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Gossip Genie Blog

Stress and the City

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | One Comment

I’m writing to you from my couch – currently unsure of if I’m actually becoming fused to the cushions after how long I’ve been here. The tail-end of a holiday weekend can be tough, especially when you’ve used it to do everything except relax. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Chicago and everything it has to offer but we owe it to ourselves to take some time, get away and relax in a way that’s just not possible living in the city.

Normally over a long summer(ish) weekend, I would look forward to cooking out, consuming one too many adult beverages (sorry mom), soaking up some sun, and so on and so forth but this weekend I found solace in the bridesmaid duties I had to tend to in my hometown. I’m originally from a small suburb about 45 minutes north of the city and now live smack dab in the middle of Wrigleyville. Seriously, I couldn’t get any closer to the field if I tried. On a daily basis, 24/7 – 365, I get all the good (Cubs, close to the CTA, close to the lake) and downright awful (bar crawls, bros, noise) that Wrigley has to offer.

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I typically don’t go to the suburbs unless I need to but I used this weekend as an excuse to go and just simply relax. People don’t realize how nice, and almost therapeutic, it can be to get away from the city and all of its little quirks, even if it’s only for a day or two. Don’t get me wrong – my heart beats to the buzz of a busy city, but there’s something about grass (real grass!) under your feet and a wide open sky (what’s a skyscraper?!) overhead that allows you to clear your mind in a way you wouldn’t be able to with car horns honking and drunk people screaming outside your window at 3am.

Next time you have a free weekend, I highly recommend spending time somewhere where you can completely shake off the city weight, even if it’s just the suburbs. It’s my not-so-expert opinion that you’ll come back feeling more refreshed, revitalized and ready to take on another week in the city of dreams. You can thank me later. 😉

5 Ways To Be Productive When You’re Feeling Under The Weather

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments

 

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As all social media managers know all too well, there is always work to get done. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn constantly demand our time and attention in today’s technology-driven society. However, keeping up with the fast-paced world of social media can be difficult to do when your health takes a turn for the worst. Suddenly, your body, with its sore throat and incessant congestion, pulls your focus away from your never-ending to-do list.

 

During my very first week as a genie, this is exactly what happened to me. I was excited to hit the ground running with my new career but instead felt bogged down by my hazy mind and weak immune system. Even though it’s nearly impossible to remain as efficient as you do when your health is cooperating, there are still several strategies you can implement to get the most out of your workday, despite your illness.

 

  1. Break Down Your Workload Into Smaller Tasks

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you think about everything that needs to get done at the same time. Rather than stressing yourself out with the big picture, break down your projects into smaller, more manageable assignments. For example, I concentrated this past week on sending out one tweet at a time, thinking of each as a mini checkmark on my list of things to do. Eventually, these little victories added up to big results even though I wasn’t feeling 100%.

 

  1. Keep Communication Open

Because of my degree in Communication, of course I’m going to emphasize its importance! Your coworkers are your teammates, ready to help pick up your load when you need them. Therefore, it is crucial to remain accessible to them by keeping your email open, your Gchat signed on, and your phone nearby. Without the ability to exchange information easily, your tasks will only take more time and effort to complete.

 

  1. Keep Your Workspace Organized

Keeping both your physical and virtual work environment organized can definitely increase your productivity. For myself personally, I know my mind tends to wander to the mess around me if I don’t keep my space neat and tidy; this, in turn, takes my concentration away from where it really needs to be. Perhaps even more importantly for us social media managers and other tech-heavy careers is keeping the files and documents on our laptops organized as well. No one needs to waste time playing hide and seek through folders, trying to relocate the project they were working on.

 

  1. Don’t Overdo It

This is a classic case of work smarter, not harder. Working until your mind is rendered completely useless and your energy supply is burnt up won’t do your company any good. Instead, the best thing you can do is listen to your body and rest when you need to. Relaxation will only expediate your healing process, making you more valuable in the long run. So, brew a fresh cup of tea, fire up the Netflix, and get to bed early!

