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.

All about hashtags.

Hashtags… they’ve been around since the inception of Twitter, but how many of us use them? And if we are using them, how do we know we’re using them properly?

The following are some tidbits with respect to the use of hashtags and social media. Please keep in mind that people have vastly different opinions with respect to how to use hashtags and what they’re important for, so if you disagree with my thoughts that is totally okay. Do what you believe is best for your blog and take these as nothing more than suggestions.

Also, if you’re not seeking social media growth, this post likely won’t have any relevance to you, so you can stop reading right here.

What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a label used on social media sites to make it easier for people to find content within a theme, when one is looking for specific content.

Why use a hashtag?
Plain and simply, hashtags work. If you want your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook post to be seen, a hashtag provides the opportunity for more people than just your followers to find it. Hashtags help you build a brand, engage with new people, readers, customers (depending on what you’re using your social media profiles for) and grow your profile.

General tidbits with respect to hashtags:

  1. Don’t be an asshole. If you’re posting a photo of a waterfall, don’t tag your photo #JustinBieber. If you’re posting a tweet that contains parenting advice, don’t tag your post #CurlyHair. These hashtags aren’t relevant. And, with enough shit to weed through on social media already, you’ll likely not garner any new readers/viewers by misusing hashtags, and piss off the ones you’ve got because they’ll get annoyed reading your misusing of hashtags.
  2. On Twitter – stick to using only one or two hashtags per tweet. You can differ from tweet to tweet, but don’t fill a single tweet with ten hashtags. People who do stumble across said tweet with ten hashtags are likely to scroll right past it because there are too many hashtags.
  3. On Instagram – you’re able to post up to thirty hashtags per one photo. You don’t need to post a full thirty hashtags, but, the option is there if you would like to. Typically, 10-15 is a good place to start. Whichever hashtags you select, choose some extremely popular ones, and some less popular ones. A variation between the two means that, for the popular hashtag you run the chance of a lot of people seeing your post immediately, and that for the less popular hashtag, your post has the chance of staying at top of page (or near top) for longer.
  4. On Instagram – post your hashtags in your caption, not in your first comment. People tend to argue about this suggestion often, but I stick to my opinion, and Forbes agrees. (HAHA) Honestly though, the moment you post a photo to Instagram, your photo is being inserted into the Instagram Algorithm. Even if it only takes you two minutes to go in and add your hashtags to the first comment, that’s two minutes the algorithm has been placing your photo that your hashtags haven’t been helping. People say it looks prettier to post hashtags in the comment, versus the caption. What I say to that, though, is that hashtags are meant to be functional, not beautiful. Furthermore, if you’re posting ads or sponsored content on Instagram, that notification of #AD needs to be front and centre for people to see so they know the content they’re viewing was bought and paid for.
  5. On Facebook – stick to hashtags that are in line with your branding. Facebook is the platform in which hashtags are used the least of all social media platforms. For this reason, I would recommend you keep your hashtags related to your branding. Using my blog for example, the advice would be to skip tagging #Anxiety and use #MillennialLifeCrisis instead.

What is a branding hashtag and what can it do?
A branding hashtag is something specific to you and your blog, or you and your business. This is something that you use across all platforms that you belong to, as a means for cohesive integration between all platforms. Branding hashtags can be as simple as your blog’s name.

Say, for instance your blog name is ‘Blog of the Wolf Boy‘ (using you as an example, Mathew, because it was the first thing that came to mind!), a branding hashtag for any posts that you made on social media could be as simple as #BlogOfTheWolfBoy. If you have a twitter account, an instagram account a facebook account, etc… using #BlogOfTheWolfBoy across all platforms can help each of these platforms appear when someone googles Blog Of The Wolf Boy.

Perhaps you have an Instagram account under the same name as your blog. When you google your blog’s name, does your Instagram account appear second or third or fourth on the list? If not, a hashtag specifically branded to your blog could help with this.

