HOW TO: UPDATE TWITTER & FACEBOOK FROM CHINA

hong kong skyline

Recently I went on a work trip to China. It was definitely one of the coolest work experiences of my life. Partnering with Cathay Pacific Airlines and The Peninsula Hotel for a week in Hong Kong and Shanghai — pretty much amazing. Part of the deal was that I was to be sharing with my readers and followers on social media my experiences while I was there. Which I would typically do on any trip anywhere, except that China poses one little problem — there is no access to Facebook or Twitter.

Luckily in Hong Kong, this is not an issue as Hong Kong is a little different than the rest of China and does have access to Facebook and Twitter. Instagram works everywhere in China (right now), but for Facebook and Twitter I was going to have to figure out a way to post to them if at all possible.

So I started researching just how could I still use certain blocked sites in China while there. If you Google it, there are a lot of blog posts from travel bloggers and expats with step-by-step instructions on how to install a VPN. If you are going for work, or will be in China for a long time and want access to blocked sites, that is probably the route I’d suggest. Since I would only be in Shanghai for a few days, I was hoping I could find an easier solution.

I did find what I hoped would work, but wouldn’t know until I got there, but I did have a backup plan. I gave my logins to a friend/colleague and would email her the copy and images for tweets and Facebook updates I wanted to post, and specify a time, and she’d get them up for me as a last resort. Since Hong Kong and Shanghai are exactly 12 hours ahead of East Coast time, that solution would have worked just fine, but I didn’t want to inconvenience a friend if I didn’t have to.

What solution did I find?

Well, I figured out that bufferapp.com was not blocked (yet) in China. Buffer is a social media scheduling app/website you can use from your phone or computer to schedule tweets, Facebook updates and more. Using the app on my phone, I scheduled tweets and Facebook updates through the app to post while I was in Shanghai. The only downside was that I couldn’t interact with anyone who commented on the tweet or Facebook update until I got back in Hong Kong and the USA, but that was OK for a short three days.

I’m sure there are a lot of other scheduling sites that would work in the same way Buffer worked for me for this particular trip. With a little research you can probably find out or email the company directly to see if their site/app works in China. If you need access to all sites while in China, I suggest getting a VPN. You can find lots of tutorials and advice on current VPNs with a quick Google search. I would look for a recent one (just because China changes all the time) from a trusted travel blogger or frequent traveler.

Have you ever been somewhere where certain websites are blocked that you’d like to use? Did you find any solutions? Please share!

 

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Photo of Hong Kong by Meg Biram

PROTECT // How to add a watermark to protect your images

how to add a watermark and copyright to your images

A couple weeks ago, I talked about protecting the content on your blog. As any blogger knows, a big part of that can mean protecting the images that you publish online. The wonderful thing about platforms like Pinterest is that it’s so easy to find and share content. The downside, of course, is that it’s also easy for things to get shared with misinformation attached to them — like the wrong originating source link. Adding a watermark and copyright to your images is a way to help people find you and credit you as the content originator, should your images ever get lost in the Internet abyss (which, let’s face it, is probably going to happen at some point).

Today, I thought I’d share another short Photoshop tutorial on how you can add a watermark and copyright to your images. Here’s how you do it:

watermark 1

Let’s use our same beach photo, just for continuity. To add the simplest type of watermark, click on the Horizontal Type Tool, change your font, font size, and color as necessary, and add  your URL or blog name somewhere on the image.
Read more »

PROTECT: YOUR VOICE & OPINION

protect your opinion

In general, I personally think that a lot of women have a hard time being publicly opinionated. Some women have zero issues with letting their opinions out, but women in general are known for not speaking up, not getting paid as much as men, being afraid to say what they really think, etc.

For our PROTECT series this month I want to talk about protecting your voice and opinion. As a long-time blogger, I know the feeling when you type up a long opinionated or personal blog post, but then you leave it in your drafts for a few weeks while you decide whether or not to actually post it. I’ve done this many many times over the years. I actually probably have at least ten of these types of posts in my drafts right now.

Sometimes I revisit them, edit them, and post them. Sometimes I delete them. Sometimes I just let them sit there. For months. Sometimes those posts maybe don’t need to be posted, and sometimes you might receive an outpouring of support that might be amazing if you do.

I have mixed feelings on how much to write about myself but at the same time, but I think that blogs without a point of view are boring. I love it when people have an opinion and are brave enough write about it. Usually those are the posts that get shared around the internet on other blogs link roundups. The blogging community is usually really supportive when they see fellow bloggers write something they can tell is from the heart, or even possibly controversial because they know how hard it can be to hit “publish” on a post like that. They understand the fear and vulnerability.

Why I say protect your voice & opinion is because I don’t want bloggers, especially women, to feel like they shouldn’t write and post their opinion and express their true selves. That’s what makes you unique and sets you apart. A great example of this is Man Repeller. Leandra grew so quickly because of her unique crass writing, opinions, and man-repelling style (in addition to connections and location).

Your unique voice and opinions is what makes you YOU. It’s what makes you different than every other blogger out there. So protect it and make sure you have an opinion and continue to refine your voice.

 

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Image via Death to the Stock Photo

COCKTAIL HOUR // Links from around the web

cocktail hour

No Time to Think // – New York Times

What I Instgrammed vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life is a Lie // – Bustle

To Become a Better Leader, Become a Better Listener // – Inc.com

Top Ten Free Fonts with the Best Ampersands // – Rachel Bonness

Unpaid Internships Must Be Destroyed (File Your Lawsuit Today!) // – Medium

Terms & Conditions: Protecting Your Online Business // – Oh My Handmade

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing // – IFB

Why Social Savvy CEOs Thrive and Anti-Social Ones Won’t Survive // – Forbes

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us // – RSAnimate (a classic!)

Image: White Loft Studio via Style Me Pretty

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Why I Said Yes to Working with Wendy’s

wendys frosty cone

If you know me or are familiar with my blog, you might think that Wendy’s is not high on the list of companies I’d want to partner with. And you’d be right. I’m not a huge proponent of fast food, I rarely eat it. I’m not a big foodie, I rarely post about food. I don’t usually enjoy cooking even though I do it almost every day. So why would I partner with Wendy’s for a post on my site?

Five reasons.

1. The price was right. There’s always a number isn’t there? Some people say you can put a number on anything which I tend to think is 95% true. Large numbers do make everything more interesting or at least will make you consider options for a little longer or a little more seriously. In this particular case, yes, the payment was good enough to make me consider it versus immediately saying no. However, if that number wasn’t where it was, I probably would have said no very quickly and not even have given the rest of the email a chance.

2. The pitch was spot on, from a company I was familiar with. The company that emailed me was actually a company that I knew of but hadn’t worked with before. The initial email was so well written. It hit on everything I was curious about, was up front and informative, without feeling too long. I could tell they spent a lot of time crafting the perfect email, and also it was obvious to me they had worked with bloggers before and knew how to approach them. That goes miles for me.

3. Bold moves from a big company. I actually thought it was really cool and brave of Wendy’s to do a campaign like they did. I felt like they were doing a lot of new and innovative things for a ginormous company, and I really respected that. They weren’t trying to control every little thing, they supported me back by posting my photo on their Facebook page (with tons of followers), and that is pretty rare for a company of that size. Any large company that makes an effort to go outside of the box and work in the Wild Wild West of blogging and social media — I applaud that. I used to work for a very large corporate company that sold cards (rhymes with small-dark) and they just would not evolve and do innovative things which made it really hard to work there. So I realize how many stubborn people things like this have to get through before they can actually happen. Read more »