Archive for the ‘social networks’ tag
You’ve been putting off actually doing much with Google+. Maybe it’s because you’re already feeling behind in keeping up with all the other social networks. Maybe you think there’s no one there ( 500 million users). Maybe you just don’t know where to start.
I can help.
Getting Started with Google+
Personal Vs Professional Vs Business Page
First question first: should you have a personal page, a professional page, and/or also a business page?
My experience thus far has been that a personal page seems to do more for most people than separating out a professional page. People are enjoying connecting with all your interests and not just your business interests. If you want to keep it a bit more professional than personal, fine. Share the personal stuff on Facebook. But what I’ve found is that the “blended” approach (some business content and some not-business content) has served quite well.
A Local business or a business with a physical location should most definitely set up a Places listing, which now ties nicely into Google+ business pages. Want to create your Google+ business page? Do that here.
Want to see some examples of businesses around you who have done this? Check out Google Local.
So, my starting recommendations: build a personal/professional hybrid account for sure and possibly a Google+ business page (much more yes, if you run a location-specific business).
Get More from Your About Page
People seem reluctant to create any useful information on their about pages. MOST people seem to have very little on theirs. If you want to see mine live, click here. But I have some thoughts for you.
Create a simple explanation of what you do for others in the “tagline” section of the Story part of your About page. After that, in the introduction, expand that just a bit so that people understand why they would want to contact you. Make it even easier, if you’d like, by linking to your own contact page (instead of hoping people navigate Google+ to find you).
A Nifty Little Hack
Still on your about page, but in your Occupation area, not only do I list where I work, but I list what I do for people. Thus, when you look at my profile when I comment on someone’s work, you’ll see my tagline and the occupation area do something to entice people to connect.
Use a Nice Personal Picture
It’s amazing how few people put up a decent avatar photo of themselves. You don’t have to use the same one for every account on the Internet, but definitely, take some time to pick out a human picture of you that will let someone know who they’re speaking with, and maybe even a little about you.
Google+ also has a space for a ginormous background “cover” photo. Feel free to post a photo of your neck of the woods, or look at how companies like Red Bull and Lifehacker and PBS use their cover photo area.
Find People to Circle
Google+ has built a little area called Find People and it’s a pretty good place to start, but I have more ideas. Use third party site, Find People on Plus and search by whichever demographics matter to you. Also, when you do find people that you like, check to see who they have circled, and whether they’re of interest to you.
I also follow a lot more search topics on Google+ instead of just following people. For instance, here’s a search I did for email marketing. Sometimes it’s useful, and other times, depressing.
Take Advantage of Communities
One of two awesome secret weapons inside Google+ are its communities. I’m using a bunch of these in a private mode for my various courses, but I’ve also launched a public community about health and fitness. You can create your own, or more simply join someone else’s. There are so many opportunities to connect up with people already passionately talking about items you might find of interest.
From there, you can obviously also find people you might wish to circle and stay even more connected with, so that’s even another way to use the platform.
Connect With Hangouts
Another super secret weapon of Google+ are hangouts, which are live video conferences with either 9 other people privately or an unlimited amount of people watching (and up to 10 actively on camera) with the Hangout on Air feature.
You can use these for quick impromptu meetings with friends or colleagues (though when I want really professional meeting technology, I use GoToMeeting, who are sometimes a client). And the Hangout on Air function allows for large crowds for things like presentations (though I use GoToWebinar, especially so I can reach out to people via email after such an event).
There are many business functions of Hangouts that I cover in Google+ For Business, but I won’t get into those here.
Some Quick Tidbits to Help You Even More
To access all your settings, click here. Consider throttling back notifications a lot so that you don’t get a full inbox or worse while using this app. I have mine almost entirely off.
To organize the people you follow, put them into a circle (like a list). The names of your circles aren’t public, so it’s okay if you put me in the “loudmouth” circle. I find that organizing these early helps you decide where you want to focus your attention, and sometimes, lets you send info to a limited list of people (though as a marketer, I rarely want to limit my posts to a small amount of people.)
