How Individual Influencers Have Managed to Make a Living from Instagram


Over the course of the last few years, social media platforms have drastically changed how companies can market their product or service. However, it is not just businesses that have learned how to target users and to create a community that manages to pay the bills. The rise of the influencer has created a new set of opportunities and headaches for those navigating the social media platform. From simply a way to share photos with family and friends, it is now possible to make a living from engaging with followers and working with brands.

Much of this has to do with the fact that the platform itself has gone through a number of changes within the past few years. After being acquired by Facebook in 2012, the platform has transformed into a way to make documenting your lifestyle a full-time job. Advertising is now available as an option for individual creators as well as businesses, and you don’t have to have a social media manager in order to develop a following that attracts the attention of brands who want to partner together.

This began when brands began to reach out to celebrities who already had a decent following because of their public status. These figures could be paid for promoting a certain product or service, and companies would hope that a celebrity endorsement would be enough to direct buyers to their site. Over time, celebrities were not the only people who were contacted for these partnerships, and those with a large following could also make money while promoting a brand. It also extended to those who had built a following on their own, either from exceptional photography, or personality-driven posts.

The rise of the Instagram influencer has made the switch from publications and companies controlling the content that people see to individuals having more “influence” than traditional media. While a company might have the same amount of followers, there is no guarantee that they will be able to sell a product more effectively than an individual, who might have more of a personal connection with their followers. While various companies might work with individuals with a specific amount of people following their account, or they might choose influencers who have a type of audience that targets their product or service.

Some influencers have even managed to make a living from working with companies on campaigns. Lifestyle, travel, and fitness influencers can charge businesses to promote products on their channels, and it is not uncommon to see sponsored posts coming from the most successful influencers. Because it is such a new industry, there are not always clear guidelines on how much influencers can make from posts, but it is suggested that influencers with a following of over 150k might make as much as $2000 a post. This also depends if they have agreed include products within their stories or IGTV accounts, as well.

Inevitably, this has led to companies and individuals looking to see how they can promote themselves better on Instagram. They might choose to purchase third-party applications in order to better manage posts or to analyze analytics. Some have even chosen to buy Instagram followers as a way capitalize on this new market. Even by appearing as though a company or influencer might have a large audience, they can attract new people by looking as though they already have a solid following. While this has been debated by the social media site if it should be allowed or not, brands and influencers are finding it hard to compete without being able to use some additional tools.

An Instagram following as led several people to move beyond the platform, and it is not uncommon to see these individuals create blogs, videos, obtain book deals, or even move into true celebrity simply by personality. This has been the case for figures such as Cardi B, who now makes a living touring as a rapper. While it is a very small segment of people who manage to rise above the platform into actual fame, the possibility does exist. This has not only added to the number of people who have joined Instagram, but also those who are looking to use it as a way to create income.

This has made the platform even more crowded for potential want-to-be influencers, who are finding it more difficult than ever to compete with established brands. This is only likely to become more of a challenge in the future as more accounts start to succeed and there is a smaller piece of the Instagram pie to take part of. Nonetheless, Instagram has established a new norm of curated content that directly addresses customers and allows for engagement in a way that other platforms do not.

Building Relationships in the Technological Age


Relationships are a crucial part of our lives. People who are socially connected with family, friends and community live happy, healthy and long lives. Relationships include intimate relationships between the partners, parent-child and sibling relationships, and bonds forged between friends, colleagues and larger community. Human beings crave for intimacy and feel the need to love and be loved.

Life has changed dramatically in the past few decades. The world has become inter-connected and integrated due to the wide-spread use of mobiles, email and social media platforms. It is easier to connect with people from far and wide. Paradoxically, it has become difficult to enter into and sustain serious relationships as connecting digitally is not the same as being together in the real world. Emojis cannot replace an actual person who can help during the darkest hour and be a constant companion amid the upheavals of life. Personal relationships are essential for a long life as research suggests that people with strong social relationships are less prone to die prematurely. Similarly, commitment to a partner adds years to life. Strong relationships are a major determinant to good health.

How Technology is Transforming Relationships

Technology is redefining the meaning of relationships. It has changed the way in which we interact with others. Social media apps such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Skype facilitate connection and communication within a matter of seconds. This has opened the possibility of meeting new people, exchanging experiences on a daily basis and sharing things from our lives. We go to the extent of sharing intimate details of our lives online, blurring the boundaries between the private and public. Technology has enabled people who never met earlier to call themselves friends, rendering the distinction between connections, acquaintances and real friends nebulous. We have entered into a new era that has re-written the rules and practices that have guided the birth and sustenance of relationships down the ages.

Online Encounters

Internet dating and match-making websites have become a huge success in the recent past, especially among the 25-plus age group. These websites provide a platform to meet the right people and socialize in busy modern-day society from the comforts of the home and office environs. It needs emphasis that relationships would not mature into marriage until they transcend the virtual world into the real, and there are websites for cheap wedding dresses that would actualize the adage that marriages are made in heaven.

Abbreviated Word

Computers and social media have become a standard tool of communication. Abbreviations such as LOL and ROFL may express our delight and appreciation, but are no substitute for actually seeing people laugh and lift our spirits when we are low. Making things worse, such abbreviations have infiltrated into the offline world as people can have entire text conversations that look like a foreign language to the uninitiated. This has become a modern-day poem of sorts and is here to stay.

