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Social media's 70-plus 'grandfluencers' debunking aging myths, attracting young followers – USA TODAY

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Social media’s ‘grandfluencers’ debunking aging myths

A growing number of senior citizens are taking to social media because they have something to say and they want to be represented. Some have amassed thousands of followers. (Sept. 2)

AP

NEW YORK — Joan MacDonald’s health was in shambles at age 71. She was overweight and on numerous medications with high cholesterol, rising blood pressure and kidney trouble.

Her daughter, a fitness coach, warned that she’d wind up an invalid if she didn’t turn things around. She did, hitting the gym for the first time and learning to balance her diet with the help of a brand new tool, an iPhone.

Now 75, MacDonald is a hype beast for health with a bodybuilder’s physique and 1.4 million loyal followers on Instagram.

She’s among a growing number of “grandfluencers,” folks 70 and up who have amassed substantial followings on social media with the help of decades-younger fans.

“It’s so rare to find someone her age being able to do all these things,” said one of her admirers, 18-year-old Marianne Zapata of Larchmont, New York. “It’s just such a positive thing to even think about.”

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Both aspirational and inspirational, older influencers are turning their digital platforms into gold.

MacDonald has paid partnerships with the sportswear and supplement brand Women’s Best, and the stress-busting device Sensate. And she just launched her own health and fitness app not so many years after learning how to use digital technology herself.

On TikTok, four friends who go by @oldgays – the youngest is 65 – have 2.2 million followers, including Rihanna. They have an endorsement deal with Grindr as they delight fans with their clueless answers to pop culture questions. 

Others focus on beauty and style, setting up Amazon closets with their go-to looks and putting on makeup tutorials live. Lagetta Wayne, at 78, has teens asking her to be their grandmother as she tends to her vegetables and cooks them up in Suisun City, California, as @msgrandmasgarden on TikTok.

Wayne, with 130,500 followers amassed since joining in June 2020, owes her social media success to a teenage granddaughter. Her very first video, a garden tour, clocked 37,600 likes.

“One day my garden was very pretty and I got all excited about that and I asked her if she would take some pictures of me,” Wayne recalled. “She said she was going to put me on TikTok and I said, well, what is TikTok? I had never heard of it.” 

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Senior social media users become internet stars

A growing number of senior citizens are reaching influencer status on social media. They post about everything from exercise to makeup and pop culture. (Sept. 2)

AP

Most people ages 50 and up use technology to stay connected to friends and family, according to a 2019 survey by AARP. But less than half use social media daily for that purpose, relying on Facebook above other platforms. 

Just 37% of those 70 and older used social media daily in 2019, the research showed. Since coronavirus struck, older creators have expanded their horizons beyond mainstay Facebook, often driven by the growing number of feeds by people their own age, said Alison Bryant, senior vice president for AARP.

In the California desert town of Cathedral City, Jessay Martin is the second youngest of the Old Gays at 68.

“I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life relaxing pretty much, and I do, but this is picking up more for us. I had a very structured week where Monday I worked the food bank at the senior center, Tuesday and Friday I did yoga for an hour and a half, Wednesday I was on the front desk at the senior center. I was just sort of floating by, not being social, not putting myself out there in the gay community. And boy, has the Old Gays changed that,” Martin said.

Like MacDonald, they do a lot of myth busting about what’s possible in life’s sixth, seventh and eighth decades.

“They’re showing that anybody can do these things, that you don’t have to be afraid of aging. The 20 and 30 somethings don’t often think about that,” Bryant said. “The authenticity that we’re seeing in some of these older influencers is really refreshing. That’s part of the complexity of their narratives. They’re bringing other parts of their lives to it. They’re grandparents and great-grandparents and spouses. They’re more comfortable in their own skins.”

Sandra Sallin, a blogger and artist, has slowly built her following to 25,300 on Instagram. Her reach recently extended to the British Olympic gold-medal diver Tom Daley, who raved about her mother’s cheesecake recipe after his coach spotted it online and made it for her athletes and staff. Sallin, a lover of lipstick who focuses on cooking and beauty, also shares photos from her past and other adventures, like her turn last year in a vintage Spitfire high above the Cliffs of Dover.

At 69, Toby Bloomberg in Atlanta is a Sallin supporter. She discovered Sallin after watching her compete on the short-lived Food Network show “Clash of the Grandmas.”