Post to “Public” anything you want to share with the world at large, and/or anything you want Google (the search engine) to index.
A “plus” works nothing like a “like” in Facebook. If you plus something, it doesn’t share with your community. It just shows that you plussed it. To share, click share.
And maybe, if you’ve got Google+ questions and/or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section. That’d really be excellent!
Please Consider Getting My Newsletter
Here’s exactly what you get when you sign up to my newsletter: I write you a weekly newsletter every Sunday. In it, I’ll tell you a story that will illustrate some point that’s useful to your life, your business, your organization, or maybe all of these. I’ll invite you to participate. I’ll be very personal. My goal is to help you build a strong, sustainable, relationship-minded business.
This letter is written be me, Chris Brogan. If you hit reply, the reply goes to me. I respond as soon as I can. Most people can’t believe how fast, but don’t let me get your hopes up. Sometimes, it takes a few days. But if you hit reply, I’m there.
If I intend to sell you something (and I do that, sometimes), it’ll be very clear. Somewhat comically so.
So join me. I respect your privacy and will honor your trust in us.
Join us for free and get valuable insights that you’ll end up eagerly awaiting. This is a community pretending to be a newsletter. You are why I write it.
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Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s post comes from @chrisbrogan
From the very first day I opened my first company, I knew that I was bucking trends. Or so I thought. You’ll laugh.
Starting Without a Storefront: Or So I Thought
I launched my business without having a website. So what, you’re thinking. But all my friends and models to follow at the time were built online. I learned what you know: your website is often not your business.
Stay Close to Your Community
I went on to market strictly through the digital channel. I blogged mostly, and neglected the value of asking my customers and audience to consider getting my (now beloved) newsletter. So I went years without having a good solid list of people to reach out and connect with about doing business. I bet you knew that long before me, as well.
Measure What You Want to Improve
I love the social networks as a digital channel, and I continue to believe they have value in selling. But I’ve been strongly over-valuing them as potential lead generation for my business without doing that essential step that you know already: I haven’t measured. And the moment I did, I found some startling results. I don’t sell nearly as much via my social networks as I do via my newsletter. And yet, I was spending a lot more time there than I was on developing ways to improve the one high-performing sales and lead generation platform I had.
Quick note: I believe social platforms have a huge role in business-making. Only, my experiences with directly selling into them has been very lackluster. Instead, I share insights, and lead people gently to get my newsletter. And then that converts.
Relationships Are Everything
You know this because you’ve read the Referral Engine and you follow one of the best relationship guys in the world here. John works hard to nurture relationships with his community and his colleagues, and what I’d come to realize was that I was serving a small set of buyers (huge companies) and wasn’t making time to connect with the people who matter (like John). With that in mind, I’m working on some ways (low tech and eventually a little more high-tech) to make sure that I keep the people who matter to me top of mind, even when I get bogged down and busy.
But you already knew the value of relationships.
In Praise Of YOU and Your Smarts
So, in the end, I suppose why I wrote this post was to validate the great learning you’re getting from John and others here. Because I launched a digital-first business, I’ve had to backtrack and learn what you knew from the start. And I’m better for it. Thank you for sharing what you know with learners like me.
Chris Brogan is president and CEO of Human Business Works, a publishing and media company focusing on courses and tools for smart professionals like you.
What is it going to take to realize there’s a better way to do things?
It strikes me as odd that we’ve taken the old style of mass marketing, which itself has been competing for attention and eyeballs for years, and simply moved it over to digital marketing – and then, to make matters worse, have transferred that to social media. If we weren’t satisfied with the results we were seeing in the primary model, what makes us think that repeating it elsewhere would solve our problems?
Marketers are constantly testing, assessing and doubting advertising on social networks, but rather than questioning the platforms, shouldn’t we be questioning the methods? We spend so much time trying to target the right audience through demographics, psychographics, behavioral targeting and other market research methods, and then we put our messages on the platforms that reflect these figures.