Death of Good Old Conversations

We do not talk with our loved ones anymore. Even if there is an interaction, it is limited to a quick text message rather than a heart-to-heart conversation over the phone. On the other hand, we spend a great deal of time putting social status updates to superficial followers. The ubiquitous presence and convenience of mobile phones create the illusion of being available at the touch of a button and this, in turn, imposes an immense pressure to be so.

Transition to the Impersonal

The most deplorable aspect of modern relationships is the manner in which we chat with the significant other. It is one thing to send a quick text message at work to check about the day and remind of an impending appointment, but texting a partner when they are just across the room seems to indicate that there is something amiss in the relationship.

Using Technology to Build Relationships


Many deride Facebook as a distraction and blame it for snatching time away from valuable connections. But a Facebook message can also affirm others, make them feel better and bolster relationships as was done by handwritten notes in yester years.

Video Recording

Video recording is probably among the best ways of reaching out to others. Youtube and other services can send a personalized video greeting and connect with people in a humane manner. Video is a natural means of communication as people can watch the facial expressions, hear the voice inflections and view the surroundings. Being creative in connecting with people is the route to building strong and enduring relationships.

Video Conferencing

Believe it or not, videoconferencing tools such as Google Hangouts and Zoom can provide a boost to relationships. Video conferencing can help to connect with people in a frequent and cost-effective manner.

Smart Photography

Today’s smart phone technology has made photography a breeze and an awesome endeavor. Creative ways to capturing important people in one’s life through photos can add value to others and zest to moribund relationships.

To conclude, technology is an amazing tool that has shrunk the world and brought us closer together. Technology should not be used to push us apart and tide over the uncomfortable fact of face-to-face confrontation as the internet and other electronic media transmit emotions poorly. Technology should, rather, build relationships and herald much-need transparency in communication. Supplementing tech-driven interactions with an in-person approach can shape and bolster relationships in the technological world of today.


Through the Lens: How Celebrity Photographer David Molnar Scaled Explosive Growth

David Molnar – Your Photography Mentor

A picture can express a myriad of emotions and moments, playing host to vivid imaginations and capturing memories. With photos featured across the New York Times, People magazine, American Idol and millions of Pepsi cans, celebrity photographer David Molnar has brought to life a string of popular brands that we see today. Albeit the success story, a glimpse into his journey to clinching success will narrate a different take on life. At just about 19, Molnar was involved in a terrible accident which forced him to undergo several reconstructive knee surgeries, nearly bringing most of his career plans to halt. Despite the odds, he took this to be an opportunity and channeled his energy into building an ultra-successful business and one of the fastest-growing platforms online. He found very early success by realizing his life’s calling, persevering to build a company that is now mentoring over 80,000 students in photography – right from understanding camera aperture, to shooting natural light portraits – helping them realize their goals.

David started out with plans of becoming a pilot, while continuing his love for sports. He enjoyed surfing, and was taking up wrestling. He decided to leverage his exceptional progress in wrestling to get a scholarship for college, eventually using his college degree when trying to earn his pilot’s license. Ambitious and career-driven, David wanted to push his boundaries and explore the many opportunities outside of the idyllic town where he grew up. However, his plans came to a halt after the tragic car accident. The accident left him shattered, particularly because he had pinned his hopes on building a successful sporting career. At a time when David was performing extremely well in the wrestling arena, the accident left him physically and mentally shaken.

Over time, David’s attempts at rebuilding his life and piecing together his goals paid off. Although devastated, he knew that he had to prod himself to move on and forge his path. Not knowing what to kickstart next, he took up volunteering projects with a non-profit organization. The experience there really helped his perception, and he was encouraged to use his photography skills to build his career. Through a mutual friend, he was able to connect with Tammy, his now-wife, who helped him score a gig to photograph one of his favorite bands. This launched one of his first projects with the camera, and he was smitten. Photography was more than a passion to him, and he was soon driven to make it his career.

David spent over two years working as an assistant to other photographers. He hustled. One project led to another, and his sheer hard work opened up ample opportunities for him in other areas of photography. David scored gigs in the entertainment industry, eventually becoming a full-time photographer. The going wasn’t an easy road. David had to reach out to multiple contacts across Nashville, until one of them reached out to him and checked if he could turn up right then for a gig. He grabbed the opportunity and didn’t look back. He spent years honing his skills and learning from the experiences he gained, soaking up as much knowledge as he could.

His career as a photographer took him places, and after spending over a decade as a wedding photographer, he decided to switch directions and find a more scalable way to get work done. Despite the hiccups that came his way, David did not shy away from taking up the various challenges. He had planned to write a book for around two years, but once it was out in the bookshelves, it was one of the biggest factors that spurred him to chase his other dreams. David decided to re-prioritize his projects and spend more time with his family, focusing on work that he was passionate about. His plan was to automate his business activities, and transition to curating educational content, tutorials, online courses, and building an audience for his book. The business took off extraordinarily well, and his initial audience base more than doubled – from around 500 subscribers, it touched over 13,000.

