SILVERBACK SOCIAL SAYS: Instagram Ads: 3 questions + A Fatal Flaw

This article was shared by our good friend Cristin Grogan, Chief Responsibility Officer at Silverback Social, an amazing social media marketing company.  Please visit them at SilverbackSocial.com.

After Instagram’s initial announcement that ads were coming to it’s social platform a few weeks ago, we didn’t hear anything more.  Just that they were happening “soon”.  Last week, we got our first glimpse into what they would look like.

Instagram Ad

Beyond the initial announcement and the first mockup of the ad, the whole event has been shrouded in secrecy.  There’s been no word on algorithms or how Instagram ads work.  And while I understand the hesitation of over-promising and under-delivering on Instagram’s part, I can’t help but have the following concerns when it comes to what we don’t know about sponsored posts coming to one of our most beloved social media platforms:

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE…

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Blogging on Blogging

by Megan Johnson, intern

The views expressed in this blog are solely my own and do not reflect the views of The Digital Arts Experience in any way. 

As a marketing intern at The DAE, I manage all of our social media channels, which includes this WordPress blog. Before coming to The DAE, however, I’d gotten my feet wet in all different types of blogging sites throughout the years: Xanga (embarrassing), MySpace’s blogging feature (hyperemotional), Blogspot (nothing of relevance to say), Tumblr (also hyperemotional, but with photos and GIFs!), and finally WordPress. Using these blogging mediums for the past eleven years (am I that old?), I’ve clearly found purpose in writing in an online journal of sorts. So, if you’ll bear with me for one of my less emotional posts, here are a few reasons I’ve stuck with blogging my entire Internet life:

1. Community

The people you connect with on blogs are different from those you meet in your everyday life. If you’re anything like me, you’re unlikely to walk into the nearest grocery store, for example, and form a deep connection with the next person you meet. Chances are they’re from the same town, have the same routines as you, and that their life story is not that different from yours. But online, you surround yourself with people with whom you share similar interests. You can connect over things that perhaps your friends don’t have an interest in. You find people who have been down all different walks of life and they expose you to a wider world.

As a Irish-Catholic girl growing up in a very small Irish and Italian-American town, I didn’t know too much about what other people were experiencing beyond the typical Eastchester situations. Having a blog and following others’ blogs helped me to see what was going on beyond the four walls of my room and see things in a different light.

2. Expression

As I mentioned earlier, sometimes my blogs would get a little hyperemotional. But, for the most part, they acted as a healthy outlet for the stressful feelings that come with adolescence and growing up. I identify as a writer: of stories, poems, songs and, well, blogs. So, to have a place I could turn to just by turning on my computer did a world of good for me. I wrote to express everything that I was feeling: stress, sadness, excitement, fear, anxiety, happiness, all of that. It helped to clear my head and keep up my spirits in times of change.

3. Education

I support certain causes very passionately, specifically those involved with mental illness, and while I wasn’t being thoroughly educated about these issues in school or on the news, I was able to stay up to date through blogs. I learned about the different laws, movements, attempts to raise awareness, spokespeople and what was being done overall to reach out to those who struggled with mental illness. It was an education that I couldn’t obtain beyond maybe a day of Health class in school or on the evening news aside from the tragic stories. Following sites like TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms), an anti-suicide nonprofit, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health), and individual bloggers kept me informed and intelligent on the causes I cared about. On a lighter note, I also follow blogs that provide a certain type of education that I can’t get in school: sports! As a huge Mets fan, I need to stay up-to-date on my boys in orange and blue to be as true of a fan as I can be. So, Mets blogs are a huge part of my blogging experience as well.

4. Inspiration

As a writer and as a frequently stressed college student, I often need a pick-me-up. Early on, there were Xanga sites (does anyone even remember these?) that posted song lyrics and cheesy GIFs to try and make the angsty middle schoolers of that day and age feel a little less mopey and a little more glittery, I guess. Then, with Tumblr, we gained the ability to reblog these images and lyrics, but with the added sophistication of the format, GIFs, and the quality of the quotes. As silly as it may sound to those who never used Xanga/Tumblr, that action of reblogging to save that inspiration for later did a lot. I had a little tag going on my Tumblr called “inspiration” so that if I ever needed a pick-me-up, well, there it was:

“Allow yourself to be a beginner; no one starts off excellent.”

