Recent Insights

Instagram x #Developer: Speaking in Real Life

Instagram x #Developer: Speaking in Real Life

16,264 Followers Up until a couple of months ago, being asked to speak at an event is something that I only expected to happen within the context of organizations I was already a member of in real-life: scholarship events, internal company presentations, usually by people […]

Instagram: A DIY Guide to Handling Impersonators

Instagram: A DIY Guide to Handling Impersonators

16,000 Followers They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but when it comes to your online identity sometimes imitation is less flattery and closer to identity theft. You can imagine my surprise when I found myself in precisely that situation. Why does […]

Amazon Reviews Milestone: Reviewer Ranking Under 10k

Amazon Reviews Milestone: Reviewer Ranking Under 10k

Amazon Ranking: #9,946

With 85 product reviews and 359 helpful votes, I’ve attained a ranking within the top 10,000 Amazon reviewers.

Why is being in the top 10k a big deal?

All Amazon customers can check their ranking on their individual profiles, but Amazon publishes its top 10,000 reviewers separately in ranked order, which means that if you go to https://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers/ you’ll find this:

This is public recognition that you’re a “good” reviewer – available for anyone and everyone to see in a neat little package with your statistics.

In the past, this might mean that more sellers will contact you because you have the verifiable credentials of Top Reviewer, but with the way sellers have been paranoid (see this post) I highly doubt that this will actually change how anyone communicates with me.

The Next Milestone: Top 1000 Reviewer

Being on the top 10,000 list is great, but if you make it a little bit further up the list Amazon credits you with a badge on your profile

#1 REVIEWER, TOP 10 REVIEWER, TOP 50 REVIEWER, TOP 100 REVIEWER, TOP 500 REVIEWER, TOP 1000 REVIEWER, HALL OF FAME REVIEWER

These badges identify our best reviewers. The Top Reviewer Rankings showcase our best contributors at the moment, while the Hall of Fame honors those who have been highly ranked in previous years.

I’m going for “Hall of Fame” – precisely what that means I’ll have to figure out as I go along. I’m guessing if you maintain one of the top reviewer badges for a year you’ll get in. This is also where things start getting tricky, because the higher up you go in the rankings, the more the reviewers are likely to care about where they are in the list, versus some of the lower rankings in which people find themselves advancing by accident rather than by intention.

So far, slow and steady has seemed to be a good tactic; looking at the other reviewers statistics (number of reviews, helpfulness, and % helpful) there doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern evolving. Some reviewers have thousands of reviews, while some have less than 10. This makes me think that Amazon has some way of profiling people that goes beyond what they’re showing to the public, and I look forward to digging in and discovering precisely what that is.

TL;DR

Slowly but surely, I’m making my way up in the rankings. With the top 10,000 comes public recognition, and with the top 1000 comes a profile badge (that’s what I’m after next). With over 7 million reviewers and 189 million  visitors/month according to Statista that means I’m in the top 0.15% of reviewers at the very, very least. Now it’s just a short hop, skip, and a jump to my final goal: the Hall of Fame.

Instagram: My first post to get over 1000 likes in less than 12 hours

Instagram: My first post to get over 1000 likes in less than 12 hours

14,852 Followers It was a Friday night and when I opened the door to my apartment there was Matt watching a documentary about Jim Carrey on his laptop (we don’t live together, but we live ~1 minute away from each other). After we finished eating […]

Amazon Reviews: The Evolving Psychology of Black Market Reviews

Amazon Reviews: The Evolving Psychology of Black Market Reviews

Amazon Ranking: #10,872 A little over 6 months ago I wrote about how Amazon started accidentally encouraging a black market to develop around its reviewing community by making it clear that reviews that involve free or discounted merchandise are prohibited (these are often the perks […]

Instagram: Sometimes you can’t trust what you see in the “Top Posts”

Instagram: Sometimes you can’t trust what you see in the “Top Posts”

12,160 followers

Whenever real-life gets busy and I start posting sporadically (and stop keeping A+ statistics) I feel a little bit out-of-touch with how I’m doing when life starts getting less-busy and I get back into the rhythm of posting. I use a few measures to figure out if I’m still “on-track”:

  • Peer comparison (people who have approximately the same growth patterns as me)
  • Checking the like and view rates on posts (how many tens/thousands each post gets in the first 12-24 hours)
  • Looking at how much my new content is being reposted by amalgamation accounts
  • How quickly my posts make it into the “Top Posts” section of the hashtags I’ve attached to them

So, when I was starting to get back into the rhythm of posting and checked the hashtag pages to figure out how my last post was doing, you can imagine my devastation when it showed up on [insert drumroll here] none of them.

None of my photos. However there are a lot of photos of Laura Medalia (@codergirl_) which seems weird because it used to be that one person wouldn’t have more than one photo in the “Top Posts” section

I was a little baffled and a little more disappointed. The post was doing well by my other metrics, had Instagram just suddenly up and gotten a lot more popular in the month I got busy?

So I Investigated

I logged onto @ZoraFloraSays and checked the hashtags I used for @JonesDoesLife and lo and behold: there I was.

My immediate thought was “Okay, but they probably know I check @JonesDoesLife so maybe that rigs my top posts.” I logged out of Instagram altogether and went to look at the tags.

