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Do Slideshow Apps Have a Future?

  
  
  
  
  

In 2013, 1.6 billion pictures were shared over social media and mobile photo sharing apps. That’s a rate of 600 million photos shared daily. To give you perspective of how quickly that number is growing, 10% of all the photos taken in all of history were taken last month.

Photo sharing apps are creating new opportunities for app developers in areas like editing, mosaics, lenses and image stitching, to name a few. In fact, near the end of the year, you may have seen your Instagram feed exploding with “Year in Review” videos generated by a handful of these apps.

Statigram offered the opportunity to create one such slideshow with pop-up metrics of your photos from the year. Paired with music, this was a nice treat for any “IGer” looking to show off his best-of-the-best. Flipagram and Picflow also stitched images together into a video and were frequently seen on the Instagram stream. The end of the year is a natural period for reflection, and the apps filled that need for photo-sharing users. But since then, you probably haven’t seen any compilation videos. This begs the question: Are these photo-video apps seasonal, or a fad bound to disappear?

There are a few considerations for the longevity of these types of applications. First, users are likely heavy users of a photo-sharing app like Instagram. However, what would be the point in their reliving photos from the past on a regular basis? The heavy users’ audiences have already seen these images and are likely looking for what’s next, not yesterday’s material.

On the other hand, these photo-stitching apps can be used compile thematic images in one thread. A photo-sharer that covers a range of subjects or many sub-segments of a particular topic can aggregate her choice images into one post. This could pique the interest of her audience again.

On the brand side, it is a different story. Sharpie and Oreo, which are major players in the Instagram space, have not yet used these apps, nor have the majority of brands. This is where Renegade thinks the opportunity lies. While these apps may seem seasonal, the compilations are unique, unlike one-off photos. If done creatively and with forethought, a brand could create real interest in the content that strengthens the connection with its followers year-round! If Boo the dog and Jamon the pig can grow their followings with selfies, then one would think creative slideshow content could make a great connection with an audience as well.

What do you think?

flipagram

Snapchat 101: A Brief History

  
  
  
  
  

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When Facebook offers to purchase your startup for $3 billion, you take it, right? Not if your startup is called Snapchat. Its recent rejection of the colossal sum has many scratching their heads. Is the mobile photo sharing app really worth billions of dollars, or more? Let’s take a closer look.

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Beginnings:

In April 2011, Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy sought to create a mobile app where friends could privately share funny photos and awkward selfies. At the time, Instagram and Facebook ruled photo sharing. However, the permanence of these platforms had always discouraged users from posting anything remotely incriminating or embarrassing for friends to enjoy.

So what Spiegel and Murphy built was a messaging tool that allowed users to share “snaps” (photos and video clips), with a catch. The content was temporary. After opening a snap, the recipient had a select number of seconds in which to view it, and then it would disappear—forever.

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Powerhouse potential:

While testing Snapchat a few months later, Spiegel texted a friend that "This thing is a rocketship...Our 7-day retention is 60% right now (target is 30%) and we're growing." Snapchat spread rapidly and began to make news as it gained traction with high school students.

Fast forward to 2013, and the app has grown in a big way. In a September interview with TechCrunch, Spiegel says that users now send over 350 million snaps per day. There are an estimated 30 million monthly Snapchat users and 16.5 million daily users, although a source close to the company states that even these figures are “way too low.”

Snapchat has edged past Facebook in daily photo uploads and is close to overtaking Instagram, Facebook and Flickr combined, according to Business Insider. Impressive figures, but the app has yet to monetize. So what is all this engagement really worth? 

 

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The multi-billion dollar price tag:

In November, Facebook offered to purchase Snapchat for a tidy $3 billion. Execs hoped that the app would revitalize Facebook’s appeal to teenagers, who, in recent years, have shunned the network in favor of others, says the New York Times. Ultimately, Spiegel and Murphy rejected the offer.

