[thsindex.org] “Students ponder The Social Dilemma”

At this very moment, as I sit at my desk and write this article, my phone is adjacent to my computer, sitting on the counter. I know that whenever I want, I can pick it up, and in a couple of seconds, click on an app and see what my friends are doing. After that, I can go see what celebrities are doing, then check if anyone followed me, then watch a video of a person cutting a banana-shaped cake. I feel the temptation to go down this path; I know that as soon as I do, I will be rewarded with a hit of dopamine. But, I know myself—I know if I start, I will want to keep scrolling, scrolling, and scrolling.

I wonder if this cycle is bad. I wonder if, maybe, life would be better without it. When I watched The Social Dilemma, a documentary on Netflix about the problems with social media, I became convinced that maybe this cycle is kind of bad, yet I wasn’t sure what to do about it.

The documentary consists primarily of interviews with tech insiders, social psychologists, and academics. Together, they make a compelling case that technology companies manipulate their users, but it was one simple statistic that a social psychologist cited that convinced me that there is a problem. The psychologist’s name is Johnathan Haidt, and he works for the NYU Stern School of Business. He explained that the number of teenage girls who were admitted to a hospital because they cut or otherwise harmed themselves “was pretty stable until around 2010-2011, and then it [began] going way up.” Since 2009, this number is up 62% for older teen girls and 189% for preteen girls. But this isn’t even the worst of the statistics. The number of older teen girls committing suicide is up 70% in the last decade and up 151% for preteen girls.

“Gen Z, those kids are the first generation in history that got on social media in middle school,” Haidt said. “A whole generation is more anxious, more fragile, more depressed.”

This is my generation he’s talking about. Me, my friends—we are the people who are supposed to be uniquely more anxious, fragile, and depressed than any past generation, and I’m sure a pandemic isn’t helping us with any of those. Yet the worst part is that we know what causes this widespread depression and anxiety. It doesn’t come out of thin air; it comes out of social media.

After watching the documentary, I knew that social media had affected me in ways that probably weren’t good, but I wanted to find out if I was alone or if the people around me—Haverford students—have had similar experiences with social media.

Over the course of a week, I interviewed five Haverford students, all Fourth Formers, about their social media use. Because of the small sample size, this article can’t speak for Haverford as a whole, or even the upper school students as a whole, but it does represent the true feelings of the students I spoke to—feelings that I hope will resonate with people throughout our community.

The first thing I noticed was the sheer amount of time spent on social media, especially TikTok.

“Basically, when I’m bored, I go on TikTok and just waste all my time,” Student A said (names have been changed to protect students’ identities). “I wish it was gone. I hate it so much. It’s so addicting,” he said in a kind-of-a-joke tone of voice. When I asked him if he was considering deleting TikTok, he said he wouldn’t because he’ll “probably just redownload it later on.”

It is for this reason that deleting social media seems like a near-impossible feat to many people, yet there was one student, Student B, who deleted both TikTok and Snapchat because of the high amount of time he spent on those platforms.

When Student B did this, he faced social repercussions. He kept in touch with his friends from his old school primarily through Snapchat, and the moment he deleted his account, he lost some connections with these friends.

“I can see why kids wouldn’t want to delete Snapchat ’cause that’s kind of how you keep your connections nowadays,” Student B said.

Student B was not alone in feeling like he was spending too much time on social media, but he was alone in thinking that deleting the apps would solve that problem.

As it turns out, most people who use social media feel like they have a hard time controlling their time on it. In The Social Dilemma, Tristan Harris, a computer scientist who left Google to start a nonprofit, tried to explain why we are so vulnerable to social media algorithms.

“Realistically speaking, you’re living inside of hardware, a brain, that is millions of years old,” Harris said. “And then there’s this screen, and on the opposite side of the screen, there are these thousands of engineers and supercomputers that have goals that are different than your goals. And so, who’s going to win in that game?”

Student C, a fourth former, said that he gets his work done on time and his social media usage is not a big problem, yet he still maintained that, at least on TikTok, “you watch it, and you just go, you keep going, and you can lose track.”

When you “lose track,” it doesn’t just happen—technology companies intentionally design platforms so that psychologically, it’s nearly impossible not to “lose track.”

The former president of Facebook, Sean Parker (you may know him from 2010’s The Social Network, played by Justin Timberlake), acknowledges that Facebook is “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” He says, “I think that the inventors—me, Mark [Zuckerberg], Kevin Systrom at Instagram—understood this consciously, and we did it anyway.”

“Exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology” is, contrary to what some people think, not a win-win situation. I talked to one Fourth Former, Student D, who said, “I’m getting that sweet, sweet dopamine rush from scrolling on that feed, and they’re just getting my personal data. It’s not bad.”

He said this with a fair bit of irony, but, often, this argument is not a joke. How often do you hear people say they don’t really care how much data tech companies have about them?

The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t represent the relationship that social media companies have with their users. These companies aren’t stalkers who pay for your “data” simply because they are interested in you.

“A lot of people have the misconception that it’s our data being sold. It’s not in Facebook’s business interest to give up the data,” said Sandy Parakilas, the former Operations Manager at Facebook. “They build models that predict our actions, and whoever has the best model wins.”

What results is that Facebook and other tech companies can predict what will keep us scrolling, watching, and liking. The Center for Humane Technology, the nonprofit that Tristan Harris co-founded, made an alarming analogy to describe how social media companies keep you engaged.

“Just like a tree is worth more as lumber and a whale is worth more dead than alive—in the attention extraction economy a human is worth more when we are depressed, outraged, polarized, and addicted,” Harris said.

Thus, it would make sense that social media algorithms recommend polarizing, unfactual content, thereby leading unsuspecting people to become entrenched in fake news.

Student D said that in middle school, he fell down a rabbit hole of polarizing content on social media. Content that, as he described it, “radicalizes people.”

“I would watch commentary YouTubers, and a lot of them at the time we’re really on the right side of the spectrum,” Student D said. “I would slowly dip farther to the right, more radical, worse, and worse until it got to the point where I realized where I was going, and I turned around.”

He would see content that was “blatantly anti-Semitic or racist” getting upwards of 50,000 likes, and he would see comments agreeing with the post.

“Before, I really didn’t think there were that many people who believed in this stuff, but then you see how many people like it,” Student D said. “It’s really weird to think that that many people believe that [antisemitic and racist content].”

Eventually, Student D realized the malice behind the content he was watching and managed to escape the rabbit hole, yet many people never get to this point—they descend further into the false content that social media platforms recommend to them, falsely believing they are finding the truth. So what did Student D do to get out of the rabbit hole and find the truth?

“I kind of just stepped back from social media in general and looked at the real world and observed that [the radical content] doesn’t make sense. Like, it’s stupid,” Student D said.

It was necessary to step back from social media for Student D to free himself from misinformation. For Student B, it was necessary to delete some social media accounts to limit the time he spent on his phone. I wonder whether the rest of us should follow in their footsteps, freeing ourselves from the constant advertising, misinformation, and addiction to social media.

I want to say yes. I want to declare, as I reach the end of this article, that everyone “get off of social media right now!” I want to remind you that our generation is more depressed than any other, that we are addicted, that we are polarized.

While all of this is true, it is also true that people will continue to use social media whether I like it or not, and they will do this because there are some truly positive sides to these platforms. And, in all honesty, I don’t plan on deleting my Instagram or Snapchat accounts in the near future either—the fear of being “left out” once I delete them is too great for me to seriously consider it.

I can’t tell you to delete your social media accounts (without being a hypocrite), but I will tell you to do something else: question social media. Question how meaningful it is. Question how it makes you feel.

Question everything.

Students ponder The Social Dilemma

Note: I’ve decided to revive this website — but I think I will have to rethink the approach. I’m not certain how I will configure it, and remain open to suggestions. This post is one example of many possibilities.

The author (“Joey Kauffman ’23”) does not provide any way of commenting at all, so I decided to comment here.

Joey, I quit reading your survey of students as soon as it became clear that you were not going to define you you refer to as “social media”. Without a clear definition, this is simply a complete waste of time. I hope you do it again, and please provide us with an update if you feel like it.

Thanks! 🙂


#data, #define, #definition, #manipulation, #random, #respond, #response, #social-dilemma, #social-media, #student, #students, #survey, #the-social-dilemma, #unknown

[lavitazoe.wordpress.com/] “Online Identity”

