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Instagram Blackout: Global Wake Up Call To Social Media Influencers, Small Businesses – Forbes

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It’s time to diversify away from Facebook products and any legacy social media app where you’re making money on content, or using it as a shingle to your business. Last week’s Facebook blackout serves as yet another reminder. It doesn’t matter where you are. These things go down, if you’re reliant on them for revenue, it’s a day off without pay.

It is unclear exactly how Facebook social media platforms went dark for around six (glorious) hours last week, but people from around the world lost money, not just billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

In India, small online businesses and re-sellers were amongst the worst affected, according to Judy Morris, a travel and lifestyle blogger quoted by India Express.

Neha Puri, CEO and founder of Vavo Digital, an influencer marketing company, said that businesses and social media influencers rely too much on single social media platforms.

“When a store is shut down for a particular period, the shopkeeper incurs losses, (just like) when a major social media platform going down,” Puri said. “Small businesses lost potential customers.”

Instagram is more famously known for its influencers. The risk associated with dependency on a single system that can either demonetize you, or cut your pay drastically at a moments notice, is risky business.

“I’ve always been very aware, especially since the collapse of Vine, that holding your business name and brand on an external social media platform is a risk,” Victoria MacGrath, fashion influencer at In The Frow, warned over a year ago. “To base your livelihood, income and brand on platforms you don’t own, is a huge gamble.”

There are at at least 500 million daily active Stories users on Instagram. Sixty per cent of them seek out and discover new products on Instagram. Brand collaborations have grown 44% between 2018 and 2019, according to Vuelio, a data solutions company serving the public relations and marketing industries.

Instagram’s ‘Creator’ accounts are where short, content creators do their thing as influencers. This is a huge business for some, worldwide. Creator accounts and influencer access to Instagram’s Checkout – in simple terms, Insta’s e-commerce solution — are aimed at keeping creators happy everywhere.

In 2019, even before Instagram’s blackout, influencer marketing expert Scott Guthrie, was saying that as growth flattens at Facebook, the company has been forced to look elsewhere for advertising revenue to prop up the business. “Eyes are now focused squarely on Instagram. The photo-sharing app contributed less than $5 billion to Facebook in 2017. Income nearly doubled in 2018. eMarketer has forecast revenue will exceed $25 billion in 2021,” he says.

“Creator accounts and branded content ads appear, on the surface, to be putting community first but it is surely more about cash than community. The next step will be to kill off organic reach,” Guthrie warns. “Just as Instagram’s parent, Facebook, did with brand pages. If branded content ads currently provide brands with an opportunity to boost influencer content to their pages, what if that opportunity becomes an obligation? What if the only way to reach your audience is by paying to boost your content?”

This sounds like evil genius level business planning. And should be a good reason why those making money off these platforms need to diversify.

“I think creators have many reasons to move over to new platforms,” says Melanie Mohr, Founder & CEO of BULLZ in Singapore. “One reason might be due to certain content restrictions, another reason one might be more innovative creator tools or content approaches. But the driving reason for most creators is going to be better monetization model.”

Regular content creators provide social media platforms with the most value.

Whether they have their own equivalent of a talk show on YouTube, and make money that way, or are selling their fashion sense on Instagram, thousands of creators worldwide are worried about their reliance on Instagram and YouTube.

“It is impossible to monetize solely from those platforms. You have to look out for brand deals or sponsored content to make a living,” says Mohr.

BULLZ is an app that allows for content creators to diversity into crypto, though it is geared to the true crypto gear heads to talk about crypto and new crypto-related startups in short videos. Users share videos of themselves, or others, talking about crypto and blockchain. BULLZ is in the Promote-To-Earn space, where users can find trending projects, discuss them together with other crypto enthusiasts and experts and get rewarded in crypto for their shares.

“Some crypto savvy YouTube creators call it a new TikTok for crypto,” Mohr says. “We have more platforms lined up to integrate the protocol.” They work with two I have never heard of. One is called YEAY. The other protocol is the WOM Authenticator. It’s for branded content promotion. BULLZ pays in WOM tokens.

Rofkin is arguably the pioneer social media platform that came with a crypto component. Content creators on Rofkin earn in the RAE token. Rofkin is for the long-content creator.

Another key alternative to YouTube is the Locals platform. That one pays in fiat. Greg Gutfield is on Locals. And Scott Adams has some of his shows on Locals in order to diversify away from YouTube and reduce demonetization risks for running afoul of the Google

GOOG
wrong-think police.