The biggest takeaway? He picked up a lot of learning on the way, and stayed committed to what he wanted to achieve. David began by reading a lot on running the business, and provided his subscribers with free and extremely useful resources they could tap into. Although his distribution base doubled overnight, he stayed committed to meeting his deadlines. Oftentimes, it’s easier to hold back and not provide free and useful services, but what one misses is the scope for building a new relationship. To amplify your business, this is crucial. David didn’t stop at just one model – he tried to find more ways to bring value to his services, and it worked exceptionally well, helping his business achieve robust growth.

Environment Friendly Travel – The New Trendsetter

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At a time in the world when the cumulating effects of man’s actions on the environment can be felt directly and explicitly, climate change is an issue that needs to be tackled now more than ever. From rivers being replaced by plastic waste instead of water in Indonesia to a 19-mile long crack appearing in the glaciers of Antarctica to the biggest wildfire California has ever seen, man’s actions have had disastrous consequences on the ecosystem of the world, and tourism has much to do with it. Travelling has a great impact on the carbon footprint produced by individuals – aeroplanes emit harmful greenhouse gases and carbon particulates, hotels around the world utilise gallons of water to do laundry, tourists at vacation spots buy and use more plastic in the form of single-use water bottles and food packets.

In light of its environmental impact, there has been a recent trend among many travellers to be more responsible in their travelling choices and make environmentally conscious decisions while vacationing around the world. A survey by TripAdvisor shows that nearly two-thirds of travellers today want to want to make more eco-friendly choices in terms of booking hotels, modes of transport and even their meals. Many tourist locations have even started to shift their priority from mass tourism to valuing local cultures. Jon Bruno, the executive director of the International Ecotourism Society says, “Sustainable travel is all about creating a positive effect on the communities you visit”. Eco-friendly travel thus entails merely leaving a place better than it was found.

Travelling ethically and sustainably is not as difficult as it might seem – from small actions like turning off the lights while leaving the hotel room, to reusing hotel towels, to using greener modes of transport, there are multiple ways to lessen the impact on the environment and local communities while travelling. The simplest step that can be taken to ensure an eco-friendly vacation is to choose a green travel destination. The Global Green Economy Index by the consulting firm Dual Citizen found that the greenest destinations for 2018 were Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Finland. However, more than a country’s ranking, while researching vacation spots it is more important to pay attention to how a destination embraces the green lifestyle – is there a strong public transportation system? Do they encourage farmers markets and local produce? Are there walkable neighbourhoods?

The next thing to keep in mind for a sustainable travelling experience is to choose environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Trains are the most sustainable way of travelling, and so are buses. Instead of using car rentals, taking public modes of travel reduces the carbon footprint left behind by groups of travellers. If renting a car is inevitable, opting for electric powered vehicles over traditional diesel or petrol engine cars can dramatically cut down the greenhouse gases produced. While at the destination, perhaps the most conscious choice that can be made is to ditch traditional hotels and resorts in favour of Airbnb, eco-lodges or even staying with locals in the area in homestays. Surveys have found that Airbnb and homestays consume much less energy and water, produce less waste and emit fewer greenhouse gases when compared to chain hotels. Further, staying with locals can allow for exchange of valuable cultural information in addition to directly contributing to the local economy and giving the traveller a more authentic experience.

An important thing to be kept in mind while vacationing is the ethical considerations of animal tourism. Being a responsible traveller entails researching into the treatment of animals in the tourist spots that one visits – more often than not, the demand for animal tourism in tourist countries leads to mistreatment of the indigenous animals. This can be seen in the various vacation pictures posted by people beside drugged up tigers or taking safari rides on the backs of elephants. Interaction with animals can be done in a safe and ethical way through animal rescue and rehabilitation centres where one can be assured that the animals are being treated with the love and respect they deserve.

While travelling, keep in mind to minimise the waste left behind – this involves not only generating less waste while on vacation but also trying to clean up the waste generated by others and encouraging others to be more responsible. The sight of beaches strewn with plastic bottles, chip packets, candy wrappers, empty sunscreen tubes and disposable utensils has become a sight common to many travel destinations. Some ways to tackle this problem include – travellers should try to use reusable bottles, bring their own toiletries, practice recycling, and opt for reusable stainless steel straws instead of plastic ones.

Travelling ethically and in an eco-friendly manner doesn’t have to be a huge task that requires major sacrifices. Incorporating a few of such simple changes into travel plans can lead to a positive impact on the environment of the travel destinations and of the world in the long run, in addition to providing unique experiences that conventional, luxury travel cannot.

Successful business in this modern era starts with sound morality


The modern business market is vastly different from the one that existed fifty years ago. We have evolved and shifted through countless eras and innovations to get to where we are today. The present-day business model centres around a healthy workplace environment, a positive team experience, and a passionate employee mindset. And at the heart of it all, successful business in this modern era begins and ends with sound and consistent morality and it doesn’t hurt to have great IT support. Without a persistent drive towards morality, there is nothing. We are more inherently focused than ever on maintaining a happy, healthy quality of life and overall lifestyle, and seeing as we spend (on average) a third of the working week at our jobs, it makes perfect sense that there is more of a drive towards maintaining morally sound, overall positive environments in a business workplace. It is entirely fair that employees want to be treated with dignity and respect, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect all modern businesses to not only comply with this ideal, but to constantly strive to ensure that it is met with the utmost dedication and effort.

