Social Timing is Everything

Have you heard the saying, “Timing is everything” and while on some level you understand but the explanation is not quite clear. Today, this saying could not be more true and applicable with how we operate our business in the demanding digital world. Capturing your audience is even more important where the message has to be clear, concise, to the point and timed just right. Continue reading “Social Timing is Everything”

3 Tips on Proper Use of Images and Photos

free photo, using photos from net, creative commons, flickr, free photos

The other day while minding my own business at my desk I overheard a fascinating conversation. One of the leaders in our organization was looking to utilize a highly recognizable trademarked and copyright protected image and logo. I could hear the uncertainty in his voice as he was curious to the proper use of the photo. He was asking another department head regarding his experience in use of this material. I heard more uncertainty in both of the parties discussion, one was a coordinator for programming and the other is a web designer, marketer. Of the two, I would have thought they would have erred on the side of caution when wanting to use this image for a blog post. Their decision was anything if not scary; they opted to use the photo because they indicated our organization was “too small to be considered for a lawsuit.” Suddenly my adrenaline was pumping with anxiety at their lack of caution to the proper use of images, photos and pictures in blog posts, public material and advertising.

Google images has made seeking out photo’s one of the easiest tools we can use today. Google, no less, has  replaced encyclopedia’s, basic knowledge and higher learning. However, the evolution of Google and the easy access to various images posted on the web does not give anyone and everyone carte blanche to utilize photos so readily and easily for Facebook posts, blog posts and other media shares. These photos belong to someone, some company and or organization that owns the intellectual rights.

Imagine if someone hacked your hard-drive or decided to help themselves to your Facebook photos, took those photos and shared them as marketing material to make money. Imagine your fury that someone took your family photos and used them as a black and white still for a picture frame cover in a large box store. All the while, you are not reaping the rewards for rights to the photo. You would consider this theft.

Even though large corporations, organizations and conglomerations exist to have an endless supply of money, resources and they might never miss the photo, the principle of the fact remains that improper use could be considered theft. Even if you think your blog is small, unnoticed and imaginary in the sea of sites, blogs and landing pages in the world, someone, somewhere might notice. Are you willing to risk being sued for improper use and attribution for a photo?

attribution, creative commonsHere are some tips to keep in mind when using photos from the web:

  • Did you create the graphic and or take the photo?

If you did, then make sure that you protect your works and credits. Slap on a copyright for your works. The process is far from difficult and most photo services when you upload your works (like Google Picasa, Flickr, etc) have an attribution option where you can add notations such as a copyright. Photo editing software such as PhotoShop and GIMP also offer watermark options where you can place your copyright. While this is not a guaranteed protection, this does ensure you did your due diligence to protect your works, especially when you register them as such.

  • Is the photo copyright protected? Is the photo public domain? Is the photo protected under attribution license?

While this is a lot to take in, the larger photo sites (Flickr, Picasa, Wikimedia Commons) fully detail and explain the differences in all these types of available photos. As mentioned in my scenario above, my co-workers were looking to use a Marvel Avengers logo. This was a huge NO NO without proper consent, permission and attribution. I sent them an email and advised them that in order to use the logo and trademark of Marvel Comics for the logo they would need to contact the organization to ask for use, credit and attribute the photo that they have permission from Marvel for use. By not doing so creates the opportunity for unnecessary risks and lawsuits that could have been avoided if handled properly.

  • Do you need to use a specific photo or can you get your message across with a free domain photo?

Sometimes we purely want to use the photo because of aesthetics, but really we can say the same thing or put across the same message with a photo that requires no attribution. If you have the funds in your budget to purchase a photo, do so and be sure you use the same attribution and crediting process as outlined in the purchase agreement. Purchasing photos from organizations like ShutterStock allow you use of royalty free photos that reduce your risk by just taking photos directly from Google images. Right click and save through Google images can open a can of worms for lawsuits and DMCA notices. Know what the symbols means with each photo, see where the photo originated and who owns the rights if any.

