Gossip Genie Blog

Hiring a Great Community Manager

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Yesterday was Community Manager Appreciation Day and after a long chaotic Monday at work, we all ventured out in sub zero temperatures to have a team dinner at Summer House Santa Monica. Despite the frigid temps outside, it felt like summer inside. Our team toasted to a day that appreciates the work we do and I felt very proud of this team that has taken 4 years to build. Everyone brings something unique to the table, personally and professionally. Despite the fact that we work together, it felt like a dinner amongst friends and there is nothing more important than autonomy. The best feeling is knowing that you can be yourself amongst your coworkers. I think this is the foundation to long lasting working relationships.

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Team Toast for Community Manager Appreciation Day at Summer House 

People always ask me how I make my hiring decisions, to be honest, there are a million things that contribute to finding an ideal candidate. I am very particular when it comes to hiring and after 4 years, I feel like I have figured it out, not entirely but mostly. Aside from the obvious attention detail, compelling resume, intelligence, experience and industry knowledge, I hire people that I know I will enjoy being around. Here are some other things I look for when hiring someone:

A sense of humor: When times get stressful, sometimes, the only outlet is a good laugh. You will often find the Genies laughing until we cry during our lunchtime impression sessions.

A little bit of Positive OCD: Every successful person I know has a quirk or two. You have to be a bit obsessive about your work at Gossip Genie because everything we do is publicly published.

Someone that is family oriented and a good friend: People that understand the importance of other people are great team players. Furthermore, they have a great support system which usually means, they know how to be supportive.

People that like dogs: You have no soul if you are a dog hater.

Must love sweets…If you don’t have a bite of the chocolate chip rice crispy treat cookie with peanut butter ice cream and hot fudge on top (from Summer House), I don’t want to work with you!

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Sochi Olympics and the social media ban

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I was lucky enough to be in London when it hosted the 2012 Olympics. It was dubbed the first-ever ‘social media games,’ with the opening ceremony alone provoking more tweets than the entire Beijing Olympics in 2008.

I was gripped by the event and was constantly on Twitter keeping up-to-date with the reactions and news from my favorite athletes. The athletes were able to use social media to showcase life inside the Olympic village – something a traditional journalist couldn’t do so easily. Who remembers Usain Bolt tweeting a photo of his late night partying antics with the Swedish handball team?!

Usain Bolt

I’m excited to see how social media is utilized during the forthcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. I was surprised to read recent reports that the Australian Olympic Committee has banned its team’s athletes from using social media during training, competition or while traveling between venues at Sochi.

The ban was put it place because apparently social media distracted the Australian swim team at London 2012. Of course they want their athletes to focus 100% but it seems behind the times to shut the team off from this valuable resource – a way for them to document their Olympic journey and to enjoy added exposure.

Many of the Australian athletes took to  Twitter to vent their anger at the ban, including the pro snowboarder, Scotty James, who complained: “No social media, no partying and no personal devices allowed at the Winter Olympics for Aus team. Cheers Australian swim team…”


Thankfully, the Australian Olympic Committee’s ban is in contrast to the social media guidelines listed on, which actively encourages athletes to tweet and blog during the Games.

There were also reports late last year that Sochi officials have banned journalists from using social media to document the Winter Olympics.

“Capturing the games in real time will be considered a serious violation and will result in cancelation of accreditation,” announced Vasily Konov, a Russian sports journalist who works for the state-run news agency RIA.

However, soon after, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams confirmed that journalists will be able to use social media outlets like Instagram and Twitter. Phew.

Richard Sherman Locks Down Twitter

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Last Sunday NFL fans discovered who is going to be playing in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2nd. The funny thing is that no one seemed to be talking about the Denver Broncos nor the Seattle Seahawks. All people wanted to talk about was Richard Sherman.

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After his post game interview, or rant as most call it, Twitter erupted and so did his Sherman’s follower count. From when I checked yesterday he has already gained another 200,000 followers. The phrase “Richard Sherman” was trending for over 24 hours. The fans were not the only people expressing their opinions about Sherman:



Even his best friend at the time, Michael Crabtree, responded back:


But none of this seemed to bother Sherman because:


This isn’t Sherman’s first Twitter war. Just about a year ago he started one with New York Jets cornerback, Darrelle Revis. You can read all about that here.

