Monday, May 12, 2014

What's With All The HashTags

hash tag, number sign, hash tag... is this new language or what?
          hashtag, number sign, hashtag...                                                  is this new language or what?
So I was minding my own business over the weekend doing my normal routine, posting a content post on my social media accounts. Something I have been doing daily to promote my music for a while now. Technology and social media change so fast, often it can be hard to keep up with.  
Like any good entrepreneur I try not only to keep up with the changes, but also to utilize them in order to work smart, not hard. I'm an Independent Recording Artist and that means I need to not only build an audience to sell my music to, but also engage it. Back to the story... so I was minding my own business (Music Business that is) when I had a status come up from a friend in my newsfeed about how the next time they saw someone post several hash tags, or @ tags (@ meaning you tag a "page" so your post goes on that page for it's likes to see) that this friend was going to block then unfriend whomever does it.
Of course I had to comment, there was no way I was going to keep my big fat Greek yap trap shut about this topic. A. because I didn't want the person to think I was trying to "spam" anyone. B. because I genuinely wanted to explain why people are doing it. Especially people who admin pages on Facebook like I do for my music. So we went into a message exchange and as best as I could tried to explain that hash tagging and tagging helps posts to come up in news feeds so friends or likes can actually see them. This person totally disagreed, oh well what can you do.
I understand that some people just want to use Facebook to keep up with friends and think it is the way it used to be when it first exploded onto the scene. A place where people could post random thoughts, photos, videos and openly engage in conversations in a natural uncensored way. Unfortunately that is not how Facebook is anymore. As much as we would like it to be, it has gone the way of so many before it myspace included. Where ad revenue and an all powerful algorithm have replaced true conversations.
The changes are basically that Facebook does not show posts from a profile or a page to "all" of it's friends or likes anymore. It only shows to 1% of the friends or likes. For example on my page I have around 15,900 likes. Back in the old days when I posted an update, it would come up in the news feed of all 15,900 likes. There also used to be an option to send a message to all of those likes. Which was fantastic for a business or Independent Recording Artist like my self to engage with those likes. Now when I post an update, Facebook only show that update to approximately 159 people. Unless.... and herein lies the problem, unless I want to "pay" to "boost" the post. The cost to "boost" a post on a page is utter lunacy. It can range depending on what day or time (as they vary that charge by days and times) from $50 - 300 & up for just ONE status update. For a profile to "boost" a post it's only $6.99 (the one with friends not likes).
Don't get me wrong, I'm a capitalist, and I'm all for people making money. What I have the problem with is, in addition to doing advertising all over the layout now, they have stopped the free flow of communication from people. It wasn't enough to have advertising which I'm totally fine with, but they now are actually charging so that friends or likes can actually "See" what you post, that's the problem. I mean what's the post of even being on a "social network" after all if you can't "be social" unless you "pay" to have a conversation? 
This friend whom I was talking with said people who do all the hash tagging are cheapskates because they do not want to spend the dough to advertise. It's not like everyone who has or admins a Page on Facebook is a corporation or has the advertising budget of Beyonce or Katy Perry. The ones it hurts the most are non profits, or animal rescues. Because the the way the algorithm works is... 1st they only show your posts to 1% of likes or friends on a profile. This is a fact, it has been going on for a few years and began to hit everyone in 2013. Unless someone admins a page they probably wouldn't notice. 
The second part of it which is really the killer - is people are not "seeing" your posts... so they do not "engage" in them. Then Facebook begins to show your posts to even less than the 1%. This hurts not only businesses but non profits very hard. Churches and all kinds of people using "Pages" for a cause or business. Someone like me or a animal rescue is a lot different than a company who has the resources to spend on advertising just so Facebook can make a few more billion.
Of course everyone is entitled to his or her view of it, just where I am coming from. So until the next round of changes rolls around, Greek Girl will continue to hashtag and tag away. It's not "spam" it's making sure that my people actually see the content I post. It's that simple. I hope I've shed a little light on why you might be seeing so much hash tagging going on. Hope you have a great week! 
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava :D xo 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Second Chances

