Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: Instagram

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Image Credits: Careers Galaxy

Hi everyone and Happy May Day! It’s the start of a fresh new month filled with new writing possibilities! May has always been one of my favorite months because there are so many exciting things happening. My birthday is in exactly one week (yes, it’s Mother’s Day), the second draft of my novel, God Granted Me Hearing is almost complete, and there are several other projects in the works for me right now, some of which I currently have to stay mum on but I’ll discuss when the time is right.

For now, I’d like to kick off the month by doing a 30-day writing challenge I found posted on Facebook. Here’s the challenge for anyone else who is interested:

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Image Credits: The Writer’s Circle

As you can see, the first prompt is to write about 5 problems with social media. This is a little bit of a challenge for me since I make a living off of social media. However, while I love working with social media, even I am not immune to the fact that social media comes with several problems and drawbacks, too. Here are 5 problems with social media.

  1. It’s making us anti-social. It’s so easy to “like” things on Facebook and to comment on someone’s post or send them a message. When we have a screen separating us from people, we feel like we have protection and that makes us fearless. But what happens when we take away the screen? We lose our communication skills. Communicating online isn’t the same as communicating in real life. We as a society have gotten so good at communicating on social media that we forgot how to talk to each other in person. When we are alone with a group of our “friends” we often don’t know what to say, so we pull out our cell phones and talk to each other on Facebook or Twitter or send photos on SnapChat or Instagram instead. It’s pretty sad and well, depressing, which brings me to my next point…
  2. It depresses us. Thanks to social media, we are constantly made aware of what is going on in everyone else’s lives. We don’t really know these people or what their story really is. We probably don’t even ever talk to them. But we see the things that they post. We see the picture of their new expensive designer handbag. We hear about their new home, job promotion, new car. We see their engagement announcements and baby announcements. These are such happy, exciting times for those people, so why aren’t we happy for them? We are depressed instead of happy because rather than being happy for these people, we are forced to compare ourselves with them. We look at their lives and see how they compare to our own. Are we happy in love? Are we engaged or married and/or expecting a baby? Are we making the same amount of money? Are we as happy and successful as they are? While these people are often not on the same level as us (often times they are actually below us), we aren’t capable of seeing it that way. We only focus on what they have that we don’t have and then we devalue our own feelings of self worth and become depressed. Before social media, we didn’t have the ability to know so much about the people in our lives. We were happier before social media.

    3. It distorts the truth. On social media it is so easy to connect with anyone from any place in the world. This also means it is easy to become anyone in the world. How would anyone know? That random person you met online could actually be a terrorist. That 25 year old might be 55. The 18 year old could be 12. You don’t always know what’s true and what’s not.

    I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was in my early 20s, I met a man online through my work with Bit Rebels. He was in his early 30s. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I loved him very much. He lived in Florida and I lived in NJ, which naturally posed some challenges for our relationship, but I did end up getting to meet him in person once when he came to NJ for a few days. We had a great time together. He really was the 32 year old Puerto Rican man from Florida that he said he was. However, personality and personal life wise, there were many things he hid from me. He was a con artist. He met many different women over the years just like me and he made himself the person that woman wanted. Then he would come home and break up with them and go on to the next one. He was also a failed businessman that has gone bankrupt multiple times and been fired from many jobs over the years. I never quite found out the truth about him, but I did learn a very important lesson; you can’t trust anyone online. No one is what they appear to be.

    4. It is being taken over by businesses.When is the last time you used social media without seeing a post or advertisement from a business? I can’t remember the last time I did. Even back in the last days of MySpace, businesses were starting to realize that if they wanted to reach people, they needed to be active on social media.

    I must admit I feel kind of guilty writing about this because I am part of the problem. I work in marketing and I market to people online such as through social media. I am fortunate and blessed that social media has had such a huge role in marketing because without it, I may not have a job. But at the same time, sometimes all of that marketing and all of those ads from businesses on social media gets really annoying and I yearn for the days when social media didn’t exist and I couldn’t be as easily marketed to.

    5. It’s highly addictive.I will be the first one to admit that I am highly addicted to social media. It’s so easy to become addicted because it’s always there. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest LinkedIn, and SnapChat all installed on my smart phone. My phone is constantly going off with notifications about someone on social media. I can and have on multiple occasions wasted an entire day doing nothing more than posting on Facebook. That’s no way of living life.

    I am getting much better with my social media addiction though. I realized there is more to life than social media and so much more that I want to do. I always say I don’t do things I enjoy because I don’t have time for them. Actually, that’s not always true. The truth is that I don’t do things I enjoy because I waste all of my time on social media.

    For the past couple of weeks I have been really limiting myself to how much time I spend on social media (with the exception of work related usage). Instead of constantly being on social media, when I’m not at work I try to abide by the following schedule: Read a chapter or two of a book, read the latest industry-relevant news posted on LinkedIn or Twitter (in this case social media is different, I’m not using it recreationally but for my career), color a picture (I love to color in adult coloring books – it relaxes me), read your bible, pray, clean the house, go for a walk or go to the gym, edit your book, write a blog post, watch TV.By the time I get all of these things done (It’s very rare that I have time in the day to do ALL of them), I don’t have time to waste on social media, and I’m more than okay with that. I have been much more productive as of late and I’ve also been much happier.


