Update: Eva Chen’s Facebook Q+A

One of our blog posts had to be a profile of someone prominent in our field, and I chose Eva Chen. I raved about her in that post and listed all the awesome ways she engaged with her fans and readers on various social media platforms. On December 2, she went at it again and hosted a Q&A on Lucky’s Facebook page! She is seriously so great. While she is currently pregnant, working on a new e-commerce business with BeachMint, attending to major-fashion-editor needs, and just having a life in general, she has the time to update all of her social media frequently and wonderfully!

Here are some screenshots of this Facebook Q&A. I will also have a link at the bottom of this post for access to the full chat.

See how genuine she is in her responses to all the different kinds of questions that were asked? She talks about her favorite beauty products, gives professional advice, discusses personal details, and even talks social media!

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If you want to see more of Eva’s responses, click here!

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Final Project: How Instagram is Readjusting the Fashion Landscape

Instagram is a social networking service that provides a photo and video sharing service to its users, who can then share their content across a variety of other social networking platforms. Among the top 4 leading visual social networks, Instagram was at the forefront of yearly growth of monthly active users from January 2011 to January 2013. Keep in mind that Instagram was founded just in October 2010! Here is an infographic that compares the growth of Instagram to that of other visual social networks:

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 (source)

How incredible is that growth of +900%?! Now, here are some statistics to demonstrate the impressive engagement level of its users and which brands are endorsing Instagram to the fullest:

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(source)

As you can see below, Nike is the most popular brand on Instagram with a following of around 8 million users. According to this comprehensive list of popular brands on Instagram, a majority of them are fashion apparel brands. Here is a screenshot that shows 7 of the top 10 ranking brands being related to the fashion industry:

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The fashion sector has embraced Instagram like no other. Thanks to the app’s instantaneous and visual nature, it is not shocking that the also “highly visual, fast-paced fashion industry” (businessoffashion.com) has matched Instagram to be its most ideal application for showcasing new collections, runway shows, models, events, behind-the-scenes activity, etc.

“It does kind of surprise me, but at the same time it makes a lot of sense. If you look at a newsstand, something like two-thirds of the magazines relate to fashion or beauty. I think that Instagram as a visual platform just fits very naturally with how the fashion community communicates its work,” observed Systrom, Co-Founder and CEO of Instagram (businessoffashion.com)

Instagram has been endorsed by mega fashion houses like Gucci, digitally native web retailers like NastyGal, and even go-to fashion chains like Forever 21. The app has an extensive reach in the fashion industry and has readjusted the landscape for many brands. Today, Instagram serves as the motivation for fresh clothing design techniques, innovative show productions, and novel marketing methods. It also makes fashion accessible more than ever. Instagram has “digitally disrupted” traditional practices within the industry, which will be further analyzed with examples.

First, let’s examine how exactly designers are changing the way they produce clothes with the inception of Instagram. Alexander Wang is one designer who created a lot of buzz with his Fall/Winter 2014 collection. In developing this collection, he did something unconventional. He produced the garments in a way that would be tailor-made for Instagram. His Fall/Winter 2014 collection was characterized by models on a rotating platform donning clothes that were thermo-sensitive, changing colors upon blasts of heat.

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Imagine the photographs that came out of this show! The shot above is the perfect still for garnering thousands of likes because look how cool it looks. Mr. Wang commented that the picture is “something we always take into deep consideration, even developing a collection. Sometimes, I have to admit, as a designer, you get into this trap of thinking about clothes for a picture rather than what’s going to go into the market or showroom.”

The YouTube video below shows the garments changing color in action. Pretty neat! (Skip to 8:55)

Tiziana Cardini, a contributing editor at Italian Vogue, also observed how bi-dimensional fashion has become. “It’s just flat. I see that designers, especially young designers, are considering the shapes and volumes in a totally different way; the colors, also. I think they pay much more attention to the photogenic value of an outfit” (NYTimes.com).

There are, however, drawbacks of having fashion attending to the two-dimensional appetite. The “intricacies of cut and construction”(NYTimes.com) often fail to catch the eye on-screen. The nuances of design are lost in digital transmission. In regards to couture, Raf Simons complained, “People can’t see what couture is very well on a computer screen” (NYTimes.com). It is especially couture design, with its delicate details, that is diminished the most by bi-dimensional screens.

