Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

I’m tired of following people on Facebook that I have no relationship with. I’m not sure if these people are all that beneficial to me, to be frank with you. I know that I’m not the only person who holds this thought, I must add, and that’s good.

Back in the day, it was customary to accept friend requests from people we rarely knew and strangers and say, “Oh ok, I will accept you. I will have more followers, more than you… and that’s awesome.

Really? Who cares? I don’t. Do you?

Wait. What if having tons of unengaged followers isn’t awesome? What if having people you aren’t connected with makes your instagram feed clog for often? Welcoming “friends” to whom you have no relationship with in social media is literally a ticket to irreversible damage. You don’t want this, trust me.

Do this. Today, go to your instagram or Facebook and unfollow anyone you don’t know. Do it like a boss. Don’t be shy. Do the right thing. If your ambition it to grow a social media account, forget about pods and bots and focus on speaking with people. Pods and bots are artificial means to generating buzz. It ain’t worth it.

Practicing humanity is precisely what we need today in the world. We don’t need more fake followers or anything fake. IGaudit.co exposes social media importers in servings.

We need to be indispensable. Be a leader, be a source of please. Build your online network based on your actions and interactions offline. Unfollow others if necessary.

In the end of the day, the truth always wins. My advice: Unfollow people who aren’t your friend. It’s that simple.

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Choose Off-Line Communication

Choose Off-Line Communication

I would rather converse with people off-line rather than online. Why? Because when we make the decision to speak with others face-to-face, we tell relational stories and engage in meaningful conversations together both verbally and non-verbally.

This is John, a student in my social media class. He understands the value of a great chat which I find it awesome. Good for him! I suspect that he will live a long life with this mentality. We all must communicate with others in order to live in community.

Engaging in interpersonal communication is a necessity. It is good for the soul to speak and listen to what others have to say. I most definitely do and you should, as well.

Great Content Isn’t Enough

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After dedicating 300 hours studying the essence of what makes social media catch on, I came to the conclusion that great content is only a part of what makes messages go viral on-line. Let me explain: Great content without being strategically grounded in a particular niche (for example my niche of motivation) is likely to be lost in this gigantic world we call the internet. In reality, creating great messages (content) and positioning them in a particular niche makes a lot of sense if you think about it. In the “real world,” grocery stores don’t organize their operation around selling steel to you. They are in business to make you happy through food. Creating great content into a niche are steps 1 & 2.

After positioning great content into a niche, people must have an audience. Now, this is where most non-influencers struggle to have their messages heard. Why? Because their level of influence is so insignificant (globally speaking) that even if their content is of great quality and belongs to an on-demand niche but it lacks a solid audience… it won’t scale beyond the the original network they already have. Forget about going viral at that point. It won’t move beyond your immediate circle of influence. My advice is for you to work on building your audience over time until setting any quantifiable goal of having to make any content go viral. This process should take between 2-5 years if you have a talent for what you are trying to convey, I suspect.

When you have great content grounded in a niche along with an audience to receive it, then the next step is to distribute the content. It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use. If you have built a solid audience (on or offline), your content will be shared and spread, I bet. When that happens, all you need to do next is to repeat the process and you should be on your way to go viral.

Don’t get very excited now that you may know how this social media thing works a bit as of yet. Building that audience won’t be that easy. It seems to be the differentiator between those who scale their messages globally from those who rarely scale what they know locally. My recommendation: Work on building your audience as much as creating great content into a niche. This is my 2 cents.

Production Over Consumption

Ladies and gentleman, there is a big difference between documenting your life in social media and being addicted to smartphones. Just because one is broadcasting content live on facebook doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is constantly scrolling or wasting time for hours on end on facebook. In fact, quite the contrary is often true! If you broadcast your life on instagram, meaning, you put a camera in front of you and start talking to your audience, you will be engaging in what I like to call TechnoModeration! Why? Well, this is what this article is all about! Fasten your seat belts and stay with me. This ride will be awesome.

All right. Let’s start from the top. Social media presence isn’t the same thing as social media addiction or anything addiction. Being present on social media platforms is a strategy that many of us, me included, do. If you are a part of the American economy today, you better be on social media and everywhere. Why? Because if you don’t you become invisible. You, me, and the whole Tennessee Titans fan base are being bombarded everyday with thousands of messages in multiple channels throughout the day. How can anybody get any attention to what they do under such hard circumstances? Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, has made a public statement — He said the following, “Attention is a currency” I agree with him.

Notice that I’m not saying that you should be engaging for hours on end everyday or spend hours scrolling your friends’ content on snapchat. Putting a camera in front of you and sharing what you think or do on a daily basis, multiple times a day, may be the right thing to do these days — if your goal is to be discovered by someone in your niche or if you are planning to build a loyal audience to consume your content.

In trueness, what I’m saying in here isn’t anything new. We have been engaging in personal brand development and using business development tactics and procedures for years in order to be visible before the age of social media networks. The difference is that today, it costs us a fraction of the price to do the work. I spend around an hour a day on social media engaging with my audience. However, I turn the camera on and talk to my audience for an additional half hour or so live. By live I mean live. I spend zero hours editing anything I share.

You don’t have to be on your smartphone all the time to be visible these days. You can TechnoModerate! I most definitely do, even though some people may think I’m always engaging. Well, I’m not! Question? If I was always engaging with with my audience for 7 hours each day, how in the world would I have time to be a full time college professor? Elementary, right? Yep.

Now, I maximize the use of AI in order to help me to be away from the computer so that I have more time to literally produce content at scale — Macro content as we refer to it in the field of communication. And from that, I can then repurpose more content in micro form in order to feed the content monster that is required for success in the media these days. Now, don’t take me wrong. It is still a lot of work but it isn’t that much computer work as you may think. There is a large degree of interpersonal and mediated communication work that I do but these activities aren’t social media heavy. They are communication heavy!

I will be documenting my life online indefinitely because my goal right now is to build a more loyal audience organically. By organically I mean for free naturally. If your grandkid wants to position him/herself in the world today they better consider doing what I wrote in this article rather than spending hours on end “consuming” social media. They need to be “producing” social media, instead.  A person broadcasting their life online may sound goofy for many of you to hear but its the correct protocol for anyone wanting to build an audience today.

Fake Is Everywhere

Let me reveal something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to. This article is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform, instagram for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Kids are faking, or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it. Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who is using the app ‘autolike’ and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of likes per post. This app gives people the impression of being popular without having the popularity. How do I know it works or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real… it works. Be very careful with what you see out there. All this technology has made me distrust what I see on-line. People are faking everywhere.

Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. You heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular. DM groups, as it is referred, is now being used extensively by millions of accounts on instagram in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are. These communities meet 6 times a day, under different names, possessing a wide variety of characteristics that you must met in order to join them. They operate on a kind of, “the more the better” mindset. Do you have a 100K fake follower account, we want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there fellas. Organized spamming happens on facebook, telegram, and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.

Secrecy is at an all time high on-line. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail and most want you to be clueless about it. Why? Well, because they can say to you… I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you. The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them. There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean… the main ideas.

Before I forget, let me give you an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an instagram account has and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement as we say indicate participation in these activities I’ve just mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3.

This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community.  A degree of “fake” is expected and considered acceptable by these groups because the “like” factor tends to generates more likes. Let me say this differently… The more popular one appears to be tends to result in more people thinking that they are indeed popular.I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. If it appears to be, then it must be, type of thing.

There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting it at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated. Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. Fake, group spam, and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace. Here is my advice to you: Doubt first before believing what you see in these social media communities.

The Expense of Social Media

How can I start writing this article, ladies and gentleman? All right, let me try answering this former question by saying this, “It is highly unlikely that social media will make people famous in any platform without people having a constant budget in the thousands and a group of talented media people to create awesome social media content. I am hearing little Johnie saying out loud on main street near Gardner’s Market, “Dr. A! How can that be? Didn’t Justin Bieber go viral because of youtube back in the day? Don’t people get famous all the time in social media? Well, let me clarify something for you little Johny. Let’s start with Justin Bieber — he became famous after a talent manager discovered him on youtube and then brought him out of the medium to mainstream society to scale his brand. The best way to answer the second question is to ask you the following, fellow compatriot. Who do you know who has gone viral on any social media platform without the assistance from either an influencer or a big budget these days? Probably zero.

Let me make a long story short for you guys. Knowing how to set a social media plan and policy, including the must needed social media tactics and techniques sections, is a must these days. However, just because we can design and develop social media campaigns incorporating tactics and techniques doesn’t mean that these campaigns are free of charge. It is much easier to scale operations for social media for an organization, when people are working with a group of eighteen. The reality, however, is that most people don’t have enough resources, both human and capital, in order to scale their social media accounts to the point of going viral. Can your neighbor go viral on youtube after recording his male cat doing something out of the ordinary in his kitchen? Everything is possible people but the chances of this happening organically is just very unlikely.     

