As the Web continues to develop and change, some things seemed to have stood still for the last decade. I still remember when I opened my first email account, or when I first joined AIM (or was it ICQ?). After all these years, email is still here and it still plays a very central role in our online activities. OK, I know it is only second place to the time people spend on social media, but second place ain’t too shabby.
I am going to do something a little differently in the post and not discuss a new product or a new technology. I want to talk to you about a company that I have been in contact with over the past few months. The company is Shape Services and they make some very innovative applications such as IM+, Mobiola Web Camera for Blackberry, and their newest addition, RDM+. Now, I have had the chance to try out all of these apps on different platforms, and they all pretty much rock, but like I said, I want to talk about the company as a whole and not just their products.
While Social media in its newest formats takes up a lot of my time, I find that I do a lot less of other things I used to do, and this sadly includes blogging. I hope to fix that. However, one thing that did not diminish is my time on Instant messenger. IM still serves a purpose even Twitter cannot fill. Ever since I learned how to turn on a computer, I have been an IM junkie. So naturally, when I get a new phone/iPod, good IM software is one of the first things I search for.
After a long three months of job searching using every available tool, looks like I have landed myself a position as a Content Manager at a Forex startup. At the risk of giving myself a huge jinx before I even start the job, I wanted to share with you my experience over the last three months, and how I reached the indisputable conclusion that social media is the way to go.
Over this extremely trying period of looking for my next job, I used pretty much every tool available to me. That includes the traditional job websites, as well as outsourcing companies, and placement agencies. I must have sent out a 100 CVs a week, each with a really impressive cover letter as well as a CV customized for the type of position for which I am applying. I will not say that was a total failure. I did get a handful of interviews from them, but nothing came of any of them. What seems to count more than a nice cover letter or CV is people’s opinion and recommendation of you as an individual. In addition to those tools, I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, emails to all my contacts as well as community lists, and let’s not forget a whole lot of IMing.
So in the hope that one or more of my readers will benefit from this information, I decided to share with you some of the tools that I found to be useful. Let’s start with the one that ended up closing the deal, Facebook (with a little IM help on the side). I know people today seem to think of Facebook as a waste of time and one of those things “I just do not need”, but my experience proved otherwise. Yes, it is true, Facebook can be a huge distraction and occupy a lot of your time, but the exposure that one can get using Facebook is unprecedented. At a simple click of a button, you can let hundreds if not thousands of people know you are looking for a job, and that is what I did.
What ended up happening with me is that, the fact that I was looking became known to pretty much everyone I ever knew, and an old friend of mine, who, the truth be told, would probably have found out via IM anyway, heard I was unemployed. Now, remember, I was working in the technology and cellular industry in my last job.
This particular friend works in the Forex industry, and has built various sites, one of them being a Digg style website for Forex news , as well as others for the Forex community. Well, he made a connection through one of his sites with an individual who has recently started a company and was looking for a content manager. He then made the match.
This story could never have happened five years ago, when there was no social media and all these tools were unavailable to us. Now, it is important to emphasize that this particular opportunity worked out for the best, but for every interview I got through the job sites, I got five from networking. Wherever I was, whoever I was talking to, I put aside the embarrassment of being laid off from my last company (although, in today’s economy, it is not so bad, who doesn’t know someone that lost their job recently? Check out this list.), and pretty much let anyone and everyone know I am looking.
Just to sum up, if you or someone you know are looking for a job in almost any field, I would recommend making use of the old fashion tools as well, but spending much more time developing your profile and networks on the various social media tools.
If you want to know more details about the exact manner in which I did this networking, or alternatively, if you want more information on the traditional side of things, the sites I used etc., you can message me on Facebook here, DM on Twitter here, write me on LinkedIn here, email me here. Or, you can also call me if you have my number, I have not stopped using that means of communication, YET.
As we wait for any big news from CES, and grieve about the almost total lack of any news at all from Macworld, I thought I would tell you about a desktop application that is up there with the best I have ever used. It it not new, but its latest updates make it a real show-stopper. I am talking about the IM, Social Networking, and email aggregator for PC, Mac, or Linux; Digsby.
