Social media and our self-esteem

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Most of us understand that not everything we see online is always as it seems. We know filters exist as does editing and yet still many of us continue to compare ourselves to others whether that be the lifestyle of a friend we follow or an influencer/celebrity’s beauty. It’s important to remember that we only see what people want us to see. We all do it! We take tens (personally I sometimes take hundreds!) of the same picture with a slightly different angle (they almost always look the exact same) we may put a filter on or slightly edit it (remove a blemish here, darken or lighten the picture or video…) and post the best one or the best cupcake out of the 12 we made. We only show the best version of ourselves. I think that it is normal, possibly even human nature to only share the good, the pretty, the fun and perfect aspects of our lives.

However, when do we say enough is enough? How far is too far?

When it comes to editing your face, body or posting about the “exciting” life you live when exactly does it end? These self and lifestyle “exaggerations” can potentially damage the mental health of some of the followers who are easily influenced by those they look up to. They may hurt themselves in the process of achieving these unattainable looks that some of these influencers themselves don’t even have. Many influencers have spoken about their own struggles with body image. Some have come out and reposted unedited versions of past pictures they had previously uploaded in the hopes of shedding light on this issue and to help others understand that not everything you see is real.

Editing apps have gotten incredibly great at editing pretty much anything including videos. You can not only blur, remove a pimple or put a filter on a video, but you can edit your face and bodily proportions to make yourself appear however you want. Many that abuse these editing tools are usually not very truthful or forthcoming about using them in their posts or videos. Instead they choose to claim they naturally look like the way they present themselves. Which can be quite damaging to the mental health of those that don’t know any better.

Should influencers who do edit their videos or pictures disclose that information? In the UK a Digitally Altered Body Images Bill was recently introduced. It would require advertisers, broadcasters and publishers to display a logo in cases where an image of a human body or body part has been digitally altered in its proportions, and for connected purposes. – Bill 227 This is not a new concept either as Norway recently passed a similar law earlier this summer. The regulation for the label requirements are limited to photo and video advertisements that include images of people whose body size, frame or skin have been altered; changing hair or retouching a bruise, for instance, may not require a label. They’re many conflicting thoughts on this law and whether or not it will be enforced, how it will be enforced and if it is even necessary to begin with.

What are your thoughts on this? Should Canada have a similar law? Do you think influencers should advertise if a photo has been retouched or do you think it would not change our perspective of body image and that it is a pointless thing to do?

Have we gone too far with retouching our online personas? Find out more here: https://bit.ly/3BtPWI4

#selfesteem #bodyimage

None of us are perfect but we all like to pretend dont we? https://bit.ly/3BtPWI4

#perfectdoesntexist #noedit #bill227

One Click Connects Us

Translation Services and Social Media Presence by Akorbi

(Source: Akorbi)

My last few blogs have talked a lot about the downfalls of social media and the negative impacts it can have on us. However, there’s a flip side to social media and that is how amazing it can be! Just think, generations ago, people couldn’t even imagine a group of diverse platforms that would allow us to do all kinds of things using social media. It was unheard of that one click could open up a whole new world and connectivity would happen in an instant. However, today social media allows us to connect, be informed, get involved, and interact in so many important ways. What is something important that social media does for you? 

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Connection During Times of Social Distancing

(Source: Search Engine General)

Most recently, we entered an unprecedented time. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, social media kept us connected with each other when the entire world shut down. According to one Stanford University article, “Quality time, online: Staying connected with social technologies during the coronavirus outbreak“, “Research shows that using social technologies can provide a small boost to our well-being by really helping us feel more connected to the people around us…” Never was that more important than when the whole world was suddenly kept apart during lockdowns. Then for an extended period after where restrictions were still in place, social media provided us a way to stay in-touch with friends and family. During this time, being able to connect with someone online when we couldn’t in-person, had become very important.

(Sources: Verywell Mind, Black Lives Matter, NHL.com)

Social media helped boost the growth and awareness of major 21st century movements and organizations such as #MeToo and #BLM. What started out as simple hashtags quickly took a life of their own, becoming well-known and highly influential organizations. People from all different regions became a part of a united movement all connected through social media networks for these groups. Here in Canada, #BellLetsTalk has become a huge initiative raising funds to support mental health awareness, and social media has provided the groundwork for these initiatives to grow.

