A little Italian greyhound from Montreal has become a massive worldwide social media star.
Tika the Iggy has been taking the internet by storm with her haute couture outfits and sassy attitude. And while you may not have known it, she’s been doing it from the Montreal neighbourhood of Ville-Emard.
“She’s pretty big now,” said Thomas Shapiro, Tika’s owner and the mastermind behind her rise to fame.
Shapiro has been posting pictures and videos of his nine-year-old Italian greyhound online for years now. In recent months she’s gone totally viral.
“There’s one viral video on TikTok where she was wearing a bunch of clothes that she couldn’t wear throughout the years of lockdown, and I think a lot people related to that, like ‘Oh yeah, I also don’t get to wear anything because I was at home the whole time,’” Shapiro said.
The video has been viewed more than 30 million times on TikTok. In a high-pitched voice, Tika shows off all the outfits she loved, but couldn’t wear.
Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, and Lizzo are just a few of the celebrities who have expressed their love for Tika online.
“I think it started to really go viral when Demi Lovato shared it, then Justin Bieber shared it on his story. Diane Keaton posted it on her feed then there was Oprah Magazine, Elle Magazine,” Shapiro explained.
Another recent video of Tika debating if outfits were “too much” was also a huge hit, with more the 3 million views on Tiktok.
Shapiro says Tika likes wearing the clothes, as Italian greyhounds often get cold. She now has her own agent, merchandise with her face on it, Italian greyhound fashion designers begging her to wear their apparel, and an upcoming feature in Vogue.
However, she’s still just a humble pup who sleeps about 20 hours per day.
“When Jennifer Aniston shared it on her story and, I thought that was a pretty huge deal. I kind of threw my phone across the room, like, ‘what’s happening?’ And Tika was just sleeping. She doesn’t even know,” he said.
Even though Tika has plenty of fame, Shapiro says he won’t quit his day job as a web developer, preferring to keep her social media accounts as a hobby. He said he enjoys his job. Besides, she’s not raking in too much cash yet.
“She pays the rent,” he said.
Tika is also a self-professed gay icon, a role Shapiro and his husband take very seriously.
“We just first and foremost want to be visible for the younger gay generation, to kind of see maybe role models of two guys that are living a nice life,” he said, adding that he works with Rainbow Road, a Toronto-based charity that helps LGBTQ2 individuals escape persecution in foreign countries.
He says Tika does get recognized on the street more and more, but with her adorable looks, she got stopped even before she was famous.
Top TikTok videos of 2020
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Forget TikTok. Clubhouse Is Social Media’s Next Star. – Bloomberg
The next killer smartphone app has arrived — and it offers the potential to transform how we communicate, share knowledge and even make new friends.
I am talking about voice-and-audio-based social networking startup Clubhouse. Its platform enables users to drop in and out of ephemeral chat rooms and take part in a range of gatherings, from small “water-cooler” type conversations to larger discussions featuring expert panels, often attended by thousands of listeners. Since its launch last March, Clubhouse has increasingly become a cultural phenomenon, attracting politicians, celebrities and experts from all walks of life. With its success and prominent backing, it may now be poised to upend the entire social media space.
Clubhouse’s latest figures reveal how quickly it is growing. During a weekly town hall event on Sunday, co-founder Paul Davison said the app’s weekly active user base had doubled to 2 million over the last couple of weeks. He also announced the startup had raised another investment round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, adding it now has more than 180 investors. While he didn’t offer any specifics, The Information reported on Friday that Clubhouse was getting interest at a $1 billion valuation. If true, that means the company’s value has risen by a factor of 10 since its earlier Series A round last May, also led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Something special is happening inside the Clubhouse community. Call it the power of the voice — and it’s what separates Clubhouse from other platforms. A short back-and-forth live conversation, with its nuance and tone, can build closer relationships more quickly than dozens of written posts and text messages sent through more established social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Since I joined Clubhouse last summer, I met and became friends with professors, filmmakers, artists, engineers and more from places all over the world. It has been intoxicating listening to people’s life stories and absorbing their knowledge and experience, from learning how a streaming video executive greenlights projects to getting expert political analysis on the latest breaking news. It has easily become one of my favorite pastimes.