Now, let me ask you this — Do you have a team of three to help you advance your brand in social media? How much money do you have to assist you with your brand on-line? It is no accident that a number of organizations in our region knock on my door asking for assistance with social media related work because, guess what, it is expensive! In fact, it is very expensive. How expensive you may be asking. Well it is $70 per month in order to manage your instagram account; Another 149 dollars a month in order to do analytics correctly… Oops, We are already at $220 a month! Shall we continue? I don’t think so! You got the idea. We haven’t even talked about content.

Dude, even when technology tools are given for free they aren’t really “free.” No wonder why millions of Americans are getting literally sick because of technology as many believe that they can actually do all this work without funding and human resources. Don’t be like them! Nobody can spend seventeen hours a day in front of a machine in order to build the social media presence we all are being asked to do. What the “public” is asking you to do on-line isn’t possible to accomplish without experiencing severe side effects. I am starting to believe that you may be better by not owning a smartphone. Question. Why do you need a smartphone at home if you pay for that internet access? I bet you have a computer at home in addition to your iPhone. Am I wrong about this? If I am right, Isn’t that double dipping?

Social media work is expensive despite the fact that most tools are free. Today, in order for youth to be visible in social media, you need to pay and engage. Engagement is both a lot of work and it demands long hours of work 24/7 meaning that at 3:30am, you may need to wake up to engage with an important follower. Is this how you want to live your life? I don’t. The social media of today is more sophisticated. Spend your time offline getting to know influencers instead. I bet that your chances of going viral will exponentially increase after you practice your human skills more. Just saying…

Developing and growing your brand in social media is a daunting task

Developing and growing your brand in social media is a daunting task. It requires a strategy, a team of people, time, effort, tactics, techniques and a way to measure the overall campaign. In theory, social media enables us to reach a large number of people on-line and when promotional campaigns are well implemented, social media technology can really make a difference in the way others perceive brands in cyberspace and in real life. Let me break something to you, ladies and gents. Doing social media is both a lot of work and it requires an advertising budget which can be quite costly in order to work to its capacity. Delegating your social media tasks to an intern with zero to little budget will backfire, don’t even think about it.

Let’s start with the obvious. I don’t know anybody who can dedicate 30 hours per week to help anyone to grow their social media campaigns for free or for cheap. Composing social media messages is complicated, expensive and stressful. It takes a particular kind of communication professional in order to do the work right. This person must have the ability to write with a tone that represents your organization, have the discipline to post frequently on your accounts and, at the bare minimum, this person is to interact with other users when required.

I get it. — You have a brand and can’t ignore your brand’s social media presence when either developing or growing a business. You need social media labor and capital but have little to no money to spend on both. Listen carefully: Because of all these uncontrolled advancements in social media, people are now between a rock and a hard place because they need to do the work of three people and have funding to have their voices heard in this “free” media platform. Good luck with that!

You won’t find anyone who will manage your social media brand for you for free long-term because it’s too much work. Let me break this to you. You shouldn’t take this approach anyways because the youth doesn’t know as much about social media as you may think they do. I think you will realize that doing advertising using google or Facebook ads isn’t bad or anything but you absolutely need to invest some money in order to reach your audience. Our contemporary social media algorithms assume that you are going to invest some cash in order to have your message out. 

By the way, how much money have you gained by spending hours on end on Facebook? Have you made any profit from your Instagram posts? I have met only a handful of people who profit from this technology we call social media. All these advances in social media have made branding and advertising work very tedious and expensive. I doubt that anyone will join your social media team for free to help you to advance your social media accounts long-term.

I strongly suggest that you work with a communication professional who knows how to craft a social media plan if your goal is to grow a brand on-line. You are going to need to invest in human resources and have a budget for producing quality advertising and copy. Just because social media technology is free doesn’t mean that it is actually a free service. Be careful to delegate your whole social media campaign to a kid. It is unlikely that he will be staying long-term anyways. If I was in your shoes, I would start by reading everything there is about your social media of choice and saving funds for advertising. That’s what I think.

Developing Your Brand In Social Media

Developing and growing your brand in social media is a daunting task. It requires a strategy, a team of people, time, effort, tactics, techniques and a way to measure the overall campaign. In theory, social media enables us to reach a large number of people on-line and when promotional campaigns are well implemented, social media technology can really make a difference in the way others perceive brands in cyberspace and in real life. Let me break something to you, ladies and gents. Doing social media is both a lot of work and it requires an advertising budget which can be quite costly in order to work to its capacity. Delegating your social media tasks to an intern with zero to little budget will backfire, don’t even think about it.

Let’s start with the obvious. I don’t know anybody who can dedicate 30 hours per week to help anyone to grow their social media campaigns for free or for cheap. Composing social media messages is complicated, expensive and stressful. It takes a particular kind of communication professional in order to do the work right. This person must have the ability to write with a tone that represents your organization, have the discipline to post frequently on your accounts and, at the bare minimum, this person is to interact with other users when required.

I get it. — You have a brand and can’t ignore your brand’s social media presence when either developing or growing a business. You need social media labor and capital but have little to no money to spend on both. Listen carefully: Because of all these uncontrolled advancements in social media, people are now between a rock and a hard place because they need to do the work of three people and have funding to have their voices heard in this “free” media platform. Good luck with that!

You won’t find anyone who will manage your social media brand for you for free long-term because it’s too much work. Let me break this to you. You shouldn’t take this approach anyways because the youth doesn’t know as much about social media as you may think they do. I think you will realize that doing advertising using google or Facebook ads isn’t bad or anything but you absolutely need to invest some money in order to reach your audience. Our contemporary social media algorithms assume that you are going to invest some cash in order to have your message out. 

By the way, how much money have you gained by spending hours on end on Facebook? Have you made any profit from your Instagram posts? I have met only a handful of people who profit from this technology we call social media. All these advances in social media have made branding and advertising work very tedious and expensive. I doubt that anyone will join your social media team for free to help you to advance your social media accounts long-term.

I strongly suggest that you work with a communication professional who knows how to craft a social media plan if your goal is to grow a brand on-line. You are going to need to invest in human resources and have a budget for producing quality advertising and copy. Just because social media technology is free doesn’t mean that it is actually a free service. Be careful to delegate your whole social media campaign to a kid. It is unlikely that he will be staying long-term anyways. If I was in your shoes, I would start by reading everything there is about your social media of choice and saving funds for advertising. That’s what I think.

Media Dependency: We can reverse this trend.

In the field of communication, we have a number of well established theories that we can use as lenses by which we see the world when conducing research studies. Some of these theories include information processing, hypodermic needle theory, agenda setting and media dependency. Media dependency operates a little bit like this. The more dependent a person is with a particular media device to fulfill his needs, the more crucial having that media device will be to him.  People today, differently from when we didn’t have smartphones, are dependent on all of this technology to understand the world around them. 

I can’t stop thinking about what is happening down in Puerto Rico because the media is estimating that our Caribbean territory may not have electricity for six whole months! I am surprised that the media isn’t reporting on that too much as millions of people down there aren’t able to go online and have conversations with family and friends on Facebook. By the way, can you survive six months without having cell phone access? I have to admit that living without my iPhone for six days stops my professional life. Without needing to sound very dramatic yet being reasonable, I don’t think I can function without a smartphone these days. Part of how I communicate with my students is via text messaging. If no cell towers are available for me to chat with them, I become severely handicapped professionally. 

As a matter of fact, Dr. Joel Kailing, Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at Lee and I were chatting about the challenges that the people of Puerto Rico could potentially suffer because of the devastations caused by Hurricane Maria. I cannot imagine what is passing through the minds and hearts of the Puerto Rican youth and its young professionals. We are so dependent on the media these days that having no exposure to it can even cause some people to experience a withdrawal. What a tragedy!

As I am writing this piece, Fox just made the announcement that a few Puerto Rican citizens made contact with their friends and family here in the United States. They were able to use their media devices for a very short bit. Access to cell phone service down there can only be attained in a very tiny part of the Island, according to the report. The lucky few who were able to connect with their relatives had to drive for hours in order to reach the island’s hot spot. They were lucky if they could get a bar of service and a few seconds to talk.