Not only is Instagram changing the way designers produce clothes, but also the way in which they organize fashion runway shows. Let’s look at Tommy Hilfiger, for example, who hired popular Instagrammers Brian Difeo and Anthony Danielle to orchestrate New York Fashion Week’s first ever runway show InstaMeet. For those unfamiliar, an InstaMeet is an organized event for Instagram users to come together and create photo content.

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Brian Difeo and Anthony Danielle publicized the details of the InstaMeet on their own Instagram accounts, who each have a following of more than 100,000. Almost 300 applications were received and 20 average Instagram users were chosen in the end. The select 20 were given backstage access, had spots at the Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Fall 2014 show, and even met the designer himself (time.com). It was the first time in fashion week history that everyday Instagrammers were treated like industry insiders at a major fashion show. Want to know what the atmosphere was like for the chosen 20? Play the short video below to get a glimpse:

Some social media experts argued that Tommy Hilfiger lost significant publicity by selecting average Instagram users for the InstaMeet, instead of selecting fashion influencers like Chiara Ferragni or Aimee Song. However, Hilfiger made up for this loss by featuring users with a “diverse range of perspectives” to share their “view of the designer’s latest duds” to a global audience (fashionweekdaily.com). In an already cluttered social media atmosphere, Hilfiger simply aimed to do something new by inviting Instagrammers with fresh approaches.

Take a look at the slideshow below of the photo content from the Tommy Hilfiger InstaMeet! Select users were asked to include #NYFWInstaMeet and #TommyFall14 in their captions.

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[Side note: I believe the 5th photo of the woman in the green coat reading a magazine is stylist, Katie Mossman. I interned for her during my sophomore summer! As I was browsing through the hashtags #NYFWInstaMeet and #TommyFall14, I came across that photo and couldn’t believe it! What a small world. I commented asking if the person who uploaded it knew if it was Ms. Mossman for sure. Still waiting on a response!]

Below is a tweet from Brian Difeo, which includes a video via Racked that discusses how Instagram is changing New York Fashion Week. It wraps up the main points very well

“I see the shows on Instagram now,” said Eva Chen, the editor in chief of Lucky magazine (NYTimes.com).

Speaking of Lucky, the magazine also hosted its own InstaMeet during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014.

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It asked readers to “post Instagrams of their favorite fashion items, through which a team then selected 15 users to tour Lincoln Center, snag a glimpse of models backstage before a show, and get a close-up look of the BCBG runway post-show” (time.com). Some pictures below from the tour!

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Don’t you love how fashion is becoming more democratized? I definitely do. Digital media has definitely “changed the way fashion is reported, consumed and shared. Trade papers and websites that once held court as the home of collection coverage have had their turf invaded by individuals” (NYTimes.com). No longer is the fashion industry solely exclusive to industry elites!

We’ve seen how everyday fashionistas were given access to new collections and behind-the-scenes action, which was never traditionally done before. Thanks to Instagram, that has changed and the barriers to enter and participate in the fashion sector have been much lowered. Two more examples that demonstrate this fact are the proliferation of fashion bloggers and the more direct line of communication that now exists between designers and consumers.

Instagram serves as a platform for fashion bloggers to showcase their styles, and it’s also a tool to easily participate in the industry and gain wide exposure. Who would’ve thought that Aimee Song, an interior designer from California, would be an It Blogger on Instagram with 1.9 million followers?! 

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She is truly “Instafamous” and many of my female connections on Instagram know and follow her, too. Instagram has readjusted the fashion landscape in a way that has rendered the concept of being a notable fashion blogger to be attainable. It’s also made the concept ubiquitous because who isn’t trying to become an esteemed fashion blogger nowadays? In a way, today’s prominent Instagram fashion bloggers (@songofstyle, @chiaraferragni, @sincerelyjules, @garypeppergirl) attend to “greater” services than just posting photos of their outfits and whereabouts. Each have more than 1 million followers, which is why brands have started to endorse them. These bloggers wield enormous influence in the fashion realm and the industry is shifting its marketing strategies toward accommodating this fact. For example, Aimee Song has collaborated with Macy’s and Michael Kors “to show off the designer’s latest jet-setting styles” (macys.com). This was more of a mutually benefiting relationship than a parasitic one. Aimee got to work with a highly recognized brand, therefore gaining even wider global exposure. At the same time, Michael Kors got to work with one of today’s major fashion influencers who has a vast social media presence, therefore potentially attracting more consumers from the untouched corners of the digital world.

