Gossip Genie Blog

Photography at Gossip Genie

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about photography. I was the kid who carried their Fischer Price camera around their neck everywhere and I even started my own photography business at 17. My side-hustle photography business is still going strong, and I actually initially met Jacqui because I photographed her family.

While I absolutely love working in social media, one of my favorite parts of the job is when I get to whip out my bulky, reliable Canon Mark II. Social media is innately visual, so eye-catching, high-resolution images are VITAL for platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In fact, 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%). That’s why we always recommend that clients utilize our photography services. I know that I’m biased, but I think we have a team of talented photographers and visual artists!

Here are some of my favorite photos that my team and I have taken at Gossip Genie:



Let us photograph your product or services! Get in touch today. 

A Quick Lesson in I vs Me and More!

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If grammar really did have a police department, I would be head of the force. Lately, my judgment of grammar has been worse than ever. The thing that irks me the most currently is the misuse of the pronouns “I” and “me.” I have to bite my tongue whenever it’s misused in my presence which is numerous times a day. It is such a commonly misused pronoun and I have a way for you to NEVER make the mistake again. Here is an email I received recently:

Jacqui –

Thank you for taking the time to meet with Mike and I. It was our pleasure hosting you.                           

This email sent shivers down my spine – it was from the CEO of a hugely successful company. If only someone told him to proof his email by removing the proper noun, in this case, “Mike” and read it. If it doesn’t make sense, which it doesn’t (Thank you for taking the time to meet with I) you have the wrong pronoun. This simple trick is easy and can be applied to any and all of the “I” versus “me” sentences. Clearly the email should have read

Jacqui –

Thank you for taking the time to meet with Mike and me OR me and Mike.

Remove the Mike this time and it still makes sense (Thank you for taking the time to meet with me).

Yesterday I was talking to my friend and she said – “John and me are going to the park later.”

LET’S DISSECT – I wanted to say – if you were going to the park alone would you say:

Me is going to the park later or I am going to the park later? Take John out of the equation and you realize how grammatically incorrect that sentence is.

Later that day, that same friend texted me and said – “The park was empty, it was just John and I.”

LET’S DISSECT – I wanted to say – If you were alone at the park would you say: 

The park was empty, it was just I or The park was empty, it was just me.

Former President Obama misused I versus me in a speech once and I almost shouted at the television. It’s common to hear it on reality shows and newscasters but the president?

Since we are on the topic – here are a few publications/companies/famous people that need new social media managers based on these typos. 



3 Business Lessons I Learned from Owning a Dog

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Anyone who knows me well has heard all about the new BFF I adopted three weeks ago from PAWS. Chance – my small black lab mix – radiates with playful energy and melts hearts with the most on point set of puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen. However, when I brought Chance home from the shelter a few Saturdays ago, I knew my life was going to change – what I didn’t realize at the time was just how much I’d grow in my professional career, too.

Time Management

Owning a dog is honestly the biggest crash course in time management I never expected to take. Going to work, heading to the gym, cooking dinner, walking the pooch – in the beginning, just juggling life’s simple, everyday tasks felt overwhelming. 

As time went on, though, I got significantly better at balancing my time because I had to. I learned waking up ten minutes earlier than normal is more of a lifesaver than you could ever imagine (I swear those extra minutes of sleep actually aren’t worth it – never thought I’d be the one to say that!) and prepping lunch for the next day was a more efficient use of my time than watching just one more episode of Parks & Rec (also something I’d never thought I’d say).

In the office, I am now constantly searching for creative ways to save time and use my workday as effectively as possible. My brain is wired to find the fastest route from point A to point B because wasting time just feels so… wasteful. If I am being smart with my time, that translates to more successful campaigns, more happy clients, more closed sales, and more walks with my pup! Now, that’s what I call a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN.


Chance is a lot of work – honestly, more work than I ever anticipated he would be. It quickly became clear to me how crucial it was that I got my laundry list of tasks done in their order of importance. For example:

• Getting him his meds on time > Getting in another set of squats at the gym

• Taking him on a long walk > Taking a long bath

• Giving him fresh water at the end of a long day = Giving myself a large glass of wine at the end of a long day

Very obviously, this also holds true at the office. Knocking out the more important tasks in the morning lifts a weight off my shoulders and makes the rest of the workday much more enjoyable. I can breathe easy knowing the big stuff is crossed off my to-do list, and now I can work on other tasks with peace of mind.


