All Articles Tagged "social media"

Make A Real Connection: Why I Have To Periodically Unplug From Social Networks

April 3rd, 2014 - By La Truly
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I do realize that social networking is necessary for many of us in 2014, even for work purposes sometimes, but that trips me out. To be consistently connected to multiple social networks, millions of people, tons of information, gossip, data, and new technology is exciting on the surface. Being a writer, I have spent many hours in conversation on Twitter, scrolled through political news sites, gossip blogs, fashion blogs, social activist sites, etc. Great things have stemmed from such connected-ness. I have met some of the most inspiring people via Twitter. My views on love, religion, politics, social activism, and even fashion have expanded as a result of this connected-ness.

However, we are increasingly forgetting how to make an actual connection because we’re so busy trying to keep up appearances online. Of the few get-togethers I’ve attended in the past few months, it was amazing how much of the time was dedicated to taking pictures and videos and not actually enjoying the moment, the people, the food, and the conversation.

Here are a few reasons why I believe it is so very important to unplug from social media at least once per week:

1. Unplug to relax! Studies show that sleeping with cell phones nearby is bad for relaxation and a good night’s rest because the radiation given off by the phone interferes with the amount of rest needed to awake refreshed.

2. Unplug to have an actual conversation! Sometimes we get so caught up in the convenience of text messages, Instagram, and other social networks that we neglect time (REAL TIME) together, in the flesh. Sit down for a cup of coffee with friends. Break bread at your favorite restaurant. Host a game night and leave all tech devices in another room. Human interaction is being lost because we’re more about convenience than actual connection.

3. Unplug to make something! It’s 2014 and that means that for whatever issue, concern or pressing need – there is some piece of technology or ready-made object that will come to our rescue, making our lives a little easier. The only problem with that is that we are losing our abilities to assess situations and create things ourselves. Even activities like camping have lost their sense of “roughing it” and ruggedness with ready-made fires and tents that can charge our electrical devices. Why not spend a weekend taking a pottery class or building a treehouse? Or what about re-purposing a bookshelf or learning how to upcycle a piece of clothing? If all of technology crashed tomorrow, how many of us would still be able to make it?

4. Unplug to control what you allow into your space. Social networks can be pretty lawless. Anything and everything can come floating down your Twitter timeline depending on who you follow and who they follow and so on. Sometimes it’s good to walk away from social networks to think about what you see daily. Is there a lot of negativity on your social networks? People arguing with no resolution? NSFW videos? Constant gossip? Being mindful of the things we let into our space – even our virtual space – is important to living a healthy and happy life.

5. Unplug to notice life. All the time I hear the stories about people who regret working so much because they missed out on so many important events in the lives of their families. They express such regret and feel such agony realizing that they can’t get back that time. That’s not so different from how all-encompassing technology can be. I can’t count the times that I’ve missed seeing amazing things because I was staring down at my phone. Rainbows. Animals not native to my geographic location. Hilarious interactions between other people. The moment someone walks into their surprise party. Life can pass us by while we’re “checking in” on Facebook, but we don’t have to let it.

La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and check out her site: www.hersoulinc.com.

Grammy-Nominated Carolyn Malachi Uses Technology (And Bitcoin) To Further Her Brand

March 31st, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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Photo: Samuel Copeland

Photo: Samuel Copeland

Carolyn Malachi isn’t your average artist. The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter has garnered a large following of fans (her tribe, as she affectionately refers to them) with a sound that merges jazz, hip-hop, R&B and spoken word. But that’s not the only reason Malachi, the great-granddaughter of jazz pianist John Malachi, is in her own lane. It’s the fact that the Washington D.C. native enjoys and truly understands the worlds of technology and social media.

Always looking for innovative ways to market her music, Malachi is the first known recording artist to accept Bitcoin payments for her music, giving more people access to her most recent album, Gold, and her catalog of music—a win-win situation for both the songstress, fans and the digital currency company. Her tech and social-savvy ways have led to Flipboard recognition, placing her in its Creator Spotlight section, making her the first African American to be spotlighted by the social magazine platform. She has an Argo Tea partnership that gave customers access to stream Malachi’s entire album from their homepage, as well as a free song download to its patrons through their social media page. And she has a collaboration with social commerce platform Shopcade, which gave a fan the opportunity to style her for the music video “All Right,” a summer appearance on “The Daily Buzz” and a live performance.

