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Gossip Genie Blog

‘Tis the Season for Greedy Tweets

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I know it is the season of giving but as a huge fan of Buzzfeed.com, I had to share their post from yesterday titled “People Who Didn’t Get What They Want For Christmas.” We usually use social media during the holidays to post family photos, decorated houses, Christmas dinner, etc. However, there are always those that have no shame in making themselves look completely ungrateful. The worrisome part about the tweets below is that I believe most of them are from Generation Z-ers. Generation Z-ers were born in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s and I think it is safe to say that their strong connection with media and technology isn’t doing their image much good.

Here are a few of my favorites but read the full article here.

The Instagram #InstaRage

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It seems Instagram has been in the news a lot lately (per my last blog post), but on Monday when they changed their terms of service agreement, Instagrammers, both personal accounts and business accounts, seemed to be enraged. Users are now concerned over the fact that Instagram can sell their photos to advertisers. Although Facebook bought out Instagram this year, Instagram currently makes no revenue off the app. National Geographic, ironically enough, posted this message on their account yesterday.

 

 

If you’re worried about your photos being sold for advertisement space, there are a few alternatives to consider before you decide to delete your account!

1. Backup your photos from Instagram: CopygramInstaport.MeInstarchive and Instabackup all saw higher than average volume this week.

2. Try out a new service until Instagram is more clear on how they will use your photos.  Flickr has a sharing option similar to Instagram and also has the filter effects to add to photos. Google’s Snapseed allows for similar features and enables you to share them to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

3. Make use of Twitter and Pixlr-O-Matic. After the Twitter and Instagram breakup, Twitter installed filter features into its photo sharing feature. Pixlr-O-Matic is a photo editing app that is available on multiple platforms outside iOS and Android. It’s available on Facebook as well as a stand alone website and users can add special effects, overlays, borders and share with others.

Don’t forget: If you deactivate your Instagram account, there is no way to reactivate it! 

Reflections From a Genie

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As the year comes to an end, I want to reflect on what Gossip Genie means to me. If you have been following our blog, you know by now that we keep it casual, we all contribute on a regular basis and we are all passionate about our jobs. Passion is key, it’s the motivation that gets you up in the morning and the force behind the desire to succeed. Gossip Genie will be 3 years old in February. The decision to start a business is not an easy one. It was very tough in the beginning but I was determined and made many sacrifices in order to make it work. It was the passion that kept me moving forward.

Over the past 3 years, there have been many ups and downs. I have learned that finding the right team is crucial to the success of a business. Hiring is an extremely overwhelming process and managing a team is an even more daunting task. Firing people is unbelievably difficult and they always end up hating you regardless of the reasons behind the separation. You have to learn to accept that not everyone will like you, conflicts will inevitably arise among coworkers, clients and power partners. Every one has a bad day and bad moods which are most likely unrelated to you. You don’t have to micro-manage to get what you want, if you do, you are working with the wrong people. Accusations and confrontations are two entirely different things. It’s important to encourage the truth over excuses. If you are judgmental, you are unapproachable. Stay positive because negativity is contagious. If you don’t trust your team, you will never be able to relax and enjoy life. Creating a hierarchy can be detrimental.

There are so many things I have learned in 3 short years and I continue to learn something new every day. Once I had the idea to start Gossip Genie, I literally had no idea how many other elements running a company would entail. Constant prospecting and networking while maintaining current client communication and satisfaction, lead generation, innovative and creative ideas to attract new clients. Materials and proposals to present to new clients. Gaining trust and credibility amongst my peers and aligning myself with the right people for referrals. Contracts and agreements, lawyers and language. Tax forms and accounting, invoicing, payroll, and expense reports. Write offs and deductions. Client management, daily account upkeep and reporting. Delegating work and confirming completion. Appreciating coworkers and clients, power partners and strategic alliances. Assessing bandwidth based on work-load, asking for help when necessary and being honest with your team.

In the beginning, I was very hard on myself because I can be a bit of a perfectionist. About 6 months into this year, I was faced with a major challenge when we lost a few clients due to budget cuts. The stress weighed on me heavily and I saw it transform my company. My demeanor directly affected the happiness of my coworkers and for that I will be forever regretful. Stress is not good for anyone or anything – just read a Lululemon yoga bag. I knew that with the right team in place and after a year of restructuring, we finally had that team that the stress would disappear, which it did. I also realized that at the end of the day, a company can only thrive when it has a solid foundation, a happy team and in a positive environment. Hard work and respect are the fundamentals of a good team.

