social media

5 Steps to a Digital Detox, New Tech City-style

Feeling taxed by 2014 already? Promised yourself you’d stop being a slave to your phone? Maybe it’s time for a digital detox. Watch the 1-minute video…

5 steps to getting closer to digital inner peace:

 

1. Limit yourself to charging your gadget ONCE for the week. You’ll begin rationing those Pinterest sessions instead of going on hours-long binges.

 

2. Pretend it’s the year you were born and only interact with people via the communication tools that were available that year. (I, for example, would only be able to talk by landline.)

 

3. Organize yourself with tactile products, like Post-Its. Unlike on your phone, that list of tasks will be a constant visual reminder… and you may actually complete them.

 

4. Send a tweet or status update that says you’re taking a break from Twitter/Facebook. You’ll look like a loony addict if you login before your self-imposed hiatus ends.

 

5. Reward yourself with something sensuous for every day you refrain from Facebook/email/CandyCrush. Treats could include a beautiful box of hand-printed letterpress cards, a foot massage, or a cuddle session with the neighbor’s pet rabbit. So soft. 

Liked this? Found it silly but true? Get your New Tech City love every week by subscribing to our podcast, following me on Twitter, or checking out the website. We’re all in this together.

Posted in media tips, Popular, smartphones, social media, tech, WNYC
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What Leadership Really Means: Teens + Tech

Female campers uses iPhone at summer camp
Campers were allowed to bring smartphones, tablets and other technology to Longacre Camp for the first time in the summer of 2013. (Jennifer Hsu/WNYC)

 

Will a bold experiment in Pennsylvania create good habits for kids, or ruin a summer ritual?

I would totally send my kids to Longacre Leadership, a camp in rural Pennsylvania New Tech City first profiled in July.

Set on a woodsy hilltop dotted with tents, it has exactly the organic-farming-community-building-exhuberant-but-not-too-crazy-competitive spirit that would attract a lot of yuppie Brooklyn parents who are nervous about sending their offspring away for the summer.

The campers refer to each other as “farmers.” They milk goats, collect eggs, pick fresh lettuce and go on wholesome outings to nearby Hershey Park and the local bowling alley.

So you might think, “Wow, what a great chance for teens to unplug and enjoy nature and make new friends! No distracting video games and social media apps!”

But the camp’s director had something else in mind this year.

Matt Smith is the son of Longacre’s founders. He’s 31 years old, and this is his first summer in charge. He has a different philosophy than his parents when it comes to leadership.

He feels that, for teenagers today, “leadership” isn’t about learning to take charge. It’s about learning how to make decisions for yourself, take considered actions and set boundaries.

Our constant immersion in gadgets is making it harder and harder for kids to develop those skills, Smith says.

So rather than mandate a digital blackout, he decided to help his campers develop ways to cope with technology.

As Smith explained, “This generation is the first to be grappling with this. They grew up with screens and smartphone technology. We just figured if we are going to prepare them for life, part of that preparation has to be learning to find balance in their lives with technology.”

When I first talked to Smith in June, before camp started, he was nervous about Longacre’s new “Anything Goes” policy.

The camp encouraged the teens to bring along their smartphones, tablets and other digital devices, but on Day 1, they had to hand their gadgets over to Smith and stay tech-free for the first week so they could get to know one another face to face.

When the campers were reunited with their gadgets, all hell broke loose.

Kids ran to The Octagon, the only cabin with electricity, to plug in. They ignored each other and holed up in tent corners to tweet, update Facebook, text, call and be gamified.

Kimmy, a girl from Long Island, described those first hours back with her phone as an out-of-body experience: “I know this sounds strange but I didn’t even know where I was. I was like wait, am I talking to my friends or am I at camp?”

In late July, when I went to visit the camp with WNYC’s Jenn Hsu and Collin Campbell, the kids had gotten used to having their gadgets back. Some of them had grown philosophical about technology. Many decided to set limits for themselves…and for their friends.

Kids who wore their headphones too often got dirty looks. Some campers restricted themselves to texting during quiet time. One girl even handed her phone back to Smith. She felt the constant contact with her friends and family reignited the homesickness that had abated during her first week.

Looking back, Smith says he thinks his campers were less anxious when their gadgets were tucked away.

