Samsung Galaxy Note I: Product Review

Okay I have had my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone for about 5 months now and I have a pretty good grasp on the use and functions of this awesome product. The Note is so much more than a smartphone, updating the operating system to ICS really put this tool over the top for this social media professional. I have recently added a compatible mini keyboard which allows me the opportunity to carry my office in my front pockets. I love that I have the ability to work from anywhere, combined with easy portability. Lets take a moment and dig a little deeper.

The Pros

A handheld computer…

This little baby really is a handheld computer. I rarely have to break out the old laptop anymore. Whatever my laptop can do, the Note handles as well. Utilizing cloud technology as long as I have a wifi connection, I can do almost anything remotely that I can do in my office. Addtionally using Evernote I can create and add to blog posts, writing assignments, etc., from where ever I choose to work. The size of the device with it’s 5.3 inch screen, in 1280 x 800 pixel resolution makes working with the Note easy, and doesn’t strain the eyes. The 16 GB of memory make for adding many apps without using up all your memory, add an additional 32GB of external memory and you are good to go for some time.

The Camera

The 8.0 megapixel camera is one of the best on the market for smartphones. Pics and vids are amazingly clear. I have been able to use the camera many times to capture a pic when I don’t have my regular Samsung 12.2 megapixel camera. The Notes camera is adequate enough to make it usable in a pinch.

Screen Size

The 5.3 Inch monitor as I will call it is great for being able to view things comfortably. No squinting necessary with the Note. The gorilla glass is pretty indestructible and a great added advantage.

The S Pen
The S pen is what makes this device so different. The functionality that the S pen provides is amazing. Take it from a simple artistic tool to create art, to a fully functional office product, capable of editing, creating, moving, drawing and changing documents, as well as capturing any and all screen shots. There is so much that the S pen does that I am still finding new uses for it constantly.

As with any device there are Cons: 

While many have commented on it’s size has never really been an issue for me personally. Some people do think the device is too big however.

Originally only available from AT&T, I think the device is now available from T-Mobile as well – Sprint users, sorry. I actually had Sprint as my carrier but since they couldn’t get the device, I switched. I have had no issues with AT&T thus far.

Overall this device absolutely rocks! One of the best decisions I have made was to purchase this awesome business tool. Now with the introduction of the Galaxy Note 2 with Jelly Bean, I may just be in the market to upgrade….

What Apps do you use on a Daily Basis?

I’ve been reading a lot about different apps that my colleagues use to make their lives better and work load more manageable, so I thought I would make some additions and discuss some of the tools that I have in my tool kit. Lets go ahead and just follow through a typical day in my social media work world.
apps toolkit

photo credit: RLHyde via photopin cc

The Rules of the Day

I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the first tool in my tool kit, the “go to” tool that I rely the most on in my daily routine…my coffee maker…ha ha ha. Okay now that is out of the way, and I am still not sure if that was tongue in cheek or really a serious tool, lets look at the real work horses in my arsenal

First things First

I’m a huge fan of Google Chrome, it is far and away my browser. I click on it 4 times first thing, one for each monitor. If you are not using multiple monitors, you have no idea what you are missing. Nuff said

The Big Four

When I fire up the ole desktop I always start with the same set up. On my right hand screen I pull up IQTell, in the middle I pull up BundlePost, and to my left I place Hootsuite and Buffer. This is a routine that is rarely deviated from. IQTell I have spoken about before and really love this tool, it brings so much organization to my daily routine. They recently updated the display and it is even more efficient now. Lets test drive the other tools in my tool kit. BundlePost is by far one of my favorite apps/software tools. The way it integrates with Hootsuite is great. Managing multiple accounts, and keeping up to date with great relevant content is what Bundlepost does best. It is also useful in so many other ways. Robert, Julia, Rich the BP team provide a great useful tool that is utilized by many social media professionals. Thanks to the BundlePost team for all that you do.

Hootsuite just keeps getting better and better in my humble opinion. An absolute must for those that really want to keep your social media accounts organized. They continue to integrate additional social media platforms, including Google Plus, it is one of the few that connects nicely with G+. I spend a good amount of time each day on Hootsuite. If you are serious with social media, it is well worth the extra money to add the Hootsuite University to your account. A great way to learn how to really utilize Hootsuite to it fullest.

