What I’ve Been Reading

Lots of news lately surrounding social media platforms (both new and old). Here are some of the articles that I’ve been reading lately. Some you might have seen already and others might be completely new. I’ll try to throw some fun things in there as well!

Amazing iOS6 Maps. It’s no secret that when Apple launched their new operating system that got rid of Google Maps, people were annoyed. It’s the number one reason i have not yet switched over. As someone who uses the transportation button on there frequently, I’m quite annoyed that they would do such a thing. There is quite the amusing tumblr going on that shows all of the “amazing” new features – such as missing bridges, a “roller coaster” Hoover Dam and others.

What You Can Say to Siri. Okay, okay, everyone is hating on iOS6 maps, but they did manage to throw a few good upgrades in there. Including an improved Siri! Here are some of the things that you can now ask.

Myspace. Everyone has to remember Myspace from forever ago. Crazy flashing backgrounds, weird message boards and, of course, Tom. Myspace appears to have a new upgrade coming soon (in November) and I’m definitely interested to see what they’re going to offer. Worth a look!

Facebook publishing private messages. Remember those supposedly “private messages” you sent on Facebook, they might be public now. Apparently some Facebook messages from 2008 and earlier have been mistakenly posted publicly to your timeline – might want to go check your privacy settings.

XKCD map. For a little fun, how about a giant scrolling comic from xkcd. Kept me entertained for a good bit.

USA Today redesign. USA Today launched a redesign (done by F-I). Amazing! Definitely worth looking into. Their interface made me so happy as a UX designer.

What have you been reading lately?

What I’ve Been Reading

There are an enormous number of blogs, newspapers, journal articles, post-it notes, etc out there. At times it becomes hard to sift through and keep up with everything.

Here are a few that have stood out recently:

Artistic Distance

An article by A List Apart about the need to step away from your work every once in a while and look at it from a new perspective. It reminds me of a drawing class that I took freshman year at RIT (where we got our charcoal drawings erased after 4+ hours of working on them). We learned quickly to step away and become unattached from our work. That is not to say that a designer or artist should not be fully invested in their work, but they need to recognize when there are mistakes or when they need to rework parts.

Information is Beautiful – Designing the Cover

Information is Beautiful. If you haven’t heard of this book before, you should definitely go check it out. It’s an entire book of interesting information graphics. This article goes into detail about how the cover was chosen and shows all of the various iterations along the way. In total, there were over 90 covers that were considered at one point or another. As someone who picks almost all books by their cover, it’s interesting to think about what it could have been.

And last but not least, Real Chat Over Socialed

It’s an interesting read that bring up the question of whether or not we’re too connected. When was the last time you had a real conversation face to face without the distraction of tweeting/texting/checking in? There are definitely situations where we need to be reminded to focus on the present and not have distractions coming in from all sides.

Of course, these three articles far from cover what is out there right now but they’re just ones that have stood out.

What have you been reading lately? 

Admissions & Social Media

Right after my love for design, comes the one for social media & marketing.

As a graphic design major, all of my classes focus on the visual aesthetic of something but rarely dive into metrics or how design could be used directly for marketing. I frequently find myself swaying back and forth trying to figure out which one “fits” better. Only to realize that they can be used together. I’ve found through taking Business courses (I’m a Digital Business minor), I’ve been able to more clearly see how marketing and design work together and how I don’t really have to “give up” one when looking for jobs.

But let’s start from the beginning..

For the past four years I’ve worked for the RIT Undergraduate Admissions office. When I started,  I worked in the mailroom and blogged but since then I’ve kind of ended up in a social media position which has evolved drastically over the past few years. It’s a slightly long story but you can hear about some of it here on AdmissionsLive:

It’s been nice because we’ve had the same target market for four years: prospective & accepted students. Then we had to figure out how to leverage what was out there to help them. We cover everything from traditional social media such as Facebook and Twitter to blogging, video blogging (new this year), weekly webisodes, live streaming (in beta) and launching something super cool in March (stay tuned). Of course, Facebook has changed its layout throughout this process more times than we even wish to count which brings me to the next point.

I love the fact that the job relies so heavily on staying on top of what is out there for social media. A job that requires me to research more about Facebook and Twitter? Yes please. Not only that, but it often means that we’re working with new updates almost the exact same time they are being released which means there is no precedent for how you’re supposed to use it. We’re still in the midst of figuring out how to best leverage the new Admissions Facebook page.

