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California recall election political art pops on Instagram – Los Angeles Times

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The messaging meets you where you’re at.

If you’re a millennial or zoomer, you’ve almost certainly seen the tweets, the IGs, the dating app messages and the social media posts encouraging, demanding or even begging you to get your ballot in.

“Friends don’t let friends skip elections,” reads one Instagram post from Sarah Epperson, an artist and illustrator from Los Angeles.

Some might say the best ads for the Sept. 14 recall election are on TV or on the radio. But the most shareable, informative and ubiquitous ads can be found online.

The examples are everywhere, with retro fonts and vibrant colors — red, white and blue, but also pink, yellow and green — that draw on the principles of graphic design. The art is visually appealing, youthful and trendy. It both summons the history of protest art and caters to the aesthetic demands of Instagram. There’s often an emphasis or appeal to diversity. The art is relatable, accessible.

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It’s a continuation of the left-leaning style of activist art that exploded on the platform last summer. Now, those works are being used to encourage Californians to vote “no” on the recall.

Epperson has more than 78,000 followers on Instagram. For the last few weeks, she has been getting thousands of likes on her recall election art. She spent her 29th birthday last week nudging friends to vote.

“It’s actually been funny today, because I’m so focused on the recall, anytime someone texts me ‘Happy birthday, what are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘Did you send in your ballot?’” she said. A portion of the proceeds from the art she sells on Etsy go to relevant political groups.

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Epperson is interested in making work that doesn’t fall into the trappings of less savvy, traditional political art. Take Republican Larry Elder’s political logo, for example.

“I just find it really interesting, from a design perspective, that the Elder sign has turned California into an L,” she said.

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There’s a lot more to a shareable political piece than meets the eye. Epperson talked to The Times about what makes good political art in 2021.

Q: How did you get into graphic design?

I’ve always been into art. Before I did art full time I was working in music. I would do flyers and things for events, or like DJs, because I was working in electronic music, which is kind of a left turn.

Q: What makes a good graphic? Something that’s shareable, but also gets the information across — what’s the secret?

I try and make things aesthetically vibrant, so that they would stand out, and also [be] accessible.

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I think AOC has an amazing design team and she works with incredible artists that are local to her work. But so much of [the work you see from traditional political campaigns] is just black and dark and really scary.

I want to inform people and let them know how high the stakes are, but my goal isn’t to scare people because everything is already so scary. Which is why I try and bring a lot of color and things into it. Because I think if I just let myself go, I would definitely fall down a hole of being like, “Oh, no, everything is too much.”

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Q: The actual process of the recall is a bit complicated. How do you explain it in a way that’s also visually appealing?

I think I also rely on looking at what other people are doing, and then sometimes if it’s not what I imagined, or if it’s not something that makes sense to me, then I try and break it down in a way that does.

I always try to make sure that each slide could stand on its own if the person isn’t going to read the long caption or look at the other slides. With a recall, I broke it down into the main [graphic], then the reasons, the things that are on the line, what the ballot question looks like, different stats — also in the hopes that maybe there’s something for everyone. You might not be into rainbows, but you might be into polls.

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Q: What was the inspiration behind some of the graphics?

I’ve used the rainbow gradient before. I really like how, like, bold and impactful it is. And I thought it would be nice especially to use it this time because it feels really California to me, kind of like the Monterey Pop/’70s fliers.

And the return your ballot one, I wanted it to feel very Californian. One of the major things on the line is the environment and our national parks, so I wanted it to feel kind of Big Sur-y because that’s just such an important thing.

Q: What’s your take on traditional campaign art?

It’s very prescribed and always stays in the boundaries. But there are people who are definitely doing it differently.

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I don’t know if these things are really thought out. Sometimes it feels like art is always like the bottom rung. People are like, “Oh, yeah, that’s not hard, and it doesn’t matter.” I don’t know, that’s just something that I’ve been noticing. I think that a lot more campaigns could add more color and things like that, that would be exciting.

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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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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