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All posts tagged Social Networking

Meerkat the Plucky Israeli Startup…

Has clocked up some serious achievements in the month they have been live:

  • Meerkat is a livestreaming iOS app that combines with real-time Twitter feed interaction, is beautifully designed and implemented.

Meerkat app logo

  • A slew of spinoff apps (some official, some not) including saved streams, chrome extension, a geo-location app to show where people are Meerkatting (thanks Hillel Fuld for the Twitter correction) Meerkasting from.
  • Having huge names like Jimmy Fallon and Shaq use and promote the app.
  • Basically forcing Twitter to early release Periscope, their competitor to Meerkat (a recent acquisition) and now it’s a race to see who will be cross-platform on Android and Windows Phone first.
  • Closing a round of investment with Greylock.

In short, Meerkat are on a rocket ride.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Whilst Meerkat is doing incredible things and Twitter is nipping at their heels with Periscope, who else is positioned to dive into this pool?

1. Microsoft: Skype is already cross-platform, cross-device and clearly has the infrastructure to support Livestreaming. What Skype needs is the social integration.

2. Google: Google+ has Hangouts which is a part of Google+ and a standalone app. Within Google+ Hangouts Live already exists, so how hard would it be for Google to add this feature to the app? One thing is for sure, Google will continue to support every platform except Windows Phone:

Not Meerkat - Google Hangouts App

3. Facebook: Messenger or WhatsApp? Which would Facebook use? Given last week’s F8 announcement of Messenger as a platform, Zuck would probably go this way.

4. LinkedIn: There is a use case for the social network to encourage job seekers to generate and share Livestream content thru LinkedIn. Imagine the benefits for headhunters.

5. Apple: What would it take to make Facetime into Facestream?

There are others who could conceivably add this as a feature or separate app to their existing infrastructure e.g. Foursquare, Vine or Snapchat based on their existing use cases.

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The Warptest POV

How will Twitter respond a month from now when there are a slew of competitors all connected to Twitter, all competing with Periscope? This is anyone’s guess but I suspect some stringent appliance of their Terms and Conditions.

As I mentioned earlier Meerkat has sparked a variety of spinoffs and it won’t take long before there is a Livestreaming app that allows your Facebook friends to interact with you.

The biggest problem most of these companies that could be competing here have is being aware of the opportunities available and moving fast enough to build and launch their own app. I asked Skype if they had plans for this on Twitter but (unsurprisingly) got a “no comment” sort of reply.

The social networks have a huge strategic advantage with an organic network to build on. The biggest challenge that Social Livestreaming faces is psychological: the early adopters will be the extroverts but for the more introverted livestreaming is something of a daunting challenge.

One thing is sure, Meerkat arrived when social networking was in need of a shot of adrenaline and that’s exactly what we are seeing.

I’m going to bet that Meerkat will hold up to the competition well, continue to grow and will probably beat Twitter (who are good about cross-platform support) to Android and Windows Phone app release.

The big question is will any of the companies I mentioned above join the race? Who do you think it will be?

Let’s Look At Alphega…

Alphega is a mobile app created by Nubis Technologies, a cool company based in Australia.

Whilst the app was initially available only on Windows Phone I’m giving the Alphega team a big hat-tip for launching on the Google Play Store for Android just before the holidays.

Windows Store Alphega App

What Is Alphega?

Before I get ahead of myself, Alphega is an excellent combination of Augmented Reality, Geo-location and Social Networking that allows you to see Social interactions around you in real time through your Smartphone camera or overlaid on a map.

The user can select which social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Foursquare to track and observe and can define the radius around themselves to capture these tweets, posts etc. within the app.

Alphega define themselves as,

Alphega is the periscope to social networking: a socioscope!”

Which is both an accurate and well thought out description.

The Warptest POV

I’m impressed by the app and enjoy using it. It has allowed me to discover people around me and see social interaction in a new way.

