New Triberr Review – Better than Old (Legacy) Triberr?

Having done many projects from WordPress blogs to complex enterprise software implementations, I tend to ask these questions when a website/software will be redesigned or upgraded. Consider these as fundamental questions that should be addressed from the beginning or early inception of the idea. Here are some of the questions at the top of my mind now that I\’ll use to review the new Triberr:

  • What is the main objective of the upgrade/redesign?
  • What is working; what is not working now?
  • What are the features (requirements) needed by stakeholders
  • How will it benefit the business
  • How will it impact the customer
  • What are the risks that could potentially stall progress
  • How will you evaluate the success of the project

\"new

What is the main objective of the upgrade/redesign?

From a customer perspective, I believe that Dino and co.  hits the jackpot when he discussed in a blog posts that the old Triberr\’s usability leaves much to desired. The upgrade is supposed to bring complete design overhaul that will offer an awesome user interface.

Looking at the new Triberr you can definitely see the vast improvement in design. While this definitely gives Triberr the \”eye candy\”, UX is much more than aesthetics. Later on I\’ll discuss some small annoyances with the new Triberr.

What is working; what is not working?

This is based in my experience alone.

What is working : the idea about tribes, tribe invite system, freemium business model, blocking/muting, posts distribution through Twitter and other social networks

What is not working well: Triberr comment system (there\’s a huge room for improvement here), laborious manual post approval (workflow could be tedious when you have hundreds of tribe-mates , pagination is sometimes hit or miss, post filtering sometimes does not work and statistics not accurate.

What are the features (requirements) needed by stakeholders?

I could only speculate that most of the top requested features are the inspiration for the redesign but I believe there are more pressing issues that must be addressed within Triberr soon. Things like Triberr plugin to be available not just for WordPress but also in other blogging platforms. Not sure why Triberr can\’t just have universal JavaScript code that lets you import posts using RESTful API or something similar. Then there are requests for granular scheduling controls so that you can only permit certain time for sharing posts. Ultimately these will make Triberr more useful but it is not available yet.

How will it benefit the business ?

The way I see it — with the redesign, more users will take Triberr more seriously, consider it within the same league as Twitter and Facebook, and include Triberr in their social media strategy. More power users = more prime members = better cash flow.

How will it impact the customer?

My first reaction after the new Triberr rolled out was this:

\"derp\"

After a while it turned to something like this:

\"poker

It seems that Triberr is back to beta status. I seriously don\’t feel bad or disappointed because what Dan, Dino and company created is tremendously helpful to blogging community so I am not complaining. I\’m just concerned to prime members and how new comers perceive Triberr as a service or a platform. While paying members get to preview the latest version of Triberr before regular (non-paying) members get to see it, some major bugs are still in the wild after the new Triberr is released to the public.

The transition from old (legacy) version to the new version is also not seamless. Some users still love to use the old version but having to two versions only confuses some. For example some posts appear only in the legacy version forcing me to switch back and forth the old and new versions to approve certain post. I\’m not sure why this is even happening. The infinite-scroll feature also lags when loading more posts and this frustrates both new and old Triberr users. I know it is still work in progress but isn\’t better UX the primary goal of the redesign? It should have been the top priority.

The no-click approval feature truly saves time and prevent clicking fatigue and in my opinion, one of the best features introduced — but it doesn\’t mean it is flawless. Some users reported that it is not working as expected.

So far the experience is so-so. Half the time you\’ll read accolades, then half the time you\’ll read complains about certain feature that doesn\’t work really well.

What are the risks that could potentially stall progress?

Regular Triberr users have witnessed the long downtime last week and it shows that even a well planned event could go wrong. It also showed how many Triberr supporters are out there willing to understand the tough situation that puts Dino, Dan and Andres sleepless for several days.

With the amount of transparency and accessibility from last weeks trials, I wonder why the new Triberr doesn\’t feel as polished as I expected it to be. How do Triberr team prioritize and resolve bug fixes is beyond the scope of my review but Triberr could learn more from the difficulty last week so that they could cut the risks involved in bug fixing and day to day operations.