I continue to get a lot of use from Buffer, another great tool for scheduling and monitoring multiple accounts. I tend to use Buffer more for add-ons, and Facebook posts. Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide toolbar buttons which makes sharing great content a snap. When it’s 2:00 AM and you find some awesome content that fits perfectly with a client’s recent blog post, using Buffer is a snap to schedule that content for a  better time for your client’s audience.

Add a Little Spice to the Mix.

Now throughout the day I will work with Tweetsprout, ManageFlitter, Twitter, Linkedin and FB, definitely Pinterest,  and probably Mailchimp as well. Throughout the rest of my day I will normally visit, Triberr, Steamfeed, Listly, Stumbleupon, Scoopit, Google reader, Evernote of course, and that is all pretty much before my noon break. Depending on the day, I will most likely pull up one of my WP press blogs, as well as Tweetchat to engage in some great twitter chat action. I am sure that the apps being mentioned are being utilized by many other of my Social Media friends. If not the same apps, variations of them depending on personal taste, likes, and dislikes. With the speed and volume of content we deal with each day, it is just about a necessity to survive.

On the Road Again

I find myself writing more and more these days, and I love to hit the road and find a quiet place to sit and write, for that all I need is my Galaxy Note smartphone, and my Freedom Pro mini keyboard. Utilizing the blue tooth connection between these two tools,  I can create content any time of the day. The freedom to write from any place in a comfortable, efficient manner is a great perk to this career. The addition of the keyboard really makes all the difference between using thumbs and actually typing – being able to utilize a fully functioning keyboard is so much more efficient.

apps

There’s nothing holding us down, or keeping us back these days. Entire companies are being run from laptops, smartphones and the apps that keep us moving forward in an efficient, productive manner. The sky is the limit, and you are limited only by your imagination. Technology and social media are changing the way the world communicates, and does business.

So what tools do you utilize in the course of your day? I always love to learn about what my colleagues are utilizing, so share your the tools you have in your business tool kit.

My SteamFeed Experience and Personal ROE

SteamFeed is providing awesome ROE. What is ROE you ask? – that is Return on Engagement. A bit different than the usual ROI, yet extrememly important all the same. When SteamFeed launched back in September of this year, I was honored to be considered to be an author for such a wonderful project. I thought about the time commitment, whether I could hold my own with such a qualified, awesome group of authors and social media professionals. I have been blogging for a few years now, and am totally immersed into the social media world with everything from blog sites, to internet radio shows. Still I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the offer – I am so glad that I saw the potential and decided to be a part of what is turning out to be everything it promised and more.

An Honor and a Family

What I have experienced with my own SteamFeed experience has been nothing short of spectacular. Let me say that the founders DJ and Daniel have done an awesome job of putting together a great group of folks who just happen to be social media professionals covered in awesomesauce. What DJ and Daniel have additionally done is provide an unbelievable foundation of support for all of us participating in this important project. I said “my personal” experience because that is all I can speak to, however I would be tempted to assume (a sometimes scary thing) that I am not alone in my assessment of the project thus far.

My Personal ROI

How can Steamfeed.com provide ROE to a blogger, social media professional like myself? Well to be honest, in many ways. Not only has it pushed me to provide better content and gotten me to write on a much more consistent basis, but the connections and support have been absolutely phenomenal. Everyday I look forward to seeing what awesome content is going to be released on the site by the incredible authors who are a part of the project. I learn something new literally everyday. Not only some interesting, useful information, but also information that helps me be a better social media professional, which in turn allows me to be a better asset to my clients. Everyone wins all the way around.

Putting the Social in Social Media

For me the biggest and most valuable component has been the support from my fellow authors, you folks ROCK! Some of you I had relationships with already, but the majority are new awesomesauce friends. I have made some great new friends, and gotten closer to many that I already knew. Even people who are not involved directly with the project, but still support it, and the content authors. I am amazed at the lack of ego that my fellow authors are showing, it is so clear that the focus is on what  Steamfeed provides to the social space, not the individual. That comes directly from the actions and attitudes displayed by founders DJ and Daniel in my humble opinion.

Overall Grade

I would give Steamfeed, DJ, Daniel, the authors, and it’s supporters a well deserved…big…A+….

