Interesting Read: “Instagram’s Wannabe-Stars Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy”

Back in 1974, Alice Sheldon (aka ‘James Tiptree, Jr.’) won a Hugo for “The Girl Who Was Plugged In“, a dystopian narrative about an ugly, ghetto-trapped teenager given an opportunity to join the media celebrities she idolizes. All she has to do is agree to risky experimental surgery that will allow her to pilot a gorgeous, brain-pithed android-drone who can maximize product placement in a world where ‘advertising’ is banned. Her reaction? Show me the fire I have to walk through.

That was the story that convinced me Tiptree-the-author must be a woman (at the same time, IIRC, a famous sf critic publicly announced that no mere ‘lady writer’ could produce prose so muscular). Sheldon / Tiptree had the foresight to imagine the arc from 18th-century merchants ‘quietly’ advertising their royal customers, to 19th-century proto-celebrities taking payments to use Pears soap, to the 20th-century legitimation of PR agents, to the 21st-century protype Reality TV. But I don’t think even she predicted the Uberization of the form, where every product-shiller would have to hustle themselves as a “brand”.

The proudly libertarian Atlantic should be thrilled at such viral commodification, and yet, something about the unwieldiness of the current process seems to perturb them

Three years ago, Lisa Linh quit her full-time job to travel the world and document it on Instagram, where she has nearly 100,000 followers; since then, she has stayed in breathtaking hotels everywhere from Mexico to Quebec to the Cook Islands. Often, she stays for free.

Linh is part of an ever-growing class of people who have leveraged their social media clout to travel the world, frequently in luxury. While Linh and other elite influencers are usually personally invited by hotel brands, an onslaught of lesser-known wannabes has left hotels scrambling to deal with a deluge of requests for all-expense-paid vacations in exchange for some social media posts.

Kate Jones, marketing and communications manager at the Dusit Thani, a five-star resort in the Maldives, said that her hotel receives at least six requests from self-described influencers per day, typically through Instagram direct message.

“Everyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer,” she said. “People say, I want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will do two posts on Instagram to like 2,000 followers. It’s people with 600 Facebook friends saying, ‘Hi, I’m an influencer, I want to stay in your hotel for 7 days,’” she said. Others send vague one-line emails, like “I want to collaborate with you,”with no further explanation. “These people are expecting five to seven nights on average, all inclusive. Maldives is not a cheap destination.” She said that only about 10 percent of the requests she receives are worth investigating…

But to influencers themselves, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the value exchange. Instagram has ballooned to more than 800 million monthly active users, many of whom come to it for travel ideas, and influencers argue that the promotions they offer allow hotels to directly market to new audiences in an authentic way…

Some of these issues can just be a miscommunication. Miragliotta said he’s invested in making clients happy—but hotels need to make sure they’re organized and prepared for influencer stays.

“I went to one Mexico resort and three different people were giving me different hashtags and handles,” he said. “I was with five other influencers and we were excited to post, but there was limited Wi-Fi. If you don’t have the simplest things ready for us, then that makes it difficult to produce the content you need, or do it correctly.”…

As an introvert and aspiring agoraphobe, just looking at the sampled Instagram pics convinces me that I’d rather eat glass doing this ‘social influencer’ thing is indeed a job. It is, after all, not that different than any other form of… what was Melania’s old job title… modeling, is it?



Time keeps on slippin into the future

I don’t have any time at all to fundraise, but I’m going to try to highlight good ads done by Dem candidates and then do fundraisers for them. Seems like a good time to start right now after the Trump/Miller debacle of the past week.

In the fall, I will put together a fund again I hope. I may try to recruit some of you to help me. This election is too important to leave any money on the table.

This is a great ad, done by MJ Hegar, running in TX-31.

Let’s raise some money for her.

Goal Thermometer








On Beyond the Border… of Decency


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Russiagate Open Thread: Michael Cohen Makes A Move

In his resignation letter to Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, Cohen cited the ongoing special counsel investigation as one reason for his departure. ABC News has reviewed the email…

Cohen also criticized the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, the first time he’s distanced himself from the president.

“As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching,” Cohen wrote. “While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

Cohen on Tuesday hired New York lawyer Guy Petrillo to represent him in a federal investigation headed up by the Southern District of New York.

I drafted the post below just last night. Nothing is ever certain in Trumpworld, but it sounds like the Hoarse Whisperer’s tweets at the end might be relevant; if Cohen’s decided that Donald is not really his friend, then the next logical step would be discovering a moral compass…

It’d be some kind of poetic justice if Trump’s notorious parsimony (to phrase it nicely) with the people who work for him turns out to be what brings him down. From CNN:

Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has signaled to friends that he is “willing to give” investigators information on the President if that’s what they are looking for, and is planning on hiring a new lawyer to handle a possible indictment from federal prosecutors.

