Sunday, 23 January 2011

Art it is! - Part 2

Hi guys, continuing with my lessons, I picked up these really great tutorials online, which I am embedding here if anyone is impressed by my work and wishes to start using yourself :)

Below is a series of tutorials by "ozwalled2007" on YouTube. The first two are very useful, and the third one is quite basic, but still t.hey are a series and I don't want to break them up, so here they are.

Part I
This part shows the use of layers, color, brushes, grid and rule.

Part II
This part shows the selection of color tones and saving palettes.

Part III
This shows how to open existing files and close them (basic) :).

So those were some easy tutorials and I dabbled around and drew many a things. Let me display my artwork in future posts. Until then, happy painting!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Social media: a personal observation

I am using this space to share my personal observations from using the big three social networking websites.

I have noticed (not surprisingly) that all social media professionals have a flair of being very social! Pardon me for the cliches, but they are very interactive and the content of their blogs, tweets or status messages are very engaging.

My social media experience is very less compared to the social media influencers who have matured along with it. However, I use my personal social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn mainly, as a platform to practise and see how I influence my friends/followers. I often use my blog as a starting point to see which social platform drives the most traffic to my posts. It is not surprising to me that most of the traffic for my blogs come from LinkedIn, followed by Facebook, then Twitter.

This is not surprising to me because I have more people with similar interests in LinkedIn. I interact more with people on LinkedIn. My Facebook friends are ever growing and growing faster than any other profile - I guess this is one of the reason why many companies are investing on Facebook, it is easy to grow the number of fans/friends. Twitter is most fast paced of all the three networks. Tweets fleet by my timeline and often I don't have the time/energy to read all the tweets any day. Out of the thousands of tweets per day, I read about 5-10.

I had posted a question on Quora about how many tweets actually gets read by people. Interestingly, an answer by Rick Mans revealed me these very interesting stats by Sysomos. They studied 1.2 billion tweets over 2 months and observed that only 29% of the tweets generated a reaction.

So, I am not surprised why I don't get much traffic from twitter, but at the same time, I am wondering what might be the appropriate time to tweet and get noticed. I tweet at a particular time of the day and it gets burried under atleast 10 tweets in the same minute. This again makes me realise how important it is to build a personal brand and interact with the followers in order to be noticed, and sometimes to be looked out for in the heap of tweets. If I were a brand, I just need to be good in engaging people and maintain or improve the brand reputation.

I continue learning everyday and my observations continuously feed into my social media apprenticeship. This is a good note to sign off with. As always, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.

Art it is!

Hi everyone! I am learning something very exciting. For a change in the pace of my blogs, and also, developing a new skill, I am learning editing pictures using!

I wanted to use photoshop, but let me admit it - I am broke and unemployed at the moment, so I settled for the free version. It is a very good tool anyhow. I am using video tutorials on YouTube and guess what, there are really good ones and I am learning really fast !

One of the first tutorial videos I started off with is this:

I am proud to present my very first piece of art!!

Tadaaa!! This one was developed from scratch with no background picture to work on. It is pretty cool, isn't it? I got really enthused and tried many more stuff, which I am sharing with you all lovely people.

This is just the beginning! :) Leave me any comment of what you think of my new-found artistic interest - even if you feel the pictures I worked on are awful :) I am only learning, and of course, I can be bad at it ...

Ciao with more art in the upcoming posts. Take care!

Useful free twitter tools for the web

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time - so here I am today, with my blog on the useful twitter tools.

This is the tool I have been using the longest. It has a free version and an upgraded Pro version. The free version has many good basic features and is good enough to manage less than 5 social profiles from a single platform. The free version allows you to schedule tweets for a later date or time, however, for bulk scheduling, you need an upgraded paid version.

You can list your contacts with the number of their followers, following and their Klout score. You can perform all the functionalities you can do using Twitter, i.e., follow, unfollow, report, block or list the user using this tool, but in a better way. You can also view stats for a specific date range, the last 7 days, 24 hours and so on. This tool has much more to offer and is worth checking out - I have been using it since.

This is similar to Hootsuite that allows to to manage your social profiles more efficiently. It launches as an independent browser. For use in a personal computer, there are two versions: desktop and chrome. Additional functionalities include, filtering each column by text, identifying popular tweets and clearing seen updates in each column and so on. It also 'pings' with a small popup when new tweets come. Translating updates and auto-URL shortening when you compose are pretty cool too.


I started using this tool fairly newly but I find it very useful. It has some features similar to Hootsuite - scheduling tweets, URL shortener and click stats. However, it has some cool features that Hootsuite doesn't have and it is for those that I use it. It shows a followers, followings, tweets and DMs in graphs plotted over time that clearly indicates how your twitter profile has been growing/shrinking over time. A warning though is that the figures aren't as updated as in other tools providing the same graph (below).

Other interesting features include vetting your followers, composing and scheduling direct messages for your new followers, specifying criteria to automatically unfollow certain people and so on. 

Though it has other functionalities, I use this tool just for the stats - the graphs that show the increase/decrease in twitter followers, following or tweets or mix of followers and tweets in separate graphs. It gives more updated stats than socialoomph. The graphs are available in a weekly, monthly or 3-monthly plot. Hourly and 6-monthly plots are available in a premium version (how much do we need them anyway?). 

Useful for new twitter users, there's a profile checker that tells you what you need to do to having a good twitter profile so that you can increase your followers.

Although Klout is not just a twitter tool, it is worth mentioning here because of its importance. Klout scores are calculated as a cumulative of all the social profiles you add to it. The scores range from 1-100, the higher the score, the higher your sphere of influence. You can use other people's klout scores to identify influential people in your network. An analysis It is also useful to check out who your main influencers are and who are influenced by you.

Tweepi, Twitcleaner and Manageflitter
All these tools have the same essence -identify potentially 'dodgy' or inactive users for you, whom you can choose to unfollow. Tweepi and Manageflitter also identify active, 'talkative' and influential users in your lists. They also point out followers who you are following but are not following back. 

Manageflitter goes a step ahead to recommend you a list of users who have been unfollowed by other users. 

Twellow is a twitter directory, which lists 'tweeples' by their interests/tweets. For example, there are many categories including Bloggers, Doctors, Technology, London and so on, that helps you find new people by in a particular category that you can follow. This is a good way to find potential 'following'.

This was a brief overview of the popular and useful free twitter tools available in the market. Do let me know which ones you like and which good free tools I have missed out.