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This Slack bot helps make social media marketing a breeze

(MARKETING NEWS) She’s your hip millennial intern who knows about social media and Slack, without the learning curve.

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slack bot

Yala’s got your back

Remember that article you just read about the best times to post to various social media accounts? Forget it. Yala is a new Slackbot here to take control of your social media. You tell her what to say and, based on a series of algorithms, she posts it when your audience is most engaged. The best part is, it’s free.

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Always a full house

Brought to you by the minds who established Mad Mimi a simple, easy e-mail marketing web app, Yala is a brilliant solution for the small business (and big business too!) that wants easy social media analytics paired with results-driven action without a lot of effort.

Once Yala is installed in your Slack channel you can call her up at any time, upload an image or compose a post, and she’ll do the rest. She analyzes when your audience is online, “So,” as they tout on their info page “you’re always performing in front of a full house.”

Boost your engagement

Right now Yala works with Twitter and Facebook, and will publish asynchronously based on which users are engaged on which platform. You never have to schedule posts on multiple sites and you don’t have to open a third party app to use Yala.

She’s right there in Slack like the rest of your team members, and you know she’s not slacking off (heh heh).

For those with businesses that don’t use Slack, Yala will be coming to Facebook messenger soon and will be accessible to everyone in the same way – summon her via direct message, upload text and photos, watch her post and engagement skyrocket.

Yala saw a 10% boost in engagement during testing, and because she’s a learning bot, those numbers could easily increase.

Get it while it’s hot

Yala could make a lot of jobs easier for a lot of people, and did I mention it’s free? For folks with an addiction to likes and LOLs, this bot could be a boon to social media engagement on all levels.

Pretty soon it will cost businesses (and influencers) not to use Yala. She’s your hip millennial intern who knows about social media, without all the whining and coffee spilling, and a heck of a lot smarter.

#Yala

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Real Estate Technology

VR can calm cows to produce better milk. What can VR do for us?

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) If VR can help reduce anxiety in cows and help them produce better milk, what could it do for humans with its wide variety of uses?

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VR productivity

From virtual reality (VR) roller coasters to immersive theatre with VR headsets, we sure have gotten creative with the use of this relatively new technology. But why should humans have all the fun? Recently, a Russian farm has started to put customized VR headsets on its cows.

Yes, you heard us right: these cows are being immersed in the virtual realm of a beautiful summer field.

According to Moscow’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, there’s actually research that shows cows yield better milk production when they’re in a calm environment. Not only can they produce more milk, but sometimes it’s even higher quality milk!

The virtual reality experiment tested if a simulation of a calmer environment could produce similar yields, and initial results say yes! In fact, the entire herd’s mood improved after the short term study. The study will continue long term and if good results continue, it will likely expand.

If VR can be beneficial for cows, what could it do for humans?

One study explored its potential as a pain reliever. Burn patients were tested on pain levels while being treated (an extremely painful procedure) and reported feeling significantly less pain while playing VR! It’s likely because immersing someone forces the brain to focus on the virtual world, rather than the pain. Virtual reality has also been used for rehabilitation, like helping individuals with Parkinson’s disease improve their muscle control.

Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab is also studying various capabilities of virtual reality. Many experiments center around whether or not immersion can change attitudes and behaviors in the real world. They’ve created simulations to try to increase anything from empathy for the homeless, an understanding of racism, to kind acts in the real world. Although these are all initial studies, the results have been promising!

And yes, just like with cows, studies are finding that virtual reality could help reduce anxiety in humans.

Of course, as far as technology goes, virtual reality is still in its infancy. From reducing pain in humans to increasing milk yield in cows, we’ve really only scratched the surface of virtual reality’s potential applications.

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Real Estate Technology

Emoji ladened tweets are not accessible to the blind; let’s fix this.

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Emoji have created a funny inventive way to communicate in modern times, but they may be unintentionally excluding blind people.