I wonder if they are using CB radios to communicate back and fourth with the authorities and each other throughout the day. This whole situation in Puerto Rico reminds me of what happened during hurricane Katrina back in 2005. We were so dependent on cell phone technology back then that when we lost it, a disaster of great magnitude occurred. People couldn’t communicate because they rarely had cell phone reception. We invested in all these new systems but when the system failed, we had no defense. Over a thousand people died because of this dependency on new media and lack of traditional infrastructure. See? Dependency on technology can makes us much more venerable if we decide to discontinue our old yet reliable systems. As I always say, “use technology in moderation.” It is okay to not be so dependent on “new media.”    

We are, in one way or another, dependent on the media. I am not sure, however, if we should rely on all these new technology to communicate with friends in the United States, Puerto Rico or in our own town of Cleveland, Tennessee. I wonder if we should bring back the old landline phone system rather than always relying on voice over IP phone lines or cell phones. Just because we maybe dependent on a variety of media doesn’t mean that we should always trust in it. As my great grandmother once said, “When you don’t know about something or someone, always trust distrusting.”  Remember: Media is only powerful because of our dependency in it. We can reverse this trend.

Bots 1… People 0.

I do action research in artificial intelligence as it pertains to the media. Some of the things I like to investigate include the use of automated systems and its impacts on consumer engagement and social media likability, the impacts of bots for the growth of social media accounts, and the upcoming big data software tools used on the market today by media companies. I am interested in business intelligence and how the former has an impact on how we communicate and advance the business of media. We need to know what is coming towards us in order for us to be able to act and strategize accordingly.

By better understanding innovation, we give ourselves the chance to predict human behavior and corporate response. Understanding where we are in the adoption and acceptance of artificial intelligence tools, I would argue, is critical for our survival in 2017 and beyond. My fellow citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee, we better get on the ball and start paying closer attention to how these tools will impact our lives because we will see, in the near future, an explosion of artificial intelligence artifacts in our communities. Well, it is already happening in the media but it will be more mainstream in your industry, as well.

Let me share this with you — I have been conducting a pilot study on the impacts of what I call hybrid robotic generated content versus human based keystrokes. For about a month or so, I have been working with an artificial intelligence system that is able to co-generate short blog articles for mass consumption. The scary part, or exciting one if you are a TechnoGroupie, is that I am finding no significant differences in engagement and likability between my own articles and the ones I co-write with a robot! With things being fair — I serve as both writer and editor with the robot. Without my inputs, the bot stories are nothing but a non-sense piece. My human touch is still required to make the computer generated artifact ready for media consumption.   

I find the former pretty disturbing because as this technology develops, we run the risk of seeing less articles written by human beings. That means less jobs and less taxes being paid to support local communities. Let me clarify one important thing, though. Newspapers that have a local reach, like ours, shouldn’t be affected by this upcoming era of self writing systems. Relationships and identification within the community can’t be easily replaced by a bot. Big media conglomerates, however, will operate differently. In fact, they are already operating differently. Have you heard about the 100 anchors, reporters, analysts and production staffers who lost their jobs lately at ESPN?

Do you know that the New York Times uses machine-learning technology in order to identify patterns in financial campaign data? The Associated Press is now using Automated Insights, an artificial intelligence tool that generates stories with big data ranging from public company earnings to minor league baseball games. Artificial intelligence will revolutionize the media business as we are going to see an explosion of articles using sophisticated artificial intelligence big data technology which will probably reverse the current societal belief that news is fake. The former will come at the expense of the little man working in these big media conglomerates. Media validity will resurge.

From a business sense, investing in both labor and capital where artificial intelligence serves as both don’t make too much sense to me because sophisticated machines can act “like” a human being if programmed correctly overtime. Because of advances in AI, many media professionals will be forced to retire from places like CNN or ABC which would cause a significant impact on how these organizations operate. Institutional knowledge isn’t something that an intelligent machine can replace with ease. I predict a lot of managerial turbulence in the media industry ahead because of the implementation of artificial intelligence tools. Machines are learning! The use of bots for social media growth will only get more sophisticated. Organizations that ignore the use of big data systems will be left behind. The robots are winning! I am concerned. How about you?

Within social media, ‘fake’ is everywhere

Let me disclose something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to.

This column is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform Instagram, for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Kids and others are “faking,” or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it.

Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who are using the app “autolike,” and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of purportedly legitimate “likes” per post. This app gives some people in social media the impression of being popular without having the “popularity” they’re seeking.

How do I know it works, or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real. It works.

Be very careful with what you see out there. I say this because, honestly, all this technology has made me distrust what I personally see online. People are faking everywhere.

Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. Yes, you heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular.

DM groups, as direct messaging communities are referred to, are now being used extensively by millions of accounts on Instagram, in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are.

These communities meet six times a day, under different names, and possess a wide variety of characteristics that you must meet in order to join them. They operate on a kind of “The more, the better” mindset.

Do you have a 100K fake follower account? We want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there, fellas. Organized spamming happens on Facebook, Telegram and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.

Secrecy is at an all-time high online. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail, and most want you to be clueless about it.

Why? Well, because they can say to you, “I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you.” The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them.

There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean, the main ideas.

Before I forget, let me tell you about an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an Instagram account has, and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement, as we say, indicate participation in these suspect activities I’ve just mentioned.

This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community.  A degree of “fake” is expected – and considered acceptable – by these groups, because the “like factor” tends to generate more likes. Let me put this another way: The more popular someone appears to be tends to result in more social media site or platform visitors thinking that these posters are indeed popular. I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. It really is an “If it appears to be, then it must be,” type of thing.

There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting the information at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated.

Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. False (or “fake”) information, group spam and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace.

Here is my advice to you: Doubt first, before believing what you see in these social media communities.

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(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Technology is overrated!

Some have argued that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. I am skeptical about this socially accepted romantic TechnoLove cult. I am starting to believe that technology is doing more damage than good for us. If you have been reading my column here in the Cleveland Daily Banner these past few months, you can probably attest that I am not a “TechnoGroupie” or a “TechnoPhobic” but a TechnoModerator — a person who enjoys a chat about reasonable uses of technology in society. I am not sold on this idea that job applications are always to be completed on-line.

Ladies and gentleman, application tracking technology has made job applications more democratic but it certainly didn’t make them any easier or more effective,. In America today, there are millions of unfilled jobs despite all this technology we enjoy having.    

What a nightmare for many! Do you need a retail job? You need to go on-line and apply! Are you interested in working for a big accounting firm, “check out our application on-line.” We shall contact you if you are a “fit.” Good luck! Who is a better fit? You or the other 500-1000 applicants you are competing against?

Let’s start with the basics. Have you ever experienced troubles with an on-line job application system? Well, I have. Last year, when I was looking for professorship positions in the southern region, I came across this quite elaborated and interesting university’s job application system.  The main problem with this system was that only God was good enough to fit the position! What a waste of my time and probably theirs. Sometimes I wonder what organizations are thinking when they put together these websites to attract star employees.

With things being fair, applicant tracking software has made the job of many big corporations  and university hiring committees much easier because these systems help organizations with controlling information management, application storage, and organizing and accessing relevant data. From that standpoint, advances in recruiting technology have revolutionized the way we collect applicant data. However, like with all types of innovation, there are side effects. Although these technologies assist leaders with planning, implementing and managing the hiring process, it also creates a number of challenges for good candidates. By the way, I am not aware of any high paying position today that doesn’t require applicants to spend a considerable amount of time filling out these on-line job applications. If you are looking for a new job, expect filling out 40-50 of these applications.

My wife has spent nights on end submitting job applications in this past few months. I witnessed her spending two hours to complete one single on-line application! She got denied the next day. Holy cow! What a waste of time. Thankfully, due to hard work and social capital, she found a position in Ooltewah as a beauty consultant. What a blessing for our family! We kind of needed it.   

Look, I get it — Advances in technology has helped companies with storing, organizing and accessing hundreds, sometimes thousands of digital job applications. From a logistical standpoint, that’s great. The problem with the automation of the application process is that millions of people apply for jobs everyday but employers only scan the resumes. It seems to me that all this technology has forced us to hire resumes rather than hiring people. We seem to have lost the human component in the application process. What a shame!

Back in the day, when people didn’t have to apply for jobs on-line to be a store associate at a retail location, speaking with a manager would increase your chances of getting hired. No wonder why job turnover is so high these days. People are sick of this tedious data entry nightmare. So the question stands —Is technology making our lives better or worse? Probably worse. “TechnoLove” maybe overrated!    

