If you use Instagram, you know that it pays to use a lot of hashtags. It can also get kind of annoying once you start to type the same ones over and over.
Luckily, Georgie from In it 4 the Long Run has an awesome tip that will save you a ton of time. She uses iOS macros to condense long strings of hashtags into simple shortcuts.
To do this, open your Settings, click General --> Keyboard --> Text Replacement (you may need to click Shortcuts in pre-iOS 9). Click the plus sign (+) and type in your most common hashtags. It helps to group them thematically, as Georgie explains:
Example: Whenever I type the word “igfooodie” it automatically completes with all of the hashtags I like using. I have probably about 10 different keywords that auto complete whether it’s fitness, food, vegan, health or photography related hashtags. This saves me so much time and hassle.
I shoot a lot of outdoors stuff in the Pacific Northwest, so I could have "igoutdoors" autocomplete to a string like:
#outdoors #outdoorlife #outside #nature #upperleftusa #pacnw #pacificnorthwest #pnw #pnwcollective #northwestisbest
This is super smart, and it's way better than my previous solution, which was to save a string of hashtags in iOS notes, then copy/paste them whenever I needed them. This way, you don't even have to leave Instagram to drop in all your tags.
I almost immediately groaned when I saw the news that Twitter planned to expand beyond 140 characters, and I'm still groaning.
One-hundred-forty characters is to Twitter what the Enterprise is to Star Trek—it's synonymous (yeah, sure, they blew up the Enterprise, but they also brought it back).
It's also not a gimmick. The number may be a little dated at this point in terms of its actual utility, but what started as a science became an art. Even in 2015, there's something so refreshing about receiving or expressing a thought in 140 characters or less. It's made better writers of people—it's definitely made a better writer of me—and done what no other social thing outside of maybe emoji has managed to achieve: It's become its own language.
Roger Ebert, after he had lost the ability to speak, wrote that "Twitter...performs the function of a running conversation." He also wrote, of his frustration over communicating in person via written notes:
I used to have good timing. Now in real life a conversation will be whizzing along and a line will pop into my head and by the time I write it down and get someone to read it, the moment and the context will have disappeared. Often everything will grind to a halt while I remind people what I was referring to.
I can't help but think Twitter's conversation will grind to a halt once it turns into the equivalent of Tumblr.
In the same Re/Code article that broke the news of Twitter's plans to expand its character limit, was this quote from an unnamed Twitter staffer:
"People have been very precious at Twitter about what Twitter can be and how much it can be evolved," said one current senior employee. "Having Jack [Dorsey, Twitter's CEO] come in and say it’s okay makes all the difference in the world."
Limitations have their strengths, but anyone who's worked anywhere knows how fast creativity can be choked from an organization when those limitations become carved-in-stone beliefs.
If Twitter is going to survive as a company and thrive as a social network, it needs to evolve—even if that means taking some shit from its hardcore users. Which can be done without killing the network. Just look at Facebook, which faces an uproar every time it touches the thermostat, and yet is the most popular social network on Earth by many, many leagues.
Twitter has made changes, too—big ones, even—but its apparent willingness to make the biggest change is exactly what gives it hope for the future. The fact is, Twitter needs more mainstream users to grow. Those of us who first adopted it in the late aughts may not like the sound of it, but it's either that or death.
I understand the tendency to bristle at that idea. It's like hearing that your favorite indie rock band just signed a major record deal. Two things, though: (1) The fundamental nature of what Twitter is—short-form, public communication—isn't going anywhere; if we don't have it from Twitter, we'll get it from someplace else; and (2) if you think of this as a high risk/high reward move, the only conclusion is that it's totally worth it. You have sameness and mediocrity on one end, and limitless possibilities on the other.
Why wouldn't you reach?
If you think of Google+ as an incubator for Google products—and not a social network—it's actually been pretty successful. Here are two of the most known and, arguably, popular products to spin out of Google+:
- Google Photos
It may not have necessarily been Google's intent to use Plus as a launchpad for other products, but that's what it's become, and it's been good at it.
Compare it, in fact, to Facebook and its attempts to spin out related products (Messenger and Groups), and you could argue that Google+ comes out ahead—for now.
Who cares what you built your product for. What can it do?
