Tips on Taking a Vacation

When social media is a part of your job, it can be difficult to disconnect and actually take a vacation. But it’s that very same “always on” mentality that makes taking a vacation especially crucial for your health, your happiness, and your creativity. You need time to unwind, unplug, and you deserve to just take a break so you can come back to work refreshed and re-inspired.

However, recognizing why you need time off is only half of it. Now you need to make it happen!

Luckily, there are quick and easy ways you can prepare to partially check out, and ensure you maintain your publishing schedule and keep your communities engaged throughout your well-deserved down time.

Tips To Unplug

1.    Prepare a content calendar.  A content calendar helps take the guesswork out of what to post on your social media networks while you are on vacation and all year round. It’s important that you publish regularly and on time if you aim to build your online following.  Creating an editorial calendar that runs for a month, a quarter or even a year gives you the advantage of a bird's-eye perspective of your online communications. It enables you to:

  • Plan for ongoing and upcoming features
  • Schedule content themes based on the time of year, such as: Thanksgiving, National Taco Day or Christmas
  • Maintain consistency of your core messages
  • Work with overlapping subjects to avoid duplication and highlight discrepancies
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2.    Schedule your content. Scheduling is a great way to keep providing your audience with consistent content, all while you are relaxing on the beach, on the slopes, or wherever you may be. There are lots of free and paid social media scheduling tools which will make it possible for you to personally take a break from social, without your business having to take a break, too.

Here are a few great scheduling tools:

  • Sprout Social
  • Hootsuite
  • Edgar

With these tools, your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn can keep running without you having to lift a finger.

I highly recommend scheduling posts for a few days after you plan to return. The first few days back from vacation are often hectic. Scheduling posts can buy some valuable breathing room and you can always remove them if you want.

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3.   Collaborate. Train someone on your team to be your backup while you’re out. They should have access to your business’ social media networks to help with customer service. Share your content calendar with your backup so they know how to be the voice of your business while you’re away. If you manage social media networks for someone else, ensure your clients that your backup will be looking after their accounts and who to reach in case of something urgent. Preparing all parties well in advance helps to prevent unnecessary stress.

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4.    Prepare an emergency plan. No matter how much you plan ahead, it’s impossible to prepare for everything. Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” and unfortunately, we all know this can be true. One way to get around this unpleasant fact is to prepare a document or a cheat sheet filled with templates and pre-approved messages for crisis situations. Share the document with your backup so they have it available during your time away.

5.      Unplug. You might feel a little uneasy at first from the social media withdrawal, but focusing on the people and places that are right in front of you is a wonderful gift you can give to yourself. When you’re managing several social media business accounts, it can be impossible to disconnect completely, but at least you can slow down. Limit your social media logins to once or twice a day to check your business’s accounts and respond to comments. Or if you can, assign a co-worker who is in the office to monitor the accounts and respond to customer questions.

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Working in social media for business often requires you to be accountable 24/7. But this is exactly why you should take time off when you need it! All it takes is a little preparation and a supportive team to get you there!

By using a content calendar to stay organized, scheduling content in advance, and managing what you need to via mobile, there is no reason even the busiest social media manager can’t take some time off while staying ahead of the game.

Video Resolution VS. Frames Per Second

When shooting on your phone, you have several options for the video resolution and the frames per second (Ffps) you shoot. For example, here are the options an iPhone offers:

  • 720p HD at 30 fps
  • 1080p at 30 fps
  • 1080p at 60fps
  • 4K at 30 fps

Firstly, all these resolutions are considered HD. Realistically, most of the footage you shoot will end up being viewed on a computer, tablet or mobile device and not on a TV or movie screen, so any of these resolutions will suffice. In the past few years, 4K has become somewhat of a buzz word and the initial inclination might be to film at 4K since it is the highest resolution and much talked about. The truth, however, is that not many devices support 4K outside of TVs, and often it is indiscernible from other HD resolutions. Instead, when making the decision, you should consider what flexibility you want when you edit. There are two main options you might want when editing, and deciding which is more important will help your decision. 

