Sunday, August 14, 2016

How to Create, Build and Grow Communities that are Interest and Location Specific

Plum's latest features allow any user to create Plum Groups which are interest and location specific.
  • Want to create a local group to talk about Pokemon Go in your area?  
  • Want to find people in your metro area that share your concern about Diabetes?  
  • Want to build a community to talk about your local select baseball team?

All it takes is 3 steps.
  1. Create your Plum Group and setup Auto Recruiting filters.
  2. Build your community by sharing your group link with others you know will be interested.  Sometimes you need to kickstart a group with people you know.
  3. Grow your community with Plum's help as each user that shares your groups interests and location will get invited to join your group.  
Watch the video below to see how easy it is to create a new location/interest based community:

Plum is making it easy for people to find the communities that interest them.  Whether it's about the passions or concerns you share, your current location, or the websites you visit; Plum enables you to connect with new people and in new ways that no other community platform provides.  

It takes time to build a community like Plum to the point it can thrive and we need your help.  Join Plum, create and participate in groups and of course invite your friends to go to to join the fun.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Social Media and Censorship

I want to talk about two trends that I have found very disturbing over the last few months.

With the presidential campaigns in full swing, every person in the United States is getting inundated with a multitude of views and opinions.   Many of these views are in conflict with our own strongly held beliefs and some of them may even be considered offensive to us.

Social Media is now the primary venue where opposing views are shared, discussed, argued and of course where flame wars start.  When I see these flame wars, I'm often compelled to read the back and forth.  I soon realize that neither side will relent so I move on but I never think these clash of ideas are a waste of time.  It is important that everyone has a voice and that every idea no matter how offensive to me has its chance to be weighed.

The first disturbing trend has been the call by everyday citizens for the suppression of others right to free speech.  I have read on many recent occasions where people were calling for the legal punishment of people who disagreed with them or in some cases they even advocated violence to the dissenters.   I'm not talking about speech such as yelling fire, posting bomb threats or actively threatening the lives of a person or people.  No these were people from all sides calling for legal action or advocating violence against those with which they simply disagreed.  The results are giving us the the most violent political atmosphere since the 1960s.  

Remember the biggest threat to our rights is not our government but each other.  In Farenheit 451, they burned the books, not because of government censorship but because the people did not want to be offend.

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -Noam Chomsky

The second trend that I find just as disturbing are the major social media platforms censorship of their customers.  It is understandable that these platforms must kowtow to the governments of countries in which they compete.  Thus the government sponsored censorship you see on social media platforms in Germany, Turkey, Thailand and China is to be expected.  It seems though that those that run these platforms are now taking the tools they have put in place to help dictators censor people and they have decided to use them to silence their own customers who don't agree with them.   

Yes, these companies can do as they wish within the law but so can their users.  The question is will the people leave the platforms that push a specific agenda? Will the users who are targeted begin to wake up and move to platforms that do not censor them?   

Our purpose in building Plum was not to create a free speech bastion but it was to create a safe place to have serious conversations.  We want people from every background to be able to find people like themselves and we provide anonymity so that simply expressing your viewpoint will not get you fired or kicked out of school.  

So next time you get offended, say a word of thanks for living in a place where you have the right to say what you want.  And the next time you see someone suppressing the free speech of anyone, even those you detest, take a stand or the next one censored may be you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Interest Graph Targetting

How many of you get your news and information of the latest trends on the internet? For those of you that said you do not, stop lying. And for those of you that said yes, of course it is! Where else can you get every piece of information you need or learn endless information that you may never need all at the touch of your fingertips?! The internet is a beautiful place.

Next question, where do you get most of your news from? What is your go-to? For many of us it can be Facebook, twitter, tumblr, Buzzfeed, the list can go on forever. One of my personal favorites is FlipBoard! I tell it all my interests and it provides me with news stories based on what I think I need to know.

What do all these news sources have in common though? One word: Advertisements. They can be extremely irritating and often distracting. Every social media forum you go on, you can count on them to follow. What a lot of different forums have become great at though, is targeting different ads to different people based on personality.

Recently, FlipBoard has taken this strategy a step further by figuring out what common interests people may have based on interest graphs. An example cited from their head of advertising products is that they have found that people who are interested in coffee are typically interested in craft beer. Therefore it would be a great target audience for craft beer advertisers that may not have been thought of initially. How revolutionary right? Advertisers have found yet another way to target us on our social media!

Now I know what some of you are thinking, "Why on Earth would I be happy about advertisement? Why can't they use this technology for something helpful or useful?" Well I've got great news for you! That is exactly what Plum does!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Gravitational Waves

Hey everyone! Cherry here, and I hope you all enjoyed the Superbowl and had a wonderful day with your sweethearts on Valentine's Day. What'd you think of all the Beyonce news? I'm also positive with every bone in my body that you are probably sick of hearing about those three events. So today I want to talk to you about something that really intrigued me when I gave it a chance.

As many of you may have heard, there has been a new barrier breaking scientific discovery: gravitational waves. For those of you who just scrolled past the tidbit in your newsfeed that talked about this thinking it was just another "science thing" (as I did originally), I've got some great news for you. I am going to explain it for you right here, and tell you how it may impact your life. 

Gravity waves are waves that bend in space time. That means anything that has mass has been and is currently and will continue bending everything around it to some degree. They discovered this through using the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory) detectors to detect two colliding blackholes 2.3 billion lightyears away. These two black holes were emitting gravitational waves that were bending matter around them causing a ripple in space and time (similar to a rippled in a pond or any body of water). If that seems unimaginable to you, below is a picture that puts it into perspective.  