But even though their types may be represented on the networks and outlets we’ve chosen, will they really care about what we have to say? After all, if consumers aren’t coming around to the way we want them to think, shouldn’t we be pausing to consider how we view the world through their eyes?
When your teams, both agency and client side, spend so much time and energy on the creative – to the point where you fall in love with the content – sometimes it’s easy to forget that nobody really cares about your brand. That AdAge piece in the link concisely points out:
You may spend most of your waking hours thinking about your brand and its category, as well as the facts and figures that make your product superior to the competitors, but your target audience really couldn’t pay less attention.
While it may be difficult to accept, it’s true. They’re more interested in what’s going on in their lives – work schedules, running to and from commitments for their kids, sick relatives, sports scores and a thousand other things. But they aren’t really focusing on your brand most of the time.
For a while, I’ve been on the trail encouraging brands to think like consumers rather than like marketers. In fact, I said it on national television when I visited Bloomberg TV in February:
In addition to the AdAge article, this sentiment was recently reflected to two Inc. articles by two authors just three days apart. The first, Do Customers Love You? 5 Questions to Ask, suggests thinking about compelling messages, creating remarkable experiences (experiences that are literally worthy of remark), and giving them reasons to come back. Similarly, the other Inc. article suggested that You Might Be Too in Love with Yourself – and Your Products (ref. the AdAge article Nobody Really Cares About Your Brand).
|“If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts,
feel my feelings and speak my words.” – Cicero
So, what is it that customers are looking for? Just last week, Fast Company featured a post by Crowdtap CEO Brandon Evans stating Customers Don’t Want Ads, They Want a Conversation. While we might like to think that’s the literal truth, it can be parsed a little farther into some actionable suggestions: democratized product development, a better sense of the customer journey, more transparency, and the measurement of influence over impressions (in other words, looking at specifics versus generalized metrics).
It’s a difficult market out there, where we’re all competing for attention – and largely attention that’s focused on other life events rather than the competition. There are a variety of ways to think about how to approach this, but effectively, we need to place ourselves in the lives of consumers and think more like them and less like marketers.
Photo Credit: enigmabadger (Flickr)
And just like that, the photo sharing app market is up for grabs.
It didn’t seem possible just eight short months ago when Facebook announced that it was acquiring the fledgling hipster photo sharing app for $1 billion. Instagram was all the rage, and I’ve even heard from a number of sources that it is now one of the definitive social networks for the teen and tween demographic.
So what happened?
It’s not too long ago (okay, in social media terms, it was eons ago) that Flickr was one of the major social networks. It was the photo sharing site of choice. Backed by Yahoo!, there seemed to be a bright future for this repository of images. But the rise of Instagram as a deft and light app that allowed seamless integration into sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more made some wonder if there was a future for Flickr.
UPDATE: Instagram has posted a clarifying statement on their blog. More on that at the end of this article.
A Timeline of Events
With Marissa Mayer at the helm, it was clear that she was making Flickr a strategic priority (along with mobile and a a renewed focus on products). This happened in mid to late August.
Meanwhile, Instagram announced on November 5 that it was allowing web-based profiles of users and their photos, marking the first time outside of the app that user information and photos could be seen in one place. Clearly, Instagram was looking to expand beyond the confines of its app-based world.
Then on December 5, the photo sharing world changed significantly when Instagram cut off its support for Twitter cards. That meant that no longer would Twitter users be able to see Instagram images shown in the their Twitter stream; if you want to see the image your friend shared from Instagram, you now have to click on the “instagr.am” link in the tweet. Could this have been in retribution for Twitter removing the “find your friends on Twitter” function from Instagram as far back as June 27?
This was misstep #1.
In the ongoing three-way war, Twitter announced on December 10 that it was adding filters to its native app. This news was greeted with a collective yawn, The Verge went one further, noting that Twitter missed the point: “Instagram is winning because of the photo-centric community it has built.” Remember that.
