Category Archives: Technology

What Killed the Vine App – Or Is There Still Some Hope Left for It?

Death Of The Vine App Social Media - Eminent SEOWhat Caused Vine to Wither?

Social media has exploded since the mid-2000s, when Facebook began to rise to prominence. The social landscape changes every day, with old apps and platforms giving way to new technologies and services.

This was certainly the case for Vine, a Twitter-owned video-sharing service that appears to be on its way out the door. Although Vine was a once-popular and user-friendly app, some analysts say it was a bad match for Twitter.

How the Vine App Worked

Vine was arguably one of the easiest social media apps to use. A user could upload a video from a smartphone or other device directly to millions of Twitter and Vine followers. A popular Vine video or meme had the potential to make someone’s social media presence explode. Through Vine, more people were able to make connections and expand their networks, both on social media and in real life.

Vine videos were able to compress time so a single video could loop millions of times and generate billions of hits. Videos often referenced each other: One Vine could contain a cross reference to a dozen or so others. This kept viewers searching for similar videos and finding new ones to share with their networks.

A classic example is former “Mad TV” comedian Will Sasso’s series of Vine videos involving lemons. These individual Vine clips have all been combined into one YouTube video.

For a short time, this simple video-sharing service seemed like it might carve out a permanent niche.

Why Vine Worked

Before Vine, there was no quick or easy way to broadcast video. Apps such as Facebook Live and Periscope didn’t exist, and people who took video on their phones were concerned about data and messaging limits. In 2012, Twitter acquired Vine, which eventually had a six-second limit. This allowed users not only to broadcast video, but to focus on the most important parts of what they shared.

Even before the six-second limit, Vine was popular for its short-streaming video. The app was aimed at teenagers, who particularly enjoyed trends and memes. However, Vine expanded to include other demographics, including people in their 50s and 60s.

Michael Pachter, a 60-year-old financial analyst, used Vine regularly and built up a following there and on Twitter.

“You’d have to be a technological idiot not to be able to do it,” he told The New Yorker about shooting Vine videos.

Additionally, Vine was popular because it was perceived as fun.

“Vine is not a tool. It’s a toy,” Vine’s then-new general manager Hannah Donovan told Variety back in June.

Vine was the place to find a quick laugh in the form of pratfalls, potatoes spinning from ceiling fans, and other slapstick antics.

For a good example of how users worked within Vine’s parameters, see this simple video that features a cameo from “New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris. (Be sure to turn the sound on.)

As for Vine’s overall brand of comedy, Donovan admitted, “The witty, wordy comedy of Woody Allen or Will Stillman it was not.”

However, it did attract different type of users than those on Snapchat or Instagram, giving social media users yet another outlet to exert influence.

According to Casey Newton, a writer for The Verge, users also loved Vine because it provided a “creative challenge.” Vine “endlessly rewound itself,” causing people to think of new and unexpected ways to use it.

Newton added that Vine had an early advantage over other social video apps due to its ability to spawn popular memes and much-applauded “cultural moments.”

Why Vine Is Shutting Down

Vine was extremely popular circa 2013-14, so what caused it to die so quickly? One former executive cited other apps such as Instagram, saying Instagram Video was “the beginning of the end” for Vine.

Instagram

Instagram Video debuted 15-second video limits in 2013 and has since expanded to clips as long as 60 seconds. Users, especially celebrities, found Instagram Video much more flexible than Vine. Although Vine eventually tried offering extended videos, they never caught on.

Snapchat

Snapchat also played a role in killing Vine, as well. Snapchat allows users to send each other video clips individually and/or broadcast them publicly, while Vine videos were only for all users, and even non-users, to see.

Time allowances also made Snapchat superior: The platform allows 10-second clips rather than 6-second ones. Four extra seconds might not seem like much, but extra flexibility attracted users, just as Instagram did. It doesn’t hurt that Snapchat also has all of those face and voice filters to add some extra dimensions to any video.

