Capturing pure creativity on Vine

So with the recent launch of Vine, we were keen to jump aboard and find out what it’s like.  Vine is an app for iPhone, iPad users that allows you to share video content and it said to be the next big thing, think Instagram but with more feeling and life.

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Vine – Video Loop Sharing

Vine is the latest craze in social media, and it comes in the form of 6 second loop videos.  Why 6 seconds you wonder?  Well considering Twitter is the parent company and they are famous for imposing constraints, albeit 140 character tweets, why not do the same for vidoes people will share?  Keep the clips short and people have to get more creative.

An interesting feature of Vine is the Record, Pause, Record option, which makes for some very interesting videos.  Now, instead of just looking at a picture of a plate of delicious sushi, you get to see the Sushi, the champagne and the girl sitting opposite the person sharing their dinner experience.  It’s the whole package, right down to the restaurant background noise, which I believe the sound can be turned on and off but I haven’t got to that yet.

Creative and clever sharing

This seeing and sharing live information has brought the creative types to the table in a whole new way too.  Cleverly recorded magic tricks like a banana diminishing in size over 6 seconds, or a very rapid how to bake a cake.  But its the toy tricks that seem to be popular on here too.  Action figures recorded in a seqence of events, its like how you imagine old animation was filmed.

Already a string of celebs have uploaded videos, Enrique Iglesias, Tyra Banks and Arnie Schwarzengger to name a few, but I have yet to see any of these.  One of the fun features is #FirstPost where you get to see literally everyone’s first post.  You are given the option of playing with the apps recording function of holding the screen to record and letting go when you want to pause, and you are given the impression this is some trial shot, but your first recording gets instantly tagged #FirstPost and you are given the option of sharing it.

Explore Vine

You can easily find already hash tagged topics in the Explore function, some include #travel #2013 #food, etc which also makes it easy to search for such videos too.  Of course, right now it’s probable that they have only released a basic version for now, with just the core product in mind.  Maybe later we will get to crop, edit, zoom and view a final cut before we opt to share it, but for now it works.  For Vine too, as they likely intended for it to initially, to gather data about who is using it, when and what they are recording.  Although some prefer to wait until better versions are released we think there is no harm in trying these things out in the early days either.

Clearly others felt the same way, when it came to more damaging content.  Days after in launched, it received more than 30 explicit videos from a user account, and one of the videos accidentally showed up on the Editors Picks.  Twitter are taking action against hardcore pornography by banning searches for explicit content.  They also faced service issues days after launching and the service went down, but like most new things hiccups are experienced.

We think this will bring about an explosion of video sharing, and it definitely could be a valuable app to add to your social media cap in 2013.  We would love to hear your thoughts on Vine if you have tried it out so feel free to share your knowledge and experience on this.

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Social Media Solutions 2013

With January drawing to a close, we are shifting focus onto the rest of 2013 and are wondering what to expect from Zimbabwean businesses in social media.  This really is the information age and with all there is to offer in the world of digital and content marketing, it can make for some challenging decisions.  Do you build profiles and accounts on every single social media platform out there and make sure you have great presence, or do you carefully select the best platforms for your business and dominate those?

Social media trends:

In Zimbabwe the majority of social media users access these sites through their mobiles.  Many don’t have fixed internet lines and internet cafes are scarce, compared to other capital cities, so mobile penetration is high.  It therefore makes sense to take this into consideration when choosing your platforms.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate, mainly because everybody uses them on a personal level and are common apps.  Developing your own apps on Facebook or making use of QR codes for shopping, for example should excite your audience so don’t be afraid of exploring these options.  If you don’t run advertising campaigns on social media you should retain your fans and followers, so 2013 will mainly be about content marketing.  Share valuable content that engages people and solves their problems and you have a winning formula.

Keep creating content

Visual content is also key and it doesn’t get better than Instagram if you want to keep creating and sharing attractive content.  No longer are hashtags restricted to Twitter, this is a great way if keeping a collection of photos under all in one place and its common for users to spend a vast amount of time, choosing and applying 20+ hashtags to their photos.  The most time spent on Instagram however is spent choosing a filter, to give your photo some kind of edgy, vintage or contemporary feel to name a few.  Although the app is only available on i-phones, i-pads, etc, there is another fantastic photo-sharing social networking site that can easily rival Instagram.  Flickr has been named “best mobile photo app” by Forbes so many would even say its better than Instagram.  However Instagram has been around two or three years and has 100 million users and Flickr has been around since 2004 and has 75 million users.

Content generation continues to be the number one challenge so if you don’t fancy yourself as much of a photographer then start to implement other ways of generating content.  Re-using content in a new context, so to speak can alleviate a little pressure in generating fresh, original content.  If you have written a successful blog previously, use the information and feature it on a video tutorial or podcast.  Share your amazing PowerPoint presentations.

Something old, something new

Blogging has been around for ages but is this an avenue you are fully taking advantage of?  Blogging for your business can place as you as more of an expert in your field, you can show how and why you are a market leader.  If you can solve typical problems faced by people and give them tips in your industry then you will definately gain recognition and reward.

SlideShare is a hot new topic right now and whether it takes off to the extent of some of these other sites, time will tell.  It’s a new way of sharing content, that has been previously limited before, and even opening an account makes you want to create a news worthy, informative presentations.  Find out what topics are trending on Twitter or Google and make up a presentation around that.  Or you can just start off by presenting everything you think we need to know about your business.

