Category Archives: social media

SEO- what I’ve learned so far

I’ve been researching search engine optimization (SEO) lately. What I have been learning is not what I expected to find. 

I didn’t know much about SEO, but I imagined it as a series of technical steps that I could follow to make my website more visible. It’s about ranking higher in search engine results, right? So it should be like a game that I can learn to play, or so I thought.

The goal of search engines is to help people quickly find the information that they are looking for and to direct people to sources that are accessible. In the past, it was possible to trick search engines into ranking your site higher by using an excessive amount of keywords, links, and other tools. But as search engines become smarter, these strategies no longer work because they do not provide visitors with a positive user experience. To rank higher in search engines, you need to do something that you should be doing for your site anyway: provide content that is helpful and accessible.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do some technical work; you absolutely do. You need to make sure that search engines are crawling the right pages of your site, and there are keywords and links that actually will help you. But search engine optimization is a lot more than that, too.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is putting your audience first. You need to think about what content people are actually searching for and craft your content to serve their needs. You can’t do that overnight; it takes time and practice. But when you succeed at putting these skills into practice, not only will your site rank higher in search engines, but your audience will actually have a better experience on your site. Isn’t that what you wanted in the first place, anyway?

I’ve learned that SEO is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I’ve also learned that I still have a lot to learn. SEO is not something that you can pick up in a day or two; there’s a lot to it, and it’s constantly changing.

If you’d like to begin learning about search engine optimization, I have found this site to be helpful:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

I hope to continue developing my skills on this topic. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Patience in a Pandemic

On social media lately, I’ve seen posts that encourage me to use my extra time in social distancing to become extremely productive and learn new skills.

Clean your house, read several books, catch up on everything you’ve fallen behind on…

I don’t know about you, but I don’t actually have extra time right now.

I’m also learning how to adjust to the current times. I’m learning how to just be a human when there is a lot of change around me. I’m trying to figure out the best way for me to take care of myself when it’s easy to feel anxious, and I’m learning better ways for me to complete my schoolwork, considering that I have lost almost all of the structure I had at school.

It is not the time to try to become my most creative, productive self. I have other needs to address first.

Still, I’m finding that it is not a bad time to learn a new skill as a stress reliever. I don’t suggest learning something new due to feelings of pressure, but if a new skill takes some of the stress off, then it might be worth a try.

So, I started learning viola!

I’m lucky that my fiance is an orchestra teacher, so he can teach me.

I also played outdoors, and some cars drove past as I was playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. My performance wasn’t very impressive, but maybe it still made someone smile.

I’ve been learning that I need to be patient with myself, whether it’s because I’m adjusting to a pandemic or I’m practicing.

Learning takes time. Finding your footing during scary times doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it’s okay to move slowly. And when you are moving slowly, take care of yourself with your most basic needs first; get enough sleep, drink water and try to eat well, take breaks from work to do something fun, and keep moving forward one day at a time.

Updates

Several months ago, I changed the focus of this blog from my personal life to the arts and mental health.

This was exciting for me. However, in the past several months, I’ve changed my career goals quite a bit. These changes have affected how I felt about my blog, too.

I used to be a clarinet performance major. I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in clarinet and build a career out of performing and teaching. Since then, I realized that I don’t actually want to leave my home state to pursue my studies. I also discovered that I love my minor in professional writing even more than I thought I would. Later, I developed tendonitis in my hand and wrist from my clarinet practicing.

Following these realizations and the pain in my hand, I changed my major to a bachelor of arts in music, allowing me to have more room for writing classes and to give my hand a break. Post-graduation, I hope to have a job in technical writing, editing, or grant writing and I’m super excited.

As my career focus has shifted away from music (and my physical ability to practice has decreased), my personal relationship with music has changed. This change exposed an unhealthy mindset that I had developed as a musician. I’m still wrestling with that now, but I’m learning how to accept music as an enjoyable hobby rather than as a career, and it’s good for me.

Since I’m still wrestling with what it means for me to be a musician and artist, I’m opening this blog up for other personal content again; especially faith. But the blog will still be different from its early days.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts in the past year about the benefits and costs of being personal online, and more often than not, I feel that the costs outweigh the benefits. So many people share intimate details about their lives online for all to see, but I think it’s worth it to trust people before becoming super personal; a difficult, if not impossible, thing to develop on the internet.

However, I realized that I can share my thoughts on a variety of topics and discuss what I’ve been learning and/or thinking about without giving too much personal detail. That’s what I’m gonna do.

So here I go again with changing the course of this blog. Ope.

 

Sharing too much online?

So many people in today’s culture seem to post everything online, from large life events all the way down to simple details, like what they had for lunch. This was becoming common as far back as a decade ago, but in the past several years it has even become the norm, especially with apps like Snapchat, on which some people record and post their days moment by moment.

This has led to a lack of personal privacy. In today’s culture, people freely give up personal information about themselves for all the world to see. The only work that others need to do in order to gain this information is to send a friend request. In some cases, this isn’t even necessary. In the past, in order to know personal information about someone, you likely would have just had to actually get to know them through relationship, and it would’ve had to be earned through time and trust. Today, however, people give away personal information as if it never needed to be earned by anyone at all.

I’ve been off of social media for six months. At first, it took time for me to adjust to not having a platform to instantly share things. I was no longer able to receive attention by posting details about my life. With time, this resulted in a couple of things:

  1. I began to believe that the details of my life are valuable and to be cherished. They are far more than tools for attention.
  2. I began to see who my true friends are, as I shared important details only with the people who actually keep up with me and sincerely care about me.

Now when life events happen, I have the opportunity to cherish them in my heart, and to share them in person with the people I value. Those who are not close to me may never know the details that I would have shared online back in my Facebook days, but this is okay, because these acquaintances have not earned these details about me. They don’t have my trust.

Oversharing on social media has led people to believe that they are entitled to others’ lives in ways that they are not actually entitled. Real relationships take time and effort and trust. “Keeping up” with someone by following them on Facebook is not actually keeping up with them at all. It is when you reveal yourself as trustworthy that someone should consider entrusting you with the details of their life.

When I left social media, some people were offended and wondered how we would continue to keep up. However, in my mind, I never had much of a real relationship with these people at all. Besides, there are several other ways to contact me, including text, email, phone call, letters, and even… face-to-face conversation *gasp*. The difference is that these methods actually require some amount of effort.

For the attention that comes along with sharing personal details, I feel it is unnecessary. If an enjoyable event happens in your life, is it not enough to simply enjoy that event? However, it is that craving for attention that causes people to voluntarily give up their privacy. This is one of the things that social media thrives on. In exchange for your valuable privacy (which they will most likely exploit), they will provide you with the attention that you desire from other people.

I write this without the intention of offending anyone, but rather with the desire to tell you that the events of your life and your privacy are actually of great value, and that you shouldn’t give these things away as if they were cheap.

Do you share too much online? It’s worth thinking about.

-Amberly