January Wrap-Up

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book!”  ~Dr. Suess

January started off with a BANG!!! I ended December on a roll of fantastic books! And while I wish it could have been all five star reads all through the month, they can’t all be winners…

13/125 – Goodreads Challenge

0 – BookRiot #readharder Challenge

I managed to keep a steady pace of reading, finished 3 books in the #24in48 reading challenge weekend, 2 buddy reads and a book club read! I knocked two more books off of my Netgalley TBR, working my way to that elusive 90% rating. I will get there soon! And, best news of all, managed to get in some personal reading choices. This was important to me, as my reading was all reviews at the end of 2017, and I was starting to feel bogged down.

January summary:

The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Netgalley review

The Power ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buddy Read

Red Rising by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Golden Son by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Morning Star by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just for ME!!!

Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

BookSparks #WRC2018 Book

Strangers by Ursula Archer & Arno Strobel: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Black Heart Read Group Read

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just for ME!!!

Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Street Team Read/ #24in48 reading challenge

City of Brass by SA Chakraborty: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buddy Read/ #24in48 reading challenge

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

#24in48 reading challenge

Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties by Camille Pagan: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

NetGalley review

I reviewed every book, which met my blog goals, and while I didn’t quite manage to blog at least every other day, I was close. I’ll call that a win! Every review is linked, in case you missed any.

Being on Instagram and participating in buddy reads and reading groups has been a nice new addition to my reading this year. I really only started doing them towards the end of the year last year, and having people to chat with while reading or after, really makes the reading come alive! Especially when its a book like The City Of Brass or Iron Gold, which everyone NEEDS TO READ RIGHT NOW!!!!

I also went to Howler Fest in LA for the launch of Iron Gold, which was amazing and fantastic and I want to go to all the events now!

I’m also looking forward to doing more readathons, keeping my Goodreads goal and working on the Book Riot challenge. I managed to get back on track with writing and having blog goals is helping me stay on track here as well.

How was your January? Did you hit your goals? Tell me all about it! And Happy Reading friends!

Otherworld – Review

“A future in which there’s only one all-powerful Company doesn’t seem totally preposterous anymore.”

Otherworld is the reboot of a virtual reality game that people swore was like heaven, it was so perfect. What we actually get in this book is Otherworld 2.0, the revamped version brought back from the virtual dead by a young billionaire.

Initially the headsets are limited, and Simon manages to get a set for him and his not girlfriend, Kat. Apparently this is the only way he can see her, and he goes to some pretty extreme lengths to do it. Obviously things fall apart fairly quickly, and both headsets end up getting destroyed.

But when Kat ends up in an accident, Simon is convinced it wasn’t an accident after all, and that Otherworld holds the answers he’s looking for. Stumbling into a top secret test program that eliminates the need for a headset at all, Simon begins to see the plans the Corporation actually has for Otherworld. Suddenly, he’s not just playing a game, but the game of his life. Literally.

“This is true virtual reality — not just sight, sound and touch. Tap into the brain and you can engage all five senses.”

It’s been a few weeks since I finished Otherworld, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It’s still a solid three star read for me. I don’t know if I read it too soon after Ready Player One, which just blew the virtual reality parts of this book to bits, or if I just wasn’t that impressed. It was a fun read, and I enjoyed reading it, don’t get me wrong. But, if you’re looking for smart science fiction, this isn’t it.

Otherworld is definitely a YA book. It is written for a Young Adult audience, and while it has some humorous parts that adults and more mature readers will like, it’s still firmly in the mid-teen YA spectrum.

Simon is an interesting character. He is a weird mix of likable asshole. I had an easier time visualizing him when I pictured Jason Segel’s humor, but if you aren’t familiar with his previous movies and shows, I’m not sure it comes across on it’s own merit. He is a bit spoiled, very privileged, and while his loyalty to Kat is impressive, he just didn’t find his way into my heart. That said, I didn’t hate him either. I think he could have been a bit better developed.

We end up with a story within a story, or rather two different plots taking place. One inside Otherworld and one in the real world. Simon has to straddle both, and figure out how the two are related to each other.

“It’s not virtual if it changes who you are.”