How will you evaluate the success of Triberr Redesign?

Only Triberr can answer this but if I were to measure the success of the redesign, I would use measurable data such as prime membership sales, post shared in all social networks, total engagements, new sign-ups and more quantitative information.

Summary

Over all it feels like the new Triberr needs more time to fully materialize. While the basic features work there are bugs all over the place. To add insult to injury, the database corruption one week before the public release of the new Triberr  made it a difficult experience to everyone not just to Triberr team.  In the end, the focus for better user experience seems to be overshadowed by unpolished features.

I certainly look forward to progressive improvements and rolling updates that will eventually solve the issues I have discussed here. More power to Triberr!

Update: The tribe has spoken! See the comments below. Team Triberr will have bug fixing marathon over the weekends. Stay tuned!

Read more

TweetDeck Alternatives for Android and iOS Power Users

TweetDeck for Android, iOS and Air

When Twitter abandoned TweetDeck for Android and iOS last week to focus on the web version of the popular Twitter client, I was not surprised. If you look at the frequency of updates since Twitter acquired TweetDeck, the mobile apps were last updated on 4th quarter of 2011 but the HTML 5 and Chrome app managed to get regular updates. It seems they have neglected Android and iOS clients completely from the beginning. So for Twitter to say that “over the past few years, we\’ve seen a steady trend towards people using TweetDeck on their computers and Twitter on their mobile devices,” is a well-coordinated plan. More users would have used TweetDeck on mobile if only Twitter exerted enough effort on its development. Obviously the priority is still on Twitters\’ very own client.

The Air version was upgraded to HTML 5 (basically the same as Chrome) when Twitter acquired TweetDeck. It is not the old TweetDeck Air that we used to love or hate. Version 0.38.2 is the last Adobe Air version.

I didn\’t miss the Adobe Air version too much because I stopped using it years ago. I don\’t know why some people can\’t move on. The only feature that I miss in  TweetDeck Air, which is still useful today, is the \”Include @replies from friends to others\” feature that enables you to see all conversation even if you are not following the friend of your friends. If you want to stalk your friend or monitor all conversation happening on Twitter then you\’ll need it but why meddle in between conversations when it doesn\’t concern you? I don\’t have a strong opinion on why you should bother so I am fine without it.

\"TweetDeck

TweetDeck HTML 5 and TweetDeck for Chrome is the best Twitter client for desktop because it doesn\’t hog your computer resources and most of the features of the original TweetDeck Air is still there with additional innovations like the combined timeline columns for multiple accounts.

TweetDeck Replacement for Android

I consider myself a Twitter power user. I have several accounts and I seldom use the main timeline as my source of updates. Since I use lists to segment the people I am following it is  also the main reason why I don\’t use Twitter for Android as my main Twitter client. It seems that Twitter does not highlight the importance of lists anymore but it is one of the most useful feature Twitter ever has. I rely too much on lists that I consider apps without an option to remove the \”home\” timeline, to replace with other lists, inferior compared to those apps supporting this feature. TweetDeck doesn\’t have the option to remove the main timeline but at least there is an option to stop it from updating. I think the only reason I keep on using TweetDeck is due to its individual column refresh interval and alert settings. The HTML 5 and Chrome app inherited this feature but for me, it is much more useful in the mobile app.

As a back-up plan I have been using other great TweetDeck alternatives since last year.

These are my top three:

These three are very easy to customize and they have lots of features perfect for meticulous Twitter users like me.

Boid has a default Holo dark theme which is my preferred theme in all my Android apps Ubersocial and Plume can be customized to have dark themes similar to Holo. I would like to include Hootsuite in my preferred Twitter client for Android but the Android version is unstable in my experience; it pales in comparison to the iOS version.

TweetDeck Replacement for iOS

\"Tweetdeck

Speaking of iPhone, I am not a heavy user of Twitter in iPhone or iPad partly because there is no free Twitter app that is good enough for me in iPhone or iPad and partly because I can do so much more in Android twitter clients that there is no need for me to use any Twitter on iOS. However if I would choose a free Twitter client that would be Hootsuite and for the paid client I\’ll choose Tweetbot.

