Tag Archives: online journalism

How to Temporarily Deactivate Your Social Media Accounts

If you work in the digital marketing or social media business for a living, then you probably became over-stimulated with social media at one time or another. Wanting to take a break from the online world doesn’t have to be black or white where you have to delete all of your content. Instead, learn how to temporarily deactivate your social media accounts and take a social media break!

To get a grasp of how much activity is occurring online at every given second, check out this amazing infographic … makes your head spin, doesn’t it?

Data Never Sleeps 5.0 is the fifth annual version of Domo’s infographic on what happens on the internet in a single minute

A vast majority of the population lives and breathes online material in some form or another. At the same time, it is an acceptable and healthy response to take a break from all of this online activity, as well—something I am currently participating in with my Facebook and personal Instagram.

Why do you need to take a break from social media? Here are a few, scientific-backed reasons that you may relate to, and, if so, you really should consider hitting that ‘Deactivate My Account’ button now!

Why You Should Disconnect from Social Media

  1. Feeling Disconnected
  2. It’s not surprising to discover that people who feel lonely spend much of their time on social networks in an attempt of ridding themselves of that lonely feeling; however, quite the opposite can occur:

    “Both being alone and feeling lonely are on the rise, with an even sharper increase in recent years. We interact face-to-face less; we gather less; we have fewer meaningful connections. Loneliness isn’t just a mental state, either; it has physiological effects, too, such as weakening our immune systems.

    Studies suggest that the “cause and effect” is reversed: People who are already lonely flock to social media. Any way you cut it, these studies generally boil down to the same point: Social media and loneliness are linked.”

  3. Unhealthy Competitive Urges
  4. Receiving likes, positive comments, and shares feels good, but perhaps a little too good. When you start to see a lapse in interactions fon your content yet others are receiving attention for what may be meaningless stuff, it may make your blood boil some.

    “Competition is in almost everyone’s blood, but many of us will fall prey to that drive to get as many likes, followers, etc. as possible — at least more than your friends. The real danger here is that we let it define our worth as human beings, which is obviously a bad thing. No social media post validates who you are as a person; so why do we stress about how many people “like” us?”

  5. Comparing Your Life to Others
  6. We’ve all viewed photos of friends and family where they seemingly have the perfect life: Caribbean vacations, perfect family portraits and get-togethers, success in school and work, etc. How does such broadcasted activity make some of us feel? Pissed off at, not only ourselves due to comparison’s sakes, but at that person, as well. Is it a coincidence? Not really:

    “While you might assume this effect of social comparison only occurs when you browse the pages of people you perceive to be more attractive, successful, etc., the same study found that the more time you spend on social media, the more depressed you can feel while browsing anyone’s page, regardless of whether you perceive them to be better or worse than you.”

  7. Point-Blank Addiction
  8. Constant social media activity can be overwhelming. Learn how to take a break by temporarily deactivating your accounts.Have you subconsciously grabbed your smartphone and typed ‘Facebook’ in your browser without even realizing it? Do you find yourself doing this second-nature action numerous times throughout the day? It may be time for a break!

    “You can absolutely become addicted to social media, and it largely stems from something called FOMO: fear of missing out. People are posting some of the tiniest details of their personal lives online, and we have to see it. The inability to quit social media has even been labeled “social media reversion,” and in a study where people were challenged to stop using Facebook for 99 days, many couldn’t make it past just a few.”

The above list is from the Bustle article, “4 Science-Backed Reasons To Take A Break From Social Media”

How to Temporarily Disable Your Social Media Accounts

Facebook

Locating the ‘deactivate’ button has become more complicated due to Facebook’s constant designs. However, it’s still there despite being tucked away under the ‘Legacy Contact’ option within the account settings:

  1. Click on the account menu button at the top right of Facebook.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Click ‘General’ in the left column.
  4. Choose Manage your account.
  5. Underneath the Legacy Contact option, you’ll see the section titled, “Deactivate your account.” Click on the link.
  6. Re-enter your password.
  7. You have to choose an option for leaving.
    You must choose one of these reasons as to why you are deactivating your account on Facebook.There’s also the option to ‘Out out of receiving future emails from Facebook,’ which I choose in order to avoid any and all contact from Facebook.
  8. Click the blue deactivate button at the bottom.

