June 14, 2012

PlayTell: Video chat and storytelling that connects loved ones

Target audience: Educators, entrepreneurs, app developers, family members, iPad owners.

JD LasicaAt the first Launch Education and Kids held this week at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley outpost in Mountain View, VC/entrepreneur Jason Calacanis launched a new conference series that showcased 30 inventive startups — some of which will likely change the face of education or learning games for kids. Or both.

The most interesting person I met was Semira Rahemtulla, CEO and co-founder of a cool new tablet app called PlayTell. The San Francisco-based startup on Tuesday launched the private beta of its new app, currently available for the iPad, which lets loved ones share a reading experience over the Internet. Grandmas and grandkids, aunts and nephews, soldiers and young children, you now have a way to experience reading a book together online, even if you’re thousands of miles apart.

PlayTell (tagline: “Play together, even when you’re apart”) lets you read a book with your loved ones while you’re in a video chat. While we grown-ups use GoToWebinar or WebEx for collaborating online over business, until now there wasn’t a way for families to share reading materials at the same time, and then to capture their shared experience through photos or video (a feature coming in a few weeks). The reading catalog is understandably small at this early date, but it will grow over time as libraries and book publishers come on board.

Check out my 5-minute interview with Semira (conducted, by the way, in a very noisy hallway without a tripod). She had some wonderful insights about how children as young as 2 interact with the iPad and how children as young as 3 and 4 come to expect to reach out to their parents or loved ones at any time through our always-on connections.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

Congratulations to Jason and his team for another successful Launch conference — it’s become perhaps the best venue to see top-flight emerging startups that have the potential to be game-changers.

June 29, 2009

Introducing Socialbrite: Why we’re here

Socialbrite team

JD LasicaSocialbrite.org fills a glaring gap in the social media world. While young people and early adopters increasingly turn to the social Web not only to socialize but to communicate, explore new ideas and share new experiences, nonprofits and social change organizations are still generally stuck in the top-down, one-way world of Web 1.0.

The young and the wired are moving at an accelerating pace away from old-school destination Web sites and toward the social media ecosystem embodied in the real-time Web. In this new world of Twitter and Facebook, of citizen journalism and astonishing grassroots campaigns like Twestival, it’s easy to feel befuddled by the dizzying pace of change.

socialbrite rings 143x143iThat’s why eight leading nonprofit technologists and social marketing experts have come together to create this learning and sharing hub. Socialbrite is here to offer articles, videos, resources and tutorials on how to take command of all this Web 2.0 jazz and put it to work for your organization or cause. (We created a cheat sheet for you to help tweet our launch.)

And please note: We’re here not only to show how social tools can be used to advance the social good – but to learn from you as well. We’ll be republishing some of these articles on learning wikis, and everything here is released under a Creative Commons license, so we hope you’ll take part in this ecosystem of sharing.

A sharing and learning hub

We invite you to cruise around the site — and we hope you’ll help us spread the word. You’ll notice that we’re not starting from scratch. You’ll find:

• A directory of Web 2.0 Productivity Tools in dozens of categories that can help organizations get a handle on the social Web.

• A Social Media Glossary that offers a deep, friendly introduction to dozens of social media terms in plain English.

• A first-of-its-kind Twitter widget that tracks tweets about nonprofits or social causes in real time.

• A Free Photos Directory, Free Video Directory and Free Music Directory that offers nonprofits, cause organizations and Web publishers a guide to hundreds of online resources for adding legal, high-quality content to their own websites, blogs, newsletters, printed materials or online presentations.

• A Causes widget that points to charitable actions and donations on other sites such as Global Giving and Facebook Causes.

• Scores of additional articles, guides and tutorials to help newcomers and veterans alike get better acquainted with this fast-moving space.

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