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Social Media

Social Media & Politics

By | Social Media | No Comments

With the November Presidential Election fast approaching, it’s important to stay up to date on all things politics. Regardless of your party affiliation, we can all agree there are a lot of social media tools at your disposal. With the help of social media, you can now follow the political conventions, debates, press conferences etc. through your smartphone. Here’s how to utilize 3 social networks during this political season:

1. Twitter

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For those who are active on Twitter, you probably noticed both the democratic and republican convention had their own unique hashtags. By simply clicking on the hashtag it was easy to stay updated on what was going on at the conventions. Although the conventions are now over, there will be specific hashtags to follow during all presidential debates. During these events, I personally love the Twitter account, @politifact, because they live-tweet political events while simultaneously fact checking. Don’t worry, they’re an unbiased third party, so they treat Democrats and Republicans equally.

2. Facebook News

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Stay clear of the friend who thinks satyrical political articles are legitimate news sources. You can now use the “trending” function located on the right-hand rail of Facebook instead. The trending news bar is Facebook’s way of keeping you updated on all major news stories that are happening on both a macro (world) and micro (city) level. Although a lot of trending articles seem to feature celebrity drama, there’s a special widget (the courthouse icon) at the top which allows you to exclusively see articles related to politics.

3. Snapchat

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I’ve talked about it before, and I’ll say it again: Snapchat is an amazing social tool. For all of my fellow Snapchat addicts out there, you can now use the platform to stay informed about this year’s presidential election. There are a lot of news sites on Snapchat: Elite Daily, Washington Post, and Fox News, are just a few of the many outlets that post regularly.  This platform is unique because it offers live, unedited coverage of political events which gives users additional insight to the inner workings of politics in America.

How do you stay up to date on the Presidential Election?

How I Keep Up with my Creative Technical Skills

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, New products and services, Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

Working in social media means constantly being up-to-date with the latest digital trends and playing the role of copywriter and art director. With a degree in PR, I have to admit, my education did not include photography or graphic design classes, so learning on my own time has been essential to working in this industry. There’s two resources that I highly recommend if you’re like me and didn’t learn these skills in school or just want to brush up on your skills.

Adobe Creative Cloud

I have a Creative Cloud subscription, which gives me complete access to all Adobe programs—Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, you name it. There are various videos for each program that range from tutorials for beginners to projects for developing your skillset. I like to take advantage of the community forums for troubleshooting and figuring out how to do specific application actions.

Photo Credit: TechSoup

Photo Credit: TechSoup

 

Lynda.com

My latest obsession has been the LinkedIn-acquired online learning database Lynda.com. The site is organized by different learning paths— design, IT, photography, web, etc.— where you can watch nearly 5,000 videos and complete “assignments” with downloadable exercise folders specific to each course. If you’re new to any of these disciplines or need someone to tell you the basics of what to learn, then Lynda.com is perfect—it’s just like taking an online course, but at your own pace and with no grades. The videos are also extremely high quality and very clear to follow. As an added bonus, you can receive Lynda.com certifications for the courses you take, which is a great feature to use at a company for continuing education.

The best part about each of these resources is that I can use them at my own convenience to work around my work and personal life. Economically, I’m spending about the same or even less on a yearly subscription of each of them than I would by just taking a single class at a college.

The Cultural Phenomenon of Pokemon Go

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

Pokemon Go is taking the world by storm. Since the app launched on iOS and Android on July 6, it has become the most downloaded app in both Apple and Android app stores, surpassing Tinder, Twitter and Snapchat in downloads and active users and has generated an estimated $14.04 million in revenue since its release, according to SuperData Research.

It also recently became the biggest mobile game in history, surpassing Candy Crush.

Needless to say, it has become nothing less than a cultural sensation in the blink of an eye.

Here are some things to know about the game, including how you can use it to market your business.

How does the game work?
The augmented reality game uses your phone’s GPS and camera to find virtual Pokémon creatures in your neighborhood. The app tracks user location and uses notable real-life landmarks as “Pokéstops” where players can collect Poké Balls and capture Pokémon. So instead of catching Pokémon in the traditional digital landscape, players are forced to get off their couches and explore the real world to capture Pokémon and engage in virtual battles. As players move around they encounter different Pokémon depending on the time and their location.

How can you use it to market your business?

Figuring out whether your business is a PokeStop (where players can collect rewards) or Gym (where players team up to defend their territory) is the first thing you should do. PokeStops and Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort. You can easily advertise your business as a PokeStop or Gym through social media, which is what a lot of business are doing to drive traffic into their stores.

This Utah-based clothing store used Instagram to get people to come into their store:

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For businesses that are not benefiting from naturally occurring Pokétraffic, there are other opportunities to attract users of the app into your stores. One of the items available for purchase in the game is a ‘lure module’.

