Monday thoughts…

Well, today has been a hell of a day. And, in his truest most genuine form, Knight has come to my rescue again. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without that man. I am a firm believer that you learn just how much someone can mean to you when you’re going through the worst of it and they’re right there in the trenches with you. That’s not for the faintest of hearts, so I am grateful that he hasn’t given up on me.

Something that I’ve realized is that I’m really good at telling stories and that I really suck at following up with them after the fact. So, let’s share some updates:

On January 10th I shared ‘Story Time – Blaming the other woman‘. If you read that story, if you remember that story at all, the update is they’re both pregnant. His wife and his girlfriend (who has been publicly reported as ‘side chick’ ) are both pregnant. Their due dates are actually less than a month apart. So, I guess their kids can be siblings! I feel for those unborn kids.

On February 4th I shared ‘She’s Pregnant‘. If you read that story, or if you remember that story at all, the update is, they got married. Yeah, they got married last Friday, Feb 21. The only people in attendance were his parents, her parents and her younger brother. I guess they’re going full steam ahead with this whole ‘we’re going to be a family’ thing. I feel for this unborn child.

Looking at my story updates, I’m possibly seeing why so many of the social media algorithms are sharing pregnancy and new mom photos to me. Everyone I follow/know on social media seems to be pregnant. Well, not everyone. But, there are a lot of babies coming in 2020.

Other updates:

  • During a recent job interview I was asked when I plan to have children and how many children I plan to have. I can’t even begin to explain all the things wrong with that.
  • I launched a Patreon account. So, if you’d like to support my blog, click the link in my menu!

Posts I’m working on for this week:

  • All of the reasons why you should love your analytics
  • The Broke Girl’s Survival Guide
  • Are the stereotypes of Canadians actually true?
  • The latest blogging scam I’ve seen going around

I’ll probably sprinkle in some daily life stuff in there as well. Because, why not pour my heart out to the internet? WordPress is a whole lot kinder than the real world. I will take suggestions to, if anyone has any.

Oh, also, please note that if you email me it might take a few days to get a response back to you. I typically respond to every email that I get, I just get sidetracked. Especially now that I am healthy again, my computer isn’t being turned on as often.

PODCASTS:

Before I share these links I just want to say that my voice is something that I’m often very insecure of. I have a very soft voice, naturally, and people use my voice as a means to judge me as unintelligent and ditzy. So, if you do listen to either of these links, please keep in mind that I’m not trying to talk quietly… that’s just my voice.

Geneva (from CerratoMom) has a podcast that I was a guest on this week. Click here to listen to our converation. We talked about a lot of different subjects, and if I’m being totally honest, it’s a lot of me talking over her, accidentally. Sorry G! Do give it a listen, if you have time. And do have your volume on high because each of us have an extremely soft voice so you’re going to need high volume to hear us.

Bradley (from ColdBrewCalls) has a podcast that I was guest on late last year. Click here to listen to our conversation. We speak about many things, from being a millennial to job hunting to travelling and much more. I quite enjoyed the conversation, and it is a long one. Give it a listen if you’ve got some extra time.

If you have a podcast and would ever be interested in having me take part, shoot me an email at millenniallifecrisis12@gmail.com.

Bragging Ahead

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of analytics. Analytics can teach you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it. Because of this, I’m a huge advocate for tracking your analytics and using them to your favour.

Well, I’ve been putting together some analytics tonight and this blog has been read more than 120,000 times from 165 countries and territories around the world in 13 months.

120,000+ views from 165 countries and territories all over the world.

That’s pretty damn cool.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring about something I had to say. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for making this girl feel like maybe there is some value to the things she says (once in a while).

Also, if you’re not presently tracking your analytics, start!

Sporadic thoughts at 1:30 AM

I’m scared to admit my true feelings because, if I dare speak them into existence, I am required to face them. Facing fears is not something I’m good at. Facing misery is not something I line up to do. Facing dysfunction is not something I’m wired to do.

But everyone does it.

So why can’t I?

What’s wrong with me? Why does it feel like everyone around me is moving forward with their lives, at rapid speeds no less, whilst I am sitting around twiddling my thumbs and getting sick over and over and over. Yeah, I know how to stop getting sick – stop hanging out with people who are sick. It’s kind of hard to do when that’s EVERYONE this time of year. But the rest of it, I don’t know how to fix something if I’m not even sure why it’s that way to start with.

