Teen Depression Signs Point To Smartphones

The number of teens who are depressed is soaring — and all signs point to smartphones

teen phone charging sad Time spent on social media was linked to mental health decline. Strelka Institute/Flickr

  • The number of American teens with depressed thoughts has been increasing since 2012.
  • Looking at the data, it’s possible to rule out some factors that might be causing it, like economic inequality and academic pressure.
  • Jean Twenge, author of “iGen,” believes all signs point to increased smartphone use as the likely cause.
  • Twenge says it’s not necessarily the screen time but the time that’s lost to smartphones that could be spent on more meaningful activities, like face-to-face interaction.

Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country.

All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.

What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide?

After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.

Because the years between 2010 and 2015 were a period of steady economic growth and falling unemployment, it’s unlikely that economic malaise was a factor. Income inequality was (and still is) an issue, but it didn’t suddenly appear in the early 2010s: This gap between the rich and poor had been widening for decades.

We found that the time teens spent on homework barely budged between 2010 and 2015, effectively ruling out academic pressure as a cause.

However, according to the Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 – right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smartphone.

cell phone Teens spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Nam Y. Huh/AP

Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets.

We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online.

Of course, it’s possible that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online. But three other studies show that is unlikely (at least, when viewed through social media use).

Two followed people over time, with both studies finding that spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. A third randomly assigned participants to give up Facebook for a week versus continuing their usual use. Those who avoided Facebook reported feeling less depressed at the end of the week.

The argument that depression might cause people to spend more time online doesn’t also explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012.

Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones, which doesn’t seem too logical.

Even if online time doesn’t directly harm mental health, it could still adversely affect it in indirect ways, especially if time online crowds out time for other activities.

For example, while conducting research for my book on iGen, I found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person.

Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide.

We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online).

Teens are also sleeping less, and teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to not be getting enough sleep. Not sleeping enough is a major risk factor for depression, so if smartphones are causing less sleep, that alone could explain why depression and suicide increased so suddenly.

Depression and suicide have many causes.

Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma can all play a role.

Some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in.

But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental health issues may have slipped into depression due to too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three.

It might be argued that it’s too soon to recommend less screen time, given that the research isn’t completely definitive. However, the downside to limiting screen time – say, to two hours a day or less – is minimal. In contrast, the downside to doing nothing – given the possible consequences of depression and suicide – seems, to me, quite high.

It’s not too early to think about limiting screen time; let’s hope it’s not too late.

For full references and the rest of this article please use the source link below.

Article source: BusinessInsider.com

Facebook Local – No More FOMO!

Original Article on DigitalTrends
With Facebook Local, you’ll never have that fear of missing out
By Brenda Stolyar — Posted on November 12, 2017 12:00 pm

No more FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out!

Facebook is rebranding its standalone Events app as “Facebook Local”. Launching in the U.S. today on iOS and Android, Facebook Local combines events and permanent places to a single search engine powered by Facebook’s 70 million business pages plus reviews and friends’ checkins.

Facebook’s hype has died down throughout the years, but it still keeps users coming back for more when it comes to staying connected with one another. But even though the social media platform has been around for over a decade, there are still new features rolling out and layouts undergoing redesign. This week, we tried out Facebook’s newly revamped stand-alone app Local.

Facebook Local may look familiar to you if you’ve ever used Facebook’s Events app. The company took that already existing app, completely updated it with new features, and Local was born. It’s also already available for download on both Android and iOS.

We live in a world where everything can be made digital, including our invitations for the latest events. Having a birthday party? Make a Facebook event. Playing a show with your band? Make a Facebook event. For those with packed schedules, Facebook will even remind you of the event on the day of. Gone are the days of private and hand-written RSVPs, as now all you need to do is click a button and the entire group will know who’s attending and who’s skipping out.

With Facebook Local, you can discover public events without having to wait for the invite to be sent to you. The best part is, they’re all around wherever you’re currently located. The app also connects to your Facebook account, so you can easily see your notifications when it comes to the more private events you’ve been invited to.

The interface is simple to use, with sections for restaurants, cafes, drinks, attractions, and more. You can also check out specific events your Facebook friends are planning on attending, or ones nearby. At the top is a search bar, if you’d like to type in a specific place and location.

Similar to Instagram, Facebook Local looks aesthetically pleasing. Using the photos associated with the event page, you’re able to scroll through and get a more visual idea of the event aside from the information written out.