So, is Snapchat worth more than $3 billion? Is it worth $3 billion at all? Opinions are mixed. Much like Instagram, many—Facebook included—see the potential for big brands to advertise on Snapchat, helping them reach an elusive, highly valuable demographic. In fact, Snapchat recently hired a former exec from Instagram to help plot the company’s future.

Apart from ads, Snapchat’s Chinese and Japanese counterparts, WeChat and Line, have been able to monetize by selling extra stickers and games. The potential for profit exists, but just how the company will do it remains a question. 

Looking ahead:

Thanks to Snapchat, “ephemeral content” may be the new social media catchphrase, but is it the next wave of mobile communication? Forbes, for one, believes that Snapchat is just the beginning. What do you think: is there any value in ephemeral content for brands?


Update (12/12/2013)
: It looks like Instagram and Twitter have caught on! Both apps are integrating private photo messaging into their platforms as a challenge to Snapchat. Twitter will allow users to send photos via Direct Message, and Instagram is introducing private, user-to-user photo sharing. While neither of these new functions make use of ephemeral content, don't bet against it in the near future.


Apple Announcement Roundup

  
  
  
  
  

Welcome to the Apple Announcement Roundup! In anticipation of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off today in San Francisco, we’ve rounded up a timeline of some of Apple’s major announcements throughout the years.

While it’s been suggested that the 2013 conference won’t introduce any new products—extending Apple’s six-month lull in new product announcements #womp—rumors have been circulating about new hardware, software, and services that may be announced this week.  If you’re not a Registered Apple Developer don’t fret—you can tune into the events of the week through the free WWDC app released by Apple last Monday.  The app allows you to view the schedule, videos, maps, and related news.

01/09/2001 Apple introduces iTunes – “World’s Best and Easiest to Use Jukebox Software” Does anyone use the word “Jukebox” anymore?

10/23/2001 Apple presents iPod as the “ultra-portable MP3 music player” that “puts 1,000 songs in your pocket.”  iPod was the beginning of the end for MP3 and portable CD players.  And the newest iPod can hold 14,000+ songs. 

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Buttons on buttons on buttons. Image Source

01/11/2005 Apple introduces iPod shuffle allowing users to experience their music in a million different ways.

02/23/2005 Apple unveils iPod mini, making iPods more affordable and cuter.

04/12/2005 Apple announces Mac OS X “Tiger” with features like Spotlight and Dashboard, which Steve Jobs said would “change the way people use their computers, and drive our competitors nuts trying to copy them.”

09/07/2005 Apple introduces iPod nano because iPod mini needed a sibling.

01/10/2006 Apple introduces MacBook Pro and gives it a whole MacBook family in later in 2008

01/09/2007 Apple reinvents the phone with iPhone.  We’re quickly approaching first-generation iPhone’s 6th birthday on June 29th at 6:00pm, when the first iPhone went on sale in Apple stores, ever.  Happy birthday iPhone—you’re old.  Remember your first iPhone? 

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Remember this clunker? Image Source

09/05/2007 Apple Unveils iPod touch

10/16/2007 Apple announces Mac OS X Server Leopard

01/18/2008 Apple introduces MacBook Air – “The World’s Thinnest Notebook”

06/09/2008 Apple introduces iPhone 3G

06/08/2009 Apple announces iPhone 3GS – “The Fastest, Most Powerful iPhone Yet,” FaceTime, and unveils Mac OS X Snow Leopard

01/27/2010 Apple launches iPad 

06/15/2010 Apple presents iPhone 4

11/16/2010 The Beatles—now on iTunes

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The day iTunes became legit. Image Source

03/02/2011 Apple launches iPad 2

06/06/2011 Apple introduces iCloud, new version of iOS with notification center, iMessage, Newsstand, and Twitter integration, and Mac OS X Lion

