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Gossip Genie Blog

Flatout Masterpiece Part II Featuring StarKist® Chunk Light Tuna

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

Remember back in November when Gossip Genie was the recipient of a Flatout Flatbread hunger intervention? Well, Christmas came early again this year in the form of a bag of goodies from our favorite low calorie, high taste, guilt free friends at Flatout. As recognized brand advocates, Flatout asked us to create a unique recipe pairing their product with StarKist® Chunk Light Tuna. I know, a match made in lunching heaven. Obviously, before getting started, I liked StarKist® on Facebook and followed StarKist® Twitter. I know my readers already like Flatout on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Gladly, willingly and excitedly, I accepted the challenge and got to work.

First, I had to choose what to incorporate in my recipe and that was a no-brainer. I am a huge kale enthusiast these days, so naturally, I wanted to incorporate the super food into my recipe. I decided to replace kale with the traditional, pickles or celery you often find mixed in with tuna.

Ingredients:

1 cup of chopped kale

1 package of StarKist® Chunk Light Tuna

1 tablespoon of Hellman’s Mayonnaise

1 small avocado, peeled and chopped – set aside for later

1 teaspoon of of lemon juice

1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

MOST IMPORTANTLY – 1 Flatout Foldit

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Directions:

1. Combine the StarKist® Chunk Light, mayonnaise and kale into a medium sized mixing bowl and mix until everything is combined

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2. Scoop the tuna mixture out and spread it evenly on one side of the Flatout Foldit

3. Squeeze about a teaspoon of lemon juice on top and top with the cheddar cheese

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(For less mess, cover either a cookie sheet or a toaster oven pan in Reynolds wrap and place the Flatout Foldit on top. You can heat this in the oven but I prefer to use my toaster oven at 350 for about 2 minutes or until the cheese has melted.)

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4. Top with chopped avocados and fold the Flatout Foldit over to make a delicious sandwich

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5. Enjoy!
final photoAsk us how you can win a hunger intervention for your company!

Leveraging Your Social Capital

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

Nowadays, there are very few people that do not participate in social media in some way shape or form. As social media has evolved, so have the opportunities for its loyal users. What I am referring to is the way in which a user can leverage their social capital and become the richest person without a dollar to his or her name.

For example, Mercedes created an Instagram campaign entitled “Take the Wheel.” The campaign chose 5 of Instagram’s best photographers (AKA normal people that had a large Instagram following) and gave them each a new Mercedes Benz CLA to drive for 5 days and photograph. The person whom received the most likes for their photos of the Benz got to keep the car. Check out the video Mercedes created here about the contest. As a result, the 5 contestants accumulated nearly 2 million likes on the photos of the Benz they posted. The winner accounted for nearly half a million likes on the Benz photos he posted during those 5 days. Most importantly, the sales for the CLA have been better than ever following this campaign.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 9.50.44 AMIf you work hard to build a strong presence, you can leverage your social capital in many different ways. Brands are starting to realize the value of social currency versus actual currency. While a brand cannot survive on social currency alone, it certainly can grow from harnessing the benefits of it. Which means that brands have to give up product in exchange for this social currency.

Marc Jacobs knows the value of social currency and has been extremely successful in leveraging. During New York Fashion Week this year, Marc Jacobs opened a pop up shop where the cost of certain products were not in dollars but tweets and Instagram posts.

“By snapping photos and posting messages with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain, visitors are awarded with Marc Jacobs-branded gifts when exiting the store. This ranges from perfume and necklaces to even purses (the best Instagram photo of the day will win a handbag). Each visitor then visits the front counter to receive a gift.” – Mashable

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In 2014 we are working to create social currency exchanges for all of our clients. We have some incredible ideas so watch out for amazing opportunities via Gossip Genie to cash in on your social capital.

Oscars 2014: Recap

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

From the glamour, glitz, and awe of the red carpet to Ellen DeGeneres’ witty one-liners and interactions with the celebrities, the 86th annual Academy Awards were full of charm and revelations. A night dedicated to our favorite actors and actresses, gripping cinema, and breathtaking fashion, style is a night not to be missed, at least not to us genies.

