CultureTech

Social media minions, if you haven’t done so yet, take a second to update your Snapchat.

Snapchat has become a legendary app. It encompasses everything involving sharing bits and pieces of your day with your friends and followers. Organizations have partnered with Snapchat to promote their events through a live feed, and this platform has essentially moved the spotlight from teenagers sending each other random photos, to involving companies creating corporate business deals. It has, in a sense, become revolutionary – it has forced companies and event planners to take a step back and promote their brand through a new medium.

Personally, Snapchat has taken part in my life since its early days. This is the application where I just may send my best friend selfies looking like a sleep-deprived- coffee-binging-alien as I study, holding a large coffee beside my colossal marketing textbook, or smiling through my cucumber green-facial mask-smothered face. It’s where I will send you snaps of scrumptious meals, fabulous weather, and must-go-to-events.

This is also the application where I have to plug my iPhone into my speakers in order to send you a selfie video of me singing to a song that I do not come close to qualifying as a worthy cover artist.

As may know, Snapchat has just released the latest version of the app on February 18, 2015.The new update has left users in a pool of joy – including me. Users can now let their smartphone play music from iTunes, Spotify, and Sound Cloud while recording videos. Before this update users had to use Mindie, an application that allowed music to play simultaneously. Snapchat shutdown Mindie just before the release of this new update. Extra efforts are no longer necessary for vivid video snaps.

I think their latest update, 9.2.0, puts into function a feature that should have been installed as a part of the app from the beginning. However, apparently this feature wasn’t on everyone’s mind. Instagram, Vine, and iPhone’s default camera also neglected to include music playing while recording. I applaud Snapchat for steering themselves ahead of the game. As for “bug fixes and improvements to make Snapchat faster” thanks Snapchat, those are always welcome, too.

I’m excited about this new update – it not only satisfies the demands of current users but it also makes social media life easier. In addition to their latest feature, I can’t neglect to mention the highly talked about “discover” feature. This was last month’s update which – I’m sure you’ve heard by now, is a screen of twelve media icons that serve as news platforms in that particular sector be it fashion, food, travel, sports, politics, etc. These editions or stories are available to the user for 24 hours and they come in multiple mediums like video, text, and photo to fully engage the viewer. Perhaps this is a great way to create a sort of liaison between a disengaged younger audience and paying more attention to the news.

Do you think that Snapchat hit or miss, here? Sometimes I wonder whether or not companies should stick to what they know. It’s interesting to recognize interest in expansion and the implementation of ideas, but I don’t know if I can see Snapchat as a news provider. Personally, I prefer sticking to more traditional resources. What are your thoughts?

Image: Pexels

Skills

Spring cleaning is a time honored tradition. We start the year off right by getting rid of what we don’t need anymore. That gives us room for new things like the Christmas gifts we got last year. When doing your cleaning, don’t forget to clean up your computer.

Raven Moore reminded us to manage our emailsbut there is still work to do offline. New programs and files can add up. The recent updates to my computer took up 100 GB! To keep adding things to your computer, there has to be enough room to do so. You’ll be surprised to know that real life spring cleaning rules will help you make room on your computer.

1. Get Rid of Duplicates and Junk

In real life, we can occasionally use more than one of something. However, you generally don’t need more than one bed in your bedroom. You take the one you need and get rid of the other one. Similarly, if you have duplicate files, you can get rid of them if they serve no purpose.

2. Dispose of Things You No Longer Use

Generally, I keep files of my writing. They are all unique to me. However, there are some programs and files that I never use anymore. These are programs I downloaded for one use or have since become outdated. You may have forgotten that they are on your computer since it’s been so long since you used them. Look through everything on your control panel and search for the programs you no longer need. Once all this is gone, there is a chance that your computer will run faster.

3. Organize What Is Left

When going through your house during spring cleaning not only will you find things you want to get rid of, but you’ll also find things that you want to keep and take care of. To keep track of the things you hold dear, you have to organize them. To organize your computer put the important files and folders in a place where you can easily access them.

4. Keep It Safe

Once you have an orderly computer, don’t forget to back it up! You never know when a virus will hit or your system will crash. I’ve known a lot of people who lost all their data at a critical time like several pages into a paper or 40,000 words into their novel. I’ve even known people who have had their laptops stolen and lost the work on it. Don’t let that happen to you. Buy a backup hard drive.

So, do some spring cleaning. It will require no heavy lifting. You will thank yourself in the long run. No one has ever regretted getting organized.

Image: Getrefe

EducationSkills

Hi, my name is Raven and I don’t delete old emails. This is embarrassing to admit, but I still have emails from freshman year of college. I’m a junior now, which means that I still have almost every email I have received since 2012. I am not going to tell you the exact number but I will say that if I could somehow transform my emails into currency, I’d have a lot of money.

