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Social Media

Creating Social Media Graphics with Canva

By | Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

Having a job in social media requires me to create custom graphics on a daily basis so I was pretty thrilled when I came across canva.com, a website that boasts, “amazingly simple graphic design.” And they’re right, it is amazingly simple. It’s been about a month since the discovery of my new favorite site, and my coworkers and I are at the point where we’re creating graphics on Canva multiple times per day.

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Some of Canva’s best features:

You can upload your own photos and backgrounds. I made this the other day to attract potential students to our client’s beauty school campus locations. I just uploaded the photo, inserted the text and placed the logo at the bottom.

Tricoci University

They have a tab specifically for Facebook cover photo photos. This is one of my favorite features because you don’t have to think about sizing, it’s already exact. I was able to create these cover photos for events and Facebook groups in no time:

TUBC Event Photo

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And Anthony created this one:

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They have TONS (literally thousands) of icons you can add to your photos. Including a streamlined group of social logos, perfect for promotional images.

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I also used Canva to make graphics to spruce up a custom Facebook app tab:

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View the finished Facebook app tab here: http://bit.ly/1cFrAH3

Today, Canva announced they just released a new photo filtering feature. Canva is still in it’s beta stage, but I have a feeling it will continue to make improvements and gain momentum with new users, especially in the digital media sphere.

CanvaThe best part about Canva: IT’S FREE. 

Oscars 2014: Recap

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

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

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

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

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: Great Gatsby

Best Directing: Gravity

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

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

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Makeup and Hairstyle: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: Frozen

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot

Best Live Action Short Film: Helium

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay: Her

 

Let’s Talk Oscars:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sochi Problems? A Twitter Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy Birthday Facebook

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to work in social media? Make sure your Instagram profile is on point.

By | Social Media, Uncategorized, What Not to Post, Words of Advice | No Comments

A few months ago, I was inspired after reading a story in the New York Times about how a college senior named Liz took an Instagram profile (@newyorkcity) and turned it into a multi-million dollar social media business. That was a couple years ago when not everyone had an Instagram profile and Liz was able to snag @newyorkcity. She took beautiful and artsy pics of NYC and set the stage for newbie Instagrammers everywhere.

Today,  there are over 150 million active monthly users on the mobile app making it the fastest growing social network of 2013. An Instagram profile can tell thousands of words about a person and it’s now something we require potential candidates to provide before we consider hiring them. Why? Because if your Instagram profile isn’t up to par, you probably aren’t equipped to thrive in a social media position.

The best qualities of an  Instagram profile:

1. Clear pictures. Repeat, CLEAR pictures. Posting a blurry Instagram or a poor quality photo doesn’t really set you up for “like” success.

Beyonce and Kelly Instagram

Beyonce, however, can do whatever she wants

2. Well-taken, tasteful pictures. I will almost always click like on a beautiful picture, sometimes even before looking at who posted it, if it grabs my attention right away. It helps me to take 10+ pictures of the same scene so I can choose which looks best. This is also the reason I have increased storage on my iPhone twice in the past year.

Flower

3. Tasteful filters and frames. You’ll often find me going through the filter row three times or more because I take the time to really assess which filter is the best and will encourage the most double taps. One of my major pet peeves is when people use a different frame for every picture. I enjoy a good Nashville frame every once in a while, but when a user goes nuts using tons of different frames, their profile looks cluttered and anxious and I want to look away.

And some of the worst qualities of an  Instagram profile:

1. Party pictures. No one wants to see you and your friends completely hammered. Pictures of you and your friends having a good time is perfectly acceptable, but I suggest you leave the shot pictures and the glazed over eyes for the group text the next morning.

Drunk Instagram

And, they’re in high school….

2. Using #Instagood #Instamood #IGers and a million other hashtags in your post. I may spark a debate on this one but why, oh why, oh WHY do people use these on every picture they take? Yes, we know you’re #Instagood, you’re on Instagram! Choosing a hashtag relevant to the actual photo is much easier on the eyes.

Instagram Shoes

The Use of Social Media in Police Investigations

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

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

The Facts

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

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

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Success of social media in police investigations

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Gangs using social media- and police are watching

Issue of Privacy?

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

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

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

The flip side of the coin

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

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

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

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

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

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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…”

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Thankfully, the Australian Olympic Committee’s ban is in contrast to the social media guidelines listed on Olympic.org, 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.

The History of Martin Luther King Jr., in Tweets

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

“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

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media | No Comments

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