If you missed the award show, don’t fret; I’m here to give you a detailed review of the dazzling event, with a dash of commentary from, yours truly.

Let’s start with a “who got the gold” recap. The final unveiling of the awards caused both shock and agreement. Here are the results from this year’s Oscars ceremony:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: Great Gatsby

Best Directing: Gravity

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Documentary Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Makeup and Hairstyle: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: Frozen

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot

Best Live Action Short Film: Helium

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay: Her

 

Let’s Talk Oscars:

One of my favorite red carpet moments was Jennifer Lawrence’s tumble. Let’s just say, it wouldn’t have been the Oscars if J Law didn’t wipe out at some point.

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After tripping on an orange cone only moments after arriving at the show, she smiled, laughed and continued to look flawless.

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Kate Hudson and Lupita Nyong’o tied for best dressed in my book. From their makeup and hair to their dress choice, they nailed it.

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Shout-out to these handsome actors as well for looking quite dapper at the show.

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Finally, we can’t forget about how social media played a role. DeGeneres was tweeting and posting pictures during her airtime. Including this snapshot, which has been dubbed “selfie of the year.”

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According to the Chicago Tribune, this tweet “broke Twitter;” it actually “knocked the service offline for a few minutes before recovering.” DeGeneres was quoted, “We got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history.” Not only that, this tweet is now the most retweeted ever. The Tribune noted that DeGeneres’ tweet easily “surpassed the record set by U.S. President Barack Obama’s “Four More Years” re-election victory shot.”

The entire show, from red carpet interviews to DeGeneres ordering pizza mid-show, was full of hilarity and of course, pleasant surprises; DeGeneres’ opening killer monologue, the acceptance speeches from Leto and Nyong’o, and the fantastic performances by U2, Pink, Pharrell and Bette Midler, to name a few.

Now that you’ve seen the results of the awards, what are your thoughts?

 

Protein Bar Comes to Lincoln Park

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

We are so excited to have The Protein Bar in our neighborhood. What better way to fuel our hardworking team of fantastic community managers than with healthy options offered by The Protein Bar.

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Here’s what some of our team members had to say about our delicious meal from The Protein Bar:

Stephanie: “Sometimes I feel sluggish after I eat but I felt great after enjoying a Southwest salad from The Protein Bar! Not only is it healthy but it’s really tasty too. The portion size is quite big too which means plenty leftover for lunch the next day. I’m a fan!”

Elizabeth: “I first tried Protein bar at FFC in the West Loop and loved it so I was really excited to hear they opened a location so close to work in Lincoln park. The spinach and pesto bowl was really well-flavored and the perfect portion for lunch. I’ll definitely be ordering the South Acai’d smoothie again in the near future, I loved it!”

Protein Bar Chicago

Charles: “I might not be a child anymore, but that certainly didn’t stop me from enjoying the “KIDS-adilla,” a harmonious concoction of all-natural chicken and shredded cheddar with absolutely no veggies! #ForeverYoung”

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Anthony: “I went to the opening of Protein Bar’s Lincoln Park location and had a Buffalo Salad and Sears Sucker Smoothie. They were both so good I had to order them again! They did not disappoint.”

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Tara: “A major perk is that the Protein Bar is close to the Gossip Genie office. Having a healthy food place near base that everyone enjoys is a rare find, but we plan to take full advantage of it – the nutritious grub and blended drinks are just that good. I recommend the Buffalo Bar-rito!”

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Needless to say, the Genies are huge fans of Protein Bar!

Interview with Myself

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

On February 10th, 2014, Gossip Genie turned four years old. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted that we would be where we are today. It’s not an easy road but it’s the best one I have ever travelled. I love what I do and I get to choose the people that I want to do it with me. As I have said before, you are only as good as your team. We wouldn’t be where we are without our fantastic team.

After 4 years of doing this, I realized that I get asked the same questions all of the time and I figured it might be good if I answered them on the blog.

1. What is the hardest part of your job?

Firing and hiring. There is nothing worse than when an employee doesn’t work out and nobody responds well to being fired. Hiring is also very difficult because you can never be certain that you will get the same person that you interviewed when they get comfortable. Luckily, I hit the jackpot with my current team but it took a while to get here.

