Search and Social

Interview with Memeration iPhone App Maker Woody Batts

by Ian Orekondy on September 5, 2012

Memeration App Launch Interview w Woody BattsOne of the things that I love about living in New York City is that there’s always someone you know doing something cool, especially in the digital space.  The New York digital scene is really exploding right now, and NYC is home to hundreds of pretty awesome digital startups including Foursquare, Tumblr, Skillshare and many others as you can see with the NYC.gov “Made in New York Digital Map”, and the NY Tech Meetup’s collection of internet companies made with ♥ in NYC.

Woody Batts, owner of Batts Creative and a former colleague of mine, is a prolific designer, creative director, painter, illustrator and now iPhone app creator.   Woody”s currently focusing on creative direction at the US Open, yet he found time last week to launch a brand new iPhone app, called Memeration.  The app essentially allows iPhone users to make their  iPhone photos as meme-worthy as all of those cat photoz on Facebook.  And it’s incredibly simple to use (and a bargain at just $.99 in the App Store.)

Woody was nice enough to answer a few questions I had for him about his inspiration for the app, how it was developed and how he’s promoting it.  If you’re an aspiring iOS app-maker, my interview with Woody reveals some of the things you just might need to know to make it into the App store.

IO: What inspired you to create Memeration?

WB: One night I took a series of pictures of myself making silly faces that I could text back to my friends. I thought to myself there has to be an app that allows me to create my own meme with my own photos. Unfortunately the apps I found were expensive or didn’t have the features as I desired so I decided to make my down app, Memeration.

IO: What are your goals with the app?  What do you hope to learn as people use it?

WB: I would really like for people to be able to use the app not only to make jokes but also create social commentary within jokes.  I like to think of the app as a court jester…something that can tease and make fun of issues that are actually quite important.

An example would be of me taking a photo of the 7 train here in New York City and adding the text “Drop of rain falls, stops running.”  I could then tweet that meme to the MTA with the hopes that they would understand that they should be better prepared for rain and the 7 train.

Fortunately my hopes for the app are starting to be achieved. I see more and more people using the app to create inside jokes to share with themselves and their friends. I have a few friends I share an inside joke with about the awesome liquor beverage Four Loko. We create memes and share them via text messaging. I have been receiving the memes from my customers who are doing the same…but with Hypnotiq, Guinesss…there’s a liquor theme here lol!

IO: Describe the development process.

WB: Through my interactive business Batts Creative, I have a wonderful programmer Jeffrey, who assists me in building my interactive projects. He’s awesome! This app in Made in NY!

IO: Who did you partner with?

WB: I do not have a partner.

IO: What tools were especially helpful/necessary to develop Memeration?

WB: My Moleskin sketchbook. I have been keeping a sketchbook since I was 14 and developed all of y wireframes and concepts there.

I also incorporated a custom font I built years ago into the typography. For the main design I used Adobe CS6.

IO: How long did it take?

WB: 3 months

IO: What costs were involved?

WB: A lot.

IO: What happened during the development process that surprised you?

WB: Facebook’s API recently changed as we were in the process of launching. We had to reconfigure the app to accommodate this change.. No biggie!

IO: How are you promoting Memeration?

WB: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…mainly social media channels. I will be reaching out to blogs this week to help get the word out.

IO: What promotional channels are working best?

WB: Twitter is very very helpful. Also blogs are extremely helpful for getting the word out beyond your circle of friends.

IO: What’s your next project?

WB: Through my art studio I am launching a new T-Shirt the “I Skull NY” this will be available next week. I am also negotiating in having my eyewear “The Ambitious Outsider” mass produced, through my interactive company Batts Creative we are developing a new interactive tool for UNICEF and finishing up some design work for the USOpen.org website…I’m a busy bee!

IO: Thanks Woody!

Made In NYC iPhone iOS App MemerationMemeration iPhone App - Sup PlayaMemeration - Share on Facebook and Twitter

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How to Leverage Social Media for SEO (2012)

by Ian Orekondy on March 20, 2012

Great new slideshow on how social impacts search engine queries, links, ranking and traffic. From Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz.org. Including content tactics, Google+ tactics, Facebook and Twitter strategies, as well as integrated approaches and case studies.

Social Media for SEO in 2012
View more presentations from Rand Fishkin

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I’ve been using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to get vast quantities of work done quickly and cheaply over the past several months.  The tool has evolved from it’s earlier days, and many people I’ve spoken with have outdated ideas about what the tool can help you achieve.  It’s not the easiest tool in the world to use (like Fiverr.com), but if you know how to start out the right way, your chances of success are greatly improved. Here are my tips on how to use mTurk for the first time to easily get quality results.

Set Reasonable Expectations for Yourself on the First Pass

Expect that your first mTurk HIT request probably won’t be completed perfectly the first time. You really have to test your ability to write clear, concise directions; see what you get back and then refine.  Don’t spend too much $ on the first test, because you may have to do it a couple times.

Avoid combining too many tasks in a single HIT request.

For example, if your job requires someone to go to Google, search for a keyword, and then enter data into a spreadsheet AND then cross-reference that data against another resource, that combination of multiple tasks might be enough to slow down the mTurk worker (aka “turk”), confuse them, or just generally lead to lower quality.

Specifically, here’s what you should do:

  1. BREAK OUT jobs into specific tasks and SEPARATE the tasks as unique HITs.
  2. CREATE numbered bullets for each micro-task within each HIT.
  3. USE all-caps on the action words.
  4. PROVIDE examples of each step successfully executed.

This is the basic approach I’ve used for hundreds of successful mTurk HITs, and the benefits are:

  • More accurate / better quality work
  • Faster results
  • Happier Turks that are eager to work with you again (and at lower rates)

Eric W. Kratzer, founder and CEO of Open Run Studios, an internet agency specializing in Online Marketing, Branding, Strategy and Production for the Performing Arts, approached me to help his team accelerate their new business prospecting process and reduce their marketing research costs. After implementing my suggestions regarding their initial mTurk HIT, Eric said:

Ian…I took your advice and broke our original [HIT] into two steps. I ran the first HIT last night and it was ready for me by this morning. It looks like it came out perfectly on the first go! The average wage was $1.21/hour on our first project and $.52/hour on our second.. Thank you so much for inspiring us with your own mTurk experience and advice!

What Tips Would You Suggest on How to Set-Up Effective mTurk HITs?

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