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Revisiting the Great COVID Social Media Scolding – Vanity Fair

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For a few brief weeks last spring, for once, we didn’t really want to hear from celebrities and influencers. Their work, which depends on connecting with others through relatability and authenticity, was ill-equipped to meet the moment. Presenting oneself doing anything that wasn’t personal suffering or giving gobs of money to a cause felt tone-deaf at the time—and even those acts could sound tone-deaf.  It was a moment for nuance,  and social media is famously not a nuanced place. At the time, I wrote a story about a couple such influencers in the midst of running aground to this effect. Topped with an intense headline— “Is This the End of Influencing as We Knew It?”—it drew the attention of the much-followed Instagram account Diet Prada, and more people found out about it from there.

A year feels way too soon to look back at early COVID in the U.S. It seems like such an arbitrary time marker when in fact, it feels like it’s been 10 years since last March, and also like it was yesterday. For me, looking back means remembering this story, which still looms large in my memory, though most have probably forgotten it. I’ve returned to it many times throughout the pandemic, largely to wince, and I started to dread its anniversary specifically, on top of the generalized dread of this March. Still, maybe, right now, when we’re not quite out of this thing, but starting to conceive of an end, is the best time to take stock of what happened in order to figure out how to move forward. 

First, a recap of what happened then. Naomi Davis, known in her online form as Taza, and Arielle Charnas of Something Navy, are two influencer moms who were living in New York City. Both were part of the fledgling influencer cohort that began their blogs and then grew their followings on Instagram; both also became avatars for questionable pandemic behavior just as the novel coronavirus was starting to rip through the U.S. and New York City in particular.

On March 17, 2020, Charnas told her followers she felt sick, and then took them along with her as she went to get tested for COVID. It seems quaint in retrospect. Now, reliable tests are one of the main tools for fighting the pandemic that we have. But—call it recent-history overload—it’s easy to forget that accessing testing in New York, as well as most of the country, was a difficult, confusing experience and a rare one too. Much like vaccines today, there were criteria for who qualified to get tested, and they were rationed for the most vulnerable populations. A few days prior to Charnas’s post, The New York Times published, “One woman in Harlem who wanted to be tested was told by health care workers not to worry about her coronavirus-like symptoms. In Brooklyn, a woman had to wait to get tested until her mother tested positive for the virus. One doctor at a hospital network has turned away patients who probably had the coronavirus because they did not meet the current testing.”

Though obviously ill, Charnas didn’t appear to qualify for testing. She proceeded to find a doctor who would give her a test, eventually posting the video of her nasal swab. She even tagged him, engaging old influencing best practices in a brave new world. There was a contingent that vocalized frustration with her actions (and many who praised her) after she posted again, noting she tested positive. The point she made in a Notes-app post was one that many have made since: “It is the responsibility of our government office to ensure all Americans can access necessary tests,” she wrote.

Around the same time, Davis posted about how she was packing up her family of seven in an R.V. and driving away from the city, which at the time was the nation’s COVID hotspot. Many of her followers condemned her, as health experts shared fears that Davis and social media personalities like her might “influence” others into carrying the virus across state lines. 

By that time, Charnas, too, was getting out. On March 26, less than two weeks after posting that she had tested positive, she announced on Instagram that she and her family had decamped to the Hamptons, posting a photo of herself looking carefree with arms extended overhead in the air. A thread about Charnas’s entire experience, which described commenters getting “big mad,” went semi-viral on Twitter, which is how I and so many others first encountered her.

If bypassing testing restrictions rankled online commenters, then the optics of driving a couple hours east—or across the country—was way worse: A stay-at-home order was in place for most New Yorkers, and not just those showing symptoms of the disease.

There’s no way to prove with hard data that anyone got the idea to go elsewhere from Davis, Charnas, or anyone else who picked up and left their homes, but many did the same. Getting out of a city during the pandemic was not a difficult idea to come by on one’s own. As Kyle Chayka reported in The New Yorker in October, Airbnbs grew scarce over the summer. There was a mass exodus to elsewhere, specifically for longer-term “remote work” getaways outside of urban areas, per the company’s own data: Many migrated upstate, up into the Adirondacks. Others chose Vermont’s ski destinations, resort towns in Montana and Colorado, lake country in Maine as well as Portland, and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Here’s one dramatic infographic that animated the exodus from the “richest neighborhoods” in New York from May. It couldn’t have been only short-term dalliances elsewhere either; one couldn’t both be on the internet and escape news of the robust housing market and scarce inventory.

