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Tag - communication platform

Instagram Joins the Video-posting Trend

What do you call today’s generation? Generation X? Y? Gen Z? The generation of total narcism? The “Me” generation? While there may be some debate as to what this generation should be called, one thing is for sure – it will be something that hints on how self-consumed today’s youth are.
 
Not to put the young ones down ‘cause they may still be the future of “yesterday’s dream”, but it’s almost a no brainer that today’s youth love themselves… a little too much. Just think of everything that social media has been producing. Think of all the “selfies”, the tweets about what they’re eating, Facebook posts about what they’re doing – everything is all about them.
However, as to how and why we should address this issue is a whole different topic. One thing is for sure, this attitude of the youth is a great social media marketing opportunity.
There’s a range of social media platforms for your brand to take advantage of, and one of the newest additions to that is Instagram video.
Yes, you heard that right! The phenomenal image sharing website now allows its users to post short video clips.
“Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life. Until now these stories have been missing from Instagram,” Instagram wrote on its official blog. “Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Video on Instagram and bring you another way to share your stories.”
Now that you know can optimise the use of this new feature to best of your brand, here are a few things you should learn about this new communication platform:
•    You can only post short clips.  If you’re planning to post a movie’s length of video, Youtube is your best bet. But if you just want to capture a short but meaningful clip, Instagram can help your customer engagement.
“We’re excited to see what the community will bring to video, whether it’s your local cafe showing you how they made your latte this morning or an Instagrammer on the other side of the world taking you on a tour of their city, a mother sharing her joys in parenting as her children laugh and play or your favorite athlete taking you behind the scenes,” Instagram noted on its blog.
-    Video filters are also available. Instagram has been a constant part of the any site’s “Best Photo Editing App” list. Since its release in 2010, it has been known for its image filters that help make any boring photo look awesome. Now, it brings this feature to its video-sharing feature as well.
“You’ll also find that we’ve added thirteen filters built specifically for video so you can keep sharing beautiful content on Instagram. When you post a video, you’ll also be able to select your favorite scene from what you’ve recorded as your cover image, so your videos are beautiful even when they’re not playing.”
-    It offers a unique “Cinema Feature”.  Apple users will enjoy an exclusive Instagram Video feature that allows video stabilization.
“If you’re taking videos on the go, you might find that they’re a little shaky. For iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, we’ve built a Cinema feature that lets you stabilize your video after you take it.”
 
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What To Do With Your Old Phone

So, you have a new mobile phone?  The one with a gorilla glass screen?  Surround sound?  A quad processor?
Looks like you’ve given in to all those marketing campaigns that promise smartphones and other electronic devices to be the “best among the rest.” But are they really?  Aren’t they all the same?  Maybe yes.  Maybe no.  But one thing’s for sure: you’ve spent quite a sum to purchase that new device and your wallet is screaming at you for spending all its cash.

Don’t worry; you can keep your relationship with your wallet intact. Well, that is until you find a way to gain a little more dough from that old phone.
Making money out of your old devices is the most practical and ingenious way of disposing of your old gadgets. To make this sound a little more formal: take that vintage online and communication platform and make a profit out of it – this could be in the form of banknotes or a heartfelt fulfillment in doing good.
Here are simple options on what you can do with your old electronic device:
Sell it!
If you’re looking to make good use of your old but still in good condition device, selling them is one of your best options.  This will allow you to earn money while clearing out your cabinet of unwanted junk—electronic junk, that is.
If you’re dead serious about putting your old iPhone or MacBook on sale, aside from posting it on Facebook, you can check Amazon, eBay or Gumtree.
Trade it!
Device trading has been a growing sales strategy among retailers and manufacturers over the years.  Trade-in programs work by allowing consumers to hand in their old devices in exchange of a discount on a newer device or a gift card from the retail store.  So far, a number of stores have already been employing this scheme, including:
• Best Buy. The consumer electronics retailer allows trade-ins for a range of devices, including computers, cameras, gaming systems, etc.  As part of its online strategy, the store allows consumers to fix their trade-in process over the internet.
• Radio Shack. This retailer accepts a wide range of products for trade-in including TVs, e-readers, cameras, camcorders, phones and gaming consoles. The store will allow you to apply the value of the traded item to a new purchase or gift card.
• Apple. The consumer electronics company now allows trade-ins for its iPhones, as well as its iPods and iPads.
Donate it!
If you don’t really need the money and just want to dispose of your old gadget, why not donate it? A number of institutions and organisations are already accepting gadget donations. Such charities include:
• National Cristina Foundation. The foundation will help you find a charity organisation that can benefit from your old computer, printer, cameras and other machines.
• Salvation Army. The foundation accepts computer donations, as well as DVD players, VCRs, radios, stereos and more.
 
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What’s Next? A Double Major in Social Media?