Maybe it’s karma.

Maybe karma is kicking me in the ass for all those years of being an unruly teenager, dating a drug dealer, leaving the country without my parent’s knowledge. I swear I straightened out when I hit my twenties, but for a few years there, I’m sure I was the child, and sister, from hell.

I believe in signs from the universe. I guess I really ought to remind myself that the universe always balances itself out somehow.

It’s 1:30 am and I am awake because sleeping is hard when it’s hard to breath. I am, in fact, Sheldon Cooper in female form when I am sick. The difference between Sheldon and myself is that I have no one here to sing soft kitty. Everyone here just tells me to stop whining and get over it.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…

This millennial's woes

After all was said and done, everything sold and every dollar earned, unfortunately, I didn’t come out on top. Or break even. I’m trying to not get too anxious about it but it has been really difficult.

The company that I’ve been waiting for a phone call from did, in fact, call. They said their hiring process hit a snag and things were delayed and that they’d be in contact with me when they had made a final decision. Apparently “Urgently Hiring” means “we’ll get to you when we get to you”.

On top of that, given that it’s still cold and flu season, I’ve come down with another cold. At this point in time I’m basically a walking advertisement for what happens if you have a shitty immune system. My family says that I’m being dramatic, but I know my body and my history of catching a cold and winding up with pneumonia so I’m just trying (DESPERATELY) to not wind up in the hospital. I’m feeling pretty miserable though. I’m absolutely one of those people who gets whiny and hard to be around when they’re sick.

My brother left his 90 pound rottweiler here for the weekend. I love the dog, don’t get me wrong. He’s a real gem as far as dogs go. Loyal, sweet, cuddly, absolutely believes he’s a lap dog even though he’s almost three feet tall and weights 90 pounds. But, at 90 pounds, I can’t walk him. He’s too strong for me. The moment we see a dog, he’d be gone and I’d be flat on my face. I feel bad keeping him in the backyard all weekend, since it’s so small, but there’s not much I can do.

I’ve submitted my name for a contract to design a magazine for a company in Alberta. The choice likely won’t be made until the end of the month, though, so that’s not something I can depend on now.

So far, February sucks.

I hope someone has some good news for me one of these days.

Let's talk about 'the algorithm'

Photo Credit: SloanReview.MIT

*Note – I’m touching on this subject because I’m finding there are still a lot of people on the web who really don’t know about this. If you’re aware of ‘the algorithm’ and the information contained in this post, please feel free to ignore.

Have you ever been searching Instagram and thought to yourself ‘Why the hell are you suggesting these photos to me, Instagram?’Likewise with Twitter, have you ever been on Twitter and wondered why some people’s Tweets are always at the top of your feed whilst others never seem to show up at all? This is ‘the algorithm’ at work.

Gone are the days of things showing up chronologically on your time line. These are the days when the algorithm picks ‘exactly what you want to see’. I say that in quotation marks because for weeks now my feed has been filled with babies and baby announcements, so clearly the algorithm isn’t functioning at proper capacity.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and even WordPress all use some form of an algorithm for showing you content. Cracking the algorithm is, in itself, a form of social media marketing.

So, how does it work? I suspect only employees on the inside know for the certain the full extent to the algorithm’s functions. That being said, there is one rule of function that seems to work.

  1. Engagement is the most important thing you can garner with your content.

In the case of all social media platforms, engagement is likes and comments. In the case of YouTube, engagement also includes people clicking the ‘Thumbs Down’ button to dislike, and it also includes watch time.

So, let’s break down how this works on each site.


TWITTER

Twitter is going to suggest to you the Tweets from people on your feed with the most comments and likes. So this is why, if you follow celebrities (in addition to your friends and family), the celebrities tweets are always going to appear near the top of your feed. This is also true for Follow Trains, comment threads or anything that garners a large amount of comments in a short period of time.

Twitter is also going to suggest to you the Tweets of the individuals who’s Tweets you’ve liked and commented on in recent past. So if you’re ever thinking that ‘I haven’t seen a tweet from this person in a long time’, it’s probably because you haven’t liked or commented on any of their Tweets.