So what grade would those of you that are visiting the site give SteamFeed?

If you would like to be considered to become a new author, please email Daniel and DJ at authors@steamfeed.com.

Sometimes You Have to go with your Best Bad Idea

Sometimes your best bad idea ends up working out for the best. Seriously, I guess the cat is out of the bag so to speak. Yes I got some of the inspiration for this blog after seeing “Argo”. Alas, I am deeper than that, okay, it goes deeper than that, but when I was sitting there in the theater and heard the line, “it’s the best bad idea we have, by far”,  I immediately finished a blog idea I had rolling around in my head. A blog idea I didn’t think was going to pan out.

Idea

What is a bad idea?

What exactly is a “bad idea”, and how can Social media help in deciding if the idea might be appealing to your target audience? Recently a client of mine called wanting to get some advice on a marketing idea that he was thinking about. He told me the idea, and I have to admit it, I liked it immediately. When I told him my thoughts, he let me know that some other mutual friends thought the idea was weird. He asked me again what I thought, and I jumped right back with, “what other ideas do you have going?”  We talked quite a bit about the pro’s and con’s that the idea presented. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that the pros outweighed the cons and the real issue was analysis paralysis. That dreaded disease that takes people out of their comfort zone, into parts unknown. Then I  was hit with, “yeah, but what if it is a bad idea.” It’s important to remember that after analyzing a potential business idea, it becomes clear that the risk is warranted - the only real failure is not executing, not at least trying.  Sometimes you have to go with your best bad idea. 

Maya Angelou said it well, “Nothing is going to work, until YOU DO!”  Not everything is going to be a home run, not even a single for that matter, but you can’t achieve either without stepping up to the plate and swinging the bat. With the addition of Social Media, businesses are offered help in navigating through the mass that is the social space,  they can grab data that can help in determining an idea’s worthiness, and value to it’s targeted, engaged audience.  It is an advantage that until recently was not available, however it should not be the end all in making that decision to go forward or not. Social Media is a tool, and needs to be treated as such, albeit a many faceted tool, but a tool in a toolkit all the same.

The Next Big Idea

I love getting my clients fired up and looking for that next big idea, and this was a great start. A short time after our phone conversation, the client sent me some slogan texts that were awesome. I have to share the best in my humble opinion…”Have you been knotty, or nice?”  A fitting question for a massage to be asking at Christmas time, wouldn’t you say? Often times a bad idea needs to be explored, and not disposed of as simply a bad idea right off the bat. Sometimes the best next big idea comes from taking the time to explore a bad idea further. All it takes is a spark of inspiration to see something through, sometimes one minor detail might be the missing link to take a perceived “bad” idea, and turn it into a great idea – and a financially successful experience.

So what about you business owners, enterpreneurs, and social media professionals out there, what BAD ideas have you explored and turned into a GREAT idea? Please leave a comment below!

Increase Productivity with IQTell

How many of us social space professionals are constantly searching for a way to increase our productivity in this fast paced world we live in. There never seems to be enough time to completely get everything done without getting up early and staying up late. Well I can say that I have found a tool (app) that has greatly increased my productivity, and made my life much more organized. Let me say that I have used numerous different time management tools in the past, but this one really seems to go beyond the time management, virtual assistant role. Let me introduce….

Productivity

IQTell the Beta…and Beyond

A while back (maybe a year ago) I was invited via Twitter to check out IQTell. At that time the IQTell team was having issues getting things to work. But over time, it became clear that the IQTell team stuck with it, and now have a worthy, well thought out product. IQTell goes way beyond integrating email, tasks and calendars etc, which it does well:

  • One feature I love is that ALL my emails come together under IQTell, as do my calendars and integrate nicely with my tasks etc.
  • It works closely with Google, as well as Evernote, which is a big plus for me. Love my Evernote….
  • One of the outstanding features is the “actionable” tab within the email space. With any email you can apply an “action” such as link to a reminder for a phone call return, calendar event, task, existing project etc. It really does keep that old email inbox from getting out of hand.
  • To make things even more awesome, I can link Evernote entries to my tasks within IQTell. For example, I use Evernote to keep blog notes, I have three separate Notes for each of my three blogs. I put notes and blog ideas in my Evernote folders which are accessable from any of my devices. I have a Note “Steamfeed” and when I had the idea for this blog, I placed it through Evernote neatly into the my Steamfeed “to do” task. In fact you can quickly and easily place emails, phone numbers, Evernotes, and more into any task as they come to you.