“She talks a lot about aging. That’s quite an unusual phenomenon on social media, which is obviously dominated by people far younger than we are,” Bloomberg said.

Aging, in fact, is what drew Sallin to social media.

“I wanted to expand my world. I felt that I was older, that my world was shrinking. People were moving, people were ill,” she said. “So I started my blog because I wanted to reach out. After that, I heard about this thing called Instagram.

“I really stumbled my way in. I’m shocked because most people who follow me are 30 and 40 years younger. But there are people who are older, who have kind of given up and say, ‘You know, I’m going to start wearing lipstick.'”

Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at @litalie

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City of Brandon – September 18th Media Release – City of Brandon –

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For the last 24 hours: 

Stolen Vehicle Recovered:

At about 9:30 AM Friday morning, a vehicle stolen from Winnipeg was located unoccupied in the 300 block Louise Avenue, by a member on patrol.  The vehicle was seized and towed to BPS where it was subjected to a forensic examination.

Fire in Apartment Complex:

At 1:12 PM Friday, a resident of an apartment within 1400 Pacific Avenue reported fire alarms were sounding in his unit.  Members attended and found an active fire within the suite, which was quickly extinguished.  Investigation revealed that the fire was caused accidentally when the tenant set a bag of groceries on the stove, incidentally turning a burner on, which ignited some of the contents of the grocery bag.

Arrest Warrants Executed:

A 41 year-old male was arrested on the strength of an arrest warrant on Friday evening after being checked in the 1000 block Victoria Avenue.  A police records checked showed he was wanted for failing to attend for identification.  He was processed and released to appear in court on a later date.

A 33 year-old female rom Winnipeg was arrested for possession of property obtained by crime after a vehicle was stopped on the TransCanada Highway.  An arrest warrant, held by the Winnipeg Police Service for the noted offence, was returned during a records query.  The accused was released from custody to appear in court in Winnipeg on December 14th.

An unendorsed warrant for arrest for a 36 year-old Brandon man was executed just before 2:00 AM this morning.  The male was wanted for failing to comply with conditions of an undertaking.  He was held in custody and will appear before the court today.

Boissevain RCMP arrested a 61 year-old male resident of Hartney, MB on the strength of an arrest warrant held by BPS, for failing to attend court.  The accused was later released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on November 29th.

Ste Rose RCMP arrested a 43 year-old male during the course of an investigation and learned that BPS held an endorsed warrant for arrest for failing to attend for identification.  The accused will appear before the court today on all charges.

Failing to Comply with Orders:

A 22 year-old female was checked by police in the 0-00 block 10th Street just before midnight Friday night.  She was found to be bound by an undertaking that included a daily curfew condition, which the accused was breaching.  She was processed and released to appear in court on December 16th.

A 47 year-old male was also arrested for violating a curfew condition of a release order.  At 4:20 AM this morning, the accused was located in the 0-00 block 9th Street, well outside of his 9:00 PM – 8:00 AM curfew. He too was processed and released to appear in court on December 16th.

Others:

Four males were held overnight under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act after being located in separate incidents, and being intoxicated to the point they were unable to safely care for themselves.  They will be released once they are more sober.

RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY:

Acting Staff Sergeant D. Lockkhart, #101

B Platoon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, www.brandoncrimestoppers.com or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).  Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.

CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS

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How the party platforms compare on future of CBC, media supports – CBC.ca

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The media, including broadcasting and streaming, were the topic of much debate in the months leading into the election. 

Of particular interest to the public was Bill C-10, which was introduced by the Liberals and would have required many digital media companies to promote Canadian content. The bill was controversial, and it did not become law before the election was called.

Debates have raged during the Liberal government about whether Canada’s media industry should receive government support as ad revenues fall, and whether CBC/Radio-Canada should change its programming and funding model.

The parties have made some significant pledges when it comes to media and the public broadcaster. Here are the highlights:

Liberals

If the Liberals are re-elected, their platform pledges to introduce legislation that would require digital platforms, such as  Facebook, to share a portion of revenue generated from news content with Canadian news outlets.

“This legislation would be based on the Australian model and level the playing field between global platforms and Canadians news outlets,” the platform says.

Similarly, the Liberals are pledging to reintroduce legislation to change Canada’s Broadcasting Act. They’ll make it a requirement for foreign web giants, such as YouTube and Netflix, to promote Canadian content.

