Category Archives for Social Media

What would you do if your teenager became an overnight Instagram sensation?

After photographs go viral, your child becomes a social-media influencer and a celebrity on Instagram. Should you step in? Parents reveal the contrasting conflicts of instant fame

When Charlotte D’Alessio was 16 she accidentally became a social media influencer. The Canadian-born teen had recently moved from Toronto to Los Angeles with her family when, in the spring of her first year in LA, she attended the music festival Coachella with a few of her new mates.

While at Coachella, Charlotte and her friend Josie changed outfits several times, taking a few pictures of themselves in bodysuits, bikini tops and jean shorts (the typical Coachella nouveau-boho uniform) and posted them on social media. So far so normal. But when the successful LA photographer Bryant Eslava took some photos of the girls and tagged them on his account, their images began to go viral. Soon the girls were seeing themselves everywhere, featured in roundups of the festival and in the “popular” galleries of Tumblr and Instagram. They were gaining hundreds and thousands of followers by the minute and being followed by strangers who’d comment “I found them!” and then tag their image to their followers in turn.

For Charlotte, a quiet, studious girl from Canada with ambitions to attend UCLA, it was entirely surreal. “I was honestly freaking out,” she says. And given what happened to her life after that, it was an appropriate reaction.

BuzzFeed picked up the story with the headline: “Meet the 16-year-old whose Instagram made her Coachella famous,” and by the time Charlotte returned to high school on Monday morning, she was officially a new media It Girl. Her following on Instagram soon hit 100,000 – placing her firmly in the category of “micro-celebrity” – ie someone who is famous for being famous on social media. Today, her following is more than half a million and climbing.

A modelling contract with Wilhelmina Models followed soon after and within a couple of months Charlotte had decided to drop out of school to pursue a career as a professional model and social media “influencer” (the line between the two professions can be blurry at best), and continue her studies by correspondence.

She was not the only one to be surprised by this sudden turn of events.

Watching from London was her mother, Christina Ford, a former commercial producer who had recently moved there with her new husband. Now in her early 50s, Ford had some experience with the world of show business and had always been determined to keep both her daughters well out of it until their education was complete. After years of carefully managing Charlotte’s homework and activities back in Toronto, she found that one trip to Coachella with a smartphone had rerouted her daughter’s entire life journey. “I was stunned,” says Ford, “I tried to talk her out of it. I flew to LA, but she wouldn’t see me or talk to me. She was absolutely determined to follow it through. We didn’t speak for more than a year.”

‘I tried to talk her out out of it’: Charlotte’s mother, Christina Ford. Photograph: Pal Hansen for the Observer

Ford recounts how during this time she couldn’t bear to monitor her daughter on Twitter or Instagram, where her following continued to grow. Tensions also arose with her ex-husband, a commercial director with whom Charlotte lived, who was much more encouraging about their daughter’s new career. Friends would alert Ford to events in her daughter’s life (like the time she got a tongue piercing), all of which were being documented forensically by way of a long series of glamorous, often scantily clad, selfies. These photos, in turn, would be instantly “liked” by tens of thousands of people, the majority of them anonymous strangers.

Then one day Ford walked into a London clothing boutique and saw a floor-to-ceiling in-store advert featuring her daughter. Her eyes well up remembering the moment. “I felt like I’d lost her completely and yet suddenly she was everywhere.”

So how much do these influencers actually get paid and how do their “brand partnerships” work? It’s complicated. According to the influencer analytics platform Captiv8, the numbers range from very little or contra (in exchange for free stuff) to fairly impressive – at least at the top end of the business.

YouTube is the pinnacle, with the highest earners – 7m subscribers or more – able to demand $300,000 for an ongoing video brand-partnership.

On Instagram and Facebook, the biggest influencers are taking home anywhere between $150,000 to $187,000 per post. And even smaller “micro-influencers” with followings around 100,000 are able to command up to $5,000 per sponsored post – a pretty good living when you add it up at the end of the day.

Christina Ford and her daughter have since made up. Charlotte flew back to Toronto for her maternal grandfather’s funeral and, after many months of stormy relations, mother and influencer were reconciled. But the whole experience has still been deeply strange for Ford. She recounts how, just last summer, she picked up Charlotte and a teenage girlfriend at Toronto airport. Unbeknown to Ford, the friend was also a social media star – the YouTube singing phenomenon, Madison Beer.

‘I do sometimes think about all the money and time I spent on her education’: Christina Ford with her famous daughter, Charlotte D’Alessio

“They were in the back of the car, chatting away and checking in on social to say they were in Toronto just like normal teenagers, and then suddenly Madison was like, ‘Oh God, it’s Drake Facetiming us. Should I answer?’”

