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Content

5 Pitfalls of User-Generated Content (And How to Avoid Them)

User Generated Content, as the name suggests, is content which is submitted by consumers, customers, clients and visitors to a website. It can come in many forms, from comments to embedded tweets, open-submissions and reviews.

It brings with it a host of benefits. UGC can greatly increase engagement with websites, as well as shareability and authenticity. Of course, along with benefits are a host of pitfalls, from having to take the time to moderate content, to establishing an engaged community to submit the content in the first place. It’s important to know the pitfalls of user generated content and how they can be avoided. With a clear strategy, and contingency plan in place, it can end up being a very successful and profitable way of driving engagement to a website.

Here are the pitfalls of user-generated content and how to fix them.

 

1. It Needs To Be Moderated

In an ideal world, all user generated content would stick to the rules and adhere to the site’s standards. Sadly, that’s not the case. Users will upload whatever they like, from inappropriate sites, to offensive words, or totally irrelevant content.

How To Avoid It

Ensure you build in features where content can be moderated. For example, review companies such as TripAdvisor rely on pre-moderation. This means that all reviews which are submitted are sent through a screening process before being put live for everyone to see. This can take a couple of days to sift through depending on the levels of content which has been uploaded, but ensures the site holds its reputation and doesn’t post offensive, random or meaningless content.

You can also implement functions for the UX of a site which means users can report content themselves. This is the system many large companies such as Facebook and Instagram have built in. The pros of this is that content is available instantly for other users to see and engage with but means unwanted content can also get through.

 

2. People Use It For Their Own Personal Gain

Once user generated content begins to roll in, it can soon increase the site’s popularity, raise the share count, and have numerous benefits. And this will be something others will latch onto. Users can submit their own content for personal gain, rather than that of the site. For example, a competitor could be promoting a service or running a competition and pretend to be a random user to publicise and promote their own products or services.

How To Avoid It

This comes under careful moderation again, but instead of just looking out for offensive or inappropriate content, you look at the context of what has been submitted and whether it’s for personal gain of the contributor. It’s worth adding in code so that any links submitted, automatically default to “no-follow.” Otherwise you’ll have people uploading content purely for a backlink to their own site. Also check the links they are submitting, where they are pointing to and if they are promoting, selling or advertising anything. You can build in a script that picks up certain keywords and blocks them from appearing or flags up certain comments. This can be a useful feature to easily filter through the genuine and the spam content.

 

3. You Need An Engaged Community To Continuously Generate New Content

It can take a while for a community to become engaged and known enough to submit content. Many companies rely on user generated content as part of their marketing strategy, yet don’t account for the initial time taken to gather loyal readers and contributors. With no users, there will be no user-submitted content. Simple, but true.

How To Avoid It

Get people to know the company and build a loyal following before requesting content. If those wanting to submit something stumble across your site and see it is under-developed, you have hardly any social media followers and no presence, they won’t see the worth in submitting anything. Build a solid base and learn what motivates people to want to submit content and get them excited about joining part of your community. Users want to have their work, ideas and submissions featured on an aesthetically pleasing site that has been well-designed and feels premium. Ensure plenty of thought has gone into the design process of the look of the site, as well as making the user journey to actually submit the content an easy one. People that find the process easy and rewarding will be likely to return and recommend it to others.

 

4. Copyright Infringement

With an in-house content creation team, submissions usually have to go through a process before they reach publication. They will be checked, assets confirmed as royalty-free and they will have a knowledge of what you can and what you can’t do. By allowing users to submit content you can be opening yourself to a myriad of copyright infringements on everything from duplicate content to image usage.

How To Avoid It

To avoid receiving a hefty copyright infringement lawsuit in your inbox, it’s important you put certain steps into place. With user generated content there are many questions about who is liable for third-party content if it turns out to be false, improper or harmful; unless you make it clear initially, the blame could fall on the website owner. Ensure you have a contract and guidelines in place that stipulates any content users submit is their own responsibility and they are liable should any issues arise. Make guidelines that states images should be royalty-free and available for re-use before they submit them.

