Don’t Blink’s Second Year Anniversary

Two years ago today I sat down and wrote my first ever entry for Don’t Blink. As I look back on that initial entry I shake my head at my stupidity for titling it the way I did. I am sure many people looked at it and thought I was writing about something other than just the introductory post to my new blog. Well, you live and you learn.

Over the past two years I have definitely lived and learned quite a bit, both through authoring a blog and through life in general. The best part is that this two year period is all documented through more posts in my blog than I ever thought I would compose. If you took the time to read my initial awkwardly written post, you will see that all along this was my number one goal. I started a blog because I wanted an electronic record that chronicled my life’s adventures as well as my thoughts and opinions. Mission accomplished (thus far). After 24 months, I think of myself as a pretty dedicated blogger.

Thanks to all for supporting my blog over the past two years.

Thanks to all for supporting my blog over the past two years.

Today’s entry marks my 313th post for Don’t Blink. When I started this project back in May of 2011 I didn’t know if I even had 50 things to write about let alone over 300. But as I started to get in a groove, ideas just kept coming and new experiences continued to find me. Throw in all the trips I went on, new restaurants I tried, unique social media mediums I played with, inspiring people I came across, random situations I got myself into, and social norms that I felt compelled to comment on and you can definitely see that I have been very blessed with plenty of blogging content.

But a good blog doesn’t just depend on good content. The quality of writing and the presentation of the site are two crucial factors that will determine whether readers will give your blog the time of day. I try to improve my writing each night I compose a new draft. I am definitely not the best writer (what do you think I am, an English major?) and I like to think I am not the worst either (I have seen some scary things before). I consider myself an average writer with some skills but with a lot to improve on. My pledge to my readers is to get better over the next two years. A year ago I switched from an elementary looking blogger page to my current www.brentreser.com website. Over the past two years, this change has no question been the most important development in my blogging career. The credibility, readers, statistical tools, and search engine optimization that I have gained from this move will always have me wondering why I didn’t do it from day one.

Enough though about my reflections on the boring things regarding Don’t Blink over the past two years. How about I sum up the last two years using a couple of lists? Everyone loves lists! I first will present my top five most viewed posts over the past two years. I will then provide my top five favorite posts that I have written the past two years. Here we go!

TOP FIVE MOST VIEWED POSTS

1. Instagram Spam (April 9, 2013): Even though I just wrote this a little over a month ago, I still get at least 70-80 views on it a day. It just goes to show the obsession that people have with social media along with the negative role that spam plays in it.

2. The Feud: Colin Cowherd vs. Dan Patrick (May 8, 2012): Until “Instagram Spam” overtook it, this was by far my most popular post. The sports talk radio industry has a very large and loyal fan base, and many of these people are tied to the internet and blogs. I get comments sent to me from radio junkies referencing this post all the time.

3. Thanks, Jim (April 4, 2012): A few days after our athletic director Jim O’Day was let go I wrote down my thoughts about what he did during his time at Grizzly Athletics. The first full day the post was up it received over 1,500 views. It garnered around the same amount of views the next day as well. Even though the post was entirely for Jim, it picked me up numerous readers who still view my stuff today.

4. #HashTags (February 16, 2012): I wrote this as a tutorial to everyone who felt confused about hash tags and I couldn’t be more pleased that the internet community continues to read it every single day. I did my best to explain hash tags during a time when people did not have the grasp that they have on them now.

5. Serving the Youth (October 29, 2012): One October night, Christie and myself turned the championship game of a youth football league into a Grizzly Game Day production. I wrote about the experience and parents of the kids shared my post like wild fire, resulting in the fifth most viewed post of all-time for Don’t Blink.

 

MY PERSONAL TOP FIVE

1. The $25,000 Man (October 19, 2011): Undoubtedly my all-time favorite post, I got such a kick out of telling the story about the time my brother hit it big and the shenanigans that followed.

2. Naturally Dark (September 3, 2011): I think this might be one of my favorite posts just because of the absurdity that made me write this in the first place. I have a few very outspoken people who challenge me on why I turn so dark during the summer so I felt that I had to write it all down for them.

3. Posting Food Pictures on Social Media (June 11, 2012): What a hot topic this is! I love debating with people when it is okay to post food pictures and when it is not and that conversation grew even more after I wrote this. I literally laughed out loud while composing this one.

4. Treat Your Waiter Right (June 5, 2012): Man, I was on during June of 2012!! I honestly judge people by the way they treat their restaurant server. I have a great respect for the people who wait on us and serve us our food so I tried to defend them as much as possible in this particular post. I think it is in my top five just because I believe in what I say so much.

5. An Amazing Day in Grizzly Athletics (March 19, 2013): On March 16, 2013, Grizzly Athletics experienced a day for the ages and I was right in the middle of it. In this post I talked about what it was like to work a day in which we sent both our women’s and men’s basketball teams to the NCAA Tournament on our home court. It will forever be one of my favorite memories and only natural that it is one of my favorite posts as well.

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THANK YOU TO ALL MY READERS! It has been a great two years and I can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given me regarding this blog. I look forward to continuing to take you inside my head on all subjects and experiences. You are the best. Don’t Blink.

Instagram Spam

I still choose Instagram as my favorite social media service. With over 2,000 pictures taken and counting on my account, I will not be slowing down anytime soon (Follow me…@BrentReser). Even though I am loyal to Instagram and routinely sing its praises, there is something about the service that takes some of the fun out of it: SPAM.