As Ford drove on, listening to her daughter and her friend chatting away in the back seat with one of the biggest hip-hop stars on the planet, she felt the world as she knew it shifting under the wheels of her car. “I thought: OK, she’s hanging out with Drake. I guess this is for real.”

Ford is not the only influencer parent to have found herself flummoxed by the reality of her child’s new status. John Rivera, father of the American YouTuber and Instagram star Brent Rivera (who has more than 10m followers on the two platforms combined) tells the story of how, before he knew Brent was famous, he took his son and his brother to a local hockey game. They were watching the game when a mother approached and asked if Brent could look up and wave at her daughter a few rows back. “My daughter’s having a birthday party,” she reportedly explained. Brent obliged and all the girls started screaming.

It was then that his father knew something was up. But with overnight – even accidental – fame comes responsibility and for many influencer parents navigating the murky waters of new media, show business can be confusing at best and terrifying at worst. What sort of advice can you give your kid about building a career in a world you barely understand? And how do you protect them from the legion of creepy “manager” types who are keen to get a cut of their earnings without offering much in return?

Kelly Eastwood, a London-based influencer who started her style blog the London Chatter nearly 10 years ago, says parents should be wary of anyone offering their teen representation without a proven track record. She says she has an experienced manager herself now, but that’s only after almost a decade of building her following. “It’s actually the hard work of my generation of early bloggers which has paved the way for the new wave of Instagrammers coming up overnight. We worked for many years for no money at all and these new kids are just exploding on to the scene.”

It makes sense, of course. As recently as five or six years ago, Eastwood’s job description was almost a laughable concept – and now it’s industry standard. “I remember once, years ago, going to a brand luncheon and all the women there were working at magazines and when I said what I did they literally looked at me like I’d just poured toxic waste in the salad. Now those same luncheon tables are mostly filled with bloggers like me who are big on Instagram.”

Family affairs: American teen influencer Logan Paul with his parents, Greg and Pam. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Fox/Getty Images

Eastwood says her parents have been supportive of her work, even if they don’t always fully understand it. And she’s glad she found success as a social media star later in life (in her ripe old 30s), rather than in her teens. “Everyone in this world talks about their ‘brand’, but the truth is I know my brand because I know myself. You can fall into things when you’re young because it seems fun and free stuff is on offer, but you need to actually know who you are and what you want and what you like. Also, you should see the number of offers for free plastic surgery I get – it’s terrifying.”

Most adults have a pretty linear notion of what “achievement” looks like: money, power and influence. But with children, the concept is far more ambiguous. Is a child who gives up their education in favour of making money or amassing a following actually more successful than the child who thrives in school? Moreover, what sort of values does a child actually learn from experiencing overnight success – and could you even shelter them from it if you wanted to? (Answer: only if you locked them in their room without a phone until they became old enough to vote.)

As Tiff Lewis, the mother of Madison Lewis (a singing star on with more than 2.6m fans), recently mused in an interview: “You think you’re doing right by your child, but it’s hard when you don’t know what you’re doing. She’s just on here having fun as a kid, but then you realise, well, she could make a lot of money off this. Is that a smart thing we should do? It was scary as a parent not knowing who to turn to. Then, a little over a year ago, she let management start to take over, and again I had to wonder whether that was the right move. How do you know if any of this is what’s really best?”

Personal security is another serious issue for the parents of teen influencers to consider. Christina Ford says she “went crazy with worry” when Buzzfeed published the name of her daughter’s LA high school. And she’s right to be concerned.

Last November, the Dolan Twins (two American teens with more than 5m followers on YouTube) tried to organise an informal meet-and-greet with fans in London’s Hyde Park. The day before, they jumped on Twitter and announced to fans where they’d be and when. Shortly after doing so, they realised it was Remembrance Day, so they cancelled the gathering and apologised – but it was too late. Thousands of teenage fans gathered at the park the following day, only to be disappointed. The angry adolescent mob then erupted into a mini-riot in which several people were trampled and injured, and the police were forced to intervene.

While some parents (like Ford) instinctively want to protect their children from the spotlight, others happily step into it themselves. Inspired by his daughter’s success, Charlotte D’Alessio’s father is reportedly starting his own Instagram magazine. Other parents leverage their kids’ fanbase even further, becoming professional influencers in their own right.

Greg Paul and Pam Stepnick, the super-gregarious parents of Jake and Logan Paul (two of America’s biggest teen influencers on the planet, with more than 28m followers combined), regularly appear in their sons’ videos and have amassed huge followings themselves on YouTube and Instagram respectively. Pam and Greg regularly make “reaction videos” to their son’s vlogs, take part in pranks and feuds, stirring drama into the vlogosphere – and, of course, adding to the family income. The result is an exhaustive, 24/7 archive of the minutiae of family life that makes the Kardashian clan look shy and retiring by comparison.