Below are some screenshots of Aimee Song marketing for Michael Kors:

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Below is a video that touches upon the new generation of Instagram influencers:

An additional example of how Instagram is reworking the fashion landscape, by lowering the barriers of participation, is the more direct line of communication that exists between designers and consumers today. With Instagram, designers can more easily communicate and connect with their consumers on an incredible scale. Take Diane von Furstenburg:

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(NYTImes.com)

Furthermore, Marc Jacobs posted a photo of three chain necklaces on his Instagram account and asked “Gold, rose gold or silver?” (NYTImes.com). From there, users casted a vote.

Rebecca Minkoff was more quick to take into consideration user suggestions in her design production.If a customer tells me, ‘I like a bag with gunmetal hardware, can you include it?’ I might, Ms. Minkoff said. If I can get 25 girls to request it, I will do the production” (NYTImes.com).

Susan Scafidi, a professor at the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, expressed that Instagram as a crowd-sourcing model is a new way to take some of the guesswork out of predicting consumer desires” (NYTImes.com). Mass collaboration between designers and consumers seems to be the answer.

Another way that Instagram has “digitally disrupted” traditional practices within the fashion industry regards model scouting. Before the advent of social media, “getting discovered has always been a bit of a wild card” (thedailybeast.com). Many famous familiar models were discovered by a talent agent just as they were going about their usual days. For today’s aspiring models, do they even have to wonder about being in the right place at the right time? Or is it about popping up on the right phone screen?

Agencies are turning to Instagram to mine for models. All they have to do is browse through Instagram to discover new talent. Luke Simone, an agent of Wilhelmina, commented that “social media is becoming the new norm, specifically Instagram, because it allows the industry and agents like myself an instant, insightful, and efficient way of discovering potential talent” (thedailybeast.com). Although there is the security issue of online fraudulent impersonation, there are still cases of success, such as with Matthew Noszka. Noszka happened to pop up on Simone’s Instagram feed and from there, things positively spiraled. After a few email exchanges with Simone, Noszka made his way to New York and worked with Nike, Blackbook magazine, WWD, Jon magazine, and GQ. Wonder what made Simone so interested to work with Noszka? Click here to see Noszka’s abs and his story in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Lastly, Instagram has had such a profound impact in the fashion industry that The Council of Fashion Designers of America established the Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Award. How awesome is that! There were eight Instagrammers who were nominated for this award and the winner got to attend the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards in June as CFDA’s official Instagram correspondent (cfda.com). The winner was Patrick Janelle (@AGuyNamedPatrick), and it is no surprise he won because he has impeccable style and a natural knack for Instagram. Take a look for yourself:

 

Wearing my favorite summer ensemble from @aimeleondore to bike around the city today. 📷 by @kikimacks

A post shared by Patrick Janelle (@aguynamedpatrick) on

Wearing @thombrowneny and @lanvinofficial outside the Thom Browne show.

A post shared by Patrick Janelle (@aguynamedpatrick) on

Despite the fact that Instagram has positively modified traditional aspects of the fashion industry to make it more current with technological trends, to make it more fun and inclusive for the average consumer, and to allow unlimited expression of style online, it does have a… downfall. Now that Instagram has penetrated the fashion world, a negative side to this is how brands are performing on Instagram for “Instabait” purposes. Social media, in general, is already such a cluttered environment. Imagine Instagram during New York Fashion Week and how cluttered that is. With hundreds of thousands of images posted onto Instagram during that week, how can brands make sure that their photos prominently stand out? The answer to that is “creating moments that even hard-to-impress-fashion-week veterans can’t help but click and post” (wsj.com). This is what is called “Instabait.” Let’s take a look at some examples of designers creating such “Instabait” moments:

  • Diane Von Furstenburg: Supermodel Naomi Campbell surprised everyone when she walked down the runway to close DVF’s show. Even Jessica Alba couldn’t help but capture the moment on her phone.

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  • 3.1 Phillip Lim: Got creative by installing a salt crystal runway at his show instead of having a traditional hard and white runway surface. Eva Chen snapped a picture.

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  • Opening Ceremony: Made a splash at their first fashion week show by having a fleet of luxury cars opening the show by driving up and delivering models to the runway. Cars included a Maserati and a Ferrari.