Continuing with its push to revitalize itself and remain relevant, on December 12 Flickr launched an update to its mobile app, complete with – wait for it – filters. But to many, the app was more than just filters. It was a more comprehensive way to connect with the community (see above), better integration with other social networks, robust discovery and an easy to use app.
Some will argue that these Terms are familiar to other social networks’ Terms – particularly Facebook’s, as they are the parent company of Instagram. Now, I’m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), but it seems that these terms are slightly different from Facebook, as Facebook’s Terms specify:
Our goal is to deliver ads and commercial content that are valuable to our users and advertisers. In order to help us do that, you agree to the following:
- You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. You give us permission to use your name and profile picture in connection with that content, subject to the limits you place.
- We do not give your content or information to advertisers without your consent.
So right there, users can see that they have control over their content and that Facebook seeks consent. The same isn’t clear on the Instagram ToS, if that’s the case.
Looking at Twitter, they provide an interesting tip under the Rights section of their Terms of Service, put very plainly:
Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your Content. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. But what’s yours is yours – you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content).
But it’s important to note that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many social networks also contain a clause that notes that by using their services and displaying content on their platforms, you grant them
“a world-wide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licensing (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).” [Taken from Twitter's ToS]
Did you know that? Does it change your opinion about what you share on these networks?
What are my options?
There has been no lack of uproar over the publicized change at Instagram. CNET wasted no time in divulging “How to back up your Instagram photos and delete your account.” There are already a few publications that are looking out for you, giving you alternatives to Instagram, should you choose to leave.
“You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such.”
In my personal view, this is extremely dangerous and irresponsible, particularly when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires disclosure of a paid sponsorship or endorsement. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that not being transparent as to what is an ad and what is not, it not only puts the platform provider at risk, but could potentially risk getting the brand yanked into some kind of litigation.
And yet, through all of this,
the Dude abides Flickr remains.
You see, in the end, it’s not about filters. It’s a matter of giving users choices about how they control their own data and how they can create new and interesting content. And it’s about creating that community around the user base – as noted above. Well, the new Flickr app has created an easier way to connect with and identify others. I’ve personally noticed a rise in the number of contact requests I’m getting in Flickr as a result. So that ability to claim “community” as a defensible strategy for Instagram is showing some cracks. Still, one has to admit that being part of the billion-strong network of Facebook probably is helpful.
When you consider that Flickr gives you the ability to determine the level of rights and sharing on your own content – right down to being able to change the setting for each individual image – it’s clearly heads and shoulders above the rest. Not to mention that for posts such as these, Flickr provides a handy embed code that tracks back to the original photo owner. We’ve discussed image usage, rights and the number of alternatives out there previously (“Picture This,” August 29, 2010) and with Flickr’s recent app changes, it’s probably a good idea to give them another look.
Instagram is in the middle of a firestorm right now. We’ll see how they choose to respond to the ongoing furor, whether users will leave for other services, or even if this will make Instagram (Facebook?) re-think their Terms of Service, thanks to user backlash.
The Verge has clarified that no, Instagram can’t sell your photos – but they can sell advertising against those photos on their site. Nothing new there, really. But it comes down to a lack of trust, according to them.
To their credit, Instagram has been listening. Here are some excerpts from their post by CEO Kevin Systrom:
“it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.“To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.”
Systrom has made it clear that users still own their photos (as we noted above), and in that respect, nothing has changed. Of course, you still allow Instagram to use them any time, anywhere and to use them in advertising.
So it would seem that Instagram’s blog post did more to muddle than clarify things. Kevin Systrom has now made a second update on the Instagram blog. As a result, Instagram has reverted to its original advertising terms and has stated very clearly:
“Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”
That should satisfy anyone who was in an uproar about things. For now.
What strikes me as a lost opportunity is this: why hasn’t Instagram – which admittedly states that they’re in business to make money – offered users the opportunity to become affiliates? That is, if Instagram sells an ad with a user’s image in it, why shouldn’t the user get a percentage of the advertising that he or she helped to sell? Amazon is the best example of this. Think of the loyalty and following Instagram would have if they tried that.
