New Apps, Less Privacy

Two new social media channels were released in March, and they’re eerily similar.

Meerkat made its official debut at SXSW Interactive Festival. Periscope launched in late March as part of Twitter and describes itself as being “the closest thing to teleportation”.

I’ve downloaded and played around with both, and I have to say I prefer Periscope because of its beginner usability. As time goes on and I get accustomed to each, my preference may change, especially with the numerous app updates that always accompany new apps.

Quote from Meerkat founder

Meerkat lets you schedule your broadcasts with a description, exact time and optional picture. If Periscope has that option, I haven’t found it yet.

Close launch dates and similar app features reminds me of Vine and Instagram. Instagram had been around longer, but it introduced its video feature right when Vine was emerging.

Interestingly enough, neither of the new apps have an Android app yet.

Meerkat tweets a link from your Twitter account when you’re currently live broadcasting. Your followers can click that link and watch either through a web browser or through the Meerkat app if they have it downloaded.

Meerkat screenshot

Periscope users can tap on the screen, much like Instagram, and send the broadcaster hearts to tell them they like what they see. Both apps allow you to leave comments that appear right on the video, not below it, and see how many people are viewing currently the same broadcast you are. Periscope saves live streams to watch later, but Meerkat doesn’t give you the option to save your livestream.

Periscope screenshot

Reviewers and early app adopters think the app is popular now because it’s new and people are interested in sharing every bit of our lives now.

I would compare these two new apps to Snapchat’s option to live video-chat with people who are on at the same time, except these apps are made for broadcasting to any number of people instead of one-on-one like Snapchat. If you had a good following on your Meerkat and/or Periscope app, they would be great for breaking news you are witnessing live and citizen journalists. Or broadcasting live breaking events could gain you that large following.

The only downfall I can see of these apps is you can’t edit videos before posting them. That would defeat the purpose of a live broadcast I know, but slip-ups and accidents could be bad, but probably also rare. Another slight downfall, who will use these? And is it worth spending your time broadcasting if no one is watching? I hope to write another review of these same two apps in six months and see how different they become as they grow and find their place in our social media-ran world.

Receiving live broadcast


Extra! Extra!

Trends in mobile usage have changed dramatically. We are surrounded by the evidence all day every day, but looking at smartphone usage just five years ago compared to now might shock you. UnknownSources:

Hey Now, You’re an App Star

Up until a few weeks ago, I believed only multibillion dollar companies and computer engineers could create smartphone apps. WRONG. I just created my own app in less than 15 minutes. There are lots of sites to use, but I used AppyPie and liked its ease of use.

Watch my tutorial, link listed below, on how to create your own app. Also, be sure to download my app for your Apple and Android products!

Honey, Whatta Ya Do for Money?

The root of all evil, or the source of happiness? Regardless, you can’t avoid the need for money. Being a college student, it’s essential for me to be able to check my funds, or lack thereof, frequently. Guess what gives you that ability?! Not monthly bank statements mailed to your home address. Seriously, smartphones have made our lives 1000% easier. That’s an actual statistic, don’t look into it.


Shopular – This coupon app is free and gives you access to hundreds of coupons for a variety of stores, from grocery to jewelry. When you first download the app, you mark all the store you’re interested in receiving coupons from. It uses your location to give you local deals. Then you can scroll through the coupons on a screen that looks similar to Pinterest. Click on your desired coupon and show it at the register to redeem immediately. There’s also an option to “Share” the coupon which allows you to send the coupon to someone as a text message. The Apple App Store gave this app five stars.


Mobile Banking – I use two different banks, and each has its own app. Huntington and Community Bank both allow me to check my account balance, make payments, prepare transfers between accounts, and view your transaction and deposit history. You can even deposit checks by taking a picture of it and uploading it to the app. Community Bank is a smaller bank that only has locations in a few counties in Western Pennsylvania. If this company has an app, I’m sure a majority of others do too, if not all.

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Apple Pay & Google Wallet – These applications are aiming to replace wallets by storing your bank account information and being able to wave your phone over machines you normally swipe your credit/debit cards through. Apple Pay works only with iPhone 6 and 6 plus, and Google Wallet works with iPhone 6 and 6 plus and Android phones. Apple Pay and Google Wallet both provide security in that the merchants at stores never see the customer’s credit/debit card numbers. Apple one-ups Google with its fingerprint technology, though. The fingerprint for the registered user must be matched for each transaction to take place. Apple Pay just launched October 2014 and is still growing, but its reviews and future outlook look good. Google Wallet launched way back in May 2011 and has made some consumers leery. You can use Google Wallet online as well as in stores, but this means data has to be stored in a cloud and that means greater security risks. Read more about the pro’s, con’s and outlooks of each on Max Parker’s post on Trusted Reviews.

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iPoll – So far the apps and features I’ve highlighted help you spend money, but what about making money through your smartphone? iPoll and Surveys are two apps I downloaded for free. Just as the names suggest, you take surveys and polls, but the great part is you get paid for your responses! Some are only $0.50 or so, but others are a couple dollars. Both apps have the rule that you can’t redeem your cash earned until you reach $10. At first I was raking up the monies on both, then I noticed I wasn’t eligible for as many (they want certain demographics for each survey), and now I rarely check either app for new surveys.


