You’re stuck at Facebook, honey? Move on to Snap!

In the social media world, times are changing fast but not fast enough. People are bored of Facebook but where is Snap?

The thing called internet has already started looking boring to those young people who had joined Facebook many years back. Of course they linger on, and new people join the platform. Wrongly, it seems that FB is growing very fast and people are floored by it.

As for blogging, new people still come to blogging, but not many. Those who maintain their blog well and know a blog’s value are outnumbered many times by those who open a blog, maintain it for some time and then abandon it. They switch over to Facebook, experiment with Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and when bored of these too, they download apps on their smart phones and play with them. 

Google is soon coming up with Google Glass - a pair of smart spectacles that would record every activity in front the wearer and will share it realtime. Such gadgets will keep the ICT scene vibrant, but the excitement of new tech wears out quickly and people look for more than what tech can deliver. Instead of being happy about their web assets and gadgets, people are getting bored of the technology faster than ever. Especially the younger lot.

There was a time when you told your spouse that you opened an email account and (s)he gave you an admiring look, and showed his/her keenness to learn about that revolutionary thing. Many developments took place on the web scene, and what gave people a platform to express themselves, mostly without any cost, was blogging. Blogging remained a big thing for many years and if you had a blog some 7-8 years back, people took you seriously. Though you are still looked at admiringly if you maintain a well written and regularly updated blog, you cannot showcase your blog as a technological feat. Then come social networking sites – Orkut, Myspace, Facebook, Tumblr, Linkedin, Google Plus. It is an in-thing to be active on one or more of these sites, but their charm seems to be fading fast. You need to mention Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to show that you are not just a Facebook guy. You need to tell that your smartphone has an app that captures your boyfriend's actions throughout the day, geotags them, and relays videos to you. Yet, there is no guarantee that the guy in front of you will not show his app that can capture falling asteroids and send them to your boss when they hit him the most!

If you are still in Facebook age and cannot show off the latest tech stuff, just keep posting quirky stuff on others’ Facebook walls. If you ever had a blog, just let it die its own death the way you killed your first email account.

All said and done, you need to be on the alert all the time. 2013 might see a new platform – allow me to call it SNAP just to link it with the snapping of fingers – that is smarter than Twitter, FB and Google Plus all together. Grab it before you girl-friend/boy-friend/spouse tells you, “Stupid/Honey, you are still on Facebook! Even my grandfather is on Snap.”

It is April 2016.  
Isn't it interesting that we wrote it in early 2013 when Snapchat was nowhere in picture, at least it was not known to us if it had already taken shape somewhere. Now that our fun prediction is already there, we need to think of some new format that emerges in near future.

Blog submissions, our social media presence

This is an unusual post by ITB norms, but we are forced to write this as we are unable to individually reply to bloggers who’ve contacted us on email with blog submissions and for seeking some clarifications. This is because we are receiving up to 10 such emails everyday these days.

Blog submission for the Directory of Best Indian Blogs

We’ll come out with criteria for selection and such other aspects of directory compilation sometime in April. Right now, let’s assure all bloggers who've submitted their blogs for inclusion in the directory that if you have sent an email to us, we’ll definitely have a look at the blog. However, if you suggested a blog before October last year and your blog hasn't found a place in the current edition of the blog directory, we won’t be able to consider it in our next upadation though the blog still lies in our database. Please suggest the blog again if you feel that it might lose our sight during our search for new blogs. Let’s also make it clear here that irrespective of whether a blog has been suggested or not, we ourselves search the blogosphere for new blogs.

Submission for showcase and detailed review of a blog

We are running a long queue of blogs submitted to us for showcasing on ITB site and/or detailed blog review. As far as Blog Showcase is concerned, we are slightly choosy; but if your blog is OK in quality, we WILL showcase it. On detailed blog review, we go by the order in which we receive the blog, and we intend to review ALL the blogs received by us so far. In case we find that we are keeping bloggers waiting for too long a time, we’d announce a pause to detailed review [as we did for three months last year].

About our presence on social networks

We are active on Twitter and Google Plus, but we are not very regular. We have a Facebook page too and a Pinterest account, but these are presently not active enough.