Except for me, of course. But that’s an entirely different story.

5. Growth

What have I learned from blogging? How have I grown? I have been exposed to people from all over the world who are eerily similar to me (sometimes making me think, do I have a clone?). I’ve been a resource to others and they’ve helped me in turn. I learn about the causes I care about and ones I didn’t know existed. My eyes are opened to different opinions and I’m supported by those whose opinions I share. Many times, in today’s day and age, we are told that our connections are so fake because we’re friends with people we don’t really know that well on Facebook or we feel more comfortable talking to certain people online, that we’re not engaged in the “real world.”

But I’d like to argue the opposite opinion: I think we are more engaged in the real world than ever. Instead of limiting ourselves, I feel as though we’ve grown by expanding our interests, knowledge, experiences, and, in general, our reality through the Internet. My reality was once the comfortable life in a New York City suburb, and though I won’t say that I know everything about everything (chances are I’m close), I’ve learned a lot more about the world from being immersed in the blogosphere. I’ve encountered people who have really struggled in their lifetime, stories that aren’t mainstream newsworthy enough, movements that connect people across the world, and it has been a beautiful experience.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn in the years to come. Because even as I finish up my formal education this year, I know I will still have so much more to learn from the wider blogging community.

Learning About Vine and Stop-Motion Animation in Westchester

Image representing Vine as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

by Megan Johnson, intern

Ever since Vine, the app that lets you record looping 6-second videos, debuted in January of this year, it has been a hit amongst stop-motion animators. All a Vine recording requires is that you press your thumb down on the screen to record and lift it to stop. So, for stop-motion aficionados, that easily translates to creating your own stop-motion animations.
For those of you who are interested in exploring the stop-motion world, check out these tips, provided by the pro Viners themselves: 

1. Come up with an idea!

No (successful) stop-motion clip can be spontaneous. Plan out what you’re going to do in your 6 seconds and figure out what your goal is for this Vine. Pro Viner, Frank Danna, recommends asking yourself, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” if you have “Viner’s Block.”

2. Plan. Rome wasn’t Vined in a day!

Much like longer-length productions, you’ll need to organize your Vine by breaking down your shots and figuring out what you’ll have to do – for more complex Vines, this may involve storyboarding! This helps you stay on track and constant throughout the filming process. “I typically begin with rough sketches or written walkthroughs that help me keep the story of my Vine intact and insure consistency from start to finish,” says Danna.

From here, you can figure out not only where your Vine will end up, but also what props and camera angles you may need. If you want to ensure steady shots, get a tripod or a makeshift tripod to keep your stop-motion animation looking flawless.

3. Cut frequently!

You’ve got way more time than you think you have. 6 seconds seems long to us, but in the realm of stop-motion animation, it’s a long time. You have so many possibilities!

Just look at Ben Wyatt (on NBC’s Parks and Recreation) as his hard work of three weeks led to 3 seconds of stop-motion:

Don’t worry, yours won’t be as bad.

4. Use the ghost feature!

Some of you may not even realize this exists, but pro Viner and video producer Ian Padgham recommends using Vine’s ghost feature. It allows you to have a ghost layer while you’re filming, so that if you bump the shot at all, you can view the last scene with ease by tapping the ghost in the bottom right corner

5. Take a screenshot for looping!

Padgham also recommends that, if you want to have a great, smoothly looping Vine, you should take a screenshot of your first shot so that you know exactly how to end your video to look just like the beginning.

Maybe you can even aspire to be as great as these guys (but don’t be ashamed if your first attempt isn’t quite as awe-inducing!)

Happy Vining and hope you have as much fun with it as we do! Check out our Vines by following @thedaexperience.


Love Vine? Check out these great Vine articles that have more tips and more awesome animations!

Interested in having your kids learn stop-motion animation?
Our next Stop-Motion with Legos class at The Digital Arts Experience for ages 9-12 will begin December 4th!
Click here for more information.

Simon Cadel: A One of a Kind Comedian from Westchester

Simon Cadel is a one-of-a-kind kid. At the young age of thirteen, he has already begun his standup comedy career and worked hard to support a local nonprofit. Family Services of Westchester (FSW) is a private nonprofit agency in Westchester that offers social and mental health services for children, teens, adults and senior citizens in order to provide as much support for them as possible. Such programs include teen leadership programs, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and HeadStart, just to name a few.

