5 practical ways to cut back on doomscrolling
If you check social media as soon as you wake up, work online for a living, spend hours scrolling the internet after work, or fall asleep basking in the glow of your phone's blue light, there's a good chance you're a doomscroller.
Doomscrolling is a fairly new term that gained popularity after people began quarantining to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The term is used to describe the act of scrolling through social media feeds and consuming a seemingly endless amount of concerning news. If you're anything like me, you enjoy being in the know at all times, and news-related FOMO makes you reluctant to unplug from social media. So doomscrolling can be a hard habit to break.
Wanting to stay informed is totally understandable, but there are ways to do so that don't take as large of a toll on your mental health as doomscrolling does. In an effort to help our fellow doomscrollers cut back on the potentially harmful habit, we've compiled a comprehensive list of practical steps you can take to stop doomscrolling. We hope these suggestions help, and remember: It's OK to be offline every now and again.
1. Reorganize the apps on your phone
If you're looking to start small, reorganizing the apps on your device is a simple way to put a little bit of distance between you and your social media feeds.
Rather than keeping popular apps like Twitter and Instagram (or anything you don't want to use as often) on your homepage, move them to the third or fourth page of your device so you have to do some work to access them. I personally keep my Twitter app on the last page of my iPhone in a folder labeled "Don't Touch," and though I still use it often, the setup does makes me think twice before clicking and occasionally persuades me to reevaluate.
An editor of mine also suggested periodically deleting social media apps from your phone. Doing so will hopefully help you check the platforms less frequently, since you'll only be accessing them on desktop.
2. Set usage limits and be aware of your screen time
If you're not in the mood to reorganize your apps (or have done so and are now looking to take some extra steps) consider setting time limits for the usage of certain apps.
If there's a specific app you're looking to cut back on, see if there's a way to add usage restrictions within the platform. For instance, Instagram lets you manage your activity. All you have to do is go to your profile on the app and click the three lines in the upper right hand corner of your screen. After doing so, select "Your Activity" and "Set Daily Reminder." You can choose an amount of time between five minutes and 23 hours and 55 minutes (lmao.) Then, after you've used up your daily Instagram minutes the app will alert you so you can cut back on usage.
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can also use Screen Time. The feature allows you to monitor how often you use your screen, see which apps you spend the most time on, and set daily time limits for them. You can also use Screen Time's "Downtime" feature to set scheduled time away from your screen. "During downtime, only apps that you choose to allow and phone calls will be available," the setting reads.
was also created to help people manage their tech usage and find a healthy balance between online and offline life. You can learn more information about your tech habits, along with tips on how to focus and tools to help you unplug on wellbeing.google. And if you need to stop scrolling social media on your phone and desktop, the website blocker, Freedom, can help, too. You can test out the service with a free trial, and there are also several free browser extensions available for download. (Compatible with Mac, Windows, iOD, Android, Chromebook, and Linux.)
If you're not into app-specific time limits, consider setting a daily alarm to remind yourself to unplug. For instance, if a "Stop Doomscrolling" alarm goes off at 9:00 p.m. and tells you to unplug, you might remember to enjoy the rest of your night social media free. Doesn't that sound lovely?
3. Switch to a Good Screen (or abandon screens all together)
After a long day of being online, I consider any screen that displays social media to be Bad. Good screens include televisions, e-book readers, and gaming consoles — but laptops and phones have the ability to be good depending on their purpose.
Instead of wasting hours doomscrolling, use your devices for something fun! Catch up on some television shows, shop, play a video game, and read or write for pleasure.
Another great way to ensure you don't spiral into another doomscrolling session is to do something that doesn't involve a screen at all. Read a physical book. Take a walk. Safely catch up with friends and family members. Try paint-by-numbers. Practice some self-care. Finding hobbies and activities that bring you joy and separate you from social media is important.
4. Physically distance yourself from your screens
If you're still struggling to restrict your social media usage, consider taking slightly more drastic measures.
For starters, try turning the volume on and leaving your phone in a different room whenever you feel you need a break. You won't check it as frequently, but you'll still be able to hear any incoming messages or calls.
You can also consider buying a phone case with a cover on it, like these, in hopes of making less eye contact with your screen. And I highly recommend downloading a productivity app, such as Forest, which locks your screen for a set amount of time. The app discourages you from checking your phone by planting a cute virtual tree that will only grow to completion if your phone remains locked for the set time. The app holding you accountable is definitely encouraging.
If you haven't already, you should also make an effort to sleep apart from your phone and other tech devices. Earlier this year, I tried sleeping in a separate room as my phone for a week and though the separation admittedly took some getting used to, falling asleep and waking up without social media at my fingertips was truly refreshing.
If you rely on your phone to wake you up every morning, it's time to take the plunge and splurge on a real alarm clock. If you love tech but are trying to cut screens out of your room entirely, the Loftie Clock is the perfect alarm for you. It's a bit pricey (you can pre-order one for $129) but the clock offers a bunch of phone-related perks without all the distractions of social media.
5. Switch up the ways in which you consume news
Following trusted sources and having the ability to see trending topics in the area of your choosing makes it possible to get the majority of your news from social media. In some ways, that's convenient. But the constant consumption of news, updates, and opinions also makes logging off difficult.
In an attempt to start using social media less, try using other news sources more. Instead of spending hours on your timeline, try visiting platforms like Apple News and Flipboard to get straight news without all the other distractions of social media. You can also sign up for informative newsletters and set aside time in your day to watch the news and catch up on what you missed. (Just remember to turn it off after an hour or two and unwind for the rest of the night.)