Most parties are proposing that web giants such as Facebook contribute financially to the Canadian media industry. (Paul Sakuma / The Associated Press)

The Liberals are also promising to extend insurance coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic for media production stoppages. They also say they’ll double the government’s current contribution of to the Canada Media Fund to support Canadian television production.

When it comes to CBC, the Liberals want to “update CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate to ensure that it is meeting the needs and expectations of today’s Canadian audiences with unique programming that distinguishes it from private broadcasters.”

They say they’ll provide $400 million over four years to CBC with the aim of making the public broadcaster less reliant on private advertising during news and current affairs programs.

At a press conference in Aurora, Ont., on Monday, Justin Trudeau said his party will always support the media.

“I am happy to stand here and defend the work that media does as an essential part of our democracy,” he said. “We will always be there to support and thank members of the press for doing the important work of bringing things forward, of challenging all parties and anyone who wants to lead this country, and holding leaders to account.”

Conservatives

Like the Liberals, the Conservatives are also proposing that Google and Facebook pay royalties for Canadian news content — adding that they will look at best practices from countries that have taken a similar approach, such as Australia and France.

They’ll also do a “full review” of the CRTC’s mandate, with a focus of “ensuring that it better reflects the needs of Canadians and doesn’t prevent Canadian broadcasters from innovating and adapting to changes in the market.”

They’re promising to repeal Bill C-10, which was the Liberal effort to require web giants to promote Canadian content. Instead, they are promising an alternative approach that would require digital streaming services to reinvest a “significant” amount of their Canadian revenue into making original Canadian programs.

The Conservatives are pledging to end the media bailout initiated by the Trudeau government in 2019, when it  set aside nearly $600 million over five years to support media outlets.

“While we support Canadian media outlets, they should not be directly receiving tax dollars,” their platform reads. “Government funding of ‘approved’ media undermines press freedom, a vital part of a free society.”

When it comes to CBC, the Conservatives pledge to review the mandate of CBC English TV, including CBC News Network, and also English digital news. The platform adds that the review would look at the viability of a “public interest model like that of PBS in the United States, ensuring that it no longer competes with private Canadian broadcasters and digital providers.”

They’re also proposing a separate legal and administrative structure for Radio-Canada, while also ensuring the French-language broadcaster does not charge user fees for its streaming services or operate a sponsored content department.

The Conservatives are proposing a review of CBC’s English TV and digital news operations. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

At an announcement in Saint John earlier this week, O’Toole said he does not believe CBC should compete with the private sector in certain areas.

“The public interest mandate is critical in terms of rural communities being connected, in terms of keeping Canadians informed, and that’s the public interest side I like,” he said.

“What I don’t like is competition with the private sector that is holding on by a thread … in English television and in digital, competing and hollowing out jobs in the private sector, leading to less choice, less options, less voices.”

He also reaffirmed that his government would end public financial support for media outlets.

“We also have to look to end the direct government supports to media, but work with them to try and make sure they transition to the digital space, to this new media environment,” he said. “We need to balance the playing field with the American web giants, and we will do that, while protecting freedom of speech and Internet freedom.”

NDP

The NDP are also promising changes to the Broadcasting Act, with an aim of creating “a level playing field between Canadian broadcasters and foreign streaming giants,” according to its platform.

The platform says the party will make Netflix, Facebook, Google and other digital media companies pay corporate taxes and contribute to Canadian content in both English and French.

“Most Canadians now get their news from Facebook, and Netflix is the largest broadcaster in the country,” the platform says. “But despite the Liberals promising to take action, these web giants still don’t pay the same taxes or contribute to funding Canadian content in the same way traditional media do.”

The party says it will put a priority on partnering with independent Canadian producers and on increasing funding for TeleFilm and the Canada Media Fund, although it doesn’t say how much.

The NDP is pledging to increasing funding for CBC and Radio-Canada “to help reverse the damage of decades of funding cuts under both Liberal and Conservative governments.” The platform doesn’t specify an amount.

But in an interview with the advocacy group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Singh said he’d look into bringing funding for the public broadcaster to levels seen in other countries.

“I want us to get to a point where we’re not among the lowest funded in the world. We need to be competitive with what other jurisdictions are doing. … We want to have properly funded, well-funded public broadcasting,” he said. “I’m definitely prepared to increase [funding].”

