visual storytelling

Ahoy mateys!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 5.21.37 PM As you probably heard somewhere, we launched the Selfish iPhone app in Canada last week.

Mobile Syrup says it's "providing a, well.. social element that has been lacking" from other visual story apps.

Now we have lots of fun Canadians coming onboard, including our spokesperson Jack Greystone who’s been on the cover of a Harlequin Romance, as a pirate hipster, if you like that sort of thing.

He just started his Selfish profile and first visual stories...

You can join us right at the website -- even if you're not in Canada, no iPhone required.

Take a dunk with us, the water's fine.

Make A Living Holiday Letter With This Collaborative Visual Story App

Note: This free tool is so new it's not in the app store yet. But I'm giving you a special link to download it on your iPhone, and make this story your whole family can enjoy and participate in. +++

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 8.57.32 AMEvery year you send out a newsletter with holiday greetings, recapping the year's events, and spreading good wishes for the year ahead.

You craft it (at the last minute, just another thing on the to-do list), you scrounge for the right photos and agonize over the fonts and the formatting and the text, and you send it all the email addresses you can think of. It's done and gone.

This year, why not give yourself some breathing room and try a living Selfish story to recap 2014's most memorable moments in images and text and your hopes for 2015 -- and have fun with your friends and family while you do it?

It's quick and informal. You can start a Selfish story in 1 minute. Pick a cover image, a title, and your first moment wishing everyone a happy holiday. Anything you might decide to add after that is a bonus!

It's interactive: your friends and family everywhere can comment right in your holiday letter from their desktops, laptops, and mobile phones.

It's ongoing. You can start now, today, with that first moment, and share the link. Then you can keep adding highlights and chatting with your loved ones in the comments.

Download Selfish, a brand-spanking-new visual story app on your iPhone.  It's not even in the app store yet, so you're looking at the public beta before everyone else gets it!

It's free, as always.

Here's what you'll get when you start your holiday letter as a Selfish story:

  • one easy link you can start sharing today
  • one easy link you can send or post everywhere including Facebook, Twitter, email, Pinterest
  • a gorgeous display of images and text all viewable on the web, or in mobile phones
  • if you add more than one image to a moment, it shows on the web as a slideshow!
  • just one simple seasonal greeting moment will work great, or
  • you can add all the moments of your year if you're a detail person, at any time -- hours, days, weeks -- after you start your story. The link you share doesn't change!
  • invites everyone on your mailing list to comment and talk to each other so your holiday letter comes alive

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.32.44 AM

Get started right now

  • Do a 12-days of Christmas or Hanukah or Kwanza or New Year's story, or
  • Top 10 fun times in 2014
  • Best image and happenings of each month of the year
  • A moment for each family member -- add as many images and captions as you want. Don't forget Fido. He had a big 2014 too.
  • Or, start capturing real-time just what you're doing this holiday: running errands, gazing at decorations, digging out ornaments in the attic, preparing special meals, enjoying the store windows, the snow on the ground, the lights, the trees, the presents, the crowds. What the season means to you. You may find you want to share your real-time holiday letter more widely by the end of the month!
  • If you'd like the rest of us to enjoy your holiday letter too, add a hashtag in the text or comments on one of the moments: #holidayletter

Open the app on your iPhone and get started. Happy holidays!

Storytellers with iPhones! Want to be a pioneer?

  s_03-3 I'm heading community and content in a new semi-private social networking tool for visual storytelling called Selfish. We're about to launch our beta iOS apps in Russia and Canada, then in the US and Android a little later, along with our desktop component. Big, global stuff for socially savvy publishers!

We're looking for digital media pioneers and adventurous, creative people to work with us as we get the kinks out of the technology, and gear up for a public  launch. We're a work-in-progress, and we want to pay you for your own works-in-progress.

I'm pleased to announce the Selfish Content Creator Program.

Our paid content creator program runs from August 25-October 25. Those dates may shift, so check it out no matter what. (See full details here, and get the link to download the app on your iPhone. You'll need iOS7 or iOS8 to use the app.)

You'll be using the tool to fashion a short, connected string of posts with photos and brief text on a topic, either alone or with other co-authors.

  • You can do this with your friends or family, in fact, we prefer you do it with other people since this is a collaborative tool.
  • Use informal language and conversational tone.
  • Ideal topics are a weekend road trip; details about your obsessions, hobbies or work or sports you play; attending a special occasion, an event like a concert or a wedding or a conference; events in an interest group you belong to.
  • You can repurpose previously published material.
  • You can use personal content.

s_02The aim of this program for North American/English language creative communities is to attract diverse content into the app that reflects best uses of the tool.

I'd like to encourage creatives and bloggers out there to try the app and test its capabilities in telling a story that comes naturally to you, including stories that are happening in your life right now. Capturing real time, ongoing adventures is something this app supports well.

