How Social Media is Helping Dog Rescues

Who doesn’t want to see photos of adorable dogs on their social media feed? Ariel Bogle talks about this in her blog post on Mashable: “As the internet has definitively proven, a photo of a kitten or a puppy is irresistible, and animal rescue organisations are using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to exploit our addiction for good.” It’s really not surprising how well social media has been working to help dogs get adopted. More rescues should be taking advantage of these free platforms to get exposure.

About two years ago, my partner and I decided to adopt a dog from a rescue in Ottawa. We searched and searched to finally find our Kozmo. Four months later, there I was doing volunteer work for the foster-based rescue as a Photographer and Graphic Designer. Not too long after, I also started helping by creating content for the rescue’s social media pages. It didn’t take long for the president of the rescue to realize how big of an impact social media was having on the adoption rate. She couldn’t believe how social media could make that big of a difference.


As of today, Cooper’s photo on the rescue’s Facebook page has been shared 129 times, it has 47 comments and 143 likes. Thanks to social media, this puppy will find a home soon!

I started taking photos of the dogs that were coming in and then posting the photos with a mini biography on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. People started sharing the posts more and more, and before we knew it, dogs were finding foster homes or new families within days instead of months or years. The difference that professional photos of the dogs and biographies were making was crazy. The public was getting attached to these dogs and wanted to follow their story. Posting content regularly to the 21,000 followers on Facebook definitely made a difference for this charity.

It didn’t end there. Sharing fundraising events on social media that we were organizing attracted even more participants. Followers started sharing these events too. We started attracting new volunteers like foster families, as well as adopters.

What dog rescues need is exposure and a big following online that is ready to spread the word. Social media has been a big game changer for charities. Before social media, organizations had to hold so many events to get any exposure. It was all very expensive and time consuming. Sadly, the only problem that remains is that a lot of rescues don’t have funds to hire photographers, graphic designers, social media specialists, etc., or to pay for ads. Just like social media, I believe that a community can also be a game changer for dog rescues and other charities. Giving a bit of time and help to a cause that’s close to your heart is truly fulfilling!

Which charities do you follow on social media? Do you find that they’re using social media to their advantage?


Twitter Symbol : How Social Media is Helping Dogs Get Adopted.

Facebook Logo : Dog Rescues are Thriving Thanks to Social Media.

Instagram’s Influence on Photographers


Photo : Pixabay

After finishing my four years of college, I decided to start a photography business and knew that social media would be a game changer to attract new clients. I mostly focused on my website and Facebook page in the beginning and I didn’t dare touch Instagram for my business. To me Instagram was where thousands of selfies, bad snapshots and boring food photos were posted. Honestly, I didn’t give Instagram a real chance. I had an account, but I didn’t really use it all that much.

I opened my business in January 2014 and it took until July of that year to finally post my professional work on Instagram. Up until then, I was mostly posting behind the scenes photos. It felt somewhat silly to me to use these high-resolution photos that I took for clients and then upload them to this social media application that is used for “instant photos” (i.e. photos taken with your cellphone).

Four years later, I’m using Instagram more often than Facebook for my business. I feel like Instagram truly gives photographers a bigger chance to be discovered. Another reason why I’m using Instagram more now is because I’m able to reach the entire world, therefore I’m getting more likes on my work. Don’t get me wrong though, Facebook still remains the place where most new clients will contact me.

Instagram resizes your photos and crops them to fit in this tiny square. I hated it for weeks up until I started using Squaready, an application that helps resize your photo to fit in Instagram without cropping it. This pushed me to post more of my work because it wasn’t as limiting.

A downside to Instagram is that after all these years of gaining more and more popularity, it’s somewhat killing creativity. Photographers, professionals and hobbyists, start taking photographs to get likes. Photographers see what type of work is trending on social media and then decide to create the same type of work to get more likes. Locations, angles, ideas, etc. start to all look the same. This causes a problem because we are simply imitating other creatives. It’s ok to be inspired by fellow photographers’ work but we also have to be careful and be more innovative. For example, search a specific hashtag like #Iceland and all you will get are photos of Iceland landscapes with falls and portraits of people posing in the Blue Lagoon. Another hashtag to try is #MoraineLake, you will see photos of people either standing in front of or canoeing in this beautiful blue lake with reflections of mountains and trees. It’s all very breathtaking but sadly it all looks the same.

Another downside is that Instagram has made me compare my work to other photographers. This is common in the photography community. I’ve discussed this with many fellow photographers and we can all agree that sometimes it does make us question our work. I sometimes believe that Instagram is making us forget the main reason why we have a passion for photography and why we do this work: we love capturing precious moments for our clients, not getting those 1,000 likes on this one photo.

For a social media application that is driven by photo sharing, you would believe that photographers should hold sway over Instagram, but the need to chase likes and follow trends it seems like it’s Instagram that takes the lead in this relationship.

What’s your take on this? Do you feel that Instagram has a positive or negative impact on the photography community?



twitter-logo-final : Has Instagram influenced your work as a Photographer?

Facebook Logo : Photographers and Instagram’s Influence.

Let Yourself be Bored

What did we do before social media existed when we had moments of boredom? Why have we replaced those moments of boredom with mindless scrolling through social media pages? When you have writer’s block, or you feel uninspired, you just walk away and come back to it later right? Well, it seems that most of us are now accustomed to going directly to social media platforms to fill in those moments.

