Where do I stand in the social media divide?

Just this morning, I received a Facebook notification stating that “[somebody] likes that I’m attending [specific event].”  This would freak my mother out.  As a mothers day present last year, I bought my mom and iPad and set her up a Facebook and Instagram account. I can’t even count on two hands the amount of phone calls I’ve received from her saying things like “how do I get this off my Facebook?” or “how did this person see that post and leave a comment?”  I just shrug it off and try to explain the workings of the internets and social medias like I would to my five year old nephew.

And that’s kind of where I stand.  It’s hard for me to personally identify with just one group out of the three.  In some scenarios, I’d put myself into the privacy elitist category. I carefully cultivate the amount of private (i.e. location info) I put out there.  I rarely use check-in services and have 2-step authentication set up for every account that allows it.  I use a different password for every website (which was hard at first, but not so bad now).  My Computer, iPhone and iPad are password locked. I’ll even Facebook my name to make sure there aren’t any duplicate accounts trying to steal my online identity, because I have had this happen to more than one of my friends.

Most of the time, I’m in the middle ground.  Every four months or so, I’ll google myself as the article states, just to see what pops up. I haven’t seen anything bad to date. I’ll post about things without thinking twice, because I know I’m not posting (or doing) anything that would be incriminating to a prospective client or employer.  I’ll go through my facebook activity log to see everything I’ve liked or been tagged in to make sure that nothing defaming has been posted and tied to me.  Haven’t had any problems yet.  I have a special spam email set up to which I send any email updates or signups forms of any kind.  Recently, I’ve even been setting up a special google voice number to give out to any business or that can be put on the net, so I don’t compromise my personal number.

With all that being said, I love the idea that I have nothing to hide.  I have no problem setting up a new account on a website or social media.  I don’t mind apps tracking me if they can provide me a service or data analysis that is to my benefit.  While the whole NSA spying thing is unnerving and worrisome; on the same token it doesn’t bug me. Spy on me all I want. I don’t worry about Facebook or Google ads, because I have ad-blocking software installed, so I don’t see them and they can’t track me.  But if you can give me an ad for a deal of something I want to buy; then more power to you.  I would love to have the deals come to me instead of having to search for them all the time.

There are very real privacy implications to our usage of social media. I am a firm believer that you are responsible for what you post and what you are tied too.  But I also believe that we shouldn’t try and hide ourselves so much from the internet that it’s benefits become useless.  There are a lot of awesome websites and services that require us to put ourselves out there just a little bit. It’s up to the individual user to decide if they trust the site/service and if they want to put that info out there. Like anything else in this world, you get what you put into it; Siri on my iPhone provides me more useful and accurate results because I use it regularly. If you don’t know how to securely use the internet than you need to learn. There are plenty of resources out there to help you be secure, and I’m a believer in Digital Darwinism.

Red Sands Ad Copy

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Ad targeted to current students:
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Ad targeted to parents:
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Axioms of Web Design and 20Jeans.com

This assignment came at a great time.  The day before the assignment was given to look for a website with great design, I was in the market for some new jeans.  Fall is in the air, mornings and evenings are cooler and, well… I’ve put on a little bit of weight.  A good friend recommended a website to go and look for good, high-quality, stylish and inexpensive jeans.  I proceeded to buy a few pairs (which are being shipped to me as I’m typing this).  The next day, I revisited the site to look at it from a design standpoint, as per this assignment.  These guys must have been doing something right, because I dropped $60 bucks on their product without hesitating.  In hindsight, a lot of that has to do with the way their design made me feel as a consumer.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

First things first: The homepage/landing page. What makes this work so well? The use of figure ground relationships places the clothing in focus. The page itself communicates their overlying business objective: Simplicity.  This is done through the square designs, sans-serif fonts, black and white navigation and balanced visuals.  Throughout the site, there is great continuity in design, as seen by the login page.  The use of the lower right for their call to action box (to subscribe to emails) is evident and works really well.  Because of the contrast between the all white background, your eyes are immediately pulled from the logo in the top left to the subscribe button on the bottom right:

The mobile version the site is also pretty great.  The design is responsive, so no matter what size your browser window is, the site looks great and sizes itself appropriately.  Responsiveness is key to their simplistic theme, and is executed flawlessly:
Another key axiom used well on their site is the strong grid. Their product photos are always lined up, framed the same and spaced evenly on the page, creating a beautiful grid layout as seen below:

This grid layout continues well with the responsive layout to adjust even for smaller screen sizes, all while maintaining the same design idea:

This site is extremely intuitive in its design.  I know where to find anything I’m looking for immediately, and don’t need to search around at all.

Made for Mobile

As I was searching for a video that translated well between screens, my mind went back to a video I saw a few weeks ago.  This song is current at the top of the iTunes charts.

Visually, it focuses a lot on her face.  She is framed in a way that is comfortable and doesn’t give us the decapitated feeling, so the gestalt principle of closure is used well.

There is a great use of figure-ground relationships in this video, throughout just about every scene. When she’s singing, its a simple backdrop behind her with little distraction.

Balance is used in interesting ways in this video. Many of the shots are perfectly centered, placing the focal point directly in the middle. Most of the time you never see a shot that was center balanced followed by another center balanced shot; it shifts to an asymmetrical balance to the left or right and then back to center again in the next shot.

Watching this video on devices of 4 different screen sizes (iphone, ipad, macbook and imac), I was able to capture the exact same message and feeling because of the way it was filmed.  I didn’t miss out on anything. I would argue that this video was designed to be watched mostly on a mobile platform but executed in a way that made it look great no matter if it was being watched on a 4 inch screen or 54 inch TV.

EDIT: Here’s another ad I saw today that I think fits well with this assignment; more info coming soon…

EDIT 2: Just saw another ad that relies heavily on the law of closure

Double Tap

Photo taken from blog located here

I know I’ve been reblogging a lot of articles from mashable.com lately, but they just keep posting so much interesting stuff.  We’ve talked a lot about different networks in class, and Instagram keeps popping up in conversation. It seems like it’s caught the eye of some fortune 500 companies now.

Most interesting fact? The Mayfair filter is the most successful filter in terms of interaction, followed by no filter at all.

Another interesting factoid: Incorporate anywhere from 4-11 hashtags into your posts, and try use use them in a sentence, so you don’t have a list of all your hashtags at the end of your posts.

One more interesting fact… Okay, that’s a lie.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff.  Take a look and read for yourself.