The post-production benefit of 4K is the option to zoom in without losing resolution. In short, 4K is a resolution of 3840 pixels × 2160 lines. 1080p is a resolution of 1920 x 1080p. You can think of a 4K video as being comprised of four 1080p videos in a grid. The following image helps visualize this:

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Where the post-production flexibility exists is if you are far away from what you are filming in 4K, you can crop the image to show just 25% of what is filmed and the end cropped video will still be 1080p. The following image helps visualize this:

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A general rule to follow is that it is always better to “zoom with your feet” - meaning walk closer to your subject rather than zooming on your camera or later while editing, but sometimes you don’t have that luxury shooting in 4k can provide great options later in editing.

The second flexibility you will want to consider relates to frames per second. The quick explanation is that video is essentially a series of photos quickly flickering on the screen which we perceive as movement. Perhaps the most standard rate of images moving on screen is 30 frames (or single images) being shown each second - this is the 30 fps rate. By shooting at 60 fps you gain the flexibility of slowing down the footage by 50% in post-production while still outputting 30 fps. When shooting at 30 fps, slowing down footage will start appearing jittery to the viewer and is quite distracting. Why would you want to slow down footage? Often when you are filming while moving (walking towards your subject, panning over your subject, etc.) your footage will be a bit bouncy. But by slowing it down, the movement becomes much smoother and professional looking. With some new phone models now providing 240 fps at 1080p you can really make any footage look great!

A final consideration, however is storage space. Different recording formats will take up different amounts of storage on your mobile device. When filming with your phone, it is always best to try to free up as much space as possible so you don’t run out of storage in the middle of filming. But sometimes trimming too much space is difficult and you need to be conservative with how much space your footage takes. Below is a chart which shows for the iPhone how much each format takes up in space. Different devices might vary, but the general comparison between formats will be similar on different devices.

One minute of video is approximately:

  • 60 MB with 720p at 30 fps
  • 130 MB with 1080p at 30 fps
  • 1750 MB with 1080p at 60fps
  • 350 MB with 4K at 30 fps

Next time you are filming with your mobile device, consider what flexibility you will want in post-production - whether that is the ability to zoom in or slow down your camera movement to be smoother. Understanding how you will use your footage later, will immensely help guide how you film. 

 

Training to the MAX

The world of design technology is constantly changing. Our tools are getting smarter and more responsive, the programs are more advanced and detailed than ever before, and there is one company that continues to sit at the forefront of it all: Adobe.

Adobe has found a way to continually develop its technologies to stay one step ahead of the creative community that uses them, which is no small feat. So, as an individual or company what’s the best way to keep up with this ever-changing technology? The basic answer is training, but the better answer is MAX.

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According to Adobe, MAX is “The Creativity Conference” where all creative types come together to learn about the newest additions to Adobe’s Creative Suite and how to better utilize its products. Adobe has put together a cast of developers, photographers, designers, directors and talented people to present at this years' MAX, which takes place in Las Vegas, from October 18 -20. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy keynotes from Jonathan Adler, Jon Favreau, Annie Griffiths, Mark Ronson and Kumail Nanjiani. There will be educational sessions with some of the top creative types in their respective fields as well as labs where you can get up-close and hands-on with all of the newest technology.

So why am I so excited about MAX this year? 

  1. Aaron Draplin from Draplin Design Co. My favorite designer, a fellow Northwest native and a crazy talented dude. Look for me in the front row during his session.
  2. Nathan Goldman & Dan Kuhlken of DKNG Studios. These guys are changing the illustration game all together with their extremely detailed and creative artwork.
  3. Last but not least, learning new skills to help develop my design, workflow and processes.

Want to know more about MAX, click here.

Do you or your company need assistance with design work? We would be happy to help. Drop us a line.

Social Media Aids in Rescue Efforts

The growth of social media has been an integral part of our society over the past 10+ years. From keeping up with friends and family; to getting a new job; to finding new clients, people across the globe have found one reason or another to be on a social network. Recently, people in the lines of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma used social media as a way to seek help during the storms.

With limited cellphone service and electricity out for thousands of people, social media came as a form of rescue by providing real-time updates on storm tracks, and a place for people to state where they were located so emergency crews could provide help.

