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Facebook is determined to make users civically engaged with new “Town Hall” feature

Facebook is determined to make users civically engaged with new “Town Hall” feature

During the 2016 election we saw the spread of fake news on social media, the misrepresentation of facts was so overwhelming that we felt compelled to write an entire blog about it. Since then Facebook and other social media sites have been determined to work on their algorithms and carefully vet people using their services.

Mark Zuckerberg has exercised his voice and power to become somewhat of a philanthropist. Last month he published an extensive manifesto via Facebook where in it he outlined several goals for his social media platform. In the manifesto he spoke about how previously Facebook was a place to bring friends and families together but now he would be widening his lens by asking the question, how can he bring us all together and create a “global community?” He outlined a slew of initiatives that he would be working on including a Facebook where people became more “civically engaged” and voted more often.

This now a possibility with their new, “Town Hall” feature. The new feature is available under the “More” options on your Facebook mobile app. It’s a neat tool that allows you to connect to your local, state, federal, and national representatives. To get started using this feature you must first put in your address, Facebook won’t share this information but I’m assuming it does save it. 
You need to put in your address so Facebook can pull the correct representatives. It will connect you to their official Facebook pages, and you also have the option to “Message” or “Email” them. It also makes you aware of how many of your friends are connected to their representatives which does nothing essentially aside from add pressure from your peers.
El Paso County Votes website reports that there are only 422,769 registered voters in our city, this number is a lot higher than previous years and tools like “Town Hall” are important to getting those numbers up. If you’re unclear about who represents you or how to contact them regarding issues that are important to you, I highly recommend educating yourself with this information. I would also recommend utilizing the Countable app. It delves more in depth on issues, bills, processes, and legislative procedures.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Microsoft breaks up with Internet Explorer

Microsoft breaks up with Internet Explorer

A few weeks ago Microsoft decided to end its support of Internet Explorer 10 and all versions previous. Internet Explorer 11 is the last and the only version that Microsoft still supports. Internet Explorer 11 still offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility and support for web standards that helps most sites operate. If you are using Microsoft 10 don’t worry IE11 will continue to be supported.

Now that Microsoft has deemed Internet Explorer at its end of life what does this mean for you? It means that you need to take immediate action if your using version 10 or older. End of life doesn’t mean that your browser will stop working. It means that Microsoft will stop providing security updates. Security updates are vital and used to patch up vulnerabilities  that may be exploited by malware. These updates are crucial to keeping your information and data protected and safe. Regular security updates are very important so maintaining your browser by continuously updating the platform is recommended. Also with Microsoft no longer offering security updates for these different versions they are no longer offering any technical support. Stanton Street will also be following suit by no longer offering technical support for IE9 because it does not support many responsive functions and it has an average usage of 0.3%  locally.

If you feel up the internet stream without a paddle don’t worry there are other browsers available to you. Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox are all great options for searching the internet safety. Still have questions give us a call and we would happy to talk more in depth with you.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Give and Let Live

Give and Let Live

Tis the time of year to give to organizations and other less fortunate, and if you were thinking about giving to an organization soon, today is the perfect day to do so. The Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been dubbed Giving Tuesday. Giving is great but you also want to make sure that your donation is going to the right place so we have outlined a few things to keep in mind while you’re giving.

  • Do your homework – Make sure you have the exact name of the charity that you would like to give to. Name similarities might make things confusing so be sure to double and triple check.
  • On the spot donations – We have all been caught up by someone holding a clipboard with information while trying to walk to your car. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, try and get a card from the organization. Go home and check them out online first before you give any monetary donations.
  • Charities that don’t disclose – Charities have the option to disclose their information to the BBB, and some opt not to. This raises some red flags so make sure you visit give.org to find out if your charity has opted to not disclose.

