No rest for Viktor and Sasa. After successful presentation at Seedcamp and reserved place at Seedcamp Week 2009, now they’re heading to San Francisco, to attend TechCrunch50 2009 conference, held on September 14-15. TechCrunch50 is the global competition conference for start-ups, which brings start-ups, investors and media together, helping start-ups to get funded and recognized by the community. Shout’Em will be present at the DemoPit, where you’ll be able to see Shout’Em in action, create your own microblogging network, and hear all about our plans, such as the upcoming launch of a full-featured white label mobile social networking service for all major mobile platforms. See you there!
Shout’Em team, Viktor and Sasa, will visit London once again, because Shout’Em has been selected for Seedcamp week 2009! Croatia lost against England, now they have to pray to God (and Fabio Capello) to help them visit South Africa next year. That’s what happened yesterday in London.
First things first. Viktor and Sasa had only 3 minutes to kick some ass, and show judges that we deserve to participate in Seedcamp week. And they did it. 3 minutes of clear symphony was enough to deserve big applause . Judges had 7 minutes to ask them some questions, and of course, everything ended very quickly, so they could sit down and enjoy presentations from other teams. We hoped that Eduardo da Silva would join them on stage, but he sent an email saying that he is not allowed to leave hotel today, but even without him, presentation was perfect. Other teams were also fantastic, but Viktor and Sasa had a felling that they were good enough to be selected for Seedcamp week 2009.
Evening was reserved for “geeks night out”, and watching the football match England vs. Croatia in Red Bar. Food and drinks provided by Seedcamp crew were great. Everything was great for our team except the game that Croatia showed at Wembley. They had no chance against England this time, some of Croatian players should choose different career. Maybe they could invest some money in Shout’Em? 100% win!
Evening ended in tears, but with hope that new day will bring new victories. And it did! Seedcamp crew announced top 21 teams that will participate in Seedcamp week 2009, and Shout’Em is one of them!!! As Borat would say: very nice! Whole Shout’Em team is very proud and excited, this is big recognition for all of us, but we will not stop now. Let’s hope Seedcamp week 2009 will bring us more happy moments. And some money 🙂 . Fingers crossed.
Seedcamp Week is an intensive week-long event held in London every September and is targeted at young entrepreneurs from across EMEA. We are proud to announce that Shout”Em has been shortlisted for Seedcamp Week! This means we are one of only 40 start-ups in whole EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region selected to come to London on September 9th, 2009, where we will get 10 minutes to present our Shout”Em start-up to the judges (some of the selected start-ups are mentioned at TechCrunch). Judging committee consists of representatives from some of the biggest venture networks who will select 20 teams to attend Seedcamp Week, which will be held in London from September 21st to September 25th. Five winners will get funded with up to €50k each, and get the opportunity to get help from various experts. Let”s hope Shout”Em will be recognized and selected for Seedcamp Week. Fingers crossed!
On the same day football match England vs. Croatia will be played in London, let”s hope we”ll win again. Expect our team to be dressed up as football players, and expect Eduardo da Silva or some other players to join us on the stage and help us in presentation, as we will help them on the stadium during the football match 🙂 . Of course, we know Croatia will win, no doubt.
If you’re in Los Angeles at the end of October or London in November, you might want to check out 140conf. This conference is dedicated entirely to Twitter as a platform and as a language. While 140conf’s founder, Jeff Pulver, plans to extend the event to microblogging in general, for now it’s staying focused.
Talks about microblogging in 20, 15 and 10 minutes
Photo by Steve Garfield
While 140conf originally focused on the effects of Twitter on the media, advertising, “celebrity” and (maybe) politics, the event outgrew its founder’s expectations. The first conference in New York was a two day event. The program included individual talks as well as panels that lasted 20, 15 or 10 minutes. The talks went through using Twitter for news, athletes, small busineses, corporations, blogs, etc. The speakers have been and will be well known tweeps, for example Tim O’Reilly, the man who coined the term “web 2.0”:
Meet the Twitterati
Photo by JD Lasica
Can’t get enough of Twitter? 140conf is the place for you. Where else can you see Tim O’Reilly talk about Twitter as a publishing tool? Gary Vaynerchuck of WineLibrary (and more recently Vaynermedia) talked about scaling… caring. What?! Oh yeah, and Twitter advisor Chris Sacca interviewed multi-platinum musician and producer Wyclef Jean. Let’s not forget Liz Strauss, Steve Rubel, Chris Brogan and Fred Wilson who were also tweeting from 140conf!
