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Social media shaming is spiking during the coronavirus pandemic, for better or worse

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Big Brother is in your Facebook feed. And watching your Instagram account to see if you’re going anywhere besides the grocery store. And ready to troll you on Twitter for doing something selfish during the pandemic.

If you were part of the hordes that parked at Berthoud Pass last weekend to backcountry ski, we saw your car in the CDOT camera image that circulated online. Now the head of the state Department of Natural Resources, among others, is disappointed in you. “The pandemic is not a vacation,” agency executive director Dan Gibbs said, retweeting a photo of the snowy parking lot and paraphrasing the governor. “Selfish” was a popular response to the picture.

“PARENTS, WHERE ARE YOU?” shouted a Denver-area woman on Nextdoor, the ultimate neighbor-to-neighbor shaming platform even before the new coronavirus, complaining about a dozen high school-age kids playing volleyball. Another person threatened on Nextdoor to shoot pepper spray in the face of anyone who came too close on the trails.

Social media shaming obviously isn’t new, but it’s spiked during the outbreak of the new coronavirus. And while some of it is hurtful — and downright mean — it’s not all bad, say experts who have studied social media behaviors for years.

Gov. Jared Polis’ #DoingMyPartCO is essentially peer-pressuring Coloradans to stay inside, pick up takeout from local restaurants and get fresh air (close to home). If the fear of getting infected isn’t powerful enough, the possibility of having your photo taken and shared publicly is one more reason to stay home — or resist the urge to buy all the toilet paper and cans of soup.

Online shaming is spiriting a “reclamation of public responsibility,” said Lynn Schofield Clark, a professor at the University of Denver and chair of the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies.

“I think everyone is worried right now about people being out for themselves,” she said. “We are used to thinking for ourselves, and we are a country that values individual liberties and freedoms.” But now, “we are supposed to be part of a larger public and care for each other.”

And doing anything but staying home right now (unless you’re an essential worker) is likely not contributing to the public good.

On Facebook, a Colorado woman posted spring break photos from a beach vacation taken just as the new coronavirus reached Colorado. “Enjoy your 14 days of quarantine,” responded a friend. And Littleton neighbors who sat outside in their cul de sac last weekend, more than 6 feet apart in their own chairs, wondered if their quarantine party would show up on Nextdoor or Facebook for judgment after an unfriendly passerby stopped to take pictures with his smartphone.

Creede resident Clint Johnson has both dished it and received it. Johnson had shared jokes about the pandemic on social media and thought the stay-at-home order was “overkill,” but then he got COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. He knew he was in for some shaming when he revealed his news on Facebook last Friday.

He put it all out there anyway. “The sad thing is that I didn’t take it seriously at first so I honestly have no idea where I could have contracted it at or who I could have spread it to and for that I am truly sorry,” he wrote. The vast majority of folks replied with encouraging words and prayers for his recovery, but not everyone.

“I am curious how many people you infected because you thought this was funny,” responded one. “Like they said when we were kids, it’s all fun and games until it happens to you.”

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Clint Johnson, a Creede resident, was bracing for some social media shaming after revealing via Facebook that he was sick with COVID-19 and had no idea who he infected because he hadn’t taken social distancing guidelines seriously. Almost all of his Facebook friends were nice. (Photo from Johnson’s Facebook page)

Johnson, 46, woke up feeling sick March 16 but went to work that day and the next remodeling a house. By the third day, he was too sick to get up. He was airlifted to a hospital in Pueblo six days ago, and was sleeping with ice packs under his knees, kidneys and neck to try to bring down his fever.

Johnson, speaking via phone from his hospital bed Monday and coughing every minute or so, said he thought the worst of it was over — he had finally gotten a good night’s sleep and his breathing was improving.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” he said, recalling that he had friends over to hang out and throw horseshoes right up until he realized he was sick. “I thought it was a joke. I was making fun, and when it hit me, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I felt pretty stupid.”

Some of the most brutal shaming has been reserved for celebrities — particularly anyone living in a multimillion-dollar mansion who dares to complain about being stuck at home or tells anyone else to stay at home.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was shamed into deleting a tone-deaf Instagram post touting a designer outfit and her “fresh sneaker guide.” The reaction to singer Jared Leto’s bizarre Twitter post about emerging from 12 days of “silent meditation in the desert” only to learn about the coronavirus was swift and brutal.

“The world awaits your wisdom and instructions for what we should do during this crisis Jared,” was one of many sarcastic replies.

Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility.

— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) March 17, 2020

Schofield Clark, the professor, sees that as a positive development in the social media world. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing to call out people who have privilege,” she said. “It’s a really hopeful sign to me, … for a society that tends to be very individualistic.”

Some people are lashing out on social media in part because that’s their only outlet during quarantine — it’s a way to do something to help. But something bigger is happening, too, a shift of ideological lines that were drawn in the past. It’s a new age of “protection of self and protection of others,” Schofield Clark said.

In New York, masses of people who gathered to watch the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, glide into port Monday had their photo shared on Twitter by Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. “Honestly if you recognize people in these photos feel free to call them out because this is absolutely insane,” she said to her 632,000 folllowers.

Julie Tran, a student at the University of Denver, said that while she understands what’s at stake with the stay-at-home order, she has been surprised at the nasty tone directed toward young people who thought — at least in the beginning — that the virus could not hurt them. College and high school students who posted pictures of themselves out eating ice cream or hanging out at a friend’s house during the pandemic have learned their lesson and seem to have stopped doing those things — or at least stopped sharing them, she said.

“Instagram is mostly people staying inside, going insane,” Tran said.

And thanks to isolation and the need for information, social media use has reached obsession levels for some during the pandemic, said Lan Liang, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Colorado Denver who is studying how social media product design affects mental health.

“It is such an unsettling moment in the world, and some people, like myself, could be very anxious to know everything,” Liang said. “I remember there were a few days when I could not do anything but constantly checking the latest news online across various social media platforms. It was unhealthy.”

But social media also is helping people connect, in a time they most need it, she said.

Without it “you would not get to know how a grandma walks her dog during quarantine in Serbia,” said Liang, who has been studying social media during the pandemic. (The woman lowered the dog by its leash from her balcony.) In China, news of the outbreak first circulated on WeChat, a Chinese social network, among a group of Wuhan doctors who were sounding an alarm, she said.

Policymakers in various countries are paying attention to online responses from the public. In Denver, the mayor reversed course on closing liquor and marijuana stores after both were bombarded in what customers thought were their final hours to shop. Photos of long lines during the Great Denver Prohibition of 2020 were all over the internet.

Across the world, #CoronaVirusKindness has collected thoughts of gratitude for medical workers, and health care workers have shared photos on their Facebook pages with the text “Stay home for us.”

“No matter who we are and where we are, what we see on social media deliver the message that we are on the same boat together,” Liang said. But, “being understanding and sensitive is very important in any context, especially in this pandemic.”

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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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