How To: Take a background photo with your smartphone

Not everyone has access to a camera or a photographer, but one in five people around the world now have a smartphone (crazy, right?!). While some of the most beautiful about.me pages have high resolution photos, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to visually tell your story with just a smartphone. Here are steps to taking a great shot with your phone to use as your about.me background.

(1) Consider composition. Turn your phone horizontally, and take a photo with you on either the far left or far right. If you’d like to get technical, follow the “rule of thirds.” Composing shots this way is a standard practice of many professional photographers and also a good way to leave space for your biography section on about.me. You don’t want anything to block that beautiful body or face of yours, do you?

about.me smartphone how-to background photo 3

(2) Choose your landscape wisely. Try to find a unique spot to take your photo. Red brick, graffiti, white walls, city skylines, and beaches are examples of ideal places to take a photo. This photo was taken in front of a house, so don’t worry if you can’t hop on the highest rooftop in your city.

about.me smartphone how-to background photo 2

(3) Use photo filters. Take advantage of smartphone apps like VSCO, and play with different filters to add some artistic spice.

about.me smartphone how-to background photo 4

BONUS: Above all else, be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality!

Invite Your Friends

Now you can easily invite friends to join about.me. When a friend signs up, we’ll feature your page for everyone to see.

Invite Your Friends!

If you’ve been paying close attention to the site, you may have noticed the recent appearance of our invite page. After some extra testing, we’re excited to launch a clean and simple way to invite your friends.

It’s fun to see how people you know present themselves on about.me. You might even discover shared passions (you love needlepoint too!?!)  or even connect in a new way or on a new service.

Invite and Get FeaturedYou’ll get featured; more exposure can help grow followers,  promote your work, or help you connect with professional and creative collaborators.

But more importantly you’ll show your friends an easy way to express their unique personality identity on the web.

 

Replies: Make Your Connections Count

Have you ever had a fantastic interaction online and wanted take it further? Maybe collaborate over email, get feedback on an idea, or meet for coffee? We have. We also see more and more about.me connections turn into meaningful collaborations and partnerships.

Replies simplifies connecting online. You already use about.me to convey your passions and talents, the things that make you unique. People quickly see what you’re all about and express interest through a compliment.

Replies empowers you to make connections count. We’ve simplified the first interactions with someone new so that building real relationships can happen more easily.

Take the Next Step

Now when you receive a compliment on your page, there are a variety of cool ways to reply. From a fast “Thanks” to “Follow me on Twitter” or “Explore Collaborating,” these quick and clean replies make it easy to take the next step.

reply

Want to meet for coffee? Or for drinks? Use the new reply feature to connect with people locally or around the world.

To get started, search or browse for people you’re interested in connecting with and send them a compliment. Everyone likes a compliment, and you’ll receive them in return. If you’ve already received a bunch of compliments, just head over to your home feed to Reply.

From there, pick the most appealing Reply option. Be sure to share with us when your new connection turns into a co-founder, publisher, or partner for life.

Introducing Collections: Pinterest for People

Have you ever found an about.me page, then wanted to find it again later but couldn’t? We have. Being able to remember and find an about.me page can mean the difference between making that connection, a key introduction or getting the job.

And now with our new dashboard feed and Quick View, it’s easier than ever to browse lots of about.me pages. Since our dashboard feed launch, each person is viewing an average of 66 people per visit! With that kind of volume, it’s difficult to remember everyone you come across. And with that in mind, we built Collections.

Collections allow you to save and remember the people you come across on about.me. It’s like Pinterest for people.

Tony Conrad's Collections

Curate Interesting People

You can title your Collection whatever makes you happy and you can make it private or public. You can share your Collections or even embed them in your website. To kick start your Collections, we’ve made one each of your Twitter and Facebook friends who have about.me pages.

Journalists

How to use collections

Veronica

  1. On every page and thumbnail, there’s a “+” button, which adds a page to a Collection.
  2. After you click the “+” button, you can add that page to a new or existing Collection.
  3. Then easily access that person by visiting your Collections page.