I don’t know why I struggle with deleting emails after I read them. I do, however, know that I am not the only person who needs to do some spring cleaning on their inbox. I could continue to let the emails accumulate and see how much I’ll have senior year before I graduate. But I know that’s not a good idea, especially since checking my email will be become more tedious than it has to be.

This is one of the reasons why going back to delete old emails is so important. If you’re like me and get at least twenty emails per day, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by all of the unread messages you have. When just looking at all of the emails I have begins to overwhelm me, I tend to not look at all of them, which isn’t good because it’s easier to overlook something important that way. I get a few emails in and then I decide to go do something else because my brain feels like it’s going to explode from staring at the screen for so long.

I know that this is not a good thing to do, which is why I suggest setting aside some time and dedicate it to doing some inbox cleaning. Even though you might not want to, take the time to look through any unread email, delete the ones you don’t read and organize the ones you do need into folders. I know this sounds like a pain, but once you do this checking your email will cease being so scary.

Old habits can become hard to break if you don’t stop the cycle. You don’t want to enter into the workforce or even continue through your college career without organizing your inbox and making sure it isn’t too cluttered. Having an inbox with over four thousand emails both read and unread will become the norm if you don’t try to break the habit of letting your emails accumulate.

The importance of cleaning out your inbox goes beyond eliminating the stress that comes with checking your email; it is also a good way to stay on top of the things you need to do. I know that I am not the only one with a messy inbox, so I hope that those of you who are reading this will think about the importance of deleting old unnecessary emails. Once you’re through with the entire process, it will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Maybe that’s not even close to what you’ll feel but having a neat and orderly inbox will make a life a lot easier.

And when you’re in college, easy is always a good thing.

So what are you waiting for? Go clean out that inbox!

Image: PicJumbo

EducationSkills

Creating your own website is now easier than ever. It has become more economical in terms of money and work. But while starting a website is worth only a few clicks of effort, maintaining it and receiving constant traffic takes quite some skill. The essentials, tips, and tactics listed below are ones that I have learnt through experience by starting my very own website.

1. Finding your website’s niche

This is arguably the most important element to your website. You have to identify ‘why’ you are creating your website or ‘what’ purpose it serves. This will be your site’s trademark; people will remember your site for this very reason. To give an example, my website, www.maverickyouth.com, focuses on giving individuals the liberty to write and publish opinionated pieces. Linkedin’s niche is to serve as a platform that connects potential employers with seeking employees. The niche you pick will help your website set it apart from the crowd and it will make it more lucrative (If you’re planning on starting it for commercial reasons of course). Your title may also be linked with your niche for more impact. This task sets you going in the right direction.

2.  Who You Are Targeting

This is the next big step. While having a large consumer base might seem, quite intuitively, stronger, it is not necessarily so. True, having a large audience is a definite ‘plus-one’, but it’s better to have a narrow set of ‘active’ users than a large set of passive ones. My website looks to target young opinionated teenagers who wish to portray themselves through writing. Once you know who you are targeting, everything else will fall into place quite easily. Your website’s look for example can be modified to appeal to your user base’s interests.

3. Teamwork and Diversity Are Key

Having a team of committed individuals will make the whole process faster and more fruitful. Your choice of hiring (for pay or not for pay) is up to your discretion; the bottom line is you have to hire individuals ready to put in their best efforts. Diversity is key in this aspect. Make sure you have a team with diversified skill sets. You have to define their jobs clearly to avoid any ambiguity. Divide the website’s workload and hand over the work to the suitable team members. For example, you may provide the web designing work to someone with a strong background in computers. Since keeping up with each member’s progress is a must, make sure your team isn’t too large, as personal attention is required for more per-capita output.

4. Market Research

After your website is ready, you may share it with a select few to get their opinions and feedback. This sample audience may be close friends, family members etc. They should be people giving credible feedback. Otherwise, you may use websites like www.criticue.com to get feedback from online users around the world. This is an important measure to take before taking your website out into the open. The opinions you receive will be good sources for final touches. They may make you think of things you had not thought of before; you might see potential problems that you once overlooked. If your initial vision was strong, then the positive feedback you get from people will serve as a confident booster. Negative feedback will definitely make you rethink some of your website’s components. This is all for the improvement of your website.

5. Social Media

After your website goes live it becomes time to turn towards social media. Social media is a blessing to all website’s wishing to make it big. There are several widgets your website may employ to connect with websites like Facebook, Tumblr, etc. For example, your website may have a widget that allows users to register to your website by logging into their Facebook accounts. On the same note, creating a Facebook page for your website will be highly beneficial as you will be closer to your consumers. You may choose to use some credit to advertise through social media and attract a larger fan base. But before you involve money into the picture, it’s best you view some of the tutorials on Youtube that show you how to best handle your credit. Make sure you have a constant flow of posts on these social media pages. They are great for advertising new services or products. Since this job can be quite taxing, it would be pragmatic to have at least one individual on your team overseeing this.

Good luck with your own website endeavor!

Image: Picography