2. You let your employees work from home two days a week? Are you crazy?

I only want to work with people that can be trusted to work without supervision. Two days a week, it’s nice to be in a quiet space without distractions and craft content like I am doing right now. Everything we do is very transparent, if someone isn’t working hard because they are working from home, it will be apparent.

3. Why did you name the company Gossip Genie? Isn’t Gossip a negative?

The work that we do ensures your brand or company will be the talk of the town. We generate positive gossip. Have you ever heard the phrase there is no such thing as bad press? Alternatively, we are reputation managers if there is negative gossip we aim to address it and remediate it.

4. Why do you pay your interns?

From personal experience, the quality of my work is much better when I am being monetarily compensated. We are a profitable company, we can afford to pay anyone that is willing to spend their time working for us. End of story. Many interns have offered to work for free and I will not allow it.

5. How do you have time to do anything else in your life?

While I never fully disconnect, I think it’s extremely important to keep a balance between work and personal life. I can’t sit still for 14 hours straight because I am just too antsy. I have to take an hour or two to workout and step away from the computer. I feel so refreshed after that break and if needed, I can return to working because working remotely is the name of our Gossip Genie game. This balance took about 2 years to realize. It took me another year to realize that if I allowed myself to relax (to a certain extent), everything would fall into place and our company culture would prosper.

4 years final

Sochi Problems? A Twitter Analysis

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

A few weeks ago, I blogged about being excited to see how social media is utilized during the Winter Olympics 2014 and with the Games in full swing, I thought it might be interesting to analyze its impact so far.

While U.S. television viewing figures have been significantly down compared to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010, the use of social media to follow and document the 2014 Games has reached new heights.

17 million viewers tuned in to watch Sochi on Saturday February 15th – fewer than any night of the Vancouver Games – yet, Winter Olympics’ organizers outclassed the 2010 social media reach after two days.

Sochi may well be one of the most contentious host nations of a Winter Olympics in history and social media has certainly helped to fuel the controversy. As journalists and athletes arrived at the Games, #Sochiproblems became a top trending topic on Twitter – said to be currently earning up to 50 tweets a minute.

The Twitter account @Sochiproblems was set up to document the issues and it now has over 340,000 followers – more influence than the official Sochi 2014 Twitter page, with its 269,000 followers.

I think that the popularity of documenting Sochi’s problems perhaps reflects our love of sharing anything ‘weird’ and ‘unusual’ online and should be taken with a pinch of salt. This was one of the most viral retweeted #Sochiproblems images (8,239 retweets), shared by a Yahoo sports reporter:

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As I viewed Sochi tweets during the opening ceremony, I noticed the majority were negative. Sochi as a host nation was taking a massive bashing, which was a shame at this stage, since the focus should have really been on the extraordinary athletes partaking in the Games.

As the Winter sport events kicked off, it was nice to see many examples of social media being used in a positive way. For example, Barack Obama personally tweeted T.J. Oshie after his heroic actions in the US vs Russia ice hockey game. Oshie started the Olympics with 67,000 Twitter followers, but less than 24 hours after the game, that number shot to more than 200,000.

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Some heartwarming stories have broken on Twitter too, including news of a Canadian ski coach rushing to give a spare ski to the Russian cross-country skier, Anton Gavarof, when he tumbled on a slippery turn and broke his ski. The new ski allowed Gavarof to finish the race, receiving a warm applause from the home crowd. The touching gesture was photographed from the TV and went viral when it was shared by the Twitter user @MrHExperience.

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Who Is Your Tweetheart?

By | Funny Photos, Gossip Genie Blog, Uncategorized, What's Trending | No Comments

Why yes, it’s Valentine’s Day today, and if you’re one of the many people without a valentine, no worries! The people at Butlers Bingo have created a fun and simple way to help match you with your perfect ‘tweetheart’. Simply connect to “Who’s Your Tweetheart” with your Twitter account, and the Butler will instantly check to see who your #Tweetheart is this Valentine’s day!

