White and Black Hat SEO

The Evolution of Social Media

Before diving into any thought piece about social media and marketing, I have to consider that my life has been shaped by the Internet. Growing up in the 2000s has deeply impacted the way I process information, how I communicate and the general speed of my life. I won’t pretend to know whether this was a positive influence or a negative one (probably both at different times), but at the very least I can give credit where credit is due: the Internet consumes an embarrassing fraction of my time, and therefore, my life. It can be a place of great vulnerability and a place of great fabrication. Understanding this, I’d like to explain how I think social media has transformed into the primary platform for modern marketing, whether business or personal.

I first got a Facebook account when I was in middle school (no Myspace or Tumblr for me), and it opened up a whole new way to stay connected to my friends. Social pillars rose and fell by messages, likes, and whether or not someone poked you back. It was closer to high school when I became aware of conversations about cyber-bullying. I remember sitting in the Hardware Store in my hometown, talking to the guidance counselor of our local high school about how virtual messaging lowered the participant’s empathy. I argued with her, but I can’t recall a conclusion.

Buying Followers and Buying the Lie

When I went to college, and my mental health declined, I bore the full brunt of the paradox of social media. It brought us closer, but it isolated us further. The timeline of someone’s life was edited, trimmed and embellished to perfection. The best version of themselves, their relationships, their accomplishments were front and center, the rest of them erased. It’s a more recent trend for people to post selfies with captions describing self doubt, personal struggles, etc. With all of this going around, I fancied myself a Facebook hermit. I looked down on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Vine. I derived pride from choosing not to indulge. Eventually I could comfortably take social media hiatuses, and I found some semblance of inner peace for a period of months.

Instagram Influeners and Imposter Syndrome

Fast forward to this last semester, when I was arguably enjoying the best career success I’d ever had and the most lonely I’d ever been, I chose to indulge Instagram and Twitter. I was suffering from imposter syndrome surrounding my success, feeling it was undeserved, and the plethora of likes and comments momentarily assuaged my growing sense of dread. But I was convinced that my relationship with social media was revitalized: this could be a place where I could celebrate my accomplishments, and present the best version of myself. But the more I explored Instagram specifically, the more my initial distaste for it returned.

To learn about how Instagram influencers are paid to promote specific products, and that autobots are bought to post and like and follow users in the hopes of making money: it’s not necessarily disheartening. There are much worse things happening on the internet, for sure. But with ad blocks being so accessible, the line between digital marketing and personal expression are completely blurred to me. What once may have been (at least partially) a safe haven for people to express things they could never do in real life, is now just an infinite scroll of people plastering corporate logos on their face.

I’ve read articles about ‘ethical search engine optimization’, or white hat SEO, and they do a fine job of explaining how building legally a relationship with a social media influencer and organically building a following will help your business in the end. Yes, there are search engine optimization techniques that follow the guidelines of social media platforms, and those that don’t. After educating myself more on the subject, I can see the subtle difference between building followers and buying followers. But in my heart, the difference doesn’t seem to matter that much. At the end of the day, if some influencers consensually agrees to promote your product, do they really, truly like it? Part of it will always be about the money. If social media, and sharing about your life and lifestyle is based on some ideal of authenticity, then in the end, there’s an element of trickery, of falsehood, that I can’t shake from my mind.

How do you feel about the shifting purpose of social media? Leave a comment below!

How Copywriting Can Improve Your Creative Writing


Among the artistic community, there’s a whole lot of stigma surrounding copywriting, marketing, and what’s generally known as ‘selling out’. As a playwright and a theatre artist, I see where this aversion stems from. Impactful art comes from the heart and the soul, not from the wallet.

But bills exist, and starving artists aren’t really much use to anyone, so support ourselves we must. More and more creative writers are falling into web copywriting as day jobs because they require similar skills. This can actually be super helpful for creative writers because it can help improve our craft. Although creative writing and copywriting have vastly different goals, both mediums inform one another. So before you stick up your nose at marketing, consider how it could inform your true passion. Because my primary medium is theatre, I’m mostly going to refer to playwriting.

Get To The Point

In content writing, it’s important to be clear about what the point of your piece is from the beginning. A lot of vagueness or mystery gets in the way: you want to be clear about what kind of article you’re writing, what it’s about, and what the reader can take away. But this is also important when you’re writing a play, a short story, a novel, whatever!

Sometimes when you’re working on a play, you can fall into the trap of setting up the world without driving the action forward. Copywriters know to get right into the action with the preamble. Simplicity is the hallmark of copywriting, but it’s also incredibly important in creative writing. When confronted with areas that need improvement, the simplest solution is often the best.

Being Aware of Your Audience

When writing creatively, a very common piece of advice is to follow your heart. Don’t cater to what others want you to write: your greatest work is deep inside yourself, and you just need to pour it out onto paper. Although finding your voice and being true to what you want to write about is imperative, connecting to an audience is equally essential. If there’s anything copywriters are great at, it’s knowing their audience.

Something I’m noticing more and more now is that many writers believe that their audience is universal: everyone will want to read whatever it is they write. Yes, great writing taps into a universal truth, but not every piece of writing is for everyone. I think it’s fair to say that most Americans have grown up reading books by white cis men and being told that the white cis male perspective is universal. A lot of people aren’t white cis men, and have wonderful, varying perspectives to share! Owning your point of view and recognizing your target audience (especially in theatre) will strengthen your writing and your connection to the world at large. This isn’t sucking up to your audience, or compromising your artistic integrity: it’s realizing your art always exists within a given context. Which brings us to our final point . . .

Context Context Context!

When writing content, good copywriters know to consider the context they’re posting it within. Nobody ever writes in a vacuum. Unfortunately, creative writers put themselves pedestal sometimes, deluding themselves into thinking that they somehow transcend the political, social or cultural climate. This is a total fallacy. What makes writing mean anything is the interaction between the individual and the outer world. The meaning of whatever your writing changes every day because the world continues to change, so staying in the know, politically, culturally, and socially is essential.

Final Thoughts

There are lots of writing techniques that we can borrow from different mediums to improve what makes our hearts go pitter- patter! And we don’t have to starve! As long as you stay true to the goals of whatever medium you’re in, porque no los dos!