Instagram

Instagram’s ability to deactivate an account is way easier and upfront compared to Facebook, but you can’t deactivate your account from the app and have to go through a browser.

  1. Log into instagram.com on a browser either through your smartphone or desktop.
  2. Tap the profile photo in the upper-right corner and select ‘Edit Profile.’
  3. Scroll down and click on ‘Temporarily disable my account’ located in the bottom right.
  4. Select an option as to why you’re disabling your account, and re-enter your password.
  5. Click the button ‘Temporarily Disable Account.’

Twitter

If you deactivate your Twitter account, Twitter will automatically start deleting your account after 30 days.

  1. Sign into your Twitter account through a browser, not through the app.
  2. Go to your Account Settings, and click ‘Deactivate my account’ at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click ‘Okay, fine, deactivate account.’
  4. Re-enter your password.

Snapchat

If you deactivate your Snapchat account, it will be deleted after 30 days.

  1. Visit the delete account page in a web browser.
  2. Login into your account and click continue.

Pinterest

Temporarily deactivating your Pinterest account is also a fairly simple process.

  1. Login to your Pinterest account.
  2. Click your profile button at the top of Pinterest.
  3. On your profile, go to the bolt button.
  4. Click ‘Deactivate Account’ at the bottom of Account Basics.
  5. Select a reason you’re deactivating your account.
  6. Confirm that you want to deactivate it.

LinkedIn

At this time, there isn’t a way to temporarily deactivate your LinkedIn account.

YouTube

There also isn’t a way to temporarily deactivate your YouTube account; however, you can make your YouTube Channel ‘invisible.’

Temporarily deactivating your accounts doesn’t mean you can never return to them, but it allows your mind and emotions a nice break, especially if your online habits are becoming unhealthy and controlling. When you return, try to minimize your use of social media and realize it’s not the real world. Good luck, I’m right there with you!

21, Handy Keyboard Shortcuts and Alt Codes for Digital Journalists

When it comes to completing online projects—rather it’s on a program or the web—I am a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts and alt codes so as to work more efficiently. These are the top keyboard shortcuts and alt codes that I use most often and thought they would come in handy for those who vastly work in the online world.

Visual tutorial of how to use alt codes to create symbols and other text.
Image from Ranker.

21 Keyboard Shortcuts and Alt Codes You Should Know:

  1. ALT+0149
  2. Creates a bullet for a list when rich-text formatting is unavailable: •

  3. ALT+0150
  4. Creates an ‘en’ dash, which is used to represent a span of dates, numbers or time: –

  5. ALT+0151
  6. Creates an ’em’ dash, which is used to create a strong break in a sentence and can replace commas, parentheses or colons: —

  7. ALT+0169
  8. Creates copyright symbol: ©

  9. SHIFT+TAB
  10. Work your way backwards/up in selecting clickable areas on a page, such as input boxes in a form.

  11. SHIFT+Home (or End)
  12. I use this if I’m writing in Word or WordPress. If you’re at the end of a sentence and want to go to the beginning of the same line you’re on, click SHIFT+Home, and it’ll take you to the beginning of that line (same with SHIFT+End)

  13. CTRL+A
  14. Selects all of the text in a document, web page, etc.

  15. CTRL+Z and CTRL+Y
  16. CTRL+Z undos an action; and CTRL+Y redoes an action.

  17. CTRL+X, CTRL+C and CTRL+V
  18. These are probably the most well-known shortcuts, but in case you are new to shortcuts: CTRL+X cuts text, figures/images, etc.; CTRL+C copies text, figures/images, etc.; and CTRL+V pastes text, figures/images, etc., that were copied or cut.

  19. CTRL+T, CTRL+N and CTRL+W
  20. These control your web browser: CTRL+T creates a new tab in an already open window; CTRL+N creates a new browser window; and CTRL+W closes the tabs one-by-one.