Have you ever used your mobile for money purposes? Let me know in the comments below!

Accounts You Should Be Following on Insta and Twitter

Accounts You Should Be Following on Insta and Twitter

Before I start, know that this post is totally subjective. I’m giving the best people and accounts to follow based on my music and humor biased opinion. If you remember (or look back), Twitter and Instagram were both mentioned in my first post as top free apps to have and use. Some of these accounts are part of the reason. So here we go, in no particular order…


            CNN Breaking New, @cnnbrk – Read the news in 140 characters or less. Of course you don’t get the full story unless you click on the link, but you’ll learn enough to know whether you want to click the link and read more or not. This makes Twitter a one-stop shop for social and current events.

Daniel Tosh, @danieltosh – I’m a fan of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, and Daniel uses his personal account to announce when his new episodes air and other random, funny things. He live tweets during episodes and interacts a lot with his followers. He’s just a witty, sometimes offense, guy that seems relatable. That’s why I follow him, whether I watch his show that season or not.

Modern Seinfeld, @SeinfeldToday – Seinfeld is regarded as the 90’s sitcom about nothing. This account provides a synopsis of what a modern day of nothing-ness would consist of using the characters’ traditional traits.

Modern Seinfeld tweet

Modern Seinfeld

Historical Pics, @HistoricalPics – It’s exactly what it sounds like. Some days I’ll breeze right by this account’s tweets, other days I’ll stare at it, save the images, retweet and favorite it and send it to my mom.

Historical Pic's tweet

Filming of “Titanic”

Buzzfeed, @BuzzFeed – Buzzfeed tweets a link to basically every article on its site, so if you check both regularly it will get monotonous. But since I check Twitter more than Buzzfeed, seeing its captions and links lets me know if their site is worth checking out that day. Sometimes I want to know what celeb cut his hair and sometimes I want to know what Harry Potter character I am.

Buzzfeed's tweet

Buzzfeed’s tweet

Kent State accounts – Regardless of what school you go to what organizations you’re involved in, there’s probably a Twitter account designated to it. I can’t promise it’s updated, useful or even interesting, but give it a shot. Kent State has tons of anon accounts: KSU Banana Eaters, KSU Crushes, The Kent Stater, KSU Buzz and the general Kent State that announces class closings (because those are the tweets I don’t skim over). Some are funny, some stupid and some are just useful. Either way, it’s a community I belong to and like to stay connected with.


             NBC’s Saturday Night Live, @nbcsnl – I love the show, but I hardly ever watch it when it airs Saturday nights, let alone television at all. Ninety percent of things I watch are online. This Instagram account shows who the host and musical guest will be for the week, as well as some backstage photos and videos before, during and after the show. Moreover, it lets me know if I should take the time to look up and watch the episode online that week.

Video from NBC SNL's Instagram

Video from NBC’s SNL Instagram

Dierks Bentley, @dierksbentley – I love country music, and I follow a couple musicians on Instagram. Bentley is one artist that uses his account for promotion and not so much social. He previews his songs and music videos and says what nominations he’s up for. He’s not one you hear much about on the radio, so I like hearing about his new music straight from him (or his PR team) on social media.

Unspirational, @unspirational – I’m not a “Debbie-Downer” or typically cynical, but I do hate cliché things. This account makes memes with beautiful background you would see on sorority shirt and Hallmark cards, but the sayings are extremely sarcastic. This an account you just have to experience for yourself.

Screenshot of Unspirational's Instagram post

Unspirational’s post

Darrin Wingard, @newbeeraday – Every day this guy posts about a new beer. He’ll post a picture of the beer, the brand, where he is and his thoughts on how the beer tastes. His captions can get lengthy, but he does some impressive traveling and tasting that makes him worth the follow.

E! Online, @eonline – Again, this goes back to me watching more things online than on actual television. Why watch a whole episode when I can scroll through my Instagram feed as fast as I want and read what I want and skip what I don’t? This account is updated constantly throughout the day, so I’m usually well aware of what awards are going on, who’s getting married, who just had a baby, etc.

Macklemore, @macklemore – I like Macklemore’s music, but I have to admit I don’t know much more than what is played on the radio. I think I impulsively followed his account after I heard his song Cowboy Boots, but I never unfollowed him, so that says something. Unlike Bentley, Macklemore doesn’t post promotional things. He posts funny lifestyle things that make me want to be friends with him.

Macklemore's Instagram post

Yes, Macklemore’s cat has its own Instagram account.

One Grown Up That Knows You – I follow friends from high school, college and a variety of other places on my Instagram, and the posts aren’t always PG-13. It’s easy to start posting things similar to what you see on your feed every day. Follow one person that you would not want to disappoint. It will keep you humble. You’ve heard it a million and a half times, but employers look at your social media. Make it a point of pride.

Let me know what interesting accounts you follow!


