Power of social media

September 30, 2013

For the last few months I find myself increasingly fascinated by Flipboard and can easily spend up to a couple of hours creating my ‘personalised’ magazines, then enjoying reading them whenever I have time to spare.

While the world's first social magazine app has been turning heads for a few years now, what is new is that this popular e-zine reader for iPad is now available on the iPhone as well. The same great look and feel of Flipboard isn't sacrificed at all on the smaller screen.

With the mission statement clearly defining what they are about, ‘Our mission is to let people discover and share content in beautiful, simple, and meaningful ways.”

Headed by Mike McCue, former CEO of Tellme, and Evan Doll, former senior iPhone engineer at Apple, they have succeeded in providing hours of interactive and most importantly, ‘free’ reading pleasure for millions worldwide.

Flipboard is truly on a quest to transform how people discover, view and share content by combining the beauty and ease of print with the power of social media. It was on Flipboard that I recently discovered that Steven Meisel did not shoot Vogue’s latest fashion spread. There were no backlights, no beauty dish.

Instead, the austere fashion publication took to Instagram for a special Fashion Week photo shoot. With that Vogue has created a very interesting and fun act for all others to follow and if they try hard enough, better them in the act.

“I thought this time around during Fashion Week in New York we could try doing a shoot that shows clothes you can buy in stores right now,” explained Sally Singer, creative digital director at Vogue. Vogue then posted the shoot, calling it 'VogueInstaFashion' on its website.

The spread features top model Hillary Rhoda in scenes all over New York City - Times Square, Central Park - all shot with just an iPhone by photographer Michael O'Neal.

According to Singer, Andrew Gold from Vogue’s photography department had been following O’Neal’s work on Instagram and thought he would be great for this project.

As far as I'm concerned, it is clear, more than ever before, the power of social media is growing every hour of every day and since I’m a strong believer in Instagram, this just proved it how influential really Instagram is.

On another note, I wanted to briefly mention the wonders of playing bridge. Playing bridge has many health benefits for people of all age groups. While I don’t have the worldwide statistics of bridge players, I did access them for the US.

Today, bridge has a following of more than 25mn people in the US according to the American Contract Bridge League and is played in homes, bridge clubs and country clubs across the country. Even more, approximately 50mn, are at least familiar with the game or have played before. Facebook fan clubs promoting the game of bridge are filled with younger players and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have invested US$1mn in rejuvenating the game through a programme in public schools.

A 2006 study performed by Dr Christopher Shaw, a researcher from Carlinville, Illinois, found that children who play bridge perform significantly better on standardised tests than their non-bridge playing counterparts.

The game has benefits for older adults as well. Over the years, several research studies released by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University found that “Playing chess, bridge or a musical instrument significantly lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.”

In Muscat, there is an active group of ladies playing bridge and they would be delighted to have others join in. Meeting every Monday from 8.45am till about 12 noon at Browniz in Al Shatti, this group welcomes players of all ages and all levels and provides a great morning out as well!.

If you are interested please contact Rita Agarwal at 91289606.

With that, here’s wishing all of you a great fortnight and looking forward to the Eid holidays, coming up slowly, but surely .