An example of a brand that uses this practice is Oreo. If you google #Oreo, the first few pages that come up are their website, their twitter account and their instagram account. Yes, they are a massive company, but if you’re looking for blog growth, imagine how convenient it would be to have all of your links appear just like Oreo’s does when someone is trying to find you!

If you want to make the most out of your hashtags, I recommend doing your research. Every industry, ever blog niche, every culture, has valuable hashtags and hashtags that aren’t worth much of anything. If you want to make the most out of your posts and are seeking growth on your social media platforms, then do some research about what popular hashtags are used within your niche. There are plenty of websites that will rank hashtags if you put in buzzwords. IE: You’d type in “Mom” and it would give you a list of the top 50 hashtags that contain the word “Mom”… such as #MomLife, #MomBlog, #Momageddon, and so on and so forth.

Good luck!

Instagram vs Reality

Instagram is a tricky beast. I love sharing photos and I love looking at photos, whether they’re of people, places or things, but I am also abundantly aware of how fake the platform is.

There are some incredibly creative people in this world, people who quite literally share their talents with the world thanks to Instagram. But, for the most part, the platform seems to be a beauty worshiping pit of vanity. So I have always been hesitant to share photos for fear of feeding the beast.

A few days ago I stumbled about an YouTube video made by someone from Vancouver who spent nearly 45 minutes going through her perfectly curated Instagram feed to talk the truth behind the beautiful photos and catchy captions she’d been posting for years.

With 2.1 million Instagram followers, hearing the truth behind her photos was actually quite shocking. As much as you know people aren’t truthful with their Instagram accounts, you tend to just envision people’s lives as perfect because… well because that’s what they want you to think. But her life, well it’s far from perfect. I was quite shocked about how far from perfect it was. But I found myself respecting her so much more after knowing the actual truth behind her photos.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some photos on Instagram and, in the comments, sharing two captions. Firstly, I’ll share the caption I would write if I were trying to make my life look perfect, and secondly I’ll share the reality of what was going on at that point in my life when I took the photo.

And, if anyone else wants to include this ‘Instagram vs Reality’ captions on their photos too, let me know and I’ll follow your Instagram.

Honestly, while I think my life is far from interesting, by any means, I do live in Canada and this entire country is basically the equivalent of a ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcard. So, I do have some pretty beautiful photos. But, as with all things in life, there’s two sides to every story…. Instagram versus Reality.

Why I dislike ‘Influencers’.

This is a subject that I’m really passionate about. I dislike the term ‘Influencer’. I dislike promoting ‘Influencers’, but I will talk about a couple in this post, or examples sake. I just don’t think they deserve the publicity they get. I dislike the fact that they claim their fame willingly and are happy to reap the rewards of said fame, but hold very little accountability when it comes to the things they do.