Problems Behind the Scenes

Twitter Lays Off Staff And Kills Vine - Eminent SEOInstability was another big issue for Vine. Managers consistently quit to pursue startups and other, more lucrative opportunities. In 2015, Twitter underwent massive layoffs, which involved firing Vine’s creative director. Gradually, Vine usage dropped.

Celebrities who once posted on Vine lobbied to be paid for using the app. However, the negotiations came to nothing. Celebrity users hoped to promote Vine videos the way they did Twitter posts and accounts, thus gaining followers. However, interest in Vine peaked around 2014. After that, it was difficult for celebrities, let alone average users, to generate significant followings.

In 2015, Twitter bought a social media talent agency in an attempt to save Vine. However, neither celebrities nor Vine and Twitter executives were interested in giving more money to a dying app. Additionally, Vine never offered its popular users options for reimbursement once negotiations stalled. Thus, they had little incentive to stick with Vine over other similar platforms. Vine never capitalized on its stars’ relationships with popular brands, thereby severely limiting itself.

Other Forms of Media that Contributed to Vine’s Demise

Although Instagram Video and Snapchat were seemingly the biggest threats to Vine, many other social media apps and forms of media played a part, too. Native Twitter videos are one such example.

Twitter Video

Unlike Vine, native Twitter videos are not a Twitter sub-service. The social media platform now offers more ways to attach and upload videos. With Vine, videos were mostly broadcast through phones. Meanwhile, Twitter now allows uploads and attachments from computers, tablets and several other types of devices.

Native Twitter videos have a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, making them as much as 23 times longer than Vine videos. Twitter’s new limit gives users enough time for a quick instructional video, a miniature vlog entry, or even a sketch comedy routine. Native Twitter videos do not rely on pratfalls and endless looping to keep users engaged.

Unlike Vine, Twitter video uses auto-play similar to Facebook Live. Videos also begin playing as soon as users scroll over them in the feed. This draws the eye directly to the video and makes it more memorable.

GIFs

GIFs are another popular alternative to Vine. Although they lack audio, which Vine allowed, they communicate quick, memorable and often comical messages. GIFs usually start up easily and loop endlessly, so users can watch them as long as they like, over and over again.


Additionally, GIFs are often used to enhance text. That is, if you want to write a long blog post broken up with engaging pictures or memes, GIFs will most likely keep the audience’s attention. Some users have tried to use Vine videos in the same manner, but they just didn’t work out quite as smoothly.

YouTube

Finally, YouTube has been a primary alternative to Vine for years. YouTube has no length limit now, and depending on your editing capabilities, a YouTube video of much higher quality than a Vine or Twitter one. Additionally, YouTube offers features Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat cannot, such as the opportunity to create your own channel.

What Was the Major Culprit?

From all the options above, even though they all likely played a role in Vine’s demise, if we had to choose one, we would say GIFs are an unheralded major culprit. As mentioned earlier, for a short period of time, Twitter users were using Vine videos similar to GIFs. That craze eventually died down as users became more comfortable with finding and attaching GIFs, thanks to sites such as Giphy, while Vine videos eventually took on a different purpose.

Some outlets even claimed a couple of years ago that Vine would render GIFs obsolete, but that forecast seems laughable in retrospect.

The problem with using a Vine clip instead of a GIF is that the latter typically accentuates whatever statement the user is trying to make, while the Vine is more of a statement in itself. It doesn’t help that thousands of GIFs capture memorable scenes from some of our favorite movies and TV shows, while Vine mostly featured footage of sporting events as well as original user content.

One the popularity of GIFs was undoubtedly more sustainable on Twitter than that of Vine videos, and when the Vine social network itself began dropping off in activity, the writing was on the wall for the once-prominent video-sharing service. The evolution of human communication is fascinating thing to witness, eh?

But Wait … Is Vine Really Dead?

Just earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter is shopping Vine around to as many as 10 interested buyers, meaning the platform could survive after all. However, offers for the video-sharing service are reportedly falling short of $10 million, which is a sharp drop from the $30 million Twitter bought it for in 2012.