Helpful Technology for Seniors: Recharge Your Life - David York Agency

(Source: David York Agency)

Social media offers a platform for all ages and stages of life. Snapchat and TikTok might interest young people, but how many of you have parents and even grandparents that connect to others online using Facebook? It’s not for everyone, of course, but for many using social media is easy to learn, offers so many ways to share, and helps people feel connected. Not only can you connect with your peers, but you can also watch your favorite influencer or celebrity’s post, join fan clubs and groups with common interests, or game online with others all over the world.

I’m sure almost everyone you know uses social media. We live in an age where it’s surprising when we talk with someone who doesn’t use social media. Of course, some don’t but it’s definitely a ratio where more people use it than not. It helps networks to build, organizations to share their messages, is now often a platform for businesses to advertise and connect with their customers and enables us to create connections far and wide. For us personally, not only can we send a message to someone, down the street, across the country, or even on the other side of the world, but it reaches them instantly. It bridges the distance for friends and family, allows companies and groups to work globally, and even allows us a platform to send a funny meme to someone who could use a laugh. Social media has advanced so much over these past few years. You can stay connected practically anywhere. I cannot wait to see what it offers us in the years to come. How about you?

We can do so much using social media networks, I wonder what the future holds? #StayingConnected #PlatformsForChange #MentalHealth

The importance of social media. #BrightSideOfSocialMedia #ThinkOfThePositiveAspects #PlatformsForChange

The Positive Aspects Of Social Media

Picture by Getty Images

Many of us myself included, spend a lot of time talking about the negative aspects social media has on our lives and those around us. However social media is not inherently bad. In this post I would like to talk about the positive impacts social media can have on peoples mental health and well being.

Confidence and motivating young people

While social media is mostly known for skewing our perception of other’s reality and our physique when comparing it to influencers online, it can also be the complete opposite. With social media and today’s influencers we have managed to redefine what and who we view as beautiful. Sure the thin and conventionally attractive influencers are still and will always be seen as pretty, they’re still many prominent influencers that do not fit that standard. Many people have found comfort and new found confidence in finding online personalities that are seen as beautiful by social media that look like them even though they have different beauty standards. This can greatly impact the views people have of themselves when they have someone they can relate to, someone that does not necessarily fit the norm. This can greatly help them gain confidence which is a powerful tool for our mental health and growth. It is especially important for the younger generation that is on social media, to see themselves in someone else and think if they can do it so can I!

Staying connected

Social media is also of course a great way to stay connected. It’s what it was designed to do. This was incredibly notable and necessary for some when the pandemic started. Most of us turned to social media to keep up with our friends and family. Many of us also started new hobbies and with those hobbies we wanted to share them with likeminded people. Social media helps us easily find communities and new friends with similar and shared interest. For those that need social interactions to get through the day to day life (we are not all introverts), this can be a way to keep them sane and mentally healthy in times when being social face to face is simply not possible or when those around you do not share the same hobbies or thoughts as you, social media is a great way to connect with those people.

Learning new skills

Speaking of new hobbies, social media has changed the way we learn new skills and hobbies. In a great way. Anything we wish to learn whether that be how to cook the best banana bread, learn how to use excel or how to sew the purrfect tutu for your cat, it is all but a few clicks away. Learning something new has never been easier and more easily accessible to us.

Picture by Ron Kimball/KimballStock

I have personally used social media for all of the topics I have spoken of as I believe many of us have as well. Their are so many more positive and pros to social media. We have access to so much more news on the happenings of other cities, countries and ethnicities! These help us all understand and learn of struggles others may face. We can use platforms to bring awareness to societal issues and teach others ways on how to help. The possibilities are endless!

What are some positive effects social media has had in your life or those around you? Why do you like social media?

Social media has many positive aspects about it! Let’s go over some of my favorite ones!

https://bit.ly/3h1vgQD

Social media can teach you how to make your pet a tutu! find out more here!

https://bit.ly/3h1vgQD

The struggles of live streaming

Credit: René Ramos; Getty Images/Alistair Berg

Social media is an incredible space where one can socialize with friends, meet new people, create content, build communities, find new interests and so much more! It can also be a terrifying space. In this post I’d like to go over some of the issues that can happen with being a content creator and streamer in the online world.

Let’s start with a minor scare, getting hacked.