Generational Shifts In Technology Use

Ladies and gentleman, a weird phenomenon is happening right at this moment in Cleveland, TN and beyond. I’m seeing some of you on your smartphones more often than the students in my classes, especially the freshman. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, you heard it right. I’m not saying, however, that students aren’t going to their iPads or laptops to surf the net because they are but some of you are really using your devices to unreasonable levels and are starting to be where they were about two years back — Approaching the Robotic Stage of the Human Robot Cycle Model. How do I know this? I’m watching you! Well, let me explain briefly.

First of all, most of you now have a smartphone maybe two. What was old technology is now being adopted even by people like you, my dad and my mom. By the way, my parents are baby boomers and use their smartphones more often than a college student. My mom, for example, posts five times a day on facebook and comments on people’s posts multiple times a day, 6 days a week. Thank goodness she takes the Sabbath off! My dad has six smartphones, three tablets, four laptops, and wants to buy more electronics because you know, it is the right thing to do these days. He is semi-retired as a corporate executive. I wonder what will happen when he “retires.” Well, I doubt he ever will.

How can that happen you may be asking. Why are older people getting so addicted to the same tools their grandkids are using these days? Hmmm…

See? When we produced propaganda campaigns to assist teenagers and young adults with using technology in moderation, we left you out! Why? Well, because you are baby boomers and baby boomers just don’t use technology. At least that was the assumption. Yeah right… Of course you do, but you were much more reasonable than the kids back in 2015. Things are changing, though. Most of you aren’t addicted to technology but I’ve seen a big increase in technology use among the baby boomers and beyond. Is it a bad thing? I think it is a bit bad, yes. In the Human Robot Cycle we know that the more a subject interacts with a computerized device, the more robotic they become without even realizing. You were not made to be a robot in behavior! Therefore, using all these technologies can be quite bad for you.

You know me. I’m not against technology. I like to use technology but in moderation. Using technology isn’t a bad thing as long as technology is used in moderation.

Listen to me: Technology can be addictive and you aren’t free from its threats. Remember: We are what we do many times. If people choose to be on the computer all the time, even if that person is you, chances are very high that people will suffer the consequences of technology overuse no matter what. We live in a weird world where advances in technology are making even the old young again.

Second, we do live in a technopoly. In the US of A, we pride ourselves on being technologically savvy and for being innovators in everything we do. There’s some truth to that but just don’t forget that we all pay a price for being connected all the time, even after retirement. In a technopoly, where technology is seen as a god, people are living longer and consequently working until death because of technology. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor if he is really retired? I bet he isn’t completely retired. Technology extends our working days until we die for the sake of technology.

You may agree or disagree with how I’m going to end this article and that’s fine but many baby boomers today are a byproduct of modern technologies because use among your age group has increased exponentially because the “no tech use” propaganda wasn’t directed at you. I’m concerned, I must add. What will happen if a critical mass of  55+ year olds start spending 6 hours a day on a smartphone wasting time? Look, our kids need you to help them to be better people. Please don’t lose track of what is important! Use technology but in moderation. Your grandkids will thank you.

Say NO to self aggrandizement on-line

Great adversity is a pre-requisite to greatness. Enduring strong opposition, being able to recover from a direct knockout, and believing the most and the longest even if the odds are against you are all elements of what make great leaders truly great. I am not impressed by anyone who is constantly bragging about his latest accomplishments especially when these statements are shared on social media. Anybody who is great in what they do understand that being successful isn’t a solo sport! Greatness doesn’t need to be a contact sport necessarily but it most definitely has elements of team work. I am afraid that social media is enforcing a dangerous ideology — The idea that “I” can make my world perfect and that “I” don’t need you. 

One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve ever learned in my career came from a former Director of Analysis and Planning at Ohio State University and former Associate Provost. He once told me, “Always look at the law of opposites: The moment that somebody says that they are great in something, be aware.” “Nobody who is great at anything need to tell others that they are all that great,” my mentor once said. The former is a wise statement, indeed. Why are we allowing our kids to behave the way they do on social media?

My fellow Americans, I am afraid that all these social media walls and mediated spaces are allowing children to practice bad communication habits especially among kids between the ages of 14 and 18. It is shocking the content that we can see and hear in apps like YouNow or Yik Yak. Compatriots, your sons and daughters and quite possibly your dear grandchildren aren’t really using Facebook or twitter that much if at all. Facebook and all these “old school” social media tools are for old people like you and me. If you decide to log into the YouNow app, the bragging that occurs on Facebook sounds like kinder garden. The “I” culture of these new contemporary social media tools are reaching very high levels of ridicule to a point of no return.   After momentarily visiting a “celebrity” on a popular social media tool back in July, I felt obligated to create a lesson for college students about the danger of these new and upcoming social media apps and how they impact the lives of our loved ones.

How uncomfortable would you be to see your teenager daughter speaking with an Iraqi Soldier on YouNow? I’ve seen a person in her 50’s giving what I consider to be very poor advice about life for teenage girls on an app system. Maybe I am being overly defensive and skeptical about having fifty year old mature adult speaking with teenagers about the importance of doing “what you like” as a youngster. I don’t think I am, though. I can see many of you being uncomfortable with such scenarios, as well.  I had to say a prayer about the whole situation and de facto I did.

I am currently teaching a Lee University course titled, “Innovations and Social Media.” In that class, I teach students how to use social media responsibly and how to understand both the positive and negative effects of innovation in society within the scope of the course’s objectives. Why are we so shy about condemning this culture of “I” in our society these days? It is time for us to take the lead and break this idea that bragging on-line is acceptable and that anything goes in social media. My daughter’s life matter to me and I know that yours matter to you. Say no to self aggrandizement on-line. Say yes to God and the future of your children.

Cyber Daycare 1.0: A growing reality

Technology has caused way too many side effects in our lives. Some of these side effects include eye strain, anxiety, neck pain and, of course … self-centeredness.

It is very common for us to hear the following rhetoric (or something similar) these days on Facebook: “I must work on my social media presence,” “I am heading out again,” or “I am going to make my life better.”

We hear the word “I” everywhere, much like when we were babies. Could it be that all these social media technologies are turning our society into a big cyber daycare? Absolutely! Think about it.

The beginning of wisdom is the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Glory, ladies and gentlemen, is to always be given to God. At least, this is what Christianity teaches us, right? This is the beginning of wisdom and maturity.

Not sure if this “I” business is doing us any good on Instagram, Vine and Twitter. It most definitely isn’t making people more mature, that’s for sure. Have you read what so many people write on these platforms nowadays? Do yourself a favor: Log into Facebook tonight, read and pay attention to how childish most of the posts are. It’s an epidemic of immaturity forever recorded and often elevated online. It is kindergarten 2.0.

Social media enables us to prolong our childhood, thanks to technology! Meaningless.

Are we going mad? No. Maybe we’re going way too secular, or shall we say, non-Christian. What good are we doing by spending hours on end writing frivolous things about ourselves online? Let me break this to you: We are doing very little good.

Life is about glorifying God and showing love toward your neighbor. When was the last time that any of you read the following on Facebook, “Thank God for His mercy. We aren’t anything without Him,” or “To God goes all the glory.”

This big international kindergarten we call social media is distracting us from what matters the most in our lives: God!

Open your eyes to reality.

Listen carefully: It isn’t uncommon to read social media posts and witness people calling each other names, being vain, and ignoring some to get approval or gain access to a special little group at others’ expenses, which is really infantile.

Stop! Wake up! God is the center of your life, not you or me or your dad. All these technologies are destroying us from within and impacting how we communicate with our soul. Life is so much more than a collection of tweets about you or me.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that, “When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” Why are so many  grownups and organizations, many of them religious-based, literally saying, “Look at me! I am wonderful. Come see me!”

It is getting old, people. It is cute to see a baby growing up and thinking that life is all about them when we know better. It isn’t cute witnessing people in their 50s saying how great they are and the games they play with others for self-gain without giving any glory to God, when many of these same braggarts claim to be believers. In the old days, we had a different method for fixing wrong attitudes — by telling people, “Grow up.” We lost that.

You are not that important. If you die tomorrow, how many people will attend your funeral? Social media many times gives us the illusion that we are great when in reality, we aren’t. And in fact, those who claim that they are wonderful are often less paramount than you and me.

Look, it isn’t that complicated. We are to make God the center of our universe and to keep subordinate technology where it belongs.

Our society is becoming a colossal kindergarten because of all these technologies. Let’s stop this madness and grow up, people.

First grade is around the corner! It is time for us to realize that we aren’t the center of anything and that social media use isn’t all that great for us, either.

Remember: You aren’t 5. You are an adult. Act like it.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

You Are A Tech Gladiator

We live in a sort of modern day Rome where those who control the crowd become invincible. The gladiators of the past were poor slaves in the eyes of Caesar but they were the true heroes of the people. They could entertain and temporarily persuade the masses to do whatever they wanted them to say and do in the arena. Although they had no Roman right, as long as they were fighting in the Roman Coliseum, they were free and in control.

