Why Twitter Is Worth Keeping: Customer Service, Brand Awareness and News

Last month Twitter celebrated its 10th birthday. Since the little blue bird flew into the world ten years ago in March 2006, the Internet and mobile culture has changed a lot. In 2006, the mobile landscape was singing to the tunes of the Palm OS, Pocket PC 2000 (Windows Mobile) and the release of Windows Vista. Apple’s iPhone made its debut in 2007 and native apps for the iPhone didn’t arrive until late 2008. Its 140-character limit, SMS-based service soared into the clouds above even the likes of Facebook at the time, which for the most part was only web based; flip-keyboard cell phones were the perfect match. You could say that Twitter was “happy as a bird eating french fries” if it was real bird. Then, the Internet changed.

The Internet became more app eccentric, video savvy, social, narcissistic and with the exponential increase of broadband and a promise of more Google Fiber, it also became faster. It is the creative inspiration of Generation-X, the future of Generation-Z and currently the look-at-me-look-at-me mindset of the Millennials.

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source: Techcrunch

Somewhere in the last half of 2014, Twitter flew into a newly shined window, and Facebook, which once moved like a Sloth in social media time, made some swooping changes to their web-based social platform wooing many Millennials and other generations away from the iconic blue bird, leaving around 308 million Tweeter’s wondering if it is still worth tweeting.

The answer is #Yes

Twitter is great at having brief, public conversations with just about anybody else on the social network in an organized, straight-forward, chronological (you can still reset this from the new relevant order in settings) layout. Its current, most valuable life-lines are customer service, branding and news; as well as, fading uniqueness.

Using Twitter for Customer Service isn’t anything knew. Mashable published an article in 2009 about how to do it and 7 years later customers and brands are finally discovering a synergy that is working for both.  As a customer it will improve your consumer experience by quickly solving a problem or voicing a complaint, or reporting a software bug, and as a company it has helped transform those negative experiences, promote positive ones, strengthen their brand and build goodwill.

A few companies we have found using Twitter for customer service include @UPSHelp, @AmazonHelp, @JaybirdSport, @lostitsupport, @spotifysupport and most recently Apple Computer, @applesupport.  Our experiences with each of those companies Twitter support accounts provided a faster resolution to our problem than email or phone support. It’s a win-win and a great reason you shouldn’t abandon your account quite yet.

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source: @snowkapp

Another reason not to abandon the nest is that Twitter is also really good at building and promoting awareness for your brand, personal or for business.  Sure, over the past year the social network has lost 100 million users, but of the remaining 308 million, it’s quite effective for a push-pull marketing strategy. Plus, according to a 2014 article in AdWeek, Twitter followers are more loyal.

Just 13 percent of respondents to the GlobalWebIndex Brand report say that they have unfollowed a brand on Twitter, compared to 30 percent who have un-Liked a brand Page on Facebook. That last figure climbs to 38 percent amongst the key 16-24 demographic.”

Whether your brand is personal or business, the most important tip to building a strong following is joining the conversation. Interacting with followers by posting your original tweets, replying to their tweets and retweeting them will almost always gain you expertise in your subject, more people  visiting your profile and looking for new tweets. Be consistent in how frequently you tweet, but also mindful of creating time-line spam. Tweets can be anything, as long as they are short and sweet. Tech or cooking tips, contesst, questions or contributions to answer, news announcements, or just something interesting that you read about pertaining to your brand is tweet worthy. Whether you’re trying to build a personal brand as an expert in a specific field or a corporate brand, the most important part of building a solid following is remembering the heart of Twitter is the conversation, which usually starts by something worth reading. Also feel no shame in asking friends and coworkers to retweet you because everyone is a social-influencer.

Outside of companies pushing their brands and people pushing their personal soapboxes on anything from what they had for dinner last night or how their hotel neighbors were too loud, this social network, unlike any other, is built for distributing and consuming short snippets of news. It’s a timely place for local news network news affiliates or national affiliates like @cnn or @foxnews, and at times these news tweeters  provide a real value to have notifying your smartphone.

The little blue bird would probably be soaring higher in numbers right now if it just tried less to be like all of the other social networks and more like what everyone remembers it as: small, simple and fast. We heart you too Twitter, just be yourself.