“He knows a lot of things about the President and he’s not averse to talking in the right situation,” one of Cohen’s New York friends who is in touch with him told CNN. “If they want information on Trump, he’s willing to give it.”…

The shift in legal strategy and signals of potential cooperation with investigators come as Cohen feels increasingly isolated from the President, whom he has been famously loyal to for more than a decade. Last week, CNN reported Cohen has indicated a willingness to cooperate to alleviate pressure on himself and his family…

Several defense lawyers say that if Cohen is ultimately indicted, they don’t expect him to be charged with any wrongdoing until the government completes its review of the evidence seized in the raid. The court-appointed special master overseeing the review of material for attorney-client privileged information said it could be completed as soon as June 25…

From The Hill:

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cohen has “frequently” complained that the mounting costs of his legal fees are “bankrupting” him, according to one source, and that he is frustrated that the president, whom he feels owes Cohen for years service, hasn’t offered to cover the fees.

Trump told reporters last week that he hasn’t spoken to his former attorney in months, adding that Cohen no longer does any business with him.

“I always liked Michael Cohen,” he said Friday. “I haven’t spoken to Michael in a long time.”…



Good News Open Thread: Light A Candle

From the Washington Post:

Charlotte and Dave Willner had seen the pictures of migrant children crying at the border. One in particular reminded them of their own 2-year-old daughter.

The San Francisco area couple had heard — as much of the United States had by now — that President Trump’s administration has begun jailing migrant parents caught crossing the border and sending their children to shelters. The president’s chief of staff has called the new “zero-tolerance” policy a deterrent against illegal immigration.

But the Willners had also learned that a lump of cash might thwart the government’s plans.

Just like arrested Americans, detained migrant parents can often post bond and simply walk out of jail.

They can then, presumably, collect their children from government custody and live in the United States until their court hearings, which are often months away.

Or they could, if they had the money. Bonds for detained migrants typically range from hundreds to many thousands of dollars — amounts that might as well be in the billions for families that arrive here with next to nothing, and have whatever they brought with them confiscated by Border Patrol.

So the Willners created a Facebook fundraiser over the weekend to raise $1,500 — enough to free a single migrant parent with a relatively low bond.

“It was the closest thing we could do to hugging that kid,” Dave Willner told the Mercury News.

Five days later, the Willners have raised more than $8 million and climbing — overflowing all previous optimism.

“We can confirm this is one of the largest fundraisers we’ve ever seen on Facebook,” Roya Winner, a spokeswoman for the social media giant, told The Washington Post, back when the amount was less than $4 million…

In more ways than one, the surge has overwhelmed the Texas nonprofit that will receive the money, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).

If donations keep up at pace — $4,000 a minute at one point — the nonprofit is likely to take in more cash than it raised in all of 2016, according to its public financial records.

It plans to use the money not only to bond parents out of immigration jails but also to provide lawyers to the parents and children as they fight in court to stay together and stay in the United States…

Much more — including one additional reason the money is so important nowat the link.

Even “skeptical killjoy” Felix Salmon is on board:

The RAICES donations are not only going to an excellent and effective cause, they’re going to an excellent and effective cause that scales. Effectiveness of donations is hard to measure at the best of times, but it’s much easier than normal in the case of RAICES, because of the way in which the funds are going to be used. To put it another way: The RAICES money will be well-spent, not because we can be sure that RAICES itself is well-managed, but rather because of what it’s going to be spent on…



Space Farce Open Thread: To the MOON, Alice!

All the real billionaires, the Big Swinging Dicks, get to go on the TV and talk about their mighty throbbing rockets. Donny Dollhands thinks he ought to be able to grift his very own (no doubt Trump-branded, gilt-painted) bunch of rockets out of a grateful nation… and his will be the only ones carrying NUCKALAR BOMBS, suckitlibs!

Fortunately, our American armed forces have some experience with slow-walking “demands” from temporary autocrats, so I think we’ll see the first Trump Rocket unveiled on approximately the twelfth of Never. Per the Washington Post:

Trump has floated this idea before — in March, he said he initially conceived it as a joke — but has offered few details about how the Space Force would operate. Several experts noted that an act of Congress is required to establish a new branch of the military.

Trump said Monday that the branch would be “separate but equal” from the Air Force and that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would oversee its creation.

“It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, adding that he didn’t want to see “China and other countries leading us.”

Dunford’s staff acknowledged Trump’s comments in a statement Monday afternoon, pledging to work closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office, other Defense Department officials and Congress to “implement the President’s guidance.”

“Space is a warfighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain,” the statement said.

And a spokeswoman for Mattis said in a statement that Pentagon officials “understand” the guidance.

“Our Policy Board will begin working on this issue, which has implications for intelligence operations for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy,” Dana White said without elaborating. “Working with Congress, this will be a deliberate process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders.”



Russiagate Open Thread: “But — But — He’s A Wealthy White Man!”


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