Social Media, Can We Talk About Something Good for a Change?

evilguy                    positive-saying             boy-super-hero-clip-art-superhero-kid-cartoon-illustration-31345004 

Amongst all the negativity and nasty politics permeating social media of late, for my final blog I felt compelled to write about something positive – and decided on the topic of how social media also helps to promote those who are trying to do good in the world.

What comes to mind for me specifically are non-profit organizations and charities.  These groups’ social media efforts are crucial to spreading important and positive messages, creating awareness as well as raising much-needed funds in order to continue their good work.

Why Social Media is Important to Non-Profits

We all know the power of social media and how more and more businesses are embracing it as part of their communications and marketing plans. So too, are non-profits – or if they aren’t they should be.

According to Manoverboard, a design firm that provides digital tools and strategy to principled businesses and organizations, “Having a strong online presence is especially important for non-profit organizations, whose causes rely heavily (sometimes entirely) on their supporters. Since many non-profits already have to deal with tight budgets and limited staff, social media isn’t always high on their priority lists. However, while effective social media requires constant time and effort, the attention that your cause can garner along with the connections you can make with your audience are a worthwhile tradeoff.”

soc-media

Here are Manoverboard’s top 5 reasons why non-profits should use social media:

  1. Engage and Connect

Social media networks are the perfect platform for asking questions and opening up discussions with your audience. Research has shown that posing questions, specifically those starting with the words “would” or “should” attract much more likes, comments, and shares than posting a simple statement. Opening up the dialogue with your followers make them feel as though their voices and opinions are being heard. This contributes to strengthening your non-profit’s relationship with supporters and building your online community.

  1. Drive Traffic

Most people will turn to a non-profit’s website in order to find out more about the cause and how to get involved – but will only seldomly check the website for updates, meaning they likely only think of you and your cause periodically. Having them like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter provides an opportunity to appear on their feeds and give them daily reminders of your mission. Social media is a great tool to help drive traffic to your website, and subsequently attract donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for your cause.

drive-traffic-to-social-med

  1. Shareable content means more exposure

The more shareable content you produce on social media, the more people will see what your organization is doing and be motivated to get behind it. Given how easy it is to share content online, social media is a great place to create momentum for your organization and any campaigns you may be running.

  1. Marketing Tools

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is only one example of many fruitful online campaigns. As opposed to traditional means of advertising such as television, radio, and print ads, social media is a great and affordable way to run a marketing campaign that has potential for wide reach.

  1. Extend your PR reach

Having the right amount of digital influence can boost your presence in the public eye. Social media can also allow you to connect to far away supporters and like-minded organizations that you can develop partnerships with. Part of your PR strategy should include having your friends and partner organization link back to your site.

(Source: https://manoverboard.com/top-5-reasons-why-non-profits-should-use-social-media/ )

 One of My Favorite Non-Profits – Friends For Harmony

ffh-logo

Combining two of my passions and great interests, music and mental health awareness, Friends for Harmony is a Registered Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporation, based in Milton, Ontario that provides music and arts-based programs and opportunities that support community engagement and promote inclusive participation.  They also promote mental health and well-being in youth and send strong anti-suicide and anti-bullying messaging using art and music.

ffh-drum-circle

This group does great work.  Check them out here – they use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to promote their activities and events:  https://www.facebook.com/FriendsForHarmony    www.Friendsforharmony.org

let-the-power-of-melody    ffh-gang

So there is my plug for people who do good in the world.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite charity or organization that does good in your world?

 

facebook     Social Media, Can We Talk About Something Good for a Change? http://bit.ly/2kzJDgF

twitterbird_rgbLet’s talk about good for a change  #socialmedia #promotepositivity #nonprofits #Friendsforharmony http://bit.ly/2kzJDgF

References and articles:

http://www.nptechforgood.com

http://www.bethkanter.org

http://socialmedia4nonprofits.org/blog/

 

 

 

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Wanna be a Rock Star? Using Social Media to Pursue your Passion

The next item on my Life-is-short-so-I-better-make-the-most-of-it list is “Do things with your loved ones. Make memories. Pursue your passions.”

Music is a huge part of my life.  I am very lucky to be able to share my love for music with my two sons who are musicians as well. We’ve played and performed together on a few occasions.  We recorded my husband’s favorite song and gave it to him as a gift once.  Although he doesn’t play an instrument he loves music too.  We enjoy watching the kids and their friends jam, perform, write music and pursue their passion. The boys have recorded some of their own pieces and shared them with our family and friends for the fun of it.