Lure modules attract Pokémon to a particular Pokéstop for 30 minutes, and it will affect the area around a Pokéstop too of approximately a 500 metre radius. If your business falls within those bounds, purchasing a Lure Module during some of your downtime might just increase your Pokésales and maybe net you some Poké returning customers.

This Pittsburgh food market dropped a lure and offered a discount on their menu items:

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Also, New York pizzeria L’inizio Pizza Bar saw sales rocket up 75 percent this weekend after its manager, Sean Benedetti, spent $10 to have a dozen Pokemon lured to the location, according to the New York Post.

Here’s a look at some funny Pokemon Go memes that have taken over social media:

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My Favorite Mommy Apps

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  1. As a busy working mother, the idea of keeping up with a Baby Book is daunting. I received a few beautiful baby books to document Liv’s every milestone. Her first birthday is almost 2 months away and those books may still be sealed in their packaging. Thankfully there is an alternative to the traditional baby book and that is something called, Qeepsake. Qeepsake texts you a question about your child. You text back your response, and an entry is added to your child’s private journal.unnamed
  2. When it came time to choose a monitor, I knew that I wanted something that would sync with my phone. I chose the Dropcam by Nest. No matter where I am in the world, I can spy on Liv while she is sleeping. I was in New York for work and with the touch of a button, I could see my sweet girl snoozing away.
  3. IMG_8462I thought I took a lot of pictures of my dog, until I had a baby. The photo shoots are daily and each picture is more adorable than the one before it. In order to prepare for Liv’s first birthday, I wanted to make sure I had a monthly picture with a couple of her current interests. The app Baby Pics is my go to for cataloging those monthly milestones. IMG_89584. Baby Center App is great resource for staying up to date with growth and developmental milestones. I love the fact that you get information personalized to you based on your child’s age. Screenshot 2016-07-12 14.57.55

5. Etsy – this app is dangerous because you can find so many adorable things for your baby. I have splurged quite a bit on the amazing handmade clothing.

 

IMG_0024Jeans: Got Threads on Etsy ($25)

IMG_0972Shoes: Little Bean Footwear on Etsy ($25)

 

IMG_0053Faux Leather Leggings: Viva La Glitz on Etsy ($19)

Headband: The Fairy Factory Shop on Etsy ($11.95)

Vest: HinkleysHooks on Etsy ($25) – comes in a variety of colors

 

4 Technology Tips for Long Distance Lovers

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Snapchat, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending, Words of Advice | One Comment

55 days, 15 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds – that’s the amount of time I have to wait until I can (physically) see my boyfriend again. When you’re in a long distance relationship, time in between visits can pass slower than a three-toed sloth but thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to stay connected. Being that my boyfriend is from Ireland, standard texting wasn’t an option for us, so I had to do some “research” to find the best methods of communication available. Some were more obvious than others; Facebook messenger, Skype and so on – but there were others, like the Kissenger, that were just downright creepy. After weeding through the muck, there were few apps (some more practical than others) that stood out the most – check out the ones that have worked best for me below. Are there any you’ve used that you would add to this list?

FaceTime/Skype

These two video-sharing services are the most obvious choices of the bunch. Texting is great and all, but nothing compares to seeing your SO’s face when you’re thousands of miles apart. While Skype offers text, voice and video, FaceTime only offers the video capability – but both are great for different reasons. If you’re constantly on the go and would rather use your phone to video chat, FaceTime may be more up your alley. If you want to grab your laptop, sit back and chat, Skype is the app for you. Skype is also available on mobile but if you’re like me and don’t want to clog up your phone space, you can leave it on your desktop. Another cool Skype feature that I’ve recently discovered is that if you need to surf the web or do a little work while you chat, the video stream won’t disappear into the background. Multi-tasking at its finest.

Snapchat

Everyone on God’s green earth knows what Snapchat is – I mean, even my dad has it. Most people use Snapchat to send silly snaps to their friends (all hail the dog filter) or to show everyone what they’re up to. When you’re in a LDR, Snapchat can be super useful to send your boo little snippets of your day that may not be text-worthy. I like to send my boyfriend quick snaps when our dog is being a dingus or when grabbing our favorite take-out (Glaze Teriyaki – try it). Feeling chatty? Users also have the ability to send messages and live video chat.

WhatsApp

If you’re in a trans-Atlantic LDR, pay attention to this one – it’s been my life-saver over the past 2 years. WhatsApp Messenger is a mobile messaging app that allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS, you just need data! WhatsApp also allows you to send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages. Bonus: as long as you have data, you also have the ability to make phone calls through the app. My boyfriend used this many times to call his parents while he was living in Chicago.

PillowTalk

Let me start by saying that I have never, and will never, use this one but I thought that it was interesting enough to give it a shout-out. If you’ve lived with your SO for a while, you know that being apart can affect your sleep schedule. PillowTalk was invented for this exact reason. According to Cool Gadgets, the pillow uses sensors built into elastic bands that are then worn around the chest. The sensors record the wearer’s heartbeat and sends it wirelessly to the partner’s pillow in real time. Doesn’t sound like the most peaceful night of sleep to me but to each their own, right?

5 Instagram Accounts I Can’t Get Enough Of

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

Insta Blog Photos

If I let myself, I could spend all day on Instagram. With all of its bright colors, crisp photos, and fun quotes, I am constantly finding content that inspires me in both my professional and personal life. However, if I go too long without following new pages, my feed begins to feel dull and boring. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for different accounts to give me fresh ideas and keep it fun.

To prevent you from thinking, ‘Oh my god, why am I still on Instagram when I’ve seen all this?,’ here are a few new accounts to follow. These are my current favorites, and I check them every single day for new content. Enjoy!

Cédric Dasesson – @cedricdasesson

This account blows me away. All of Dasesson’s photos are so clear and eye-catching – there is never one that I don’t like.

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A few of my favorites:

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Emma + Elsie A Beautiful Mess – @abeautifulmess

One of my very best friends (thanks, Kathryn!) showed me this account when I first joined Instagram, and I’ve been hooked ever since. All of their photos pack a punch of color and personality, and I am obsessed. For more fun by Emma and Elsie, check out their app’s page: @acolorstory.

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A few of my favorites:

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Sarita Walsh – @saaareeee

There’s only one word I use to describe this account: badass. Walsh’s page is full of gruff, blunt inspiration to work out and work hard. She offers great fitness advice on her progress photos as well as humor, encouragement, and stories. Plus, with her cohesive color scheme, the photos melt into each other to create a really cool aesthetic.

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A few of my favorites:

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Drake on Cake – @drakeoncake

I love this account because of how unique and contradictory it is. When you scroll through, you’ll see loads of memorable Drake lyrics scrawled out on pretty, girly cakes. It’s hilarious, and I definitely recommend it.

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A few of my favorites:

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Brandon Woelfel – @brandonwoelfel

Mellow, cool, artistic – these are all words I would use to describe Woelfel’s page. Anyone who appreciates photography will love this page. Shoutout to Kasia for suggesting I take a look at it!

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A few of my favorites:

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So, there are my faves! Of course, you are all welcome to follow me as well: @kristinaknap. I would love to hear what yours are too – please comment. ?

How Netflix Viewers Respond to Images (And How To Apply It To Your Social Media Posts)

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

Netflix is well known for using data-driven marketing to come up with more intelligent and focused recommendations to keep you watching.

Recently, they conducted a study that goes beyond just what movies and TV shows you like. Their study, “The Power of an Image,” sought to get a better understanding of how the images they use on their homepage impact user behavior, finding that the thumbnails displayed are one of the biggest reasons someone chooses to click play or not. They found that images “constituted over 82% of people’s focus while browsing,” making it a hugely influential factor in what people chose to watch.

In the study, Netflix reports that if you don’t capture a member’s attention within 90 seconds, that member will likely lose interest. On social media, you have even less time to capture someone’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed. Which is why imagery is so important. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content and Facebook posts with images see more than 2X more engagement than those without images (Source: HubSpot).

Let’s take a look at the biggest trends Netflix found in their study and how it can be applied to your social media posts:

Showcase Emotions

The study found that images showing faces that expressed a wide-range of emotions performed better than those without. They said, “Faces with complex emotions outperform stoic or benign expressions — seeing a range of emotions actually compels people to watch a story more. This is likely due to the fact that complex emotions convey a wealth of information to members regarding the tone or feel of the content.”

Testing the below images to promote their series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” they found that the image of the two main characters making exaggerated facial expressions performed the best.

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Takeaway for social media content: Using images with faces is an effective strategy to increase engagement. More specifically, you should post images that convey the emotional tone or feel of your content. When taking photos or choosing from stock photography, pick the images that have the most expression to reel in your audience.

Less is More

Netflix also found that images that contain more than three people lead to a significant drop in user engagement. This finding changed the way they approached the promotion of one of their most popular shows, ‘Orange is the New Black’. In Season 1, they featured the entire cast in promotional images, while for seasons 2 and 3, they showcased only the main character.

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Takeaway for social media content: Don’t post images that are too busy. Simple, clean images will perform better, particularly when displayed on a smaller scale. And since most social media posts are viewed on mobile, you have less space and a smaller image size to capture an audience’s attention with your visual content.

