I forgot about most of these photos.

Last June when I got that job offer that fell through, I ended up switching from an iPhone to a Samsung. I was going to need a new phone for the job, and when I went to replace my phone, I decided to take a leap and make the switch.

I still have the iPhone, mainly because I never took the photos off of it. Well, now that I have all this time on my hands… why not?

I am no photographer, just a girl who likes to remember moments. I tend to save my favourite photos for Instagram, so if you want to see my favourites, follow me on Instagram (shameless self promotion).

*These are in no particular order. Just some random photos that documented my days. There’s also no identifiable people in these photos, for the sake of the privacy of my family and friends. Any people you might see are strangers. Hopefully I don’t upload any photos of identifiable people though. I hate it when I wind up in the back of other’s photos so I never want to do that to someone else.

Sunrise from the balcony of my old apartment.
Watching the Calgary Stampeders. Yeah, yeah, I know what people say about the CFL. I don’t know a ton about football but the Stampeders are a fun team to watch.
Golfing in Calgary on one of the few days of the year there isn’t snow.
The view from the top of the Zip Line at Canada Olympic Park. This was the Ski Jump for the 1988 Olympics. 1988… also the year I was born.
Watching the end of summer at Lake Louise, Alberta
One time the road flooded and this is how the neighbours got around for a few days.
This is at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, BC
The top of the Westin Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta
This is from Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. I am still not sure why they let us into the Stadium that day… in the middle of football season, but it was a fun afternoon.
This is Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a very… ‘instafamous’ stop on the Copenhagen crawl. We didn’t really get there until the sun was already setting so it made for a very dark photo. Oh well, still a nice photo!
I haven’t the foggiest idea what this hotel was called. I remember, though, that it was in Whistler, BC. It was a perfect mountain escape.
This is the penthouse of the Westin Hotel in Downtown Calgary. I remember thinking that my entire apartment could fit into one room of the penthouse suite.
An epic display of rainbows on a top secret weekend away.
When the locals cause a brief interruption of your golf game. Canmore, Alberta.
I cannot remember the name of this place but it sure is beautiful, California.
Shopping District in Copenhagen, Denmark
Watching hockey with the Danes in… Vojens (Voyens? Sorry if any Danes read this and I butcher the spelling), Denmark.
This was at one of those UPICK farms in Chilliwack/Abbottsford, BC.
This is what $85 Canadian gets you at Hells Kitchen on the Las Vegas Strip.
New York New York Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Strip. I am proud to say that I never got drunk enough to risk that roller coaster.
That time I snuck away for a rainy day in the city…
That time that I snuck away for a rainy day in the middle of nowhere. Well, nowhere now. This was the primary route used for British Columbia’s Gold Rush.
The Driveway. It’s just a driveway, I know. I just thought it looked… majestic with the sun poking through like that.
Springtime in Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, Alberta

Alright, that’s enough of a photo spam for now. Next time: Germany, England, New York, Alaska and… probably a lot more of BC and Alberta. Let’s face it, the majority of my days are spent in BC and Alberta. This place is heaven on earth. What’s not to like? Well, there’s a lot not to like right now… but that’s a story for another day.


Thank you to each and every one of the #MillennialLifeCrisis Patreon supporters.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.

We can save our adventures for later.

XOX
Vee

Is this Instagram or Reality?

I love Instagram. I really do. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely seen just how much useless nonsense I share on the platform. My stories make zero sense. Anyways, quarantine has given me a lot of extra time to browse. There’s so much of a fake reality on the platform that I just breeze past typically, not giving it a second glance. But hey, now that I’m under quarantine, I’ve got lots of time to look.

Disclaimer: I have no ill will towards any of the people who posted any of these photos. I am merely sharing for the purpose of 1) Good Fun and 2) To remind everyone that a little brightening or lightening can make a photo pop, but please don’t take it too far. A curated life isn’t really a life… just bits and bobs of photoshopped memories that won’t mean as much as the over the years.

I really hope each of these people kept their originals. I bet their originals were so much better.


  1. PILOTS FLY THIS LOW?

Firstly, Paris is offended. One of the most beautiful cities on earth, where virtually EVERYTHING seems to be ‘Instagrammable’ so to speak, and you feel the need to do this?

Secondly, who do you think you’re fooling? Is there anyone on earth who would believe this realistic? Are there people in this world who believe that pilots fly this close to freestanding towers and internationally renowned tourist destinations?

