Votopin: A Mobile Social Network Where Your Opinions Matter

I’m a bit of nerd. But I’m a nerd in the sense that I’m passionate about certain, specific things. I don’t just like sports. I love ultimate frisbee, because it’s an awesome hybrid of aspects from other sports, there are typically no referees, and the playful, laid-back culture of ultimate players is unlike that of any other sport I’ve played. I don’t just like music. I love djent (a sub-genre of metal) because it combines really heavy, crushing, staccato guitar breakdowns with intricate time signatures and complicated, melodic riffs. I don’t just love movies. I love psychological thrillers because they keep me asking questions, make me doubt the obvious, and let me try to predict twist endings while being delightfully creeped out and kept on edge.

I have all of these specific interests. These are the things I’m passionate about, and they bring me joy. So how do I find other people with interests like mine? How can I connect with people who have such a particular affinity for certain things?

Well I found the answer: a mobile app called Votopin.

Votopin is a new opinion-sharing app that enables you to express your thoughts on certain topics by creating “Votocards.” These topics can be anything: music, politics, beverages, movies, technology, current events, sports, holidays, and much more. You can choose a topic, create a Votocard about it, and share it with people who are following you on Votopin as well as with your friends on social media. When you create a Votocard, you are asked to answer a few questions about the topic, choose an image of a facial expression (or upload your own!) that describes how you feel about the topic, and provide any additional comments you have about the topic you’re reviewing. The Votopin app’s interface enables you to do this quickly and easily, and once you’ve finished your Votocard you can show it to your friends by email or text message, or by sharing it on Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s a Votocard I created about Thanksgiving Day:




You can also see what topics are trending, what the general public mood is on a certain topic, and even gender and age demographics:



But wait, there’s more.

What makes Votopin different is that it connects you with other users who have similar interests. It does this by calculating “Likeness” scores between you and those users based on your interests and your reviews. This is extremely valuable because when you read a review of something you like or something you’re curious about on Votopin, you’re reading a review written by someone who’s into the same things you’re into. So, for example, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to see the new Hunger Games movie, you can read some reviews written by people who like what you like, so you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you should go see it.

As you make more Votocards, you can discover more people who like the same things you like. This app is a great way to learn about other people’s opinions that are relevant to yours as well as connecting with people who share your interests. So you can find new friends who are as crazy about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo book series as you are. Or you can see how people feel about the scandals involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and share your thoughts with them.

One suggestion I have for Votopin is to include a feature that enables users to interact with each other more directly. If I see that someone has created a Votocard about a book I’ve just recently read, and his or her opinion is totally different from mine, I’d like to be able to initiate a conversation with that person to discuss what we both liked and disliked about the book. Instead, I can only follow that person or send them a friend request. Some kind of chat or messaging feature would add a lot of value to the app, in my opinion.

There are a lot of opinions floating around out there in the social world. Votopin organizes them based on your interests and preferences and does a great job of making sense of all the noise. So how will you make your voice heard?


Would you use Votopin to share your opinion? What would you share? Tell us in the comments below.




Topsy: Social Media Analytics Done (Almost) Perfectly

As Senior Community Manager of Silverback Social, it’s my job to enhance and monitor the robust social presence we’ve developed for each of our clients. This includes maintaining each client’s social places as well as measuring the results of our social strategies. I’ve recently started using a technology to help me with my day-to-day responsibilities. It’s called Topsy.

Topsy does a beautiful job of providing useful information regarding any Twitter analytics you wish to measure. With Tweet information from all the way back to 2006, Topsy allows you to track Tweets and categorize them based on whether they include links, photos, videos, or just plain text.

Topsy also provides an “Influencers” function, which allows you to identify who has the most social influence for your product or brand. You can even track your competitors’ social influence, giving you a much broader perspective of your product or brand’s impact on the social space. You can track your brand’s Twitter analytics within a specific time period as well as view trends of your brand’s influence within Twitter. And as if that wasn’t enough, you can upgrade to Topsy Pro to get even more statistics regarding your brand’s impact on Twitter.