My favorite part of the app is that there are also ratings for all the locations listed, in addition to photos and a brief summary of the reviews. Rather than having to read through different reviews, Facebook Local quickly gives you all of the information you need at first glance. You can also “like” a particular place you’ve been to by tapping on the thumbs-up icon in the right-hand corner.

If you’re unsure of what you’d like to do, you can view a map version of where you are. You can choose filters to rule out certain events, or go through all of the different options going on that day or night. Each event is pinned according to its location and when you tap on it, a window pops up with all the details. Tapping on the event itself will bring you to the Facebook event page without actually leaving the app.

To keep track of all the places you commit to, there’s a tab dedicated to your calendar. When you confirm that you’re going via the invite, it’ll automatically show up in your calendar within the app. You can search for all the events you have coming up based on day or month, and you can also see events you’ve gone to in the past.

While using Facebook Local, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Snapchat’s latest Context Cards feature, which essentially provides you with the same information. But with Snapchat, I always feel like I have to do the work with its discover tool, which is why I don’t use it very often.

On the other hand, with Facebook Local, all the information is already provided as soon as you open the app. Simply scroll through the homepage and you’ll find tons of information available to you. Besides seeing events your friends are going to, you can also use the Guides section, which lays out local places to explore based on interests. Whether it’s food, games, or health and fitness, there’s a category to fit everyone’s needs.

Being in a place like New York City, it can feel a bit overwhelming with so much do to. At times, it’s tough to distinguish where to even start. But this app eases the anxiety by seamlessly mapping out all of your plans for you. Not only does it give you ideas on what you can possibly do, but it connects you with what others around you are doing.

I can also imagine it to be especially useful for when you’re visiting another town. It takes out the guess-work by providing you with enough information to actually feel like you’re a local.

More importantly, it will definitely take away that feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) regardless of where you are.

And –

Black Ice Cream: A Treat for Detoxification (RECIPE)

Black ice cream: an activated charcoal treat for detoxification

You may have noticed a new food trend recently: black everything. From dark lemonades to coal-like pizza crusts, darkened foods are popping up everywhere. What’s giving these foods their dark hue is activated charcoal, and, I have to admit, it’s a fad I’m into.

And it’s not because of the color — activated charcoal is a terrific, natural way to rid your body of toxins. One of my new favorite ways to ingest activated charcoal is through ice cream. That’s right, black ice cream is a thing; it tastes good, and it’s good for you!

What Is Black Ice Cream?

Black ice cream is just a simple ice cream recipe that incorporates activated charcoal. My black ice cream recipe is also made from ingredients that you likely have on hand: canned coconut milk, condensed coconut milk, arrowroot starch, vanilla extract, cacao powder and, of course, charcoal.

As you can tell from the ingredients list, not only is this activated charcoal ice cream super healthy, it’s also dairy-free! You can even swap the honey for an alternative sweetener like maple syrup to make this black charcoal recipe vegan, too.

Black Ice Cream Health Benefits

Now, when you think of ice cream, “healthy” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. But the ingredients in this activated charcoal ice cream make it a guilt-free treat.

Let’s start with the main ingredient: activated charcoal. It’s a powerful detoxifier that’s often used in hospitals to treat patients who have overdosed or poisoned themselves. (1)

The charcoal binds to toxins and chemicals and draws them out of the body. The best types are made from coconut shells or identified wood species with fine grains and don’t have added artificial sweeteners.

Activated charcoal is handy to have in the medicine cabinet as it helps alleviate gas and bloating and can even help the morning after too many cocktails. (2) You can use it to whiten your teeth; in fact, you’ll find it in many natural toothpastes. It also promotes a happy digestive tract.

One of the most versatile kitchen staples, coconut milk, is featured in this black ice cream recipe. Coconut milk gives this dessert a creamy texture and a little natural sweetness. It’s also known to lower bad cholesterol levels and help you lose fat. (34)

Cacao powder is a type of dark chocolate, so it’s packed with antioxidants. In fact, dark chocolate is often considered a superfood and helps lower blood pressure and increases blood flow to the heart. (5)

And instead of refined sweeteners, this black ice cream recipe uses honey, a natural sweetener option. Honey is full of enzymes, antioxidants and minerals that you just don’t get with table sugar. It’s also a lot easier on your blood sugar levels.

Black Ice Cream Nutrition Facts

Activated charcoal has no calorie count, but how does the rest of this black ice cream stack up? One serving contains about: (6)

  • 271 calories
  • 33 grams carbohydrates
  • 13 grams fat
  • 12 grams protein
  • 180 grams sodium
  • 7 grams sugar

How to Make Black Ice Cream

Intrigued about making this activated charcoal ice cream? It’s pretty easy to do, so let’s get churning.

