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“K.I.S.S., Ryan”: How a Crusty War Photographer Taught Me the Power of Simplicity

“K.I.S.S.” It’s a philosophy that I’ve lived by for a long time, especially in the advertising world. Well, this might date me a bit, but back in college I took a photography class. Digital cameras weren’t quite a thing yet, so we were shooting on film and developing in a darkroom. I absolutely loved the class and learned so much about framing, creating a shot, and developing unique images that would jump off the photo page.

My teacher was a crusty old Vietnam vet, a former war photographer. He showed us his incredible, moving work from the Vietnam War. Above his desk, he had a sign he’d made out of old photographs that said “K.I.S.S.” I was really struggling with an assignment, so I went up to him and rambled on about all the things I was trying to do. He raised his hand in a stop motion, then pointed at the K.I.S.S. sign. At that point, I had no idea what it meant.

He asked to see my proofs for the assignment. He flipped through them in seconds, pulled one out, and grunted with a big, arthritic finger, “Ryan, that’s your shot. Look at that kid on the tricycle, giving you that cute smile… you know the moment you turn your back, he’s going to go flying down a hill, looking for a ramp to jump. The one you’re focused on is too much; you’re overthinking it. K.I.S.S., Ryan.”

I looked at the two pictures, and he was absolutely right. The simpler one was better – a night-and-day difference. I looked at him and asked, “Okay, but I still don’t know what K.I.S.S. means?”

He grinned out of the corner of his mouth. “Keep It Simple” – then took a sip of his coffee. “What’s the other ‘S’?” I asked. He just laughed and walked away.

Stop Yelling at Me: Why Facebook Pages Should Ditch the Constant “@Followers”

Let’s be honest, social media trends can get old fast. From pointless challenges to recycled memes (and yes I searched for this pic on purpose), there’s always something vying for our attention (and patience). But one trend that’s been bugging me lately is the excessive use of the “@followers” function by Facebook pages.

This isn’t just a personal pet peeve – there are several reasons why constantly tagging your followers can actually hurt your social media strategy. Here’s why it’s time for Facebook pages to ditch the “@followers” spam and focus on building genuine connections.

Reduces post reach: Facebook prioritizes content that sparks conversations. Repetitive use of “@followers” might be seen as spammy by the algorithm, potentially limiting the organic reach of your posts.

Comes across as demanding: The constant use of “@followers” can feel bossy or demanding. It puts the pressure on the audience to take action rather than focusing on providing them with valuable content that would naturally encourage engagement.

Not inclusive to non-followers: If someone isn’t already following your page, seeing “@followers” mentioned all the time might make them feel excluded. It’s better to craft content that resonates with a broader audience and organically attracts new followers.

Sounds impersonal: Constant use of “@followers” can make your content sound robotic and impersonal. It’s better to use a more conversational tone and address your audience directly with phrases like “you” or “our community.”

Focus on value, not numbers: Obsessing over follower count isn’t the best strategy. The goal is to build a community of engaged individuals. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your audience, and the follower count will naturally grow.

The Power of One Positive: A Morning Walk with Gratitude

This morning, as I strolled alongside my Golden Retriever, Rose, a wave of anxiety washed over me. It crept in unannounced, leaving me feeling unmoored. Unable to pinpoint the source of my unease, I found myself reflecting on a conversation with a friend from 18 months ago.

“Ryan,” he had said, “what I do is just look for one positive thing each day. Just one. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative, and if you let it consume you, it can be overwhelming. So find the positive.”

His words resonated deeply, and as I continued my walk, I began to consciously search for those small sparks of joy in the ordinary. And there they were, all around me:

  • Rose’s goofy grin, her tongue lolling out in pure contentment as she chased a rogue squirrel.
  • The sun’s gentle caress, peeking through the branches and casting a warm glow on the shimmering pond.
  • The shared laughter over coffee with my wife, the warmth of her hand in mine.
  • The quiet moments helping my kids get ready for school, the anticipation of a new day in their eyes.

In that moment, I realized the abundance of positive experiences surrounding me, each one a tiny treasure waiting to be unearthed. It wasn’t about ignoring the challenges or difficulties, but about acknowledging them while simultaneously choosing to focus on the light that shines through the cracks.

This simple practice of seeking out just one positive aspect each day, no matter how small, can be a powerful tool for shifting our perspective and fostering a sense of gratitude. It’s a reminder that even amidst the everyday chaos, there is always beauty and joy to be found, if we only choose to see it.

Scrollin’ Through the Feed: What’s Hot in Social Media Right Now

Anyone else feel like social media moves faster than a toddler on a sugar high? It can be hard to keep up with the latest trends, but fear not, fellow scrollers! I’m here to break it down for you, K.I.S.S. style.

Short and Sweet, But Not Too Short: Remember Vine? Yeah, good times. Short-form video is still king, with platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels leading the charge. But here’s the twist: longer content is making a comeback. We’re talking TikTok testing videos up to 30 minutes long, and even YouTube experimenting with horizontal formats. Think mini-documentaries, in-depth tutorials, or just longer storytelling.