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss is someone who stands at the forefront of a ship while their employees tirelessly work to steer the ship in the right direction. A leader, on the other hand, is someone who is amid the chaos, working with their team to bring the ship to the safety of the shore. While a boss steps back and allows his employees do all the hard work, often (if not always) taking credit for the results of that hard work, a leader makes his team stand with him, and even pushes them to the front when the crowd cheers wildly for their efforts. Any good employer aims to be a leader, but only the hardworking, truly great ones effectively become one. We exist in a modern society that, above all else, values the values of teamwork, respect, and positivity, and no modern business can hope to thrive without these ideals and a leader driving the business forward, onward, and upward into new elevations of exceeding success.

The key to creating a business that prospective employees want to be a part of is ensuring that the workplace functions in a healthy way. It is all well and good to say that your company can provide candidates with a great environment to work in and a positive team, but words are just words without action. When your employees are happy, they do their best work. the same can (and should) be said for circumstances where employees are, for whatever reason, unhappy. To get the most out of any business’ employees, and to ensure that the company thrives at its highest possible frequency, the most important thing is maintaining that healthy, positive business model. The core of the business should resonate with the most positive employee experiences. That is how businesses get reputations as highly sought after companies, that is all there is to it. Well, that and a lot of hard work and determination.

When it comes to running a successful business in this day and age, everything starts with sound morality. A leader operates with morality in the back of his mind because it comes naturally and effortlessly. A leader understands that to attract – and keep – the top talent in this modern marketplace, their business must create a sense of imminent drive and whole purpose. There must be a sound reason and a just cause for employees to want to choose to work – and stay – with the business. Anything less and the business is not likely to last very long, not in this modern era. Present-day society demands that any business in operation today can maintain all these positive values, even when the going gets tough (because it will…no path to success is ever a completely smooth one). When it comes down to it, nothing worth having comes easily, and when it does there is probably a bump waiting around the corner.

The world of modern business has successfully made it through countless eras and innovations to get to where it is today. The present-day world of business focuses on the health and quality of life of all employees and business owners. While one owns the company and the others work for it, there should not be a differing level of respect held dependent on which post an individual holds. These days, prospective employees expect and pull favour towards businesses that can and will adequately meet their expectations. Their expectations centre around working in a healthy, positive business environment while feeling driven, challenged, and impassioned by their work. Businesses that are thriving are doing so because they are not stupid – these are the businesses that have recognised the traits of a workplace that matter to candidates and prospective employees entering the workforce. Luckily, they are (most of the time) more than willing and able to comply.

Fashion industry finally becoming body-inclusive


The fashion industry has an unfortunate reputation for being exclusive in ways that are not always overwhelmingly positive. Over time, there have been multiple instances where the fashion industry has come under fire for its current trends or decisions. Some previous missteps include the fur era, casting strictly Caucasian, tall, and tiny models in all shows, and recently the evolution of leather becoming a less desirable material. But the most recent and perhaps even most important evolution in the fashion world has been the fact that the so-called plus size market has been grossly marginalised and underrepresented by most fashion brands. It has taken a while, but the fashion world is finally becoming more wholly inclusive. Further, consumers are taking notice and driving their business towards brands that have a focus on accepting and catering to individuals of all sizes.

It is about time that fashion recognised that they need to be aware and supportive of individuals that are different to their traditionally-held (ridiculous) standards. Anything else in this day and age is irresponsible and, more to the point, should not be acceptable. It is time that the industry realises that their “one size fits all” mentality is not healthy or realistic in this modern era. While the fashion world has been busy parading their latest looks on runways during fashion weeks and peak seasons, a significantly large percentage of consumers have been left feeling lost at sea and excluded from the excitement. Fashion should be about fun, complete inclusivity, and being bold. The traditional fashion industry depicts none of these ideals, but the modern mentalities arising as new generations begin to become the fashion industry’s target demographic are [finally] beginning to take hold.

The “plus size” mentality that has historically run deep in the fashion world is damaging not only to the hard-working models who have been taught and shown time and again that their body type is “too much” for traditional fashion, but also the young consumers buying these fashions and the brands making and selling them. The average woman in the United States is a size 14 to 16. When such a large percentage of the target demographic fits into the same size that is being campaigned so heavily as “plus size”, the term plus size does not make sense. In short, these sizes are just the same as all the others – sizes. Nothing more, nothing less. Brands have begun to either stock all sizes in the same fashions, doing away with “plus size” ranges altogether, or marketing the fashions differently (and, frankly, less offensively).

The shift in the attitude in the fashion industry towards larger sizes has been promising (to say the least) but there is still a long way to go. It seems that every time the fire dampens around the explosive conversation of larger sizes and models being used in fashion branding, the war ignites again. Even when the issue is put to bed, there is unrest surrounding the morality of it all. fortunately, more and more big name brands are leading the charge to eliminating the stigma surrounding larger sizes in fashion, but even so, there is a tidal wave of change necessary before the change is lasting. There are still some high end, globally recognisable brands that have yet to embrace the inclusion of plus-size models, as well as transgender models.

Victoria’s Secret is one of those companies. A titan of industry in the lingerie world, Victoria’s Secret is a fashion house that has built its empire by having only the most traditionally beautiful women walk. These women also happen to be tall and quite slim. This attitude and conscious decision on behalf of the brand has created an exclusive brand that, more and more often, buyers are becoming uncomfortable with. Certain fashions should not be exclusively available to certain sized individuals, and every shape and size of the human body should be celebrated – especially in high fashion. The fashion industry is one that has been through countless evolutions in its time. One of the oldest industries in the world, the fashion sector has had its fair share of ups and downs.

