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Letters to the Editor: Instagram; home workouts; wildlife crossings; mass shootings

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Maya Cedro: Instagram: Surprising poll results

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms used today. It is a photo sharing app used greatly among Gen Z. Curious to see how this app impacts myself and others, I sent out a survey to my fellow peers at CU-Boulder.

The results were surprising. 65 out of the 75 students surveyed believe that Instagram harms mental health, yet 64 students surveyed still use the app every day. Many people within my generation understand the negative effects that social media can cause on mental health. There have been countless documentaries, books, and research published about the dangers of using such apps. So why is Gen Z continuing to use Instagram?

It’s simple: We’re addicted. Many of  us have been using this app for multiple years, and don’t know life without it. The feeling of scrolling through social media for hours on end is one that my generation is all too familiar with. However, with all the negative consequences that using Instagram can bring, is sacrificing my generation’s mental health really worth this?

As hard as it may be, Gen Z needs to get clean. Instagram is harmful, and we need to try to save our mental health before it’s too late. Gen Z’s mental health is not worth an app.

Maya Cedro

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Boulder


David Hand: Home gyms: More benefits than expected

I was one of the millions of people who could not stand being stuck at home without being physically active. Many people started building their own home gyms to solve this problem. As it turns out, these gyms have been much more beneficial than people expected. Investing in a home gym has saved people a lot of money and time as opposed to going back to their public gyms. Not only is it cheaper to pay for a small set of home equipment, but it also helped decrease your chances of contracting the Coronavirus.

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According to Inmarket’s COVID-19 Insights Center, a survey of around 50 million people claims that  “purchases of fitness and sports equipment rose nearly 23% since the pandemic outbreak”. This explains how people are still working out and staying in shape even though they aren’t going to their gyms. Plus, through the internet, there are millions of different workout videos that can be accessed and used to stay in shape. However, not all of these workouts require owning a bunch of equipment. There are plenty of these online workouts that use no weight, but simply require space to move around.

Being able to work out whenever you want and not having to worry about driving to the gym is a major time saver, and one less trip to the gas station. Scholarly writer, Peter Anderson says, “I just changed into workout clothes and walked into the next room to workout. Easy”. This is a perfect example of how much easier it is to be motivated to workout at home.

People were forced to find alternatives to expensive memberships, often far away from their homes. People learned the ease of setting up a home gym, and found value in working out at home.

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David Hand

Boulder


Paige Singer: Wildlife: Needing highway safety

As a conservation biologist for Rocky Mountain Wild, I have seen firsthand how wildlife highway crossing structures improve the safety of our roads for wildlife and humans alike. For the last five years, I have worked with a team to monitor the effectiveness of the recently built wildlife crossing structures, which includes 5 wildlife underpasses and 2 overpasses as well as wildlife exclusion fencing and escape ramps, on State Highway 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling.

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Prior to construction, wildlife-vehicle collisions accounted for 60% of all accidents reported to law enforcement. Our research shows that these structures have been successful at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions by 90%. Moreover, we have documented nearly 113,000 successful crossings by mule deer, in addition to those made by elk, bears, mountain lions, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn and even river otters.

The Governor’s proposed 2021 budget, which is being considered by the Colorado legislature, includes funding and resources for the protection of wildlife corridors and improvement of highway crossings in Colorado. Pursuant to Governor Polis’s Executive Order 2019-011, it also creates a new position at Colorado Parks and Wildlife to coordinate closely with CDOT and identify opportunities for future highway crossing projects. This investment would not only improve wildlife conservation outcomes and public safety, it would also save money. Coloradans currently spend $80 million per year on wildlife-vehicle collisions. Wildlife crossing structures pay for themselves quickly through collisions avoided.

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This investment would make Colorado’s a national leader in wildlife corridor conservation and provide a future where highway travel is made safer for all Coloradans and our guests.

Paige Singer

Conservation Biologist/Habitat Connectivity Lead

Rocky Mountain Wild


David Gershon: Mass shootings: The underlying problem

There is a tendency to consider Monday’s (March 22) massacre as the deranged act of a solitary lost soul, and consequently to punish this individual person accordingly. As someone who has trained and utilized in practice a broad range of psychodynamic theories, I suggest the problem here is not his alone, but ours, as a society that has become unhinged from reality: the reality that we’re all in “this” (life) together.

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The nature of the singular underlying problem is in manifestation too diverse to discuss here in three hundred words or less. However, for any one who disagrees, well, we can just wait for the next massacre, and the next, and the next, to see who’s assessing the problem correctly, before getting serious about dealing with the underlying issues that drove this particular person off the deep end.

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However this is handled, it will not be he alone who suffers, or just those attached to the dead, but also the horror the rest of us who have loved ones in the community now experience as we await the next time. For I speak from experience helping others when I write that there are others “out there” on the edge, asking for help, where too little help has been available.

David Gershon, MD

Boulder

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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