London? Los Angeles? w00t!
Photo by Natasha Friis Saxberg
Live in London? Come to Los Angeles! Live in LA? Cross the Atlantic and say hello to good ‘ol London. Live anywhere else in the world? For the avid Twitter user, there’s never been a better reason for visiting both cities. Discuss all things Twitter, meet your fellow microblogger and go for a night on the town.
- October 27/28, Los Angeles
- November 10/11, London
Whether you’re starting a forum, web group or launching a microblogging network on Shout’Em, the launch can make or break it. While working hard on getting your community a success is a continuous effort, why not get your launch right? Here are a couple of ways to do so…
Pick the right domain name
Your domain name is your brand on the web. You may want to get a keyword specific domain name. For example, insurance.com would be a great name for a community about insurance. Unfortunately, domains like that are either already used or sold for a lot of money. You can always get insurancetalk.com… On the other hand, you can go with a unique domain name (like we did with Shout’Em) that can make you recognizable. In the example mentioned, there are dozens of insurancetalks, insuranceforums, etc. It’s hard to remember one. If you’re ready to build a brand, you should have both keywords and a unique name in mind when choosing your domain name.
Test the site
With dozens of different web browsers (Firefox, Internet explorer, …) testing your website on the most popular ones is really important. If your users see a broken design, they might now come back. Don’t lose potential users in the very beginning. Take your time and check your design in your browser. Also, go through all the features you want your users to use. Don’t let them get a broken link or reach a dead end. Be sure to check your server logs as well. It may take time, but it will make your community website even better.
Get your team ready for launch
When you launch your community, be sure to give yourself enough time to dedicate to it. The same goes for your team. Don’t give them other tasks if you’re just launching. You’ll need everyone on board, welcoming new members, troubleshooting and getting the community going. First you need to launch, leave the shiny new stuff for later.
Launch early in the week, early in the morning
Why? If you launch on a friday, you’ll be getting those bug reposts over the weekend. If you don’t work weekends, you’ll end up fixing them on Monday morning. Your users will have two days to see those bugs – and leave. Don’t give them a reason to leave your community. Launch on a tuesday, early in the morning, and stand by. Tuesday and Thursday mornings are a traffic bump for most websites. Use the bump, launch your website.
People want the backstory, they want to know who’s behind it all. Make a concise about page, introduce yourself and your team. Put a face to the username and give people the reasons why you launched your community. You have a special reason for launching it? Say it.
Get ready for the press
Journalists and bloggers love new stuff. Make it easier for them to report on your community and write about it. Prepare a basic media package with an introduction to the projects, images, screenshots, even a little multimedia maybe. Give them an easy way to contact you. Don’t expect them to come screaming to your door looking for an interview. Contact journalist as well as bloggers who you think would be interested. You might be surprised by your feedback.
Be available – have a contact page!
Bloggers aren’t the only ones who would like to contact you. Your users, potential advertisers, future partners,… Put some contact information and give them a chance to do so.
Get the conversation started
If you want your users to talk to each other and start conversations themselves, you’ll need to help them. Start the initial conversations yourself and have your team participate other conversations. Make people feel at home and feel heard. Giving a good example is key to making the community friendly. If you’re nice, chances are others will follow your example. No trolls please!
Help them participate
Your users want to participate? Great, make it easier. If you have a forum, show them how to use unique features such as RSS feeds… For Shout’Em microblogging networks, users can use Twhirl, Ping.fm, HelloTXT, integrate on Ning, etc. Find out how you can make it easier for your users to be on your community every single day!
Community 2 community
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace,… There are a lot of social networking sites out there. General ones or ones in your own niche. Use them and promote your own community there. You can create niche groups on the mainstream networks such as Facebook to get users informed of the existence of your website. You can monitor keywords on Twitter and help people with their questions. They’ll see you know your stuff and visit your own community to find out more!
