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You are officially in the confusion era, find your anchor | by Pratibha Pandit | THIS PRACTICAL [WORK] LIFE | Sep, 2023

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You are officially in the confusion era, find your anchor | by Pratibha Pandit | THIS PRACTICAL [WORK] LIFE | Sep, 2023

Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

Welcome to an era of confusion! You are in it and you may not even realize.

We are talking about the times of diametrically opposing views and ways of doing things and an overload of information with little to no ability to verify the authenticity.

It’s an era of hyper-content creation, never mind that a vast majority of them are writing about how to create content or how to make $$ from content. When content is the core product where volume is the key ingredient for success, you are left to discern what is information and what is opinion [For eg, this article my friends, is a pure opinion piece!].

If you want to save yourself from the endless scrolls with no material gain in your brain’s knowledge database, pause and think before you hit that follow/subscribe button and ask yourselves, what are the 3–5 most important topics that I really need to keep an eye on? No, you cannot be an AI expert, a finance ninja, a game guru, and a master chef, all at once. So start cutting the noise, for your own sanity.

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It’s an era of hyper-personal brand-building, where everyone has a daily/weekly newsletter worthy of life lessons to share, even when they are just about touching 30! You may wake up to utter confusion of did I just waste all my life? or How come I never had the time to do so many things these people have done? or how did I not stumble upon all those great ideas? Before you brood over a wasted life or over the lack of super ninja skills that everyone else has and you don’t, step back and take a deep breath and remember,

  1. They are in the process of chasing success too, based on what success means to them and you do not see the trials and tribulations behind the shiny web pages and newsletters.
  2. Your life is yours for a reason. Embrace your journey.

All power to personal brand builders but for my own sanity I like focusing on the ones who are building that brand by sharing some core skills, domain knowledge, or spending time on my behalf to research and analyze an area to greater depths.

It’s an era of AI hype cycle, to the point that many social media profiles have been converted to that of AI experts overnight. Everyone has an expert opinion to share. Everyone has a “You are missing out if you don’t learn these AI tools” list, sending you into deep confusion or depression even — how did all these folks get caught up on AI so fast?”, “ Am I falling behind if I don’t have something about AI to show on my profile or talk about?

All hype cycles in the past were filled with exuberant, it’s going to change the world upside down euphoria or phobia complete with armchair critiques and instant experts. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of them. So, relax! take one step at a time. It always pays to be curious but grounded.

The question you should really be asking yourselves is, what is the value of creating cool Midjourney pictures or fake Leonardo Decaprio, and Jenna Ortega videos or a list of carefully curated ChatGPT prompts to your profession or your line of interest? Stay curious and first invest in learning what it could mean to your professional line or areas of your personal interests rather than going into the rabbit hole of countless cool tools that are currently popping up every day.

It’s an era of the changing nature of work, both in terms of how businesses are run and how the workforce wants to operate. The largest social experiment sponsored by COVID-19 pandemic has brought both employers and employees at a crossroads with each other. Many leaders are still struggling to admit that the work-from-home experiment was a success though they were not the ones to green-light it. Employees on the other hand cannot imagine themselves hopping in a car multiple times a week, let alone 5 days a week, to waste their time on the road for a job, while also secretly missing the good old days of office banters, happy hours and free lunches!

Companies can no longer be in the la la land of being that hot company with a ton of growth “potential”, nor employees can demand 2x-3x salary bumps on jobs that get 500 applications the minute they get posted. The entrepreneurial kind is opening up to the idea of building companies without VC money and work no longer means a 9–6 job for many. Even those with the most conservative idea about work are opening up to the concept that work does not have to always equate to a full-time job.

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We don’t know where all of these will land in five to ten years from now but the fact remains that we are still responsible for keeping a tight rope on our ship. We are still responsible for asking ourselves where do I want to be five years from now and putting in place carefully thought-out short-term goals to reach there.

In times as confusing as these, it is easy to lose ourselves in the countless theories and glittering stories. More than ever it is important to stay grounded in our own realities and be in control of our own narrative and destiny. The rest is all noise!

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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.

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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.

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“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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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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