As the year draws closer to an end, it's always important to look back and reflect on the things that have passed us by. The most important news, the latest celebrity gossip, the rise and demise of businesses nationally and internationally, but most importantly the apps that I haven't stopped using over the past 12 months. I can whole heartedly admit that I have an incredible obsession for using my phone and the apps contained in it, what person from Gen - Y doesn't! You name it, I've probably used it, deleted it, re-installed it, used it and deleted it again! Let's just say that it's a cycle that I'm not all too proud of. As my fingers do the walking (I knew something from the 90s would stick with me), scroll with me as we dive into the list!
Let's be honest, this was always going to be the first app I had on the list. 300 MILLION people across the world can't be wrong by using the social network. After being picked like a potato from the dirt of growing social mobile platforms by the King of the internet, Marky-Mark Zuck - Instagram has finally found it's place among the 'attention economy'. Let's not beat around the bush - we think our lives are interesting enough to share out for the world to see, we plaster them with #hashtag #upon #hashtag just so we can get a few #likes and claim that we've reached #InternetCewebrityStatus. All jokes aside, the app has paved the way for the worlds most followed food, beauty/fashion, vloggers and fitness gurus than any other platform. It's that easy to use, a puppy could post on it (yes, Boo the dog has an instagram account). It's full potential has finally reached by brands looking to market themselves to the wider world, without having to pay for advertising space, but let's not forget the fact that there are those smart little cookies that have worked out how to make a quick dollar from your pretty little pictures, shout out accounts have appeared all over the app, taking extra care to lure willing participants like Shredz (sports nutrition company), Muscle Pharm (ANOTHER sports nutrition company) and EHPlabs (ANOTHER sports nutrition company); These companies would be nowhere without their pretty little pictures and shout out companies to gain their followers, which in their own right are amounting hundres of thousands of dollars monthly in giving brands like Shredz, Muscle Pharm and EHPlabs shout outs to help them gain traction on the network.
From someone who uses the platform for fun, not looking to gain 1 million plus followers (although let's be honest - with a following like that, you're getting showered with gifts and invites to some of the most lavish social events, look at Sydney Fashion Blogger) it's all in great fun. It's a great way to share out what I'm doing, where I am, what I'm eating, wearing, thinking...the list goes on. It comes in as my number one for no other reason than I spend way too much time on it. You can follow me @chris_khouryy
BIG Review TV
If you haven't already heard me talk about this app on my Facebook page, Instagram or my Twitter...well then you clearly don't follow me (and you're probably making a mistake, but I'll let you be the judge of that). The app has gained a fair amount of traction in the past 3 years, but more so in the past 12 months. With their BIG Party, happening only a few weeks ago, and their impending launch on the ASX on the 31st of December 2014, the app gives users the chance to be the review (but more on that in a minute). If you've never heard of the app, then the best way for me to describe it to you would be if Trip Advisor, YouTube and Instagram had a love child, this would be the product of their coming together. From the creative genius Brandon Evertz, who conceived the idea at the ripe age of 18 after being annoyed by the fact that sites like Trip Advisor couldn't assist his decision making when going out with friends, Brandon decided that the only way Gen-Y as a whole would be mildly interested in going anywhere would be to watch and listen to what was on offer before they reached the destination (and in all honesty, if there was a video for anywhere I wanted to go, I would be watching it). The workings behind the app (for all of you who don't speak geek) are pretty simple and can be summed up in 5 words/phrases: Search, Touch, Flip, Film 20 seconds, Share. What could be more simple than that!
Being only a young app, there is potential for it to grow and add functionality to it, but in saying that the BIG Team (from the little birdies that I've spoken to) are always cooking up new things to introduce to the application. It's available now on both Android devices
for you to start making your own videos and showing the world what you're all about. Look out for some videos made in app by someone BIG (*cough* ME *cough*) and start living in the moment! Video apps, like Big Review TV will become your best friend in 2015 and a marketing teams dream - jump in, on what I'm (and every other person with an opinion on social media is) tipping to be one of the biggest changes in the social media landscape - Big Review will be going BIG places!
