Image via

Image via

You probably know better than to steal images from websites by now, and if you don’t you should read my post on copyright and images! If you already know to be cautious about copyright here are some great resources for free or close to free images for your social media accounts or blog. As you’ll see there is a growing trend away from traditional stock imagery towards artists providing copy free images to download as a way to give back and also to promote their own work. I for one applaud these artists for their generosity! Displays Creative Commons CCO universal licensed images for download. You can submit your work here for use by others as well. They share the best of the best on Twitter too, and you can often find easily shareable unusual images there, click the link to go to the source.

Unsplash goes against the stock repository concept by releasing just 10 high resolution images to the world each day as public domain. The images are fresh and almost always extraordinary.

Splitshire also has lovely and unusual images free of copyright and downloadable. Images are sorted by category and browsing has been more fun than searching for specific topics. Let your eyes guide you to the right image instead of a preconceived idea.

DeathtoStockPhotos was one of the first sites I found with this idea of a photographer generated subscription service. Sign up and get images delivered to your in box on a regular basis. Images are fresh and trendy and beautifully shot. Again, you have to get out of the stock photo mentality here. These photos are abstract and unique. They also have occasional odds and ends like handwritten fonts available through partnerships. All in the spirit of supporting creativity.

Pond5 is a stock media site and includes images, video, music, 3-D, After effects templates and audio clips. Some are for sale and others are in the public domain. The site is really fun if you’re looking for something different than the usual stock clips and licensing is very clearly defined on each item complete with source and use guidelines.

JayMantri is a photographer who posts 7 images once a week for download with a CCO license. Free to use for any purpose.

LockAndStockPhotos are free images uploaded by AJ Montpetit as a way of giving back. He publishes his photos under the Creative Commons Sharealike license and requests a link back to his website.

NewOldStock is a vintage photo collection thought to be free of copyright. Many are from recognized institutions including the National Library of Medicine and e3ach provides their copyrights for easy decision making.

I’mFree supplies a curated collection of copy free images. They also provide unique editable website templates through their web app which are fully customizable.

Pixabay is a searchable archive of photos, drawings and vector images that can be used without attribution through the Creative Commons Public Domain license. You may find sponsored images here that are licensed and for sale by stock agencies. Pixabay links to the stock agency for payment.

PhotoPin. This site searches creative commons photos and allows you to download them in a variety of formats for use. This site also allows you to download the necessary text for attribution on the image to give proper credit to the creator. Be sure to do that. You can also buy images here starting at $1.

Flickr is a photo repository and allows you to search by license, so you can find images that fit your needs. Read the copyright notices before you use the photo. Many are open source or attribution only. Some authors write their own rules here, including where you can and cannot use the image.

content pirate

Image sharing is a huge part of social media isn’t it? And when was the last time you Googled to find just the right image to illustrate your point? Stop that. Stop it now! Why? Well simply put most of the images you find in a Google search may well have a copyright on them and if you don’t know the source and use it anyway you could be liable for violating copyright laws.

Now before you laugh me off and move on, let me tell you a story. In 1997 one of the designers at our company searched for an image of an assembly plant and then downloaded it, modified it and used it in a project on our website. In 2005 I got a certified letter from Getty claiming ownership of the image and demanding $600 or a lawsuit would ensue. Even if we removed the image, they still demanded payment. It took a lot of digging through the archives to verify what had happened and even find the image. At that point the designer had left the company and we were left holding the bag. We paid the fine and made it policy to never use images without proper attribution again.

What’s all this about copyright? Isn’t anything online covered by fair use? In short. NO. Here’s a link to the US Government PDF on copyright, you should read it. Basically any work be it writing, images, music or other forms of work can be copyrighted at the time of creation, and fair use is a limited term. Some feel that simply linking back to the creator’s website constitutes attribution and so “fair use” is indicated. That’s not always true. If the original creator has not give permission through licensing or sale fair use may or may not apply.

