Pinterest: Pin Your Interests

Pinterest is a new social network allowing you to post Pins (meaning pictures or videos related to your interests) to personalised Boards according to different topics which you organise yourself. You can choose to pin random pictures you like but the most interesting part of Pinterest is if you have a goal in mind. Let’s say you’re planning a wedding (giving weddings seem to be very trendy lately). With this new platform, you can create a project called “Wedding Project” and pin pictures about decoration, dresses etc. Obviously this is just an example. There is an infinity of projects you can pin pictures for.

Boards can have multiple contributors which is great for collective projects and sharing ideas. If you need some inspiration, you can browse and filter other Pinners’ Boards by category through the Everything drop-down menu. When you see a Pin you like, you can either leave a comment, or Like it, or else Repin it to one of your own Boards. Just like Twitter, you can also follow Pinners who have interesting Boards. You can also share your Pins via Facebook. So Pinterest is definitely an interactive platform.

Finally Pinterest has some extra options which can be quite useful such as the Popular button allowing you to check out popular trends or a Gifts menu, giving you ideas of gifts by price range.

Using Pinterest is quite straightforward (as shown below) with a Pin It button and a drag-and-drop browser. It’s not just a nice platform for individuals as it can be a very useful tool for companies too.

Pinterest’s mission as stated on their site is: “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.

What a great mission but here comes the bad news: you will need an invitation to join the network… You can always request an invitation on the site but apparently it can take a while so if you know a Pinner, please let me know!

In the meantime, you will get more information about Pinterest in the video below:

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AdJitsu by Cooliris

No it’s not a new sort of martial art. Adjitsu is a new way of advertising created by Cooliris and using the company’s visualization technology to create 3-D ads for mobiles. AdJitsu provides ad networks with an iOS runtime environment and engaging mobile ads. Users can now interact with ads by digitally moving the product on their screen. How cool is that?Adjitsu

As Ben Parr from Mashable said: “AdJitsu does what Apple should have done with iAds“. And apparently better!

The new app will be launched this week in the US.

Cooliris partnered with AOL bringing AdJitsu 3-D ads to Editions by AOL, a free daily magazine for the iPad. Tests made on the Samsung Galaxy S II and BMW are already conclusive with high CTR ads. Just see for yourself, it’s incredibly innovative (the first video lacks music but I guess it’s OK since Cooliris is only a visual company…):

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Recruitment and Social Media

socialmediajobAccording to this article, 89% of US companies use social media for recruiting. On this chart, you can also see the proportion of recruiters using online information to review applicants. It really shows how social media is becoming a major part of most companies’ recruiting process and it especially shows how people should really pay attention to what they post on the web and invest time in creating a good online profile.

The other day I received an email from Sam, SEO Manager at Unique Digital, about a survey he did for a recruiting agency called London Loves Jobs. He kindly shared some stats he collected on behalf of his client and which show how the recruitment world is increasingly using social media as a search tool at both recruiters’ and job seekers’ levels. I used to work in Human Resources for an Irish company and our recruitment process was mainly done online so I can definitely say that even though the survey only targeted Londoners, it does reflect a more global trend in the recruitment industry.

So let’s have a look at these numbers:

londonlovesjobs

First of all, you can see that almost half of Londoners are now using social media to look for a job. However they still mainly use traditional” methods such as recruitment websites and agencies or printed media. 30% of business leaders use Linkedin to look for a job and male job seekers are more likely to use social media than women. Why is that?

Social media mainly works if you have relevant connections, otherwise it’s not really useful. The idea is to build your network in order to know the right people; it takes time but it is worth the effort (apparently more than 14 million people found their last job using social media in 2011). Business leaders tend to have more and more relevant connections so this could explain the reason why they use social media more than anybody else. Finally why men more than women? It’s a fact: men use internet differently than women. Women are more emotional and personal even when surfing the Internet while men are more practical and business oriented which would technically help them be more “adaptable” and inclined to use social media in general.

Another interesting number is about recruiting agencies. We can see that, compared to other US and UK major recruiting companies, London recruiting agencies are still a bit reluctant to use social media as advertising tools. Plus not many of them do have accounts in Linkedin or use Twitter while stats show an obvious increase in online job-related searches. This point probably explains why Londoners are not using social media so much or maybe it’s the other way around (meaning companies don’t invest in social media because Londoners don’t use them as much as other traditional tools).  Why is that then? It could be a cultural conflict. Europe in general remains more traditional than the US in terms of technological integration into people’s daily life. For sure these numbers will increase in the next months. The old continent just needs a bit more time to get used to innovation :)

As a conclusion, I would say that (no matter what) social media is increasingly becoming part of our real life at both personal and professional levels and we have no other choice but to deal with it. The internet offers plenty of opportunities and if one of these will help you find the best job on Earth, why not give it a try?