 

  1. Visit The Doctor As Soon As You Can

I’m guilty, like so many others, of waiting as long as humanly possible to see the doctor when I’m sick. However, the longer you wait to see your physician, the worse your condition can become. So, suck it up and get the treatment you need to recover! This will get you back to the peak of your effectiveness as soon as possible.

The Rise of Emojis in Marketing

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | No Comments

Today, Dominos is rolling out a “tweet-to-order” service. Once a customer has registered their Twitter handle on their Domino’s Pizza Profile, all you have to do is tweet the pizza emoji to @dominos and a pizza is delivered to your door step. Domino’s will then send you a direct message to confirm the order and the Easy Order saved in your customer’s profile will be automatically sent to your home.

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Brands are always trying to find unique and creative ways to reach millenials, the generation that grew up in a social, mobile and digitally-connected world. The generation that communicates with text messages and, increasingly, with emojis. Working in social media and communicating as a brand, it’s important to be able communicate with your target audience effectively, to demonstrate that you’re on top of the latest trends, and to convey messages in a simple way. What better way than with an emoji?

Brands are embracing emojis to enhance their marketing efforts and to communicate with audiences on social media. According to data from eMarketer, there are nearly 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, and 41.5 billion messages and 6 billion emoticons or stickers are sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps, according to branded digital startup Swyft Media.

Emojis represent a more visual form of communication, presenting brands with an opportunity to convey their messages more creatively and to make posts more fun and expressive.

Last year, Budweiser seamlessly used emojis to celebrate the 4th of July and have continued to use them in promotional tweets and messages.

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Emojis have become so mainstream that brands are now looking for ways to make them more personalized. Like Burger King, who celebrated the addition of its Chicken Fries product as a permanent menu item with a Chicken Fries emoji keyboard.

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Instagram has jumped on the bandwagon, too, and just recently update their app to include emoji hashtags and the ability to search emoji hashtags.

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Previously, Instagram’s hashtag feature did not support emoji, so comments or captions with the hashtag symbol and emoji were not searchable. Now, users can add emoji (or a string of emoji) to hashtags and posts that have been previously tagged with the characters will also show up in searches.

According to Instagram research, within a month of iOS launching the emoji keyboard in 2011, 10% of the captions and comments on the platform contained at least one emoji character. Just four years later, that number is now nearly 40%.

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Keep it simple and start small. Start by simply adding emojis to your tweets or Instagram posts. Just make sure they are appropriate and “on brand.” For example, a manicure emoji works perfectly for a beauty client while the beer emoji is great to promote a craft beer event for a brewery.

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If the rise of emoji teaches us anything, it’s that brands are looking for more effective ways to communicate information in unique and creative ways with their audience  Now that’s something to 🙂 about.

 

Book Review: Nice Is Just a Place in France

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Can you review a book if you haven’t finished it? Well, that’s what is happening here. I was afraid that I would lose too many brain cells if I finished this book. I had such high hopes for this book: Nice Is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything because I absolutely love the Instagram account associated with it. The fact that I saw hundreds of Instagram pics of people with the book was also encouraging.

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When I started reading I thought it was a joke and I was waiting to get to the good part, 200 pages later, I was still searching for something, anything, redeeming about this book. This book is everything that is wrong with society and then some. No, I wasn’t offended by it, although I am sure many people are. It was worse than being offended, I was bored and unamused. Basically it’s about how to get ahead in life by blacking out, starving yourself and mooching off of your parents. There is a lengthy guide about how to appropriately use social media to get what you want out of life and it is just so far fetched by suggesting you can craft a status update that will attract a wealthy man to immediately want to propose to you. There is also a long description of how to appropriately stalk using social media, any girl that needs a guide for this has been missing out. Most, if not all, of the females I know could write a book on social stalking, so in my opinion that was just filler.

