All Posts in apps
June 1, 2015 — Published by: Charlie Sharpe
A clear problem is emerging with social media; it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. On Facebook we only become friends with people we know and like pages that fill our timeline with vaguely irrelevant spam about the Kardashians, on Twitter we follow users we find interesting but they don’t post the content we want to see - too often I will follow somebody I found interesting only for them to start retweeting generally uninteresting content. The key problem appears to be that social media platforms are people focused not content focused, or at least that’s how the creator of BBC iPlayer Anthony Rose saw it. People need to be able to go onto a social media site and look at content they find interesting and then go on to meet new people who share their interests.
Rose saw this issue as a mere challenge to overcome and his (I think excellent) response is the topic-based social platform 6Tribes, which launched at the end of May. 6Tribes is currently only available on IOS in the UK but will be released to a wider audience soon. The app collates posts from a variety of users based on the groups or “tribes” they follow. If users can’t find a tribe that interests them, then they can also create their own; this will allow the creator to manage all content in the tribe and assess what is or isn’t relevant through the “bump” system.
Tribes are small communities on the platform dedicated to a certain topic (e.g. sports, films, television, music, tea), within each tribe people can post relevant content for other followers to see with a “bump” system (similar to Reddit’s voting system) to filter the content. Once users have joined a variety of Tribes all posts will come through on the user's’ feed to provide a completely content focused and personalised news feed. At first glance, it’s great. The feed is specific to any topic you choose and provides interesting and relevant updates and overall the app is really smooth, very simple and good looking.
“Close to launch we have close to 100 tribes” said Rose, however alongside of new Tribes run by the platform users can also create and manage their own Tribes, sharing content on any topic that takes their interest. The beauty of this new platform is not only in the content but the way you can meet other users. Because all of the groups are topic-based and not user based it’s a good way to interact with new people who share your interests. I think it has to be said, Mr Rose has done a good job. With the potential for serious expansion over the coming months 6Tribes could be a promising guide for social platforms to come.
This month, a new social network called 'SUPER' launched, created by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Inc and also helped to create and launch Xanga, Odeo, The Obvious Corporation and Medium. In 2013, Biz Stone launched Jelly - a visual app that focused on users asking and answering questions. Whilst the app received quite a bit of initial hype, it never really took off.
SUPER's feed is much like any other social network - comparable to secret, but without the anonymity. Users add content or updates into the feed by answering the question of 'WHAT'S UP?' - proceeded by text options like 'the best', 'crazy', 'I'm thinking' and 'OMFG'. Users sign the update as they'd like to and then add a background picture. No surprises that you can edit the text style and filters on the photo.
When launching the app, a user can find nearby friends, or those from Facebook, Twitter and their phone book. Other users can comment with similar style content, or even just 'heart' your content, which results in an animated flurry of red hearts.
For even more artistic license, it's possible to create as many different profile pages as you want - with different images and shades to match.
Fun and colourful, the app is clearly meant to be a mix of other social network - and whilst for some (including our own Creative Manager) its a colourful headache, for others it might prove to be the next best thing. Super is available to download for iOS and Android now.
August 20, 2014 — Published by: Drew
This week the popular press has covered a new stat that has been revealed at length: that app downloads have for the first time begun to decline.It has started many off asking is this the end of apps? The truth is possibly that this is the summer and over the summer traffic dips for a lot of digital services, from social media usage to media consumption. You might say that now apps are mainstream, this is just another seasonal trend.
There is a different perspective on the end of apps though, one that is only beginning to be talked about by some of the more progressive digital brands out there. The likes of Evernote, Foursquare and Facebook to name just a few are starting to think beyond the app. This talk from Evernote's CEO Phil Libin we think is well work a read. Libin talks about a near future where apps become obsolete, due to issues such as wearable tech like smart watches, and session time on mobile and tablet apps decreasing (ie we spend more time switching from one app to another than we do inside any single app).
So for a different reason, we think there's definitely a world beyond apps. What it means for brands is we need to think way beyond apps, just as we're getting our heads around them.
July 14, 2014 — Published by: Fereshta Amir
Last night, SnapChat users were in for a surprise as the social photo sharing app rolled out RioLive, showing live coverage of SnapChatters in Rio perfectly timed around the Cup's final match. RioLive was not promoted, but simply appeared in users' timelines, with only users in Rio being able to add to it.
This is the second major test that SnapChat carried out with collaborative timelines, after Our Story was launched last month. This new feature is aimed at big events, where there will be an option to add to that event’s public Story, appearing just below the option to add it to your own Story. This way the entire group of attendees, regardless of friendship within the app, can post to a single stream.
The World Cup fans in our team loved RioLive, but not everyone was as appreciative of the unannounced feature, with some people complaining on Twitter and other channels of the creepiness and intrusiveness of it. All in all, RioLive is a good example of Our Story in action and represents a chance for SnapChat to eventually monetise its service, following in the footsteps of Instagram.
June 17, 2014 — Published by: Drew
If you are working on brand communications in a role where understanding teen media consumption is important, then this article on Fast Company is a must-read.
Many think that the reason Facebook is seen as uncool and 'dead' amongst teens is that parents like using Facebook, so teens don't. The truth, it seems, is in the data, and in a fair amount of research done with teens directly. And this all says that parents are only part of the story.
The article suggests that chat apps, photo-sharing social networks, and single-purpose apps in general are better for social networking and media consumption for teens. As a result, Facebook isn't the best place for a young and connected individual to spend their time. And that this is the reason Facebook is 'not cool'.
The article references major research by UCL's Danny Miller, who I had the pleasure of meeting recently to discuss his work in this space, and Mikolaj Jan Piskorski from Harvard Business School. Both have found through major research projects that Facebook itself agrees it has lost its cool, and that single purpose apps are its future.
Here is a link to the Fast Company feature in full, and I'll finish where it cuts to the chase. Happy bed time reading:
The person who is more aware of this problem than Piskorski or Brandi or anyone, really, is Zuckerberg, who admits that the future of Facebook the company is probably not Facebook the social network. No, what is the future (or seems to be, because if there's anything certain about the future it is that it's impossible to predict, particularly if it involves teens) are single-purpose mobile apps. Think back on what the Hillcrest high schoolers were using straight-off, after a day away from their phones: chat apps, photo apps, all apps that did one thing and did it well. Maybe that's why all those girls laughed about Snapchat, which is one thing, but a bunch of other weird things too. It could also be because, well, just imagine your teenage years, and what Snapchat does, and tell me you're not giggling, too.