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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Creating an App to make Open Data useful

After a class about Open Data and how we can use it, our professor told us to think of a project such as a website, a data visualization (infographics) or an app that would make data more useful and friendly.

My idea was to create this app in which you could search the product you're buying or the service you're hiring and see how many complaints about this product or service were registered on the Brazilian consumer protection organisation, named Procon. I obviously picked the Brazilian example because I'm from Brazil, but this could be adapted to any country with a system that registers this kind of complaint.

Here's a quick pitch on my idea. Sorry for the gaps and the pronunciation mistakes, I was a little sick when I recorded it.

So, would you download this app? Tell me how could it be improved! 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Using Twitter API and Google Spreadsheets to know your audience

One of this week's fun tasks from my MA Social Media course was to fool around a little with Twitter API and Google Spreadsheets, and the result was awesome. I started off playing with my own twitter account and then it evolved to a very useful thing: now I have a list of all @igersbirmingham followers, their location, their twitter bio and other interesting data about them.

But, why is this useful to me? Well, I'm putting together an Instagram Photomarathon in Birmingham, and those guys are my target! Cool, isn't it? I have details about my target and I can use these details to communicate with them in a much more appealing way!

Here's how I got all this data:

- You must have a Google account and be signed in to it.
- Then, sign in to a Twitter Developer account at

- In your Twitter Developer account go to My applications - Create a new application

- Fill the form, in the Callback URL bit you must copy this adress:
- In the spreadsheet you created, there's a guide to what you should do next, which I'll copy here:
  1. In this spreadsheet from the Twitter drop-down menu (next to Help) select 'Configure'. You may need to run this twice, the first time to authorise the script and follow the instructions for obtaining a Customer Key and Secret from Twitter. If there is no Twitter menu option click on the "Load Twitter menu" button 
  2. Select Tools > Scripts > Script Editor ... and from the Script Editor window select Run > aTest. This should bring up an authorization message box, click on Authorize. 
  3. In the Twitter Authorization window enter your login details if required and select 'Allow'
  4. Close the Script Editor window and a dialog box in the main spreadsheet should indicate if you have successfully connected to Twitter 
  5. If all is okay you can now select Twitter > Get Followers and Twitter > Get Friends (when these run your sheet may go blank, if so refresh your browser window)

- And there you go, now you can export your friends and followers and other people's friends and followers and make all these data useful! Your spreadsheet will be available anytime you need at your Google Drive, and you can create as many spreadsheets as you want to different clients and purposes.

So, that's it for today, hope this guide can help you! Please, give me some feedback commenting here, on Twitter or on Facebook

*This post was based on a task and on this blog post.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

#instaBrum: My enterprise project dissected in a blog post and a 2 min pitch

As I have told here before, I'm organizing an Instagram Photomarathon in Birmingham, and now is time to show where I have managed to get until this point of my journey.

So, the Instagram Photomarathon, which I'll call #instaBrum, is an event in which participants are given themes to photograph within certain time and post to Instagram. The target are photographers and photography enthusiasts.

I noticed, through research and talking to people, that photography networking events don't happen very often in Birmingham, so there's a market for this kind of project. I also though of having it connected with Social Media because networking today is strongly based on those channels, since they have become a powerful tool to get people to know your work and contact you easily. That said, networking is the main goal of the event, but besides that, having fun is also important!

The fact that pictures of Birmingham will be posted to Instagram, a Social Network with 100 million monthly active users across the globe, is also interesting to the image of the city, as it may attract visitors.

In this 2 minute pitch I answer the main questions about my project: what it is, why I decided to do it, who's the target, what are the benefits and how will I do it.

*Here's the automated Twitter account I mentioned on the video, in case you're curious.

Having been told by our teacher to watch videos like this one, from NESTA, and this one, with an idea from Steven Johnson, we have heard a lot of times that it is important to be passionate, but it is also important to listen to others and value their thoughts. And through the process of developing my idea and maturing it, I have learned that listening to people's opinion is essential. It can make a lot of things clearer, because different people see through different points of view.

Pitching is also a tricky thing, you have to say all that's important in a very limited time, and that's only possible through a lot of practice. Taking suggestions and criticism and making the most of them is crucial when it comes to this stage of the project.

Now, my next steps are to improve my business plan, decide on a date for the event and start selling my sponsorship packages. The date will probably be during the first or second week of june. As for the sponsorship packages, I'll work a little more on what I can offer and how much I can get for that, and start selling them next week.

I'm really fond of listening to opinions, suggestions and criticism, so please, let me know what you think of my idea! Here's a few questions you could answer to help me: Would you participate in such event? What do you think I can do to improve it? Is there anything I should change? Who do you think would be interested in sponsoring it? You can see my latest business model canvas here and the business plan sketch here.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Mix, match and tweet: feeds are fun!

So this week we had to create an automated Twitter account using combined feeds and other sources. As my enterprise idea is an Instagram Photomarathon, I figured I should create a Twitter account that would be somehow useful for that.

I mixed Instagram tags and a combined feed of Birmingham's events to create the InstaBrum Twitter. The "robot twitter" Tweets every Instagram picture with the tags #birmingham, #bham and #igersbirmingham, and also tweets updates about events in the city.

To get that to work I used FeedBurnerIFTTT and RSSMix. Here's a 10 steps list of what I did:
  • Created an e-mail account on GMail to my new Twitter account
  • Set up new Twitter account

  • Set up IFTTT account
  • Created IFTTT recipes to tweet all Instagram photos with the tags #birmingham #bham #igersbirmingham

  • Set up FeedBurner account (it's actually a Google service, so you don't even need to create a new account if you have a Google account)
  • Burnt a feed for a site that lists all events in Birmingham
  • Burnt a feed for a site that lists free events in Birmingham

  • Used MixRSS to mix both feeds
  • Created IFTTT recipe to tweet every new post of the events and free events combined feed

  • Voilá! InstaBrum is working fine, and the process of creating it wasn't painful at all!
Any doubt about any of the steps above? Just ask me here, on Twitter or on Facebook!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

The evolution of a Business Model Canvas

Since I've started putting my entrepreneurial idea in a business model canvas, about two weeks ago, it's been really nice to see how the project is starting to get clearer. The project is still an Instagram Photomarathon, but besides that, it's really easy to see it's evolution through this three different canvasses:


As you can notice, on canvas 1 I already knew what I wanted to do, but had no focus yet. All ideas were to big, idealistic and spread all over the place. On canvas 2, target was already defined to students at a certain age, but everything else was still a bit confused. 

Canvas 3, on the other hand, was filled after meeting people and building a bit of a network in Birmingham. I realized I was targeting my event wrong and things were still too broad, so I decided to narrow down a lot of things: target, partners, activities, values, that's all changed.

And things will probably keep changing as the idea becomes clearer and more feasible. But that's a good thing, isn't it? Right now I'm waiting on Ms. Karen Strunks feedback on my project and hey, why don't you all comment and tell me what you think of it, what would be good, what can be different?