Building a Tribe, Not Just a Following: Forget chasing follower counts and picture-perfect profiles. Today, it’s all about building real connections and fostering a sense of community. People crave authentic interactions, meaningful conversations, and a feeling of belonging. Whether it’s joining a niche group or engaging with creators you genuinely connect with, community is key.

The Rise of the Machines (But in a Cool Way): AI is becoming a social media staple, from personalized content recommendations like “You might also like…” to chatbots handling customer service inquiries. While it might sound a little sci-fi, think of it as your social media assistant, making your experience smoother and more efficient.

Real Talk, Real People: In a world of filters and carefully curated feeds, people are craving authenticity. They want to connect with brands and creators who feel genuine, transparent, and trustworthy. Ditch the staged photos and scripted messages, and show your true colors. Let your personality shine through and build trust with your audience.

Shop ‘Til You Drop (But From Your Phone): Social media is no longer just for catching up with friends and sharing funny cat videos. It’s become a massive shopping platform. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are making it easier than ever to discover and purchase products directly within the app. Think one-click shopping sprees fueled by your favorite influencers’ recommendations.

Game On, Everyone! Online gaming is more than just a solitary activity these days. Platforms like Twitch and Discord are transforming it into a social experience. Players connect, interact, and even compete while streaming their gameplay. It’s like watching your favorite sport, but everyone’s potentially involved!

So, there you have it! These are just a few of the things heating up the social media landscape. Remember, the game is constantly evolving, so keep your finger on the pulse and adapt your approach to stay ahead of the curve. Now, excuse me while I go chase some trends and build my online tribe (with a healthy dose of K.I.S.S., of course).

Beyond Scheduling: Unleashing the Magic of Organic Content

Ever stare at your keyboard, plead with your fingers to “start writing,” and… silence? This morning, my creative gears were firmly in ‘park.’ Social media posts sat taunting me, but my brain mumbled, “Nope, not today.”

Cue the trusty tennis ball and my dog! A quick 15-minute break in the sunshine, playing fetch, did wonders. Back at my desk, with a Diet Coke chilled to near-freezing perfection, I dove into my social media campaign.

I firmly believe in a balanced approach: scheduled posts, paid ads, and organic content that truly connects. These organic gems can be tricky, but often reap the biggest rewards. ✨ And suddenly, like magic, an idea sparked! My fingers flew across the keyboard, and my dog got a happy head pat.

Beyond Bard: Google’s Gemini AI Impresses with Accuracy and Multimodality

I’ve been spending time on Google’s re-named and updated Gemini AI, and I’m truly impressed! It’s a significant improvement over the previous Bard version and even offers features that surpass ChatGPT in areas like factual accuracy and multimodal capabilities.

Multimodal Capabilities: Gemini is designed as a “native multimodal” model, meaning it can process and learn from various data types like text, audio, and video. This allows it to analyze complex datasets like charts and images, potentially offering valuable insights for fields like medicine and science. ChatGPT currently lacks this multimodal ability.



Factual Accuracy and Up-to-Dateness: Google emphasizes factual accuracy and strives to integrate the latest information in Gemini. By continuously learning and updating, Gemini aims to provide reliable and current responses. While both models utilize various techniques for this, Google’s approach in Gemini might lead to improved factuality in specific situations.

Specific Functionality: Depending on the tasks you’ve been using Gemini for, it might offer superior functionality compared to ChatGPT. For instance, Google has focused on integrating Gemini with Microsoft 365, potentially offering unique functionalities within that ecosystem.

More info can be found on Google’s blog: https://blog.google/technology/ai/google-gemini-next-generation-model-february-2024/#sundar-note

Beyond the “Next Facebook”: Why Meta Still Matters

Remember the “next Facebook” frenzy? Years ago, meetings buzzed with that question, alongside “Where are the kids (a.k.a. 20-40 year olds!) at?” (ironically, sometimes in the same room as newspaper ad advocates, but that’s a story for another time).

While the social media landscape has evolved, Meta (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.) remains a powerful force for small businesses. Here’s why:

Reach: It boasts a massive, diverse user base across age groups, with Whatsapp particularly popular amongst millennials (26-35 year olds) who make up 27% of its US user base. On the other hand, it reaches less of the 56+ demographic (only 13%).

Ease of Use: The ad platform is relatively user-friendly (with practice, of course!), offering helpful guidance to optimize your campaigns.

Time & Money Value: Compared to constant video creation on trending platforms like TikTok, Meta offers a more time-efficient route for busy entrepreneurs. ⏳

Remember, success with Meta requires consistent effort and a strategic approach. However, for small businesses with limited resources, Meta offers a user-friendly platform and cost-effective marketing options, making it a valuable tool to consider in your marketing mix.