Is the internet still free?

cost of internet

It seems like ever since the internet was invented, there’s been a belief that using it comes at a high cost. Sure, you may have to pay a monthly fee of around $70 a month, but considering the high frequency that we use the internet and our extreme dependency on it, $70 a month is a price that most don’t mind spending. It sure beats being charged for every search query and website visit, right? For these reasons many individuals still see the internet as being relatively “free.”

But is it really free? It seems like users are paying more and more to use the internet, especially marketers. Gone are the days where $70 a month for hosting was all a marketer would have to pay to be present on the web.  Now it’s becoming more costly to stand out online.

Paying to be social

No digital marketer would refute the importance of having a presence on social media in 2016. But that is no longer enough. Now marketers must invest in a variety of Facebook Ads if they want to be seen on the network. Just when we started to accept that we’ll have to pay if we want to see any website clicks or conversions or gain any new followers, Facebook dropped yet another bomb on us. They began to show organic content less and less in news feeds. The way around this? Boosting posts. Simply put, if you want to be seen, you better pay up.

Facebook isn’t stupid. It knows that it has become a powerhouse for marketers looking to advertise their businesses, and that they will jump through all kinds of hoops to get results for their business even if it means coughing up some dough. Now, after seeing Facebook make billions of dollars (last quarter alone Facebook reportedly made over $5 billion thanks in a large part to ads) off of its paid advertising platform, other social networks are jumping on the bandwagon.

Twitter and LinkedIn have been offering sponsored posts and other ads for years. While their organic reach isn’t nearly as terrible as Facebook’s, many marketers and users are catching on to the fact that paid advertising will allow them to reach a larger audience at a quicker pace. For many, it has been a worthwhile investment. And it doesn’t stop there.

Pinterest launched its Promoted Pins platform a few years ago. While still in limited release (you have to apply and be approved for them first), they have quickly grown on users looking to receive maximum engagements. I have personally observed that my organic Pinterest pins typically go unnoticed and receive little to no engagements, but when I invest even just $20 in a promoted pin, I’m guaranteed to get hit with a number of repins, comments, and likes. With over 50 million pins cluttering Pinterest, Promoted Pins seem one of the most effective ways for growing your Pinterest presence and increasing engagement.”

Instagram also jumped on the advertising bandwagon this past summer by allowing users to invest in paid ads in the form of website clicks, video ads, engagement ads, app install ads, and more recently, promoted posts. This is not at all surprising being that Instagram is owned by the champ of social media paid advertising: Facebook. In fact, many of the Instagram ads are only available if used in correlation with a Facebook ad. This just further drills in the point that effective social media marketing is no longer free.

Going beyond social media

If you think the answer to avoid paying to use the internet is to simply cut all ties with social media, think again. Social media may be the front-runner in internet marketing expenses, but they aren’t alone. SEO marketing comes with a slew of hard costs now, too.

Simple tasks that used to be free like guest blogging or creating business listings for SEO purposes are beginning to come at a high cost. Many blogs refuse to publish guest contributions (especially if it contains an affiliate link) unless you’re willing to pay. The average cost is usually around $100-$150, with some of the more popular and well-known bloggers charging as much as $500 or more for a single guest post. As for local directories, while some are still free, the most effective ones seem to be a part of Yext, and a subscription will cost you a minimum of $500 a year.

Some marketers are choosing to abandon SEO marketing altogether now since it takes a lot of time and effort and doesn’t always guarantee results. Why bother wasting time and effort on something that is essentially a gamble when marketers can simply pay Google for pay-per-click advertising and have their ads displayed at the top of search results? This seems like a much more efficient means of marketing, and naturally, Google agrees.

In fact, Google is now making pay per click advertising even more expensive. More recently, Google decided to remove pay per click listings from the right side of search results, meaning that they now only display at the top of the results. This means that pay per click advertising is more competitive than ever before. If you want your PPC campaign to be successful, you may need to reconsider your keywords and ad bids, which could mean paying more.

Where do we go from here?

Why are we paying such a high cost to use the internet these days? The answer is simple: because we want to be found. We invest a lot of time and effort into our businesses, blog posts, and social media pages. If nobody sees it, it all goes to waste. The only way to guarantee that our content is easily visible to our target audience is to pay to have it promoted and made visible. And because we keep paying for it, people keep charging for it.

If we want to make the internet free and eliminate all of the hard costs that are now associated with using it, then we need to stop paying into the ideology that the only way to advertise a  business is to pay for social media advertising, pay-per-click, and other paid promotions.

We need to get back to the way things once were – back to engaging with users organically on social media by responding to their content and making a genuine effort to connect with them. We need to stop advertising and marketing to people, and instead build relationships with them. There is no price that can be put on the foundation of relationships. It is the most time-consuming form of marketing, but also the most effective and rewarding.

