02.26.16 - Social Code
I have been plotting this rant in my head for a while now. I shouldn’t say plotting or rant, but this is a topic that has been on my mind and I want to share my experience. I wasn’t a marketing major, I’m not a blogger, I’m just your run-of-the–mill narcissist who built up my Instagram, accomplishing mini-goals along the way. Currently I have 1500+ followers and my popular posts fetch 100+ likes and the unpopular posts pull in 40-60 likes. So here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.
The first one, I cannot believe this needs to be put to print, but know this: using hashtags and/or tagging a person/brand in your post is 100% useless if your profile is private. If your profile is private, ONLY your followers will see the post, period, the end. Using a hashtag does nothing, and tagging the coffee shop/running shoe/celebrity/whatever doesn’t matter because they can’t see your post anyway. Second, the day and time of your post matters. If you post Saturday night most people are busy not caring what you're up to. While some may check their phone, the majority are not looking for your delightful picture of your fancy cocktail. Monday at 10am, people are sick of work and looking for anything to take their minds off of it, so they’re scrolling Instagram, and are more likely to like your coffee mug picture. Third, it’s 2016, we have been through 4 generations of iPhone (3’s, 4’s, 5’s, & 6’s), if you cannot manage to get a clear picture, don’t post this grainy, over-edited crap; it’s disgraceful, don’t post it. Fourth, if you want more followers, you have to interact with people, yeah crazy. Adding 25 hashtags will get you some likes, but to build a network, you have to join one. Search the hashtags you use, like and COMMENT on pictures you like or that inspire you. When you see someone with 5000 followers and their picture has 35 likes, they paid for those followers. If you see someone with 250 followers and 300 likes in their post, that’s someone who only focuses on themselves and doesn’t interact with others. Think about it. Fifth and final, have some integrity. I will never tag a brand I don’t use, period. Many of us are trying to build our social media presence to gain “sponsorships” and community fame (I said “us” I’m including myself, I admit it), but when you tag your goggle company, then tag your wetsuit company, and tag your gear bag, and they are all different brands, THEY ARE COMPETITORS, they don’t want to be associated with each other. Brands love to be tagged in a post when you’re telling your followers how great their product is, but not when it’s a cornucopia of branding.
Think through what you’re posting. Is it quality content? Are you truthful in your message? Are you putting out the best product about yourself?
First Run Loop at TriRock San Diego CA
Before the start at Encinitas Triathlon, Encinitas, CA
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1.27.2016 - First Triathlon
My interest in triathlon stated in 2012, ITU (International Triathlon Union) was hosting a race in Mission Beach, CA (San Diego) which was the second of 2 qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Team. At the time I was in to cycling, and I had ran a few 5k races, and 2 half marathons. To me swimming was just something people did when hanging out at the beach or in a backyard pool. I love an opportunity to support Team USA, so I rode my beach cruiser down to the race, wearing my American Flag as a cape. I was absolutely blown away by the speed and level of precision the athletes raced at. As a cyclist, watching the bike pack draft, the breakaways, and movement within the pack, was amazing. THEN these guys and gals got off their bikes and ran sub 6 minute miles for 10k (6.22mi)!!! I mentioned I had ran a bit, but I was a 10 minute average, maybe sub 10 on a good day. The thought of 1, 6-minute mile, without the challenge of swimming or cycling first, seemed impossible. That kind of “Impossible” was impossible not to try!
If you have never been to, or participated in a Triathlon, I suggest you go watch one. The sense of pride athletes feel when they cross the finish line, the emotion on their faces throughout the race, you will be inspired, no doubt.
So in November 2013 I found a small local race called the Beach Blast Triathlon, and I signed up for the Sprint distance, 500m swim, 12.4mi bike, and a 5k run. It rained the day before the race, and rain in San Diego means no swimming in the bays and ocean (Rain run-off contaminates the bay’s and ocean). The morning of the race, organizers notified participants that we would not be swimming, the race was now a Duathlon, 1.5mi run, 12.4mi bike, and 5k run. So, first try at Triathlon, is not a Triathlon.
On my second attempt I thought I was ready, until the morning of the race. It was another sprint tri (the final Encinitas Triathlon in May 2013), but with an ocean swim. The morning of the race, some of the largest waves I have ever experienced were pounding the beach. Before the race started, organizers offered and suggested, anyone not a skilled ocean swimmer, should change their registration to the Duathlon. Myself, wanting to finish my first triathlon thought, I have to give this a go. Well after 5-10 minutes of being pummeled by the waves; I had to relinquish my goal once again and return to the beach. On the up-side, I took 2nd place in my age group in the duathlon.
If you’re counting, that’s 2 races, still not a “Triathlete”.
3rd time is the charm! In September 2013, I entered TriRock San Diego, and I chose the Intermediate distance, 1500m swim, 22mi bike, and 10k run. By this time, I had been training for triathlon for almost a year, so I made the jump up in distance. The swim was TOUGH, San Diego bay has a current during tidal movement, so half of the swim was against that current, but I made it! After that, I was so happy to have finally swam in a triathlon, I enjoyed the bike ride, and ran/walked (nutrition is the 4th discipline in triathlon, they don’t tell you that on the brochure) my way to the finish! Finally earning the title of Triathlete.
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02.24.16 - Dave Mirra
I have been thinking about writing my thoughts on the passing of Dave Mirra for a couple weeks now. A LOT of people have also done so, so I don’t want to bore you or repeat things you have already heard. I unlike most who I have read, never met Dave, my connection to Dave is purely as a fan, and a few interactions on Instagram. I was intrigued by feelings after Dave’s passing, I have never been one to follow celebrities, get star struck, or feel anything when someone famous dies. When Dave was gone, I felt a legitimate loss, and I think that comes from admiration. I was a loyal follower of Dave through social media, and as we all have experienced, social media can make you feel like you know someone.
(SIDE NOTE: when you meet someone you know through social media, it is such a strange feeling, Yes this is the first time we have met, but I know you went for a bike ride yesterday, and visited your favorite coffee shop this morning, that mocha looked delicious.) Back to my point, it sucks a lot that Dave is gone, and it is very tragic for his wife and 2 daughters. I frankly don’t understand depression, I have never dealt with it personally with family or friends, and that statement may prove how little I know about it. Perhaps someone close to me has dealt with it, and they hid it so well I never knew. I think that’s what happened to Dave. He buried it deep down, and no one was able to help. I know memories of Dave will live on, he was an inspiration to so many. I also hope we learn from Dave, learn to speak up if you don’t feel well, if you think you don’t have any hope, I know someone wants to listen, and I bet they want to hear from you.
Watching the 2012 ITU in Mission Beach, CA