Social media and the affects it has on the way we look at our bodies and at ourselves in general is such a discussed topic, but one that although some progress is being made towards self-love and authenticity, it is a topic with possibly no correct solution or answer.
I joined both Instagram and Twitter as a teenage girl. Twitter I joined to connect with celebrities that usually were out of reach, so this was exciting. Instagram on the other hand was to share photos of what was going on in my life and to be able to see what was going on in others. I believe that when I began using Instagram, I was naïve to the effects it was going to have on not only my mental health but also on my friends. I didn’t think there was much wrong with being flooded with photos of women with perfect bodies, endorsing weight loss products. Photos of women with airbrushed skin and perfect hair advertising skin care and vitamins. Reflecting back on my time now I can see just how damaging these sort of posts were for a teenager to take in. Growing into my adult years I was finding my voice, searching for who I was online and trying to feel comfortable in my own skin. Years of scrolling through feeds of Instagram each day with photoshopped perfection had creeped into the back of my mind and planted itself there. A statement that resonates with this feeling is “Users find online environments potent sites for constructing and trying out versions of self” (Smith & Watson 2014, p.75). I always thought of myself as a very authentic person, I always tried to find courage to speak my mind and be honest about how I felt. I found this difficult to convey on Instagram. I felt pressured for my photos to be perfect. I wanted to share things I loved but I felt judged. I wanted to be beautiful and interesting like the posts that I seen every day. I knew there was an issue with this. I could feel that the fact I would spend time not being in a moment because I was worried about how a photo being taken would look. Or I would be running late because I was taking a selfie to post onto Instagram because that would make me feel attractive. I would discuss these sort of things with my friends. Query if they ever felt that all the photoshop and advertising was detrimental on our mental health. My friends would tell me how they would feel ugly going on Instagram, that they felt their bodies needed plastic surgery to look like the women they seen online. They would tell me how sometimes it causes them to have anxiety for days. We all knew Instagram was causing these feelings, but we would continue to use it. Continue to follow the people that made us feel less of ourselves. It was an addiction. One of many studies that have been completed showed that exposure to celebrity and peer images increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction (Brown, Tiggemann 2016, p 37-43). Recently I had decided that I had enough, I hated how I felt going onto Instagram. I hated feeling lost online and not being sure of who I am, and I deleted my account. I took a break for weeks to reset the way my mind thought about social media. I began using my Twitter account again. I made a conscious effort to tweet about things I enjoyed and wanted to share. I tweeted my opinion on matters happening in the world rather than worrying about liking someone’s photo. I started to reconnect with people in a more human way. I find that tweeting about such simple moments such as the ones below can connect you with others in such an authentic way.


I did return to Instagram recently after my short break. Going back onto this social media site I thought deeply about the way it had affected me and how I knew it affected others. I ensure that I make an effort to be, as I have in bio, fearlessly authentic.

Screenshot from my personal Instagram https://www.instagram.com/zoetscott/
Screenshot from my personal Instagram https://www.instagram.com/zoetscott/

I now ensure I unfollow any accounts that may have any effect on my mental health or that I believe are conveying a message that can be harmful to others as well. I try to consciously share real moments and images that make me happy and disregard the need to have likes to validate these images or myself. I feel better within myself doing this and I hope that I, along with others that believe in this message, social media can become more authentic, supportive and enjoyable for all people young and old to enjoy without feeling less of themselves. Lets use social media to build each other up!

References List
Smith, S & Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self Presentation,’ in Poletti, A and Rak, J (eds.) Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp.75.

Brown, Z & Tiggemann M, ‘Attractive celebrity and peer images on Instagram: Effect on women’s mood and body image’, Body Image, Vol.19, pp 37-43, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.08.007

Excellent — I think we pretty much agree. 🙂 The way I see it, pretty much the entire online universe = “social media” (even the way you define it)… you see, when we use a browser (or similar app), we navigate to online destinations (URLs — like lavitazoe.wordpress.com 😉 ) and the site “recognizes” that we have asked for information (and normally the site also delivers it — many newspapers in the USA now actually deliver responses that say “sorry, we’re not going to show people in Europe anything because due to GDPR, we won’t show you the news [what they’re actually saying thru the flowers is: we can’t spy on you in order to deliver tailored ads / news / whatever] ). LOL, I guess you weren’t expecting to have such a discussion, right? Well, in any case: most of the examples you mention are brand names (twitter was originally a word, IDK if they were able to turn it into a protected trademark or not; facebook used to be a slang term [for student directory] on college campuses, but that is almost definitely trademarked now). I refer to such sites as “retard media”, becuse they’re based on outdated media / technology. You might be able to find my definition of it if you search for it in conjunction with define or definition — you might have even more luck if you visit remediary.com and search there! Or, I could add a link here, if you want 😉


[2020-04-21 14:29 UTC]

#brand, #facebook, #gdpr, #identity, #image, #online-identity, #persona, #platform, #platforms, #privacy, #retard-media, #self, #social-media, #twitter

[simplycharlottemason.com] “Screen Time”

Let’s talk about screen time and technology in your homeschool. Obviously, Charlotte Mason didn’t say anything about the use of computers or other electronic screens in homeschooling. Yet screen time is a real concern for many homeschoolers. And we get questions about that topic regularly. So I asked my friend, and co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason, to share his thoughts about it. Doug Smith is here with us today.

