Letters · · 5 min read

Social Media Trends and Blog Update

I began blogging in 2005, and Facebook was made available to the public a year later. Yet, I registered my account in 2009 along with Twitter.

For nearly three years, I didn't see the point in having a social media account.

Back then, these platforms were mainly known as social networking sites. Most of my friends were creating accounts to connect with old friends and find out what their ex was up to.🤭

However, once I began learning about social media marketing and how these platforms could be used to drive traffic to your blog, I changed my mind.

Fast forward to today, and social media has been a significant traffic driver for creators worldwide who promote their work via text, photos, and videos. In addition, they created a new kind of job: the influencer.

So, as people can make serious money on social media, it makes sense to follow the latest trends that can propel unknown creators to stardom.

Let me grab my cup of cocoa, the only drink I ask for when I go out, and let’s get going (I never drink coffee, and very rarely do I drink alcohol).

The New Instagram Trend

If you’re marketing on social media, specifically Instagram, you must have heard of the current trend.

Video carousels.

Reels are still top-rated for discoverability. Yet, marketing experts have noticed that carousels, in general, are getting pushed by the algorithm lately. If you like making videos more than taking pictures, like myself, it makes sense to create carousels of video clips instead of photos.

If you go down the path of video carousels, note this: the first and second clips are the most important. This is because Instagram shows carousels twice to followers; the first time, it loads the first clip, and the second time, it starts with the second one!

If you are a regular Instagram user, you might have noticed this.

You open up the Instagram app on your phone. Your favorite creator’s carousel shows up in your feed, starting with the first video or photo. You scroll past that as you check out what other favorite creators or brands have posted.

You exit the app. At some point in the day, you reload the app or refresh your feed.

Upon refreshing your feed, the same carousel pops up again, only this time it begins with the second clip or photo.

So, if you go down this path, make sure the first two entries in your carousels are the most attention-grabbing. Here’s a recent carousel I posted this week as I’m looking to become active again on this platform.

An Important Change to My Blog

For months, I have been thinking of removing the date from the URLs of my blog posts. And this week, I pulled the plug.

The main reason was that I intend to update the articles I’m writing here. No, not these letters. Let me give you an example.

I’ve had some issues with Microsoft OneDrive. I was looking for the most efficient way to use that cloud service. After a lot of trial and error, I believe I’ve set it up in the best way possible for me. And I mean to share the experience and what I learned.

The article’s URL obviously will be /onedrive. Say I include the date in the URL, as I’ve done so since the beginning of my blogging. I end up with a URL like /2023/12/onedrive. That still looks great. But here’s the issue with that.

Say in a couple of months, I run into another problem with OneDrive, or I improve my workflow even more. Instead of writing a new article, I will update that post. Therefore, everyone landing on that page will find out about the whole story of OneDrive.

Yet, in 5 years from now the date-including URL will make the article seem outdated, despite me updating it with recent info. People may not care at all, just by looking at the date in the URL.

Also, an added benefit of not having the date in the URL is that it makes it easier to share.

“Hey Jim, I’m having some trouble with my OneDrive. Do you have some advice/guidelines?”

Sure, just go to my website, slash OneDrive. Done.

More examples are my articles on investments. When I began writing those, I thought of having a page for each specific investment. For instance, once upon a time, I invested in PayPal. I’d like to keep that page updated with all relevant info about this particular investment of mine as we're moving through time. So, having the date in the URL makes no sense at all if I'm going to include in the post that I sold my position two years later.

Long story short, I firmly believe this move will benefit my blog. If you have a blog, just give it some thought and see if that will work for you, as well.

Podcast of the Week

This week’s podcast is about the man who made me start my YouTube channel: Casey Neistat.

Do you want to know Kardashian's next steps? Are you dying to hear of what Ryan Reynolds is filming next? You can’t miss anything Lebron James does?

Well, that’s Casey for me. This week, I listened to him talking for 2 hours about his YouTube journey (and life in general) on the Diary of a CEO’s video podcast.

YouTube of the Week

I’ve got two videos to recommend today.

If you are marketing or creating as an artist on YouTube (the most popular social media platform), you know how vital the thumbnail is. Designing a good thumbnail is often what makes or breaks a video in terms of success. Think about it. If people don’t click on your video in the first place, there’s no point in creating the best video in your life.

That’s why the general advice is to always start with coming up with a title and thumbnail before even shooting the first scene. That’s called the packaging of the video.

But what does a good thumbnail mean?

Aprilynne has you covered.

Once you get yourself a killer thumbnail and a working title for your next video, you need to know how to shoot the video. French filmmaker Florent is your man.

He recently uploaded a fantastic documentary about his 90-year-old grandfather and posted BTS videos of his cinematography. Beginners will find a ton of value in this video, but some details benefit more experienced video makers like me.

Next Week

My current plan is to continue creating content on a more consistent basis. Both on social media and this blog:

  • I use X for quickly sharing thoughts and ideas in text format.
  • I’ll use Instagram to showcase my filmmaking skills in photo and short-form video format.
  • I’ll resume my work on YouTube in long-form video format and podcasts.
  • I'll cross-post some repurposed content on these platforms.
  • All the above will drive eyeballs to this blog, where I’m elaborating my thoughts and sending these letters.

I do understand the value of social media to consumers. Knowledge and networking. Personally, I've found X a great platform to learn new things and grow as a person, as long as I am very selective of the people I'm following (curated lists are great for that!).

Yet, when it comes to creators, I'm curious. If people are not posting on social for marketing purposes, like selling something or promoting your business, why are they posting and being active on social media in the first place? It seems like a colossal waste of time.

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