Social Media

Are Virtual Assistants the New Trend?

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Say goodbye to personal assistants.  Thanks to the creative entrepreneur, Ted Roden, anyone can now have their own virtual assistant. Say hello to Fancy Hands. You can now not only hire someone to get you Starbucks, but you can hire someone to get you a ride to the airport, find where your favorite beer is on tap, even hire someone to sit on hold for you, all at your immediate request and done through professional contractors throughout the U.S for as little as $1 a day.  FancyHands was started by Roden because he felt a need in his personal life to have someone help him with the little tasks that needed to be done. Below are a few of Fancy Hands’ latest user requests, split up by category.


Another company, TaskRabbit, allows you to post a “task” you need done on the site and the amount you would like to pay to get this task completed. Once it is posted, people in your surrounding neighborhood can accept your task and choose to help you at your asking rate. Immediate virtual assistants seem to be the new trend and have the possibility of taking away the jobs from the interns who organize the office and get coffee! Personally, I see some major potential for these services when I think about putting together something from IKEA or fixing a flat tire. Anyone else?

5 Tips to Create a Successful Facebook Ad Campaign

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If there is one thing that I suggest to every client, it’s to take advantage of Facebook advertising. Whether you want to increase the likes on your business page or drive traffic to your website,  Facebook advertising is an amazing vehicle to accomplish those goals. Here are 5 tips to make sure you are maximizing your use of Facebook ads.

1. Make sure you carefully select “Connections” – Facebook defaults to Anyone which will target people that already like your page and if the goal is get new likes, check the the third option “Only people not connected to…”

2. Try it before you commit! Facebook defaults to the option “Run my campaign continuously starting today.” You should test a new ad for a few days and monitor it closely before allowing the ad to run until the end of time. This is a sneaky way for Facebook to make money because it’s easily overlooked when running an ad. If you only intend to spend a certain monetary amount, chose a campaign budget and select the “lifetime budget” option versus the per day option. In that case, you can select “Run my campaign continuously starting today” because once the budget has been used up, the ad will be completed.

3. Do some A/B Testing – It’s great to have one successful ad running but I suggest trying some of the other advertising options Facebook has to



We have had great success with ads about our pages, stories about friends liking our pages and even promoted posts. It’s worth spending a minimal amount on the various options to figure out which works best for your page.



4. Make sure you are targeting enough but not too many people. If you are running a cost per click campaign and you are only targeting a very small amount of people (under 100,000) your bid is going to be very high. Think outside of the box when you are inputting your target criteria. It always helps to target people that “like” your competitors’ pages.


5. Put a call to action in your ad if you are creating “a new ad about your page.” Although you are limited to 90 characters, if you can swing it, ask people to like your page as a part of the copy. It’s also helpful to give your target market an incentive to like your page, if you can.

Hardly Handwritten

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We live in a fast-paced, technologically fueled, digital world. If you’re not connected, you’re missing out. The absence of wi-fi causes some people (myself included) severe anxiety. Daily tasks, notes, calendars are all digital. As Apple famously coined, “There’s an app for that.” You can really do just about anything with the touch of a button by downloading an application that will assist you with whatever it is you may need.

I am hard-pressed to find many things that have not been digitized. However, there is one that I don’t think will ever convert. Handwritten thank you notes. It’s amazing that anyone has decent penmanship anymore considering how little we use it. I thoroughly practiced mine this past year writing thank you notes to everyone after my October wedding. Will there be a day when it will be considered acceptable to write on someone’s Facebook timeline to thank them for the coffee mugs you registered for? Will we always use this antiquated form of communication to convey our appreciation?  I think it’s the least one can do to thank someone because after all, we all love to open a mailbox that has something other than bills or solicitations waiting for us.

The “Mindset List” of Incoming College Freshmen aka “This List Will Make You Feel Old”

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Summer is almost over and students are getting in the back-to-school routine. Incoming college freshmen, the Class of 2016, are moving into their dorms, getting ready for classes, and entering college with a very different mindset than previous generations. Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin compiles a list they call the “Mindset List” to give a snapshot at how the incoming freshmen view the world. For anyone no longer in college and born before 1994, this list is sure to make you feel old.

The Class of 2016 has never lived in a world where Kurt Cobain was alive. They have no need for radios. And they watch television basically everywhere except on the actual TV.

 15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.

68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.

