I don’t know what is.

BranchOut is useful for finding jobs, networking with other professionals and recruiting employees. BranchOut also allows each user to conveniently see which of their friends work for which company. In doing so, it does not limit you to making connections one person at a time- you just connect to an existing group.

By creating products for job seekers and recruiters such as CareerConnect and RecruiterConnect, companies are able to publish their openings on Facebook via BranchOut. RecruiterConnect, a concept that originated with LinkedIn, caused a ruckus, however, when it was flagged as a violation of LinkedIn’s terms of service, and BranchOut was furthermore blocked from accessing its API to avoid “knocking-off” their services.

But, despite the controversy, BranchOut continues to get 10+ million new visitors a month, placing it ahead of the other most popular applications on Facebook Skype, Twitter, Pinterest and the newly added Instagram.

So while Facebook is helping BranchOut spoil all of the fun for LinkedIn, the moment Facebook launches a new and improved career outlet, BranchOut is toast.

Dog eat dog. Only the strong survive. Every man for himself. LinkedIn stands alone, but BranchOut branches off someone else. So I’m pretty interested to see who will win this battle when it’s all said and done.

16 Apr

Time to put your social media game face on

Mike Koehler Content, Featured, social media 0 Comments


By Jessica Findley

It seems to me that as social media portals grow more and more popular, their uses become more and more broad. What do I mean by that? Well,

many sites began as opportunities to connect with the people you KNOW, key word.. KNOW. But they have slowly matured into means of meeting new people in a virtual community where you can put your best foot forward.

I mean, if we’re being totally honest, I am sure there are plenty of people out there who have used Facebook to land a date, or two… maybe three. To each his own. But, this isn’t about online dating; it’s about online promotion. What can social media do for you? If people can use their usernames and pages to promote themselves, then surely it works the same way for businesses.

However, some businesses aren’t sure where to start when considering marketing through social media. I think first and foremost, it is important to understand what advantages you can gain through the use of Internet.

It gives your business a voice and enables you to communicate with customers, potential clients, peers and the general public. It’s less formal, so it allows you to personalize your marketing in a conversational manner, which most people are more receptive to. The ways in which you can utilize social media are endless. Through it, you can create a personality behind your product or organization and build network relationships that you may not have been able to before.

Social media is also low-cost. Depending on which outlets you decide to use, it may even be completely free, except for the Internet-savvy employee or consultant you hire to take care of your online marketing, but it’s worth it.

The only downside, in some people’s eyes, is the time it takes to make social media effective. Often times, businesses want to set up Twitter accounts, make a Facebook page, spice up their websites, post a few times and call it good. But, that’s not how it works. Effective social media takes dedication, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.

However, for those companies that may not have the time to dedicate to the necessary upkeep, there are businesses (like us!) that will take care of it for you.

So, if the kid in 6th period gym class can get 72 likes on his latest mobile upload flexing in the mirror, just imagine what kind of attention your business can get when you put your game face on.

12 Apr

#Isthishashtagtoolong? What to do about Twitter hashtags

Mike Koehler Content, Featured, Nerd culture, social media, the internet is great, Twitter Tags: , , 0 Comments

By Jessica Findley

While Twitter is not “new news,” there is no end in sight at the rate it’s trending. And Twitter’s infamous hashtags have become uncontrollable- in more ways than one.

Rarely do I come in contact with someone who doesn’t understand the concept of a hashtag, but it does happen. So, how can it be explained? Well, if you want to get down and technical with it, hashtags were originally designed to mark keywords from the tweet to help categorize it. And what has it become? Confusing.

Often times, the hashtag following a tweet exceeds the character amount that was used for the initial content itself. And, a lack of capitalization to separate words can make matters even worse- #hardtounderstandnoteasytoread. Case and point.

But, concise and clear hashtags can help spice up a tweet’s appearance and potentially spark a new trending topic. So, if you’re looking to be a trend-setter in this social media day and age, make your content easy to “follow,” see what I did there?

Also, there’s been a recently developing debate about if hashtags are Twitter-exclusive or not. I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook statuses that implement the use of hashtags, and it just doesn’t seem right to me. With that, I also feel like the content of the two sites’ posts should be different. Or, maybe it’s more beneficial to post the exact same thing on all means of social media to enable even more people to see it. But, I think that takes away from originality and creativity.

The option to link social media accounts with each other has allowed for multiple posts in various portals with just one submission. So, essentially, posting your tweet can update your Facebook status and be displayed on your blog… simultaneously.

However, as a social media junky, I think it is best to keep your content separate and diverse. Tweets are designed to be short, sweet and to the point. But, since your Facebook updates aren’t limited to 140 characters or less, give them a little more meat.

Don’t just join in on trending topics… create them.

09 Apr

What made Instagram such a tasty target

Mike Koehler Content, Facebook, Featured, social media, the internet is great 0 Comments

Have you heard the big news today? Facebook has gobbled up uber-popular photo app Instagram today for about $1 billion.

Displaying some clairvoyant powers, Smirk New Media intern Jessica Findley submitted a blog right before the announcement about what makes Instagram so great.  She must have a direct line to Zuckerberg. Enjoy.  – mk


By Jessica Findley, Intern

Instagrant me a glimpse into your life: the uptick of Instagram

Every one loves to look good in pictures, especially those that are going to be posted on the Internet. How many times have you heard, or said, “Oh wait, let me approve that before you post it online” or something along those lines? I know I have, and for egotistical purposes, I hope I’m not alone.

Instagram was designed to make sharing life’s moments instantly visible just as the old Polaroid camera did. And not only has it reached its goal, it has surpassed it.

With the Instagram application on the high-rise, photo editing has been made easy. Although no intense physical alterations can be made, different filters and color schemes can enhance or downplay a picture’s features. You don’t even have to upload a photo from your camera roll; you can just snap one straight through the application itself.

It is the epitome of simple photo sharing. Each user can adjust his or her settings to post their photos to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr as soon as they are finished editing. Not only can you share your pictures on other sites, you can also build a clientele of
followers through Instagram. They are able to like, comment and favorite your photos and vice versa.

Instagram has at least 18 different filters to choose from in addition to other facets, such as combining multiple photos into one frame. Instagram also offers tips and tricks to its members on filter usage and basic photography principles. I think that every user favors a certain filter scheme, but each one supplies some type of enhancement no matter what your picture is of.

Originally, the app was designed solely for the iPhone but has recently enabled Android users to join in on the picture-sharing fun.

And the best part about it? It’s completely free. No loopholes, no fine print. Just you and your pictures.



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