How Comedian Kristina Wong Went Viral, Then Took Her Art And Activism Offline

The metaphorical armchair is a comfy place — the temperature is controlled, snacks are readily available and the Internet speed is high. Best of all, it is the easiest place to comfortably critique society in the digital age.  

Los Angeles-based performance artist and comedian Kristina Wong is all too familiar with that abstract cushy seat. After years of making live theater, the armchair is where she, like many before her, went viral. At the beginning of her new one-woman show, “Wong Street Journal,” she explains this pivotal moment with a simple bar graph.

Two years ago, Wong recounts, she had finished touring two consecutive one-woman shows. “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” was her take on the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian-American women, followed by “Cat Lady,” a play about the loneliness she experienced touring “Cuckoos Nest” and the larger, tragic subculture of of pick-up artists. One squat bar on her graph (made of felt, like most of her personally handsewn set) represents the response she received from those shows, while another bar towers in comparison. The latter represents the high number of likes, followers and shares she received as the result of an xoJane essay she wrote in 2013, titled “9 Wack Things White Guys Say to Deny their Asian Fetish.”

Wong lovingly strokes the tall bar in a happy-ending fashion, contemplating the beginning of her tumultuous relationship with social media. After publishing the article, Wong went after any commenters she came across who were racist, misogynist or generally ignorant on the Internet. Through hashtag campaigns and troll wars, she cemented her role as a self-proclaimed “public shame master.”

As much as the Internet feels infinite, the stream of people reinforcing and maintaining the oppressive status quo can feel just as endless. To demonstrate this in her performances today, Wong enacts a live hashtag war with her audiences, using felt versions of the symbol “formerly known as the pound sign.” In a frenzy, she throws plush, red hashtags into the audience while exclaiming her favorites.

“Hashtag revolution! Hashtag not your stereotype!” Someone throws one back at her — “Thats a retweet!” she says. “I can do this all fucking day!” Wong exclaims.

But in truth, she couldnt.

“I just found myself fighting with people online all day. It was this weird rush, not having to see people face to face, but it also just felt so exhausting,” Wong told The Huffington Post. “Is this going to be my life?”

If Twitter was her battleground, theater was her safe haven. But after touring two emotionally wrought, personal plays for the better part of a decade, Wong was sick of herself. So, three months after publishing her xoJane piece, she decided to get away from the theater, social media and her armchair by volunteering in Uganda.

“I had an existential crisis, which felt like such a privileged thing,” Wong explained to HuffPost. “I was guilty of having an Eat, Pray, Love moment.”

That feeling of privilege and the guilt that followed was pervasive throughout her three weeks in Uganda, working with the organization Vac-net, which empowers women through efforts like microloans. Before her trip, Wong had built a reputation for her online and offline antics focused on race — crashing the Miss Chinatown pageant, seeking reparations from white guys with yellow fever, and co-opting a televised talking-head segment on “Why everyone wants to date Asian babes.” But once she arrived in Uganda, the racial dynamics in her world shifted. One of her initial interactions in Uganda involved someone calling her “mzungu,” a Bantu term for “white.”

“Suddenly, I was the face of oppression,” she explained to The Huffington Post. “It was really weird to go from constantly calling out white people to people having to literally walk around the power I bring to the room.” 

During “Wong Street Journal,” she defines white privilege and gives an overview of her (and perhaps most Americans) knowledge of Africa through celebrities, “the dark continent brought to you by white people.” Similarly, she emphasizes that the lingering question that hung over her while in Uganda was, “How do I enter this situation, leave a legacy, and not be a colonial asshole?”

She recounts how, upon learning of her travels, friends and Facebook “friends” (an important distinction) who had never been to Africa told her to “be careful” or praised her for being “so brave.” A projected screenshot on view during her performance shows how one particular Facebook “friend” pestered Wong about how she could help, potentially by sending her clothes to Africa. The “friend” ended one message with, “I have a purse, too.”

While Wong does point out the ignorance of those individuals, she scrutinizes herself most of all. In addition to being self-conscious about her privilege, she analyzes her own urge to document, upload and share all her thoughts on social media. 