  1. Influence is a powerful thing and something that should never be taken for granted, yet I find that so many influencers really don’t give a damn about that fact. They’re just out for money. And damn, if they have a large enough following it doesn’t even seem like they have to work for that money. It just seems to get handed to them. Vegans promoting meat, minimalists promoting stockpiling, devout Christians exclaiming their followers should save themselves for marriage whilst sitting there unmarried and pregnant. It’s a weird, weird world, the internet.
  2. They seem very entitled. “I don’t owe you guys anything” is a statement that really annoys me when I’m watching Youtube videos. You choose to put yourself online. You choose to sell yourself to the likes of coffee creamers and adult diapers for a dollar and then when someone asks you questions the answer is ‘I don’t owe you guys anything’? If you don’t want to owe anyone a response, don’t make the statement to start with.
  3. They seem so disingenuous. There is one particular ‘Influencer’ who I watched peddle a product on their Instagram in four separate photos talking about how amazing it was and how it blew competitors out of the water. Two months later, I saw them make a Youtube video in which they proclaimed they had never actually tried that product. Girl was getting so many sponsored Instagram posts that she couldn’t even remember what she was sponsored for long enough to not put her foot in her mouth. And, when she was called out on it, for her Instagram photos, she deleted the Instagram photos and then began blocking those users calling her out. She presently has 3.7 million subscibers on Youtube and when anyone calls out her ‘slip-ups’, she blocks them. And honestly, she’s not a one off. It happens all the time. On Youtube channels big and small.
  4. Influencers promote mass consumption/over consumption. Honestly, the makeup, the clothing, the ‘HAULS’ the excess of everything that they need to have and brag about having… it’s not necessary. None of it is necessary. But, if you put a smile on your face and slap a filter on it, there’s always someone (a naive soul) on this earth who will spend their money on it.
  5. None of them appear to be making original content anymore. Have you ever watched a Youtube video before and thought ‘Man, I’ve seen this 30 times already!’ Yeah, that seems to happen a lot these days. Favourites videos and fashion hauls, so on and so forth… it’s all the same no matter what Youtube channel you watch.
  6. I absolutely despise when they post ‘Hauls’ and leave the tags visibly on the products because you know they’ve only purchased the things to make a video and then they’re sending the products right back. This isn’t just with clothes, it’s with makeup and toys and home goods and luxury goods. They want to make it look like they’re spending a lot of money when in reality, you’re never going to see that item again because it’s going right back to the store it came from.
  7. “Full transparency, this video is not sponsored, I’m just going to go on and on for the next eight minutes about how much I love this one particular product for no reason.” Full transparency doesn’t mean much to me on the web. People lie. All the time. Especially in the world of Youtube, especially with ‘Influencers’ who live in countries in which there are no regulations stating they need to acknowledge when content is sponsored. If you’re ever in doubt, there’s a 95% chance their content is sponsored.
  8. I wholeheartedly believe they’re given so much stuff that they lose sight of what basic things cost because they just don’t have to buy them anymore. There’s a good chance when an ‘Influencer’ claims something is affordable, it might be… for them… because they don’t buy anything anymore. But for us regular folk, it’s definitely not affordable.
  9. So much drama. Seriously – The majority of James Charles’ audience is young teenagers and look at all the shit he’s pulled this year! Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau held a fake marriage in Las Vegas and charged people $49.99 to watch a livestream of it. Nikita Dragun paid a male model to be her boyfriend. Jaclyn Hill released defective lipsticks and started insulting people when they called her out on it. There’s a reason why Gossip Channels have skyrocketed in popularity this year… it’s because they seem to be the only channels wiling to be transparent and honest.
  10. “I make more than a doctor.” Girl, we get it. You make a lot of money. That totally natural photo of you leaning out the window of your hotel in France to promote a lipstick we’ll never see you wear ever again probably pays you a quarter of my 2018 salary. And those adult diapers you claim to make your 9 and 10 year old kids wear on roadtrips because you don’t like to stop, probably boosted your pay to half my salary last year. None of it seems natural though. None of it seems even remotely real. And I hope that I’m not alone in thinking this.

Personally, I cringe when I see #AD #SP #Sponored #Partner or any other remotely similar thing included in Youtube Videos or Instagram post. It immediately makes me think ‘well, I know what the company told them to say, so how about I go and find a video or post that was not sponsored to be able to see a real review. Because these ‘Influencers’ have cornered the market of the very real reality that is people use google for review of products before they buy.

Men, women across the world are making millions of dollars advertising products to people online that they’ve never seen nor used and they’re being less than transparent about it. And not just money they’re getting either. They’re getting free trips, tickets to Coachella, being given vehicles and so on and so forth. It’s just not real. They’re chasing this fancy, exorbitant lifestyle so hard that they’re willing to sell anything in the process.

Think it’s just adults doing this? ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ is a multi-million dollar making seven year old that deceptively markets, through his Youtube channel (with help of his parents), a multitude of products to young school and preschool aged children in violation of rules from the FTC. It’s estimated that 90% of the content on the channel is sponsored, leaving just 10% to be organic genuine content. If adults have a hard enough time trying to determine what is and isn’t sponsored on Youtube, imagine how impossible that would be for a preschooler.