Kindness Matters

Dogs only respond to positive reinforcement. Loud voices and punishment do not have nearly the same affect as upbeat voices and treats. When Chance chewed up my three favorite pairs of shoes (RIP), I responded with anger, despite all the dog blogs preaching the opposite. I now react much more calmly when I’m upset with him and have noticed such a difference in the way he responds behaviorally.

This is true at work, too. Sending good vibes to your coworkers throughout the day goes a lot farther than a bad attitude and a standoffish demeanor. Compliment the stuff they kick ass at, help out when they need you, ask how their family is doing, exercise patience when you’re stressed out, clean up after yourself – all of these positive actions will help you build long-lasting relationships with the people around you and make your work environment a pleasing place to be for everyone.

The Genies Try Standing Desks

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Have you heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking?” As a millennial, I’ve been hearing this non-stop and it doesn’t ‘sit‘ well with me seeing as I sit from 9-5, Monday through Friday of every week.  

I believe the stir all started when Martha Grogan, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic said, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” Many researchers refer to it as “the Sitting Disease,” and have said that there are also links to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and early death. 

So when a friend at POPSUGAR offered to donate all of their old, but very high-quality standing desks to the Gossip Genie team, I jumped on the opportunity. We got in Anneliese’s truck and headed downtown to grab them.

One week later, many of the Genies are already enjoying using them. I’ve asked each of the Genie’s how they felt about them throughout the last few days and this is what they said: 

“I’ve had my standing desk for about an hour and I’m already obsessed. It’s SO nice to finish one of the many Gossip Genie treats, go back to my workspace, and burn off a little extra energy standing while working.” – Shannon

“I never really gave the standing desk a chance when I came across them in the past. I can’t wait to start using them! It will be nice to have the option of both sitting and standing during the work day.” – Ali 

“I’m excited to try it, though I haven’t yet! Former Genie Dana used to use one all the time and I was always curious to try it. I hope it can help with my posture!” – Anthony

“I’m excited to try my standing desk! I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but I’m excited to see if it will help my back and neck feel less sore after a long day.” – Kristina

“I still haven’t tried my standing desk because I get nervous about trying new things. Everyone else seems to like theirs, though, so I should probably give it a try!”  – Keenan 

I’m sticking to sitting on my balancing ball chair, but I might be willing to try it in a few months!” – Jacqui 

As for me (Taryn), I’m loving mine so far! Even sitting at it has been more comfortable because I’m sitting higher up and I don’t need to hunch as much. When I do stand at it, it’s very comfortable! I think I’ll stick with it and try to stand for at least one hour every day. 

Get to Know the Genies / 01

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Name: Shannon Cannon

Age: 24

Current Title: Social Media Manager

Education: University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | Dual degrees in Advertising & Psychology

Astrological Sign: Sagittarius

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Home Bistro

Go-To Happy Hour Order: A heavy pour of Vino Tinto

Favorite Way to Unwind: Couch, cat cuddles, and Netflix

Spirit Animal: Gray Domestic Shorthair Tabby Cat

Name: Keenie the Genie (aka Keenan McCarthy)

Age: 23

Current Title: Social Media Intern

Education: Tribeca Flashpoint College | Associates in Computer Science: Game Design

Astrological Sign: Gemini

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Elephant & Castle

Go-To Happy Hour Order: Whisky Ginger

Favorite Way to Unwind: Listening to music and playing around on my guitar

Spirit Animal: Jaguar

Name: Taryn Rosenberg

Age: 26

Current Title: Director of Social Media

Education: Indiana University| Bachelor of Arts and Science in Journalism & Minor in Communication and Culture

Astrological Sign: Capricorn AND Aquarius. I’m on the cusp.