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Who Doesn’t Like LEGO? Now, You Can Play and Write with One Too

This may be a stretch for #yourlifeintech because it looks like a LEGO. It clicks together like a LEGO. It even feels like a LEGO, yet it’s also an incredibly smooth writing gel pen, that you can snap more LEGO’s, like a Star Wars TIE Advanced Prototype microfighter minifigurine pilot onto and call it #geek or #popculture. You can also snap the pens to each other. How cool is that?

I have to admit this was a silly and impulsive purchase that actually turned out to be quite fun. The pen is of course plastic: white with corresponding colored LEGO pieces at the top to match the ink color. On the top is where the 1 x 4 platform LEGO piece is located. Both sides of a LEGO are provided but are not the same piece. The 1 x4 on the backside of the pen sticks out about 1/8 inch. I’m not really sure of the design reason for this, perhaps so you could build off it and create a shirt-clip.

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The biggest design flaw in my opinion is not having the ability to use the pen cap end like a standard LEGO. A 1×1 block would have easily fit onto the end and if you’re a DIYer it wouldn’t be too hard to hacksaw off the end and Gorilla glue a 1×1 block on it instead. The biggest challenge for me with that DIY project is finding the 1×1 block. My LEGO bucket was sold at yard-sale when I went away to college.

Thankfully the toy store hasn’t been completely replaced yet by the digital age and we still have a local Toys R Us so I took a stroll through the aisles and found a Star Wars TIE Advanced Prototype microfighter LEGO set for $10. Unfortunately it didn’t include a 1×1 block, but did have a cool TIE Fighter figurine that I could snap onto the end of the pen, and once I had a few minutes to put together the set it made an ominous pen topper that would impress any of your grade-school aged cousins.

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These pens are so fun and smooth to write with that I am thinking of ordering the red, black and blue multi-pack through Amazon and maybe even write some code or perhaps jot a few notes down about a few upcoming product reviews: LoseIt app, Moov Now and the Kenneth Cole Reaction ‘Risky Business’ Single Gusset Messenger Bag.

Source: Purchased at Barnes & Noble (Black only) but I’d recommend the multi-color 3-pack.

Throwback Thursday Review: Waterfield Design’s iPod Gear Pouch circa 2005

This review was originally published at PocketAnywhere in October 2005. Over the years the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch, now available as the Waterfield Padded Gear Pouch for $59, has evolved with the gadgets and gear of the modern enthusiast and has a great new design. The Waterfield gear pouch that I still use today from 11 years ago looks just as good as it did the day it arrived on my doorstep in 2005. What hasn’t changed with the product, is the durable quality.

Without need for more words, here is the originally published review of the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch.

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2201_image1Review By Jim McCarthy
Category: cases
Published: October 2005, PocketAnywhere

If a picture says a thousand words than I don’t need to write any more. Just take a minute to look over the photos of the Waterfield ipod Gear Pouch and ask yourself if this isn’t something that you need to have. For me there was no question. My iPod goes with me just about everywhere from house to car to office to picnics to gym and the Gear Pouch just makes sense for any iPod user because it keeps everything you could possibly need to hook-in your iPod anywhere.

Made from durable, yet fashionable Ballistic Nylon and a black, soft-lining, the iPod Gear Pouch is strong and protective when using the suggested way to pack the pouch (as shown in illustration at right). With this packing strategy, all iPod accessories slip into the pouch like matching puzzle pieces so not a cord or plastic knob bumps into the other causing additional friction or perhaps even scratching when rubbing against each other. This makes it safe to drop the iPod Gear Pouch into a bigger backpack or suitcase for travel.

From the photo it is obvious to where things go for maximum protection and fit. However, I found that placing all the cords in the center pocket, where the FM Transmitter and power pack are located in the photo made it easier to grab what you are looking for while driving. For example, I would keep the Belkin 12-volt DC Adapter as well as the USB/Firewire cable in the pouch area. If it fit, I also placed the Belkin Tunecast on top of the cables. It isn’t that large of an accessory and squishes well too. In the outside zippered pocket, the original and trend-setting white iPod earbuds and the remote wind up nicely and slide conveniently into the pockets. I tend to also carry an extra pair of small headphones and a splitter with me in case I need to share my iTunes with anyone.