How about you? What will be your primary Twitter client for mobile?

Read more

App.net Free Account Available Now – Who Has an Invite?

App.net Free Account

At first I was surprised that you can already register an App.net free account when its goal from the beginning is to offer an ad-free service. It was made possible by offering premium paid-only service, at least initially.

Freemium model usually offset the cost of operations by displaying ads to non-paying users or by selling the data generated from the service to other business. There are many ways to carry out a freemium model so it does not mean App.net will start doing one of those things I mentioned.

So how does an ad-free network where users already pay $36 yearly or $5 monthly to use the service benefit with the new App.net freemium model?

Freemium is the way to go

You only pay the service because either it is so good and important or you need more features not available in the free plan.

\"App.net

To understand the switch from premium to freemium model you have to go back and read this article from The Verge where it details how App.net expanded its current paid offerings by offering cloud storage on top of its social network. All paid packages now offers 10 Gb of cloud storage  since late January this year.

Even when you look back at the first project announcement App.net is heavily inspired by services with freemium model namely Github and Evernote.

How to register free App.net account?

In order to get the App.net free tier account you must have an invite first. Free tier account users are similar to paid accounts but limited to following 40 users, file storage is much smaller – 500 MB,  and the max upload file size is only 10 MB.

While some paid user may think of downgrading to free account this could make App.net more popular because now even paid users can lure more of their friends and family inside the social network without any obligation.

This will also benefit the community because only the trusted people will be invited greatly reducing the risk of spam. Also with the limitation of free account, spamming or nonsense rambling seems futile. As free users hit the limitation there is a likelihood someone will upgrade just like how Evernote and Dropbox users upgrade to paid plans.

I am not an App.net user yet but I am interested on the service since last year. This might be the best time to try it out. Who knows, I might get an invitation sooner or later. If you are in App.net already and have a free invite to spare, please contact me directly here.

Read more

New Crowdbooster – No More Free Plan in 2013

I\’m surprised no one has posted in my group about the new Crowdbooster yet. Maybe due to the holidays?

Well, it\’s nearly the end of 2012 and before I post my 2012 summary let this be my last social media post for the year.

If you don\’t know it yet, the new Crowdbooster is getting rid of the freemium model. And they announced it 2 days after Christmas. Just so happened that I did a short review of CrowdBooster in YouTube a day before Christmas. So now that review is quiet irrelevant already because there is no more free plan.  I don\’t know if they could have picked a better timing for the announcement but ditching a free plan is always hard for the first adopters of the service.

Starting March 1, 2013 the free plan will no longer exist and in order to continue using Crowdbooster you must upgrade to a paid plan, starting at $9. At the moment there is no $9 plan posted in their pricing guidelines yet. Let\’s hope that other perks, such as additional account slots, will be included when you upgrade to the cheapest paid plan.

I have been using this great tool for a while but I am not so vocal about it until lately. They should know what they are doing because Crowdbooster is changing its business model and all the risks must have been studied first beforehand.

It\’s been a great free service and I believe anyone who finds this helpful for their business would upgrade.

What do you think of this recent announcement by Crowdbooster? Let me know in the comments section below.

Read more

Twitter vs. Instagram – The Unanimous Decision

I tested  the newly updated Twitter app in iOS and Android since yesterday and right away I knew that Twitter is far behind the competition.

The short answer to which is better, Twitter vs. Instagram — is obviously Instagram by unanimous decision. In every review you\’ll read most pundits reason that Twitter is only following the footsteps of Instagram which made a new category of social network full of filtered photos.

Since I have already established that Instagram is still better, what\’s cool in Twitter\’s own photo filter features anyway?

Twitter vs. Instagram Filters

Twitter is using Aviary to process their photo manipulations… and they only have 8 filters at the moment. In contrast, Instagram has a whooping 18 free filters. Comparing Twitter filters vs. Instagram filters, Twitter is only using bare minimum at the moment and not even using full power of Aviary SDK. Aviary has a total of 30 filters and 12 of them are free while the other 18 are available via in-app purchase. Not to mention Aviary has more options to adjust brightness, warmth, contrast, saturation and sharpness. Maybe Twitter is only paying for the bare minimum features just to see how their users will use photo filters. Depending on the result, it\’s possible that Twitter might roll out new filters in the near future too.