You’ll want to pre-plan this charcoal recipe and stick your ice cream maker’s freezer bowl in the freezer for about 9 hours; I find it’s easier to just place it overnight.

The next day, put a medium saucepan on the stove and add the coconut milk, condensed coconut milk, arrowroot starch, honey, vanilla extract, cacao powder and activated charcoal. Keep watch over it so it doesn’t come to a boil.

Next, pour the black ice cream mixture into a bowl. Cover it and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour before making the ice cream.

Assemble the ice cream maker and turn on the rotating freezer bowl. Next, pour the black ice cream mixture into the bowl and churn for 15–20 minutes or until the ice cream reaches your desired consistency.

If you’re a fan of thick ice cream, pour the mixture into a container. Cover it with parchment paper and store in the freezer for about an hour.

Then scoop the ice cream into a bowl. Serve the black charcoal ice cream with your favorite toppings.

I chose pistachios and Himalayan pink salt. Enjoy!

 

Today’s Recipe

Black Ice Cream: An Activated Charcoal Treat for Detoxification

TOTAL TIME: PREP: 15 MINUTES; TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES

SERVES: 4–6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups condensed coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3–4 tablespoons activated charcoal powder
  • 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Freeze the freezer bowl for at least 9 hours, or overnight.
  2. In a medium-size saucepan, on medium-low, mix milk, condensed milk, starch, honey, vanilla extract and cacao powder. Don’t let this mixture come to a boil.
  3. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before making ice cream.
  4. Assemble ice cream maker and turn on the rotating freezer bowl.
  5. Pour ice cream mixture into the freezer bowl and allow to churn for 15–20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  6. If you like your ice cream thick, pour the mixture into a container, cover with parchment paper and store in the freezer for about 1 hour.
  7. Serve with your favorite ice cream toppings.

Prepare for a Post-Autoplay World

 Source Article
‘We’re cleaning up the mess’: Publishers prepare for a post-autoplay world
OCTOBER 20, 2017 by Lucia Moses

 
Autoplay has become synonymous with publishers putting monetization ahead of user experience. The leading browsers, Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari are taking steps to block videos that play automatically with sound on. Publishers will have to post videos that people actually want to watch by choosing to start them.Publishers will insist their actions are ongoing and not in reaction to anything Google and its ilk are doing, but many have become more nuanced about their autoplay video usage.Time Inc. has taken steps in the past year to more clearly label click-to-play videos on its sites including Real Simple and Travel + Leisure, with markers like play button icons or the word “watch.” With click-to-play videos, the publisher also has been testing GIFs that give the user a preview of the video itself before deciding whether to click.

Advertisers are requiring these steps, and users want them, too, said Patty Hirsch, svp of digital at Time Inc. “We don’t want to alienate our users,” she said. “In general, especially with the shift to mobile, optimizing the experience for users is probably one of the foremost things we can do.”

The Washington Post has a team that can adapt advertisers’ ads to different screens and formats, such as sound-off or close-captioned in the case of video ads, and it has been experimenting to find the right balance between the ad and the user, whether it’s sound-off autoplay with captions, still images or text, said Jarrod Dicker, vp of commercial product and innovation at the Post.

“Now you’re seeing autoplay conversations where the assumption is that autoplay is a bad user experience,” Dicker said. “Autoplay sound on, where a lot of users are on mobile devices and don’t have their volume on, is oftentimes forcing through an experience that doesn’t best benefit the user. We’ve had a lot of success with autoplay volume off with close captioning. A lot of brands have leveraged it because it is a great experience with readers. It’s in line, and it’s not invasive.”

Google Chrome, the dominant browser, said its forthcoming version will permit autoplay video if there’s no sound or if the user has indicated an interest in the media site, based on behavior such as having frequently watched video on the site.

Still, autoplay, sound off or not, is falling out of favor with the ad market.

Digiday Research: Marketers lack confidence in their data-driven approaches

Advertisers are now paying ad rates for user-initiated video that  are two to three times higher than autoplay video, and the fill rate is about twice as high, said Brian Rifkin, co-founder of JW Player.

“Intent to watch is the buzzword of 2018,” said Rifkin. “That’s where the ad demand is. Autoplay sound off will continue, but the real growth will move to intent to watch. The rates people will play for click to play will continue to go up. Publishers are starting to see that, and you’re starting to see the trade desks saying, ‘That’s what I want.’”

