Social Media Public Figures Making A Living

By: Lawrence Laguna

Since the creation of social media outlets such as YouTube, Instagram and Vine, regular users have been able to become social media famous and become Internet celebrities.

From models to comedians, these public figures have verified accounts and captured hundreds of thousands to millions of followers to create their own brand. But has the Internet created a platform for anyone to become famous and make a living off of posts?

There are plenty of social media users that have succeeded by using these platforms. Entertainer KingBach, musician Shawn Mendes and fitness model Jen Selter all started on different platforms to become these celebrities and are profiting from it.

Andrew Bachelor, also known as KingBach, is an actor who started on Vine. According to his Vine profile, he has 14.5 million followers and has posted over 600 Vine videos that have accumulated more than 5 billion loops and counting.

KingBach has been able to use Vine and the Internet to open up other doors in the entertainment industry. He has been a part of a Showtime comedy series, “House Of Lies” in a recurring role.

Not only is KingBach gaining exposure, but he’s getting paid to do it. According to Complex.com, Viners can make anywhere between $20,000 to $50,000 per ad campaign. What KingBach makes alone is anywhere $10,000 to $15,000 a month from sponsored vines, and charges $1,000 per every 100,000 followers.

Another Vine superstar who made his career take off was singer Shawn Mendes. The 17-year-old started by posting covers to other artist’s songs on Vine. His covers of popular songs gained a lot of attraction and soon later he was signed to Island Records in 2014, according to billboard.com.

Mendes would then release his debut studio album in April, which is led by the single, “Stitches” that has over 100 million views on YouTube to be his most popular song yet. With being signed to a record label now, Mendes, with just being a teen, has no limits where his singing career can take him.

Lastly, if you’re an aspiring fitness model, Instagram can be your outlet. When you’re on the app, you can find yourself scrolling through posts on the explore tab and find images of models easily.

One of the most popular examples is Jen Selter, a fitness junkie turned model, who has 7.8 million followers on Instagram. Her fitness videos and images went viral as inspiration to fitness junkies everywhere, and her popular bottom built through her workouts is what added to her social media fame.

According to elitedaily.com, Selter even created her own type of images and hashtags with “seltering” and “belfies,” which is a butt selfie. She would gain more popularity when fan accounts would repost her original posts. Elitedaily even posted a YouTube video of Selter in a comedy role of having “The most Instagrammed Ass.”

Selter is now a fitness celeb and as reported by TheSquander.com, Selter makes $50,000 off a sponsored post.

Overall, if you’re making funny videos, covering popular songs or showcasing a fitness bod, social media platforms have given the average person an opportunity to excel. Now, the average person’s successful outreach on social media can result in a living.

Christmas Gifts That Make A Difference

By: Robin Andrews

Peace, love and joy.

These are the phrases typically emblazoned on the wreaths and home-décor pieces found between Nativity scenes and Christmas ornaments.

But sometimes it may seem like greed, impatience and cost should be scribbled down somewhere for the realists among us.

When it’s not about a certain red-nosed reindeer or a lively snowman, when the holiday isn’t focused on Santa and his loaded sack, stuffing stockings and filling the space beneath festive trees, everyone shares one common goal at the end of the year.
Endless wish-lists and shopping sprees unite people across different traditions.

The season of giving so often turns into unsatisfied desires for things that can’t be manufactured or bought.

And consumers so often seek satisfaction at the end of long checkout lines and seasonal catalogs.

So often I even find myself forgetting to look further than the people in my own personal life and remember those who are struggling in the community and in the rest of the world.

The end of slavery is not a goal of the past. The efforts to give people clean drinking water and nights without hungry children are ceaseless for so many. The number of citizens of different nations in constant search of customers for their hand-made efforts to support themselves and their families in extreme poverty isn’t decreasing.

But there’s good news.

Despite the heartbreak of facing hard global issues head-on, thinking about more than commercials and magazines when brainstorming for the perfect gift can also emphasize the joy of Christmas.

Because everyone has the power to make a difference in any big or small way, and this list contains ways to do both. Technology makes it possible to support these organizations from your home even when they’re thousands of miles away.

Here are four of my favorite organizations and ways to give more, be fulfilled and serve this season:

FEEDING CHILDREN EVERYWHERE

FeedingChildrenEverywhere
These are two of the Feeding Children Everywhere shirts I picked up from their headquarters in Orlando. They’re well loved and worn—the perfect present for anyone who wants to talk about ending hunger while looking cool. Photo by Robin Andrews.