I can see now that one beat I didn’t hit hard enough was that Charnas was putting her own face out there because it was her job to always be posting. She became the poster child of people reaching into their pockets to escape the pandemic, even though she and her husband were already sick. She tried to explain that she was following advice from her doctors and the CDC. For terrified people looking for a visible person to project their anxieties on, none of that mattered. 

Recapping all of that brought back visceral memories of that time. My roommates and I were still taking 20 minutes to wipe down all my vegetables every time someone went to the grocery store. It was, remember, the same brief moment when Andrew Cuomo was a source of calm, just because he was taking it seriously on a daily basis while the president contradicted his own health authorities and played down the severity of the virus publicly. It inspired one particularly cursed portmanteau. (No need to repeat it here, but here’s a link for posterity.)

If our heroes were too easy to come by, perhaps our villains were too. I didn’t enjoy the celebrities and influencers offering up their lives to me in March and April 2020, and I wasn’t alone in that feeling. It came across all wrong, appearing boastful yet under the guise of help. Not my life, yet not far away enough to take me out of my life. I was too quick to single out one type of person with one type of job, though, one whose livelihood is largely dependent on posting. Cuomo now looks more like Donald Trump than ever, and we, perhaps, resemble Charnas, Davis, and the rest more than we thought we would.

Davis declined an interview, though she has a book coming out, A Coat of Yellow Paint (subtitle: Moving Through the Noise to Love the Life You Live. She does not address the “noise” of last spring, but she details the work one has to do to live one’s life online and survive.) Charnas took me up on my offer. It’s been a difficult year for her. She had already parted ways with Nordstrom in order to launch Something Navy as a standalone brand with clothing drops and a retail location in New York. She hired a CEO and they made a plan before having to push the launch back twice due to the coronavirus. Something Navy finally opened in July, though. Charnas said that her followers, the core fans who knew what they were opting into when they followed her, have stuck with her.

I wondered how she felt when she saw other people—normal people, famous people, people people—doing what she got publicly flayed for as the pandemic dragged on and the “stay at home” spring gave way to a pandemic response that varied wildly by region. 

“If I were to think too much about that, I would just make myself crazy,” Charnas said. “I was following my doctors’ and my kids’ doctors’ recommendations. They were saying to me that, you know, at this point, it’s okay for you to go straight to your house in the Hamptons, you’re fine to do that. So that’s what I did. You know what I mean? So when I saw other people doing that—of course, if you had that opportunity, anyone would take that for their family.”

Over the summer and onward, just like influencers and celebrities, regular people had begun to live lives of emphatic desperation online. Suddenly, if I saw some woods or a pool or an ocean or a gorgeous view in the background of a photo or a video, it hit with a heavy thud rather than a pang of aspiration that could be easily dismissed like usual. It wasn’t just posts from influencers that kicked off little spirals, it was everyone’s posts—those of friends, family, friends of friends, loose acquaintances, my own. I know this isn’t a unique feeling (and I also know everyone didn’t feel that way). Stella Bugbee, formerly the editor in chief of New York magazine’s The Cut, put it beautifully this past December: “This year, it seemed like no matter who you are, whatever you posted, you had a high chance of getting it wrong in some way, because many of the values we’ve come to expect (and enjoy) on Instagram feel incorrect for this moment: Narcissism, flexing, even the forgivable human cry for validation seem crass in the face of so much social discord.” 

She wrote this months after the spring, months after a summer that many spent reevaluating their relationship to the country’s baked-in injustices. More horrible villains than our original ones, more exacting in their privilege, had become impossible to ignore. The whole world watched a police officer squeeze the life out of George Floyd on film. Officers entered the home of a young woman, Breonna Taylor, and shot her fatally. So many stories like these followed, and meanwhile the state, and in many cases, relatives or friends, revealed their indifference or particular talent in defensive equivocating. It’s still crushing.  

Even the storyline that Davis and Charnas initially epitomized kept on going until it reached impossible heights. There was Kim Kardashian, for example, and her wild choice to share her  enormous, expensive destination birthday party on an island with her hundreds of thousands of followers. There were so, so many parties. “We all got tested and social distanced, of course” became some kind of incantation meant to will judgment away.