Discover new people

Collections are also a great way to discover new people on about.me. It’s fun and easy to browse other people’s Collections. It’s particularly interesting to browse Collections to which you’ve been added. Here are some fun Collections to browse from Ryan and Tony:

Tony Conrad's "Artists" Colleciton

Enjoy! The about.me team

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about.me Releases Major Update to App for iPhone & iPod touch

Today we’re excited to announce a revamped about.me app for iOS 7 and web dashboard, both featuring an elegantly-designed home stream that is all about making new connections. The new mobile and web views encourage you to learn more about people interested in you and discover people you have things in common with. about.me is the best starting point for your personal identity on the web, and the new discovery and connection features are a natural progression of our long term vision.

When my co-founder Tony Conrad and I decided to buy our company back, our focus was intent on unlocking the potential we see at the heart of what makes about.me work. Much of our belief in the product remains based in the fantastic feedback we get from our users about the role their pages play in their lives.

Ryan Freitas Dashboard image

Our millions of users have a tremendous affinity for the product, and for the opportunity to discover and engage with others through their pages. Our users take time to build fantastic looking pages, making about.me an ideal starting point to learn more about people interested in you and to discover people with whom you have things in common. The more we listened to what our users had to say, the more we understood where we wanted to take about.me next. We want to take engagement and discovery one step further, to make them the best possible extension of the identity services we currently provide. Where better to explore that opportunity than with our app for iPhone and iPod touch.

connect app screenshot    collections modal screenshot    collections app screenshots

The new version of the about.me iOS app is all about who is engaging with you. We’ve built an elegant view of pages that aggregates the most relevant pages for you – from people who recently viewed or interacted with your page to people who are around you geographically or share your interests. Even more impressively, we can build a stream of just those users who have engaged with you on your connected services. New followers from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can show up in the stream, offering more context about the people who are interested in you.

The about.me app is visually driven, making the user’s profile photo the star. Bios and common networks are available to provide additional information, with the option to click through to learn more about each person. When you uncover a new page you’re interested in, save it to a collection, send a compliment or send an email to your new connection all from within the app.

The more time we spent building the app and interacting with the new feeds, the more the about.me team fell in love with the big visuals and the simplified ways to engage with other users. When given the choice of using our Dashboard in the browser or the streams in the mobile app prototype, all of us agreed: the app was a tremendous amount of fun. At that point the decision was a simple one, and so in tandem with our release of about.me’s 2.0 version, we’re rolling out a brand new Dashboard interface that mirrors the new app’s highly visual streams. A unified experience for a product and a team on its first independent steps towards fulfilling our long term vision.

dashboard home screenshot  image

Tony, the team, and I could not be more excited for what we’re announcing today. We’re asserting the future of the product and our company, and we did it by listening to the people we’ve built it for. We want to thank our users for letting us continue to make it all about them.

The about.me App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.

NEXT

The story of about.me‘s creation, acquisition and recent spin out tends to generate a lot of interest and conversation. “Why did we start about.me?” very quickly leads to “what are you going to do with it next?”

When I think about the “why” behind building about.me, I tend to reflect on my own history with other founders. Over the past decade and a half, I’ve been lucky to work with a number of entrepreneurs I consider to be “founders of movements”: Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee), Bre Pettis (MakerBot), Kevin Rose (Digg), Philip Rosedale (High Fidelity), and Jeff Veen (Typekit) to name a few. These founders create more than great companies, they put things in motion, envisioning at their inception a way of life that doesn’t exist yet. They have an innate sense of how others will engage with the products they build and what impact that might have on the world.

The “Why” is easy. When we founded about.me in 2011, we weren’t simply looking to build a better widget. Instead, Ryan, Tim and I wanted to build something that reframed social media so that everyone on the planet could assert their own identity. We wanted to offer everyone more control over how they represent themselves online. At that time, everyone was talking about social media – whether it was Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. These services provide incredibly important functions in our lives (and for the record, are personally three of my favorite services), but one of the things that really frustrated us was the lack of unity as to how they treated and displayed identity.