1. Social media news you can use
You can now get Twitter DMs from anyone. // Periscope isn't exactly killing Meerkat (yet). // Hey look, another Facebook algorithm change. // Google has rolled out its new wifi service, Fi, but it's only available on Nexus 6 phones for now. // Tidal, Jay-Z's music app, isn't doing so well. // SocialRank is now offering free Instagram analytics, which is great, considering that Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) switched to a paid model this month.
Curator PR, where I work, is hiring for spring/summer interns. Feel free to email me if you read the link and still have questions: paul [dot] balcerak [at] curatorpr [dot] com. // The Everett Herald (which is now owned by one of my former employers, Sound Publishing) is looking for a social media producer.
3. Hacks, strategy, and deep dives
Does your brand truly engage on social media? The littlest, easiest stuff can make a huge difference. // Marketers: Don't let your own numbers lie to you. // This post on how to increase website traffic from social media is a good read if you're in the mood for tinkering today. // 11 ways to boost Facebook engagement for small businesses. // Learn what Mashable does to run a successful Instagram account. // Here are 10 tips that will improve your writing. // I have no idea why BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith agreed to this interview with Gawker. They come out of it sounding in over their heads. // 23 tools and resources to create images for social media.
Reds manager Bryan Price had a bizarre, epic meltdown against a member of the press early this week. It's a great reminder to ask your PR firm about media training the next time you talk with them.
4. Other fun stuff
If you're curious about how I come up with content for these newsletters, I wrote about about it. // When you watch the Bruce Jenner interview tonight, stop to recognize what a huge moment this is for an athlete of his stature. // Finland has its shit figured out when it comes to newborn care. // Try The World is a new subscription box that will send you "gourmet" treats from a different country every two months. They didn't pay me to write that.
Lastly, here is some random advice for the week:
Random pro tip: On the first day of a new job, find out how to work the coffee-maker. Everyone loves the guy who brews a fresh pot of coffee— Paul Balcerak (@paulbalcerak) April 24, 2015
I don't know what I'm calling this weekly newsletter-style thing. I might just change it every week. If you want it all packaged up, click the Newsletter link.
1. Social media news you can use
LinkedIn has a new product called Elevate, aimed at getting employees to share company content. // Twitter's rolling out a new home page. // Hootsuite is partnering with Tagboard to make it easier to display grouped social media posts. // Foursquare is launching Pinpoint, a "cross-platform, location-based ad targeting" system. // Path has a new app called Kong that lets you create animated GIFs out of your selfies and other photos.
2. Hacks, strategy, and deep dives
Chris Teso writes about how customer loyalty is the next big focus area for brands on social media, and I couldn't agree more. // Buffer maintains one of the best company blogs on the internet, so this post from Kevan Lee, about his blogging process, is a really interesting read. // If you're into having a somewhat-intimate experience with strangers, Periscope/Meerkat might be for you; maybe not so much if your goal is to get content shared. // Sizing social media images is a constant, changing pain-in-the-ass, but Donna Moritz shows how you only really need three layouts to cover all your networks. // In the midst of a lengthy post about the best way to share a link on Facebook, Jon Loomer argues that the best thing is to just quit trying to game the system:
3. The best Snapchat explainer I've seen
This is a great SlideShare deck, and you should share it with anyone in your organization who's still struggling to understand how Snapchat works, and why it's so great:
This week will forever be remembered as that time I wrote a tweet for a client and then paid Riddick Bowe $20 to publish it.
Lastly, I'm a Trekkie at heart, but if this new Star Wars trailer doesn't excite you, you should probably have your pulse checked.
That headline is a lie. Of course I worry about what I don't know, because that's human nature, and everyone does.
But I shouldn't, and you shouldn't, and here's why:
Like I said, everyone's worried about the same thing. Everyone's making things up as they go along; some just do it more confidently than others.
Grantland has an extensive profile on Dale Hansen, who you may remember from his local-news-segments-turned-viral-videos on everything from gay rights to racism. It's fascinating, particularly since it points out that Hansen represents a kind of coming-full-circle for old and new media:
Trying to imitate what Dale Hansen is doing isn't going to save local news or turn it into destination viewing for younger audiences. But his no-bullshit approach is refreshing, and it at least makes you wonder what it would be like if someone like him did exist at the anchor desk.