Topsy Pro provides a myriad of additional features, including the ability to track the geography of users who interact with your content, measure your content’s reach and exposure, and even observe metrics across web domains, including Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Topsy Pro also lets you use operators that can help you narrow down your search even further. For example, by typing “from:@silverbksocial” I can observe every Tweet shared from @silverbksocial and track how many accounts each Tweet has reached. Or, by typing “” I can view Tweets that contain links within

One limitation Topsy has, in my opinion, is that its free version leaves something to be desired. There is a huge disparity between what the free and pro versions offer, and without the features of Topsy Pro, I don’t find the free version valuable enough to continue using. I think if the free version included a few more functions that are featured in the professional version, I’d be more likely to recommend it.

Having only used this tool for a few weeks, I already feel that Topsy has added incredible value to Silverback Social. Not only can we measure the reach of content we share, but we can also observe trends and track which users are serving as the most significant brand advocates for our clients, based on how often those users are retweeting and responding to our content.  Overall, by using Topsy Pro we have been able to attain a much deeper understanding of our clients’ impact within the Twitter community.

You can test out Topsy Pro with a 14-day free trial by clicking here.


Have you used Topsy to measure social analytics? What social media analytics platforms do you use? Tell us in the comments below.

How to Become Vine Famous: General Electric’s #GravityDay

I love Vine. The very first day Vine was released, on January 24th of this year, I was immediately intrigued and created my first Vine. It was a short, six-second video of me tossing some balls of paper into a trashcan:

Now, more than seven months later, there are millions of users on Vine. Musicians, comedians, and even major companies and brands have all shared their creativity on the video-sharing app. Recently, General Electric hosted an online, social event called #GravityDay to honor Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity. For this event, GE encouraged Vine users to record a video of an apple falling into their hands (or sometimes onto their heads) and then dropping down off screen. Here’s an example:

As this event progressed, GE told Viners to use the hashtag #GravityDay. Within a few hours, hundreds of users were sharing their versions of the Apple Drop, and GE was revining (reposting to their Vine account) their favorite ones.

I, being an avid Vine user, noticed this hashtag trending within the Vine community and decided to record my own Apple Drop, with a little twist:

The result was astounding. General Electric revined my post and commented on my Vine: “That’s certainly a new way of looking at things. Happy #GravityDay!” I was thrilled that GE had decided my creation was worthy of being shared with their enormous following. Soon after, my Vine started getting revined and liked by other Vine users. Currently, my Apple Drop Vine has received 594 likes and been revined 55 times.

As if that weren’t enough, General Electric commented on my Vine again, asking for my permission to include my name and my Vine in their #GravityDay YouTube highlight video. I obviously told them I would love to be featured, and a few days later they released a compilation of all their favorite Apple Drop Vines, with my Vine included at around 0:52!

I had a lot of fun making my Vine and having it shared with so many people, but this experience also served as a prime example of the power of social. By engaging with an existing community and joining in on a conversation already taking place, I was able to have my voice heard. By producing fun, original content and sharing it appropriately, I was recognized by a major brand and noticed by hundreds. This is the power of social. And the best part: anyone can do it.


Are you on Vine? Who’s your favorite Vine artist? Tell us in the comments below!

Guns, Drugs, & Social Media

Earlier this month, the NYPD arrested 19 people in the biggest gun bust in New York City’s history. Furthermore, Matthew Best, one of the people involved in the gun running, unknowingly aided the police in the bust by posting pictures and videos on the Internet. Best, a young man aspiring to be a rapper, shared pictures and videos of the guns and the money involved in the operation to his Instagram and YouTube accounts. The NYPD used these photos and video clips as evidence to convict Best and 19 others of gun smuggling.


Additionally, teenagers have recently been using an underground website called Silk Road to purchase drugs online. These kids then posted photos of the drugs on the Internet to brag to their friends. Police located and arrested the adolescents for possession after finding the drug photos on the teens’ personal social media websites.