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  • Victoria Beckham: Her child, Harper Beckham, was sitting on her father’s lap (David Beckham) with Anna Wintour sitting right beside them. This was a recipe for the perfect picture, which garnered more than 20,000 likes.

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Conclusion

The fashion industry is all about the visuals, but so is Instagram. So, naturally, Instagram serves as the ideal platform for those in the fashion industry to express their style, inspiration, and brand awareness.

“The power of visual content is becoming increasingly important for marketers. Studies show that the visual appeal matters in 93% of cases when people go to make a purchase. Visual content is not only easier and faster for the human brain to process, it is a great way to generate more attention and leads. Photos can make or break your marketing strategy and should be considered highly important” (oursocialtimes.com).

Given the statistics above, why do only a mere 28% of marketers use Instagram? (oursocialtimes.com). Especially within the fashion industry, Instagram only shows signs of more positive growth. Today, Instagram functions as a platform for many fashion brands to market themselves and spread brand awareness. Are other industries doing the same and utilizing Instagram in the best way they can? Personally, I hope to see that 28% increase in the coming times since people respond so well to visuals. In fact, the work of The Mobile Media Lab (company co-founded by Brian Difeo) can testify to that reality. The Mobile Media Lab is:

The original creative agency that is shaping the way brands advertise with influencers and their audiences on Instagram.

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One example that illustrates the fact that “visual appeal matters in 93% of cases when people go to make a purchase” (oursocialtimes.com) is their Ann Taylor Instagram campaign. Photo below with details:

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As you can see, Ann Taylor’s Little Black Dress line turned out to be a huge hit! The engagement level doubled to 4.6.%. This just proves how powerful images really are.

Companies like The Mobile Media Lab are able to exist as a result of the success of social media, and in this specific case, Instagram.

“That’s the power of sharing that imagery. That can inspire entrepreneurs. In some ways, business balanced with art is the world we live in and Instagram is just a mirror representation.” – Kevin Systrom (techcrunch.com)

To wrap up this post, I wanted to end with my email interview with Brian Difeo. In case you forgot who he was, Brian Difeo was hired by Tommy Hilfiger to organize NYFW’s first ever runway show InstaMeet and he also co-founded The Mobile Media Lab. Take a look below at our conversation exchanges!

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In Brian’s response to the first question, what stood out to me was when he discussed how fashion brands are embracing consumer conversations on Instagram and being “aware of what people are saying about their products.” This goes back to my point of fashion becoming more and more democratized and how the industry is evolving to open its doors to average consumers, so that a two-way path of communication can exist. As a result, everyday shoppers/fashionistas/bloggers, and not just industry elites, are able to participate in the fashion environment. 

Another part that stood out to me was Brian’s response to my third question when he talked about the future of purchasing products directly off images. His opinion on the future of fashion in the age of Instagram is exactly in line with that of Instagram’s co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom. They both think that brands are definitely wanting to take Instagram’s capabilities to the next level in order to parallel consumers’ future purchasing methods. Here is what Kevin Systrom had to say about that in his interview with Business of Fashion:

When Systrom was asked if Instagram has plans to experiment with e-commerce, he replied:

“Um, definitely thoughts… But I think Instagram is such a general platform — I mean we have students, cooks and chefs, people who make crafts, photographers — that focusing on a specific retail product feels a little early in our lifecycle. That being said, we see the natural fit for it going forward and I think if there is a way to build products to allow companies to express their products to their consumers, then we are going to end up working on it. But right now there is so much opportunity in branded moments that that is what we are going to focus on.” (businessoffashion.com)

No one knows exactly what the future will entail, but since online is the premier destination for consumers already, perhaps we will start to see the rise of shoppable digital media given the right tweaking? Brands, however, must be aware of the division between the artistic and commercial use of imagery.

“I don’t think it’s so much a boundary as it is a balance. If Instagram were full of commerce and there were ‘Buy now!’ links everywhere and that’s all you ever had, I don’t think it would get to the true spirit of communication.” – Kevin Systrom (techcrunch.com)

Even though there are apps (Soldsie, Chirpify) out there that help make Instagram shoppable, they don’t exactly make the process direct or elegant, but rather circuitous. It is through a separate platform that users must go through in order to shop an item seen on Instagram. Who knows, maybe one day we will have an update on our iPhones telling us that we are now able to shop directly off Instagram images. Forget trekking to brick-and-mortar stores… shopping and looking fashionable will be effortless more than ever!