06/21/2011 Apple revolutionizes video editing with Final Cut Pro X

07/20/2011 Apple releases Mac OS X Lion, updates MacBook air with next generation processors, Thunderbolt I/O and backlit keyboard, introduces world’s first Thunderbolt display, and updates Mac mini

08/24/2011 Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple

10/04/2011 Apple launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5, and iCloud

10/05/2011 RIP Steve Jobs

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iMiss you Steve. Image Source

01/19/2012 Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad and unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

3/07/2012    Apple launches new iPad, completes iLife for iOS, brings 1080p HD to new Apple TV

6/11/2012    2012 WWDC - Apple introduces the “Next Generation MacBook Pro” with a slimmer and lighter body design that rendered the optical drive “so 2011,” updates the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro processors and new graphics, announces Mountain Lion will be available in July, and previews iOS 6 with new maps, new Siri features, FB integration, shared photo streams, and the new passbook app.

7/25/2012   OS X Mountain Lion becomes publicly available

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So majestic. Image Source

9/12/2012   Apple introduces iPhone 5

9/19/2012   Apple releases iOS 6 to the public with over 200 new features but most importantly crappy maps

10/23/2012 Apple introduces iPad mini, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with retina display, and all-new iMac features

11/27/2012 Apple announces the November 30th availability of the new iMac

01/28/2013  Apple updates iOS to 6.1

06/10/2013 Apple introduces iPhone 6 with a version of Siri that works, Google Maps built-in, and a free kitten upon purchase.  Just kidding. 

--

Dayna Uyeda is an intern at Renegade and recent graduate of Duke University. Find her on LinkedIn

Will Video Kill the Instagram Star? Video-sharing Apps Compete for “Next-Instagram” Title

  
  
  
  
  

Without a doubt, one of the biggest social media stories of the year has been Facebook’s cool $1 billion dollar purchase of Instagram, a free photo-sharing mobile app that allows users to edit, stylize, and upload photos to several social media platforms. Instagram’s popularity and success can be attributed to a variety of things they recognized about the social media world and its users. First and foremost they appreciated the growing importance of social media on the go, and made their app fast and efficient for mobile use. They also saw the potential in enhancing a mobile photo into a work of art with digital filters: people have the tendency to be more enthused about a personalized pretty picture they created than a regular ol’ snap shot on the iPhone or Android. Since the new Facebook with Timeline has become increasingly oriented around photos and aesthetics, it is not surprising that Mark Zuckerberg would decide to purchase the best app best suited to enhance this aspect of Facebook users’ experience (and perhaps even knock out future competition). Although Instagram is still immensely popular, social media stops for no app, and the company’s success has only energized other start-up tech companies to come up with the next big media-sharing app. And this future big app on campus will undoubtedly be a video-sharing equivalent of Instagram.

 

The Front-Runner

Leading the way for video-sharing apps at the moment is Socialcam, which is second only to Instagram in the Apple Store’s most downloaded free Photo & Video applications. Boasting over 10 million downloads, Socialcam allows users to upload their videos to social platforms and edit videos right after taking them on their mobile device. While the formula seems to follow that of Instagram to a ‘t’, Socialcam also allows users to further personalize their mobile movies with soundtracks and custom titles, as well as with Instagram-esque digital filters.

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Socialcam is one of many hopefuls in the race to be the next Instagram, and the competition is sure to heat up with apps like Viddy, Klip, and others gaining momentum. Because these apps are all free, users are able to discriminate by personal preference, aesthetic, and desired capabilities.    

 

The Competition

Viddy allows users to upload 15-second videos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. Like Socialcam, Viddy allows you to edit your mobile movies on the go with music, digital filters, transitions and more. The Viddy celebrity community is spearheaded by Britney Spears, who has 28.3K followers.  While Viddy is the 9th most downloaded free Photo & Video app, it might be able to amass more of a following if the app was available for Android phone, as only iPhone users can enjoy Viddy now.