You won’t encounter many profound insights into the human condition watching the Paul brothers on YouTube, but you will find a certain amount of self-referential musing on just how strange it is to be a successful teen influencer in 2018. After moving from their home town of Westlake, Ohio, to Los Angeles, the teens branched out into other media, appearing in various TV shows and films, and even starting a company called TeamDom, which aims to be a “modern-day media conglomerate focused on building powerful brands, stories, celebrities and businesses around teen entertainment and media”. Or, as Jake Paul himself put it loftily: “I want to be the Dr Dre of social media.”

As time moves on, the first generation of under-age influencers is now coming of age. Today, Charlotte D’Alessio is 20, signed to a new management company and attempting to “monetise her brand”. Her first serious boyfriend, Presley Gerber, the model son of Cindy Crawford and a fellow influencer (Insta following: 601,000 plus) also helps to keep her in the public eye. Paparazzi regularly tail the teen couple around Los Angeles and elsewhere.

When Charlotte came to visit her mother in London over Christmas last year, she was stopped several times on the street for photographs by starstruck teenage fans. To Ford, who recently started a blog of her own about being a North American in London, her daughter’s overnight success is still difficult to grasp. “It’s hard for me to actually believe that she’s ‘famous’ because to my mind she hasn’t really done anything yet,” says Ford. “But she’s said to me: ‘Mom, I’ve got this window,’ and I get that.”

Today, Charlotte is doing some modelling, but mostly she exists in the nebulous new world of Instagram models – a global league of (mostly) attractive and uninhibited young women with a substantial online following which leverages the eyeballs of their audience in exchange for glamorous party invitations, free trips, designer clothing, accessories, make-up and beauty treatments – and, at the highest levels, actual cold hard cash.

How does her mother feel about it? Ford shrugs and smiles, her expression philosophical. “She’s an adult now and it’s her life, her choice, so I respect it. But I do sometimes think about all the money and time I spent on her education and, you know, carefully selecting her lessons and activities, all so that she could just become… famous for being famous. And that’s a job? It all seems so random.”

How do parents teach their kids values in the era of overnight influencers? Not very easily. But here’s to one mother for trying.

Continue reading

Social media won’t win the suburban vote

(CNN)A century ago, the philosopher John Dewey coined the term “social endosmosis” to describe an ideal democracy, made up of many parts dependent on each other. He warned of the dangers of a community whose interests limit “full interaction with other groups, so that its prevailing purpose is the protection of what it has got, instead of reorganization and progress through wider relationships. … isolation makes for rigidity and formal institutionalizing of life, for static and selfish ideals within the group.”