Don’t let these deter you from giving. The Better Business Bureau states that “charities receive one-third of their annual donations during the holiday season.” Go online, do your research and have a happy #GivingTuesday.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

The Holidays are for Snapchat

The Holidays are for Snapchat

MySpace Picture- 2006

The holidays are a time for family, food, drinks and posting all of it on Instagram, right? And if you don’t post your holiday festivities they might as well not have happened. I cannot recollect a time that I didn’t document my life on social media. At 14 I armed myself with a digital camera and a Myspace profile to give my friends and strangers an all access pass to my life, doing that has never seemed weird or out of place. I dare to say that not doing it seems more strange. In the last 14 years, my choice of social media and technology has changed. I have used the last 6 iPhones, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and Tumblr to document milestones and life. My Facebook account is my longest relationship, Happy 10-year Anniversary to me! While I grew up with a sense of ease and comfort using social media and technology it doesn’t mean that it always came easy. There is a new social media app every year it seems and we all need to learn it to seem relevant. Snapchat was one of those apps for me. Initially, when millennials younger than I caught on to it I immediately dismissed it as some teenage fad and made fun of it. I made fun of it because I didn’t understand it. Snapchat has been around since 2011 but people in my circles didn’t start utilizing it until 2015. I avoided signing up because I didn’t want to ask people how it worked because I didn’t want to appear out of the know and I just didn’t care enough to Google it. I don’t think it was until their filters came out that I signed up. I sucked it up and asked my teenage cousin how it worked, to my dismay he didn’t make fun of me for being out of the loop. Quite the contrary. We sat there for a good 15 minutes bonding and practicing, it was great. My lesson is this, don’t be afraid of the unknown, looking dumb, or asking questions. The only constant in life is change and that includes technology. Be bold, evolve with it.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Facebook and Google Make It Harder to Distribute Fake News

Facebook and Google Make It Harder to Distribute Fake News

It doesn’t matter what side of the Presidential election you were on, one thing that we can agree on is how much social media and fake news impacted the decisions of many voters. Google and Facebook now realize that having incorrect information is just as bad as having none and they are working together to ban fake news sites from their platforms.

The U.S election was extremely popular on social media and the closer we got to November 8th the more intense and more frequent the posting became. While this would have been something to discuss before the election Google and Facebook are taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Google has updated its policy to say that the company will attempt to ban sites that “misrepresent, misstate or conceal information.” Google went on to say that sites that do not comply with this rule will be banned from using Google AdSense. Facebook has also updated its policy to rule out fake news sites from using Facebook Audience Network. Both tech giants have explicitly said that they will not advertise fake news stories and will work on their algorithms and continue to aggressively vet people using those services.  The behemoth that is Facebook can no longer ignore how much power they have in distributing information to the American people. Google did not escape harsh criticism either and were held accountable for putting too much prominence on false news stories.

But will cutting them off be enough?

While their approaches will make it harder for fake news sites to bring in revenue, they will not completely disappear. Facebook and Google have started to address the issue of misinformation but solving this problem will take more than just an ad ban.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

INBOUND 2016: Tech Nerd Paradise

INBOUND 2016: Tech Nerd Paradise

  • Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, larger than my city block.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week in Boston and I’ve returned to Stanton Street with sore feet, a bag full of tchotchkes and many wicked cool ideas. The INBOUND 2016 conference had over 19K in attendance soaking up inspirational talks, educational breakout sessions, and opportunities to network with like-minded individuals from around the world.

My personal schedule included sessions on web design, sales & marketing, legal contracts, social media and most importantly… lunch. No joke peeps, my schedule was jam packed but I loved every minute of it.

Many of the underlying themes focused on the evolution of content consumption and how we are living in “Mark Zuckerberg’s World.” Attitudes toward social media have shifted and segmented making it harder to reach our target audiences. We must learn how to add value to the experience instead of extracting from it.

Topics ranged from marketing to consumers within a social media structure to reforming your communication through personalization. Website sessions included insights on providing a seamless journey for your users focusing on testing, data, and collaboration with clients.