Advertisers will welcome Google’s move against sound-on autoplay because when people initiate the sound themselves, it indicates intent, said Alex Stone, vp of digital investment at Horizon Media. Over time, he said, pricing will change to reflect this shift, with agencies paying more for video where the user initiated the sound and watched the video to the end, for example.

“We’re cleaning up some of the mess we’ve made, and some of it is through innovation,” he said. “With digital, it’s try quickly and fail quickly. Sometimes we’re trying in a live environment and sometimes the user experience suffers, and they’re trying to claw back on that.”

The shift to intent raises the bar for publishers. There will be more pressure to make sure their video is high quality in the first place and relevant to the story it’s paired with. Publishers will need to make sure that if the video player is set to play automatically, it reverts to click-to-play mode. If videos are going to be user-initiated, they’ll need a compelling image to get people to click.

“Today, you see someone who wrote an article about Trump signing some executive order and they don’t have a video of Trump doing that, so they find a video of Trump doing something a few days ago,” said Mike Green, vp at Brightcove. “That’s the game they’re playing to increase video on their site. If everything is click-to-play, it’ll be clear that video has nothing to do with the article.”

Tips to Carve a Niche for Yourself

Original article link
Posted on January 19, 2017 Rod Watson

A freelancer is a person who works on a contract basis for various companies, as opposed to those who work for a single company full time. They are self-employed and have the ability to select and choose their tasks and companies they would like to work with.

Freelancers are not considered to be an employee, they have the freedom to work for other employers and allowed to do their tasks in their own way. They have the ability to submit their work to different places. They may work part time or full time.

The common fields of freelancing are journalism and other forms of writing, computer programming, graphic design, consulting, music, photography, video editing, event planning, publishing, copy editing, proof reading, website development and other creative services.

Whether you want to start your freelancing career or are seeking to take it to the next level, branding yourself is absolutely important to get noticed and stand out from the crowd. Here are some ways to brand yourself as a freelancer and enjoy the freedom and financial benefits that comes with it.

Get social:

To be the best freelancer in the market today, you’ll need to create an online presence, and social media is the best option to create awareness. Make sure to create a professional Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account for your freelancing business. Try to polish up your LinkedIn profile, also to give it a freelancer focused look.

Build an amazing portfolio:

To get more freelancer clients, you’ll need to build an outstanding portfolio to showcase your skills and experience on any project work you have done as a freelancer. Also, make sure to put the samples of your current work on it, so that clients can decide what you can do for them.

Set up your website:

When it comes to getting potential leads, you can find them anywhere in the world. If you want to secure them as future clients, you’ll need to show them samples of your work. For this, you should have a website that highlights your skills and services. If you are on a budget, various CMS are available that can help you build your website.

Find your referrals:

To brand yourself and get more potential clients, you need to find your referrals and recommendations from former clients you have worked with. Encourage them to write testimonials for your website, a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile or Like your Facebook page. These referrals will help prove that your are an expert in your field.

By following these above tips, you can brand yourself as a freelancer and enjoy the perks, freedom and financial benefits that comes with it.

Profitable Hashtags

Learn how to use hashtags on Social Media to achieve balanced results.

Profitable or Popular? Make Hashtags Work for You.

Image credit: Fanatic Studio | Getty Images
Most businesses focus on either profit or popularity when using social media marketing. Either they are focused on getting lots of followers and tons of engagements, or they are knee-deep in direct response data, split testing and data mining to achieve more sales. But just as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were born out of an indecisive, Why not have both? attitude, you need to find a balance as you build your tribe. In other words…Related: 3 Ways to Leverage Hashtags to Enhance Your Brand

You can have both.

I only had 360 followers when I started writing Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business. I had a little engagement, but I certainly wasn’t making any money with my account. Over the course of three months, spending no money on advertisements on the platform, I grew the account to more than 6,000 followers. Now, I have new email subscribers who fit my perfect prospect profile coming in organically nearly every day. Our results have brought real list growth and profits, with a total of 1,052 downloads in the last 90 days alone. The average value per Instagram opt-in is $44.60.

A cornerstone requirement of success on Instagram is to grow account followers. I did a lot of testing to see what works and what fails miserably. Ultimately, I found hashtags are the most effective way to grow your account. When it comes to using Instagram for business, it would be foolish not to use hashtags. According to Simply Measured, using even a single hashtag increases post engagement by 12.6 percent. Hashtags are an effective way to drive organic traffic to your content.