Back in spring 2020, some outlets that published stories on their actions suggested that Charnas and Davis weren’t the main problem. The problem was much larger; it was systemic, an old story, one you already know. The government was failing to take care of the people who hired them to do so, and in the absence of leadership from elected officials and health advisers people were making their own decisions. Into that void, anger got directed at those who had the gall to post. 

“At the end of the day, my intention was just to share what we were going through, just like always. And going forward, I’ve been more careful about what I post. I definitely think twice now,” Charnas told me. “I’m trying to be more sensitive [to what’s] going on around me and in the world before I do share anything.”

As time went on, it became clear that being an absolutist about COVID precautions was unsustainable at best. At worst, it made people afraid to do certain things—like go to the beach or find a better place to live—that eased mental health burdens and made “safer,” more nuanced risk-taking possible. Of course this was hard to see back then. When I first wrote about Charnas last April, I was desperate to know what to do and how to feel about every little thing. More than anything else, I remember guilt. Guilt for health, guilt for home. Guilt for having a job that persisted under the circumstances. Guilt for struggling sometimes to do the one thing I have to do for my job—just write. That’s it!—and hoping that I wasn’t getting it all wrong. There was so much guilt, and that doesn’t translate well online either. Every post on social that didn’t transmit guilt felt unrelatable and tone-deaf, and if it did manage to hit that incredibly difficult tone, it was too overwhelming. I didn’t want to relate any more.

Influencing, the Job, isn’t over, as both Charnas and Davis are a living testament to. The concept of people sharing their lives with followers and, in the process, selling them stuff will likely always be economically viable, in its many iterations, whatever those may be.  I do stand by the essence of the piece. Generally speaking, the days of influencers posting straight lifestyle content without a thought to the politics of the moment are over for now—some will obviously and openly not care about it, but that, too, has become a choice. The protests this summer and onward only deepened that feeling. In the meantime, we’ll still follow the story lines that those living lives half online provide for us because influencers, like most celebrities and public figures, are our avatars. They help us work out how we feel by putting their choices out there. They allow us to judge them, so that we can judge ourselves, so that we can know how we want to live.

More Stories From Our Pandemic Year

— Revisiting the Great COVID Social Media Scold
— How Tom Hanks Became the Avatar of Our Pandemic Year
— Andrew Cuomo Got His Coronavirus-Celebrity Wish
— For Every Stage of the Pandemic, There Has Been a Celebrity Getting in Trouble for Partying
— After the Year of No Bras, Things Are Looking Up

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GLAAD Media Awards presenters support transgender athletes

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LOS ANGELES — “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Boys in the Band” were winners at the GLAAD Media Awards, which included soccer’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger calling for transgender students to be accepted as “part of the team” in sports.

Harris and Krieger, spouses who play for the Orlando Pride and were on the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, presented an award in Thursday’s virtual ceremony to the film “Happiest Season,” about a lesbian romance.

The couple drew attention to transgender athletes amid widespread efforts to restrict their participation, including a recently signed Mississippi bill that bans them from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. It becomes law July 1.

“Trans students want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Krieger said.

Added Harris: “We shouldn’t discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender.”

“Star Trek: Discovery,” “I May Destroy You” and “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” were among the other projects honoured in the pre-taped ceremony hosted by Niecy Nash. It’s available on Hulu through June.

The GLAAD awards, in their 32nd year, recognize what the media advocacy organization calls “fair, accurate, and inclusive” depictions of LGBTQ people and issues. Presenters and winners in this year’s event highlighted priorities including the importance of solidarity and self-respect.

“Friends, I’m so proud to stand with the LGBTQ community tonight, just as the LGBTQ community stands with Black and diverse communities,” said Sterling K. Brown, who presented the outstanding documentary award to “Disclosure.”

The “This Is Us” star, citing the Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter movements, said that “we’re going to keep spreading that message of unity and justice until every one of us is safe to live the lives we love.”

JoJo Siwa, the teenage YouTube personality and performer, presented the award for outstanding children’s programming to “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.” She said in January that she’s part of the LGBTQ community.

“I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy and that’s all that matters,” Siwa said. ”It’s really cool that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome” and should be celebrated.