Below, I have used an image that is vivid enough and has a fair distribution of highlight (white) and shadows (black), as well as mid-tones (gray). You can see how the picture is enhanced using all the Twitter photo filters.

\"Twitter

The interface  is clean and very intuitive.

The first button is for  \”auto-enhance\”, the right is crop option where you can crop and just pictures similar to the square ratio similar to Instagram, and the center button is the filter options.

I like that you can have a bird\’s-eye view of the filters and choose which filters look best immediately. You can\’t do this in Instagram because it forces you to select a filter one at a time only.

Instagram and Twitter War

Since Instagram remove the Twitter card support, you can only see link inside your Twitter feed. No more pictures in the stream like it used to be. Some 3rd party apps still support the embedded photos including Twitter\’s very own Tweetdeck but we don\’t know how long it will support it.

What\’s great about Twitter picture service is that is shown in embedded tweets.

Instagram on the other hand will only look like just any another links.

Embed Work-around?

Well, if you like Instagram pictures so much you can still use Instagram as your primary photo filter app, and then attach it to your Twitter post manually. There is an extra step and it will result to uploading the photo twice. One in  Instagram, then another one in Twitter as a duplicate.

I don\’t like the minimal choices of photo filters in Twitter now but the good news is, you can use any photo filter apps that you want and share it in Twitter. For instance, if you are one of the Instagram haters, there\’s plenty of choices around – including Aviary which has more advance features available in both Android and iOS.

If you are looking for ways to embed Instagram photos in your blog, you\’re lucky because WordPress 3.5 supports Instagram oEmbed. I haven\’t tested it yet but it\’s included in WordPress change logs as a new feature.

I have included the official Twitter photo filters video below. Let me know what you think of Twitter vs. Instagram and its short-term/long-term effect in your online community.

Read more

Social Media Customer Service Fail

This article is a guest post written by Sean Clark.

\"Who\'s

As a business you can choose whether to take part in social media or not.

Whether you do take part or you don\’t, it won\’t alter the fact that the conversation will continue on regardless.

By taking an active role you have the opportunity to shape the conversation, make a difference and stand out from the competition.

Social media can be a very cost effective channel for customer service, when implemented correctly.

Which is why so many companies have embraced social media, creating accounts on various channels to provide a gateway for their customers and potential customers to reach them.

Nobody\’s Home

There is something worse than not taking part though.

That is to open a social media channel, and by doing so inviting customers to use it to reach out to you, then when they do, totally ignore them!

This is akin to advertising a telephone support number and never picking up when it rings, not even an answer-phone message.

This is really happening.

Customer Service Fail

Mark Shaw has gone to some length to highlight this phenomenon on Twitter with his EngagementIndex. His aim? To raise the customer service bar.

Mark states on the website:

\”Twitter is a game changer for businesses. Through EngagementIndex I want businesses to be able to track themselves so that they can see how they are performing, see if the resources they have allocated are sufficient and aimed in the right places…\”

Socially Devoted

On Twitter consumers may attempt to talk to you even though you may not have set up an account. When it comes to Facebook generally consumers will approach you via your Facebook page.

Yes the page your company set up! So why then are companies failing to respond?

SocialBakers, who provide a social analytics platform, have launched their Socially Devoted website to draw attention to the below-average customer care in social media, specifically on Facebook.

Their aim is \”…to encourage brands to shift their strategy towards more open and responsive social marketing.\”

SocialBakers have produced the infographic below highlighting Facebook Page response rates by industry:
\"Who\'s

Who\’s Socially Devoted To You?

If you\’ve set up a presence on social media with the aim of using it to promote your business, don\’t forget it works both ways.

So when customers use social media to reach out to you, ensure you\’re there and respond accordingly.

\"Sean

Sean Clark

Passionate Web Geek and Chess fan, blogging about Twitter, WordPress, iPad, SEO and Google. Sean helps startups leverage Social Media and Search to accelerate their business growth.

