Apps that make me look like the world’s greatest photographer hold a special place in my heart, and on my smartphone.
Instagram, Snapchat and other image sharing apps are good, but they rarely give me best-picture-ever quality newer smartphones are capable of. I want to take the kind of pictures one expects to see when, say, looking at an image in an issue of National Geographic.
Before you say I should temper my expectations, meet Dayflash, a new app for enhancing your image sharing experiences.
Developed with input from hundreds of content creators and image influencers, Dayflash offers a unique photo and video sharing service that complements traditional platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
“We’ve had a passion for art and photography for a long time,” said Dayflash co-founder, Rupali Renjen. “It started out in the shortcomings we found with photo sharing apps as a whole. Then it became something more after we talked to lots of users of photo apps.”
Although Dayflash is a social app, it won’t replace your favorite social media platforms. And that’s okay. It’s not supposed to. They’re merely trying to make your social media experience a bit better – for you and your followers.
“We’re simply looking to introduce (an app) that could ignite public interest around great social and visual content on mobile,” Renjen added.
So far, they’re generating a lot of interest. During their pre-launch phase, several thousand well-known Instagram influencers and others joined Dayflash. Many became active users.
These power-users noted the sleekness and simplicity of the Dayflash interface.
One aspect I noticed right away is that photos and videos looked sharper. This is because, by default, Dayflash displays your photos and videos in an immersive full-screen photo display format.
Like other social apps, you can search for and follow new Dayflash accounts that interest you.
When you’ve got a great content, you can share your full-screen photos and videos to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
With so many similar image-sharing services, the question for Renjen and her team now becomes how to make Dayflash stand out in the crowded app marketplace.
For one, those people who are running from Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal might see Dayflash as a nice alternative.
“We want a unique and immersive full-screen photo display format that can make many of our aesthetic photos look more beautiful and lifelike than ever before,” Renjen said.
Dayflash is poised to help users reach new audiences and bring greater visibility to their Instagram accounts.
“Instagram users have done a lot to build their accounts, so we’re also looking to help them build their Instagram presence, and to do so more quickly,” Renjen added.
Dayflash is currently available on the iTunes App Store for iOS devices.
Kelsey Klim and Kollin Chupa of K Squared know something about the entertainment and event industry.
If you don’t know their names, but you live in Northeast Ohio, you probably know their work. Before K Squared, they were known as the one-two punch for entertainment marketing inthe area, having worked with just about every live act to come to Youngstown for the last 10 years.
From the Covelli Centre to Packard Music Hall to JAC Live, Klim and Chupa have worked with global and local companies, world-class entertainers like Elton John and Rod Stewart, and well-known shows like Disney On Ice and Cirque du Soleil.
On a personal note, Klim and Chupa were part of my first class at YSU.
As most teachers will tell you, keeping an eye on the growth of former students after graduation is akin to watching your own kids grow up.
I interviewed the dynamic duo about K Squared and their recent partnership with DOYO Live, Youngstown’s digital marketing and interactive design conference.
DOYO returns for its third year, August 1-2, 2018, in its new location: the DeYor Performing Arts Center.
As graduates of our communication studies program, it’s clear that the twins learned how to leverage their skills and experiences with Eric Ryan Productions into face-paced, versatile careers.
It’s also clear they’re determined to fix a problem they see in their industry: marketing jargon and “big business” practices have replaced personal attention, which ultimately leaves some clients feeling unsatisfied.
K Squared wants to fix that problem.
Q: You didn't take the typical path through college to learn about marketing. How did a communication degree prepare you for this career?
A: We truly believe that the best approach to anything is to approach it from a holistic view. It’s a concept we’ve carried into our own business model. It wasn’t enough for us to sit in a classroom and learn about theories. We wanted a tangible way to put those theories into practice.
We discovered that we had the resources accessible to us within our community and campus. We just had to look. At YSU, Campus Recreation and Student Programming had merged into a new department, and it was there that we discovered a passion for live events, event marketing, sponsorships, and corporate sales.
We also met our former boss Eric Ryan during this time frame, which led to our eventual careers at the JAC Management Group. Suddenly all of the communication classroom lessons started to make sense in a much deeper way.
Q: You've networked with a lot of names in the entertainment industry. How has that network helped you launch K Squared?
A: Our previous experiences have absolutely paved the way for the foundation of K Squared. Not only did we gain a versatile skill set, we built many relationships that have extended into the launch of K Squared.
Q: What are the advantages to having your business in Youngstown?