Once upon a time, Dewey could have been describing the origins of America’s suburbs. In the planned community of Levittown, New York, houses were built identically, rows and rows of lot size 60 by 100, unfinished attics peeking through sloped roofs. The standard lease for the first Levitt houses infamously specified they could not ”be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race.” That was 1947.
Fast forward to 2017, when it might be the suburbs that revitalize democracy, or at least restore it to Dewey’s vision: A system that works best when individuals do not just advocate for themselves but advocate for others.
    The political upsets we’ve seen this year in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama represent not so much a blue wave as an affirmation of moderation and civility and neighborliness. It’s a far cry from the polarized America of tweets, headlines and political rhetoric.
    In fact, it is a rejection of that — and a window into what the suburbs have become. Most Americans do not live in such extremes. Like Doug Jones, the incoming Democratic senator from Alabama, they might support the right to bear arms (with background checks). Or like Virginia’s governor-elect Ralph Northam, they might not want to outright demolish Confederate statues but move them to museums.
    The narrative of America’s great divide in 2017 doesn’t actually reflect most of the country and where they actually live, geographically or politically. We’ve been entirely miscast.
    Most Americans are neither coastal elites nor inhabitants of flyover country (both objectionable tropes on their face). Most Americans live in the suburbs, a geographic term the US government is curiously loath to define. But suburbanites are not; a survey by an economist at Trulia, the online real-estate site, finds that 53% of Americans say they live in one. The suburbs mirror US demographic trends; minorities represent 35% of suburban residents, and in 2010, the share of blacks in large metro areas living in the suburbs surpassed 51%, meaning the majority of black Americans are suburbanites, according to Brookings.
    Fourteen years ago, my book, “Suburban Sahibs” delved into this upheaval of America’s bedroom communities, based on dozens of interviews with Indian immigrants in central Jersey redefining local schools, politics and the economy. I found that suburbs are no longer bastions of “white flight” nor the isolated places of their founding. They embody many, if not more, of the vicissitudes of cities: diversity, crime, great schools and failing ones, too.
    As much as we focus on the assimilation of immigrants (and melting pots and salad bowls as metaphors), the reverse also happens: They change the attitudes of the people around them. When you end up with seven pages of Patels in a yearbook, a certain give-and-take is inevitable; the cafeteria serves vegetarian meals and the senior center offers yoga and tai chi, alongside line dancing. Whites value diversity, too; these recent elections show them sticking up for their neighbors and a certain way of life.
    As much as a referendum on President Trump, Democratic victories in New Jersey and Virginia and Alabama are also a noteworthy demonstration that suburbs no longer reflect the sameness of their midcentury founding. In Virginia and New Jersey, college-educated whites overwhelmingly voted blue. That was not the case in Alabama, but pollsters point out that Jones would not have won on the strength of the black vote alone; he needed a coalition of voters from multiple and overlapping demographics — urban, suburban, rural, black and white — to eke out the victory.
    Political scientists talk about the rural-urban divide as the defining issue of the 20th century, but the suburbs in America defy this simple categorization. Some areas exhibit the same traits of cities, where neighbors don’t know each others’ names, let alone their politics. Schools in urban areas are more segregated than ever, some worse than before Brown vs. Board of Education. Suburbs, in contrast, have created more diverse spaces, from schools to soccer leagues to the local Olive Garden.
    As Dewey predicted, the collision of different groups of people eventually creates a certain fluidity and unity among them. What he didn’t account for was social media and its effect on polarizing political discourse. A recent University of Pennsylvania study finds the use of political words on Twitter were concentrated among a small group of people who are either “very conservative” or “very liberal.” Moderates simply do not wade in. This reticence on the internet could extend to voter turnout — and perhaps it did in 2016.
    But America does not live on Facebook, even if it sometimes feels that way. Americans live in places that care about jobs and schools and taxes. Issues such as health care and anti-corruption efforts seem to matter to suburban voters more than immigration. Brookings also reports the suburbs are growing faster than urban areas, partly because of the lack of affordable housing in cities, making them younger, more diverse. Their outlook — and values — feel increasingly cosmopolitan.
    As much as things have changed since my book’s release, suburban politics still hover in the middle of the spectrum. In my book, I followed an Indian community organizer’s campaign for county freeholder, a local legislator position. Pradip “Peter” Kothari had been a Democrat. When the party wouldn’t let him run, he switched to the GOP. He lost. He’s now a Democrat again.
    Suburban denizens like him are a fickle, complicated people. What changed this year? I called him last month to talk about New Jersey’s results. “We have representation now. That is different than before,” he says, referring to the number of Asians in office. Indeed, voters seem drawn to women, minorities and other normal people running on what I call “people-like-us” platforms. In places like New Jersey, minorities can no longer only be energized as a constituency — they must have candidates on the ballot.
    And another thing, Kothari said with great certainty: “Social media cannot win elections.”
    On Facebook, people who disagree often do so in the ugliest of terms. They might even unfriend each other. In suburbia, they are people like my parents, who ended up with competing mayoral-candidate signs on their New Jersey lawn; “She came to the house and was nice,” my mom said of her choice. My dad: “He’s a friend of a friend.”
    In Alabama, too, a massive get-out-the-vote effort, especially in the state’s “Black Belt,” relied on door-knocking and carpooling. And it’s no longer the red state of Jeff Sessions’ Senate victory in 1996. Between 2000 and 2010, the state saw the second fastest growth in its Hispanic population, a group Jones was sure to call out and thank in his victory speech.
    This complicated history and ever-changing demographics make suburbia a critical battleground for Republicans and Democrats. As we’ve seen on social media, when opinions get extreme, the moderates shut down. In internet parlance, they become lurkers. The big question over the last few months is whether they would do the same when faced with a choice between parties moving further to the right and left.
    To be sure, the racial unrest at the roots of suburbia’s creation are tough to fully abandon. This past year’s deadly hate crimes unfolded in the suburbs: a stabbing on a commuter train in Portland and a shooting at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, outside Kansas City.

    Join us on Twitter and Facebook

    A few months ago, my daughters witnessed an angry driver shouting at passersby to go back where they came from. They recounted the story to their grandfather, my father who immigrated here in 1971. He remained calm, as though he understood this country better than us natives.
    “There will always be those people. But they are the minority in America. You have to believe that.”
    Middle America might agree.

    Continue reading

    How to Create Content Ideas for a New Client [infographic]

    New relationships can be tricky. First, there’s the getting-to-know-each-other-phase where you slowly discover someone’s personality, behavior, and values. Then you probably want to find out what the other person expects from the relationship, what their goal is. And if it’s going well, you do your best to meet those expectations, show your best sides, impress them, and so on. All this takes time, and a lot can go wrong in the process.