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Google Wallet and Mobile Advertising

Mobiles used to be the future of internet. Well they’re now the present of the internet. Indeed mobile phones will soon (apparently in 2015) take over laptops and PCs when it comes to surfing the web with mobile Internet users growing by almost 17% (representing about 2.7 billion people).

Mobile advertising has become an important part of online advertising. According to Google, 9 out of 10 mobile searchers have taken action as a result of a smartphone search. If this is true, wow! So how can you set up ads for mobiles?

It’s quite simple. The only requirement is for your site to support one of the following Markup Languages: wml, xhtml, chtml or PDA-compliant html in other words, to be mobile-friendly. Adwords allow advertisers to create specific campaigns for mobile phones via Google Mobile Ads. In order to set up your campaigns, Google Keyword Tool offers an option for mobile devices only (in the “Show Ideas and Statistics for” section). Mobile Ads works similarly to Adwords for search engines except that both the title and the description of your ads are limited to 18 characters. You can specify the country and mobile carrier where you want your ads to appear. Two great features are the Click-to-download and Click-to-call options. Everything is made for the user to easily reach the product and the advertiser.

paypassGoogle understood well the power of mobile internet and is developing their services by allowing internet users to not only click on ads but also to buy with their smartphone. Recently Google launched a new financial product called Google Wallet. No Google has not decided to share its wallet with us (they should though, it’d make plenty of happy people for sure!). Google Wallet is an Android app magically transforming your phone into a wallet allowing you to pay with your Android. The idea is to store all your credit cards in one device.

The site says that your loyalty cards and points, gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, etc will be synched to your Google Wallet. You will also have access to Google Offers. So far the service is only available on the Nexus S 4G but will be soon expanded to other phones. For now, users can only pay with Citi® MasterCard® cards and the Google Prepaid Card. Below is a demo from Laptop Magazine (the quality of the video is not great… after all this company just deals with technological reviews right?). Anyway it’s nice of them to post the video and from what I can see, Google Wallet seems pretty simple to use.

Now it all looks pink and fluffy in this perfect world of technology but is it really secure even with this PIN? According to Google it is but I mean is it REALLY safe? Paying with your mobile is surely going to become the most popular way of payment in a few years but for the moment, I’d rather wait for some security breaches to occur before I make up my mind… no offense Mr G.!

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How to Improve Videos & Images and Get More Viewers?

time for ideasNowadays videos and online materials are essential for most professionals. Even companies increasingly use videos as a strategy to reach more people across the globe. Whether you have some experience in the area or not, there is always a way to improve your creations. If you want to find out how, I got some tips for you…

Since Wednesday, YouTube users can edit their uploaded videos by clicking the “Edit video” button on the My Videos page of their YouTube account. As with existing photo editing software, you will be able to rotate and improve the quality of the image, add filters, change colours, and add special effects to videos. You can also change the audio and trim the video. Here is a quick demo below:

Then if you need to prepare a presentation or any sort of work including images, you can use a screen capture software called Snagit. Snagit, created by TechSmith, is just a better version of Jing. You can capture images on your screen and customise them by adding text and effects to make them more comprehensible. You can then easily copy and paste your edited image into an email, document, website or insert it into your improved video. Below you will find an introduction to Snagit:

Now that you have the right tools, how to make the best out of them? Well again YouTube can help you there.

YouTube has also just launched the YouTube Creator Playbook. This Creator Playbook (nothing to do with the famous naughty magazine) aims at helping people improve the quality of their videos in order to reach more viewers by giving you tips and strategies to follow. On the site, obviously you will find the said book you can download together with tutorials and information about Creator Camps and the development and funding NextUp program created for up-and-coming YouTube Partners.

With all these new tools and ideas, there is no more reason to come up with low quality videos. It is just a matter of taking the time to understand what benefits these tools can bring you and how they work. Have fun!

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LinkedIn Advertising and Job Search

Over the past week I’ve received two interesting emails from LinkedIn (which you may also have received).

LinkedIn_AdsThe first one was about “Precision Advertising” with LinkedIn. Not only they’re introducing me to the service but they’re also offering a $50 trial for me to test it. How nice (and smart) is that? Companies can advertise their services on LinkedIn and target specific potential customers on the network. If you work in Online Advertising like me, you may think “yeah great but I know that… so what’s the catch there?”. Now advertising is not just for companies and products, it is also for people and skills. Advertising on LinkedIn can become a great tool for job seekers and especially freelancers to promote themselves. With about 120 million members, including almost 8 million decision makers, this platform can offer plenty of business and job opportunities.

What are the main advantages of advertising on LinkedIn? Well you can target a specific audience:

* By job title and function

* By industry and company size

* By seniority and age

* By LinkedIn Groups.

The service works similarly to Google Adwords (except that you can write up to 75 characters in your ad instead of 70). You give a name to your campaign, can create up to 15 ads (with text and images) and control your daily budget. The destination page can be your site/blog or your LinkedIn page. Your ads will then be shown to relevant people and companies accross the network. Just be aware that you will be charged $5 for activating your ads.