The modern day gladiator, or the small guy who now interacts with a crowd on-line in order to make a living with his craft may not be fighting lions in a stadium to entertain Caesar and the Roman citizens; however, technology has empowered them to display their talents to thousands of followers on facebook and truly entertain and influence the masses much like Roman gladiators.   

It is a form of power that can be easily understood by the powers to be. I have to admit — the smartphone has empowered the weak to be seen and valued and that’s good. Let me whisper this in your ears and please promise me that you will only tell your mom about it. Evil doers are short lived in the new age of information. Trying to oppress others isn’t worth the trouble anymore. Like a Roman gladiator, when given access to technology, the slave now has a voice to share in society because of technology.     

In reality, ladies and gentleman, I have pity for those who scheme against the weak and use positional power to oppress the brethren because in modern day America, where most people have the chance to share what they really think to millions for cheap, playing evil against good people with technology access and a crowd will, sooner or later, backfire. Let me explain.

Have you ever heard about the United Breaks Guitars campaign? I bet that most of you never heard about this modern day corporate nightmare because the campaign was targeted at the youth. After United Airlines baggage claim employees mishandled and broke an unknown country artist’s guitar, United refused to admit their mistake and replace the guitar. Uh oh. 

Let me make this story short. YouTube allowed vocalist Dave Carroll and his band to tell 17,877,563 unique YouTube users about how United Airlines mishandled their baggage and broke his Taylor guitar by composing a country song titled, “United Breaks Guitars.” The refrain went like this: “I should have flown with someone else or gone by car… cause United Breaks guitars.” What a nightmare for United!

Almost overnight, an unknown figure became a hero to the masses, like a gladiator.

Here is the reality, folks. People today are empowered by technology. Decision makers need to think twice before assuming that a person is powerless in the new age of information. A simple facebook post can cause tremendous stress to any organization and consequently cause the crowd to cheer. In a sense, we are all modern day gladiators!   

Organizations must be aware that we have democratized technology. Access to technology has given the masses a voice and a large audience to entertain. Social media platforms are now modern day Roman Coliseums where we fight and look for audience support. The crowd is now being entertained, persuaded and influenced on-line as well as in real life.   

The reality is that we live in an evil world where powers aren’t evenly distributed. We have the haves and have nots, much like in ancient Rome. Advancements in technology have allowed the modern man to become a gladiator with a crowd. For very cheap, campaigns can now be made and shared with millions of people per one post. Social media is a weapon my friends.   

The world of communication has changed forever. In the age where sophisticated media users have the ability to control and influence millions of people, the everyday person has a voice too.  Modern day gladiators are uncontrollable warriors with a platform to share their thoughts. Everybody today has a voice and a crowd to entertain. A single facebook post can now make history. Fortunate are those who understand this simple fact.

Technology makes you very boring

In this life you need to be fascinating.

Do you have an accent and come from Greece? Cool! Fascinating!

I hope you didn’t choose to live life without taking any risks, because in this world those who don’t take risks live both a boring and a dangerous life.

I don’t know about you, but unless I am playing with black pieces in a chess game, my best defense is always the offense. I don’t play not to lose, especially if I have the ability to make the first move.

All this new technology made possible by the microchip is making people boring and too much like cookie cutters, in so many respects.

Recently, I decided to skateboard on campus as a means to connect with our students in a way that they would understand. I doubt that many people my age would even consider skateboarding, because our technological society doesn’t place a premium on those who deviate from the norm that much, even though you can be quite captivating when you listen to what your heart is telling you.

Who cares if we have all these technologies but we fail to influence? Being boring and “old school” isn’t always the best way to connect with the youth, if you know what I mean.

Some people have said that to be more cool, we have to emulate what Apple does. Yes, they are a tech company, but what amazingly makes them fascinating is their ability to take risks and  deviate from what others are doing. They lead by celebrating their differences in contrast to others.

People need to simplify. Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to 10 characters, which must contain a special character, two numbers and nothing that repeats itself or resembles your Social Security number?

Look man, don’t be boring like everyone else. Be yourself and celebrate your differences because in this technological world … trust me, you will need it.

You must invest in you, not always in technology. Will that make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely. But hey, life is about dealing with ambiguity and finding ways to control the uncontrollable without having technology controlling what we do.

You know what? Now at age 44, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow, but not always by using technology. In a society where most people tend to make decisions before thinking, many people need to be reminded that being human and perceptive makes us much more fascinating.

I like making myself uncomfortable for the sake of growth. How about you? Please don’t tell me that you get afraid of displaying who you really are for the sake of technology! Remember: Life is about living with enthusiasm in a fascinating way. Live and let die!  That is, live your life and let technology’s control of you die away.

Let me say something to you: I am cool, perhaps the coolest professor higher education has ever seen. Hey, I’m not being humble today, all right? I hold a Ph.D., can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers like we were “besties,” and can play a mean game of Ping-Pong!

Thank goodness technology doesn’t control me. My life would have been way too mundane if I allowed the smartphone to control me. My recommendation for you follows. Are you ready?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t allow cheap machinery to control or dictate how you live. Technology is helping us to be more productive and empowered. The irony is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity.

I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America and elsewhere today are changing our society to a point of no return, one where homogeneity will be seen as the norm.

What has made this country what it is today was partly based on the risks we took in order to be more fascinating. Technologies are changing this by asking us all to be more uniform and predictable. How boring!

Live and let die, or shall we say … carpe diem: Live your lives to the fullest, ladies and gentlemen. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity.

In the end, it’s all you’ve got.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Within social media, talent differentiates

Let me start this column by saying this: I believe in the use of technology, but in moderation.

I don’t hate technology and I do think that we cannot live without it. All that I’m saying is that we need to be careful to not have technology tools and platforms take over our lives for the sake of technology use alone, just because it is sexy to be a YouTuber.

The internet and everything social we hear about it, are here to stay. We need to embrace these things because this is where modern society is heading. In this column, I will tell you what I think is OK to do in terms of this tech-driven world.

Let me make a strong statement. It is unlikely that you will become a YouTube superstar, because being a superstar is statistically improbable.

Now, let me elaborate.

First, it is OK to use social media and all the new digital tech. But please consider the following, if you may. It is OK to use all this social media stuff as long as you spend enough time producing quality content and engaging with your audience. Creating good content, along with seeding your posts into a niche done continuously and over time, can be beneficial for you or your organization.

Going to Facebook to share unfocused messages in an attempt to gain attention from others is time-consuming and meaningless.

Be smart. Use your time wisely when using these platforms. My suggestion is that you write a blog from Monday to Friday, or write articles to be included in publications like LifeHack, where your expertise in being human has much more value. I bet you will get much more attention this way than sharing photos of smiling cats at the North Pole with your friends who probably don’t care about your shares.

Second, be skeptical about uncontrolled social media use. Use doesn’t guarantee success!

I believe that uncontrolled use of anything is bad. Making a person look bad because they don’t use social media for hours on end each day is irresponsible. Not everybody is able to produce quality content “at speed” seven days a week, regardless of training.

By way of explanation, I’m currently doing an Instagram campaign within the motivation niche. I post content on a daily basis which literally takes me approximately five minutes to produce, and which I then share with the masses.

I engage with followers three times a day for 15 minutes a pop. I give myself an extra 30 minutes to advance my mission online. I spend less than two hours a day on this process. This past month, I received 5,429 post likes, 3,242 comments and hundreds of visits to my profile. However, I happen to have a talent for media.

Let’s not forget that Dr. A is a professor at Lee University who teaches four classes a semester in the Communication Arts Department.

Using technology all the time because it “might” be the right thing to do may backfire. Read this carefully: Talent is as variable in social media as it is in football.

Please realize that I’m not saying that I don’t like technology. I love it, as you know. But, we must be reasonable and realize that not everyone has the time, resources or the talent to be a YouTube superstar.

Lastly, it is OK to reveal who you are. The internet exposes things. You can’t fake it.

My recommendation is for you to start embracing the internet – within reason.

In the end, it will be better for you and me to say what we really think than to pretend to be something we aren’t.

Back in the day, faking was easier and it wasn’t network-bound. In 2018, being fake backfires. Everything is connected to everything else. Being two-faced in the age of social media will damage your reputation. Don’t do it.

In summary, we aren’t crabs who go through life moving backward. Social media is here to stay. That’s where we are headed.