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

Mhm… Coco Chanel couldn’t be any more accurate. In an age where we eat, breathe, and live digital technology and social media, it is only natural that fashion is following this function. All in all, it’s Instagram’s world and fashion is just living in it.

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Social Media is Making Us Dumb & Socially Awkward

Last night, I attended a concert and I can assure you that the artist only saw one thing glowing when he looked out to the crowd. No, it was not our glowing faces of happiness and excitement, but our glowing white phone screens. Everyone around me was on Facebook, Instagram, and mainly Snapchat to capture the best musical moments. I was on social media too, no doubt about that. For a good chunk of the time, I had Snapchat open and ready to go so I could get that picture or record that video to send to my friends. I paid more attention to this social media application than to my sister and my friends who were right beside me. We didn’t talk much because my friends were also looking down on their phones and Snapchatting the night away. So, I can say from personal experience that social media is making us socially awkward and really dumbing us down. I mean, I didn’t mean to check and update my social media as much as I did, but it was more like second-nature to me. I guess that’s just a consequence of growing up in the Digital Age and having all these emergent technologies available.

On a broader sense, I really do feel that as we stay more connected via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.), we are simultaneously being teared apart. As we go about our daily lives and have our phones attached to us like a baby to his/her mother, we lose sight of the beauty in being present. What does “living in the moment” mean anymore? Today, “living in the moment” translates to instantly capturing an Instagram-worthy or Snapchat-worthy picture through our iPhones. We are so quick to have our phones ready for that perfect picture. This is why we are so socially awkward. We have one-way conversations with our phones and social media platforms, but we don’t have two-way conversations with real people anymore. Tara Kennedy-Kline, author of Stop Raising Einstein, expresses that connecting on social media makes us socially awkward in reality.

“I think that there’s a lot of things we don’t understand how to have conversations about anymore,” she says. “I think our kids are kind of getting addicted to it. Our kids don’t know how to have conversations. … There are simple social skills that we are completely losing an entire generation of because we only do anything online.” (huffingtonpost.com)

Take a look at the infographic below to see how the online world is affecting us:

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(dailyinfographic.com)

I think that I’m definitely part of that 24% who missed important moments in person because I was too busy trying to capture it on my phone for Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. Daniel Goleman, a best-selling science writer, had this to say about the effect of mobile devices on our lives:

“But what we don’t notice is the cost to what’s happening in the present, what we’re supposed to be paying attention to, or what it does to our relationship with the person we’re with, who we’re now ignoring.” (elle.com)

The increasing use of smartphones, the Internet, and social media has dangerous implications that we might not necessarily see. Ben Dickinson from elle.com stated that “the more responses required of us by the stream of prompts and temptations that wash over us from the digital ocean, the more our willpower, our judgment, and even our emotional well-being are diminished.” It’s upsetting that the millennial generation focuses so much of their energy on social media platforms, while their real physical souls wither away. It’s like we’re robots.

Another way that social media is making us socially awkward is how we interact with our online “friends” in the offline world. How many times can you count that you’ve known something about someone through a social media post before that person even told you? How many times have you felt creepy knowing too much about people because they posted a Facebook status, or Tweeted about it, or Instagrammed it, or Snapchatted it, or checked in on Foursquare? The list can go on and on…

People prefer to have online interactions over face-to-face conversations because they don’t know how to interact in person anymore. Researchers from Arizona investigated “how people reacted to meeting people face-to-face if they had previously interacted with them online.” (dailymail.co.uk) They found that during the face-to-face meeting, participants experienced an increase in arousal or an increase in anxiety.

The researchers claimed this was due to the fact looking at Facebook photos gave the participant’s time to compare themselves to the student. This can lead to feeling of inferiority, for example. (dailymail.co.uk)

With the proliferation of social media comes the proliferation of socially awkward individuals. We hide behind screens as we ignore what is going on around us. Next time you send out a Tweet or spend minutes editing your photo to upload onto Instagram, think about the moments you might be missing out on while you look down at your phone.

Here is a Buzzfeed article that lists 24 awkward things that could only happen because of the Internet. It demonstrates how social media is not really social at all. Click here.

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A Review of CBS Evening News

I watched an episode of CBS Evening News from November 16th, titled “ISIS executes another American hostage; New Jersey dig site reveals exciting fossils.” [FULL VIDEO HERE]. Within seconds of reading the title, I was confused as to why those two subjects would even be placed together since one is very serious and disheartening while the other not so much. Although later on I realized that these were the subjects shown at the beginning and at the end of the episode, I still do not commend the inclusion of an account of fossils found in a New Jersey dig site. I will touch on this later in the post.