Having to fight tooth and nail to overcome the pitfalls caused by its own internal errors, the fashion world has been a consistently prominent industry around the world. the most recent (and perhaps the most disturbing) blunder has come as multiple fashion houses have refused to modernise and cater to individuals who wear larger sizes. We are thankfully seeing the beginnings of a tide that is shifting towards positive resolution, but there is still a long way to go. While some fashion houses are too emboldened in their own ways and thus will likely never change, the majority that are ready and willing to change are the ones who are becoming more popular among modern consumers. One size does not fit all, and it is about time that the fashion sector realised this and took conscious steps to include fashions of all sizes.

The New World and a New Sense of Legality: Crime and Punishment at the Workplace and Beyond


Order is born out of chaos but not through natural ways or means. In other words, there has to be a systematic attempt at defining rules and implementing judgments with precision for such order to be materialize. Although philosophically speaking, there is always the element of criticism and objection against such authority construction and keeping, it is also an observable fact that order brings long-term success and stability. Law in this sense is an instrument of professional design and inarguably effective application that binds social mechanisms and constructs with the members and institutions of society. Therefore, laws are fundamentally important building blocks of modern day societies and their diverse categorization and fields of specialization are equally important to understand in the pursuit of adhering to modernity and its legal expectations. Many people consider lawyers to be professionals who can handle legal issues of all types with ease for every citizen in a society. However, the truth of the matter is that specialization matters. Therefore, understanding law and its categorization are becoming more important for all modern day citizens who find themselves in various types of legal trouble, while the media involvement in the issue is nothing short of promising. As more journalists and researchers pay attention to new laws, emergent legal complications and paradoxes or simply investigate into specific cases of interest, the regular Joe becomes far more interested in and enlightened about legal issues, decreasing the chances of violations and breaches while increasing social good and benefits.

One of the most important aspects of modern day law that directly concerns regular people is employment law as everybody has a job or business and nobody wishes to be cheated out of their rights. Gabriel Winant for The Guardian reports on the dangers at the American workplace for American laborers to point out that the Trump administration’s approach to labor politics and laws might have catastrophic effects on the wellbeing of American workers. The author initially refers to the case of Alphonse Maddin, a truck driver in the US who had a ridiculously amateurish incident on his way to a destination in Illinois during the winter of 2009, which led to a court case between Maddin and his employer firm, TransAm. Upon a technical malfunction related to the truck’s brakes and heating system, Maddin failed to deliver his goods on time and was fired due to his incompetence and incapability to carry out his duties. He counter-sued, claiming that he eventually delivered the respective goods, but lost the case because Donald Trump’s appointed supreme court judge Neil Gorsuch denied his appeal, on the grounds that the relevant statute in the constitution “only protects workers who refuse to operate equipment out of safety concerns” and therefore “by unhitching the trailer and driving the cab away, Maddin hadn’t refused to operate the equipment, but had rather hijacked it for his own purposes.”

The implications of such a decision are vast for the common American worker today, as in 2016 only, 5,190 workers died during their duties while “another 50,000 to 60,000 die annually of occupational diseases, and nearly 4 million experienced[s] work-related injuries or illnesses.” This latter figure, according to the report, is a drastic underestimate, with the real figure likely between 7.4 million and 11.1 million injuries and illnesses per year. In other words, when and if the newly appointed judges and their judiciary turn their backs on such workers who are already experiencing significant discrimination at their workplaces, the issues of social justice and equality will be significantly impeded. The Trump administration’s inclination to side with the rich and the powerful in the country has been observed by millions of people but regarding issues of such crucial significance for the under-represented majority, such inclinations might deal a lot more harm than other ordinary cases. Winant concludes her remarks by stating that the Trump administration has been nothing short of a disgrace for representing the rights of the commoners in America, whether it be regarding employment, healthcare or education, and underlines the fact that a significant civil reaction and opposition is necessary to make tables turn before serious harm is dealt to the American public. In such instances, it is important to invest in a no fault workers comp system to deal with workers compensations and injuries sustained while on the job.

Conservatives are people who are likely to have fixations with crime and its association with minorities but even in the most conservative and developed societies such as England, where the establishment is conservative and quite strong crime rates are on the rise with no indication of a correlation between migration and such a new crime wave. Chris Hemmings for the BBC network reports on the alarmingly rising rates of burglary in the urban areas of the country with an observable drop in the criminal charges associated with such violations. The author specifically refers to a 6% rise in “burglary reports in England and Wales” in conjunction with a decrease of 33% for “the number of criminal charges faced by [their] offenders.” The report is dated 2017, when actual numbers of such incidents rose to 325,901 while the number of charges decreased to 22,378 with the UK government citing the police resources as a priority and a reason. Hemmings takes a liberal approach to emphasize that the UK police is trying to induce personal and local responsibility among the citizens to pay more attention to safety measures and directly contact the authorities when and if need be. The article also provides a link to a centralized information network operated by the Scotland Yard, which aims at providing useful contact information for those in danger as well as those dealing with the aftermaths of a burglary or break-in. The author then refers to the story of Colin Bennet, whose home was robbed by two men in West Midlands in 2016, when he lost significant sums of cash along with his late wife’s wedding rings. The local police force investigated into the issue seriously but it was too late to find or recover the money or the possessions and therefore the investigation yielded no significant results, except for a couple of leads. Hemmings associates such incapability with the fact that the police force was cut continuously shorter in its funding by the respective authorities in the last 8 years, with a significant 20% drop, resulting in 20,000 fewer officers. Similarly, the article takes note of how the West Midlands Police could only achieve resolving 5.8% of such cases in 2017, showing how incapable they have become over these years. Hemmings’ argument therefore gains a critical and acquisitive turn at this point, with the author directly targeting the financial policies of the British government as the most obvious reason for the trouble. With minimal financial incentives or capabilities, the British police seems to be backing down on its intentions of catching burglars, punishing them and returning the stolen properties, which might very well turn into a more significant issue in the years to come.

