Monthly Archives: October 2013

Online or the Bread Line

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I have a friend. His name his Mark. Mark does not have a Facebook account. Nor does he have a Twitter, a Google+ or even a LinkedIn Profile. Mark is currently unemployed. A tragedy in itself, this has been the case for the past year. Completely employable and incredibly talented with a Masters Degree in Art, I have often wondered about the root of Marks’ perpetual availability. He is not unmotivated. He is socially adept, exceedingly popular and graced with superior creative capabilities. By all accounts, my friend would be a coup for any potential employer.

So what’s the problem?

It lies, I have decided, in Marks’ stubborn attitude with regards to his online presence. This artistic mastermind infallibly and rather naively believes that claiming a space to call his own on the world wide we will serve only to his detriment in the long run. Despite opposition from myself and other social media campaigners in our circle that creating an online portfolio of his work could do wonders for his situation, Mark remains static on his point, countering our every argument with the insistence that “exposing” oneself online will inevitably come back to haunt in the future. While I do not disagree that there is a certain etiquette to how one should act and interact online, I am a firm believer in moving with the times and, in 2013, that means progress is partly comprised by the use of a savvy online presence.

We live in a modern society, heavily influenced, nay, ruled by the internet. We shop online. We pay our bills online. We book our travel online. We read the news, check the weather, we learn, we interact, all courtesy of the web. So illogical, it seems to me, to shy away from it as a means to develop ourselves professionally.

A recent study by CareerBuilder.com showed that 37% of employers will use social media sites to screen potential employees before hiring. To my friend Mark this is a legitimate reason to remain absent from a google search. To others, a golden opportunity to showcase who you are and what you can do.

An up-to-date and professional LinkedIn profile, in addition to acting as your “anytime” resumé, proves that you care; about what you do, about how you are perceived and about being taken seriously in your career. It provides you with the ability to advertise your skills in the most appropriate manner and to make those all important connections with other professionals with whom you may not otherwise come into contact with.

Likewise, I am a fan of Twitter as a platform for presenting oneself. Less formal than LinkedIn, Twitter allows users to convey what they are about without being overly invasive or in depth; ergo, a useful and time effective method for employers to get a grasp of who you are and why they should work with you.

The same study conducted by CareerBuilder.com also revealed that a third of employers have found content on social media that has subsequently caused them to dismiss potential
employees. The off putting content ranged from incriminating photographs depicting alcohol or drug use and provocative images to individuals displaying poor communication skills or extreme behaviour.

The moral? While it can be tempting to post those pictures of your fun night out on the tiles for your friends to see, it’s important to remember who else may be silently taking you in. Often, your online profile will be the first impression others get of you. Why not present your very best self? Be proud of your work, use social media as your exhibit. Network, interact and participate and, ultimately, your savvy presence could lead to significant opportunity.

 

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Youtube: Getting It Right

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I am on the train when I get the word. Miley Cyrus has released her new video. Naked and
swinging from a wrecking ball apparently. I am immediately overcome by an inclination to whip out my trusty smart phone and watch it. As much as I could give or take the increasingly scandalous offerings of Billy Ray’s younger daughter, this is current. Miley Cyrus is trending off the wall lately and I want to be involved in the conversation.

Yet I refrain. The opinion of a cellphone sales rep a few months prior resonates through my brain.
“It should be good for day to day use,” he had told me when I enquired about my data
requirements. “It’s sites like Youtube that are the killer.”
And so I reluctantly curb by pop culture appetite and resolve to scrutinize the video when I get home and back to the land of the WiFi. I just can’t spare the data for Youtube sessions on the train.

Sound familiar? Probably. Whether you’re standing in line at the movies, waiting on a bus or just hanging around while your other half tries to pick out a pair of shoes, Youtube is your own personal and seemingly endless library of entertaining and/or informative video content, just waiting to help you pass the time. Alas unless you’ve got your modem in your bag, it’s going to have to be 3G or bust.

That is, my friends, until now.

On September 17th, Youtube announced, via it’s Creator Blog, that it’s introducing a new feature for it’s mobile app.

Starting in November users will be able to store videos from the site on to their devices for later viewing when there is no internet connectivity. That means you can pick your videos while you have an internet connection and have at them at your leisure long after your connection is gone.Pretty nifty eh?

Here’s a quote from the brief and relatively vague blog post:
“This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an Internet connection is unavailable. So your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “Why is this relevant? Didn’t Youtube announce this last year?” Well, close but not quite. In June 2012 the site came out with the ability to precache videos for later viewing. The gist being that while, yes, your videos would be preloaded from your device, you still had to be online to actually watch them.

What makes the latest announcement so relevant, in addition to being incredibly innovative and just downright handy, is that it is a huge step for Youtube whose terms of service currently prohibit downloading of content. Not since its inception in 2005 has the company allowed users to do so, thus rendering this a pioneering move for the media giant.

Proving that being the dominant force in online video sharing is no excuse to rest on one’s
laurels, the update is the next step in a succession of recent developments by Google-owned
Youtube for it‘s mobile app in an effective attempt to keep up with the smart phone society we live in. In addition to last year’s preached video feature, in August of this year, the site unveiled a sleek new navigation tool that allows users to watch a minimized video while continuing to browse the site, enabling an easier flow of content and increased usage.

Unfortunately though, the most recent update of the app comes with a catch. You didn’t think Youtube would let us download all the content we want just like that did you? According to reputable tecch blog, AllThingsD.com, via an email sent from Youtube, content downloaded to the “on device” section of the app will only be available to watch offline for a period of 48 hours, after which time, users must reconnect to the internet in order to refresh the selection.

There is no indication yet as to whether the site has secured rights to allow music videos to be downloaded, however temporary, but it’s definitely not something I would assume to be the case. Youtube has promised more details in the run up to the update next month.

Still though. Overall, it sounds pretty generous to me. And with mobile viewing comprising over 25% of Youtube’s global watch time, there is little wonder why the company is taking every step to remain relevant and socially up-to-date in this fast-paced electronic generation. It’s exciting and simply begs the question, “what next?”.