First, I’d like to list the subjects discussed and articulate my personal viewpoints.

1. ISIS execution of Peter Kassig

2. Ebola patient in critical condition

3. Deadly chemical leak in Houston

4. Arctic invasion – cold weather news

5. President Obama’s trip to Australia and China

6. Aftermath of Malaysian Airlines crash

7. DEA investigation of teams mishandling prescription drugs

8. Health care enrollment

9. Digging for dinosaurs in New Jersey

Because CBS aired this episode at 6:30 pm, its target audience must have been older individuals who are mostly home at this time or parents just coming back from work. I can see elderly people tuning in at 6:30 pm to watch their daily newscast or parents turning on the news to see what important information they might have missed by being at work. I definitely do not think the target audience is the younger generation because watching network news broadcasts is archaic to begin with, especially with the proliferation of different digital news outlets available today (Vice, HuffPo, etc).

Overall, I didn’t have a terrible time watching the episode. It informed me on several different topics, but the presentation could be improved for the future. When I was in middle school, my mom would watch FOX 5 News that aired at 10 pm. I would sometimes watch it with her and from what I can remember, the presentation of news on these networks has not changed at all. It’s been almost 10 years and the news is still being presented in a boring, predictable pattern. The reporters talk (in that typical news broadcaster voice, which I don’t find exciting) for the most part. The camera then zooms in to related pictures, various clips, and bullet points, then zooms out back to the main anchor. This formula has been recycled over and over. One would think that with the onset of digital competition, these traditional news networks would up their game and institute fresh ideas in all aspects of production/presentation to keep audiences engaged in an ever-more evolving space. I am disappointed that the same presentation methods are being employed year after year. This might not really bother the older generations, but these news networks can kiss the millennials goodbye.

Ok, now for the content. The ISIS execution of Peter Kassig was the first topic covered, which I thought was logical to do since it was the most important and immediate. The coverage spanned a little over 4 minutes and it included a short anecdote about Kassig’s life, a personal statement from Kassig’s parents, a short clip of ISIS’s execution video, and an interview with National Security Analyst (Juan Zarate). I thought CBS did a good job covering the topic from personal and political angles, allowing viewers to digest the news in a varied composition.

The stories about the Ebola patient and the chemical leak in Houston both incorporated humanistic elements, in order to make them more emotional for the viewer. The episode showed the Ebola patient’s body in a containment bubble on a stretcher, a picture of him and his wife, and also an interview with his son.

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In regards to the story about the chemical leak in Houston, the episode showed pictures of two brothers who died in the leak and also a picture of one brother’s family. These are clearly efforts to focus news through a more personal lens to illicit higher appeal.

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I don’t condemn this type of angle that CBS uses. While network news broadcasts are generally dry and boring, making stories more relatable and emotional by using personal pictures is an effective way to grab higher viewership. I do think, though, that there can be a better way to attract audiences through some use of social media or platform innovation of any sort.

The episode then goes into cold weather news and the arctic invasion that is upon the nation. It was straightforward, nothing too bizarre. Then the episode went into a video showing Malaysian Airlines wreckage from this past summer. I thought the inclusion of a video by a citizen from the crash site was very effective in capturing my attention and allowing me to see what it was really like for neighboring residents.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 7.12.28 PMI don’t know if this was CBS’s attempt to crowd source and obtain any photos/videos from on the ground of the actual crash site, but I know that it is a direction I want to see networks follow. Citizen journalism is becoming customary in today’s connected world and sometimes, ordinary people are the first ones to get reportage of events. I think networks should regularly consider ordinary citizens as important sources of news, as long as the industry can come up with a feasible economic and organizational structure.

President Obama’s trip to Australia and China were also covered in this episode. The story started out with the picture below:

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Again, this is a way for CBS to have its hard news emotionally connect with viewers. Who on earth doesn’t think a koala bear isn’t cute? Then, when Obama’s trip to China was covered, the camera zoomed in on bullet points that listed his deals with China: emissions reduction, visa extensions, clearer rules on military exercises, securement of billions in pledges to fight global warming and Ebola. Yes, bullet points make everything clearer and easier to comprehend, but I just thought it looked really old-fashioned. Am I the only one who thinks that?