Simon recently organized a comedy show, “Laugh Til It Helps,” at The Digital Arts Experience with his fellow young comedian friends to raise money for FSW and further their cause. The show was a great success and brought in $1,000 for FSW. Furthermore, it had been a dream of Simon’s to hold a comedy show to benefit a charity; to have that sort of ambition and thoughtfulness at 13 years old makes him stand apart from his peers. His knack for comedy is just the extra step that makes him such an outstanding kid.

Simon’s been classified not as a kid comedian, as the Digital Family Summit notes, “he’s a comedian who happens to be a kid.” Basically, he’s young for most comedians, but his delivery, presence and sense of humor show that he’s quick, witty and far more clever than the typical teen. He began studying comedy two years ago, attending camps, the Kids ‘N Comedy classes at the Gotham Comedy Club, and after-school programs.

Simon performed at showcases, videos of which circulated on YouTube and got the attention of comedy clubs like The Comic Strip Live and New York Comedy Club. Both clubs booked him for primetime weekend shows, despite the fact that otherwise, his age would not allow him to go inside! “I’m way too young to be here,” Simon had said when he first walked onstage at The Comic Strip Live. Maybe, but he’s also way too clever to be missed.

The DAE is proud and excited to see our student exhibiting such skill and creativity in his performances. We’ve even had the pleasure of having him do standup at The DAE’s first Open Mic in August, where his confidence and talent allowed him to shine and be completely unfazed by the audience. Simon is currently enrolled in our brand-new class, Game Programming with Java, which excites us to welcome him into The DAE community. Therefore, we’re more than happy to support his efforts in raising money for FSW or calling attention to important causes.

This Saturday, he’ll be participating in another great comedy night, Standup For Peace, which aims to bring comedy and matters of political importance together to open up the conversation. Standup For Peace is a show put on by the well-known political comedians, Scott Blakeman and Dean Obeidallah, to unite all ethnic/religious backgrounds in support of peace in the Middle East and worldwide.

Blakeman and Obeidallah have used their comedic talent to promote tolerance and peace at this critically acclaimed show for the past ten years. Now, Simon will be opening up for these big name comedians in order to show his support for the cause and it promises to be a hilarious night that you won’t want to miss. Standup For Peace is coming to The Purple Crayon in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY this Saturday, October 19th from 8pm-10pm. (Tickets can be purchased for $20 here.) We hope you will go out and support our student comedian and his great causes, see for yourself how great of a show he puts on!

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This past weekend, Simon and his blogger mom Betsy spoke at the 2013 Digital Family Summit on Kid Fame: Right for Your Kid? Or You?. In November, Simon will be auditioning for America’s Got Talent and performing at Gotham Comedy Club, so keep an eye out for him!

Simon’s YouTube page can be found at www.youtube.com/simoncadel, check it out!

The Cyberbullying Epidemic

by Megan Johnson, intern

We all know far too much about the unfortunate, rampant epidemic of the millennials: cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is a very serious issue that plagues the lives of kids and teens who are spending their time online. According to the i-SAFE foundation, over half of teens have been bullied online and more than one in three have received a cyber threat. From the dawn of social media, these bullies have learned how to wield the power that comes with the anonymity of the Internet and use it to hurt their peers. 81% of kids agree that online bullying is easier to get away with than in-person bullying. Hidden behind a keyboard, these cyberbullies harness social media for their own purposes and leave today’s children and teens in tragic, confusing situations.

The always-on power of technology also brings new ways to exacerbate bullying, a problem once confined mostly to school grounds, but now able to reach victims through the Web, text messaging and other digital means.

The Des Moines Register

When both school and the home become a place that kids can’t escape bullying, the intense pressure builds and can leave a child feeling depressed, anxious and hopeless. With these feelings can come thoughts of suicide, which has tragically led to many young suicides in recent years. In a survey of middle schoolers, cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-victims.

Cyberbullying Facts from the i-SAFE Survey

Cyberbullying Facts from the 2004 i-SAFE Survey

There’s something to be said about its unfortunate prevalence in the news though, because it seems as though people are starting to step up and treat cyberbullying like the serious situation that it is. Coach Matt Labrum of Union High School in Utah suspended his entire high school football team for cyberbullying. He was disappointed in their lack of respect for the school’s rules and for each other and decided to take action. If they wanted their jerseys back, they had to work on their character and do community service to get back on the team. The tough love seems to have paid off as one student remarked, “I think we deserved every little bit we got.”

