By Maria Scanga, Staff Writer
For a lot of Pitt students, random trash strewn on the streets — broken mattresses, toilet seats and destroyed couches — means that they have made it home to South Oakland.
Pitt student Warren, who asked to use a pseudonym for safety reasons, and a friend were scrolling through Instagram on a weeknight at Gene’s Place, when they came across another university’s page dedicated to capturing photos of their local neighborhood’s garbage. They started talking about the similarities between this neighborhood and South O, and South Oakland Trash was born.
Warren said the account might be so popular — with more than 800 followers on Instagram — because Pitt students find familiarity with the content, even though it isn’t something they take pride in.
“Pitt students who live here just understand the everyday experience of walking past or even over everyone’s trash for the week,” Warren said. “While it isn’t something we can take pride in, I think it’s important to bring attention to it.”
But the everyday experience of living in Oakland or being a Pitt student includes daily encounters not just with trash, but also squirrels.
One of the earliest Pitt community Instagram pages, Squirrels of Pitt, posts daily images of just that — the squirrels of Pitt. Posts for their more than 5,000 followers on Instagram include pictures of squirrels eating acorns and dining hall food, scouring trash cans and even videos of students hand-feeding the squirrels.
The page’s ownership has been passed through a few Pitt students, and the current one, Geraldine, who asked to use a pseudonym for privacy reasons, said their favorite part of running the page is receiving the insane pictures and videos that Pitt students take.
“Someone recently sent in a video of them and their friend actually petting a squirrel, it was so cool,” Geraldine said.
Both South Oakland Trash and Squirrels of Pitt rely on student and follower submissions for their content. According to the page owners, both pages receive a steady flow of submissions day to day.
“When school is in session and more people are on campus, we get at least three squirrel submissions a day,” Geraldine said.
Even during last year’s online classes, a relatively quiet campus didn’t seem to lessen the frequency of submissions for Squirrels of Pitt and South Oakland trash. Squirrels of Pitt posts pictures and daily stories every couple of days, while South Oakland Trash posts nearly every day.
For many Pitt students, the Pitt-related social media accounts are something they look forward to each day. Pitt junior psychology major Ashley Saunders said she makes a point to visit several of the social media accounts daily, such as Pitt Disses and Pitt Missed Connections — but Squirrels of Pitt is her favorite.
“It’s literally the first thing I do when I wake up and go on my phone,” Saunders said. “I have to check on the squirrels.”
While a lot of the Pitt-related social media accounts are primarily for entertainment, Warren said they hope their page draws attention to the trash in South Oakland and compels people to start doing something about it.
“I would be really happy to see this account influence people to take the initiative and be more productive in cleaning up South O,” Warren said.
There’s a broader sense of community that these pages are able to create, a perk that goes beyond being entertaining. For Warren, they said having a sense of community through these pages is so important during the pandemic.
“It’s so difficult for people to make connections and feel part of something right now due to all of the restrictions,” Warren said. “I think having this page helps us form a community.”
According to Geraldine, they enjoy the effort and art skills that students have in some of the pictures and videos they submit, as well as getting students directly involved in the page’s content.
“This account gives the students at Pitt a great opportunity to be included and appreciated for the pictures they submit,” Geraldine said. “I want to continue to get anyone in the area involved in this account.”
For students who prefer to not submit anything, interacting with these pages is just as enjoyable for the owners. Geraldine said receiving feedback from followers is one of the highlights of owning the page.
“It’s really cool to see how many people like to interact with the account,” Geraldine said. “We have some regular fans who DM us regularly and people who are always commenting on our posts.”
Saunders said she is too nervous to comment on the posts of her favorite Pitt social media accounts because so many people see the posts and like comments.
“You see some of the comments on Pitt Disses and they have dozens of likes,” Saunders said. “It’s so funny to overhear people in the library talking about a particular post and know exactly what they’re referring to.”
Most of the social media accounts, while student-run, strive to keep their identities anonymous for privacy and safety reasons. But for Geraldine, they enjoy telling people they’ve just met that they run the account.
“I tell everyone I meet that I run the account and they should follow up,” Geraldine said. “It’s funny when they tell me that they already follow the account.”
Whether it’s calling out students for being obnoxious on Pitt Disses, finding romantic love on Pitt Missed Connections or checking up on the squirrels around campus on Squirrels of Pitt — there is a Pitt community page for everyone. For Saunders, the pages make campus feel more like a family.
“Knowing that so many of us see the same posts about squirrels or trash or a cute guy getting hit by a car is almost comforting,” Saunders said. “Campus is so big but it’s really so small.”
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
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.
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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Credit: 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.
Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters
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.”
How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?
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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