What is fair use?
Fair use is defined in section 107 of the copyright law. Specific uses like criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research may be considered fair use but it subjective, and not always easy to define. For example is blogging a form of news reporting? Let’s say you are reviewing a book and you grab the cover from the author’s website. The photo will not replace the original product (the book) or interfere with the author’s rights, so in essence this could be fair use.

Your own photo of an art installment outside used to review that art piece may also be fair use. In general it’s simply better to get permission, use open source, purchase the rights or look for Creative Commons licenses in most cases.

Where can I get images?
If you’re looking for images check out some of these options.

Open source
Open source simply means the creator allows any and all use of the image without attribution or copyright. This often is the case with software where the original code is made publicly available so that other programmers can improve or build upon it.

Public domain
Public domain images can be marked as such by the creator, who then waives all rights to the image. They may also be particularly old images, those created by federal agencies etc and here’s a link to more detail on the public domain mark and it’s use.

Creative Commons
Another way to find images to use is to search for Creative Commons licensed images. There are several different licenses available for creators to choose from and you should familiarize yourself with each. Basically they range from images OK to use with attribution to the source for commercial and/or non commercial use to all rights granted images which you can use any way you like.

Stock images come in many forms and many price ranges. Some may be as little as a few cents each and others hundreds or thousands of dollars. It varies by the quality of the image and the perceived value. Clearly a newsworthy photo may have a higher price tag than a photo of a more traditional stock image. Some have limited time allotments and others allow you to purchase image rights indefinitely and use them in any way you choose. Check the rights on the image before you buy them to see what uses are allowed.

Free options
There are several places where you can get open source or creative commons images. Way to many to list here. Follow this link to my post 12 outstanding sites for free images.

People are reporting some fairly significant drops in their Instagram followers over the last few weeks. Stop freaking out. It’s not just you, it’s across the board. I used the popular statistics program to check my own stats and here are the results. I gained 131 followers in the last 7 days and lost 111. Not so bad.
Screenshot 2014-12-18 13.47.27

Are people upset? 
Sure. Brands are upset and people who care about numbers over engagement are upset. Mase is really upset, he lost 1.5 million followers! In fact he got so upset he deleted his  account. Lots of people are worried that they’re suddenly boring and un-popular. That’s not it. (more…)

Buffer SchedulingAs if Buffer wasn’t already an incredibly awesome tool in our social media management arsenal, it just made itself even more essential. Now when you open the Buffer app in your browser you’ll see two tabs at the top of the page. “Simple Composer” and “New Scheduler”.

Simple Composer is the old version you’ve already been used to, you can quickly add a post to your buffer queue and it will go off at it’s scheduled time with the same text to any accounts you choose. The New Scheduler tab  allows you to share and re-share particular posts across your social networks at a time of your choosing.

New Scheduler is going to be a game-changer. As you can see from the screenshot above, for each post I can choose which of my networks to share on at what time, and even re-share the post again at times I select. (more…)

Hello Ello

Every time a new social network pops up all of us early adopters have to check it out and Ello is not different. According to Vox, Ello is  seeing 31,000 new users per hour, so it’s the new hot property online. It’s my job to check out new networks for clients after all, or so I justify my obsession…

What’s the deal with Ello?
Ello was created as a bare-bones social network and since it’s in beta it’s a work in progress. Don’t expect you’re going to dive in and totally get it, and the network itself isn’t full of cues in how to use it, how to find your friends or even ways to engage once you do find them. Never the less, it’s interesting and worth poking around in. If you’re lucky enough to know someone with invites, check it out. Or go buy an invite on Fiverr or Ebay. I did a totally un-scientific poll of my friends and here’s what our initial feedback is. (more…)

be more interestingYou know those posts on Facebook that just gotta be clicked? They’re popularly known as click bait. You click them because you think you’re going to see something amaaazing, but when you get there it’s not what you thought at all and you leave.