Another issue of critical concern for billions of people, mainly women of all ages, in today’s world is sexual assault at the workplace as its legal definition and recognition are both still problems. The harassing behaviors of certain bosses and employees in today’s business world are becoming close-to-impossible for billions of female workers in the world and several developed societies have already taken significantly bold steps to identify and punish such violators. Emily Peck for The Huffington Post reports on the unfortunate reality of legal silencing for such cases and complaints that is still a serious issue in the American society and business world alike. According to her article, “of all the tactics companies use to silence women who speak up about sexual harassment, the way corporate lawyers question victims in depositions may be the most brutal” and that defense lawyers are paying significant attention to confronting such issues and investigating into “every aspect of their [violators’] sexual histories, medical records and traumas from childhood.” Peck refers to a specific case involving a woman Enilolobo Malika Oyo, “a vice president in investment banking at ANZ’s New York office in 2013 and 2014” who “sued the bank in federal court in 2016 for sexual and racial discrimination,” seeking millions of dollars for psychological and legal compensation. ANZ Bank seems to be on the same page with Ms. Oyo but is seeking a way out of the mess without experiencing too much legal trouble. The incident dates back to 25 years ago when Oyo was a freshman at a New York college and was doing an internship at the bank. Currently, the investigation is continuing with a focus on Oyo’s psychological background along with the medication she was taking to ensure that she remembers and reflects on everything correctly. The definition of sexual assault is also much debated and therefore the legal team working on the issue also is trying to make sure that the mentioned incident does indeed satisfy the legal requirements in terms of definition. As the legal battle continues, the media has also taken significant interest in the issue, considering the African-American background of Oyo, taking the woman’s side against possible interventions and influences to come from the racist sects of the New York society. The bank is officially interested in the case and does not seem to wish to cover up the story, meanwhile trying to maintain its positive image in the eyes of its employees and the public alike. With a possible outcome of an out-of-court settlement, the case is still on-going and attracting significant public and media interest. The relevance of the case however is more important than ever in the changing and progressing American society: how women, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, are standing up against sexual harassment at the workplace and how the legal system is fine-tuning itself to ensure just trials and jurisdiction. As the legal system continues to evolve and renovate itself, there will be further cases and hopefully the justified cases will make examples for future ones as point of reference to ensure that incidents like this do not repeat themselves in the future for a better American workplace and a society.

The security of US inmates in the system and after their release is at breaking point


It should come as no surprise that there is nearly nothing (if nothing) more frightening than finding out you are going to prison. No matter the inmate, no matter the circumstances, there is nearly always (if not without fail) a moment in time during the process of incarceration where fear strikes them in the heart. First time inmates are often struck with the sense of loss and change at once, making it incredibly difficult for them to integrate seamlessly into life in prison. Similarly, when those same inmates are released (if they are lucky enough to be released, that is), there is an innate sense of shock. There is generally always discussion around the security of those around them before, during, and after their incarceration, but what is not discussed nearly as openly is the security of the inmates themselves. There are many forms of security for inmates that should be up for discussion and assessment, from the physical security during and after their sentence, to the financial security after they are released.

The prison system in the US is not without its flaws. While the US prison system is among the best in the world, there are specific elements of the entire process that could be strengthened to be more stable and secure. Standard procedures like the criminal background check are very easily accessed and controlled these days, but there are other, more serious aspects of the prison system that could do with some work. Because the topic of inmate security is so soft spoken and taboo, it is difficult for some to definitively sit on either side of the argument. On the one hand, there are those who believe that the prison system is the way it is for a reason, and it should not be changed because the security of inmates does and should remain second to the security of those around them that are law-abiding citizens. On the other hand, there are members of the community who believe that the legal system can and should be changed to provide a more secure existence for inmates during and after their sentences.

Once inmates are released and free to begin their new lives post-prison sentence, the issue of financial security arises, as well as a newfound sense of free physical security. Prisoners are used to physical and financial security issues for the most part – the prison system has made many of them patient – but what is new is the sense of innate freedom that is laced in with their sense of security on multiple levels. The US operates on a startling foundation of what is known as the “offender funded” approach. Simply put, inmates are charged upon their release for the cost of their own incarceration. This is an insult to their future financial security for one very simple reason: many inmates work to earn their place back in society by taking on jobs during their incarceration. In this way, they work off their debt to society already. Unfortunately, there is currently no way for inmates to pay off their bill ahead of the due date of their future release (if they have one) – no matter how hard they work.