For example, Wong acts out a relatable moment from Uganda, when she realized that her head had become “24 hours of backlogged tweets.” On stage, she demonstrates her first foray outside of her comfortable hotel, when she met and befriended a group of young male rappers and music producers. In an unexpected and hilarious turn of events, Wong ended up cutting a five-song rap album with them featuring songs about racial privilege and female empowerment, which is still played on Ugandan radio.

Still, Wong’s quest for connection and authenticity isn’t finished. Throughout her performance, she awkwardly and humorously fumbles through her Western privilege but refuses to sit in it, grasping for answers to tough questions.

“Ive found the best way to help [marginalized people] is to find ways to support their self-determination,” Wong concludes. “What actually supports the ability of people who want to speak for themselves?”

At the end of her performance, she finds herself back in her armchair, literally and figuratively, scrolling through messages from her rapper friends, photos with her colleagues at the volunteer organization, and videos of moments in the community that moved her to tears. By getting out from behind her computer, Wong made herself vulnerable to the same criticisms she had lodged at others, in addition to her own shame, discomfort and guilt. But she pushed through those feelings, and with self-awareness and sincerity, she managed to find genuine connection with the people she met, no “liking” or “retweeting” necessary.  

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11 Reasons Why Your Email List Beats Social Media

Constant changes to what gets into the Facebook’s newsfeed decrease organic reach. It’s clear that engaging your hard-won fans will become increasingly difficult.

In this post, I will cover the how and why email lists will work better for your marketing than social channels.

It’s time to reallocate some of your funds to your content marketing and list building. Start integrating social media to boost your email marketing.

On January 12, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced the coming changes, outlining that they aim to ensure that the time people spend on Facebook is ‘well spent.’

Facebook repeated this message later in a video:

Person-to-person will be more valuable than person-to-Page. Connections with people in your network will get the biggest boost because interacting with people you’re close to is more meaningful

Facebook organic reach started to plummet around the end ob 2013. An analysis published by Marshall Manson from Social@Ogilvy found that organic reach brands get for their posts on Facebook has crashed. Without putting money behind the posts’ engagement has dropped almost 50% in the last 6 months. They conclude that:

Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time. –- Marshall Manson, Social@Ogilvy

This does not mean that all social channels are tanking. But it should make you cautious about where to invest your marketing dollars. The first step would be to start moving social media followers to your newsletter. Rethinking your email marketing strategy will give you better control over your marketing assets.

Most recent data from SocialFlow shows that the Facebook organic reach is continuing to go down. The reason behind this is an ever-increasing number of Facebook users create more and more content that competes for your newsfeed. Facebook reached 2.2 billion users in March 2018. And there’s the need for Facebook to sell ads.

Email is a more effective sales and communications channel than social networking sites. Even if you are very active in managing your Facebook page or Twitter the potential return is much lower than using opt-in email lists. Social media channels are great for outreach. Next step would be to bring the people you reach there to your email list.

Email is the first step towards building a customer relationship database. It will help you nurture the leads, get the sale and create repeat business. Here are 20 tips to help you grow your newsletter.

Email is at least 4 times more effective in reaching your audience than Facebook

  • Email 20% open rate
  • Facebook 5% talking about this
  • 20,000 fans 1,000 > talking about this
  • 5,000 emails 1,000 opened and 300 to 400 clicks to your site

Move from social media to email list to get more leads and conversions

Email is like a phone book of your friends, but social media is more like a casual acquaintance. Mailing lists give you more control over your communications. However this does not mean you should stop using social channels. Use social media as a constant source of new subscribers to your opt-in mailing list.

In 2016 every dollar spent on email is projected to bring in $35.02 –US Direct Marketing Association

1. You get more attention

Email gets more attention than a post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. With recent changes by Facebook the people who actually see your posts in their newsfeed has dropped dramatically. Now you have to use promoted posts to have any meaningful reach.

In the case of email, it’s a bit different. Even if it doesn’t seem so, people have less mail than there are tweets and status updates in their newsfeed. So if you have managed to get them to sign up for your mailing list, you have less competing messages.

The other aspect of email is that people have to do something with the email, even if that is just clicking delete.

2. Control who sees what

You have full control over the content and design of your email. Email tends to be technically more versatile. You can put more information in the email without making the user experience too painful. In the case of social media sites, you are stuck with the limited capabilities of the platform you are using.