INSTAGRAM

Even though in recent months they’ve moved away from publicly showing how many likes a photo has, likes are still a driving force to what photos are suggested to you on Instagram. This is how, if you search Instagram, you can always seem to find one of the Kardashian sisters, no matter how little attention you pay to them or care about them. With like… 100 million subscribers each on the platform, the moment they post a photo they get A TON of likes, and those likes are what push them to the top of suggested posts.

When a celebrity or influencer says “Comment below with”, that is them trying to garner more comments so that the algorithm suggest their content to more people. Trust me when I say this, they don’t give a damn about your comment. When someone you watch on YouTube says ‘Follow me on Instagram and tell me you came from YouTube’ that’s a tactic to garner more engagement and get their photos suggested to more people through the Instagram algorithm.

When a brand does a giveaway on their Instagram and the requirement of the giveaway is to ‘Tag a friend below’, this is a two-fold promotion for them. 1) You’re tagging your friend so that your friend can see their Instagram, which is promotion and 2) You’re commenting on their Instagram page, which counts as engagement. More engagement means they rank higher on the algorithm of suggested posts. Do you have a chance to win? Sure. One in… however many people tag a friend and like the post. This is why so many brands do giveaways. The promotion they’re getting just from you tagging their friends is worth the… probably 20 dollar value of whatever they’re giving away.


YOUTUBE

First, I will say that likes and dislikes count as engagement on YouTube. So, whether you hit the like button or you hit the dislike button you’re working in the favour of said person creating the YouTube video. If you really don’t like it, you’re doing much better if you just click away from the video.

Secondly, watch time plays a factor in engagement. YouTube tracks average watch time for videos. So, if a person makes a ten minute video and most people click off after 2-3 minutes, they’re not going to get recommended as a suggested video in Youtube’s algorithm. This is why so many people will say ‘Stay tuned to the end to find out —–‘ or ‘Stay tuned to the end for the giveaway’ or ‘Stay tuned to the end to hear a secret’. If you watch through to the end, that works in their favour with ad revenue, with Youtube’s algorithm and with making their channel look as though content is valuable and worthy of YouTube investing in.

When a Youtuber says ‘Comment Below with’… well with pretty much anything… that is their attempt to drive up engagement. ‘Comment below with your favourite day of the week!’ or ‘Comment below and tell me what colour your eyes are!’ That YouTuber really doesn’t give a flying fuck what colour your eyes are, they just want their video to look more legit to the YouTube algorithm. The more comments they get, the more legit they look, the more likely they are to get suggested as a ‘video to watch’.


FACEBOOK

Facebook, much like Instagram (because Facebook owns Instagram) will suggest to you the comments, status updates, photos, memories, etc… from the people who have the most likes and comments. So, you’ll notice that if you have a friend who is a bit of a Facebook whore, for lack of better terminology, their posts are always going to seem to be at the top of your feed… whereas your quiet friends who don’t have a ton of Facebook friends will always seem to appear much lower down on your feed.

If you are the quiet friend trying to get the word out about your blog, your writing or anything of the sort, the way to go about it is to ask for likes, ask for comments and to ask for people to share your content. The more engagement that you get, even if you need to ‘pimp your content out’ (for lack of better terminology), the better off you are.

If you’re using Facebook to spread word about your blog, your writing, your music or your artwork, I strongly recommend joining groups and finding a community of people who will help to share your content with Facebook. The more it’s seen, the more Facebook is going to recommend it.


WORDPRESS

WordPress, working with transparency (which I love) actually tells you just how their algorithms work. I talk a lot about them on my page, but mostly in the comments section of my posts, so I don’t know how many people are truly aware of how it works.

If you’d like the source of any of the following information –> Click Here (If you’re looking to work the WordPress algorithm in your favour, I highly recommend clicking and reading the entire page)

The algorithms are often being improved, and what content we show depends on a complex combination of factors. Here are examples of the types of information we may use to make our recommendations:

  • The title, content, tags, and categories of posts.
  • Other text from the site, such as usernames and logins; site names and the host name (support.wordpress.com).
  • Total number of likes and comments.
  • Who has liked and commented on a post.
  • Total number of followers.
  • Who has followed a site.
  • How recently a post was published.
  • How often or recently a site has posted.
  • The content of what you have liked and commented on.
  • Whether posts have links, images, or videos.
  • How often a site has been rejected from being recommended in the Reader.