Now what a lot of people didn’t see was the ad for Beats by Dre that was released on Sunday. This ad just so happened to show Sherman being hounded by reporters for his “reputation as a thug.” This is the kind of stuff we marketing professionals dream of happening. Some people have gone as far to say this was staged but I don’t believe you can plan your timing this perfectly.

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The History of Martin Luther King Jr., in Tweets

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“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He’d be 85 years old today.

It’s been over 45 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, yet his stirring words, script and motivational influence remain just as significant today as they did when he was alive.

Driven and inspired by supporters of nonviolence, Dr. King sought equality for African Americans, the underclass and victims of discrimination, as well as played a key role in the civil rights movement

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s take a look at some of Dr. King’s historic moments that set the stage for a revolutionary future.

In tweets, here’s why we celebrate and honor, Dr. King.


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This is just a small peek into the life of Dr. King, “one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.” Learn more about the rich history, here.




The Best Response to Cyber Bullying

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It’s obvious that I love social media almost as much as I love the color pink, combine the two and you get Gossip Genie. Luckily, my initial branding decisions didn’t detract great male talent. Don’t be surprised if Aladdin makes an appearance within our logo in 2014. Anyway, I prefaced this post with my love of social media because I need to admit something…social media makes the thought of having children terrifying. Obviously, a little baby (I lovingly call them blobs for the first year) won’t be affected by the cruelty that can be cast out through social channels but as children grow up, it is frightening how easily accessible they are through social media. Furthermore, bullying is not just in the hallways of a school, it’s a message sent directly to a cell phone via a tweet. It’s in the form of a notification via Facebook that someone has written on your wall.  If you are in the spotlight at all, forget about living a bully-free life, the haters are abundant. The way you respond will determine your strength. Here is an incredible example of how to respond to the haters.

Gabourey Sidibe, famous from her role in the movie, Precious, attended the Golden Globes on Sunday. Sidibe has always been a full figured woman but that should not take away from the fact that she is a fantastic actress. Amongst her ultra slender peers in revealing couture gowns, Sidibe was the subject of vicious Twitter attacks for her appearance. 1389647260000-GTY-462081491 Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 2.56.48 PM

Can “Photosations” Become The Next Big Social Trend?

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Last week my co-worker, Darryl Villacorta, came up with the idea of “photosations” after an interaction he had with a friend. As the term implies, it is a conversation with photos. You can read his full post here. As we were discussing how such a platform would work, I immediately thought of looking at something similar to a comic strip.

As I continued to think about photosations I realized how cool this trend could be. As Darryl and I discussed his idea I got a better feel for what he imagined it would be. The general principle is to start a conversation by posting a photo and as people respond with photos of their own, they can be added to your storyboard. I’ll use Michigan State for example.

Before the new year I wrote a blog post on Michigan State University’s football team capturing a famous Atlanta rapper’s attention on Twitter. Basically the Spartans used his hit song as an anthem for motivation all season, he felt honored and then started to feel like a part of MSU. After expressing his want to be with Michigan State on January 1st in Pasadena, MSU reached out to rapper, Rich Homie Quan, and got him tickets to the 100th Rose Bowl game. This is where his photosation would begin. I put together and example of how it could have looked throughout the day.


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While no conversation actually took place between Quan and the Spartans, this gives you an idea of what a photosation could look like if he would have taken place and sent photos back. Photosations are a cool idea and a different way to interact. Let me know your thoughts! Oh and I couldn’t leave you without the celebration video of Rich Homie signing “Type of Way” for the Spartans in the locker room, which now has reached over 1 million views in a few days. Spartan Dawgs all over the world are still feeling #SomeTypeOfWay.:

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Michigan State Grabs ATL Rapper’s Attention on Twitter

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First off, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Hopefully Santa brought you that new smart phone or iPad you wanted and now are using it to read this! While those gifts are cool the best Christmas present for me is yet to come.

I am a Michigan State Spartan. On New Year’s Day my beloved Spartans will take on Stanford in their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988. All I really wanted for Christmas was a win. MSU has had a crazy year. We were two games into our season and still trying to decide who our starting QB was going to be. No one had any idea that such an amazing “Cinderalla-like” season would come together as it did. Throughout the whole year MSU has been dancing themselves to victory across social media networks. Because of this, Michigan State now has Rich Homie Quan.