Otherworld does bring up important conversations about technology. When does virtual reality just become reality. At what point can that technology take over our every day lives? Can it influence and change the way we behave as a society? I think presenting these questions to a generation that will have to explore these questions in more detail is smart. I wish it presented more for them to analyze, but to raise the questions is a valid start.

The plot inside Otherworld is also fairly interesting, and I wish it was a lot more developed, or that they continue to develop it in future books. The idea that somehow a virtual world could “create” it’s own new characters and rules. Sort of an advanced AI or sorts, limited to existing in just this world.

This war between the original components and The Children was an fascinating discussion into implications of technology and what happens when we humans begin developing things that we really have no control over, or really understanding of. I think that this would have been an endlessly fascinating thread to really examine. But, in the scope of that younger YA audience, the world building in that regard was minimal. Again, I hope they dive down this rabbit hole in the future.

I think pieces of Otherworld are unique and fun, but really, it’s fairly standard video game “levels” presented within a virtual world. It raises important questions but doesn’t really explore them in any meaningful way, at least not yet. But it is a fun read, and goes by fast.

The Philosopher’s Flight – Review

“It’s never mattered that I can’t do it. What the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies.”

The Philosopher’s Flight is an interesting mix of historical science fantasy, where in our past, we discover the use of empirical philosophy, the merging of magic and science. This particular branch of study is female dominated, and so we get an interesting exploration of gender.

Robert Weekes wants to study empirical philosophy. His mother is a famous war veteran and county practitioner, so he has been an avid student his entire life. In fact, he can actually fly, a feat not many men can achieve. But in this female dominated science, he has little hope of actually being able to achieve his dreams.

But a twist of fate lands him at a scholarship at Radcliffe College. One of four men allowed to study at the school, and he realizes how difficult achieving a station in the legendary Rescue & Evacuation Service will be. Through hard work, the support of his roommate Unger, and a bit of luck, Robert earns the respect of his female peers and professors.

“That must be what made you so brave — a lot of women beating courage into you.”

I finished this book a few days ago and am still working through how I felt about it. I wanted to like it. Hell, I wanted to love it. But I find myself feeling rather indifferent about it.

The idea behind the story is incredibly creative. The smoke carving, the idea of writing sigils to communicate and fly, among other feats is a fun concept. Rewriting history and using real events to examine how these changes would impact the turn of events is also a  fun idea and interesting exploration.

I liked the idea that women were the ones who were the experienced practitioners of this practice. Yet even with this power, or maybe because of it, they are a focus of vile hate and the target of political enemies. The level of hate and prejudice raised against them because of this ability seemed to highlight the struggles women actually went through in those time periods. How different would history be if women had a power men didn’t really have, and were afraid of? How similar?

“The causes were bound together from the first days: civil rights, women’s rights, and philosophical rights.”

However, it was hard for me to really relate or identify with the characters themselves. Unger felt the most well developed to me and he is only a side character. Some of the reactions and dialogue felt very satirical to me. Their reactions varied wildly and didn’t feel real. Like when Robert discovers he’s been miswriting an important sigil his entire life, his response didn’t come across as dramatic as I think it was supposed to.

Rachel is another example of a character that just felt very two dimensional to me. She was his biggest threat and his main opponent really, outside of the Trenchers. But she felt very childish and wooden. She felt more like an idea of a bully and blowhard rather than a real threat to Robert. I just didn’t really feel an emotional connection to any of them. Except Unger. He was the only one who showed heart and genuine depth.

All of that would have been fine, but the way the book started compared to how it ended was a problem of pacing for me. We begin with Robert looking back on his life, so we know this is a memoir of sorts. But the entire duration of the book is him at school. One year. I understand we are being set up for a series, but it felt like maybe this could have been introduced better at the onset. Getting 400 pages of school was a bit tedious in parts, and I found myself bored. I was expecting a more complete story, not the focus of a single year.

I also hated the ending. It was so abstractly abrupt I thought I was missing pages in the book. Especially with how detailed we got in the school portion, it felt like the author just needed to end and picked a chapter to stop writing. It didn’t feel planned. It didn’t feel, other than the hint at the beginning that there was a bigger story, that there would even be more to the story. There is nothing that really makes me close the pages and say, wow, what next. It was a bit frustrating, because when you tell me you’re an exile in Mexico, I really want to know what happened. Not a 400 page memoir of one year.