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

Go-To Happy Hour Order: Effen Cucumber with Soda Water

Favorite Way to Unwind: A bubble bath with Iron and Wine playing in the background

Spirit Animal: Elephant

Name: Jacqui Liberman

Age: 32

Current Title: CEO/Founder of Gossip Genie

Education: UW- Madison | Bachelors in Communications with a double major in Communications & Women Studies

Astrological Sign: Aries

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Piccolo Sogno

Go-To Happy Hour Order: Prosecco

Favorite Way to Unwind: Working out

Spirit Animal: My daughter, Liv

Name: Anthony Less

Age: 28

Current Title: Vice President of Social Media

Education: DePaul University | Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Marketing

Astrological Sign: Capricorn

Best Restaurant in Chicago: So many to choose from but for classic Italian food you can’t beat La Scarola

Go-To Happy Hour Order: A glass of white wine

Favorite Way to Unwind: With a good book and a glass of wine

Spirit Animal: Andy Cohen

Name:  Kristina Knapczyk

Age: 24

Current Title: Social Media Manager

Education: University of Illinois at Chicago | BA in Communication + Minor in French & Francophone Studies

Astrological Sign: Sagittarius

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Kanela

Go-To Happy Hour Order: Moscow Mule

Favorite Way to Unwind: Hot Bath & flipping through the latest copy of Rolling Stone magazine

Spirit Animal: Kangaroo

Name: Anneliese Peper

Age: 24

Current Title: PR & Social Media Manager

Education: Marquette University | B.A. in Public Relations with a Double Minor in Advertising & Marketing

Astrological Sign: Cancer

Best Restaurant in Chicago: Hub 51

Go-To Happy Hour Order: Vodka Sprite

Favorite Way to Unwind: Working out, watching Cops, or anything on Bravo

Spirit Animal: Kylie Jenner

Name: Ali Coletta

Age: 27

Current Title: Social Media Manager

Education: Pace University | BA in Media Communications

Astrological Sign: Pisces

Best Restaurant in Chicago: I just moved here and currently trying so many! At the moment I’d say: Au Cheval

Go-To Happy Hour Order: CH Distillery

Favorite Way to Unwind: Watching Netflix in my comfies

Spirit Animal: My golden retriever, Stella

Infographic: Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Strategy

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Living in the 21st century, it’s hard to avoid social media. It’s all around us, but does your business have an effective social media strategy in place? With over 1 billion users just on Facebook alone, the opportunity to advertise and engage with people is endless. Social media is a relationship-building tool, which if used correctly, can build a larger client base for a business. If you want your business to evolve, then embracing social media is a must and should be an integral part of your company’s digital marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons why. 

Annual Recap: 2016 at Gossip Genie

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Every year I do a recap on the previous year. The theme for Gossip Genie in 2016 was change, for better or for worse, many changes took place. Each Genie has a month dedicated to them based on the positive changes they brought to the team.

In January, I returned from maternity leave and as every new mother knows, the transition back to work is difficult. My life had completely changed, my priorities changed and my outlook had changed. It took me a bit to get settled but about 3 weeks in I have never felt more empowered from my new title as working mom. I have such pride in my company and my staff that I can’t wait until the day my daughter, Liv, understands what mommy worked so hard to build. Gratitude was an underlying theme this month because I was able to adjust my hours and days to maintain what I think is a wonderful work-life balance.

In February Gossip Genie turned 6 years old and we put together this exciting timeline of events. It’s amazing to think that from an idea and zero dollars in the bank, I was able to create something that is now nearly 7 years old and employees 7 people with nearly 30 clients.

March was an exciting time at Gossip Genie, we had the chance to manage the social media for The Vision Council’s Expo East event thanks to Anthony. It was a test run that ended with a yearlong contract to manage the social media for the entire organization. Anthony knocked it out of the park in New York with Dana and Stephanie. In September Anthony was invited to manage the Expo West event and did the entire show solo.

April is dedicated to Kristina because she earned her status from intern to account manager in record time. Kristina fell into the position of managing the work of about 3 people and doing it well. I was and still am in awe of her ability to multi-task when it comes to managing her client accounts. It has been such a pleasure watching Kristina grow and change at Gossip Genie, she is a true team player and someone we all respect and admire. Kristina is a great writer and graphic designer, here is an absolute must read she wrote about how to stress less.


