I Want My Social Media Verification So Bad!

I Want My Social Media Verification So Bad!

 

I had a conversation about instagram and twitter verification a while back with a friend who is a high-level tech exec. She was trying to convince her CEO that he needed to get verified.

  • That was the first time I heard about the blackmarket for social media verification. And also the first time I realized what a status symbol it had become.
  • Up until then, I thought those little blue checks were merit-based, assigned thru an algorithm.
  • Little did I know that verification is the social media equivalent of the velvet rope. Know the right people, pay the right price, and that velvet rope magically opens and you bypass the line.
  • Only 7% of the accounts I follow on Instagram are verified.

In case you’re not familiar, I’m talking about the little blue check marks next to people’s names – especially on twitter and instagram. It’s designated for public figures, celebrities, and brands and it gives users a prime spot in search.

Great article on the subject in Mashable. Worth a read.

I’ve summarized highlights below. And just FYI, my friend has still not gotten her CEO verified.

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Influencer Marketing: Is It Fake? How Do You Know If It’s Worthwhile?

Influencer Marketing: Is It Fake? How Do You Know If It’s Worthwhile?

 

Lots of “fakery” in the news these days and most recently, much being made of fake influencers who have, you guessed it, fake followers.

Per TNW:

CNN estimates that approximately 83 million Facebook accounts are fake accounts. Twitter is estimated to have more than 20 million fake accounts. Business Insider states 8% of Instagram accounts are fake.

From what I can tell, companies are happy to throw ridiculous amounts of money at influencers as long as they have gazillions of followers (real or not).

  • The influencer phenomenon reminds me of the insanity of Super Bowl advertising i.e. millions spent to get “likes.” As with influencers, the measurement of Super Bowl success is popularity/likes, not sales. Budweiser, Pepsi, Coke always sweep the top spots for most-liked commercials even as sales for all 3 brands continue to decline.

That said, based on my personal experience, I know influencers can be highly effective. But as with everything, it has to be highly targeted to succeed. And it’s most effective when it’s authentic i.e. when you know the influencer is buying/wearing/using the product of their own volition.

What nobody has figured out is how to turn “influencer marketing” into a scalable, trusted, measurable business.

The influencers I look to for recommendations are all highly specific to my interests with proven expertise in those areas.

  • The biggest challenge is finding influencers who reflect your tastes and preferences.
  • It takes time and effort, it can be hit and miss, but once you establish a network of trusted sources, you’ll find your life is both simplified and enriched.
  • Influencer marketing is much more nuanced than traditional advertising.

Let me explain how it works for me.

I have 6 major areas of interest and have developed 6 different groups of influencers – all of whom I consider stellar. Read on below for more.

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The Feast of San Gennaro: Make Sure You Get a Selfie With Tony Danza

The Feast of San Gennaro: Make Sure You Get a Selfie With Tony Danza

 

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with DA FEAST for years. Loved it at first but then quickly soured on the whole 11-day shenanigans all over my neighborhood.

  • However, since this has been my summer of State Fairs – and since so many of my besties are Italian (hello Luciana!! Hello Nick Belperio!) – I decided to give it another try.
  • And….I am happy to report that it was a lot of fun to be out with my fellow NYers on opening night.
  • I was blessed by the priest, saw some cute young dude (probably a youtube star) with his full-on camera crew being chased around by a group of young lasses (see his pic below and if anyone recognizes him, let me know who he is!!).
  • And I’m almost positive I saw Tony Danza outside of Alleva, the cheese shop he co-owns at the corner of Mulberry and Grand. The older ladies were all over him begging their husbands to snap a quick pic.
  • For those of you not familiar with the Feast of San Gennaro, it’s an annual 11-day street fair now in its 91st year. It draws over one million people. This is also the first year I noticed local restaurants setting up al fresco dining and being part of the fair as opposed to griping about it. As the saying goes: if you can’t beat them, join them.

Pictures and video below.

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5 Great Things To Do In LA

5 Great Things To Do In LA

 

Inspiring week in LA capped off by an exceptionally fun Korean wedding (a first for me). Unbelievable amounts of creativity in LA at the moment. Makes it difficult to narrow recommendations down to a top 5 list but here it is.

#1 DOWNTOWN

Still sketchy but so many interesting new things popping up especially as the Arts District expands. My recommendation is to hit up downtown on a Saturday or Sunday. And based on how much time you have in LA, you may want to devote two days to downtown.

Here are my must-dos:

 LA Conservancy Walking Tours:

  • I took the Historic Downtown Tour offered every Saturday. This 2 ½ hour tour provides an overview of the historical and cultural landmarks of downtown LA including the Bradbury Building, the Library, One Bunker Hill, Grand Central Market.
  • Not only was our guide super fun and well-informed, my fellow tour-takers were incredibly knowledgeable as well.
  • Other tours offered by the Conservancy include Art Deco, Modern by Moonlight, Angelino Heights, Broadway Historic Theatres, Union Station.
  • Book online ($15) and meet up at Pershing Square
  • I plan to book one of these tours every time I visit LA

Freehand Hotel and Exchange Restaurant

  • This gorgeous hotel recently opened (original is in Miami).
  • The hotel’s Exchange Restaurant is outstanding. My lunch was the tastiest meal I had while in LA.
  • Make sure you also check out their Broken Shaker Rooftop Pool/Bar – very fun although not as fabulous as the Miami original