We’re not in a scene of Mad Men; we don’t all have our own secretaries. But we DO all have cell phones by now, and most are smart ones. Make your phone work for you, for free!
Embed from Getty Images

Hopefully you know by now that your phone has an alarm clock, stopwatch and timer. Most phones even have a world clock so you know when to call your friend studying abroad in Europe. Just being aware of your phone’s capabilities can help you save the day during future timed competitions or timing that five minute nap in-between classes perfectly. You should also already know that your phone has a calendar for listing your events and appointments. If not, come on; explore your phone and see what you spent all that money on! Appointments usually have to be scheduled weeks in advance, and by the time it rolls around you could’ve easily forgotten about it. Use the alert option when putting it in your calendar assuring your attendance.

Don’t be that person scrambling for pen and paper when someone is giving you their number, email address or other important info. USE YOUR PHONE, smart or not. All phones have some sort of “Notes” app, and the newest iPhone even has a built-in app called Pages which is a whole word processor.

Similarly, there’s Evernote, a note-taking app that organizes your own notes with other compiled research. Evernote makes it easy to organize notes by different categories too. There’s also an Apple app called Keynote for preparing presentations similar to PowerPoint all available right on your smart phone. Us students are going to run out of excuses for late assignments…

So maybe we didn’t manage our time like we were supposed to throughout the day/week, it happens. Luckily (or unluckily) most Microsoft programs are available for download on your smartphone. Update your group Google Doc while you’re in line at Chipotle, type up a quick Word document assignment you forgot about on the bus to class and download Excel just to complete the Microsoft set.

Jobs are out there, even on your phone. Job Search is a free app that searches for jobs near you and worldwide. Build your resume and job hunt all from your smartphone! Once you get the job, find out what third-party company it uses for payroll, clocking in hours, etc. and see if they have an app. Most do, and this can help you stay on top of when you can afford to call in sick again, in-house emails and even your benefits and retirement. You should see if any company you pay a monthly bill to has a mobile app. Your phone carrier surely does, and the app will help you stay on top of your bill, any overage fees and how close you are to your monthly data limit.

Smartphones are capable of a lot, I’m still learning that. My prediction, there’s not going to be a whole lot laptops do that smartphones can’t. I’ve given you the ways to be productive, this Fast Company article will give you the reasons to try it. I stuck to just productivity and organizational features in this post, so let me know what other areas you’re curious about on your smartphone!

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Best Free Apps

We always see people staring at their smartphones. What’s so interesting on it that makes us stare and interact with it for minutes on end?

In this post, I’ll tell you what’ so interesting on my phone that I become separated from the outer world for hours a day. And as a college student, of course these things are either free to download or already on my phone.

1. Twitter – Of course social media ranks high on my list, but Twitter specifically takes my cake. I follow celebrities like Daniel Tosh and Blake Shelton, news sites like CNN Breaking News and Kent Wired, funny anon accounts like  The Office Quotes and Worst Rap Lyrics, my professors who I’ll leave unnamed, companies such as Kay Jewelers (my employer) and Oreo, some event venues and lots of friends. Twitter is updated to rapidly I didn’t even have to watch the Grammy’s last night, I read about them and watched links instead.  Download Twitter now here.

2. Shazam – For when you’re in someone’s car and don’t want to admit you don’t know the artist and title of the song, use this app. It listens to the song that’s currently playing and gives you title, artist and album, and in some cases the lyrics and option for download.

3. Songza – Ahhh, music without paying for it. I prefer this app over Pandora because of all the genre, mood and event playlist options. Choose from playlists for working out, barbecuing, dirt road driving and other funny but totally relatable events. You can also search by 100’s of genres, 30 decades or search for your specific song or artist.

Screenshot of Songza app    

Screenshot of Songza app

Screenshot of Songza app

4. Weather App – This app might be more important to me because I deal with ever-changing Ohio weather, but it’s still a handy one. Keep track of how to do your hair based on the humidity, what to wear based on the temperature and precipitation and when to stargaze with the exact sunset and sunrise times. Keep track of your grandma’s weather down in Florida with the option to save multiple locations. It’s not the most entertaining app, but it’ll save you from some embarrassing outfit choices. 

5. Snapchat – No, it’s not a nude-sharing app. It’s more of a one-night-stand for pictures; there and gone with no more than a 10-second commitment. My friends and I use this app all throughout the day, even when we’re together. Snapchat outlasted being a fad and became a big part of how I communicate and share things with friends I see every day and my mom two states away.

6. Waze – I’ve tried at least five different navigation apps, and I by far like Waze the best. The maps are easy to read and addresses and/or locations are easy to enter. There are even alerts that notify you of where police are sitting, reported accidents and objects on the road along your route.

7. Banking Apps – The app name will vary depending on who you bank with, but the idea is the same great one. Mobile banking apps allow you to see how much you have in your accounts, what recent transfers/transactions were made and some may even allow you to deposit checks. Don’t wait to get to a computer, or worse, wait for a monthly paper statement (gasp) to see where you can afford to eat tonight.

Let me know if there’s an app you think should make my Top 7 list!