It is unclear whether Vine or apps like it will endure, or whether they will have a significant presence in social media in the future. In the meantime, users have more ways than ever to chronicle their lives through video and share their experiences.

What’s your favorite way of sharing video experiences online? Leave us a comment below.

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Dedicated Name Servers and IP Addresses: What is Actually Best for SEO?

seo dedicated server-ESEO

This conversation never seems to get old in the SEO industry. Everyone seems to have a separate opinion about what is best for SEO purposes and how Google can associate multiple sites on a single server.

Is it OK to have multiple sites on the same server with the same IP address? Well, let’s find out.

Dedicated IP Addresses vs. One IP Address for Multiple Sites

In a perfect world, it would be best to have dedicated name servers for every domain that you’re hosting. However, it’s not the easiest or the most cost-effective solution. Instead, most web developers will have a shared server for a number of websites that they’re hosting, and with that comes shared IP addresses for each site. The benefit of having a dedicated IP in terms of SEO is that other sites won’t be able to negatively affect the SEO with bad practices, meaning if a website on a shared IP is marked as having malicious content or negative SEO, it can affect the other sites shared on that IP. This is pretty rare, so if you’re not doing anything malicious, then it shouldn’t affect your SEO for each site. However, it can definitely hurt the SEO if all of the websites are interlinked with the same exact IP address.

Does Similar Content with Shared IP Addresses Affect the SEO for Multiple Sites?

If you’re developing websites using the same template or set of templates, have similar industry-related content and are interlinking between sites all on the same IP address, Google will most likely flag this negatively. The websites won’t necessarily be penalized if they are using best SEO practices, but the sites won’t do as well as they could in terms of Google organic rankings and traffic. The reason behind this is all of the interlinking and similar website templates and content for all of the sites. Google could easily distinguish this as a network of sites, which isn’t a good thing. In fact, Google is against any sort of site or blog network, so your websites will be devalued because of this.

Which One is Better for SEO?

It’s not necessarily bad to have shared IP addresses for SEO, as long as all the sites have unique content and don’t interlink at all. What is best is to have a cloud-based server, because those servers will automatically update the website IP addresses every so often. You also want to have an IP address that is associated with the location of the actual business, because it wouldn’t look natural to host a website meant for United States but based in India.

You also want to have a dedicated name server for your business to host your websites on. You don’t want to purchase a shared server that could have other potentially harmful sites on it, since you don’t know what sites are being hosted there.

Don’t purchase a cheap server that’s going to cause load time issues. This can be harmful to SEO, as well as conversion, because the sites aren’t loading quickly enough. Google will devalue a website that has slow load times, since the search engine wants to provide a better user experience for its consumers.

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Happy 15th Birthday to Google

Google's 15th Birthday

Google – Are You Really 15 Already?

Believe it or not, this Friday, September 27th marks the 15th birthday of Google!  For a search engine, that’s like being a 90-year-old human.

Because it serves up the search results better than any other search engine currently available, Google has a dominant position in the marketplace.  How dominant is it really?  The numbers are staggering (according to Statcounter, a service like the Nielsen ratings, except for the web)

  • Google has 89.93% of the world’s search market, with Bing coming in second at 3.89%
  • It controls 78.32% of the US search market, with Bing taking 11.87% and Yahoo 7.96%

Astonishing, no?  But, just like every other company, there was a time where it was just another idea.  How’d Google go from an abstract concept to one of the largest corporations in the world?

Google’s Story:

  • 1996 – Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin a research project as PhD students in Stanford that attempts to create a single, universal digital library.  During the process, his supervisor, Terry Winograd encouraged him to stick to the idea of studying the number of nature backlinks to pages on the web (sound familiar?).  Page and Brin eventually came to the conclusion that using “PageRank” was a better method for ranking web pages than ranking pages based on how many times a search term appeared on each page.
  • 1997 – Google.Stanford.edu is brought into existence
  • 1998 – Google is incorporated.  Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, writes out a check to help fund Google before it even exists!
  • 2003 – Microsoft approaches Google, discussing a partnership or merger, but it never materializes.  Aren’t we all thankful that didn’t happen?
  • 2004 – Google goes public, despite some hesitation from Page and Brin who did not want to give up control of their company.
  • 2013 – Google is now worth $292.5 billion and strives to not only dominate search, but also to become an all-around technology leader.

