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‘I Learned to Live Because I Almost Died’

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My mom was driving me to a doctor appointment for my monthly shot of Xgeva, a treatment preventing bone fractures in people with tumors that have spread to the bone, when I noticed a horse ranch.

“We should go horseback riding one day,” I said, admiring the beautiful horses.

I continued to think about the horses as I was at my treatment. I was imagining what it would be like to feel the breeze softly hit my face as I raced through beautiful green fields while galloping on a horse. “One day,” I thought. But then, as I sat in a room with a bunch of people struggling to survive, I realized tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. My cancer had spread to my bones. I wasn’t in a position to count on tomorrow. All I had was now and I knew I had to take advantage of it.

“We should ride that horse today,” I told my mom.

She agreed.

Immediately following my shot, we jumped on the opportunity to ride those horses. I’m so glad we did.

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Brittney horseback riding. | Photo Courtesy of Brittney Beadle

 

For a brief moment, I wasn’t imagining how it would feel if the wind was gently brushing against my face — I was feeling it. I wasn’t thinking about cancer. I wasn’t thinking at all. I was living in the moment.

This one spontaneous decision kickstarted a series of JUST DO IT moments. I started doing things I loved and always wanted to do — like traveling and jumping out of a plane! I talked about skydiving since I was 7 years old. I didn’t think I had the balls to actually do it, though!

My nerves were going crazy when we first arrived at the skydiving place. I was terrified and excited all at once. I had no idea what to expect. Still, with the biggest smile on my face, I flipped right out of the plane (attached to a professional, of course) from 13,500 feet in the sky. The pressure of the wind was so intense. The view was breathtaking.

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Brittney skydiving. | Photo Courtesy of Brittney Beadle

Saying “We should do that someday” is a phrase that rarely goes into action. That day usually doesn’t come. Life gets in the way. We get stuck in a daily routine instead of doing what truly makes us happy.

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Brittney living in the moment on a vacation in Italy. | Photo Courtesy of Brittney Beadle

Take it from someone who learned the hard way to not take life for granted! Take that risk. Live in the moment because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

You only live once. Do you really want to waste it?

Your friend,

Brittney

 

Living

Dilly-Dilly, There’s Going to Be a Freakin’ Pickle Festival in Philly

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Sunday, September 9. 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Write that down.

Not to get all spiritual, but people who are obsessed with pickles are about to get a glimpse of what heaven might look like, at least in their minds, when the first-ever Pickledelphia Pickle Festival hits the City of Brotherly Love at The Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons.

Michael Wink, c0-founder of Digital Force Agency, is the man pickle addicts can send thank-you notes to for getting this to happen.

“I’m always trying to find things people are passionate about and build events around that,” Wink, who’s also responsible for The Philadelphia Beard Festival, told Better than the Weekend. “People love pickles. There’s always a new pickle recipe going viral. My family could have the biggest spread at Thanksgiving and my sisters and cousins will still go to the fridge for a pickle.”

Creating a festival centered around vinegar-preserved cucumbers and the unending options to enjoy them was an idea Wink had on the back-burner for a few years. He knew people would be interested, but was unsure if an entire festival would take off in Philly. Once Wink decided to just go for it, he realized he underestimated the power of the pickle. Now, more than 45,000 people on Facebook have declared their interest in attending.

Sorry in advance for provoking anxiety without first offering half a xan bar, but when you find out what to expect at Pickledelphia, you’re likely to get a serious case of FOMO. Pickle fam, you might want to sit down for this.

More than a dozen food vendors, plus 15 pickle companies, will be selling themed edibles such as pickle-flavored ice cream, pickle creme brûlée, and pickle pizza.

Urban Village Brewing Company will have 10 kegs of pickle-flavored beer.

Pickledelphia even partnered with Jameson for a pickle back bar. Yeah, they’re not fucking around. Pickle Bloody Mary’s. Pickle margaritas. This is not a drill.

Pickle lovers get access to Pickledelphia for $10. Limited VIP admission for $25. VIP get early access to the event, free pickle samples and a bag of Herr’s chips that taste like, well, you get the trend here.

Okay, we’ve teased you enough. Go tell that friend of yours who you know is going to go APESHIT. And if you’re one of those people who hate pickles, why did you read this far? You must be pickle-curious. Just take a bite. As the saying goes, ‘When in Pickledelphia…’

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Vintage Frat is the life of the party on Instagram right now, possibly forever

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Gone are the days of moms and dads knocking on wood that social media didn’t exist when they were young, dumb and figuring out the world. Remnants of debauchery from past generations are resurfacing on @vintagefrat, an Instagram account paying homage to legendary fraternity throwbacks.

Here’s some of the of the most lit pics from Vintage Fraternity. (Warning: You may see your mom or dad.)

“Hello Ladies, welcome to pledgeship. I’ll be your guide.”

Saturday’s are for the Brothers. 

Take a moment to respect the most legendary composite of all time. 

Daytona Beach ’89 was wild. #AskYourDad

There was always that one Brother who understood the meaning of life. 

Here’s why your dad’s friends call him Superman. 

And here’s when your dad met your mom. 

Reminding the children of the future that House Hounds need to be the focus of every fraternity house.

And here’s a reminder that Benny the Beaver was probably with your girl. 