Give something away of value
Know your community niche? Maybe you’re an expert in blogging, insurance, web design,… Why not write a short guide, turn it into a 10-page e-book and let your users download it for free? People like things that teach them how to be better at something, even more when it’s free.
Signatures! E-mail, forums,…
You send e-mails and participate in other forums and communities, don’t you? Put your link in the signature and get people informed whenever you participate yourself. On social networks, inform others about conversations on your website. Tweet it sometimes, submit a link to Facebook. Don’t overdo it, just do it right!
In real life with meetups
While social media is taking off, people live and meet in real life. Facilitate that and get some real life user meetups going. Twitter users around the world are organizing Tweetups. Geeks, from Toronto to Sydney, are organizing Barcamps. Find a venue, invite your users, have a beer and make your community stick.
How did you launch your community?
After you’ve setup your Shout’Em network, customized it and gotten it on the right track, you’re on your way to becoming a power user. To make the journey easier, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks:
How to get your message out…
Twhirl on your desktop
The web is all fine and dandy, but why not use a desktop client on your Windows, Linux or Mac machine? Setting up Twhirl is easy and it works intuitively with any Shout’Em network. Having a desktop client that supports Shout’Em such as Twhirl set up, lets you dedicate your browser to other sites or shout while you’re not even surfing. For admins and moderators, keeping an eye on your community can explore your userbase!
Ping.fm & HelloTXT for all your social media
If you update multiple social network, you might find it easier to do so with Ping.fm or HelloTXT. Both these services save you valuable time by propagating your message to multiple networks or blogs, including Shout’Em.
When on the move, or just not at your computer, you can access any Shout’Em network and be greeted by an interface optimized for mobile phones. A minimalistic interface, core features and small data size give you the ability to shout – really fast!
Shout’Em iPhone app
Oh, we love our iPhones. Since you’re downloading apps from the iTunes App Store all the time, you might we interested in the upcoming official Shout’Em application for the iPhone. Let’s just say it’s slick and sexy and we can’t wait to show you the first 1.0 release. For now, however, it’s in beta. Hint: comment or e-mail us if you want to apply for beta testing.
Show your location
Like stalkers? Well then, why not share the location you’re shouting from? Seriously, there are lots of situations you’d want people to know where you are. Going to a concert, meeting up with friends? Don’t forget that you can attach your location to any shout on your Shout’Em network.
Integrate videos and photos
Videos, photos, multimedia?! Copy the link and paste it to your shout. Better yet, upload the photo you want to share and have it online instantly! Doing this is actually quite simple. When shouting, just click on Link, Photo or Location.
Your Blog / Website
Have a blog, website,…? You can add your network in seconds:
Your user feed
Want to embed your shouts to your blog? Click on the Widgets link in the bottom of your Shout’Em network of choice and find the User feed code under “Widgets”. Paste the casino online code on your site and there you go – you’re in two places at once… or at least your shouts are!
Everyone”s network feed
There’s more to life than just ourselves, right? Same goes for social media and microblogging. That’s why we’ve made it easier to get your whole network feed on your website in just a few clicks. Once again, click on Widgets in the bottom of your network and find Network feed under “Widgets”. Embed it. Done.
If you want to share articles from your website on a Shout’Em network, just get the “Share button”, located under “Widgets” and copy it onto your site. Promote, shout, get people reading.
API for advanced use
Developers, Develo… Sorry, someone already did that. 😉 Our devoted developers, we’ve prepared a Twitter-compatible application programming interface for you. Use it to integrate Shout’Em network into your applications, websites and any great idea you get in the middle of the night. Code and shout! Check out or API!
You love the web and you love social network. Understandably. That’s why you love microblogging and use Shout’Em, eh? Well, we don’t want to keep you or your users all to ourselves:
Sync to Facebook
The biggest social network in the world (sorry, Myspace) may require your attention. If you use Facebook, make the most of it and sync your shouts to your Facebook statuses.