    Same goes for creating content for a new client. You want to start shooting fresh content ideas and valuable concepts straight away. But there’s always the “awkward” starting phase where you don’t know… well… anything yet. Like what’s the client about and what they expect from you.

    That’s why CopyPress has published a great infographic on how to create content for a new client. Following these simple steps help you nail it right from the start.

    Know Your Client

    First, you need to get to know your client well. Analyze what it is that they do and what the goal of the company is. Ultimately you will see what kind of content they are. Maybe the client already has content ideas for their strategy, so make sure you get that vision right.

    Identify Content Goals

    After you know who you are dealing with, establish the main goal for your content marketing plan. Does your client need content for attracting attention? Or is the primary focus on educating their audience?

    The content purpose may also be more ambitious right from the start. Your client may want the content to encourage sales or generate traffic to their website. Different goals need different measures. Make sure you agree upon the goals straight away.

    Become an Content Idea Machine

    At the beginning of every day sit down for 20 minutes and come up with 10 ideas about… whatever you want. Just to get you started, I will go meta and write down 10 ideas of my own about what types of ideas to write:

    1. Ideas related to solving the current challenges at work.
    2. This can be about the upcoming vacation locations.
    3. Write down 10 ways to improve your financial situation.
    4. Come up with 10 ways to get things on your bucket list.
    5. What 10 skills would you want to have?
    6. What types of businesses would you want to start?
    7. Create a list of things you can write about in a blog.
    8. 10 people, you would like to meet. How?
    9. New things you can do with your friends or family.
    10. How to get the 10 new clients you want to have.

    In no time you will have no problems with coming up with content ideas. Your idea muscle will grow as long as you keep practicing.

    Find Hooks

    Hooks already reveal a more specific content creation plan. In this stage, you should be able to connect your client’s goals with the audience. Match what the client wants to achieve with what people would like to read about and create content ideas accordingly.

    The content can be useful, topical or show the brand’s identity. It can focus on telling a story or include external curated content. Creating concepts that breathe life into old ideas is also a good idea. Sky’s the limit.

    Sprinkle in Emotion

    No matter what kind of content you create, you should spark emotion into every single post. Because it works better that way. Studies reveal that emotional campaigns can outperform rational ones by a whopping 100%. As you can see, there are at least 7 different emotions to choose from:

    Create Value

    Finally, make sure that your content has a purpose. It needs to fulfill a want, need or simply offer enjoyment to the audience. Make your readers happy by providing meaningful content. That’s how you build trust, loyalty and generate sales.

    Content Marketing Persona

    During this process you have also created a persona for your content marketing efforts. Make sure that you test your hypothesis on real members of the audience. Interview 3 to 5 people from each segment and refine your personas according to their answers.

    And here’s the full infographic:

    Cover image by Freepik

    The post How to Create Content Ideas for a New Client [infographic] appeared first on DreamGrow.

    Continue reading

    Pedophile Detective Warns Parents What Predators Look for in Your Kids Photos

    If youre anywhere on social media, youre probably no stranger to the daily kiddie pics of everyones children.

    Trust me, Im right there with you. I currently have SEVENTEEN (not exaggerating) friends who are pregnant with babies and giving birth sometime in the next 90 days. My feeds are full of kids, and while I love seeing each of these babes grow up and learn new things, I often wonder about their safetynot because my friends are bad parents, but simply because these childrens lives are being freely showcased on social media.

    Hashtags have been around for a while, but something Ive seen as more and more of my friends continue to have kids are hashtags of their childrens names. Im not talking, #Sarah. No, Im talking FULL names: #JonahAndrewSmith.

    The Internet is a scary place, and for years weve been told to protect our teenagers, and monitor our kids Internet usage. But what about protecting those who dont yet use the Internet? Online predators arent limited to targeting a select group of society like middle school girls. No, they prey on parents, and even the most innocent photos of your kids could be the fuel these sickos are looking for.

    In 2016, an Australian website made world news when explicit photos of local school girls were being traded amongst users. Other sources and fan pages even started offering money to users who could find more photos of their favorites. Unbelievably, the worst part isnt even the fact that these girls are now being targeted, and their photos are being sold and traded by perverts, but rather that their images have been used without consent, and its very well possible that these girls are completely oblivious.

    I mean, why wouldnt they be? You dont know when someone uses one of your photos on social media, hence the entire premise around MTVs Catfish.

    In cases like this where photos of minors are being sold and traded through pedophile rings, its oftentimes impossible for police to locate you if photos of your child are being used. Technological advances are like a double-edge sword. Predators have the ability to mask their IP addresses, use servers overseas and completely hide their identity. There are even websites that teach online predators how to cover their tracks.