Sonya: Hi, Doug.

Doug: Hi, great to be here.

Sonya: Thanks for joining me.

Doug: It’s good to be on this side of the screen for a little while.

Sonya: Now, you oversee our technology and some of the business aspects of SCM. So you spend a lot of your time on the computer?

Doug: Yes. If we’re going to have an open, honest conversation about screen time, I need to make a confession: I spend most days, all day on the screen. That’s my job.

Sonya: Yes, it is. So you’re speaking from experience. What is your view on screen time?

Doug: I think a lot of times we confuse it with television. When we talk about screens, we have a variety of devices. We have our phones; we have computers; and we do have television; but they’re not all the same. And for me, it comes down to how we use those devices. Are we being creators or are we being consumers? Is it a tool or is it a toy?

Sonya: Those are good thoughts. Let’s un-layer those a little bit more. What are some ways that it could be used to a disadvantage in the home? And I think that’s where most homeschoolers are concerned about the issue.

Doug: It depends a little bit on the child’s age or even for ourselves. For younger children, it’s very important for children to have a lot of unstructured play time to be creative. They develop social skills that way; they develop their language that way. There was a time I remember when our kids were quite young, and we went camping. While we were at the campground, we camped next to another family that had a boy who was about the age of our children. So they naturally wanted to play together. Our kids went, and they played for a little while, but it was only a few minutes before our kids were back inside. We said, “Are you done playing already?” And they said, “He doesn’t know how to play.”

Sonya: Oh, how sad.

Doug: “Everything that he plays, every toy that he gets out, becomes Star Wars for him.” The only thing that this child could do was repeat the things from the movies; he could not play creatively. Our children had a lot of opportunity to read books and play creatively and use their imaginations; and they just weren’t interested in playing with this boy because of that. And he didn’t have that opportunity because of the screen. Now, that was TV. We can also have some things with our other devices—with computers or phones—that can take away our social interaction. It can put us into isolation. And we want to avoid that as well.

Sonya: You see that all the time. I see kids walking down the sidewalk on their phones, not even looking at God’s creation around them, not acknowledging people that they pass. Or sitting in restaurants and the whole family is just staring at their phones and nobody’s talking.

Doug: I saw a family one time walking through the airport, and one of the fairly young children had headphones on and was looking at the screen. And as the family in this busy airport was walking one direction, the child was off the other, and they were calling after him. He couldn’t hear them; he had no awareness of that.

Sonya: That reminds me. The other night when we were out to dinner, I saw at the table across, there was a little girl sitting there with the headphones and the iPad. Her mother was in the other room, getting the drinks to bring back to the table. And if you watched her, that child never blinked.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: She just was staring. And then she would get up to go find her mother with that iPad, the whole way just staring like she was a zombie. It was kind of a little startling. So that’s definitely what we don’t want.

Doug: While we’re on that topic of restaurants and such, one of the . . . I’m going to step on some toes here probably, a little bit.

Sonya: All right.

Doug: One of the things that happens, that I see commonly, is a child will fuss in a public place, and so to keep the child quiet, a parent will often hand them their phone to let them play some games or something.

Sonya: I see that too.

Doug: If you step back and think about what that’s doing, what you’re telling the child is, “If you threaten to throw a fit in a public place, I’m going to give you entertainment. I’m going to reward you for that behavior that I don’t want you to do.”

Sonya: Rather than doing the hard work of training that child and working with that child, interacting personally to help them.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: Wow. Any other disadvantages you want to talk about before we move on to the happy place?

Doug: No, let’s move on to some happy things.

Sonya: So what are some ways that we can use screens and computers and technology well in our home schools and in our homes?

Doug: Kids today are learning skills that, hopefully, they’re going to use in careers in life. And they’re going to be competing against other people who have grown up with computers: “digital natives,” if you will. So having foundational skills . . . Think about all the jobs that are out there. What doesn’t get touched by computers now?

Sonya: Not too many.

Doug: Almost nothing. Even if it’s just for some record keeping or collaboration with other people.

Sonya: Even car mechanics are having to do a lot of computer work and stuff. So even if you think about the trades, they still are having computers involved now.

Doug: So those basic skills, I believe, are very important: to be able to use a computer, to learn how to type, to be comfortable with some of the common apps that are used in business and in life. Those are very important.

