Every Snapchat User’s Worst Nightmare

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon.

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon. Via Forbes (article linked)

Snapchat, for those who have never heard of it before, is an app which boasts that it can share images directly between users for up to 10 seconds. Initially, it was stated that after these 10 seconds or less, pictures were “obliterated”, or shredded pixel from pixel to never be seen again.

Sounds harmless enough right?

The app, whose interface is clean, simple, and bright and inviting, has taken on a darker purpose among some. Some users use the app to send goofy faces to their friends, record short clips from concerts, or snap vanishing images of the mundane. Others however, use the app’s promise of “shredded evidence” to send more explicit content.

Yes, just like ‘sexting’. Exactly as bad as it sounds.

While the app does have safeguards against users that attempt to take screenshots of pictures, it would appear that the veil of safety had been lifted as a new generation of “hack” apps have emerged to lower the privacy of these “snaps”. In the ‘early days’ of the app, an alert would go off when iOS users cleverly tried to screenshot images, notifying the sender that their picture was no longer ‘transient’ and was permanently saved. However apps like SnapCapture,  SnapSave, and various others now enable users to capture pictures without alerting the image or video.

Brace yourselves, snapleaks are a thing now.

The result? That silly picture of you and your friend doodling cat ears on each other might surprise (but not horrify) you when its posted to Facebook. Or in worse cases, that ‘sexy’ picture meant for your then-boyfriend might be your now ex-boyfriends next submissions to snapchat pics on reddit. YIKES.

No matter what you snap, make sure you’re ok with the rest of the internet seeing it too, because chances are, they will.

A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

Cold Tweeting: The Modern ‘Cold Call’ For Influencers

In marketing you may have heard of the term ‘cold-call’ or a call made spontaneously to pitch an idea to a potential customer or  client you don’t know, on behalf of a company, service provider, etc.

On Twitter, the same technique can be utilized to boost influence. Anyone who follows me may have noticed that I have not been reaching out very often to handles I do not follow, and this has been done on purpose. When this blog post is published, I will only have 338 followers on twitter, and what I hope to demonstrate through initiating ‘cold-tweets’ after this post, is the effect that genuine ‘outreach’ tweets can have on the influence of your handle.

So how does one ‘cold-tweet’? The first thing you should consider is who you should reach out to; don’t tweet to someone you don’t anticipate holding a conversation with. You can find them by searching a topic that you find interesting (for example, bakers in Brooklyn, search “Brooklyn Bakers’) or by looking at the left-hand sidebar of who Twitter thinks you should follow.

Second, obliterate any ‘salesy’ or ‘pitchy’ tweets from your mind, because you aren’t about to sell this person something: you are about to initiate a conversation. Before you type anything, look at their bio on their twitter profile and read it. All of it. Then read their last few tweets and come up with a friendly response to one of them or type out a tweet referencing a recent conversation. Imagine you have just bumped into them at a posh café…..or at Shake Shack.

And then wait. You might get a response, you might get nothing, you might get followed. Either way, plan to send out 3-4 of these day, and observe what happens. The power of a ‘real’ follower versus a ‘bought’ follower is enormous and those following you will begin to notice that you’re a human, not a mindless retweeting robot.

Hope that helps!

Snapchat and Vine; The Basics

There has been a lot of discourse on social apps like Vine and Snapchat, and what they they mean for social media, social networking, and content sharing. Here’s the basics you need to know:

Both apps boast very engaging content opportunities; Snapchat allows for temporary snapshots in time without the consequence of suspect images or video resurfacing across the internet in unflattering ways (long story short, less ‘Weinergates“). Similarly, Vine allows for short video that is highly shareable, engaging, and allows for a high level of creativity. One succeeds because it is temporary, the other because it is a permanent moment encapsulated in short video.

Snapchat operates detached from social networks, and offers an addictive way to interact with others similar to conversations; a back and forth exchange which is unrecorded, and fleeting.

Vine operates currently as a content creator which can be shared on Twitters in place of (or to compliment) content.

Because they are so different in application, I think both have drastically different futures. With Snapchat, there is a shareable component in that snaps can be downloaded before being sent , allowing people to use them as they would a vine (but without the seamless integration). I feel that Snapchat has the potential to outlive the social networks in the sense that ‘compromising images’ can now be shared more fearlessly than before on this platform.

However I do not think Vine cannot function as a standalone. Unlike Instagram, which is available on both Android and iOS, and is inherently ‘more shareable’ Vine relies more heavily on being peppered across Twitter, but is only available for iOS. Now owned by Twitter, Vine does have the ability to be used to its highest potential, but if Twitter ever died out, so would Vine. As far as I know, vines cannot be shared on Facebook, but I doubt this capability would ever impact its success.