Also, we're going to pay you to start a story but you can always continue your Selfish stories after you reach the pay mark. We imagine you'll want to as you realize the value you've created and the new ways you discover to share your life and interests with the people who matter to you.

What are we looking for? The basics of a winning Selfish story in this program are:

  • has a good cover/title/story description,
  • with coauthors,
  • a minimum of 10 moments total of photos and text,
  • uses hashtags and geotags and @ mentions,
  • with active comments, and
  • social shares throughout the creation process.

s_01Presenting our content creator program in a Selfish story (see it here) is an experiment to show you how a Selfish story works, how it's an ongoing thread of small moments, how it's different than a blog post, how it's different than a tweet or a Facebook status or a Facebook photo album, or a Pinterest pin, or an Instagram photo.

As my fellow content creator, communicator, publisher, writer, transmedia storyteller, as my fellow friend, family member, and member of other interest communities, I think you might want to know about this new mobile, social, online option for connecting what you care about with how and what you capture and share, and with whom you choose to share it. If you have questions, just ask me. I'd love to try to answer.

This story about the program shows you sample screens of existing content and creation flows while you consider the guidelines. It also demonstrates what kind of Selfish powers you can expect to harness for your own storytelling goals:

  • a Selfish story has one link and is shareable everywhere;
  • a Selfish story can have multiple coauthors, all posting into the ongoing story;
  • a Selfish story is made of multiple moments of photos and text all linked together;
  • a Selfish story is created in the mobile app and displayed on the web;
  • a Selfish story on the web is displayed in animated moments with rotating images and blocks of text;
  • a Selfish story is interactive, with comments and likes on each moment;
  • if you’re a registered user, you can subscribe to any public Selfish story so you get all the moments in your feed;
  • and, Selfish is free;
  • there's more, because Selfish is all about user controls, but hey this post has to end some time.

s_04-4Check out the content creator program, or send this link to someone you know who might like to try it: http://bit.ly/SelfishApp

Insights From Last Season's Mastermind Sessions

My fellow admin in the Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group at LinkedIn prompted us for insights from last season's private mastermind sessions. "List one thing you applied using the feedback you received and the results you witnessed after putting it into practice," writes Tara Agacayak. "If you did not have the opportunity to present your case study, you are welcome to list one thing you applied that you learned in the process of this mastermind that has brought you results."

My response:

My mastermind question was about monetizing expat+HAREM (and I got tons of great suggestions and debate from you all!). The most impactful thing that emerged was that regardless of what my people will tell me they want (when I send out the survey!), my success will hinge on the idea of partnering with people who have related yet different businesses and have high-quality, appropriate products and services to offer.

I may know something is valuable in my arena when I see it -- but that doesn't mean I have the time or energy to create it from scratch myself. I can be a conduit for that product or service, and in partnering with others I can co-brand the thing. And over time, I can grow my community based on those offerings rather than the free ones -- "a small band of givers rather than a lot of takers".

An example of where you see that impact today is in the "Build Your Global Niche" program I am creating with Tara, the mastermind demo we did this month for the International Pro Women of Istanbul and the tutorial mailing list we started. They are early steps to a larger plan for eH, which is about preparing expat+HAREM readers to be a cohesive, actualized community putting a creative entrepreneur web platform to use in their location (and monoculture?) independent lives. To solve their problems with the very tools that are solving ours. To give them access to the people who ring our bells...and in turn to give those bell-ringers access to an appropriate community for their offerings. Win-win.

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Among the other enlightening, and empowering results reported:

"I have integrated the main social media tools with my website and I have added posterous to the main tools to work with."  (To this I say: that's some integration that not only makes you more visible but also saves you energy in the syndication of content!)

"I re-organized my twitter, creating more strategic and useful lists. I started tweeting other things besides news." (To this I say: I felt your presence on Twitter so much more recently. Kudos for finding a Twitter third party service that lets you do things your way.)

"With your suggestions and guidance I simplified my offerings into two categories - Free and Premium."

"By creating a website for purely professional purposes I ended up getting a great deal more interest in my services on eLance. By redoing the header on my site I find that people spend more time on the website than they had been doing." (To this I say: great you're able to point to those concrete, quantifiable results from the advances you've made (email responses, view time on site).)

"I had a fairly fixed idea of how I wanted my site to be before the session. Afterwards I was questioning every single aspect of it! It really helped to have other people's input, to see where they thought I should head and how to arrange the site. That's the beauty of this group, positive criticism that can change how you approach things." (To this I say: can't wait to see how your site turns out with those added dimensions in the process of creating it!)

"My biggest win has been creating a cohesive visual hub. From that unity, I've been able to start weaving a very colorful picture in images, not just words. Using fun tools like Picasa/Picnik, Animoto (my new fav way to tell stories, which you'll be seeing with my Kickstarter relaunch this month) and taking new photos of our product on Etsy as well as new portraits of our main product - us! - have changed the site dramatically and increased Etsy sales. So, pulling together the visuals our brand projects to the world has been key, thanks to all of you!"