If you're searching for more instant information gratification, sign up for some breaking news alerts or enable social media notifications for select users. This way, you can stay in-the-know without having to scroll all the time.
We're in the middle of a global pandemic and only months away from the U.S. presidential election, so every social media scroll is bound to feature some level of doom. But if you make an honest effort to cut back on doomscrolling, you'll definitely have more time in your day to experience moments of genuine joy.
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August 12, 2020 at 08:07PM
Daily Crunch: Android phones become earthquake detectors
Google is using accelerometers in an interesting new way, Twitter allows everyone to limit tweet replies and Mozilla announces major layoffs. This is your Daily Crunch for August 11, 2020.
The big story: Android phones become earthquake detectors
Google said that smartphone accelerometers are sensitive enough to detect P-waves, which are the first waves to arrive during an earthquake. So if your Android phone thinks it has detected an earthquake, it will communicate with a central server to confirm.
In California, Google is also partnering with the United States Geological Survey and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide earthquake alerts. For everyone else, you’ll only see this earthquake data if you search for “earthquake” or a similar term.
This is part of a broader set of Android-related announcements today, including updates to Android Auto and Android’s emergency location service, new accessibility features and better sleep through the Android Clock app.
The tech giants
Twitter now lets everyone limit replies to their tweets — A small globe icon will start to appear at the bottom of your tweets, and if you tap it, you can limit replies just to those who follow you, or just to those who you tag in the tweet itself.
Dell’s latest Chromebook blends enterprise security with premium specs — Once relegated to consumer or education use, Chromebooks are gaining traction in enterprise environments.
Tencent and Universal Music to take Chinese artists global under joint label — Tencent Music Entertainment, which spun off from Tencent, commands the lion’s share of China’s music streaming industry.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Google, Nokia, Qualcomm are investors in $230M Series A2 for Finnish phone maker, HMD Global — Since late 2016, the startup has exclusively licensed Nokia’s brand for mobile devices, going on to ship some 240 million devices to date.
Atomwise’s machine learning-based drug discovery service raises $123 million — Atomwise has already signed contracts with corporate partners that include Eli Lilly & Co., Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals and Bridge Biotherapeutics.
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing service SlideShare from LinkedIn — According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
How Moovit went from opportunity to a $900M exit in 8 years — Private investor (and former Moovit president) Omar Téllez shares the inside story.
No pen required: The digital future of real estate closings — One potential silver lining of the pandemic, at least for the real estate world, may be a forced reckoning with the mortgage closing process.
Emergence’s Jason Green still sees plenty of opportunities for enterprise SaaS startups — One consistent thread runs through Emergence’s portfolio: They focus on the cloud and enterprise, a thesis that has paid off big time.
(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
Mozilla lays off 250 — This move comes after the organization already laid off about 70 employees earlier this year.
EU-US Privacy Shield is dead. Long live Privacy Shield — The EU’s executive body and the US Department of Commerce have begun talks toward fashioning a new “Privacy Shield.”
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
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August 12, 2020 at 07:10PM
Tex Sands Leverages the Power of Social Media Marketing to Go Viral
In today’s era, there are lots of paths available for those who want to get noticed. With hundreds of millions of people using social media on a daily basis, this is a great way to get noticed, market a channel or business, and grow your online footprint. The Sands Family, let by Tex Sands, is a great example of the power of social media.
The Sands Family is from Houston, TX. Tex Sands has a YouTube channel that he runs with his wife, Kyndall. The name of the channel is, appropriately, the Sands Family. Even though this social media channel has not been around for very long, it has already amassed more than 400,000 subscribers. How has the Sands Family been able to generate such a large following in such a short period of time?
In short, Tex Sands is a master of social media marketing. There are a few methods that he has used to garner such a large following in such a short period of time. First, the channel plays to its target audience. Tex Sands knows what his audience wants to see. For example, in all of his videos, he makes sure to place the lavish lifestyle that he leads at the forefront. Anyone who watches his videos knows that they can expect to see exotic cars in just about every clips. Then, in the video, Tex Sands speaks directly to his audience, making sure they click to the button to subscribe to his videos. Then, they get notifications about new videos that might have been posted.
Second, Tex Sands has used his social media marketing aptly, making sure that his channels play off of each other. In addition to the family YouTube channel, Tex Sands also has an Instagram profile. In the world of social media marketing, it is important to drive traffic from one channel to the other. There might be people who follow one channel but not the other. Tex Sands makes sure to place links to the other platform in each profile. This makes sure that people flow back and forth.
Finally, Tex Sands tries to get the entire family involved. Some videos play well to a certain audience while others might work better for other people. With Kyndall also playing a major role in the family’s social media channels, there is a diverse crowd that turns into these videos. Following these tenants has made Tex Sands and the Sands Family famous in the world of social media in a short period of time.
The power of social media is very real and Tex Sands is an example of it. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
The post Tex Sands Leverages the Power of Social Media Marketing to Go Viral appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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August 12, 2020 at 06:01PM
Twitter and the porn apocalypse that could reshape the industry as we know it
August 8 is International Female Orgasm Day, and we're celebrating with an entire week dedicated to exploring the business and pleasure of porn.
The adult entertainment industry lives in perpetual fear not of anti-porn activists or conservative legislation, but of a crackdown on their accounts by Twitter — a move many of them believe is imminent and will be apocalyptic for them.