Okay, this post is getting too long and I am rambling. I will end with something that I think is the key to a growing and successful company. My team performs at the same level of excellence if I am there watching or not. The shared passion and mutual respect is apparent and therefore, Gossip Genie is only going to prosper moving forward.

Year in Review: Top Tweets of 2012

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Twitter has become a major source of news and information. With our feeds being instantly updated with news from around the globe, we tune in not just to follow our friends or favorite celebrities but also to be connected to the world on an instantaneous and collective basis.

Twitter released their report “2012: Year on Twitter” highlighting the top tweets, trends, and biggest conversations of the year. You can even track your own year on Twitter.

It’s interesting to see the years most influential moments and events displayed in 140 characters or less. From Obama’s momentous re-election to the devastating days surrounding Hurricane Sandy, Twitter kept us informed, engaged, and yes, sometimes a little enraged.

For a social media platform that relays over half a billion tweets per day, here are the ones that stood out.

Most Retweeted Tweets:

Obama

This tweet signified Obama’s re-election and within hours became not only the most retweeted tweet of 2012, but of all time. It was retweeted by people in more than 200 countries around the world.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber’s tweet memorializing six-year-old fan Avalanna Routh who died of a rare form of brain cancer and who he became close with, became the second most retweeted tweet of 2012.

Biggest Conversations of the Year:

Summer Olympics

The 16-day Summer Games in London generated 150 million Tweets. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt was the most-discussed athlete with 80,000 Tweets about him per minute.

2012 Presidential Election 

Over 31 million tweets were sent about the election on Election Day.

Top Trends:

In Sports: 

  1. #nfl
  2. #nascar
  3. #mlb

I’m sure the Super Bowl has something to do with the NFL ranking number one, with 13.7 million Super Bowl-related Tweets during the game.

In TV:

  1. family guy
  2. #bb14 (Big Brother)
  3. american dad
  4. hey arnold
  5. american idol

Is Hey Arnold still around? Nostalgia must be the driving force behind its appearance on this list of conversation-starters.

In Movies:

  1. think like a man
  2. the hunger games
  3. the avengers

Based on box office numbers, The Hunger Games and The Avengers should rank higher, but the comedy Think Like a Man had people buzzing.

In Music:

  1. rick ross
  2. #hiphop
  3. trey songz
  4. nicki minaj

With Justin Bieber having one of the most retweeted tweets of the year, you’d think he’d crack one of the tops spots on this list.

In Food:

  1. ihop
  2. starbucks
  3. wafflehouse

Starbucks isn’t surprising- everyone and their mother tweeted a picture of their Pumpkin Spice Latte this fall-but IHOP?!?!

 

With 2012 coming to a close, it’s nice to reflect on the events of the past year and look forward to what 2013 has to offer. And you know that whatever the new year has in store,  Twitter will be there to keep us updated.

Hope everyone had a great 2012 and that 2013 brings you even more joy and happiness!

 

Profiling Sweepers

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If you work in marketing and you run contests or sweepstakes for clients, you will inevitably interact with a sweeper. At Gossip Genie, we appreciate sweepers that participate in our promotions and play fair.

However, a true sweeper will stop at nothing to win and lives off of free products. A day in the life of a professional sweeper is sitting in front of a computer and entering hundreds of promotions, sending complaints to companies when they can find a loop-hole in the rules and demanding free product in exchange for the error.

The Profile of a Sweeper

Often times sweepers are coping with empty nest syndrome, a recent divorce and/or boredom. Many sweepers are overweight, lower-middle class women ages 45 – 65 living in the suburbs and many of them are named Shirley. A sweeper never wears makeup but her hair is always freshly done from a trip to the beauty shop. This type of woman usually goes one of two routes, the Catfish route or the Sweeper route. Today we are profiling sweepers.

The Mentality of a Sweeper

 Sweepers ignore winner announcements unless their name is on the list. Instead, they send messages asking for specifics as to how winners were chosen as well as demanding a reward for entering. Often times, a sneaky sweeper will send a message via email, tweet or Facebook claiming that they never received their prize for a contest that ended many months ago. We are very thorough in our tracking process and never once has the name of the person inquiring matched the winners we chose.

The Behavior of a Sweeper

Sweepers will also enter contests from different computers on different networks to appear to have a different ip address  (library or Best Buy) under different names (mother’s maiden name) and addresses (using a neighbor’s address or the local beauty shop). The more entries, the more opportunities to win. Promotions that do not restrict the number of times a person can enter are a sweeper’s dream.

Don’t be fooled by the smiling faces, these women will stop at nothing when it comes to winning.