“Adolescents want to socialize, be accepted, try new behaviors, separate from their parents,” he said. “Those are all normal behaviors and I understand why social media can be an allure. But camp and other kids can provide that.”

During our visit, I saw a lot of hugging and hand-holding at Longacre. There was kitchen duty, gardening, lasso instruction, swimming, lots of singing and a cave exploration field trip. Fun stuff.

One teenage boy told us, “People don’t see technology as tools anymore. They see them as friends.”

Despite his disgust with what gadgets can do to real-life relationships, he confided that after trying out his bunkmate’s iPhone, he was definitely going to buy one when he got home.

“I’m not going to use it as much as other people, but I still want to know about it,” he told me.

This camper had discovered where he drew the line on technology.

At least one mission accomplished, Matt Smith.

If you just liked what you saw, please check out New Tech City on iTunes and rate us.
And I’d love to know where you draw your line with tech.  Let me know on Twitter @manoushz #myline

Posted in media, Popular, smartphones, social media, tech, WNYC
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PRISM Provides a Lesson in Personal Branding

Imagine this: you flash your top-level security badge, settle into a government conference room with some hot coffee…the lights dim and on the screen begin flashing slides explaining the latest NSA surveillance plan, code-named PRISM.

PRISM slide

If you’re presentation designer Emiland de Cubber, you probably would start laughing. “When I first saw them, I thought it was some kind of a joke because they were summarizing all of the Power Point clichés,” de Cubber told me when we reached him in Paris by Skype.

On this week’s New Tech City, de Cubber tells us why he was so moved to revamp the NSA’s slides, with “with all the corporate mistakes of presentations, such as enormous logos, illegible fonts, cheesy charts, and stuff like that,” he said.

Content aside, de Cubber’s ruthless design sense resulted in some beautifully crafted slides:

“I start by removing stuff. I really think that each items on the slides must struggle for its life and struggle for its presence on the slide. And if it’s useless, let’s get rid of it.”

 

Since his upgraded slides went viral, the freelancer has been featured in FastCo Design and The Huffington Post and received over 150 employment inquiries.

De Cubber’s slides are also a perfect example of “native advertising,” that trendy term for “an ad whose form and delivery is identical to the content environment in which it is served,” as ReadWrite puts it.  No Facebook banner add could have given de Cubber this amount of exposure or demonstrated his professional skills so well. This is “personal branding” done right.

Listen on Tuesday to the interview with de Cubber and also my discussion with Mozilla’s head of privacy on WNYC.  Or just go to iTunes and download the podcast.

Meanwhile, do you think style matters no matter what the content? Tell me your thoughts at @manoushz

Posted in content marketing, freelance work, Interviewing, media, social media, tech, WNYC
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Why We Love Events: 4 Conference Attendee Personality Types

internet week: events, panels, conferences, forums galoreIt can feel like the events, conferences, meetups, and hackathons never end.

Recent events I have been invited to include: PSFK, Project Connect, Techcrunch Disrupt, Paid Content, NY Tech Day, NYT Energy Tomorrow, StartupCity, New York Ideas Forum, OpenCo, Inside 3D Printing Conference, Parting the Clouds, Shorty Awards

Now it’s Internet Week in NYC.
Chances are you or someone you know is either planning, watching, sitting on, moderating, streaming, or avoiding a panel AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

4 TYPES

Why are we so obsessed with events and conferences in an age when everything can be accomplished online? Maybe you’re desperate to get out because your butt hurts from sitting at your desk all day (or your back hurts from being subjected to a poorly hacked standing desk).

But it’s also likely that you fall into 1 or more of these 4 categories:

1. The Personal Brander
You proudly refer to yourself as an “event whore.” Every event is a chance for you to spread the word about your startup…or just you. You pride yourself in having actually met most of the people you follow on Twitter. You stopped calling yourself a freelancer and started referring to yourself as an entrepreneur way back in 2009. There’s lots of Seth Godin on your Kindle. You understand the new paradigm of the workplace.

2. The Constant Content Maker
Conferences are your goldmines—you run around tweeting, blogging, interviewing, and shooting video on your phone. You come armed with an extra battery pack, know where all the outlets are at every city venue, and attack panelists the minute they walk offstage. You are a Social Media Beast. Hear you roar.