One of my son’s friends, is a talented songwriter and keyboard player who is seriously wishing to pursue a career in music.  Recently graduated with only a part-time job, his resources are limited to promote himself as a budding new artist.  His current vehicle?  You guessed it – social media.

music-note-social-media

Using Social Media to Start a Music Career

Like everything that has changed with the age of computers and technology, so has breaking into the music industry.   Artists can no longer rely on old-school methods to promote their music or land a record deal.

According to Claire Field, author, editor and blogger, here’s how social media can be used to try and make that break into the music industry:

Consider which social networking sites to use:

  • MySpace used to be the social networking site of choice for aspiring artists. The once popular site has been attributed to launching a number of careers as well as boosting sales of already established artists. However MySpace dropped 10 million unique visitors at the start of 2011, bringing users down to 63 million compared to Facebook’s 500 million users. As an example, Lady Gaga has over 31 million likes on Facebook, yet only 1.5 million “friends” on her MySpace profile. MySpace is clearly no longer the most appropriate tool for aspiring artists trying to break into the music industry but is still an option, and won’t hurt.

 

  • ReverbNation and Bandcamp – Depending on the genre of music, artists might find that using specialist sites like ReverbNation or Bandcamp that fit the image of the band more than a mainstream Facebook or Twitter approach. However, considering it’s a numbers game and the more track listens or video views an artist lands equates to a perceived popularity, they would be silly to ignore Facebook.

 

  • YouTube – is like talking with fans face to face. The immediacy of the YouTube platform is useful to artists because they can get instant feedback on songs or works in progress, as well as its global reach. One of the data tools supplied can even reveal where the artist’s fan base is located around the world.

 

  • Facebook remains the most effective way for an artist to reach audiences and promote their music.  “We encourage every artist to have accounts on the likes of Facebook and Twitter,” says Naoise Ryan of Universal Music Group. “It’s really important that they are accessible, plus it allows them to be closer to their fans and interact in ways that can benefit both parties. Nothing positive can come from ignoring fans in today’s music scene.”

(Source: https://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/04/04/how-to-use-social-media-to-break-into-the-music-industry/)music-social-media-2

Other social media options?  How are they used?

There are many other social networking options out there it can get overwhelming. Every platform gives independent musicians a different way to connect with their fans. Twitter can be great for fun, little engaging conversations. Instagram can give fans insight into an artist’s daily life.  But with each new platform comes new rules, formats, and strategies.  The following is a good reference regarding how to use selected social media entitled fittingly “Everything You Need to be a Social Media Rockstar”

(source: http://newartistmodel.com/6-things-you-need-to-promote-your-music-on-social-media)

Famous Musicians who Got their Start on Social Media

There are many – and many Canadians at that:

Justin Bieber started posting homemade performance videos at 12 years old,posting videos of himself singing and playing (did you know he plays drums, guitar and piano?).  He gained fans view after view and the rest was history.  Bieber was also partly responsible for launching the career of Carly Rae Jepsen after she came third in Canadian Idol. He tweeted that Jepsen’s tune “Call Me Maybe” was one of the catchiest tunes he had ever heard – and the rest of that is history too.  The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Walk Off the Earth plus a slew of others including Justin Timberlake, Tori Kelly, James Bay, Alessia Cara – all have social media, particularly YouTube, to thank for their music careers.

(Sources: https://monetizepros.com/features/25-celebrities-who-got-rich-famous-on-youtube ; http://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-artists-discovered-on-youtube)

Rooting for Appollo

We are cheering enthusiastically for my son’s friend Apollo (his ‘stage’ name) who has just released his second single of electronic pop from his debut EP “Sin & Serenity”.

(used with permission)

Also find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/ApolloDanick
twitter.com/Danickcoutu
instagram.com/danickcoutu/

We all hope he continues to pursue his dreams.  With the reach and scope of social media, and the direct connection it has with music fans worldwide, he will have an excellent head start – something that was not possible for artists in the past.

Have you used social media as a vehicle to pursue your dreams and passions?  Or used it to make memories with your loved ones?  Please share!

(Photo credits:  All images used in this post are from https://creativecommons.org/)

 

Other articles

https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/social-media-the-music-industry/

https://www.planetarygroup.com/music-promotion-guide/use-social-media-effectively/

 

facebook     Wanna be a rockstar? Use social media to pursue your passion! http://bit.ly/2lzlhEa

twitterbird_rgbWanna be a rockstar? Social media can help! http://bit.ly/2lzlhEa

 

“Don’t Worry Be Happy”. Can Social Media Help You Do That?

 

dont-worry-be-happyTo continue my thoughts on the Life-is-short-so-I-better-make-the-most-of-it theme, my next point after drafting a bucket list was “Do things that make you happy, that bring you joy.” In other words, stay away from things that make you sad.

 

What ARE the things I do everyday?