Who did I get matched up with?
tweetheart

My buddy, Cedar Brown! And for the record, I don’t disagree with this pairing…

If finding your tweetheart isn’t your thing, you can always start a personal ‘photosation‘ with someone, or better yet, send them an e-card like the one below!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Opera: A Web Browser Worth Downloading

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Words of Advice | No Comments

Managing social media communities involves constantly switching between accounts. Logging in and out time after time can become tedious and annoying, which is why most community managers use multiple internet browsers and applications when they are working.

Just like everyone else, I use Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to browse the internet. But recently I have added another member to my gang of internet browsers: Opera.

Opera is currently CNET’s third most popular browser with over 12 million total downloads; Over 21,ooo in the last week:

opera #3

But what makes Opera so popular? I like this web browser because of how simple it is. When I first loaded the application the first thing I noticed was how clean it looked. Opera was awarded points from me for this. I enjoy simple yet efficient designs because of the ease of use that generally comes along with it. When you open the application you will see your speed dial.

Opera homepage

You can save your favorite or most used web pages on your speed dial tab for easy and quick access. The stash tab is basically your page for bookmarks. Opera makes it easy to stash web pages so you can easily come back and find pages you have liked. Opera is a web browser made to discover. Not looking for anything particular? Click the discover tab and browse through categories that interest you. You never know what you will find.

Pros: Light, fast, smooth, clean and slick design, secure, easy to use, and it’s free.

Cons: So far I have not ran into any.

I have only been using Opera for a few weeks but have quickly become a big fan. If you are living in a world of Chrome and Firefox, give Opera a try. It is the best alternate browser out there.

Looking for more information on Opera? Here is a quick overview from their website:

opera features

Check out the video below to see Opera in action.

[embedplusvideo height=”400″ width=”650″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/MtJi9F” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/_mpF5aQpmow?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=_mpF5aQpmow&width=650&height=400&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep2489″ /]

Also, any company that uses a extreme sports and GoPro to create their commercials wins in my book.

[embedplusvideo height=”400″ width=”650″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/MtNZQy” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/TQVrI7AWqSo?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=TQVrI7AWqSo&width=450&height=650&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep7239″ /]

Happy Birthday Facebook

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

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It was Facebook’s 10th birthday earlier this week (February 4th, ’14). When I casually signed up during my university days, I didn’t realize Facebook would become so ubiquitous worldwide. Something that I would use on a daily basis in my personal and professional life.

Love it or hate it, Facebook has helped to define the past decade. During its early days, my friends and I felt like we’d discovered an exciting new toy. It was addictive. It fed egos. We were guilty of taking photos with the sole purpose of sharing them on Facebook, stalking keeping up-to-date with the status of a latest guy crush and having long conversations for everyone to see.

With Facebook’s popularity growing at crazy speeds – its membership opening up to everyone and making countless updates to its many features and applications – I remember Facebook fatigue setting in among my group of friends. Suddenly we wanted our privacy back. We realized it’s actually not normal to see an ex-boyfriend announce his wedding plans or to see someone you vaguely remember from pre-school showing off her three-month baby scan.

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The Facebook experience may have initially been a shaky one but I soon found balance. Facebook is a dream tool for anybody working in the communications industry. Beyond its profile-raising potential, it can genuinely help to generate sales for businesses. I’ve been working at Gossip Genie for over a month now and it’s amazing to see how they generate leads (and make money!) for clients using Facebook and other social media channels.

Facebook’s potential keeps surprising me, too. For example, as part of our social media support for Clevermind – a voice activated iPad app which helps to stimulate the cognitive abilities of seniors and people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia – I came across an incredibly clever Facebook campaign that seeks to put people in the shoes of Alzheimer’s patients by simulating the effects of the disease.

On a personal front, Facebook has grown into a platform I love to use for travel inspiration. Many of the trips I’ve been on have been inspired by tourist boards’ Facebook pages or by holiday photos my friends have shared. That’s why I’m shocked if I ever come across a travel company without a Facebook presence – or worse, they have a page but aren’t using it properly.