Sonya: I use the computer a lot. For work, of course, but also in my personal life. I’m using it to do a lot of shopping. It saves me time. I order my groceries online.

Doug: Sure.

Sonya: So I can see how it would save a homeschool mom, or any mom or dad, a lot of time to have those skills in place. And I assume it’s just going to grow exponentially in the future, all the things done online.

Doug: Yes, and then there are specific skills. There are things that our children can develop. And it’s great for a Charlotte Mason-style afternoons free, where they can dive into something that they have a lot of interest in. So web design, or just graphics design, is something that’s very much done on the screen. We have a child who’s interested in 3D modeling. One of our sons is a computer programmer by trade; that’s his career.

Sonya: I know one of your sons was very interested in making videos and editing videos as he was growing up.

Doug: Both of my sons and all of our children, and your children as well.

Sonya: They’d do it together, yes.

Doug: Did projects together, and they’d learn the basic skills. We got them some equipment, we got them some software, some books, and then got out of the way and let them create.

Sonya: And may I thank you for that, because now he’s my son-in-law and he edits these videos.

Doug: Exactly. He’s going to be editing this. And if you look at some of our products, their fingers are all over those products. Handicrafts Made Simple, for example, was a project that our children from both families came up with on their own.

Sonya: Yes, collaborative and based on those skills that they had.

Doug: That’s true.

Sonya: So when you say that you “give them the tools and get out of the way,” I assume you had some guidelines in place to make sure it didn’t go off in one direction. I think keeping the balance is a key. So do you have any practical tips that can help the parent navigate that, and give them the tools but still guide the child to form good habits?

Doug: When children are younger, their time should be limited. They should have supervised time when they’re using technology, and not just free reign of that, but with plenty of room to get out and do other things: be outdoors and to have creative play.

Sonya: And to work with their hands in other ways.

Doug: And to work with their hands. Now there are things on the computer where working with their hands develops motor skills as well: when they’re typing on the keyboard, when they’re using the mouse. Even some games are beneficial in developing some of the motor skills and thinking skills, if they are creative puzzle games and things like that. They can be useful, but we don’t want too much of it. And so, as the child grows and matures, we would want to give more time, based on how able they are to handle the technology. They need to prove, in little steps along the way, that the technology is their servant and not their master.

Sonya: So let me throw this at you: What about social media? There are ways to be creative with our laptops and with software, and I can see that; but are there any ways to be creative with social media? It seems like that’s a big land mine for many kids.

Doug: Sure, and it can be a time sink and all sorts of things. But on the positive side, sometimes it can help us connect and have those real relationships with each other. A few years ago, there was a writer who wrote for the online magazine, The Verge. I can’t remember the author’s name, but he did an experiment with them where he completely disconnected for an entire year, and then wrote about his experience. What it came down to is, he found that he had fewer real relationships with people that he cared about, because he was unplugged. And a lot of the organization of “how we’re going to get together” was happening online, and he was missing out on that.

Sonya: So it wasn’t so much that he couldn’t connect with people through letters and phone calls. It was that they were all on the social media and he was not.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: So they kept missing each other.

Doug: And he went into this thinking that “If I don’t have that, I’m going to eliminate some of these bad habits.” And what he found was he developed new bad habits that weren’t online.

Sonya: Oh, that makes total sense, now that you say it. Of course!

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: So what are some other guidelines, we can use to help our kids for social media—some of the older kids; what else can we do to help them?

Doug: Well, of course, we can talk about being safe online and guide them into who they gave information to. I think one of the things is just to train them to come to us if they have any questions, and to help them. For older children, teens especially, I like to have a contract with them. That’s an example that says “This is your conduct when you use these devices.” For example, “If I, as a parent, ever ask you to give me your password to log into your account, so that we can look at that together, you need to do that or you are going to lose your device.” And those guidelines could be whatever you need to make it for your family, but that’s just one example.

Sonya: I have a friend who, one of their guidelines is that the computer for the kids is always kept in a public place where it’s well trafficked by the rest of the family. So they’re not working or looking at things in private that no one else can see. I think that’s wise too.

Doug: That is very wise. Another thing that you can do in a home is talk about the importance of those personal relationships with each other and demonstrate those. Now, that’s going to be hard for us, as parents, sometimes, because we’re tied to our devices as well.

Sonya: Sometimes we don’t realize how much.