Related: 10 Secrets to Instagram Millions, According to Abigail Ratchford

Make the tags work for you.

The most popular hashtags are general words like #love and #summer. However, these really don’t do anything to drive engaged, quality traffic since they are not specific and usually only attract numbers instead of potential followers. The more specific you can get, while still employing a frequently used hashtag, the more successfully you will attract an engaged and on-point audience.

So how do you find the right hashtags to use? Start by reviewing 20 of the most popular brands or companies in your niche, and check out the hashtags they are using. For example, I searched #entrepreneur for my niche to see associated hashtags. Make a list of these hashtags and start to test them on your posts. You will quickly determine which ones work, which ones don’t, and which ones vary. Remember: the more specific, the better.

The list I use for my posts is:

#work #success #working #grind #founder #startup #money #magazine #moneymaker #startuplife #successful #passion #inspiredaily #hardwork #hardworkpaysoff #desire #motivation #motivational #lifestyle #happiness #entrepreneur #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurlife #business #businessman #quoteoftheday #businessowner #businesswoman

I then went through each account and made a master list of most-used hashtags and started to test different combinations on my posts. A few garnered many more followers and likes, while others didn’t seem to make a difference. Keep track of yours while you are testing!

My final list was:

#work #success #working #grind #founder #startup #money #magazine #moneymaker #startuplife #successful #passion #inspiredaily #hardwork #hardworkpaysoff #desire #motivation #motivational #lifestyle #happiness #entrepreneur #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurlife #business #businessman #quoteoftheday #businessowner #businesswoman

Caption Lifehack

It is super frustrating to type all of these hashtags each time you post on your mobile device — don’t do it! Instead, create an Instagram post signature and save it in an online list keeper — like Apple or Google Notes or Evernote. Plus, you can type out the hashtags on your desktop. This way, you only need to copy and paste. That is my jam. The most hashtags you are allowed to use is 30. If you use more, Instagram will delete your comment. Start slowly and as you find hashtags that work, build on them.

Related: Your Hashtag and Your Brand Go Hand in Hand

Beyond growing followers.

Besides using hashtags to grow followers, categorizing content using the # symbol is a powerful marketing tool. Include among your list of hashtags a signature one that is just yours as reinforcement for your brand. For example, when I launched my last book, No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing with Dan Kennedy, we used the hashtag phrase #NoBSsm and readers posted pictures with their book using that hashtag. Whether used to grow followers, launch a contest or build your brand, hashtags remain one of the most powerful tools of the Instagram network. Leverage them to grow your following and online authority.

How To Use Hashtags On Twitter, How To Use Hashtags On Facebook, How To Use Hashtags In Instagram, How To Use Hashtags On Pinterest, How To Use Hashtags On Youtube, How To Use Hashtags For Business, How To Use Hashtags In Social Media, How To Use Hashtags To Get More Followers

10 Secrets to Going Viral on Social Media

 Focus on creating content that is timely and that generates engagement.

10 Secrets to Going Viral on Social Media

Image credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund | Getty Images
Your audience is on social media. According to a recent PEW study, nearly 70 percent of people living in the United States use at least one social media network. Over 2.5 billion people (a number that is growing rapidly) are on social networks worldwide.If you’re an entrepreneur in this digital era, you need to be on social media. Creating a viral marketing campaign is a great way to create brand awareness using the power of social media.

Think of virality as an exponential curve. If two people directly related to the brand share a piece of content, and if that number doubles 30 times, it means that over a billion people will have shared the content.

Viral marketing is a powerful tool for businesses. It’s how organizations like Facebook and Lyft (among many others) quickly acquired new customers. You can create a viral social media campaign by following the viral-marketing principles practiced by some of the world’s best brands.

1. Master the target audience.

In order to create viral content, you must first understand your target audience. Viral content is only effective if it speaks to people so convincingly that they are eager to share the content.

Social media marketers should start a viral campaign by creating at least one marketing persona. A persona is a representation of the target customer that includes demographic and psychographic information, as well as information related to social media behavior and content preferences.

Build a marketing persona by speaking with real and potential customers to understand what is important to them as they consider a purchase and share content online. Armed with this information, it will be considerably easier for you and your team to create content that users are likely to share online.

Related: 10 Ways to Learn About Your Target Audience

2. Select the appropriate social media platform.

Every social media platform is different. Before creating content, choose a platform on which to specialize. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are all good platforms on which to start a viral marketing campaign; however, the content you create will differ depending on the platform you choose.