The US prison system is renowned for its complete lack of transparency. The reality is that it is near impossible to definitively know, from the outside, just how difficult the entire experience can be for inmates. The US has been increasingly trying to bring down the aging prison population, but the various issues that must be accounted for in signing off on releases demand to be heard. Some inmates have active drug dependencies or offences, which make release more of a risk than it perhaps is for other inmates who do not suffer from such drawbacks. For these inmates who have struggled with narcotic dependencies in the past, their security blanket of support that they received in prison is ripped out from under them. Once they have served their sentence, they are no longer the responsibility of the prison system, and thus any care they were given during their sentence is ended the moment they walk out of the prison gates. Essentially, they are “free” with a deep financial fee and a whole lot of hard work ahead.

So often there is open discussion and debate around the security of people around prison inmates. What is not discussed nearly as often is the security of the inmates themselves. The prison system in the US is strict and sometimes even confusing, so it should come as no surprise that prison inmates are often subjected to various breaches in their own personal security. From physical security to financial security, prison inmates deal with it all – often daily. And it does not end when their sentence does, either. It is difficult to know where to sit on the argument, as there are sound points on either side. Often, what this leads to is people that quietly sit on the fence, unable or unwilling to make their voice and their opinion heard.

Holiday Season signals increased focus on Home Security


The holiday season brings joy, excitement, and anticipation, but it also has a less than savory side. As people order packages and travel for extended periods of time, criminals recognize an opportunity to attack. And it’s for this very reason that experts typically anticipate record numbers during the month of December.

While most people consider the holiday season to be the merriest time of the year, burglars have a knack for turning this happy, cozy time into a nightmare for homeowners.

Research shows that the period between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day has the second-highest burglary rate of the year. In some cities, burglary rates jump as much as 18 to 35 percent. This is true for a number of reasons, including:

  • People often travel for extended time during the holidays, which leaves homes vacant and vulnerable.
  • Homeowners are often distracted during the holidays, which leads them to forget about basic security responsibilities (like locking doors).
  • There’s an uptick in online shopping in a very concentrated period of time, which causes packages to pile up on doorsteps.
  • Burglars know that expensive, unopened gifts are often found under Christmas trees, which allows them to quickly burglarize homes and get away in seconds.

High burglary rates during the holiday season have been common for decades – and experts don’t anticipate this year being any different. Unprepared homeowners will be targeted.

While burglary rates are increased during this time of year, you don’t have to be a target. There are practical steps you can take to proactively fend off crime on your property. Here are some suggestions from law enforcement and others in the security field:

  1. Stay Off Social Media

 In the past, burglars have made use of obituaries in order to take advantage of grieving families attending funerals. Now, there is a new trend: targeting people who post travel plans on social media.

That’s right – criminals will use social media to keep an eye out for when people travel and for how long they’re gone. They can then cross-reference names with property records and find out exactly when to strike for the least amount of resistance.

If you’ll be traveling out of town this holiday season, don’t broadcast it to the world. Even if your profiles are private, it’s possible that one of your followers could actually be spying on you. Wait until you get home to post pictures and let people know what you did.

  1. Make Your House Look Occupied

If you’ll be traveling over the holidays, make sure your house looks occupied in your absence. Criminals target homes that appear empty, and you greatly increase your odds of being burglarized if you don’t do something to make it look like you’re home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off while you’re gone. Better yet, use smart light bulbs that you can program and control remotely from your mobile device.
  • Install motion-sensing lights around the exterior of your property to dissuade trespassers from breaking in.
  • Consider leaving a TV or radio on while you’re gone. The noise may be enough to deter criminals and push them away to an easier target.
  • If possible keep a car in the driveway. This will create enough doubt in the minds of most burglars to dissuade them from breaking in.
  • Install a motion-sensing doorbell camera that activates and sends you a notification when tripped.
  • Leave your dog at the house and hire a pet sitter to check in a couple of times per day. Not only will the presence of the dog provide some protection, but having someone enter your home regularly will ward off any criminals who are watching your property.
  1. Keep Window Shoppers Away

Some burglars will quite literally do window shopping from home to home during the holiday season. Many families place their Christmas trees in front of street-facing windows and then pile gifts and presents underneath. This gives onlookers a chance to quickly take inventory of potential loot.

While it may look good, consider keeping your Christmas tree away from windows. And if you do put your Christmas tree near a window, place your gifts elsewhere. For additional privacy, consider installing motorized blinds, which allow you to control the visibility people have into your home with the simple touch of a button.

  1. Install Extra Security Measures

The more security measures you can install in and around your home, the less likely it is that you’ll be targeted. Savvy burglars are constantly looking for cameras and alarms and won’t bother with homes that have smart systems installed. Even decoy cameras can prove beneficial (but make sure they have wires and lights to make them look real).

  1. Don’t Leave Packages on Your Porch

According to one survey, 25 percent of Americans report having a package stolen from outside their home. And if there’s one time of year where you’re at risk of being attacked, it’s the holiday season.

During the holiday months, it usually sees a 500 percent increase in posts on its social network about missing packages,  The New York Times reports. “Research commissioned by businesses that make packaging products like boxes and surveillance cameras suggests that from one-fifth to one-third of respondents have had deliveries stolen from their porches.”

