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Instagram Faces More User Backlash as it Continues to Chase TikTok



Instagram Faces More User Backlash as it Continues to Chase TikTok

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding Instagram’s home feed, which is now littered with recommended posts from accounts that I don’t follow, less and less compelling these days.

As has been well documented, Instagram has been chasing the TikTok dragon, by trying to re-align its home feed around recommended content from across the app, which then gives it a far broader pool of compelling posts to highlight in each users’ feed. TikTok has seen great success with this approach, which expands the pool of content that it can choose from beyond each users’ immediate connections, with the top-performing content approach then facilitating a more compelling, engaging ‘For You’ feed experience.

Except, it hasn’t really worked that way on IG, with its shift to more recommendations sparking significant user backlash, which has since forced Instagram to scale back its approach.

And just last week, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri also admitted that it’s now also gone too far in pushing video in the app, which has turned even more users away.

So why hasn’t it worked – what does TikTok do better than Instagram in this respect, which makes its app compelling, while repelling IG users?

Part of it is expectation, and Instagram looking to shift away from what it once was. Instagram users have come to expect a certain experience in the app, and that makes it harder for IG to pull away from it – and thus far, the platform has been moving too quickly in its various pivots, which has annoyed users.

Instagram can still do this, it just needs to move more slowly. Which is what it’s now looking to do, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg still expecting to see AI recommendations double in the app over the next year. That’ll likely still annoy many Insta users, but if Instagram shifts to a more gradual integration, ramping up its recommendations and video pushes over time, it could still work, and enable IG to merge into TikTok’s territory.

It’s just that TikTok is still growing, really fast, and you can imagine that Mosseri and Co. will be feeling the pressure to keep up where they can, which is being hampered by user backlash.

But there is another element that’s often overlooked in TikTok’s rise – though many studies and research reports have clearly highlighted this as a significant concern.

TikTok, for better or worse, utilizes base human desires as a growth engine in the app. In other words, TikTok highlights a lot of half-dressed young men and women, as a means to maximize engagement, which Instagram doesn’t, at least not in the same way.

In my personal experience, TikTok has repeatedly pushed videos of bikini-clad young girls into my feed, despite my direct indications that I am not interested in this content. Of course, I’m well aware that this is algorithm based, and that the app will only show you more or less of what you engage with. But in this case, I have deliberately indicated to the app, in every instance, that I’m not interested in such, via the available prompts, as a means to test whether they keep coming up regardless. And they do – TikTok knows that this type of content will keep people coming back, despite the fact that it’s exposing these users in ways that are not entirely healthy.

That’s been the core criticism from many child health and safety advocates, who believe that TikTok promotes sexualized content at the expense of young users, many of whom are left with mental health issues as a result.

According to the American Psychological Association, the sexualization of girls directly correlates with difficulties in developing a ‘healthy sexual self-image’:

“Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women – eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.

TikTok feeds into such behaviors by pushing this type of content into user feeds, even if, as noted, they haven’t expressed an interest in such. My personal experience is anecdotal, but various other studies have found the same:

“Trends on TikTok are especially prone to this, and many young girls have taken to participating in trends that require a hypersexualisation of themselves, their attitudes and personalities, and their bodies. One might argue that some of these trends promote “body confidence”, however, the nature of these challenges involves the components of sexualisation that the American Psychological Association outlines.”

Where TikTok may be particularly harmful in this respect is in its advanced AI and entity identification, which enables it to show people more videos that they might like based on very specific traits.

Back in 2020, a leaked internal document showed that TikTok moderators had been instructed to suppress content that featured people who were ‘too ugly, poor, or disabled for the platform’. TikTok has said that such regulations were quickly removed from its guidance, but the very concept that TikTok is even able to do this, based partly on algorithm identification, suggests that its systems are able to use such parameters as ranking tools – which means that TikTok can, and likely does, use physical traits like this to show people more of what the like, and less of what they don’t.

In other words, TikTok’s AI can detect physical elements, and use them as matching parameters, in order to keep users scrolling. Extrapolate that to different body types, exposed skin, hair, eyes, etc.

That then opens up a whole other area of concern. 

As explained by BuzzFeed:

One of the most popular kinds of videos from TikTok’s users, who are mostly young and female, are lip-synch videos, where they dance and sing along with their favorite songs. These performances are sometimes sexualized by older men who lurk on the app, sending the young creators explicit messages and, in some cases, remixing the videos and dancing along with them via a TikTok feature called “duet.” And the platform doesn’t just overlook this kind of conduct, its core mechanics inadvertently facilitate it. It learns what you like and shows you more and more of it. It also reacts in real time, delivering an endless stream of similar videos, even if you aren’t logged in.”

In other words, if creepy lurkers keep liking videos of youngsters dancing, they’re going to keep coming up on his or her ‘For You’ page, while they’ll also be more specifically highlighted based on physical traits and types.

Instagram doesn’t match content in the same way, and while there are also issues with over-sexualization on IG as well, TikTok weaponizes this, in ways that Meta likely wouldn’t even risk, in fear of being taken to task in the media.

But TikTok gets away with it because of its personalized algorithms, because many users are afraid to point this out, for fear of exposing their own usage behaviors. But it seems like more than that – TikTok uses this as a key growth strategy, again utilizing carnal desires to lure people in, and keep them scrolling through the app.

In this sense, TikTok is not as harmless as viral dance trends might make it seem – though this also means that it’ll likely remain ahead of Instagram in this respect, at least for the time being.

Until IG takes a similar approach, and pushes more of this type of content into more user feeds, or TikTok gets pulled up on such as it allows more access into its algorithms.

Though I suspect that TikTok will resist opening up its black box of entity identification for this reason, which will enable it to keep on rising, while fueling more concerning trends.

That puts IG in an increasingly difficult position – but you can bet that Meta’s growing army of lobbyists in Washington will be pushing this angle at every opportunity.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024



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.


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?




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



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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