Other awards went to Sam Smith, who was honoured as outstanding music artist for the album “Love Goes”; Chika, named breakthrough music artist for “Industry Games,” and “We’re Here” won outstanding reality program.

Cast members from “Glee,” including Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Jane Lynch, paid tribute to Naya Rivera and her character in the series, gay cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera, 33, died in an accidental drowning in July 2020.

___

Online:

https://www.glaad.org/

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press







Source:- Coast Reporter

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Social Media Etiquette Review

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Despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain with that Tweet or Facebook post. Here’s a refresher on social media best practices, along with advice for some pandemic-only dilemmas.

In an ideal world, your followers would think every photo, video or thought you post on social media is like a little gift to them. In reality, it’s hard to predict how posts on Instagram, Facebook and other social media will land, especially during the pandemic. After so much loss and isolation over the past year, people are on edge. That vaccine selfie may feel joyous and hopeful to you, but it could be a digital slap in the face to someone who hasn’t received a vaccine shot or who has suffered a grave loss.

“Someone could be experiencing loss in such a way that there’s no way someone else won’t post something that compounds their grief,” said Catherine Newman, who has written the Modern Manners etiquette column for Real Simple magazine for 10 years. “That’s how grief is.”

Still, it’s hard not to overthink things — and to worry that despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain. Some social media experts say you should review your sharing practices periodically, so here’s a refresher on social media etiquette, along with advice for some pandemic-only situations.

First, identify your motivations. Are you sharing that picture of the exquisite cake you baked because you want praise, or do you want people to feel bad that what they made themselves wasn’t as good? If it is to receive affirmation, that’s OK. But if you find yourself trying to get all your needs met by social media likes, it might be time to think about what else is missing in your life.

Second, focus on your friends. If you tried to consider every possible person who might be hurt by a post — your seemingly unobjectionable photo of tulips could very well remind a follower of someone they have lost — you might never post anything on social media. But absolutely think about your inner circle carefully.

Ms. Newman, for one, hasn’t posted about her own post-vaccination visits with family because so many in her immediate friend group have lost a parent in the past year. If you’re in a similar situation and you still want to post your vaccine selfie or the first time you’ve hugged your father in a year, consider acknowledging your own good fortune.

“I still appreciate it when people say, ‘We’re so lucky and there’s been so much loss and I’m sorry if you’re experiencing loss,’” said Ms. Newman, whose best friend died of cancer five years ago.

Before you hit “share,” read your words in multiple tones of voice, as different people can interpret the text differently, suggested Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the founder of the Protocol School of Texas, a San Antonio company specializing in corporate etiquette training. If there’s any doubt, add a cue, such as an emoticon, about your tone.

If you want to post something negative, keep in mind that what you say or share often says more about you. Disagree (respectfully), but avoid sweeping generalizations about entire groups of people — or about one business based on your interaction with a single employee.

Additionally, remember that any message you share, even with close family members, will be amplified to your entire online community. (The tension may also be amplified around vaccines, health measures and the stress of a not-normal year.) If you are replying to your sister online about something, that doesn’t mean you can speak to her as harshly as you might privately. Ms. Gottsman advises taking a heated family debate offline.

“Don’t start a family feud on social media,” Ms. Gottsman said. “It can affect the next family holiday.”

If you are soliciting donations for a particular cause or charity, or asking for money to pay someone’s rent or medical bills with a GoFundMe campaign, recognize that the financial situations of many people have changed this past year and there may be many other appeals compared to times past. Skip shaming phrases, like “How can you not help this person?” Instead, Ms. Gottsman said, use ones like “If your heart moves you, I’m sharing this.”

Think less vigilance is needed, because your text group is small or your settings have been changed to private? Think again. When Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, shared her family’s plans to flee a devastating winter storm in Texas for a vacation in Mexico, she texted only a small group of neighbors and friends. Screenshots of the messages ended up with journalists. Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and founder of the School of Protocol in Carlsbad, Calif., points out that it wasn’t just one person who shared the chat with The New York Times; there were others who confirmed it.

“Even if you think it’s just your inner circle, there’s always somebody there who isn’t 100 percent on your team,” she said. “That’s the person who takes the screenshot before you delete whatever it is.”