One of the added advantages of using IQTell is that they send IQTell tips each week. There is so much that this app does that it is impossible to get a handle on it all at once. Like most things awesome, it takes time. I keep the weekly tips in a folder and refer back to them often. I have a growing manual and user guide at my fingertips. I have to admit that the team at IQTell is pretty impressive as well, rarely do you have to wait for a response, and rarely do they not fix any issues on the first run. Come to think of it, rarely have I had an issue.

I DO hesitate to call IQTell a time management, or virtual assistant app simply because it does so much more. I DO invite you all to give it a whirl, I am still finding things that it will do to make me much more organized, and productive, which gives me more time for a life….oh and I did I mention…. IT’S FREE….

Are there other time management/productivity apps you would recommend checking out? Please leave a comment below!

Build a Social Media Community without a Credit Card

So as many of you know the creation of SteamFeed.com was based on the intrusion of what have become known as “fauxperts” into the social space. A lot of information has been shared by the SteamFeed authors about what NOT to do when building a social media community. I thought it might be a good idea to take some time and discuss some things you CAN do to build that community. Keep in mind that there are some common fundamental goals and outcomes that you are trying to achieve. However, how you get the results can vary greatly. Of course the use of a credit card in purchasing followers, friends, seeds etc is not something you want to pursue. Lets look at some alternatives.

purchasing social media community

Be “Social”

There is a reason that it is called “social” media. It is not referred to as wallflower, or shy media. The first and most important part of this endeavor is to be social. Common sense dictates obvious stuff, engage and involve yourself with your community. Example, if you post something like, ” just had a chicken taco at so and so taco place, which is your favorite taco? Chicken, fish, beef, pork?” Be there to engage with your community as they answer your question. Try this, go to a party, ask the group of folks you are with a question, and then just walk away showing no interest in their answers. Think you’ll be invited back? It’s the same with social media – be there, be interested, be involved. *Just a note at this point, be aware that this takes time – time out of your day to day, time to build your community.

Some tools to get the job done.

Here is where things are more to a personal preference. Keep in mind that ones choices here should revolve around results, and with any luck enjoyment. I say enjoyment solely because any activity if perceived as fun, will not be approached as “work”, but that is purely an extra added bonus if achieved. You have a lot of options here. Let’s name a few, and see what strikes your fancy.

1. Some Platforms

Of course there is FaceBook and Twitter, probably the best known engagement avenues, but what about LinkedIn, Pinterest, G+, Scoop.it, Storify, Youtube, Quora, Twylah, Rebelmouse, Instagram, Path, Stumbleupon etc, etc, etc. Really this particular list can go on forever depending on your interests. Whatever platform you choose, go all in. FB, Twitter and LinkedIn all offer wonderful opportunity to take engagement to the next level by joining in chats or discussions related to specific topics. These pinpoint topic directed sessions gives one a wonderful opportunity to make friends, and share information with folks with similar interests. Wherever there is an option to “follow”, take the time to seek out like minded people and follow them, as well as interact with them.

2. What about a blog?

Another great way to increase interactivity in a community is to start a blog. Not everyone is an award winning author, but that is not necessarily your goal in blogging. Write about your interests, write from your heart, and don’t be afraid to let people know who you are out in your blog posts. Blogging is not solely about outbound information. You can write wonderful, moving blogs, and not get the desired results if you don’t engage others in your bogging community. Remember you are building a community, that will mean reading other blogs, and commenting on those blogs. By commenting I am not referring to “nice blog, thanks.” I am talking a heartfelt, honest response to the post. Whatever platform you choose for your blog – Posterous, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr etc. – they all offer opportunity to follow other bloggers, and a chance to build a community. Take those opportunities.

3. Podcast???

Don’t like to write, what about a podcast – all you need to do for that is talk. Options are a plenty in this arena as well. Whether it be a recorded or live event there are numerous options for podcast platforms. How effective do you think asking a colleague or friend to be a guest on your podcast is going to be? What a cool way to meet new folks, and get to know friends better. Once again a perfect opportunity to build a community by sharing experience, ideas, and knowledge. That word, “sharing”, it comes up a lot in social media.