Taken literally seconds apart

Still there (top-middle). Apparently the only person who couldn’t see me there was, well, myself. (more…)

Salesforce Platform Developer 1 Certification: A Retrospective

Salesforce Platform Developer 1 Certification: A Retrospective

As a technology consultant I’m expected to be competent in the technologies that our clients use – this means that not only do I work with the “classic” web development languages and frameworks (like Java and JavaScript libraries), but I often have to learn how […]

Wait, what do you actually get paid to do?

Wait, what do you actually get paid to do?

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I program as part of my job. “Programmer” is a vague description at best because there are so many jobs and job descriptions that fall under that title. If you know me in real life […]

LWDC: Let’s Talk Medical Stuff

LWDC: Let’s Talk Medical Stuff

I’ve been working full-time for a year in Dallas, and since I’m probably sticking around for a while it seemed like a good time to find a Cardiologist.

Wait, Johna, why do you need a cardiologist?

Well, dear reader, I have a condition called “dilated cardiomyopathy.” I was born with a hole in my heart and when I was three years old the doctors went to check on it and discovered the left side of my heart was kinda big, so it’s nothing particularly new. I had the same cardiologist for ~20 years until he retired (because doctors are people too) so in college I was kind of in limbo heart-doctor-wise because my family/medical records were all in Alaska while I was in Dallas/Moscow/Beijing.

So, like, what does that actually mean?

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is actually one of the most common types of cardiomyopathy (a heart disease) and can be caused by anything from alcoholism to cancer drugs to genetics – mine is in my genes and is also related to a much less common form of cardiomyopathy. It’s not a great thing to find in children because the prognosis is pretty grim (it ends up being something like a 50/50 survival rate to your pre-teens).

The human heart is supposed to look kind of like an American football, but mine looks more like a basketball because the left side is significantly enlarged. It’s kind of like a balloon that gets blown up just a tiny bit further every time, so the walls of the heart are thinner than normal and it doesn’t function at a normal capacity which can cause other weird problems (like blood cots or arrhythmias).

It also means that I can’t do stuff like go on roller-coasters, drink energy drinks (or live on coffee), have a biological kid, do competitive/high intensity sports or activities, smoke, pull a week of all-nighters, and generally I just shouldn’t stress my body out physically too much. Upside: I got out of every gym class ever while I was growing up and developed a healthy resistance to peer pressure.

can do cardio as long as I’m not over-exerting myself, but usually I’ll just opt out of activities that are athletic and team-based.

Oh man, Johna, are you dying?

Technically speaking I have a version of heart failure, but since my heart’s been weird since I was born, my body has adjusted to it. I’m pretty asymptomatic (meaning that a lot of the time I don’t notice it) except that sometimes I get tired faster than I should or I need to sit down because my heart’s beating quickly.

I’ve been on all the right medication since I was three years old and my condition hasn’t changed a lot, so I’m pretty much doing a-okay. In high school my cardiologist thought I might need a heart transplant (not that anyone told me that), but my condition never worsened to that extent so I’m just gonna say: “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”

Okay, so if you’re fine, why are you bringing it up now?

There are two parts to this:

1. Being a kid with heart failure and being an adult with heart failure are two very different things. When you’re a kid you’ve got a better chance of being in uncharted territory medically speaking and people don’t really know what to do with you so there’s more of a “wait and see” mentality.

As an adult there are a lot more “concrete” solutions that become available because doctors have been studying adults in different capacities for friggin’ forever. This means that my new doctor has already started looking at fixes; a ‘fix’ when you have heart failure often involves some kind of minor surgery, and the decision process up to that point requires tests and research and a lot of thought. Some of this stuff I’ll be going through in the next 6 months or so would be way harder to not talk about (like, “hey, why are you suddenly like Iron Man with a flashing light on your chest?”). Yeah, I could wear bulky sweaters and go out of my way to hide it, or pretend I’m not stressed about managing work/life/health, but I’d rather just be comfortable talking about it without feeling like I have to start from ground zero every time.

2. As I started researching some of these “fixes” I realized that there isn’t a lot of easily available anecdotal information about people actually going through this whole process. There are a couple of forums that are hard to sort through, but besides that it’s a lot of documentation from the American Heart Association and other similar organizations that are very clinical (and it’s not like you just casually talk about this with people every day who also have the same problem). As someone who’s spent the past 20 years being “pretty much fine” it’s terrifying to think of life changing so drastically so quickly when I don’t feel like I’m getting any worse. I’d love to have a resource that someone can look at who’s in a similar situation and feel a little bit less alone.

I’d also love to try to make it somehow funny/enjoyable because this is my life and it’s weird but also great, so tell me if I’m just bumming you guys out.

TL;DR

I have always had a big heart, and I’m doing fine. Figuring out how to live with Dilated Cardiomyopathy as an adult is a totally different situation than having it as a kid: navigating insurance, big medical appointments/decisions, and work-life is something that you don’t really have to deal with when you’re still in school – it would be way harder for me to not talk about this stuff as it comes up.

Instagram: “Please Sell Us Your Photos”: The Instagram Influence Marketplace

Instagram: “Please Sell Us Your Photos”: The Instagram Influence Marketplace

12,085 Followers The Initial Approach My @JonesDoesLife account tends to get fewer “sign up for our website” messages than @ZoraFloraSays, so I was both surprised and intrigued when I was emailed by a company called Scop.io that seems to be trying to build a kind […]