Credit: Getty Images

Privacy breaches can happen to anyone and there are various ways in which one can get hacked. The most common is using your IP address to find out the rest of your information. In the live streaming industry content creators seem to be at a higher risk of it as hackers know they are online in real time and know they can get access to the streamers computers. This is sometimes done as a “joke” to the creator while the hacker “fan” uses this time to simply move things around on the computer which those watching find the whole ordeal very entertaining. However this is not always the case. Privacy breaches can lead to your information being leaked to others including those that follow and interact with your content.

What is parasocial behavior?

Being stalked has happened to many creators with both large and small communities. Some fans tend to do this when they become parasocial with online creators they like, Ludwig Ahgren has a great video on this. They end up with delusions of being best friends or more with these people. Many live streamers celebrities have been open about the very real struggles with stalkers and the dangerous issues they have faced because of them. (Pokimane, Valkyrae and Sweet Anita to name a few.) Amouranth went into great detail about her stalker and how scared for her life she was. However many were quick to point out that this should be expected and normal considering the way she presents herself online. It is sad and disappointing to see these comments in this day and age especially from some of your own fans.

Swatted !

Credit: XQC

Swatting is probably the most dangerous “prank” a “fan” can do.

Swatting is the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address. -Oxford Dictionary

This action sends out a swat team (guns out) to that persons home. This has happened more often on live streams as the person who has called for this action is usually an IRL viewer and enjoys watching the content creator panic and find entertainment in the whole ordeal of it. Swatting may be seen as a simple prank by some but this can lead to severe legal consequences or worse. If interested here is an article about a swatting case that happened back in 2017 that led to a person’s death.

Many of these issues can be avoided with the help of a VPN and never sharing your location online but the chances of someone still finding out your location is never zero. Talking about these issues and making sure people understand why it is wrong to do so helps. What would you do if any of these happened to you? How can we stop people from becoming parasocial?

Do you watch any live streamers on the platform? Have you ever thought of the dangers some of your favorite content creators face? Find out more here !

http://bit.ly/3TPToDs

@LudwigAhgren has told us he’s NOT our friend! Why are so many live streamers talking about parasocial relationships? Click here to find out why!

http://bit.ly/3TPToDs

#parasocial #twitch #Ludwig

Twitter 2023…

The online world of social media come the new year is both incredibly exciting and frustrating. For brands and social media personalities it is imperative that they manage to keep up with the new social media trends but also keep themselves informed on the changes happening within the current social media apps that the general population uses. The future of twitter for instance will be an especially entertaining one to look out for.

Photograph by Olivier Douliery

Elon Musk, Twitters new CEO

Since buying Twitter for about 44 billion dollars (54.20 a share), the apps new CEO Elon Musk has already made big changes within the walls of the company, by removing about 3700 jobs according to the NY Times. His most recent and controversial alterations to the app being the 8$ payment to receive a blue check mark beside your Twitter handle. These used to signify the legitimacy and verification of an individual or company within the public eye, this new change however now brings along with it a multitude of issues the first being that these now mean the blue check mark is almost entirely null and void. If just anyone can essentially buy a verified check mark, then how will we know who is legitimately who they say they are?

We have already started seeing many people creating fake accounts and impersonating public figures and celebrities by paying the 8$ fee for a verified checkmark and tweeting absurdities with said accounts. Twitter has already started banning and shutting down some of these accounts however these will continue to happen as long as this system is in place. Some celebrities have had their account banned or their verification mark removed because twitter could not identify that they were indeed the rightful owner of the account name. The issue was attempted to be fixed by adding a grey checkmark to mean you have a verified account while keeping the blue one to mean you paid the 8$ fee to buy a checkmark. They have now after only a day scrapped the grey checkmark and have kept only the blue one. Currently if you hover over an accounts checkmark it will let you know whether this is a verified account or if they bought it. Business insider explains this ordeal in much greater details if anyone is interested in learning more about it.

The future of Twitter

With all these chaotic and confusing changes happening to the app, only time will tell the outcome of this app. Will twitter remain an app we continue using to consume media? Or will Elon Musk burn it to the ground?

Elon Musk bought Twitter a little over two weeks want to know how it’s going? Click the link down below and find out!

http://bit.ly/3GbzyiG

Who is paying the 8$ fee for a blue checkmark? Find out in this link!

http://bit.ly/3GbzyiG

#bluecheckmark #greycheckmark #ElonMusk #TwitterTakeover

The Travel Influencer: Beneficial or Fake?