    So what does this mean for us as parents? Dont ever post a photo of your child again?

    Well, no. We all know the risks of social media, so start by increasing your privacy settings.

    If were being honest, theres no reason for someone who doesnt know you in real life to need to know what your family looks like. Your friends get your updates, while keeping those who youve not acceptedout.

    Beyond that, there are some things you should know about the types of photos you post of your children.

    Erin Cashis a woman with 12 years experience on the Queensland Police force. Shes worked as both a detective in pedophile and child abusetask forces.

    In a powerful blog post thats taken her more than 10years to write, Erin shares somepowerful advice on what parents need to know.

    It has taken over a decade for me to write this post because I know that I will have re-visted images and situations from my career that haunt me, wrote Erin.

    But she believes NOW is the time to educate parents on this pressing matter.

    Generally speaking, when you take a picture of your kids, it never crosses your mind what you might photoshop in or out of that photo. Obviously your child is perfect, the photo is sweet, so theres no need to change a thing.

    While that may be the case for parents, Erin explains that online predators see things much differently. A picture of your 7-year-old in her modest, one-piece (KIDS) bathing suit at the beach can quickly become a naked photo of your daughter with a couple of snips and pastes in photoshop. It may not be her body, but her face is now being passed around in circles of nasty people.

    It may seem sweet to post photos of your kids bathing, or running around half-dressedespecially if theres a good story to go along with itbut generally speaking, you wouldnt post photos like that of yourself, so protect your kids by doing the same.

    Beyond the obviouspedophiles DO look for photos that are not just exposed body parts. This is where things get a little scary, because its one thing to never think about photoshopping your kid in a picture, but what about photoshopping the things around them? Online predators are notorious for using what most of us would consider a normal or sweet photo, and turning it into something nasty. They often look for photos that can be altered to make your child or teen look like they are part of a sexual act.

    Though sometimes, Erin admits altered images arent always the case, even when she prays they are. She recalled one particularly vivid and scarring photo that has never left her mind:

    I used to pray that when I saw a photo of a baby in a nappy and a sexually aroused man in the image that the image was superimposed. I didnt always receive this comfort from the government classifier or the photographic specialists. This is is the horrific reality of child sex crimes and trafficking in the 21st century. There is one photo in particular that I remember which causes me pain dailya 6-month-old in just a nappy with the most beautiful angelic smile laying on a bedand a naked man entering the babys bedroom. This child looked like my babiesyour babies. And the horror that I could not reach through that screen and save that child scratches at my brain.

    So now that all of our stomachs are turning, and half of us have already deleted 70percent of our Facebook/Instagram photos, lets talk about some ways that we can be proactive about protecting our children from becoming oblivious victims of pedophile rings.

    As I said before, make adjustments to who is able to see your posts and who isnt. People who dont know you or your children have no reason to know what they look like.

    It also helps to be mindful. Our children are adorable, especially when theyre only in a diaper and somehow covered in spaghetti sauce. But, you would never post a photo of yourself wearing nothing but a diaper. It seems so innocent, but the consequences of what we think is cute can turn creepy REAL fast.

    Erin offers these key bullet points to consider before posting pictures of your kids:

    Things to consider when posting photos of your children:

    • Is there enough room to superimpose another figure into the image?*

    • Are they in a state of undress (even with emoticons placed modestlythese can be removed and body parts can be photo shopped in).

    • Do you have a public social media page? Pedophiles can develop child crushes and the child does not have to be posed or in a state of undress for the photo to become a commodity.

    Before sharing any photos of your kids, its important to look and determine if there is enough room to add figures or objects into the photo. I know this sounds crazy, because if youre at Disneyland, the picture of your child is most likely going to be this tiny little human with a massive castle behind them. But for the sake of safety, its important to at least consider before posting.

    Its no secret that teenagers are a hot commodity among online predators and pedophile rings. Being mindful of what and how you post on social media is important at any age. According to Erin, there are also a few key things to look out for in your teens social media pics:

    Things to be considered with your teens social media images:

    • Duck faces and posed photos are used as baseline trading images on predator sites.

    • Swimwear and underwear shots become more valuable.

    • If their account is public then the predator ring can approach friends (or enemies) of the teen and pay money for more explicit photos.

    We live in an age where the world is completely connected. There are more people on Facebook today than there were on the entire earth 200 years ago. Its a privilege to be able to stay close with peoplefriends and family who arent geologically close to us. But knowing the associated risks of using social media to broadcast our lives means that we are aware of the dirty stuff that we try not to think about when showcasing the memories that we have the ability to capture.

    Protect yourself, protect your kids, SHARE this valuable information with fellow parents, and know what it truly means to use social media wisely.