For those of you that don’t know, Mr. Quan is a 24-year old Atlanta based rapper who’s hit song, “Type of Way,” has become some type of anthem for the Michigan State Spartans. After the huge win against in-state rival Michigan, tons of videos were posted from inside of the locker room showing the players and head coach, Mark Dantonio, dancing to Rich Homie Quan’s single. This video went viral throughout social networks and for a good reason. I mean when else have you seen a 57-year-old head coach “drop the top of his whip.” If you haven’t make sure to click that link.

Rich Homie Quan first saw that the Spartans had adapted his song via Twitter. After MSU secured their spot in the Big Ten Championship game, Quan released a video giving the Spartan Dawgs a huge shoutout:

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After claiming the Big Ten Title the Spartans claimed their spot in the 100th Rose Bowl. In the post game interview Dantonio gave Quan a shoutout this time when asked what he was going to do to celebrate:

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After hearing this interview it was clear Quan was feeling some color of green. “I want to be out there in a green jersey and feel a part of Michigan State,” Quan said. “I want to be at the game, I want to be out there with them. I feel a part of Michigan State now, and you don’t even know what it means to me.”

Can we expect the next video to be of a live locker room performance by Mr. Quan pumping up the Spartans? I’d like to hope it will happen, but it has yet to be confirmed if the plan to have him in Pasadena has worked out.

Looking toward the future – what will this mean for Michigan State Football? Will their presence on social media affect the decisions of future recruits? I feel high school football players prefer to go to a college where the coaching staff connects with the younger generation so well. I mean, it helps that the team is good, but why go else where when the defensive coordinator for the #1 defense in the nation is this cool:


I’ve talked about the dancing. Now check it our for yourself in this mashup courtesy of the Big Ten Network. It’ll have you feelin’ some type of way:

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 Go Green!

2013: A Year in Review

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As Tara looked ahead to the future of social media in 2014 and Jacqui reflected on Gossip Genie’s past year, I thought I would take a look at the trends and themes on social media in 2013.

Facebook in 2013

Facebook recently revealed the biggest trends of 2013, according to users of the social network.

The most talked about subject of 2013 was Pope Francis. In a world where Miley Cyrus seemed to be everywhere, it’s comforting to know more people were talking about the Pope, the election, Margaret Thatcher, and even the royal baby than a scantily clad pop star.

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The most checked-in place of 2013 in the US was Disneyland in California.

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The Top Life Event of 2013 was adding a relationship, getting engaged, or getting married. Ending a relationship ranked #4 on the list.

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The most talked-about topic in the US was the Super Bowl.

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 Twitter in 2013

Since last December 2012, Twitter added more than 30 million users. Here’s a look at the top retweeted tweets of 2013:

The most trending conversation on Twitter was Glee star Lea Michele’s public acknowledgment of her costar Corey Monteith’s death. Awarded the Golden Tweet of 2013, Twitter claims Michele’s tweet was retweeted more than 408,000 times.


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A recent tweet by Paul Walker’s staff announcing the actor’s tragic death was the second most retweeted tweet of the year, with more than 400,000 retweets.

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It wasn’t all sad news on Twitter. Niall Horan from boy band One Direction had the third most retweeted tweet of 2013 when he announced it was his 20th birthday.

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Instagram in 2013

On Instagram, New York City was the most Instagrammed city of 2013, followed by Bangkok, Thailand and Los Angeles.

Three of the top ten most photographed locations of 2013 were all located in New York City with Times Square, Central Park and The High Line each making the list.

The Most-Instagrammed Locations of 2013:

  1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Times Square, New York
  3. Disneyland, California
  4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
  5. Disney World Florida
  6. Staples Center, Los Angeles
  7. Central park, New York
  8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
  9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok, Thailand
  10. The High Line, New York

Gossip Genie in 2013

2013 was a great year for Gossip Genie! We welcomed some great new clients, presented at Social Media Week in Chicago on the “ROI of Social Media,” and we welcomed great new additions to the team. Thanks to all who made 2013 a great year! We’re excited for what 2014 will bring!

