Three Reasons Why Instagram is my Happy Place

 

Yep, this happened.

Originally posted on BRC+.

One of my favorite social media services is Instagram. If you are a visual person and like just keeping up with people’s lives, this may be a great site for you. Instagram is a smart-phone based service that is a little like Twitter – you follow and are followed- except, rather than being confined to 140 characters you share an image with a little description. And like Facebook, your followers can “like” the picture or leave a comment.

I wrote a longer review a ways back, but here are three reasons why I Instagram is currently my social media site of choice.

You can take amazing looking pictures without being a great photographer. Because you can do some light editing and utilize photo filters, your pictures will look far better than your actual skill level. Good for us novices, not so much for actual good photographers ;-) TIP: Take your pictures with the camera on your phone as this allows for greater editing possibilities.

Low spam/link possibilities. While I have heard of some people trying to sell things using instagram – “Hey, look what I am trying to get rid of!” – I have been extremely happy with the lack of spam and promotion that goes on via Instagram. Sure, I would love to plug my book or an event, but because links do not work when left in the comment section, people rarely try to get you to go somewhere else. TIP: Some spammers will leave usernames @getmorefollowers as a way to get you to click over to other places. A little annoying, but harmless.

The ordinary comes to life. I know, I know, some people just HATE the “look what I’m eating” and “isn’t my dog cute” tweets and updates, but I love them. I have always found the mundane and ordinary of people’s lives the best way to get to know folks. Instagram includes the world through people’s eyes in a way that is lovely. Sure, as in real life, some people overshare, but for the most part, it is a great way to see the world through the eyes of another. TIP: There are many good folks to follow on Twitter: friends, sports teams, etc, but one of my favorites is a person I don’t know, captures great images, @eric_lampe

 If you are a subscriber and on instagram, please let me know. Leave a comment here with your username [Username Tip] and please feel free to follow me at @breyeschow.

Why You Should Be Using Group.Me

Originally posted on BRC+.

One of my favorite services for both professional and personal use is Group.me, a group texting service. If you have not tried it, it is a game-changer.

The nitty-gritty

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Create a group and you’ll be assigned a group phone number.
  • Add people’s mobile numbers to the group*.
  • When anyone in the group texts to that group number, it shows up as a conversation thread among everyone and not separate texts between individuals. (see the convo to the right between my kids and I when I was travelling)

How you might use it . . .

  • Staff: for ongoing and emergency conversations;
  • Parents: for youth groups, scouts etc. it is great to let parents know when a group is arriving home, communicate pick-ups, etc.
  • Family: for ongoing family communication so there are no kids accidently left at school because one parent though the other was going to pick her up. Not that I know that that;s like ;-)
  • Friend Groups: for conferences or trips where a group of people need to stay connected.

Group.me can be used via a smart phone, sms or online, so everyone can use it. It’s very simple to set up and most folks can figure it it out pretty quickly.

Seriously. Start using this.

*GETTING STARTED TIP: If you are setting this up for your group, be sure to shift to office mode so everyone does not get notified EVERY time someone is added. After you add everyone, switch back and ask everyone to reply at least once. By doing this, people see what it looks like on their device AND they confirm their membership. If they do not send a message with the first day or so, they will be automatically dropped from the group.