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If you can't read this you are now in the same situation as the blind trying to read an emoji tweet

Blind blogger Holly Scott-Gardner went viral in mid November when she tweeted out a video of her screen reader struggling to make sense of an emoji-laden meme tweet. The meme form features an all-caps message in the center of a sea of emoji hands. The hands encompass the full spectrum of skin tones and surround the message on all sides, as though a crowd of people are all gesturing towards it for emphasis.

It takes Scott-Gardner’s screen reader a full two minutes to read the tweet, which consists solely of the words “STOP CENSORING SEX-POSITIVE CONTENT.” The majority of the video consists of her screen reader rattling off emoji, row by row from left to right, at blazing speed. Not only is the description of the tweet useless, it’s also a little terrifying to imagine how long it would take the reader to describe the tweet in a normal speaking speed.

Scott-Gardner gamely fielded questions from people, including “how is there not some kind of alt-text option for tweets?” Her answer is that there is one. (You can turn it on here and start writing alt-text for your own tweets.) However, it only works for images, not for memes made out of emoji.

Of course, she can turn off the emoji, but as linguists Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch point out, emoji are gestural, not symbolic. They hold a key part in modern written language. Since it’s impossible to read body language and facial expressions across the digital divide, emoji have come to take their place. They’re crucial to understanding context and tone.

Scott-Gardner followed up with a second video showing what ASCII art sounds like on a screen reader, and it was similarly incomprehensible. (She did her audience the favor of slowing the screen reader down a bit for the follow-up.)

It goes without saying that Internet access is a necessity to meaningfully participate in modern society, and questions of accessibility are more important than ever if the Internet truly is going to be the democratizing force it was heralded as when it first came along.

Domino’s Pizza recently made headlines when they argued in court that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t apply to digital spaces. Guillermo Robles, a blind California resident, sued the company for violating the ADA when neither their app nor their website were accessible to his screen reader.

Rather than spend the $38,000 they estimated were necessary to make the changes, they decided to appeal the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. (The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, letting Domino’s loss in a lower court stand.

You may know that website accessibility principles like alt text help your SEO. You hopefully know that having an accessible online presence is important from a “basic human decency” perspective. But in addition to those things, it’s also a huge liability issue that companies would do well to make sure they’re addressing. If you need a place to start, the UK Government has a handy primer on the basics of accessible web design.

And if you’re interested in hearing more from Holly Scott-Gardner, she keeps her writings and her Working Blind podcast at her website.

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Real Estate Technology

T-mobile releases “5G for all” plan – don’t fall for the 5G trap

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) T-Mobile hopes to unveil its “5G for all” network soon, but there could be some issues, and barriers to entry that consumers should be aware of

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T-Mobile has launched its new “5G for All” network ahead of schedule, but let’s hold the applause for now. The 5G network will cover more than one million square miles and over 200 million people. This is great news for customers in more rural areas who have not yet benefited from the introduction of 5G networks. But, as exciting as the idea of a nation-wide 5G network is, there are still some wrinkles to iron out.

The 5G is less powerful than other networks.

A major limitation of the T-Mobile network is that it is “low-band” with only 600MHz 5G. In comparison, AT&T and Verizon can offer customers much faster 5G coverage, but the trade-off is these are only available in certain pockets, mainly in metro areas. Depending on what kind of service you’re currently working with, the “low-band” 5G could either be a nice change or a total waste of money. Even though T-Mobile says their 5G plans will cost the same as standard LTE plans, there is a financial barrier to entry, but more on that later.

T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint is still not official.

T-Mobile is currently in negotiations to merge with Sprint which will enable them to add Sprint’s 5G spectrum (2.5 GHz) to their network. This would add tremendous value to their customers in terms of speed and service range. With both networks combined T-Mobile will be much closer to fulfilling their dream of creating a 5G network for all.

You need a 5G compatible phone to access the network.

Even if the merger does close and T-Mobile does succeed in launching a powerful 5G network across the nation, you wouldn’t notice unless you had the right tech. In order to reap the benefits of the 5G network, customers will need a shiny, new 5G-enabled phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10+5G.

The theory of a nation-wide 5G service is appealing, but we’re still a way off from seeing this dream to fruition. Until T-Mobile can figure out these issues, customers should exercise patience and hold onto their current phones.

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