Some bloggers with Facebook and Google Plus accounts have asked us why we don’t respond to their friend requests. We do look at the requests received by us but are unable to reciprocate when we don’t see any substance on an account or when the substance is not appropriate for us to associate with. Beyond that, we love to be friends, especially with bloggers.

Hope, we have been able to make our position clear on these matters.

Blogs score over Facebook, Twitter and Google+, believe us!

This post is based on a TechnoratiMedia document, called ‘2013 Digital Influence Report’.
This latest study by Technorati gives very interesting insight into the behavior of brands and consumers when it comes to their engagement with social media.

Facebook, Google+, Twitter or blog: whom do the consumers trust most?

One question that the report tries to answer is what platform do the consumers trust the most in taking buying decisions on the net. The answer – obvious to us ;) – is blogs!

Blogs  are trusted by consumers more than Facebook and Twitter, and we sort of knew it, but it comes to us as surprise that blogs rank higher even for their popularity and influence. For consumers, retail sites and brands’ own sites come on top for information relating to a product or service, but after that they seem to depend on blogs to cross-check the information, get feedback and so on.

Bloggers influence decisions. Influencers blog a lot!

The report also says, almost nine out of ten social media influencers do blogging, and nine out of ten of these influencers blog for themselves. They do not produce much content outside of their blogs.That means, bloggers greatly influence decisions, because they are trusted for their information, advice and opinion. Don't we go to such blogs and websites again and again whose content guided us sincerely on earlier occasions?

And yet bloggers are paid less

Yes, despite the credibility of blogs, bloggers get paid lowly. This is because, as the survey finds out, ‘brands’ do not perceive blogging platform of high value. For them, blogs come after Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Because social media managers of companies look at wrong parameters to judge where to put their money. 

Brands, avoid herd mentality and look seriously at blogs!

The findings follow that brands are mistaken on two counts. First, they wrongly think that platforms that look fashionable at present [Facebook, Twitter] influence consumer decisions more than less trendy platforms such as blogs. Second, for deciding spending on digital platforms, they go by wrong metrics – number of fans / followers / likes etc on Facebook  and Twitter. These tell more about which way the herd is moving rather than what individual surfers aspire for and like to own.

What the ‘brands’ should do – to influence consumers – is to seriously look at the blogging platform. Once here, they should go for blogs that are trusted by others. One good way, but not enough, could be to look at Google PageRank and blog listings in authoritative open directories. There are many other ways to look at a blog's influence as against the data the analytics providers such as ComScore give them. They must build long-term relationship of trust with bloggers. They must learn to pay for visibility on blogs that attract potential visitors, discuss relevant matters, offer genuine solutions, have unbiased product reviews and so on.

Well, for bloggers the takeaway is, as we always say: blog regularly and maintain high quality of content.

How to find free legal images on the web so that you are not sued for copyright violation

We have received a number of queries in response to our earlier posts, especially the ones  on image aspects for blogs in which we had specifically advised bloggers to use  images from the web with the owner’s permission only. In the present post, we tell you how to find legally usable FREE images on the web (public domain images).

Most bloggers know about Creative Commons –  a non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. They have a search facility for finding images [and also text, music and multi-media] – images that you can ‘share, use and re-mix’. Click here to go to the CC search page. On the top right, they have a big search box followed by two check-boxes for the type of content you want to search.

Wikimedia Commons is great storehouse of visual content that is free to use.  Moreover, no licence – even attribution – is required for using most of the images available on this platform. Still, look at the image details before using it.

Pixabay is a popular picture sharing site with numerous copyright free images. 

There are many sites that offer images on a price but have sections that have free images. For example, you can search for copyright-free images on Flickr, IStockPhoto, GettyImages etc. Be sure that the image you copy has necessary non-copyright notification and does not have watermark.

New social networks have emerge that share photos, and at present Instagram is most popular of them all. You can see its terms of use of others' photos in the given link.

Google’s advanced image search also has the facility to search images according to CC licence. Go to this Google image search page, type the search keyword and click on the ‘usage rights’ filter at the end of the search page, select your option – and you have all the images according to the usage right you chose!

But searching a usable image is only the first step. You must read the fine print about an image  carefully, because the onus on using the image correctly is on you and not Google or any other agency listing images for you. So, go to the image and look for licence terms, and follow them  before using the image.
Updated in 2016.