Facebook is in the process of making it easier, and creepier, to tag your friends in pictures.  The site will be using facial recognition software that is already available on some photo editing programs.  Once a friend has been tagged the software will prompt users to tag friends that have been recognized in other photos.  Users will be able to turn this feature off in their account settings if they would like, going back to manually typing in the name of the person(s) being tagged.  In one sense the new feature will make tagging numerous photos after a night out or an event much easier.  However, I think the possibility that wrong person was recognized and tagged may come about, which may lead to some upset friends.  It seems like something out of a spy movie but I guess that is just the price we will pay as technological advances become more and more accessible.
I recently finished up an AD/PR course in Emerging Media.  Overall the experience was worthwhile.  Prior to the course my use of emerging media was limited to going on Facebook and the buying and selling stuff on eBay.

                Not only did I learn from the instructor but my classmates as well.  As emerging media is constantly, for lack of a better word, emerging it is tough for anyone to keep up.  Having multiple sources of people interested in the subject definitely provided insight that I wouldn’t have received otherwise.

                Probably the best part of the course for me was the number of professionals that came in to speak with us.  It is nice to know what is being used by those working in the advertising and marketing industries.  The professions are very much involved in the creative side of doing business and they would know what is hot and what is not. 

                The course also left me with an interest of expanding my use of emerging media.  I went in wanting to know how to use some of the tools available to me and I got just that.  I never thought of myself as the type to use social media for anything more than a way to keep up with friends and family.  I am now able to tap into the resources of a wide range of likeminded individuals that I would not have been exposed to otherwise.  Being able to join into the conversation that is going on in web 2.0 will only serve to keep me I the loop and up to date, making me marketable as an individual.    

I recently started using the blogging site Tumblr.  I was intrigued by how basic it was.  In its simplest sense it is a fast easy way for users to express their thoughts and creativity.

                My initial thought was to start a 356 daily photo blog.  I felt my biggest obstacle would be to produce photos on a daily basis.  However, that wasn’t the issue.  I first ran into problems when Tumblr’s site went down on Tuesday, December 7th.  According to the site they ran across issues when performing regularly scheduled maintenance.  Shortly after getting back up and running the site was down again.  Fortunately, I managed to get my pic of the day up.  According to an update to the site’s blog they have grown their engineering team fourfold.  This was apparently due to the rapidly growing number of users the site is getting.

                With that small hiccup aside I thought it would be smooth sailing.  After I started using the site I downloaded the mobile app for the Blackberry.  At best the app could be described as basic.  As one user noted “Did a grade-schooler design this?”  Looks aside the app actually worked.  I could view my dashboard and upload pics and make posts.  A few days after the site going down I received notification that there was an update available, unfortunately I downloaded it.  The app no longer opens up, leaving the only option for uploading from a home computer.  I have since deleted the app and am currently looking for a way to download version 1.1.  I like the ease of use Tumblr offers but being able to update on the go is key.   

Update:  I scoured the net and came across an old post on the Tumblr staff blog which hosted a downloadable link for the app version 1.1.2.  This version is not available in Blackberry app as of yet.  Get it here

I have been using Foursquare for awhile now and I am starting to lose interest.  At first it was all fun and games, but as time has gone on it has become no fun and just a game.

                Starting out as a newbie the app offered the challenge of earning badges and competing against friends for mayor-ship of frequently visited places.  In addition to the competitive aspect Foursquare offered, on occasion I would stumble across places that offered discounts, sometimes even a free drink or some other treat.  This has become my only incentive for using the app.

                I think the idea of checking in can be fun, especially if it gets me discounts or some type of useful knowledge.  However, until more establishments get on the Foursquare bandwagon it is really just a way to collect useless badges.  I think the makers of the app need to get a following like Google maps, whose users upload useful information about establishments.  I personally would like some insight into places I have never been to.  If the location isn’t enticing me with some type of offer than perhaps a user’s review will get me in the door.  Don’t worry Foursquare I’m not going to delete you just yet.  I have hopes that you will grow into an app that better suits me.

  Tim Burton is using Twitter to write his next story, using a collaborative technique known as the Cadavre Exquis or “Exquisite Cadaver”.  In 140 characters or less users will contribute to the story in sequence by building on the preceding line of text.

            The experiment in story telling will run from Nov. 22- Dec. 6.  Participants are allowed to tweet as often as they would like.  the best tweets of the day will selected for use in the story.  
            Burton's tale revives one of his characters of old, Stainboy.  The would be superhero was first popularized in 1997 in the authors macabre book of poems " The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories".

             Burton begins the tale with his own contribution of: “Stainboy, using his obvious expertise, was called in to investigate mysterious glowing goo on the gallery floor…”

             As of the evening of November 24, 2010 numerous amount of tweets have been submitted but only 23 have been selected.  I myself have attempted to make the cut but alas my tweets have fallen to the cutting room floor.  It is an interesting use of social media and will probably result in an a lucrative final product.  Whether you tweet or not it is worth a read.  Check out the progress yourself here.

The Logitech Revue has hit the markets just in time for Christmas.  The set top box boosts the Google TV software which allows users to access all of their online and offline content.  In addition the included keyboard can operate all of your home theatre components, all for $299.  Dish network is offering the device to its customers for $179.

                Essentially the Revue is another entrant in the smart TV lineup, acting like a go between from your computer to you television, much like the previously released Apple TV, and Boxee.  This will allow users to access what they want to watch whether it be from the web, an app, or the television; all from one compact device.

                Using Google Chrome, the device supports both Flash and HTML5, a feature you won’t find on any Apple product.  The user interface can be brought up over content from cable or satellite and can stream music, video, photos from any connected PC.