2. JUST A BAREFOOT GAL IN ROME

“Don’t mind me. Felt cute just going on bare-foot frolic next to the Colosseum. How perfect is my life?”

ROME? ROME? You don’t think people are going to be able to tell when you’ve photoshopped yourself into Rome? I see what you did there, being on your toes and all. That’s a clever trick to make it easier to plant yourself on any surface. Next, lets take this exact same photo to… the Vowing Hands of Vietnam.

3. WHEN THE SKY AND THE CITY ARE ONE AND THE SAME

The caption said this was at the Chicago Skydeck. This photoshop is bad. Just baaaaaaad. The stitching around each of their frames is so evident, the sky has been far too saturated to look real, and somehow, they managed to catch a windy enough day… inside, for their gowns to blow.

Just ignore the bottom left and right corners where the city is the same colour as they sky. They did not photoshop the sky and accidentally photoshop small bits of the city too and hope no one would notice.

4. NORTHERN LIGHTS AND A UFO!

As someone who lives in Northern Canada and sees the Northern lights several times a year, I can assure you, this sky is not real. Can you see stars at the same time as you see the Northern Lights? Yes. Do the stars shine through the Northern lights like you can see in this photo? No. Because her stars are fake. Also, is that a UFO in the top left, or did she bring a spotlight with her, or is there absolutely zero light pollution from the moon?


There’s a big beautiful world out there filled with wonder and amazement. If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to see it, or at the very least pieces of it, and you feel like sharing it on Instagram, please don’t take the editing too far.

BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

How to spot the fakes, the overly-edited and the just not quite real photos on Instagram and beyond

I’ve heard it said that as many as 6 out of every 10 people really can’t tell the difference between if a photo is real or fake. As someone who has done a lot of photo manipulating in my day, I thought perhaps I’d take the opportunity to show some examples of fake, overly edited and unrealistic photos as a means to know what to look for.

If you know any of the people in this photos, please do not send them hate messages. The point of this post is not to bully, it’s just to share more insight on just how Instagram and reality aren’t always the same.

Some examples:

THE TAJ MAHAL

When I first saw this photo, the Instagrammer was claiming that she merely used a filter to give it a pink-tint, because she liked the look. The problem is, there’s a whole lot more that’s been done to this photo than just adding a filter.

Firstly, as one of the most visited, photographed and loved landmarks on earth, the Taj Mahal is crowded. All the time. Every day. Even on a slow day it’s 100% unlikely that she ever would have been able to take this photo with only her in this shot.

Secondly, the reflection of the Taj Mahal in the pool has been disproportionately scaled to fit in the pool. While it is possible to see a reflection of the structure in the pool, the width of the building and the angle of this shot make it virtually impossible for the entire Taj Mahal to be seen in the narrow pool.

Thirdly, note how the shadow of her standing in front of the pool is on the stone she’s standing on, but stops dead at the pool. Her reflection does not continue in the water… which is not really how reflection works, either.

This is a small thing, not noticed by simply looking at this photo alone, but this girl has actually photoshopped those birds, the exact cluster of birds, into several other photos from different locales around the world – the south of France, Venice, etc.. Moral of the story – there is more fake in this photo than real.

LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA, CANADA

This photo, or photos, is at the Fairmont Lake Louise. This is a place I’ve been to many times in my life and can attest to its beauty, so when I see this photo, not only do I see a cringey photoshop job, but I also take a little bit of offense. Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, naturally. It doesn’t need to be edited.

Putting my personal feelings aside, do you notice how she seems to have a sort of ‘ethereal’ halo around her? When people are newbies at photoshop, that’s a trick they tend to use to try and help photos blend into the background. In her case, I think she likely thought because there was so much white in the background it wouldn’t look as obvious. You can also see the halo-like lighting at the top of the chair and all the way around the edge of the window frame.

Another thing to note is that she appears to be wearing a colour changing toque. This is a small thing but the back of her toque is pink and the front of her toque is grey. This happens a lot when you import a part of an image from elsewhere into a new image. In this case, I think she imported her body in front of this window.

While I think she likely ate at this restaurant when she was there, she likely wasn’t seated by a window. This restaurant books up months in advance, and since she couldn’t get a picture in front of a window, she photoshopped herself in front of the window, added some filters and then overly-saturated the two images to try and make them blend together easily.

IT’S PARIS… OR IS IT?