Overall the book was creative enough that I liked it. And while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it either. I think for someone who enjoys historical fantasy, this is creative and fun book. I was left with questions of what happened when it ended, but no desire for the next book, if that makes sense. It just didn’t hit all the marks with me, and I don’t think I would rush to read the next one. Especially if they are going to be as slow paced as this one was.

Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for approving a copy to read and review!

Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties – Review

“I spent the first few weeks after Adam’s bombshell waiting for him to wake from this nightmare he had dreamed up for us both and realize the only compassionate, logical thing to do was to come back.”

There are a million things Maggie Harris worries about on a given day. Identity theft. Falling air conditioners. The IRS. You know, things every middle aged woman worries about. The one thing Maggie never even considered was that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her. Until he did.

In trying to find out why he left, and more importantly, who she is without Adam in her life, Maggie realizes that she doesn’t really recognize the woman she’s become. When Adam makes it clear that he isn’t planning on coming back, she decides to find the woman she last knew.

Deciding to go to Rome by herself, uproot her life to a small town for a brief period and a new career, along with joining a divorce support group and even getting back into dating, Maggie finds that she can not just survive without Adam, but thrive. Obviously that’s when disaster strikes.

Faced with a fork in the road, Maggie has to decide if which direction her new life will take her. And if she’s willing to risk losing the new woman she worked so hard to become.

“The best-laid plans can change at any minute. That’s just the way life is. So I try to enjoy whatever I have while I have it.”

This book was a fast easy read. I enjoyed it, but there wasn’t anything shocking or breathtaking for me. It was fairly predictable, which doesn’t make it bad, just not jaw dropping.

It is sprinkled with plenty of life lessons and sound advice. But there were quite a few times when it felt too predictable. There wasn’t really anything that stood out as shocking or surprising in Maggie’s journey. Of course she was sad, and then angry, and then determined. Of course she found herself. Of course she dated. Even her final decisions with Adam were expected.

Everything came together really easily, with not a lot of obstacles in Maggie’s path. I know that her emotional turmoil was more the struggle, but again, that was just a little too easy to really count as struggle. She wasn’t facing abject poverty, didn’t have to get a job working minimum wage to survive, etc. So her struggle had a tinge of privilege to it. Not to mention, there is really no push back or drama with Adam. He basically does whatever she wants, (outside of staying married to her), so again, where is the struggle?

Perhaps being a child of divorce, in a society where divorce is more the norm than long marriages, I just didn’t really relate to Maggie. I’ve read more interesting characters that really had to struggle with serious consequences facing a divorce, so this felt, I don’t know, normal? Bland? She was blind-sided and had to find herself. Nothing deviating from most divorcing middle aged women these days.

Part of my difficulty in relating to Maggie is also that she just isn’t very strong. Adam basically cold heartedly walks out, and while I understand Maggie needs to get through the grieving process, she never really lets go of needing a man. Even if it isn’t Adam. Which is fine. Lots of women feel this way, and I am sure older women feel that maybe more than younger women, but I don’t relate to her. It would have been a much more interesting story if she didn’t need to go through the typical rebounds. And if she stopped dealing with Adam.

This is a good book for taking to the beach or on vacation. It’s not fluff, and it isn’t difficult to follow, so it’s an enjoyable but easy read. It’s a book about a woman finding herself. She has the luxury to be able to do that, so if you’re looking for a profound struggle, this isn’t the book. But, if you are looking for something straightforward to read, something that has a good moral and characters that feel like they could be your neighbors, this is a good book for you.

Thank you NetGalley and Bloom Review Crew for sending me a copy to read and review!

A Short History of the Girl Next Door – Review

“I am completely in love with my best friend from childhood, she has absolutely no idea, and now she’s interested in older, more popular guys. This sounds like a bad movie already.”

A Short History of the Girl Next Door starts with Matt Wainwright catching us up on his lifelong friendship with Tabby, the girl next door, and how he went from being her best friend to being in love with her.

The first half of the book is very funny. This is very typical come of age YA, told from the perspective of a teenage boy. The internal observations and dialogue veer from quite insightful to highly inappropriate. To me, this made Matt feel like a very real adolescent boy.

