Category Archives: Case Studies

Make it a Custom Gift!

Finding the perfect gift is never easy. For a friend, but also for ourselves!

There are so many things we want, and so many things we don’t. So many things that feels too cheap, others that are too expensive. Many things that friends like, many others that they don’t. Many things they already have, many things we can’t tell if they are good or bad.

There are just so many ways to go wrong.

While gifting is hard, it helps to keep in mind that birthday celebrations are all about making our loved ones feel like their special date is not forgotten, won’t ever be, and is celebrated as such: a special day.

personalized birthday mugSo here’s an “ori-genial” idea to achieve that and to be on the safer side of the gift giving: If you are already using Birthday Cards to create free e-cards that all your friends can sign, you can also create custom products from your birthday card and signatures designs for a personalized, unique and orginal gift or souvenir that you and your friends will never forget! You can use your original designs to make a unique shirt, sticker, polo, sweatshirt and more.

This personalizable gift feature is powered by our store at Zazzle.


In addition to custom & personalizable gifts, Birthday Cards is also coupled with our other app, Gifts List, that helps you to find gifts based on ideas suggested by mutual friends and also based on what your friends already said they like on Facebook. It let you save, share and discuss your ideas publicly or secretely with friends in common.

This helps you remember your ideas, and buy only when you’re ready to buy. It also makes it easy to ask opinions or find out if a friend already have a gift you are thinking about.

And you can save money too! Simply invite friends to collaborate and buy expensive gifts together, or just follow a gift idea: we will track the prices and you will receive an alert when there’s an interesting price changes.

Did you miss a birthday this week?


all friends
Facebook’s birthday reminders are making it very easy for everyone who’s using that service not to miss a birthday and send wishes to our friends every day. Not to mention the thousands of apps that helps people create and schedule their greetings such as ours.

 

However, it still occasionally happens that we miss birthdays, even when the information is on Facebook. It happened to me too many times, and I always felt terrible about it.

This week was my birthday, and I’ve been on the other end of the “missed your birthday” problem.

Many of my friends send me their wishes – of course some of them did so using our Birthday Application. Special Kudos for you guys! – and of course It felt great to have so many amazing people around me thinking of me for my special day.

But some friends didn’t. They simply missed it. And for the ones who realized, I can tell they were really embarrassed (at least they faked it well :)), just as I’ve been several times when I missed the birthday of someone I really should have remembered.

turtle winning the race against a rabbit

The good news is that it’s not such a big issue when handled properly. With a nice “Happy Belated Birthday” card for example.

And now we got you covered: Happy Birthdays was updated so you can easily see the recent birthday celebrations, and send cute, funny belated birthday cards.

Here’s how it works:

1 –  Happy Birthdays will show you birthdays that happened for the past 7 days

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.49.10 AM

2 - Browse the list to check the recent birthday celebrations

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.57.53 AM

3 – Click on a friend on the list if you have missed a birthday and send a belated birthday card from our templates. As usual, you can also design your own.

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.58.46 AM

That’s it … diplomatic incident hopefully avoided :-)

Enjoy your birthdays!

How to create and send thoughtful holiday greetings (Part 2)

In Part 1, we’ve learned how to create a simple, thoughtful, personalized holiday greeting image for everyone, using our Happy Birthday app.

In Part 2, I’ll show how our Social Assistant app helps you to make a big impact with less effort by making it a lot easier to create individual greeting images for your important friends.

How it works

We said it in Part 1: one great way to create a thoughtful greeting message is to personalize it and, of course, make it look beautiful.

When it’s for a group of people, a greeting image can be personalized with content only related to you. But when it’s for a specific person, it’s of course best to personalize it with content related to both you and the person you’re sending your greetings to.

If you are looking to send a group card to all your friends at once, this tutorial is not for you, and you might be looking for Part 1. If you are a Photoshop pro, and it’s a piece of cake for you to create beautiful cards for several friends, or if you are using a specialized service to send customized cards to a list of contacts, this is not for you either.

But If you are looking for a simple way to send an individual greeting messages to a select list of important friends, you may be concerned about spending a lot of time and effort creating a personalized card for each and every friend on your list that you want to make a big impact on.

Rejoice! as you can do that easily this year using our Social Assistant application.

All it takes is only a few steps and a few clicks.

Step 1: Log In to Social Assistant 

indiv_greetings_how_to_step_1

Log in to Symbyoz – Social Assistant and go to the “Friends” tab.