Recording 1.23 billion active users and more than 6 billion ‘likes’ per day in December ’13, it looks like Facebook’s popularity will continue well into the next decade. Give us a call if you’re a business looking to use it in the most effective way!

 

The Use of Social Media in Police Investigations

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

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The law has always fascinated me. My mom is a lawyer and ever since I was little, I was captivated whenever I overheard her discussing a case or going over a court case file. I was on the phone with her last night and she was asking about my job, trying to understand social media, because it is playing a major role in her current case. That prompted me to take a look at the current role of social media in crime investigations. Here is what I found:

The Facts

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LexisNexis conducted a study in 2012 aimed at better understanding the current role of social media in law enforcement investigations. Surveying over 1,200 federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals, they found that law enforcement “embraced social media as a key tool in pre-identifying and investigating criminal activity.” Here is what they found:

  • 4 out of 5 officers use social media for investigative purposes
  • When challenged, social media as evidence for search warrants holds up in court 87% of the time.
  • Facebook is the most used social media site for investigations, followed by YouTube and Twitter
  • 2/3 of the people surveyed believe that social media helps solve crimes more quickly

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Success of social media in police investigations

When a man was shot and killed in Fountain Inn, South Carolina last year, the police used his social media account to help indentify suspects, ultimately leading them to an arrest.

Source: USA Today, ‘Police fighting crime with tweets, posts

In Cincinnati, police initiated the largest criminal gang investigation and prosecution in the history of the Department by using social media to identify key members of a local street gang. In the end, they arrested 71 gang members after a 9-month investigation, highly influenced and aided by social media. Their use of “innovation and ingenuity in law enforcement” earned them an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/West Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigations.

Source: CNN, ‘Police embrace social media as crime-fighting tool

In New York, police and prosecutors pursued a digital trail of messages on Facebook and Twitter to indict members of an East Harlem gang tied to gun trafficking, shootings, and at least three murders. Using social media postings to build their case, police indicted 63 gang members. Mannhatan District Attorney Cryus Vance Jr. said, “These Facebook and Instagram postings are sometimes our most reliable evidence and they become our most reliable informants in identifying who’s in the gang. Gang members are Instagramming pictures of themselves with guns and cash. They are communicating about where to meet before they do something related to gang activities. They brag about what they’ve done after the fact. We see that again and again and again in these cases”

Source: Gangs using social media- and police are watching

Issue of Privacy?

In the case of Melvin Colon, issues of privacy were brought up. Colon is facing charges of murder along with weapon and narcotic-related charges. The suspected New York gang member posted public photos on Facebook that showed him flashing gang signs but made private more incriminating posts, including references to past violent crimes and threats against others.

After one of his Facebook friends agreed to give police access to Colon’s “private” information, and a federal judge ruled that Colon lost all claims to privacy when he shared those details with friends.

Many argue, as Colon’s attorney’s did, that his Facebook posts were protected under the Fouth Amendment, which shields people’s homes and effects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The judge disagreed, saying Colon forfeited any expectation of privacy when he shared online postings with friends. Meaning, the online world is no different than the online one when it comes to police investigations. Your friends can inform on you to the police in the offline world and detectives can go undercover to catch you, just as they can online using social media.

The flip side of the coin

Social media is clearly effective in helping police solve a crime but it can also be a hinderance. In Florida, two men are being charged with interfering in the case of a missing person after they began posting misleading information and content on social media to purposely mislead and divert investigating officers.

There also comes the issue of fake profiles. Is it right for officers to create fake Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts to investigate cases? The LexisNexis survey found that 83% of law enforcement officials said that they though it was ethical to create fake profiles for investigations. The police oftentimes pose as young girls to capture people for soliciting a minor to engage in sexual activities or they pose as a potential drug buyer in order to arrest individuals on drug crimes. That’s where the water gets murky and the lines between lawful investigation, ethics, and justice blur.

There is no doubt that there are many benefits to social media being used for police investigations. I believe any avenue should be pursued when a missing person can be found, lives can be saved, and justice can be served. And as an avid social media user, both personally and professionally, it is interesting to see how it can be used for such purposes and I’m interested to see how social media will adapt into the law enforcement culture in the future.