Why I Ain’t No #FollowBack Girl

I’ve been using social media in my personal life and career since 2010 and there’s a practice I’ve seen over and over again that irks me – following then swiftly unfollowing to increase follower count. If you have Twitter or Instagram, you probably know what I’m talking about. You get a notification that you have a new follower and you decide to “pay it forward” by following back only to notice that a day or two later, your follow count has actually decreased. What’s up with that?

I see it all the time on my personal accounts as well as the ones I manage professionally. It’s unavoidable. After all, you can’t prevent people from following you (or requesting to follow if your account is private) but man does the immediate unfollow annoy me. I got so fed up with it recently that I downloaded an app called FollowCop to see who these sneaky followers/unfollowers were. I connected several accounts and started unfollowing these unfollowers with vengeance, my finger tapping away and my eyes glued to the screen. It was strangely cathartic.

The funny thing is though, I didn’t unfollow everyone who had dropped me like recalled romaine into a garbage bin. There were actually some accounts that I genuinely enjoyed their content and decided to keep following. This experience has made me confront how I react to new followers and the type of content I follow. In effect, it’s made me become more mindful. I shouldn’t be following back because it’s the nice thing to do and it’s “only fair,” I should be following back (or following anything in general) because it’s something that adds value to my life whether it’s by making me laugh, think, or feel.

Another thing I’ve come to realize is not to take unfollowing personally, in particular, from people I know IRL. I was surprised to see that people that I had gone to school with and certain relatives no longer follow me. I wondered – do they not like me? Did I post something offensive? Was I annoying? But instead of asking myself those questions, I should be asking, why does it matter and why do I care? I no longer keep in contact with those ex-classmates and distant relatives so there isn’t really any point in seeing their photos in my feed. They’re essentially strangers and I shouldn’t be upset because they don’t care to see what’s going on in my life.

The only thing I can do is be my authentic self and if that attracts followers, cool! But if it makes others unfollow, go right on ahead. There will be no hard feelings. My takeaway from this experience is to approach social media (and really anything else I consume like food, music, movies, books) with more mindfulness and to reject being a #followback girl in order to win some followers. If I follow you, it’ll be because I like your content – nothing more, nothing less.

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#WomenNotObjects – A Step in the Right Direction

This video from Badger & Winters, an advertising agency in New York, has been circulating on social media lately and it’s been reigniting discussions around the portrayal of women in ads. Women being used as sexual objects isn’t anything new, but this is the first time an ad agency is taking this kind of public stance. “Socially conscious advertising” has been gaining traction over the last couple years so I’m not really surprised to see #WomenNotObjects taking off.

In general, I don’t have an issue with sex being used to sell products. Do I think it’s lazy? Yeah. Do I think it’s wrong? To a certain point (in particular, when adolescent girls are sexualized. It’s just so…creepy. ). I think over-sexualization isn’t only a women’s issue, however, men have become over-sexualized too in advertising. There is growing evidence that body insecurity is increasingly affecting men and boys. Sex and unrealistic body ideals may be effective to sell things, but it’s not the only way to do it. Hopefully other agencies and advertisers take a note from this video.

Source: http://www.marketingdive.com/news/ad-agency-vows-to-stop-creating-ads-that-objectify-women/412809/

The Truth Behind Social Media – “Instagram Husband” [Video]

I think a lot of guys (and girls) can identify with this video. “Instagram Husband” by The Mystery Hour is a satirical poke at social media that does a great job of showing the ridiculous lengths most of us go to capture the ‘perfect’ shot showing off our ‘perfect’ lives.

I know I’ve been guilty of taking too many photos instead of just living in the moment.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everything – even if it’s a special moment – needs to be documented and shared online. I’m not trying to bash anyone that loves posting to social media often, but if much of your self-worth is based on how many likes, followers, or shares you have, then it’s probably time to question how social media is benefiting you.

Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt

With the Internet and social media, it’s so easy to get caught up in how we are better or worse than everyone else. That kind of thinking, however, can drive us crazy! The next time you start getting down on yourself over someone else’s seemingly perfect life, remember these two things: not everything is at it seems, and the only thing that controls your happiness is you.

Content Marketing Tool I Love: Canva

canva-design-tool

Humans are visual creatures, and if you’re a writer that is faced with the graphic dilemma, you have probably experienced panic at one time or another on how to get good looking, original graphics and images to help make your content more shareable. Look no further than Canva.com! I use Canva all the time for work and personal use because not only is it FREE, there are so many templates and designs you can use, and customizing your design is easy and user-friendly. You can also use premium layouts and graphics for only $1, which is pretty cheap considering the quality they offer.

I particularly love to use Canva for adding a special touch to blog posts whether it’s within the article or when I’m sharing it on social media. I’ve also used it to make cover photos for social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. And recently, I started to explore some of their other templates to create marketing collateral at the company I work. They have so many design layouts, sizes, graphics and fonts, it’s made my job as a content marketer a lot simpler.