A concentrated wave of this fear spread through the industry at the end of last year, when reports began to circulate that Twitter appeared to be ramping up for a crackdown on NSFW content in 2020. A number of porn performers and producers promptly went into panic mode, decrying or lamenting this impending death blow.
These concerns, it appears, were overblown. More than halfway through this year, and there are no signs of a major shift, much less a crackdown. In fact, Twitter tells Mashable that it has not changed, nor does it plan to change, its policies on sensitive media (its euphemism for violent and adult content), or the way it enforces those policies.
This wasn't the first time a major wave of Twitter-related paranoia has swept the industry. Similar reports about an oncoming all-out war on porn made the rounds in 2015 and 2017, and notably never amount to much either.
But the level of concern this coverage stoked just demonstrates how vital Twitter has become — and how devastating its loss would be — to the health and stability of the adult industry.
Yet even if a crackdown is not on its way in the short term — a near certainty especially in our current state of pandemic-induced suspended animation — many social media and adult industry experts still believe those working in the porn have good reason to fear an eventual Twitter porn-pocalypse.
Porn's social media revolution
About a decade ago, , and the bottom fell out of the old school porn industry. Around the same time, the democratization of online video production, shifts in the way many people think about sex and sexuality, and a host of other factors led to a spike in the number of people making amateur or indie studio porn — or even dipping their toes into mainstream porn production.
Facing , many porn performers and producers gradually realized that they needed to build strong brands and deep connections with loyal fanbases — to be more connected and personified — to survive or thrive. So naturally, they turned to social media, a tool custom built for that sort of outreach and marketing.
For years now, performers and producers to send out a constant stream of . This has also allowed them to interact directly (and often and effectively) with their fans. As porn performer and publicist notes, studios (some of whom have started shooting scenes again after months of pandemic-related production holds) now look at performers’ follower counts to figure out who has a large fan base they can market to (or piggyback off of), and thus who to hire. The bulk of these studios’ advertising to those fan bases whenever they release new titles plays out on social media, as well. Ditto for strip clubs (some of which have also reopened), which shell out higher rates for feature dances from performers they believe will draw a crowd.
Performers also directly monetize their social media followings. Some create private or locked accounts to fans who crave a sense of intimacy and connection with these idealized icons. Most drive loyal fans from their public social media accounts to their personal sites, or to platforms like Clips4Sale, ManyVids, and the , where they sell clips or subscriptions that give fans access to a constant flow of usually self-created and well protected content with a lot of personality baked into it.
Many performers and producers from social media referrals. As such, social media has been essential, notes , who studies modern porn work, to the rise of profitable independent porn stars. Most of them work safely and on their own terms “without paying high fees to managers and third-party processors.” (These types of stars are also the ones who've best weathered the restrictions and upheavals of the pandemic.)
Surviving by the grace of social media has its risks, however. A number of performers have told me in recent years that porn used to be like a nine-to-five job; they could turn off their onscreen personas, industry drama, and fan chatter and critiques when they went off the clock. Now, they say, they often feel like they have to be on — and exposed to brutal vitriol of trolls and entitlement of keyboard warrior fans — all the time. , this constant pressure and feedback can be grueling
“Adult performers use it to , to warn people about… exploitation” with a freedom, reach, and volume amplification they never could before, he says. “For the FSC, we use it to get out information about production holds” after one or more performers test positive for an STI, “report bad actors or policy changes, put out alerts about fraud attempts,” and much more. It is especially useful, he says, for reaching performers who don’t live in Los Angeles, porn’s old (and increasingly irrelevant) physical capital, or work in traditional studios and so would be hard to contact through conventional means.
Leya Tanit, a performer and founder of , which offers mental health education and does outreach to set adult stars up with services, explains that their team uses social media to keep an eye out for, and offer support to, marginalized or isolated performers who seem to be struggling.
Social media platforms have also made it easier for porn industry figures to organize politically and share their stories with the mainstream press and broader public, Stabile adds. “I don’t think the awareness around … sex worker rights would be where it is” without social media, he says.
The problem with platforms
, Twitter has been by far the most important social media platform for the porn world, if only because it has been the least hostile to it — and to discussions and depictions of sex and sexuality in general. Facebook and Instagram have squeezed nudity, and many forms of sexual conversation, off of their platforms to the point that last fall the former started in user posts and conversations.
Tumblr, once a haven for erotic talk and imagery, especially for minority sexual communities, . And , despite its origins as a thoroughly sext-focused app, has periodically targeted their accounts for censorship, or just fully purged them, for years.
Most of these platforms make allowances for moderate sexual dialogue, especially in educational, artistic, or documentary materials. But everyone from non-pornographic artists and models to pole dancers to sexual educators (especially in the queer community) most platforms are overzealous at best in their enforcement, often censoring even what should be allowed, and is by almost any reasonable standard innocuous, sexual (if perhaps vaguely sexualizable) content.
Porn stars especially argue that these platforms frequently target them with over-harsh enforcement, and often outright bans, even when they play by the rules. Notably, last fall a performer’s group in which Instagram allegedly deleted adult stars’ accounts even when they complied with community guidelines restricting the display or discussion of sex or nudity.
“Every year, we are seeing more and more discrimination towards sex workers on all of the major social media platforms,” argues Tony Rios, president of the porn trade media house AVN.
Except for Twitter, that is. They have long banned nudity and simulated or unstimulated sex acts in profile photos and header images. They require posters to mark any tweets containing adult content, or accounts that frequently feature such material, as sensitive. And they have banned the delivery of unsolicited messages containing sensitive content to others. These are all fairly reasonable efforts to keep people who don’t want to see adult content on Twitter from chancing upon it incidentally.