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What really confused me was when the anchor deemed the DEA’s investigation of NFL teams as “breaking news,” when it only lasted about 20 seconds with no further reports. All I got was that some teams were mishandling prescription drugs, and that was it. If this is “breaking news,” how come it wasn’t covered thoroughly? Why was the weather forecast shown for much longer? It seemed like the producers hastily put in that segment.

This is all we got.

This is all we got.

The topic of health care was covered second to last, which I thought could have been shown earlier. It’s a topic that interests many people across the nation, so why was it put towards the end of the episode? I liked the face-to-face interview with Business Analyst, Jill Schlesinger, but I thought it could include people’s opinions on the improved website or their thoughts on how insurance prices have increased in some regions.

Lastly, the news broadcast talked about a New Jersey dig site that revealed “exciting” fossils. Is this type of news exciting at all? On a national level, is it really newsworthy? Personally, I don’t care about fossils that are being excavated. I think people would rather want to see news networks covering deeper national and international issues. The only part I enjoyed was when the camera focused on a young girl who said that she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. It was a cute segment in a rather dull story.

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All in all, I enjoyed some parts of this episode and it was informative. While being informative, it does not mean that the network did an excellent job with presentation. There were good and bad features to this broadcast, but I think I’ll stick to getting my news from digitally native sources.

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An Update on MICA

In a previous post, I talked about a smart bracelet that will soon be available at Barneys. Called MICA, this bracelet supposedly has more “style than substance,” according to associate editor Chris Velazco from edgadget.com. Now that more details have been released about MICA, Velazco concluded after playing with it that its functionality is “strictly limited by design to serve purposes demanded by the fashionistas and style gurus Intel and Opening Ceremony spoke to.”

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Here are more details of the smart bracelet, which were not disclosed at the time of writing my previous post on wearables:

1. Event reminders from Facebook and Google accounts

2. Partnership with Garmin and Yelp; can choose from a series of criteria (coffee, Thai food, bakery, etc) and MICA will tell you what is good nearby

3. AT&T SIM: 2 years of data service including international data roaming

4. 48 hours of battery life

Some cons:

  • Because it has its own SIM, MICA has its own phone number (inconvenient?)
  • Cannot respond freely to messages by touch/speaking, rather select one brief response from a series

Link to article

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#EvaChen

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Eva Chen, for those of you not familiar, is the youngest editor in chief of a major fashion publication (Lucky). While most women’s fashion magazines have editors in chief who are over 50, Eva Chen was only 33 years young when she was crowned Lucky’s EIC in June 2013. Her young age not only emphasizes her joining the ranks with older editor peers, but also signifies that she is of the millennial generation. Being a millennial = digitally native. She is very well known for having a massive social media presence and engaging with her enthusiastic fans. Even fastcompany.com stated that she was “known as one of the most active and responsive fashion personalities on social media” back in September 2013. Her social media presence looked something like this at that time: 53,000 followers on Twitter and 73,000 followers on Instagram. Today, she has 90,000 followers on Twitter and 290,000 followers on Instagram! How much her presence has grown in just about a year! This can probably be attributed to the fact that she is so transparent (in a good way) through all her social media platforms. She is very particularly active on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, which I can personally attest to since I follow her on all three networks. Her goal is to make Lucky “a magazine readers feel they can talk to” (fastcompany.com) and she does this by deeply and personally involving herself on social media.

Let’s first take a look at her Instagram.

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Ms. Chen stated in a NYTimes article that “there’s a curiosity about what magazine editors do, the behind-the-curtain experience.” In order to fulfill this craving that many young fashion aficionados have, Ms. Chen uploads a variety of Instagrams that showcase what her busy life is like. Her Instagrams range from Instavideos of high end fashion shows from the front row to daily musings to her infamous #EvaChenPose.

That 70s Show: luxurious, bohemian, cool @louisvuitton finale #PFW

A post shared by Eva Chen (@evachen212) on

 

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She’s just like any one of us, Instagramming the foods we eat.

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She doesn’t look so much like Lucky’s EIC, but rather just an ordinary NYC tourist out and about.

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And just like everyone else on Instagram on Halloween, Ms. Chen uploaded a selfie of her Maleficent makeup and costume.