Audience Preferences Differ by Region

With artwork for Netflix’ series “Sense8,” the company was able to get a glimpse into the differences in response to imagery across various cultures. Netflix stated that “Examining regional differences helped us see that while great stories transcend borders, it is important to understand how presenting each story in different regions impacts how quickly members from around the world actually discover that story through artwork.”

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Takeaway for social media content: Tailor your content and images to your specific audience. Know your target market and make sure every graphic and image you share is relatable to that audience. If you’re not sure what your audience is going to respond to, test out various content to see what’s working.

While the findings here are obviously focused on movies and TV shows, it goes to show how powerful images are and the ability they have to move people in powerful ways. The study offers some interesting lessons in what types of images generate better engagement; such as limiting the amount of people you have in your photos and using images that showcase more complex emotions. Take note of these and you may be able to generate better engagement and get more people to click through and read your posts.

“And love is love is love is love.”

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

During the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, an unfathomable tragedy occurred in Orlando, Florida. In a senseless act of hatred and violence, a gunman entered popular gay nightclub, Pulse, and opened fire on hundreds of unsuspecting patrons, leaving 49 dead and over 50 critically injured. I, along with others across the world, have been grappling with how to put my feelings into the proper words – anger, sadness, sympathy – how can we even begin to describe the level of astonishment, anguish and sadness that we feel for our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community?

Having friends with so many different beliefs would normally lead me to stay off of social media during a time like this. The pointless, and often severely uneducated, arguments on Facebook and Twitter about gun control, religious beliefs and political beliefs tend to be angry, tacky and overwhelming and are not things I want to see when something so tragic and heartbreaking occurs. I expected to see plenty of this on social media after the devastation that took place at Pulse Nightclub, however, I was surprised and pleased to see nothing but love filling my newsfeed.

Companies, celebrities and regular people have all been using the power of social media to spread positivity during an incredibly dark time. People everywhere have been touched by this tragedy, so I wanted to share a few examples of how social media users across the world are coming together to support members of the LGBT community.

Facebook Profile Picture Frame

As we’ve seen during other significant events, Facebook activated a special frame for users to add to their current profile picture. The phrase ‘We Are Orlando’ with the LGBT flag can be added to any Facebook user’s profile photo to show public support and love for our LGBT family.

Orlando Profile Photo

GoFundMe for Pulse Victims

As word of the situation in Orlando spread, Equality Florida (the largest LGBT rights group in the state), created a GoFundMe fundraiser to support the victims and their families. This fundraiser has been shared hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times across all social media platforms. The group’s initial fund raising goal of $100,000 was quickly met and surpassed and is now at 3.6 million dollars and rising by the minute. Anyone who wishes to donate can do so here.

Orlando GoFundMe

BuzzFeed posts video showing support from around the world

Countries around the world mourned with Orlando after the violent attack took place on Sunday. From Seoul to Rome to Dallas, people have come together to cry, to sing, to hug and to show the victims that they are not alone. This video has over 3 million views and has been shared over 50,000 times.

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In the wake of devastation and despair, we’ve been able to see a massive outpour of love and support for the victims of this tragedy and for members of the LGBT community through social media. My hope is that this love continues to shine strong and prevail and that it can help provide even a small inkling of hope, love and support to all those who were affected by this unbelievably unfortunate tragedy. My heart is with you all. #WeAreOrlando

“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” -Lin-Manuel Miranda.

#OrlandoUnited: The Positive Power of Social Media

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

#OrlandoUnited (2)

Over the weekend, the world felt a heavy heart as hate showed its ugly face yet again. 49 people – people spending time with friends, family, loved ones – lost their lives in an Orlando gay nightclub to senseless gun violence and bigotry.

As an immediate response to the chaos taking place the night of the attack, Facebook reactivated its ‘Safety Check’ – a temporary feature that allows users in tragedy struck areas to alert their Facebook friends that they are safe and accounted for. Once a user is marked safe, their friends receive a notification directly to their account.

Photo Credit: PC Mag

Photo Credit: PC Mag

This ability to provide its users with instant updates on the people they care about is an example of social media in its most powerful form. We are so often reminded of its harmful effects that we forget it can connect the world for good as well. We can use these platforms in times of crises to reach lost friends, provide solace, show compassion, and perpetuate love when humanity needs it the most.

I have people near and dear to my heart who are members of the LGBT community. Seeing an attack that not only exemplifies a complete lack of respect for life in general but goes even further to disregard their right to equality and safety breaks my heart. However, I am proud to see the world virtually holding hands against violence. Through the use of #PrayforOrlando and #OrlandoUnited, we stand together to not allow hate the last word.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those whose lives were forever changed by this. If you would like to help the victims and their families, here are the ways you can donate.