Working in social media and with technology on a daily basis, it’s interesting to see how many items on the list are about how this class’ lives are so technologically ingrained. The list says they are addicted to “electronic narcotics.” And for everyone who logs onto Facebook or Twitter daily, we all know that “addiction” isn’t such a far off word to use.

2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”

5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.

27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens. 

35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

Some of the things on the list are slightly troubling, at least to a movie buff such as myself (really, guys, watch The Godfather).

7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.

But there are many items on the list that show the progressive viewpoints of future generations and just how much the minds of young people in America are changing. This incoming freshman class is familiar with seeing women in positions of power and grew up at a time when Madeline Albright was serving as the first female U.S. secretary of state. They are a more tolerant class, growing up in a time when race issues are practically a thing of the past and marriage equality issues are at the forefront of their consciousness.

12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.

23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited. 

38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.

While some things on this list might make me feel a little old, it’s refreshing to see that viewpoints are shifting and that the mindset of young Americans is changing, for the better.

Chicago Installs Recycling Bins on the Street

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I saw a post on Facebook today that REALLY excited me: Wicker Park and Bucktown are installing recycling bins on the street! I am headstrong about recycling and also an avid Diet Coke can drinker. I always find myself holding on to my Diet Coke cans until I can find somewhere to recycle them – I refuse to throw them in the trash. Now, I don’t have to! I hope these bins start to pop up more and more around the city. There are so many things we throw away that could very well be recycled! With these new receptacles, Chicago is maintaining it’s reputation for being the cleanest and greenest city in the United States!

recycling bin

And if you’re not a regular recycler, maybe some of these facts will change your mind:

  1. About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is only 28%.
  2. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. In spite of this, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months!
  3. The average American uses 650 pounds of paper each year – 100 million tons of wood could be saved each year if all that paper was recycled.
  4. It takes a 15-year-old tree to produce 700 grocery bags.
  5. The average time taken by plastic bottles to decompose in a landfill is close to 700 years.

Old People on Facebook

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Have you ever taken a second to look at the posts on a large business page’s wall? It is usually filled with unformed sentences, misspelled words, free product requests and more miscellaneous comments. For this reason, a blog had to be created; “Old People Writing on a Facebook’s Restaurant Page.” As I monitor many of our clients’ pages, I can attest to some of the bizarre requests I have seen come through. I decided my favorite posts are the ones where fans are completely confused as to why that business page’s updates are showing up on their news feed, not realizing they voluntarily ‘liked’ that page. Check out some of my favorites below and head on over to the blog to enjoy further!


Rich Kids of Instagram #rkoi

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Reality TV, Social Media, What Not to Post, What's Trending | No Comments

A new blog on Tumblr called Rich Kids of Instagram has become popular for showcasing self-proclaimed “rich kids” in various states of excess and indulgence, sparking a debate over rich kids and social media. It boasts the headline “They have more money than you and this is what they do.”

The blog is populated by Instagram shots of enormous mansions, expensive cars, designer jewelry, and luxurious yachts. There is even a picture of two 20-somethings standing in front of a plane with the caption “My new toy! #plane”

One of the more ridiculous posts shows a receipt for over $100,000 worth of food and drinks.

And don’t even get me started on the picture of a teen thanking his personal chef.

There was controversy surrounding the site earlier this month when Alexandra Dell, daughter of Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc. put up pictures of her private jet and her shopping plans and schedule, creating a potential security risk.

The blog could even serve as an ad for Dom Pérignon with almost every other picture featuring a bottle. Yes, there is even a picture of people showering themselves with the pricey champagne. While I wish I were classy enough to enjoy some Dom on my yacht, I’ll have to stick to my post-college, twenty-something budget of Bud Light on my back deck.

It’s no surprise that this blog has become so popular. We tune in every week to view the spending habits and lavish lifestyles of rich women on whatever franchise of Real Housewives is on. We watch in awe and shock at the extravagant parties thrown on MTVs My Super Sweet 16.We consume tabloids that showcase designer duds and the decadent celebrity weddings and vacations they feature.

But has this blog taken our voyeuristic obsession with the wealthy a little too far? It’s one thing to get sucked into a reality show or admire fancy dresses on a red carpet but to see images of rich kids frivolously and unabashedly boasting about their lavish lifestyles in such an upfront manner leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

What are your thoughts? Is this a fun blog to check up on regularly or are you as put off by it as I am?



