Social Media

Someecards

Someecards to Share With Friends

I’m sure you’ve seen some of these funny ecards around your social media circles. They are usually classic line art images with funny captions. I usually see them chuckle and move on, but I did wonder what was the source. Were they being generated from a website? I should have known there was an App for that.

Someecards is an iOS App that has literally hundreds of these funny ecards in the app and is constantly being updated with new ones. The App does a great job in breaking them out by category so that you can find ones for the right occasion. You can add ones you find to your favorites for later use and more importantly you can share them via SMS, Email, Facebook, Twitter or simply saving them to your Camera Roll.

In my limited testing the App worked flawlessly and I really like the “Newest” and “Popular” category. The only thing I’d like to see is the ability to alter the captions or add your own.
iTunes

Foursquare - Find restaurants and other places you'll love

Foursquare Is All New

Last week Foursquare labs released version 5.0 of their wildly popular Foursquare App. There are lots of Apps now that let you check in, (Facebook, G+, Yelp, just to name a few) but it all started with Foursquare. The guys and girls over at Foursquare labs have been busy toiling away, completely rewriting the App taking what YOU the users have been asking for! This isn’t just a refresh of the same old check in App, it’s a complete redesign to shift the focus from being solely checking-in to checking in and exploring new places. The redesign promotes rating the locations that you check in to, exploring locations around you, viewing your friends locations and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Interface

The redesign starts with the tabs. Along the bottom of the screen. Friends, (the left most tab) is selected by default. This tab shows you your friends current status’ and allows you to quickly comment, and/or favorite their activities. A welcome addition, these controls make it really easy to access your friends comments and more fun to interact with them.

Explore is exactly what you think it is. Selecting explore (the middle button along the bottom) shows the most popular  places around your current location that people have checked in (indicated by a blue pin). Tapping a pin shows the name of that location and allows for expanded information including location address, phone number, menu (if applicable), and more! Of course you can still search from within the Explore section like you always could.

The profile section (far right icon on the the bottom) is a direct result of feedback that Foursquare got from you, the user. Many users indicated that they wanted to be able to access their profiles quickly. From within the profile section you can access your friends list, stats, photos, tips, badges, lists, and more. This is a welcome addition for me. I like being able to quickly see my stats, which includes where I’ve checked in at, my mayorships (Chipotle mayor lol), my points, and most explored categories.

Checking in has been moved to the upper right corner of the screen. Tapping it shows a screen similar to the explore screen (a map with pins indicating previously created locations to check in). Under the map is a list (from closest to farthest away) of the locations on the map. Tapping on one of the locations brings up one box to comment on your check in and another to tap if you want to add a photo. Below that are selections to post your check-in to Facebook and Twitter.

 

The Bottom Line

All-in-all I don’t have any complaints about the new Foursquare. I love the changes that Foursquare has made. The new version is well made, extensively thought out, and what you would expect from a major player like Foursquare.

 

You can get Foursquare for your iPhone from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Goes iPad Native

I’ll admit that up until now I haven’t been a  huge user of LinkedIn. Maybe it was because I didn’t really spend a lot of time setting it up, or maybe I just didn’t see a huge use for me personally. I recently took on a new job in the IT field where I have a lot of other people in the company looking to me for leadership and help so I thought that maybe it was the perfect time to devote some effort to making my LinkedIn account better. It just so happens that recently LinkedIn introduced a native App for the iPad, which is where I prefer to do most of my social networking. It was perfect timing for me, and apparently perfect timing for the new iPad as well with the new retina display support.

What’s New

First and foremost LinkedIn is now available on the iPad. I’m not sure why it has taken them this long to get on board with an iPad native App, but I’m glad that they finally did. It is now possible to take advantage of the iPads screen real estate to browse connections, read and reply to messages, view articles and much, much more. Like I said before, I use my iPad for 99% of my social media interaction and being able to access LinkedIn on there makes me that much more likely to use the service.

The biggest feature of the iPad App has to be the All Updates section. LinkedIn has taken advantage of the larger screen real estate of the iPad in the All Updates section to create a Zite like feel for browsing your groups, your connections, and networks. The other great thing that you’ll find in your All Updates section are articles with content targeted at you the user. I still prefer Zite for this kind of content, but it’s a nice added touch to LinkedIn.

Another of the new features added with this LinkedIn update not only for the iPad but for the iPhone as well, is Calendar integration. If you enable the calendar integration within the LinkedIn App, your mobile calendar (whatever calendar is on that local device) will get imported. At first I wasn’t sure why I would want this, after all I can just tap on my calendar and see what my appointments are for the day but then I realized that the LinkedIn calendar shared so much more. If the person that you have a meeting with is on LinkedIn (and most business people are), when you pull up the meeting in the Linked in App the profiles and information of the other people attending the meeting will be there. This can be a huge time saver. Remember earlier I said that I didn’t use LinkedIn very much before? When I did use it in the past I was specifically using it to look up information about new people that I was meeting with. I always find that if I can find a common interest with a person that I’m meeting for the first time, or even meeting again after an extended period of time not interacting with them, It will make the meeting go a lot smoother and more comfortable. The new calendar feature isn’t limited to the iPad version of the App, it is also included in the iPhone update as well so they didn’t cut out the professionals who don’t own an iPad.

 

If you’re on LinkedIn don’t forget to Add me here.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re a LinkedIn user this update for the iPhone and new App for the iPad is sure to make you happy. If you use LinkedIn and aren’t using it on your idevices you’re missing out, especially when it comes to the iPad.

