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Facebook to offer email, now AOL cries “look at me!” Oh boy.



This week, it is expected that Facebook will announce a new email platform to supplement their current social networking offering. The response was quite mixed in the tech world as Facebook advocates swear the world needs an alternative to Gmail (although most people in the know would disagree), while others swore off any possibility of using the service given the existing cavalier attitude toward privacy by Facebook execs.

We asked all of you to take a flash poll to take a pulse on how the real estate community feels about using the new Facebook email coming out soon and although it’s just a sampling, the results are relatively consistent with other polls we now see floating around. The trend in our industry is that Facebook email will be claimed by all so others cannot take their name, but not for actual use. The AG Flash Poll results are as follows:

To clarify the second chart, when we asked “will you actually use Facebook mail?” here is what you said:

  • 59% No, I don’t need yet one *more* place to be. Duh.
  • 13% No, not until it is a proven, stable email service.
  • 21% Yes, but only as an alternate/additional email service.
  • 7% Yes, I will replace my current email service with it.

In a fast moving world where Google is the reigning king of email, calendars, mobile mapping apps, etc. Facebook will likely be appealing to people not in the tech circles or in the professional world. Is this yet one more move to make Facebook more like MySpace?

In steps AOL… I’m trying not to laugh…

AOL is no longer famous for the “you’ve got mail” tagline, rather the “we buy web content” buys they continue to make. AOL is heavily leveraged in several top blogs (like TechCrunch) and is snatching up blogs left and right in a move to remain relevant. This week, they are crying “look at me! I did email first!” by beta testing their new email system, “Project Phoenix” which looks a heck of a lot like Gmail and offers to bring over your Yahoo! messaging as well as Gmail messages, chat and the like.

Why does your email service provider matter? It’s not just about what others think, it’s about functionality, features, flexibility, privacy, stability and more. Facebook sends me messages days after someone has sent them and sometimes they simply disappear. AOL is where we used chat in the 1990s with the well rehearsed A/S/L line that we all faked for fun. I’m not alone in my inability to take either seriously, take a look at what famous web artist, Matt Inman charted about what people read into your email address:

I’m sticking with my own domain which forwards to my Gmail which I use as home base. What are your email plans? What are you sticking with, dumping or trying out?

BONUS: if you’re an email snob like me, Inman did another web comic called “If you do this in an email, I hate you.” You’re welcome.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Bryan Thompson

    November 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Absolutely hilarious! I wouldn’t use Facemail and I definitely wouldn’t use AOL 88.0

  2. Ashley

    November 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I’m with you on sticking with the domain name forwarded to gmail.

    However, I’m happy with an email like setup in the messaging department of Facebook. Will I forward my gmail account to it? NO.

  3. Missy Caulk

    November 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Same as you, my own domain, and have gmail forward to it.

  4. Ann Cummings

    November 16, 2010 at 5:48 am

    I use my own domain. I can’t imagine using FB email at this point, and why would anyone do that, especially with all the privacy issues that continue to crop up almost daily over there. Love the chart with this article!

  5. Paula Henry

    November 16, 2010 at 5:50 am

    I’ll keep what I have – my own domain and gmail.

  6. Julia

    November 16, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I’m another ‘’ to gmail kinda gal. For each of my websites (and they are legion) I have a separate email acct and they all route through the same gmail account.

    I voted for getting facemail but not really using it. FB is a great way to contact someone if you don’t have phone or email address for them. I’m assuming their email service will make that easier as well…

  7. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Gmail – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it! Gotta get to that domain name thing though. It’s been an identity crisis that has held me back. I really don’t want the “Ruthmarie” in the domain. It’s clunky, awkward and hard to remember. (I answer to “hey you!” on reflex because very few people can remember my oddball name.) But on Google – its an awesome name to have. Google my name and page after page all about me. It’s even got my publications from when I was academia. So I feel I gotta keep it in the domain name.

    AOL is launching “The Patch” all over Westchester NY. Very local content. This is national effort. Our area is being saturated with patches. So far there is the New Rochelle Patch, the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Patch, the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch, The Dobbs Ferry Patch, the Bronxville-Eastchester Patch, the Harrison Patch and they just launched the White Plains Patch. Check it out if you like – – I am speaking with the editor about a weekly real estate column.

    Word of warning if you look – you will see the seedy details of our mayor on trial for spousal abuse. I see its on the front page. It’s a 3-ring circus with several complete morons positioning themselves to take the current mayors place should he be convicted.

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?



Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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Social Media

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.



Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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Social Media

TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.



TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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