Even Google is Capable of Disasters…

Even though it dominates search and has what is clearly an exceptional idea, Google has done many things that haven’t worked.  Check out a couple ideas that fizzled:

  • 2010 – Google Buzz – This integrated into Gmail and allowed users to share photos, links, messages, and updates.  A Harvard student actually ended up suing Google, claiming Buzz violated many privacy laws.  The idea has since been scrapped in favor of Google+.
  • 2009 – Google Wave – Wave promoted its ability to allow users to collaborate and edit work in real-time.  It never attracted a significant following and eventually went by the wayside.
  • 2005 – Google invests in AOL – Back then, Google sunk $1 billion into AOL to take control of 5% of the company.  It later sold that stake in 2009 for $283 million.

Google Still Does Search the Best

Even though not every idea Google has tried has worked, it still does search much better than any other engine.  Let’s all be thankful for that, wish Google a happy 15th, and look forward to what the company comes up with next.

Team Eminent SEO

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How Writers Can Make Their Services More Desirable

Jobs for Writers EminentSEO

Being a writer has never been the easiest job. Even throughout history, when books were the most popular media format, writers often struggled to prove their worth as a writer to publishers, editors, and even their general audiences. Today, as print media is quickly becoming outdated and obsolete, many writers are struggling more than ever to prove that a talented writer truly is needed in the digital age.

Firstly, all hope is not lost for writers. There are actually many opportunities for freelance writers out there; you just have to know where to look, you must have the necessary expertise, and you have to realize that you will not always be writing the pieces of your dreams.

Secondly, with this being the digital age, you must expect to be writing for primarily digital copy on websites, in applications, and other online content locations. This puts-off a lot of aspiring writers, as their hopes of being a writer include being published in leather-bound books, and eye-catching glossy magazines. If you truly wish to pursue a career in writing, get used to the fact that the demand for written content is more likely to be limited to blog posts, copywriting, non-fiction articles, web copy, than that fiction story you have been writing in your spare time.

Thirdly, if you are a writer, have been looking for work, but can’t seem to find anyone that is willing to pay for your writing services, you must take a look at what you are offering and adjust to what paying clients are demanding, and provide that service at the highest of quality. Here are some examples of how to audit what you are offering.

  1. Writing Examples and Showcasing Your Experience – You must really grab your potential employer’s attention and prove to them that you are the perfect writer to provide what he/she is looking for. Be prepared to send a potential employer 5-10 original content writing pieces that are varied in their scope, style, approach, and voice; this will showcase your versatility as a writer, and will also show that many varied businesses have sought out your expertise on past projects.
  2. Explain the Techniques that you Plan To Use in Writing, That Will Increase the Value of the Written Content – Whether the writing is supposed to be selling a product, selling an idea, informing readers of a topic, or offer entertainment, be sure to explain how your writing is going to use techniques or tactics in order to connect with the readers and push them in a desired direction. Basically, how are you – as a writer – going to write the piece to make it effective?
  3. Offer Something More Than Other Writers – “Great, so you are a writer,” a client might say, “why should I pay you to write it when I can just write it myself? You may hear this from many clients while you are searching freelance writing gigs, and it is a very valid question. What can you offer that other writers can’t, and can you offer something more to prove that you can get more done than just the writing? Being a writer is a full time job, but you really need to couple your writing expertise with other desirable skills. A freelance Web Blogger – for example – should have highly-sharpened skills in web platforms such as WordPress and Blogger, and have a basic to intermediate knowledge of HTML, other coding languages, and development. A writer that writes everything and makes sure that the copy makes it live on the web and looking good, is worth more than a writer who just wants to write it, submit it, and just get paid.

