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“The End of the Smartphone Era is Coming” – the title of this blog definitely caught my attention. The end of the smartphone era, come on! That sounds ridiculous. And as the author of this blog acknowledged, many people disagree with this statement and I am one of those people.  I do agree with the author on one point, the smartphone will evolve. Into what I’m not sure. But, I’m 99% positive that it won’t turn into Google Glass computerized glasses.

Now these glasses are cool, very Total Recall, but I have a feeling they will be about as successful as 3D TVs – few and far between.  The power of mobile will not succumb to the allure of these glasses.  My main reason being, they cover your eyes and force you to focus on one thing, one thing!  This is unheard of in the age of the smartphone. Users want to simultaneously play Draw Something on their phone, watch tv, flip through a magazine on their iPad and FaceTime their friend from their laptop.  We can’t and won’t be siloed.  So don’t try to kill the smartphone with these glasses, simply redirect this technology – perhaps in the world of gaming…

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“What is real? asked the rabbit one day. Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?… Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you … Does it hurt? asked the rabbit … Sometimes, when you are real you don’t mind being hurt … Does it happen all at once like being wound up, or bit by bit? … It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

London is burning, again. In the last couple days, rioters have joined forces, upset by the death of Mark Duggan, through the means of social media. Recently, social media has been central to uprising, such as those in the Arab world. It makes sense, since you have the power to reach millions in just seconds! So the organization of protests via social media is nothing new, but unlike other protests, these efforts have proven to be entirely destructive in nature. Rioters are breaking into businesses, looting, fighting back, and setting fire to cars and buildings.

It also seems that this riot chose a different medium to get the message out. In other protests, Facebook and Twitter have been the main sources of distributing messages, however, this riot seemed to be orchestrated mostly through the more underground system of Blackberry’s BBM messaging. It has been said that Blackberry is a cheaper alternative to smartphones, and have been heavily marketed to black youth in London – the main demographic participating in these riots. Blackberry is now in a bad position. They try to help police, but are threatened by the rioters.

As these riots continue, there is another group of people harnessing social media’s power for the greater good of London. Groups are forming over the internet to organize cleanup of the riot aftermath. On Twitter, @riotcleanup and #riotcleanup are the two main sources for disseminating the time and location of the next cleanup. Facebook has had similar group pages pop up, like London Cleanup (http://www.facebook.com/londoncleanup).

Within this London riot, we have seen social media and technology work both ways. It has created destruction and chaos, but it has also allowed London to come together, stop the riots, and cleanup the messes made by the riots.

One word came to mind when I heard bike repair vending machine; “Yessss!”  Bike Fixation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sells you parts from a vending machine in order to fix your bike problem, then provides you with the space and tools to successfully repair the problem. As FastCompany put it, brilliant!

Scenario: You are riding your bike along the road, about 20 miles from home. You get a flat tire. You pull off to change it when you realize, you forgot to replace the tire tube from your last blow-out!   Home is about 20 miles away, the closet bike shop is 30 miles away, both too far to walk to. No one is answering your calls to be picked up. But there is Bike Fixation just around the corner! At Bike Fixation you buy a new tube from the vending machine and replace it on the spot, using their tools and stand after you find out your tool set is rusted and won’t open.

This type of place is especially great for the casual ride who doesn’t bother bringing tools or extra tubes with them. Right now only one of these bike vending machines is available in the world, it is in the bike-friendliest city in America, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Rightly so, expect these to be popping up in only bike-friendly cities like, Portland, Boulder, Seattle, and New York, to name a few, once this company takes off! It’s the vending machine of the future, and I like what I see.  I would love to put one in St. Louis, but unfortunately, I don’t know of a convenient spot to put it…maybe in Forest park?

[image from FastCompany.com]

Spotify has opened their doors to American music listeners. Klout users with high scores were granted first access to Spotify.  Klout scores your overall online influence. If the user has a great Klout score, which in essence means you are a top influencer within social media, you could get a Spotify Premium account.

By teaming up with Spotify, Klout has self-validated their claims of finding influencers and generated a lot of buzz for their cause.  But I’m not convinced that their scores are an accurate measurement of your online influence. Klout scores range from 1 to 100, higher scores represent a wider and stronger influence. These score are generated using over 35 variables (clicks, comments, interactions, tweets, retweets, etc…) on Facebook, Twitter in three categories: True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Score.

Yes, in essence, influence is having the ability to drive action from others, convincing them something is important. So I guess if someone retweets something you posted, you could be considered influential. But being influential is a pretty vague concept and like most things, influence is relative.

I have a couple of friends who are obsessed with increasing their Klout score utilizing simple methods like adding hashtags and links, mentioning each other in tweets,and re-tweeting each other’s tweet.. They have successfully increased their Klout score, but are they really that more influential now? Probably not, maybe within their small circle, but I think instead they have just created more action and Klout confuses this with influence.

Another factor that questions Klout’s measurement accuracy of influence is that my score says I’m influential about Zappos. I simply follow Zappos on Twitter. I have not mentioned them in my tweets or Facebook posts, and I’ve only shopped with them a handful of times in my life. I have no clue how I would be influential about Zappos.

So bottom line, be weary of those who throw their Klout score around and want you bow down to them.  Actual influence is harder to measure than with just a Klout score.  But hey, if it gets me one of the first American invites to Spotify, I’ll play along 🙂

Over the weekend, New York legalized gay marriage. This is a huge step for human equality, but the fight isn’t over. There are still tons of minds to change and hurdles to jump before all Americans have the constitutional right of equality.

To help the fight, a NY city artist, iO Tillet-Wright, has set out to take over 4,000 portraits all over the country of people who are not 100% straight. With these photos, iO wants to show America the humanity in these people who are denied equality. All in hopes of changing minds and garnering support for this civil rights movement.

Please check out this project, challenge your thinking, and if you can, support the cause to make a difference!

In an April 2011 study conducted by ROI Research and Performance, online consumers believe that a LinkedIn account is the most important social networking profile to have. LinkedIn even trumps Facebook. This seems crazy to me since Facebook has the highest engagement rating of the top five social networking sites. What more, Twitter and YouTube also beat out Facebook when it comes to importance. (Read more on MarketingVox)

So how is it that Facebook can be the most widely used site but is not rated as the most important site? I think the answer lies in how people use each site. People go on to Facebook to connect with old and new friends, post pictures, and make plans for the weekend. Where as LinkedIn and Twitter are all about receiving/distributing information and making professional connections.  I would gladly let employers and co-workers connect with me via LinkedIn and Twitter. In fact, I would actually encourage it; I believe that having these connections would be beneficial to my career. Whereas, I would think twice about friending a co-worker or employer on Facebook. Facebook is a little more personal to me and even though I don’t post any photos or information that might defame myself, this is a space where I don’t want them to go. There is no value for me to make this connection with them via Facebook. I think my thinking is similar to others in this study. We see Facebook as a personal, fun space, whereas, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube could help them professionally, thus having more importance.  But that is just my opinion, what do you think?