A: The absolute best advantages to having our business in Youngstown, or any business for that matter, are the relationships. We are fortunate to live and work in a community where relationships still hold a very strong value and almost serve as a type of currency in a lot of circumstances.
It could be a double-edge sword, but we’ve found that many clients and people within our network still have a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and recognize and support that same spirit in others.
Q: I loved your FB Live session with Dennis (Schiraldi) for DOYO Live. Looks like you’re going to be pretty involved when DOYO returns this year in August. What are you looking forward to most about the 2018 Conference?
A: First of all, we are thankful for the partnership and sense of collaboration and community Dennis has cultivated within the business and marketing community.
We’ve founded our business model on the mantra of “collaboration breeds creativity”, so it was a natural fit when we began working with Dennis on event and corporate sponsorships.
We’re excited to inject our knowledge of sponsorships into this year’s conference because it marries a lot of our passions and business foundations: events, sponsorship, and marketing.
Above all else, we’re excited that the conference has grown each year and even more excited to be part of that growth this year.
To learn more about K Squared, check out http://www.ksquared.marketing and look for them on Facebook.
For more on DOYO Live, including dates, tickets and schedule of speaker, check out http://www.doyolive.com. You’ll also find some great links to live video on DOYO’s Facebook page.
I’ve had several what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up conversations with my kids. They run the gamut from the typical to the exceptional to the implausible.
Ballerina. Police officer. Astronaut. Garbage collector. Mud taster. That last one came from my five year old. I’m fairly certain he wants to be a comedian.
As they’ve grown a little, the conversations have morphed into selecting college majors. When I asked what majors might interest my 12- and 10-year-old daughters – without missing a beat – they replied in unison: YouTube.
“Huh? You want to major in YouTube?” I asked.
“Yep. We want to be YouTubers.”
Not one to shoot down the dreams of children, I simply said, “We don’t have that major at YSU.”
I could immediately hear the disapproval from my wife in the other room.
“Wrong answer, Dad,” she said.
She was right. Although the major doesn’t exist, the pathway does. The trick to picking the right route to YouTube stardom starts at an unlikely point: content.
“What is it exactly that you want to talk about on your YouTube channel?” I asked them. “Whatever it is, you need to focus on that in college. You need to be experts in that thing, whatever it is.”
I was simply echoing the advice of YouTube star Jim Chapman. His “How to Become a YouTuber” video has over 1 million views.
In his video, Chapman recommends committing to your goal. He also argues that you don’t need fancy equipment, although he’s obviously using more than just the built-in camera and microphone on his laptop.
The rest may require a little help from a college degree.
Knowing more about presentational skills, writing, marketing and advertising, and media production will set your kids in the right direction for success.
This is the advice we’re giving our kids now: pick the right college courses.
Here’s the college pathway we think our kids should consider when considering a YouTube career:
Presentational skills. Charisma will only get you part way. Being spontaneous and making direct eye contact with the audience (i.e., the camera lens) will make most YouTubers look and sound natural. You learn these strategies in public speaking classes.
Writing. Reading from a script is a snooze-fest, but you still need to know what you’re going to say and in what order. Similar to outlining a paper, use a keyword outline to keep you on track when recording. You learn these tools in basic writing classes.
Media production. Pick up as many media production courses as possible to learn how to operate the best equipment, to get good lighting and sound, and to learn more about the media industry in general.
Marketing. Take as many business classes as possible. From overviews to in-depth marketing and advertising courses, the strategies you learn will set you apart from other YouTubers who are getting by on charm alone.
The more things change the more they stay the same, at least when it comes to social media.
A new report from the Pew Research Center didn’t use those exact words, but their findings suggest our social media habits haven’t changed much over the past few years.
Most adults still like Face-book and YouTube, while the 18- to 24-year-old crowd still prefers Snapchat and Instagram.
Early 2018 data show that Facebook and YouTube still boast the highest number of users among all social media platforms. However, younger Americans tend to use a wider variety of social media platforms, and with more frequency than older users.
“78 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat,” the report shows, and almost three-quarters of that age group will access the platform several times a day. “Similarly, 71 percent of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half are Twitter users.”
Don’t be surprised if some of these numbers sound familiar. We’ve been seeing them for the past two to three years, and the results always show the king of all social media still sitting on the throne, even if his crown is a little askew these days.
“As has been the case since (Pew) began surveying about the use of different social media in 2012, Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans,” the report shows.
“Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults now report that they are Facebook users, and roughly three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis. With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.”
The typical American is using three of the eight major platforms on a regular basis. Along with Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, we’re using LinkedIn, Pinterest and WhatsApp.