Content we filter out from our algorithms:

  • Sites we think may be spam.
  • Sites that have mature content.
  • Sites with potentially objectionable content.
  • Content that is not in your language.

The moral of the story? Asking for likes, comments and engagement helps. It helps in big ways. If you can find another way of getting people talking that doesn’t require your asking them something, then you’ve struck gold. If someone is asking you to ‘Comment below what colour your eyes are’ don’t do it. If a brand says ‘Tag a friend and you’re entered to win’, unless you really, really love the brand, only give that free promotion to a brand that you really love. And, if you want to truly make an impact with the content you’re pumping out, surround yourself with an incredible online community who’ll stand behind you and your work so that you can share your world with the web and they will help and support you every step of the way.

Also, if the Kardashian’s keep getting recommended to you in spite of your not giving a flying fuck, you’re not crazy. They’re cheating the system. It’s estimated as much as 60 percent of Kim Kardashian’s online following is bots. Bots that help her stay at the top of page and relevant on just about every website. She’s got the money, so I wouldn’t have a hard time believing that she bought all those bots.

Also, there’s a rumour going around (I’ve yet to see in action) that you can now buy bots to artifically ‘growth hack’ your accounts whilst you’re least active on social media. I don’t know if this is true or not, I’ve not seen it in action. But… I did see a relatively average Youtuber shoot from 52,000 subscribers to 750,000 subscribers in about four days earlier this month. So, I don’t have a hard time believing it… especially since his engagement is still the same as it was when he had 52,000 subscribers.

Struggles with food (way TMI)

So long as I don’t eat, I don’t get sick.

It’s only when I eat that my body starts reacting in negative ways. So… I just need to not eat anymore, right?

I had some food allergen testing done last year, but lately I’ve been thinking that I should do one of those food sensitivity tests. I don’t think the food allergen testing told the full story.

Food Allergen testing tests for IGE Deficiency, which I already knew I had prior to the test. Food sensitivity testing, on the other hand, tests for IGG Deficiency, which is a completely different Immunoglobulin in the body. What I’m wondering is, in addition to my food allergies, if there might be food sensitivities that are contributing to my headaches, muscle aches, extreme exhaustion, gut issues and so on and so forth.

As much as I know what I’m allergic too and what I really need to avoid when I’m eating, I’m also finding that I’m still having issues, regardless of what I put into my body. For instance, most days I wander around this world with a pretty gnarly headache. And I just tolerate it… as it is. I had a CT scan done in 2019 and it came back as normal, so, the doctor just attributed my headaches to stress. The thing is, though, the headache doesn’t normally start until I’ve eaten something. If I just avoid eating… I don’t get the headache. This is only small example of what I’ve been dealing with, but I think it’s an important one to note.

The doctor was so quick to diagnose me with IBD. The problem is, the majority of the symptoms related to IBD that I can find, I don’t have. No, I’m not a medical doctor, so I can’t technically diagnose myself. But, I do know myself and how my body functions a lot more than a doctor who’s seen me twice, for no more than 10 minutes each time and never done any tests.

I’ve been doing some research (thanks to various sources… in spite of Dr. Google being a scary place sometimes) and it turns out that food allergies and food sensitivities can affect the body in completely different ways. Duh. I know, go figure. But, allergy testing is ONLY for IGE deficiencies. You cannot test for IGG deficiencies at the same time. They are completely separate tests.

I am wondering if I could do some food sensitivity testing, if I could get that IGG deficiency testing done, if it might help. Even if they have small effects on the function of my body, if there’s a lot of them, or if it’s something I eat frequently, it could be causing me more harm than I realize.

If anyone reading this has ever taken food sensitivity testing, what was it like? Did you get it done through public health, or privately (through a private clinic or corporation)? Did it help?

I’ve been on a two-and-a-half year long journey of trying to figure out the root of my issues. I’ve been misdiagnosed on four separate occasions that have been proven, and I believe that the diagnosis of IBD was also not accurate. And, as mentioned above, I was never tested for it. I’m trying to do my due diligence, advocate for myself and get to the bottom of what the heck is wrong. I’m wondering if this food sensitivity testing might be a beneficial step for me.