Get to Ning
No matter if you’re using Ning for your social network or migrating to Shout’Em, you can get your shouts or your network shouts on Ning. Just click on Widgets in the footer of your network and then find the widgets you need under “Ning”.
You’re on your way to becoming a Shout’Em power user and having your network featured on the homepage of Shout’Em. What are you using to power up your microblogging?
Out of the house, without a web connection, yet still want to update your Shout’Em network? Now you can – via SMS! You’ve updated your statuses via the web, Ping.fm, Twhirl,… Now it’s just a matter of texting from any mobile phone! Here are some fast facts:
- Send shouts via SMS from any mobile phone;
- Updates appear on the Shout’Em network where you setup your phone.
While Shout’Em doesn’t charge you for this feature, your mobile-service provider’s text messaging rates do apply. The SMS feature is still in testing and supports only one number for sending your messages for now. However, expect updates in the near future.
Is Your Mobile-Service Provider Supported?
Check the list of supported providers. Carriers from countries all around the world are supported. For the US, for example, the supported carriers are AT&T, T-mobile, and a dozen others…
Now let’s set you up:
How to Setup SMS Shouting
Go to the Shout’Em network for which you want to setup SMS updating for and click on Settings. Now select Phone.
Send the provided code to the phone number +447797882315. Let us confirm your phone, and after we do, you’re all set.
Add the number +447797882315 to your address book and from now on – update your Shout’Em network status via SMS!
Shouting is getting easier and easier… We know you love e-mail, so we’re preparing e-mail updating for the fall. That’s right, you’ll be able to update from your e-mail client! How you do you update Shout’Em statuses?
After setting up your Shout’Em network, you’re all ready to start customizing it’s design. If you’re really into web design and know CSS/xHTML, you can always add your own css style settings. If you’re not all that comfortable with dealing with the CSS frontend – don’t worry. Shout’Em gives you an easy to use, yet advanced design editor. You can choose the colors and fonts you want, upload your header and much more. Let’s get to it….
1. Choose Your Style
You can choose between 15 high quality skins (more skins coming soon!) for the core look of your Shout’Em community. Customizing the chosen skin is then just a matter of tweaking the settings like the color of a headline, etc. How to choose your skin:
- Go to Shout’Em and choose your network from My networks;
- Click on Skins and choose a light style like “Elegant Gray Paper” or a dark one like “Elegant Monsters;
- Save it!
2. Tweak the Details
In Skins, click on Settings. Here you can tweak every visual detail of your Shout’Em network settings for the header, body, shout, ads and background. You can change the colors of each of the elements with the color picker. You can choose the size, as well as the type of font you want to the content to be displayed in. As far as the fine details, upload a 16×16 px favicon of your choice which appers in a browser’s address bar.
3. Edit Your Images
Use an image editor like Photoshop or Gimp to prepare the header and background of your choice:
- The header should be 990 pixels wide and 95 pixels high;
- The background image can be any size, but if you want the image to be tiled, check “Tile image”.
In a couple of steps, with a few images, we’ve customized a network from header to footer. Here’s how it looks! Have you tweaked your Shout’Em network yet?
Microblogging. It’s fun, it’s useful. Twitter, Shout’Em and other microblogging platforms are fast becoming not just another way to pass the time, but also tools that we use to collaborate with each other on a daily basis. However, it can get tedious when you do it daily. Here are 25 simple ways you can get your microblogging habits back on track:
Get out and micro-mingle
Every day, the same old followers and fans. With Twitter and every other microblogging network on the planet growing fast, there’s a lot of new people you need to tweet with. Get out your 140-character-charm and get going:
1. Follow one new user at a time
There’s no need to hurry and follow dozens of new faces immediately. Take your time. Browse your friend’s follower lists and find people who genuinely interest you. Follow and get to know them. Only then you should follow others.
2. Un-follow casual spammers
You know them. You might even be a casual spammer yourself. Taking about yourself, your projects and what you’re doing all the time. Bragging isn’t nice, so don’t feel bad for un-following people and companies who only tweet about themselves.