Check out Sean\’s latest online course: How To Use Twitter To Build Authority In Your Market Sector http://seanclark.com/using-twitter

Website: http://seanclark.com
Twitter: SeanClark

Read more

7 Kick-ass Web Apps Integrated with Buffer App

\"Buffer

Buffer App

I have used Buffer app for a long time and it solves a  very basic problem in sharing content on social networks – over sharing. If you have not used Buffer and you tweet a lot, you need Buffer to space your tweets apart or distribute them in scheduled intervals so that your followers won\’t receive consecutive tweets invading their Twitter timeline or Facebook news feeds. In many ways, it makes you more courteous. Buffer apps makes you more productive too because it gives you the opportunity to optimize and tailor your tweets or posts delivery date.

Buffer app works stand alone as a web app, browser extension and mobile app. I am going to focus on web apps integrated  with Buffer because these apps give users flexibility in sharing content.

So let\’s start the list for 7 kick-ass web apps integrated with Buffer app.

7. Twylah

Twylah brings focus to your Twitter stream and it makes it easy to organize what topics you are tweeting about in Twitter. You can embed Twylah widget in your blog to display your trending topics. You can also host your own Twylah page on your domain to give your readers a clear overview on what you are talk about online.

You can use Buffer when doing Power Tweets. A Power Tweet is simply a tweet sent from Twylah which includes a custom landing page. It\’s great for tweeting videos, photos, audio and other interactive media.

\"Buffer

6. IFTTT

If This Then Than (IFTTT) is a service that uses different web apps or even real-life objects like WeMo to let you combine triggers and actions using channels (apps/object). These combinations are called recipe.

Buffer is included in the 1st batch of channels available in IFTTT.

\"Buffer

5. Strawberry Jam

Strawberryj.am is one of the first, if not the first, 100% friend based trend spotter for Twitter. It compresses similar tweets of people or brands that you follow.

\"Buffer

4. Kippt

I only discovered Kippt recently because I am Delicious fanatic. It is a link saving site similar to Delicious but it seems to be influenced by Instagram and Pinterest design. Functionally, it reminds me of Spring Pad without the thumbnails and images.

What\’s different with Kippt is that it is integrated with a lot more social networks. Aside from Facebook and Twitter it connects to Tumblr and App.net too. You can also read your links later with Instapaper, Readability and Pocket.

\"Buffer

3.  Jugnoo

Jugnoo is a relatively new social CRM. It has many bells and whistles needed for your social media campaign including social post, social dashboard, social search, Facebook coupons, video creation and distribution and a lot more.

Buffer app integration comes in social post feature.

\"Buffer

2. Tweriod

The Buffer app + Tweriod combo is one of the best method to maximize scheduled tweets.

Tweriod can analyze your last 1,000 followers for free to give you the best time for scheduling your tweets. Then, you can use the proposed time from Tweriod to Buffer using their integration.

\"Buffer

 

1. SocialBro

SocialBro is a powerful browser app that became even more powerful when it was made available in the cloud recently. You can get accurate information about your community, find the best time to tweet, know the time zones of your followers, monitor your follower grow, filter and sort followers/following using different criteria as well as manager your Twitter lists.

The integration of Buffer comes in Best Time to Tweet (BTT) feature. You can use the data from SocialBro BTT and import it to Buffer to define your custom schedule.

\"SocialBro

As you can see above, Hootsuite also entered the scheduled Tweets space and is also integrated with SocialBro.

There are many more social tools trying to do what Buffer has done but what makes Buffer special is its deep integration with these web apps and native mobile apps.

Bonus

\"Commun.it

Commun.it will soon have Buffer app integrated as well. Commun.it makes it easier to build relationship and manage your community.

Update: Commun.it has now shipped the Buffer app integration, live:

\"Buffer

I have not included extensions and native mobile apps here because at least in Android Buffer can be integrated really easily with built-in Android sharing feature. In IOS not so much but I am seeing similar trend — more and more social media tools are integrating Buffer.

Read more