Posts filed under ‘Social Media’

Happy Valentine’s Day! – A Love Story In Photos

This may be one of the sweetest posts we’ve seen in a long time. Photography Tim Dodd captured the love story between his friend, war veteran Taylor Morris, and his long time girlfriend Danielle, in 22 shots that will surely leave you misty-eyed.

Tim started broke the story out on his blog, which you can read here, about one of the most inspiring stories you’ll ever see.



See, you needed the tissues didn’t you?

February 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm 1 comment

Voice Series – How Voice is the Natural Next Wave in the Personal Network

Our voice is completely unique and natural to us. It transfers our emotion, our energy and our intention when we communicate. One small inflection in our tone sends a completely different message. Over the last 15 years, we have sacrificed the quality of our correspondence for convenience with the growth of asynchronous text communication like email and SMS. However, as our world becomes completely built on the Internet, it only makes sense that voice will come full circle and re-emerge as the next wave of online communication to enrich and improve our conversations. It’s universal, intuitive, emotional, and provides more clarity. The question is, where and how will it emerge and where will it make sense in our digital world? We think it’s in the Personal Network.

As of 2012, 71% of cell phone users preferred texting over calling.

So in such a text-driven mobile landscape devoid of verbal communication, where will voice make a comeback? Everyone thinks about Siri when you talk about voice and technology. We are talking about voice specifically in the context of correspondence. Technically, Siri is a machine who does not require any insight into your feelings, so it doesn’t qualify! But look at the big guys like Google introducing Google Voice, Microsoft acquiring Skype and even Facebook testing voice in their Messaging App. It doesn’t seem like they really know yet exactly where it’s going but they know they want a piece of the verbal action as we shift the balance of traffic from telephone networks to social networks.

Looking across the social mobile landscape, new voice-centric apps are popping up every month that are pairing voice with pictures, replacing text messaging with voice, or adding voice to social networks. It’s clear that something is brewing on the mobile Internet but, with the exception of perhaps HeyTell, nothing has really caught fire. On one hand, it adds back exactly what is lacking in text communication, emotional context. On the other hand, it often lessens the convenience of being able to scan conversations, chat during boring work meetings, or be semi-anonymous in the public social networking arena. It’s really only in the Personal Network, for the average person, where quality trumps convenience.

Personal Network? What’s that? It is, according to Robin Dunbar, evolutionary psychologist and social network guru, the number of friends that an average human tends to socialize in – specifically, this number of friends is 150. Sound small? It’s quite large actually, according to Dunbar. Here is what he has to say:

“The reason we’re able to function in so much larger groupings than our primate cousins…is because, tens of thousands of years ago, we taught ourselves to talk. Whereas baboons bond by taking turns picking each others’ nits, we have rhetoric and gossip and half-time speeches, not to mention singing and storytelling and jokes, to bring and hold us together. Language is how humans used their big brains to get to 150.”

Since the Caveman’s system of grunts and cave drawings, we have evolved to find the best and most efficient way to communicate, carry our voices, and spread our messages. In fact, we are still evolving. Adding voice back to personalize online communication is the next step.

Before the invention of cell phones and the Internet, the telephone was the leading method of personal connection. Before we could put a face to the voice, families gathered around their radios and listened to their favourite voice personalities. Shown pictures of some of the most powerful people in history and it’s their voice that plays back in your mind. Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr., Charlie Chaplin (kidding – just wanted to see if you were paying attention!), Ghandi, Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, and even Hilter are all voices that you can most likely identify within seconds of hearing them. Voice is our own unique and personal stamp. The interesting thing is that because it is so personal, we really only connect with those voices of people that we care about (your Personal Network) or that are familiar and aspirational (celebrities, singers, actors, teachers, politicians).


So basically, unless you’re a close friend or family member, Lady Gaga or Michelle Obama, millions of people aren’t going to take the time to listen to what you have to say. Your family, friends, sports team, co-workers – they are the Personal Network and community who are motivated to listen. We think voice communication is for corresponding with those who want to listen, not just for sharing blindly out into the public social space where it simply turns into noise for anyone outside your circle of 150.

