Updating Again Soon

I realized it’s been two years since I updated this blog, but with the recent events regarding data, privacy, and social media, I feel it’s important to dust this place off and start writing again. Stickied to the top of Robots Nobots is a post I wrote four years ago about the dangers of Social Logins and how your information, along with all your friends, is being bought and sold simply by clicking a small, convenient button. Seems it’s gotten worse since then with the explosion of Apps asking for “permissions” before you get to use them.

These topics are relevant. They will always be relevant. To anyone who happens upon this blog, I hope you enjoy my content.

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Instagram’s “Second Chance” Update

instagram-logoOne of Instagram’s most recent updates will actually allow you to revisit your old submissions and “revive” them by adding new hashtags. This was not possible prior to this new update; if you posted a photo without hashtags, then you’re just out of luck. You either had to live with your submission as is, or you had to delete it and submit it again. If some of your older pictures had very few likes, it might be simpler to delete them anyway and resubmit them, but if you’ve garnered a significant number of hearts already and would like more, updating the hashtags might gain you extra popularity for work you’ve already done.

So what does this mean for the future of your social media strategy with Instagram? With the right tools, even your oldest submissions can become powerhouses of popularity. If you use tools like tagboard, hashtagify, and hashtags.org, you can follow the most popular tags in real time. By updating your old content in addition to submitting properly captioned and hashtagged photos, you can drastically improve your follower base. Just remember to stay relevant. I would love to see how much this will affect #ThrowbackThursday.

I would like to thank Andrew Mucci for the information in his article.

What is “Quality Content”?

It’s the buzzword that’s on every social media marketer’s vocabulary: Quality Content. But what exactly does it mean? There’s no magic formula that will make every post you make instantly popular, because “quality” is a completely subjective term that’s dependent on your target audience. That’s right, you don’t decide whether or not the things you post are considered “quality content”, that status is given by the people who access that content and deem it “quality” enough to share with their friends. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not adhering to your personal concept of quality content; you are always creating it for your readers and consumers. This means you have to be wary of your use of language, images, and post frequency. Vary and adjust your vocabulary to match your audience and post where they post most often.

So how do you define quality content? Do you gauge its worth by Likes or Shares? Or do you delve deeper and look at how long someone stayed at your article, whether or not they scrolled all the way down, etc? All of these are valid markers of quality content, but whether or not the marker applies with change from post to post.

An Ad-Free Social Network? What’s Your Deal, Ello?

ello2Have you heard of Ello? I recently found out about this brand new social network that’s currently in a beta phase. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you will know that I am a staunch advocate for online privacy, especially against advertisers and sites that will sell your personal information to the highest bidder for the purpose of flashing banner ads in your face. Some of the largest offenders of this philosophy: social networks. Ello, however, seems to be a proponent of the user’s right to privacy, claiming in their manifesto that they do not and will not ever have advertising on their site. For this reason, they and the people who back this social network have dubbed it the “Anti-Facebook”. At first I was suspicious. If they become as popular as Facebook, how will they pay for all their server costs? Every company needs to generate some sort of revenue in order to keep their operations running, right? Their About page explains it all.

It appears Ello will be running on a Freemium platform, which many people have seen in the gaming industry. For those unfamiliar with the term, freemium platforms offer a base service free of charge, but with special features in the form of microtransactions. In other words, you have the initial account for free, but if you want small special features, you need to pay a small sum of money to have it. I am a gamer myself, so the freemium motto is no news to me, nor is it a practice that I support; most freemium games include tons of advertising to generate their revenue. In Ello’s case, it appears it may be a necessary practice for the purpose of generating revenue, since they won’t include any advertising.

My verdict: I will request an invitation. Hopefully I will be able to join and see what features they offer and compare them to Facebook’s functions. I will also be keeping an eye on what the base service offers and what paid special services will be available in the future. Hopefully they will be very separate functions that don’t look like they should be a part of the base service. You know, stuff like paying $3 to streamline your menus so that anyone who paid for this special service will have a much more convenient time navigating the site, whereas the base service members have a nearly unusable platform. Keep this in mind, Ello: don’t make the paid services a necessary feature for your users to have a satisfactory experience. The network itself should stand on its own!