    Continue reading

    The Queer Community Is Celebrating Pride (And Halloween Time) With The #SpookyLGBT Hashtag!

    Nothing spooky about this!

    On Tuesday, gay Twitter posted cute selfies under the hashtag #SpookyLGBT, and it’s a great way of celebrating the queer community AND Halloween time!

    Related: EVERYONE Is Talking About This LGBT Animated Short!

    The social media phenomenon is similar to the #LGBTBabes hashtag in August, where thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals showed off their pride on the Internet!

    While some wore costumes and others didn’t, we absolutely adore every single tweet!

    See the best ones (below)!

    [Image via WENN.]

    Continue reading

    Social media celebrates as U.S. basketball team almost thrashed by Australia

    So close. The U.S. edges out Australia in the basketball with a 98-88 win.
    Image: Phil Walter/Getty Images

    What. A. Game.

    It’s not often you see Team USA get a run for its money in basketball, but Australia did its very best Wednesday night (Rio time) at the Olympics.

    Australia, nicknamed the Boomers, led by five points at halftime. Ultimately, the team’s lead slipped away in the final quarter to lose 98-88 to the U.S. in a game that threatened to be a major upset for the world’s number one ranked team.

    That slim halftime lead gave Australian Twitter plenty of time to imagine “what if,” though.

    Despite Australia being ranked 11th, with less than half the roster playing basketball in the NBA, it seems the U.S. knew they were in for a hard fight.

    “I mean we expected that, there are great players on that team,” U.S. point guard Kyrie Irving, who was born in Australia and seriously considered representing the country, told Channel 7after the match.

    Less impressed however was Australian captain Andrew Bogut, who thought they could have won it. “We had a great opportunity to push that game. We still lost the game, it doesn’t mean anything,” Bogut told Channel 7.

    U.S. veteran Carmelo Anthony helped carry his team to victory, clocking up 31 points to get them across the line. Not too far behind however was Australian point guard Patty Mills, who was his team’s top scorer at 30 points.

    Australia’s Andrew Bogut notched up 15 points, while Matthew Dellavedova contributed with 11 points and 11 assists.

    Australia take on China next, while the U.S. has Serbia to contend with Friday night Rio time.

    Continue reading

    This Couple Who Met On Twitter Had A Twitter-Themed Wedding And It’s Adorable

    Every day, millions of young kidsimagine what their wedding will look like one day. How will they meet their life partner?Will they live happily ever after?

    For one young woman, heranswers are Twitter and yes.

    Anuj Patel and Sumita Dalmia met on Twitterin 2013 after Anuj tweetedthat he had an extra ticket to a young professional entertainment and cocktail event called Jazzoo. Sumita jumped at the opportunity, and the rest is Twitter history.

    (Thats what they say, right, guys?)

    To honor their love, Sumita and Anuj, aptly calling themselves tweet-hearts, threw the wedding of the centurywith beautiful decorations, gorgeous attire and some perfectly chic, Twitter-themed details.


    To propose, Anuj put together a Twitter-themed scavenger hunt, and live-tweeted Sumitas journey to find him. Apparently, her friends and sister were there to help hand out the clues that took her all over the city, eventually leading to where Anuj was waiting.



    At their wedding, the couple incorporated Twitter in loads of adorable ways, like

    A Twitter-themed photo backdrop, where guests could snap photos

    Blue-tiful bird snacksand cocktails

    Ornate stationary, like table place cards, menus and signage

    andeven their own camera filter, allowing guests to get in on the social media fun.

    In planning their nuptials, Sumita explained how it was really important to the pair that every decision and detail had a thought or reason behind it.

    She told BuzzFeed,

    Twitter is such a big part of our love story because without it, we just wouldnt have found each other. The likelihood of our paths crossing was so minimal. We strongly feel that it was meant to be that Anuj posted about having an extra ticket when I was looking for one extra ticket.

    Just for fun, check out some of their other amazing photographs from their beautifulday:

    We wish these tweet-hearts a happily Twitter after! (Sorry.)

    Continue reading

    When a beloved professor was denied tenure, these students took action.

    In May 2016, Aimee Bahng, an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, was denied tenure despite unanimous support from her colleagues and glowing recommendations from her students.

    Image via Dr. Su Yun Kim, used with permission.

    In addition to being beloved on campus, Bahng is also said to be a brilliant teacher with a wide range of expertise. She specializes in Asian-American literature, feminist science and technology studies, and queer theory. But she is perhaps most well-known on campus as a community organizer who brings students of color together.

    She helped found in response to the death of Michael Brown and the failure to indict Darren Wilson the Ferguson Teaching Collective at Dartmouth and teaches a popular course centered on Black Lives Matter.