A look at Gossip Genie’s 2013:


Gossip Genie 2013 Recap

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After Tara’s post about predictions for 2014, I thought I would write something reflecting on 2013.

In January, Anthony Less joined us full time and he showed us that community managers are also magicians. Anthony was able to pull great content for the dryest of clients out of his magical social media hat.

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In February, Tara Golenberke joined us. Tara was the last interview of about 60 and in this case, the best was saved for last. Tara has taught our team about the art of patience and handholding. Tara has been a saviour to our clients that are apprehensive about diving head first into social media.


In March, without going into much detail, we learned the importance of a strong solid team. From interns to directors, the people that represent your company are key to the success of the company.


In April, Darryl Villacorta joined our team and brought an abundance of  social media related knowledge, passion and excitement to the company. Darryl lives and breathes his clients and that is obvious from the relationships he has formed with them over the past 8 months.

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In May, Gossip Genie was hired by Reynolds Wrap/Hefty Brands to manage their social media, this was all thanks to Elizabeth.

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In June, we had a team outing to the Cubs game and our fun time together, further confirmed how lucky we are to all work together.


In July, Elizabeth Ryder was promoted to Director of Social Media. Elizabeth has been an incredible leader and motivates everyone around her to do better. To know Elizabeth is to love her.


In August, we learned to let go of the smaller, more demanding clients. While it’s hard to say, no, that decision has been one of the best we’ve ever made.

In September, our team hosted a sold out event for Social Media Week on the ROI of Social Media. The positive feedback we received already has us planning for next year.

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In October, we realized the type of clients we want to work with and that trusting our instincts is very important when it comes to accepting a scope of work. This lesson took a long time to learn but we have all realized that quality over quantity is the way to go.


In November, Mathew Patria accepted an internship position with Gossip Genie and although it’s only been a couple of weeks, we are all impressed with his work ethic and knowledge of our industry.


 In December, we had a wonderful holiday party to celebrate our amazing team. We shared our resolutions for 2014 and based on what we all said, I know it’s going to be our best year yet.



Six social media predictions for 2014

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“If 2013 showed us one thing, it’s that there’s a growing global business in accumulating friends and followers.” Katy Finneran from Bloomberg put it perfectly in her recent write-up, Five Biggest Social Media Lessons of 2013. Social media is proving itself to be a powerful advantage for large and small businesses alike. Let’s be honest, social media isn’t just for kids anymore.


The 2013 year saw the launch of the now famous app, Vine, the new-and-improved formatting for photos posted on Twitter, the constant growth of Snapchat, and the introduction to Instagram Direct, a whole new way to send photo or video messages to friends.

Pretty soon, we’ll be ringing in the New Year, welcoming more surprises, technological advancements for the long year ahead.

The Gossip Genie team shares their predictions for social media in 2014:

“It’s all about visuals, and storytelling that’s compelling, but to the point. Twitter has been around long enough for users to master the infamous, 140 characters or less ordeal, but what about creating an intriguing video in only a few seconds? The Vine concept is new, but growing in popularity. Concise videos may just become the new social media, storytelling tool, for individuals and businesses.”

– Tara Golenberke


“More businesses will spend money advertising on social networks, especially since Facebook’s algorithm is continuously changing. Boosting posts and running Facebook ads will need to become part of every brands’ social strategy if they want to effectively reach their audience.”

– Elizabeth Ryder


“Gamification will be a heavy component in brands’ social media strategies.”

– Darryl Villacorta


“Revenue sharing daily deal sites like Groupon will become obsolete because businesses will turn to Facebook Advertising offers as a cheaper, more effective method to promote discounts.”

– Jacqui Liberman


“Instagram was the fastest growing network in 2013 with 150 million users and 40 million photos being uploaded each day and in 2014, Instagram will only become bigger, with busisnesses placing a higher priority on it as a way to reach out to their audience in a unique way.”

– Anthony Less


“Companies will move more toward platforms such as Instagram and Vine for marketing. In 2013 we saw the rise and popularity of these image-centric social sites. I expect to see a lot of 6 to 15 second advertisements in 2014.”

– Mathew Patria


So, what do you predict for 2014?