Unconditional love... requires so little yet gives so much.
Unconditional love... requires so little yet gives so much.
I'm an animal nut, I admit it. This has already been throughly established in my over two years of blogging. Currently we have four fur kids in the Aston abode (it was five until our ten and a half year old Maltese "Itty Bitty" died of congestive heart failure back in September). I do not hesitate to rescue, rehome and have been angrily referred to as a "Doggie Rescue Ambulance" by "Punkin" our talking fur kid, the one with her own channel on my your tube page. (see Punkin videos here)  She can be a jealous little Pekingese and does not like to share her momma with other fur kids.
She gets especially mad when she sees her momma cheating on her looking at homless doggies on the internet. I try to explain to her that sharing these little faces helps to get them jail broke from the kill shelter where they may end up being put to sleep, but she doesn't care. Like I said she is jealous. She has her warm bed, toys, organic food, and has her momma trained so well that she gets brocccli mixed into her little food mash every day. That along with plain kefir, glucosamine & chondroitin, and even a little wet food. I tell her she has no idea how good she has it, or what kind of horrors happen to doggies in the world every day. She super especially does not like her brother "Pepe" who was pulled from a kill shelter whom she thinks steals all of momma's attention.
So over the weekend I was enjoying a hot cup of happiness a la Dunkin's looking at one of the pages of the amazing rescue's that I subscribe to and I learned about a fundraiser were doing to raise emergency medical funds. When the shelter calls with an emergency case that they are unable to care for, this rescue steps up (as much as it can afford to and even beyond that many times) and gets that animal to an emergency vet to make sure they get the advanced care they need. Otherwise they would be euthanized at the shelter. I know, sad but true. It amazes me what human beings do to animals on a daily basis. Honestly I don't know how some people sleep at night.
Having just had our four furkids at the vet on Saturday and having spent a pretty penny for their yearly shots. It got me to thinking... I know vets have to make money and don't get me wrong, but I think they have gotten just a bit out of control. In the long run it ends up leading to animal neglect. The funny thing is this year we even did their rabies shots at the county clinic which was only a $5.00 donation per dog... total of $20 bucks. At the vet that would have added another $80 to our already near $500 total.
It's great that places like Petco do shot clinics, however to get advanced vaccines like Lyme if you live in an area where you need it like we do, the shot clinic vets charge $40 each just for that vaccine. So no matter how you slice it, it ends up being about $120 per dog to do the shots. Which if you have more than one dog, starts adding up very fast. I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong. I have four fur kids and pay for what they need no matter what. It just makes you think when a vet charges anywhere from $50-100 and up just for the office visit. Then anywhere from $20-40 for a vaccine that costs less than $3.00. I'm all for capitalism and profit, but doesn't a vet get into medicine because they love animals? Or did I miss something along the way?
Shelters all over the country are full of dogs and cats that are dumped because people can no longer afford to care for them. Or even worse people keep them and just let them go with no shots, and leaving medical conditions untreated for years on end. Then for one reason or another the animal ends up at the shelter with an advanced condition that in many cases ends up taking their little lives. This is so stupid and so preventable. I understand that a vet goes to medical school, they are a Dr. and just like Dr.'s they should be rewarded for their hard work. However there should be a line somewhere. A line between making a profit and being obscene to the point where people can not afford to care for their pets. A vet I love and used to go to in this area for example used to charge $40 for an office visit. It is now over $100 for a regular office call, and an emergency visit is $150.
I don't know it just seems to me that if you care for animals and love them so much that you go to school to be able to care for them for a living... when you get out and open a practice, that you will not become so greedy that you forget that the animals are the ones who suffer when you decide to start raising prices, and raising, and raising, and raising. Making it harder and harder for people with multiple dogs to have multiple dogs. Which leads to less dogs being adopted from shelters. Just my two cents.
I want to see more dogs who are sitting in shelters get a second chance at life, and vets continuing to charge into the stratosphere for care is not helping the situation at all. So when you see a rescue posting on Facebook or somewhere asking for donations, know they are the only chance for these creatures. Your taking a minute to share and give $1, $5, $10 or whatever you can afford to do can and will make a difference. If everyone who sees these posts takes the time to do it, the rescues can save more innocent animals.
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava :D xo