I took a mental inventory of my daily routine. I get up. I turn on the radio, make breakfast.  While I’m eating I open up the iPad, check my email, and then yes – I check my Facebook.  Once ready, I hop the bus to go to work.  It’s a 40-minute bus ride, so yes – I check my Facebook.  At lunch time, I will check my phone for messages and Yes – go on Facebook.  Bus ride back – yep, you guessed it.  Periodically in the evening if I’m home and not doing anything in particular yes – I’ll go on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Doing my homework?  As a mental break, yes – I’ll go on Facebook or LinkedIn. Out with friends, skiing, skating, playing music – yeah, we’d most likely post a photo on Facebook!

social-media-phone

 

Yikes! That is a lot of time spent on social media. I asked myself – is this something that is making me happy?

To start, I live a province or more away from my siblings and extended family so to keep in touch and keep up with everyone’s lives, Facebook has been a very useful tool. In addition, being involved in the local music scene requires me to keep updated on that as well.  So yes – Facebook does contribute positively to my life for those reasons.  But sometimes I’ll read others’ posts that make me shake my head, roll my eyes or downright make me angry.  Is that a positive contribution?

 are-you-happy-or-sad-chart

Does Social Media Contribute to a Person’s Happiness? Or Sadness?

I researched the subject and found a variety of articles, blogs and opinions.

In one blog I came across, apparently social media can increase one’s happiness, and it has a ripple effect.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201006/do-social-media-networks-increase-happiness-and-productivity  

“New research by James Fowler at The University of California shows that in a social network, happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another. Fowler says that taking control of your happiness can positively affect others, and that a chain reaction can occur. The research has also shown that sadness spreads in a social network, but not as quickly. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, used data from the Framington Heart Study of a network of more than 4,000 people.The research study shows that each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9% whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7%.”

So the more happy friends you have in a social network, the better your chances of being happy too.

friends-happy

 

Then there is the opposite opinion.        sad-statue

According to this article entitled Sadness and Social Media, from Harrisburg Magazine, there is research that suggests that using social media can lead to sadness, loneliness or feelings of depression.  http://www.harrisburgmagazine.com/February-2016/Sadness-and-Social-Media/:

Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study that investigated how Facebook usage correlates to unhappiness. The study involved text messaging a group of young adults multiple times a day for two weeks to determine how Facebook usage affected their subjective wellbeing. Some of the questions sent to the participants asked how they were feeling, how much had they used Facebook since the last message was sent and how lonely they felt at the time. The two main components they tested for were their overall life satisfaction and how they felt from moment to moment.

After the study was complete, the research showed that, “The more [participants] used Facebook over two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time.” It goes on to explain that using Facebook in times of loneliness did not contribute to happiness and actually produced a decline in affective wellbeing. Though participants would report feeling more lonely, their Facebook usage was not deterred, showing how difficult it is to disengage from the constant updates that draw you into the site.

Yay AND nay?

Out of all the articles I’ve read on this topic, the one that sums it up best in my opinion is this one, by psychologist Dr. Lisa Kaplan, called Social Media — Happy Place or Hater Maker? It all Depends on How You Use it.  http://www.yourtango.com/experts/dr-lisa-kaplin/love-it-or-hate-it-social-media-effect-on-happiness:

 Social media in one form or another is here to stay, but the reviews are mixed at best about whether all of this online “connection” is actually good for our emotional wellbeing. We certainly have more digital access to each other than ever before, yet we are also now able to constantly compare ourselves to those hundreds of “friends” around us. As a result, a lot of us are feeling pretty down about ourselves.  The way I see it, there are 3 ways to use social media and which one you choose can make or break your happiness.

 In summary, she notes:

  1. If you use social media to compare your life to others’ fabulously busy, happy-looking and activity-filled lives (often very misrepresented) you are heading for disaster in the self-esteem department.
  2. If you use it to criticize, judge or nit-pick other people’s opinions or quirky ways – how will you feel? Will being unkind online make you feel good about yourself at the end of the day? She doubts it.
  3. Using it to learn, think, grow and connect is the way to go. You can connect with others in your field, find job or volunteer positions, support people in their endeavors. And if you have a bad day you can always find a funny post or a puppy video!

The verdict?

Social media will be what we make of it. It can make us feel happy and connected or it can add to our angst and loneliness.  We have to be aware, pay attention to our feelings and monitor our use of it.

I’m taking Dr. Kaplan’s advice on this one: “Spend your time online wisely and carefully, as your happiness might depend on it.”

What do you think? How does social media make you feel?