Attitudes towards how we sell our products have also changed. People no longer want the hard sell or the cold call. They want quality, dependability, and knowledge. In addition, they want a “test drive” and the ability to customize or control their journey.

We were also given sets of tools to help us in our prospective businesses, many of which I’m hoping we can roll out to the El Paso market. I’m very excited to see the great things we can accomplish and I’m hoping you’ll come on this voyage with us.

Would you like to pick my brain? Know more about all of the goodies? Give me a call, we’ll do lunch.

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

Is Your Website Ready for the Future? It MUST be Mobile-First!

Is Your Website Ready for the Future? It MUST be Mobile-First!

As predicted, mobile devices are well on their way to surpassing desktop computer use… and with this fulfilled prophecy comes many changes to user experiences across the industry.

Mobile-First Design & Development
Thankfully, Stanton Street has been utilizing a mobile-first approach for a few years already. Many of our most recent custom website redesigns are optimized for viewing on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Google Search Index
Remember searching for a topic on your smartphone then having to pinch and expand your way to knowledge? Or, maybe you exit out of the horror and search for a not-so-stressful experience. Either way, Google is about to change that. They are now actively pursuing a separate search index for mobile, meaning users on a mobile device will see different results than a user on a desktop. And luckily, those results promise to be less pinchy.

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

  • If you have a business website that isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s quite possible that you will see a decrease in traffic.
  • Do you have a separate mobile site? You will now be competing against yourself as you lose traffic to the mobile version of your site. Find out how you or your developer can serve structure markup for both versions.
  • If you already have a responsive site, then you earn two gold stars for being prepared. Your mobile-friendly ranking boost will be on its way.

Is My Site Mobile-Friendly?
If you’re not sure if your website is ready, Google has provided a pretty cool site where you can test your site performance. You’ll also receive recommendations on what to improve.

Long gone are the days of searching for something on your smartphone and getting unreadable results. This industry move couldn’t have come at a better time, my fingertips are sore.

Need advice on what to do? Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or fill out our form!

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Read More:
Mashable, Why Google is retooling search to put mobile first
MarketingLand, All digital growth now coming from mobile usage — comScore
TheSEM Post, Google Search Switching to Mobile First Index from Desktop Index

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

Augmented Reality Is Our New Reality

Augmented Reality Is Our New Reality

Technology definitely is not what it used to be, and thanks to augmented reality the way we play games might never be the same. Recently there has been a game that is utilizing augmented reality and physical activity to get people off the couch and on their feet. If the term augmented reality has you scratching your head, no worries we can break it down for you.

Augmented Reality is essentially the blending of virtual objects and inserting them into your real life. Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game that has captured our attention, our hearts, and more importantly our data. The game became a huge sensation overnight. I  grew up playing Pokémon the very old school way with a deck of cards, then slowly it merged into handheld devices where it lived comfortably until now. Pokémon GO was developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Essentially if you haven’t been living under a rock the game utilizes your phone camera and GPS to capture, battle and train Pokémon. The Pokémon appear on your screen via the camera and appear in your real world.  All the characters that you grew up with and loved are literally all in your backyard and your neighborhood. You just have to get up and find them.

This isn’t the first time that we have seen augmented reality being utilized. You see this when you are watching a football game on television. The lines on the field outlining the yards to achieving a touch down, the military uses some AR technology as well to train troops. The difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are huge, virtual reality creates an entire virtual world for you to see. It has all been created by a computer and you need to wear special goggles or glasses to see the world around you. All that is necessary to view an augmented reality is a smart phone and an app such as Pokémon GO. So what the heck are you waiting for? Get out there and Catch Em All.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Stanton Street Renovates Sites for JL Properties

Stanton Street Renovates Sites for JL Properties

Responsive_JL-PropertiesJL Properties and Stanton Street want to help you find the perfect living space in Fairbanks, Alaska. Stanton Street is home to some of your favorite websites and we’re adding Fairbanks Residential Apartment Properties brought to you by JL Properties to our list. Stanton Street has renovated all of the Fairbanks’ web pages to give you updated feel when searching for your new home.

