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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.

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.

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.

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.”

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

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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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