Instead of being in friends with the beautiful popular girl while he himself is an awkward geek, Matt instead is just a normal freshman jock. He plays basketball, and while he is awkward and strange, Reck writes him in that normal freshman awkwardness that most of us probably remember feeling and being. Which I really liked. Because this isn’t a typical unrequited love story. It is something far better.

We meet his younger brother Murray, an adorable four year old that you can’t help but smile at in nearly every scene. His grandparents and his parents. There is nothing dysfunctional or odd, other than normal quirky human personalities. And Tabby. Who is as much a part of this family as anyone.

It is the second half of this novel that we get hit in the gut with tragedy. An accident shifts everything for Matt, and his story changes into one of grief. How powerful and overwhelming it can be. How it shifts your perspective on everything in life. And how it can be so deep, that it changes who you are.

This isn’t a normal come of age tale. This isn’t a story about a boy loving a girl. This really is a novel about the power of family and love. About how growing up can mean facing some of the hardest things, about how out of control life can be, and what we can do in the face of helplessness.

The thing I like about this novel is that while the point of the plot is grief, Reck doesn’t take the easy road. He doesn’t hold back in how he portrays Matt. Matt makes some really strange decisions. And behaves from the moment of the accident rather badly most of the time. As a mother, and someone far outside of adolescence, seeing these decisions is even a bit more heartbreaking, because you can see what’s happening and understand it. But it is an unflinching dive into those emotions that is so stunning. There is no right way to grieve, and there is no easy answer. These are important lessons and Reck writes them so vividly, it’s impossible not to be moved.

Outside of the grief, there are some fantastic lessons about life written in these pages. One observation that struck me was about locker room talk. We see it, and hear it. We get to read Matt’s reaction to it, how he wishes he reacted, how he actually did react. But, Reck takes us even further and discusses the implications of that talk.

“They’re automatically going to see Tabby differently. Even if it’s just a dumb joke. Every time one of them sees her, that though is going to pop into his head. And he’s going to wonder. I’m doing it right now, and I hate myself for it. Meanwhile, the flawless perception of Branson goes unchanged.”

I mean, can we all just take a moment and stop to really examine the profound truth of that excerpt. And not just the truth behind it, but the fact that it’s in a YA novel, from a teenage male perspective? This is such a phenomenal message.

There is more in these pages. Observations on friendship, family, love, growth, competition and forgiveness. This is a book that should be introduced to teenagers and talked about with them. It isn’t a book of cliche moments and happy endings. Rather it is an honest look at what life can hand us at any given moment. It is about how we recover from the bad decisions we make. How we ask for forgiveness when we hurt the people we love, and how we forgive ourselves.

The Short History of a Girl Next Door is a powerful book. It is one worth taking the journey into, especially if you know or are an adolescent facing grief in any capacity. It is a book that can help you grow and can help you learn. Highly, highly recommend it. Just make sure you have a box if tissues nearby.

Thank you Blogging for Books and Knopf books for sending me a copy to read and review!

Match Made in Manhattan – Review

“The more often you go on dates, the more you start to feel like you’re dating yourself.”

Match Made in Manhattan follows Alison on her fast paced introduction to the technology of modern dating. Through her profile on Match.com, we are introduced to various men via dating profiles, text threads, email chains and of course, the actual dates.

After Alison finds herself single, after two long-term relationships, she comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t really know how to date. After much encouragement from friends and roommates, she sets up a profile on dating site, Match.com. And while she finds herself with quite the roster of interested men, and interesting men, she isn’t sure she’s doing more than meeting friends rather than dating.

All that changes though when she meets Luke, a folk singer turned investment banker, who Alison finds absolutely irresistible. But the more Alison finds herself drawn in, the more he seems to keep her back. Will Luke end up being her Match?

While this book is more than a typical romcom, and has the very realistic glimpse into the online dating world, the book itself was sort of a miss for me. I laughed at some parts, and enjoyed the humor in going on some very wrong first dates.

“If I learned one lesson from Tom, it was that no matter what signal you think you’re sending out, it can, and probably will, get misinterpreted by the male species.”

However, I had a very difficult time relating to Alison, which made it difficult to really sink in and enjoy. I found myself rolling my eyes more than not, and not over the outlandish men, those felt real enough, but at Alison herself.