We could go on and on about Malachi’s tech know-how and sure her 20.8K Twitter followers could co-sign, but we spoke with the artist to see how she’s used technology to further her brand, why Bitcoin is her new currency of choice and which items she considers her favorite tech tools.

MadameNoire: What peaked your interest in technology and STEM overall?

Carolyn Malachi: The technology at our fingertips enhances our lives. While we know this, we also know very little about how it works. I see STEM as a way of empowering each of us with the skill to engineer real-time solutions to real-time issues.

MN: The music industry has changed tremendously due to technology. Whereas some have chosen to work against the change, you’ve completely embraced it. Why is that?

CM: Consider the first printed sheet music. Think of vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, MP3s — each of these technological developments, while giving the music consumer greater access to the music they loved, also had an economic impact on the music creators. Embracing technology has kept me ahead of the curve. History says that technology will always be with the people. That is where I choose to be.

MN: One platform you seem to be quite fond of is Bitcoin. How have you used Bitcoin? What does it offer you as an entrepreneur and artist?

CM: I began accepting Bitcoin for music sales in October 2013. Because no bank or government regulates the cryptocurrency, I can sell my CDs to people who live in countries where traditional forms of payment are not accepted. When I see that songs like “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Free Your Mind” have reached people around the world, in physical CD format, I smile.

MN: What are your favorite tech tools/gadgets?

CM: Creative collaborations require frequent communication. WhatsApp meets my mobile messaging needs. I have many, domestic and abroad.

I have yet to meet a studio microphone that picks up the extreme lows and highs of my voice with the clarity and warmth of the Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone (the Aston Martin of studio mics). I need a live-performance mic with the same capability.

Coinbase is a digital wallet. I use it to accept Bitcoin for music sales.

MN: How has tech allowed you to take your brand to the next level?

CM: Well, a brand can only thrive if the real product is in top shape. Trying new tech, then adopting the tech that works for me, enhances my creative process. It reinforces the value of trial-and-error. Knowing what works is just as important as knowing what does not. That awareness keeps the music authentic.

MN: What’s next for you? Any announcements we should be on the lookout for?

CM: Absolutely! ​The NCAA invited me to sing the national anthem at the 2014 Women’s Final Four in Nashville. Playing college basketball at Shepherd University gave me the foundation for a successful music career. Still with me are the values I learned as a student athlete: teamwork, precision, endurance, and vision. It is nice to see things come full circle.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites

Engagement Over Everything: 5 Tips To Build A Strong Social Media Following

March 20th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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For many, social media is seen as a numbers game. How many followers/fans do you have? How many shares did you receive in the last 24 hours?

Yes, it’s true, you should be familiar with your social media statistics, especially if you’re looking to monetize off your presence, but it’s more than a scramble for followers—and more followers after that. Familiarize yourself with the stats, but don’t socialize content and messaging for the sole purpose of receiving a check or some other quick return. Remember: Social media was designed primarily to facilitate conversations, so don’t talk at your followers/fans, engage with them.

All situations are different so there is no one-size-fits-all model to engaging with your followers. However, whether you’re a social media rookie or a pretty seasoned social stan, these tips will help you garner traction and ignite conversations on your social networking sites:

Listen up!: It’s natural to want to jump in head first into the social pool, but let your strategy serve as your floaties. You’ll need it to sustain you if you want to reap the benefits of your hard work. There’s a lot of noise in the world of social media, but you can use one of several tools to help you hone in on your audience’s conversations. Hootesuite is a personal favorite of mine, and TweetReach and Klout round out my top three. Social listening will give you greater insight into what your audience is thinking, feeling and reacting to, as well as the topics they engage most around.

Keep it real: Whether you believe it or not, everyone can sense a phony on social media.  The secret to curbing this is simply being yourself. You can definitely show off your expertise. But if you don’t know something, be honest. Sharing your knowledge on certain topics will create trust in your brand.

Also, if you tweet/message something that needs correcting, keep the original and note the change in the next message. For example, on Twitter, you can place “MT” before the tweet, which means modified tweet.

Social media etiquette…please learn and practice it: Asking people to follow you or to help you get more followers is a huge no-no. I recently received a request to help someone get more followers and thought, “If you have to ask, chances are I want no parts of it.” Even if I did, I’m giving you the side-eye now. Let your presence speak for itself. If people want to share, they will. If you notice that your messaging isn’t effective, revisit and make changes where you see fit.

