internet

Live Video: Some Considerations

You’ve been reading our posts about live video and thinking, “Hey, I want to do this!”

First of all, go you.

Second of all, besides downloading a live video app (like Periscope) and thinking about what you want to talk about, what else should you know?

Here are a few considerations, in no particular order, that we’ve learned so far in our live video adventures:

Consideration #1: WiFi will drain your battery much slower than going through your cell phone’s network.

(If you want some technical explanations why, here’s a Quora post about it.)



 

I was filming the Belt Sander Races, a local tradition that helps us all get through the winter with some humor. I had a cell signal but the 20 minute introduction of all the contenders sucked 50% of my battery. Angry fans begged me to keep filming but since I didn’t bring my backup battery, I let them down by getting only one race on tape. I know, I know.

If you can, get on the WiFi connection of wherever you are filming. If you can’t, bring a backup battery. Video over data is going to suck battery faster than other things apparently. Lesson learned, I’ll be ready next year for the Belt Sander Races.

Consideration #2: If you are hosting a webinar, consider a corded internet connection.

It’s one thing if, when you are attending a webinar, your WiFi connection resets and you miss five seconds of what the speaker says but what if the 200 people attending your webinar experience this kind of outage, even once? Not good.

You may have noticed using Periscope that the signal cuts in and out at times, and that’s to be expected. But if you are hosting a business-y webinar (something more formal or that people are paying to be at), do it over a corded internet connection to avoid latency issues. (More tips on hosting webinars here.)

Consideration #3: Experiment with timing… and tell people it’s happening WAY ahead.

There are some tools like Tweriod which will tell you when your Twitter followers are most active online, so that might be a good place to start with a time to Periscope.

But what if your Twitter followers are most active at 1 pm and you can’t Periscope at your day job? Don’t worry, just pick a time and let people know WAY AHEAD.

You can experiment with timing by trying to scope during different days/times of day and see what feedback is like. There seems to be no one, right answer for the best day/time… which is annoying but also probably accurate.

Consideration #4: Your videos are NOT automatically saved anywhere.

If you want to save your videos, you’ll have to download them to your device or use a program like Katch.me. You’ll have to also put it in your settings that you want this to be a regular thing that happens. More in this blog post about this issue but just to warn you if you did something brilliant and didn’t save it less than 24 hours after, it went *poof*forever.

If you want more tips for offering live video, this article is pretty darn useful: http://sociallysorted.com.au/21-periscope-tips-broadcasts/

The Weirdest Places We’ve Worked From

One of the cool aspects of our work is that it can be done remotely (I’ve talked about this a bit before).

While 90% of the time you can find Nicole or I in the office, occasionally we are working from…elsewhere. And with John and Alilia on board, we have an eclectic combined work history. You’ve seen our posts about working effectively on the road or from home, but today, we’re going to share the weirdest places we’ve worked from (so far).

In compiling this list, I feel like I’ve learned some interesting things about my coworkers here at Breaking Even… maybe you will too

Weird Places Where We’ve Worked

Nicole worked on a houseboat in Amsterdam. Let's say the house across the way was much nicer than the one she was in but hey, still cozy with coffee and WiFi.

Nicole worked on a houseboat in Amsterdam. Let’s say the house across the way was much nicer than the one she was in but hey, still cozy with coffee and WiFi.



Nicole

When I was in Europe two years ago for ten days. Because it was in July (our busiest time), the two hours daily of checking email wasn’t cutting it so I decided to have one work day while I was there to get a chunk of work done. My travel friend Sarah and I had rented this houseboat in Amsterdam on AirBnB. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the houseboat but it had better internet than any cafe… so I parked it at the kitchen table and left the screen door open while I watched the boats go by. There were also some very friendly ducks and a coffee maker that was relatively large for the size kitchen it was in, so I was pretty content.

On a different European trip, I actually went to Bosnia to visit a friend who started a web development company there. I worked from his company’s office and had a great time. When I work I need it 1) quiet and 2) some place where I can really settle in (get snacks freely, leave my stuff set up for a few hours)… maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to the idea of coworking spaces?

