Follow B&H; they’re an iconic store on Manhattan’s west side and if you’re ever in NYC and you’re into tech, visit. Their Instagram Stories and Snap Stories are informative and you might see a few surprise guests. Ask any experienced photographer in NYC if they’ve gone to B&H and the answer will be “Of course.”
Feb. 19, 2017
At this point, the word “influencer” clearly has more than one meaning. I read through the article and this is what I think: What Bloomberg journalist Max Chafkin wrote about and made himself a guinea pig for revolves around the aesthetics-focused, Instagram-centric “influencer.”
60 Minutes also did a segment on influencers, focusing on the vlogger-Viner-type-of-influencer. You can watch that here.
Sadly, Bloomberg and 60 Minutes failed to delve into the subsets within the world of influence marketing, e.g., B2B experts, brand-builders and enterprise-level influencers outlined by Malcolm Gladwell, Brian Fanzo and Rachel Lou Miller.
Or perhaps both media outlets wanted to keep things tight by focusing on the glamour aspect, for impact, and to not confuse viewers. (Hitting on all facets of the vast influencer ecosystem might very well have caused confusion.)
Regardless, neither Bloomberg or 60 Minutes reported on the many controversies within influencer marketing such as pay-to-play, inconsistent disclosure, native ads, expertise or “lack of” expertise, etc. At this point, I might as well shift gears and go on a related rant. Fasten your seatbelts.
On the issue of an influencer’s “lack of expertise”, my general feeling is that lack of expertise is FINE – yes, fine – when it comes to the fashion, accessories and footwear influencers. Why? Because there’s visible proof that she (or he) tried on the clothes, shoes, bag or whatever.
On the other hand, a person who is supposedly influential in the world of tech gadgets DOES need to possess expertise or at least niche knowledge. Think about it. If you’re little more than “a big booming personality” and you don’t know shit from shinola, you really should stick to what’s tactile, visceral, related to aesthetics, etc., etc. Y’know, stuff which for the most part does not require expertise. THIS is where agencies drop the ball. Agencies, you’re free to send me hate mail, but deep down you know I’m right.
Consumers don’t care about expertise when they can clearly see an outfit looks awesome on a person. Let’s be clear: Influencers should ALWAYS disclose BUT research has shown time and time again – when a fashion image on Instagram looks good and inspires, most Instagram users couldn’t care less if they see a disclaimer or not. [[[ My thoughts continue after the Snapchat video, below ]]]
shoutout to Ted and Meghan for the event invite!
But, in contrast, consumers DO CARE ABOUT EXPERTISE when it comes to (for example) a new smartphone and what it can/can’t do for them. Many agencies think expertise doesn’t matter, and agencies are CORRECT in this thinking when it comes to fashion and, to some extent, foodie and travel influencers. Just three examples. BUT NOT FOR TECH. Let me repeat. NOT FOR TECH.
And agencies of all sizes have dropped the ball – I’ve seen it first hand – inviting “pretty faces” to tech events. For the love of God, please tell me how this is a go-to strategy. It shouldn’t be. Here’s why: Anyone, pretty faces included, can plagiarize a tech review – I’ve seen it done. And if the blogger doesn’t add a video to prove expertise, deception can (and sadly, does) flourish and A CONSUMER HAS NO PROTECTION AGAINST IT.
But there are wonderful, noteworthy exceptions such as Marques Brownlee. While I won’t say he’s pretty or eye-candy (some might disagree, whatever), Mr. Brownlee has a solid aesthetic + an undeniably strong personality which lends itself nicely to video – but waaaay more important to the point is Mr. Brownlee’s EXPERTISE. He knows his techie shit inside and out, backwards and forwards.
There needs to be more Marques Brownlee’s in TECHNOLOGY influencer marketing. Agencies need to understand this – a pretty face or clown or big booming personality who LACKS expertise is, in several cases (such as tech), a disservice to clients and clients’ target consumers. It’s 2017 and PR agencies are sadly still more concerned with low turnout at client events (Click here for video rant) and other superficial bullshit such as Klout numbers and follower counts, both of which are easily manipulated by unsavory people.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “big booming personalities” who are considered influencers (many of whom are signed with agencies) yet – let’s be real – they’re really “experts at nothing.” Let’s take a minute to consider the fans of those types of E.A.N. (experts at nothing) influencers.
Many of the E.A.N. fans are very young “fanboys” and “fangirls” and are unlikely themselves to have expertise in anything. (Hey, maybe they relate to (or bond with) the E.A.N. influencer because of that common ground. The fans being children or very very young adults, it’s natural that most won’t be experts at anything. Experts who are still in junior high and high school are the exception, not the norm) …And so 3 the questions are:
(1) Are those fanboys/fangirls simply watching and listening to “aspire to be like” that E.A.N. influencer? In many cases, yes.
(2) Are the kids analyzing the E.A.N. influencer’s mannerisms, cadence, enunciation, etc., etc.? In many cases, yes.