Nostalgia Finds Its Medium, Literally.

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The founders of Twitter have a fresh idea up their sleeves. Evan Williams and Biz Stone are taking the world for a customizable stroll down memory lane. Hands in the air for their newest creation in the works, Medium. With a layout similar to Pinterest all of you visual creatures have found your host, latch on this appears to be addicting. The founders state that posting on Medium is easy and elegant. Furthermore they explain that all posts appear into “collections,” organized by a theme and a template. Seems to me that it’s time to open up the coveted photo albums and reintroduce yourself to an era where your food pyramid consisted mostly of Goldfish Crackers and Capri Suns.

A glimpse at the "When I Was A Kid" board.

Don’t fret, there’s also a goodie bag for writers in this already amazing pool of life moments. The new platform’s online welcome message proudly states that they are re-imagining publishing, allowing you to share your memories with words on categorized boards such as the one below. I truly believe that the thread of a shared experience ties us as human beings together, visual communities such as Medium are a step in the right direction.

What experience will you share?

Now I want to mention how impressed I am with the fine stitching of this idea. On their website they simply state, “Our philosophy is that quality begets quality, so we will grow Medium smartly, ensuring that our platform is valuable to everyone in this increasingly mobile, connected, and noisy world.” Perfection. So many startups are so immersed in real time that they feel obligated to throw everything on our plates  at once like an overcrowded buffet of experiences. However, Medium, in my book gets it right. Williams and Stone are stepping away from the buffet and giving us all a shiny new plate…what we put on that plate is our choice.


Quality begetting quality, sign me up. Seriously, where is my invite?


An Uber Believer

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Last week was my first Uber ride. After my experience, I am addicted. How many can say that about a mobile app? They made me an instant believer. Uber is an on-demand private driver and UBER IS AWESOME!

Last Thursday, Uber Chicago had a promotion on their car service: Half off rides to and from Soldier Field. My friend who is an Uber fanatic forwarded me the email because he knew I was going to the Bears first preseason game. I got home and immediately booked an Uber Taxi to pick me up from my house in Logan Square. They have GPS tracking in all of their vehicles so I knew I the time ticking away on the mobile app was real time. Sure enough, the taxi showed up within seconds of the estimated arrival. Ride was smooth, fare was charged directly to my credit card and I didn’t need to tip. It really can’t get any easier.

If you’ve yet to experience the Uber madness, here’s little dabble from their website. Happy riding!

Request a ride at any time using their iPhone and Android apps or from

Sign Up

Request from Anywhere at Any Time. Tell us where you want to be picked up.


On the iPhone and Android apps, you can set your exact pickup location on the map. On, type your address.


Social Media Spotlight: Oreo, ‘Milk’s Favorite Cookie’

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As a social media manager, it is always good idea to take a moment to check out some brands on Facebook that really are doing it right. In the marketing industry in general, we often tend to find ourselves looking at other pages and only recognizing where they are going wrong or how we could do better. There is a lot to be learned working in an industry that is constantly changing. Some of my most creative ideas have been sparked by something another page posted. For this purpose, I decided that I would create a “Social Media Spotlight” category for the Gossip Genie Blog in order to recognize some of our favorite social media pages, campaigns and daily posts! My “Social Media Spotlight” for today is the Oreo Facebook page.

I became a fan of this page around February 2011 when there was a ton of press going around about how Oreo was urging their loyal fans to make them the most “liked” page on Facebook, setting a Guinness World Record.  I didn’t want to be left out of the party so I immediately “liked” their page.  Flash forward a year and a half later and I constantly find myself heading to their fan page for inspiration for my own clients! Besides their AMAZING graphic designs, the way they have chosen to make use of Facebook Timeline events,  Facebook Apps,  incorporation of current news into posts, partnerships and their international reach is all nothing short of impressive.

Nearly 28 Million fans? Besides being delicious, they’re definitely doing something right! 

Each day, Oreo changes their cover photo to display the Birthday of the Day. Photos are submitted by fans.

For Oreo’s 100th Birthday, they invited fans to send in their “Oreo Moment” which is uploaded through their customized Facebook application.



Oreo includes pop culture, current events and holidays in their “Daily Twist” which showcases how they can incorporate the visuals of an oreo with each post. 


Facebook Applications for International Fans

Promotion of Oreo Partnerships      

Making use of Facebook Timeline Events