At the beginning of May, the Genies were in Dallas, Texas covering The National ProStart Invitational. This marked the sixth year in a row Gossip Genie has covered the event, live, on social media. This year, we introduced Snapchat into the mix and also used Facebook Live to cover some of the more important moments at the event. The National ProStart Invitational is the country’s premier secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts.  Our blog has a full recap as well as tips to cover a live event on social media, read the latest post here.


In June, we moved into a new office to accommodate our growing team. Armitage was our home for 4 years and now Halsted is our home for the foreseeable future. This change in location started a new chapter for our team and we love the extended menu options it brings for our daily company lunches together. Read more about our June adventure here.


July is dedicated to Shannon, we had a void at Gossip Genie with the impending departure of our beloved Dana Geisser. Dana moved to Ireland to go back to school for marketing. Shannon joined our team and was an instant fit. From day one, Shannon rocked her accounts and as a result, secured their fate as Gossip Genie’s ongoing provider of social media. A word I would use to describe Shannon is lovely, just being around her on a daily basis is a pleasure. Special shout out to Kristina for making the introduction to Shannon. Learn more about Shannon here.



Per Kristina’s network, August is dedicated to Keenan. As I said before, Kristina was doing the work of 3 Genies and suggested a solution to allow her to work more effectively. I am a problem solver but when a coworker comes to me with a problem and a solution, I can’t help but love them. Kristina suggested Keenan as an intern at Gossip Genie. Full disclosure, I put the outcome of his performance on Kristina because I was coming off of a series of mis-hires and did not have the time or energy to try and integrate another mis-hire into our culture. Thank goodness for Kristina’s dedication to Gossip Genie and Keenan because he turned out to be a homerun hire. Keenan is a wonderful addition to our team and brings so much talent to our already super talented staff. The speed at which Keenan was able to acquire the Gossip Genie method of doing things has been impressive. The past few months of getting to know Keenan has been such a pleasure both professionally and personally. I like to tell Keenan that not all heroes wear capes but to understand what I mean; you have to be a Genie. Learn more about Keenan here.

September was all about Anthony, although, he deserves the year dedicated to him due to his admirable and inspirational professional growth. If Gossip Genie was a car, Anthony would be the engine. It was in September that I decided to promote Anthony to VP of Social Media. He literally started from the bottom now he’s here. The promotion was effective in October and he has blown us all away with his higher-level account management, employee management and dedication to Gossip Genie. Read this epic blog post by Anthony recapping his 4 years at Gossip Genie.

October is dedicated to the return of Anneliese. I applaud her for taking a 3-month sabbatical to focus on herself.  Anneliese leaving was a change that I had a hard time accepting and her being gone was a change I disliked. I was hopeful that she may return and when she did, she was refreshed and ready to work hard. Anneliese wrote a beautiful blog post about what Gossip Genie taught her in 2016, you can read it here.


November is dedicated to Taryn. Taryn joined our team bringing with her a lot of experience and assuming the open position from Anthony’s promotion. Taryn joined Gossip Genie when we were going through extensive personnel changes and adapted to our reeling environment well. She has been a breath of fresh air, collaborative and creative with a ton of experience to share and we have already all learned so much from her. The future is bright with Taryn on our team and we can’t wait to see what positive changes she brings in 2017. Taryn sums up 10 reasons she loves being a Genie in her first blog post.


December is dedicated to all of us because despite all of the changes the year brought we rolled with the punches, embraced the unknown and ended the year with an incredible team and client roster full of tremendous accomplishments and significant results.

The Genies’ Top Songs of 2016

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As the year comes to a close, Spotify has gifted each of its users yet again with a one-of-a-kind playlist that features their 100 most listened to songs in 2016. From rap to indie to nursery rhymes (Liv Liberman has the best taste in music out of any of us!), the Genies definitely enjoyed a wide range of tunes, including several tracks that can be found on the globe’s top 100.

To help you get through this final homestretch to New Year’s, I’ve shared each of our playlists below to keep you focused, motivated, and dancing!