Doug: Right. So maybe, . . . I know some families who, after a certain time of night, they put their phones away and they don’t go back and get them. I know some others who, at meal time, they will have a phone basket or do a phone stack. A phone stack is kind of a game where everybody takes their phones and they put them in a stack. And if anybody has to get their phone, the first one to do it gets the penalty. So maybe we agree that that’s the person who clears the table and does the dishes. A phone basket is just everybody puts them in the basket for the meal time, so that we can have that importance of being face to face with the people that we care about.

Sonya: I think those are very helpful tips for keeping a balance between online relationships and in-person relationships that are so important, and doing things “manually,” if you will, being present where you are. That is so important as well. What do you think, then, is the goal for teaching our children to use technology well or teaching them to use technology at all? What’s the goal in this?

Doug: We’ve already said it several times. It comes back to Be a creator, not a consumer. Be someone who contributes to society, who values the people around you and the people that are important to you.

Sonya: Good word. Thanks for joining us, Doug.

Doug: Thank you.

Excellent advice + tips — thank you for sharing! 🙂

Some things I would add:

  1. compare “screen time” with “read time” (which was very controversial controversial in the 19th Century) or “drive time” (which may be more controversial soon)
  2. can you define “social media”?
  3. do you think that if Google or YouTube know that I might be interested in a handicrafts store, they might sell this information about me to other handicrafts stores?

Those are just a few off the top of my head. I look forward to your responses, because you appear to be quite knowledgeable on these very important topics.


[2020-04-15 16:40 UTC]

#drive-time, #google, #handicraft, #handicrafts, #read-time, #retard-media, #screen-time, #shop, #shopping, #shops, #social-media, #store, #stores, #youtube

[brookeallenblg.wordpress.com] “How to Entice Journalists”

As a digital strategist, we all know it’s important to earn media coverage from journalists- it creates brand awareness, increases reach, and can even attract new clients! But the lingering question at hand is; how do we get journalists to notice us?

Well, a huge platform you can use in your favor is…

That’s right- Twitter!

When Should I Send My Pitch to Journalists?

According to the State of Journalism 2020, there are many tips and tricks you can use to your advantage that will help you earn media coverage from journalists! Let me break it down.

  • 64% of journalists prefer to receive pitches before noon
  • Although most journalists don’t have a preference regarding what day of the week they prefer to be pitched to on, Monday is the leading day of preference for 20% of journalists

This means that if you’re looking for the most promising day and time to send a pitch, you are most likely to have the best luck with journalists on Monday’s before noon. However, there are a few stipulations…

  • 43% of journalists receive at least five pitches each day
  • The majority of journalists run fewer than five stories per WEEK

So, Here’s How You Can Combat Those Odds…

First, follow journalists on social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn!!! This allows you to see the types of stories that each journalist is most likely to run, and may even allow for a journalist who receives your pitch to recognize your name.

Plus, if the journalist follows you back they are more likely to come to YOU for stories!

Second, make sure you are remaining active on Twitter. The majority of journalists agree that Twitter is the most important social media platform, so it is important to take advantage of this tool to connect with journalists. Even though it is a social media platform, PR professionals can use it to their advantage to network.

Lastly, a fantastic way to gain coverage from a journalist is by connecting the story you pitch to a currently trending topic. If you can connect your story to something everyone is talking about, or a meme the whole world is laughing at, you are much more likely to receive coverage! As a plus, this also allows you to add personality to your work.

For the times that you can’t connect your story to a trending topic, pictures are KEY! In fact, including a picture with your pitch follows closely behind a connection to a trending topic, with 75% of journalists agreeing it is the second most important factor when they decide which story to run.

Summary of Tricks

After all of this information, let me summarize these tricks for you so that you can ensure you’re using each to your full advantage!

  • The best time to pitch a story to a journalist is on a Monday before noon
  • Most journalists run less than five stories per week, so make your pitch stand out!
  • Follow journalists on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Engage on social media, especially Twitter
  • Connect your stories to trending topics
  • Don’t forget pictures!

What if IDGAF about journalists (and/or twitter and/or linkedin and/or some other retard media website)? How would the enticing work in that case?


[2020-04-13 09:20 UTC]

#entice, #enticement, #enticements, #enticing, #idgaf, #journalism, #journalist, #journalists, #linkedin, #mainstream-media, #media, #retard-media, #social-media, #twitter

[vickysventures.wordpress.com] “Stewarding Social Media”

Stewardship. Right off the bat my mind immediately jumps to finances. I think about tithes and budgets and numbers, the very things that bring up a great deal of anxiety within my heart. I want to fight against God’s commandments to be a good steward with my money because in my pride I want to take control. Consequently, when I think of stewardship the hair on the back of my neck stands on end in the same way that my cat bristles when I pet her for too long.