3. The Reality Checker
Going to events confirms that you do indeed know your stuff. You mostly sit in the audience, feeling annoyed, and thinking, “I could be sitting up there. This is nothing new.” You vow to stop attending so many conferences but then check Gary’s Guide and feel a wave of FOMO wash over you.

4. The Mind Melder
Between managing your colleagues’ “workflow” and sorting out the intern’s security clearance, you hardly have time to live up to your impressive title. Then you discovered that conferences are a chance for you to turn off your phone, sit quietly, and actually use your brain. So once a week, you sneak out of the office, listen to some “thought leaders” and remind yourself why you got into tech/media etc. in the first place. It sure wasn’t to fill out timesheets for a living.

MY EVENTS

Feel free to be one or more of these “types” at the events I’ll be hosting, speaking, and moderating this week:

Brand Camp, May 20, 2013

WNYC Presents: STEM is the New Space Race, May 21, 2013

Social Advertising: Sharing and Powering Relevant Conversations, May 21, 2013

Multiscreen: Getting It Right, May 22, 2013

If you haven’t downloaded WNYC’s New Tech City from iTunes yet, please do! I’d love to hear what you think @manoushz.

Posted in conferences, entrepreneur, media, Popular, social media, start-up, tech, webcasts
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Rolling out a Brand’s Interactive Video Strategy: How LinkedIn Could Do It

I’m still surprised that more companies aren’t taking advantage of free live video platforms like Google Hangouts and Spreecast.

Some media companies are starting to get it

Glamour just wrapped up a month long series of product sponsored hangouts (Unilever and L’Oreal were among the brands that reportedly paid for demonstrations of the latest hair styles etc.).

The LA Times and Wall Street Journal are using Spreecast to hold discussions about healthcare laws and tech startups. As a recent PaidContent article put it:

“People want to talk about the news but they’re looking for smart conversations. We’re moving on from the days of television round-tables and flame wars in comment threads — or at least many people are looking to move on.”

 PCMag’s Video Strategy: Here’s a recent Spreecast I did with Editor-in-Chief Dan Costa:

How LinkedIn Could Use Live Interactive Video

One site that I think is ripe for using live interactive video is LinkedIn. I’ve been watching with interest as the site has evolved. All Things D put it well:

“LinkedIn shifts from being a static site to upload your resume and perhaps visit only when you’re looking for a new job, into a site where content is front and center, where users actually want to return to the site on a daily basis to see something new.”

LinkedIn’s Executive Editor Dan Roth has set up an awesome roster of big names in business and other fields called LinkedIn influencers. I get a weekly email summary from LinkedIn that lists all the best blogposts from these “thought leaders.”

But I think LinkedIn and any site that is putting out informative, educational content should consider using interactive video.

A Strategy for Rolling Out Interactive Video

I. The Goal: to create a series of videos that also generate highly shareable and evergreen content.  They should be interactive and live but also easily clipped for integrating into content across the site and building up a searchable video library (as HuffingtonPost Live has done for The Huffington Post).

II. Two Formats

I suggest launching the original video content strategy with 2 formats:

Thought Leader Q&A: an interactive live on-screen discussion that provides members/readers with access to big names in your field. A weekly show would create vehicles for those big names and generate highly shareable clips.

How-To Workshops: experts teach specialized skills, depending on the field. With live in-vision questions from the audience, interactivity is key to creating educational classes that also generate evergreen how-to clips.

III. Three Phases

Any video strategy should target the most trafficked, “neediest,” and influential verticals on the site.

LinkedIn, for example, could roll out interactive video like this:

Phase One:
Focus video content on the job search, entrepreneurship, and social media verticals.

Phase Two:
Introduce video formats into the ehealth, career growth, and “women in business” verticals.

Phase Three:
Consider expansion into tech, media, and non-profit verticals.

Just FYI, Spreecast recently got a big update and now is available on mobile. Hangouts has a leg up because you can upload any chats directly to YouTube.

Check out my ebook Camera Ready for video storytelling techniques and follow me on twitter @manoushz. 

Posted in content marketing, future of news, media, Publishing, social media, tech, video ideas, webcasts
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Irrational Exuberance? Tech Sector Personalities

Matthew Brimer, Co-Founder of General Assembly, about to give a talk at SXSW. He describes himself on Twitter as, "Maker of things and doer of deeds. Bullish on The Future. New York, NY."