Questions? Email me 🙂

Twitter for Beginners: Step 4

Right about now you should start feeling like a Twitter rockstar: you can tweet, retweet, favorite, follow….heck you can do just about everything. So where do you go from here? It’s time to start putting these skills to use: let’s get you some followers!

Getting followers on Twitter may seem pretty easy: write a good tweet and people will interact with it. Right? Wrong. On Twitter, much of how we view accounts is a combination of tweet quality, level of influence, and relevancy to our ideals and interests. For example, Barbara Corcoran may have a ton of influence, but if you aren’t really into investing and business…you are less likely to ‘follow’ her. So how do you get more followers? Let’s find out:

Continue reading

Twitter for Beginners: Step 3

And we’re back! Welcome to step three of your basic guide to Twitter. Today I will be explaining how to use basic functions on Twitter such as ‘favoriting’ and ‘retweeting’. Let’s begin:

Overview

On twitter you will encounter a set of functions available to all twitter users: the favorite, the retweet (or RT), and reply. There are other options available, but these three will be your primary focus going forward. Replying to a tweet is as straight forward as it sounds.

Let’s look at how to reply to a tweet:

Tweet-Replyex

So here I have clicked the ‘reply’ button and chosen to commend Michelle Mangen on this cool infographic. So what I’m going to do is type in my response and hit enter.

Tweet-replyfinish

This is the result. This will not show up as part of a ‘conversation’ on twitter. It is publicly viewable, and can be interacted with by followers of both users, and by the general public.

Now, on to retweeting: to ‘retweet’ or share a tweet with your followers/the public, you will need to select the ‘retweet’ button. This should be the result:

Twitter-RTex

Once you have chosen to retweet an article, this should be the result:

Twitter-RTexdone

Another option you have is to ‘favorite’ a tweet. This ‘favorite’ will not be viewable to the general public, but will alert the user that you liked their tweet. This is a great function if you want to politely and discretely liked something without drowning your followers in replies and retweets. To favorite something, simply click the ‘favorite’ button. The result will look like this:

Twitter-Favex

Now that you know how to retweet, reply, and favorite tweets, your homework is to find up to 5 tweets you like, and retweet and favorite them. If you really like it, send the user a polite reply.

Next Week:

How to get people to follow you.

Twitter For Beginners: Step 2

I realize it probably surprised some people that step two came a little later than expected, and I promise it was for a good reason. Yesterday the fabulous ladies over at The SITS Girls featured City Gopher.

In the words of Charlie Sheen, “WINNING!”

But as a result, I thought it would be best to allow anyone new to the blog to read step 1 thoroughly and get a chance to ask some questions if they had any before step two went live. It turned out to be a pretty good idea.

Some of your questions from step one as follows:

1. Can I use two hashtags instead of one?

2. Is the addressing for tweeting case-sensitive?

So to best answer your questions, I’d like to give you a tutorial on hashtags and ‘@’ mentions to show you exactly how they work and how they are different:

Continue reading

Merry Christmas: The Greatest Gift

As some of you know, the holidays are a time of merriment and family values….sort of. For some, merriment is time spent around a tree with close family and friends and the new year is spent in front of a TV watching the ball drop in New York, or celebrating with sparklers amongst close friends. However, for young professionals, this is sometimes also followed by office parties, crazy new years parties, and this year particularly, Mayan end-of-the-world parties (and ‘we survived’ parties afterwards).

If you’re like me, you like the holidays as much as the next person, but don’t always want to see some of its unintended drunken side effects: that’s right, I’m talking about drunk pictures. Unlike potential employers, I’m not really interested in seeing pictures of people I knew in high school or college’s ‘happy drunkidays’ albums pop up on Facebook. Seeking a way to remove these unsavory holiday horrors, I found a fun fix that has multiple applications.

Unbabymemain

Unbaby.me  is a chrome plug-in designed to eradicate images of babies from your Facebook feed by replacing them with pictures of cats, sports cars, or whatever you happen to like. A while back, I discovered that this application could be manipulated to screen out any unwanted images whether it be people’s cats, tattoos, drinking pictures, political views, or what have you. You can swap out these things for literally ANYTHING you like. That’s pretty cool. Here’s how it works:

Unbabyme1

First, input keywords you don’t want to see. The preset will be set to baby terms like ‘child’, ‘baby’, and ‘birth’ but you can swap these out for things like ‘kegstand’, ‘drinking’, ‘yolo’, ‘alcohol’, ‘party’ or ‘wasted’.

Unbabyme2

Next, input the substitute topic of your liking. For me, I really like Koalas, so I opted to have koala pictures used. The result will look something like this:

BEFORE

Koalabefore

AFTER

Koalareplace

BOOM! Just like magic you can remove images of your daughter’s unsavory boyfriend, your friends getting wasted, and even (if it’s not your thing) all your friend’s random snapshots of their food.