Just as we function and survive in our social circles, to survive in today’s social networks, you have to use certain tools to engage and capture attention to distinguish yourself, add your unique stamp. While it’s the combination of text, digital photos and video that are really what is piling up on the world’s servers at a rate faster than bunnies can multiply, people are increasingly finding ways to re-integrate voice back into their everyday. Which says there is actually hope for the triumph of ‘quality’ over ‘convenience’ and reversal of the stat that Facebook released last year that said on an average day,

57% of people talk more to people online than in person

It’s more now no doubt, and we find that slightly depressing!

*What makes me happy? Seeing the same 2 little old Italian men, in their weekend finest, meet every Saturday morning at my local coffee bar at 8am to engage in heated discussions…with lots of hand-motioning of course!

Dunbar also states that we have an innermost circle of friends of about 3 to 5. Chances are you maintain that closeness with those 5 people because you talk frequently. Maybe not face to face, but with a phone call at the very least. Think of your 5 people, they’re close with you because you’ve forged an emotional connection with them. You’ve debated, fought, laughed, had deep conversations about life, annoyed each other, and learned from each other. You actually have moments where you suddenly think, ‘I haven’t heard their voice in a long time.’ Almost like it’s an essential element of your being.

He goes on to say that that innermost circle is included in a group of about 12 to 15, those whose death would be devastating to us. And then comes 50, those friends who you see on a fairly regular basis, who you would invite to your 40th birthday bash. And of course, then the magic 150. Those you would send a Christmas card to (if you ever got around to it!). That’s where voice fits. Very rarely will you ever get meaningful conversations from text, and studies show that when something’s important, people do in fact pick up the phone to deliver their words in an emotional context. That’s how true connections are made and strengthened. To maintain those connections, to hold us together, as Dunbar says, humans have voice. ‘Human’ is making a comeback.

Have you tried adding voice back into your everyday correspondence? Share your comments or tweet at us: Lynne McEachern (@spoketech) or Leeann Yee (@leeannyee)

February 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Hump Day Post – Infographic Proposal

It’s not every day that that you decide to propose to someone, or that you get proposed to. Since it’s only going to happen to you once in your lifetime (hopefully), Drake Martinet – associate editor at – decided to put his best skills to use and propose to his girlfriend via infographic. Not only has this gone viral, it is quite possibly one of the coolest and creative ways anyone has ever gone about proposing. And for the record – she said yes 🙂

Like what you see? Follow me @leeannyee for more updates!

January 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm Leave a comment

Voice Series: Is Social Media Causing The Younger Generation To Lose Their Voice?

When it comes to technology, the difference between Gen X and Gen Y is but one thing – Gen X is technologically adept, Gen Y is tech-savvy. While the younger generation may be able to trump their parents any day in a game of Angry Birds or sending more texts in a minute, one thing that social media may have taken away from Gen Y is their individual voices.

Consider this; a study reported by The Mail Online did a study that makes most of us out to be internet-obessed, because there’s a growing trend that we’re spending so much time online that we sometimes go up to 48 hours with out interacting with another human being. That’s 2 full days of barely talking to another person! That literally translates to a loss of voice.

It used to be that if you wanted to give  your input on a hot topic discussed on the radio or a TV program you’d call in and physically talk to someone on the other end. Nowadays, we tweet in comments, write posts on Facebook, and scroll down to see what everyone else has said. If our opinions don’t match theirs we may or may not think twice about posting something.

In comparison to previous generations, Gen Y prefers communicating through emails and texts versus talking to someone face to face. Keeping conversation flowing instead of being able to stop, pause and think before replying puts a damper on communication and being able to voice your thoughts at any given moment.

Then there’s always the evolution of ‘texting language’, where two people – based on how well they know each other ‘in real life’ – are able to tell what the other person at the other end of the phone is saying through a text message.