Have you ever seen stars in the middle of the city? No. There’s a reason for that, it’s called light pollution. When the light from a city brightens the sky, it drowns out the visibility of the stars.

This is Paris, the city love, the city of lights, with millions of lights everywhere… hundreds, if not thousands seen in this photo alone. The Eiffel tower itself is lit in this photo. There’s also lights lit all around the tower. And yet light pollution just didn’t happen on this day? A sky full of stars just magically appeared in a not very dark sky?

To me it looks like there’s been some stitching down around hear head, and also on her left leg. Those are more subtle.

Was she actually in Paris? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve never been to the Eiffel Tower, so I cannot vouch as to whether or not this concrete she’s sitting on is in fact there. I will say though, this concrete she’s sitting on could really be anywhere. It could be in her back yard. The fact that she’s looking away means there really isn’t a lot involved with changing this photo to be San Francisco, or Hong Kong… or anywhere, if you catch my drift. If she wasn’t in Paris, all she really needed to do was drop Paris in the background. In her case, she also heavily edited the sky to fill it with stars so that her life looks even that much more magical.

It’s an illusion. It’s all an illusion.

THE ‘CLOUD CHASER’

Take a close look at the clouds in the background of these photos. This Instagram user has photoshopped the sky in every photo she’s taken, around the world, to put in clouds that she actually liked, because the actual clouds in the sky just weren’t good enough for her. That same cluster of clouds followed her around the world.

If someone is willing to go through the process to edit the clouds in the sky, what does that say about the authenticity of their Instagram?

HOW MANY HANDS DOES SHE HAVE?

Honestly, the Kardashians are easy to use for showcasing photo editing fails because there aren’t really any photos they post without editing.

Editing of this photo was clearly done in FaceTune. If you don’t notice the flaw immediately, that’s okay. It’s subtle on first glance. But look at the hand on the right side of Khloe Kardashian, she seems to have tried to pull in her thigh to make it look thinner, and in the process, created a second hand… or at least 1.5 hands. The thing about FaceTune that people often forget is that when the APP disrupts the data to make someone thinner, it’s going to try and fix that data by re-writing the background of the photo. In this case, her hand ended up getting duplicated.

WHEN YOUR THIGH IS THINNER THAN YOUR KNEE

Either her left leg (the underneath leg) is considerably longer and thinner than her right leg (disproportionately so) or, this is a bad photoshop job. Now, this is Kourtney Kardashian, who in my opinion needs no photoshopping to start with. This photo is just all sorts of weird. It seems to give the illusion that her left thigh gets thinner as yo move farther up from her knee. For a woman who’s already very thin to start with, it’s sad that she feels she needs to be this heavily edited in order to be posted for public consumption.

Things to look for:

If you’re browsing Instagram and something seems to good to be true, it probably is. I want to disclaim that, to the people who feel a need to edit their photos there is no hate here. I just want to make people more aware of just how easy it is to fake reality. If we all know the truth behind what a photo really is, we might stop trying so hard to make our lives a series of these picture perfect images. If you’re curious about how to tell for editing, here’s couple of suggestions to look for:

  • Everything in the photo is in focus. Camera’s aren’t capable of capturing both the subject in the foreground and the objects in the background to all be in focus in one photo.
  • Copied patterns. This doesn’t just happen with the sky, this happens with human body parts. Fitness influencers are big for this – not only do they photoshop their muscles, but they’ll photoshop the muscles of anyone in the photo with them. If you’ve ever seen a group of men flexing their biceps that all seem to look shockingly similar, it’s probably because they are.
  • Blurriness or lack of texture is a telltale sign that someone’s face has been smoothed over with a FaceTune filter. Human beings have pores, texture and colouring in their skin. If you’re not seeing it in photos, that’s not because they were blessed by the genetic lottery, that’s because they edited it out.
  • Damaged/Distorted Pixels. If you’re looking at a photo and there appears to be damaged pixels within the image, this is a telltale sign of poor editing. There’s something in photoshop called the ‘Clone Stamp’ and what that does is allow you to draw over portions of an image with the pixels from elsewhere in the image. The process of clone stamping works great if you’re not looking closely at an image, but, if you’re taking a second look, the clone stamp ALWAYS damages pixels in the photograph. Once those pixels are damaged, you can’t get them back.
  • When the reflection doesn’t match the body. While people will make their waist thinner, legs longer, boobs bigger and so on and so forth, the majority of people seem to forget about their reflection. If there’s anything reflective in the photo at all – mirrors, windows, any body of water, shadows from the sun, check the reflection. Often times the reflection will be a display of their original image that they were trying to edit out.
  • A distorted background. Probably the most easy of all to spot, crooked doors, lamp posts with holes in them, clean lines of walls and paintings being off are all telltale signs the photo you’re looking at isn’t legitimate. When people try to make themselves look thinner in photos, these apps they use ‘pull in’ their body. When their body is pulled in, so is the background behind them – which makes for a whole lot of cars with protruding lesions and benches that seem to defy the laws of physics.