But (which they owned) in 2014, they’ve refrained from enacting restrictions anywhere near as stringent as the other social media giants. In fact Twitter has been so friendly to porn performers and producers by comparison that anti-porn groups like and the treat it as one of the greatest abettors of what they see as a leading global health and safety menace.
The fact that Twitter has held out for so long as a porn-friendly space while the rest of the social media world has turned away from sex and sexuality leaves porn stars waiting for what many feel is an inevitable cave in and crackdown, explains adult star . Hence the mild-to-major industry panic and suspicion anytime Twitter makes literally any move even vaguely related to sexual content or discourse, whether that’s adjusting its policies or going after spam bots.
Reading between the lines of the terms of service
The recent panic seemingly started when that it would amend its policies at the start of 2020 to comply with new privacy laws in California and the European Union. This led a number of users to dive into the platform’s terms of service (TOS), where they noticed what seemed like new restrictions on sensitive media. Commentators focused especially on the fact that Twitter’s TOS list depictions of “bodily fluids, including blood, feces, [and] semen” within their definition depictions of graphic violence, explicitly forbids any depiction of simulated or actual sexual or sexualized violence in any context, and features a line about a policy on censoring accounts dedicated to sharing sensitive media. Twitter had actually slipped this language into its TOS in an attempt to add clarity to old rules, not to substantively alter them.
Anti-censorship activists have been concerned about vague social media TOS since platforms like Twitter launched, notes of the National Coalition Against Censorship, arguing that they can and do use ambiguity as a blank check to restrict all manner of speech that might cause them trouble with advertisers, app stores, profitable users, or any number of other parties. In that light, one could read these clarifications as a useful free speech protection for porn producers.
Individuals involved or interested in the kink scene — enthusiasts, content creators, and beyond — that Twitter’s explicit ban on depictions of sexual or sexualized violence blocks the free sexual expression of communities that engage in safe, consensual, and fetishes like flogging or consensual non-consent roleplaying. Twitter’s TOS asserts that it is reasonable and important to limit this sexual speech “to prevent the normalization of sexual assault and non-consensual violence associated with sexual acts.” This is a , but at least clear and public, line of reasoning.
A number of anti-censorship activists Mashable spoke to for this piece argued that Twitter’s current TOS are still worryingly vague. But social media companies to leave a little wiggle room in these texts to account for the infinite unknown unknowns of the internet. It is difficult to figure out the sweet spot between functional and dangerous vagueness.
No matter how helpful Twitter intended its clarifications to be, they sparked fear, in large part because of phrasing and delivery issues. Case in point, one line of reads: “Your account may be permanently suspended if the majority of your activity on Twitter is sharing sensitive media.” Many in the porn world saw this as a notice of Twitter’s right — and implicitly its intent — to start taking down porn-centric accounts. But a Twitter rep told Mashable that they meant that “accounts that consistently share sensitive media that breaks our rules, or consistently share sensitive media in a way — unsolicited and targeted, in profile or header images — that breaks our rules” could face suspension. “Based on feedback that this line isn’t clear enough,” Twitter told Mashable after an interview on the topic, “we’ll be clarifying the policy.” On Tuesday, the company told Mashable that they've yet to change the TOS text because of the pandemic, saying, "With COVID-19, our team's priorities shifted but we are still working to update that page with clarifying language."
The looming shadow of shadow banning
However Twitter’s clarifications did make it clear that the site reserves () the right . as a long-awaited admission that Twitter engages in , a term for making hashtags or handles invisible to anyone who doesn’t know exactly how to look for them, without notifying the targeted user or users. Performers and producers have long argued that Twitter shadow bans adult accounts, terms, and accounts that interact with them as a means of “essentially suffocating sex workers from being able to reach their fans,” as Rios puts it. “Each year, they add more levels of shadow banning.”
Twitter has always balked at the term shadow ban. It has also long denied accusations that it uses shadow bans to suppress speech that doesn’t break its TOS but that the company or its backers disagree with or dislike, or to marginalize and discourage posting by irksome individuals.
Instead the company says that it uses techy tools to spot “accounts that are engaging in what may be abusive or spammy behavior” then limits “certain account functionality, such as only distributing their Tweets to their followers.” The company also notes that its safe search mode automatically screens out “Tweets that contain potentially sensitive content” from conversations, searches, and timelines. It further specifies that the company is “constantly running experiments on Twitter, which may limit the reach of certain Tweets.”
This could explain a fair amount of purported porn-targeted shadow banning. As performer Alura Jenson acknowledges, while many porn performers and producers abide by Twitter’s rules, tons of unscrupulous accounts still “publicly force [pornographic] images and videos down the throats of the average Twitter user.” And Twitter has with porn spam bots, automated accounts that use adult content and language to phish for users’ personal and payment information. These bots were especially active last year. “I blocked hundreds of spam accounts,” notes adult performer Ginger Banks. “The couple of years [before 2019] it was more like 10 or 20 a year.”
Twitter has been ramping up its safeguards against abuse and spam, a rep told Mashable. In theory that should not lead to systematic problems for legitimate and compliant porn accounts. But Banks suspects there are enough similarities between what the above-board porn world tweets or does and what abusive or spam accounts do. The legitimate industry may be of a well-intentioned user protection program. “The real kick in the teeth,” Jenson argues, “is that when genuine accounts get shadow banned, fraudulent and predatory accounts,” including fake accounts for banned performers, are often “still searchable. Fans tend to fall for these, succumbing to scams and [their] parasitic demands for money.”