 

5. Unverified Sources Can Damage Website Credibility

When users are free to submit whatever content they like, there is bound to be a fair amount of fake news. You can never really know who every person who submits something is, nor where they are getting their facts and statements from. Negative comments or sources can damage a brand, particularly when other users have no way of knowing if the contributor is trustworthy or not. After all, “If it’s on the internet, it must be true…”

How To Avoid It

Many sites have come across issues with this, with popular social media sites having many users create fake profiles of companies or celebrities. This can be very damaging to a brand and is why it is an idea to have verified users. Twitter and Instagram are known by the well-recognised blue tick which ensures other users know exactly who is posting content. Other sites such as Waze and TripAdvisor award badges to those who are loyal and regular contributors. Not only does this give an incentive to continually contribute, but other users (and moderators) know they are more trustworthy and less likely to post spam or malicious content that could damage the reputation of a site.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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6 Tips for Writing Content Regularly

Okay, you need three to five new ideas for articles, all on the same general topic. Go…

Now here’s where we separate the people who have to come up with regular content all the time from the people who don’t. The people who have things they want to write about but can never get around to it can probably start listing ideas off the top of their head. The people who have to do this for a living, or at least as a part of their job, just groaned in mock agony.

Generating new ideas regularly can be rough, whether you’re doing it for blog posts, social media posts, videos, memes, newsletters, art, or anything else you can imagine. Waiting for inspiration to strike is, for the most part, a sucker’s game. If you want that lightning, you’re going to have to make like a scientist and shoot off a few rockets, metaphorically speaking.

 

1. Make it Your Livelihood

Okay, this is the nuclear option. You probably shouldn’t start here. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about just how fast your brain can work when you don’t have a choice. When your rent is on the line, you’ve got a special kind of motivation to pump out ideas. You start to consider ideas you might have passed up as “too weird”, or “too boring” before.

Then you find a way to make those articles work. And you find new ways to come up with ideas. You find yourself doing some of your best—and sometimes worst—work in the middle of the night, because that’s when things finally clicked.

 

2. Dedicate Some Time to Idea Generation

Looking for new ideas is a mindset, not just something you do. Some people are in this state of mind at all times, every day. For those of us who aren’t Elon Musk, it takes a bit more scheduling.

Set aside some time to look for new ideas: Search the Internet; see what other people have been writing about; stop and ask yourself questions like, “What most interests me about my chosen theme, these days?”. Put yourself in an inquisitive, creative mindset.

Now, you may or may not come up with all of the ideas you need in one sitting. However, dedicating some time to getting your brain in gear can help you come up with new ideas throughout the next day or so. Then you just come back and write them down as soon as you can. Having a note taking app on your phone can help with this.

 

3. Write From the Heart

As a writer, as a reader, and occasionally as an editor, I prefer articles with passion in them. It’s far more entertaining to read articles by people who clearly feel strongly about their chosen topic. Sure, those strong feelings can lead to biased opinions, but I like it better when they actually have opinions. Writing, or vlogging, meme-ing, or whatever, about topics that get your brain moving at full speed is a good way to make great content.

That’s not to say that you can’t write about things that are less interesting to you, or that you don’t have a lot of experience with. If it’s your job, you might have to. This is where thorough research will save your rear end. But ideally, write what you know and love.

 

4. Follow the Trends From a Distance

Okay, trends can always give you something to write about. However, don’t just repeat what other people have said. Try to add something new to the conversation. Reference what others have to say on the subject, and add your own insights. Or come at the subject from a completely different angle.

Wait for other people to have the knee-jerk reactions, and write the hot takes. It’s probable that other people will always do this faster than you, so be patient. Take advantage of others’ immediate reactions and the extra time to build a more nuanced perspective on any given issue.

Of course, the Internet is a big place, and chances are good that you’ll end up saying something rather similar to what everyone else says. That’s kind of inevitable. But it’s worth trying to say something new.

 

5. Get Off the Internet Once in a While

Some of you best ideas hit you in the shower because that’s what happens when you give your brain a break. Your subconscious mind needs time to make connections, and it often works best when you’re doing other things that don’t require as much concentration. This is why career writers spend half their work day (and maybe longer, if they write fiction) pacing, staring out windows, and making coffee.

Also, talk to people. I know I’ve mentioned this before in other recent articles of mine, but… just talk to them. Whether you’re getting ideas from your conversation with them, or using them as a sounding board, never underestimate the value of a good conversation partner.

 

6. Never Stop Learning

The more you know, the more you’ll have to say. Learning new things, whether in your industry and chosen writing theme or not, will give you more to talk about. It will broaden your perspective by introducing you to new ways of thinking. As in, learning new things literally changes the way your brain works a little bit, which can lead to new ideas.

