Influencer or Journalist?

By: Donald Smith

As technology has expanded the range of professions such as marketing, advertising and public relations so has their definitions been blurred. Not many can really tell the difference between each profession anymore because they all do similar functions with the expanded technology. This is mostly seen when it comes to the use of social media.

[Social Media Tree] By Cision
However, the professions we’re looking at today are digital influencers and journalists. If you are part of one of these professions, you may be scratching your head in wonderment of how these two could be blurred. Well, you are not the only ones. Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum, wrote in an opinion piece for The Drum how social media influencers would not be able to replace journalists. He says this because influencers release content that is more involved with brands, such as beauty products, rather than breaking news stories similar to government ordinances and Spotlight.

Although Waddington was right in that scenario, influencers have been becoming more prevalent than reporters in other “beats” of reporting. The increase in prevalence has been most noticeable in the reporting for beauty products. It was also noticed by Rachel Strugatz, Market Editor at WWD, in this article for the Los Angeles Times. She writes about her observation on the power of a certain influencer, Arielle Charnas of Something Navy. Charnas did a review on her Snapchat about a gel mask, which was responsible for many sales. Charnas’ ability to be a figure with enough clout to move sales put her close to, if not on, the same level of beauty magazine editors and writers. After further investigation, Strugatz found that these “digital influencers” were overtaking those who had been in power for decades as consumers trust influencers more than magazines.

So the question now is, can influencers start becoming journalists, or by chance, remove journalists from the equation? This particular battle is going to be over who can truly “control” social media. The reason for control over social media is because that is where both parties are most active on nowadays. They are most active on social media for different reasons. Influencers became a force through social media, while journalist had to adapt to social media to stay true to their principle of timeliness. A journalist also uses social media for information gathering and interacting with the audience as told by Cision in their blog post. I did not include traditional media because it is not as powerful as social media is today for a large number of people as can be seen in Rooster PR’s blog post. Here are statistics from Cision on how social media has impacted the profession of journalism.

Even with everything, both influencers and journalists need to exist because they serve different functions. We may see some industries switch between the two as it is happening with beauty products. Perhaps there could possibly be a merger between the two as Mark Schaefer said in his blog, “A brand journalist.”

Ways to get your YouTube poppin’

Oscar my Tweets

By Abisola Adeyemi

This evening Oscars hosted their 89th award ceremony and i experienced it from the red carpet to the actual event from the comfort of my twitter feed. The hashtag #Oscars was pretty lit if i do say so myself.

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I experienced most from the official twitter account @TheAcademy account which was poppin’.

The page is following 1156 accounts which are majority of celebrities and other media organizations, and they are followed by 22.8k followers. The feed was updated every time there was something not to miss on the red carpet, a quote or when there was an Oscar winner.

I thought the award presentations via twitter were cool. This was a brilliant way for followers to experience the ceremony as if they were watching it or there themselves.

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This was the many of the twitpics shared to their twitter feed to honor award recipients.

The fact that it is a red envelope like the one presented at the ceremony was pretty cool.

They also featured quotes like this one from Emma stone, which captures in words the way she felt when she received her award for Actress in Leading Role.Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 11.30.15 PM.png

Engagement during the show with the followers was high which ranged from 200-4.0 k likes or retweets.

I would say this was a remarkable evening for social media, a chance for the public to take part in the excitement of their favorite stars and directors received recognition of hard work.

I couldn’t help but to think of the team behind this account that made this happen. From the looks of how every moment from the show was updated The Academy’s social media team was on top of their “a game” i would say.

To show how much of an engagement twitter had on the ceremony.  Stars were chosen to read mean tweets about them. I thought this was awkwardly funny, particularly because the tweeters probably had no idea that their tweets would even make it to national television, but to see the reactions from the stars they talked about was priceless. They didn’t seem to be too bothered about it, it was all banter i would say.

Felt like we were all present and winning.





Chaos in The City Upon a Hill

By Abisola Adeyemi


As you can tell by my name, I’m foreign. I mean I was born in Maryland, but I was born of Immigrant parents. My parents came here for college, and growing up they will tell us of how they wanted to give us a better life. I love being Nigerian, but I also really love being American. I do feel blessed being here.