By 2020, your grandsons won’t watch TV anymore. Smartphones will totally replace the TV’s role in society.

Just be aware that being an online personality requires a lot of work and talent. Having a web presence is all right, as long as it doesn’t control your life.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Divide and Conquer By Being ‘TechnoModerate’

It is very difficult for a person to  simultaneously “technomoderate” and also build a brand on social media.

That is to say, those who profit from any social media platform are constantly using it, which makes it very difficult to demotivate them from using these tools in the first place.

The more people use Facebook, the better they tend to get at using it, and the more rewards people tend to achieve from these systems. Therefore, asking kids who dream of having their own brand to use social media less often will hurt them. What do I do? I’m stuck!

I know that building brands online requires countless hours of dedicated work, along with the offline sweat. It is ridiculous what you need to do today in order to build a name in social media.

People spend too much time engaging support groups, managing bots to help with social media engagement and creating great media content to be shared. Limiting how often you share your stuff isn’t an option anymore. It is a requirement to share, and share often, if your goal is to build any type of brand in cyberspace.

Thankfully – at least from my “moderating” perspective – having too many social media messages released each day tends to backfire. I suspect this is related to the fact that producing quality content is difficult and expensive, and to the fact that posting too much content a day acts like a divide-and-conquer type of thing. People divide their own efforts, which tends to decrease what we call social media engagement.

People tend to remember what they hear more frequently, though. Social media professionals know this and therefore keep developing their image in cyberspace on a daily basis. But again, too much creation may do you more damage than good.

Bingo!

This is where Dr. A comes and says, “Kids, let’s build our brands in social media, but remember: Trying to build your brand too quickly will backfire. You need to engage in this process with moderation.”

Listen to me: Clever will be the ones who don’t abuse the social media system, because if they do, they will end up losing what they built. People tend to get sick of being bombarded with multiple messages because we are constantly receiving messages from hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. There is hope for some technomoderation, I’m glad to say!

Building a brand, online or offline, is tough. It is time-consuming. Attracting a loyal clientele isn’t that simple. Now add in having to engage with them online on the top of that! Dude, I know that practice makes perfect, and in the world of social media, things aren’t any different.

A person’s social media IQ is directly related – like anything else – to use, but a degree of rest is a requirement for things to work.

Playing the game with frequency pays off, but there is a price or two to be paid. There is a physical and financial price to it, I must add.

Can you imagine building content on a 3-by-4 inch canvas, hitting tiny buttons at a rate of one keystroke per millisecond constantly for a good five minutes per session, four times a day, with the hopes of being rewarded by complete strangers 24/7? This act can be pretty physical, don’t you think?

And there is a cost! In a previous column, I revealed that spending $150 in social media services alone each month is only a fraction of the cost to build an image online. Are you ready to commit the equivalent of a car payment dedicated to growing your Instagram account? There is a price to all this madness.

As a professor who teaches social media and innovation, and believes in the moderate use of technology, this reality is — at a bare minimum — disturbing to me, unless “technomoderation” is adopted. By not using the tools, people lose by not playing the game. By overusing them, there goes your health and finances. What’s in the middle? I know, you love me … technomoderation!

Please keep this a secret.

Dr. A says, “Those who use social media tools within reason enhance their knowledge of the medium, and can build a brand over time with reason. I don’t think those who decide to ignore this advice will win,  ultimately.”

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(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Productivity Over Consumption

Ladies and gentleman, there is a big difference between documenting your life in social media and being addicted to smartphones. Just because one is broadcasting content live on facebook doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is constantly scrolling or wasting time for hours on end on facebook. In fact, quite the contrary is often true! If you broadcast your life on instagram, meaning, you put a camera in front of you and start talking to your audience, you will be engaging in what I like to call TechnoModeration! Why? Well, this is what this article is all about! Fasten your seat belts and stay with me. This ride will be awesome.

All right. Let’s start from the top. Social media presence isn’t the same thing as social media addiction or anything addiction. Being present on social media platforms is a strategy that many of us, me included, do. If you are a part of the American economy today, you better be on social media and everywhere. Why? Because if you don’t you become invisible. You, me, and the whole Tennessee Titans fan base are being bombarded everyday with thousands of messages in multiple channels throughout the day. How can anybody get any attention to what they do under such hard circumstances? Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, has made a public statement — He said the following, “Attention is a currency” I agree with him.

Notice that I’m not saying that you should be engaging for hours on end everyday or spend hours scrolling your friends’ content on snapchat. Putting a camera in front of you and sharing what you think or do on a daily basis, multiple times a day, may be the right thing to do these days — if your goal is to be discovered by someone in your niche or if you are planning to build a loyal audience to consume your content.

In trueness, what I’m saying in here isn’t anything new. We have been engaging in personal brand development and using business development tactics and procedures for years in order to be visible before the age of social media networks. The difference is that today, it costs us a fraction of the price to do the work. I spend around an hour a day on social media engaging with my audience. However, I turn the camera on and talk to my audience for an additional half hour or so live. By live I mean live. I spend zero hours editing anything I share.

You don’t have to be on your smartphone all the time to be visible these days. You can TechnoModerate! I most definitely do, even though some people may think I’m always engaging. Well, I’m not! Question? If I was always engaging with with my audience for 7 hours each day, how in the world would I have time to be a full time college professor? Elementary, right? Yep.

Now, I maximize the use of AI in order to help me to be away from the computer so that I have more time to literally produce content at scale — Macro content as we refer to it in the field of communication. And from that, I can then repurpose more content in micro form in order to feed the content monster that is required for success in the media these days. Now, don’t take me wrong. It is still a lot of work but it isn’t that much computer work as you may think. There is a large degree of interpersonal and mediated communication work that I do but these activities aren’t social media heavy. They are communication heavy!

I will be documenting my life online indefinitely because my goal right now is to build a more loyal audience organically. By organically I mean for free naturally. If your grandkid wants to position him/herself in the world today they better consider doing what I wrote in this article rather than spending hours on end “consuming” social media. They need to be “producing” social media, instead.  A person broadcasting their life online may sound goofy for many of you to hear but its the correct protocol for anyone wanting to build an audience today. 

Social Media Networks: Things Are Getting So Mean.

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No matter which social network app you use, you will find a lot of mean statements in there no matter the platform. Most like most of you, I use these platforms… all of them — On a daily basis. I mean, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. But I am 44 years old not 13. Parents, be careful when allowing your kids to have smartphones full of social media network apps out there. Unless they have adult supervision, I would recommend them being away from them all.  @polymathprof

PD rating: Low Risk.

Musical.ly: Inappropriate Content Paradise For Teens

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Musical.ly is a a great app for adults wanting to create videos/messages and engage in live broadcasting. The app comes with a number of functions that people can choose from including a great choice of clip soundtracks. Its media filters are also a great feature in this app. I like using this all, personally. A teen shouldn’t use this one unless he/she is under adult supervision. Inappropriate hashtags (porn ones) can pop up which I find it problematic for a teen audience. Great app but not for teens, in my opinion.

PD Rating: Low Risk

 

 

Divide and conquer by being ‘technomoderate’

It is very difficult for a person to  simultaneously “technomoderate” and also build a brand on social media.

That is to say, those who profit from any social media platform are constantly using it, which makes it very difficult to demotivate them from using these tools in the first place.

The more people use Facebook, the better they tend to get at using it, and the more rewards people tend to achieve from these systems. Therefore, asking kids who dream of having their own brand to use social media less often will hurt them. What do I do? I’m stuck!

I know that building brands online requires countless hours of dedicated work, along with the offline sweat. It is ridiculous what you need to do today in order to build a name in social media.

People spend too much time engaging support groups, managing bots to help with social media engagement and creating great media content to be shared. Limiting how often you share your stuff isn’t an option anymore. It is a requirement to share, and share often, if your goal is to build any type of brand in cyberspace.

Thankfully – at least from my “moderating” perspective – having too many social media messages released each day tends to backfire. I suspect this is related to the fact that producing quality content is difficult and expensive, and to the fact that posting too much content a day acts like a divide-and-conquer type of thing. People divide their own efforts, which tends to decrease what we call social media engagement.

People tend to remember what they hear more frequently, though. Social media professionals know this and therefore keep developing their image in cyberspace on a daily basis. But again, too much creation may do you more damage than good.

Bingo!

This is where Dr. A comes and says, “Kids, let’s build our brands in social media, but remember: Trying to build your brand too quickly will backfire. You need to engage in this process with moderation.”

Listen to me: Clever will be the ones who don’t abuse the social media system, because if they do, they will end up losing what they built. People tend to get sick of being bombarded with multiple messages because we are constantly receiving messages from hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. There is hope for some technomoderation, I’m glad to say!

