Remember the hip-hop group Naughty by Nature? They had it going on. (Yes – that sounded as awkward to type as it was to read!) Their biggest hit was "O.P.P.," way back in 1991 when I was just a wee lad, a freshman at Syracuse University who was peering anxiously forward to his future career as an ad guy. "O.P.P." stood for "Other People's Property" and was the biggest smash of the year, going platinum and inspiring a veritable bevy of illegal merchandising opportunities. But it can also be considered a basic rallying cry for the web in 2009. I decided to drag it back into the mainstream as the theme for this week's edition of The Round Up from your friendly neighborhood Digital Influential.
Social media is all about O.P.P. Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are all about O.P.P. How else can you explain the constant draw of such services as Facebook and Twitter? These services are all about voyeurism and listening in on the lives of other people, but social media can also be used to serve the powers of good! Social media can connect people with similar opinions or complementary skill-sets. This week's edition of the Round Up will focus on just those types of connections.
One of the greatest things about the web is the access to other people's experiences. In the old world we had Consumer Reports. In the new world we have RATE IT ALL (http://www.rateitall.com/). Rate It All provides a simple interface for searching out your favorite products, music and other items and hearing what others say about it. Think of it as a product-focused YELP mixed with the attention span of TWITTER. I searched for five products and discovered viewpoints on all of them quickly and easily.
If you don't like hearing other people's opinions and you're just looking for someone to help you create some charts for a presentation, check out LOVELY CHARTS (http://www.lovelycharts.com/). The service provides an online tool for creating diagrams and charts, but the fact that they provide a tool for "sexy" looking diagrams that were "crafted with love" is a little bit strange and intriguing as well. (Trust me, this is actual language taken from the site.) I played with the system and it works really well. If you're a novice at PowerPoint this may save you a lot of time since creating these diagrams in PPT can be a hassle, so take a peek and see if they can help you out!
Of course, we can't talk about social media without talking about music, and going to a concert is the most social experience there is, right? Well, if you're like me then you're not a fan of the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, so you'll support companies like SHOWCLIX (http://www.showclix.com/). ShowClix provides an alternative ticketing solution. A quick search for San Francisco yielded tickets to Swan Lake at the Opera House and Matt Costa at Slim's. They may not have been my first choice, but they are excellent options!
Since we're on the topic of live music, we can't overlook JAMBASE (http://www.jambase.com/), which is the de facto search engine for local live music and just recently came out with a superb iPHONE application! Spend some time on their site and see what bands are coming to a city near you.
If you still haven't found what you're looking for (to quote the iconic U2 frontman, Bono) then you should tap into the wealth of online "official sources." You all know CRAIGSLIST, but what about ANGIE'S LIST (http://www.angieslist.com/Angieslist/) for your home and home-related needs, or JUDY'S BOOK (http://www.judysbook.com/) for information on a variety of topics. Think of them as a little more local and a little more upscale.
When it comes to the iPhone App space, there's still no shortage of O.P.P. to check out. CRAIGSPHONE has a great app for accessing Craigslist and TWITTELATOR gives you access to your Twitter account. If you want to see what smart people are saying, check out the TED app and get access to the content from the TED conference in Monterey!
That's it for this week. Have fun and keep on keepin' it real!