Top Apps of 2014

Silverback Social’s Top Apps of 2014

With 2015 less than two weeks away, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that was – from a personal, familial and business standpoint. As digital marketers at Silverback Social, we reflect in a similar way: via revisiting business strategy that brought forth favorable results for our client base, understanding key drivers behind the success of company’s in 2014, and using data to predict future trends.

Our 2014 “Top Apps” installment is comprised of eight diverse apps – for efficiency, convenience and leisure – that will create value for you, make life a bit easier, and arm you with the digital resources necessary to thrive in 2015.

Here they are:

  • N3tworkN3twork revolutionizes the way we consume video content on our smartphones. The app, exclusive to the iTunes App Store, acts as your personal television network and makes content recommendations based on your documented interests. N3twork features include the ability to watch content on Apple TV or Chromecast, upload and clip videos, and build TV channels for your friends and fans.

  • Uber – Operating in 120 cities (across 37 countries), Uber has emerged as the most sizeable threat to traditional, in-city transportation methods (i.e. – taxi’s). The app allows travelers to summon a personal driver, at the touch of a button, as opposed to wasting time unsuccessfully hailing Manhattan cabs during rush hour. Leveraging your smartphones GPS’s capabilities, Uber sends the closest driver (made up of unlicensed chauffeurs) to your location upon request. Payment, for rides, is charged to your credit card.

  • 1Password1Password is a free application that aggregates all of your annoying passwords, creating one strong, unique code for every site. What’s more, the app remembers them all for you and helps you log onto mobile destinations – seamlessly – with one single tap. 1Password’s key features include: storing logins and identities, and filling out credit card information (at checkout) without typing.

  • VenmoVenmo is a free, peer-to-peer mobile payments app that serves as your digital wallet. It has become wildly popular among the millennial segment, as a way of divvying up rent and utility bills, restaurant tabs and entertainment event tickets – all with the objective of avoiding cash transactions in mind. The New York-based company also doubles as a social network, broadcasting financial interactions between app users on Facebook & Twitter. Venmo is, reportedly, looking to leverage its technology and vast user base to begin offering credit. Stay tuned…

  • Seamless – Seamless is an online food ordering mobile platform, which makes accessing your favorite restaurants “quick and easy”. The recent GrubHub company partner features a compelling user interface – both on it’s mobile and web platform – and texts users when their orders are out for delivery. This app promises a unique dining experience, and is a must download to fulfill mid-day, cuisine urges.

  • Paper – This unique app allows you to capture new ideas “quickly and beautifully”, whether designing a new product, kitchen remodel or a business plan. Still confused? Serenity Caldwell of MacWorld provides more clarity: “[This Apple app] is a series of moleskine-esque digital notebooks (in landscape orientation) where you can use remarkably real simulations of brushes and pens to sketch, ink, marker, or watercolor.

  • Hyperlapse – This amazing app helps you create time-lapsed videos, utilizing Instagram’s stabilization technology. Leave the “bulky tripods” and “expensive equipment” at home, says the Instagram-backed company. Shooting time-lapse footage with Hyperlapse gives you an instant cinematic, quality feeling. No signup or account is required for product use.

  • Spotify – is the music streaming app we all know and love. They pride themselves on providing an incredible variety of quality music content and exclusive projects, in a visually appealing mobile app and web platform.

What are your favorite apps from the past year? Did any of them make this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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.




Walmart is Tone-Deaf within Facebook, Mobile & Social Media

Last week I was reading a post from a good friend Jeff Pearlman. He shared an article written on the Washington Post. It was a powerful piece on the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. I noticed the post on my iPhone and proceeded to read.

The article had somber tone. The title was

“After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quit.”

You could feel the heartache and serious tone of the article. However midway through reading I was interrupted by a “fake” IM message from Walmart stating

“Look Who’s in Walmart Now.”

I was confused and a bit taken aback. OK, I was on my mobile devise, reading an article posted on Facebook. Was this a real IM? No way. This is the reason why real content in a mobile social world is king. There was no context for this message. In fact, it made my face scrunch up in disbelieve and then made my heart pound in rage when I saw the rest of the ad – which was a continued mock IM conversation which proceed to tell me a joke.

A JOKE!! While reading an article about the families of Newtown’s shooting victims.!!! The joke stated

“So, a fireman, a teacher and a carpenter walk into a Walmart…

“wait are you telling a joke…”

“No, saw all at Walmart today”

“No surprise, over 60% of US shops there every day”

Ending in a crescendo as if so say – “see what we did there, clever eh?” Stating

That’s the REAL WALMART.

Well, yes, I guess that is the REAL WALMART. Utterly tone deaf. I could almost hear the advertising executives high five after seeing all my clicks on their ad as I frantically tried to close out the fake im’s to read the article. They must have been thrilled by all of the “engagement.”

For me: this is a huge fail, and just a small example of a bigger problem. You cannot automate genuine social media, and you certainly can’t automate engagement.

It will never, ever work.

Social media is the ultimate bullshit meter, and I’m calling bullshit on Walmart.