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How to Manage Personal Social Media Interaction for Health During Stressful Times

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how to manage personal social media interaction for health during stressful times

There’s a lot of stressful information to process right now, with various, significant events taking up a significant portion of our mind space at different times.

At a broad level, we’re dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the response to that pandemic, the politicization of that response, and key decisions that have to be made about school and work. In addition to this, we’re also facing tough questions about the inequalities, and disparities between groups in this country, then the subsequent protests caused by those inequalities and disparities. And then, adding another layer top of that, there’s an election coming up which looks set to be divisive and contentious.

And this is before you consider more personal, day-to-day stresses and impacts that each person is facing along the way.

It’s a lot, and a lot of the discussion about such is happening on social media platforms. And as you likely already know, these discussions can add to your stress levels, which is not always healthy.

In this post, I’m going to look at some of the warning signs that social media interaction may be adding more stress to your life, and outline some strategies for managing social media interaction to reduce stress, while also avoiding reactionary behavior that can damage long term friendships. 

Signs social media is stressing you out

Here are some signs that social media interaction may be stressing you out:

  • Inability to fall asleep or waking up thinking about social media posts or your responses to them
  • Angry displays such as yelling at, or throwing your device in response to a post or comments
  • Calling people names, making personal negative comments in posts, comments, and replies in ways that you never did before all of this started
  • Having angry discussions about posts or comments in real life, or even ending relationships with friends because of such

There are plenty of articles out there about how stress manifests itself on social media, but I didn’t research any of them. I’ve seen all of these behaviors in myself and my online friends over the last months, and it’s getting worse.

Have you seen this type of behavior?

The more dangerous part of social media stress

What I have researched before, and what you may not know about, is that there is a far more dangerous aspect to social media-related stress.

A good post by Helpguide.org lists it as a vicious cycle:

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We’re all in a stressful time with everything that’s happening right now. At this point, many of us are isolated due to stay at home orders and social distancing, so we’re turning more and more to social media to stay in touch.

As the cycle above shows, that might be more hurtful than helpful. 

Beware the “echo chamber” but focus on your health

We, largely unconsciously, tend to put ourselves in “echo chambers” on social media by friending, following, and interacting with like-minded people.

This has been a problem for years, and came to a head around the 2016 election as this post points out. I always recommend looking at other viewpoints, and doing so via reputable news sources, rather than social media, but if those opposing viewpoints are increasing the stress, anxiety, and anger in your life, it might be time to focus on your health. 

Social media choices for reducing stress and improving mental health

Social media interaction doesn’t need to be an “all or nothing” proposition, and there are different degrees of actions you can take to reduce the negatives of social media.

You can try each of these to see if, and how much they help:

  • Stop doing the things that cause bad interactions – If your posts and comments are getting you into arguments, or getting you angry, stop posting and commenting.  Become a lurker for a while and just consume content.
  • Unfollow friends you disagree with – If particular friends or contacts annoy you, unfollow them. You won’t see their posts, although you may still see their replies to other posts. Facebook enables you to unfollow, or pause a friend for 30 days just to get their posts out of your feed. 
  • Unfollow friends who can’t stop talking about things that stress you out – Stress comes from what people say, but it’s the topics being discussed that create the stressful context. Consider unfollowing anyone who constantly discusses topics that give you stress. 
  • Do a social media detox – Stepping away is one of the best ways to clear out the emotional baggage from stressful interactions on social media, as it removes you entirely from that environment. How do you then keep in touch? Pick up a phone. Have social distanced coffee. Engage in real human interaction, I think you’ll find people are much better in person than online.
  • Unfriend – I caution people to think about why they friended someone in the first place, before 2020 came down on your heads, before unfriending someone. If it’s strong, maybe keep them as a friend, but do a social media detox. Again, even if you unfriend someone, you still may see their comments and replies on other people’s posts you read.
  • Unfollow en masse – If a lot of people are raising your stress level, consider unfollowing them all and clearing out your feed. 
  • Unfriend en masse – This is drastic, and you should consider detoxing rather than doing this. 

There are two key points I’d like you to take away from this:

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If you unfollow someone, stop participating, or do a detox, some of your friends may be mean about it, call you a baby, say you can’t handle it, or even claim victory for their point of view in an effort to bait you back in.

If the house is on fire, you get out of the house. There’s no shame in it. Also, people who do those things are the ones you should unfriend.

The other key point:

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Encouraging humanity in the digital world

The following is based on a session at INBOUND17 that resonated the most with me. It was by Brene Brown and it, in my opinion, is worth considering more today than it was then. 

My wife warned me that Brene had a reputation for laying down the truth in a way that makes you think, and she did just that. She discussed the trends we’ve all seen on social media networks, including the “echo chamber” effect where people surround themselves with like-minded thinkers, which leads to intolerance towards anyone with a different opinion. She shared statistics about how people today feel more alone despite how connected we are.

Then she shared this key point.

Brene and her family live in Houston, and they had been caught up in the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Brene showed pictures of the Cajun Navy that helped rescue the people in her neighborhood, she showed a picture of her husband making his way through the waist-deep water to get an elderly neighbor and her two dogs out of her house to safety.

Brene’s key point in this:

“No one asked anyone who they voted for, they asked how they could help.”

The true connection of the human spirit. Our humanity.

Unfortunately, practicing our humanity is not the trend in the digital world. The problems described above are the trend. We have all, every one of us, contributed to it. It’s time we stopped being part of the problem, and in every digital interaction, no matter how small, nor how upset we are, seek out our better selves.

It’s there. I have many friends on social media who I ardently disagree with. I also know that if I put out a genuine plea for help, they would show up. Our better selves are there, it shouldn’t take a disaster for us to show it.

We should strive to show it every day, and in every online interaction.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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