Alphega Augmented

Alphega Geo-location

Screen captures courtesy of the Windows Phone Store Alphega page

Tonight I’ll be at a networking event and I intend to see how the app performs in that context. If this allows me to identify and follow new people at the event then this will make a great app into a killer app IMHO.

So far the app has performed well, has not presented any major bugs and delivers a great UX. Will Alphega be launched on iOS? No idea but if you are interested then tweet and ask them here @Alphega_

Alphega is definitely my best app of 2014 so far and I give it a strong recommend if you are on Windows Phone or Android. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Job Hunting Can Be Frustrating

If it’s not companies who don’t post the physical location of the job then it’s remembering the ins and outs of each platform you use to find jobs.

For people who don’t use LinkedIn frequently some of the intricacies can be challenging. I want to address what IMHO is a huge UI/ usability bug that may be holding your job hunt back.

Job hunting - maze

Image courtesy of Office.com online images

What’s LinkedIn Done Now?

LinkedIn is an incredibly flexible platform for posters whether it be of personal or company information or someone posting a job.

Mostly this flexibility is a good thing but when you encounter a job that fits you to a “T” and can’t find the Apply To button or an email address it seems designed to bamboozle your job hunting efforts.

The Warptest POV

If the company name is posted then no sweat, Google/Bing the company, find the sitemap and look for the jobs page for the HR email address or simply phone the company during office hours and politely ask for the HR email.

If the LinkedIn Job posting doesn’t list the company this is where I see the questions and frustrations in the comments.

Let’s not suggest this is any kind of test; proceed with the intention to get your application into the hands of the person who posted the job.

  • These jobs are usually via groups you follow and so, the post was made by a person whose name / photo is a link to their profile.
  • Go to the poster’s profile and the top pane that contains their name and details
  • At the bottom right of this is a Contact Info icon that to the naked eye appears grey and inactive (bad UI LinkedIn, sorry)
  • Click on this box and you should get the contact information of the person who posted the job.
  • Use this information to send your job application (assuming it doesn’t say something like personal e-mail / personal blog).

Job hunting - LinkedIn Contact Info

LinkedIn Profile - job hunting 1

LinkedIn - job hunting - contact info

There are no guarantees that the poster simply didn’t forget to add contact information but keep in mind that if they did, it was a genuine oversight and not intended to make your life harder.

Remember, this is a two way street and the recruiter / HR posting this job is as anxious to receive good candidates as you are to be one of those considered.

If you have a job hunting challenge then feel free to share it in the comments and if you have an opinion on this I’d love to hear it.

Good (job) hunting and remember use these tips and contact information responsibly.

LinkedIn Endorsements via PlatoonThe Thing About LinkedIn Endorsements…

… it’s a classic example of rolling a feature that should have incredible added value but a combination of excessively open workflow and poor response to user feedback, you end up with confusion, irritation and a very full swear jar.

What the <redacted> is the point of Endorsements?

In principle LinkedIn Endorsements was meant to have offered a quick and easy way to combine profile skills / keywords / metadata and for your network to rate you for those skills with one-click.

LinkedIn Endorsements

In practice a lot of great people in your network are endorsing you for skills they may have never seen you use. Why? Because LinkedIn Endorsements have one constraint: the person endorsing you has to be in your network.

When LinkedIn Endorsements rolled out, were I the person testing this feature I would have failed it on the spot. Why?

LinkedIn is a Social Network.

This is a social networking feature and should be defined: –

Requirement -> Use Cases -> ETIQUETTE -> Spec -> Implementation

The Warptest POV

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like LinkedIn Endorsements and appreciate them and the people who take the time to give them.

However, IMHO this is a half-baked feature which was not spec’d out properly. Failing to define the etiquette for using the feature results in some unanticipated consequences: –

  • Gaming the system is way too easy: result – loss of overall confidence in the endorsements feature.
  • Dad, really?!? We all love our family but guys the point here is professional relationships. Unless you are Michael Corleone, getting Dad’s endorsement probably results in,

“Oh crap. How do I tell him to stop endorsing me for skills he doesn’t know about?”