 

 (Photo credits:  All images used in this post are from https://creativecommons.org/)

Other articles

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/raising_happiness/post/happiness_is_being_socially_connected/

http://www.mainlinetoday.com/Blogs/Thinking-Forward/February-2014/Can-Too-Much-Social-Media-Cause-Depression

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/01/living/feat-happiness-social-media/index.html

 

facebook     “Don’t worry be happy”. Does social media help you do that? Depends. Read on to find out. http://bit.ly/2kXOuKj

twitterbird_rgbDoes social media make us happy? The jury is out. http://bit.ly/2kXOuKj

#socialmediacanmakeorbreakyou #useresponsibly

 

 

COM0011 Things Ya Gotta Do (and not do)…Cuz Life is Short

 

'Well, I still celebrate birthdays.'

As a person who has passed her half-century mark, I have found myself lately thinking about the concepts of life span, longevity, and possibly the lack thereof.  Somewhat depressing? Even morbid?  Kind of.  But realistic. Indeed, these thoughts usually surface when something bad or sad happens, which it did – and which makes you think about how short life really is.

The recent deaths of a cousin in his early 60’s from cancer and a friend of a friend, otherwise lively, active and healthy as a horse who dropped dead of a heart attack at 57 – just a few short years older than myself – and even closer to the bone, a year younger than my better half – has prompted me to start reflecting.

lie-is-short-cookies

So what?

Having realized that life is short, I figured that I need to start trying, in earnest, to make the most of it. But what is the most? What does that look like?” I came up with a list of four points:

  1. Do things that you haven’t done before – the Bucket List
  2. Do things that make you happy, that bring you joy.
  3. Do things with your loved ones. Make memories.
  4. What NOT to do re the above three points!

I will examine these four points over the next few blogs.  Let’s start  with the first item on the list.

The Bucket List

I had never really written a bucket list, other than having a few thoughts floating around in my head. I also saw the movie, laughed and cried along with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, but that is about it.  So I thought I better consult the literature on how to write a bucket list. There is actual methodology and reams of information on this – who knew!

bucket-list-guide

According to published author, behavioral investigator and author of the Ultimate Bucket List Guide , Vanessa Van Edwards, a Bucket List is: “a list of all the things you want to try, goals you want to achieve and life experiences you want to have before you die.”

Van Edwards believes that everyone should have a Bucket List or a “To Experience” list. Here’s why:

  • Bucket lists make you stop and think what you actually want to experience in this lifetime.
  • Bucket lists remind you that life is short and we should live it to its fullest.
  • Bucket lists increase our happiness because they give us both hope and curiosity (2 essential ingredients for happiness)

She outlines 10 steps to get the job done, along with some great tips and inspiration on her own journey.  Here is an excerpt:

Step 1: Dreamstorm

The first thing you can do to create your bucket list is to dreamstorm–this is a combination of dreaming and brainstorming. Take out a piece of paper or open a new document and set aside at least 15 minutes to put all of your ideas into writing. Here’s the key:

Remove all limits.

The most important part of dreamstorming is allowing your mind to be as free as possible. Step One is all about putting down every. single. idea. that pops into your head. It’s not crazy, it’s not impossible, it’s not silly–just put it down! You are not allowed to edit for feasibility or possibility in dreamstorming. When you let your brain and mind free, it’s amazing what ideas will come out. Ready? Go!

See her complete article below – it’s a great read.  http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/06/the-ultimate-guide-to-creating-your-bucket-list/

Here is the author of the book Bucket List Adventures, and author of award winning travel blog, Bucket List Journey, Annette White’s take on bucket lists:

 Sometimes the responsibilities of daily life gets in the way of experiencing new things or even thinking about what we really want to do in life.

Creating a Bucket List will focus your interests, provide structure and motivate you to step out of the box. It can expand your mind to new possibilities and make your dreams become a reality. Who wouldn’t want that?  And when we have our wishes written down, to refer to regularly, those dreams become more tangible. Sometimes, when goals are not recorded and easily accessible we tend to forget about them and in turn are not proactive.

My Own List

After studying the art of bucket list making, I began drafting my own list, which still is very much a work in progress, because I have still not completed STEP 1!   But I thought I’d jot down at least a list of the general areas I’d like to explore:

  1. Read more
  2. Travel more
  3. Learn to scuba dive
  4. Take ballroom dance lessons
  5. Get into the best shape of my life
  6. Buy a cottage or a house on the water

 

Do you have a bucket list?  What is on yours?

In the inspiring words of  Shia Leboeuf, just do it !  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsQAXx_ao0

 

facebook      Thinking life is short? Want to make the most of it? A bucket list is what you need!  Here’s how to write one

twitterbird_rgb Life is short?Write a bucket list.Here’s how  #bucketlist #Livelife #yolo

 

Links:

https://www.locationrebel.com/10-tips-for-creating-a-useful-bucket-list

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201207/how-write-bucket-list

http://bucketlistjourney.net/2013/04/bucket-list-resources/

Bucket List Adventures