I guess the point of this rant is just to say, don’t believe everything that you read online. Odds are, if there’s money involved, there’s more to the story than what you’re being told.

Twitter and Instagram

I would like to boost the morale of my Twitter and Instagram feeds through finding new and exciting accounts. The feeds of both have been a tad down lately, with everything that’s going on in this world, and I just want to find some new accounts to brighten up m feed.

If you have a Twitter or an Instagram account and wouldn’t mind if I checked it out, please leave a comment with your username.

I just need some more sunshine in my life. You know what I mean?

(Oh, and if you want to check mine out, I am @ohmillennials on both Twitter and Instagram. Just in case you see me creeping your instagram stories)

Applying for jobs is a frustrating process.

I miss the days when you could walk into a place of employment and ask for an application. The wonderful soul working there would hand you a piece of paper and you could fill it out. That’s it, that’s all. And then, your ability to get an interview was measured based off what was listed on your application.

Those were the good ole days.

Yesterday I spent one hour and fourteen minutes submitting an application for ONE PLACE. ONE PLACE. They had my resume and cover letter submitted through LinkedIn. Once that was submitted I was sent an email exclaiming that I needed to “apply” and that those who applied had a 60% higher chance of getting an interview.

I thought that I had applied – silly me.

Nevertheless, I bit the bullet, clicked the link and started to ‘apply’. What followed was more than thirty minutes of every question that could, and should, actually be asked during a job interview. What would you bring to our team culture? If we have a staff game night, what game are you bringing? What is your biggest weakeness? And on, and on, and on.

This got me thinking… if you’re asking these questions to candidates during the application process, what do you actually ask during a job interview? Or do you even host an interview? Maybe you just make candidates jump through so many hoops that whoever is left standing at the end, you think ‘yeah, they put up with all that shit, we better hire them’.

Following the thirty minutes of job interview questions that I had to fill out, I thought ‘I’m done. Thank goodness’. I went on to researching more positions I’m qualified for and just a few short minutes later heard my phone beep with the email noise.

It was this company, again.

‘Please complete the pre-interview cognitive assessment test’, the email read. ‘Candidates who complete this test prove they’re intelligence and ability to work and therefore have advantages over candidates who don’t complete this assessment.’

Well, shit. I don’t want to have gotten this far into it and not completed the application now. So, I caved… clicked the link and started the test.

What I got was thirty minutes of infuriating math and pattern questions that have nothing to do with marketing, communications or public relations. My ability to determine what symbol comes next after a row of 20 symbols, that’s going to make me a better public relations specialist? My ability to remember the ‘FOIL’ technique to do timed math equations, that is going to make me a better marketer?

I don’t understand this company. I don’t. An ability to answer math questions or complete pattern recognition does not measure my culpability in an office environment. It does not tell you if I can write press releases, it does not explain whether or not I can handle stress. It tells you that I paid attention in math class when I was in school.

Job hunting is infuriating. When did it get this why? Why did it get this way? What is the point of even having a resume and cover letter anymore if all that really matters is how well you can jump through these hoops for a potential employer? What is my actual education and experience worth right now if pattern recognition is what makes me a beneficial employee to an organization?

I’m ranting. I know that. I know that I just need to suck it up and deal with it. I swear though, I swear right now that if I ever become a hiring manager or have a role that involves being a part of the hiring process in an organization EVER, I will make it simple. It will be basic. We will measure candidates for their qualifications and their education and we will be efficient. I’m not going to waste the time of job hunters. That pisses me off. I will do it better.

Okay, I better go back to my job hunting now. Crossing my fingers that it’s a little less infuriating today.

Side note – is instagram down right now? I can’t get on mine at all today. Or perhaps, maybe my account got blacklisted? I don’t know.

Okay, bye.