 

Writing jobs are out there, they are great gigs, and you certainly can make a living off of 1-off writing projects. But you have to remember that anyone in the world that is literate can call themselves a writer. Ok, so you can write… What else do you have to offer? Build up your arsenal of skills, expertise, and industry-related knowledge, and you will be more attractive to those that are looking to pay for writing.

Zachary Ankeny

After attaining my Associates Degree in Visual communications in 2000, I set off on a long career as a freelance writer and graphic designer. I have designed and headed many marketing campaigns for companies big and small all around the country. It is my belief that graphic design and writing go hand-in-hand, as they are both forms of communication. My non-fiction works have been published in dozens of magazines and publications. I have written for – and worked with – organizations such as: Banner Hospitals, The Jerome Historical Society, The Arizona Historical Society, City of Tempe, City of Bakersfield, Town of Gilbert, Wildhorse Ranch Rescue, Cynic Magazine, e|Fiction Magazine, and many more. Writing and designing is my passion and I look forward to continuing on with it for many years to come.

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Making the Most of Communication Technology

Making the Most of Communication Technology

Text messaging, online interaction and mobile media have already transformed the ways we communicate. The Pew Research Center reports that 56% of Americans now own smartphones. On an average day, 36.6 billion messages are sent via SMS-text message or chat apps like iMessage and WhatsApp. By 2014, that number is expected to surpass 50 billion messages. An increasing number of us spend most of our days using some form of electronic communication to manage workplace and personal relationships.

At the same time, few things can ruin a relationship faster than a miss-timed text or a message taken out of context. A report from Forbes, candidly entitled “Don’t Include Me On a Group Text Message Unless You’re Trying to Punish Me,” reminds us that the rules for proper e-communication etiquette are changing almost as quickly as the technology itself. Because communication technology holds such a prominent place in our daily lives, it’s more important than ever to consider how text messaging, email, and other mobile media are also changing how we build and maintain relationships.

The Upside

When it comes to the upside of communication technology, some of the most promising aspects involve improving collaboration and strengthening existing relationships. Initially, consumers are making good on professional and educational technologies that allow for increased collaboration. Three of the biggest providers of Cloud technology – Dropbox, iCloud, and SkyDrive – report a combined 675 million users. Google’s new(ish) Drive provides not only online storage, but also a platform for synchronous document editing across remote locations.

These types of technologies in addition to text messaging, instant messaging, and video-conferencing have created increased opportunities for convenient collaboration across time and space. In doing so, human communication experts argue that workplace relationships are strengthened in several key ways:

  • Co-workers develop close relationships that some describe are as comfortable as friendships. Text messaging, instant messaging and social networking at work allow employees convenience and efficiency in their communication, so these relationships develop rather quickly.
  • Employees also enjoy increased task interdependence, in that they can use communication technology to manage each other’s availability. When individuals are collaborating on a project, sometimes a quick text message or Google chat is appropriate to answer technical questions, without getting bogged down with the small talk that sometimes accompanies a face-to-face interaction.
  • Finally, employees often create a sense of community around their online collaborations. Communication technology simply brings more people to the table, allowing individuals to grow their social networks and online communities in ways previously limited by time and space. Such features are important in an expanding global marketplace.

These benefits of communication technologies are also evident in personal relationships. In an increasingly competitive and unpredictable economy, more families are living apart for employment purposes. This rise includes not only extended families, but also spouses and their children. As such, text messaging, videoconferencing, and mobile media are often vital technologies that families need to keep in touch. Additional benefits include:

  • A strengthening of existing relationships. Whereas text messaging is not always the most effective way to initiate and form a relationship, mobile communication devices help existing bonds stick together.
  • Combatting loneliness. One of the biggest risks that long-distance relationships face is loneliness, and videoconferencing, in particular, helps to alleviate the burdens of maintaining relationships across great distances.