There are several steps you can take to prevent packages from being lifted off your porch. For starters, you can reroute packages so that they don’t get dropped off on your porch while you’re away.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Garage

Most people don’t pay much attention to the garage, but this is one of the favorite entry points for burglars. Not only do many homeowners leave their garage doors unlocked, but most of today’s cars have connected openers inside. Thus, all a burglar has to do is break into a car in the driveway and they can open the garage, which provides them with cover while they break into the house.

If you’ll be traveling during the holidays, consider disconnecting your garage door opener to prevent burglars from gaining easy access.

Don’t let your guard down during the holiday season. If anything, you should be more aware of your surroundings than you are during the other 11 months of the year. Never assume that you’re immune from a break-in, simply because it’s never happened in the past. There’s always a first time and you should be as prepared as possible.Holiday Season Signals Increased Focus on Home Security

Countries marked “dangerous” for tourists and how it will affect the travel industry in 2019


Travelers with a thirst for offbeat adventure were reveling earlier this month to learn that in 2019, Iran will be as safe as the United Kingdom and Slovenia are for travelers, according to the 2019 Travel Risk Map. The interactive map, which identifies the level of danger for travelers in each country of the world, judges a country’s safety level according to its capacity for political violence (including terrorism, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including communal and ethnic violence) and violent and petty crime.  While those countries considered ‘extremely’ risky in 2019 tend to fit into the Africa and Middle East regions – including Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, South Sudan and Somalia, there are a few unexpected surprises on the list. This is why it is important to choose a respectable tour company before heading on Egypt tours.

In Europe, parts of Eastern Ukraine are considered unsafe for travel in the next 12 months, and in the South East Asia region travelers are advised to steer clear of Papa New Guinea. Parts of Mexico, Colombia and India are independently highlighted as high to extreme risk destinations, while African countries such as South Sudan, Niger, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone offer travelers a higher risk of contracting a disease or experiencing a medical issue.

But will such information deter or entice travelers with a thirst for offbeat or thrilling adventure in the year to come?

According to other recent travel risk assessments that looked at data from the World Economic Fund on crime, the World Risk Report on natural disasters and the UK government’s assessments of terrorism risk, some of the West’s favourite holiday destinations have similarly been named no-go destinations in 2019 – Turkey, Thailand, India and Mexico, to name a few. Italy and Greece even made their way onto the list, deemed among those countries with the highest risk of crime, and Japan ranking number one on the list of countries with the highest risk of natural disaster.  In 2018, the lush green meadows of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, were considered not fit for travelers due to overcrowding and inadequate tourism infrastructure, while Egypt topped the list in 2017 as one of the most dangerous destinations in the world for female travelers, according to the US Department of State and Skyscanner’s List of Most Dangerous Places. But before you cancel whatever tours you already have lined up for next year think twice, because for some travelers that element of risk only makes traveling more authentic, and far more thrilling.

For some deeply curious travelers, seeing a destination firsthand is the only way to properly mitigate commonly held fears and to bust the myths that surround the world’s most ‘dangerous’ places. There is something to be said for considering a risk, taking it anyway, diving in and becoming absorbed by the task of truly uncovering a country’s personality, beyond the negative headlines it attracts, of course. Traveling in 2018 has become so unbearably dull – so posed, so planned, so perfectly photographic, that we often forget the entire purpose of travel is (debatably, I’ll admit) to challenge oneself, to learn, and to explore new and unexplored frontiers. Travel ought to be about putting oneself in an uncomfortable situation – one with which you aren’t familiar, at least – and seeing how you react in that situation. It’s about seeing the way the rest of the world lives.

Instead Instagram, Facebook, Skyscanner and SnapChat have led modern travelers to believe snapping the right photo in front of the Eiffel Tower is the be-all-and-end-all of travelling; that Googling the best hotels in Barcelona and then reading all reviews before deciding on one is an adventure; that a country without Coca Cola or Wi-Fi isn’t worth visiting. It is a sad and confronting reality that traveling has lost its appeal to adventurers.

Or has it? Research is showing that into the future, travelers will begin taking greater risks on their own, conducting their own research and booking their own trips thanks to the ease in online bookings. And the travel they will indulge in will be experiential, as more and more travelers actively seek to experience destinations on a local, cultural level while learning new skills. Sixty-seven per cent more travelers in 2018 chose to book an outdoor activity such as glacier hiking, bungee jumping, scuba diving, or mountain biking than they did in 2017, while 59% more travelers preferred to engage in a cultural excursion or an historically-themed tour than simply relax by a pool. Slowly but surely, the nature of travel is changing – and if the past twelve months is anything to go by I would say that travelers of the future will become more and more willing to travel to offbeat destinations considered dangerous by the majority, in order to pursue new and undocumented experiences.

Of course, if one does intend to visit one of the world’s most dangerous destinations it is a good idea to take no unnecessary risks and to prepare oneself in the following ways: keep on top of the news in the lead-up to departure to ensure the country’s situation hasn’t become worse; keep your plans flexible at all times; try to avoid attention when traveling through the country (dressing conservatively is always a good idea); respect the locals advice at all times; ensure your family are aware of your whereabouts; and ensure you have the details of your embassy on hand at all times.