Here are a couple of honest reviews that put it better than I could: Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 12.57.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 12.58.06 PM

 

“I’d rather poke my own eyeballs out with a fork than finish this book.” HARSH!

 

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This book condones, promotes and encourages drugs, anorexia, skin cancer and alcoholism to name a few things. Abuse of prescription pills is a must in order to be a “Betch.” You’re judged by your preferred choice of alcohol, if you choose Ketel One you are “old” – that line probably offended more than any of them. I love my dirty Ketel Martinis but in “Betch” years, I guess I am an old hag.

I knew it was time to put it down when my husband was sitting next to me and caught a glimpse of it and looked at me in horror and disgust and asked what the hell was I reading. I realized I was embarrassed to be reading such trash and I am not easily embarrassed.

Bottom line – don’t waste your money or brain cells on this catastrophic abomination of a book.

Staying Paw-sitive in the Workplace

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”

―M.K. Clinton

In a dream world, my dream world anyway, I would be surrounded by dogs all day every day. When I first received the opportunity to interview at Gossip Genie and was informed that the office was dog friendly, I couldn’t believe my luck. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will calm your nerves during an interview like having the head of a sweet pup in your lap.

When I walked through the door on my first day, I learned that not only was the office dog friendly but that there would be two little fur babies gracing me with their presence from 9-5. Best office ever? I think so. During lunch one day, the Genies got to talking about how just petting one of the dogs could instantly relieve stress, if even for only a minute. This got me thinking about other offices and their pet policies and what the benefits might be.

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Among the thousands of dog-friendly workplaces across the United States are companies such as Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon, and Clif Bar & Company. These types of companies are generally known for their above average workplace environments and policies that cater to the employees. So what made companies like these decide to allow dogs in the office? A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association showed that between 70 and 75 million Americans believe that having a pet in the office reduces stress and makes people happier and around 46 million agreed that it also leads to a more productive and creative working environment. Another experiment out of Central Michigan University showed that employees were more likely to communicate with and trust one another.

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Because I’m not completely naïve, I know there are a group of people that exist on this planet who don’t like, or are allergic to, dogs. Oh, and cat people. That being said, dogs might not be perfect for every office. However, for the short time that I’ve worked at Gossip Genie, it’s obvious to see that everyone is more productive and generally happier with two furry bundles of joy hanging out. When you open the door and are greeted with wagging tails and lots of kisses, it’s impossible to be anything but ecstatic. So thank you, Gossip Genie, for the most awesome work environment and two best office dogs a girl could ask for!

Bruce Jenner Breaks the Internet

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Reality TV, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | One Comment

Apparently, Kim Kardashian isn’t the only one in the family that can break the Internet. Social media blew up this weekend when Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer aired. In fact, Jenner’s interview was so popular and powerful that it actually broke social media records. A new record of over 970,000 tweets from 403,000 unique Twitter users weighed in about Jenner, making it the most social Friday telecast to date (minus sporting events). Yet another gold for Jenner. Trending hashtags included #BruceJenner, #BruceJennerABC, #love and many more.  For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, the touching interview revealed that Jenner is transgender. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend taking the time to do so. It’s a great reminder that everyone should be allowed to be who they are without judgement. Although there were some negative tweets (I’m looking at you, Kris Humphries), most of the responses were supportive. Here are some of the social media highlights:

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There was an outpour of support from media outlets to celebrities too:

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What Jenner did not only took a lot of courage, but opened doors, allowed people to understand what transgender means and to be more accepting of others. Congrats, Bruzer!

Beanie Babies and Social Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media Spotlight | One Comment

If you were a child in the 90s, you remember Beanie Babies. Even as a young girl, I was a bit OCD and didn’t like to play with my toys but rather display and admire them. Well, at 12 years old, that habit paid off, big time. I had a vast collection of Beanie Babies which my parents scoffed at but I was allowed to use my allowance money however I pleased. While I was being tutored for my Bat Mitzvah, my cantor happened to mention that he had a side business as a Beanie Baby dealer. I casually mentioned that I had many with the tags intact, my cantor’s eyes lit up and we ended our tutoring early to check out my collection. I ended that day $5,000 richer and only down a few Beanie Babies. Suddenly my parents were giving me their stock portfolios asking for advice.