What are some tools you like to use for creating graphics?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are my own and I received no compensation from Canva.

8 Ways to Lose Twitter Followers

worst types of tweeters
There are tons of articles on how to gain Twitter followers but have you ever considered what can make people unfollow you? Or worse, never following you to begin with? I’ve been on Twitter since 2010 when I created my personal account, and have managed several accounts for employers. Let’s just say that over the last five years, I’ve seen the good, bad and downright annoying habits of Twitter users. Here are some of the types of people I’ve come across on Twitter that I feel give the social platform a bum rap.

  1. The Desperate Followbacker: Usually this well-meaning, but transparently desperate person has #teamfollowback or #followforfollow on their bio profile. Instead of creating meaningful exchanges with others, they beg and plead for followers.
  2. The Constant Retweeter: Retweets are a valuable tool for a marketer but if that’s all you do, then what’s the value of following you? Instead, I’ll go follow the person who’s actually putting in the work of writing the tweet in the first place.
  3. The Ghost: When I see a business account that never tweets, I can’t help but think that they’ve wasted an opportunity to expand their brand simply by participating. What’s the point of going through the trouble of creating a profile if you’re going to end up leaving the party as soon as you get there?
  4. The Plugger: We get it, you’re excited about your new product, project, cat, whatever. And you should be! But you don’t have to tweet about it 24/7. Change it up a little. Don’t tweet the same message over and over again. Instead, use different but related hashtags and search out people who are tweeting about the topic and respond to them. You’ll be surprised about the conversations you can start – and the followers you can gain.
  5. The Troll: The dreaded trolls…you’ve probably heard of them or have encountered one. It should be obvious that being a troll won’t gain you followers (or the kind of followers you want) but if you happen to run across this agitator, don’t give them a second of your time. The best thing to do is ignore them and block if necessary. However, don’t mistake criticism for trolling. If the person has a legitimate concern, even if it’s written harshly, you should respond back like the professional that you are.
  6. The Acronymer: Squeezing your message into 140 characters is hard but that doesn’t give you an excuse to throw the dictionary out the window. One or two acronyms can be helpful in making your tweet more concise but any more than three and it’ll start to look like your cat walked across your keyboard while you went to get a glass of water. You shouldn’t make it feel like work to read and understand your tweets.
  7. The Link Dropper: Similar to the Plugger, however, the Link Dropper takes it a step further – they literally tweet a link with no context whatsoever. Maybe they’re being lazy or trying to be mysterious (kind of like Pandora’s box but with a link?), but for me, I roll my eyes and keep scrolling until I find something interesting to read.
  8. The Rapid-Fire Tweeter: There’s no value in sending 5+ tweets in less than a minute, unless you’re reporting a live event. Sending out too many tweets at once can run you the risk of saturating your followers’ feeds to the point where they get annoyed and unfollow you. Or, prospective followers get turned off because they know their feed will get backed up by your gushing stream of tweets.

At the end of the day, the best way to gain followers is to talk about something you’re passionate about, be yourself and get a little creative. Having good grammar never hurt either! Are there any Twitter habits or types of users you’ve seen that get under your skin? Would love to hear from you!

Note: This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse http://bit.ly/1UhmuG4

A Funny Video that a Grammar Nerd (Like Me) Can Appreciate

This video isn’t the most recent song “Weird Al” Yankovic has produced but it’s by far my most favorite. Why? Probably because it speaks to my inner grammar geek, the little voice in my head that silently corrects people’s grammar without their knowing. The one that despairs at times that we, as a society, write and sound like lazy morons. Alas! This brilliant video makes me feel that I’m not alone in this mad world, armed with just my keyboard against misused contractions, wrong verb tenses and plain old bad spelling. If you know what I mean, I’m sure you’ll love this video too. 🙂

Funny “YOLO” Short from The Lonely Island Goes Viral

It’s 2013! Yesss, I know that we’re already a month into the new year but my busy life got the better of me. But better late than never, right? ;D Well, here are the cliff notes to what’s been going on with Peace of Writing (aka me): tried to balance work and family during the holidays, was sick after the holidays, got a new job as a content writer, tried my first real french tart at Gourmet Croissant, finished a book and then got sick again. After work today though I decided it was time to work on my sorely neglected blog. Only thing is, I couldn’t come up with anything to write – go figure.

So I decided to do what I always do when I just want to zone out and let inspiration come to me…I went to MSN and Yahoo to read the random collection of stories they usually have. That’s when I came across the new music video from The Lonely Island and figured I would share something fun and random today. I’ve been a fan of The Lonely Island group, who got their start on SNL, when I saw their music videos “I’m On A Boat” and “D*ck in a Box.” Their new music video called “YOLO” features Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar and it’s pretty hilarious. Check it out!