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Ads on Tumblr: Is Nowhere Safe?
November 17, 2016 1:18 pm

Earlier this summer, Tumblr, the common blog of choice for painfully hip and melancholy teens, decided to dip their toes into the realm of commercializing their user base by enabling the option of slathering ads site wide. The move allows for Tumblr users themselves to monetize their blogging hobby by running their own personal ads and allows sites like Yahoo to run advertisements. The decision came on the heels of Verizon purchasing Yahoo earlier this summer, with Yahoo itself having purchased Tumblr in the summer of 2013.

The practical decision was at first met with the usual reaction from those who are used to being provided a service with little to no catch: derision. But it hasn’t been all bad; Tumblr allows users to switch off the ads in their settings menu, a step that is more about maintaining good will with their user base than becoming money hungry. The ability to switch off ads usually comes at a price to the everyday consumer, most commonly in the form of a premium account.

The decision came shortly after one of the largest internet mergers in its history. Verizon added the social media website to their ever growing list of content sites that it has steadily consumed over the years. As Tumblr has been traditionally regarded as a bastion for those who feel cast aside or otherwise different than mainstream internet consumers, the strategy from Verizon, as harmless as it may seem, opens the door for future changes in a capitalistic direction. Hence the reason why internet activists fight so hard to keep what privacy rights they are given; once begun, it’s a slippery slope.

Monetizing previously free service websites has always been a compulsory first step after a previously agreed amount of time. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit made the jump long ago, sacrificing a small piece of community goodwill in order to serve the very concrete problems and issues that face internet companies. With the ease and familiarity that users navigate the web, it can often come as a shock to find things not only different, but to be thought of as the product instead of the consumer. It’s within that discomfort where a company can move in one of two different directions: to either appeases the users or appease the board and/or the stockholders. It takes a brave spirit to attempt both and time will tell whether Tumblr can keep its outsider shine amongst the gold.

BEME APP TAKES FRESH APPROACH TO SHARING ONLINE
May 25, 2016 1:01 pm

Most people use at least one form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or some other platform. Many of us are active on multiple networks. Simply put, the internet has changed the way we interact with others. A byproduct of this interconnectivity is the attention to our online presence. With editing and selection, social media users can create an online identity that may, or may not, accurately represent who we are. 

Bemebemeconcept, a video-sharing application launched as a beta version in July of 2015, is re-envisioning the nature of social media. When sharing on Beme there is no way to edit what you are posting. You don’t even have to look at your phone. 

Created by vlogging icon Casey Neistat and former Tumblr VP of Engineering Matt Hackett, Beme is an attempt to bring authenticity back into social media. In the words of Neistat, “[Beme] is a platform to share your perspectives, to share your world with video, and to see other people’s perspectives via video that you can trust, that’s real.”

Here’s how it works: Beme uses the proximity sensor on your phone’s camera to begin recording videos up to 8 seconds long. By covering your phone’s sensor, Beme records what you are actually seeing and then automatically posts it online.  There are no filters, no hashtags and no way to preview clips. To take a selfie, flip the phone around and repeat the process.

You can also record by tapping and holding a camera icon within the app, but the video recording screen remains black until the clip is posted. This helps to counteract issues when recording with devices without a proximity sensor, or if covering the sensor makes it difficult to capture what you want to record, while maintaining Beme’s unfiltered nature.

Beme users can fill up their personal Beme profiles with clips for people to view and share reactions to other people’s videos. The result is a unique, unaltered insight into the way that people experience the world. When other users view your Beme videos the app even notifies you that, “1 person has spent [insert seconds] as you.” 

Beme has a lot of the same flavor as Casey Neistat’s daily Vlog. The videos of his life make a point to maintain an honest relationship with his audience. Although edited in Final Cut Pro X, all of Neistat’s YouTube videos have a raw and unscripted feel, the same sensation you get when using Beme. 

The app’s interface is intuitive, but may be challenging if using Beme is your first foray into social media. Other than a short introductory video and walkthrough after launching the application, Beme doesn’t give you much direction for navigating the app or posting your videos. That said, figuring out Beme’s nuances can be accomplished by tinkering with the app for a few minutes.

After encountering some issues following the initial launch, the Beme team went back to the drawing board and produced a product that is a fresh and innovative approach to social media. Now out of the beta-version, Beme is on full-release for iOS and Android platforms, and can be downloaded in the App Store and Google Play.

Enjoyable Casey Neistat vlog: breaking up is hard to do