One huge reason this is so important is because it essentially proves Einsteins Theory of Relativity. This detection of the gravitational waves was something that not even Einstein himself believed was possible. This is one of the greatest discoveries to happen in our lifetime. Everyone assumed that gravitational waves existed but this was the FIRST time we were actually able to prove that they existed. But what does all this mean? 

To put in a simple way (which is my basic understanding because I am no astronomer) we can finally detect things in outer space that do not emit light such as black holes. This not only helps us further understand what we think we know about space, but it helps us unlock other objects we may not even know exist up until now. 

I mean, how crazy is that? Here most of us are either happy or sad about the Superbowl. Or some of us are dying to tell our super romantic or hatred-filled Valentine's weekend stories. Or even Beyonce's new song and tour. All of those recent events filled up not only our newsfeeds but also our minds. All while there are discoveries happening here on Earth that could quite possibly change our understanding of not just physics but our entire universe! 

So I ask you, my readers, to broaden your horizons (and your news intake) and learn more about the crazy possibilities outside of your daily realm. Things are changing for the better in the world of science and these discoveries are possible through the brain power and sheer will of those who take their time to care. And you'll want to know what these brilliant minds are finding out. Because in the blink of an eye the world may change, and I promise you won't want to be left behind. 

Don't forget, PLUM's beta is up, and I would love to get online there and talk to you guys about gravitational waves and their significance! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Paradise or Adventure

Hey everyone, Cherry again! Today, I want you all to listen to me complain. Let me paint a picture for you. I am all bundled up with a fleece jacket, thick leggings underneath my jeans, a knitted beanie covering up my ears. At this point my nose is Rudolph red and fingers have lost all feeling, and I am not sure I can continue on in my trek. To make the situation even better, the sky above turns grey and decides to rain down on me just to remind me that I should have stayed in my warm, cozy bed this morning. This bleak, depressive picture was my morning on my way to class last week. The dispiriting weather had me at a lost of what to do. Naturally, I started dreaming of being far, far away from this icy, wet tundra we call Texas (I know what you're thinking, shh just let it go). I realized what I really needed was a vacation. So I came up with two different options of where I'd like to be the most. 

Option 1: Paradise! I could be on the first plane to Hawaii, the best place on the planet. Imagine lounging on the soft beach, and feeling the smooth sand between your toes. Reading your favorite novel while shading yourself underneath a majestic palm tree all while taking occasional sips of fresh coconut water. Your background music is the sound of the great waves crashing ashore and some distant Hawaiian music on a ukulele that you can't tell where its coming from but you're okay with it because you assume the islands just come with soothing background music (yes, they do). Everything about this picture feels so refreshing and effortlessly beautiful! I can almost feel the Aloha spirit just writing all this out. If you can't, here is a picture to put you in the right mindset: 

Option 2: Adventure! Maybe laziness is not the way to go, how about a great hike? I can promise, you are not thinking big enough. Imagine the grand adventure to the top of Machu Picchu. Travel back in time to the ancient Incan culture while trekking through the riveting peaks and plateaus of the mountain range. Think of the accomplishment you would feel atop the soaring Andes peaks. Breathing in the refreshing mountain air and realizing you are looking upon what few get to experience in their life time. As you learn about the history of the area, you can't help but feel a spiritual connection to the ruins as you keep climbing through imaging living out here yourself. It could be the adventure of a lifetime. After you see this picture of it below, I am sure you'll be joining me.

Even though the weather has gotten better here in Texas, thinking about these two life-changing locations is making me want to start packing right this second. Anywhere but here please. So what do you think? Where do you want to go? Paradise or Adventure? (Both?!) Or maybe, there's a better vacation spot I haven't even thought of. Any and all vacation tips, information, and dreams are welcome. 

And don't forget PLUM is opening up our beta soon, and we have communities of people like you and me craving a vacation ready to talk about all the possibilities out there whether it be paradise or adventure! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Do You Ever Feel Clueless?

Hi Plum Users! I am Plum's newest member, Cherry (and yes, my name is also a fruit). Jason, Russell, and Dee have all welcomed me to the team with lots of kindness, and I could not be more excited! A little background about me is that I am a junior in college working as a marketing intern, who is basically in charge of herself. So in other words, I have no idea what I am doing. I often feel like this dog right here:

And as cute as he is, for a student on the brink of the real world, it's a pretty scary feeling. So how do people overcome this fear? The constant fear of not knowing what to do is a daunting and unavoidable fear (unless you choose to never leave your bed, is it too late for that option?). I think one of the biggest things to remember is to just remember to breathe. That's right. I think the easiest part that most of us tend to forget is to relax and remember that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

Now I know what you're all thinking. "Yes, Cherry, we took a breath, but now what? That doesn't teach us how to do anything and everything. What is the next step?" Well to answer that, let me tell you the reason I decided to join the Plum team.

When I came in for the interview, I had no idea what Russell was about to pitch to me. I was more focused on answering all the right questions in all the right ways, as my college career center had taught me to do. Once he began to explain the concept of Plum , a new social media that would anonymously get you in touch with people you wanted to get in touch with, I was taken aback. Not only did the idea appeal to me as a millennial involved with social media; but also it reminded me, a scared student, that the world is literally at my finger tips,  that there is so much I can learn, there are so many discussions to be had and questions to be answered, but mostly that there are People Like You and Me out there.

So there is your answer! Confused? The next step is understanding that there are so many people that you can talk to, people you can meet, people who care about the same things that you care about, people just like you. So next time you want to set your mind to anything, take a deep breath and remember you are not alone. Learning all you want to learn is just one click and one conversation away.

I want to invite you to join Plum to see how easy it is to find new people and learn new ideas. Regardless of what your interests are, regardless of what you want to talk about, regardless of what you think you'll find; give it a shot! After all, there's always going to be People Like You and Me.