If you’ve already added your list of important friends there, you’re good to go.

Otherwise, you’ll need to add friends. That’s done by simply clicking on the “Add a friend” button on the tool bar menu and following the next step.

Step 2: Add your important friends

indiv_greetings_how_to_step_2

Click on “select” to select friends from your Facebook account.

If you want to add friends that are not connected to Facebook, or if you do not want link your Facebook account to Symbyoz, you can also simply type their name and an email address.

Note that you will not to be able to post the greeting on Facebook for friends that are not connected to a Facebook account.

When you are done selecting/typing the friend name and email address, simply click “Add”.

Step 3: Open the greeting card creation canvas

There is a “Catch-Up” button next to the line with your friend. Simply click on that button, then click on “Create greetings card”.

indiv_greetings_how_to_step_3

Step 4: Tweak your personalized card collage

Tweak the collage the way you like it …

Same drill as in Part 1: you can change the background, move or rotate the text and the images, add the logo of your company, the pictures of your cat, your favorite quote … OR … you can save time, do absolutely nothing and go with the default arrangement we created for you.

indiv_greetings_how_to_step_4

Step 5: Select your delivery Channel and Send

indiv_greetings_how_to_step_5

Select the delivery channel and simply send your message.

Congratulation, you’re done, only 19 more friends to do … :)

Step 4: Rinse and repeat

Simply do it again for all your important friends in your list.

It may take more time than sending a collective message to a group in one single shot, but the reward of having every single of your important friends receiving a beautiful, personalized and specific greeting just for them is huge, and we’re making it a lot easier than it could have been … for free! :-)

Seize that opportunity to make a big impact in your loved ones lives.

Happy Holidays!

How to create and send thoughtful holiday greetings (Part 1)

Tweak the collage...‘Tis the season to be thinking about sending wishes and cheers to your loved ones.

Very few things says “I care about you” better than a thoughtful, cheerful holiday greeting.

This year, Symbyoz is making it easy for you to create greetings that you can send to your friends, family and peers.

How it works

One great way to create a thoughtful greeting message is to personalize it and, of course, to make it look beautiful.

If you are a photoshop pro, and have time on your hands, you don’t need any of the following.

But if you are short on time and don’t want to use heavy, complex software to simply create a greeting, you can do that using our “Happy Birthday” application to create a collage image for a personalized but collective greeting card, or you can use our “Social Assistant” application to create a similar image, but for a specific, individual friend.

All it takes is only a few steps and a few clicks.

In this Part 1, we’ll explain how to create the personalized collective greeting card using “Happy Birthday“. We’ll update this with a link to Part 2 where we explain how to create a personalized individual greeting card using “Social Assistant“.

Step 1: Log In to Happy Birthdays & open the collage composer
Log in to Symbyoz...
Log in to Symbyoz – Happy Birthdays and simply click on the “greetings” button on the tool bar menu.
Step 2: Customize your collage
Tweak the collage the way you like it :)
You can change the background, move or rotate the text and the images, add the logo of your company, the pictures of your cat, your favorite quote … OR … you can save time, do absolutely nothing and go with the default arrangement we created for you.
Step 3: Save
Once you
Once you’re satisfied, simply save & post.
We strongly recommend to download the result on your computer and/or post it on your Facebook wall to share with all your friends.
Step 4: Enjoy and be merry
There
There’s plenty of things you can do with your collage image, such as sending it directly by email to select friends for an even more personal touch, or post on your company wall, or pin it on Pinterest, or do whatever you want to do with it. It’s yours.
Happy Holidays!

About Those Facebook Evil Plans To Ruin Your Business …

Is Facebook intentionally hurting small businesses?

More voices are ganging up around this meme, due to the recent strategic decisions that are changing the ubiquitous, ultra popular social platform in ways that few really understand, but most already feel.

In a recent blog post the good folks at Dangerous Minds are asking their “Friends Back”, and are hoping to unleash a protest campaign to force the hand of the internet giant to revise their strategy.

Dangerous Minds Want Their Friends Back …

Although the obvious should be pointed out, which is that Dangerous Minds subscribers are technically not “friends”, but (at the very best) “fans”, the article has very interesting comments and explanation about the legitimate concerns many fan page admins and small business are having.

You should definitely take a look at it.