The subtlety and opacity of content limitation (slash shadow banning) also makes it incredibly difficult for porn performers to know when their accounts, and thus their livelihoods, might be suffering from it and why, Jenson notes. , a performer who consults on social media account building and management for other adult stars and publicly protests shadow banning, argues that the only logical explanation for Twitter’s lack of clarity on the specific content that leads to content limitation is the existence of an active, duplicitous, and sinister project aiming to slowly and silently squeeze adult content and its creators off of the platform. But it seems more likely that Twitter just doesn’t clarify everything that can lead to content limitation for fear that doing so would be a field guide for bad actors to use to game safeguards and harm users.
What would a crackdown actually look like?
Even if Twitter’s goals are all currently noble, Stabile argues this content limitation clause creates potential for future less honorable, more arbitrary and insidious suppression or bans. “Just having something on the books that allows people to censor or shut down things is concerning to us,” he explains. “People say, ‘It’s not going to be used this way,’ or, ‘It won’t affect you.’ What we’ve found historically, particularly with legislation but also at the corporate level, is that [blank checks like this] do get used. A new administration comes in. A press scandal arises. A financial incentive changes. And suddenly, well, you know.” Then adult content writ large is in the crosshairs.
“These are the things we saw Tumblr do before going for the jugular” and fully banning adult content from its platform in December 2018, Stabile adds of the clarifications in Twitter’s current TOS. “The adult community in general is right to be nervous.”
A few performers actually argue that a crackdown on adult content on Twitter could be a good thing for the industry. Sure, a sudden ban on all nude or sexual imagery might cause an initial shock, forcing every performer to spend weeks locking down and cleaning up their accounts, argues performer . Some may even lose accounts in the scrum and face the daunting task of rebuilding their follower bases from scratch. (A number of performers have told me that they’ve actually been preparing for this potential eventuality, creating secret SFW backup accounts that they'll switch over to as soon as their old accounts face new scrutiny or go dark.)
Yet, as Banks notes, performers often find that they develop a more loyal, considerate, and profitable fan base by posting only PG content on their Twitters — by using them purely for SFW interactions and personal brand building. DeVille notes that many stars can keep things clean enough to stay on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as well despite their crackdowns — and still get plenty of traffic from them. And the race to gain visibility and numbers on Twitter by posting the sort of explicit content that fans love, argues Dubai, just contributes to the industry’s free porn crisis. Cutting off the flow of explicit clips and pics on Twitter could, she suggests, force some people who depend on this sort of easily accessible promo material for their porn fixes to become paying customers and so help performers waste less time and earn more.
However, implicit in these “it could be good for us” arguments is that a crackdown on adult content would be transparent, fair, and consistent — three terms most performers would never apply to social media censorship enforcement. The feared risk of a crackdown is often less that Twitter will get rid of, say, pics of explicit penetration, and more that it will make haphazard, ill-informed, or secretly malicious and discriminatory judgements about when and how to apply vague, and as such potentially overbroad, new enforcement standards. (Twitter has long stressed that it allows anyone to appeal any actions it may take against their accounts or content. But this presumes that people know they have been targeted and so may not cover some forms of content limitation. Also, the availability of an appeals process does not always avoid harm or chilling effects for the targets. Just ask anyone in the United States.)
Rios argues that social media companies have historically been more permissive when applying their sex and nudity standards to pop stars, and more arbitrary or harsh when applying them to any sort of sex worker. Pelazzari and Stabile both argue that bias or ignorance on the part of users flagging and moderators reviewing content has always led nudity and sexuality censorship rules to have disproportionately severe — and often outright harmful — effects on sexual minorities.
Major porn stars believe they would be able to weather even a chaotic, severe, or even total war on adult content and workers on Twitter. They're able to shift their focus onto other social media accounts they are less worried about, or reach out to their well established fan bases via their web sites, cam chat rooms, or any other number of adult industry venues. And since Tumblr’s great porn apocalypse, have attempted to bill themselves as fast growing, functional, and attractive mainstream alternatives with explicitly sex- and porn-positive outlooks. (Rios notes that AVN recently built its own monetizable social media platform, AVN Stars.) “Creating accounts on these alternative social media platforms will preserve a sense of survival for those feeling the Twitter pinch,” Jenson argues. “Every giant began as a novice.”
“It’s not that things can’t be done elsewhere,” counters Stabile. “It’s just tremendously difficult.” Maintaining multiple accounts and fan bases across the internet is a time-consuming task, and may be infeasible for new, small, or marginalized creators who rely on Twitter as a potent central hub.
In theory, some new and niche adult-friendly platforms could become hubs for adult performers, partially or fully replacing Twitter as an internal organizing and safety promotion tool at least. But none could fully replace Twitter, especially for brand and career building. As Rothfield notes, they don’t have the money or the manpower to expand. Most don’t even have an app. Even if they had the resources of a giant company like Pornhub (who seems to have no interest in this game), performer points out, most consumers wouldn’t want to have accounts on, much less publicly view, a site explicitly focused on or friendly to adult content.
What people want is a one-site-fits-all platform, she argues, where they can view porn and engage with adult stars casually, with a veneer of deniability. A number of fans in countries that ban porn sites , looking the other way on its porn content, would likely not be permitted to engage with these new platforms even if they did want to. Not even many art models, who might get booted from mainstream platforms in adult content clamp downs for nude photos, would want to be associated with a porn platform, argues adult star . And to top it all off, Mel Magazine reports many new or niche platforms seem to have .