It wasn’t by accident that we were learning about the “City Upon a Hill” concept in my nonprofit PR class while my Facebook feed was in complete uproar about the recent immigration ban. I believe in meaningful coincidences. My instructor couldn’t have pre-planned a better time to cover this topic in class.

I have never heard of “The City Upon a Hill” concept until this time, and instantly I couldn’t help but to think of how ironic things were in our country at the moment.

This concept was founded by American Colonial Governor John Winthrop. He was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, also part of the Puritans which founded New England. Winthrop stated their purpose saying “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” He got this reference from The Holy Bible; Matthew 5:14 saying “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Winthrop believed they had a special mission for those in need.

Since then, this concept has been popularly use by politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Barrack Obama and so on.

This was Reagans Farewell Speech back in 1989:

“The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the shining “city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important, because he was an early Pilgrim – an early “Freedom Man.” He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat, and, like the other pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace – a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

This is information is enough for us all to understand what America stands for. The founders before us believed we had a mission to cater for the ones in need. Refugees are in need. What makes America is the diversity of us that comes from different backgrounds. We are to accept those with heart that look to us, because we are The City Upon the Hill.

I do understand if it was done for protection, but majority of the people were people in need. Its Un American for us to turn away those in need.

During the weekend of the ban there were many live videos coming to surface of protestors, Muslims praying in airports and such.

This particular bible verse was passed around my Facebook feed; in fact, I have never seen this verse till the chaos occurred:

Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.”

It’s very relevant and a reminder that this is a Christian nation founded upon God. We’re to embrace others, because truth be told a lot of here are immigrants.

I do admit that I am proud of the Americans that went out to protest for those in need. Although we are facing difficult changes, we seem to still have our spirit.


The Black Obituary Project

Written by Gabrielle Ebron (@gabrielleebron)

The Black Lives Matter Movement has been in the public eye for a little over three years now. It originated as  the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting black teen Trayvon Martin. Following Black Lives Matter, other movements such “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe” originated after acts of police brutality ended the lives of unarmed Blacks.

Another movement has begun and it is utilizing journalism in a way that others have not. Ja’han Jones, an Arizona State journalism graduate, started an online web page for blacks to post their obituaries in the case that they were victims of police brutality. Jones calls it the Black Obituary Project.

Source: LA Times, Courtesy Ja’han Jones

In an interview with Patt Morrison for his ‘Patt Morrison Asks’ Podcast, Jones discussed how the project originated and what contributors have gained from sharing their story. He says that he “advises people to read these obituaries in full because you really get the gamut of emotions.” Jones himself originally planned to submit it as a freelance article but instead decided the webpage project would have more of an impact and allow others to join.

“You see a number of people who are speaking triumphantly about all they’ve accomplished, and then you have other people who are speaking regretfully about all they weren’t able to accomplish,” Jones said in regard to some of the content and focus of the obituaries. (LA Times)

The project has gained a lot of attention on social media and been written about in media outlets such as CNN and The Grio. The page now consists of more than 100 obituaries with even more submissions waiting to be posted. Here is a rough draft of the obituary that I plan to submit soon:

Gabrielle Ebron, 20, was unarmed when shot and killed in conflict with local police officers.

Gabrielle was born to Cory and Danielle Ebron on November 8, 1995. She grew up in the small town of Waco, TX and was a very driven young lady. Her love of writing and reading lead her to attend the University of North Texas in Denton, TX where she aspired to be a journalist in the public relations field. Gabrielle had always excelled academically and planned to encourage other young children to stay in school and attend college. She enjoyed going back home on the weekends to spend time with her family and make memories with them. To some, Gabby was an outgoing, optimistic student with plans to be somebody someday. But very little knew of the struggles she faced with anxiety and stress. Gabby kept many smiling with her presence and positive vibes but was able to hide the pain of losing family members and the heart ache of being misunderstood from those she loved the most.

Gabrielle Ebron was once a woman upon this Earth, yet she is no longer.

Photo Credit: LA Times


Black Lives Matter. Wikipedia. Retrieved from:

Jones, Ja’han. Black Obituary Project.