3. Follow your real life neighbours
Twitter users in your country, town, neighbourhood? You might know a lot of them, but if you don’t, there are a few simple ways to find them. The simplest way is to use Twitter Search. Twellowhood and Twitterlocal both let you find Twitter users next to you in a few clicks. Do you use an iPhone? Tweetie, Twinkle and other Twitter applications offer locating nearby Twitter users!
4. Find a topic and follow the experts
Interested in web design? Follow Vitaly of Smashing Magazine! Want to start a blog? Darren “Problogger” Rowse is your guy! Love horses? Horsetweet is a must… You can find experts and insiders on almost any topic on Twitter or even on a specialized microblogging network.
5. Follow your “enemies”
You might not agree with them, but their arguments could be valid. The great thing about the web is that you choose what you want to see. Unfortunately, the flip side is that we tend to ignore people we don’t agree with. Why not follow Andrew Keen, the Anti Christ of Silicon Valley? You might end up learning something new.
Tweak your tools
On the PC, Mac or mobile, we’ve found ways to microblog anywhere and anytime. With the hundreds of applications that help us tweet, it might just be time to ease up. Shut down? Check it out:
6. Remove your desktop Twitter client
No, you don’t need it. It’s a distraction – admit it. Oh, you still have notifications turned on? Including sound notifications? Maybe that’s the reason your work is suffering. Turn off your desktop Twitter client, uninstall it. After the initial shock, doesn’t that feel better?
7. Use the web interface
Hey, we didn’t say you should quit Twitter. You might have not used the web interface since 2006., but it’s still here. Weird, isn’t it. So simple, and it actually works!
8. Use your mobile phone
iPhone, Nokia or any other mobile phone – you can tweet with it! Use the mobile interface or an iPhone application, or even (gasp!) send an update via SMS!
9. Check out some Twitter apps
There’s a lot of them around, if you haven’t noticed. Twittervision, Twitterfeed, Tweetscan, Twistori, Twitpic, Twitscoop, Twittercounter, Tweetlater, Hahlo, TwitThis, Tweetag, The Mattinator, TwitLinks,…
10. Check out another microblogging platform
The time to tweet is now!
If you’re tired of Twitter, you’re probably spending too much time tweeting. Maybe you’re spending not enough time tweeting? In any case, here’s what you need to do:
11. Schedule when you’re going to tweet
The best way to get more stuff done is to limit the time you have to get it done. The same could be said for tweeting. Schedule a period when you’re going to reply to all your DMs and replies, as well as schedule future tweets. This will keep you focused and save valuable minutes you could have been wasting during the rest of the day.
12. Schedule your tweets
Scheduling individual tweets is far more easier with web applications such as CoTweet, Tweetlater or Hootsuite. In the period you’ve dedicated to microblogging, schedule everything you want to tweet. It can be things to go out through out the day, the week, maybe even the month.
13. Don’t use Twitter for instant messaging
It’s so easy to talk to your friends via replies on Twitter. Multiuser instant messaging? Yep. Don’t do it. Chatting is nice, but you have MSN, Skype, AIM, ICQ and a ton of other services that let you do that more efficiently.
14. Take a break from Twitter
Feeling burned out? Take a break from Twitter for a few days. If you rely on Twitter generating traffic to your website or blog, schedule links for the days you’re gone.
Post something a little different
You might be spending all your time tweeting what you’re doing. You might be tweeting with your friends. Whatever you’re doing, it’s a good bet it’s getting really old, really fast. Shake it up:
15. Post a link
You’re on the web! It’s interesting! Post that funny article! Share that video or inspiring photo with your friends… Forget e-mail chain mails and tweet it.
16. Livetweet an event
Haven’t you always wanted to liveblog a conference or concert? Well, here’s your chance to do it with your microblog. Put up a hashtag (#eventname) and start tweeting. Oh, and don’t forget to tell everyone when you’re going to do it.
17. Help other Twitter users
While organizations like Mozilla and Comcast are going out of their way to solve our problems related to their industries on Twitter, why can’t we do the same? You’re a PR professional? Setup a custom search for “PR”! Live CSS? Do the same for “web standards”. Help your fellow tweep and build your credibility in the same time.