    Image via Gerry Lauzon/Flickr.

    The denial of her tenure especially considering Dartmouth’s stated commitment to make its faculty more diverse was especially troubling.

    “Once we sort of got past the anger, we were kind of shocked,” Melissa Padilla, a Mexican student attending Dartmouth, told The Associated Press. “We didn’t understand why the college would not take this opportunity to keep a professor of color on campus that is not only providing the academic prestige they want but is also mentoring students of color.”

    Dartmouth is bound by confidentiality when it comes to discussing the tenure process. But some believe the decision to deny Bahng tenure is due to the advisory committee’s inability to evaluate her experimental work and service responsibilities.

    Bahng said she would appeal the school’s decision. However, she can’t officially start the process until she receives an official letter from the school explaining her rejection. Tricky.

    Image via Institute for Humanities Research/Vimeo.

    The decision struck students as uncalled for and unfair. So they decided to take matters into their own hands.

    Students started using the hashtags #Fight4FacultyOfColor and #DontDoDartmouth on social media in order to spotlight the story as much as possible. And the effort is paying off.

    The movement has spread. Students from around the country are uniting as one to express their support and are fighting the good fight with Bahng.

    This is all the way across the country in USC. Image via Kaitlin Foe, used with permission.

    The students also banded together with teachers to start a petition directed at the higher-ups.

    They rallied to spread Bahng’s story on and now have over 3,600 signatures supporting the cause. They also gained some powerful words of encouragement from the public.

    Screenshot via

    Students even rallied together to organize a symbolic “funeral,” mourning the loss of their departed teachers.

    It was a bold move, but it sent a powerful message across campus.

    Image via Mariko Whitenack, used with permission.

    Whatever the outcome, it’s inspiring to see the student community working together to create real change.

    We’ve seen students demand their school take down a symbol of oppression. We’ve seen students come together to help end sexual violence. And we’re seeing students across the country stand up for more diversity among faculty and speak out against what they perceive to be unfairness.

    Whatever happens with professor Bahng, one thing is clear there are many students out there who care deeply about important issues and will continue to fight for what they truly believe is right.

    Loudly. Together.

    Continue reading

    Possessive Girlfriend Goes Insanely Viral With One Simple Move

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest Internet sensation that went viral from something so stupidly simple you’ll either want to hug or burn your computer.

    The scene is at a date auction. A woman was strutting her stuff in front of a crowd of potential bidders to take her on a date. When she spotted a man in the front row, she decided to approach to give him a better look.

    Load Comments

    Continue reading

    How Powerful Will Video Marketing Become? [infographic]

    By 2019, consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all internet traffic across the world. Video will dominate the internet. Video will be the primary medium for how internet users will consume information. Consumers will also demand high definition. For an illustrated look at how powerful video will be, have a look at this infographic created by One Productions.

    Video traffic forecast

    Video-on-demand traffic will double by 2019, and high definition (HD) will be 70% of this. Social media will be a major driver of video distribution. Facebook and Instagram are leading this charge.

    Like TV before the internet killed the radio star, the online video will most likely dominate internet for a long time to come. The B2C market is especially prone to gravitate towards video, but even in the B2B video will gain traction in the coming years.

    Consumer attitudes towards video

    Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, so producing low-quality explainer videos will undermine sales. For videos to connect with their target audience, they need to be:

    • entertaining,
    • informative,
    • inspirational.

    For example, almost two in three people say they would share a video if it was informative. More than half of users say they would share a video if it was inspirational. 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile.

    People prefer video in all situations, even if some other format would work better. Start creating informative and entertaining videos that give value to your audience.

    Video marketing impact on brands

    Video will be critical to effective marketing strategies, and brands who do them well will increase brand engagement. In fact, more than half of all companies are using video in their marketing strategy. Brands who switch from text-based display advertising to video advertising have the best chance of converting leads to sales, especially if they do it on mobile platforms. It is evident when we consider that 18 to 24-year-olds spend 36 minutes per week viewing video content on smartphones, the most of all age demographics.

    This Millennial generation is set to become the dominant consumer group as Baby Boomers retire in their masses over the next few years. So Millennial generation will become a key consumer group for brands to focus on. After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. Adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%.

    The landslide is on its way. Teens and young adults spend huge amounts of their time consuming online video, and that trend will not turn any time soon.

    The future of video infographic

    Here’s the full infographic bringing together all the aspects of video marketing. Consumers want video because it’s the easiest format to follow. Make sure you include video in your content marketing.

    Check out more posts about video marketing:

    Image credit Pexels

    The post How Powerful Will Video Marketing Become? [infographic] appeared first on DreamGrow.

    Continue reading
    1 57 58 59 60 61 95