Building a brand, online or offline, is tough. It is time-consuming. Attracting a loyal clientele isn’t that simple. Now add in having to engage with them online on the top of that! Dude, I know that practice makes perfect, and in the world of social media, things aren’t any different.

A person’s social media IQ is directly related – like anything else – to use, but a degree of rest is a requirement for things to work.

Playing the game with frequency pays off, but there is a price or two to be paid. There is a physical and financial price to it, I must add.

Can you imagine building content on a 3-by-4 inch canvas, hitting tiny buttons at a rate of one keystroke per millisecond constantly for a good five minutes per session, four times a day, with the hopes of being rewarded by complete strangers 24/7? This act can be pretty physical, don’t you think?

And there is a cost! In a previous column, I revealed that spending $150 in social media services alone each month is only a fraction of the cost to build an image online. Are you ready to commit the equivalent of a car payment dedicated to growing your Instagram account? There is a price to all this madness.

As a professor who teaches social media and innovation, and believes in the moderate use of technology, this reality is — at a bare minimum — disturbing to me, unless “technomoderation” is adopted. By not using the tools, people lose by not playing the game. By overusing them, there goes your health and finances. What’s in the middle? I know, you love me … technomoderation!

Please keep this a secret.

Dr. A says, “Those who use social media tools within reason enhance their knowledge of the medium, and can build a brand over time with reason. I don’t think those who decide to ignore this advice will win,  ultimately.”

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

ShamChat: Don’t Be Yourself? Well, I have A Big Problem With That.

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I don’t like this app, period. Not even for us adults! Which app you know asks people to not be themselves? I do know one. It is called SHAMCHAT! Look, I can only imagine the type of conversations that occur in this platform, on a daily basis. Research has associated this app with porn chats and sexualized behavior. Go figure. Parents, avoid this one.

PD Rating: High Risk

Poof: How About Hiding Apps So Your (Parent) Just Don’t Know?

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Poof is an interesting app as it hides apps from your phone. This app literally hides applications’ icons so users can’t find these hidden apps with ease. Hmmm, for an adult, I can see why they would use this app but note for children. I would be quite uncomfortable if I were to find out that my daughter was hiding apps from me. A youngster hiding content from their parents isn’t cool and can be a sign that something isn’t right, don’t you think? Be careful with this one.

PD Rating: Medium Risk

Burn Note: Erasing Messages Away In Their DNA.

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Secret messaging seems to be this app’s second name. Participating in secret chats is part of the culture of this app. How dangerous! I can see this App being used for cyberbully on a global scale. Like any app that erases things overtime, Burn Note erases content after a while but it doesn’t stop kids from capture screens shots of their actions. This app may be good for people who like to share content and let the system erase it after a while. Not sure if this if it is a good idea for kids to use this one.

PD Rating: High Risk.

Vaulty App: Storing Photos And Videos Away from You Parent.

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Vaulty is a good app for protecting your privacy. Hiding things there are easy to do. My issue with this app is that kids can store photos and videos away from their parents. What is your children hiding from you if they are using this app? Not sure if I would be comfortable having my daughter having this app installed in her phone.

PD Rating: Moderate Risk.

Veer away from social media for self-promotion

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Life is a riot.

The other day, I was working on a scholarly journal in my office at the Lee University Communication Arts Building when a United Way of the Ocoee Region coordinator emailed me inviting me to deliver a keynote for their interns on the topic of communication.

I gladly accepted the invitation, made the necessary arrangements, and later delivered a two-hour workshop on the topic of winning in life through creative communication.

We had a blast, I must add. We laughed, we learned, we played, we thought. We exchanged understanding! Mutual respect was immediately attained by all parties. I liked them and they seemed to have liked me back.

I simplified and clarified, which in 2018, is a strong skill to have in the midst of all of these new technologies. Being human pays off. I didn’t have to compliment myself and put it all over social media. They did that for me, which ended up being a wonderful feeling.

Due to the nature of social media, people all over the world are engaging in way too much self-promotion, which in the long run can be quite damaging.

For a short period of time, I would argue that engaging in some form of self-promotion is required if one is to attract a sizable audience to buy into their personal brand’s goals and objectives. After all, how can anybody believe that people are experts on anything if they don’t tell you that they are?

Our society has grown used to hearing people saying how great they are, reasonably. Repeatedly claiming that you are the next Steve Jobs because you have wonderful entrepreneurial or technicals skills can, and probably will, give you more headaches than rewards.

Making other people happy face-to-face can do wonders for you. There is just no way that an ordinary computer-mediated conversation would do what my face-to-face keynote delivery did for United Way of the Ocoee Region and its employees. Playing the harmonica in front of a computer screen and failing to make eye contact with your audience will simply destroy any attempt to deliver a remarkable keynote or training presentation.

We are growing used to believing that we can emulate the real world with cyberspace. I don’t think we can. Complimenting yourself too much, regardless of the medium you decide to use, will result in negative audience reactions. People want to see you speaking charismatically and emphatically with them, sometimes singing a song when they least expect. At least, this is what I do. It works wonders every time.

As Harry Beckwith once said, “Being able to listen makes you captivating.” The opposite is also true, “Failing to listen makes you boring.” I would even go further to say that those who don’t listen end up not being heard by others.

Online communication is at best mediocre, and won’t have the same impact a person has when speaking with another person. Understanding is something that we strive for and expect when speaking with others.

Do we really understand everything we are being told these days in social media, text messaging or even email? Maybe we understand more than I want to admit, but I bet you would agree with me that your smartphone auto-correct has made you uncomfortable a few times this past month.

When we try to emulate something, we rarely do it with perfection.

Life is a sale, as Christine Clifford once taught us. Every time we try to communicate with somebody, we are trying to sell our ideas, thoughts and beliefs, values, you name it. The computer puts a barrier between you and the receiver of your message.

I am so convinced that face-to-face communication is so important for you that I am writing this column presenting many arguments for why mediated communication may not be the best way to communicate with people.

Be very careful not to believe that the computer will always make your life more paramount. What makes you outstanding is your ability to communicate with other people, and let me tell you, it is best done live and in color.

Got  it?

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Revealing yourself using social media

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We can learn a lot about people based on their social media behaviors.

In 2018, there are power games being played on Facebook by power-starved people all over the place. Frequency of postings, over- or underengagement, “Likes” and “Dislikes,” “Shares” or a lack of them, are the means by which power games are seen on Facebook alone.

Technology may have made us more connected, but it also has — without question — empowered people to use power over others while hiding their cowardly ways behind a screen. The evidence of this is overwhelming. Researchers call it “face validity,” which means that people can see that assertions are valid and correct.

To make a long story short, a lot of evil is done in the land of apple pie and baseball through smartphones.

In 2013, I went to Harvard University to study leadership. It was one of the very best decisions I’ve made in my life. I was then getting ready to serve as department assistant chair of a large academic unit with 750 students, back in Pennsylvania.

I went to the university to better understand people and to learn different models to manage them. We learned through case studies and simulations the many games that people play in every kind of organization, from universities to  corporate America.

It is ugly what people do to people, both in real life and online.

If you happen to be a minority, these games are played with much more frequency. Dude, I’ve seen a lot in my career in higher education, and have developed skill sets to identify, early on in the game, the people who use their power for evil.

I have to admit that technology can be quite helpful with making inferences about power in organizations. Cyberspace, in this context, is an extension of our real lives. I know, I know … we live in an evil world that is dominated by self-centered people. Technology will never change this fact. I would even argue that technology can only exacerbate this problem.

Here is a cool test you can use to determine whether people are with you or against you. How often do your “friends” like your postings on social media? Are they commenting on your successes or feeling your pain when you lose a family member? Or, are they ignoring what you do because they are afraid that other people may value your contributions more than theirs?

Sure, these aren’t easy questions to answer, especially on Facebook, because the Facebook algorithm is constantly changing. But overall, it is pretty easy to make assertions about people’s behavior on social media over time.

I most definitely pay attention to it and link my findings to what happens in real life. You should also do it. It is amazing what you find.

Technology can be helpful with finding who is playing power games against you. Read this carefully: You can identify a person who wants to exercise power over you face-to-face and online, by examining his or her actions and by paying attention to detail.

Remember: Technology is simply a tool that we can use to better ourselves. In the end, we are our best judges of character and, with the appropriate training, can better understand our surroundings by simply mixing computer-mediated interactions with observable, real-life behaviors.