Now schools have also noticed the importance of social media in our every day lives…
 
Social media…[sigh]…Where do we even begin to explain this phenomenon?   How did social networking become one of the main sources of information today?  How is it even possible that this simple mode of communication can make its way all over the world to be read by billions of people online?  Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if we know the answers to all these questions or not, it will still be the powerful communication platform that it is.
We can’t deny the fact that it is the digital age and social media is here to stay.  According to a May 2013 report by the Huffington Post, the top five social media sites alone have a combined 2 billion users.  Smartphone users check their Facebook status at an average of 14 times a day and 79% of them check their phones for social media updates within 15 minutes from the time they wake up.
This online platform is so strong that it is now also being considered a tool in the field of education.  A number of schools around the world have started to adopt this new technology into their curriculum, their method of teaching and their method of news dissemination.  A number of campaigns have also been pushing for the use of this platform around the world.  As a matter of fact, the same Huff report suggests that 80% of college faculty members use social media and 50% of professors use it in their classes.
Here are a few of the examples of how social media is being used in education:
Ngee Ann Secondary School Tweeting Answers
Singapore has grown to be an economic leader in South East Asia and as it embraces technology, the country’s government is looking into implementing social media in education.
Among the schools that already use this platform is Ngee Ann Secondary School.  In a report by Euro News, during one of the school’s math classes the teacher posts a question and asks the students to send her the answer via twitter in which she projects them on screen.  This form of online communication in schools is what the Singaporean government calls “future school.”
New York City’s Digital Literacy
As the social media continues to permeate the society, the city that never sleeps has also embraced the idea to optimise technology by relating it into education.
The New York City Department of Education has a new position called Director of Digital Literacy and Citizenship held by Lisa Nielsen. She is the very first person to hold the position. Asked what the nature of her work is, Lisa says:
“This year we are focused on helping teachers develop their own digital literacy. Next year, we’ll be focusing more on students interacting with each other online,” she told the Huffington Post. “I’m heavily involved in the use of social media and I’m not aware of other school districts who have a position like this.”
 
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iPad Mini 2 now $100 Cheaper

It seems like Apple has already thought of and developed everything perfect in the gadgets world.  Is there anything that this multimillion dollar company hasn’t developed yet?
 
Roll out the checklist and see how the Steve Jobs established electronics company has turned the world over with their expialidocious communication platform and inventions.

It may seem that Apple has achieved more than any other electronics company has in the past decade or so, however there is actually something that the Cupertino-based company has failed to offer all these years: budget-friendly gadgets.
Yes, of course we acknowledge the fact that Apple has one of leading technologies packed in their devices to optimise performance; and these absurdly—and often creepy—artificial intelligences don’t come cheap.  But if other companies can create more affordable devices, why can’t they?
Well, my friend, dreams can come true and Apple might just have the answers to our prayers.
In a recent report by Citi Research, Apple could be releasing a new iPad Mini 2 that costs less than $250.00 – almost $100 cheaper than the current first generation mini.
“Supply chain checks by Citi’s Asia-Pac Technology Team suggest a mixed shift toward Apple’s older iPhone 4/4S.  And with our expectation of a low-end iPhone slated for September launch, followed by a sub-$250 iPad mini, we expect this trend to persist,” Citi’s Glen Yeung wrote in a note to the company’s investors.
But is this idea even plausible? Or is this just another online strategy to get people hooked and expecting of the iPad Mini 2, only for our bubble to burst come release day that it is still on the $300 mark?
Well, here are a few reasons why it could work and why it wouldn’t work, then you be the judge!
Why a $250 iPad mini 2 could work?
Apple is looking at Customer Retention. Over the past years, the Cupertino, California company has created a sizable following of its products—people who wouldn’t purchase anything but an Apple. But since then, a number of gadgets and devices have already swarmed the market offering at-par items for a lot less. You can get a Kindle Fire HD for only $214, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 for less than $300. So why stay with Apple, eh?
Why it could be a hoax?
Apple looks at improving, not downgrading. Almost all of Apple’s devices now carry a retina display. With this, the iPad Mini 2 may most likely get one for itself. And if it does, then it is less likely that the device will drop price when it just upgraded its specs.
To be honest, we couldn’t really decide whether it’s true or not. While we hope the iPad mini 2 will be a lot cheaper, we can’t really be certain until we see campaigns about it already. Until then, we expect social media to be exploding about everything iPad Mini 2.
 