Merry Christmas and you’re welcome!

Your Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

So I’ve heard a lot of interesting feedback from people about articles I’ve written concerning Twitter and Facebook, and people I’ve spoken to about social media. Before I get started, its important to note that I have been working with social media since college and that I view it as an essential tool for small businesses. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know just enough to have formed a strong opinion about it. If you think social media is a waste of your time, you can stop reading and go listen to your Walkman.

Here is my list of social media resolutions you should aim to master in the new year:

  • Stop deleting emails from multiple vendors, and start unsubscribing. If you are getting assaulted by as many as 300 emails a day from ecommerce sites and causes you can’t recall caring about, DONT DELETE. Deleting doesn’t actually make the problematic emails go away, it only spurs a resend prompt to spam you with even MORE emails. 
  • Stop saying you’re too old for Twitter / It’s too hard. It isn’t too hard, and you are not too old. If you view tweeting as a part of your daily schedule like brushing your teeth and washing your face you can effectively manage your channel. Once you get the hang of it, start interacting with trending hashtags and start get access to information much faster than just flipping through a magazine.
  • Stop avoiding Facebook. One huge problem I’m seeing is people somehow thinking that ‘unplugging’ from Facebook will solve all of their problems, than getting upset when they miss special offers, forget birthdays, or ever miss out on great conversations or internet phenomenons. Stop tuning out! If you can’t stand getting updates from XYZ person or company, ‘unlike’ or ‘unfriend’ them! You can customize your experience to be fulfilling and satisfying to you if you want. Sick of seeing people’s political opinions? Install unpolitic.me and have all political banter replaced with pictures of babies, food, or whatever you like looking at.
  • Learn about trends. Seriously, if you are working at a company trying to seem ‘cool’ to us young folk, stop ignoring memes and viral content: we LOVE that stuff. By all means, have your employers do a funny ‘Gangnam Style’ or let your creative team think up a funny but engaging way to catch our attention. Just look at Old Spice: they went from total bore to total badass with just a few ‘Man your man could smell like’ ads.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. If you feel that a company goofed up, don’t reach for the phone first, try hitting them up on Facebook or Twitter. Companies can handle multiple disgruntled clients on social media than on the phone (a rep can only handle one of you at once). If a company isn’t savvy enough to follow best practice on social media, then try calling them.

Hope these help you in the new year! 

What’s a Tumblr?

Hey all, as you may (or may not) know Tumblr is another handy blogging platform, kind of like WordPress (what I use), Blogspot, Typepad, and Xanga (though very few people use that anymore). Back in the day, Xanga and Livejournal were ‘the’ blogging platforms for your rantings, poetry, recaps of high school drama etc. but today’s blog platforms are more advanced and more diverse. Need a quick primer on what blog platform does what? Well here are some types and what they do:

  1. WordPress/Typepad/Blogger-aka. the “word” based- These platforms are highly driven by writing, the written word, and stylistically how text appears on a page. Seeking to appear more official than its Xanga/Livejournal predecessors, these platforms offer crisp, clean, text-driven layouts that are mean for ease of reading rather than extensive picture use. While they all offer variations which can be more suited to images etc…its not their primary goal to have tons of pictures and very little text. These platforms want to mimic all the nostalgia of print, without the hassle.
  2. Tumblr-aka. the “picture” based- This platform is primarily a pictures-first platform, and many of its primary layouts are driven by pictures rather than text. A quick glance at a Tumblr blog versus a WordPress blog often reflects far less writing, and far more style-driven pictures of varying social groups and pop culture phenomenons. On this platform, ‘tags’ are more than just markers at the bottom of a post, and can be tracked based on interest. Though Tumblr is an elegant platform, it really doesn’t lend itself to rigorous writing….an example being the high success of tumblrs such as ‘whatshouldwecallme’ and ‘howdoIputthisgently’…and the failures of other blogs seeking to use it as a text-based blog.
  3. Livejournal/Xanga-aka. “the oldies”-While Blogspot was able to freshen up and compete with the newer platforms, these social-based blogs generally revolved around ‘mood’ emoticons, and were initially created to be ‘journals’ online. In high school, many of my friends used these platforms to vent about drama, boyfriends, friends that were ‘frenemies’ etc. Long story short, these platforms are still around, but more or less are ancient relics of the early 2000’s and were mainly used by gloomy teens. If someone says they used Xanga to blog now…it’s a bit like saying you use a Walkman or have an 8-track in your car. Or use a CD player…or still know what a dial-up modem sounds like. It’s not a cool thing to admit to, basically.