A little bit of Instagram…

You might notice something different and maybe a little annoying in your Instagram feed. In a recent blog post, the social network announced it would begin using an algorithm to sort what you see. Up until now, the photo sharing network arranged everything in simple reverse chronological order. Now, the accounts that you spend the most time liking and commenting on will appear prominently. The feeds that you follow as a courtesy, and typically scroll past, will appear less frequently.

This may sound familiar. Facebook did something similar earlier this year. And while these small changes usually cause an uproar at the time (remember when the company announced that Timeline was happening? made it clear that a user’s face was fair game for ads? or OH MY GOODNESS, hashtags became a thing? ), we tend to adjust and fall back into our normal social media routines. Also, Twitter did this too, with a lot less backlash. 

200HWhat’s this mean for you as a consumer? Nothing really. Want to continue to see things you like? Be sure to interact with posts via likes and comments and apparently even lingering will do the trick. So, what’s with the arrow? Instagram, which by the way, is a unit of Facebook, is allowing users to turn on post notifications. If you don’t want to miss out on a single post from an account. You turn on notifications and BOOM. The arrow pictures are accounts pleading for users to do this. People are annoyed. I get it. But that didn’t stop me from doing it for my Bows and Branches account. Because why not? If one person turns them on, that’s good for me. In other words, calm down people, it will die down. (I have since taken it down. After reading more and more about it, I felt weird having it on there.)

Right now, the media is kinda all over the place with this, so who knows what will happen. But if it does, what should brands be focusing on rather than making arrow pictures? Like anything else we do online, we need to analyze and now is the time. Photographer Jasmine Star did an amazing blog post explaining how a small business can better understand what their audience enjoys.

So, what do you think? Honestly, we have no say so we might as well just deal. Me? I will be running numbers all day.


A little bit of app insight…

I can’t turn on my computer without receiving an alert that I have a new chat message or an email or a heart on Twitter or a like on Facebook. I can’t even remember a time when we weren’t connected in every single aspect of our lives. I choose to be connected personally, so I happily accept these alerts. But when is it too much?
Today most work places have taken on some sort of digital communication. There are so many different kinds available from Skype to Google Hangouts to Slack. And these are piled on top of good, old-fashioned emails, phone calls and even the occasional fax. How many of you have experienced a voicemail letting you know that someone sent you an email or vice versa? It can be maddening and it can make the workday seem overwhelming.
Micromanaging is in full effect because of these technologies that were intended to make our lives easier. And they can be beneficial when used the correct way, which is not in overdrive. Its important to do your research and find what works best for your company. Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Google Apps for Work
    Organized into four categories, consisting of 12 products, Google Apps for Work provides tools for communication, collaboration, management and storage. Hold impromptu meetings with Hangouts. Share content with your customers using Google+. Create and simultaneously edit spreadsheets with your team using Sheets. Store, sync and share your files with Drive. And that’s only the beginning. Its a great, all-in-one solution for small businesses that don’t have much of an IT budget.
  2. Basecamp
    Basecamp, an online software package, allows you to manage multiple projects at a time with to-do lists, file sharing, chatting, messaging, calendars and time tracking tools. To-do lists allow you to manage assignments without a pen and paper. You can share files, such as photos, notes, designs and invoices with coworkers. With the Basecamp message board, you can post messages and comment on others. Deadlines and hours can be tracked using Milestones. Having all of these functions in one place make the software a must-have for any company.
  3. Slack
    At its base, Slack is a instant messaging app, but it provides a lot more. Channels help you organize your conversations into topics or based on team members. Private channels limit conversations to invite-only groups. You can direct message team members when you don’t want to share with a group. Sharing documents is a basic feature of the app, along with a search function. Slack also offers integration with more than 60 partners.
  4. Asana
    While it can be difficult for the basic user to master, Asana provides management of team workflows. Businesses use it to keep an eye on daily to-dos, while giving employees a more-productive place to keep track of a particular job’s status. Within it, you can assign a task to an employee, give it a due date and track whether it is completed. Every task in Asana can have subtasks, attached files, discussions, tags, and followers.
  5. Wunderlist
    If you’re like me and love crossing off items on a list, this app is for you. Wunderlist can be used to manage personal and professional to-do lists. Wunderlist for Business provides a place to manage your team’s projects with centralized communication and unlimited collaboration features. Delegation becomes easier with shared lists and notes. Files can be shared with team members, while comments let others provide feedback.
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