Images are a great way to portray our image, our brand and to tell a story. We all want that advantage when marketing ourselves, our brand, our blog. We take great pride in the effort and work we put into the fruits of our labor; all artists feel this way and should be respected as such. When putting forth that effort take the extra time to do the job right. Protect your investment and your asset. Protect your images, your blog and your reputation. Respect the rights of others who also share in the same endeavor.

Next time you are thinking of using a photo and one you fell in love with on Google images, think about the artist and owner of that image and or work. Think about the proper use of their image and if you have the right to reproduce that work even if you think your blog is only a speck in the pixelated world of the internet. Do your research, be respectful, and understand how using photos can greatly impact your reputational risk and or infringe on someone’s intellectual rights as an artist.

*Written by Karie Herring, Owner and Author of The Five Fish.

You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as Kariewithak.

Twitter Tips for Beginners

Written By: Kerri Hale
Blog: Momma of 4 Cutiez
Feel Free to contact via Facebook & Twitter
Use your real name. Some people may disagree with me on this one and that’s ok. This has been a long debate with bloggers whether to use your business name or your real name. When someone speaks –or even types your name– it makes you feel good and gives you a more real connection with that other person. People get to know the person behind the blog.
“Hatch out of your egg.” If you haven’t taken the time to “hatch out of your egg” I’m not following you. I take Twitter users more seriously when they actually have a profile picture instead of an egg.
Use hash tags when you tweet but not too many. You might be familiar with Facebook’s newsfeeds but Twitter’s newsfeeds go by so quickly that often times they get lost in a sea of tweets in a matter of minutes. Using the correct hashtags helps people to find your tweet. Don’t use more than three hashtags in a single tweet though. It looks spammy.
Make a bio. This is another really important thing. A bio is a simple glance at who you are in a limited amount of words. Why is this important? I decide in less than 5 seconds whether or not I’m going to follow you based on your bio. You don’t have to have an extraordinary bio, just write…..something. Tell me who you are!
Follow people in your niche or people you already know first. You can search for them by using their name or hashtags. This is another reason why your real name and hash tags are so important. Don’t follow more than 50 people at a time and wait until some of them follow you back until you add more. Twitter limits the amount of people you can follow within a certain time frame.
Don’t “over follow”. If only 100 people are following you and you are following more than 1,000 that doesn’t speak good for you. Try and stick with a more even ratio. It makes you look more interesting and more people are apt to want to learn more about you.

Anti Social Media

A friend of mine posted the other day about how Facebook has turned into a feed of others posting videos they have seen and no longer a forum for conversation. His comment was profound to say the least.

“Do people still actually post things here or is just a forum to share videos you found on the internet?”

Our social media venues have become more of the anti social media as we fail to engage one another. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) seem to have transformed into venues of mental masturbation to help pass the minutes as we exercise, exercise bowel movements and or exercise our lack of effort into our careers and selves.

Many a late nights I used to delve into Twitter and Facebook. Twitter especially, as I engaged on many a conversations, albeit some superficial “mom talk,” as my twins were much younger and I found an online community of other women who had the same subscription of life. Bantering, high level disagreements and even some catty non-sense. However, the result was all the same. Conversation.

Today I see Twitter as a monologue, at best. Almost like a telemarketing convention where all of the sellers are dialing out to potential consumers with their tweets in hopes someone will buy their sales pitch. I was saddened to see my own church guilty of the same actions. Services were provided with a hashtag to “join the conversation.” Really? Who would we be conversing with? Other members I suppose, but I found that to be very anti social as well with other members tweeting, never actually engaging in a dialogue.

Facebook has transformed itself into much of the same fashion…coupled with the sisterhood of Instagram. Timelines are littered with selfies and no longer original and or beautiful content. I have watched these two venues turn into a cesspool of narcissism interlaced into being “social.” Social would be how many likes you received for your newest photo and nothing really ever of a conversation.

