I’ve been playing around with Cinemagram, an elegant little app that lets you very easily create animated GIFs, or more specifically, cinemagraphs.
The app layout is similar to Instagram.
You film something for 2-3 seconds, then draw on the screen where the animation should happen.
It’s simple to use, but I still had some come out looking like a glitch in the Matrix. Camera one, camera two! Camera one, camera two!
I tried to get one of me head-banging. That one turned out a little too weird.
Techcrunch originally reported that the app is $1.99 but it’s free right now! I like the app because I didn’t have to register an account. Despite this there is still a social aspect to it, as you can follow people and there are options to share to Facebook and Twitter
When I think about it, Cinemagram and Instagram are to photos what autotune is to music. If it’s in the right hands wonderful things happen, but because it’s so easy to use there’s a lot of rubbish out there.
It’s iPhone only. You can download it here.
Cloud-based storage services like Dropbox and SkyDrive are hands off when it comes to the content you upload. The new Google Drive on the other hand, not so much. This article over on CNET.com offers a good summation on what this entails exactly.
I was notified of this via our Sepia Labs board, and Brian and I had this exchange:
Honey Badger don’t care about your TOS!
That’s 20 hours a month. Reading boring legalese. You would need to take 30 days off of work a year! I’m sure your boss won’t mind.
If we look at other things that are time consuming, I’m sure we can cut some of them out of our lives to make room for all this reading.
- We spend about 150 hours a month watching TV. Why not cut some of that out? You could blaze through 900 privacy policies!
- The average American spends 8 hours a month on Facebook. That’s an entire work day, or about 48 privacy policies read.
What else could we do for 20 hours in a month instead of reading privacy policies? You could:
- Listen to that one Gotye song 300 times!
- Watch every Harry Potter movie and still have 14 minutes to spare!
- Drive from Denver to Tijuana!
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg was lauded recently for proudly broadcasting that she leaves work at 5:30pm in order to have dinner with her children.
The idea of a 9 to 5 work day is heretofor unheard of in the startup world, and downright shocking to some. We at Sepia Labs are no strangers to putting in long hours, but with Glassboard we’ve been able to extend our work days in a less disruptive manner than other forms of communication (e.g., in person, email).
Glassboard with co-workers
This article from Time Healthland, in analyzing Sandberg’s stance, asks the question, “Do any of us ever really finish [working]?” The Sepia Labs team is perpetually plugged in but the mobile focus of Glassboard helps us stay engaged when we are physically with our family and friends. We are always checking in with each other throughout the day, and glancing at a notification is far easier than checking email all the time (which is a poor means of communication in a team such as ours).
Glassboard with our families
Every one of us on the team has used Glassboard is some form or another to share photos and videos with our loved ones. Most of the team members have a dedicated family board for this very reason.
Have you ever heard a saying that expresses that the little things in life actually turn out to be the big things? That resonates when I think of Glassboard and families. The simplicity of sharing photos and videos on private family boards have allowed people to see some of the smaller moments experienced by their loved ones.
Glassboard quiet hours: too bad kids don’t come with this feature!
We also understand that you need time to disconnect to truly engage with others. That’s why we included the quiet hours feature, so you can set periods of time for the app to leave you alone! Trust us, we would implement this feature for screaming children if we could.
I really liked that this NYTimes article references Dunbar’s number (also referred to as the Monkeysphere) in its comparison of various social networks. Randall Stross acknowledges that social networks are growing smaller, which isn’t such a bad thing. Smaller social networks are more inline with how many relationships we are able to maintain: “Mr. Dunbar told him that social networks resemble a set of concentric circles: 150 people constitute the outer boundary of friends, 50 is the limit for trusted friends, 15 for good friends, and 5 for best friends.”
In the context of all of my social networks, my Monkeysphere looks like this:
Glassboard is the perfect social network for my two smallest spheres. Facebook is appropriate for people who I would recognize in passing, and Twitter is the broadcaster social network where everything I post is sent out into the ether of the Internet.
Why does social networking in the digital age work outside the Dunbar number? It’s simply not sustainable if your goal is to maintain meaningful relationships. This is why people are beginning to be drawn to more intimate social media connections, such as those enabled by Glassboard.
When you hear the term “social network,” I imagine that the first things that come to mind are Facebook and Google+. Now think of your actual social network, the people you interact with in real life. It likely doesn’t look much like Facebook and Google+, which have opened the doors to friends of friends, casual acquaintances, and people you’ve met maybe once or twice (or not at all!).
Social networks like Glassboard, and now Path and Pair, are usually mentioned with a qualifier like “small” or “simple.” Why? Being social implies interaction, right? If so, we’re more social than the big guys because we’re a better reflection of reality. If I stand on a street corner screaming about what I had for lunch, is that social? (I had a delicious homemade andouille shrimp cake btw) So why is it considered social if I do it on Facebook?
Since there is obviously a dramatic difference in the reach of all these social networks, we can classify each of them as one of two different kinds: The Broadcasters and The Interacters. There is a litmus test I’ve come up with to discover what kind of social network you’re on. If you post something, can you identify everyone who will see it by name and how you know them?
1. The Broadcasters
Twitter is the best example of a broadcasting network. But anymore Facebook and Google+ are a forum for spraying people with pictures and information. If you answer the above question with, “Uhhhhmm….” then you’re on a Broadcaster!