Stanton Street has organized six communities on one webpage to help you browse through locations quickly. You are able to see a quick overview of all properties and can go directly to the community site of your choosing. Fairbanks is comprised of six beautiful communities located in Fairbanks, Alaska. You will be sure to find a location that suits your needs. Jillian Square, Northward Building, Parkwest Apartments, Sophie Plaza, Willow Woods Apartments, and Yak Estates new web pages are as bright and beautiful as the communities themselves. You are able to view maps of the property you are interested in so you can get a full overview of the property. Our Community Map tab allows you to see the distance between each Fairbanks Property.

The navigation is designed to let you browse the communities with ease. You are able to find maps and floors plans right from the homepage. You are able to view the floorplans on large color images that you can view from any desktop or mobile device. You can also search the rates and forms from the homepage. Each site displays their uniqueness yet has the same familiarity as the other. Identifying the amenities that are important to you is easy to find on all six sites. We have made them a part of the main navigation so you can understand how the community will benefit you and your family. Locating and understanding what each community has to offer is quick and easy. You are able to search though loads of helpful information via the Community Information tab. Community information also looks great on any desktop or mobile device. There is a Contact Us tab conveniently located in the navigation of all sites as well as on the bottom of every homepage.

Stanton Street and JL Properties wanted ensure your experience browsing their sites was seamless whether you were searching from a desktop or mobile device. Renovate your life in Alaska and trust JL Properties with all your living needs. If you are interested in revamping your website or just need some advice give Stanton Street a call at 915.351.8440.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

6 reasons to avoid WYSIWYG Web Development

6 reasons to avoid WYSIWYG Web Development

If you have spent time on any kind of social media lately, you probably haven’t escaped the overwhelming push of WYSIWYG website development. Now I’m not referring to reputable content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla; but rather, the site building applications such as Wix, Weebly and Webs that claim to be cheap, fun, easy, zero programming experience required, and drag n’ drop enabled (of course).

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Mostly because it’s cheap! But the truth is it’s quite different. Here a few reasons why you are better off investing in a quality website.

1. No foreign company logos
Contrary to popular belief, free doesn’t always mean what we would like it to. “Free” packages from site builders usually include their logo scattered across your website. Not only does this take the attention off your company but it also adds a non-professional vibe to your brand.

2. Ultra Custom pages
Need a web page that showcases a sweet banner slideshow and the latest stock prices? Anything is possible! Except when using site builders. You will be strictly limited with the tools needed to create the perfect webby goodness to make your work stand out against competitors.

3. Easy to use tools are not so easy
Drag n’ drop sounds so wonderful, and it really can be for actions such as bulk uploads. What it’s not great for? Content placement. Dragging a picture turns into a wrestling match. Let the CSS experts help you with that.

4. You don’t know if your website is secure
Now, I’m not saying these site builder websites are prone to vulnerabilities. But the truth is, unless you can speak to someone who can fill you in on exactly what security measures are implemented – you’ll never know where your site stands when it comes to security.

5. Getting noticed shouldn’t be left to chance
Search Engine Optimization is tricky stuff, but crucial when it comes to shutting out competitors. Trusting automatically generated SEO tactics will just not do. Leave it to the experts to research and develop the best strategies for increasing traffic of your site.

6. Customers care about the usability of your website
We’re not all tech savvy in this world and that is okay. But if there is one thing that will get noticed on a website immediately, that is the level of usability. If a customer is fighting to navigate through subpages, they are more likely to shut you out and turn to a competitor. Remember, no one is sitting in front of them – rejecting a website is easier and faster than rejecting a human. Make your website grip your customer’s attention in a positive way.

There you have it, just a couple reasons why site builders are not all they’re cracked out to be. Leave the complicated web stuff to us nerds and your investment will reward you in the end. Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or fill out the contact form on our site!

Sara Acevedo
Sara is a Web Developer at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Sara at (915) 351-8440.