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Social Media, Tips

How to Use Instagram Stories

August 8, 2016

Earlier this week “Instagram Stories” was released, and the internet had a (not so) small conniption fit about how much they copied Snapchat stories. And you know what? They kind of did, only in some ways it’s better. I’m not here to tell you all of the reasons you should dislike Instagram Stories (I saw a post that said “RIP Instagram, you were fun while you lasted”), because I never feel that’s helpful, and whenever we blow up about changes we always get used to them after a week or two anyway. My philosophy is to focus on the positives of the things you cannot change, and Instagram stories is no exception.

Introducing Instagram Stories from Instagram on Vimeo.


5 Reasons to Love Instagram Stories

1. It’s all in one place

I’m guilty of jumping on a platform, telling my followers from other platforms to follow me there…. and then fizzling out on said new platform. *Cough cough* Periscope. I haven’t been on there in months! This is the reason I’ve never promoted my Snapchat to my followers – it’s only for close friends and it’s not a name I use for any other handles. I don’t want to feel obligated to be creating compelling content because I’m encouraging my followers to be there. So, I’m happily testing out Instagram stories but if I decide it isn’t working for me I can stop. And my followers will still be there following my regular feed.

2. It’s intuitive.

Especially for first time users. Sure, it takes a few minutes and some swiping around to get the gist of it, but it’s a lot easier than Snapchat. I remember having to ask my friends how to get the face lenses, and how to put an emoji on a certain part of a clip in the snap.

3. Simple design.

I know, I know, everyone is upset that Instagram doesn’t have the cool face lens filters of Snapchat, but to be honest I kind like it. My snapchat feed is typically of my dog being cute, or me just trying out all the filters. With Instagram stories I’m having fun actually attempting to tell a story by talking to the camera, or photographing something worthwhile because I can’t rely on hilarious filters and face swaps to do the work for me. I also love that there’s only the ability to make a story for all your followers (unless hidden from some). I find that when someone sends me a Snap, I wonder if it was just for me, or for everyone or if it’s also in their story and do I need to respond if I was also sent it personally? Too many questions and options take away from simplicity.

4. You can watch stories of people you don’t follow

At the top of your home feed you’ll see stories from people you follow as well as suggested popular accounts, but if you go to someone’s page and they have the rainbow circle around their profile photo you can watch their story too (with a public account). This is kind of cool because sometimes it’s fun to check out different stories now and then without committing to “adding them as a friend” the way you have to in Snapchat.

5. It’s only going to get better.

Facebook and Instagram basically own everything (including our souls) so we might as well embrace what they throw at us. I noticed that Facebook has acquired some new companies in the last year, including two computer vision/augmented reality companies, a visual effects (face-swapping) company and a spatial audio company. This can only mean one thing: watch out Snapchat. I have a feeling Instagram Stories is only going to get bigger and better!

How to Use Instagram Stories


Learn how to create and watch stories:

Start on your home newsfeed and you’ll see all the stories of people you follow and are popular or suggested to you. You’ll also always see your current story (if you have one) on the far left. You can click it to watch yours.


Use photos/videos in your camera roll:

While you’re in the camera mode for your story just swipe down and you’ll see your camera roll! I had not figured this out until my super savvy friend Jill showed me how! You can still add text or filters to the existing photo the way you would if you snapped it live. But, it only shows your camera roll from the last 24 hours! (To try and be sneaky and cheat the 24 hour rule I tried editing some photos in VSCO cam and saving to camera roll one time it worked and the other two times it didn’t show up once I was in my Instagram Story….)


Play around with the text options:

Umm, hello neon! It’s a game changer! And the different thicknesses of brushes really won me over! Plus, look at how awesome Saunders looks with laser eyes, or me recreating my favourite snapchat filter! 😉


Experiment with filters:

Okay, so they don’t have the filters that magically make your skin flawless and your teeth whiter but Snapchat was starting to give me a false sense of reality! I’m sort of enjoying the more artistic film style filters that keep it simple in Instagram stories. Oh, and to change filters swipe right while you’re in camera/story mode.



Learn who’s watching and the basic analytics:

I think it’s really awesome that there is no way to “like” or “comment” (other than sending a message about a story) on someone’s story. There’s validation in someone watching, but we don’t have to worry so much about the psychology of why someone viewed and didn’t like, etc. This also means that people can see when you watch their stories. In my opinion if you’re going to be a frequent lurker of someone’s Instagram Story you should consider following and “liking” a few pictures now and then! To get to this menu go to your story -> click on the number at the bottom or swipe up.


Well, there you have it folks! What do you love or hate about Instagram Stories? I hope you’ll share with me! And if you want to follow me (and my stories!) on instagram, you can find me at @botcomm. 

Social Media, Tips

Don’t Turn on Instagram’s Post Notifications

March 28, 2016
Nicole Hudson Bot Comm PRINT-45

Photo: Olive Photography

This morning my entire feed consisted of various styles of imagery with one common theme: click those three dots and turn on post notifications because instagram is changing their algorithm and the world is going to end.