Clearly there are numerous ways to build that social media community without the use of a credit card. No matter which one or ones you choose. The common ingredient is going to be involvement, engagement, interaction, whatever you want to call it, you need to be present. Forget about the numbers and concentrate on the engagement. If you put the work in, you will get the results. After all, when you went to college you didn’t get a diploma after the first day simply for signing up for classes. It took a lot of hard work, same thing here folks. Be involved with your community, be a friend, be social.

What advice would you give to someone trying to build up their community? Please leave a comment below!

Have we Allowed Our Society to Become Data Obsessed

Data collection has gone to obsession in our society. Agree, or disagree? I won’t be making a case in either direction with this post, but I do think it is something worth looking at. With the introduction of technology, and the fundamental shift in communication that social media has afforded us, we are now inundated with data. Clearly anybody in the social media space understands what I am referring to, but if we dig a little deeper, we find that data obsession is everywhere.

Baseball DataWell Johnny, it’s a 3 to 2 ball game in the top of the 7th, with left handed hitter Bobby Batter facing right handed pitcher Pauly the Pitch Maker. It’s a beautiful Thursday evening here at the ballpark, 65 degrees with winds about 8 miles an hour from the west. Did you know Johnny that Bobby is hitting 213 in the bottom of the 7th, on a Thursday night with winds out of the west at 8 mph at 65 degrees. Well that is only for right handers etc. etc. etc.” Get the picture? That’s just in a sports application.

Lets take a look at this in terms of Social Media. You are under contract to build a social community for company X. You’re getting paid good money, you’re putting your time in but the process is a slow and meticulous one. You understand that – you made that clear in your initial meetings with your client. But even though, your business owner wants RESULTS, YESTERDAY! What do you do? Here is where the problem begins. So many normally good, “white hat” people are turning to “black hat” practices to get results fast, to satisfy their business interests. The business owners obsession with the numbers (data) has festered into an obsession for the social media manager. Hence, the “faker” problem that we are seeing in the Social Space.

It makes me wonder where else this manipulation of numbers is occurring. What about ROI? ROI (what I refer to as ROE… return on engagement) in social media is difficult at best to measure. Many of the indicators (relevant or not) that business owners are obsessed with like FB likes, restaurant reviews, klout score etc are all easily “gamed” by using black hat practices. I don’t know about others, but for myself, I am trusting numbers, less and less.

What about you? Do you still trust social media numbers? What other causes do you see feeding this monster? Please leave a comment below!

Hey Ma! I’m on the Radio…

Listen in as SteamFeed.com co-founder Daniel G Hebert speaks with Gettysburg Gerry from Studmuffin Media about the spark that started SteamFeed, the process, and the entire journey. Yes, we even discuss co-founder DJ Thistle! Listen in, and learn about this exciting project.

Listen to internet radio with Gettysburg Gerry on Blog Talk Radio
 
 
In this podcast, Daniel and I discuss:
  • Daniel’s background, and how he got involved in social media.
  • How Daniel and DJ met, and the initial sparks for SteamFeed.
  • How the idea grew to a lot more than was initially planned.
  • The setup of the site, and the work that was involved to get it ready for launch.
  • The “fake expert” and what to watch out for.
  • The process that Daniel and DJ go through to bring on new authors.
  • The overall goal/mission for SteamFeed

We finished off by discussing two very interesting prototypes from Google: The Google Car, and Project Glass.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast! Please leave your thoughts or comments below!

 

Blitz Posting is not an Effective Social Media Practice

Social Media is not about Blitz posting (you know the folks I am talking about). Some people do absolutely no engaging with their social media community. They simply go on one of their many social networking accounts, and post about 10 to 20 posts all in a row, in the manner of a machine gun: One right after the other – Bam, Bam, Bam…

fine bottle of wine, like social mediaThis approach to social media is about the same as drinking a fine bottle of wine all in one gulp, just to get it out-of-the-way. Let’s talk about this and what you are actually accomplishing when practicing Blitz posting.

You are not engaging!