The internet is no longer the “free” service we always thought it was. It’s getting more expensive by the day and we have no one to blame but ourselves. However, we do have more power to stop it than we think. It is up to us to determine the fate (or the expense) of using the internet in the future.


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Image Credits: Forbes

Do you love Instagram? People in Sydney, Austraila sure seem to! A new hotel called 1888 was recently opened in Sydney featuring a unique Instagram/photo theme.

The hotel’s name came from the year that Kodak released it’s first box and roll camera, but that’s about the only piece of history you’ll find in this hotel. Rather than focusing on history 1888 would rather you create it in the form of Instagram posts. The hotel features 5 stories of  what The Daily Mail has deemed “instagram-worthy” decor and window views all around

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Image Credits: The Daily Mail

As you enter into the hotel you will be encouraged to take a selfie of you checking in in the hotel’s deemed “Selfie Spot”. There is also a giant mural of Instagram  photos taken at the hotel. To enter your room you must hashtag all photos “#1888 hotel”. Every room comes with free wi-fi and an iPad to encourage you to take and upload even more Instagram photos of your stay.

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Image Credits: The Daily Mail

If you have a lot of Instagram followers than you may be in luck! The 1888 hotel is offering a free night’s stay to all Instagram users with over 10,000 followers. If you haven’t quite reached that number of followers don’t fret, take the best Instagram shots while staying at the hotel and you could also be among the guests to win a free night’s stay.

What do you think of the new Instagram themed hotel? Is it a clever marketing scheme or extra tacky? Would you want to stay here? I’m wondering about copyright and privacy issues. Do the guests own their photos or does the hotel? Is it possible to sue the hotel over copyright issues? How private is a guest’s stay if they are publicly documenting it through Instagram? Could the lack of privacy put a damper on a vacation?


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Image Credits: Eric Kim Photography

Social media may be one of the easiest ways to maintain web presence these days. It doesn’t require you to have much experience with technology or any fancy web languages such as HTML or CSS. However, there are so many options for social media now. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media websites, but if you want to truly optimize your web presence and be seen as a versatile writer, you’re going to need a lot more than just those two accounts. I personally use FacebookTwitterPinterestTumblr, FourSquare, Instagram, and Good Reads regularly. I consider Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to be the most important social media websites right about now. Facebook and Twitter are obviously the champs, but as the web becomes more and more visual, Pinterest and Instagram are proving to be equally important. I recently spoke with BitRebels.com editor and global advertising director, Diana Adams and she said:

One thing to remember is that it’s a visual web these days. Someone can write the best post in the whole world with no pictures, but it won’t be shared as much across the board in social media as a mediocre written post with kickass pictures. It’s just how it works these days (hence the success of Pinterest, infographics, etc.)

In short, Facebook and Twitter are great, but if you really want to be found on the web, utilize Pinterest and Instagram, too.

Then there are social media pages that serve for specific functions. Many of my friends use Flickr. I admit I have a Flickr account, but pretty much only because I am required to for class. I only use it when required to for class. I take pictures, sure, but I think to call myself a photograph would be an insult to the true photographers out there. It’s just not one of my specialties. In contrast, I do have a Good Reads account (you can check it out and see what I am currently reading on the side bar of this blog). In addition to being a Writing Arts major, I am also an English major. Reading/literature is very important to me. I am constantly reading, analyzing books,and commenting on it. This is one of my special fields and it is important for me to connect with others with this shared interest. Good Reads is full of a community of people with this same interest. By using this website I am able to connect and network with these people and share in discussions about what we are reading, what we want to read, and what we have read. Furthermore, we can discuss and debate on the literature. Good Reads is a more specific, better community for this kind of work than say Facebook or Twitter.

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Image Credits: Wareham Online

Being a member of social media pages is important, but it’s rather meaningless if you don’t connect with and interact with others. One of my twitter friends, Brian Humek and I talk about this frequently. We are both annoyed by what we call “self-followers” on Twitter. Self-followers are people who promote their own content and talk about themselves, but refuse to interact with or acknowledge other followers. I don’t really understand how people can do that. I know I have many great Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, and other social media followers. They are very smart and insightful and I have enjoyed connecting with them and sharing different ideas. By connecting with my followers I have learned more about social media, blogging, writing, SEO, web design, etc. I have made colleagues and helped them with their projects and they have done the same for me. Some of them I have had the pleasure to get to know beyond just discussions of work projects and they have become close friends to me. These friendships are fulfilling for personal reasons, but also extremely beneficial. These are the people who will remember you if they need your help on a project in the future. These are the people who will remember your name when asked to give a recommendation for who to follow or maybe even hire. These are the people who can help you build your web presence and create a following online.

In conclusion, yes, social media can involve a lot of work and at times seem overwhelming to maintain, but once you get used to it you will see a great increase in your web presence, and in the 21st century, that’s what it’s all about. People these days are hired based on what comes up in search engines about them. Make sure you can be found easily for all of your good content that you’re producing, and make a few friends along the way to help in the process!

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Image Credits: Bob Kaplitz Blog



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