Nuzzle: A Social News Reader

Most of the time when we are using social media to engage with family, friends and followers, we don’t really want news stories or articles in general mixed in there. There are other times however, that we would just like to see those stories without other interactions intermingled. We have discovered an App for that! Meet Nuzzle, the social news reader.

 

Nuzzle

 

Nuzzle provides a clean layout of news from your friends and people you follow on Facebook and Twitter. What you see then are blog posts and articles only, without any status updates. An ‘options’ tab provides you with the following viewing options :

  • News From Your Friends
  • News From Friends of Friends
  • News You May Have Missed
  • Recently Read Stories
  • Your Custom Feeds (lists you have made within Twitter)
  • Featured Feeds

You are also able to build a network within Nuzzle by finding and following friends within the App. If you select to receive it, Nuzzle will send you a daily digest to your email highlighting top stories! To make your own social sharing easier, Buffer, Pocket and Instapaper can be signed into on the App so you can share right from a story as you read it, or save it to be read later allowing you to enjoy the read without an internet connection.

This is a free App that offers a de-cluttered experience, which is always appreciated!

 

Video Optimization Services for Digital Video Success

Video is increasingly becoming a powerful and effective tool in marketing businesses online. A video can only have an effect on an audience though, if it is seen. There are many aspects that go into putting video content online, which is why we are now offering digital video optimization services.

If you properly optimize your videos to target your desired audience through search marketing, your business will have the competitive edge it needs to get your videos viewed and drive traffic back to your site and your services.

YouTube Art

An artistic interpretation of the various YouTube icons found among websites. Photo by: Webtreats

Why are so many companies creating video content? Because:

• It tells a business’ story in a visual way;

• It connects potential customers with the personalities and culture of the business; and

• Video gets preferential traction online by search engines, as Google owns YouTube, and now Facebook is giving video preferential treatment within it’s feed too.

Take Dinologue for example, one of our clients whom we have built a successful YouTube channel for. They wanted to tap into an adult dinosaur fan base and present them with material that would be relevant and scientific, yet engaging and entertaining. In creating an engaged community and storyworld for Dinologue, digital video played an important role to accompany Dinologue’s blog posts and social media.

dinosaur video

This is a screen shot of a Dinologue video in action with popular science writer, Brian Switek.

Beyond creating a video that will appeal to your target audience, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in ‘pre and post video production’. In order to gain traction to your video, reach your target audience and attract views to your video, we can help you with the following services:

  • Taking the time to look up the keyword phrases that your target customers are searching online;
  • Researching which of those keyword phrases you can be competitive with, in reaching your target customer;
  • Optimizing your video’s title, metadescription and tags to target the competitive keyword phrases that your preferred customer is searching for online;
  • Including a call to action and draw back to your company site in the video; and
  • Creating compelling video thumbnails that capture the attention of viewers, so that they click to watch them.
custom thumbnails

Creating customized video thumbnails gives your YouTube channel a uniform look and makes your video brand immediately recognizable when your videos appear under search terms.

Properly optimizing your video will help your desired customer find you online and will lead to increased traffic back to your website. Please contact us to discuss a strategy that is best for you. This is something we can help you with at any stage you may be in with your videos – whether you have never made a video before and need guidance on where to start or if you already have a catalogue of video that needs to be optimized for what your target audience is searching online, giving those videos fresh views.

Jumping Photos: A Tutorial Video

taking jumping photos

We once did a professional photography session to get some fun jumping photos of our family. A while back, when were all at the beach, we decided to try our hand at it because there was a little ledge of sand that we thought would help make us look like we were jumping higher. It turned out to be really easy to photograph and we got some amazing shots! Jumping has now become our family’s signature way of capturing scenic memories. It’s contagious too! People who pass us while we are taking these photos want us to photograph some jumping photos of them too, on their own devices!

So that you can enjoy such an experience as well, and have a new way of capturing memories and telling your stories, I have created a tutorial video to demonstrate just how easy it is.

Warm up those leg muscles and get ready to catch some height and add an element of creativity to your shots. Really though, you don’t need to have any athletic ability to do this ~ just have fun!

