All posts by TerrySNJ

When did “Influencer” become a profession?

I recently read a news article about social media “influencers”.  As a matter of fact ti was a couple of articles.  One article was about a business owner that decided to charge “influencers” double what he charges normal people .  And I love his reason for doing it.  First of all, is “influencer” a real job?  I don’t think so.  If you give me the Kardisians as an example of REAL “influencers” then I will give you back prime example of parasites on society.  These so-called “influencers” are nothing more than parasites where they take (including the air they breath) without giving back anything of substance.  Parasites.  And those that follow them and hang on every word they say are ones with empty lives and weak-minded.

I still don’t understand where these social media people get off thinking that they’re important as they think they are.  Take Olivia Jade (college scandel’s Lori Loughlin’s youngest daughter).  Seems like her career path that she chose for herself was being an “influencer”. She got upset with her parents for the college scandal because their indictment caused her to lose her deal with Sephora.  Now she might actually have to work for a living and to actually be productive.
So, what kind of profession is an influencer?  What skills does one have to acquire to become one?  What do influencers have to offer?  As the ice cream owner in the article states, he had gotten sick of the influencers contacting him for free samples of his product.  And we’re not talking about 1 or 2 here,  In the article he references one of the influencers contacting him and expecting 300 samples.  I can see certain companies using the web sites and blogs as a marketing strategy.  It’s called affiliate marketing and generally a web site owner or blogger will apply to the company requesting to get paid for advertising their product.  The company gets to decide if they want their product listed on any given site.  Not the other way around.  The business owner does not mention that he wanted to use this strategy.
The only thing that was missing from the article was that the owner was not threatened with derogatory comments about them from the influencers.  My take from reading the article was here is a guy (ice cream truck owner) busting his chops every day to make a living and he ends up having to deal with the parasites trying to deprive him of his livelihood by trying to convince him that they are so all-important.  He decided to charge “influencers” double ($8 instead of $4) but I think he should have tripled the price for them.  What the hell is the difference?  They didn’t want to pay the regular price.
These “influencers” have very little to offer the general public.  In the future I will be posting details of when I did research on generating an income through a blog.

What’s the big deal about the college admissions scandal?

I’ve seen a few comments from people about the scandal that swept up Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and their spouses,  Some comments made asked what was the big deal.  I can’t speak for everyone or the DOJ but I find what they did was highly offensive and insulting.  Why?  Because as much as our children are important to us they are not as important to the rest of the world.
Just to be clear, I love my children and my grandchildren.  They are very important TO ME.  I’m not forcing my children on the rest of the world.  I support them as they make their way in life.  I don’t arrange their life for them.  Essentially that’s what Loughlin and Huffman did.  They forced the world to bestow the same level of importance on their children as they did.  The rest of the people in the world were expected to play by the rules.  Not these families.  They considered themselves special and, in turn, their children were special.  Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, and William Macy are entertainers.  They really haven’t done anything that would be considered as a benefit to anyone in the world.  Probably no one outside the USA even knows who they are.  But their children are more important than anyone else in the world.  To them this may be, and should be, true but to the rest of us, not at all.
This caused the deserving children not to get in because these parents’ children undeservingly took their spots in the limited admissions process.  This also dovetails with a recent study that found that for a person to be successful they only have to wealthy but not smart.

The Farce of Customer Service Over the Phone

 

We’ve all encountered it.  We call a company or service and get entangled in their automated phone system.  You know where you call and rerecord voice recites a series of menu choice that you have to pick or one that seems closest to what you want.  And then finally you are told, via the recorded voice, to “Stay on the line and a representative will help you momentarily” or “Your call is important to us, a representative will help you.”.

 
First of all, if my call is so important then I wouldn’t be stuck on hoid.  You’d have hired enough representative to answer the phone and help customers.  But that’s really not the case.  It’s all about profits and them cutting costs wherever they can so that they can pocket money in their own pockets.
 