You can get LinkedIn for the iPad for free from the iTunes store here:iTunes

You can get LinkedIn for the iPhone for free from the iTunes store here: iTunes

 

RockMelt

RockMelt Social Media Hub For iPhone

 

There are a bunch of Apps available these days to manage your social media experience. Many of them are "one trick ponies" that only manage one particular service such as Facebook or Twitter. There are a few Apps that keep track of all of this content in one place, but many are buggy and not quite as good of a user experience as the company sponsored Apps. That is until RockMelt. RockMelt brings all of your online content to one place for easy viewing, interaction, and use.  Not only does it keep track of your Facebook, and Twitter accounts, but it also lets you keep track of your favorite online content such as websites, blogs, and rss feeds. What makes RockMelt special isn't the content but how it displays and allows you to interact and view this content. With a simple UI (user interface), RockMelt lets you quickly and easily see if there is any new content available for each site or feed that you are following.

 

Desktop Application

RockMelt is a great stand alone content manager. When I first heard about, and downloaded it I didn't even know that there was a desktop counterpart to go along with it. After I logged in and started loading my content however, I realized that without the desktop application you are limited to the "popular" or suggested by RockMelt feeds. They have some of the most popular feeds available for selection right inside of the iPhone App, so some of the things you want to follow are ready to go, but if you want to follow say The Best App site, you have to add it on the desktop Application and it will sync over the cloud to your iPhone RockMelt App. (We are currently working on having The Best App site added to the suggested sites to follow, we'll keep you updated) My suggestion to you is this, download the desktop application first, and then download the iPhone App.

 

It Starts With Facebook

That's right, it starts with Facebook. The very first thing that you are asked to log in to upon launching the App is Facebook.  Doing this pulls your name, and profile picture strait from Facebook and sets them on RockMelt for your profile. It seems Facebook is the pivoting point for RockMelt and if you don't have a Facebook account, you can't sign in to use it. I'm not sure this is going to be a deal breaker for anyone because lets face it, if you don't have a Facebook account, you probably wouldn't want an App like this anyway. Before anyone yells at me, if you're that one person out there that has a Twitter account, has rss feeds that they want to follow, but don't have a Facebook account I'm sorry, you'll have to create one to use RockMelt. 

 

Where We Go From There

Like I said, you have to log in to Facebook to set up RockMelt, but from there the possibilities are vast. Within the iPhone App (not loading anything from the desktop application yet) you have a wide array of content to chose from. For example, I added my Twitter account @JasonLPhoto, CNN, The Oatmeal, Texts From Last Night, Fail Blog, Lifehacker, TechCrunch, Apple Hot News, and more just from the iPhone App! Each item has it's own icon, as well as it's name on what can be best described as a button. On the far right side of each button you will see a number indicating how many unread items you have for that particular site/rss feed. It's a simple yet effective UI.

Other useful features

As it stands Rockmelt is a really good content management App, however it does more. RockMelt has a built in browser of it's own so you never have to leave the App if you want to do a quick search for something on the web. Above the content buttons is a search bar that allows you to either input a search term or type in a web address. The search option launches Google with that search term inputted. Once you have found the web page that you are looking for you can either enter it and read/interact with it or you can use another of RockMelt's built in features, save for later. This will save the current content for viewing at a later time whether on or offline. This is a really handy feature. You can save things to view later when you might not have cell coverage, a really great addition.  The other nice thing about this feature is that it's across the cloud so if you save something on your desktop RockMelt browser to view later it also saves it on your iPhone to view later. Bookmarks too are synced across the cloud to both locations.

Adding Custom Content

Adding custom content to your selection is easy. Go to the desktop application and navigate to the website that you would like to add to your feeds. For example, go to http://www.terrywhite.com/techblog as I have in the image below. Click on the small green plus sign on the right side of the screen to open the Apps and Feeds Panel. From here you have to give it a few seconds to build the icon and pull the content. Once it does a green bar will appear under the Add Feeds heading that says "From Current Site". Click here and it will add that site, it's content and icon to your followed feeds. At this point all you have to do is refresh your feeds on your iPhone by pulling the content down until your see "release to refresh" and the new content will load. It's that simple. Now make sure that you add Best App Site and Terry White Tech Blog as in the example.

 

Room For Improvement

Let's be fair, this is a BRAND NEW App. They just released it this week so there will be updates in the future I'm sure, but there are a few things that I'd like to see. First, the interaction with Twitter and Facebook are basic. While you are able to do quite a bit within the Facebook portion of the App, most of the interaction revolves around your wall and news feed. There isn't near the control that you have with the actual Facebook App for iPhone. I hope that as time goes by RockMelt will add this control. The same goes for Twitter. There isn't near the control or functionality of the full on Twitter App. The basics are there however so tweeting, retweeting, replying, and seeing your @ mentions are all possible. Lastly, (and this is just me talking) I'd really like to see Best App Site as a recommended feed to follow :)

 

Best of It's Kind

This is the best App of it's kind I've seen so far. With the integration of the cloud and the desktop application coupled with the ease of use, I can't recommend this App enough to anyone wanting all of their social media content in one place fore consuming.

Get RockMelt from the iTunes store for your iPhone for free here: iTunes

LinkedIn Updates App

LinkedIn

For a long time, the LinkedIn app has been kind of useless. Well, at least not useful enough to be using it a whole lot to keep up with LinkedIn. Now, it has received an update which brings it to a whole new level.

The new update, applies a bit of "Facebook-style" to the app, with a homescreen inspired by the Facebook app, also out in the App Store. It makes it easy to now browse through most of the LinkedIn areas, with just the main feed being available before.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store and the update gotten from the updates. It is fully free.