Thursday Buzz: Visual Cues for Nondesigners

A few useful apps that could help you create visual content quickly without the design know-how. Also: Has Twitter jumped the Failwhale? The Atlantic raises a big question.

You need something designed quickly, but you don’t have the skills (or luxury of time) of a full-time graphic designer. What do you do?

SocialFish‘s Maddie Grant has a few good tools to help you out, including PicPlayPost, Flipagram, and PicMonkey. All rely on different paths to get there (and vary as far as device availability), but ultimately, they have a unified goal: to ensure that you’re able to create smart visual content quickly and easily—which is good because that matters more than ever these days.

“You can no longer get away with simple text and links to blog posts and call it content,” she writes. “Photos, graphics, and other visual content are ruling nearly every popular social media platform.”

(Another one we’d like to suggest is Canva, a dead-simple design tool that has a few things in common with the InDesigns of the world.)

Grant, by the way, will be leading a Twitter chat on this topic on May 7. Get the details here.

Twitter’s Lament

Does social media have room to grow or is it already dead? There are plenty of folks who argue the latter, and Twitter is by no means immune to these claims. Check out this piece in The Atlantic, which suggests the platform is past its prime or even in full decline.

“[A]t some point Twitter narratives started to look the same,” authors Adrienne LaFrance (4,427 followers) and Robinson Meyer (5,387 followers) write. “The crowd became predictable, and not in a good way. Too much of Twitter was cruel and petty and fake. Everything we know from experience about social publishing platforms—about any publishing platforms—is that they change. And it can be hard to track the interplay between design changes and behavioral ones. In other words, did Twitter change Twitter, or did we?”

It is probably premature to declare that a popular platform like Twitter is in decline, but the piece does raise some interesting questions about change in online communities. A few bad apples join, or the  tone of the conversation changes, and all of the sudden the brilliant people you want in your community are jumping ship—or at least taking a breather from the high seas.

How can you keep the quality up?

Other good reads

Working on your resume? Follow these tips from U.S. News and World Report to make those empty buzzwords a little less empty.

Millennials expect different things from your technology than your older employees do. Effective Database Management’s Wes Trochlil offers thoughts on how to adapt.

The American Psychological Association’s Stefanie Reeves reflects on the people who have always been there—her association’s interns.

Could you learn anything from the rise of the “coding school”? Fast Company notes that the unaccredited programming schools are growing—fast.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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