People’s Party

The People’s Party has said during the campaign that it would end the media bailout “to guarantee that Canada has a free and independent press,” according to a news release from the party.

With regard to CBC/Radio-Canada, the People’s Party would either defund and privatize it, or it would change the funding model to a partly donor-driven one like those with NPR and PBS in the United States.

“What we need are free and independent media, not media that are dependent on the government for their survival and profitability,” PPC Leader Maxime Bernier said in a statement.

Greens

The Green platform says the party is in favour of regulating social media platforms and streaming services through the CRTC “as envisioned in Bill C-10.”

The party also wants the CRTC to reserve more bandwidth for independent and non-profit stations, and it is pledging to create an independent commission to study the concentration of media ownership in Canada.

With respect to CBC, the party says it will “provide a stable base-funding” for CBC’s English and French operations, but additionally wants to see programs in Indigenous languages and programming that encourages learning of Indigenous languages.

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Social media strategies played important role in pandemic election: experts – CTV News

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Bakhtawar Khan excitedly waited, her friend holding two cellphones and a camera, for her turn to get a photo with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

The 20-year-old, like most people showing up to political rallies across the country, wanted to share the image with friends and followers on social media.

“I feel like a lot of people are telling me not to vote for NDP because it will be a split with the Liberals,” Khan said. “But the way I look at social media, I don’t think it will be true this year.”

Khan, like people across the country, says she gets all her political and election information from social media.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been spending even more time on their social media and all the political parties are hoping to take advantage to tap directly into their voter base. But just because someone likes or shares a political post doesn’t necessarily translate at the polls.

Experts across the country are watching to see which party’s social media strategy paid off the most on election day.

Half of Canadians, regardless of age, use Facebook weekly to get news on current events and politics, said Oksana Kishchuk, a consultant with Abacus Data.

Social media has become a vital player in building support. It’s not just about posting either, she said, as parties have to consider good photos, snappy clips and current trends.

“Mastering these techniques will be important,” Kishchuk said.

As election day comes closer, she says all three main parties are taking the strategy of “target and spend.” In the last week or so, each has spent $400,000 to $600,000 on advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. The Liberals and NDP are using that cash to share messages focusing mainly on their own strengths, while the Conservatives have put a focus on Justin Trudeau, she said.

 The most recent polling by Abacus shows Liberals in the lead with their social media strategy, Kishchuk said, but impressions of Singh and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole rose significantly during the election.

In particular, Kishchuk said she’s interested to see the outcome of the New Democrats focus on TikTok to connect with younger voters.

“Very few (users) are using TikTok as a main source for news,” she added.

Tori Rivard says she joined the app because of Singh after seeing “a lot of hype” from the leader through her friends’ social media accounts. Now, she is excited about the party and even showed up to a campaign stop in Ontario.

“I think it’s super important especially with millennials and gen Z because social media is how we get all of our information pretty much,” Rivard said. “So (Singh) being engaged on there makes us more likely to seek out more information elsewhere.”

Tamara Small, a professor of political science at the University of Guelph, said she thinks TikTok as a campaign strategy is more of a “stunt” and will be less influential at the ballot box.

“As a tool of persuasion, it’s a bunch of people who cannot vote, and a bunch of people who, if they can vote, don’t likely vote,” she said. “So, thank goodness it’s free because you wouldn’t want to spend money there.”

Small also cautioned that social media can get party faithful excited but has less impact on flipping people’s partisanship.

“The whole thing is a big echo chamber,” she said.

“If you are going to go on social media you are unlikely to follow the leader of the party that’s ‘the worst’ because why would you do that to yourself.”

Social media is a double-edged sword for political parties, said Kim Speers, a professor at the University of Victoria. It has the potential to garner new support by sharing what the party stands for

“It also has the potential to decrease support if negative (information) is found on a current candidate’s social media account or if the messaging is or can be negatively misinterpreted,” she said.

Both the Conservatives and the New Democrats removed candidates or saw them resign because of their social media history.

All parties are taking a hybrid approach, she said, which includes social media ads, videoconferencing and in-person campaigning. She said NDP are focusing on new social media platforms, the Liberals have a more traditional approach with things like Facebook ads and the Conservatives are using a virtual approach, with online question-and-answer sessions and rallies.

The mix is important, Speers said, because when it comes to social media the parties “may have followers but they need voters more.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

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