These stories are two prime examples of how transparent our world is today. Many Internet users are convinced that, since their privacy settings are configured so only their friends can see what they share, their photos and videos and status updates are only seen by a handful of people. This is not true. It is crucial to understand that ANYTHING you put on the Internet, regardless of who you think is able to see it, can potentially be seen by ANYBODY.

We are living in a time in which everybody is documenting everything they do. New parents take hundreds of pictures and videos of their babies and share it on Facebook. “Foodies” take photos of their meals and share it on Instagram. Aunts and uncles film their nieces’ and nephews’ piano recitals on iPhones. These photos and videos are wonderful to share with friends and family, but the impact of these picture and video files goes much further than that. Many people don’t realize that they are slowly but surely creating a long-lasting archive of their entire lives; not just for our friends and family, but for EVERYONE.

Sending out a Tweet with an F-bomb or a tactless comment can seem harmless. Tweets are short, fleeting, and innumerable, which makes it easy for them to appear to “get lost in the noise.” Again, this is not so. It is absolutely imperative to understand that these so-called “harmless” Tweets are not getting lost “in the cloud.” They are being documented, aggregated, and archived. They do not go away. They still exist on the Internet, and are visible to many more people than you might think.

Another example: By posting a picture of yourself and a close friend, you may be using social media as a sort of online diary. You’re saving that personal memory in picture form and putting it in a place where you know you and your close friend can access it at anytime and look back on it fondly. While this might have been a fairly normal way to use social media in the past, this is not the case in 2013. Today, it’s important to think of your social media networks as public display of your personal identity. Whatever you post on your social media pages, consider it a digital representation of how you want others to see you.

The name of the game is transparency. Get comfortable with the fact that certain aspects of your life that were once private are now becoming more and more publicly accessible. My advice is to treat the social networks you use as a personal résumé for your life. Treat everything you share on the Internet as something you would be comfortable sharing with your grandmother, acquaintance, or next employer. If you’ve just finished writing a short story, share it on your social places and be proud of it. You might just get noticed by a newspaper that wants you to write a segment for their online column. If you’ve just done something illegal and want to brag about it, DO NOT share it on your social places. You might just end up in prison.


Do you think social media has become too public? Do you feel that there’s not enough privacy on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Capturing the Voice of Your Social Community

Capturing the voice of your brand is a crucial aspect of managing your social community. It’s extremely important to be aware of what you’re communicating, how you’re communicating it, and how it’s going to be received by your followers.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), a non-profit organization fighting to find a cure for blood cancers, is one of our clients here at Silverback Social. Included in LLS’s organization are two sub-organizations: Team In Training (TNT) and Light The Night (LTN). TNT is a program that enables members all over the United States to participate in walking, running, hiking, swimming, and biking events to raise money for blood cancer research. LTN organizes evening walks that take place around the world to honor and raise funds for blood cancer patients.

LLS, TNT, and LTN all have the same goal: to find a cure for blood cancers. However, each entity goes about reaching this goal in a different way. Therefore, the voice of each of these organizations is different. For example, the Light The Night community brings help, hope, and healing to those battling blood cancer, honoring friends and family and remembering loved ones who have passed on. Members make shirts and signs, hold balloons, and carry candles as they come together to walk for a great cause. The Team In Training community, on the other hand, has a more competitive, upbeat mentality. Hundreds of participants from all different cities and states train with coaches and mentors to prepare for marathons, half-marathons, triathlons, and other athletic events.

The way we, at Silverback Social, interact and share with the LTN community is different from the way we interact and share with the TNT community because each community has its own unique identity. A Facebook post, therefore, should be written much differently coming from TNT than from LTN.

Here’s an example of a Light The Night Facebook post:

And here’s an example of a Team In Training Facebook post:

As you can see, there is a clear-cut difference in the voice of each post. While LTN conveys a heartfelt effort to “bring light into the dark world of cancer,” TNT provides a supportive, motivating post to encourage people to make a difference, join TNT, and help fight blood cancers. LTN includes a sentimental picture of men, women, and children coming together and holding balloons, while TNT shows a photo of an enthusiastic athlete posing victoriously while competing in a marathon event.