If you choose to create content for Instagram, for example, a series of Instagram Stories or an image with a compelling caption can spark viral shares online. However, content that will perform well on LinkedIn is usually created from a Pulse article or from a thoughtful LinkedIn update.

The platform you choose should be informed by the information gleaned from your work creating a marketing persona.

Related: How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business

3. Create content with high engagement.

Most social media platforms use an algorithm that ranks content based on the likelihood that the user will engage. Content that is expected to engage followers is usually ranked at the top of the page, and content that is expected to be less engaging is ranked toward the bottom.

Content that creates engagement is rewarded by being amplified to other users; content that does not create engagement is buried. Viral marketers should focus on creating content that has high engagement, since it will have greater reach and is thus more likely to be re-shared.

Related: 7 Ways to Improve Online Engagement With Visual Content

4. Time content for maximum reach.

To ensure that content performs as well as possible, time its release so that it will receive maximum visibility. Ideal timing will depend on the habits and preferences of your target audience, and on the social media platform you are using.

As noted above, social media platforms use algorithms that rank content based on the probability of user engagement. Timeliness plays a key role in that equation as well, which means that releasing content at just the right time can positively impact performance.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

5. Boost visibility with advertising.

While not impossible, it can be difficult for a small organization to create viral content. Investing in paid ads on social networks can boost the visibility of a campaign. Consider creating ads that are targeted to a group of influential users. If these users re-share the ad, the ad will be broadcast to a wider audience in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Related: The 4 Essentials to Building Your Brand on Social Media

6. Partner with a social media influencer.

Of the marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy, nearly 95 percent believe that the strategy is effective. Social media influencers have the ability to provide brands with improved reach, and can add fuel to a viral marketing campaign.

Related: 9 Top Social Media Influencers Marketers Need to Follow

7. Measure performance to create better campaigns in the future.

Marketers in today’s digital environment must use a social media analytics tool to measure performance, and to understand what is and is not working. It may take a few tries to create a viral marketing campaign. If you need to make adjustments or alter course, the metrics can help guide the changes in strategy.

Related: The Most Important Marketing Metric You’re Not Measuring

8. Provide a clear call to action.

Don’t let social media engagement go to waste. Make it clear what those interested in the brand should do next, in addition to simply liking or re-sharing a piece of content. Brands like Facebook and Lyft didn’t just grow by creating brand awareness through social media; they encouraged members of the target audience to take a specific action.

In most cases, encouraging the target audience to sign up for a free trial or to make a discounted purchase are effective ways to use the power of viral marketing to grow customers.

Related: 3 Critical Principles of Effective Calls to Action

9. Generate media attention.

If a viral marketing campaign really takes off, endeavor to amplify the message of the brand via various media outlets. When it is clear that the brand is doing something newsworthy, news organizations will be eager to provide brands with attention.

A great way to prove newsworthiness is to show media outlets that thousands or millions of people have responded positively to your brand’s campaign. When contacting a news organization, be sure to prepare a press release that contains all the relevant figures, as well as contact information.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Media Coverage as a Startup

10. Share novel content.

Original, unusual content is more likely to get engagement than content that is reminiscent of campaigns from other companies. Great content is remembered, like Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad, or the ALS Association’s ice-bucket challenge. Content that is derivative of previous campaigns will be ignored, and may even receive negative press attention.

Related: 6 Viral-Marketing Lessons to Learn From the Ice Bucket Challenge

Conclusion

Creating a viral marketing campaign that is productive can be challenging. First and foremost, it is important to create content that speaks to the target audience in a unique way. Marketers should use a social media analytics platform to measure performance, and should focus on creating content that is timely and that generates engagement.

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How to Use Twitter Banter to Gain Clout

Twitter still is the place for quick, clever conversations with your audience. Endear yourself to followers and emphasize your culture with these tips.

How Brands Use Twitter Banter to Gain Clout

Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images
Original Article from Entrepreneur.com
Twitter remains a powerful force, despite the rising popularity and appeal of social-media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. (Just look at how President Donald Trump keeps the world on edge with every tweet he sends.) Of all the major social media platforms, Twitter may be the one that most effectively conveys the wit and personality of an individual or a brand.With just 140 characters — for now — Twitter forces users to be concise and impactful. Furthermore, with new information being reported every second on all topics, users must be quick to respond before their thoughts become irrelevant.

A number of personal and business brands have really taken advantage of what Twitter has to offer. It’s the place for quick retorts. Playful banter. Witty remarks. Viral memes. If a brand responds in a clever manner, it quickly can gain clout, popularity and respect. On the other hand, brands that respond with corny or inappropriate tweets can face unwanted attention and public vitriol.