Keep this in mind. Power is exercised in a variety of ways, but these two ways are usually pretty revealing. Most people, regardless of whether they are using technology to make you look small, disdain your efforts or delay gratification. These are defense mechanisms and clear indicators that someone is trying to exercise power over you. Now, think about this and how they are related to your Facebook (or Instagram) feed. It is pretty revealing.

Now that we have adopted social media in our lives, paying attention to people’s social media behaviors is necessary. It is amazing what people find when they pay attention.

Hey, I like this game. Back in the day, I wanted to be a secretive CIA agent. Be cautious: I am watching you.

———  (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Stop Thinking That You Are Always Going To Be An Introvert.

Stop Thinking That You Are Always Going To Be An Introvert.

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In social media, like in any other living and evolving environment, being strategic is a necessity with the difference that in this new and ever growing area of communications media, you have to be an extrovert or learn to be one if you want to be successful and have lifelong influence in cyberspace. I am not aware of any influential social media strategist and/or new media key player or celebrity who is quiet about his or her participations in the social media arena. Let me give to you some real yet interesting numbers for your review and reflection. Donald Trump has twitted (or shared his opinions, right?) 34.4 thousand times since he started his public twitter campaign in 2009. Oprah Winfrey has shared her thoughts another 11.9 thousand times and growing. In one posting on Instagram alone, Hillary Clinton and her 12.7 million followers have interacted 72,532 times complementing the 659 thousand re-tweets and 29 thousand personal replies displayed on her pin message on twitter today, January 28th 2017. Sean Hannity, from Fox News, averages 400 interactions per posting on Instagram and Andrea Mitchell from MSNBC has probably tweeted more than you and me combined totaling 29.2 thousands times. Clearly, these influential and leading individuals aren’t shy about sharing what they know or what they think you want to hear whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter if you are a liberal, a conservative, a buddhist, a catholic or a citizen of Belize. You have to be able to connect with people you know and don’t know on-line whether you feel comfortable engaging with them or not. The well established and good strategy of war, “Raising an icon from the past,” which can be understood as using your past victories to justify or influence your present cause or situation won’t work for you in social media alone. As Cantrell once said, “Empires rise and fall in the make of details.” You need to get used to the reality that you must be an extrovert on-line by birth or by training, and understand how the game is really played in this new and ever evolving age of social media interaction. There are a number of ways in which you can be more extrovert and better communicate with others in social media even though you might not necessarily be used to it or comfortable about it. I will provide to you three ways in which you can start developing this important and timely social skill… being an extravert.

  1. Stop thinking that you are always going to be an introvert. I am an extrovert. My wife, many of you and several others can easily attest this fact because I am not afraid of start conversations with people I don’t know quite quickly. I am talkative, sociable, enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing. What if I told you that as a teenager, I was afraid to talk with others, was quite reserved and quiet, non-sociable and able to play chess by myself for hours non-stop. It is quite shocking that these days, I have no problems speaking on television, expressing opinions publicly and in some instances… be attention seeking without feeling bad about it. If I became an extrovert, you can become an extrovert, as well. Please don’t believe others when they tell you that you are always going to be an introvert. It is a plain lie and can be argued to be unfounded. I came to learn and realize that your life circunstances and personality can change based on the many environmental variables you are exposed to and experience. Perhaps, nurture overcomes nature after all, I don’t know. What I can tell you for a fact is that I was an introvert yesterday; I am an extrovert today, and you can also make this transition. In social media, you will need this to possess this kind of personality if you want to influence others effectively.
  2. Buy yourself a guitar and study music. You heard that right. Sell your computer and buy a guitar as Tom Petty once said. The act of jamming your six strings and singing alone but preferably in front of a group of listeners, friends, enemies, groupies… overtime can do miracles for you ad will help you to reach your goal of being extrovert. The act of playing the guitar and being in front of others is one of the first steps you need to take in order to become comfortable when speaking with strangers. Why do you second guess yourself? You can be an extrovert overtime. Yes you can! Let me repeat: Yes you can! So do me a favor now. If you are an introvert, legitimately wants to be an extrovert and have more influence in social media, stop reading this blog post right now and go get yourself an acoustic guitar and schedule some guitar maybe voice lessons. I will be here when you come back. You won’t regret.
  3. Randomly call telemarketers for a chat. A-HA! This one you were not expecting, right? I hope not. In order to be able to communicate like a true extrovert, you need to be a bit crazy sometimes and get away from your comfort zone. It is payback time buddy! It is your time to call these professional salesmen who called you several times during your family suppers on Friday evenings and have random chats with them on their own time. I know that this act can be quite intimidating at first but the repeated act of calling a 1-800 number telemarketer customer service representative inquiring about how you can get a free credit card can be life changing for an introvert. You need to be able to speak with strangers without feeling weird or bad about it. We are going to start this process by using the telephone medium at first because you know… if something doesn’t work right, you can always hang over the phone and start the whole process again right after. Eventually, we are going to engage in conversations with strangers to develop additional extrovert skills but not now. It is to early for that. You have to give yourself a chance to becoming an extrovert so you can then be more influential in social media outlets remember? By the way, how much spam or unwanted credit card application requests did you receive this week? Do yourself a favor: Please check your mail pile and start making some phone calls tonight. Who knows, you might make some friends along the way. I did. In fact, one of these goofy telemarketers ended up being a short term girlfriend of mine in college. It might be your destiny, who knows!!!

You have to be an extrovert or learn to be one if you want to be successful and a have life long influence in cyberspace. Stop thinking that you are always going to be an introvert for life. The former isn’t a death sentence. Buy yourself a guitar and start jamming! Make some random phone calls to telemarketers and break aways that inhibition. Who knows, you might even meet a mate along the way. In fact, it might be your destiny to meet somebody this way! You can do it. Just go out there and do it. Go now, close this book and act, see you tomorrow.

Increasing YouTube Viewership Organically: There Is A Science To It.

Increasing YouTube Viewership Organically: There Is A Science To It.
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Statistics Taken From The Video, “Breaking Free From Technology.”

It is possible to buy views, likes, followers, comments and shares in a number of social media platforms today. There are too many companies out there selling social media “numbers” by sending bot (web robot) services which are nothing more than an application running automated scripts over the internet. Bots have the power to perform simple and structurally repetitive tasks at a much higher rate than we can. However, promoting any product or service on-line using bots isn’t always effective or safe. Clients who choose to buy “likes” on YouTube using bot systems for example run the risk of losing their channel or video for good. If you care about your YouTube channel, buying bots isn’t a wise strategy because google can simply close your account at anytime after you get caught violating their policy. Buying bots is against YouTube’s terms of service. So, what do you need to do to generate more YouTube views organically? There are a number of ways one can accomplish this task including creating great content, using the correct meta tags, sharing the content in a wide variety of social media and so forth. Let me share with you 3 out of the 15 techniques I’ve developed to turn a dead YouTube video (look at the video shown above and see how little this video was seen between Jan 2014 and December 2016) into real viewership.

  1. Meet more people offline.  Contrary to what folks may say, without meeting new people you will struggle to promote your YouTube videos. Meeting new folks allow you to open your umbrella of influences. The magic works much like it did when we used to talk about Q-ratio more openly. I know… I know… I am speaking about concepts of finance in order to inform you new ways to grow social media viewership organically. I do admit that my strategy is unorthodox but hey… it works.
  2. Spend time engaging with on-line communities. There is no other way. You need to spend real time with other fellow cyberspace buddies in order to grow your YouTube views responsibly. It is hard-work so be prepared to chat, engage, share and like postings from others. By engaging I mean — Engaging not clicking the like button or saying, “Nice.” You need to elaborate your responses and share your thoughts with others on-line. Get ready to work!
  3. Create a strong website using the most up-to-date SEO techniques.  In order to generate traffic to whatever YouTube video you like to promote, your website needs to kick ass.  If your website sucks, chances are very high that your campaign will fail. YouTube, for example, isn’t an easy platform to promote. It can be quite risky to pay someone to increase your YouTube views as google can, at any minute, close your channel or take away your video due to violations of policy. DO NOT PAY FOR BOTS. My advise to you is to spend some time understanding SEO, perhaps studying SEO strategy and techniques for at least a year if you really want to promote your video successfully. The former is a very tedious and time-consuming activity, I warn you.

Promoting a YouTube video isn’t easy, is time consuming, but you can benefit from developing offline relationships. It is possible to buy views, likes, followers, comments and shares for a number of social media platforms today including YouTube but at what price? I don’t recommend cutting corners on social media marketing. You get what you pay for is the rule of the land. Remember: If something appears to be too good… It generally is a scam. Take the time to promote your content on YouTube correctly. If you don’t have time to do the work, hire a professional. That’s the way to go.