So if the central, far-reaching, and socially acceptable hub of Twitter were to start seriously purging adult content or accounts from its platform — or to start seriously, if subtly, suppressing adult content or accounts — it would not cripple the adult industry. A few actors might not even feel a pinch. But it would be devastating to wide swathes of the adult world.
Rothfield is sure that small to mid-sized producers and performers would lose gobs of eyes and income. Stabile is sure that worker exploitation and endangerment would increase substantially. Performer and producer is sure that it would seriously set back evolving public dialogue on sex work and sex workers’ rights. “I can’t overstate it,” stresses Stabile. “It really is a scary prospect.”
The ripple effects of a porn-pocalypse
Stabile also argues that if Twitter ever does seriously escalate restrictions on adult content, it should cause concern for more than just the porn world. “The adult industry is always the canary in the coal mines,” he argues. “We’re the ones they come after first. We’re a strawman for going after larger issues around sexuality, whether that’s LGBTQ, BDSM, or women’s issues. Because it is really not a huge jump from cracking down on porn to declaring a whole host of things obscene and pornographic. That’s the way that this has happened globally and historically.”
In the face of fears of this grim prospect, Twitter has always touted its commitment to free speech. And social media researcher points out that they certainly don’t seem to have any immediate interests or goals that would lead them to walk back that commitment in favor of limits on adult content or voices. “In Twitter’s summary of its latest transparency report,” she notes, the document in which it sets forth its key priorities, values, and concerns, “the company foregrounds issues like abuse, hate speech, and terrorism — the three biggest moderation-related criticisms currently leveled at the company. The summary page doesn’t even mention adult content.”
Still, this means the health and stability of the adult industry — and thus the safety and security of thousands of already marginalized workers — rides on Twitter continuing to honestly and diligently respect free speech for adult producers even though it has no legal obligation to do so and may face strong incentives to do otherwise in the future. Companies have demonstrated repeatedly that pressure from payment processors, investors, advertisers, or juicy potential markets can at times override respect for the speech and wellbeing of certain politically or financially unimportant groups, like porn stars.
also suggest that social media sites especially have been willing to step away from adult content — and certain types of wider sexual dialogue — entirely just to avoid the as of yet uncertain risk of legal trouble due to passed in early 2018 by America’s Congress. (Known as FOSTA-SESTA, it holds online platforms liable for hosting user-created content that can be construed, broadly, as facilitating sex trafficking. Note that some anti-porn activists argue that all adult content does just that.) “It’s likely,” Pellazari, adds, “that the company would rather be criticized for restricting speech than for hosting a piece of content deemed violent or damaging” by powerful social or political actors or media figures.
“All it takes,” argues Stabile, “is a new administration, or a political push, to make it happen… Everything is set up for this to happen. All that isn’t there now is the will to do it.”
Once that incentive arrives — that spark of censorship — “suddenly it all falls like dominoes.”
Performers Crystal Rush, Kimberly Chi, and Roxie Rae, and Suzanne Kelder of PervCity.com also shared their thoughts and insights for consideration in the research for this piece.
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August 12, 2020 at 03:28PM
How to Create YouTube Videos that Get Views, Subscribers & Traffic
Over 2 billion people use YouTube every month. And they watch 5 billion videos every single day.
It is a great platform for anyone who wants to build a presence with video. But the competition on this network is immense. People here upload 500 hours of video every minute.
If you randomly publish videos and hope for the best, you won’t generate enough views, subscribers or website traffic. To get stellar results you need to optimize each video you publish on this network.
So, I am going to show you how to grow your YouTube channel by creating the right videos below…
Conduct a lot of research:
To remove the guesswork out of creating videos that get views, you should conduct a lot of research. The research will help you see what types of videos get the most views.
Start by just searching for keywords related to your topic. YouTube will then find relevant videos that get the most views.
This will give you a good idea on what topics and ideas rank high on YouTube and the types of videos people like to watch.
You can also analyze each of these videos with a tool like Social Animal to see which videos are doing well on social media.
This research will help you find ideas that do well on both social media and YouTube search.
While doing the research, pay attention to the other important aspects such as the length of the video, the comments people are leaving, the number of likes and dislikes the videos are getting, etc.
Have a video content funnel in place:
In order to get views, subscribers, and traffic, you need to understand how they all work together. This is what I like to call the YouTube video content funnel.
People watch your videos. If they like it they will either subscribe to your channel or they will visit your website, depending on the call to action you stress upon. They might take another action such as commenting on the video or liking/disliking it or sharing it on social media depending on how you optimize your video.
So, now you understand that in order to generate more subscribers and traffic from YouTube, you need to first optimize your videos for these purposes and then work on getting views. You don’t focus on other goals as they will distract people from subscribing to your channel or visiting the links to landing pages you share.
This is how the funnel will work. Once you know this reaching the end result will be a lot easier. Creating a funnel such as this can seem complicated, but there are several easy to use online video editors that can simplify this process.
Optimize videos for views:
After you create your videos based on what’s driving the most views, you can publish them on YouTube. When you are publishing your videos on YouTube, you should optimize them for driving the most views.
One way to do this is by using keywords. YouTube is usually considered to be a social network. But it is actually a cross between a search engine and a social network. People come here to look up videos and watch them.
This is why you should optimize your videos by adding keywords to title, description, and tags. Like this video from Tasty.
You will find the keyword ‘chocolate cake’ has been added to all 3 places. Use the research from the 1st step for this.
Optimize channels with visuals:
YouTube is primarily about videos, but you can optimize them with visuals such as thumbnails, watermarks, end cards, and banner images.