Plus, if you can draw parallels between what you’ve learned and the topic you write about, there’s an article idea right there. I mean, I managed to compare cat behavior to principles of UX design not so long ago. There are good ideas out there. Just go looking.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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Restrict Content and Set Limits for Kids With Screen Time on Mac

What was once known as Parental Controls on Mac is now part of the new Screen Time feature. With the macOS Catalina update, Apple brought its mobile Screen Time tools to your desktop, making it easy to manage app limits, restrict content, and monitor screen time.

So if you’ve recently updated to macOS Catalina and need some help setting up Screen Time for your child, we’re here to walk you through with a how-to and explanation of its functionality.

Enable Screen Time for Your Child

When you open Screen Time for the first time on your Mac, you’ll need to enable it for your child’s account.

If you use Apple’s Family Sharing, you can turn on Screen Time with our own Mac credentials. Those who don’t utilize Family Sharing will need to log into the child’s account instead. Then, just follow these steps to enable the feature:

  1. Open System Preferences with the icon your Dock or by visiting Apple menu > System Preferences on the menu bar.
  2. Select Screen Time. (You’ll notice that the Parental Controls option no longer exists on Catalina and newer.)
  3. If you use Family Sharing, just choose your child’s username from the dropdown box at the top-left.
  4. Click Turn On.

Enable Screen Time on Mac

There are two settings on the main Options screen labeled Include Website Data and Use Screen Time Passcode. For a young child, you’ll likely want to enable both. If you choose to include the website data, the utility will report details about specific websites visited, rather than just overall Safari usage.

Using a Screen Time passcode restricts anyone from making changes to the Screen Time settings unless they have the passcode. When you mark the checkbox, you’ll be asked to enter and then confirm a four-digit Screen Time passcode.

Note that if you use a Screen Time passcode for your child on iOS, the passcode will be the same here. So if you change it on your Mac, the change will apply to iOS and vice versa.

Screen Time Options on Mac

Set Up Screen Time Limits and Restrictions

It’s best to start from the top and work your way through each option within Screen Time. You’ll notice that some of the Screen Time features are quite similar to those you used with the classic Parental Controls on your Mac


5 Useful Ways to Utilize Your Mac’s Parental Controls




5 Useful Ways to Utilize Your Mac’s Parental Controls

Even if you aren’t a parent, the Parental Controls menu in your Mac holds several handy options. Here’s how to use them and the best ones to try.
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Downtime

If you use Screen Time for your child on their iOS device, those settings will carry over to Mac. But if Screen Time is completely new to you, scheduling downtime is a great way to limit your child’s device usage during certain hours. You can restrict them to essential specific apps and activities, like phone calls.

To set it up:

  1. Click the Turn On button to enable Downtime.
  2. Set a time frame for the downtime using either Every Day or Custom. Selecting Custom lets you fine-tune each day. You could allow more time on weekends, for example.
  3. If you set up a Screen Time passcode, you’ll see another option for Block At Downtime. As you can see from the description, this will block your child from using their device during Downtime.

Screen Time Downtime on Mac

Remember that these Downtime settings will apply to all devices where your child signs in with their iCloud account.

App Limits

The App Limits section is one you’ll likely want to spend a little time setting up. This allows you to create limits for the apps your child can use, including the days and times they can use them, and for how long.

Plus, you can limit app categories or specific apps within a category. So you have a good amount of flexibility. To get started:

  1. Click the plus sign button to add an app limit.
  2. Mark the boxes next to the categories that you want to include. Alternatively, you can click the arrow to expand a category and pick certain apps within it.
  3. Once you select the apps, set the time limit at the bottom. Like with Downtime, you can pick Every Day or Custom. Enter the number of hours and minutes you want to allow your child to use these apps.
  4. Click Done when you finish.

Screen Time App Limits on Mac

If you want to change the limits you set up for your child (whether the apps or the times), select a limit in the list and click the Edit Limit button. To remove a limit, select it from the list and click the minus sign button.

Always Allowed

This Screen Time section lets you allow your child to use specific apps all the time. This is the spot where you can select apps like FaceTime or Messages for your child to use during their scheduled Downtime, or if you selected All Apps & Categories in the App Limits section.

Screen Time Always Allowed on Mac

Content & Privacy

The Content & Privacy section of Screen Time is where you can restrict websites, choose allowed ratings for movies and TV shows, limit purchases or downloads, and more.

You’ll work with four areas in Content & Privacy: Content, Stores, Apps, and Other.

Content

At the top of the Content section, you can choose to allow access to any website, limit adult sites, or allow only specific websites.