Have we let our new technology and new forms of communication dilute, if not totally eliminate, any true forms of communication or dialogue? Or is this the way we communicate now these days with pictures, videos, selfies and emoticons? How do we begin to converse with one another again?

With advancements of technology and forms of communication have we catapulted ourselves into the age of anti social media? Recalling an email I received from my dad about 10 years ago, he provided me his new phone number when he was living in Iowa and said, “text me if you want to talk.” I replied and guffawed at such a request, “I don’t text Dad.” Was I flippant, naive, optimistic that communication would remain status-quo? Maybe a combination of all three, never in my wildest dreams would I consider communicating with my parents, let alone my friends in such a fashion. Never would I have imagined creating a blog when just six months pregnant to detail the chronology of my twins in utero, their lives thereafter, our lives in their entirety as a collective over the past eight years.

I suppose since our lives are so busy, social media helps to keep us abreast of all of friends goings-on. Maybe we help show them our interests with the different shares and social likes through Facebook and Twitter. Social media has helped us connect with one another instantly and receive updates on breaking events in the blink of an eye as opposed to waiting for the following day or the late evening newscast. Yet, we seem to be more anti social because we have updates so frequently, so immediate that we can even sever friendships with the click of a button, block the information we receive, filter our lives to seem, feel and look perfect.

Have these “social” venues created an opportunity of anti social behavior?

Social media has allowed us to avoid having meaningful and legitimate dialogues with the click of a button, removing people from our lives when conversations become crucial. While we can connect immediately, we can disconnect just as easily. As opposed to having a healthy dialogue, we just shut the conversation down with block, delete, un-follow, unlike. We can avoid sharing how our lives are imperfect by sharing some of the best photos of the day when the picture behind the camera would suggest normal humanity, beautifully broken. Suddenly we have keyboard muscles that we exert as our form of exercise, because to exercise our mental capacity to accept diversity that something is less than perfect or a comment is less than favorable we remove the threat. Our behavior on social media is dramatically different that in person, acting as if we lack any inhibition to hurting another because we may not actually have real life interaction with people.

Have you found yourself in the vortex of anti social media? Have you found you are only sharing videos and other posts and never really engaging in real, healthy conversations or dialogues? Has your social media become a monologue and not a dialogue?

Why Bloggers Need To Grow Their Instagram Accounts

 

So much emphasis is put on our stats and while they are important every PR person and company is looking for something different. It’s important that we as bloggers grow all of our social media and not put all of eggs in one basket, as they say.

We have all hit somewhat of a stand still with the stopping of like on Facebook. Never EVER have you been able to request a like on G+ and doing so will get your account penalized and/or removed. I see people do it all the time and when you’re a small blog quite frankly you have nothing to lose.

While this is an Instagram type of post I want to point out a few things about Facebook. One if you are a larger blog and you are requesting a visit I’ve heard tell that many sweepers are “unliking” the blogs. You’re leading them there and since it’s not required they can do it quite easily. Two Facebook OWNS Instagram, so it only seem plausable that what the rule is for Facebook will soon be for Instagram and now is the time to grow your Instagram account.

Instagram is tricky and it took me a while to figure it out. I’m still not a huge fan but I can give you a few pointers.

1. Take random photos and use a couple of hashtags but don’t go hashtag crazy. Quite simply people are turned off by too many.
2. Don’t forget to us #ad or #spon in your sponsored posts (Don’t blame me, blame the FTC!)
3. If you’re not a texter like me and you see all these great long posts on Instagram and think DAMN how did they do that…… Write your post, make a nice photo (use PicMonkey) and email it to yourself. Then copy and paste it. Yep, it’s cheating, but oh so much easier.
4. I’m not a photographer, in fact I don’t take good photos at all but take random photos when you’re out and about.
5. When I’m out and waiting in the car for the kids or hubby I go to instagram on my phone and do followbacks, likes and comments.