Thumbnails can be used to drive more views as they appear on top of the video in the results. An example is this one from the Global Triathlon Network.
Watermarks can be used to get more subscribers.
End cards can be used to get more subscribers, views, and traffic. As you can add individual video links, links to playlists, the subscribe icon and links to your website to end cards.
An example is the below one from Manchester United.
Banner images can be used to generate subscribers and views.
All these visuals are easy to create. For watermark, you can simply use a logo or an image with ‘Subscribe’ on it. While for the rest you can use a template. Most photo editors come with templates. You can simply pick a template, then optimize them with a still or 2 from the video and then add in some text and add them to the video.
If you find the stills from the video too big, you can use a background remover to get rid of the unimportant bits. This will make it easy to brand your images with the right elements.
Use calls to action:
The link and subscribe button you place in the end card will be a call to action. But that won’t be sufficient. As some people might miss it. You need to drive viewers’ attention to it by telling them to click the link or the subscribe button in the end card and take the desired step.
Another great place to add links in the description. Make sure you place the link right at the top.
Once you create the videos and have a funnel in place and you know that views will convert to subscribers and traffic, you can begin promoting the videos. The initial views will help you both in the short term and long term. In the short term, they will have the direct benefit of helping you generate subscribers and traffic. While in the longterm they will help you rank as views are a ranking factor that YouTube takes into consideration while ranking videos as found by this study.
You can use a multitude of tactics from sharing them on social media to influencer outreach to advertising to generate more views.
This is how you generate views, subscribers, and traffic on YouTube. Begin implementing the tactics today.
The post How to Create YouTube Videos that Get Views, Subscribers & Traffic appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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August 12, 2020 at 11:31AM
6 Ways to Get the Most out of Instagram Influencer Marketing
Instagram is the best network for influencer marketing.
You can use it to reach people who aren’t following you and generate more sales and followers. It is very similar to running paid ads. The main differences are that it is cheaper and the audience is already warmed up as the influencers are regularly posting content and interacting with their followers.
But influencer marketing won’t drive stellar results just because you pump money into it. To get the most out of influencer marketing, you need to use the right techniques. Therefore, to help you out, I have shared my top tips for getting the most out of Instagram influencer marketing below…
Always start with a strategy:
As with every type of marketing, influencer marketing needs a strategy too. You need to decide how many influencers you will be working with, whether they will be micro or macro-influencers, how many posts the influencers’ will be publishing, type of posts they will be publishing (stories, in-feed or IGTV), etc.
Following a planned approach will help you set a budget and predict revenues from your strategy.
Only work with the most relevant influencers:
One of the mistakes, people make with influencer marketing is that they try to go with influencers for superficial reasons such as the number of followers they have, the amount of engagement they drive, or how much they charge. These metrics matter, but what matters even more to your business is relevance. You will be more likely to drive sales from your influencer marketing strategy if you get Instagram shoutouts from influencers with the most relevant followers.
They will have followers who will want to buy your products. So, pay attention to relevance first and then look at the other metrics. A good example is this partnership between Penny and Woolworths.
They worked with Penny because they wanted to promote a food product and this influencer mainly publishes posts related to food.
Analyze influencer’s posts and your posts:
Before you decide on what to post you need to conduct some research to figure out what type of content will get you the result you are looking for. For this, you should analyze the influencer’s past Instagram posts and your past posts to see which content drove the most engagement and sales.
The combination of the data from both accounts will help you come up with content ideas that work.
For best results use a combination of stories, in-feed posts, and live videos to get the message across.
Craft the perfect post:
Make sure you work with the influencer to craft the perfect post. First, come up with a video or a photo that the influencer’s followers want to see. Then write a captivating caption. Use your copywriting skills here. You need to describe the product’s benefits and then end with a call to action.
You also need to tag your account as you need to make it easy for people to find your product. This will also get you some followers.
If the influencer allows it you can share the link to the landing page in the bio. If the influencer has more than 10,000 followers, you might want to get them to share a link through Stories as this will take them directly to the landing page.
Also, make sure you include hashtags in both in-feed posts and captions as they can improve engagement. You should add more than 11 hashtags as more hashtags get you more engagement. Also, use the #sponsored or #ad hashtags as you need to comply with FTC’s guidelines.
You also need to ensure you schedule the Instagram post to go out at the best time.
Combine influencer marketing with ads:
Instagram actually has a branded content option. This option lets influencers turn any posts they publish into a branded post. They can also tag the brand they are working with, in the post. A branded content post looks like the below one with your brand name at the top.
Brand posts also give the brand the option to turn the organic post into an ad.
This is a nice way to drive more eyeballs towards the post and boost exposure. But only make the posts that perform best into ads. If the posts don’t do well organically, they will probably fail as ads too.
Make sure you constantly monitor the performance of your influencers’ posts. This will give you a better idea about the type of posts you should be publishing on your account and the accounts of your influencers.
It will also help you see which influencers are driving the best results. You can select these few and give them long term contracts or work with them for your next campaign if you don’t want anything long term.
These are the 6 top ways to get the most out of influencer marketing. Make sure you begin implementing them today to generate sales, followers, and engagement.
The post 6 Ways to Get the Most out of Instagram Influencer Marketing appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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August 12, 2020 at 11:25AM
Which Types of Content Are Performing Best Right Now?