So tell us, where do you stand on this debate?

Like what you see? Follow me @leeannyee for more updates!

January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Spoke’s Weekly Wrap Up


This week we discovered all kinds of great things, so let’s do a quick wrap up and share!

Pinterest – Inspiring photography

Recreate your favourite family moments with Lego men this weekend! It’ll be a fun family project for all.

Twitter – Hump Day

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To honour the third day of every work week – affectionately known as ‘Hump Day’, we’re bringing you a weekly dose of funny, inspirational and interesting tidbits every Wednesday. We kicked it off with 60 Tiny Love Stories To Make You Smile!

Tumblr – we have a new layout!

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With every picture we find that makes us think of photography, long distance, love, family or special holidays, we can’t wait to share with you folks on our Tumblr.

Blog – Tech support for parents

They’ve guided us through life, now we can guide them through the iPhone (and iPad, and the internet). We’ve found some good resources to help you help them!

And … that’s a wrap! Happy Friday everyone!


Like what you see? Follow me @leeannyee for more updates!

January 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Travel Appy With The Kids: Four Apps To Keep Little People Busy on Holiday

Half of our office is in sunny Mexico right now, and that got us thinking – with all the traveling happening around the holidays, especially with kids in tow (how do the Jolie-Pitts do it?!) how do we keep them busy and occupied? We decided to tackle as many of those ‘what ifs’ and ‘are we there yets’ as we could with some apps that are sure to help them, and you, stay smiling these holidays!

Toca Kitchen

This is probably the one time you’ll ever let your kids play with their food! There’s a dozen characters for your kids to cook for, pots, pans, and even a fridge stocked so full even you’ll wish it wasn’t just a virtual game.


The great thing about globetrotting is that you often get to learn new languages! How about making it fun for your little guy or gal with an app that’ll have them saying ‘are we there yet’ in Spanish? We’re betting a little change in sound will be good for your ears too.

Draw and Tell

This is so much fun, we want it for ourselves! Perfect for long plane rides, this is the ultimate colouring book. You can colour, you can draw, you can add stickers to anything, this is probably the perfect companion for anyone who loves all things colourful and creative.


This app has over 9,000 tours for you and your kids to pick from. 9,000! Sorted easily by different categories every single day, there’s always going to be something on the itinerary.

Have any other favourite apps that we’re missing? Let us know!

December 4, 2012 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Cool Tech Gifts for Everyone!

It happens every year. That inevitable countdown of how many days left until doomsday in the world of gift giving. Luckily, we’ve put together one of those handy dandy lists that’ll help you figure out exactly what hot tech gifts you can get for every level techie in your life!

iPhone 5

It’s still the most talked about phone on the planet! So for the techie who has been eyeing this up … happy holidays!

E-volve Touchscreen Gloves

These are some of the coolest gloves ever. Not only are they insanely warm due to some fancy kind of fibre it’s made from, they have special fingertips that allow you to tap your screen without any problems! Now how’s that for inventive?


It’s the world’s best-selling e-reader, and for the frequent flyer or the commuter nothing could be more perfect! Buy some of your dad’s favourite books or your sister-in-laws, whoever you’re giving it to, and they’ll start wondering why they spent all that time carrying books around.

Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect

Ahh … the gift that spans all age groups – mostly for the men in your life! It’ll get everyone up off the couch, moving, laughing, engaging, and we promise you – there’s a huge chance you’re going to want to take a crack at this game when the kids aren’t around, it’s fun!

Polaroid 300 Instant Camera

You remember Polaroid camera’s, they were the coolest things since sliced bread for a while! Now you can give the gift of memories to the shutterbug of the family. These guys are tons of fun and come in all different colours, what a better way to capture the holiday season?

Got any other cool ideas? We love these guides too: iMum Christmas Gift Guide and Tech Mama. We’ll have more to come soon! Till then, happy shopping!

November 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm 4 comments

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