Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three sites helping get my Social Media groove on

So here's the thing. I'm a Twitter gal, I Facebook 24-7 from my iPhone, blog and read blogs whenever time permits, love a Tumblr or two and can keep up with people by socialising in communities everywhere online.

Still, there are that many new sites and apps, it's hard to know which one to look at first. I sign up for many I've heard about, have a tinkerbell, look around. Get my feet wet. Sometimes I get it (Twitter and all it's permutations... though it took me a while) and other times I'm more confused than a baby in a topless bar (Del.ici.ous - now I'm all for punctuation but pl.eas.e)!

Here are a few sites I've played with recently and am getting excited about. They aren't the newest kids on the block but you can use them to generate additional content for your Social Media stream, or, with the last one, work towards your goals by connecting with online communities in a meaningful way, beyond just 'being social'. 

Without further ado...


I use Audioboo to rant into my iPhone when I'm not at a computer. It captures my audio and puts it out to the world. The punters call the grab of audio by audioboo a 'boo'. You can find nearby boos easily, and listen to top boos which range from poetic stuff to recorded audio at school concerts, coffee meetings in Afghanistan, or simply ambient sound. If you totally stuff it up, you can rerecord. 

I like it because: It's immediate. It's different. It's hands-free. It's easy. It shows my personality and character more than the written word (whether that's a good or bad thing is still to be decided). I can do it in my pyjamas unlike, where I might need to spruce up a bit! I'm still a newbie, but it's a top option for generating content when you're on the fly.

Or, as the Audiobooers say themselves, "because sound is social".

I didn't get Foursquare when I started using. At all. Why would someone 'check in' on their iPhone when they go somewhere? Who cares where you are, what you're doing? I probably sounded scarily similar to the questions I first asked of Twitter. But, I persevered. 

Then recently, I had a moment. I became the Mayor of David Jones. Now, pass comment you may about superficiality, but all of a sudden, Foursquare and I, we clicked. Even Mum was impressed when I announced the illustrious title. 

Now, I check in places when I think of it. And because I'm getting 'badges' and points, I remember more often. I'm like a trained monkey, operating on positive reinforcement. It's simple stuff, but you're looking at a happy trained monkey. I also give people tips about what's good about where I'm at, as updates can be shared on Twitter and Foursquare if you choose.

What's next? The cafes, stores and David Jonses of Australia get jiggy and create a simple program that acknowledges those of us silly enough to be playing on Foursquare. Now, after dissing it a couple of months ago, I'm asking, "Why are retailers missing this golden opportunity to reward customer loyalty?" 

Aside: Wouldn't it be great if we could update Foursquare with photos (for example, with a pic of a particularly divine meal I'm eating or something I'm buying)? That might be one for the next release.

Plan Big 

Disclaimer: I haven't really used Plan Big yet. But I've checked out their website, chatted with them on Facebook, looked at some plans online and gotten a vibe for what is well and good about it. Now, I want others to know! That's the kinda soul I am. 

Basically, Plan Big is a way for people to put their projects online, and then mobilise an online community of like-minded people who may be able to support you in making it happen. It's social media, with a purpose.

There's some support from the Plan Big team to facilitate and suggest ways of getting people more involved. Like, putting out your plan via your social networks and also commenting on other plans. Some of the more interesting projects include, We have 300 monks coming and nowhere to put them, The Kevin Bacon Party, and The Big Feed

Postscript: I did actually go and set up our own Plan Big, around the publishing of my husband's first blockbuster novel, asking peeps to start following him and commenting on his blogI'll let you know what comes of it. I feel like we'll get out of it what we put in, and the more specific the requests we make of our friends in online communities, the better others will be able to help. 

Please leave a comment, as I'd love your views on how you use these sites and apps, and any other new faves!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is small the new big?

Recently, I had a period of many maligned hours when the interweb was down. Unfettered by hundreds of Tweets, masses of email, Facebook, Tumblr and various other pleasant pursuits, I found myself doing some very productive writing.

During this creative frenzy, I was searching for an alternative to the word small, meaning a 'niche' amount. But, trawling through my mind, I couldn't capture the feeling of quality or exclusiveness that I yearned for.

In my trusty Penguin Macquarie Thesaurus we didn't fare much better. For 'small', a plethora of nouns and adjectives popped up, and none were cause for excitement. This delectable group included: short, dwarfish, stumpy, runty, puny, negligibility, stingy, diminutive, skimpy, sparse, squat, mere, and paltry.

But I was trying to find a word for small that meant 'quality in number, not in size'. A general term, nothing fancy like niche or boutique, but with positive connotations, like a gem. The closest I got was: teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy, dainty, slight!

Conversely, the suggestions for something of good size were full of... well, greatness. Scale, scope, ampleness, breadth, sweepingness, flesh, plumpness, bosomy, busty, hunky... the list went on.

What is it about being small that has traditionally been seen as a shortcoming, while expansiveness is a symbol of greatness?

We do find big irresistible (and I don't just mean the Sex in the City
character)... historically we celebrated the larger female figure during the Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic eras, while larger figures are still the Western societal norm (despite our unrealistically skinny models and celebrities). Then there are our 'supersized' meals, our shopping malls that should be allocated a separate postcode, monstrous four wheel drives and McMansions. It is a hyper-consumerist society that dictates the more generously proportioned, the more valuable the item.

But hark! Here's one of my new fave venues, Small Bar, flying the flag for all that is good about the petite. This haunt is located in Crows Nest, a 10 minute hop, skip and jump from the Sydney CBD (although there is another Small Bar on Erskine Street in the city). They are active on Facebook, though I wish they would get jiggy with Foursquare. Their catch phrase? 'Keep it small'. Their approach? Personal.

What are the punters' response to this attitude? Well, as one online reviewer wrote recently, "I don't think I've been this excited about a local bar. Sydney is finally awakening to the fact that it's the small things that count. People want intimacy, ambience, character and quality. With its unpretentious cool, Small Bar proves the power of the petit... Small Bar will surprise you with its appetite for style... Great things come in small packages, so get unwrapping at Small Bar."

Let's keep coming up with ways to appreciate that quality does come in small packages. It helps us appreciate the little things in life, and see that big isn't necessarily best.

Do you know someone keeping it small? Post a comment and share it with us.