I personally have mixed feelings on that one. For sure, we (Facebook developers and advertisers) have been impacted by the recent strategic choices coming from Facebook these days, and it actually goes way beyond just limiting posts seen by fans and/or charging fan page administrators to reach an audience they’ve spent a lot of time, effort and very often money building. But I ultimately believe that they’re doing the right thing, for their business, and for their users. And therefore I don’t buy – yet? – into the argument that this is going to be their downfall.

Let me explain…

Facebook is also changing their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in a way that will make more difficult for developers like me to get as much “viral” juice and traction from people using their applications.

For example: it was previously allowed to use the Facebook’s Graph API to publish stories on your friend wall. This is what we are using to post toughtful “Happy Birthday” messages on a friend’s wall when a user wants to send or schedule a birthday greeting. It’s still possible to do it now, but that will change soon. It’ll not be allowed to post on a friends wall using the API anymore … at least it won’t be easy. There is a convoluted way to do it that has been proposed, but at first glance, it will introduce so much friction for our users that I strongly suspect that it’ll make things harder for them, and that of means less engagement and less growth for our app. I suspect that the next move for Facebook will be then to say: “yeah, we know it’s not ideal … pay us and you’ll have access to the API to post directly on the friend wall”.

However, as I said, It makes perfect business sense for Facebook to do this. First of all, let’s be clear: they didn’t build the service to help advertisers and companies like me to make money. They built Facebook to solve the problem of people willing to be more connected with others (I’m intentionally leaving out the “open” part of then “open and connected” that their PR is eagerly spinning about). So, going the route they seem to have taken recently not only will help them to make more money, but it’s also a lot more aligned with their original mission because people don’t actually really want to “connect” with smaller brands, they want to connect with their friends first, then with bigger, well established brands for coupons or promotions.

I believe their thinking is this: “We’ve grown as a company, and we’re public now. The hell with the ‘small’ players. Whoever wants to make money on our platform has to be a big cat and has to pay us”.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that smaller brands/companies that have something even extremely meaningful to give to people won’t stand a chance in the long run, or at least it’ll be a heck of a lot more difficult for them to shine. Yet again, that’s the nature of business … nobody said it’s going to be easy.

I understand and empathize with modest shops like Dangerous Minds who are trying to be vocal about this issue to make Facebook flinch – hey, we’re even smaller, and probably will never be able to even try promoting only one post daily anytime soon.

I’m just very skeptical that it’ll work: real users are trying to solve basic emotional and relational problems on Facebook. Power users, like us or Dangerous Minds, are trying to solve business problems. There’s a clear conflict of interest, and frankly I don’t think that Facebook gives a damn about the latter camp at this point, and neither should they: the latter camp seems not to care too much about Facebook’s bottom line and real value for real users either.

The Challenge of Making Friends as an Adult

The period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over.

Here are some “morceaux choisis of a delightful article from the New York Times (you should definitely read the full thing) that illustrates this.

“My ideas of friendship were built by ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Diner,’ [...] Your friends were your brothers, and anything but total loyalty at all costs meant excommunication. As you get older, that model becomes unrealistic.”

 

“The workplace can crackle with competition, so people learn to hide vulnerabilities and quirks from colleagues [...] it is difficult to say where networking ends and real friendship begins.”

 

“The bar is higher than when we were younger and were willing to meet almost anyone for a margarita [...] Manipulators, drama queens, egomaniacs: a lot of them just no longer make the cut.”

 

“I’d go to salsa lessons. Instead of trying to pick up the women, I’d introduce myself to the men: ‘Hey, let’s go get a drink.’”

 

“It becomes tougher to meet the three conditions [...] considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other”

 

“Often, people realize how much they have neglected to restock their pool of friends only when they encounter a big life event, like a move, say, or a divorce”

 

Is it time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends)? of course we believe you should not, or we wouldn’t be building “an app for that“.

What do you think?

See on Scoop.it - Stay on top of your social networking

See on www.nytimes.com

Goals: To Share or Not To Share?

A friend recently shared a Ted Talk from Derek Sivers, who’s suggesting that we should keep our goals secret even if our first instinct is to tell someone.

Derek presents research dating as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their goals are less likely to achieve them. The main theory behind it is this: Talking about their dream is so exciting that people are thrown into a big illusion that it’s already achieved.

But many other research such as this one are actually showing that the exact opposite is true.

Research recently conducted by Matthews shows that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.

First, I think there’s something about our first instincts that should never be put down too quickly based on relative observations.