SPLITSVILLE: Instagram and Twitter

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While many of you are browsing the tabloids and watching E! news for the latest celeb make-ups and break-ups, at Gossip Genie, we’re much more interested in the relationship statuses of social networks themselves. On Monday night, Instagram officially called it quits with Twitter. Apparently there was a fight brewing when on Sunday, Instagram cut off Twitter’s “Instagram embedding” feature, which allowed users to view Instagrams on Twitter without taking you away from the site. When Twitter heard about the news, they knew they had to retaliate and have a clean break with Instagram. The high tension relationship had just been drawn out too long, especially when Facebook bought Instagram back in April for $1 billion! Apparently a picture is worth much more than 1,000 words, it’s worth precisely one billion dollars. This was Facebook’s first real relationship (a.k.a. acquisition) and with it they hope to make photos on Facebook even better with Instagram’s photo sharing and editing insight.

Back to Monday, the day of the breakup. Twitter announced a new version of its iOS and Android apps that adds Instagram-style photo filters and editing capabilities. Blasphemy! After just a couple rumors and fights, Twitter just turns his back on Instagram and finds a new lady?! The new lady, Aviary; a company that makes photo-editing software development kits for mobile apps, helped Twitter create their very own photo editing software where users can crop, edit, add filters and enhance, all without leaving Twitter.

New Twitter app

I’m not taking sides here but it looks to me like Twitter is on to bigger and better things. I just hope Instagram and Facebook can make it work to keep good old IG alive and thriving through this emotional journey. But, hey, I think MySpace is single…

Lost and Found: Missing Hat Facebook Post Goes Viral

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Bridget Hughes of Las Cruces, New Mexico lost one of her most important posessions: a hat. While the hat pictured above might not look like anything special, it’s a piece of sentimental value for Hughes. It was the hat her mother wore during chemo treatments before passing away from breast cancer when Bridget was 7. It is “the only possession of her I could constantly carry with me.”

She took to her Facebook page to see if anyone had found it and the response was overwhelming. So far, the post has over 37,000 likes and over 220,000 shares.

Here’s her post:

My name is Bridget Hughes and on Monday November 26 at around 12:30 a.m. I was at the B7 gate in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport waiting to board U.S. Airlines flight 2918 to El Paso. My flight was cancelled. In all of the chaos that ensued me getting my new ticket and my hotel voucher I lost one of the most valuable things I own. It is a simple knit brown floppy hat from the Gap (pictured below).

My mother passed away from Breast Cancer when I was 7. This is the hat she wore most often during her chemo treatments. My aunt gave it to me when I moved away after I graduated from college. It was one the only possession of hers I could constantly carry with me. I checked the gate the next morning, the hotel, and my shuttle van. It was nowhere to be found. I’ve contacted the Phoenix Airport Lost and Found, but I doubt I’ll hear back from them. So, I’ve turned it over to the power of social media, all for a hat that represents the fierce goofy independent spirit of a woman that is my mother. If anyone is willing to just share this status, I’ll be really grateful.

The hat still has not been found and Hughes even had to write another Facebook post telling people to stop calling and bothering the Phoenix Airport.

Even though Bridget’s hat is still missing, her story shows the impact social media can have and the sense of community it brings. When you see so many Facebook posts of people using hurtful words or using social media as a way to bully, it’s comforting to see people band together in support of a girl’s missing hat.  As Bridget said, “If the hat does not turn up, I will be sad, but my life will go on and I will have been put in contact with all of you and your stories. For the kindness that you’ve shown me, thank you.”

How to Discover a Catfish

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If you’re a fan of social media and aren’t living under a rock, then there is no way you have not yet heard about the new MTV series Catfish. The show stars Nev Schulman as he follows people who are in online relationships but have not yet met their significant other on the other side of the computer screen. To give you a quick lowdown, the show was created based off the movie Catfish, when Nev himself was in an online relationship and destined to meet his model girlfriend Megan. Nev and two of his buddies end up taking a road trip to find where Megan lives and uncover the truth. The truth resulted in “Megan” being a 50-something year old Angela who obviously did not resemble the proclaimed model, Megan.

I have been closely following the television show and although I do feel sorry for the people who find out their significant others are not who they say they are, I can’t help but notice the obvious signs. Maybe they asked for it or maybe they were easy targets. Either way, here are a few tips on how to discover if  someone who are talking to online is a *catfish!