Grand Central Market

  • Newest food stall to open is the Sari Sari Store, Filipino food from the owners of Republique.
  • Make sure you try the buko pie – delish!
  • Also worth checking out at the market, even if the line is long: Egg Slut

ICA LA Museum

  • This new museum opened this past weekend. The founder/director is Elsa Longhauser (formerly of the Santa Monica Museum of Art)
  • The inaugural exhibition features work by late Mexican artist Martín Ramírez – and it is wonderful.
  • Half of the gallery space is devoted to the gift store
  • Worth checking out once but may not be on my roster every time I am in LA

ROW DTLA

  • Right down the street from ICA LA, you’ll find a complex of 3 historic buildings covered in RETNA hieroglyphics.
  • These former American Apparel factories are now being converted into a major creative hub featuring work spaces/lofts/mall complex.
  • If you come on a Sunday you can also nosh your way through Smorgasburg LA (same group as in Brooklyn)
  • During the week there are food trucks on site.
  • Next time I am back in LA, this will be a top priority for further exploration

Read on below for more recommendations.

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Visiting LA? Need to Eat? Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

Visiting LA?  Need to Eat?  Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

 

The best restaurant I hit up while in LA last week was The Exchange (416 West 8th Street) at the new Freehand Hotel in DTLA.

  • I had lunch there so can’t vouch for dinner but the Tunisian Sandwich (tuna conserva with preserved lemon, hardboiled egg, potato, olive & chili morita) was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. They also serve harissa and a house-made green sauce that is sublime.
  • Besides the food, staff is great (ask for Keisha).
  • Finally, the look and ambiance of the entire hotel is wonderful.

Note: While I recommend coming to DTLA for a night out, I would not stay downtown unless I had a very specific reason to do so. Even with a Whole Foods across the street from the Freehand, it still feels sketchy and I would not want to wander around outside.

Read on below for more favorites (as well as a few misses).

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Street Art: Saving Retail One Mural at a Time

Street Art: Saving Retail One Mural at a Time

 

My most outstanding discovery while in LA (not new, but new to me) was the RETNA-covered complex of buildings in DTLA at 7th and Alameda (former American Apparel factories). I drove past them on my way to the opening of the new ICA LA Museum. All I could think about while at the ICA opening was how I could make my way back to the RETNAS. Amazing work.

  • The buildings (dating from 1917) are being converted into a shopping and office campus with 100 shops and 15 new restaurants called ROW DTLA (great link, check it out if real estate and/or retail is your thing!!).
  • Owner Atlas Capital Group will convert the remaining 1.3 million feet of industrial space upstairs, originally designed by architect John Parkinson (known for Union Station, City Hall, and the Coliseum), into creative offices and lofts.
  • Architect for the conversion is wHY out of Culver City (has become the go-to for creative repurposing, also did the Marciano Foundation Building)
  • Smorgasburg LA (from Brooklyn) is set up there on Sundays.

When it comes to more traditional shopping, the liveliest retail corridor in LA is Venice’s Abbot Kinney. And once again, part of what makes it so dynamic is the profusion of commissioned street art found on store exteriors, restaurants, galleries, houses and fences all around the area.

Also noticed lots of witty signage around town (favorite may have been Alfred Tea’s “Can’t We All Just Get Oolong!” (pic below).

Another new discovery was Platform Mall in Culver City with its “Technicolor Ooze” mural by Jen Stark. The mall has a NYC/Brooklyn vibe with stores by Cynthia Rowley, bird, Sweetgreen, and Soulcycle.

See below for photos (along with artist info where available).

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What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

 

I’ve been intermittently annoyed, nonplussed and confused by LinkedIn and how it’s being used these days. And I know I am as guilty as the next person for overusing, or misusing it, since all my blog posts end up there.

But then I had an AHA moment:

Our use of LinkedIn has changed and I don’t always like it but the site now much more closely reflects how work has changed as well.

  • The line between business and personal is increasingly blurred.
  • Work is not so rigidly “professional”
  • For millennials, LinkedIn is just another social media platform. They are as likely to use Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat professionally
  • Social media has created business opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
  • Posts that initially seemed inappropriate for a business site (e.g. too personal, too risque, too facebooky) reflect many of today’s most successful businesses.

Bottom Line:

Some people are looking for inspiration to cope with a changed workplace, others are inspired to “keep it real.” Whichever applies to you, the line between work and personal life is disappearing (even as more people talk about work/life balance).

Read on below for more on how disruption in the workplace is impacting LinkedIn as well as specific examples of how LinkedIn usage has changed over the last decade as it becomes more interchangeable with Facebook.

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Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

 

My namesake hurricane (Irma) may have put a bit of a dent in the industrial development that is taking place around Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor – but undoubtedly not for long.

Here are some highlights from the I-4 Commercial Corridor Conference sponsored by Lakeland-based Coldwell Banker, just one month ago:

  • E-commerce will soon represent $500 billion in sales in the U.S.
  • Every $1 billion of e-commerce sales needs 1.25 million square feet of fulfillment space
  • “Last mile” channels are also increasingly essential and require more distribution facilities
  • E-commerce biggies understand they are only as good as their supply chain; they want to be as close to the customer as possible
  • Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase will create a need for additional distribution nationwide
  • Today, only 2% of all food purchases are made online – this is expected to change dramatically
  • Some estimate online food shopping alone will prompt the need for 1 billion square feet of additional distribution space – especially freezer space

Read on below for info/statistics specifically related to Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor.

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