3. Personalize for better results

Email is more personal than a message from the brand page on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. You can personalize messages in an email a lot more easily than on social media channels. In social media, personal customization may lead to one on one communication that will not scale. (Unless you hire an army of monkeys).

When I see a post from a brand in my Facebook newsfeed, I feel that I am watching a broadcast. If you put in some effort, you can make the emails feel personal. But in the case of Facebook’s wall posts, you simply can’t. You either talk to one person, or you address everybody in more general terms. More personal touch is why people feel that when they get an email, it is meant just for them.

4. Segment messages to increase conversion

Right after personalization comes segmenting. Email is better at that! You can slice and dice your mailing list any way you want. You have more information about subscriber’s earlier actions. Information about what emails they open and what links they click enables you to use that behavior to segment subscribers automatically.

Using Facebook will give you some control in the form of demographic targeting, but it’s hard to track that to the individual level. In the case of Twitter, you are flying blind.

Here is a useful integration option. Match the people from the social networks to the entries in your mailing list. Then you may able to add demographic information from Facebook to email database and take a step closer to the social CRM. I will show you how to do this in the following chapters.

Find out how to use social media channels to build your newsletter.

5. Test what works

A/B and multivariate testing are one of the most important tools in any marketer’s arsenal. Mailing lists are an exceptional channel to use for testing. Email excels at the possibilities of testing content variations, segmentation, personalization, etc. From subjects to CTAs (call to action) and copy length versus image use, email is really flexible.

Email gives you another segmenting option not available in social media channels. Targeting recipients based on their earlier interactions:

  • Did they open the email?
  • Did they click any links?
  • What specific link did they click?

There’s a lot of possibilities that show the engagement level of the subscriber but are not available in social media channels.

Facebook allows for demographic targeting. Demographic targeting is not possible if your list only consists of email addresses without extra data. With the possibility of publishing an invisible post (hidden from newsfeed), Facebook is taking steps towards allowing to test different messages on different audiences. But the flexibility of Facebook options is far from that of email.

As segmenting becomes more important social networking sites might start to give marketers the tools that allow them to access that data. They already have that information, but it’s not available to the mere mortals like us.

6. Legal questions are simpler

There are a lot of restrictions on the content that you can use on social networking sites. Guns, porn, gambling, prescription drugs, etc. In most cases, you are banned from social networking sites if you deal in any of those areas.

In the case of social networks you have three masters to consider:

  • First, there are rules set by the social media site that may get you banned even if you think you are acting within the rules.
  • Second, as the content on the social sites is usually publicly accessible to many more people than the intended audience then the law might prevent you to post certain information. A good example of this is prescription drugs.
  • And finally, what would others think argument? If you run a site with questionable content and operate within the rules of the social site and the law of the country, you still have to deal with the opinions of the wider audience, and your client base might not want to be associated with your business in any public way.

In the case of the email, the rules are a lot less strict. The law dictates what you can do. When a person initiates a conversation with the business, then business can answer in great detail without getting in trouble with the law. There’s no third party to set up additional rules. Email is also considered private enough that people are willing to subscribe to lists that they necessarily wouldn’t admit to in public.

These topics that people want to hide from others don’t have to be porn or gambling. There are things like bad breath, skin conditions, baldness, plastic surgery, legal advice, etc.

7. Familiar channel will work in your favor

The best part?

People are familiar with commercial email. Getting an email that contains business information and special offers is something that happens all the time, and people are accustomed to this. In the email, you can include one part of commercial offers and add some useful content to that. This will make your communication less about hard selling and more about delivering value.

In the case of social media sites it’s not totally clear how much sales is acceptable. One piece of social media content (a wall post, tweet, image, etc.) is usually about one thing. It’s a sales message or something else. If a person gets too many sales messages in a row they might want to opt out.

8. Email is still most used channel


Email is still the most used electronic media. Most people check it first thing in the morning and take a glance before they go to bed.

71% consumers favor email as their first online “check” of the day. –ExactTarget

9. You own your email list

Having a email list is like having a gold bullion under your mattress. It’s yours. You have direct route to the people and you can use that whenever you feel like it. It is important that you know what you are doing but it is under your control.

