Want to be the go-to guy or gal on your team with the flashiest new apps? The one dressing Instagram photos with never-before-seen filters and stamps, using emoticons our Japanese counterparts only released yesterday?
It can be time-consuming to stay current in social and digital media, so here are some effective ways to quickly surface and assess the hottest toys.
1. Assign yourself playtime. My playtime is Sunday evening after “Mad Men.” I pull out my iPad and iPhone and I furiously start downloading new apps. I jump over to the Featured and Top Charts sections of iTunes to see if there are any new additions. I download them, bring them to the forefront, launch them, create a new account, follow the top accounts (if applicable), invite a few friends and make time to revisit them later in the week. If it’s a photo app, I try out some photos and push them out to Facebook to see how they look. If it’s a news app, I load it up with my interested topics and see how it populates.
Interaction with apps is important. You need to understand the functionality before you make a recommendation. And don’t just bury your new downloads in the graveyard, i.e., the last page of apps.
2. Subscribe to folks who do the research for you. Having been part of the tech PR community, I am (somewhat) responsible for having jammed reporters’ inboxes with pitches about startups. The good folks at TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, ReadWrite and countless other online publications filter through all that noise to help uncover the next big thing. So listen to them, they’ve done their homework.
A few worth noting: I closely follow my buddy Ryan Lawler, who is responsible for introducing Uber and BlackJet to my vocabulary. And Mashable’s Emily Price posts a weekly app roundup of top mobile apps.
Determine what you like to follow on the medium that’s easiest for you to use, and stay on top of it.
3. Identify a network to discuss and share your latest finds. New York Tech Meetup holds monthly events where tech companies demo their products to a large group of tech enthusiasts. Digital LA holds events for “Silicon Beach” startups to showcase their products. These are two examples of larger organizations, but you can replicate the experience with a close group of friends or coworkers. Identify networks both online and offline where you can share exciting discoveries with others. Pass around your phone or pull up the site on your desktop. Don’t just chat about it – do it together.
Yuna Park is Associate Director of Social & Digital Innovation at 22squared. Follow her @yunapark, and follow the agency @22squared.