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The Biggest E-Waste Dumping Ground

China is the largest dumping ground for used electronics or E-waste…
 
China is known for a lot of things: for its delicious cuisine, the Great Wall, Kung Fu and martial arts, Yao Ming Jet Li and so much more.  China is also the second largest country by land area at 9.6 million kilometers.  It is also the most populous country with over 1.35 billon people.  Due to its rich culture and continuous growth in resources, China was hailed as the world’s fastest growing major economy.  This year it was also noted as the world’s second largest economy. But there is one thing you may not know – it’s also the largest dumping ground for used electronics or E-waste.
What is E-waste?
E-waste or electronic waste are discarded electrical or electronic devices.  The term has been used loosely to identify surplus electronics even if they are reusable, recyclable or not.
E-waste can be in the form of a communication platform such as mobile phones and wireless landlines.  It can also be online platform devices like laptops, desktops, routers, tablets etc.
Due to the rapid changes in technology and the ever evolving world of electronics, the growth in e-waste continues to soar, especially in developed countries.  The continuous campaigns to get the newest gadgets aren’t helping this growing problem either.
According to an article published on Sci Total Environ, about 50 million tons of e-waste is produced every year.  The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) notes that USA is the world leader in e-waste production with an average of 3 million tons a year, followed by China with 2.3 million in 2010.
China: E-waste Dump Yard
According to a 2013 UN report, “China now appears to be the largest e-waste dumping site in the world” with 70% of all global electronic trash going to the country.
Notably, these items arrive in the country through illegal means.  “Much of [the e-waste] comes through illegal channels because under United Nations conventions, there is a specific ban on electronic waste being transferred from developed countries like the United States to countries like China and Vietnam,” Beijing office of Greenpeace spokesman Ma Tianjie explained.
Among these dump sites in China, the one in Guiyu may be the largest.  Dubbed as the “E-waste capital of the world,” the city employs over 150,000 workers to optimise the wastes by either disassembling devices or harvest the reusable and sellable.
What makes e-waste dreadful is the health risks that may affect the people, in which the children of Guiyu are exposed to everyday.  These scrap electronics are high in lead, cadmium and other toxic metals putting health at risk.
So far, in a test conducted by Professor HuoXia from the Shantou University Medical College revealed that in 167 Guiyu children, 88% had higher than accepted blood lead levels that could cause damage to their nervous systems and IQ.
So far, online strategy has been used to bring the news across, but even with the help of social media it could still take time before this movement is eradicated.

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Image courtesy: Chien-min Chung / Reportage by Getty
 
 
 
 

The Changing Face of Protests

How powerful is social media today?   What else can the world do apart from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all those sites and apps that people are going loco for?
It almost seems absurd how almost all our chores can either be posted online or found online.  When we eat, we post images of our food on Instagram.  When we need to talk, we choose FaceTime, Skype or chat as our communication platform.  When we need to learn about news or trending issues, we go to Twitter.  It’s weird how social media has changed our lives today.  It has also paved the way for societal revolutions, including two recent movements in Turkey and Tunisia.
May 2013 Turkey Protests
In late May, the people of Turkey went to the streets to voice out their protests against the increasing depression of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian governance of the country.
The protests initially sparked when news came out that a shopping mall was to be constructed at the Taksim Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in Beyoglu, Istanbul.  However, because of the violent dispersal the police implemented on the protesters, more rallies were held across different cities.
Due to the downplay on coverage by the local media, protesters used online communication to get the news across the country.  Twitter feeds became the main source of news for people, with tweets carrying their own hashtag #OccupyGezi.
Aside from news updates, images of the dramatic protest were also posted on the movement’s Facebook Page and Tumblr site helping the whole world know what the real situation was during the rallies.
December 2010 Tunisian Revolution
In late 2010, the people of Tunisia carried out a civil resistance movement against the regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.  The country suffered under the governance of Ben Ali—unemployment was high, corruption was rampant, freedom of speech was non existent and poor living conditions had become a way of life.
The protests were initially sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi who suffered greatly under government maltreatment when a policewoman confiscated his vegetable cart and produce for no reason. This stirred outrage and engagement among the people of Tunisia.
Aside from being the news source of people, social media was also used as an online strategy to organize protests and support the movement. Videos of the bloody police dispersal and protest encounters quickly made their way to YouTube and other sites as well.
While the government tried to suppress such online movements, in the end, the people of Tunisia prevailed and the 23-year reign of the president was ended just 28 days after the protest started.
 
