Social Media

The Snapchat Update Decoded

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

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

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

That time has finally come.

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

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

World Autism Awareness Day


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

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

Autism Awareness

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

Autism Awareness with Carole King

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

Screenshot 2015-03-30 09.24.23 Blue LanternsLight it up blue

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

RHONJ Autism Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

What is Meerkat?

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

Is it different from Vine?

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

How does Meerkat work?


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

What happens when you schedule a stream in Meerkat?


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

How can brands effectively use Meerkat?


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


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


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


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

The future of Meerkat

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

Is Your Social Media On Fleek?

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

Every morning I scroll through my Twitter feed to see what people are talking about and what’s trending for the day. This morning I came across an interesting tweet from ASOS, an online fashion retailer from the UK:

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Does something stand out? Perhaps it’s the term “bae.” In case you have been out of tune with pop culture lately, millennials have created a new set of slang terms that has been widely used within the past year. These terms can be heard on the radio, in popular Vine videos and sometimes in every day conversation. But now, brands are using these terms in their social media strategies to connect with millennial consumers.

After doing my own research, the terms “bae” (term of endearment) and “on fleek” (quality of being perfect) are used a lot more often than we think by major brands, even by the NBA. Below are a few examples I found today:

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Applebee’s has even created their own hashtag and started referring to their customers as “#applebaes.”

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Though brands are jumping on the bandwagon, this is definitely just another fleeting trend that will only be included in short term social media plans. This strategy must also fit with the brand identity to make sense and be pulled off effortlessly. If not, it will just end up as a hot mess (train wreck).

Do you think major brands should be taking this approach?

We Are All Uncool

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

A while ago, I wrote about a social media campaign where newly-weds shared their most authentic wedding photos – rather than ‘perfect’, love-is-like-a-Disney-movie photos – to encourage couples to enjoy every moment of their weddings and not get caught up on superficial elements.

The honesty was refreshing and a reminder that our social media profiles too often present not just weddings, but many elements of our personal lives, as perfect.

Truth continues to be encouraged online with the new We Are All Uncool campaign. Its goal is “to unite one another in our differences in order to make social media more genuine and realistic.”

Scrolling through the posts – where users admit their ‘uncool’ qualities, along with the hashtag #wearealluncool and a photo of them holding an ‘I am not cool’ sign – I admired the bravery of some of these people for admitting everything from anxiety disorders and body image issues to irrational fears and money problems. To me these people are actually cooler than cool for sharing this information and making others aware that they’re not alone.

I thought it would only be right to share my uncool confessions:


1) I turn 30 tomorrow and had a minor breakdown about this a couple of months ago, feeling inadequate because I hadn’t reached the life goals that I envisioned at this age – marriage, babies, a house with a white picket fence, a pension. After talking to my friends and family about this, I took a step back and realized I am incredibly fortunate and have NOTHING to complain about.

2) I have absolutely no self-discipline when it comes to chocolate, sweets, cake and doughnuts. I’m also hopelessly addicted to caffeine.

3) I have struggled to talk confidently at work on occasions during my career – particularly in the earlier years – but with experience, I have built my confidence and even presented to a big room of people a couple of months ago.

What are your uncool confessions? Do share.


Victory Dance for Dancing Man

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

After a photo posted online went viral, social media users are rallying together to stand up against bullying and give one man the best dance party of his life. It all started when cyberbullies posted a photo of a man dancing with the caption, “Spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing.”

Dancing Man


It didn’t sit well with Twitter user, Cassandra Fairbanks, who used her platform to post a tweet in hopes to find the man in the picture. The word spread quickly on social media with the hashtags #finddancingman and #dancingman

Cassandra Fairbanks

Sean, aka, #dancingman, eventually was located and he thanked followers through his new Twitter account, @dancingmanfound.

Thank you tweet

A flood of tweets followed from high profile celebrities and ultimately led to the creation of the ‘Dance  Party of a Lifetime’ party. Some tweets included:

Dancing Man Tweet

Ellie Goulding Tweet

Moby Tweet

Pharrell Tweet

Fairbanks group, Coconut Oil Friendship Club, started a fundraising page for a dance party. Over $30,000 in funds has been raised to go towards Dancing Man’s ‘Dance Party of a Lifetime’, which will benefit anti-bullying. And through the power of social media, it looks like ‘Dancing Man’ is going to have quite the victory dance.

Gamification: A Trend?

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Everyone can agree that we are all motivated by something. We go to the gym to get fit and be healthy. We go to work to make money and receive a paycheck. Motivation is what makes the world go round. But what happens when implement that concept digitally? You get gamification.