This summer, Twitter

TWTR
chief Jack Dorsey said cryptocurrencies would be “a big part” of the company’s future. Last month, they announced they will roll out a tipping feature in crypto (and fiat), which is another way to diversify income streams for influencers.

“We want everyone on Twitter to have access to avenues to get paid,” staff product manager Esther Crawford posted on September 23.

People can tip with Bitcoin using Strike – a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that allows Twitter users to send and receive Bitcoin. Strike is extremely limited. Only El Salvador and the U.S. have it, and not all 50 states. (Hawaii and New York do not have it). People in the eligible markets will have to sign up for a Strike account and add their Strike username to receive Bitcoin tips over the Lightning Network. And Twitter users will need a Bitcoin Lightning wallet to send tips to someone’s Strike account, which might be more of a headache than it is worth.

Twitter’s foray is just another example of crypto becoming a payment alternative for creators.

And BULLZ’s foray is a crypto-centric solution for those looking to diversify income streams and escape the mainstream platforms. Maybe if they are crazy lucky, they become the Twitch of crypto videos. If you’re a fashion influencer, though, better get into fashion NFTs, if that’s a thing. It’s probably a thing. (Oh, God, I was right.)

“You are free to create any kind of content but based on blockchain projects that got you excited or wallets you use to store your assets or crypto exchanges you like,” says Mohr. “The only thing that matters is that the content is authentic, and has value to the audience.”

Instagram wants people piped in all the time, and wants its influencers to be more dependent on it. Last week’s blackout shows what that kind of centralization means.

Still, people are lazy, and idle when it comes to these things. Instagram blackouts would probably have to be a regular occurrence before people really diversified in large numbers.

“We think it is crucial that influencers diversify,” digital legal specialists TLT Solicitor’s head of digital future law, James Touzel, says. There’s just one major caveat. He added that content creators should keeping “using Instagram to their full advantage.”

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'Don't squish them': Photos on social media show slimy, sticky salamanders in Labrador – CBC.ca

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It was late at night when Adam Reid took his dog out and found a little salamander on his front steps. The Happy Valley-Goose Bay man says he panicked, thinking it was an escaped pet, and took it inside. 

“I was like, ‘I cannot leave this poor little salamander here,'” Reid said. “It’s started getting cold in Labrador. Things get pretty chilly.”

Reid made a Facebook post and was surprised to learn that the critters are native to Labrador and even thrive there.

After confirming the salamander — who Reid had affectionately named Sal’ — was in fact going to be OK, he took it out and let it go in his garden. 

“We had our parting words and a few tears were shed by my puppy who didn’t want to let him go. But I put him back in the garden and he went on his way,” Reid said.

“Sal, if you’re out there, I hope you’re doing good, buddy.”

A post in the public ‘Concerning Happy Valley-Goose Bay’ Facebook Group sparked an online conversation where some people realized for the first time that there were salamanders native to Labrador. (Concerning Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Facebook)

Shylah Ernst said after Reid’s post, she too saw salamanders on two occasions outside her work at a local daycare. 

“We found four smaller salamanders inside of an old tire that had some water in the bottom of it,” Ernst said. 

Shylah Ernst found four salamanders and some larva in an old tire that had water in it. (Submitted by Shylah Ernst)

The little amphibians were paraded around the daycare to show the children, Ernst said. However, they were all released back to the wild a short time later. 

“Of course, they kept trying to pick him up. But we put him in a little container with some grass and sand,” Ernst said.

“They looked at him and they played with him in his little basket … they loved him.”

Salamanders more common than you’d think

Sean Boyle, a postdoctoral researcher at Memorial University, says people may not realize just how common the creatures are. He said they are an important part of the ecosystem but they are out of sight for almost the entire year. 

“If you think in terms of biomass — which is the total mass of all of the individuals of the species — the biomass of a salamander will greatly outweigh the biomass of moose. So say you have 100 moose, you’ll probably have tens of thousands of salamanders that weigh more than all of that combined,” Boyle said. 

There are two types of salamanders in Labrador — the two lined salamander and the blue-spotted salamander. The two-lined salamander is aquatic while the blue-spotted salamander lives mostly on land. 

The blue-spotted salamander mainly lives on land but travels to local ponds to mate and lay eggs. (Submitted by Sean Boyle)

“Amphibians in general are really good at surviving tough conditions,” Boyle said. “These two salamanders specifically, they kind of just bury themselves, either in the clear running water … or they’ll bury themselves in the leaf litter in the soil and avoid the frost line.”