Image credit: Wiertz Sébastien (Flickr)
There’s a lot of talk about promoting your stuff in social networks.
Then there’s the talk about the successful promotion of the stuff other people make.
There isn’t nearly as much conversation about making something worth promoting. (promotion of the writing you do about selling the stuff you have doesn’t count).
Then consider: where are your expectations? What does making it big mean to you?
Put specific edges on them, so you can work it.
Talking about promotion is much more exciting than working on your product.
The experience happens close to the product. That’s where differentiation meets value proposition — people come to you because you are the only one who meets certain criteria. They may even talk about their experience to everyone they know if you give them the opportunity to fill in their details and complete the story.
Does this story lead somewhere worth my time?
That’s where business increases its relevance. It’s where your relevance is higher, too.
[image courtesy of Seth Godin]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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I had an interesting comment from someone at an event recently. We were picking apart my Twitter stream and I was explaining my philosophy around it. He raised his hand and said, “Well, to be really honest, I wouldn’t be all that interested in seeing your pictures of bacon.” In this case, he meant quite literally the picture above, but in the larger sense, he was saying, “I want a business-focused person to follow.”
My response was that it was perfectly fair to feel that way, but that it also meant that he wasn’t likely my buyer. In my very specific case, I tend to work with companies that value personality as well as professional ability. It’s every bit as important to me that my kind of customer have an interesting personality, a quirkiness, and a tolerance for the atypical. That’s a choice, though, and it’s something I encourage you to consider.
We Choose Our Customers
Look, when we’re hungry for business, we just want to see the cash register ring. I’ve been there, and I’ll be there again. But when we do have the opportunity to consider our ideal client, it’s important to take a moment and work through that, to really determine what it is that will help you qualify who works with you or not.
In the case of media making and your online presence, what you put out there for the world to see on your social channels and your blog is what people are going to weigh into other equations when determining whether to buy from you. At the moment I’m writing this blog post, my last 20 tweets say nothing about what kind of business I’m in. My Facebook account is completely personal and not for business. My last few posts on Google+ are actually more business-focused, but that’s just happenstance. Why? Because I use social networks as a kind of liner notes for the personality behind the business.
Why Choose Your Customers?
Hold on there, Brogan. It’s a barely recovering economy and my kids have to eat. Why should I choose who my customers are? Why should I go out of my way to disqualify potential buyers?
Because customers that aren’t a fit create friction.
Simple. The deal you make when you take on a customer that doesn’t fit your personality or work style is that you’re asking for their money and signing up for however you will clash with them. This, in turn, may (will!) cause procrastination, may (will!) cause a less-than-stellar effort on your part, and will detract from the kinds of customers and clients you have more in common with. Those, by the way, are the people who will spend more with you over the long term, and who will form the core of your business relationships, not these folks you accept because you “need the money.”
Is This Crazy Talk?
I’ll let you tell me. Jump into the comments. Tell me about the times you’ve taken that customer who wasn’t really down with your particular kind of crazy. Hey, if you’ve had the opposite experience, that’s cool, too. I know someone out there wants to share some Kumbaya story about how working through one’s differences is a rewarding experience. My take? Life’s too short.
Plum District, the mom-focused deals site backed by $30 million in funding from General Catalyst, KPCB and Comcast Ventures, is now available as a mobile app. The company is today launching its iPhone application which will allow users to browse offers on their phone, purchase them with one click and the redeem them at local and online stores. An Android version will soon follow.
The app’s debut follows Plum District’s acquisition of a mobile loyalty platform called Chatterfly back in December, which the company said at the time would soon be used to expand the relationship between moms and local merchants.
Chatterfly had previously offered a digital loyalty program, which rewarded users for making purchases in stores, but also for sharing their experiences on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google+. However, the Plum District iPhone currently forgoes the loyalty angle for a more traditional “deals and offers” type of interface. But the loyalty program is now in development, as is a forthcoming “flash sales” feature. There will also be a philanthropic component in later versions, which will encourage moms to donate to local charities.
