AI has already started to ruin the stock image world.
It may even be trying to steal your dog and your husband as we speak. *I* heard that it’s already taken jobs away from real live humans right here in own our small town. Ok well, maybe it’s not flipping your burgers quite yet but it is already making waves in the design pool…

One small sign is in the stock image inventories…
You see, many designers rely on stock images to produce their marketing content and branding collateral for their clients. These range from graphics needed for mockups, to actual marketing images for ads, as well as icon designs for user interfaces, and they need to be of a certain quality if you want your designs to look professional.

But whether it be through sites like iStock or Pixabay, if you’ve used any of these sites over the last year you’ve likely already seen a noticeable shift in the images you’ll find there. The search results are literally awash with illustrated style, smooth edged – and don’t get me wrong quite eye-catching – images that are not photo stock at all.

At best it makes it even harder to sift through thousands of potential images when you’re already limited on time. At worst it could already be the first signs of AI replacing human talent behind the lens and in front of the screen.

Dammit! I wanted the robots to take care of the jobs I don’t want to do, not take away the creative tasks I work to find time for myself!

A lot of people in the design world are upset about AI, and justly so in their own right. …But we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Best to make friends with it; learn to recognize it and use it as the potential gift that it could be. It’s already become the “hot new feature” on design sites like Canva, where it’s touted as being practically magic!

Should You Be Worried?
Yes. The robits are comin’ to take yer jobs!

But also no. At least that is, not quite yet. While AI is learning fast – and faster every day – it still largely requires some human input to be directed towards a focused goal or result. A loose cannon is still a freaking cannon! If you can learn to aim it, it can serve your purpose. If you don’t, well…yeah, be worried.

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In case you are worried about supporting AI in your stock images there are a few things that can work to spot them, for now:

Overly smooth illustrated style. If it looks like video game concept art but it’s supposed to be an image of home appliance repair, that could be AI generated.

Odd hands. Look closely at the hands and fingers if there are people in the image. AI currently can still have trouble rendering hand and fingers correctly, so unless it’s been post-editing (good job human!) the digits can be a good way to tell.

Background “things”. You ever drink too much nyquil with your coffee? Yeah. Look at the background, man. At this time, AI will sometimes generate strange digital artifacts in the backgrounds of images. Swirls, eyes, too much lens flare – those kind of things in the background could indicate it’s been rendered by AI.

For now at least the best recommendation I can give is pay attention! Even if you’re adamantly against AI altogether, or just as a creative tool, it’s important to be aware of what changes it is bringing as it is the state of the design industry itself. If you’re not opposed to it, and what it could represent, start learning – and fast! There are definite benefits to having a helpful genie in your pocket, even if you’re already a highly skilled wizard.

If you’re looking to work with a wizard of the web, a digital docent to educate you on the mysterious ways of social media or SEO, Pickwick is more than qualified to help! Get in touch to share with me your visions of success so that we can work together to make them happen.

NO! Your Facebook Page Hasn’t Been Disabled!

If you admin a page on Facebook these days chances are you’ve recently received a message seemingly from the system telling you that your page has violated a copyright, or other terms of service and is due to be deleted, or have its ability to post removed.

In most cases, these are patently false.

Not only should you disregard them but by all means report the accounts that send them and the message itself. It’s hard to believe that a platform with the amount of resources that Facebook has available to it that they are unable to regulate these kinds of clearly fraudulent messages and accounts.

The accounts that send these messages are if nothing else damaging the reputability of Facebook itself in the fact that they can’t even protect the validity of their own identity – so how then should we trust them with the details of ours?

Now imagine being a social media manager. One who manages dozens of pages for a variety of businesses… Not only do you get theses messages every day, you get multiples of them every day, and have to meditate them in the client inbox – and often when they understandable receive a disturbing message about their Facebook business page!

These messages can seem very real! They can be frightening, after all you’ve likely invested a lot of time, if not a lot of money in developing your social media presence on Facebook.

I bring items like this to the forefront of the attention of the online community in order to help business owners be aware of potential threats as well as how to avoid them. The scammers and spammers are getting smarter every day! It’s hard enough work to run your business online without knowing how to handle these sort of things.

Don’t Panic! PICKWICK is here to help!
I provide online consulting when you have questions, and have well developed skills ,like web design and social media management, that will prove invaluable if troubles arise that you aren’t able to handle on your own. I strive to take the fear out of technology for business owners and hope that you won’t hesitate to get in touch – even if you just have questions! I’m always happy to talk shop!

Why You Need to Update Your Site

My website looks good, isn’t that enough?! No.

A good looking car with no engine doesn’t go anywhere. Your website is the same way and the engine that runs it needs to be maintained.

Ask yourself, when is the last time anything lasted forever? When was the last time something ran perpetually without any maintenance or assistance? The answer is of course never, because that’s not how the laws of thermodynamics work. All things, no matter how well built or efficient, must be taken care of from time to time to make sure they continue to run the way they should.

Your website is no different!

Imagine if you bought a car back in 2008 and never changed the oil, never tuned it up, never got new tires and just drove and drove. How long do you think that car would last? A year? Maybe two? It might look good on the outside but it’s not going anywhere.

And yet there are so many business owners who get a website, think that’s the end of the road, and then wonder why they got left behind on the side of the information superhighway!

Don’t let it happen to YOU!

While technical updates to your site may seem like something no one ever sees, making sure the engine that pumps the lifeblood of your business is running right is crucial to seeing online success! Even if your site is technically still “running” (hey, she ain’t much to look at but she got it where it counts, right?!) that doesn’t mean it’s running RIGHT.

It’s not just about looking better!
What might begin as simple technical errors can quickly turn into data corruption, and leaving your website software out of date can leave you wide open to hacker attacks. Sites that use old software are not only more vulnerable to attack but they often run slower which will cost you customers even if your site hasn’t been compromised. Having the engine of your website purring like a kitten is the way to drive customers where you want them!

Fact is, these days business is done online. If you’re not online you’re not in business!

Thankfully PICKWICK is here to help! Offering web design, social media management, search engine optimization, and more. Pickwick provides all of the digital services you need to get online, stay online, and find success. Get in touch today to find out how Pickwick can help you!