However, the Bible tells us to be stewards of more than just our money. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says,

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”

Similarly, 1 Peter 4:10-11 says,

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

When I started to learn that I didn’t only need to learn how to be a good steward with my finances, but with all areas of my life my initial reaction was to bristle against the notion. But as I examined my own heart, and learned more about God’s Word, I started

to realize that stewardship is simply an opportunity to glorify God, whether that’s our finances, our time, our relationships, or our words.

So how does this apply to social media? Who would even think that social media is worth considering as something we should steward? I mean, what’s the big deal about posting a picture of your food, or a status about what you’re doing, or sharing a video that you think is funny? I would highly encourage you to read Colossians 3:11-17 and genuinely meditate on how God has called us to use our gifts, but verse 17 sums it up very well: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Everything. Do everything in the name of Jesus.

For many people, like my parents who travel a great deal, social media is a tool to connect with their various communities and family members from all over the world. Regardless of where they are, or where we are, we can all know that they are renovating their house and that they’re cute in the masks they wear to the grocery store. For others, like stay at home moms, it’s a tool to share tips and tricks on how to teach their kids at home, or to share in the struggles and joys of being a homemaker. And for others, like professional artists or entrepreneurs, it’s a beautiful platform to share their products and insights in their business journey.

Social media is an amazing tool, but even a hammer has the potential to hurt someone.

I am part of the millennial generation who weren’t entirely raised with social media. I remember when Facebook was created, and I remember a time before it. I didn’t get a smartphone until after I graduated from college and could afford it on my own, which also means I didn’t have things like Instagram or Snapchat until I was in my early 20s. I can see how social media pervaded my life, how I have become consumed by it, because I was self-aware enough before I started using it. I’m fortunate that I’m old enough to see how social media has changed the fabric of how we connect with others, and so I can, a little more objectively, adjust how I rely on it. I am by no means perfect, and I often catch myself caring too much about how many likes I get on a post. However, as I have learned the importance of stewardship in my life, I have adopted a few principles to use social media as a tool to build up rather than tear down, which I would like to share with you.

I. Be Intentional

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
(Philippians 4:8)

How often have you opened a social media app to check on something ‘real quick’ only to blink and then realize it’s been 30 minutes and you’ve just been scrolling the whole time and you still haven’t done what you intended to do? Yeah, I’m guilty of that, too. What’s crazy to me is that during that time that we are ‘mindlessly’ scrolling, we are

taking in information. We are absorbing, like the sponges that we are, everything that passes before our eyes. Maybe we don’t react to it all. We definitely don’t retain it all. But it is seeping into our mind, and therefore, also into our hearts (see Psalm 19:14 for some conviction about what we put into our hearts).

This is my nice way of telling myself (and you) that we need to exercise self-discipline. I think self-control is a fruit of the spirit that isn’t spoken about often enough. We like to talk about love, kindness, or peace because those are nice things. They make us feel warm and fuzzy. Self-control is hard. Oh man, it is so hard. Being disciplined takes work, it takes time, it is something we have to actively choose on a daily basis. And frankly, we don’t. We would rather hit snooze than get up right when the alarm goes off, and in the same way we would rather scroll than [insert your most disliked chore here].

So how do we make the change? The only way to break bad habits we have to set good intentions. We have the ability to make a choice. Sure, it’s easy to fall back into patterns, but the beauty of the brain is that it’s moldable. In the same way that we can retrain weak muscles by exercising, we can retrain the brain into good habits.

Recently (as in, within the last couple of years) smart phones have made it possible to set screen time limits, as well as app limits. Parents are familiar with the concept of limiting screen time for their children, but because of the addictive nature of technology, specifically of social media, I think it’s time that we adults start to hold ourselves accountable as well. I know that I want to set a good example for the younger generation, especially for my nieces and nephews who look up to me, and I don’t want them to see me waste away my life on my phone.

But intentionality isn’t limited to how much time we spend on social media, it’s also important to be intentional about what we put on social media. Which brings me to my second point:

II. Cultivate Joy

“Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
(Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT)

Ok, so it’s time for a real talk. Call it a ‘come to Jesus meeting’, if you will. We, as humans, have an uncanny ability to use each other to make ourselves feel better. It’s as old as Adam blaming Eve for giving him the fruit. Our sinful nature leads us to hide in shame, just like Adam and Eve hid in the garden of Eden, and one way that we hide is by putting others down so that our failures aren’t as noticeable. And what we say about people has a great deal of power, whether we are talking about ourselves or others (see Ephesians 4:29 and James 3:1-12 to remember the power of the tongue). It takes intentionality, and I believe the grace of God as well, for us to break free from that habit. That’s why I say we have to cultivate joy. Cultivating something means we have to genuinely consider where we plant our seeds: what soil are we using, which direction is it facing, are we actively taking care of our plants. That’s the intentional part. But we also need God’s grace: the right amount of rain and sun, gentle winds instead of storms, all things that are out of our control.

