I know I promised these reviews of the 3 applications I demo’d in the Smack!Down at TechEd. So thanks for your patience. Things are a little on the whirlwind side, as anyone following me on Twitter or Facebook can attest. I managed to shift 3 kidney stones in 4 weeks, and on Tuesday my better half, Lucy, went into hospital as well. It turns out that being a single father of 4 (well, 2 at home) is a rather intense gig.
Anyway, onto Shozu.
This has to be one of my all time favourite mobile applications. For good reason. Y’see, as I mentioned in the Smack!Down, I love social media. Both personally and professionally, I enjoy connecting with people. As Iggy Pintado mentioned in his Small Business September talk this morning:
Every connection provides a Business or Social Opportunity
The difficulty comes in management. How do you manage all of the Social Media sites?
Many people choose to put all their eggs in one basket, e.g. Facebook. So all of their personal and professional comments, statuses, articles, videos, pictures etc all find their way onto a Facebook Profile page. (Substitute Facebook for your Social Networking Site of choice here) Personally I don’t like this, for a couple of reasons:
- Not all sites are created equal. Flickr is better for photos than Facebook, I prefer Viddler, Vimeo, or even YouTube to Facebook for video etc.
- Service popularity changes, and some sites predate the flavour of the month. E.g. I’ve been a member on LinkedIn for about 5 years, whereas only 2 on Twitter.
- Again as Iggy mentions, it’s best to “Go where people gather.”
All this means that the (my) best approach is to choose the best site for the actual medium, and if you want reach, you really want to get your content to as many sites as possible.
Another issue, apart from management, is latency. When I’m at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on New Years Eve, I want to be able to get my photos/videos of the event online as close to the big bang as possible. The same goes for Red Skies, or conference interviews. With the advent of great mobile photo/video technology, embedded in Smartphones with Internet Access, this is becoming very accessible.
What you don’t want to do, however, is have to upload your photo to every site on the web individually from your phone!!
Shozu is great example of Software + Services. Software which sits on your phone, and a web service that connects you to your social media sites.
The way it works is you head over to www.shozu.com, create an account, and set up connections with all of the popular social media sites where you already have an account. You will need to save your various sets of credentials on Shozu. I found that there were a couple of social media sites where I didn’t have an account, and just clicked through to set these up. Also, there were a bunch where I’d had accounts in years past (e.g. Kodakgallery.com and .co.uk) which I’d let lapse.
Once you’ve done this, you can set a default for photos and videos (e.g. all photos go to Flickr and videos to YouTube) and a backup (e.g. email). Even without the application on your mobile phone, you can start posting, as you’ll have a Shozu upload email address.
But the application really shines when you have it installed on the phone.
Note there are clients for Windows Mobile (which I demonstrated), iPhone, Blackberry, and many Nokia’s. I didn’t see one for Android yet, but I suspect it’s just around the corner.
With the iPhone, I find it best to take the photo/video with my camera app of choice and save it to the Camera Roll, then open Shozu and select the photo I want to upload. This is because of the iPhone’s single task architecture. It’s also a bit slow. On the plus side, geotagging is really quick, and the interface is great.
On Windows Mobile, however, as soon as you take a photo, Shozu pops up and prompts you with your default site. A single click and your photo is uploaded. You can set as many backup sites as you like, so a single click may well see your content on all the sites you desire. The other choice is to enter details – Title, Caption, Tags etc. You can fire up Shozu and select photos after the fact on WinMo too, and this will give you more choice as to sites you want to send to, but the auto prompting behaviour is great.
I Love Shozu and use it almost every day. My only slight criticism is that Viddler is still not supported, which is a shame, because I found it to be the quickest site to encode and publish mobile video, and best site for personalising a video player for my blog.
If you are out and about a lot, and want to get photos and videos to family, friends, contacts, you have to check out Shozu.