In the app that’s available today, there’s a list of the available deals and a “purse” where you can track unused, redeemed or “all” deals. The deals can also be shared via email or Facebook. To promote the app’s launch, users are being given 20% off their first purchase (August 13-15 only).
Before creating the app, the company surveyed 1 million of its members to find out what they were interested in. Over 70% told the company they wanted to shop on the phone and wanted an easier way to find local businesses. 46% used shopping apps and 28% used apps to find nearby stores. Charles Yim, Plum District’s Head of Mobile (and former CEO of Chatterfly) said that the Plum District website, prior to today’s app launch, was already seeing around 25% of its traffic from mobile devices.
Yim also tells me that Plum District now has 1.3 million members, which is up from the 1 million it had in December, and it’s now on track to reach 2 million members by year-end.
You can download the new app here in iTunes.
As you surely know by now, a gunman entered a Sikh temple Sunday morning in Wisconsin and opened fire, killing six people and wounding three others, including a police officer.
The response has been overwhelming.
The campaign, which cracked six figures in its first 48 hours, now has $112,466 from 1,218 donors (at the time of publication). Pujji says donors have given as little as $5 and as much as $5,000. The campaign has reached the top of indiegogo’s Community page.
“The whole thing is a tribute to good people and social networks,” Pujji says, downplaying Singh and his role in the campaign.
Pujji says they will evenly divide the funds between the victims and send checks to their families once the campaign ends at the end of August.
“We anticipate that the Milwaukee Sikh community will require substantial financial support as they heal from this senseless tragedy, and therefore graciously seek donations to offer support to the victims of the shooting, the injured police officer, and their families,” the campaign page reads.
If there was any doubt that social media had room to thrive outside of Facebook’s wall garden, it must be gone by now. With the success of Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites, it’s more important now than ever for businesses to understand the various social networks and what audience they cater to. A new infographic from the fine folks at sdlsm2 takes a nice look at the various networks – it’s a good one to print and put up on the wall.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
After the team at social travel startup Tripl had a change of heart last month, they eventually came to a weighty conclusion — now that their focus had shifted away from connecting travelers with friends that happened to be nearby, they had to redo the iOS app they had been working on for months. Now, just a few weeks later, Tripl has pushed that new (and free) iOS app out into the wild for users to muck around with.
In case you aren’t yet familiar with the new Tripl, the service is all about giving users a glimpse into where their friends are at any given moment by pulling in photos and check-ins from Facebook and other social networks — quite a treat when you’re usually cooped up indoors for most of the day like me.
The onboarding process does require a bit of patience — users are asked to log in with Facebook credentials, and the app starts scouring social connections to pull in information about friends’ travel plans. Add to that the ability to connect Tripl with Foursquare, Instagram and Tripit, and you’ve got a decent wait (mine was about 15 minutes) on your hands. Thankfully, the app prompts you to enable push notifications from so it can holler when the process has finally been completed.
Once all that initial housekeeping is done though, Tripl becomes a real treat to play with. Users are greeted with a streamlined view of their friends’ locations, and popping into individual entries (Tripl calls them “stories”) allows users to see a stream of photos taken from a particular location. From there, the truly interested can also “love” the story, leave jealous comments, and bookmark locations that seem worth checking out down the line.
In the event that someone just checks in to a location without a photo to accompany it, the app defaults to plotting the place on a map to provide a bit of geographical context. It’s rather handsome to boot, which isn’t much of a shock considering the whimsical aesthetic that permeates the service’s web app, and thoughtful little touches like a distance indicator to show you how far friends are from home round out the package. If anything, the image-heavy app looks even better on an iPad (see above) thanks to all that additional screen real estate.
The app has its flaws for sure — there’s no way to view all of a friend’s travel stories in a list, nor can users look a list of potential vacation spots they’ve bookmarked. That said, those missteps seem like the sort of things that are easily remedied by an future update, and they don’t detract from the fact that this is an impressive first release considering Tripl’s recent pivot.