Months later the Beanie Baby bubble burst and everyone that hadn’t sold when I did was SOL. I continued to collect them after I sold the first batch because I enjoyed them as decor. Friends will often tell me they have hundreds to sell but I have to break the news that they are worth nothing. I still have about 50, preserved in cases with the tags in tact. I am hoping one day they may make a comeback. Every so often social media is to blame for the revival of the concept that a Beanie Baby is worth hundreds of thousands.

This morning I saw this article in my newsfeed and before I thought it through, I got excited. It’s on the Internet, it has to be real…riiiight?! I read it and looked up the bear on eBay, I happen to have this exact first edition Princess Di Bear. The exact one I had in my possession was selling for nearly $200,000 – check it out here. I did further research and realized that the eBay frauders were taking advantage of the social media hype believers and that my bear was probably only worth $52 on a good day. Per this official Ty collector site.

The moral of the story being social media can overhype and not everything you read online is true. As for my Princess Di Beanie Baby, she will go back into storage and hopefully appreciate like a fine wine over time. Maybe she will be my 401K.

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The Snapchat Update Decoded

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments

I am a huge fan of the app Snapchat, so when I heard there was a new update, I had to blog about it.

If you read my previous blog post, I describe what Snapchat is and how it lost an important feature that had everyone talking on social media. The app developers decided to get rid of “Best Friends” to protect the privacy of certain people. Once this was discovered, there was viral backlash and Snapchat announced it would bring back the feature in it’s next update.

That time has finally come.

Instead of publicly listing everyone’s top “Best Friends,” Snapchat replaced this social hierarchy with emojis (because who doesn’t love emojis). Now, your top best friend will have a heart emoji next to his or her name and the rest goes on. Below is a clever infographic that shows this hierarchy in terms of Beyonce’s inner circle.

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Another interesting thing to note about the update is how Snapchat is slowly integrating gamification. Gamification is the idea of applying gaming concepts to real life environments in order to motivate a behavior. Before the update, “Best Friends” lists were set in stone, whether one snapped regularly or not. After the update, one must snap regularly to keep the emoji list and see who is engaging with each other in your contact list. This subtly encourages users to keep sending snaps in order to keep their lists going, which leads to Snapchat gamifying social interactions. While gamification is projected to be a $2.8 billion industry in 2016, I’m not surprised Snapchat finally jumped on the bandwagon.

World Autism Awareness Day

#LightitUpBlue

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Reality TV, Social Media | 2 Comments

In honor of my beautiful niece, Lilly, who happens to have autism, I wanted to write about autism awareness and what social media does for a topic like this. Shameless plug alert: she happens to have a Facebook page and blog that sheds light on her journey with autism (see her story here: http://bit.ly/1G6EPzB).

Autism Awareness

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. One in 68 children are affected by autism and the number is growing. There’s also no cure, but raising awareness about autism brings us one step closer to finding one. To do this, social media users are hashtagging #LightitUpBlue and it’s getting a tremendous response. People aren’t just simply writing a quick tweet but are taking action in other forms too. Some posts include:

Autism Awareness with Carole King

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Two things I love are seeing businesses take advantage of the voice they have through social media and supporting great causes. One company that is lighting it up blue is Home Depot. You can go to any Home Depot store to purchase #LightitUpBlue lanterns and light bulbs. The proceeds from your purchase will go to Autism Speaks. To spread the word, Home Depot and customers are taking to Twitter to share:

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Another account of successfully reaching an audience through social media deals with Jacqueline Laurita. If anyone watches Real Housewives of New Jersey, you know Laurita has an autistic son, Nicholas. She uses her celebrity platform to educate others on autism. She is also a support system for parents by sharing her own journey with Nicholas.