  21. CTRL+U
  22. More so for web developers, this shortcut opens up the View Page Source option to view the code on the backend of a page (F12 also does this).

  23. CTRL++ and CTRL+- (CTRL+Mousewheel Up and CTRL+Mousewheel down)
  24. If you want to zoom in on a webpage, hit CTRL + ‘Plus Sign’ or CTRL+Mousewheel Up; and if you’d like to zoom out, CTRL + ‘Dash’ or CTRL+Mousewheel down.

  25. CTRL+Home and CTRL+End
  26. Takes you to the very top or very bottom of a page, document, etc.

  27. CTRL+F
  28. Browser function to find something in a page (F3 also does this).

  29. CTRL+D
  30. Create a bookmark of the webpage you’re currently on.

  31. CTRL+Pageup and CTRL+Page down
  32. Switches between open browser tabs in a window.

  33. CTRL+R
  34. Refreshes the webpage (F5 also does this).

  35. CTRL+J
  36. Opens your online downloads window.

  37. CTRL+K and CTRL+L
  38. CTRL+K allows you to search in your search bar; and CTRL+L selects the text/URL in the search bar (F6 also does this).

  39. F5
  40. Opens your online downloads window.

  41. F11
  42. Makes your browser window fullscreen.

Other handy resources:

Learn important keyboard shortcuts for your online and digital work to increase productivity!
Image from SoftPlan Tuts.

Embrace the Evolution of Digital Journalism

Why journalists should embrace technological changes and adapt to them without frustrations.

Newspapers are dying. Clicks are a must. Sensationalize headlines. Cause a media frenzy on Twitter.

From the start of the printing press to drones and virtual reality, it’s evident through history—printing press, telegraph, phones, TVs, computers, social media, etc.—that technology dictates the format of and access to news.

Earlier this month, Pew Research Center published an article on “5 Key Takeaways About the State of the News Media in 2016,” and the following stats reveal how quick and unpredictable technology is in the world of journalism (I mean, who saw podcasts coming back in full swing?):

  1. “2015 was perhaps the worst year for newspapers since the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath. Daily circulation fell by 7%, the most since 2010, while advertising revenue at publicly traded newspaper companies fell by 8%, the most since 2009. At the same time, newsroom staffing fell by 10% in 2014, the last year for which data were available.”
    Besides being scored as having one of the worst career outlook, newspaper reporters are struggling not only to make end’s meat in new advertising strategies and dealing with the ongoing ad blocking fiasco, but they’re also trying to adapt to new formats, keep pace with a highly adaptable audience, and beat out other publishing companies in terms of acquiring clicks, engagement, and other areas. It’s a boxing match with one side having the upper hand … and, unfortunately, it’s not the newspaper world at this current moment. But, as podcasts came, went, and are returning, I wouldn’t be surprised if print and newspapers will one day do the same.
  2. “Digital ad spending went up 20% last year, and mobile advertising now tops desktop, but journalism organizations have not been the primary beneficiaries. There was explosive growth in mobile advertising, which increased by 65%…”
    If you don’t have the clicks and impressions to prove that your site is attracting users, then how do you convince advertisers that it’s worth purchasing ad space? Along with the (above mentioned) issue of ad-blockers, this is a troubling area in the journalism world. Instead of directing frustrations at ad blockers and their users, there may be a solution that doesn’t punish users who use these legal apps in order to control their personal browsing experience.
  3. “Local television news revenue is relatively steady at $18.6 billion – at least for now.” 
  4. “Driven in part by a highly competitive presidential primary season, cable news saw its viewership jump 8%, to an average of 3.1 million viewers in prime time.”
    Local politics and community impact a person more than state or national issues—even though voter turnout at local elections is depressing—so the above stat on local TV news isn’t a huge surprise; however, the cable subscriptions continue to decrease with one in seven Americans becoming “cord-cutters” especially among those under 30.
  5. “Podcasting continues to experience audience growth–though this includes both those podcasts focused on news and those looking at other subjects. About one-in-five U.S. adults ages 12 or older (21%) listened to some kind of podcast in the past month, up from 12% six years ago, and 36% have ever listened to a podcast, up from 23% in 2010.”
    This is the format that surprised me. Podcasting was the ‘thing’ years ago, and then the media type slowly faded, but now they are back at what seems like full force!