The Infographic – Shareability At Its Finest

The infographic is one of the most powerful tools at a social media marketer’s disposal. These efficiently packaged images includes tons of information segmented into easily understandable steps accompanied by interesting visuals. You shouldn’t, however, see the infographic as a strategy that will bring you instant success; not all infographics become popular, especially if you’re working from a niche market. The shareability factor hinges on the size of the target audience. The larger the target audience, the more relevant your infographic becomes, though at the risk of being lost amongst thousands of other shareable images. Here’s an example if a neat, horizontal infographic that’s easy to read:
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1. Be General, But Be Specific. I know, it may be confusing and contradictory, but you have to think from a consumer’s point of view. You may understand the information, but you need to be presenting the information like a teacher. Being general means to be inclusive, using language that everyone can understand and avoiding gender-specific pronouns like “he” and “she”. To be specific means you have to provide information and tips that your audience can use right away. The less work and effort your audience needs to do to benefit from your infographic, the better.

2. Choose Your Visuals Wisely. Yes, numbers are impressive, and your first instinct would be to add a pie chart or a bar chart. These things mean absolutely nothing to the average reader other than the fact that you’re comparing the size of one bar to another. Emphasize the use of percentages, as a visual of a large 75% has a more substantial impact than 3 quarters of a pie chart. It gets the point across faster, as the reader won’t have to translate a visual into a number as they view your infographic.

3. Avoid Sensory Overload. Yes, you have a lot of information to share, and no, you don’t have to cram it all into one huge superimage! Guide your audience. Take them on a tour of the infographic with numbered steps configured in a way that they can easily follow without getting lost or overwhelmed. If the reader doesn’t know where to look, they’ll miss on out on important information…information that you spent a great deal of time packaging into an infographic!

4. Be Accessible. Like I mentioned earlier, the information found in an infographic should be something your readers can implement right away with little to no effort. For example, an infographic about cleaning diamond jewelry assumes that everyone has a piece of diamond jewelry they can clean. However, if you create one about cleaning and maintaining jewelry in general (Step 1!) with a subsection that includes diamond jewelry, you’re going to reach a lot more people.

Did You Even Read It?

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Who’s to blame for the latest trend of posting links with sensationalist headlines? It’s hard to tell, but we all know one thing: it’s working. Well, working in that people share the content, but failing in that most people don’t even access the content for more than just the headline or the first paragraph. In fact, I’m amazed at its effectiveness. Viral content from over 10 years ago have come back with shiny new headlines and rekindled a long dead netpidemic (let’s see if I can make this term trend!). This is the latest craze, the best material we can find, and the perfect method of gathering data on the unsuspecting public through social media channels. They know where you’re coming from, and often these articles of extreme exaggeration have social logins that not only broadcasts what social sites you use, but also with whom you’re sharing the content. Other bits of data include how long you’ve stayed on the page, whether or not you’ve scrolled all the way down (that’s why some pages load partway until you scroll), and even where your mouse lingers and for how long (Clicktale). And that’s just the tip o the iceberg! If you really want to know how many ways a site is tracking your actions, install the Ghostery app. I mean just look at this. ghosteryThere are TWENTY different tracking tools and social buttons! Most sites have a hard time coming up with 4!

So what’s wrong with it? Some will say it’s harmless fun, but in my opinion, it perpetuates the spread of inaccurate data, compromises you and your friends’ right to privacy, and clutters up our social media feeds. So what can we do as users? What can the owners of these sites do as content producers? For the latter, try producing quality content without resorting to sensationalist headlines! It’s hard work, yes, but you shouldn’t have to lure people into sharing your content without actually reading your content! Why bother with any articles at all? You’d do just as well to simply have the headline and a pretty image to with it. As users we can stop sharing Clickbait content. Or at the very least we can read the articles and THEN decide whether or not it’s worth sharing! Content producers create these sensationalist headlines because people are sharing them, and people are sharing them because they’re too lazy to read. If no one takes the first step, then we’re never going to get anywhere, the content’s going to get worse, and your private information becomes that much more of a commodity. You have been warned. Now stop it!