If you decide to restrict websites (either Limit Adult Websites or Allowed Websites Only), you’ll see a Customize button appear. Click this, then use the plus and minus sign buttons in these sections to add and remove websites. To edit a site that you’ve added, select it and click the gear button.

Once you finish with the settings for Web Content, mark those items under Allow that you want your child to have access to.

Screen Time Content on Mac

Stores

For movies, TV shows, apps, books, podcasts, and other similar types of media, head to the Store section. Your country or region should be set by default, but if it’s not, choose it in the Ratings for dropdown box.

You can then select the ratings and ages you want to allow for movies, shows, and apps for your child, as well as explicit books or other content. Below that, mark the boxes for actions you want to allow on iOS, if they have an iPhone or iPad. This lets you decide if your child can install and delete apps and make in-app purchases.

Under Require Password, mark whether your child should always have to enter the password for store purchases, or only after 15 minutes of a purchase.

Screen Time Stores on Mac

Apps and Other

The last two areas in Content & Privacy let you pick additional items you want to allow for your child. From Camera, Mail, and Safari on the Apps tab to passcode, account, and cellular data changes on the Other tab, just mark the items you want to allow.

Screen Time Apps and Other on Mac

Changing the Screen Time Options

If you ever want to remove or change the Screen Time passcode, stop including website data, or simply turn off Screen Time for your child, click the Options button at the bottom-left of the Screen Time window.

Screen Time Reports

To monitor App Usage, Notifications, and Pickups for your child, you have these three handy reporting sections in the Screen Time section.

This lets you see data like how long your child used a certain app, or what notifications they received and from which apps. You can also view how many times they picked up their device, and which app they accessed first after doing so.

You can view each report by time period, app, app category, website, or device. So you can not only monitor your child’s activity on your Mac, but on their iOS device as well.

Screen Time Reports on Mac

Use Screen Time for Parental Controls

The Screen Time feature on Mac gives you great options and flexibility for keeping your child safer in the digital world along with limiting their screen time. Plus, you can monitor your child’s mobile devices along with their Mac activities, all in one convenient spot.

If you’re interested in using Screen Time for yourself as well as your child, take a look at how the Screen Time feature can help curb your phone addiction


iOS 12’s Screen Time Feature Will Curb Your Phone Addiction




iOS 12’s Screen Time Feature Will Curb Your Phone Addiction

Do you use your iPhone too much? The new Screen Time feature in iOS 12 can help you cut back on your phone addiction.
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Image Credit: AndrewLozovyi/Depositphotos



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Disney+ Content, Revive Your Mac, Conspiracy Websites, Amazon Price Trackers

It’s time for your weekly dose of tech news made easy with the Really Useful Podcast, the tech podcast for technophobes. This time, Disney+ content announced, how to revive your Mac, top conspiracy websites, and Amazon Price Trackers ahead of Black Friday.

Join Christian Cawley and Ben Stegner as they guide you through the latest news, tips, and tricks to help you enjoy life with tech, rather than be frustrated by it.

Really Useful Podcast Season 4 Episode 8 Shownotes

This week:

Your can help us reach people by subscribing, reviewing, and sharing the Really Useful Podcast via email and social media. We’re available anywhere you can listen to podcasts, including:

Come back next week for another Really Useful Podcast!



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You Can Now Download Most Hulu Content on iOS, Soon on Android – Review Geek

Hulu Downloads section
Hulu

Watching Hulu content while on the go with mobile device just got a whole lot easier. The streaming company has finally implemented a long-requested feature that allows mobile users to download videos and view them while being offline.

The feature has been widely requested, not least because similar functionality is already available on many rival streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Starting this week, Apple iOS customers who watch videos through the Hulu app should see a new “Downloads” tab at the bottom of the screen where content can be saved for later when you don’t have an active Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

It’s reported that users will be able to download as many as 25 titles on up to five different devices. Those downloads are available for 30 days and although they expire two days after you begin playing the content, you can renew an expired download when you reconnect to Hulu’s servers. Hulu says “the majority” of its library will be available for download, which means you might still find some of the catalog that’s limited to streaming. Beyond simply storing your downloaded content, the Downloads section may also aid with content discovery courtesy of a new “See What’s Downloadable” listing.

Hulu Downloads section
Hulu

Although the initial rollout for Hulu’s Download section is limited to Apple iOS products, the streaming company is working toward releasing the update on Android devices as well. As for when Android users can expect that update, Hulu says it will be soon but hasn’t announced any release dates.

Source: Android Police, Variety





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