Get real with Twitter
We might spend a lot of time online, but we do live in the real world. Why not get real with microblogging and…
18. Attend a Tweetup
Tweetups are Twitter meetups. With Twitter users meeting all around the world, from San Francisco to Zagreb, why don’t you meet your fellow tweep?
19. Organize a Tweetup
No Tweetups in your area? Organize your first Tweetup! Get the local Twitter users together for beer and conversations of more than 140 characters.
Get serious about microblogging
Microblogging is a game to some, and a job to others. With Twitter as well as niche microblogging networks fast becoming more and more popular, leverage their popularity:
20. Become a professional Twitter user
21. Make a change, champion a cause
Charity Water raised over $250.000 with the Twestival events. Charities have been among the first to realize the power of social media, so why not retrace their steps and raise awareness for charities and causes you support?
Cure microblogging block
Stuck on what to tweet? Don’t worry, there are actually a couple of ways to get inspired:
22. Be inspired by your fellow Twitter user
Hopefully, you’ve added a couple of new people to your stream while reading this guide. Now let yourself be inspired by them! Follow artists, musicians, writers, journalists,… Follow people who practice what they preach and whose thoughts on various topics should inspire your own.
23. Be inspired by bloggers
The few, the proud, the bloggers. They were here before the whole microblogging craze. Interestingly, Ev Williams (co-founder of Twitter) also co-founded Blogger, which as eventually acquired by Google. Blog. Microblog. Anyways, blogs are still hot, so don’t ignore them. In the worse case, they’ll give you something to tweet about.
24. Build on the ideas of others
Lots of Twitter applications are trying to power Twitter conversations. Someone starts a topic, others reply and in no time at all – there’s a new trend. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot less spam in the trending topics and a lot more of the true conversations that you can participate in, that are going on as we tweet.
25. Give credit where credit is due
I’m not just talking about crediting your retweets, but also participating in #followfridays and other events that highlight your favorite microbloggers. Why? People like recommendations. By recommending others, you yourself will get noticed. In any case, recommend people that are doing good stuff. It’s nice. 🙂
That’s it. Use all of the tips or just some of them. Take a break or change what you’re doing, but don’t stop the tweeting. Microblogging is just getting started! What are your tips?
The Shout’Em team had a team building weekend a couple of weeks ago and we came out of it alive. Team building is something that corporations like to do when a new management team comes along and they need to “meet the troops”. With a couple of advisors, a good agency and several thousand dollars later, you better all be in sync. On the other hand, you can just try to improve the way you work with your team.
Remember, team management means working with people, not micromanaging them.
Take a Break to Build Your Business
It’s only natural for startups to work a lot. Building your company is what brings value not only to the founders, but to the team. Unfortunately, too many young startup workers get burned out. Remember, to spend energy on your startup, first you have to have it. If you and your awesome developers are tired, how is your startup going to end up looking like? Tired. Tired doesn’t get users. Tired doesn’t get venture capital. Tired doesn’t become the next big thing.
Forget Your Comfort Zone
The easiest thing is staying true to old habits. It might be a specific project management application or just a routine that you’ve practiced for years… Is it the right fit for your team and your goals? There are two extreme examples of encouraging new practices: doing a lot of things at the same time and waiting forever to introduce new ideas. Both can be discouraging. Being an early adopter is great, but your team needs to get their work done.
Don’t try everything new just for the sake of using the latest and greatest. it doesn’t work for technology and it sure won’t work for your team. If you’ve found something you’d like to try, give it time and effort. Commit to just one new thing and make it happen.
Share the Good, Bad and Ugly
Most managers will tell you they prefer to tell their employees how they’re doing at the end of the month, or even every couple of months. That just doesn’t work. For one thing, people hate that talk. They know what to expect and they won’t be looking forward to it. However, don’t be a hawk and try to control how work gets done if it’s getting done.
Every designer, developer and anyone else has their way of working. If it works for them and gets you results, don’t try to change it just because you don’t agree with the actual method. For example, some writes write a lot and others brainstorm a lot and write fast.
The Industrial age ended a long time ago and you aren’t paying for widgets. You’re paying for results. In that, try to share the good as well as the bad. Learn how to criticize – saying the right things in the right way goes along way to getting you better results!
What’s your experience?