Match Made in Manhattan was a fast read, and for someone just wanting to laugh at the trials and tribulations of the modern dating age, this book will offer a humorous look into exactly that.

The next pieces could contain spoilers, so if you don’t want to read plot points, please be warned!!!

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To start with, she signs up for Match a mere three weeks after her boyfriend of three years breaks up with her. I can relate to a lot of women in the world, but one who moves from two back to back long term relationships into online dating with barely time to grieve the relationship in between just isn’t someone I identify with. Throughout the book she moves that quickly, bouncing back from breakups to responding to emails within days, sometimes the same day.

And I didn’t quite get her entire dating philosophy. She wants to meet someone with long term potential before sleeping with them, fine, but holding hands? Kissing? I don’t know many people in their late thirties with quite that many issues regarding physical touch. So for me, she felt unreal. Alison and I would not be a Match.

The format of the book felt a little choppy to me when reading. Some pieces feel like the normal novel plot I’m used to, and then other times it felt like snapshots of profiles or dates that didn’t have a piece in the plot other than to showcase the bad or weird dates. Which was fine, but it felt a bit jarring at times, which pulled me out of the book.

Romcoms don’t have to end in wedding bells and happily ever afters. I appreciate the attempt at her finding her own way without the help of a website. But, and this is a big but, rather than seeming to come across as independent, Alison felt more superficial and emotionally stunted.

She misses every single clue Luke lays out for her, all the while whining that she isn’t sure he’s as committed as she wants him to be. She essentially wants him to do all the work, while she won’t even deactivate her Match account, AFTER HE ASKS HER TO. I mean, COME ON!

Fine, she didn’t read the signs, but even after, when it comes to finally reaching out to her year long texting buddy Greg, who clearly is interested, she decides that THIS is her most functional relationship and she doesn’t want to ruin it.

I don’t know. She felt terrified of actual emotional investment, which makes her really hard to like in a romcom environment. I would have been much more satisfied if she had been at some point forced to face her own issues in some way, and THEN went off by herself into the sunset to live a more emotionally healthy life.

Thank you BookSparks for sending me a copy to read and review as part of #WRC2018!

Exploring the Instagram Algorithm

Anyone who has been on Instagram for the last year knows the dark magic that is known as “The Algorithm”. And this is Dark Magic indeed. No one knows exactly what makes it tick, what works, what doesn’t. Though, like with any sorcery, there are many, many theories running amuck.

The argument for the algorithm is that Instagram is attempting to find the best audience for your posts. It can be argued that they are giving preference to large accounts. I can’t disagree with that, but neither can I prove it. Even if it is, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for smaller accounts. You just have to have a targeted approach to your account.

I don’t have the answers. But I have done a little bit of research, and in doing my good deed for the Internet world, I thought I would share my findings. Please remember, these are simply my own experiences and observations.

algorithm-ss-1920-800x420

First, in order to beat the algorithm you must calculate the hidden mass of your…… HA! Just kidding!

First, consistency. Instagram is a stickler for consistency. There are a lot of articles telling you that you have to post the same day and time or else you’ll get thrown into Internet jail or worse: LOW PERFORMANCE!!! There’s some truth to this, although it isn’t quite so dramatic as some lead you to believe. Yes, consistency matters. If you post at different times every day, you may struggle to get the performance your post deserves. But, if you post normally around 9am daily, and you don’t post until 10am one day, you probably won’t see too much of a difference.

I have learned that if you want to ‘reset’ your algorithm, not posting for a day or two will usually work. I’ve done that when I couldn’t get my posts over a certain threshold. I waited a day between posts, and the next time I posted, it immediately performed better. In the meantime, I posted on my stories (we’ll get to those later) and still liked, commented and interacted with people on Instagram. This all matters.

Unknown

If you really want to get nerdy about it, there are actual performance data on business accounts that tell you when your followers are most active. This is true, business accounts do provide more insight than personal accounts. These algorithm articles will urge you to change to a business account so that you get this data. But is this necessary?

I have one personal account where I post the majority of my content, along with two business accounts; one for my dogs (yes, I know, it’s ridiculous but also awesome and we love it) with 200 followers and one for my Etsy shop with around 250 followers. It’s difficult to say which performs better. My two business accounts get anywhere from 50-100 likes per photo. I don’t post consistently to them. But one is dogs with books, mostly in pajamas and costumes, so I feel like that’s a winner on it’s own. And one is mainly tagging Harry Potter hashtags and dragon lovers. Again, fairly popular tags.