This is pretty much the same for personal friends too: result – loss of overall confidence in the endorsements feature.

Godfather IIGodfather

There are more but in a nutshell a great feature gets wasted and produces a lot of white noise that no one wants to wade through.

Is it fixable? Yes, totally. LinkedIn if you are reading this then pay attention. Use a similar system to how connecting was on LinkedIn where one has to show some level of professional relationship to connect, the same should be true to endorse someone.

In the meanwhile I’m going to keep endorsing those people whose professional skills I know, respect and understand. How about you?

How dare Microsoft get into the Social game?

Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Have you seen the broadsides being fired at Microsoft when people discovered Microsoft FUSE Labs nascent Social / Research Network ?

image

It’s kind of amusing to see the usual suspects lining up to react to all things Redmond in the predictable manner but they seem to be missing the point.

To be fair though, I do understand some of the confusion. Microsoft have been a major investor in Facebook; leveraging Bing search et cetera. So why have another Social Network?

The Warptest Perspective

I have been on So.cl for several months now on and off and frankly I have engaged in dialog with people who without So.cl I would never have met.

“I just don’t care which brand owns a network if it allows me to reach a wider audience in a easy manner.”

That’s my ROI in a nutshell.

Whilst So.cl has an impressive feature list there are a few steps on the road to a fully baked product but the So.cl team have never made any pretenses about the fact that this is a work in progress. I made some similar points about Google+ in an earlier post.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for So.cl, how about you?

Warptest will return with “Why I didn’t buy a Nokia Windows Phone.”

Google Plus World Domination After Wave or Buzz?

Google Plus is this just their third strike at Social? I’m going to be generous here and say.. after the experiments that were Google Buzz and Wave.. it seems that Google has gotten things mostly right with Google+

google plus - ui

The experts, professionals and pundits are already arguing if Google Plus is going to become the leading platform.  I decided to deconstruct its functionality and see what occurred to me.

google plus - functionality

In a Nutshell…

Google Plus incorporates sharing content, grouping your friends/ followers in Circles and much  more however, as much as I find it to be a killer app I find myself dissatisfied with the User Experience.

A friend told me they felt Google+ would not “take off big time” as it was a techie oriented platform compared to the ubiquity of Facebook or the professional niche of LinkedIn.

Google Plus right now is the child who brings home the “Little Timmy could be doing so much more..” report card. Sharing content on Google+ definitely drives traffic to you and generates followers who you would not get via Twitter or Facebook but there is more..

What’s Missing / WISHLIST?

Google Plus definitely is a rock star make no mistake but I suspect we are going to see a few more features added in the next year or so. These are my predictions: –

  • Goo.gl – Google’s own URL shortening service with some great tracking features built in. Microsoft Fuse Research Lab released their experimental platform So.cl not long ago and had the foresight to include a built in URL shortener; come on guys this is a no-brainer!
  • Google Analytics – yes, I want to know everything about everything I share on Google Plus and if someone +1’s I want to see the who, how and more.
  • 3rd Party Integration – I get it, I do.. Google Plus is the New York of platforms.. the center of the universe and nothing exists outside it.. give me a break. I want to be able to post from Google Plus directly to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
  • Save Hangouts as YouTube videos to my channel .. instant video-blogging showing all the members of your conversation .. for the business users who want full Google App integration (I believe this is already working) this adds a powerful tool for co-located team meetings.
  • Save Chats and or Comments as a Google Document via Apps or Gmail it to all participants – again think co-located team meetings and think minutes of a meeting including action items.
  • Event planning and invitations – Google Calendar integration nuff said.

I had one or two more but it seems that Google and I think alike so these are considered Hangout Extras (optional):

google plus - hangouts

My favorite here is Screensharing: for group support or training sessions this could be a killer feature.

Simply put Google Plus is good but to make it great (and by great I mean World Domination class) let’s see some of these features implemented.