To anyone who doesn’t already know (I’m assuming everyone does, but just in case) any and all photos you’re viewing on Instagram from your phone can be zoomed in by pinching the screen of your phone. If you’re not on your phone, or you’re elsewhere on the web and something looks off, it probably is. You can zoom in on any photo on the internet by changing the view of your Internet Browser.

To close this off, I’d just like to say that… life is a very beautiful and fragile thing and that who you are is perfect, just the way you are. If you do edit yourself in photos for your Instagram, that’s your choice, but please, at the very least, keep the real versions for yourself. There’s nothing worse than looking back at photos of your life and realizing that they’re so heavily edited you don’t even recognize yourself. It almost… distorts your memories, if that makes any sense.

There’s no hate. I just want to remind people that Instagram and reality aren’t one and the same.

The ‘Insta Famous’ Starter Kit

So, you want to be Insta Famous? I don’t blame you. With people raking in millions of dollars for posting selfie after selfie after selfie of themselves it looks like a really easy way to get rich.

Make no mistake though, this is a really difficult industry to break into. Why? Because it’s so saturated. With so many beautiful people in this world, you need to find yourself a means to stand out. And how do you stand out? By being exactly like the rest of them, clearly.

To become Insta Famous, you will need:

  • To wear A LOT of makeup, but to always tell your followers that you’re not wearing makeup and that you’re ‘naturally this pretty’
  • To not be afraid of putting on that bikini when it’s needed! Does it make sense to have a photo of yourself wearing a bikini at the edge of the Grand Canyon? Of course it does! Girl, put on that bikini and wander out to the edge for the best view possible.
  • To always remember – Pics or it didn’t happen!
  • It is typically going to take twenty to thirty minutes of arranging the food on your table at the restaurant and arrange good lighting to ensure that you get the best picture of all food ordered to make others jealous they’re not there with you right now. Also, your food will be cold by the time you get to eat it. That’s just a fact of life you’re going to have to deal with.
  • To not smile. Don’t ever smile. Smiling isn’t sexy and you need to be sexy to be Insta Famous
  • Lip Injections couldn’t hurt, if you can afford them. If you can’t afford them then just grossly over-line your lips. Remember, we want to look as much like Kylie Jenner as possible
  • To purchase the premium FaceTune account. It’s only $80 a year, and honestly, your face cannot look like it has pores, so honey, just buy it.
  • To always tag a brand. Yeah, you know that portion of Instagram where it says ‘Who’s in this picture?’ Don’t tag the people in the photo, silly. TAG BRANDS! Tag all the brands! You want them to see your photo and how beautiful you are and how sought after you are. After all, if they know you’re name, that’s when they’ll send you all of the free things.
  • To abide by the rule that you cannot ever post a picture of anyone but yourself. After all, people are going to come to your Instagram to see how beautiful and sexy you are. They don’t want to know that you have friends, or family. That’s not important.
  • To write long, meaningful, deep captions about how difficult it is to be so beautiful and how hard your life is because you have to deal with all sorts of things that we aren’t aware of and that you’ll never talk about.
  • To always stand in front of the most plain background possible! This will make face-tuning your entire body easier. Face-tuning with cobblestone streets in the background gives away that you’ve been editing yourself. Standing in front of that famous pink wall in LA? No one will ever know that you shaved twelve inches off your waist!
  • If you’re going to post an ad, please make sure that you post the most elaborate or contentious ad that you can possibly think of! That’s how people are gong to remember it! Scored an advertisement for coffee creamer? PERFECT! Take that creamer on a run with you and snap that photogenic picture at the top of the the hill, overlooking fields of green and beautiful landscape all behind you. People are going to ask themselves ‘WHY, WHY, WHY?’ so much, they’ll remember your ad, and that product. Get it, girl.
  • Workout pictures are a must. Because you must look like you’re working out at least five days per week. Aesthetic is everything.
  • If you can bleach your hair, it wouldn’t hurt. You don’t have to… but if you do, you’ll stand out more among all the other’s who have bleached hair.
  • Make sure that you’re never seen in the same outfit twice. Reusing outfits is unacceptable. This world is about hyperconsumerism… so get on board and do not, under any circumstances, rock the boat.
  • Any time that you can take a picture of yourself on a plane is a definite bonus. You need to make other’s jealous of your life! If you cannot afford to travel, have no fear. There are now people who ‘pimp out’ their private planes for Instagram Influencers to rent in half-hour stints to get their travel photos taken! Bring a couple of outfits, change quickly and you can have content for the next six months if you’re smart about it!
  • Host a fake giveaway! Require everyone who enters to follow you, as well as everyone included in your caption! Then, have them tag six of their closest friends in the comments. All publicity is good publicity and people love the opportunity to earn free stuff!
  • Oh and you musn’t answer any comments that you get on your posts. Unless you want to be mean. If you’re going to be mean, then definitely answer the comments. Tell people to butt out of your life, or that they’re too nosy or that they shouldn’t judge you. That ALWAYS goes over well.
  • Do it for the gram! Honestly, everything and anything you do, just make sure that you’re doing it with the mindset of what great Instagram photos you’re going to get. You’ll never go wrong, I promise you!