For the rap fans out there:


For those looking for something new (and amazing – trust me):


For a little bit of everything:


Self-proclaimed by Keenan as for those with ‘music ADHD’:


For those whose taste in music also evolved in 2016 (and for those who still love the Grease soundtrack…):


For those needing an upbeat pick-me-up:


Indie meets folk meets alt (5/5 stars – would recommend!):

Looking for yours? You can find it by going to Browse → 2016 Wrapped → Your Top Tracks of 2016. From there, be sure to share your playlist with your friends on social media!

10 Reasons Why Working at Gossip Genie Rocks

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As the newest Genie on the block, I share the freshest perspective on why working at Gossip Genie rocks. Today marked my 10th week as our Director of Social Media, so I thought I’d share my 10 favorite things about working at this dynamic digital agency so far.

1. There’s no shortage of puppy love.

We have a dog-friendly office which means that there’s never a dull moment at the Gossip Genie HQ. Alfie Liberman, Dre Peper and Chewy Rosenberg keep things interesting and make the Genies smile on a regular basis.

2. We never miss a lunch together.

No matter what’s going on in the office, we always take a break to eat lunch together. It’s such a simple gesture that makes getting through the work week so much more enjoyable. Not only does it make our team closer, but it makes us more energized when we get back to our desks.

3. We work from home twice a week.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Genies switch bottles and work remotely. Whether it’s in their home or at a coffee shop, the change of pace makes the week fly by. It also empowers them to find great new workspaces around the city!

4. We’re based in a booming neighborhood in Lincoln Park.

Between the brand new New City Mall and the plethora of shops and restaurants, there’s no shortage of places to hang around after work. We’re actually embarrassed to mention how regularly we visit the new Mariano’s…

5. There’s plenty (edit: too much) food stocked up in the fridges and cabinets.

Rest assured, no one goes hungry in this office. From weekly donut runs to homemade snacks, there’s plenty of brain food to choose from. And did we mention the bulk deliveries of LaCroix Sparkling Water?!

6. The staff cares about each other.

From birthdays to engagements to “Genie-versarys,” the team always remembers to honor and celebrate each other. They’re also there to support each other when times get tough.

7. We’re encouraged to be creative.

Each Genie brings something different to the table and that’s something we’re excited about. From photography to lettering to fashion styling, there’s no passion that won’t be encouraged.

8. Our Clients are wonderful.

Gossip Genie is proud to work with so many incredible organizations. And everyone agrees, the best part of the job is getting to know the amazing people behind each organization.

9. Our CEO and Founder totally “gets it.”

Our CEO, Jacqui, understands the importance of spending time with family and friends. The Genies know they can always come to her if they need time away or a day to breathe.

10. We deliver excellent work and we’re darn proud of it.

Enough said.

Best Gifts for the Social Media Junkie in Your Life

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At Gossip Genie, we love a social media-themed gift! If someone in your life is obsessed with all things social media, check out our handy gift guide for the holidays

LuMee Cell Phone Case


Do you know someone who’s always in search of the perfect selfie? This phone case lights up your face with the simple push of a button. When the case is put in action, the light fills in the shadows, enhancing the photo and making the subject bright, beautiful and ‘picture perfect’ for a Snapchat or Instagram selfie!

Snapchat Spectales

526142-snapchat-spectaclesIf you’re lucky enough to snag a pair of Snapchat’s latest offering, a pair of “sunglasses that snap,” you’ll be the MVP of the holiday season! Sold exclusively through roaming vending machines called Snapbots in different cities around the country that each sport a limited number of the $130 Spectacles, the sough-after glasses are definitely hard to find but they’re one of the most buzzed about wearable devices in the social media realm. They were even recently used by a surgeon in the first ever live stream of a surgery!

Mophie Powerstationmophie-juice-pack-powerstation-1-2

I can’t live without my Mophie powerstation to extend the battery life on my phone. Having social media apps open take up a lot of battery life and the Mophie powerstation is slim and compact enough to carry around with you for when you need an extra charge. It’s come in handy multiple times when live covering an event for a client!



Need a fun stocking stuffer for the social media-obsessed? These TwitterTats are a unique way to display your favorite tweets, like the latest Kanye West Twitter rant.

Instagram Magnets

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-10-39-38-amBring your favorite Instagram moments to life with Sticky9’s Instagram magnets!