Friday, December 27, 2013

Actor James Franco Explains What The 'Selfie' Craze Is All About

Actor +James Franco can be irritating at times. He never misses an opportunity to opine about something whether he knows what he's talking about or not. However, occasionally he does offer some insightful commentary. Franco recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times explaining why the "selfie" is important in our culture.

For those who don't know James Franco is known as the king of selfies. He takes them constantly and in all kinds of situations. His Instagram is awash in photos he's taken of himself. So in this instance he's quite qualified to speak on the subject.

Here's a taste of what he had to say:
But a well-stocked collection of selfies seems to get attention. And attention seems to be the name of the game when it comes to social networking. In this age of too much information at a click of a button, the power to attract viewers amid the sea of things to read and watch is power indeed. It’s what the movie studios want for their products, it’s what professional writers want for their work, it’s what newspapers want — hell, it’s what everyone wants: attention. Attention is power. And if you are someone people are interested in, then the selfie provides something very powerful, from the most privileged perspective possible. ... We all have different reasons for posting them, but, in the end, selfies are avatars: Mini-Me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are. I am actually turned off when I look at an account and don’t see any selfies, because I want to know whom I’m dealing with. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”
That last sentence is particularly interesting. The idea that a selfie is simply a way to look someone in the eye and let them know what you're all about is not something I had considered before but makes a lot of sense.

What do you think? Is James Franco on to something here or not?

(H/T Mashable)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Twitter Search Can Now Be Filtered by News, Photos, and Videos

Twitter has added some cool new filtering features to its iOS and Android apps to make it easier to figure out what's happening in particular areas of interest.

Focused on discovery, both apps now offer the option to search for only pictures, videos, or news stories. Previously you could only search through usernames or entire tweets. The videos filter will be particularly popular among Vine users.Members also have the option to view All Tweets by toggling between top tweets and all tweets at the top of search results. This could be beneficial to people using Twitter for research purposes. It’s also worth noting that the results can be filtered to display only the tweets from people you follow.
(H/T Sprout Insights)

Top 4 Ways To Speed Up Your Website

Never underestimate the importance of load time for your website. You should try and get your site to load as fast as possible. Two seconds can be the difference between someone visiting your site or not. When a website takes more than a few seconds to load I typically move on. I don't have time to sit and wait for a site to load when I can probably find what I'm looking for elsewhere.

Here are the top 4 ways you can speed up your website:

1.  Optimize Images - Images are typically what takes the longest time to load on any website. The format of the images and their size are important things to consider. Always use the "Save for the web" feature on your image editing software when saving images. 

2.  Image Formats - Learn the difference between JPEG, GIF, and PNG formats. Be sure and choose the right format based on the type of image it is.

3.  Optimize CSS -  The majority of modern websites are designed with CSS. Be sure to clean up your CSS using an online tool such as CleanCSS. If your site is in WordPress there are a number of plugins that can help with this.

4.  Reduce HTTP Requests -  The best way to reduce HTTP requests is reduce the number of objects on your site that need to be called up. Get rid of unnecessary styling and images wherever possible. Also, make sure the requests for external scripts and files are combined in one location. WordPress has several good plugins to help with this as well.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Understanding Internet Presence Management

If you haven't yet heard the term "Internet Presence Management" also known as "IPM" you should get ready -- you'll be hearing it a lot. It's simply not enough for a business to hire an SEO company or a social media company. The days of hiring a firm to "get you on the first page of Google" and then sitting back to wait for the cash to start tumbling in are over. Digital marketing success in today's climate requires a comprehensive approach.

But rather than blather away trying to explain what IPM means and how it works I'll simply defer to this pithy whiteboard video...

Twitter Experiment Allowing Private Messages To Anyone Now Over

Twitter often experiments with new features by rolling them out to the public to use and comment on. Some eventually become permanent and others are withdrawn depending on what users think about them. The latest Twitter experimental feature was allowing private messages to any user. Prior to this you could only send private messages to a person following you. The experiment allowed anyone to private message anyone.

That experiment appears to have been rather short lived. After less than a month since its release, the latest Twitter experiment has gone up in smoke.

Does this mean that feature will make a triumphant return as a permanent part of the platform or has it gone away forever? No one knows. As usual, Twitter is not talking (or tweeting) on the subject.

Twitter, as expected, has been pretty tight-lipped about the whole thing, stating that the company is constantly releasing experiments and that this feature was just one of them. There’s no word whether we’ll see it again in another iteration or if Twitter has something bigger plans for Direct Messages.

What do you think? Was it a good feature? Does it even matter?

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