My personal account has gone up and down with performance. Lately, I find that I do get around 100 likes per post. I post daily, fairly consistently. So it would seem that while my business accounts are smaller, they get nearly the same activity. Of course, if I posted on my personal account with the same tags, it could be that they would do better. Difficult to say.

One thing I can say, is that the insights are interesting if you enjoy interpreting data. But it is very basic data. Most followers are active between 9am – 7pm daily. It goes up and down according to the day on which hour, but if you follow the consistency rule, the variation between activity per hour shouldn’t impact your post too dramatically. The rest of the data such as gender and location are interesting, but unless you’re an actual business with targeted demographic needs for your product line, I don’t find them that useful to the overall realm of social media.

what-does-this-mean

Frankly, who knows?! I mean, if you are into data and analytics. By all means, upgrade to business and enjoy the analysis. But, if not, my advice is simply this: test posting at various times. Try the morning for a week and see how they do. Then post in the afternoon or evening. Whenever you change, do it for a week to allow Instagram to adjust to your new times. Find your happy place. The most important thing with posting, is that you reply to comments.

So here we get to the good stuff.

Posting times and business accounts aside. Account interaction is key. So, find a time to post, that performs well, where you can comment and reply to people on your post.

I’ve read that if your post get comments and likes of a certain amount (who knows the sorcery behind this? NO ONE!) Instagram will release your post or boost it to more followers. I have no idea if this is true. What I can tell you, is that since I joined not just one, but two algorithm groups, my performance per post is improving.

HOWEVER

If you join a group with the sole intention of just boosting your posts and your algorithm, I think you’ll end up frustrated, disgusted, and overall unhappy. These groups help, yes. But, they are also a commitment of time and energy. Make sure the group you are in jives with you. If you have to comment on sultry romance posts and you’re a solid dystopian girl, you may find yourself struggling to comment on every post, every day, sometimes multiple times a day. So make sure you find your people!

The one thing I have found, is that commenting and interacting with accounts, even outside my groups is helping. Because you form friendships with people. The more you message with people, comment, watch their stories, mystery of all magic their posts show up on my feed more, and vice versa.

snape

Okay, so this isn’t sorcery as much as common sense. But it’s important. Like life, social media is what you make it. And you get what you put into it.

If you want to grow your account, and you don’t want to buy followers or use bots, you need to form genuine connections. Yes, these take time. But they also make it worth the experience. You’ll find accounts and people behind them who are interested in you, and you in them. This will lead to others, and so momentum is built.

The more genuine you are with your account, your captions, your comments and replies, the more your account will grow. That much I have seen not just through my accounts, but others as well.

Post to your stories. I know, I know. When they first came out everyone complained. It’s too much! But your stories are a way to show a different side to you versus your beautifully themed feed. Let them see your sense of humor, your quirkiness. This is where you can be a bit messy. It disappears in a day! Find a way to let your personality shine through and you’ll find people respond.

I use ridiculous Snapchat filters. It makes me happy. And it makes me even happier when people message me that my dancing reindeer post made them laugh, or that my dancing pickle video brightened their day. It’s silly. But it’s fun. Sometimes I do unboxings. Sometimes I talk about serious stuff. Sometimes it’s dancing pickles.

buddy

Beyond letting people get to know you through your stories, they carry, say it with me now: ALGORITHM INFLUENCE!!! I don’t know if they have their own algorithm, or they influence your feeds algorithm, or if it’s a combination. Seriously, who has time to track all this? But, the more people see your bright shiny username and profile pic at the top of their screens, the more they’re likely to watch and go to your feed.

Some thoughts on stories. Be aware of your audience. If you use Instagram for friends, that’s one thing. If you’re attempting to be an Influencer, or are using this platform to promote products, even while being yourself: be professional. There’s a balance there. Find it.

That’s a lot, and probably nothing you haven’t already read before. I don’t have any tricks other than simply being sincere, find your happy place, make genuine connections and be consistent. The rest will come.

I will talk more about shadow banning, hashtags and more in another post, so stay tuned!