This list was inspired by a recent Instagram Account I found – ‘influencersinthewild’. If you’d like a good laugh, I strongly encourage you check it out!


Please note – Everything in this post is meant to be taken in a satirical sense. I am not Insta Famous, and honestly, I’m probably the last person you’d ever want to consult if you wanted to be Insta Famous. I genuinely don’t understand the Industry, or the human race for that matter.

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.

Doin’ it for the gram…

Instagram account: _jpanteado_

This Instagram famous location is the beautiful Pedro Do Telegrafo in Guaratiba (a neighbourhood/locale of Rio De Janeiro) Brazil.

It’s stunningly beautiful. I mean, look at it. People from all over the world flock to this location to take dare-devil’esque photos ‘for the gram’ and claim the clout. And they come in droves.

If you search this location on Instagram, you’ll see thousands of photos posted within the past week alone. I took a few screenshots of photos that were posted to Instagram within the past couple of days just to show how many people love to come here.

I know what you’re thinking (perhaps it was just me) – these people are either stupid, adventurous… or maybe both. Either way, I wouldn’t be casually hanging off a cliff for an Instagram photo.

Oh, but these people aren’t hanging off a cliff for an Instagram photo.

In all of the photos I’ve ever seen of this place, I’ve only ever seen one Instagram account post the truth to what this location actually is. Enter, photos from the Instagram account: explorerssaurus_. This couple travel the world taking photographs at Instagram famous locations and, they’re the ONLY people I’ve seen who posted the actual view of what this location is… reminding the world that Instagram isn’t always reality, and also showcasing the power of a good angle and good cropping on a photograph. Here are there photos:

First, Raquel and Miguel’s photo for ‘the gram’:

Instagram user: explorerssaurus_

Talk about a stunning photograph. The view, the scenery, the sheer adventurous spirit of putting your life in your partner’s hand and hanging off the edge of a cliff, and being willing to do so in your best bikini. The photo is stunning and absolutely ‘Insta-worthy’.

Here are Raquel and Miguel’s behind the scenes photos:

You can clearly see that Rauqel is just inches from the ground when she’s hanging, and can actually touch the ground. You can even see the photographers head in the bottom corner.

The power of a good angle, am I right? And the power of a good crop job.

Everyone who’s ever been ‘hanging off this cliff’ have been just inches from the ground beneath them, making sure to crop the photo just right so they can be the daredevil for the gram. Not so adventurous after all, if you ask me.

I guess this is just a little bit of reminder that you shouldn’t always believe everything you see on Instagram. Sometimes it’s a cliff, sometimes it’s just a rock on a hill, along a popular hiking trail.


Note: All Instagram usernames for the photos I used in this post were included in the captions of the photos. None of the photos are my own, which is why their Instagram usernames were included. Please feel free to follow them if you would like. I just borrowed their photos from Instagram to prove a point, but in doing so, still wanted to ensure they got credit.