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Recently, a woman by the name of Jane Wong commented the Autism Behavioral Services Page asking, “Why do people give birth to autistic kids? Waste of society’s resources.” Laurita responded online with a touching open letter to educate Wong instead of attack (read the full letter here: http://bit.ly/1NuDjtG).

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Social media outlets continue to prove to be a valuable tool in spreading importance and educating others. I hope you will join me in lighting it up blue on Thursday in support of autism awareness!

Meerkat: What is it and how can you use it to market your business?

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | No Comments

Meerkat premiered at SXSW on March 13th and since then, the app has seen an explosion of sign-ups, with more than 120,000 people currently using the app. The Meerkat developers claim the number of users has been increasing by around 30% a day since the big reveal at SXSW. Could it be the next big thing in social media?

What is Meerkat?

Meerkat is a free app that lets you stream live video from your mobile device to anyone who follows you on Twitter. You start broadcasting simply by tapping the Stream button in the app, which also lets you schedule broadcasts for later. It allows others to subscribe to and attend the live streams. It doesn’t just broadcast video content thought, it also lets you have real time interaction with other users watching the stream.

Is it different from Vine?

Yes. With Vine you’re recording video and then sharing it with your followers. Meerkat is live and instantaneous from the moment you tap that Stream button. Also, Vine limits you to 6 seconds of video and Meerkat doesn’t place any time limit on how long you can stream, so you can keep broadcasting for as long as you want.

How does Meerkat work?

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Sign into the mobile app using your Twitter account information and after you give Meerkat permission to use your phone’s camera and microphone, you’re ready to stream. Give your stream a title and hit “Stream” to start live video. The bottom right corner of the app gives you buttons to activate your camera’s flash, switch between rear- and front-facing cameras, and stop the recording. Meerkat informs you how many people are watching your stream and shows their Twitter icons across your screen. Likes, retweets and comments from followers also appear, and a chat icon in the left corner of the screen lets you talk back to your followers in real time.

What happens when you schedule a stream in Meerkat?

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By adding a title for your stream and pressing the “Schedule” button, you can let your followers know that a stream will be happening at a given time. Select a time and a photo and Meerkat will list the upcoming stream in the main window of the app. Anyone following you through Meerkat gets a notification when you plan to launch your next live stream. And the Meerkat app will notify you when the appointed time arrives.

How can brands effectively use Meerkat?

Events

If you’re hosting an event, it’s unlikely your entire audience will be able to attend, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out. If your brand or business is hosting an event or conference, you could live-streamthe action and get your Twitter followers involved using the hashtag. It also allows you the ability to provide exclusive behind the scenes videos, giving your audience an insight to what goes on while they’re not there.Live conversation is key for event success, and Meerkat really opens to the door to a world of possibilities in this area.

Demonstrations

Video is a great way to demonstrate how consumers can use your product or service in a simple and efficient way. You could create one video at the launch of a product, weekly videos to keep your consumers engaged, or even daily videos to build up audience interaction.

Interviews

Interviews are a great way to really demonstrate brand transparency and industry expertise. No one likes to think they are talking to a robot on Twitter and Facebook and it can be really beneficial for brands to show their audience their human side of a bran.

Storytelling

Videos could be used to simply give fans a tour of the brand’s headquarters, introduce them to all the employees, or give them an insight into a day in the life of the business. As mentioned before, people love brand transparency, and Meerkat gives businesses the opportunity to really let their audience in.

The future of Meerkat

While it’s safe to say that the Meerkat app has gained some real momentum out of the gate, only time will tell if it sticks. Twitter is launching their own live streaming service called Periscope, so Meerkat already faces tough competition. However, if Meerkat takes off and stands the test of time, businesses will want to jump on the opportunity to establish themselves as expert Meerkaters now and capitalize on all the hype.