Related: Should Your Brand Throw a Twitter Party?

Here are a few examples of brands that have used Twitter to achieve positive results — along with some tips on how you can apply these successful strategies.

Wendy’s clapback.

It’s common for Twitter users to dish out harsh and unwarranted critique of brands without suffering any consequences. Many brands simply ignore these comments. However, brands that do dare to respond can gain the respect of followers and attract new fans. Wendy’s has taken this approach a few times while managing to avoid an offensive or disrespectful tone.

When one Twitter user compared Wendy’s to a fast-food competitor, Wendy’s response yielded more than 13,000 retweets and 24,000 likes.

Wendy’s Takedown

This one below is a bit more harmless. A Twitter user asked a genuine question: Why are Wendy’s burgers square? The response garnered a lot of online attention.

Wendy’s cut corners tweet

Related: What I Learned From My First Twitter Chat

Merriam-Webster

Merriam-Webster has done an incredible job of using Twitter to build its brand. Its social-media manager is very quick to give precise definitions of words that have been incorrectly used. The brand tends to use events of national importance to make a point and take a stand.

After the United Airlines fiasco — one of the most-discussed events on social media — Merriam-Webster attained more than 40,000 retweets and 65,000 likes with its definition of “volunteer.” The company’s account did a masterful job of highlighting the issue within the confines of its own brand.

Merriam-Webster volunteer tweet

Twitter lost it when Trump used the word “covfefe” in the midst of one his Twitter rants against the media. Although it clearly was a typo (whose meaning remains unclear), “covfefe” became a bit of a rallying cry for those who saw Trump as mentally unfit for his office. Merriam-Webster again capitalized, with a retort that garnered more than 97,000 retweets and over 225,000 likes.

Covfefe Tweet

Black Girls Code

Too many brands and individuals take neutral positions on important matters simply to avoid controversy or even hatred from any particular side of a debate. Black Girls Code, which many startup entrepreneurs and venture capitalists support as a way to increase diversity in tech, has begun establishing its reputation as a trustworthy organization — particularly in Silicon Valley.

In the wake of backlash over Uber’s treatment of women, the company has made an effort to show the public how it’s working to change its culture. Nonetheless, Black Girls Code turned down a $125,000 Uber donation. Leadership at Black Girls Code believed the offer was more of a public-relations play than a genuine offer to build up the organization. Black Girls Code’s founder told her story via Twitter, and her group’s hard stance inspired many to open up their own checkbooks.

@Shaig Tweet

Make Twitter work for you.

What can you learn from businesses and other organizations that have successfully gained traction from Twitter banter?

  • Stay on message. If you’re going to respond to trolls, stay within the confines of your own brand where it makes sense.
  • Be aware. Be aware of trending topics, what’s going on in the world and what everyone is talking about. That’s the only way to have a timely response that keeps your brand relevant.
  • Take a stand. Don’t be afraid to pick a side, if it’s the right one for your brand or culture.
  • Have fun and be honest. Twitter is a conversation, and by nature, banter is a light back-and-forth. But if you misstep or make a mistake, own up to it.
  • Don’t be offensive or ignorant. Brands often try too hard to appeal to a particular demographic. You’ll fail if you’re not culturally cognizant of your target audience’s do’s and don’ts.

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U.S. Government Debt Increases are Unsustainable

Link to Original Article 

Do Not Tap Button; Economy May Instantly Collapse.

As the stock market continues to rise on the back of some of the worst geopolitical, financial, and domestic news, the U.S. Treasury has been quietly increasing the amount of government debt, with virtually no coverage by the Mainstream or Alternative Media.  So, how much has the U.S. debt increased in the past few days?   A bunch.

The surge in U.S. debt that took place over the past two days all started when the debt ceiling limit was officially allowed to increase on Sept 8th.  In just one day, the U.S. Treasury increased the public debt by $318 billion:

(chart courtesy of TreasuryDirect.gov)

The was the first time in U.S. history that the public debt rose over $20 trillion.  I mentioned this in my article, The U.S. Government Massive ONE-DAY Debt Increase Impact On Interest Expense & Silver ETF:

The U.S. Treasury will have to pay out an additional $7 billion interest payment for the extra $318 billion in debt it increased in just one day.  Again, that $7 billion interest payment is based on an average 2.2% rate multiplied by the $318 billion in debt.  Now, if we compare the additional $7 billion of U.S. interest expense to the total value of the silver SLV ETF of $5.8 billion, we can plainly see that printing money, and increasing debt becomes a valuable tool for Central Banks to cap the silver price.