At Silverback Social, we work very closely with Natalie Barreto, the LLS Social Media Manager and Jack Nazarian, the LLS Digital Marketing Director to curate content, optimize it for each social platform, and determine how to communicate it best to the LLS online audience. Knowing your audience is a HUGE part of managing your social media community. In order to capture the right voice and convey your brand’s image appropriately, you need to get to know your audience. Figure out how your followers are going to receive the information you share, and put it in a language they can easily digest.


Have you noticed a company that truly understands its audience? Do you know a brand that really listens to its followers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Trayvon Martin Case: Why Your Opinion Matters

On February 26th, 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

Over a year later on July 13th, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder, and was also acquitted of manslaughter in the Trayvon Martin case.

The trial was broadcast live on most television news stations. However, the trial was also the number one topic of conversation on social media on Saturday night, the night the verdict was reached. Millions of users posted on social media about “Zimmerman” and “Trayvon Martin,”  two key phrases that are still trending on Twitter almost a week later. These people chose to share their opinions about the verdict by sharing it via Twitter and Facebook to all of their followers, and considering how controversial the case was, these opinions were deeply felt and strongly voiced. Countless people disagreed with the verdict and commented on the flaws of the state of Florida’s legal system, while numerous others felt the jury produced the correct verdict and that Florida’s laws functioned exactly the way they were designed.

Despite my personal opinion, I found myself being influenced by the hundreds of social media users whose thoughts and beliefs I was reading. After scrolling through a ton of angry, confused, relieved, disappointed, and/or joyful posts, I caught myself regurgitating other people’s opinions while discussing the case with my friends and family. I was making arguments and forming opinions based on the feelings and emotions that other people had shared via social media.

Once I became aware of this, I realized that it must have been happening to a lot of other people too. It’s obviously important to get information from multiple sources to establish a broad and unbiased perspective. The introduction of Twitter has drastically accelerated the rate at which people receive and absorb breaking news. However, Twitter acts as a double-edged sword in this case because anyone can Tweet about anything at any time. There’s no validation process. So while people may be getting information much more expeditiously, the truth and accuracy of this information may be diminished.

I think it’s important to be able to voice your opinion, and I think Twitter is great because it enables and facilitates these conversations. However, I strongly urge Twitter users to read carefully, share their thoughts even more carefully, and THINK before posting. There’s a lot of information out there, and in today’s age it is our responsibility to determine what information is valid and what is not. Your opinion matters because though you might not realize it, your opinion may be influencing and shaping the opinions of others.

How does social media affect your understanding and opinion of breaking news and current events?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Inaugural Westchester Digital Summit Through the Eyes of Silverback Social’s Social Community Manager Brian Funicelli

The inaugural Westchester Digital Summit  was a huge project. A national event, the summit hosted over 700 attendees, more than 30 booth displays, and a couple dozen speakers, panelists, and presenters. It’s incredible to think that it all started with a handful of people brainstorming in a small, brightly colored room.

While I knew the summit was going to be a unique event, I had no idea what to expect. What I experienced was both comforting and inspiring. As I helped registrants sign in, directed participants to their booths, and escorted panelists and presenters to their prep area, I felt a deep connection with everyone involved in the summit. The presenters were excited to share their ideas and get feedback from the audience. Attendees were enthusiastic about learning more and joining in on the conversations taking place throughout the day. Everyone came together to help each other educate themselves and engage in all the new information being made available. The enthusiasm was contagious, and everybody seemed to feed off of everybody else’s positive energy.

And as I realized this, Gary Vaynerchuk  took the stage, harnessed that energy, and instilled it right back into every single person in the room. The positivity was overwhelming. With the knowledge that an event with such positive influence could have come from only a handful of people brainstorming in a room, I’m confident that the next Westchester Digital Summit will be an even greater success.