Posting about food and fitness may be even more tempting than usual, given that a lot of people have changed what they eat and how much they exercise during the pandemic. But confine your commentary to how these lifestyle changes make you feel, not how they make you look. Among other things, not all people have had the luxury of more time to exercise during the pandemic — or if they did, they might not have had the energy to do so.

Dr. Lindsay Kite is a founder of Beauty Redefined, a nonprofit that promotes body image resilience, and an author of “More Than a Body.” She noted that your “before” photo — talking about how fat you look — may be someone else’s “after.”

If you really want affirmation and accountability for your fitness goals, avoid the sports-bra selfie and posts about body measurements. Instead, Dr. Kite suggested posting a picture of yourself in a blood pressure cuff, or a less body-focused snapshot of you jogging to your favorite coffee shop.

“Loving your body and improving your health doesn’t always lead to a more ideal-looking body,” she said.

There may be situations in which a post doesn’t land as you had intended. Maybe you shared a photo of a masked-up pandemic wedding, but followers pointed out that attending still involved travel. Or you posted a video of your family’s Easter egg hunt, because all the adults participating had been lucky enough to be vaccinated.

Ask yourself how many people reacted negatively. If only one follower is unhappy, it may just be that one person is raw.

“We have a genre in my family we call ‘hurting your own feelings,’” Ms. Newman said. “Where you’re looking for something to hang some pain on and you find it.”

You don’t have to own the person’s grief, but you do have to take responsibility for yourself and apologize. You can keep it simple, Ms. Newman said: I see your pain. I’m so sorry.

If you post something that is hurtful to a wider audience — you inadvertently said something offensive or you didn’t consider all the issues — it should absolutely be deleted if it’s causing people pain.

If it’s not, consider keeping the post up, Ms. Newman said, because deleting it erases the post from public view but does not address the hurt it caused. On Facebook, she suggested an “edited to add” with your heartfelt apology. This should not include the words “but” or “if,” as in, “I apologize if you were offended.” These words don’t acknowledge the hurt person’s truth and their situation, or your role in hurting them.

“If you accidentally step on someone’s foot, you don’t say, ‘I’m sorry if I stepped on your foot,’” Ms. Swann said. “You did it. It’s not a question.”

Your apology should also include a thoughtful plan about how you’ll do things differently in the future, which can be calibrated based on how grievous the offense. For lesser instances, Ms. Gottsman said, a sentence like “I’ll think twice before I post,” may be enough.

These are words all of us could live by.

Source:- The New York Times

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Media Advisory: Virtual Infrastructure Announcement in Brampton – Yahoo Canada Finance

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GlobeNewswire

Reneo Pharmaceuticals Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering

SAN DIEGO, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare, genetic, mitochondrial diseases, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 6,250,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $15.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $93.8 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. All of the shares are being offered by Reneo. The shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on April 9, 2021 under the symbol “RPHM.” In addition, Reneo has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 937,500 shares of common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering is expected to close on April 13, 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Jefferies, SVB Leerink and Piper Sandler are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and became effective on April 8, 2021. The offering is being made only by means of a prospectus. Copies of the final prospectus relating to the offering may be obtained, when available, from: Jefferies LLC, Attention: Equity Syndicate Prospectus Department, 520 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10022, by telephone at (877) 821-7388 or by e-mail at prospectus_department@jefferies.com; SVB Leerink LLC, Attention: Syndicate Department, One Federal Street, 37th Floor, Boston, MA, 02110, by telephone at (800) 808-7525, ext. 6105 or by e-mail at syndicate@svbleerink.com; or Piper Sandler & Co., Attention: Prospectus Department, 800 Nicollet Mall, J12S03, Minneapolis, MN 55402, by telephone at (800) 747-3924 or by e-mail at prospectus@psc.com. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. About Reneo PharmaceuticalsReneo is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare genetic mitochondrial diseases, which are often associated with the inability of mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Reneo is developing REN001 to modulate genes critical to metabolism and generation of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for cellular processes. REN001 has been shown to increase transcription of genes involved in mitochondrial function and increase fatty acid oxidation, and may increase production of new mitochondria. Contacts: Joyce AllaireManaging DirectorLifeSci Advisors, LLCjallaire@lifesciadvisors.com Vinny JindalChief Financial OfficerReneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.investors@reneopharma.com

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