I try to keep the selfies to a minimum.

I try to keep the selfies to a minimum.

I know, I know, I know, all social media outlets are prone to spam. What service has not fallen victim to annoying garbage? Facebook has all the silly app requests and wall posts, Twitter has fake accounts, and MySpace became a deserted wasteland overran by spam. But you know what? Besides MySpace, the other two social media services successfully combated spam as the networks evolved. With Facebook I can simply turn on a switch that will prevent users from posting mafia, angry birds, and entourage gibberish on my wall. I can block certain applications from even bothering me with a notification. With Twitter, no longer do I get e-mail notifications telling me that some bot has followed me. No longer do I get automated replies to my tweets. Twitter cleaned up and has policed its service effectively. Bravo.

Too bad for Instagram…instead of starting out with problems and fixing them over time like FB and Twitter, the service started out pretty clean but is now getting taken advantage of by spammers. My frustration stems from the fact that there are just so many ways to get spammed on Instagram. Many of these ways ruin pictures, distort “like” counts, pollute the picture database, and trick gullible people. Let me run down the different ways that spam manifests itself on Instagram.

Spam Followers/Spam Likes: Nothing sucks more than opening up Instagram and getting notified that you have eight new likes and three new followers only to see that the notifications are only popping up because accounts such as @Shoutouts_123321_ and @_get_new_ipad_3_6 are following you and liking your pictures. How are these accounts allowed to exist? Everyone knows that these profiles are not going to get anyone shout outs or anyone an iPad just like the @get5550likes_vvf account is not going to get anyone 5,550 likes. Besides being completely useless and impersonal, these accounts also contribute to an inflated “like” count. Call me weird but I do take pride in pictures that I post that produce lots of “likes”. However, all sense of accomplishment is gone when spam accounts make up half the of them. These garbage accounts don’t just waste space, they provide skewed data to users.

 

It is depressing to have so many great followers only to have it ruined by a spam account.

It is depressing to have so many great followers only to have it ruined by a spam account.

 

Curse of the Hash Tag: Whereas all users are prone to the above general spam accounts that follow and “like” everyone, those of us who enjoy hash tags must put up with a different wave of spammers…those accounts that automatically “like” specific pictures marked with a hash tag. Now I love cats and I love Instagraming pictures of my own cat but I HATE getting “likes” from @mjthecat, @instaabycat,@raph_the_cat, and @tuxedokitty01 the SECOND that I post a picture of her. Besides once again inflating numbers, these accounts make me look like I have some type of sick cat fetish. I find it unnerving that Instagram has not implemented a policy or software that disallows spam accounts from automatically liking pictures based on keywords. Just because I like football does not mean that each time I hash tag #football in an Instagram picture that it has to get “liked” by counterfeit football accounts.

I love cats, but this spam account is much too corny for me.

I love cats, but this spam account is much too corny for me.

Automated Comments: Out of the four spam tactics on Instagram that I am speaking out against tonight, this one irritates me the most. In fact, it doesn’t just irritate me, it makes me mad. It is one thing if a fake account is going to “like” my picture and get its name denoted under the image but it is a whole different thing when a trash account comments for everyone to see. I detest messages that go like this…”Hey want 2 make some $$? Respond with your name and address to be eligible”…..or….”Follow us right now to gain 1,500 followers guaranteed.” I want nothing more than my photos to spark conversation between my friendly followers. It makes Instagram fun and engaging. But when a spam account puts some baloney credit card or money related automated message under the picture, it kills discussion. Worse though, it just violates my account and I hate it. I never remember Facebook having problems with spam appearing under photos. Why Instagram? What will always get me to lash out, however, is when a legitimate account leaves an automated spam message under one of my pictures. Right away I will call the user out. A few times the user has responded to me with curse words but more often than not the user will apologize and admit that he/she had their account hacked. If the user responds to me with obscenities I will report that account, if the user is sympathetic and admits to getting hacked I take it as a self-awareness lesson. Regardless, Instagram needs to do something to control this.

Eyesore Pictures: Finally, Instagram needs to clean up the pictures in its database that really aren’t pictures at all. The service has a problem with spam photos that perpetrate the same types of schemes that spam accounts plague on our own legitimate photos. For example, I love to search hash tags on Instagram. Every now and then I will enter #Vegas. Mixed in with all the beautiful pictures of the Vegas strip and the gorgeous pools, you will find several images that consist of terrible graphics and mangled words. Many times the photos will nudge the users to do something to **surprise surprise**gain more followers or to apply for cash. These spam pictures will use many of the most popular searched hash tags to aid people in finding them. It is a joke. It is also an eyesore and a complete scam.

I hate seeing this garbage when I search hash tags.

I hate seeing this garbage when I search hash tags.

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Instagram is an awesome service with still a lot of potential. However, measures need to be taken to address this growing spam problem. With its multi-billion dollar deal with Facebook, I am hoping that the great minds at Mark Zuckerberg’s company can create something to lessen the impact of the junk train that is making the constant rounds at Instagram. With any business or service the goal is to improve, not digress. While still on the upside, I hope Instagram cleans up this problem before it gets really out of control. What a shame it would be to become the next MySpace. Don’t Blink.