I’m thinking a lot about irrational exuberance these days, specifically:

-whether it applies to the tech sector and the journalists who cover it

-how the concept of failing has changed, thanks in part to the tech scene

-if it’s an American thing to feel failure isn’t shameful but simply part of any learning process

-whether un-American (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) pragmatism is partly why Evgeny Morozov, author of  To Save Everything, Click Here, is so disgusted with the tech sector


The SXSWi festival last month in Austin seemed to be the pinicle of digital exuberance. I rediscovered an interview I did there with developer Pablo Quinteros and entrepreneur/journalist Seth Porges. Seth found Pablo when he hired him to create his fashion app Cloth.

I found these guys while wandering the Made in NY event. Listen and just tell me you aren’t slightly infected by their intense enthusiasm, sweet honesty, and patient explanation about how the relationship between tech entrepreneur (aka Ideas Guy) and a developer (aka Coding Dude) can play out….actually, really, listen and let me know what you think about the excitement around tech in New York right now.

I’m also on Twitter @manoushz

Posted in conferences, entrepreneur, Interviewing, jobs, media, social media, start-up, tech
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How Tech Changed the Way I Live + Work

This week is New Tech City‘s first ever event and it is SOLD OUT. But you can join WNYC and me for “How Tech is Changing the Way Women Work” at The Greene Space online, where we will be streaming the panel LIVE…and not just audio, video too.

When we were planning this gathering months ago, we had no idea just how timely the topic would be: with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book coming out, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer deciding to ban working from home, and Anne-Marie Slaughter becoming a feminist rockstar.

But we don’t want to rehash old ground, or all the articles you’ve read over the past couple of weeks. So we’re going to hit three topics: digital tools and how to manage them, female entrepreneurs and start-ups, and finally, coding and working in STEM fields and what that can mean for the next generation. And of course, we hope you’ll share YOUR story either here or on Twitter #womentech. I figured if I’m asking everyone to get personal, I might as well explain how I came to the idea of holding this event. Be warned: I mention boobs.


THE PANEL

Jessica Lawrence, Managing Director of NY Tech Meetup

Marie C. Wilson, founder of The White House Project and Co-creator ofTake Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder of Work+Life Fit, Inc.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael, lead product managemer at Percolate, former editor and journalist at the Financial Times 

Listen or watch at 9am on March 19. Open your favorite browser and see or hear the event streaming live. Better yet, have a listening coffee klatch with your co-workers or friends and discuss afterwards.  Or come back later…we’ll also have a podcast of the event up soon. Flex-work, flex-media consumption.

Posted in conferences, jobs, moms, Popular, smartphones, social media, start-up, tech, video ideas, webcasts, WNYC
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Made in NYC Event at SXSW: Geeks Wanted

Made in NYC at SXSW
Made in NYC at SXSW

In addition to promoting NYC’s tech scene, the Made in New York event at South by Southwest interactive on Saturday was a getaway for busy New York entrepreneurs to schmooze, trade business advice, and, most importantly, scout for talent. Listen to the full show and all the interviews on WNYC’s New Tech City.

Shutterstock CEO Jon Oringer told me, “We are looking for more tech hires and product people. We look for the scrappy entrepreneur, the kind of person that will get things done without looking to spend money right away.”

Sponsored by the Bloomberg administration and New York Tech MeetUp, the event took place in a downtown arts center in Austin, complete with spinning classes on the roof and Makerbot machines churning out figurines on the ground floor. On the second floor, CEOs and reps from NYC-based startups including SherpaaSongzaVook, and General Assembly manned tables at what looked like a job fair. There just aren’t enough software developers to turn all of New York’s media, fashion, and finance ideas into digital reality.

Made in NYC Austin
Ready for hyper New Yorkers in Austin

“There are over 990 companies that are 75% or more based in New York City…and it’s really important that people know this—they are hiring for 3,000 different jobs,” says Rachel Haot, New York’s Digital Officer. So techies can pretty much have their pick of any city.

Engineer Matt Schaar has a business degree and is based in Detroit. He’s considering a move to New York. “I want to be in an environment where I see not only resources but also the passion, the drive, and the pragmatism that I’ve seen in a variety of people from New York—from the startup scene but also coming to an event like this,” he said.