Build community: Commonalities bring people together. Start a list on Twitter, or a group on LinkedIn based on a common cause, interest or goal. Bringing people together under a common area of interest will further establish you as a trusted source for information.

Don’t stop: Last, but certainly not least, keep the conversation going. It’s a commitment you’re making with your followers, so, if you can’t dedicate a significant amount of time to your social presence, you might want to reevaluate that strategy. You don’t have to be on every single platform—pick the ones that best suit you and your brand. Also, tools like Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts. However, people can tell the difference between messages that are scheduled and those created on the spot. A dead giveaway is a message that’s gone unattended for hours. Don’t let that be you.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites

How Social Media Is Ruining Your Relationship

March 4th, 2014 - By Ashley Page
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Social Media Is Ruining Your Relationship

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When you’re in a relationship, social media is one of those things that you love, but at the same time you can easily grow to hate. While the latest apps and social networking sites may make your life easier, more convenient, and much more interesting, they may each be taking a toll on your relationship. Here are some signs social media is ruining your relationship and what you can do about it.

Is Chatwala Going to Be the Best New Way to Share Your Baby Videos?

February 26th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Mommy Noire 

It seems like every new app or social network is for the kids, but grown-ups have a reason to get excited about Chatwala. The recently launched app, available on iOS and Google Play, lets you make a video, send it to someone, and then see their reaction.

Chatwala picks up where Instagram and Vine videos leave off. You can post a video of your baby doing something adorable but likes don’t show how happy aunties are to see your little one take her first steps. Let’s say daddy’s at work and he’s missing the sweetest thing your little one did. You can send him a video with Chatwala and watch his face light up, rather than him just texting back “LOL! Cute!”

Read more about Chatwala at MommyNoire.com 

Should I Have Issues With My Man’s Instagram Likes?

February 8th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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My parents probably laugh at what we call relationship problems today, but the truth is social media has created more reasons for couples to over-analyze and obsess and create even more insecurities.

As I was scrolling through my Instagram activity the other night I couldn’t help but notice that radio personality Big Tigger had liked a video with two women looking like they were about to showcase their skills on a sex toy.  It looked rated XXX so I didn’t even bother playing it, but I instantly thought, “Damn, isn’t he dating Keshia Knight-Pulliam?”  Now I’m not saying that man can’t like a girl’s picture without being attracted to her, and it’s far from cheating, but I can’t help but feeling like your partner’s social media behavior in many ways is a reflection of you.

This isn’t the first time Big Tigger has double tapped on pictures of KING-cover wannabes bent over displaying their behinds and/or breasts as the best part of their anatomy.  But in the next instant he’s posting photos of the new kicks he’s bought for Keshia. I don’t know about other women but I’d be bothered if my man’s social media consisted primarily of pictures of parading unclothed women and girls twerking and swinging on poles.  A man’s going to be a man, but can he do so a little more privately?

Maybe it’s not that serious.  I’ve clicked on plenty of pics of French bulldogs dressed in bow ties and Angela Simmon’s shoes without putting a whole lot thought into making that gray heart red.  That’s the thing about Instagram that I think cheapens it as a communication tool: It doesn’t require much thought or energy.  It doesn’t actually reflect what’s truly important to anyone.  I mean at least Twitter forces you to be clever in 140 characters.  Instagram unites the best of both worlds for those without much to contribute to social media or otherwise:  It allows people to sit in look pretty for those who are limited to visual stimulation.  Does that make me love it any less? No, but let’s be honest, Instagram is not the place to form the deepest connections.

With that said, I’m not encouraging girlfriends everywhere to clock their man’s Instagram behavior, but I‘m also reminding people about yet another way social media seriously can impact your reputation and the people you actually have authentic, real-life relationships with.  Don’t blame Twitter or Instagram for an already unhealthy relationship either.  What social media does have the potential to do is weaken an already unstable bond.  If you have a man who truly respects you, he’ll do so whether it’s in person or on his online profile.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

 

I Love That Commercial! Retired Icons & Mascots To Remember

January 31st, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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twitter-fail-whaleRemember Twitter’s “Fail Whale” icon?  Like a lot of other iconic figures, it may not have been fully appreciated during its life, but now, with its absence, it can’t be forgotten.