I recently had to contact a credit card company regarding an issue and I am on the phone with them as I am writing this blog entry. I’ve  been on hold for over 20 minutes waiting for a representative and listening to “Thank you for waiting. Please stay on the line and a representative will help you as soon as possible.”  Now, I’m wondering if there is anyone actually on the other end manning the phones.  Maybe they only hire independent contractors to work from home and set their own hours but one one has logged in to answer the calls.  It makes one wonder what is going on.  Are they really interested in helping customers or is it all a big show.  Do they even intend to give you any help or is it one of the deals where their actual philosophy is <<Your call is important to us.  Please stay on the line until this call is no longer important to YOU”.
 

How Things Have Changed

Recently, I decided to venture back into researching my family history.  I had been quite a few years since I did any serious research.  A lot of things changed since those days; Rootsweb has gone through a complete revamping where the personal genealogy websites have disappeared (inlcuding mine) and the maillists have undergone a total revision (they have migrated to a different platform).  What I had to go through to reclaim my old genealogy maillists is for another post at another time.

There were a few changes that the genre has gone through, also.  Although I wasn’t actively conducting research I still kept my fingers in the genre.  I was still getting a few daily digests from certain maillists on other platforms.  The last thing I remember doing was getting a new family tree software from Legacy Family Tree.    Seems that there are now more new companies that cater to the genealogist and each one charges a price.  Before you could find a few online services that helped the genealogist at no cost.  FamilySearch.org and Cyndi’s List come to mind.  Even the old Ancestry.com allowed you some basic access to information before they required a payment from you.  No more. Ancestry.com won’t even allow you to access the submitted family trees without payment.  THAT is annoying because Ancestry.com didn’t pay for that data…users freely submitted it.  I don’t and I deleted whatever info I had there before.  Unfortunaely, that information was already monetized and sold via their Family Tree CDs.

Now, you’ve got everybody pushing their services onto the genealogist.  They allow you to seach their database but only give you a summary of what was found.  To get details you have to pay for the subscription service.  These are, again, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, GenealogyBank, MyTrees, etc.  And the prices they’re charging are exhorbitant.  I would prefer to know the source and go there directly and pay their fee for the single record.

It seems to me that, thanks to the venture capitalists that bought Ancestry.com,  genealogy research has gone mainstream but for the wrong reasons.  It’s a lot of hyperbole but little in truth or promoting doing research correctly.  That, also, is for another post.

The sticker shock for me is how everyone has increased their fees three-to-fivefold from where it was.  I can see increasing prices to keep up with the costs but many seem to be taking advantage of genealogists.  Especially with today’s technology the costs should be going down not up.  The cost of a copy of a parent’s or grandparent’s SS-5 from the Social Security Admin went from $7.50 to $28.00??

Want the information but not the nagging?

You’re online searching out prices for a specific service such as auto insurance, life insurance, or maybe a new home. All you’re looking for is basic information and price but you’re not ready to take the next step. You’re in the exploratory stage. You really don’t want endless calls from salespeople with their endless pitches. But in order to get the information to display on your computer screen or sent to your email they require that you provide them with your phone number. You don’t want to give them your normal one because you don’t want your normal phone number to be constantly ringing at the most inconvenient times. But you still want the information and a contact person for when you are ready to take the next step. What to do?

I stumbled across a service/app some time ago that allows you to get a free second number that you can use as your business number or as a second phone number. It’s called Sideline (www.sideline.com/). The intention of the Sideline app is to give you a business phone number that connects with your existing mobile number. However, you can set calls to your Sideline number to go directly to voicemail for you to review later (this is what I do). In this way a smart salesperson can leave me a message that I can review and decide when I want to call them back. I also have a separate email address that I use for inquiries where I can review the information and decide what I want to do.

What I like about the Sideline phone number is that I don’t have to deal with high-pressure salespeople at their convenience. High-pressure salespeople rarely leave you a voicemail message, they will keep calling until you pick up the phone and they get to speak to you directly in order to manuveur you into a commitment to purchase from them. That’s probably why they’re so good at that jobs. I just don’t want to deal with it on their terms, preferring to deal with it on my terms.

That’s why I use Sideline as the phone number I place on inquiry forms online. I have other free tools that I have come across that I will detail in additional posts.