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5 Instagram tools to keep you competitive

The simple post of a photo on Instagram has the ability to instigate feelings of complacency. The best way to combat this, and set yourself apart from the competition, is to stay versed on apps that dovetail Instagram’s platform.

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Branding yourself with social media

Social media has defined a new technological generation. Through this definition, it has changed how we, especially as consumers and tech learners, are absorbing information on the Internet.

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With virtually everyone utilizing social media as a means to a successful end, the competition of standing out among consumers is stiff. Additional knowledge past Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as standalones is required in order to develop a competitive and well-maintained brand.

Instagram users love the visual

Instagram has taken off in the last few years as one of the central forms of social media. Through its aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-digest platform, users have flocked to the app as a way to stay up-to-date on a variety of trends.

Recently, Instagram made headlines as it announced an algorithm change. The change was set to revise the chronology of a user’s newsfeed.

Rather than see every post in chronological order, a user will now see posts based on how much Instagram thinks the user will like them. This is determined by Instagram through seeing how users interact with their followers.

Apps designed to create best possible posts

As we’ve seen time and time again, social media users are not always quick to adopt format change. As a result, it is even more crucial now for brands to keep the attention of their followers.

In an effort to accomplish this, there are a variety of apps that posters can utilize in order to produce the best possible content. Many apps have been designed in order to enhance photos before they are posted to Instagram.

VSCO Cam: This application allows for the shooting and editing of photographs. It lets users lighten the exposure of an image without ruining the image’s focus.

Overgram: Because Instagram users are prone to love pictures, lengthy text captions can be a turn off. Overgram allows a user to add quick, beautiful text to their photo as a way to capture follower attention.

Autostitch: This app is an enhancement on the panoramic photo. It allows a user to take a series of photos and stitch them together to create one, seamless photo.

Color Thief: This is perfect for the users who crave consistency. Color Thief allows you to take two photos and it automatically matches the colors together in order to create a unique filter. If done continuously, the colors can be a visual signifier for your brand.

Pic Stitch: This is perfect for users who have trouble selecting just one photo. This app allows the creation of a collage, with different boarders and amounts of photos.

In addition to these apps, the iPhone has a few built-in tools to help create Instagram-worthy posts. The camera can automatically be set to square so that nothing is cropped out of a picture when taken to Instagram. You can also add basic filters, change exposure, and eliminate red-eye.

#InstagramPro

Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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