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In case you didn’t know what I meant by the #EvaChenPose, now you know. She pioneered it all by herself and it’s characterized by sprawling her legs out in the back of a yellow cab, positioning her purse of the day next to her feet, having an apple from Fresh Direct situated neatly on top of her purse, plus displaying any other accessories or items she may have with her that day. She almost always includes tags of where her shoes, purse, and other accessories are from. Hence, this is how I know her apples are from Fresh Direct. I even see some of my Instagram friends replicating this pose and captioning it “#EvaChenPose”. Now that’s a substantial testament to Ms. Chen’s success on social media, or just a testament to all the Eva Chen wannabe’s out there. Take a look at some of these #EvaChenPose renditions:

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You will see by scrolling through Eva Chen’s Instagram account that she tries to show a multifaceted view of the fashion industry and her life as Lucky’s EIC. As an avid follower, I get to see the glamorous parts of the fashion sector and all the amazing events Ms. Chen gets to attend. But, I also get to see Ms. Chen in not-so-glittery settings while she’s casually walking down the streets of New York or posing with her baby bump.

“For me as an editor, it’s probably different than most other editor in chiefs in the industry, I’ve taken the fourth wall down,” said Chen, who posts her outfits of the day and personal anecdotes frequently on Twitter and Instagram. “Fashion has been an industry historically of putting those walls up. For me, my personality is literally the opposite of all of that. For centuries fashion has been inaccessible. You would have these super high fashion designers living these mysterious lives.” (capitalnewyork.com)

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Twitter is also a place where Eva Chen makes fashion accessible for the everyday person. “Someone can tweet at me and can get an answer in 24 hours,” Ms. Chen said.” It takes me 10 seconds to respond. I never had that growing up. The only way you could talk to a magazine was by writing a letter to the editor.” (nytimes.com) The old days are gone when you would have no other way of communicating with an editor but to write him/her a letter, just hoping he/she would even respond. Now, you can have fast and informal conversations with just about any industry professional on Twitter, including Eva Chen. Here are some screenshots of how Ms. Chen has been utilizing Twitter to engage with her fans and, again, make sure that the magazine she represents is one that women “feel they can talk to”:

Ms. Chen even tweets things like:

This is proof that there is a real person behind the magazine who is actually confused by today’s trending terms, despite their ubiquity.

I once tweeted about @evachen212 and she favorited it! I took it to heart since you don’t see many high-ranking fashion individuals doing anything about your tweets. I thought it was very sweet of her!

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Even today I tweeted to @evachen212 and she responded less than 2 hours later! From first hand experience, I can say that she lives up to her word and truly engages with her fans on social media. She is the one to go to for great fashion advice, from career tips to picking between a pair of boots.

I also love following Eva Chen on Snapchat. In my book, she definitely has the most interesting Snap Story. It’s interesting because I obviously personally don’t know Eva Chen, but when I check her Snapchats, it’s as if I really do know her and am up to date about her daily activities. Snapchat is another way that Ms. Chen shows to the world what her life is like as EIC of Lucky and also what she is like largely unedited. I see candid versions of herself, which is the best version of herself or anyone in general. While Instagram also provides me with a look into her highly-coveted life, Snapchat is the unedited, unfiltered version of herself which she can update every minute of the day if she wanted. Whereas on Instagram, only a few posts per day are socially acceptable and the photos are more orchestrated than impromptu. Snapchat is THE space where I can catch Ms. Chen going about her days and can fully grasp her dynamic personality.

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Wouldn’t you agree that she is just like any other ordinary Snapchat user? Instead of Snapchatting all her celebrity friends or the designer clothes she dons, Eva Chen captures “normal,” un-editor-in-chief-like moments. Just from the last 2 Snapchats, could you even tell they were from Eva Chen? (I don’t think so).

We see fashion influencers practicing social media mostly through Instagram and Twitter. However, Eva Chen has further given us access to her via Snapchat AND… Reddit. Commonly thought of as a nerdy virtual space, Reddit isn’t really a platform that I thought an EIC of a fashion publication would use.

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She opens herself up to any questions that Reddit users might have and she does a stunning job to be as comprehensive as she can in her responses.

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I read through parts of the thread and her answers glowed with sincerity. It’s definitely amazing that Ms. Chen reserved a part of her time to do this. Lucky is lucky to have her 🙂

And just to wrap this post up, here is a short video with Eva Chen herself! She talks about the future of Lucky and its recent partnership with e-commerce platform, BeachMint. How about that digital disruption, Eva?

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