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What You Don’t Know About Social Media

There are many ways to use social media that you may not have thought of…
 
So you’ve set up your company’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. You have an able social media manager at the helm and he or she is part of the digital marketing strategy team. You pay attention to what is being said about your business everyday and respond to complaints accordingly. Do you think you have this social media thing all worked out now? Do you think you are utilizing it for all it’s worth? You may be surprised by what else social media can do to help your company.
Assists your HR Department
To some extent, a person’s online profile might actually serve as his or her work resume, showing where he or she has gone to school and what work he or she has done. Of course we know that not all profiles posted online belong to real people and some information may be false, but it gives your personnel department a guide, a direction where to start looking.
It might also help them keep track of former employees and identify prospective employees and possible candidates for a recruitment campaign. It can even track current employees.  The Internet has a ton of stories about people getting busted by their Facebook accounts, the most common ones being of employees calling in sick, only to post photos of them in very comprising positions and locations.
It’s also worth mentioning that LinkedIn also allows their user profiles to function as resumes.
Serves as Internal Communication
You have always thought of social media as means of communication from the company to the outside world, but have you ever thought of making it work as a means of communicating within the company itself? Aside from improving employee relationship, a social network also gives the ‘smaller fish’ a voice against the bigger fish. Let’s face it, not everyone has the gall to just walk up to the boss and talk to him, even if he or she has a good idea.
But beware, there are pitfalls of having employees in your social circle, you may spew a tirade against a co-worker –or worse, a superior– forgetting that he or she is actually your friend in social media. There have been many cases of people getting fired for mouthing off against someone and forgetting they friended that particular person on Facebook only last week.

The company itself might also be placed at risk or its reputation soiled when its dirty laundry is washed in public. The best thing to do is set up a communication platform account limited only to the employees of that office and make sure it is not mixed with the regular account that reaches the outside world.
Builds Good PR
Your company shouldn’t just keep track of current employees and prospective ones, it should also keep in touch with business partners, customers and other people you are dealing with. Sending them messages during their birthdays, anniversaries or any milestone made public in their account will not hurt your relationship with them. Others may also start to take notice of what a nice and thoughtful company you have.
Protects You from Hackers
Strange as this may sound, it is true. A company without a presence in social media can become prey to anyone who can make a fake online account in your company’s brand name. This has happened to oil giant ExxonMobile and a telephone company in the Philippines, which has long since bought the domain name an activist group once used to spread their message.
Try to think of other things social media can do for your company. Remember that business practices evolve with time, and so does technology and human interaction.
 
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Social Problems Linked to Facebook?

There is no denying Facebook is currently on top of the social media scene. From an exclusive school-based social network in 2004, it has risen to become available worldwide to all people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. It now has over a billion members.
 
Of that billion, an estimated 618 million check their Facebook page at least once a day. Some check twice, others thrice, and still others multiple times. For them the communication platform has become an obsession. It is now an addiction to browse, to constantly update their page with the latest in the news, their lives, their loves.
Is such an addiction healthy?  The health problems are not the focus of this article, but the social problems that may arise from it are.
So what social problems may actually arise out of social networking?
•    Reduces our ability to communicate.  But no!  You say Facebook is all about communication!  Well yes, but it’s about online communication, not actual personal communication.  Sure you can express yourself well enough when you write posts, but how good  are you at actually meeting people and talking to them outside the familiarity of your office or bedroom?
•    Makes us obsessive about one-upping others.  You open a friend’s page, see his pictures and go “I can top that!” and you do by posting a better, more awesome image.  You open another friend’s page and she has a great story about what happened last weekend, but you feel you have a better one so you write it.  Then you see a status that is deeper than yours and you just have to have one that’s even more meaningful.  Before you know it you can’t stop changing everything because you feel your Facebook page has to be better than everyone else’s.
•    Gives us inferiority. This is a direct result of being one-upped.  You open someone else’s page and see that he or she has been to more exotic places than you have been, done things more interesting than you’ve done or have more stuff than you do.  Wouldn’t you feel just the littlest bit jealous?  Unsatisfied?  Even depressed?
•    Forces us to be someone we are not.  Usually done by others who feel they have been one-upped. Some will start to fabricate stories about the places they have been, the people they know, even their educational background.
•    Makes us think too highly of ourselves.  This goes for those who have one-upped others.  Doesn’t it feel good that you have better photos, a better status message and more interesting stories than the others?  Yes, it feels good.  And so you bask in this cloud of euphoric self-praise… until you see that someone else has one-upped you again and the vicious cycle goes on and on.
•    Makes us ‘friend’ collectors. So, you have 3,000 Facebook friends?  How many of them are your actual friends outside the social network?  What is your actual relationship with them in real life?
•    Loss of privacy.  Some people feel the need to announce what they are about to do, what they are doing and what they just did.  Not everyone needs to know that.  By putting your entire routine under public scrutiny you may actually be setting yourself up for trouble, like calling in sick only to post a picture of yourself headbanging at a rock concert, or sharing sensitive, private or embarrassing information that might eventually be used against you.
We’re not saying you should stop using Facebook.   There’s a lot of benefits to being able to reach a lot of friends and relatives quickly and there’s fun in making new friends and unparalleled joy in reconnecting with old ones you gave up hope of ever finding.  There’s also a certain satisfaction in posting your achievements in an online platform for others to see.
But like in life, everything should be taken in moderation.  It’s when anything is taken to the extreme that it usually becomes an ugly thing.
 
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