When it comes to television commercials, however, some of the faces and voices behind the brands you love have been known to become just as iconic. With the Super Bowl upon us, the largest advertising event of the year, it’s a good time to take a look back at those icons and mascots we all know and love.

Here are nine personalities who, like Twitter’s Fail Whale, charmed audiences from the very beginning of their inception to their early retirement.

#EpicFail: Tweets That Made The World Go “What Were You Thinking?”

January 31st, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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It can take just one tweet to unravel years of friendship or to turn a celebrity that never knew you were alive to a ball of rage. Then there are those tweets to beat all other tweets: the ones where employees and potential employees spoil all of the chances they ever had for respect, a promotion or a job, and make you go, “What in the world were they thinking?” Here are nine tweets of epic fail proportions that will make you cringe.

 

MN Business Tip Of The Day: Tweet Your Way To The Top

January 31st, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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PiXXart / Shutterstock.comtwitter

 

Ask yourself, “Am I using Twitter efficiently?” While some use Twitter as a fun form of social media interaction and many more use it as a means of promoting a business, there is still room for those of us who fall somewhere in the middle.

Working at your 9-to-5 doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to use Twitter to give your career a nudge. One of the best things to do is begin following people within your industry: people in your upper-management team, co-workers, and even customers who patronize the company you work for. This will give you insight into the minds of those you serve as well as the people you work with each and every day.

Using WeFollow.com will help you find high-profile people in your industry to also follow. Joining topic lists for your industry is another good idea to get aware of what is going on. Join in discussions about hot or trending topics for which you have a great deal of knowledge or passion for. Pepper your discussions with hashtags to allow others to easily find you and bring you to the forefront of searches. Tweet something fresh at least twice a day to remain part of the conversations going on within your industry. By fostering your presence online you can cultivate the image of being an expert in a particular area, which will go a long way toward propelling your career.  

Social Media Got You Feeling The Fear Of Missing Out? 4 Ways To Fight FOMO

January 30th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
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We’ve all been there before. In a moment of habit, boredom or perhaps pure nosiness, we find ourselves at home scrolling through Instagram or clicking through Facebook and then you see it. A photo of your friends having a great time without you.

If it weren’t for the fact that the photo was in your feed, you’d be perfectly happy in your moment — perhaps a quiet evening at home after a long week, or time at your home office researching for a new business idea. But in one brief swipe, you’re feeling left out of a night to remember.

If you’ve ever had this feeling, you’re not alone. There’s even a name for it: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

We’re all aware of that “grass is always greener” saying, but this inadequate feeling is amplified through social media. Add to that, reports show that black people are the most active when it comes to social networks: 73 percent of black internet users are on social media, compared with 72 percent of whites according to the Pew Research Center. This number increases to 96 percent of blacks vs. 90 percent of whites when we look specifically at young people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Don’t be overcome by this feeling. Here are a few tips to overcome FOMO:

Awareness. As with anything, the first step is awareness. Realize that you may be feeling a bit jealous, awkward, or left out because of what you are seeing in photos. Otherwise, everything else for you is just fine and dandy.

Put It In Perspective. There’s a quote that I like to reference on this topic: “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” You never know what is behind someone’s smile. Realize people are typically sharing the best moments. If you see someone jetting off to a dream destination, perhaps what you don’t see are the long layovers they had to endure, or the months of working a second shift to afford the trip. What you see on social media is often the end result of a contrived, perfectly angled, filtered version of reality. It is not the whole truth and is rarely an accurate depiction of a person’s lifestyle.

Be In The Moment. It may sound cliche, but appreciate your journey and where you are in this moment. If you decided to pass on dinner with your friends, there must be a valid reason. Remember that reason and be happy that you have the willpower to know your limits whether it be your energy or your wallet.

If you’re seeing everyone out at something you were not invited to, then realize it wasn’t meant for you to be there. Who are you with right now? Enjoy them. What do you have going on? It might not be Instagram-worthy, but it’s still a valid experience — just not one that needs to be validated by likes or comments.

Use It As Inspiration. Maybe you come across something you admire on your feed. That can serve as fuel for you to up the ante in your own life or career. Instead of allowing the feeling to serve as a source of fear or jealousy, let the moments serve as visual proof that achieving a dream is possible.

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