In today’s technology focused world, many of us now turn to social media when looking for advice. When it comes to planning a trip, instead of buying a travel guide or going to a travel agent, many of us will turn to social media sites and blogs for advice on travel. Travel influencers can be found in all spaces of social media from Instagram and TiKTok, reddit and blogs. There are benefits to being able to easily access information on tourist destinations, but when it comes to travel influencers do they always have our best interests in mind? Travel influencers can certainly be entertaining and even helpful to have on your social media feed. But there are somethings that you should be wary of.

1. Instagram vs reality

We all know that what we see on Instagram does not always match reality, so much so that it has turned into popular joke on social media. Despite this sometime we can still forget about this reality when scrolling through social media. When a travel influencer posts a photo, it shows a place at it most pristine and often they make it look like they are the only ones there. But as anyone has experienced traveling, this is often not the case. Having worked in tourism for years, I have seen this happen first hand. In one of my jobs, we actually had evenings where we allowed influencers to come on after hour tours. Although, the photos are beautiful it certainly does not paint an accurate picture of what many popular tourist destinations look like during their peak season.

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk on a normal summer day
The Columbia Icefield Skywalk as seen on social media

2. Financial accessibility

As someone who makes a career as a social media influencer, they get to stay in places, or get certain things or experiences for free. At another tourism job I worked in the whale watching industry, our head office would send influencers on free whale watching excursions, if they had a large enough following. Using their influencer to promote a business in exchange for free experiences allows them to stay places, or see things that may not be as financially accessible to their average follower. This is especially true if those followers are from a younger generation may be looking to travel on more of a budget. Although influencers do not necessarily claim that they trying to travel on a budget, it does create an inaccurate picture of what travelling to certain place will be like for a lot of their followers.

3. Appropriation of cultures or landscapes

This is not something that is unique to the travel industry but a lot of different industries and influencers. Often times this has to do with a spiritual experience or wearing clothing that is significant or popular to certain culture. For example, may people will travel to the amazon for “Ayahuasca retreats”. Ayahuasca in Peru is a very spiritual and culturally significant to Indigenous groups in the Amazon. The commercialization of Ayahuasca has watered down its spiritual significance. It has also contributed to the over harvesting of Ayahuasca plants, making inaccessible for many Indigenous groups. Just because an influencers is seen doing or wearing something from another culture does not mean that is is appropriation. However, it is important to do your research if you do see or hear of an influencer doing or wearing something that is cultural in nature, make sure it is done in a respectful way and you know who or where the money is going to.

Does this mean we shouldn’t trust travel influencers? Not necessarily like everything we see on the internet it is important to take it with a grain of salt. If you are inspired to do a trip because you’ve seen on social media, know that the reality may not match the filter on social media. You can also be aware of the influencers you are following. There are many influencers out there who are trying to educate and have a positive impact. One influencer Vivienne Dovi uses her platform to educate her followers on black culture throughout the world. The moral of the story is, the boom of travel industries is what you make of it. If you enjoy following influencers because you like the photos, then all the power to you. If you are inspired to do a trip based on social media, make sure you do some supplementary research. In the end it’s all about making smart and informed decisions. Do you follow an influencers? what has your experience been?

Social Media Posts:

Twitter: Is social media your go to place for travel advice? Take a look at my latest blog where I talk about the world of the travel influencer on social media. Find it here! #travel #explore #getoutthere

Facebook: Here is the link to my latest blog. I talk about the world of travel influencers and somethings you should look out for when it comes to the influencers you follow? Click on the link! https://wp.me/p3QRy0-wFB

Real or Fake news? All about Misinformation and Disinformation.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and wondered if what I’m reading is correct? Or have you ever tried to do something you saw online only to find out it wasn’t true? I certainly have been a victim of many kinds of misinformation online. By the end of this piece, I hope I can open your eyes to the dangers of misinformation and some of the harmful things that can come from it.

So what is misinformation vs. disinformation?