- One giant group of businesses and individuals
- Ad-supported business model
- Both your grandma and some dude you met through your college roommate all see the same stuff
- Disconnected from reality
- Driven by narcissm
- Tons of privacy options that require due diligence in maintaining
2. The Interacters (Glassboard, Pair, FamilyLeaf, and Path)
- Small, select groups with 2-way communication
- Business model: Not sure about the other guys, but ours is explained here
- You can actually see the individuals who will see what you post
- Closer reflection to reality, since it’s people you know in real life
- Driven by desire to interact and collaborate in meaningful ways
- Private by default
Since there are so many social networks cropping up, I hope this helps you make a distinction. We want you to choose Glassboard because you value interaction over broadcasting.
Remember how easy it used to be to ignore ads? I mean not just on the web, but everywhere. We’re inundated, everywhere we go, with ads. With websites, billboards, and in stores, it can be very easy to avert your glance. I even feel superior about how good at it I’ve become. “Ha HA! Nice try, advertisers!! I totally did NOT even look at that McDonald’s ad.”
(The exception to this being when you’re on the toilet in a bar and you forgot your phone at the table so instead of playing Angry Birds you have to read the ad for that limo company)
Nowadays though, if you’re on Facebook or Google+, ads are just too perfectly aligned with your needs or values. You can’t help but see what it’s all about.
Therein lies the problem. A lot of people don’t mind that Facebook mines your personal data. After all, they’re still interacting with the social network and using the integrated apps. What bothers me is that it has become a lot harder to gloss over advertisements. They call out something very specific that you would enjoy purchasing. How can I resist a quick glance?
How’d we get here? Ads in general used to be targeted for a market demographic, so they were widespread and not necessarily targeted to you. They weren’t specific to either the content surrounding it or you as an individual. They were easy to ignore, like the voices in my head.
Remember when web ads started to get more interesting? They had to grab your attention.
Then we arrived at ads targeted to you based on the content of the page you were visiting. This didn’t always necessarily increase the appeal of the ad, and sometimes had hilarious results:
And now we’re in the age of ads targeted to you, the individual. Your personal information has become a coveted commodity in the current Internet economy.
(It’s true. If I saw this ad I would furiously click it while foaming at the mouth.)
What comes next? Facebook knows. Timeline adds an extra dimension to the details of your life. Not only do they have your personal info, they have that information in the context of when it occurred. It will refine targeted advertising by taking advantage of nostalgia. Imagine ads cropping up as you fondly look back through your Timeline.
Remember Thundercats? That was a good show. Hey look! An ironic, pre-faded Thundercats t-shirt from Hot Topic! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
There was an astounding amount of backlash against the Girls Around Me app, and rightfully so. The app developers argued that since they were using public information they weren’t doing anything wrong. Women were indeed sharing their locations publicly and weren’t practicing due diligence. But just because the information is out there, doesn’t mean it should be aggregated in such a sexist way.
Why is that app sexist and not just creepy? Because the developer explains that the purpose of the app was to find hot women around you. And here I thought it was just so you could avoid sausage fests.
This is where Foursquare drew the line and revoked access to their API. Girls Around Me attempted to shift the purpose of location sharing from innocuous check-ins to potential targets of stalking. Facebook’s reaction? They advised people to adjust their privacy settings.
Obviously app makers have some responsibility for protecting their users, but some of the burden is shouldered by users. People do care about privacy but I know they’re probably like me and can be lazy about policing it. There are essentially three options for location sharing:
a. Be extra diligent with privacy settings in the multitude of apps that you use, ensuring that settings are exactly what they should be and reviewing these settings any time the app developers makes changes.
b. Don’t post your location on the Internet, EVER
c. Use Glassboard and not worry about it. Only people that are members of a board can see your location.
Collusion is an add-on for Firefox that shows you what sites are following you (i.e., they put cookies in your browser to keep track of what you’re visiting so they can show targeted ads to you!).
It’s a pretty neat concept, mostly because it can help you visualize just how much these websites know about you. From the Collusion demo: “It’s quite likely that these companies know more about you than your government. Some of them might even know more about you than your best friends.”
How creepy is that?
I started at IMDB.com because I’m a massive movie snob. Oh, look! I have some followers!
I then clicked through to three articles that interested me:
- Snow White Rising: Why This Princess, And Why This Moment? The title reminded me of Batman. I picture Snow White standing on the edge of a skyscraper, cape billowing in the wind. Gruff voice-over.
- These Movies From 1992 Are All 20 Years Old. Because now that I’m 30 I need to constantly remind myself how ooooold I am.
- Our 50 favorite film fools. I just clicked the link to make sure Peter Sellers’ character from Being There was on the list. Number 3 spot. Not bad!
A bunch more trackers popped up. I’m feeling popular.
Next I hit up Wired.com. Not much in the way of additions to my trackers. Reddit and crwdcntrl.net are now tracking me.
What surprised me was when I visited occasionalcar.com (a Denver car share service that I use). This added Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook cookies. They have Facebook and Twitter integrated onto their site, but it’s odd to look at the Collusion graph and have it tell me “When you visit occasionalcar.com, it informs the following websites about you.”
Collusion is an interesting experiment. I encourage you to give it a try, just to see how quickly your actions on the web garner ad tracking. After all, I’m not paying for anything when I visit these sites, I’m “the product being sold.”
Finally, I suggest you start using TrackerBlock if you don’t want all those cookies following you around!
In the spirit of Brent’s unrequited love for infographics, we bring you an informative infographic from a UK marketing company.
The interesting bits to call out about why messaging is great for companies:
- 98% open rate (vs 22% in email)
- 90% of messages are read within 3 min.
Have you used any “messaging” apps with your co-workers? (You won’t go back)
Source: Text Marketer Bulk SMS Services