I have been using Digsby for months now and I have to say, it is almost flawless. Now, for me to say that about a program is a big deal, I am the kind of user that gets annoyed by the most trivial and ridiculous little quirks that 99% of people would never notice. Anyway, Digsby gives you a very clean and nice looking interface that includes the following services (sit down, it’s a long list):
- AIM: Oldie but goody
- MSN Messenger: Still a very good program even with the endless spam
- GTalk: Keeps getting better
- Yahoo Messenger: It serves its purpose, not great, but they get an A for effort
- ICQ: Never used it, but props for being the first of the gang
- Jabber: Never used it
- Facebook chat: Buggy but very useful
Those are the IM networks only, here is what else you have access to without even opening up your Web browser:
- Hotmail: Designed by Microsoft, but there are still people using it
- Gmail: Best email, period
- Yahoo Mail: Always getting better
- AOL/AIM Mail: No comment
- IMAP: Huge fan
- POP: Good to have
Now, for the big news, the latest Digsby update added the following social networking sites:
- Facebook: Will take some time till someone takes its place
- Twitter: Love it, love it, love it
- MySpace: Never used it, but very popular
- LinkedIn: The interface could be better, but very useful, I am told
OK, enough lists. Bottom line is, Digsby pretty much offers you every possible tool used to communicate on the Web (I guess Skype is missing, but then again, with so many VOIP options in the above lists, why use Skype?).
In addition to all the available services, the actual experience is absolutely perfect. Tabbed conversations, awesome skins, nicknames, reply from within popup notifications, Facebook and Twitter updates that do not disturb your work, and more and more. I can go on and on with Digsby’s amazing features, but I am sure you get the point.
Just to summarize, ever since I installed the latest update, I have not opened up a browser more than twice, and that was to check the news. So, why is it not the perfect program? Well, if I have to name something, it does not include CNN updates, yet!
After hitting the 10,000 apps and 300,000,000 downloads mark (yes, there were 300 million downloads so far), you would think there would be at least one app in the app store that offers an instant messaging experience somewhat similar to the desktop one. Take Digsby, for example. Besides its lack of Skype support, it is a user friendly, clean and fun interface that offers all the functionality one needs in a messaging application on a PC. What about the iPhone? Does such an app exist?
There is definitely no shortage of messaging apps in the app store, I wouldn’t even say there was a shortage of free ones. There is however, a very severe shortage of IM apps that offer it all, until now. Let me explain.
The available free IM apps include Fring, IM+, Palringo, AIM, Facebook, and Nimbuzz. Out of all of those apps, there is only one that offers all the needed capabilities of a good IM app.
So what does one need in an IM app to make it good? Here is a little list:
- Multi Platform Support: I need it to support AIM, MSN, GTalk, Yahoo, Facebook, and Skype.
- Landscape Keyboard: So much easier to type on.
- VOIP: It needs to not only support Skype, MSN, or GTalk chat, but why not take advantage of their VOIP capabilities as well?
- Separate Buddy Lists: I want to see my contacts separated by network and not all on one very long list.
- Easy to navigate interface: It has to be user friendly to be an app I would consider using.
OK so that is a short list of characteristics I am looking for in an IM app.
There is only one app that I have found to offer pretty much everything in that list; Nimbuzz.
Nimbuzz is a great app I discovered recently, after using Fring, IM+, and Palringo for a few weeks, and Nimbuzz has em all beat. It is not perfect yet, as there seems to be some buginess with Facebook chat sometimes working and sometimes not. I also occasionally get an AIM error that too many people are signing on at the same time, but it eventually signs me in.
Another issue I have with Nimbuzz is the login takes a little too long for my liking, but given all it offers, that is something I can deal with. I am really liking the quality of the audio when using the VOIP functionality via Skype, GTalk, or MSN, it is leagues above Fring or Truphone. The email integration is a little unclear to me, it notifies me when I have a new email in my Gmail account, but I cannot access the new message. Not getting that.
To sum up, I am really looking forward to the next Nimbuzz release, hopefully they’ll fix the minor issues and make this one of the most feature packed, fun to use apps in the app store. For me, Nimbuzz gets a 4.5/5. I am liking it.