About.me Photography

Identity is a confusing topic (Evan wrote an excellent piece a few years ago that’s still fairly comprehensive – I’d add “wearables” to the list but for now I think he’s covered the essentials) and it definitely involves more than how you represent yourself online.  But online has become the most effective environment for people to discover and interact with you at scale and we believe it’s incredibly important to have a starting point online for people to learn more about you.

The social media movement fragmented our identities in ways that don’t align with the 360 degree view we have of ourselves. This fragmentation is an unintended consequence of being active on services that represent different aspects of our personalities (i.e., you are a different person on Twitter than you are on LinkedIn or Facebook, etc.). Said another way, you are not the sum of your Tweets, you are not solely defined by your professional experiences/ accomplishments, and you’re most definitely not defined by your social graph. These are all important facets of our identity but none should be given the lead role of defining us. We believe that YOU should define YOU. YOU should navigate people interested in learning more about YOU to a page that introduces YOU on YOUR terms, not leaving it to focused services or a Google algorithm to define YOU.

post-it-man

The about.me team believes that representation with a minimum of additional work or other obligations required (friend requests, constant content creation, etc.) is the basic foundation of identity. These are requirements in order to be a clear identity platform and tackle the areas Evan discusses.  The fundamental power of about.me is its simplicity – the ability to reach a broad audience hinged on it being nimble, flexible, easy to understand, easy to use, beautiful, meaningful. And we believe the person with no tech experience and the 21 year old uber coder can both have an equally profound, pertinent experience with about.me. That’s hopefully seeding a movement of people taking back control of the starting point of their identity.

faves

Every day we see the value we create for people. By giving them a set of tools to curate a page that represents how they see themselves, how to get in touch with them and what they’d like you to do when you visit their page (e.g. pre-order my book, follow me on Twitter, hire me to cater your event, support charity: water, etc. – the list is endless), the power is visible.

As our platform has quickly grown to millions and millions of users, our vision for what role about.me plays in people’s lives has evolved from being your starting point to share how you view yourself to the world to being the best way to discover, learn more about and connect with people who are interested in you combined with an easy way to discover new people with whom you have things in common.

We’re seriously excited about this evolution in how we view about.me. It opens up a ton of opportunities for our new mobile app and dashboard (I can’t tell you too many more details but next week should be a fun week for our users and the about.me team who have been heads down since we bought back about.me!) to marry identity with ways to learn more about people interested in you and to discover and connect with people you have things in common with: interests (woodworkers, photographers, investors, kiteboarding, triathletes), location (home town, places you’ve lived, current city), education (high school, college) and work (first real job, places you’ve worked, current gig).

Stay tuned!

Introducing about.me premium

We’re thrilled to announce that the first version of about.me premium is now available. Using about.me on your own personal domain has been one of the top requested features from our users and is now ready to use!

Having your about.me page on your custom domain (example: yourname.com) is the ultimate in personal branding and is a great way to come up on the first page for a Google search for you name. Here’s what you get in addition to the free features:

Domain Mapping

Display your about.me page on your custom domain. If you don’t currently have a custom domain, we makes it easy to purchase a custom domain through Namecheap.com after you upgrade.

Remove about.me Navigation Bar

Minimize the about.me branding on your page and create a cleaner look by removing the top navigation bar.

Google Analytics

Add Google Analytics to your site to get more in-depth statistics about your page.

Priority Support

Get to the front of the line with any support or help request.

Ryan Freitas on about.me

If you already have an about.me page, head over to about.me/upgrade to upgrade your account to about.me premium. If you don’t have an about.me page, please sign up and you’ll be able to upgrade after you create your page. Signing up takes less than two minutes.

About.me premium is the natural progression of our main goal to provide you with the best starting point for your personal identity service on the web. We are interested in hearing your feedback about premium and any features you’d like to see in the future.

Thanks,

about.me team

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