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Klip, another iPhone-only app, offers users 20 real-time video effects. On klip.com, users can upload directly and share their movies with the klip community publicly or more privately.  Klip also encourages social media platform integration not only by sharing movies on a variety of platforms, but also by enabling searchable hashtags on the klip site. Users can use hashtags in the title of their videos, track trends or find like-minded movie makers.

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Video might not kill the Instagram star, but these apps are certainly the ones to keep an eye on in the upcoming months.

  

Have you downloaded a video-sharing app? What do you think the next Instagram will be? Let us know what you think.

- Emma Neisser

Apps worth bookmarking

  
  
  
  
  

 

For all the Tech nerds out there, here is an article on incredible apps that you should bookmark to make your life easier. These apps will help you do everything from modify un-editable PDFs to share music, edit photos and design you dream home.

 

It is sometimes overwhelming how many apps and sites are mentioned to us daily. It is even more overwhelming how many of them are completely useless, and just takes up time in our busy day and slowly invades our computer. But with a push on the right direction and a little research there are apps out there that make our lives if not easier, a bit more fun.

 

There is an app that especially caught my attention. Everyone knows what a pain it is to find an apartment in the right place, with the right feel and the right price.  PadMapper is an app that will literally map all the apartments on craigslist on Google maps and when scrolling over each apartment you get the complete info. You can even pick a list to ad to your favorites to then contact the owners and make a selection. 

 

In short if you like music, cooking, design, news, or just plain being organized you should definitely check out the list and see which app fits with your lifestyle. 

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Foursquare Flail

  
  
  
  
  

describe the imageIn 2009, Twitter became the talk of the town.  The next year, daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social kept the social media community on its toes. As 2011 approached, Geosocial applications like Foursquare and Gowalla looked as though they would become the newest communications craze. Even Facebook prepared for such a possibility by adding a Places feature to its networking options.

But as the third quarter winds down, the year no longer seems ripe for a check-in revolution. A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals that while 28 percent of cell phone owners use location-based services for directions and recommendations, but only 5 percent are checking in.  When looking specifically at smartphone owners, the former figure jumps to 55 percent while the latter only increases to 12. 

If Facebook were an oracle hinting at Foursquare and Gowalla’s potential growth, perhaps it is also a harbinger of their decline.  Just two weeks ago the social networking giant dispatched Places in favor of more versatile (and less stalker-like) location functions. 

The failure of geosocial services to find traction could be attributed to a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is privacy.  While some critics might site safety concerns, others simply do not want to broadcast their location across the various networks.  Although check-in applications didn’t become this year’s social media darling, such services could always make a late-game resurgence.  After all, it took Facebook six years to turn a positive cash-flow.

 — Nicole Duncan  

Offline is back on

  
  
  
  
  

gmaillab unpluggedSomewhere along the way to smartphone ubiquity and tablet trendiness, offline became an unsavory word.  Not as repugnant as dial-up or spam, but certainly not magnanimous like 3G.  Social networks, web searches and general connectivity became more important than offline activities like word processing and Minesweep.  The short-lived popularity of netbooks is a testament to the notion that if you’re not connected, you might as well turn your [insert device] off.

But what if you’re in a cafe that has no wireless?  What if your Aunt Elsie’s house is out of range of your 3G network?  Unless you had the foresight to download your work beforehand, such situations serve as flashbacks to pre-2008 computing.  The only difference is that now your choice of activities is even more limited as offline has been left to the wayside by many digital innovators.  

One of the tech behemoths that started this shift was Google: It introduced free programs like Gmail and Google Docs much to the chagrin of software developers.  This May the company released its own netbook, the Chromebook, which seemed to solidify its commitment to the online occult.  

You can imagine my surprise when I learned that Google was rolling out an offline version of Gmail.  The application, which can be downloaded through the Chrome Web Store, is similar to its tablet version in appearance and functionality.  As a dumbphone user who loves frequenting wifi-free cafes with my laptop, the ability to read, respond and sort through old e-mails without a connection is a major boon.  Traditional mail servers like Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail have worked offline for years, but their mobility limitations, screwy settings and bland appearance kept them from reaching Gmail rock star status.