Second, while I can buy the thesis that receiving positive social gratification when exposing a goal or an idea to peers could lead to a feeling of “it’s half done”, I don’t think it necessarily throw people out of the path of accomplishment.

Case in point, the multiple weight loss support groups that truly help people to overcome their procrastination and achieve things they wouldn’t without peer pressure and support.

Besides, it’s simply not true that peers and friends are automatically and complacently nodding in agreement to whatever our goals are. At least not if they are true friends who care enough to give genuine (and most times actually over-protective) feedback and support.

What is your take? should we share our goals or should we not?

Loneliness & Happiness: The Facebook Effect

Today, I stumbled upon an article titled Is Facebook Making Us Lonely in The Atlantic.

I’m not going to sugar coat it: it’s a very long article.

But it’s also a very good one. Scratch that. It’s an excellent one.

It hits hard and deep on the message we are trying to spread at Symbyoz. It has to be one of the most interesting and insightful article about the “Facebook effect” in our day to day lives I’ve read.

And yes, the comments are almost as good as the article.

If you have time, dig in, it’s totally worth it.

If you don’t, let me summarize the main points for you, and make it easier to get to the bottom line.

We are more connected, yet lonelier than ever …

Facebook to Twitter have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic) and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.

It’s indeed a staggering fact. Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We are more connected than ever before, yet very few are really satisfied with the level of closeness they have with their friends. Our recent survey shows that most Americans have a mediocre perception of how well they keep in touch despite the fact that we are so well connected.

A 2010 AARP survey found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely, as opposed to 20 percent of a similar group only a decade earlier. According to a major study by a leading scholar of the subject, roughly 20 percent of Americans—about 60 million people—are unhappy with their lives because of loneliness.

Our connections are growing broader but shallower

That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

Yep, you know something is not quite right when websites such as Google+ are starting to use phrases such as “Your real friends” as in “Where are your real friends all gone???”

Facebook is NOT to blame for our loneliness. Let’s recognize the real problem: our individualistic culture.

FACEBOOK ARRIVED IN THE MIDDLE of a dramatic increase in the quantity and intensity of human loneliness, a rise that initially made the site’s promise of greater connection seem deeply attractive.

The people who experience loneliness on Facebook are probably lonely away from Facebook, too. In fact, research also suggest that most Facebook users get more from it than they put in.

LONELINESS IS CERTAINLY not something that Facebook or Twitter or any of the lesser forms of social media is doing to us. We are doing it to ourselves.

WELL BEFORE FACEBOOK, digital technology was enabling our tendency for isolation, to an unprecedented degree.

The problem it seems sits more with the way we are using Facebook, and technology in general.

“Facebook can be terrific, if we use it properly,” Cacioppo continues. “It’s like a car. You can drive it to pick up your friends. Or you can drive alone.” But hasn’t the car increased loneliness? If cars created the suburbs, surely they also created isolation. “That’s because of how we use cars,” Cacioppo replies. “How we use these technologies can lead to more integration, rather than more isolation.”

Valuing happiness is not necessarily linked to greater happiness.

What does Facebook communicate, if not the impression of social bounty? Everybody else looks so happy on Facebook, with so many friends, that our own social networks feel emptier than ever in comparison. Doesn’t that make people feel lonely? “If people are reading about lives that are much better than theirs, two things can happen,” Burke tells me. “They can feel worse about themselves, or they can feel motivated.”

Facebook, of course, puts the pursuit of happiness front and center in our digital life. But under certain conditions, the more you try to be happy, the less happy you are.

Redefining our very concepts of identity and personal fulfillment (aka encouragin narcisism) is much more worrisome to me than the privacy concerns that have people up in arms about Facebook.

Personalized connections and meaningful interactions matters

Non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness.

 

Aha! … obvious preach to the Symbyoz choir. Posting a status update on a wall doesn’t make you a good friend any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear. According to Burke, passive consumption of Facebook also correlates to a marginal increase in depression.

And that sums it all well. I’m worried that Facebook, and social media in general, is becoming a mere “lonely” “business”, with fewer real people having meaningful connections or even paying attention, and more lurkers or marketers looking forward to broadcast their messages and promote their products.

I have nothing against marketing online on social media. I’m doing it myself. There’s nothing wrong with promoting an idea or a cool product. It’s actually awesome.

It would just be a shame that the tremendous value of the social connections created on Facebook and other places gets wasted for the very people who have been told that everything can happen thanks to the power of a solid social network.