In the case of third party sites like Facebook and Twitter, you are at the mercy of their decisions. You have a Facebook app? Facebook changes its width. You have thousands of likes? To reach them pay up! Facebook has to find ways to justify its sky-high valuation. Twitter has made changes to how you can use its API to access the data that you have created. You can’t be sure that you have free access your followers in the future.

10. Email gets you more engagement

Value of the Facebook fan and Twitter follower is much lower than that of an email subscriber in your opt-in list. If you are doing it right then, you should get at least 20% of open rate. Click through rates maybe 2-4% of or even higher. For some, these number may seem too low. That’s because they are Average Email Campaign Stats of MailChimp Customers by Industry. You should aim higher.

In the case of Facebook, we can measure the engagement rate in the form of people “talking about this.” If you are not running a campaign or posting something really viral, your engagement rate tends to be in 2-6 percent range.

This means that email will engage several times more people than your social media channel. You should interact with your followers in social channels and encourage them to sign up for the email list.

For example: Let’s take an email opt-in list of 10,000 subscribers and pit it against the Facebook page with 10,000 likes. I would put my money on the email list to get the most customer engagement (and eventually sales). Twitter account with 10k followers would probably be the least effective of the three. Here’s how to get the most out of your newsletter subscribers.

11. People prefer email for promotional messages

Besides getting more engagement, people consider email as the main commercial channel. An ExactTarget study from 2012 found that more than three-quarters (77%) of people surveyed responded that email is the preferred channel for permission-based promotional messages. Only 4% of respondents said that about Facebook and for Twitter it was measly 1%

Bottom line?

Integrating social media with newsletter and email marketing

I started with the idea that email lists are more effective than social media to deliver business results. Opponents have said it’s like comparing apples to oranges. This is true in a way. Different marketing tools vary in effectiveness, but the most important metric for any marketing effort is ROI. You do marketing because you want to sell your products and services. The goal is to move the potential customer in the direction of making a transaction. That vehicle is email more often than not.

12 quick tips how to integrate newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter.

To give your newsletter sign-up rate a huge boost use:
Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box WordPress plugin.

Cat image Flickr
Header cat image Flickr

The post 11 Reasons Why Your Email List Beats Social Media appeared first on DreamGrow.

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This tax on social media can't prevent Ugandans taunting their leaders – The Guardian

The Guardian

This tax on social media can't prevent Ugandans taunting their leaders
The Guardian
On the morning of 1 July, Ugandans woke to find they could not read their WhatsApp messages, scroll through the chitchat on Facebook and Twitter, or post a picture of their Sunday lunch on Snapchat. The east African country's new socialmedia tax had …
Uganda Could Scrap Social Media Tax After Street

all 4 news articles »

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LeBron James won’t let the world forget the Warriors blew a 3-1 NBA Finals lead

Blowing a 3-1 NBA Finals lead? Now that’s scary.
Image: Phil Long/AP

Folks, don’t let Halloween distract you from the fact that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Not that you could LeBron James is here to make sure no one forgets.

King James’ Halloween party for Cleveland Cavaliers teammates on Sunday included some amazing costumes, which we’ll get to in a second. But the unquestioned highlight was a fantastic shot taken at the Golden State Warriors team LeBron and company vanquished in last season’s NBA Finals.

James, of course, powered the Cavs to a comeback win in the series after being down 3-1, something that had never before happened in NBA Finals history. The flip side of that equation is that the Warriors became the first team in history to blow a 3-1 NBA Finals lead which has since become a running joke on the basketball internet.

They real petty at @kingjames Halloween Costume Party!

A photo posted by DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) on Oct 30, 2016 at 8:08pm PDT

And so we present to you this bit of decor from the Halloween party James hosted for Cavs teammates Sunday night. The photo above was shared on Instagram by DJ Steph Floss, and has since been making the rounds among hoop fans on social media.

Damn. Damn! DAMN! That’s an MVP-level burn.

Now, like we promised, here are some costume highlights from Sunday night.

Kevin Love and girlfriend Kate Bock went as Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber.

Mike Dunleavy Jr. and his wife, Sarah, went as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears circa early the early aughts.

Iman Shumpert went as The Joker.

Kyrie Irving went as a footloose Red Ranger.

And finally, here’s LeBron himself as Jerome from Martin.