Alilia

I once was in California visiting my grandparents’ house where my mom and sisters also live, and I was in the middle of a software conversion project, so for one of the status call meetings, I was prancing around on my sister’s trampoline while on the project call. That was my best working remotely experience.

My worse  working remotely experience was on the same California trip. I had set my desk phone in Colorado to forward to my cell phone, and I had asked the front desk to please not transfer any customers to me without letting me know first. They clearly disregarded my request as evidenced by the customer call I received while shopping at Costco with my relatives. I had to take the customer’s name and number and get back to them when I could get in front of my work laptop back at my grandparents’ house.



John
I once tried working remotely from a hospital waiting room while my son was in surgery. This isn’t as callous as it sounds—-I was desperate to keep my mind off what was happening in the operating room, and working was as good a way as any to do that. It was either that or watch the Fox News program that was blaring in the waiting room. Everything turned out well in the end and the operation was a success, and I took a few days off to be with my son and watch our daughter at home.
Kassie
This past fall, I experienced a lot of unfortunate car problems. During one such incident, I worked from a VIP Auto while waiting for cylinders in my car to be replaced. It was actually awesome- no one else was there, so I got a lot done, until a lady came in with her dog who clearly didn’t want to be there.
One of the coolest places I’ve gotten to work was Gillette Stadium (also this fall). I was trying to write a blog post before a Monday night football game in a hotel room with my parents, brother, and brother’s girlfriend. The lobby downstairs was packed with fellow Pats fans, so I was stuck writing on a cot in the hotel room while The Godfather was playing in the background (which John will appreciate, I am sure). It wasn’t a great writing experience- fortunately I’m highly skilled when it comes to tuning out my family- but then again, I was getting ready to watch a Pat’s Game. You win some, you lose some (also…the Pat’s lost that game).
gillette
The internet lets us work weird places… and if you work online, I’m sure you have some fun stories too.
Out of curiosity, do you have any weird/interesting remote working experiences? Let us know!



Infomagical: My Journey

infomagical“You mean you haven’t heard of that?”

Sometimes a friend will say this to me when I haven’t seen the latest viral video everyone’s been commenting about on Facebook or read the 10,000 word New York Times article about a social justice issue.

At first, I took this statement, whenever I heard it, as a challenge. I felt like people were a) implying I didn’t know something I should or b) triumphing supposedly knowing more than I did about one of my fields of expertise.

(Yes, I do hear this statement a lot.)



Between the stuff I have to know (work stuff), stuff I want to and should know (news about friends and family) and stuff I just wanted to know (how to cook with matcha green tea) it was already too much. If I could set up ten of my brains in some kind of parallel circuit to process information 24-7, I would still not know everything.

After this realization, when someone asked me about something online I hadn’t heard about, I felt defeated. In a podcast I can’t remember, someone talked about dealing with email being like being in an avalanche, you are moving handfuls of snow but more is coming at you faster than you can imagine. I feel that about email, instant message, social media, RSS feeds, and audio/video in general.

I sat with this hopeless feeling for awhile. I need to know some things but not all things. So what do I do?

Since I’ve changed nothing, nothing has changed. And then something came into my life I needed but would not have known to seek out.



I’ve talked before about Note To Self, a podcast I regularly listen to. I took place in their ‘Bored and Brilliant’ challenge awhile back which basically challenged people to spend less time on their phone through a series of daily challenges. If you missed it and want to do it, here are all the challenges.

This latest challenge called Infomagical was what I needed. Infomagical’s week of challenges offered us ways to change how we process all the information that is coming in. (If you missed it, you can still do it, just click here.)

The podcast episode launching the project mentioned that ten years ago, we were interrupted an average of once every three minutes. And now we’re interrupted once every 45 seconds. Having run this business for nine years this May, I was wondering why over the last couple years in particular I have felt so overwhelmed by information.