Brittany Pietsch vs. Cloudflare

I’ve been pondering this viral video depicting Brittany Pietsch’s getting let go from Cloudflare and the various perspectives surrounding the situation. The video she privately recorded and shared on the internet, capturing the moment of her termination, stirred up a wave of reactions, including Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince’s response on Twitter (Video and Response Links at bottom).

After watching the video and checking out different reaction videos, it’s evident that both parties handled the situation poorly. Losing a job is undeniably challenging, and the raw emotions displayed by Ms. Pietsch evoke compassion. However, the decision to secretly record and share the video online raises questions about her future job prospects.

On the flip side, Mr. Prince’s transparent acknowledgment of his company’s faults and commitment to improving processes is a step in the right direction. But the comparison to NBA Star and Mulit-Millionaire Chris Paul in his tweet is tone-deaf and detracts from the overall message.

Looking beyond the individual dynamics, this latest viral video has me contemplating the broader implications for the “remote work” environment and remote sales processes. It sheds light on how these approaches might inadvertently dehumanize interactions, reducing individuals to mere emails and virtual entities.

Video: https://www.tiktok.com/@brittanypeachhh/video/7323004085043612959

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince Response: https://lnkd.in/gUzxF644

Find the Positive

“Find the positive.” It sounds so easy at times, but when you are dealing with adversity the positives can be hard to find. It’s a simple mantra so it should be simple right?! No? Okay, I understand sometimes when you are going through a tough spell the positives seem to be like looking at a Where’s Waldo puzzle, but the positive is there…just have to think um uh how do I put this…”positively.”

Here’s my list of positives over the past 10 days in no particular order.

1) Coffee. Each day I wake up and make myself a cup of instant coffee, and then another typically in the afternoon. It brings me an instant connection to my wife Karen. Karen helped me grow to love coffee while we worked at Kingsway together.

2) The sun. Just getting outside and feeling the sun hit my face brings on a ton of good feelings.

3) My kids’ photos. Next to my bed, I have pictures of my kids and I look at them throughout the day and it brings a smile to my face seeing such pure goodness and love.

4) Chocolate. This one is a no brainer and needs no explanation. But I will add that I totally dunked my chocolate bar in to my peanut butter the other day and it was so yummy!

5) Walking outside. Every day whether I feel like it or not, I walk outside. On the days I don’t feel like it, I tell myself it’s my therapy walk and get my butt out there.

6) Karen. I think about her every day all the time, and all our good memories.

7) Friends/Family. I think about my friends and family who have supported me through this challenging time and have stood by me. I do not take your love and support lightly, and I appreciate it every day.

8) Sweatshirt. I don’t know what it is but it’s just comforting to put on a sweatshirt.

9) A comfortable chair. The other day I got a dental check up and the dentist chair was the most comfy chair I sat on in weeks.

10) Time. We are given this time and there are always positives.

Title: The Unfortunate Tale of Depend’s Facebook Diaper Crusade

Introduction: In the vast digital universe of social media, one man found himself caught in a peculiar web of targeted advertising. Little did he know that his innocent scrolling through Facebook would lead to an unexpected encounter with the world of female hygiene products. Join me as we embark on the journey of a man and his digital escapade, affectionately dubbed “The Facebook Diaper Crusade.”

Chapter 1: A World of Innocent Scrolling Our protagonist, let’s call him Rian, was an average guy with a penchant for Star Wars videos and Baby Yoda memes. He innocently scrolled through his Facebook feed, blissfully unaware of the digital storm that was about to unravel. Suddenly, an advertisement caught his eye. It was a sleek, feminine package of adult diapers. Perplexed, Rian wondered why he was being targeted with such an unusual product. Was Facebook trying to tell him something?

Chapter 2: Confusion Sets In, Rian baffled and slightly concerned, tried to make sense of the situation. Had he accidentally clicked on something diaper-related? Did Facebook’s algorithm misinterpret his interests? Or was it a glitch in the matrix, toying with his sanity?

Chapter 3: The Facebook Diaper Fan Club Word spread like wildfire across Rian’s social circle. Suddenly, everyone seemed to be in on the joke. Friends tagged him in diaper-related posts, bombarding his notifications with giggles and emojis. The digital world had truly embraced his unexpected adventure.

Chapter 4: Rian’s Diaper Discovery Amidst the chaos, Rian took a step back and decided to investigate. And simply could not find an answer as to why he was targeted. Other than potential targeting errors made by the advertiser.

Conclusion: The Digital Diaper Legend Lives On In the end, Rian’s adventure with the Facebook diaper saga highlighted the unpredictability of social media algorithms and the power of laughter. So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of a digital mishap, embrace it, laugh it off, and remember that life is too short not to enjoy the absurdity of it all.

Disclaimer: No diapers were harmed in the making of this blog, and Rian is still happily diaper-free to this day.

Also, Walmart and Depend, if you need help with your digital advertising, I know a guy 😃

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