What does this mean for cyberbullying? Do we just expect a punishment to fix the problem or should we be concerned that students won’t take these punishments seriously? Cyberbullying is a phenomenon unique to today’s generation and teaching children the importance of digital citizenship is becoming more and more necessary as these stories appear more frequently in the news.

What do you think should be done about cyberbullying? How have you as a parent confronted or thought about how you might confront the issues of cyberbullying? Share your stories and tips with us!

If you’re interested in further exploring these issues with us, join us on November 13th at 7 pm for a special cyberbullying workshop featuring Westchester Mommy.

Top Tech Tools for Managing Money – Herman & Company CPA’s

We at The DAE are always looking for innovative ways to use technology! Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Paul Herman of Herman & Company CPA’s, P.C., a full-service accounting firm in White Plains.

It’s no secret: Taking control of your personal finances and managing your money is the key to a long life of financial success. It’s also no secret that sometimes we don’t even have enough time to eat breakfast, let alone face the daunting task of looking at our “financial snapshot” on a regular basis. Luckily, technology has once again proven itself to making our lives just a little bit easier with these handy mobile apps that can help you become a personal finance wizard in just a matter of minutes.

  1. Mint.com. Named “Best Finance App” by the 1st Annual App Awards and TIME Magazine’s “50 Best iPhone Apps of 2011,” it’s safe to say this app is a must-have on your smartphone. Mint gives you a clear breakdown of exactly where your finances are going each month by category, allows you to set budgets, alerts you when you exceed your budget and shows you how much money you have at any given time. While discovering you have a $100-a-month iced coffee habit is not pleasant, stashing that money into a vacation savings fund sure is.
  2. Check. An app that alerts you when a bill is due? We’ll take it! Check monitors your bank accounts, credit cards and bills, and sends you alerts when your funds are low or you have a payment coming up. Never having to worry about overdraft fees or overdue bills again makes this app a winner!
  3. Expensify. This app keeps track of all your expenses, letting nothing slip through the cracks. From your bank accounts to car mileage to receipts to travel details, Expensify is your one-stop shop for keeping a detailed account of everything having to do with your money. And, as an added bonus, you don’t even need to be online to use it.
  4. DailyCost. Even more detailed than Mint, DailyCost keeps track of your purchases in specific categories such as “Coffee,” “Snacks” and “Breakfast.” In addition, it also has a graph feature that shows you an analysis of your weekly and monthly spending. Every little expense adds up, and DailyCost is your tool to showing you by exactly how much.

While we all wish we had more hours in the day to accomplish our daily tasks, these money-management apps might just be the next best thing. Keeping track of your finances while on the go means less stress, more time and (we hope) eventually more money in your pocket.

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Paul Herman is the founder and owner of Herman & Company CPA’s, P.C., a full-service accounting firm located in White Plains.  Herman & Company is dedicated to providing clients with a wide range of professional, personalized tax and financial services including tax planning and preparation, accounting services, financial services, financial retirement and planning services, estate planning and bookkeeping services. Contact Herman & Company CPA’s for a complimentary personal finance consultation.

My Initial Thoughts on Social Media (a.k.a. An Ode to Twitter)

Our marketing intern Megan is up at school in Boston in a social media class and will be posting regularly for her class on any social media-related topic. We wanted to share her first with you! (And if you have anything in mind that you’d like to read about regarding social media, let us know and we’ll pass it on to Megan!)

ISYS6621: Social Media and Digital Business

Social media appears to me as still an untapped resource, if you can believe it or not.

I had a friend ask me last night, “But what’s the point of Twitter? It’s just so boring!” I believe my response to her was, “Are you serious? There’s so much we don’t know yet!” How could she not understand the point of Twitter? How could it bore her? There’s so much about social media that still excites me and I don’t know if that means I’m caught up in hype or if I’m just doing things right. All I know is that I can’t imagine today’s world without social media. There’s a CollegeHumor video all about if movies had cell phones, insinuating that with cell phones, these popular movies would be way more different. I feel like I look at the recent past through a similar lens, except with social media. Where…

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