I have future posts planned to go a little more in depth into our process in the office including Brainstorming, How We’re Using Facebook, Blogging + Problems We’ve Run Into. In the meantime, you can check out the 5 RIT Students YouTube page! Or watch our “Meet the Season 2 Cast” episode!

Fabulous Friday Finds

It’s quite easy to get lost on the internet. Minutes turn into hours and you find yourself 50 websites later with millions of new bookmarks and cool things to share. I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some of these. I always get requests for website recommendations so I thought this would be a good way to compile those. For this week we’ll start off big with more recognizable websites that you might have already heard of. If not… well, get on it!

These are a few of my favorite things…

Pinterest I frequently find myself saving inspiration from pictures I find on blogs or randomly online to my desktop. These causes multiple problems, for one.. space. There is also the problem that if Im not at my computer, I cannot access them. In comes pinterest. Fantastic site that allows you to “pin” your favorite images online as you’re browsing through websites or blogs. You can then tag and categorize them according to whatever you’d like. For me, I try to keep things together in categories such as “dream house”, “products”, “typography” or “delicious thing.” It’s somewhat addicting so it’s easy to get lost in “pinning” and find yourself hours later still looking for more images. However, it saves tons of time in the long run. Through all of the organization that the site provides it’s really easy to run back through and find that awesome poster you “pinned” months ago.

Behance Network What a cool way to showcase work and gather inspiration from others. Behance allows users to create portfolios of work & share them in very organized categories and ways. Information design project? No problem, just search for information design on the website and you’ll find yourself with hundreds of inspirational links. Really cool fast and easy way to see what fantastic thing people are creating!

Typography Served Related directly with Behance, there are a number of websites with specific purposes (typography served, industrial design served, etc) each showcases work from that particular field and much like Behance it also has job listings which will come in handy very shortly.

Do you have any go to websites for inspiration? Or does a simple google image search do the job? Maybe even a visit to the library?

Twitter vs. Facebook

I’ve been hearing a lot of hate towards Twitter lately. Likewise for facebook but less so due to the fact it’s been around longer and people better understand it’s purpose. Regardless of what anyone says, I’m becoming a huge Twitter fan and finding that I’m spending way more time on that than Facebook.

Reasons Why Twitter is Better:

1. Less Distracting. Facebook has so many additional apps, games (ie. unnecessary ones like Farmville), pages, groups, etc. In terms of time management it’s awful; like a black hole of procrastination. Twitter on the other hand updates regularly but is far less overwhelming.

2. Networking. Twitter hands down is the definition of what it means to network. I’ve gotten in contact or “retweeted” by many people I would probably never have contact with if it were not for twitter (ie. Wilsonart last week or Allan Chocinov from Core 77). Clearly, these are not life long friendships spawned from a single tweet but the connection platform is there. A simple #hashtag will get you recognized.

3. Feeling of recognition. Everytime I go to Foodlink a local foodbank in the area with my Design Thinking class I’ll give a little shout out to @FoodlinkNY talking about how we’re looking forward coming back again or afterwards to sum up the experience. It’s always nice to get that tweet back from an organization that otherwise seems quite easy to get lost in due to the huge number of volunteers they have going in and out.

4. Concise. 140 characters. That’s it. It’s really easy to determine if you’re going to be interested in a tweet or not which makes it easier to scan through.

5. Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow them back. Easy.

6. Facebook is just like another platform for email/chat, Twitter is for having quick conversations and sharing information with a wide audience.

7. Microblogging. Sometimes a topic doesn’t necessarily require an in-depth explanation, a simple link to a website or 140 character description will do.

8. The news. Hands down best way to get real time news. Want the score of a game? Just follow that team’s hashtag, it will be updated far faster than any website ever could. Personally I follow hockey teams, great goal by goal action that can be forwarded through twitter right to my phone. Major world event? You can pretty much figure out what is going on just by watching trending topics.

I think Twitter is definitely headed in the right direction. It offers a platform for people to share ideas, links, etc in an easy format. It’s part CNN, part Facebook, part online chat room, and part blog. Twitter’s last update to their system helped a lot due to the fact that you can now easily view someone’s profile and tweets on the right-hand side without losing your spot. For now, I’ll remain on both Facebook and Twitter but who knows what the next few years will bring.

Sticking with Facebook? Switching completely to Twitter? Or staying with both? What’s your opinion?