Day 1 was the worst day: forcing me to unitask. I don’t just multitask at work, I do at home too. Often I am washing dishes, cooking dinner, and answering emails at the same time. It is like I am in a race with myself 7 am to 7 pm to see how much I can get done before I let myself relax. At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve been in battle (and I’m sure I look like it too.) Sitting and waiting for files to upload without tabbing over to the next screen felt painful. But much like call center people can look forward to the small break between when they are hung up on and when the machine autodials the next number (ie when there is literally nothing they can do but wait), towards the end of the day, I started looking forward to these times in my day when there would be breaks (attaching images to an email, uploading the podcast, etc.) It made me feel the task at hand getting done.

I won’t ruin the Infomagical challenge for you but I will say it was a good one if you feel like I do: overwhelmed by information.

I have started to push back a little when people say to me things like ‘You mean you haven’t seen insert-thing-here?’

“Nope, but why don’t you tell me about it?” I say. Because somehow, if I think I have to know something beyond what I consciously consume, I bet that information will find its way to me if I am meant to know it. And while my life may be less rich than it would have if I had watched that cat video, I bet the cat I see when I walk my dog will be an ok substitute.



The Internet of Good

“Life is full of ups and downs, you know that. But please take a deep breath, I can’t understand what you’re saying right now”- my mom.

And she’s right, I do know that, and so do you (the ups and downs, anyway)- it’s something we’ve all been told at some point or another. Over the past couple weeks, it seems the world (or the world according to me) is collectively experiencing the down. Some people are saying it’s the moon, but I’m not entirely convinced. It feels like every day, we wake up to more stories about data breaches, violence and terrorism, death, illness, and ongoing issues (drought out west, Ebola in Africa) that I’ve forgotten about because of the newer threats we’re presented with.

But, you know what? There’s always going to be a disaster or craziness. As I became increasingly overwhelmed (and called my mom, because she always doles out the facts of life when I need them), the notion of “you see what you look for” popped into my head. Basically, if you’re looking for something bad, you’ll find it. So, I thought it’d be refreshing to actively look for ways that people use social media and the internet to demonstrate kindness in all shapes and sizes.



Using Internet fame for a cause. Singers and actors are often praised for their charitable actions, but there are quite a few internet famous people who contribute to causes. You may have heard of certain memes using their notoriety for a cause. For example, all proceeds that Lil Bub (the cat) generates go toward animal sheltersThe girl behind “Overly Attached Girlfriend” created a fundraiser that donates to a different, predetermined charity every month. There’s also people who are famous in certain circles, like the gaming world. YouTube famous World of Warcraft player Athene created a charity called “Gaming for Good” after realizing tens of thousands of people regularly view his videos.

Kid President is another example of internet fame for a cause. He spreads his positive messages through short videos and social media in the hopes that it encourages kids and adults to work together to make the world a better place. His pep-talk video is one of my favorites:

These are all people (or cats) who have decided not to rest on their laurels of internet fame, but decided to use it to make an impact besides general hilarity.



Sharing the tough stuff. We’re all on a journey, right? While most people (myself included) share only their highlight reel on social media, some people share their difficulties as a way to raise awareness and/or help others who are also going through difficult times(like the “It Gets Better” campaign). These stories, wherever they are shared, are demonstrations of courage that encourage others to start a conversation.

Yesterday I saw this article about a girl on who has been on a difficult road to recovery since 2012, when she received  up paralyzed from the waist down. In spite of complications along the way, she started a fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and documented her recovery process-the good, the bad, and the ugly, on Imgur (a site I admittedly know nothing about).  You can check out the original post hereI’ve also read a lot from those recovering from addiction, abuse, and eating disorders (here is one I read this morning). Even when these stories are submitted anonymously, they comfort people who, like me, tend to internalize their struggles.

A website built around sharing stories of everyday people, Humans of New York , shares stories of those who live in the city. Just the people you walk by on the street. The mini-profiles remind us that there’s always more than meets the eye.

hony

Reading these stories reminds me that a) everyone is experiencing their own adversity, and b) it’s pretty amazing that we can identify with people we’ve never met before.