You are not by any stretch of the word “engaging” with your community. Engaging in social media means responding and posting relevant information that your community is going to relate to, and trigger some sort of conversation. How are you encouraging engagement if you are firing off one post after another? You would be much better off posting at different intervals and engaging when someone responds. Be a person, not a robot, for goodness sakes. I mean really, how many social robots do you know?

You are affecting your SEO, in a negative way!

By bombarding the space all at one time, you are gaining no SEO whatsoever. Part of SEO is about posting a particular subject topic (keyword) on a consistent basis. Consistent is not meant to be interpreted by flooding the space with a ton of repeated mentions (that’s the same as keyword stuffing in my book).

You are spamming!

Finally, when it comes down to it, you are spamming the space. Social media is not about annoying people. Disagreeing politely, general discussion, etc., are all acceptable ways of engaging in social media. However, flooding the timeline with post after post is simply rude – STOP IT!

There I feel better now. What do you think about these blitz posters…?

Here are some articles you might find interesting from other websites:

How You Build a Social Media Community Matters

Social Media “white hat” and “black hat” techniques continue to embroil controversy. I am still amazed at the conversations that I have had on various Social Media platforms surrounding building a business social media community. Many of you may know the terms “black hat” and “white hat” within the social media world. For those that don’t, let me explain. “Black hat” can best be described as a practice executed by a social media professional that “games” the system. More directly, it is being dishonest in your social media techniques. Black hat techniques are often employed to get results faster, and have far less actual social engagement (aka “work”).  ”White hat” techniques are exactly the opposite. Another term often substituted with “white hat” is “organic”. Using organic practices is really the optimal way to acquire results. It is also a much safer way to build a social media community. Employing black hat techniques can have undesired consequences, such as what happened to JC Penny a few years ago, earning them a “time out” from Google.

Black Hat Social MediaThink about this scenario, especially if you are building a community for a business. You build this nice community, paying no attention to how you do it, and all of a sudden you’re caught and your client’s account is suspended from Google, Twitter or Facebook. How are you going to explain that the phenomenal results you have been reporting to your client each month were gotten by questionable and inorganic practices? You may have been smart enough to figure out how to game the system, but now you will most likely lose that client.

Here are a few examples of black hat practices:

Don’t Spam!

Let’s start with the biggest offender of all, SPAM. Spam can best be described as a constant barrage of links, hundreds throughout a day, with no conversation in the feed, no engagement, and no interaction.  This is especially annoying on Twitter where the feed rolls through like a freight train. Those that employ this technique clearly are not paying attention to the “social” part of social media.

Buying friends and followers is not OK!

The latest and greatest black hat technique to come along is buying friends/followers. Many times, throughout the day, I see feeds or DM’s inviting me to “get 10,000 followers in a day” Or elaborate plans to build your Facebook “likes” for just $29.95. These accounts of course are not real people, and are only sought after to boost ones follower number. This (more than any other practice) “pisses me off”. I recently was introduced to a system called “twitter seeds”, which as it was explained to me was okay because these accounts supposedly are real people. The seed accounts are used to manipulate a twitter accounts friend to follower ratio. I have to say that I was equally flawed by both the idea and the notion of the practitioner that it was a white hat technique. Buying accounts, whether real or otherwise is not organic, and not an accepted social media practice…period.  Both this and the aforementioned practice are completely and without question Black Hat.

If you are keen on spending money to acquire new followers, invest in social advertising (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads). You will be spending a lot more than buying fake followers, but you’ll be getting real people that are actually interested in your offering in return – a much more worthy investment, in my opinion.

What about automation?

The one place that there is some acceptance of grey area, would be automation. Many social media managers who maintain multiple accounts make use of automation tools. It is whether those same managers take it to next step and engage that matters. It gets fuzzy when a person, who is using keywords to engage a particular audience and choosing content himself or herself, as opposed to complete bot content, is choosing the outbound content. The use of bots (computer-generated content) is highly frowned upon – a bot would never be considered organic. However, utilizing an automation tool to organize content that has been chosen by a person is a whole other story.

In the end, other than clear black hat techniques such as mentioned above, many techniques and practices come down to intentions, and application. It really does come down to this:  if you have to talk yourself into believing the practice is acceptable, it most certainly isn’t. The best and most reliable results come from white hat/organic techniques. Don’t fall into a black hat trap.

If you’re interested in this topic, you might find these articles from other websites interesting: