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Fishbowl Smoothly Brings Facebook to your Desktop

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Fishbowl Smoothly Brings Facebook to your Desktop.Fishbowl is a trial application built using Facebook’s public API and developed by uxlabs@Microsoft. “It’s a ‘lab showcase application’ which means that it’s available for download by technology enthusiasts and Facebook power users but it’s not a ‘real’ supported product.” If you’re an avid Facebook user like me I’m sure after reading this, you’ll be ready to give Fishbowl a try. Not only does it duplicate most of Facebook’s key features, but for some features it does it even better.

Timeline

The timeline is the first thing you see when you login and is updated in real-time. You’ll notice that some users have a green circle next to their name, this means that the person is currently online. You can “like” and “comment” on items just like on Facebook. If an item has comments on it, they will show (expanded as opposed to hidden) in the timeline. Just like on Facebook, you have your various feeds listed on the left side that you can view one at a time. You can also make the timeline bigger or smaller by zooming in or out. There is a “plus” and “minus” sign in the top right corner of the timeline that allows you to do this. I tried zooming out all the way and it really gets huge; zooming in all the way makes it very small and illegible.

Fishbowl client timeline zoomed in all the way.

Interface

At the top of the application your latest status update will show and a box underneath to post new updates. To the top right of the application there is a search bar, manual refresh button (even though the timeline does auto update), and a button to switch to mini-mode. There are also 5 menu buttons: home, friends, profile, photos, Facebook (this will take you to the actual site). At the bottom right of the application you’ll find the settings button, logout button, notifications indicator and who’s online indicator. Clicking on “notifications” will display your notifications in Facebook fashion. Clicking on “who’s online” will show you who’s currently online. Clicking on a user’s name will take you to their wall (as explained below).  If you want to chat, there’s a little chat button displayed at the bottom of the who’s online column. Clicking this will cause the Fishbowl chat to popup in its own window. As you can see below, it has pretty much the same options and setup as on Facebook.

Fishbowl client Facebook chat.

There are three “visual styles” to choose from (in the settings): blue, dark, and Facebook. Speaking of settings, there’s not really much to customize in this area. Besides the visual style, you can choose whether or not to: disable automatic updates, open web content in external browser, and keep the mini-mode window on top of all others.

Clicking on a user’s picture or name in the timeline will take you to their wall. There’s a mini menu on the bottom left that will also let you choose to view their info and photos. What’s kind of neat is that under their profile picture you’ll see an “interest level” that can be customized to suite your preference; it’s currently displayed in the middle by default. You can move this level either up or down. Moving it down will basically mute that person from your timeline, while moving it up will show more of them in your timeline. If you have the option to open web content in an external browser disabled, external links will be displayed using Fishbowl’s internal browser. It will display as a pop-up covering your current view of the application. It’s a very simple window; there’s no address bar, just three buttons – refresh, pop out, close.

Mini-Mode

Mini-Mode is great because it turns the application into a 280×180 pixels window and automatically updates with the timeline. You will only be able to see one item/user at time. There are arrows on the bottom which allow you to scroll through the last 100 items in your timeline. There’s also a button that will take you to Facebook when clicked, and another button that displays how many notifications you have. Clicking on this will display your notifications below the mini-mode window. (In case you’re wondering, yes that is a dog in the screenshot – this is my desktop background!)

Fishbowl client mini-mode.

Sharing Photos

Doing this is through Fishbowl is actually easier than through Facebook. Once you click on the “photos” menu button, you’re brought to the photo albums of all your friends. You can sort them by owner name or by interest level (that’s if you have customized any of your friends’ levels). At the bottom there’s a button to add more photos. You’ll then get a pop up that will prompt you to “drag your photos here or into the application at any time”. Alternately, you can browse for images as well wouldn’t you agree that dragging is so much easier? Once you drag a photo in, you’ll be able to choose an album to add it to along with a location and description.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (32-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows Server 2008.
  • Processor: 800 MHz or higher for Windows XP, 1 GHz or higher for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • Memory: 512 MB for Windows XP, 1 GB for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • System: .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 or later.
  • Graphics/Video Card: Must support DirectX 9.0 or higher and Shader Model 2.0 or higher.

Hands down I feel that Fishbowl is a very solid Facebook client and would have lots of potential if it was going to be regularly updated. I wish that it was going to be supported because it’s something I can see myself using on a regular basis. I’ve tried a few other desktop clients for Facebook and none of them impressed me the way Fishbowl has. For all of you regular Facebook users out there, will you be giving Fishbowl a try?

Charnita is a full-time freelance writer and blogger with 3+ years of experience, and also the owner of SocialWebTools.info. She's also an early adopter who loves trying out new social media tools along with Web and iOS (iPad) apps. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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Social Networking

7 Quick Tips on How to Use Visuals to Engage Instagram Followers

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If you want to grow a massive following online, you are going to need to not only create content for your audience, but also know where you audience likes to hang out. In most cases, through social media, this is going to be either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. In this article we are going to be focusing on how to better engage with your audience through Instagram, and how to best use video and visual marketing in 2019.

It’s one thing to have a ton of Instagram followers, but another to have a ton of engaged followers. The number itself may look impressive, but it’s less about the actual number of followers you have, and how many of them are actually paying attention and interacting with the content you post. The goal is to have people liking and commenting on your content – and if you’re lucky, re-gramming it on their own accounts with credit back to you as the original poster. Use these tips to create visuals that will engage your followers.

1 – Create Animated GIFs from YouTube Video

Millennials are a generation that can also be called Generation GIF. They’re all over publications like Gawker, Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Tumblr. Using them as part of your marketing strategy allows you to increase your chances of going viral on various platforms and getting picked up by major publications.

Use a tool like MakeaGIF to create GIFs using photos, YouTube videos, uploaded videos, and webcam videos. You can even use it to modify existing GIFs. You can also use GIFYT to make GIFs from your YouTube videos – choosing which portion of the video you want to make into a GIF and add a caption.

That said, you’ve got to do a bit of extra work to add animated GIFs to Instagram. Right now, there’s no native support for them – even though Facebook has it. It’s a bit strange that we haven’t seen it yet, but until it happens, here’s what you can do.

Because you can only upload photos and videos to Instagram from your camera roll, it’s best to use GIPHY (and the mobile app makes it super easy!) to upload your GIF to the platform, then get an MP4 added to your camera roll that you can then upload to Instagram.

2 – Look to Fun and Unusual Holidays

Sure, you can do all kinds of marketing promotions around major holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But, it’s more fun and engaging to take advantage of quirky and fun holidays like, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (January 11), Grilled Cheese Day (April 12), and so on. It’s even better if you can find “holidays” that tie into your business or niche.

In addition to creating content for these holidays and events, be sure to also use #hashtags as well. Just by adding a few of these in, your content can start reaching thousands of new customers and audiences around the world.

3 – Use Tools with Instagram Stories

The Instagram Stories feature has some pretty awesome features that make for extra engaging visuals, like the ability to add text, filters, stickers, and use colored backgrounds. But, you can use Boomerang to create something that’s like a GIF. It makes short videos on a repeated loop that you can use in stories or your regular posts. It’s possible to overdo it with Boomerangs, though, so use them sparingly and watch how your audience responds.

Beyond Boomerang, you can also use Rewind, which allows you to record video into your story, and then the footage is instantly reverse to create some pretty cool effects. Both Boomerang and Rewind are accessible from the bottom of your Stories home screen. All you have to do is click the one you want and start recording just by holding down the button. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

This is also possible to set up with ad campaigns on nearly all social platforms. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all using video to engage with their audiences, be sure to explore your options with paid video content, and using targeted audiences.

4 – Pay Attention to Color

Research shows people make judgements within 90 seconds of seeing a product or a person. That study also found that 62 to 90% of that judgement is based on color, so the colors you choose in your Instagram photos has the potential to make a big difference in your engagement.

Based on that knowledge, a visual analytics platform analyzed 8 million Instagram photos and found that mostly-blue images got 24% more likes than ones that had red as the most prominent color. That said, the study also revealed photos with a single dominate color got 17% more likes than those that had multiple colors – but only 10% of the images in the study had a single dominant color.

5 – Pay Attention to Composition

Instagram is known for their square photo format, which can take a bit of getting used to composition wise. Poor quality photos won’t ever get you the best possible engagement, so learning to take the best photos is never a bad thing.

Central subject placement, which is generally advised against in traditional photography, is great for square photos when the subject is strong enough to stand on its own and keep viewer attention. Make sure you fill the entire frame, make use of symmetry, and shoot photos in landscape then crop them to fit the square.

6 – Use Captions to Tell Stories

People really like to stay on Instagram, and it’s easy to do since you’ve only got one spot for a link and can easily make your posts shoppable so people can buy from you directly in the app. Whenever you have a photo on Instagram, use the caption space to write a story about it. Provide as much detail and context as you can, and expand on your image.

This not only helps engage your followers but keeps them interested in your content – and looking for the next story with the next post.

People expect (and love!) longer stories on Instagram, though this isn’t the case with Facebook. That’s why it’s important to learn and understand the nuances of each network, so you can do each one the right way.

You can, always, direct people to your Instagram Story for more information and detail – then save that story for use as a Highlight later on, if you wish.

With Instagram, it’s clearly not a case of any visual will do. Because everything on the network is visual, only the best of the best, and those related to what your audience wants to see will get you engagement. Practice makes perfect – so do what you can to learn about your audience and perfect your images and you’ll succeed.

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Blogging

9 Blogging Communities You Can Join To Attract More Traffic To Your Blog

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Blogging is essentially building relationships between you and your readers. That’s why it is essential for any blogger to continuously find ways to increase blog traffic and attract a wider audience.

You have to have a substantial number of regular visitors or subscribers to your blog in order for the knowledge you share to gain relevance and authority.

Doing so can be a struggle, especially when you’re barely just starting a blog for the first time.

Don’t you fret. If blogging is about building relationships and sharing knowledge, joining blogging communities wil, help make the job easier for you.

Here are 9 blogging communities you can join to build your network and attract more traffic to your blog

1. Medium

This Twitter-created blogging community lets you connect with like-minded writers and industry professionals. If your blogging style is less formal and less business-like, this is a place that you just might feel comfortable in.

Medium also gives you contributor profiles where you can include links to your website. People can follow you and get updates for every post you make.

2. Blog Engage

Blog Engage is a premium blogging community and social network. Despite the £4.99 monthly fee, the site still continues to grow with almost 3500 members to date.

As a member, once you submit a blog post, your content will be open for votes from all other members. The post that garners the most upvotes gets featured on the site’s homepage.

You can also add friends and join groups for greater community involvement.

3. Kingged

Why join Kingged? Well, there’s the friendly and extremely helpful community members, for one thing. Then, there’s more! Three words, actually. Giveaways, contests and rewards!!! Still need more motivation to join? Here you go:

You can submit fresh or already existing blog posts under any topic of your choice. Great feedback from members regarding immediate results after submitting a post. Plus, you can choose to subscribe to paid packages where your content can be distributed across huge sources such as Mashable, The Huffington Post, CNN, etc.

4. Triberr

Access an endless stream of fresh content from other influencers in your niche. Share your own content with them. If you need fresh ideas for your next blog post, you’ll find a lot of sources for inspiration on Triberr.

With Triberr, you can lookup and join Tribes of your choice via categories on their drop-down menu. Prior to joining, you’ll be able to see the number of members the tribe has and how far their reach is, based on where and how far their posts are being shared.

It’s a great platform to build relationships with because you can tell who shares your posts and how frequently they do. Users can view and share your posts directly to Twitter from the website.

5. DoSplash

Fast-growing and free to use, DoSplash is another blogging community where you can get upvotes upon submitting your content.

The most upvotes your blog post gets, the more natural exposure they receive. With DoSplash, it’s easy to get more engagement for your blog.

6. Google+ Communities

Maybe you don’t find Google+ that enticing as a social media platform compared to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. But as a blogger, you’ll definitely feel the advantages of joining Google+ communities.

It’s the best blogging community you can use to build millions of audiences. For one thing, almost everyone has a Google account these days.

I’m willing to wager 100% of people who have both android phones and internet access have a Gmail account. That’s potentially millions of people you can reach by joining different communities on Google+ and sharing your content!

7. Inbound

Newbie bloggers rejoice! Inbound.org is a community that you can go to if you want to do more than just connect and build relationships with other bloggers and writers.

Especially if Internet Marketing is what got you interested in creating a blog in the first place, Inbound.org is the place for you. It’s the community where you can learn at the same time as your content gets promoted. Aside from internet and content marketing knowledge, you’ll also be able to exchange other useful information, like suggestions for the best social media marketing software, for example. More traffic to your blog + more high-value internet marketing info for you = win-win!

8. BizSugar

One of the top recommended blogging communities, BizSugar is a meeting place for active small-business administrators and owners. But no worries, membership is still free even if you don’t have a business.

There’s no end to the things you can do with BizSugar. Submit your own posts and blog content, vote, and comment on what other members share, exchange business news and marketing tips.

With a bit of effort, you can make getting into BizSugar’s weekly Top 10 members your goal to maximize the potential for content promotion and engagement.

9. LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has continuously evolved throughout the years. It’s not just your online, ever-ready resume anymore.

Unlike the thousands of groups you can find on Facebook, LinkedIn Groups allows you to build a more professional and targeted network.

Share valuable insights in the group forums and share your content with thousands of members. Explore other topics of interest, like the qualities of successful bloggers, for example. That’s a good starting point for conversations and/or posts.

Your blog posts might even make it to LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn editors will then promote these for wider visibility and circulation.

Conclusion

There are three basic reasons why you’ll want to join blogging communities:

  1. build friendships and relationships
  2. get support whenever you need a boost
  3. get honest opinions, critiques and helpful suggestions that will go a long way into helping you become the blogger that you dream of becoming

Being a member of a blogging community is a rewarding experience. If you’re not yet one, try and join any of the communities listed above and find out for yourself exactly how beneficial being connected can be.

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Social Networking

Qoruz – Removing the Influencer Brand Vacuum

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Qoruz Brand Engagement

The role of online social influencers as an opinion leader and consumer decision influencer has been increasingly recognized and leveraged by brands in the last few years. Brands proactively seek these influential social media power users to promote their products on platforms like a blog, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

When brands perform outreach marketing with a specific objective such as strengthening their social media followership, driving traffic to their website, or brand engagement effectiveness with reference to earlier branding campaigns, bloggers usually find it difficult to present the data and statistics in a meaningful and an effective manner.

If you are a blogger and have faced this scenario before, there’s a solution for you – Qoruz. Qoruz is a new-age social intelligence platform that enables brand-influencer collaborations in the smartest and simplest ways.

What is Qoruz?

Qoruz has been developed by the India-based firm Datrux Systems Pvt. Ltd. The unique search, discovery, and outreach platform aims to create the largest database of influencers on the planet along with their quantified online social influence, and to connect brands and influencers in a single, easy-to-use and monitor interface, all in an effort to make influencer marketing more prominent and the mainstay for branding efforts.

Once you create an account on Qoruz, the platform synchronizes all your selected social accounts and blog statistics and shows real-time metrics to an interested brand. I like that they call it a blogger’s media kit; the term media kit is something that every brand, advertising/media, and PR agency understand and the term implies that it holds all the information a brand needs to decide whether to engage with the blogger or not.

Qoruz Bloggers Media Kit

Creating the media kit takes a couple of minutes. Sign up for free, here. You can sign up with a social media account, and Qoruz retrieves the details that you can further edit.

Step 1:

Your basic profile details are collected.

Qoruz Media Kit

Step 2:

You move on to synchronize other social accounts. You can choose to skip the step and add these accounts later. Tip: Adding a brief introduction in the ‘About’ section and choosing your category of influence helps brands know exactly who you are and what’s your area of expertise, and accordingly only the most relevant opportunities come your way.

Once done, Qoruz will send an update to the registered email id with a link to your media kit page. For reference, you can see mine here.

Step 3:

Qoruz also integrates a work portfolio equivalent into your media kit. You can add previous brand collaborations from the profile editing page. The Featured In, Contributed In, and Brands Worked With sections are good ways to categorize your work and help a brand understand your work profile in a better way.

As of now, you can connect Twitter, Facebook Page, YouTube, Instagram, and Blog accounts.

To make it easy to spread your profile, you have a media kit link to share with potential clientele.

Points to Note

A couple of things to keep in mind. Note that these factors could change in future; therefore, do your due diligence.

#1 Adding a Blog

Qoruz offers the following three options:

Qoruz Connections

My experience says that brands might not be really interested to associate with bloggers running blogs on the free WordPress and BlogSpot channels. Authoritative and influential bloggers usually don’t run a blog on a free WordPress setup, and BlogSpot doesn’t even come into consideration.

Alternatively, you can synchronize the blogs through Google Analytics API. It will give Qoruz access to the data of the intended blog.

#2 Restrictive Brand Linking

Maybe because Qoruz is new, I couldn’t add many of the brands I worked with in the profile because their automated brand fetching system wouldn’t show the name.

I tried adding Business2Community.com in the section for Contributed In but I couldn’t. Unless they keep updating their database for names, it will be tough for bloggers to present a comprehensive profile influence to an intended brand and vice versa.

Influencer Opportunities

Once your media kit is setup, you can expect to receive opportunities basis your influence and relevance. Since the platform is completely democratized and data-driven, your work and profile will speak for themselves, and bring the most relevant brands to your doorstep. There are six kinds of opportunities to avail:

  1. Event Invitations
  2. Product Reviews
  3. Sponsored Content
  4. Exclusive Passes
  5. Press Release
  6. Gifts & Rewards

Brand Connect

Whenever a brand comes to your Qoruz media page, there is a prompt to Connect. Qoruz offers a unique communication portal called Messenger that helps brands and influencers get in touch and stay connected easily and consistently.

Closing Note

Qoruz is a brand and influencer collaboration platform, with the potential to redefine the way influencer marketing is considered and implemented in India right now. I will recommend it for two reasons:

  1. Concise and updated media kit that is shareable and updates in real-time.
  2. Global exposure to brands.

If you try out Qoruz or have already tried it, tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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