Image by SarahCulture from Pixabay

“Misinformation is false or inaccurate information. Examples include rumors, insults, and, pranks. Disinformation is deliberate and includes malicious content such as hoaxes, spear phishing, and propaganda. It spreads fear and suspicion among the population.”  Using Social Media in Community Based Protection: A Guide So what’s worse? Should you be putting misinformation online that you are not 100% fact-checked? Sometimes being innocent in a post and trying to help can do a lot of harm to someone that listens. For example, if an anti-vaxer makes a false claim and someone follows their, advice that could cause serious harm to themselves or someone they love. Even if they didn’t know what they were putting out is false it was.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

According to WE FORUM 60 seconds on the web in 2021 consist of more than 500 hours of content uploaded on YouTube. How much of that is disinformation? Remember the tide pod challenge? Some guy on Youtube decided it was a great idea to make that a trend on his channel. In return, many people followed his actions and some people even got sick from it including children. Whether he knew what he was doing or not he put incorrect information out online.

Personally working at a pet store fact-checking can be crucial to the business. I remember one time in 2015 I had posted a video of our store pet rabbit on her back after a nail trim believing she was happy. Only to find out bunnies can go into a sort of trance-like state on their back due to stress. Immediately I had comments coming in letting me know what was going on. If I had only fact-checked what was possibly going on with the rabbit I could have avoided the negative feedback.

Nowadays we have to be researching and fact-checking the information we put out there, But how do we know what is real and what is fake? You can use a fact checker like Google Fact Checker.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“Critical Thinking isn’t about doubting everything: it’s about learning how to find out what is true. Because only truth can Break the Fake.” Media Smarts (part of the break the fake campaign) I love this statement because it truly makes you realize that you need to think before believing what you see but not to doubt everything you see at first.

So I ask you what are your thoughts on misinformation. Have you been a victim of wrong information online? Also, what are other ways you can look out for misinformation online?

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How has Social Media Impacted Small Businesses?

Outside of our London Location

Hi, my name is Bailey! If you read my previous introduction you would know that I work for my dad’s pet store as the social media and marketing manager. Our store is called Southwest Pet located in London Ontario and St. Thomas Ontario! We are a family-owned and operated full-line pet store specializing mainly in reptiles since 1998. Over the years I have seen the changes that social media has had on our store. In this blog, I will be talking to you about the positive and negative impacts that I have seen in our small business as well, as some information that I have researched from other small businesses.

Three generations of Southwest Pet.
Clifford our big red Tegu giving Kisses.
Employee’s at Southwest Pet

Positive Impacts

Overall I believe social media has had a positive impact on all small businesses. There are many ways that social media can benefit your business whether it be brand awareness, sales, or using it to see what your competitors are doing you can use these tools to make your business better.

The main thing that we use our social media for is brand awareness. Benchmarkone.com estimated that 3.6 billion people use social media worldwide. Those statistics speak for themselves on how important social media is for brand awareness. Facebook is a great platform to really focus on your target audience. For example, Southwest Pet’s target audience is mainly women and men between the ages of 25 and 34. We try to approach a younger audience with all of our posts to get the best reach.

Forbes.com says according to Social Media Examiner’s seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92 percent of marketers working with small businesses (between two and 10 employees) agree or strongly agree that social media is crucial to their marketing efforts. I firmly agree with this statement based on the success we have had using social media. I made our Facebook page in 2014 and since then our sales and social presence have improved greatly. Every year Southwest Pet hosts reptile events that include reptile experts, sales, and giveaways. These events are always successful. One of the only ways we promote these events are on social media we always draw in large crowds from as far as Toronto coming to see us. Without social media, we would not be able to reach people from out of town so easily.

Negative Impacts

The biggest negative impact I have noticed personally with Southwest Pet is, not having enough employees and time to have a large social media presence. Being a small business, especially during COVID, everyone was struggling. This was a time when you needed to have a large social media presence to stay relevant and still make sales. It was also a time when a lot of people including us had to lay off employees. This made being on social media daily a struggle. We overcame it by scheduling posts each week although it was harder to keep up with comments and inbox messages.

Image by Anna from Pixabay

One thing that is huge on social media is negative comments. Being a small business negative comments can strongly affect your business. As a pet store, people can be extremely critical of the care that we give to the animals. At Southwest, we pride ourselves on proper animal care but that does not mean we do not still get negative comments. I believe commenting in a professional informative way is the best way for other people on social media to make a decision for themselves.

To summarize I believe the positives outweigh the negatives and Social media is a crucial part of being a successful small business. Do you agree with my points? I would love to hear in the comments your thoughts on the impacts that social media has had on small businesses and, any experiences you may have had that relate to it.

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