Gamificition is the idea of applying gaming concepts to non-entertaining environments in order to motivate a behavior and achieve business objectives. It applies game-like characteristics, such as challenge, competition and reward, to real-world experiences which will then encourage and promote user engagement. Due to its popularity within the last year, many brands and businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. And though many people think this is just a fleeting trend, the gamification market is projected to reach $2.8 billion in 2016.

Here are 2 brands that have successfully implemented gamification in their marketing strategy:

  1. Starbucks: Starbucks is a company that has capitalized on this concept effortlessly. Their gamification design is clean and easy to follow. Each time you buy coffee using a Starbucks card, you get a gold star in your cup. Once a user reaches 12 stars, they are eligible for a free coffee or pastry. Not only does a user get the satisfaction of collecting stars and “leveling” up, but it encourages consumer loyalty. It has been so popular that 1 in 3 customers pay for their Starbucks using this app, which also makes up for $3 billion in sales per year.
  2. unnamed-1Nike+: Nike+ is one of the most popular fitness gamification apps out there. The app allows users to record, share and compare physical activity while earning “fuel points.” Fuel points unlock different trophies and awards, which can then be shared on social media, creating competition among users. However in order to effectively track the correct distance, the user must buy the Nike+ sensor.  Through this new app and the additional accessories, Nike+ was able to increase their market share in the running shoe industry by 14% in just 4 years.

    Courtesy of Nike+

    Do you think other brands and businesses should start implementing gamification in their marketing plans?

3 ways to expand the reach of your tweets

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1. Use an image

Twitter is getting increasingly visual. If you want your tweets to stand out, including images is a surefire way to boost engagement. Adding an image to a tweet can boost engagement by up to 150% and Twitter itself reports that tweets with photos gain 35% more retweets than those without an image.

Tip: If you don’t have a custom image to tweet out and you are just sharing a link, use Twitshot to add images to tweets containing links. This Google Chrome extension allows you to choose from multiple images that appear in the link to share with your tweet. See below.

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2. Test different versions of your tweets to compose the perfect one

Researchers at Cornell recently developed an algorithm to figure out the sentence constructions, rhetoric, and keywords that make certain tweets get more attention than other. Their online tool lets you compose two different wordings of the same tweet and weighs them against each other to determine which one will be more popular.

What makes a perfect tweet, according to these researchers?

Using language that is familiar to your target audience and consistent with past tweets, abbreviated headlines, giving a tweet a positive or negative spin, making it easy to read and informative, staying away from first person (using the word “I” cuts down a tweet’s sharing potential by about 50%), and adding the words “please retweet” makes it 95% more likely to be shared, according to the algorithm.

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3. Use Video

Twitter recently introduced native videos to their site, allowing users the ability to capture, share and edit videos up to 3-seconds in length by using the camera button directly in the app, just as you do with photos.

This is great for marketing opportunities and for covering a live event. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO said, “We believe that during any sort of local event, national event, global event, the opportunity for people, participants, to be live tweeting those things and broadcasting them to the world is a massive opportunity. That’s one of the reasons we are so excited about consumer video.”

Actor Neil Patrick Harris was the first person to post a video to Twitter using the new native video sharing tool.

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The Best of #TheDress

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

By now, we’ve all heard about the “The Dress”. Forget about the style of the dress, it’s the color that’s causing a stir. Is it blue and black or white and gold? Regardless of what color you saw, the dress on social media outlets rapidly circulated. Within one day, it seemed everyone knew about the dress. Regardless of the social media outlet, someone was talking about the dress! Just one article of clothing caused quite the uproar on social media. To go along with the hype of the dress, came plenty of hilarious posts. Here are some of the funnier #TheDress posts:

Ellen DeGeneres Tweet

You know if you saw the dress, you were asking everyone around you what color they saw. Don’t pretend you didn’t do what Ellen did.

Instagram got in on the fun too and had some hilarious posts:

Kylie Jenner

Burn the dress



People were also taking it to the next level with reports and stats:

TheDress Statistics


Who knew that a single piece of clothing could cause such buzz? It goes to show the power of social media. Now the real question is, what colors do you see? White and gold, right?

See Who Opens and Clicks on Your Emails

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If you use Gmail and Chrome as your browser, downloading this new Chrome extension by HubSpot is pretty much a no-brainer. The extension, Sidekick, tracks emails by alerting you when the recipient(s) open it, how many times they viewed it and which links were clicked. It is super helpful for increasing productivity and a welcome ‘sidekick’ to my other latest Chrome extension obsession, Momentum.

Once installed, you can choose which emails to track by clicking their logo which will be on the bottom right hand side of the email you’re composing.

Not tracked: 

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You can also use Sidekick to pre-schedule emails: 

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Additional facts: Free users can receive up to 200 notifications per month. Sidekick offers a paid version that includes more details, reporting features and analytics for the price of $10 per month, per user.

To download Sidekick for Chrome, CLICK HERE.