Losing and Finding. This is probably the most common type of post I’ve seen, and a lot of times, it can be the most heart-wrenching. Any time a local pup gets lost, I’m amazed at how responsive people are on social media. People band together in interesting ways during moments of loss, including loss of tangible things. I guess the amazing part is that things get shared by strangers who have no connection to the people who have lost something- they’re just passing a message along and hoping for the best. No investments or ulterior motives, just people trying to help each other out.

This man found a wedding ring while scuba diving and shared it on Facebook, and after diligently wading through false claims, was able to return the ring to its rightful owner. Little did he know, the couple had been enduring an incredibly difficult time with the deaths of loved ones (on both sides), so the return of the ring served as a reminder “‘there are a lot of good people still out there.'”



Inviting Participation. People have created Facebook groups and websites dedicated to recognizing acts of kindness and general connections with humanity. It’s basically a way to pay it forward. I’m part of an “Awesome Acts of Kindness” Facebook Group, and basically people share the acts of kindness that they’ve either witnessed or experienced and want to share with others. There’s also “Giving Tuesday” and other funding related efforts. Inviting others to participate can mean sharing a photo, using a hashtag, making an online donation, or asking for physical volunteering help.

As a final thought on “The Internet of Good,” I couldn’t ignore Marcel the Shell, who always looks on the bright side (and is the best use of YouTube I’ve ever come across).



Tech Thursday: How to Fundraise Online

If you have a project or product that you’d like to get some additional funding for, the internet could be a great place to get started. One popular platform for fundraising online is GoFundMe, which you can use to pitch ideas and get donations from people online (that’s a huge audience!)- even for something as silly as potato salad.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of people trying to raise money out there. How can you increase your chances of being heard (and more importantly, getting people to donate)? First and foremost: is your idea compelling? Will people be interested enough to think, “Yes, that IS a great idea! Take my money!” Next, you want to make it personal. Don’t just throw a Powerpoint presentation online, put a face on the project! This not only shows dedication to your campaign, but assures people that they aren’t just giving their money to some sketchy, random dude in a basement.



Last, but not least, remember that you are FUNdraising. Okay, so that was corny…but showing people that you are fun and grateful for their contributions will go a long way.

Fun Friday: Memes

If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced a meme. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on!

What is a meme? 

1) An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
2) An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

Basically it is when something is taken in reused in other ways.

What are some examples of memes I might be familiar with?

An example of a popular internet meme is ‘Grumpy Cat’. She (thanks to Sarah A. for the gender correction!) is an annoyed looking cat who says grumpy things:

You wouldn't see all these images at once, you'd probably see them one at a time... but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

You wouldn’t see all these images at once, you’d probably see them one at a time… but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

Some memes are like Grumpy Cat: the same image with different text written on top. Other ones  like this include ‘overly attached girlfriend’ and ‘success kid’. People come up with their own fun captions using similar fonts and become part of a larger creative effort.

Sometimes, instead of the same image being used, it’s similar text being used with different images. A good example of this is ‘Call Me Maybe’. (Note we did a marketing series related to this this summer: http://breakingeveninc.com/tag/call-me-maybe/)

The refrain 'Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe.' is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

The refrain from the pop song ‘Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.’ is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

As you can see, memes can be simple or complex. And once you are on the lookout, you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

No matter what, a meme is kind of like being a part of an internet joke, whether you make one of your own or share one that someone else created.

Are memes just limited to images?

No, people also have fun creating animated gifs and videos related to a meme. Here’s some videos that are inspired copies of Gangnam Style:

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

 I think I found a meme but I’m not sure. How can I find out?

Go to Knowyourmeme.com and type in a key word. For example, I typed in ‘baby’ and found Success Kid, since I forgot what that one was called.

Memes are a fun part of the internet. And now you know how to spot them!

Which one is your favorite?

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