Category What Excites Me

SJQ: Redesigned

StrategyJQ has almost reached the 2-year mark (I can’t believe how quickly it’s passed!) and it’s time for a refresh! I’ve been working with my design partners, Green Ball Media for a few months on the redesign and today it’s finally live!

It was important to me that what I, and SJQ, focuses on should be immediately accessible to anyone who lands on the front page, and that users should be able to find whatever they’re looking for quickly.

A website, especially in the Age of the App, doesn’t get you hired immediately – but it’s a great introduction to who you are and what you solve for your clients. The new StrategyJQ is a great first impression!

Let me know if you agree!

Working with Intent

This doesn't work.

I’ve been talking about Intent a lot in the last couple of weeks. In conversations with friends, client trainings and even with my accountant. When I hear myself repeating a specific word or phase consistently, it’s time to examine why.

Being Irish-American, we place a lot of faith in, well, faith, luck and fate. It’s a charming, romantic notion – and lazy as ifreann. Lazy, because it takes no effort, planning or skin in the game. No investment.

What I realize is that when I’m speaking about intent, I’m talking about building relationships and trust by communicating with purpose. That a content strategy for a client means nothing without the business objectives, goals and intent behind the words – that teaching a company about having a “voice” is about more than personality.

Intent is an action, it moves you forward – intent reaches –>

  • What am I really asking for?
  • How do I want to be perceived?
  • How can I show myself more clearly with these words?
  • What choice can I make that moves me (us) forward to the objectives

A company that’s doing this incredibly well on Instagram is Kate Spade (katespadenyc). As the name suggests, the photos that are shared on her stream are filled with images of her stores, trends and new must-haves. It’s also filled with the color and feel of living in New York City during each of the different seasons – they know who their customer is and who she wants to be. Each photo creates the opportunity for this customer to share in the moment and see herself in it. To be the person already living that life – and the high volume of comments show that a lot of people want to be, want to know and want to connect with that person and w/KateSpadeNYC.

It’s easy to teach a company how to make status updates, YouTube videos and moment share – it’s the intent behind those that’s takes a “voice” and creates an opportunity for your audience to not only see the human face behind the words, but hopefully themselves within the connection.

Trend Talk: Moment Sharing

An Instagram Bryant Park moment

I’m giving a presentation for a client today on the trends that I’m seeing this year. Love these kind of talks, as i get to discuss all the fun, shiny things that I let distract me in the name of work.

One of the topics I’m focusing on is Moment Sharing. Moment Sharing is about using different content mediums, status updates, photos and video, to share tiny slivers of our lives. From the historic to the truly mundane, people are documenting relationships, milestones and feelings and uploading them through their social channels. And a large amount of apps (and their api’s) have sprung up to make it faster and easier to do so.

My favorite example of this is Instagram. Now Instagram is the hot, shiny thing of the moment, with incredible growth, momentum and seeming the right team behind it. So far they’ve been smart, agile and responsive. I’m a passionate photographer and the app, with its colorful filters, is a lot of fun (Quick FYI for VideoHeads – Viddy is a comparable app for video that also offers filters). But there are a huge number of photo apps that have similar features. What makes Instagram different is the community – well, 2 of them. One is the actual Instagram community and the other is the community of supporting apps and services that have spung up using the api. Through these two communities, I have Visual Conversations from sharing moments of my day with people all over the world – no tranlation needed. The Instagram community is truly global – I share moments with people from Japan, China, Korea, the UK and all over the US. Apps and services using the Instagram api allow me to print out photos for my wall or send them as postcards to friends and family, as i did recently with some vacation moments I shared while in Ireland. There are other apps that focus on moment sharing, Instagram just does it really well and illustates the point beautifully.

One of my favorite writers on the web, Patrick Rhone (buy his book!), posted yestetday about the Dropp app as an example of what he’s calling “microsocial”. I like that label – he should tm that. It’s taking the vastness that the open social web has become and makes it personal – easier to manage and share your real moments with whom and where you choose, one-on-one to a global network and everyone in between.

The Big Picture – iPhone Photo Apps

I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for over 2 years. There’s been this fantasy that I’m going to buy one of those amazing cameras, take a class and carry it with me everywhere (like CC Chapman and Brian Solis). So far, not so much.

Then I bought a Diana Camera this year – a quirky, plastic, “toy camera” that’s been a lot of fun and taught me a lot about patience in my instant-gratification life. But still, not so much my everyday companion.

I love my iPhone – and I’m an AppStore addict – so I constantly download, add (and subtract) applications, and was so excited to find an app called “ToyCamera”.

ToyCamera takes the kind of quirky, light-leaks filled pictures that I get with my Diana, without the wait for photo development. I think the developer, Takayuki Fukatsu, is an amazing talent, and has created an app that surprises you with every shot. The filters included in this app include:

  • Vintage Green effect
  • Vintage Yellow effect
  • Vintage Warm effect
  • Low Saturation
  • High Saturation
  • Toning Sepia
  • Black and White
  • HiCon Black and White

It also has an uploader to the BigCanvas Photoshare – which I don’t use – as well as a Flickr group.

This month I’ve made a commitment to take 5 pictures of wherever I am each morning and post them to Flickr, no matter how I feel they turn out. You can follow my progress here (and this one is my favorite so far). Takayuki Fukatsu has also made a couple of other fantastic apps, OldCamera (Black and White pictures), SepiaCamera (just as it sounds) and QuadCamera, a really neat effect that takes 4 quick pics and puts them in a number of different ways, stacked, side-by-side, etc. All of them are just as addictive as ToyCamera.

To upload to Flickr, I’ve been using the application by XK72, Mobile Fotos. Mobile Fotos allows you to view photostreams, favorites, tags, sets and groups, as well as search for photos, read and make comments, or see other Flickr members photos.And of course the easy uploader – I can upload to groups as well as my photostream.

Since this is a relatively new passion, I’ll see if this sticks beyond my alloted commitment. But it feels like it will. And I’m looking forward to seeing it in action at the next conferences I’m at.

Are there other apps I should check out? Any tutorials? Let me know.

Update 1.24: Just released – an online companion to QuadCamera, QuadAnimator, which takes your QC pictures and saves it as an animated GIF file.  Fun!