Social media = sales eventually

So you are starting to enjoy having a bigger presence than you could have ever imagined.  The feedback and engagement you are getting is more than you bargained for too.  Your company suddenly has better credibility with your customers and more loyalty to your brand.  But what about the sales?  Now it’s time to take it to the next level and get your product sold through more social media channels.  Although Facebook has a higher percentage of purchasers – 2.9% versus 0.9% on Pinterest, let me not underestimate the importance of sales through this site.  Also bear in mind that Facebook has been in the game for seven years, Pinterest has only been around for two.

Pinterest virtally became an overnight sensation because of the inspirational boards you can create.  In these boards, you ‘pin’, or essentially store amazing, beautiful, capitivating pictures of anything and everything from your dinner party menu to sports equipment and gadgets.  People add home decor ideas, photography inspiration, fashion and motivational quotes, whatever you like.   There were standing jokes of how addictive the site is, aren’t they all, and how women would spend their lives planning out their weddings on Pinterest, despite the fact they didn’t even have a boyfriend.  How all this is relevant, I am not sure, but it worked because somehow this is becoming a hugely popular site to buy from.  1 in 5 people that have pinned something, have made a purchase and that is a conversion figure that no other social media site can boast.

So whether you want more brand awareness, more customer feedback or more sales, try out some of the new social media sites in 2013, share more visually attractive and valuable content and keep engaging with your audience so that you become a known industry player.   If you have anything more to share on this, please feel free to do so because as always…knowledge is power!

 

 

 

Routine resumes!

So back to school for my two babies today.  This is their second term of pre-school and they both seemed quite happy to be dropped off there this morning, probably delighted to be doing something interesting for the first time in 6 weeks.  I lie a little, they have done a lot of interesting things in the last 6 weeks – animal parks, boat trips, adventurous family days out and of course attending their mom and dads wedding.

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Today we also started the ‘big school’ applications for Keira, next year will be Rocco’s turn.  Time is flying by and although I call them my babies, they are not really little babies any more.

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Keira is two and 8 months and a typical little girl, who likes to play dress up and have her hair done.  Rocco on the other hand, even at 20 months much prefers getting muddy from head to toe whilst obsessing over ‘big trucks’.  They both love to sing all the nursery rhymes together and recite verses from other random songs too.  The house is definitely quieter without all the singing, shouting, tears, tantrums and bikes riding up and down the driveway, but I miss the chaos in some small way.

So back to work, routine and structure in 2013…for a moment.

On that note…

Looked back over my blog and I write about a lot of random stuff, I have concluded.  There isn’t really much structure or method to the madness, apart from the most recent blog challenge I set myself.  The focus was meant to be on the ultimate quest in life – happiness and instead it’s turned into a charade of dentistry, weird wedding advice and spirituality.  Either I am really onto something here and exploring every random avenue of life is happiness itself, or maybe I am just learning how to do this audience captivating content thing still and finding my groove, but it’s quite unique all the same. So this is a blog that’s unique, just like everyone else’s.

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The positive effects of seeking spirituality

There are several definitions to the word spirituality, however in this case I am talking specifically about 1. Of, from or relating to God or 2. Of or belonging to a church or religion.  Anything to do with spirit natures, the supernatural or the soul I know nothing about and don’t intend to.

Recently I have begun taking more interest in things of a spiritual nature and it’s really hit home as to what’s been missing in my life over the last 10 years or so.  Having a sense of faith in something you cannot see or touch can give you more purpose in life and guidelines for better living.  It can make you feel more content and happy and I have found it is not only helping me, but also my family to live a richer, fuller life.

Whether you want to separate religion and spirituality is up to you,  Apparently one in five people would call themselves spiritual but not religious. However both seem to lean towards the same thing – believing there is a higher power, trying to foster a relationship with a higher power and living life according to morals, principles, daily practices and rituals that allow you to build that relationship.

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When individuals or families face difficult times it can be a powerful source of strength and comfort, believing in something more and relying on God to help you focus on what is important and good.  Having a spiritual understanding can give people higher levels of optimism and discover what life is really all about, not just an existence in the physical sense.  It helps us have a deeper appreciation for life itself and it enables you to understand values and meanings by which we should be living.

Spiritual people are generally said to have a more balanced overall health too.  The World Health Organisations definition of health is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.  I think that at some point there was a debate as to whether the definition should include physical, mental, social and spiritual well being, but currently it’s not included.  This was something to do with the argument of “evolution” or “created by God”, from what I can remember.  However studies have shown that being spiritual has known to reduce depression, improve blood pressure and boost the immune system although I’m sure you will find someone who will argue with this.  I think that becoming more spiritual, means building a closer relationship with our Creator and just knowing more about him and his purpose for the world can help alleviate certain problems in our lives, especially if we apply the principles and guidelines set for us to have a happier life.

Destructive behavior such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, gambling seems to be less common among people that are more spiritual or religious.  Maybe religious or spiritual people are known to have less stress in life and more satisfaction because they have a better conscience about living a more wholesome lifestyle.  Making even small changes in line with what you learn about life and what Gods purposes is for us should bring you step closer to spiritual happiness.

1 John 2:17 – The world is passing away and so is its desires, but he that does the will of God remains forever.