Peace Fund Radio ~ An Interview With Lori on Technology and Education

Our own Lori Yearwood answered a call from actor Adrian Paul and next thing she new she was putting on her educator cap, technology cape and flying down to LA Talk Radio to do a one hour radio show for Adrian’s charity The Peace Fund! Ok, she calmly accepted the offer to converse with Adrian on the topic of technology as it relates to education today, and being that she works out of our LA office, she drove 10 min to meet him for his Peace Fund Radio Show.

Peace Fund

Ready To Jump Into Action

Adrian, best known for his role as Duncan McCloud on the Highlander Series, founded The Peace Fund to focus on small, under-funded and hard-working charities who are determined to make a positive difference to the lives of children living in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Every Wednesday he hosts the Peace Fund Radio show discussing relevant current topics with expert guests and featured heroes who are making a great difference.

Peace Fund Radio

On air

The content of Lori’s show flowed like a great conversation discussing whether technology in our school system is beneficial or detrimental to our students.  Listen to a recorded archive here:

How might you have chimed in with your thoughts on some of these topics?

  • Teachers’ abilities to implement technology
  • Technology being used as a bandaid solution for underperforming schools rather than hiring more teachers
  • Should all schools receive equal technological resources?
  • Effects of technology use at home
  • Students losing creativity and the ability to solve problems on their own
  • The continuing pattern of grand educational movements that always dwindle out and disappoint

Please feel free to comment below with your own thoughts and experiences, we’d love to keep the conversation going.

TEDxWarsaw Talk: Erica Speaks on Transmedia Character Development

Erica

Erica in Action

 

Our own Erica Hargreave was fortunate to enjoy an enriching experience as she spoke to a group of enthusiastic storytellers at a TEDx event in Warsaw.  Now we all have the great fortune to enjoy what she shared!  Both entertaining and informative, Erica created a mini storyworld right on the stage as she enveloped different characters to demonstrate her unique brand of transmedia character development, and the permission we must allow ourselves to be creative.

 

 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Genius Scan: Apps for the Busy Professional on the Go

As someone who has a mobile office, I was initially unprepared for the amount of times I would receive ‘urgent’ requests for documents to be printed, signed and scanned back. There have also been times when paper sources of mine have had to be sent to someone immediately.  Of course, as a working mom, and busy professional on the go, this most often happens when I am nowhere near a computer, printer or scanner!  I have come across a couple Apps that have solved this dilemma for me: SignEasy; a Digital Signature App which I discussed in a previous post, and Genius Scan.

Genius Scan is exactly what its name suggests, a brilliant scanning tool! If you have a printed document that needs to be sent, but no scanner, this App give you the ability to take a photo of each page, make general enhancements and send it off!  It will save each page into the same document so you don’t need to send each page off separately.

Genius Scan scanning App

Cropping Your Document

After you take a photo of your document, a grid overlay comes up for you to crop and determine exactly which parts of your page to include. This is handy if you have smaller receipts where a lot of your table shows up in the photo.

Genius Scan document enhancements

Finishing Touches

Once you are finished cropping the page, the App enhances it for you. You have the option to select No Enhancement, Black and White, or Colour. Once you save the page and add any other pages to the same document file you can choose your format to send it in. I usually choose PDF and it gets sent off as a proper printable document, not like a photo you took and emailed off.

I have been using this App for a long time now and I believe there have been a few upgrades along the way providing an enhanced user experience with even more options than I have described above, and this App is free.  As someone who is always juggling work and family, I have been extremely grateful for the time and headaches I’ve been able to avoid!

Creating a Digital Signature with SignEasy

There have been countless times when I have received an email with a document that needs to be printed and signed then sent back ASAP.  On numerous occasions this has been when I am nowhere near a computer, printer or scanner!  I have come across a couple Apps that have solved this dilemma for me: SignEasy; a digital signature App, and Genius Scan (which I will discuss in my next post in ‘Apps for the Busy Professional on the Go’).

