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Social media has changed the way that many of us learn, purchase, interact and explore the world around us. And, things are just getting started. Social, Social is a place to discuss social media with people from all walks of life. No experts allowed.

About the Author

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002).

Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg

His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

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September 2013

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June 2013

May 2013

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March 2013

February 2013

Thursday January 30, 2014 | 08:00 AM

Last fall, social network MeetMe launched a standalone video-dating app called Charm. After rebranding itself from MyYearbook more than a year ago, this was MeetMe's first big launch.  At the time of the launch, TechCrunch called Charm, "a Tinder meets Vine social dating play." Since hearing about Charm's launch, every time I would think about video-dating the first thought that would come to mind was, "who on earth would want to video date?" I mean, I accidentally switched the camera on my phone to front view earlier this week and my entire day was ruined. I couldn't even imagine presenting myself for a "video date" in such a fashion. It would be like a FaceTime chat from hell.

Then I thought about it a little more. With the help of some very good lighting and a properly angled camera phone lens, this could be the perfect app for the very lazy mid-winter person who I'm convinced lives in all of us. He certainly lives in me this winter. I mean, online dating has been an accepted, and embraced practice for many years now (see my Tech Trends WMTW ABC segment on the subject here). It allows me to avoid having to go out in public and actually meet people to ask out on dates. I can do all of that on my laptop from the comfort of my home. However, I still have to take the next step which involves going out to actually meet these people in real-life on a date. How annoying. It's far to cold lately for that.

So, what Charm, and the many other video-dating apps out there — View n Me, Flikdate, Video Date, and Instamour do, is enable me to go on a date without ever putting on my pants and getting off the couch. How cool is that? Maybe there actually is a future for these apps after all. As Alison Davis of New York Magazine explained, "All you need is one minute, one smartphone, and the acknowledgement that you're probably one 'what are you wearing' away from a bad idea."

Tuesday January 28, 2014 | 08:00 AM

As I try out so many different new apps, I thought I would start a column called, "There's an App for That!". I'll start today with my most recent favorite and I'll continue posting regularly in the weeks and months to come. I'd love to hear from you about your favorites or apps that you'd like to know more about. You can find me on Twitter at @bobbbyg or you can leave me a message here in the comments section. You can also just yell at me on the street if you happen to see me around Portland. It's always great to have your input in whatever form in comes.

Trove is the newest app that I've added to the growing collection on my iPhone. It's a social news app that was originally created a few years ago but was just relaunched last week by the team behind the former Washington Post Labs. Trove is the first product from Graham Holdings, the company put together by Donald Graham after the sale of the Post to Amazon's Jeff Bezos. After using it for a few days, I think it's a must have for news junkies. Being one myself, I love it.

Trove’s social news app is a combination between Flipboard and Pulse from LinkedIn. The app wants to bring you stories picked by people who share your interests. So once you enter the app, you can follow certain topics (which are called troves), and you’ll see a feed of news around these Troves. So if you picked news around “Fashion” and “Technology” and “Food,” Trove will accumulate the best articles from over 15,000 news sources to fit these areas. If you integrate your Twitter and Facebook accounts, Trove will suggest various “Troves” for you to follow based on your Facebook likes and topics you’ve tweeted about in your Twitter feed. - Tech Crunch

Monday January 27, 2014 | 08:00 AM

This weekend I hid three people from my Facebook feed and unfollowed 36 on Twitter. This is something I rarely do. It felt oddly liberating. It always does. I was inspired to do this most recent "housecleaning" after reading an article in New York Magazine, "The Joy of Unfollowing." The article discusses the idea that there is no such thing as "too much information" when it comes to social media. We all have a choice. We don't have to listen to people we don't want to hear. So, is there such a thing as TMI?

"In the age of social media, when cell phones come with camera lenses optimized for selfies, that last question gets asked regularly. So I am going to answer it, once and for all: No. There is no such thing as TMI on the Internet. We are living in a post-TMI age, and everyone needs to deal with it. Preferably by using the “unfollow” button."

I have to say that after reading the article I agreed with the author. Everyday I see friends whine to the social media masses about their gripes with Facebook (especially Facebook), Twitter and the like. I always think to myself, "Then stop using it already. Stop complaining and do something." Then I realized that I do the same thing. I just don't do it online. I always figured that would be unwise given the fact that I'm often paid to counsel individuals and brands on how to effectively use social media to market themselves. Plus, I'm not really one to hold back with personal information online. I don't really consider myself to have any privacy. And, that has been by choice. No one forced me to reveal the personal details of my life that I've chosen to reveal. I do it thoughtfully and voluntarily. By the same token, no one forces me to listen to the personal details of other people's lives. That ended when I became an adult and I didn't have to listen to my parents anymore. Unless, of course, I wanted to.

This may come as a news flash to many people, but Facebook (and Twitter, and Instagram, and Tumblr ... ) doesn't owe us anything. Facebook is a private (publicly-traded) company. It is not a function of the government or an elected official, and our tax dollars do not, at least directly, fund its existence. It is free to do as it likes, within the boundaries of the law. Most important, it is our right as consumers not to engage with it unless we want to.

Thursday January 23, 2014 | 08:57 AM

Katie is a market researcher who currently works in B2B research with tradeshows, print media and online sites. During her research career she’s worked with business and consumer products and services in industries such as consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, live events, insurance, entertainment, and technology. Her special research interests include trends adoption and generational research (how different generations interact with products and services). Katie was an early adopter of social media and has appeared on various 'researchers to follow’ lists including "10 Great #MRX Tweeters Every Market Researcher Should Follow" and "Most Influential Client-Side Tweeters" and she also blogs about the market research industry and technology at InsightsGal.com. Leveraging her social media expertise, Katie consults with small businesses looking to start on social media or enhance their social media presence. True to her early adopter ethos, Katie was thrilled to be selected as a Google Glass Explorer in 2013. Katie is also active with the Junior League of Portland, ME. She currently serves as vice president of public relations for the League.

Second Life, Andrew Shue, and Google Glass (in a very big way)

As with most of my interviews, what you'll read here is a greatly condensed version of our conversation.

What was your first experience with social media?

Wednesday January 22, 2014 | 08:00 AM

Click HERE to watch the segment.

We're now well into what we can safely call "the deep freeze", aka January 2014. If you're anything like me, you're already having trouble sticking to your New Year's resolution(s). In fact, all of this hypothermia-escaping hibernation has lead to extra pounds and lots of general laziness. Sad but true. Clearly I need some help. So, it was in this spirit that I took a hard look at many of 2014's best apps to help you to stick to your guns.

Following are some of the best I could find. Covering everything from searching for a new job (I have the worst boss — myself) to learning a new language to losing those extra holiday pounds. If you see something here you like, or if you think I've left out a great app, I'd love to get your feedback. You can leave it in the comments section here, or you can find me on Twitter at @bobbbyg.