LinkedIn_JobsThe second email was about targeted Job opportunities. LinkedIn now sends you personalised emails with job ads related to your field of expertise. From what I’ve seen so far, the job list is quite accurate. If you click on the See All Jobs button, you will be redirected to the LinkedIn page with all relevant jobs listed which you can then filter by company, date posted, location, salary and experience level. There is also a search box allowing users to look for more specific positions and a “save” option to keep an eye on the jobs  and searches you are interested in.

It is great to see that LinkedIn is really developing its potential with all these different features. I am really looking forward to seeing what will be next. What about online video advertising?…

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Gmail Phone Call

You may have noticed a new icon in your Gchat contact list lately that looks like Call_Phone? This icon is Google’s online phone service now available in 38 languages to all users around the world. It was already available since last year in the US and Canada but now we can all get a piece of the pie. Isn’t that neat?

Google_PhoneGmail Phone Calling is powered by Google Voice and is getting cheaper. Pierre Lebeau, Gmail product manager, commented: “For example, it’s now only $0.10 (or €0.08) per minute to call mobile phones in the U.K., France or Germany (landlines are $0.02/min), $0.15/minute to call mobile phones in Mexico and $0.02/min to call any phone number in China and India”. Inbound calls to the U.S. or Canada will be charged €0.01 per minute.

You can buy credit in four currencies (Euros, British pounds, Canadian dollars or U.S. dollars) and there are no connection fees. For the lucky people living in the US and Canada, phone calls will remain free until the end of the year.

FYI, you will need to have voice and video plug-in enabled in order to be able to use this feature.

Google seems desperate to promote Gmail. When logging out of your Gmail account, you will see some advertising asking you to “help your friends and family improve their life” by switching to Gmail. Another arm wrestling started by Google but this time against Skype? Well since Skype has been acquired by Microsoft, I’ve noticed that the service has become much worse (surprise, surprise!) so if it keeps going down this way, Google may easily win the battle!

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Google Hotel Finder

Google is launching the Google Hotel Finder experiment. As the name suggests, Google’s new product aims at helping you find the best hotel according to the location (which you can customise by drawing circles representing different spots of interest on a map), prices, date range, hotel class and user rating.

If you don’t know much about the area, Google Hotel Finder allows you to see the popular locations via a map highlighting the most visited places. Other interesting features are the shortlist (so that you can bookmark your searches) and price comparison.

Let’s try to search for a good hotel in NYC. I selected the options described above which obviously narrowed the results down to only the type of hotels I am looking for. It all looks like an ordinary hotel finder search. The only difference is that you can actually compare the prices of these hotels to their typical prices so that you know when these hotels have the best deals. Also while drawing circles on the map, you can see how many hotels in the area actually match your request and how many of them are in your shortlist.

Google_Hotel_Finder

Once you have found the right hotel, when clicking on Book, a list of ads will drop down (I guess this is how Google plans on monetising this product). When clicking on the ads, you will be redirected to hotel booking sites such as Budgetplaces and Expedia.

Unfortunately so far the product only covers the US but hopefully once the experiment is finished, we will see more locations. There is a lot of competition in that area so I don’t know if Google will manage to stand out from the crowd unless they manage to make a real difference with new and useful options. The map feature is probably my favorite so far as it is very useful but will that be enough? Let’s see how the product will evolve after the experiment!

http://www.google.com/hotelfinder/
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Let the Twitter Race Begin!

Quick update on the Inside Experience first. It is just a big disappointment… I’ve been following the updates and how people are commenting on Facebook in order to help this girl get out but to be honest after one day I had already lost interest. You cannot make a thriller live for so long… and the whole social media kind of kills the effect. On top of that the videos are not updated, no news since Day 1. Boooooring! It doesn’t really matter because I must say that now I know why this Emmy Rossum has not received any award for her acting skills. It’s abysmal (or like a famous friend would say “bizmol”). I still think the idea is great but it should be properly done I guess.

Anyway let’s move on.

One_Year_to_Go_London_2012Next year the Olympic Games will take place in London and for this big event, the organizers have decided to make it an olympic tweet. The One Year To Go project is collecting tweets from all around the World to see which country has the most supporters. All you have to do is go to the website, choose your team and submit your tweet. At the moment, there are 53,200 tweets registered (this number increases very quickly: in 5 minutes it’s increased by 400!). So far Brasil is top of the list, followed by Great Britain, the US, Canada and El Salvador.

There is even an interactive map where you can see tweets, videos and images of support for all countries (from both athletes and Olympic Games’ fans). I think it’s a very good initiative. The Olympic Games will finally loose this “ancient” image and will enter the digital era with an international Twitter race for a good cause: people tweeting to support their favorite team. Let’s see who’ll win, still one year to go though!…

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