Top 5 ALS bucket challenge videos

Lately I have been hearing grumblings about ice bucket challenge and it taking over the social media. Basically the same grumblings I heard during the make up free selfie phenomena that happened a few months ago to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. I have previously relayed my views on online activism and how it’s not always counter productive and  still stand by it. If you asked me two days ago what ALS was, I had no clue. I had no idea it was the same as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I had no idea more males than females are prone to it and I certainly had no idea it is most common among the age group 40 to 70.

So maybe these videos are taking up real estate on your precious social media feed but at the end of the day it is raising awareness and also raising money for more research towards the disease. That being said I have rounded up my top 5 favourite celebrity ice bucket challenges:

1. Sonakshi Sinha

Why: She is a Bollywood actress residing in India where water shortages are common. She did the gesture of pouring water over herself instead of actual water. In a country where clean water is not accessible to millions, she managed to raise awareness of two causes in one go. Bravo!

2. Ike Barkinholtz

Why: He is the loveable nurse on Mindy Project (who is now hot all of a sudden??), anyway going through a serious Mindy withdrawal, so I had to nominate Ike. He also touched upon the preserve water message.

3. Anna Wintour

Why: More like why not? The queen of ice getting iced is entertainment all around (except not)

4. Ben Affleck

Why: Jennifer Garner throwing a bucket of cold water on Ben Affleck and their kids laughing in the background? I think an angel lost a wing in heaven. I think it’s THAT adorbs

5. George Bush

Why: Laura Bush asking George to write the check to her and take the ice bucket challenge instead shows George is whipped (and not just by Dick Cheney). And then he further challenged Bill Clinton, although I would love to see Cheney do an ice bucket challenge as well.

And just so that we don’t lose sight of the actual cause in the celeb ho hum, here is a video shot by someone who has ALS running through the family (keep the kleenex handy)

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Everything you wanted to know about the Kardashian app but were afraid to ask

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The way I got sucked into the Kardashian app is pretty much the same way I got sucked into the Kardashian reality show (we all have a vice, get off your moral high ground Bachelor/Big Brother fans). Now, I am as proud of watching Kardashians as I am of eating a whole medium deep dish pizza in Chicago by myself. With both these activities, I go through the same cycle of attraction, satisfaction, and then deep regret. I personally hate useless apps but I wanted to try this one out of curiosity (or should I say Kuriosity)

The Kardashian “app” first of all is not really an app, it is a game similar to Mafia Wars or Farmville or something. It starts off with you dressing your avatar where you get to pick her initial look which is pretty basic some jeans and r-shirts and a dress. In order to access trendier outfits, you need to unlock various levels and earn money or points. Your character starts off working at a boutique where Kim Kardashian visits. As the game progresses, various little challenges are thrown your way e.g. making your way to a photo studio and getting your portfolio done. Once accomplished, you earn money or even a star. Whatever you earn can be used towards buying outfits etc.

I downloaded it on my Google Nexus tablet. The interface is a little confusing when you start but it takes little time getting used to. The graphics are pretty solid and Kim’s sound bites keep you company throughout (so cuh-oot) which may or may not induce a nails on chalk board feeling. I was actually pretty into it (and I am not really a fan of this genre of games) until I hit the level where I have to spend an hour at a photo shoot doing nothing (like real time HOUR) which I found pretty ridiculous. At which I point I turned it off. I have to say the most enjoyable part has to be dressing up the avatar and being awarded points for it (which was also my favourite thing about Wii).

So there you have it folks, another aspect of our life taken over by the Kardashian Klan. There is nothing particularly revolutionary about this “app” but it is definitely a decent time kill. So I urge you to stay away or download it, it’s totally up to you.

Twitter’s biggest problem right now

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Twitter’s most recent revenue growth of 124% in the last quarter have landed the social media site under the microscope. We are beginning to see each one of its’ issues in High Def.

Investors are being cautioned to see the slow user growth as a red flag. Twitter’s current user growth primarily stems from third party applications like Foursquare, Facebook, instagram etc. These users do not interact on Twitter itself hence don’t see any of the ads on Twitter. According to a recent article by Wall Street Journal, the number of monthly active users of Twitter is 271 million, the same number for Facebook is 1.32 billion (about a third of Facebook’s).

The same article also mentions that non third party user growth rate declined for 4.4% to 3.9%. So if I am reading correctly, there is a growth but it has declined. Whereas third party application Twitter account holders is on an upward incline with the current rate at 14% and soon to climb to 25%. Facebook claims that users who access Facebook through third party is less than 5%.

Personally to me, Twitter seems to be a textbook definition of middle child (speaking from experience) – never as good as the older sibling (Facebook) and the younger sibling can do no wrong (instagram). The dismal criticism constantly received by Twitter seems to be a side effect of comparison to Facebook.

Let me remind readers that the in the first few years of Twitter’s existence, they did not have any sort of direct revenue generating model while Facebook was having a field day with advertisements. Twitter’s recent success was purely organic in the sense that the ads were viewed by active users but a lot of the content generated was by third party users via Instagram, Facebook, Youtube etc. during the World Cup which further increased interaction among the active users on Twitter.

The much criticized third party user growth could actually be a boon to Twitter where they provide content for discussion by active Twitter users – something not too common in Facebook.

Major companies, brands, celebrities still use Twitter. Browse any article online and you will notice that announcements made on Twitter by brands or famous people get more news coverage than announcements made on Facebook. Instead of appeasing to the masses and getting lost in the numbers game, Twitter should stay true to itself  and work on tactics that would keep active users on the site. Experimenting with interactive features tailored towards the world cup proved to be a huge success. Back to the topic at hand, I would say Twitter’s biggest problem right now is not “slow” active user growth rate but living in the shadow of “big brother” Facebook.