In conclusion, it’s good to be kings of the basketball world.

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After Seeing How Much ‘Air’ Different Chips Brands Have You’ll Probably Never Buy Some Brands Again

Many of us have eagerly ripped open a bag of our favorite chips, only to be struck with a tragic mix of disappoinment and resentment after it becomes clear that the promised bounty of vaguely potato-based goodness is nothing but a few sad looking shards clustered pathetically at the bottom of the bag.

Well Ross Hudgens, founder of content marketing company Siege Media, is here to save the day. Using a water displacement method to ensure accurate results, Ross presented his findings for Kitchen Cabinet Kings, whose post soon went viral as people were shocked, amused and thankful for this most interesting and relevant information.

Armed with this knowledge, consumers now know which brands offer the best bang for their buck, and can get rid of that chip on their shoulder. Scroll down to check it out for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Ever wondered how about the air to chip ratio of your favorite brands?

Here’s how people reacted

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Has Tokyo fashion lost its edge? Shoichi Aoki on Harajuku’s decline

(CNN)For over two decades, Japanese photographer Shoichi Aoki has been documenting the most outlandish, provocative and definitive Tokyo street fashion.

Beginning in 1996, Shoichi captured the complete transformation of Harajuku — the city’s fashion hot spot — from pedestrian shopping precinct, to cutting-edge Asian style center, documenting it all in his publication, FRUiTS magazine.

    Episode 13: Tokyo’s cutting-edge creativity

But in December 2016, Aoki shut down the cult fanzine after 233 issues, declaring a lack of fashionable people to photograph and, in an interview with CNN, attributes the influx of fast-fashion brands and influence of social media to the increasingly generic state of the capital’s street fashion.
    An excerpt from this month’s Style show, Aoki reminisces on the early days of his career and his most memorable, eccentric shots below to host Derek Blasberg.
    CNN: You started taking photos documenting Tokyo’s street fashion scene many years ago, what drew you to it?

    @makeinuchan_ #FRUiTS # #harajuku HUNTER: aoki

    A post shared by FRUiTS (@fruitsmag) on Feb 14, 2017 at 5:05am PST

    Shoichi Aoki: FRUiTS Magazine started in 1996 and this was when the fashion that you see in FRUiTS really first emerged. It has been 20 years and there have been good times and bad times.
    CNN: Have there been any trends or movements in fashion that were particularly exciting to capture?
    SA: The first two years were very exciting, during the years of Decora. (“Decora,” short for decoration, began in the 1990s and is characterized by its childlike and colorful expressions of clothing). That was a very cool fashion movement and I don’t think we’ll see such a movement emerge in the world again.
    CNN: What is it about Tokyo that makes it so stylish?
    SA: In Tokyo there are many people that come from different regions, with different histories and different regional tastes. It’s really cool that it’s not just about age.
    CNN: I find that in Japan, people get dressed up just to go out of the house and walk on the street. What do you think it is about Tokyo that makes people want to express themselves through style?
    SA: I don’t think it’s just in Japan where people express themselves using fashion because we cannot walk naked on the street. But I guess that in Japan there’s a bit of a stronger feeling of being part of a group, and to share their sense of style with friends and followers. This is especially true for young people.
    CNN: Speaking of these different groups, do you really have to pick one group to belong to, or can you one day be “goth” and another day be something else?
    SA: Harajuku is a special place where new fashion comes out so I think it’s very different to other places in Tokyo. You’ll see several different groups of people.
    CNN: Do you think that street style has become more important on the internet than it is on the streets?
    SA: I think that one of the reasons you don’t see fashionable people around Harajuku anymore is that they are now expressing their fashion online, so they don’t need to express themselves on the street. Online is more like a stage for them to express their fashion.
    CNN: What would you say is your all-time favorite photo from Japan?
    SA: Decora fashion is something that was born in Harajuku, many people think it is too much but it is real fashion so I really like that.
    CNN: What are your plans for the future?
    SA: I am still shooting. So I am thinking that maybe I am going to publish a book or a magazine sometime in the near future.
    During this month’s Style show, Derek Blasberg explores Tokyo’s art, design and fashion scenes. Featuring Takashi Murakami, Hidetoshi Nakata, Rila Fukushima, Shoichi Aoki and more.

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