The Downside

As more and more devices, programs, and platforms are developed, it is important to take a practical and somewhat cautiously optimistic approach to this topic – especially because of the downsides of our growing reliance on communication technologies. The drawbacks also focus on workplace and interpersonal relationship maintenance.

As workplaces become more connected and collaborative, there is a growing concern among organizational scholars that we’re becoming too plugged in. Employees are expected to do more with fewer resources, a phenomenon that Communication scholar Sharon Kleinman called the “culture of efficiency.” Communication technologies are a part of this culture, because they are believed to help speed up several of our workplace interactions. However, there are consequences for this emphasis on efficiency. Colleagues have grown to expect immediate responses to a text message. Employees are expected to respond to emails and text messages after work hours. These changes in communication practices also place significant burdens on workplace relationships.

  • Managers and supervisors now assume that their employees are “always on.” This can lead to work-family spillover, where individuals take time away from their personal relationships to deal with their workplace relationships – often without compensation.
  • The assumption of “always on” also increases the likelihood for employee burnout or other productivity problems – especially when individuals spend more and more of their days answering text messages and emails than doing the work that they’ve been hired to do.
  • Finally, if communication technologies have made workplace relationships more like friendships, then missing a text or failing to respond to an email immediately can prompt a much harsher reaction from our co-workers.

The workplace is not the only space where communication technologies often make our relationships more challenging. On an interpersonal level, text messaging, email, and videoconferencing do keep us more connected; however, they are not a magical fix for all relationship maintenance problems. Psychology Professor Mark Becker from Michigan State has argued that media multi-tasking, or using multiple communication technologies at once, is directly linked to increases in anxiety and depression. Communication scholar Lisa Stafford outlines some additional downsides that we might encounter when it comes to communication technology and personal relationships:

  • A loss of privacy and control. Individuals have little control over the texts or emails that they send, pictures that they post, or other communications that they put on the Internet. Those messages can be forwarded by well-meaning friends or family members in ways that the original sender never intended.
  • Paradox of constant connection. Text messaging can help romantic partners stay close even when they are apart; however, some partners get annoyed when their significant other interrupts them during work or time with their friends.

Developing Your Tech Etiquette

When it comes to managing the upsides and downsides of communication technology, there is no lack of tips for text messaging or rules for relationships. The most important lesson, however, is to develop your own tech etiquette. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be mindful with your messages. In other words, think before you text. Think about how and when the person on the other end will receive your message, as well as any follow-up messages (e.g., be wary of tech features like group messaging, because they often lead to unnecessary disruptions in the receiver’s day).
  • Take safety seriously. No matter how good your privacy settings are, if you don’t want something public, then don’t post it to the Internet. Additionally, be careful mixing your work and home texts. The Supreme Court has ruled that your employer has the right to view any text messages sent from a work phone – no matter how private you think they are.
  • Formality is ok. LOL, SMH, and other abbreviated text-speak are not for everyone – there is nothing more awkward than a well-meaning grandmother who thinks LOL means lots of love. Chat apps like iMessage and WhatsApp have taken over the market from SMS text messaging, meaning that text messengers can now squeeze in many more characters in a single text. And it’s ok – preferred even, when it comes to business and professional settings – to ditch the text-speak and start using full sentences and proper grammar.
  • Turn it off. Give your brain, your anxiety levels, and your ego a break and turn off the technology every once in a while. The world will go on if you miss a text message. Some industry professionals even suggest declaring “email bankruptcy,” (e.g., kicking up your out-of-office notification to tell senders to re-send their message next week, because you’re not reading anything this week). It’s more important for you to pay attention to other relationship maintenance practices that get lost when we rely on too much technology. Balancing our use of technology with other forms of communication – like a good old face-to-face conversation – is an important part of managing healthy relationships.

How do you think communication technology has changed your relationships?

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This Article was written by Marianne LeGreco, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on organizational and health communication, and she has published research on using communication technology to assist with community-based initiatives.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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