Okay, maybe that last part was a bit exaggerated but that’s how it felt. I haven’t really weighed in on the instagram announcement a month or so ago because I wanted to figure out my view and do a bit more research. And also because I didn’t seem too worried about it.

The fact is, Facebook has changed their entire platform, layout (remember when there wasn’t a cover photo? And also there wasn’t a ‘like’ option?) and newsfeed algorithm so many times and everyone freaks the heck out. Here’s a great article featuring all of Facebook’s changes over the years. I remember the internet exploding when Google was slightly changing their font last September.

But you know what? We’re still here. We all got over it. It didn’t realllllllly affect us that much. We have this issue with comfort, and change is often scary. But like I said on instagram today, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world!

Please don’t turn on Post Notifications for me.

The truth is, I’m not turning them on for you, so I don’t expect you to do that for me. I’ve never had my email or social network (or any apps for that matter) notifications on and don’t plan to. The last thing you or I need is our phone blowing up all day with notifications of people posting pictures. Besides, are you really going to go keep up and engage with every picture posted and every notification you get? I don’t think so. Talk about annoying.


Three tips to survive the Instagram changes:

Do Your Research:

Did you know that instagram already has an algorithm in place? Once you start following more than 200 people it’s impossible to see everything, so it’s already curated based on who you engage with the most. Since Greg rarely posts, when he does it doesn’t come up in my newsfeed because I follow too many people. That’s why you’ll notice some people suddenly start popping up in your feed more once you’ve “liked” a few of their pictures.

Did any of you actually read the announcement on the instagram blog, or did you just start panicking with how viral this announcement went. Right from the source:

You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.

To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.

If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.

We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.

Engage. Engage. Engage:

The algorithm is designed to help, not hurt us. The people you’re engaging with are are going to show up in your newsfeed, and your pictures will show up in the newsfeeds of those engaging with you. It’s really quite simple. If you want to make sure your hard work and authentic following you’ve built doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, encourage your followers to like and comment. It’s really quite simple 🙂


I’m almost certain in a week this will be a thing of the past and we’ll all be so used to the changes. That, or we’ll barely notice! I’m having faith that the people who were missing out on my content but want to see it will finally get to! And I hope I’ll miss less from the accounts I want to see. If you’ve been building your feed organically and authentically you really have nothing to worry about. And in the meantime, if you’d like to keep seeing my posts just head over to @botcomm and ‘like’ or comment on my most recent photo.


This post might cause a little uproar, but here we go. I’m not asking any of you to “turn on post notifications” for my posts. Why? Firstly, I’m not turning on notifications for you, because I don’t want to be bombarded by notifications myself. In order for this to work, you must have “notifications” turned on in your settings, which I don’t and never plan to do. I prefer to see emails, and social networks notifications when I choose to and have never had notifications turned on. So why would I expect you to do that for me? Besides, if my phone is blowing up with notifications of everyone posting pictures all day, they are still going to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, if you like my posts and want to continue seeing them, I ask you to ‘like’ or comment! Instagram will continue to show us the people we engage with, so please continue to like my photos and you’ll keep seeing them! Isn’t that much easier?😊 Right now, if you follow more than 200 people you’re not seeing everyone’s pictures anyway. An algorithm already exists, it’s just changing to hopefully help us! Everyone always gets so up in arms about changes to Facebook, but it ends up working out just fine. I trust it will be the same with instagram. Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. I’m choosing to embrace it and make the best of it. I hope you’ll double tap if you agree. 💫 [photo: @olivephototo]

A photo posted by nicole // bot communications (@botcomm) on


Losing Messages Since Switching from iPhone?

November 13, 2014

In this blog post, I’m safely going to assume you’re one of two types of people. You’ve either parted from your iPhone and have been losing messages to the void and thus missed on some friendly hangouts or tinder texting. Or, you’ve had a friend switch phones and your iPhone is desperately trying to send that blue bubble, in denial that anyone stray from the iPhone pack.

In any case, I know I’ve been the latter. My own husband and a few dear friends have left the iPhone world and even a year later my phone still sometimes forgets, and I have to go back into the unsent message and click “Send As Text Message.” For a very privileged first-world problem, it’s still an annoying one. But I finally have the answer!


Apple quietly released a section on their website that allows you to deregister your phone number from the iMessage database, so you can (finally!) start getting all of your text messages. There are two different options to choose from. The first one involves having your old iPhone, inserting the SIM card and turning off iMessage. The second and more common option is deregistering your phone number right on the website.

Click HERE to deregister iMessage.

If, like me, you’re the victim of someone else changing over, I highly suggest you send them to this site! And I guess I won’t be able to use “wait, you didn’t get my text?” as an excuse to Greg anymore. Errr… I mean…


Social Media, Tips

A Look at the 10 Free VSCO Presets

February 27, 2014

One of my favourite apps, VSCO cam, as discussed HERE, comes with 10 included presets with the option for more within the app.

Below you will see what each of the filters looks like. These are only the free presets that are included in the download of VSCO cam. My personal favourite is F2, and I pretty much use it constantly!











As you can see, VSCO Cam comes with some great included filters, and there are certainly a lot more sold in the app’s store at great prices. What’s your favourite filter?

If you don’t already have the VSCO app, download it HERE.