Within SignEasy, you enter and save your signature by  writing it with your finger.  You are then able to open a document directly from an email and insert your signature onto the appropriate page.  You simply pinch the signature to shrink it to the right size and drag it to place it right on the line.  The App also has the function to enter dates, addresses and other text formalities. There is an easy to follow tutorial which shows you how to digitally sign a document.

SignEasy tap for signature

This is a sample document from within the App which shows the simplicity of the design and instruction.

digital signature

When you enter your signature, you have a nice open screen to write it with your finger. You can see how you are able to select the ink colour you need.

SignEasy signature App

Adjusting and Placing Your Signature

When your signature appears on your document you will need to shrink the size and move it to the appropriate spot. You can see from the choices at the bottom that you are also able to enter the date and any text that might be necessary for you to add within the document. After you select ‘Done’ you will have the option to share and send the document to the intended recipient.

I have been using this App for a long time now and I believe there have been a few upgrades along the way providing an enhanced user experience with even more options than I have described above, and this App is free.  As a very busy working mom I have been extremely grateful for the time and headaches it has helped me to avoid!

The Stories Our Superpowers Tell

We’ve all said it many times when trying to get through a difficult situation; “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” We have all been able to call on inner strength in different moments, but what if there was something challenging in your life bigger than just a moment?  What would your inner strength be capable of developing then, and where would it take you?  Most importantly, what great stories would you have to share as a result?

Photo Courtesy of BK

Photo Courtesy of BK

Realwheels Theatre is exploring this in a community storytelling project, #SuperVoices.  They are inviting storytellers who self-identify as having some form of disability to share with them in written, pictorial or video form, their superpower.  Everyone is invited to engage and benefit from the inspirations that are so often sparked by stories so bold and honest. Being that this is a digital project, they are hoping that even those with limited mobility will be able to participate.

In some cases a superpower is an exceptional talent that emerges, as in the case of Stephen Wiltshire, who is known as the human camera.  In the video below you can see Stephen fly over Rome and then draw everything he saw down to the exact number of windows on buildings.

In other cases, superpowers are a new sense of intuition or knowledge that becomes heightened as self awareness blossoms into new capabilities.  One of the #SuperVoices participants, @freeandclear1, is able to smell toxic chemicals and avoid them as a result of migraines.  One of the most powerful stories shared so far in this campaign is by Lynnthargic, who wrote a very poetic blog on all that she is now able to see. It is simply titled, Superpowers.

If you would like to share your superpower, please do so with the #SuperVoices hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or by posting your story on the WheelVoices Facebook page or G+ Community. You may also email it to Realwheels directly at: realwheelstheatre@gmail.com. Tell your story using your own preferred technique; photos, videos or written word.

Instacollage : Apps My Kids Use

Instead of sharing a whole album of photos, I’ve noticed that my kids compile their favourite shots from an event and share them as just one photo collage.  It’s something they’re always excited to do when we get home.  They sit on the couch and go through all the pics we took, then go about creating their work of art.  I actually like this process because, rather than mindlessly uploading everything all at once to an album, they spend a long time reminiscing about the day and then enjoy a period of creativity.  The App they have come to love for this is Instacollage.

This is a free App, which actually provides a lot of options within it.  You start by selecting the layout you want to use.  This works best if you’ve already decided on how many photos you will be using.  There are standard straight line options, as well as many other interesting shape combinations.

This is only a small sampling of options.  If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

This is only a small sampling of options. If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen the layout the fun begins! You upload your chosen photos either one at a time or all at once.  You can resize them and move them around.  You can play around with background colours and add text or special effects! You pretty much have the option to change the colour of everything.

 This is the beginning of a collage I'm thinking about making to showcase all the meals I've cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

This is the beginning of a collage I’m thinking about making to showcase all the meals I’ve cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

Adding the finishing touches is the best part.  There are multiple frames to outline your collage and the kids love the ‘stick’ feature which allows you to place fun and quirky stickers anywhere you like. Decision making has never really been my thing, so I spent quite a long time creating my first Instacollage!

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Within the App you have the option to share your collage directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your camera roll, email, and Flickr.

That’s the inside teen scoop from my house to yours!

Do you have a different collage app that you like to use? We’d love to hear about it, and what you like about it!