*The term ‘catfish’ comes from the original movie when Angela’s real husband relayed this story: When live cod were shipped to Asia from North America, the fish’s inactivity in their tanks resulted in mushy flesh in the Asian markets. Eventually, the fishermen discovered that putting catfish in the tanks with the cod kept them active. Vince felt that people like Angela are catfish, who keep other people active in life.

1. Don’t respond to friend requests you don’t know. Many people accept every friend request they receive or worse, they accept only the people they find attractive. Tip: Many catfish out there appear to be very attractive in order to pull their victims in! If you don’t know them, simply send them a message and ask where you might know them from.

2. Check out their profile. If they happen to be a model, a cue card writer for the Chelsea Handler Show and are taking online classes to be an anesthesiologist, chances are they’re just too good to be true. Take it from Sunny, who fell in love with the man of her dreams who had that exact occupation on episode 1.

3. The wall says it all. Do they have a Facebook wall with actual people who have written on it? Many times, catfish will add a ton of random people to appear as if they are real. In reality, all of their friends are just random people who accepted them as a friend. If the only posts say things such as “thanks for the friend add,” you can bet these Facebook friends aren’t real friends.

4. Reverse Google Image. Many of you may not be aware of this fun little Google feature but you can in fact, upload an image to Google and find out other places on the web where the picture is located. This comes in handy if your potential catfish’s photo looks professionally taken.

5. Google, Bing, Yahoo. If you aren’t going to listen to my first tip of advice and this person starts talking to you, their fate truly lies in their Google results. Here you can find news stories, blogs, their LinkedIn profile, maybe even police records- that is if they even EXIST. Everyone leaves a virtual paper trail so if nothing comes up, start getting suspicious!

 

The images below show the person the catfish was claiming to be on the left and the person they are in real life on the right.

From Catfish the movie: “Megan” also known as Angela.

“Scoprio” also known as Lee.

Mike as Mike.

“Jamison” also known as Chelsea.

“Mike” also known as Mhissy.

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter Reveals Royalty

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As a married woman in her late twenties, I am horrified by the premature announcement of Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. As if the Duchess did not have enough pressure on her to conceive, her acute morning sickness is so bad that she needs to be hospitalized and reveal to the world that she is pregnant well before the normal 3 month reveal date. As much as I love, live and breathe social media, I know the decision to reveal the royal pregnancy early has a lot to do with social media. All it would take is one tweet from an over-eager, nosy staff member at the hospital and the pregnancy would be revealed.

According to a royal aide, “Considerations about Twitter and the Internet formed part of the decision in going public, as it shapes all decisions about the handling of the media in the current age.”

After the news broke, 3 Twitter accounts were launched @iamroyalbaby @kateswomb @HRHfetus and quickly suspended. As the pregnancy progresses, social media will progress with it and over-saturate the world with related updates.

Can you imagine if you had to consider the impact of social media with every move you made?

Social Media for Activism: “Never Reatreat, Retweet”

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I’ve been seeing a lot of year-end lists of the best films of 2012 and New York Magazine included a documentary called “Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry,” a film I had never heard of. Working in social media, it piqued my interest since the reviewer described it as a story of a man who uses “Twitter to drive a totalitarian government nuts.”

I did some research on the film and the story is quite compelling.

The film chronicles the life of artist Ai WeiWei, who in 2011 was named the most powerful artist in the world by ArtReview. As well as being a popular artist, he has become known as a political activist and intellectual critic from his use of social media- Twitter in particular—as a tool for spreading his many messages, often in defiance of the Chinese government.

Here’s a description of the film from the film’s website:

“Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.

Ai WeiWei:Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.”

In the trailer for the film, WeiWei declares that he believes “the most important medium of our time is Twitter.” Some people are even calling him the first “social media artist,” since he’s using the medium like no one has before him.

His mantra is “Don’t retreat, retweet.” After being imprisoned for 81 days last year, he was released on the condition that he would not speak to the media. He did not retreat. He took to his Twitter to express his opinions on the oppressive state of China’s government. Twitter allowed him the ability to speak without a filter and have his voice heard.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogspot and other social media sites have been blocked in China because the Communist Party of China deems these websites “detrimental to maintaining social peace and harmony.”

Chinese citizens, including WeiWei, use Internet tools to unblock the Firewall and gain access but China’s attempt to censor it’s citizens have empowered WeiWei to speak out. He even tweeted at Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, to express his concerns.

For Ai WeiWei “the role of an artist is to be focused on communication, engagement, and furthering conversation.” Social media as a medium is used for precisely those reasons and it’s inspiring to see an artist using Twitter as a form of activism. We can learn a lot from this famed Chinese artist.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary below:
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