Not just for the iPod
Waterfield may not be the first to advertise this, but the iPod Gear pouch can also be used for other gadgets and gizmos. Before my iPod arrived I used the Gear Pouch to store multiple PDAs and sync-n-charge cables. I also tossed in a digital camera and stored a few small SD (Secure Digital) cards in the outside zippered pocket. In fact I comfortably fit a PalmOne Tungsten T3, hp iPAQ 2215, and Toshiba PDR-T20 digital camera into the three inside pockets and then also packed a Belkin Wi-Fi CF card, sync-n-charge cables for each device and the Toshiba’s awkward power-supply into the middle pouch area. It wasn’t light weight, but fit three complete gadgets into one case that made it easy to carry. There are plenty of other uses for the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch that you will come to discover when the time is right.

Anticipating the wide variety of use of the iPod Gear Pouch, Waterfield also has a more generic Gear Pouch (shown in the photo to the left) that is crafted with the same uniqueness and durability, but also available in three different sizes.

These generic Gear Pouches start at $19 and increase in size to just under the iPod Gear pouch. To learn more about Waterfield’s other products visit them on the web, http://sfbags.com.


Today’s gear pouches, as shown below, start at $39 and are available in four different sizes. You can buy your gear pouch, as well as other Waterfield Design bags, wallets, laptop sleeves and gaming cases at http://sfbags.com.

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Fitness 101: Living Healthier & More Active with Moov Now, Lose It! and The Fitbit Scale

With a quick glance around Starbucks I notice a Microsoft Fitness Band 2, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Flex and an Apple Watch; just yesterday I bumped into a Garmin Viviosmart and when I went to the gym later in the day I strapped a Moov Now to my ankle for a quick jog on the treadmill and 7-minute workout.

Fitness trackers have not only become an everyday accessory in our daily wardrobe but an extension of our body and part of our daily routine. But, with all these wearable devices tracking steps, stairs, heart rate and active minutes are they making any real difference in our health? Are they helping us obtain a more active and healthy lifestyle? After we consistently reach our 10,000 steps a day and 300 calorie burn a day, how do we keep them from becoming mundane and routine, possibly undoing the good habits we just invested months building. It then might be time to get-in-the-zone with a wearable that will rise to your more active lifestyle like the $79.95, multi-sport wearable coach, Moov Now, that analyzes the device data while you are working out to provide live coaching during your run, 7-Minute workout, cardio-boxing, swim or bike ride.

Unlike the Fitbit, you most likely will only wear the Fusion Red, Aqua Blue, Blizzard White or Stealth Black Moov Now during an active workout. Although you could wear it all the time, the real value of this wearable is during the workout since it doesn’t automatically sync with your phone through out the day nor does it currently display step tracking. However, as of this posting there is a tweet floating around with a link to a Moov Now beta program testing its upcoming leaderboard and redesigned daily activity and sleep tracking. This upcoming release may change how often you decide to wear the device. Until then, once you strap it onto your wrist or ankle you’re ready to be live-coached through a great app-provided workout including running, walking, swimming, kick-boxing or even a 7-Minute workout.

Choosing the right fitness device is only the beginning of your journey into a healthier lifestyle, and with your commitment to being more active, you will start to notice cravings for protein rich foods, sugar rushes and the urge to buy a shaker bottle. During this time it also helps to use an app like Lose It! –don’t be fooled by the name, it’s a great app for people also wanting to gain or maintain weight– to track your daily calories, exercise, nutrition, as well as a Wi-Fi scale like Fitbit’s Aria so you won’t have to remember to weigh-in.

Lose It! is the best food database next to rival My Fitness Pal (MFP). The biggest differences between the two rival apps are in user-interface and speed. The Lose It! database is just as comprehensive as MFP but faster, and Lose It’s diary log is more graphically represented with food icons. If you log a banana, there is a small icon of the banana. If you log a beer there is an icon of pilsner glass. You get the idea. At first I didn’t like the Skeuomorphic style, but after a few weeks of using Lose It! I have come to appreciate the quick-glance recognition of foods and the easy to read “My Day” view with circle graphs for calories, nutrients, steps and challenges.

Putting all this tech together may seem a little overwhelming at first, but keep reading this series and you’ll learn how to use each of the tools mentioned like a champ. We will take a much closer look at the Moov Now and Lose It! app and share with you how we’ve used fitness wareables and apps to accomplish our weight and health goals.