One of the best examples of social media coming to the rescue was when a photo of residents at an assisted-living facility were shown sitting in waist high water due to floods went viral. According to USA Today, Twitter user Tim McIntosh tweeted the photo from Tampa, FL just before 9am Eastern along with a cry for help. His mother-in-law actually owned the facility in Dickinson, Texas, just outside of Houston. Thankfully, the tweet was retweeted almost 3,000 times and the residents were rescued a little after 12 pm.

Photo: Trudy Lampson

Photo: Trudy Lampson

Also, since cellphone service was dicey during the storms, many people relied on Facebook and other networks instead of calling 911 as they normally would. Amie Swinford, an unofficial volunteer during Hurricane Harvey, was able to help those in Houston by using the Facebook group Hurricane Harvey 2017 – Together We Will Make It. "When you see that somebody has posted that they're on their roof with their one-, three- and four-year-olds and the water's up to the roof line, you have to be willing to make that phone call for them," she says. Winford, located north of Houston, contacted emergency services and sent out tweets on behalf of those who reached out in this group to help get them to safety (www.npr.com).

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Over the years, people have complained about Facebook and other networks being used as a platform to belt out harsh political views over and over again and to share ‘useless’ videos. It’s been refreshing to see social networks used as a true lifeline for those desperately in need of help. As a social media manager, you tend to think you’ve seen it all. In this case, I welcome that ‘in awe’ feeling of seeing what communities can accomplish in a time of need in the future.

The Day That Brought Us Online Together

I was 16 when it happened. Barely a senior in high school. Most kids didn’t have their own cell phone yet. Social media didn't yet exist. The digital languages that would help our country cope, grieve, and grow together had not yet been invented.

Millennials were supposed to be defined by January 1, 2000. But to us, that was mostly a dud. Instead, a year and a half later, we found ourselves united by a common challenge:

Learning how to inherit and lead a post-9/11 America.

The last 16 years have included their fair share of troubles and hardships, but they’ve also given us new beacons, new ways of communicating, and new tools to bring us closer together. Social media was largely invented by Millennials who came of age in a post-9/11 national environment. The old ways weren’t enough for us; we wanted to connect to everything and everyone that we could.

The advent of social media
was our generation’s official response to 9/11

Some say the rise of networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram was inevitable; that these were simply the next steps in our inevitable technological evolution. But today, looking back at 2001, almost exactly half my life ago, I see bigger dots on the map, and the strings that connect them.

Patriotism wasn’t enough for Millennials. We joined our fellow Americans as they stood with solidarity in the face of terror. But we needed more—we needed nothing short of a societal breakthrough.

In 2004, Facebook came to colleges around the country. No one seemed to realize it at the time, but the advent of social media was our generation’s official response to 9/11. In a world threatened by those who would tear us apart, Millennials chose instead to build networks, communities, and limitless connections. And that building happened faster than anyone could have anticipated. Despite the institutional voices telling us not to trust certain kinds of people, we ventured outside our own comfort zones every day to discover the abundant diversity of faces, stories, values, and expressions in our world.

Now, in 2017, it’s becoming clear just how many people in America—and elsewhere—are committed to a culture of curiosity and connection. Social media hasn’t just given us memes and selfies. It’s given our world’s citizens a base level feeling of inclusivity. It’s a place where everyone belongs.

And it’s not just personal users who have quickly evolved to be more accepting of others. Brands have joined in over the years, and are now in many ways leading the charge.

Here at Thin Pig we’re lucky enough to work with businesses like Hyatt, whose #WorldOfUnderstanding campaign truly understands the importance of inclusion (watch their awesome Super Bowl commercial below). They show us the benefits we all experience when we embrace our common humanity, regardless of borders or backgrounds. They create a real sense of interdependence, a dynamic in which we all truly depend on each other in both large and small ways.

Now, thanks to social media, those values have been forged into American history, and our potential to create the peaceful future we want grows stronger every day.

Today we honor all those we lost, all those who have kept us safe, and all those who will soon join our social network.

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