Feeding Children Everywhere is based in Orlando, Florida. The organization manages to pack wholesome meals to help end world hunger with meals that only cost 25 cents. With an assortment of shirts, scarves, bracelets and even samples of their meals in mason jars, FCE has a ton of fashionable ways to help feed children – everywhere. And if you’re feeling really festive, look into hosting your own Hunger Event as a way to gather your loved ones and pack food for those in need this season!

BACK TO AFRICA

BacktoAfrica
My Christmas gift to myself last year, this “Heart for Adoption” necklace from Back To Africa was made by Mama Kerano, pictured on the tag. Photo by Robin Andrews.

Back to Africa is a business development by Heart of the Bride, which is an organization that strives to help provide for orphans around the world. Back to Africa sells beads and jewelry bought from women in Kenya who lived in extreme poverty before having their beads bought and sold in other places, including Niceville, Florida. Now, the business estimates that more than 400 people are positively impacted by their efforts, and the women who were in extreme poverty a few years ago can now feed and clothe their families, send their children to school and buy farm animals to support themselves, their families and the people in their community who are still less fortunate. With gorgeous bracelets, earrings, necklaces, individual pendants and more, Back to Africa products are great for anyone who loves stylish ceramic and paper beads as well as wearing fashion jewelry that supports and empowers women and families halfway around the world.

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS

To Write Love on Her Arms, based in Melbourne, Florida, offers messages of hope and benefits people who are seeking help while fighting against addiction, depression, self-injury and for suicide-prevention. From their original and perhaps most popular item, their shirts, to books, prints, stickers and bracelets, TWLOHA merchandise is a great way to spread hope and encouragement daily.

SEVENLY

Sevenly, staying true to its name, gives 7 percent of its profits to a designated organization or cause every week. With shirts and prints, Sevenly spreads positivity with each item sold. It also has a great Give Bag program, specialized for either girls or guys  with an assortment of great products that support programs that only keep giving back. If you love their Give Bags, also check out their Cause Boxes!

Merry Christmas to you, your loved ones and all of the people you’ll be helping this season! Cheers!

Complaining Online 101

By: Shayna Tanen

You’ve seen them. You might even be one of them.

“Them” are the people on your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed who find a reason to complain about pretty much anything.

Service at lunch too slow? Rant about it to 562 of your closest friends. Your dry cleaner lost your blouse? Tell everyone that they should absolutely NEVER do business there again. Those apples from Publix spoiled in under a week? Rally support online and demand the store change its fruit suppliers.

The New York Times calls these tiny irksome rants “microcomplaints.” The term is simple. A microcomplaint is the expression of some extremely minor injustice or dissatisfaction with something in your life. The dog hair on your couch, and your ensuing tirade about said hair, is a microcomplaint. Feeling low about your cowlick and telling the internet at large is definitely a microcomplaint.

The New York Times attributes microcomplaints to a shifting moral culture, smartphones, loneliness and feelings of being left out.

The same spark and energy with which millennials fight large-scale injustices like racial tensions and human rights is also (unfortunately) channeled into the conveyance of everyday annoyances.

“Whine About It” is Buzzfeed’s drunken translation of microcomplaints. In the segment, Matt Bellassai drinks wine and proceeds to ramble on about anything and everything that might be bothersome. Take the common topics of airplanes. Yes, flying sucks. And the Internet is a great place to share your frustrations about it with the world. The Worst Types Of People On Airplanes shows Bellassai complaining about trivial mid-air matters. I’m still trying to decide if, by making ridiculous microcomplaints while drunk, he is trying to make a statement about a society that finds this acceptable. So meta.

No place have I found the microcomplaint to be more prevalent than Gainesville Word Of Mouth. GWOM is a Facebook group meant to inform citizens in the area about businesses — both good and bad. What tends to to be posted are restaurant and business reviews that, to me, don’t accurately portray a restaurant. Some of the grievances are subjective, meaning the bad food a person is describing could be delicious to somebody else. Others are just plain sad. Listen, Facebook users, I don’t really care if your sub from Jimmy John’s was soggy. It happens. You  might want to die for like five seconds, but I promise, life will go on.

So what’s the best way to deal with a serial microcomplainer? Just don’t read their asinine comments. I can’t tell you how many times I could have had a full-blown war with someone on my Facebook newsfeed.

But I’m better than that. And I’m not saying that reviews have no purpose in society. If Amazon didn’t allow reviews, how in the world would I know which flat iron to buy my mom for Chanukah?

But please, millennials, keep your dissatisfaction with your hairdresser between you and your significant other. I’d rather be watching this hamster eat a miniature slice of pizza.