Robert Scoble and Ben Metcalfe
Ben Metcalfe getting "Scobelized"

 

 

Check out my slideshow on the pros and cons of New York’s tech scene. It was part of my presentation at a SXSW panel called Doing Business in the USA. I sat alongside Rackspace’s Robert Scoble of Silicon Valley, the founder of Austin-based WP Engine Ben Metcalfe, and former Obama campaign CTO Harper Reed from Chicago. Let me know what you have to add at @manoushz on Twitter.

Posted in conferences, entrepreneur, media, social media, start-up, tech, WNYC
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3 Key Tips to Making Great Video at Events

Why is an internet provider writing blog posts like “3 Ways To Make Your New Brand Bloom” or uploading videos called “3 Tips and 1 Must-Do From (Marketing Expert) Ann Handley”?

With Cox Blue, Cox Communications wants to be a resource for marketing know-how, not just a company that will hook up your wifi. Ever checked out Amex’s Open Forum? It’s a similar concept but Cox hopes to take the content to the next level with more multimedia and a particular focus on small to medium-sized business managers.

I found out about Cox Blue when they asked to interview me about the future of video at New Media Expo in January. I was impressed by their very professional and efficient setup at the 3-day conference: they filmed 26 interviews with “thought leaders” and are using the edited versions to launch an aggressive YouTube strategy.

Here are 3 KEY TIPS to making great video at conferences:


1. Quality Matters

Cox’s Martin Jones invested in a small video team that shot beautiful interviews with great lighting and audio. They even used the RED video camera, the same one used by Peter Jackson to shoot The Hobbit. Their high-quality videos stand out.

2. Do “Thought Leader” Interviews to Create Content…and Guide Your Own Strategy

Conferences are great places to make a lot of video. The key players in your industry are gathered and want to look important, so invite them for an interview, network, and get some free advice. They’ll also play an important role in publicizing your content later.

3. Humanize Your Brand and Theirs

When you interview people, ask them to tell their own story on camera, don’t just ask them to pontificate on a subject. Intimate, personal details make a boring subject come alive and makes every topic more accessible and memorable.

Have you created any great video at a conference recently? I’d love to see it.

Check out my show, WNYC’s New Tech City, and my ebook, Camera Ready: How to Present Yourself and Ideas On Air or Online. Download the podcast on iTunes, get the book on Amazon or iBooks, and follow me on Twitter @manoushz

Posted in conferences, content marketing, future of news, Interviewing, media, Publishing, social media, video ideas
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Vine: Quick Do’s + Don’ts to Make the Most of 6 Seconds

Media people love Twitter…so they love that their favorite social network is finally is getting in on video for real.  The 6-second format is extremely limiting- but also kind of a great challenge. When I spotted Google Glasses being tested out at my local coffee shop I was able to commit an act of journalism very quickly:

Ironically the app goes back to a very linear way of video editing (before everything was digitized) and you had to edit your shots in order. I love that—it’s a great mental exercise.  Keep these pointers in mind when filming your next masterpiece:

Do’s:
  • Film cinematically; 6 seconds means you have to let the pictures do the talking. Consider a panning shot or using the stop-motion technique that the app lets you do so easily.
  • Remember that Vine records audio pretty well. So consider what the viewer will hear as well as see.
  • If you happen to witness (and film) something shocking, think before you post. The real-time speed at which Vine works is sure to bring up some editorial and ethical questions very soon.
Don’ts:
  • Don’t do a Vine just for the sake of doing a vine (unless it’s for practice or your personal feed). If it doesn’t add an element to your story, don’t bother.
  • Don’t forget to embed your Vine videos in blog posts. Your videos don’t just have to live on the vine, so to speak. Here’s how from schmutzie.com
  • Don’t forget that all video (no matter how short!) needs to tell a story with a beginning middle and end. What will your caption be for your Vine? Figure that out and then, time permitting, do a quick storyboard in your head before make that green line move.

Who knows if the Vine love will last. I wrote a post last summer about Viddy, Socialcam, Tout and other video apps that were poised to be the next big thing and, well…

To see more ways of  turning your phone or laptop into a video content machine (GIFs! Cinemagrams!) just in time for Social Media Week and SXSW, join me and Muck Rack‘s CEO Greg Galant for a special online class on Spreecast. And follow me on Twitter @manoushz to see if I’m actually making social video (or just talking about it).

Posted in content marketing, future of news, media tips, smartphones, social media, tech, video ideas, webcasts
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