In the western world I think this is especially difficult. We have an individualistic mindset rather than a community culture. What I mean by that is in the western world we tend to think about and strive for self-promotion. We encourage people to pursue their goals, we tell children that they can be whatever they want to be, and we’re constantly in the ‘pursuit of happiness’. The danger with this mentality is that we forget that we need others to make any of those things happen. If your dream is to become an actor you have to be able to work with other actors to tell a cohesive story, not to mention being willing to take direction. If you want to run a business, you have to work with your management team to make sure tasks are divided evenly and that everyone is working towards the same goal. But the problem with social media is that it’s the one place where you don’t have to work with anyone else. It’s all about you.

So, I ask the same question again, how do we make the change? Instead of making social media about ourselves why don’t we make it about others? What if, every time we posted something, we asked ourselves, how will this affect those who read or see this? Now I will make the disclaimer that your answer will be incredibly subjective. It depends on who your ‘friends’ are on Facebook or Snapchat, or who follows you on Instagram or Twitter. This is where it’s important for you to actively decide what type of tool you want your social media to be. The best way I know how to explain this is to demonstrate it with an example.

III. Be Honest

“Let all that you do be done in love.”
(1 Corinthians 16:14)

About a year ago I graduated from my master’s degree program and moved back to the Midwest. When I moved back and started to break out of the routines of academic life it felt like I lost my identity. If I wasn’t a student, if I didn’t have a goal, then who was I? That insecurity began to rear its head in how I used social media. I posted pictures or stories about what I was doing to make myself feel valuable. I tried to maintain the theme of my degrees in order to stay ‘connected’ to the people who had been my peers (my degrees are in Shakespeare, so that’s a hard theme to maintain from day to day). And then I started to notice that I was constantly checking my social media to see how many people reacted to my posts, what their reactions were, and my heart sunk every time I opened and didn’t have any new ‘likes’.

I began to feel convicted to stop posting. God showed me that I was using social media to validate myself rather than turning to Him and finding my identity in Him. I still used social media to see what others were doing, but I also started to follow different people, especially on Instagram, who inspired me. At first, I looked at travel bloggers to see beautiful landscapes, and interior design pages to develop my own personal style. Then a dear friend introduced me to the Enneagram and a few Instagram accounts that she followed. Their pages were filled with honesty, vulnerability, God’s word, and advice.

Even though many of them were using their social media for business purposes, they used their social media as a platform to speak truth, and they did so by being vulnerable.

As I began to process my own emotional and spiritual journey, I realized that’s how I wanted to use my social media, too. I chose my tool. I decided that, for me, social media would be a platform to share what was most important to me: my faith.

It’s important that we are actively choosing how we use this tool, and that we hold ourselves accountable to that choice. You may have seen those memes that compare expectation to reality floating around on the internet. Sometimes they’re funny (especially when it comes to baking failures). But I think there’s a deeper truth lying underneath those comparisons. We use social media to curate an image of ourselves, and when we do it’s easy to try to cover up our flaws and shortcomings. But when we are honest about who we are and where we’re at then we have the opportunity to give God glory because “[His] grace is sufficient for [us], for [His] power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Honesty to you might mean not using a filter when you want to cover up a blemish. It might mean sharing a piece of art that you don’t think is perfect but was something you made while worshiping the Lord. It might mean writing a post about how God has humbled you. Or maybe, honesty to you simply means being honest with yourself and realizing you need to take a step back from social media so that God can be your first focus.

I hope that these few suggestions and stories can help you consider what social media really means to you. Like I said before, I think it’s a beautiful tool, but I pray that we aren’t ignorant about its power. May we choose to use it in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, not just today, but for all our days.

All Scripture is pulled from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Hi Vicky 🙂

That’s a lot to read! Was it just as much to write? (LOL 😉 )

Could you do me a favor and tell me what you mean when you refer to “social media” — just a quick definition of the term would help me a lot. Thanks!

🙂 nmw


[2020-04-10 10:23 UTC]

#buzz-word, #buzz-words, #buzzword, #buzzwords, #define, #defining, #definition, #definitions, #mean, #meaning, #means, #social-media, #term, #terminology, #terms