Next to Facebook, YouTube has the largest user base. Although not considered a traditional form of social media, the site utilizes some of the same features we see on other platforms (i.e., liking, sharing, commenting).
Three-quarters of U.S. adults and nearly all (94 percent) 18- to 24-year-olds use YouTube.
“These findings also highlight the public’s sometimes conflicting attitudes toward social media,” the report suggests.
“For example, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29 percent who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.”
Whether or not these groups will abandon social media altogether or find new platforms for connecting with others has yet to be seen. But for platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, now may be a good time to ask them to stay.
I had a dark social media time period for about two months last year. Fed up with the negativity and lack of connections to real friends, I started to rebel against the social media establishment.
My angst was palpable. Just ask my wife. “These people are idiots,” I once exclaimed very loudly, referring to the Zuckerberg types who control social media, not to those who post pictures of babies and kittens and Donald Trump.
After eliminating some social apps, significantly curtailing time spent on other apps and a short fast, I was on the path to social media enlightenment.
Deepak Chopra would be proud.
Of course, this didn’t stop me from writing about and lamenting on the experiences.
Others noticed a change in my normal social media cheerleader tone during my anti-social media emo phase.
You remember emo kids, right? Head-to-toe black clothing. Dark eyeliner. Black hair. Depressing music. A generally withdrawn disposition. Hating the world. That was me (minus the black hair, of course).
Call it a reaction to the disillusion the world was having with Facebook, but I was concerned about the psychological effects it and other platforms were having on me.
Then I found Reddit. Again.
In case you missed these knowledge-filled nuggets, I’ve written about Reddit here, on my blog. Use "reddit" in the search bar to find more.
First, it’s important to know what Reddit is not.
Reddit is not Facebook or Snapchat.
It’s not Twitter, although I suspect in many ways, Reddit users would more or less liken their activity to tweets, retweets and hearts than other forms of posting.
This is because, like Twitter, Reddit bills itself as a social news aggregating and sharing service. Though to be sure, the news content is not always reliable.
But that’s where Reddit shines, separating the wheat from the fake news chaff.
Users post stories and other content in a message board-like environment, while other users “upvote,” “downvote,” and comment on the worthiness of that content.
How I envision Reddit saving social media has more to do with that user activity – the community curated and approved content – than it does with negativity, grandstanding, self-promotion, and the hated algorithms that control the content you see first on “big social” (e.g., a term used to reference the big social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram).
To be sure, Reddit has all of those features, but the community and functionality are what draw people in.
Reddit is not pretty. Don’t expect glitz and glamour. The interface is simplistic by traditional graphic design standards, and the desktop and app interfaces are nearly identical.
As you consider migrating from traditional social platforms, dividing your screen time between the accounts you’ve had since the birth of social media and the search for something new, maybe it’s time to show Reddit some (more) love.
Learning that your kid is a victim of cyberbullying may leave you feeling helpless and defensive. Those are natural responses. It might also make you feel like the worst parent in the world.
Now imagine you’re the parent of the cyberbully.
Are you still feeling helpless? Defensive? Angry? Or worse, are you in denial?
If you still feel like the worst parent in the world, you’re not.
As a member of the National Communication Association’s Anti-Bullying Task Force, I have been working to identify strategies and tools to curb bullying behaviors – in schools, in the workplace and online.
You can access these tools in the NCA Anti-Bullying Resource Bank.
While much of the attention has been focused on assisting cyberbullying victims and their parents, many researchers and practitioners continue to discover avenues for preventing these kinds of attacks.
What we know is that healing the cyberbully is just as important as healing his or her victims.
Healing the cyberbully, in essence, is one of the primary tools for preventing the next cyberbullying attack.
Below are general steps to follow when talking to your kid, but note that you’ll find extensive resources online. Do just a few minutes of research and you’ll find additional answers:
1. Who hurt you? Knowing what led to this moment is often the most difficult part of the process, because it requires revelations of pent up pain and anger in your child.
Also note it’s not unusual to learn that your cyberbully was once a cyberbullying victim.
In a quiet space, free from distractions, talk about what led to this moment. What was the motivation? Is your child hurt?
Discussions with your child may have already transpired with school officials and others. You may be the last person to know what has happened, but you might be the first to learn why.
Regardless of how angry and disappointed you feel in that moment, you need to be the safe space for your child to share. Ask your child questions, but with a sense of curiosity rather than blame.
2. Restrict internet access. Consequences are important, but don’t assume that simply because you’ve taken away the smartphone that the bullying will stop. Kids connect with friends through gaming consoles, laptops, televisions and other “smart” devices.
