Love Week: Little Love Stories

There’s a lot to look forward to next week! There’s Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and the Koreans have a 3 day long celebration to celebrate their Lunar New Year. Today, we’re going to get your little love engines going with some sweet love stories that we’ve collected from all over the web!

Love Stories via StoryCorp.

Just click on the quote to hear their story!

We love hearing love stories, do you have any you’d like to share with us?

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

February 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Spoke’s Weekly Wrap Up

weekly

Facebook – Talking Valentines!

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We’re making Valentine’s Day a little easier for you this year – with an album full of pictures for you to send to your loved ones with your special voice note attached!

Blog – Top 5 Photography Apps That Aren’t Instagram

Everyone has Instagram, so let’s switch things up and look to some other apps!

Twitter – We gained 40+ followers!

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In the span of a week, we gained more that 40 followers, so thank you to everyone who followed us! We’re excited to see more of you!

jOBS: First look at the biopic about Steve Jobs

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs? Look at this picture, we believe it!

And there it is! It was an exciting week!

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

February 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm Leave a 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).

LadyGaga

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

5 Apps To Help You Prepare For The Super Bowl

This is a big weekend for sports fans. Big. Weekend. The Super Bowl is on February 3rd, that’s this Sunday and you can bet that every sports bar in town will be crawling with Raven’s fans or 49er’s fans, a parade of purple and black, red and white, or perhaps a ceremonial jersey. So here are a couple of apps to help you either stay sane during this weekend, or join in on the festivities!

Pocket Cocktails

For all those who who are staying home and camping out in front of their TV but don’t want to miss out on great drinks – we’ve got the app for you! Pocket Cocktails helps you mix the craziest combination of drink, or something nice and simple if that’s your thing.

theScore Mobile

On the go? Need to keep score? We understand, hence – theScore.

Yelp

Don’t know where to go to watch the game? Go to Yelp, and there’s a whole section just on sports bars. Find the location closest to you, and head on over!

Food Network In The Kitchen

For some of us, wings and chips just won’t cut it. Enter the Food Networks’ vast menu of easy finger foods to the ones that are a little more complicated. Then again, if marinated chicken breasts take only 15 minutes, you could look like the Iron Chef come Sunday!

Any other life-saving Super Bowl apps you can think of? Let us know!

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

January 28, 2013 at 4:20 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 AllthingsD.com – 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

Top 5 Photography Apps That Aren’t Instagram

In a mobile photography world dominated by Instagram, we’ve decided to explore the countless other apps that are available to us everyday folk who want to look a little more like professional photographers. So whether you’re filter junkie or love panoramic shots, we’ve got something for your snap-happy self!

DMD Panorama

Everyone loves a good panorama shot. Especially those who love taking pictures of landscapes, and there is no other app that has a following quite like this one. You point, move your phone across your landscape and voila! Perfection.

Standout feature: the panorama of course!

Color Splash

This is quite possibly one of the coolest, and most gorgeous and artistic effects photos can have – a splash of colour amidst a black and white photo. Color Splash makes it ridiculously easy for you to look like a future Mario Testino.

Standout feature: the name of the app says it all!

Picfx

There’s over 100 different filters in this app, all of which you’ll most likely spend hours combing through. You can rotate effects, save all photos in high-res to your camera roll and share them everywhere. And those are just some of their features.

Standout feature: we love that you have the ability to rotate effects here.

Snapseed

It was named the Best Mobile Photo App, and it’s iPad counterpart won Apple’s Best iPad App of the Year. Enough said.

Standout feature: the tilt and shift, it’s amazing!

Camera Awesome

Normally we’re a little skeptical when it comes to an app that declares just how awesome it really is, but then we took a little bit of a closer look at the app and realized, it actually is quite awesome. It has specially designed special effects that we haven’t really seen anywhere else, it’s easy to use, and has effects designed by a renowned photographer. Pretty awesome isn’t it?

Standout feature: re-focusing and tilting specific parts of your picture!

Now snap away! And let us know what your thoughts are!

 

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

January 22, 2013 at 11:15 am 1 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

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