James Mayes

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Blog: Turn your Facebook Timeline into a movie

In Facebook, Facebook tips, Personal, Social Media, Video on January 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Facebook is now rolling out Timeline for all users – and I’ve noticed more people adding detail to their history recently. Fortuitous then, that Timeline MovieMaker will suck in that history and turn it into a great little movie – kinda “This is your life, according to Facebook”.  Some I know are shy with the amount they share (you need at least 75 photos shared) – so I thought it’d be fun to grab the video of mine and share here – give you an idea of what can be done.

It pulls out various random snaps, which you can change and edit. My favourites? I’d forgotten the snap of me in a burgundy bowler hat with Brad Pitt. I also like that it pulled out the snapshot of a Tel Aviv check-in. I was trying to fool Facebook Places that day with check-in data – achieved. I’ve never been to Israel…

Having watched and played with a few options, it’ll be really fascinating to see what companies can produce when Facebook finally release Timeline for Brands – maybe next month?

Having watched and played with a few options, it’ll be really fascinating to see what companies can produce when Facebook finally release Timeline for Brands – maybe next month?

If you want to play yourself, the movie maker app is here.

I used HyperCam2 (no affiliation) for the screengrab.

Blog: Twitter’s recruitment video: #win or #fail …

In Human Resources, Recruitment, Social Media, Social Recruiting, Twitter, Video on January 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm

You may have seen the recent recruitment video released by Twitter (embedded below for you).  Half a million people have now, and it’s had serious coverage not only on recruitment industry blogs, but on things like HuffPo too. Yippee! Huge numbers. Awesome coverage in the media. Cheap production. Epic win, surely?

Er, no. Not for me.

It got big numbers and coverage because everyone wants to know what Twitter are doing next and what it’s like to work there. Every techie is intrigued by the environment, the hack-days, the personalities. Every recruiter who’s heard about Social Media is trying to figure out how to get the best out of Twitter for their own business. Combine those two groups alone and I say half a million views is, if anything, low.

The concept wasn’t new or refreshing, the video (whilst well-produced) wasn’t innovative. The two brief cuts with deadpan-Dick  (Costolo, the CEO) were entertaining, but the rest was, well… average. Tongue in cheek, amusing, but average.

It terms of refreshing, the recent Ikea effort kicks this out the park.

They didn’t do anything bad, per se.  I just figure with the amount of data and the visualisations they can produce, Twitter could have delivered something truly groundbreaking. Given people an awesome insight into the business itself, or the way trends move around the world, or how the idea of a RT starts with actual users, but then becomes so compelling it actually gets built into the product itself.

#fail? Well, maybe that’s harsh. Missed opportunity? Yeah, I think so – but judge for yourself:

Blog: Alternion. Social feed and email aggregation, search and engagement

In Facebook, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Social Media, Social Recruiting, Twitter on January 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

Been a fan of CoTweet as a Twitter client for some time, but with it’s recent demise, I’ve been looking around. If I’m going to change though, I want a significant step forward…. found it!  Alternion was in private beta for 6 months last year, launching into public beta in November 2011.

Initially, it’s a social feed aggregator.  There’s plenty enough of those around, but this one wins for me on two fronts. First the interface is clean, effective, easy to use and second, the sheer number of services you can integrate kills anything else I’ve seen. Sure, HootSuite or TweetDeck will take care of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in one place – but this, if you so wish, will connect to over TWO HUNDRED different services. No-one I know uses that range, but most people I know have one or two niche sites they like which won’t connect and aggregate easily. This may well win them over where the mainstream tools fail.  There are too many for a decent screen grab – so this shot just shows you those for the blog sites it’ll connect with. You get the idea….

One thing I would like is the ability to push out to more than the big three social networks mentioned here – but this is currently in line with other standards being set and will no doubt develop further in time. I also note that despite the proliferation of photo sites, music sites, blogging, social networking… there’s no support for GooglePlus yet. I’d imagine that’ll be added pretty soon though. By the way, that photo aspect?

Moving on from Social, Alternion also allows you to integrate email accounts – support is right there for GMail and other internet account, plus full support for POP and IMAP accounts. You can view either combined or separate inboxs and undertake regular email tasks (though you lose some of the advanced functionality things like GMail offer).

There’s also a Contacts aggregator – so my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook connections, all grouped and searchable. Handy, if your networks are different on each platform and you can’t remember where you connected with Mr X. There seems to be a limit on the number imported, but again, I think this is a beta issue and will be resolved in the longer term. The social address book could well be the gem in this product for many users.

The ability to customise what’s displayed on your own profile, and import from those various other sites will no doubt appeal to some. Likewise, the ability to search / explore others users will certainly have some sourcers showing interest. The privacy and notification options seem accessible and simple too.

How quickly Alternion progresses past these earlier limitations, I don’t know.  Certainly though, for a product just into public beta, it looks remarkably extensive in ambition and polished in presentation.  What else does it need? Well, for me they’ve done a great job of the connectivity and they’ve nailed multi-account connections for Facebook and Twitter. I’m not yet seeing scheduling options though, or the ability for company accounts – seems a single-user product is the current aim. I’d like to use my own bit.ly account for link shortening too – read why here.

Regardless, I’ll be keeping close to this one!

Blog: Don’t tell me what I can’t read – Twitter Censorship

In Personal, Social Media, Twitter on January 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

Dammit. Enjoying my train ride this morning, alternating between Wired and my tweetstream, when I became aware of the latest Twitter change (thanks Wessel).  In order to aid future global growth, Twitter is introducing the ability to block certain content on a country by country basis. On the official blog, Twitter uses the example of countries such as France and Germany blocking pro-nazi content to explain this position.

I’ve long been opposed to censorship, especially in Social Media. I’m an ardent supporter of free speech, my right to express my views and indeed your right to be offended and argue your position.  Mark Twain nailed it in my opinion:

Country blocking on Twitter“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it”

As with all things Internet, there are hacks available.  Any censored content will be flagged to the user – and you’re able to go tell Twitter you’re in another country (it simply picks up your country via IP identification), so you’ll still be able to get at that content (thanks TNW). Only problem there is that Twitter is accessed more and more via mobile – when I’m guessing that hack is substantially more difficult.

I’m moved to write this for a number of reasons. First off, as you can no doubt tell, it’s a subject I feel strongly about.

Secondly, and I think it’s a bad move for Twitter. I understand why they feel it’s necessary in order to continue expansion and to protect from legal threats in future, but this just feels wrong. It’s up there with Google’s search results giving you a personal version of the internet, as opposed to the actual best results. Transparency is losing.

Finally, Twitter was one of the key empowerment platforms of the Arab Spring.  Social Media didn’t cause that revolution – but there’s a strong case to say it supported.

This move suggests Twitter wants to win by supporting government wishes than by supporting the requirements of users. 

A sad day indeed.



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