Facebook’s onto the fact that most of us hate click bait schemes. We’re tired of the shenanigans just to get a  click, and they’re putting their foot down. They’ve just announced two important changes to news feeds and Facebook page managers need to listen up. (more…)

be more interesting

For quite a long time it’s been common for Facebook business pages to force users to “like” their fan page before gaining access to certain content, enter contests, etc. This was known as “likegating” and Facebook doesn’t like it anymore. The social network has announced they will no longer allow pages and apps to likegate or to force users to invite friends to like within an app, or tag their friends in a photo they aren’t actually in. Instead they encourage proper use. (more…)


In case you haven’t seen it yet, Facebook just released  the 4.0 version of their Pages App and it’s pretty cool. Switching between multiple pages you manage is much easier and managing page activity and seeing insights for the pages is a breeze.

The look and feel is clean and easy to understand. To access your pages just tap the menu bar in the upper right hand corner and you’ll see  a list of the pages you manage. Once on that page you can easily create a post or event and upload photos and video right from your phone.

Across the bottom of the screen are a series of icons. Left to right they are:View the page itself :: Activity :: Create post (this is always highlighted for some reason) :: Insights and then the “More” button which shows photos, events and settings.

One of the coolest features is under settings where you can turn on and off push notifications for your page as well as update the page info, edit roles, view the activity log and send invitations to the page.

Finally you can edit posts from your mobile device! This is huge for catching typos or simple errors rather than having to rush to a desktop (hey, we all make mistakes!).  Go to any post and tap the v in the upper right corner just as you do on the desktop and voila! you can edit. Sweet.

If you haven’t used the pages app because the old one was so clunky, go get the app now from the  Apple App or Google Play stores.

LinkedIn announced some new ways to spiff up your premium user profile today. These changes will be rolling out over time, and I shared some examples  below. If you’d like to get your own upgraded profile you can apply here, and if you are a premium user of the platform you should see your upgrade rolling out very soon.

So, what’s new? 

  • The most obvious is the new layout with a large header image, or as Linkedin calls it, a custom background, profile images are bigger
  • More subtle, but especially important for maintaining your personal brand are the keyword recommendations to help you optimize your profile to get found in searches
  • Premium profiles will show up LARGER in search results when someone searches LinkedIn for a keyword
  • You’ll now have the ability to mark your profile as “open” allowing people to see your whole profile and contact you directly for free (Is this a good thing? Let me know in the comments)
  • Analytics on who viewed your profile will now go back 90 days and give you quite a bit of information
  • See how your rank against  against 100 of your first-degree connections and company


Amazon Cart on TwitterAmazon just launched #AmazonCart, a new way to buy products through Twitter. Simply connect your Twitter and Amazon accounts and when you see a product link on Amazon in a tweet click reply and tag it #AmazonCart. The product will be automatically saved to your shopping cart on Amazon, ready to check out.

Oooh, #Socialretail sounds great doesn’t it? Finding products will be easy as  a search for #AmazonCart on Twitter shows.

Are we ready for Twitter shopping?
According to Mark Avnet in this Digiday post, consumers aren’t in a buying mindset when they’re on Twitter, but I don’t agree. I shop all the time after perusing Twitter for reviews and comments from my friends. Don’t you? Replying to a link to drop it in my cart is pretty slick.Amazon’s pushing it pretty hard on Twitter and this tweet on their account, offering a chance to win $200 on an Amazon Gift Card had 3500 retweets and 267 favorites at last count. Looks like interest to me.

Mack Collier points out this could be a boon for authors. Tweet a link to your book and ask your fans to rt. Even more interesting he says if you reply with a tweet to an ebook Amazon will email you a sample from the ebook.Lots of authors are already trying it, including the Zombie Research Society:


Savvy Amazon affiliates are already all over this. We are seeing affiliate links embedded within tweets immediately and why not? If you believe in the product and you have influence on Twitter you could do pretty well with this. I do wonder what the FCC will have to say about that…

I also wonder what you think about the absolute gold mine of data this has already provided to marketers and sales teams. Soon it will be much easier to find people who like your products enough to buy them with a quick search on Twitter.

Here’s a video introduction to Amazon Cart. Tell us what you think!