Up Next: Lets Moov! Now
Follow us Twitter @binarybound so you know when it’s published.

Where To Find Tech News for IoT, Wareables, Smartphones and #yourlifeintech

The Internet is a big place and finding tech news online about #yourlifeintech isn’t hard but finding good, interesting, news sources is another story.

Maybe you want to read more about IoT, or perhaps you’re more interested wareables than Internet security or you’re just interested in how technology is tangling itself throughout culture or just looking for the latest news in the war on encryption.

Now it’s your turn to share! Below is a list of online news sources that we used to discover news, reviews and articles for the #yourlifeintech weekly digest. Each morning take a quick browse through the headlines and if you discover something fun, interesting or absolutely amazing share the link with us on Twitter @binarybound or post it to the binarybound facebook page.

#yourlifeintech /news, articles

#yourlifeintech /reviews

#yourlifeintech /art, music, fiction

Oh, and here are some of Today’s Headlines

*If you’re a content publisher and would you like us to consider your site for #yourlifeintech then please send an email to /editor/at/binarybound/com/ with the URL.

Why I Threw Out My Skinomi TechGlass for Apple Watch After 24 Hours

When I found the Skinomi TechGlass was going to be available again the end of March I didn’t hesitate tapping the “Buy It Now” button on Amazon, but after the first 24 hours with it on my 42mm Apple Watch Sport I am extremely disappointed. So disappointed in fact that I am replacing it with their film based Skinomi TechSkin product or just not using a watch face protector at all.

There is an old saying “you get what you pay for” and for only $5.95 on Amazon, why did I expect anything better? I think that I expected something better because of my great experience with Skinomi’s film-based TechSkin product. Despite the clarity isn’t as good between the two products, the TechSkin fit edge to edge and didn’t leave a dusty looking ring. It didn’t change the design feel of the Apple Watch and provided an added level of scratch resistance without blurring the display.

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I actually tweeted my tech-bud @bryanlewis “first look: @bryanlewis the @Skinomi TechGlass is so ugly &about 2mm too small that I almost threw up a little. ” And, there’s that dust ring.

Skinomi did the best they could with design. If you look at many other tempered glass screen protectors they all have one design criticism in common: they are not an edge to edge fit. This makes sense because many devices from the Apple Watch and iPhone to the Samsung S7 have beveled and curved edges. This would require the glass protector to be precisely curved during manufacturing, which practically zero are, so therefore they can only cover the device’s flat surface area and often end up looking, well, awkward.

The awkwardness of the glass, however, was not the breaking point for me. It was the dust ring. You can clearly see it the photo above. The strange part is that this ring was not there when the glass was first applied to the watch face. It gradually appeared. And, to answer the obvious question, yes, I followed the very simple directions when applying, even though the instructions included were for a smartphone device (see image below). Between using the TechSkin film skin to first pick up all the tiny dust particles and then wiping down the watch face with the included Alcohol pad I expected to have no issues with clarity. The TechGlass dropped on perfectly the first time, without any need for adjustment or air-bubbling. I have to admit that I was initially very impressed with the TechGlass up until the dust ring appeared.

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I considered returning the product through Amazon, but as I started the process I noticed a “Return Policy” link. Here is what it said:

Customer satisfaction is our top-most priority. Skinomi.com offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee on all our products for any reason, as long as the item is returned within 30 days from the date the item is received. Items must be returned with the original packaging and order invoice.

Unopened items can be returned for a full refund within the 30-day period. Opened items can be returned for a refund of the purchase amount minus a minimum of $2.95 restocking fee within the 30-day period.

Is it just me or does the second paragraph contradict the first? They offer a 30Day Money Back Guarantee but if you’re product is opened, which mine is, there is a $2.95 restocking fee. Considering that I the purchased the Skinomi TechGlass from Amazon for only $5.95, less the $2.95 restocking fee, my estimated refund after also paying for return shipping be would cost me an additional $1.

Unfortunately because of Skinomi’s wacky Return Policy as well as the poor quality of the product, including shipping it with incorrect instructions, I’m going to toss my $5.95 in the recycle can alongside the packaging and order invoice and have to unfortunately not recommend the Skinomi TechGlass; even for the small price $5.95.