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Social media influencers are a part of the daily media diet of swiping, scrolling and double-tapping for many teens and adults. Some see them as modern role models and entrepreneurs who have the potential to play an important role in identity for their many viewers, followers, fans and subscribers.
The digital world works as a window into the lives of others and even places that were once unknown and cut off from the average person’s experience and knowledge. But in the age of hashtags, these content creators may also be found in the same city and with more diverse backgrounds.
In our “Identifying Influencers” series, we take a behind-the-Instagram look at the lives of some of South Florida’s most popular social media mavens, how they got started, how it’s going and what the future holds.
Kevin Flynn of Florida Man and White People Humor
Containing amusing or interesting pictures, videos or GIFs with a caption, memes are one of the most popular and trendiest communication forms for millennials, and they’re spread widely through social media. They offer relatable and funny content that appeals to the masses — whether it’s a divorce joke about Adele’s new album or a jab at President Joe Biden, which are some of Kevin Flynn’s memes.
Flynn’s not-for-the-faint-hearted meme Instagram account, White People Humor, is one of the most popular meme accounts and his other meme account, Florida Man, gets a lot of laughs from locals. Flynn started his White People Humor account a decade ago and he says memes go back further than that.
“The word ‘meme’ was invented in 1976 by Richard Dawkins. I remember the first meme I saw was the dancing baby on AOL in 1998.”
Flynn, who runs the Instagram page with over 4 million followers by himself, said he believes a majority of meme accounts are run by mega-corporations of hundreds of people and at that point, it gets political.
“They’re running around trying not to offend people,” he said. “I can have projects done in hours that take companies months with them trying to not offend people. It’s just a moment to laugh and even come together.”
During the peak of the pandemic, Flynn saw a rise in both his meme accounts and engagement. History and the news was being told through memes, he said.
“People were scared and needed to have a worldwide community to let them know you’re not alone and other people are going through it also,” Flynn said. “We were literally telling history through memes live as it was happening and it reached millions of people very quickly.”
All through his meme account, Flynn has been featured in Forbes and at this point in his career, he has run ads for some of the biggest companies and artists in the world such as Budweiser, Call of Duty, Eminem, Logic and Demi Lovato.
“I’ve been hearing that memes are going to go out of style for about a decade now,” Flynn said. “It just simply isn’t true. In the future, I see every single successful billion-dollar company using memes for advertising and having entire meme pages dedicated to making memes about their company. Slim Jim’s has a dedicated meme page of millions of people and produces only Slim Jim memes. They legitimately have a cult following for beef jerky sticks, all because of memes.”
Flynn has also seen more engagement from older audiences, including his father who enjoys sharing football memes with his friends, and his aunt who shares conspiracy theory memes on Facebook. Flynn has also gone the entrepreneurial route with Flamingo Clothing, a brand for Floridians by a Floridian featuring Floridian-inspired designs and graphics.
“I’m just a kid from West Palm Beach that became one of the biggest meme creators on the planet,” Flynn said. “Meme accounts have built billion-dollar brands through impressions. We’re all ‘memeing’ just in different ways and you, as a Floridian, have a horse in this race that you can proudly say, “That is my favorite memer!”
Christina Nicholson | TV reporter and public relations specialist
With over a decade of storytelling experience and working as a television reporter for networks like NBC news and morning shows on Lifetime TV, Christina Nicholson said she loved being a reporter, helping to break down the invisible walls to gain wider perspectives.
“I love and understand the importance of creating content and delivering it to the public,” she said.
Working in front of cameras as an anchor and television reporter, Nicholson would cover sports, crime and entertainment such as interviewing a star from the “Jersey Shore” in a tanning bed.
As an award-winning journalist, Nicholson was bombarded with pitches from publicists and she would struggle to read them past the first couple of sentences. Along with being too promotional, they didn’t fit the categories of what she covered, lacked depth and weren’t seen as newsworthy.
“I thought they were long, boring and overly promotional,” Nicholson said. “My friends in the newsroom thought the same thing. So when I got out of the newsroom, I took my experience from there, getting pitches from publicists, and decided I want to help these people and do more.”
Nicholson said he believes people trying to land coverage in the media may have a better understanding if they worked in the media industry, knew how a newsroom operated or published a blog.
After a decade-long run in the newsroom, she left her role. While working, she managed family life with a husband and three kids, Julianna, Landon and Dylan. She needed a better schedule with less rushing to and from daycare drop-off and work. So after inconsistent income and stress, the Wellington resident hired a coach and she started her own business.
In July 2015, she launched Media Maven, a full-service public relations firm specializing in media relations, media training, video production, social media marketing, writing and blogging.
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Media Maven has represented an array of clients who have reached achievements, earning publicity on hit national daytime TV talk shows, in local and national magazines, on local TV stations and in newspapers.
“It’s more than the coverage to look cool,” Nicholson said. “You have to know why you want that media coverage, know your audience, and remember it’s all to build your brand and business through continuous coverage.”
“There are over 2 million podcasts out there,” Nicholson said. “We help to filter by category and top podcasts which ones are the best fit in certain industries and niches.”
She’s also been a writer for Huff Post, Thrive Global, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Fast Company and Boss Babe. When she’s not working, reading a book or eating her favorite pepperoni pizza slice from Jet’s, she works on her lifestyle and family blog, Christina All Day.
“I love storytelling and the experience to help create content,” she said. “Whether it’s a blog post, podcast, helping a client, or posting something on social media, people want something real and thought-provoking.”