Have a discussion with your child about trust. Together, create a road map for slowly earning back those privileges and, more importantly, your trust.
3. Get help. Remember that your child may have been bullying others for a long period of time. Depending on the extent of cyberbullying cases and those involved (e.g., school officials, police), you may need assistance from professionals.
Don’t beat yourself up, but do your homework. Seek out guidance counselors and request referrals for therapists with a history of helping cyberbullies.
As social media users, we’re a fickle bunch. We like what we like, and we don’t want what we like to change.
When platforms like Facebook or Snapchat modify their algorithms or interfaces, some of us run to the next favorite platform rather than adapt.
That said, some of us willingly add new social media platforms to our expanding repertoire of sharing tools, while others will abandon old platforms for the next big thing – the new shiny social media toy.
It seems like eons since we’ve been offered a true social media alternative to the big players such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. But now we might have a winner.
Vero appears to be the newest contender on the social media market seeking and – by some accounts, receiving – our undivided attention.
Vero bills itself as a relationship-first social network, focused on providing users with a unique platform to share content and interact with others, by mirroring real-world relationships in an online setting.
The best part: it’s ad free.
To be fair, Vero isn’t exactly “new.” In fact, the platform has been available since 2015. But user-generated publicity and recent media reports have breathed new life into a once floundering app, now making it one of the most talked-about platforms.
Two weeks ago you wouldn’t have been able to find it on the Top 100 most downloaded app charts. Today, it’s ranked in the top 10 most downloaded apps on iOS and Android stores.
For Vero, this is now a “good news, bad news” situation.
The good news for Vero is that we’re starting to use their app.
The bad news is that Vero is in beta format. Essentially this means they’re not ready for prime time. If you’re the type to be easily annoyed by the occasional crash and glitchy performance issues, this isn’t the app for you. Not yet.
But the potential for something great sits in the user interface. Like other platforms, users can share text and links, endorse TV shows, movies, books and music, and post photos.
Content appears in reverse-chronological order, and you can search posts through your connections or by hashtag.
Vero claims to only collect basic user information - names, email addresses, phone numbers. Also, Vero states that it won’t sell your data to third parties, in part, because it’s an ad-free service.
Inevitably, we gravitate toward new, enhanced platforms that meet our needs. We look for functional alternatives to old, brokendown services that do more to irritate us than connect us to the world.
Vero might be that alternative.
Vero is available on the iOS and Android app stores.
If you like free stuff, check out Vero now before it’s too late. According to the app’s welcome email, the first one million people to download and subscribe will get free access to Vero for life.
In the 1990s, I played an online, text-based, role-playing game called Infinity.
The fantasy element intrigued me, and I liked pretending to be someone else.
Infinity is a MUD, or multi-user domain, although other MUDders (MUD players) often refer to the “D” as dimension or dungeon.
Just for kicks, I logged on to Infinity last week. The character I created in 1994 is gone, but I was happy to see that, after more than two decades, my favorite online fantasy world still exists.
The opening dialogue is the same and sets the stage for adventure:
You are standing in, well, nothing. You see nothing below your feet, yet somehow you are being supported. You perceive no walls and no ceiling. The only noticeable attribute is a fine mist that swirls around you despite there being no wind. A shimmering, blue portal stands before you and a sign floats above it.
Cool, right? Okay, maybe not. But if this is indeed a “stage,” then Infinity is a theatrical production just as much as it is a text-based game. It’s like reading a never-ending, loosely-scripted book in which you’re the main character.
Opening this portal is quickly followed by a series of choices – where to go, what to do, and how to describe your character, including name, gender and other descriptors.
This last part – character development – is a very important feature in MUD play.
Pseudonymity, or the process of creating fake identities for the purpose of living as someone else, is the hallmark of MUD play.
“I like being somebody else, or in my case, something else, online,” a player (who asked not to be identified) told me in an online chat. “I know it’s not totally anonymous. If the NSA wants to find me, they probably could.”
She went on to say that being this creature online gives her a break from “normal” life. “It’s either this or drugs,” she said with a smiley face.
Infinity limits play to about 70 MUDders at a time, but it boasts a diverse group of players from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
After several months of play, my “real life” friend received an invitation to an Infinity “gathering” in Boston. It seemed odd that a group of people who lived online would want to meet face-to-face. But “Okay,” I thought. “I like a good party.”
Our gathering showed me what I expected. The personalities I saw on display in real life were a vast departure from the personas I interacted with online.