To illustrate the kind of agenda-setting conversations that are becoming a staple on Clubhouse these days, here’s one example: Earlier this month, the mayors of San Francisco, Miami and Austin congregated inside a “room” to tout their cities as good places for tech companies to do business. Thousands of executives, investors, and employees tuned in to the vibrant interactive panel. For an app like Clubhouse — or any social media platform looking to extend its influence and user base — this is the holy grail of the virtuous feedback loop, where the network effects of a large influential audience attract the highest-quality speakers and vice versa.
Impressive as Clubhouse’s latest metrics are, they may actually understate its potential. All the growth thus far has come largely by worth of mouth, and from only half of the smartphone market. The app still requires an invitation from a current member to join and is exclusive to Apple Inc. devices. So when the founders decide to open Clubhouse to the public and release an Android version, growth will take off to higher levels.
The nature of Clubhouse’s platform offers the potential for money-making opportunities. For instance, Clubhouse could take a commission from room admission fees for large panel discussions. Or, similar to Amazon.com Inc.-owned Twitch channels, it could offer monthly subscriptions for specific interest-based club rooms. One can also imagine users buying unique animated reaction emojis to give visual feedback to speakers and interact with other members of the audience. Of course, the ability to make money will also attract and retain the best room hosts for the Clubhouse ecosystem. On Sunday, Clubhouse’s cofounders said they will start testing ways for the platform’s creators to get paid through “tipping, tickets or subscriptions” in the coming months.
Clubhouse has its challenges. Like other social media networks, it has faced criticism for objectionable content that was broadcast on its site. Last September, Clubhouse was hit with a flurry of negative publicity when some speakers perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes. The startup needs to invest more aggressively in trust and safety features and hire content moderators to mitigate harassment. There is also competition on the horizon with Twitter Inc. testing its own audio chat room feature inside its app called Spaces.
But it may be too little too late for other players. While Twitter’s new service does offer some differentiated features – including real-time transcriptions that appear on screen and the ability to share tweets to the room for discussion purposes – it is thus far largely siloed around a specific account’s followers. It lacks Clubhouse’s distinctive serendipity that lets people from diverse backgrounds meet and form their own connections through their own wanderings. Clubhouse also is at a stage where it is adding new innovations on a near weekly basis — including different room types, activity-based notification feeds and event calendars. It will be difficult for any other company to catch up.
Of course, the app has benefited from the pandemic as people look for ways to socialize while avoiding in-person interactions and outdoor activities. But Clubhouse usage may prove more durable than many believe after daily life returns to normal. It’s a convenient, frictionless way to meet new people through the intimacy of conversation and listen to conference-like events that otherwise might be difficult to attend in person.
Perhaps most importantly is the stunning level of usage and engagement. On a personal level, since installing Clubhouse I have noticed my time spent on the app is significantly higher than any other social network on my smartphone — more than TikTok, Twitter or Instagram. It is a sign of how appealing audio-based social networking can be. And judging from the activities of my friend list inside the community, I am not alone. I have little doubt once Clubhouse opens up to the general public, its user base can grow into the tens of millions. The social media giants should be concerned.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
Forget TikTok. Clubhouse Is Social Media’s Next Star. – Bloomberg
Indonesia to deport Russian social media star who held party – Delta-Optimist
DENPASAR, Indonesia — A Russian social media celebrity was being deported from Indonesia on Sunday after he held a party at a luxury hotel on the resort island of Bali attended by more than 50 people despite coronavirus restrictions.
The party held on Jan. 11 violated health protocols put in place to fight the spread of the virus, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
Sergei Kosenko, who has more than 4.9 million followers on his Instagram account, arrived in Indonesia in October on a tourist visa.
Immigration officials in Bali decided to examine Kosenko’s activities after he posted to social media a video of him driving a motorcycle with a female passenger on the back off a pier into the sea in December. The stunt was condemned by many Indonesians as reckless and a potentially hazardous to the environment.
Manihuruk said the immigration investigation found Kosenko took part in activities that violated his tourist visa, such as promoting companies and products.
After the announcement of his deportation, Kosenko told reporters at the immigration office in Bali that he was sorry.
“I love Bali. I am sorry and I apologize,” Kosenko said.
The deportation comes just days after Indonesia deported an American woman who had been living on Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated the island as a low-cost, “queer-friendly” place for foreigners to live. Her posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation.
Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands.
Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights recorded 162 foreigners have been deported from Bali in 2020 and 2021. Most of them are being deported for violating the visit visa.
Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
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