If people see a salamander out and about, Boyle said, they don’t need to worry about spooking it ,but he said don’t pick it up and avoid it if possible. 

“If you do have to pick them up, just make sure there’s absolutely nothing on your hands. So that’s no no bug spray, no sunscreen, no moisturizer, anything like that, because it can be very toxic to them.”

Salamanders, like all amphibians, breathe through their skin and their skin can take in chemicals can hinder their ability to breathe, Boyle said. However, he said if people see salamanders, it’s most likely wild and not a pet. 

“For the most part, if people have pet salamanders, they’re not the species that we would have in Canada,” Boyle said. “And so the salamanders that you see in the wild would look different than ones that were escaped pets.”

A blue spotted salamander at Kouchibouguac National Park. Blue spotted salamanders can also be found in Labrador. (Parks Canada)

Ernst said she was surprised to read on social media that people didn’t know salamanders were in Labrador, but she said she did grow up seeing them out and about. If people do find them, she said please leave them be. 

“Don’t squish them. Put them back. Leave them alone. Let them grow. So some people are afraid of them and they’ll like ‘uh step on that,’ especially when they’re small, but that’s a sin. Leave them alone, let them grow. Let them make a home here.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Hollywood film-crew union reaches tentative deal, averting strike

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A union that represents about 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers in film and television reached a tentative deal with producers on Saturday, averting a strike that threatened to cause widespread disruption in Hollywood, negotiators said.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees ( IATSE), which includes camera operators, make-up artists, sound technicians and others, said negotiators agreed to a new three-year contract.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” Matthew Loeb, president of the union, said in an emailed statement. “Our members stood firm. They’re tough and united.”

Shutdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a production backlog that led to crews working up to 14 hours a day to feed programming to streaming services.

The union had threatened to strike starting Monday if it was unable to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

A strike would have shut down film and television production around the United States in the biggest stoppage since the 2007-2008 strike by Hollywood screenwriters. It would have hit a wide range of media companies including Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp.

IATSE was seeking to reduce working hours and raise the pay of members who work on shows for streaming platforms, where lower rates were set 10 years ago when online video was in its infancy.

IATSE, in its statement, said the proposed contract addresses those issues, including rest periods, meal breaks, a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale, and significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies.

The new labor agreement is subject to approval by IATSE’s membership.

 

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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City of Brandon – October 16th 2021 Media Release – City of Brandon –

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October 16th, 2021

Brandon Police Service Media Release for the Past 24 Hours.

Impaired Driving

At 5:00 pm on Friday afternoon, officers responded to a two vehicle collision in the traffic circle at 34th St and Willowdale Ave. A vehicle driving around the circle went over the curve and back into the circle, striking the back of truck in the process. Officers at the scene observed signs of impairment from the female driver of the vehicle and arrested her for impaired driving. She provided breath samples almost triple the legal limit.  The accused, a 42 year Brandon resident, will appear in court in October on charges of Impaired Driving, Driver over 80 mg% and Dangerous Operation of a motor Vehicle.

Assault

A female youth was charged with assault on Friday.  The accused was involved in a fight a high school in Brandon on October 12th during which she punched another youth several times.  She attended the police service on Friday and was arrested. She will appear in court in December.

Theft Under $5000

A 34 year old man with no fixed address was arrested on Friday evening for Theft Under $5000.  The charges stem from a shop lifting incident at a store in the 900 block of Victoria Ave on September 11th when a man stole $70 in groceries.  The suspect was located at a mall where he was intoxicated by drugs and alcohol and refusing to leave.  He was lodged to sober up and released for court in December.

Sexual Assault

In September, a female youth disclosed to police that she was sexually assaulted by a male at a residence in the 300 block 6th St.  The victim reported she had stayed at the man’s residence and he provided her drugs.  She was assaulted by the man while she was intoxicated  by the drugs.  The suspect, a 30 year old from Brandon, was located on Friday evening and arrested for Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference. He was released on an undertaking with conditions and will attend court in December.

Other Arrests

A 44 year old man was arrested on a warrant on Friday afternoon. He was held to sober up and released to appear in court in November.

One person was lodged for Breach of Peace.

V.W. (Bill) Brown #114, Staff Sergeant

NCO i/c D Platoon

204 729 2319

Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).  Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.

CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS

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