Morrison, Patt. Patt Morrison asks: Black Obituary Project founder Ja’han Jones on the psychological toll of police violence. LA Times. Retrieved from:

How to safely introduce children to the social media world by Heather Wicker


Nearly 20,000 children under the age of 13 sneak their way onto Facebook every day, even though the federal law prohibits them from joining social media. This article aims to give some tips on how to let your child into the world on social media in the best way possible. It suggests giving them restrictions at first and slowly easing up on them as time goes on. There are many different kinds of websites that allow children to join and they are targeted specifically for kids. Sites offered by Disney are a good outlet and are monitored to ensure that it is a safe environment for young eyes. Social media is a huge part of the world today, so it would be nearly impossible to keep a kid away from it for too long. The article suggests starting your child out on a site that is more kid friendly and then working your way onto the mainstream ones like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Coaching and helping them along the way is suggested, too. It seems a little far-fetched that a parent would constantly monitor what their children are doing online, but there are precautions that can be taken like security features. Personally, I did not have any restrictions whenever I was growing up, but social media was not nearly as big as it is today. People can post whatever they want online and there is always a chance that your child is going to see something that you do not want them to. I think that educating your kids on the dangers of social media is important so that they can have a safe and fun experience. Being social is a part of being human, and parents need to let their children use social media in the safest way possible. It is also important to consider that there are creeps out there who can get into contact with kids online. People can create personas online and if kids are not aware of those dangers then bad things can happen. Children tend to be naïve and trusting when they should not be.

Brand Advocacy: Vital for Growth

By William Branch



Image Source

For the past decade I have sent and received phone calls, text messages, emails, voice messages, as well as accessed the internet on the Sprint cellular network. Sprint is reliable, offering great coverage within my area and faster 4G LTE speeds. Paired with its’ reasonably-priced, unlimited data plans Sprint is the perfect choice for those looking for a carrier whose services won’t break the bank.

That there was an example of advocating for a brand, although not as thinly-veiled. Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other form of social media Brand advocacy is crucial for brands and businesses to thrive within a consumer-driven market.

According to Ben Donker, there are 4 types of consumers: Loyal Consumers, Brand Advocates, Brand Detractors, and Brand Ambassadors.

– Loyal Consumers are committed to a brand or product no matter what, whether it be out of necessity, convenience, or likability.
– Brand Advocates recommend, share content, or spread the word about the brand. They are considered “go-to-experts” but are not necessarily loyal consumers.
– Brand Detractors are contrarians to the brand and/or product, often offering facts and data to discredit it in view of something more favorable. Often times they are disenchanted former customers.
– Brand Ambassadors represent the corporate identity, typically a sponsor or “top fan” within their community (Like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram).

Small businesses, especially those without an established brand, require a positive social media presence. In 2014, Tracy Foster, founder of ONA a retailer of fine bags ‘designed for and inspired by creative professionals’ published an article on ways businesses could find advocates for their brand. Citing high-traffic bloggers as one of the most useful mediums Tracy offers tips on how to curry favor with them; Creating a mutually beneficial, business relationship that caters to their niche audience as well as offering a product for review (or giveaway) as ways to engage a brand advocate.

In an article posted on, Instagram is becoming a more viable, advertising platform. Influencers, or those with high-followings, are attracting more advertising dollars to reach already invested (plugged-in) consumers. Influencers are able to garner loyal consumers for brands and businesses by taking pictures with their products or offering discounts. With global mobile ad revenues expected to near three-billion dollars by 2017 Instagram further shows how advertisers are adapting to a consumer-driven market.

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Brand advocates help boost word of mouth for a brand, attracting potential customers and solidifying lasting consumer preference. Whether it be Sprint® or Starbucks®, Apple® or M&Ms®, brands require a more active and engaging online presence to thrive, and that goal can be achieved with the help of Brand Advocates.

Works Cited:

Ben Donker. “A Guide to Brand Advocacy and Brand Loyalty” LinkHumans, 27 Aug. 2015, Accessed 15 Sept. 2016.

Tracy Foster. “Seven Ways to Identify and Engage Brand Advocates” Forbes, 20 Feb. 2014, Accessed 17 Sept. 2016.

Uptin Saiidi. “The Power of Instagram: Brands Eye More Social Media Influencers” CNBC, 21 May 2016, Accessed 17 Sept. 2016.