                For an additional $150, users can purchase a TV-mounted camera which will allow for video calls in 720p HD. 

                The downside to this latest smart TV product is that many of the biggest content providers haven’t struck a deal with them yet.  What’s the point of having smart TV if you can’t access Hulu, CBS, or ABC?  In addition the search bar doesn’t access Netflix titles.

                When I first heard of the Logitech Revue I was pumped.  I love the company’s Harmony line of remotes which will do just about everything except make you a cocktail.  After doing some research I became less impressed.  Compared to competitors it is overpriced and underequipped.  As it is now, as far as smart TV goes I am leaning toward the Roku XDS, or just shelling out the $8 a month for Hulu Plus, accessed through the PS3.  If it weren’t for sports I would just get rid of my cable provider altogether and the functionality of the Logitech Revue would become a moot point.

Blackberry just released their latest software update; Facebook Places.  Much like Foursquare, Facebook Places allows users to “check-in” at locations and see their friends who have done the same.  Facebook Places has been around since August but was only available to iPhone users. 

                This app might be a stalkers dream come true but should also benefit advertisers and local businesses alike.  They will now have the ability to target potential customers by proximity.  This will allow them to deliver coupons and deals to users in a specific area.  The app isn’t groundbreaking but it is neat none the less.  I’m surprised it has taken Blackberry this long to jump on Facebook’s geo-tracking bandwagon.    

A friend and former professor of mine, Seth Harwood, has harnessed the power of social media and web 2.0 to promote his newly released book.  Through a barrage of tweets, Facebook posts, and email blasts Seth is getting the word out about Young Junius.

                Now is a time where a virtually unknown writer can gain worldwide readership through use of the web, and Seth seems to be doing just that.  Upon the release of his previous book, Jack Wakes Up, Seth was able to boost its sales to Amazons #1 in Crime/Mystery and #45 overall by use of his online audience alone.   

                Following a similar formula Seth is hoping to do the same with his latest release.  He is still doing the standard literary fare by going to bookstores around the country doing readings and signings.  However, he has enhanced their effectiveness through the use of YouTube and podcasts.  He recently added a new weapon of mass distribution to his arsenal, Scribd, a San Francisco based social publishing site that allows users to share their original works without needing a publisher.  Through the site Seth released a chapter of his book a day until its release date.  Get the full PDF here.

                Gone are the days when writers had to worry about finding a publisher to pick up their work.  If you write something and want to share it with the world follow Seth’s lead and just put it out there.   



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I had the opportunity to play with the iPad.  It was a neat device just as I expected it to be.  However, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to get one.  Rather, I think I’ll just wait for the release of Blackberry’s Playbook to fill my tablet needs.  Hopefully it will live up to expectations.

            As a whole the iPad is very cool.  Its small size and light weight make it the perfect device to entertain yourself with on the commute home, if you take public transportation that is.  If entertainment is all you are after, it would make a great substitute for a laptop on a vacation.  If you want more than that I would save your money and put it towards a MacBook.

            The device is pretty user friendly.  The touch screen keyboard works fine for me.  If you are opposed to it an external one is available for an additional cost, but in my mind you are getting closer to laptop status and should probably just go that route.  The iPad has a nice high-resolution screen which makes it perfect for watching videos and movies.  I didn’t get the chance to use Netflix on the device. I know the iPad has an app to allow Netflix streaming capability for a fee.  I don’t know if this is an additional charge for current subscribers.  I would recommend buying a stand to enhance the viewing experience; this would work well for digital books also.  

            I was a little bummed to find you can’t run multiple apps at the same time, but if you are only using it for entertainment purposes I guess that wouldn’t really be an issue.  I have mentioned other drawbacks in a previous post.  These include the lack of a USB port and Flash compatibility amongst others.

            Overall I would recommend an iPad for anyone who is a non-Blackberry user looking for a fun portable device to amuse themselves with.  If you want to do more than just play games, watch videos, or surf the web save your money and buy a laptop.   

Last week I was lucky enough to sit in on a lecture by Laura Gainor, PR and social media strategist for Comet Branding.  Her commentary on personal branding was especially relevant given her amazing success story of seeking employment in Milwaukee.  When one has no budget for marketing, even if it is marketing one's self, then social media is the only answer.  I definitely walked away with some new insight into the importance of personal branding, as well as some helpful hints as to the best way of doing so.    

                For me Twitter has always seemed like a lost cause.  I just don't feel I'm that interesting, and I don't want to be that guy who lets you know "I just ate a piece of toast."  This outlook changed when Laura suggested that the power of twitter can be harnessed to find out who the players of a specific area of interest are and establish interactions with them that may have otherwise been impossible or improbable.  Whether or not I have something interesting about myself to share with the world in 140 characters or less doesn't mean I can't add some commentary to the post of someone who does.  If Twitter is about networking why be out of the loop.

                Juggling content on the various social media platforms can be hard enough for the author who has a vested interest in doing so.  Why not make said content easier for potential end users to find.  Use a blog to house everything in one place.  Further, keep the various social media channel names the same.  Don't make people work hard to find you, because they won't.  In the same vein keep your personal profile pic the same on all channels to stay consistent.  Keeping this photo somewhat professional should be a no brainer.  Unless you want to be a party promoter, lose the pic with a drink in hand.  Don't look too stiff though, unless that is really who you are.  Let that pic showcase some of your personality.

                As the world of social media is ever expanding try to stay in the know.  What’s lame today may be what people are raving about tomorrow, and vice versa.  Seek out potential up and coming social media platforms, claim your URL to keep that channel name the same, and wait to see if it takes off.  In the mean time it's business as usual on the sites that are heavily trafficked.  

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