It’s hard for us as bloggers to grow our social media and to pick what social media we even want to be a part of but my something my grandmother used to tell me all the time was a bit of everything was good, but excessive anything wasn’t. So a little break from other media and growing where you’re short might be good.

There is no sarcasm font

Hurt can cause irreparable effects that reverb. A ripple effect of sorts the way the betrayers can cover an enormous amount of ground, burden our hearts and steal our trust. One thing I have experienced professionally and by working online as a blogger and in social media is the power of hurt, betrayal. Our world has expanded across the globe yet shrunk since we all converse and collaborate online. However with working online and through electronic forms of communication we lose what is most important in our connection, the humanity. Unfortunately in email, posts, instant messages there is no tone, or sarcasm font.

We type out our emails, posts, messages and we can hear our own voices in our head, we can hear the tone. Somehow the tone is not transferred, or sometimes the tone is transferred improperly, in these transmissions. Sadly at the same time we then hit send to our recipient thinking nothing of the sorts.

Online transgressions are not limited to only our electronic correspondence. We have much of our business online as well. As bloggers we deal with people all the time. We put a great amount of faith and trust in people and never think twice about hurt or betrayal. How do we overcome? How do we learn to trust again?

I know my personal dealings ended painfully. Working hard to build a beautiful blog with a devout following for the messages I had to share, heart felt, raw, and real. When I opened myself to making “friends” online I was met with my past slapping me in the face as a way for those to seek revenge, to hurt me for their personal gain. My “friend” burned my contacts with falsities, attempted to burn my income, all in the name of pettiness. An act of high school retaliation because someone got her skirt in a ruffle. The part I played was that I would not play into girlish antics. I backed out tastefully, respectfully, calling the cards indicating my distaste and dissatisfaction for the events, the disrespect and that our relationship was truly not genuine or of a friendship.

This past year an online friend rekindled my trust and faith for the online world. My faith was even more broken as I was “voted off the island,” as my husband refers to my termination from corporate America. Shifting in moments of self pity, self deprecation, anger, rage, hurt. My friend pulled me back to show me a renewed faith and helped me rekindle my love for people once more. She encouraged me to seek my reinvention. Life was bigger than me, my Faith was telling me to believe. Believe that everyone deserved a second chance, delivering forgiveness, redeeming people as a whole instead of condemning them for a single bad egg of the bunch.

My friend showed me that not all two people are the same. Working online could be fulfilling again. I could write to my hearts content. I found my voice. I found my love which was once lost. I found I could continue to love people, empower them as I once did, share in their triumphs and trials, put feelings into words.

I found that I could trust again and work online with strangers, even if I did use some sarcasm font as a defense mechanism. When I came back to work with Joie, she encouraged me to become vulnerable again and lead the charge with other vulnerable bloggers who were just like me. Have you been scorned by people online? People in your “community?” Are you afraid of history repeating itself? Well know you are in good company as we are all in the midst of a great leap of faith to create something wonderful, powerful, moving. If we happen to trust again, give something bigger of ourselves and maybe forge friendships of the same caliber, success monetarily and professionally would just happen to be an afterthought with all we will gain on a personal level.

Do Better Blogging By Being Social

 

 

The holidays are over and with that most bloggers stats are down, and that creates cranky bloggers.  While gallivanting around the internet I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers with a bit of a holiday hangover.  Pass them the ass-prin please!  I don’t know how or why some bloggers come to the conclusion that they can blog all by themselves and on their own.

 

Blogging is a community effort.  We all need each other. We are people and it’s our nature. Social media is called social media because you have to be…..(drum roll please???) SOCIAL! I can’t tell you how many working relationships and collaborations have been spurred from working with others! Make friends, smile, be happy, and be nice, it will get you a lot further!

 

If you associate with other bloggers take the time to like and follow their social media  and maybe they’ll reciprocate!

 

It has taken me a lot time to learn that I can’t work 24/7 blogging and not work in social media too.  It just doesn’t work.  You have to build your social media, to promote your blog post.  You have to make friends to build your social media.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

 

JB