(3) Do they sit there watching the E.A.N. influencer with a credit card in hand, ready to buy whatever the E.A.N. influencer shills? Highly doubtful, but I could be wrong. And children shouldn’t use credit cards anyway. #JustSayin
(Or worse, are the kids looking to emulate E.A.N. influencers as a career!?!? GOD HELP US! [Side rant: If the overwhelming majority of 16-year-olds today are grooming themselves to be professional influencers on social media, then I hate to say it but then we’re fucked as a society and the future’s not bright. Let’s hope this ISN’T the case. I strongly doubt the U.S. Department of Labor puts “influencer” high on the priority list of what America needs.])
I’m sure I’ll receive hate mail from agents who stand to gain via the hyper-positive beyond-reproach narrative that says influencer marketing “works better than anything else.” To be crass, I’m pointing my finger at the agents who stand to gain by face-fucking us with an aggressive, bastardized flavor of wholesale influencer koolaid. This type of koolaid does not respect very crucial nuances.
To be clear, I’m not against influencer marketing. Quite the contrary: I’m a proponent of influencer marketing. Or perhaps I have a bias for expertencers (“influencers who have expertise”, the opposite of E.A.N.’s) … I’ll tell you what I’m against: I’m specifically against willy-nilly influencer vetting and pairings, and agencies are the most culpable because they exploit uninformed clients.
P.S.: I’d also be remiss to say that no one should call himself or herself an influencer. A third party needs to do that. Self-proclaimed influencers must be taken with a grain of salt. (Honestly, it’s best to totally avoid this type of fauxfluencer. They tend to be uncouth and unpleasant to even be in the same room with.) Finally, there are influencer lists compiled by humans and there are influencer lists compiled by algorithms. The latter is the real deal. The former is fleeting and subject to all sorts of immature favoritism, cliques, etc. When someone asks me what I “did” to get onto the Cision Top 50 influencer list, I shrug and say “I honestly don’t know. You’d need to ask the algorithm as to how I got onto that list. (That specific list was compiled by an algorithm, not by a person.)
This week I was introduced to the wonderful, scary, unexplored world of PhotoShop! Here are some steep my step instructions on how I transformed a picture of my friends and I laying on a trampling to us laying in a field of wild flowers!
1. Uploaded the picture of my friends and I
2. Used the magic wand tool and the eraser to of the trampling background
3. I searched the internet for a picture of a field of flowers and downloaded the picture to my computer.
4. I added a new layer in photoshop and uploaded the image of the flowers. The flowers is the 2nd layer!
5. This put my girls in the field of flowers
6. I made the entire picture black and white by changing the color contrast
7. Saved/Exported my image on to my Flash drive as a JPEG!
Check out the difference below!
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SeeMe, a global community of more than 1 million members, released a new mobile app in early June that takes content sharing one step further by turning social images into social products in mere seconds. Users are not only able to capture and share images, but also turn those images into one-of-a-kind all-over-printed t-shirts, that are immediately printed and shipped to their home. The mobile app is free and available at Apple’s App store now.
“Imagine being on a road trip and seeing a gorgeous field of sunflowers… the perfect photo. What if you could do more than just share that image online? What if you could turn it into something you can wear or gift to a friend?” says SeeMe founder William Etundi Jr. “SeeMe is bringing creativity back to the real world.”
Equipped with an Instagram-like newsfeed, a discovery function, and a socially connected profile, the app is designed to bring anyone’s images from the digital world into the real world. The app, which is free to download, is available for the iPhone.
Here is how the app works:
(1) Capture and post an image
(2) Swipe your or someone else’s image left and choose a product (e.g., t-shirt or postcard)
(3) Make it truly one-of-a-kind by customizing the image layout on the product
(4) Click “Buy” and your product is printed and shipped
Each one-of-a-kind printed t-shirt is $32. The image creator gets $6 of the purchase. Postcards cost $3 with the creator earning $1. Buyers are invited to pledge additional funds, up to $10, to the creator during checkout. SeeMe takes care of the everything else from printing to shipping and customer service.
Tonight, in celebration of the app and in the spirit of bringing online images offline, SeeMe revived its “Art Takes Times Square” event for the third year. SeeMe users were able to create images for two prominent Times Square LED billboards. I took a quick pic here.
SeeMe started in a Brooklyn loft as a scrappy art project created by founder William Etundi Jr. Since then SeeMe has evolved into an international business involving hundreds of thousands of creators and millions of viewers. Before SeeMe, Etundi was a renegade party producer whom the New York Times called “an impresario of the underground.”
New to SeeMe is former Kickstarter Operations Lead, Jared Cohen, who joined as SeeMe’s Chief Operating Officer. Applying his keen experience scaling creative businesses, Cohen hopes that SeeMe can “inspire real world experiences around creativity.”
Visit See.Me for more information.