The best way for me to describe this app is Twitter but anonymous and probably a little more fun. I found the app whilst trudging through the swamp land of random Buzzfeed articles and figured it sounded pointless enough to download (little did I know, I would later become absolutely obsessed with it). The fun part of the app is the control on privacy - you can actually choose to have people know who you are when you post something on the app, or you can choose to remain under that cloak of invisibility. As you post you gain, what are known as Yakarama Points (which in all honesty, do zero for you other than inflate your ego).
The fun thing about the app is that not everything you post is visible to everyone like most other social networks. New Yaks (posts) will appear when you are in closer range to people who use the app and just for fun, you can like, dislike (take that facebook) and comment back on what people have said. The function of the app? Who knows! However, it does help you waste a few minutes (or 30) taking a train or bus ride, while you're sitting down eating lunch or laying in bed trying to fall asleep. For your inner procrastinator, this is a GREAT one and trust me when I tell you, there are some hilarious people waiting for you in your area, but they'll never tell you that they're that funny in real life.
You can download the app on iPhone
and Android devices
and start Yakking!
I can keep this one short and sweet. It's like music to your ears. Pandora is a music streaming service and for those of you that like to use your data on things other than your auto playing facebook videos, endless Vine stream (that are horrible) or YouTube videos, this is a good step up. If you're looking to create playlists, that aren't owned by a radio station getting you to give them the thumbs up or down so they can play the same songs 10,000 times a day, then Pandora is the way to go. It comes preloaded with a few stations for you to chose from or you can make your own. Just don't expect to not have ads in the free version (would you look at that, it's like a real radio station) except for the fact that you can actually skip a song you don't like (you've got something between 5-10 in your free trial). Speaking of free trials, the beauty of the free version of the app on both iPhone/iPad
is that it doesn't expire, the free version is always there for you to enjoy with the occasional Coles, Ford, UWS ad coming on. There is a paid version which will set you back $7 a month, but if you've managed to find use for the free version, then it's a cheap and pretty good investment to make (for your ears of course).
My Fitness Pal
The app itself won't help you get that "New Me, New Body" feeling in 2015, but it will help you out in making the right choices in the New Year and give you that little nudge to start losing those Christmas Kilos. Forget turning to meal companies to make your food for you or specialised diet plans that you have to pay for (if, like everyone else you've spent all of your money on presents) MFP give you a helping hand in making you look at your food in a whole new light. As you go through your day, you add your food to each meal time. Adding your food consists of either searching through an already extensive database or using your phones camera to scan the barcode of the food you've purchased (and that small pack of lollies you've never heard of, that you picked up from the corner store because you wanted to have yourself a cheat day - they'll be in there, because chances are, someone from somewhere around the world has already added them to the database). The app can track your weight and you can sync it with your fitness tracking app and the hardware to go with it. I use it religiously, it keeps me on track (even though, there are days where I could not be bothered in the slightest to add in what I've been eating for fear that my macro count is going to go way over the top). For all the fitness fanatics or anyone looking to start 2015 off a little more healthy, MFP is available for your iPhone/iPad
and Android Device.
The only app I can say that isn't free on my phone is Afterlight. Probably best dollar i've spent in the App Store
(same price on Google Play
). After realising a while back there was a world of filtering/frame apps outside of the Instagram famous XX Pro and Valencia, I don't think I've ever looked back. The app won't stitch two photos together side by side, but it will let you create overlapping images if that's what you're into. The filters in the app make everything look that much nicer and not like you've been sitting through the worlds worst Photoshop tutorial. If you don't like having your perfect landscape image slaughtered by the incomprehensible square zoom of instagram, then Afterlight will give you those white borders that you've been after. If you'd prefer your image to be inside of the letter A or a cloud, the app has that covered for you as well (but I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever bothered using those). It may be a paid add but it beats sitting through 100 other photo apps to make your image look #amazing and like it's a #nofilter image.
That's about it for my 2014 App round up; there's probably 101 other apps that I've gone through the install, use, delete, re-install cycle, but these are the ones that have stuck around on my phone no matter hoe many upgrades I go through (aside from my twitter, facebook and YouTube app which are always a must have). Have a safe and happy new year and I'll see you all in 2015!