    Image above from: buzzsprout.com/learn/what-is-a-podcast

    I recently started listening to podcasts and see the immense benefit of listening to various interests—in my case true crime and comedy…weird combo, right? I’m very curious to see how podcasts fair in reporting breaking news stories.


Those in both digital and traditional media discuss how to break into this insane, fast-paced online journalism world all the time. It seems that in order to be successful, one must acquire every single digital skill out there, such as web design/development, interactivity, search engine optimization (SEO), and others. I’ll share my story as I went from a news reporter intern at my hometown’s local paper to a SEO and social media specialist at an eCommerce and niche interests company:

From early on in high school, I wanted to be a news reporter, specifically an investigative reporter. I was on my school’s newspaper for three years and was editor for two and had the opportunity to intern at the local newspaper, The State Port Pilot, before attending the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism.

When I was accepted into the school my sophomore year, they had completely revamped the sequences and curriculum. Originally, I was on the news writing track, but I changed to—what may have been one of the best decisions of my life—to the multimedia track. Before entering this field, I had rarely touched a video camera and was a novice at coding and social media. In the School, we were required to take news writing and editing classes as well as ethics and media law classes, which should be a requirement for all professional journalists to take.

Needless to say, taking the multimedia track introduced me, and my fellow now-alumni, to the world of videography, graphic design, interactive web design and development, Adobe Flash—which I’m quite glad is slowly disappearing into oblivion—and photography. Now imagine taking all of these different skills, and compiling them together into a real, interactive user experience—you wouldn’t necessarily want to compile all of these various components together as it would overload the user, but you know what I mean. My mind opened from merely writing and taking still photographs, to exploring the digital world and seeing what type of medium best fits a story (video, photos, only writing, etc.).

Regardless, I learned basic and intermediate skills needed to be a novice; however, nothing prepares one for real-world projects and demands. My first gig was at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development where I was a contractor in communications. This position introduced me to the intriguing world of STEM journalism. From producing videos on air, climate and energy research to soaring in web development and management, I found my strengths and weaknesses: Coding and video had become more natural to me, yet writing—the very thing I set out to do in life—was my weakest point. It took me a while to accept this self-realization but, looking back now, it almost seems fit.

From there, I dived deeper into coding by becoming the Web Managing Editor for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society and its award-winning magazine, American Scientist—check them out: They have actual, long-form science that’s still science and not Buzzfeed ‘science!’ From there, I learned more content management skills, taught myself the basics of animation, improved my skills in videography, and became well-trained in social media. But I wanted more technology, more in-depth coding, more analyses…

That’s how I found my current gig at F+W Media as a SEO Development Specialist, which required a cross-country move from NC to Colorado with my husband, cat, betta fish, about 10 houseplants, and some tedious-to-move items. Now I know—and continue to learn—the ins-and-outs of SEO, structure of websites, Google tools, and analytical technology.

When I look back on my life, I’ll always remember how the historical change of technology affected where I wounded up. College assisted me immensely by introducing me to the world of digital journalism—as well as a slap in the face in terms of how unmerciful technology, online comments, and viewers can be; however, real-world experiences and finding the motivation to teach myself various areas that would help me along in my career were most rewarding.

In the end, you have to be flexible and accepting of current and upcoming technologies. Technology won’t adapt to you, and users won’t wait for you to catch up with their expectations of technology. Only YOU can read through coding books, websites, and stay up-to-date with current technological trends and how they will affect the way we report stories and events. And, honestly, I think that’s the biggest issue today in media: Journalists must be comfortable in adapting to and adding new technologies to their repertoire, and they should be optimistic in doing so. It gives us journalists the opportunity to hit our stories home in new, maybe even better, ways that really touch the emotions and discussions of users and readers everywhere.

*Photo used in header from: haylena.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/old-school-or-new-traditional-vs-online-journalism/