Thus, when the U.S. Treasury increased the public debt by $318 billion, it will also have to pay an additional $7 billion in an annual interest payment to finance that debt.  However, that large one-day debt increase was over three weeks ago.  What’s been going on at the U.S. Treasury since then?  Let’s just say; they have been very busy… LOL.

On the last update in September, the U.S. Treasury increased the debt by nearly $40 billion on the very last day of the month:

(chart courtesy of TreasuryDirect.gov)

As we can see, the U.S. public debt increased from $20,203 billion ($20.203 trillion) on Sept. 28th to $20,245 billion on Sept 29th.  Overall, the U.S. debt increased $83 billion more since the $318 billion one-day increase on Sept 8th.   Which means, the total debt increase was $400 billion in a little more than three weeks.  However, the U.S. Government must be making up for lost time when the debt ceiling was frozen from March 15th to Sept 7th.

According to TreasuryDirect.gov website, the U.S. public debt ballooned by another $100 billion in the first two days of October:

(chart courtesy of TreasuryDirect.gov)

Alright, it only increased by $99 billion from $20,445 billion to $20,344 billion, but I’d rather use $100 billion because it has a better ring to it.  So, in less than a month, the U.S. Government public debt increased by a stunning $500 billion.  Along with the half trillion Dollars worth of new public debt, the U.S. Treasury will have to pay an additional $11 billion a year in interest payments based on an average 2.2% rate.

The notion that the Fed will continue to increase interest rates and begin to liquidate its inventory of MBS – Mortgaged Backed Securities that no one wanted in 2009-2010, as well as some of its high-quality Treasury toilet paper, is pure bollocks when they are handing out money hand over fist.  As I mentioned in my article linked above, if the interest rate went back to the 6.4% rate as it was in 2000, the U.S. Treasury interest on the debt would surge to more than $1.3 trillion.

Thus, our annual interest payment of $1.3 trillion (based on a 6.4% average interest rate) would account for one-third of the $3.9 trillion 2016 budget.  Of course, this could not fly as our annual deficit would jump from $587 billion (2016) to $1.4 trillion.  Actually, I believe we are going to see a $1+ trillion annual deficits in the next several years.

It is impressive to see how quick the U.S. Treasury is increasing the public debt:

Again, this additional $182 debt increase comes after the $318 billion one-day increase on Sept 8th.  No wonder, China and Russia are working together on alternative Gold-Backed Yuan Oil trading benchmark as highlighted in the article, A Failing Empire, Part 2: De-Dollarisation – China and Russia’s Plan From Petroyuan To Gold:

For China, Iran, and Russia, as well as other countries, de-dollarization has become a pressing issue.

The number of countries that are beginning to see the benefits of a decentralized system, as opposed to the US dollar system, is increasing.

  1. Iran and India, but also Iran and Russia, have often traded hydrocarbons in exchange for primary goods, thereby bypassing American sanctions.
  2. Likewise, China’s economic power has allowed it to open a 10-billion-euro line of credit to Iran to circumvent recent sanctions.
  3. Even the DPRK seems to use cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to buy oil from China and bypass US sanctions.
  4. Venezuela (with the largest oil reserves in the world) has just started a historic move to completely renounce selling oil in dollars, and has announced that it will start receiving money in a basket of currencies without US dollars. (This is not to mention the biggest change to have occurred in the last 40 years).
  5. Beijing will buy gas and oil from Russia by paying in yuan, with Moscow being able to convert yuan into gold immediately thanks to the Shanghai International Energy Exchange.

As the U.S. Treasury and Federal Government continues printing money and increasing its debt by $500 billion at a clip, the rest of the world is no longer going to sit around and wait for the negative ramifications.

Lastly, I have one more interesting chart to share before I conclude this article.  I find it quite ironic (HILARIOUS) that the gold and silver price PEAKED on the very same day the debt ceiling was increased and another $318 billion of debt was added to the U.S. Govt balance sheet while the Dow Jones Index bottomed and surged by 1,000+ points:

I gather this chart wraps up the situation nicely.  As the U.S. Govt pumps up the market with another $500 billion in debt, the stock market continues to move into BUBBLE TERRITORY.  Unfortunately, precious metals investors have to be patient until the Fed and U.S. Treasury completely BLOW UP the market.

Check back for new articles and updates at the SRSrocco Report.

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