How many times has someone told you to go create content – as if that’s some sort of articulate directive you can follow. People say stuff like, “content is king,” “start a blog,” or “if you put it out there, people will come!” But at some point, these generic suggestions prove discouraging. Cliches only take you so far. You need a little direction on specifically what type of content you should be creating. And that’s precisely what we have for you in this article.
5 High-ROI Content Formats
There are so many different types of content that it can feel overwhelming. By no means are we suggesting you tackle every single item on this list. Rather, we’re telling you what’s working right now so that you can handpick one or two that get you excited and/or align with your strengths. Check them out:
1. Live Video
Live video is one of the fastest growing types of digital content. It’s hugely popular and packs a powerful punch for marketers who know how to use it well.
According to research from HubSpot, 57 percent of people watch live video at least three times per week. Just 7 percent of people say they “never watch live video.” In other words, it’s an excellent avenue for generating exposure. The most popular platforms for live video include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
2. Snackable Video
All forms of video content are valuable. The human brain is primed to respond to visual content in ways that it simply can’t with text. And while there’s a time and place for long-from video, short-form video is performing really well at the moment. (This is due to the nature of attention spans, focus, and social networking news feeds.)
Short-form video, which is roughly defined as a video between 15 seconds and three minutes in length, is not only more attractive to your audience, but is also easier on your brand. Rather than spending all of your time creating one 10-minute video, you can create a handful of 60-to-90-second videos and get more reach and engagement.
“Short-form video content lends to a more aggressive content strategy, meaning greater saturation of branded content,” The CSI Group writes. “Since they take much less time to create, you can cover a wider range of topics faster. And with more of your branded videos available, there’s a better chance one of them will make its way onto the right person’s screen.”
3. Educational Posts
There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned blog post! In fact, it’s still the meat and potatoes of your strategy. Not only does it provide high engagement, but it’s also great for SEO and organic search traffic.
The key to a good blog post is to make it educational. Blog posts like this one on birth control pills are highly effective. They explain a concept, answer questions readers have, and serve as authoritative voices on topics of concern.
When writing blog posts, think about how you can add tangible value (rather than talk about yourself). That’s where the real results are generated.
4. User Generated Content
If you have an active brand with loyal customers and “true fans,” it’s possible that you can get them to generate content on your behalf. There are a few ways to create user-generated content:
User-generated content can’t be your entire strategy, but it’s certainly a powerful element when properly wielded.
More people are listening to podcasts than ever before. Yet the number of active podcasts (meaning podcasts that consistently put out new content on a weekly or monthly basis) is surprisingly low. If you can commit to publishing 20-50 podcast episodes in a year, your podcast will automatically be better than most.
Revisit Your Content Strategy
Don’t wait until January 2021 to develop a new content strategy. It doesn’t matter what day or month of the year it is. You can always create a new strategy and begin pursuing results. Whether you get excited about video, or your personality makes you a better candidate for writing educational blog posts, there’s something out there for you. Take advantage!
The post Which Types of Content Are Performing Best Right Now? appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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August 12, 2020 at 09:56AM
How to Optimize Your Social Posts for the Visually Impaired
Do you want a larger audience to consume your social media content? Wondering how to create content that’s more accessible to people with impairments? In this article, you’ll discover tips and tools to make your social media content accessible to everyone. Why Accessibility Matters to Marketers A lot of people assume that accessibility is impossibly […]
The post How to Optimize Your Social Posts for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.
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August 12, 2020 at 05:01AM
Facebook admits it's awash in COVID-19 misinformation
No, it's not just your relatives and old high school friends sharing fake coronavirus cures and anti-mask propaganda on Facebook.
The social media giant admitted the mind-boggling scale of COVID-19 misinformation flooding its platforms Tuesday in a statement to reporters. And, in perhaps what won't come as a surprise to the people who rely on Facebook and Instagram to get their daily news, the sites are drowning in it.
For starters, the company confirmed it removed more than 7 million "pieces of harmful COVID-19 misinformation" from both Facebook and Instagram in the months spanning April to June. Examples of which include posts pushing "exaggerated cures" and "fake preventative measures."
That might include, although Facebook didn't specify, incorrect and possibly dangerous claims that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19. Or, perhaps, suggestions to inject oneself with bleach? Oh yeah, and then there's the false claim — made by Donald Trump — that children are "almost immune" to COVID-19.
But Facebook didn't stop there. The company put "warning labels" on 98 million "pieces of COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook" in the same three months.
Notably, this is very much a global problem. That doesn't mean, however, that Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. are beacons of truth. Facebook says that from March through July it removed 110,000 "pieces of content" in the U.S. for violating its coronavirus misinformation policies.
"Today's report shows the impact of COVID-19 on our content moderation and demonstrates that, while our technology for identifying and removing violating content is improving, there will continue to be areas where we rely on people to both review content and train our technology," reads a statement from Emily Cain, a policy communications manager at Facebook, emailed to reporters.
Putting firm numbers to what many assumed — that Facebook has a coronavirus misinformation problem — was just one of the many announcements made by the company Tuesday. Facebook also published three posts to its Newsroom page, all addressing varying aspects of its community standards and content review policies.
The first post announced Facebook's sixth . This report attempts to clearly communicate how Facebook enforced its community standards from April through June of this year. The second post tries to explain how Facebook reviews content (as opposed to what content had been reviewed). The third post, meanwhile, announces Facebook's intention to launch an ostensibly independent, third-party audit of its annual community standards enforcement reports.
As Tuesday's news makes clear, Facebook has either found or made itself the arbiter of public discourse for much of the internet. At least when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation, it claims to be trying to do the right thing.
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August 11, 2020 at 01:41PM