Still, I believe this kind of “play” is a good thing at any age. Escape from our everyday lives for a few moments in a safe environment is something we all need, and maybe even more so today than we did 20 years ago.
Shelby Kelly lives in Texas and she’s an integral part of the Dallas Cowboys organization.
She has influence over player performance, team success, and fan engagement.
But don’t look for her name on the official roster of Cowboy coaches or team administrators. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has yet to cut her a check for her contributions to the franchise.
In fact, the only way you’d know of Shelby’s influence over one of the most storied football teams would be through a closer examination of her years of loyalty to “America’s Team.”
She was voted the Most Electrifying Cowboys Fan, inducted into the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association (or PFUFA), and featured in the 2009 documentary “Ultimate Fan of the Fans” about the opening of the new Cowboys Stadium, now AT&T Stadium.
Evidence of her dedication can also be found in the five-hour round trip she drives to and from home games in Dallas, and her impressive collection of player autographs, cards and memorabilia.
I spent the day with Shelby and her husband, Chuck, at their home. I dare anyone to spend the day with them at their home and not leave feeling at least a little love (or at least respect) for the Cowboys.
That’s saying a lot coming from a lifelong Steelers fan.
Shelby is energized, in part, through her active presence on social media, where she regularly interacts with other fans.
“I call it fan-powered,” Shelby said. “I’m fan-powered, and social media helps that. I’m able to connect with other fans because of social media, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I do as a fan without them.”
Shelby notes that even in the early days of social media, fans were using Twitter and Facebook as a way to connect.
“I look back at that very first game we had at the new stadium, and I wanted it to be something really special for other fans,” Shelby said. “So I bombarded social media with plans for the weekend.”
She talked about how she was able to organize groups for dinners, carpools and other events, like meeting players.
“We met 28 players that weekend,” Shelby said. “We organized so much of that through social media. I would tell fans to ‘meet us here at this time,’ and I’d post maps and directions, and fans would just show up.”
Like fans who met Shelby for the first time thanks to social media, Twitter served as our mode of introduction. We shared tweets about my interest in fans, and how she uses social media to cultivate Cowboys fan communities.
Now she’s planning to introduce me to other Ultimate fans from other teams on social media and in person – further evidence of the power of social media to connect people who might otherwise never meet.
My wife and I are good at relationship maintenance.
While navigating work and home schedules, managing four kids with active social lives, and unpacking the occasional argument, we have persevered with competent communication skills – one of the hallmarks of a successful marriage.
However, when it comes to the use of text messaging for communicating, we often veer off course. Like most couples, when there’s a communication breakdown, I blame her and she blames me.
Ironically, the blame game is usually played when we’re talking face-to-face.
Last week I sent her (what I deemed) several “very important” texts over the course of a few hours, all random and all focused on different topics.
She didn’t respond to any of them. Was it information overload? Was she ignoring me? Or was it something worse?
Three hours later, she responded. “Wow, that’s a lot of texts.”
She was right. “Yeah, sorry ’bout that,” I responded.
Our texting habits are getting better and, more importantly, our relationship is intact. But other couples struggle with marriage maintenance via text messaging, to the point of break-ups and divorce, signaling deeper relational communication flaws.
A friend once asked me (when referring to her boyfriend), “What happened to picking up the phone and talking?”
Of course, there’s almost always an easier solution to these communication breakdowns, and it almost never involves texting.
It feels like we’ve always known that talking about expectations leads to healthier relationships, but we sometimes avoid it, hoping things will get better on their own. We know that when we talk, problems often get resolved. The same is true for having a conversation with your partner about texting habits.
If you’re a couple who argues about the lack of communication or miscommunication via text messaging, there’s evidence to suggest you’ll be happier if you talk about it now. A new study suggests that we actually get more satisfaction out of our relationship if we think our romantic partner has texting behaviors similar to ours.
Jonathan Ohadi and fellow researchers at Pace University explored the use of text messaging for ongoing maintenance in romantic relationships. In the January issue of Computers In Human Behavior, Ohadi’s group explained that something as simple as perceiving similarity in how we text may lead to greater levels of satisfaction.
Using a sample of 205 adults in romantic relationships, they also found that we tend to feel more satisfied if we think our partner is initiating contact with us more frequently (“I miss you”). Sending a quick, unexpected text to a partner has the potential to set off similar kinds of endorphins we feel when someone likes something we’ve posted online.
Of course, initiating this contact is only a start. When all else fails, talk about how you text each other and set communication expectations for building a fulfilling relationship.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.