Google announced that it plans to extend this capability to Google Calendars and Docs as well— the latter of which will prove tricky given its collaborative nature.  And if the search-engine-turned-tech-giant decrees “offline” to be an option for the 3G world, others may soon follow in its path.

Nicole Duncan

On foursquare

  
  
  
  
  

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I am a self-professed former foursquare skeptic. Check in to places so people can better stalk me? No thanks.

Times, however, have changed.

A quick look at my foursquare profile reveals I have over 100 check-ins, 18 badges and a mayorship. Not the most avid user, but I open the foursquare app to check-in pretty much on a daily basis.

I changed my stance on foursquare for the following reasons: specials, a reminder of cool places I’ve gone, and badges.

Specials:

Check in somewhere on foursquare and receive free things? Sold.

It’s a great marketing platform. I check-in and spread word about an establishment to my social network and in return I get a free mini cupcake or 20% off my bill. The MLB Fan Cave in New York is actually running a promotion with Showtime’s documentary about the San Francisco Giants (called “The Franchise”) where people who check-in get a free baseball. No gimmicks. Check mine out:

 foursquare Showtime baseball

 Foursquare has also recently partnered with Groupon and now shows Groupon’s daily deals via the foursquare app. You can read more about this collaboration here.

Places I’ve gone:

I don’t keep a journal. I should, but I just can’t seem to consistently write about my days and events. In fact, my memory isn’t always the greatest and I often forget some of the great places I have been to. Foursquare is not my journal, but it is nice to be able to see where I have checked-in in the past. A glance at my profile lists places like Coney Island and the NHL store in New York.

Badges:

The badges on foursquare don’t give any sort of physical reward. They are simply colorful icons that go on the foursquare profile. Yet, I find myself drawn to earning badges such as Fresh Brew, awarded upon checking into 30 coffee shops. It’s petty, sure, but it’s fun and keeps some foursquare users coming back.

 -- Niko DeMordaunt

Bieber Fever Moves to Instagram

  
  
  
  
  

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Justin Bieber gave the photo sharing application Instagram a big boost when he tweeted a picture to his more than 11 million followers. The result? A server or two blowing up.

Soon after he tweeted the instagram picture (of LA traffic), he was gaining 50 followers a minute and a comment every ten seconds on the app. Instagram, though an already popular application with 6+ million users, has never seen activity like that before.

Justin started using Instagram on his own, which is a positive sign for the rapidly growing company. Celebrity endorsements are valuable, especially when the celebrity happens to have something of a cult following on Twitter. Now, Instagram can expect a good number of those more than 11 million followers to sign up for the application as well.  

 

 

-Laura Burns

The Social Influence Score

  
  
  
  
  

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This week, Klout announced that the location based application Foursquare would now factor into their scores. Klout, the “Standard for Influence”, measures a user’s online influence based on connections and activity across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foursquare is a growing social network, and they recently made a deal with American Express to reward card holders when they check-in. Corporate partnerships aren’t the only measure of progress for Foursquare, however, as they just reached 10 million users, raised an additional $50 million, and implemented a new daily deals feature into their application.

It seems natural for Klout to include this network as a measurement of influence. The only problem: they have not figured out how. Accurately measuring the ripple effect of the check-in system and other features of the application are not easy to implement into the algorithm. Still, the company believes they will have a tested and perfected algorithm within the next few weeks. Klout has made it very clear that the inclusion of this network into scores is completely voluntary. Only when a user has added their Foursquare account to their Klout profile will any information be collected.

Foursquare integration is most likely the first of many networks to be included in the Klout algorithm. With the growth of social networks on the web, Klout should stay busy integrating the next big thing into their system.

-Laura Burns

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