Tribute to the Brother who didn’t even attend one class all semester.

Classic Spring Break transportation. 

Sure, Greek Life has it’s fair share of wild times.  

But @vintagefrat is a solid reminder that Greek Life is also a resume builder, putting students in positions that prepare them for the future. 

Mainly, Greek Life is about togetherness. #NeverForget #AskYourDad

Go follow @vintagefrat on Instagram and then follow @betterthantheweekend.

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This College Dropout Is Schooling Influencers and Startups on How to Get a Next Level Social Media Following

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Ryan Hertel, Founder of Socialocca

College isn’t for everyone. Ryan Hertel can vouch. He spent three semesters studying mass communications at King’s College, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, after surrendering to pressure from his parents to follow the traditional pathway to money and happiness. Now, the 24-year-old is running his own business — a creative branding agency called Socialocca — in the same field in which many of his degree-holding peers are struggling to stay afloat or even secure entry-level jobs.

As influencers and startups are waking up each day to grind and shine and stand out, Ryan has his finger on the pulse of what works in marketing, what doesn’t and where social media is going. He recently spoke to Better than the Weekend to share some insights.

You’re an unlikely choice to be administering marketing advice to companies. You don’t have a college degree. What makes you an expert? I’m helping people build their brand online. In order to do that, I don’t necessarily need a marketing degree. I just need to have the experience of building a brand. The reason I can even contend when it comes to being in the know about branding and social media and marketing is because I built a DJ’ing business and was successful at building that business by utilizing social media to spread the word and get more than 13,000 followers on Instagram alone. Most people with a marketing degree say, ‘Hey, I know what I’m doing. I was taught what to do.’ I can say, ‘Hey, I know what I’m doing. I used social media to make money for my own business. I can do it for you.’ A lot of people have the knowledge of what to do, but they don’t actually have the track record to prove they can grow a brand’s following. 

Photographed by Lisa Petz

Influencers and newer companies may feel their credibility lies in numbers. Some buy followers to build their credibility. What are the pros and cons to focusing on the amount of followers you have in the beginning by paying for them? People who don’t know what they’re doing who want to be social media influencers do this too often when they’re starting out. There aren’t any pros to buying followers anymore. There were when people were easily fooled and buying followers weren’t a common practice. You can’t fake the following anymore. It’s easy to spot a fake audience today. Plus, fake followers will actually hurt your algorithms on Instagram or Facebook. Less of your real following will see your content. A bunch of fake accounts will see your content and your level of engagement will make you look far less popular than you should be. 

Some services promote buying real followers. Are there any services you know of that do this which you’d recommend? That’s not a real thing. They’re scams. Don’t fall for it. I’d recommend any service that acknowledges they can’t grow your service overnight and one that focuses on goals and not guaranteeing a certain amount of followers. Anybody who says they guarantee results is lying to you. Organic marketing cannot be guaranteed. It all depends on how good the marketing campaign is and how good the content is. 

How important are hashtags in connecting with new followers? They’re not important any more. Plain and simple, anyone who knows what they’re doing on social media doesn’t care about hashtags. They were cool like four years ago. Now, we’re just at the point where some of these hashtags are used by 56 million other people. Hashtags are way too oversaturated. No-one is sitting on their phone and looking up hashtags. It might get a couple more likes, but they’re usually from auto-generated services, anyway. Instagram is now doing something called shadow banning, where they’re even hiding many of these hashtags because they’re trying to slow down the feed. So your hashtag might not even be seen. If you’re relying on hashtags, you have to get way more creative with your marketing.

What is important when marketing your posts? What’s most important, above everything, is the quality of the post. Posting too frequently hurts your feed. Posting quality pics and videos less frequently will be more beneficial, because those posts can circulate for a couple of days if they’re quality posts. People are on social media to listen to what you have to say. It’s now a popularity contest, not a contest as to who posts the most.

Then is consistency still important, or has consistency evolved in terms of marketing on social media? The consistency of the quality of your post is better than the consistency of when you post. While being consistent is important, people get a little too carried away with it, thinking they have to post twice a day at the same time every day. That’s too much for people to take in. They need to be more consistent with the quality of what they’re putting out there and not the time.

Ryan Hertel, Founder of Socialocca

Any tips for influencers and brands when it comes to engaging with their audience? It’s important to actually engage with others and not just post content. Like posts. Comment. Not just on your feed, but there’s too. Even as a business, you want to Like posts and engage on other accounts. Tag people you’re working with. If you’re just sitting there doing nothing, nobody is going to remember you or think about you. If they constantly see you tagging and interacting with others like a regular person, they’re going to take you more seriously.

Where is social media headed? Everything is starting to turn into people asking, ‘What are they doing right now?’ Look at Snapchat and Instagram stories and Facebook Live. You can really cast your entire day on social media for people to see and people will watch. They’re interested in seeing what you’re doing in real-time, they respond to it, and they rush to see it before it usually disappears in 24 hours. When it comes to structure and systems and processes, it’s important to know rules don’t apply. No one rule applies to the same two people or company. Influencers and brands need to start living in the moment and capturing that. The future of social media is immediacy.

And there you have it. Now make like Missy Elliot, put your thing down, flip it, and reverse it onto your own social media branding agenda. Good luck!

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