There’s a possibility of finding more inspiration online, but there’s also the possibility of just completely draining our creative energy by looking at Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

As a photographer, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer editing photos. Very often, I get editor’s block while working on photos. Simply put, editor’s block is when you have a ton of photos to edit and you just don’t know how you want to edit them. You question yourself about the style, the colours, the contrast, the saturation, the cropping, etc. It should be simple, right? It’s not as easy as it seems. I think sometimes it’s not only because I feel overwhelmed, but because I’m bored. Boredom that comes from having over a hundred photos in front of you and feeling like there is no creativity left inside of you to do post-production. It’s also a way of procrastinating and distracting myself from the gigantic amount of work I have to do in a short period of time. What do I do when this happens to me? Well of course I go peak at social media platforms. Does it help my creativity? Not at all.

boredom pixabay

Photo : Pixabay

As discussed in The Bright Side of Boredom, an article by researcher Andreas Elpidorou of the University of Louisville, “Boredom is both a warning that we are not doing what we want to be doing and a “push” that motivates us to switch goals and projects.”

I miss the quiet moments, where all I had were my thoughts. Now it seems like there’s never a quiet moment with so much information buzzing in my mind, and I partly blame social media for that. We are all exposed to so much content every minute of every day that it overcrowds our brains. Good old boredom that pushes us to do inspiring things, that’s what we need again.

In his blog post What to do when you are bored (Hint: not social media), Muhtadi Faiaz explains how he pinpointed the trigger that made him go on social media often: “… I realized I feel tempted to spend so much time scrolling the feed because of 2 primary reasons: (i) when I am bored, I want to do something that does not require mental effort but provides some good feeling; (ii) engaging in social media is effortless, yet it gives a feeling of remaining on top of everything going on around me. The trigger is boredom or when I want to procrastinate or distract myself.”

His words describe the exact reasons why I go to Facebook or Instagram when I’m bored. Bored, overwhelmed, tired, uninspired, etc. Going on social media sometimes feels like a break because it doesn’t require much mental effort and it makes us feel good. It’s a type of instant escape and gratification. It probably counts as a guilty pleasure too, but maybe somewhat of an unhealthy one in the long run.

I’m trying to change this now. When I feel uninspired or bored, I try to listen to music, do yoga or go for a walk with my dog and partner. It’s a hard habit to break, but I already feel more inspired. I appreciate and use those moments of boredom to push me.

Next time you feel bored or uninspired, take a break from social media and do something good for your soul. Change it up a bit to get inspired!

What are some things you can do to find creativity in those moments of boredom?


Facebook Logo : Let yourself be bored to get inspired!

Twitter Symbol : Leave social media aside and find inspiration in the boredom.


Emotions, Empathy and Social Media

Reading between the lines can be so complicated when it comes to figuring out the tone in online communication. We communicate with family, friends and strangers through these applications on a daily basis. In person, communication becomes sometimes nonexistent for certain people. We exchange messages, photos, comments, etc. online and rarely do we actually see how the person on the other side is really feeling or reacting. It seems that we are becoming more passive and unaffected when others confide in us. It makes you wonder if it’s because we spend most of our time hiding behind computer screens.

Have we really become emotionless because of technology and social media? I’ve read multiple blog posts about this subject like Does Technology Affect Empathy by Suheyda Ogan on Research Maze. This is a question I ponder over every day. Technology seems to lead to a deterioration of in-person empathy. We become so used to not having to deal with other people’s reactions in person, that when we do have interactions face to face, we barely feel anything for our peers.

img pexels

Photo : Pexels

Here are some tips to help you be more empathetic and have better communication when it comes to online interactions:

Never assume and always ask

We have all misunderstood something someone has said to us on a social media platform. Immediately, we become defensive and short in responding to them. Our emotions get the best of us. Why do we jump to conclusions when the solution is easy? Stop assuming, and just ask! There’s nothing wrong with politely asking the person you’re interacting with on social media, to give you clarifications on what they’re saying or trying to say, 

Stop trolling

It’s sad to see how “trolling” has become such a big part of online interactions. Andre Bourque’s post, Answering a Social Media Troll – What You Need to Know, on the Huffington Post’s blog has a perfect definition of what a troll is: “A social media troll, by definition, is someone who creates conflict on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit by posting messages that are particularly controversial or inflammatory with the sole intent of provoking an emotional (read: angry) response from other users.”. If you’re trolling people online, then empathy might not be one of your qualities. Don’t be selfish and do this to entertain yourself. You know you’re hurting other people, but you’re also hurting yourself. Your sense of empathy is slowly dissipating and you’re making communication in a small online community even more complicated because you’re simply distracting and annoying other users.

Use video chat more often

We’re self-conscious about video chat because we’re too used to hiding behind our computer screens when talking to people online. At one point, video chat was extremely popular, but now it seems to be more forgotten now. Why not chat with your online community by video instead of messaging? You truly can get to know someone better by interacting “in person”, in this case through a webcam. It’s such a great tool that we can use regularly. There’s no excuse not to use it, because almost every laptop has an integrated webcam. Get some face time in with your community!

What difficult interactions have you had online and how did you deal with them positively? Do you feel you have become less empathetic since you started using social media applications?


Facebook Logo Do you feel like you are becoming emotionless because of social media?

Twitter Symbol Tips for being more empathetic and having better communication on social media.