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.”
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.”
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 and gotten more voracious, 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.
“I wanted to expand my world. I felt that I was older, that my world was shrinking. People were moving, people were ill,” Sallin said. “So I started my blog because I wanted to reach out. After that, I heard about this thing called Instagram. It was really hard learning it. 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.’”
Toby Bloomberg, 69, in Atlanta is a Sallin supporter. She discovered Sallin after Sallin competed 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.
MacDonald said she was surprised at the beginning that people actually cared what she had to say.
“Why would people want to follow an old broad,” she giggled from her home in Ontario, Canada. “My daughter, Michelle, cleared that up. She said it’s what you’re representing, that people can do what they think they’ve not been able to do or were told that they couldn’t do.”
Grace Maier, 32, is home full time with her two kids, ages 6 months and 2. She follows Barbara Costello, a 72-year-old Connecticut grandmother who uses the handle @brunchwithbabs.
“She does these posts, ‘Did your mom ever tell you?’ and I followed her immediately on Instagram,” Maier said. “Her content brings me joy! She’s got all of these life hacks and tips that remind me of things my grandma shared with me before she passed. She also doesn’t take herself too seriously and just seems like the kind of person who would welcome you into her home.”
Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of the influencer marketing agency Obviously, has more than 100 influencers in her network between the ages of 60 and 80. With more than a billion users on Instagram alone, she points to the successes on that platform of 93-year-old Helen Ruth Elam (baddiewinkle), 67-year-old Lyn Slater (iconaccidental) and 100-year-old style legend Iris Apfel.
There’s another aspect to the reach of seniors: Grandparents and grandchildren who have teamed up to share their adventures together, from traveling the world to Nerf gun battles.
“Mainstream media, I would say, presents a really narrow viewpoint on this age group. What’s great about social media is you can follow a really cool 75-year-old woman who is just doing her thing in Florida and that’s fun. That’s different. And she’s funny,” Karwowski said. “The 21-year-old fashion model influencer is managed. She has a team. She has designers falling all over themselves to give her everything. She has professional photographers. A lot of these 70-plus influencers are doing it all.”
Candace Cima, 74, taught herself to shoot and edit video for Instagram by watching YouTube tutorials. She hopped on the platform in February 2019 as a fresh voice on fashion and style while encouraging her audience not to be afraid of aging. Her husband sometimes helps out with photos for @styleinyour70s.withleslieb (Leslie is her middle name).
“I’m still in that learning curve, I have to be honest. Two and a half years ago, I didn’t even know what an influencer was,” said Cima, in Ithaca, New York. “I’ve always had a lot of ideas about aging. I don’t understand why aging has such a negative connotation.”
With 37,900 followers, some of her youngest fans have shared with her why they care: “They don’t want to age the way they saw their relatives aging,” Cima said. “They feel like they can learn something.”
Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
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Five Thoughts on Negotiating Through the Media, PTOs, Player Personalities & More – Silver Seven
On Changing Expectations
Last offseason, if you’ll recall, the Ottawa Senators made some veteran acquisitions. They added the likes of Erik Gudbranson, Derek Stepan and Austin Watson, while also bringing in Alex Galchenyuk and Cedric Paquette. Effectively, Pierre Dorion “ruined” any opportunity a prospect had to make the roster out of camp by filling it with players who DJ Smith would almost certainly opt to play over someone with little to no NHL experience.
Fans were, understandably, frustrated.
Why add replacement level (or worse) players instead of giving Erik Brännström, Logan Brown and/or Alex Formenton a chance to cement a role on the roster from the start?
This offseason, interestingly, the Senators haven’t done much of anything. Yes, they brought in Nick Holden and Michael Del Zotto but, for a team claiming to be stepping in to the next phase of the rebuild, that doesn’t amount to much of an impact. After talk of looking to add a first line centre and a top four defender – of which, it’s very possible Dorion believes he accomplished with the aforementioned additions – the offseason has been pretty quiet.
Fans are, understandably, frustrated.
Why not make additions to the team that ended last year with a 9-2-1 record in their final 12 games? Why not take this group to the extra level by spending the abundance of assets in the cupboard on someone who can do so.
Funny how things change, isn’t it? This time last year we were clamouring for the Brännström’s, Brown’s and Formenton’s of the lineup to get a shot at cracking the roster but this year, many fans have expressed some frustration that Ottawa hasn’t done much. If they had, players like Egor Sokolov, Ridly Greig and Jacob Bernard-Docker wouldn’t have a spot to fight for.
As we see the future of the Ottawa Senators hitting the ice this week for development and rookie camps, with reports of players like Sokolov, Grieg and Angus Crookshank standing out, you can sense a cool down from Sens fans across Twitter on their desire for incoming additions.
A long offseason is finally coming to an end, the anxiety around the roster is slowing down, let’s get to it.
On Negotiation Through the Media
Over the past four seasons, after plenty of public messes in the realm of player negotiations, Dorion’s most used phrase might now officially be “we don’t negotiate through the media.” While it can be frustrating as fans, particularly when we’re all waiting not-at-all-patiently for news of a long term extension for Brady Tkachuk, it’s in the best interest of the organization to ensure as much of this stuff happens behind closed doors as possible. After all, a team like the Senators can’t afford any more negative media attention than they tend to generate for themselves outside of contract negotiations.
On this topic, however, there has appeared to be plenty of negotiation through the media – just not by Dorion himself. Over the last few weeks, TSN’s Shawn Simpson and PostMedia’s Bruce Garrioch have essentially been reporting one-sided updates – Simpson from Tkachuk’s side, Garrioch from Ottawa’s. The question is, how much of this is each camp trying to leak some information to tip the scales on their favour and how much of it is just genuine reporting of what each journalist has heard?
It’s incredibly possible that Simpson doesn’t report too much from the Sens side simply because he doesn’t have a deep, trustworthy source to keep him in the know. Similarly, it’s possible (read: incredibly likely) Garrioch’s information comes directly from the team and he doesn’t have much in the way of a network within the NHL Agents community.
It’s hard to ignore, though, how regularly these two indirectly spar on Twitter. For every Garrioch article, there tends to be a Simpson subtweet. For example, Garrioch recently penned a piece updating on the Tkachuk contract negotiations, claiming Tkachuk not being at camp on day one would have an impact on his chances of making the Olympic team. The next morning, Simpson tweeted this:
Tkachuk wanting to play in the Olympics is less than zero leverage for the Sens. Not even on the radar at this point. If it’s November 1st maybe it turns up the heat.
As @TSNHammer looked up, Matthew signed in the middle of camp in 2019.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) September 14, 2021
At the end of the day, I like that Dorion tries to keep things under wraps as much as possible but it’s really hard to take those words too seriously with how frequent these types of pieces and interactions happen. I don’t blame Garrioch, Simpson or any other media member for releasing to the public information they find out. Not one bit. That’s their job!
But the Sens definitely negotiate through the media, Dorion just doesn’t reveal information himself with a microphone in his face.
On Player Personalities
Thomas Chabot and Tim Stützle attended the NHL media event in Toronto this past week and it was a refreshing reminder of how gosh darn likeable the new era of Ottawa Senators are.
It was great to see both players interacting with the media, answering questions, playing fun games and, of course, drawing the teams logo from memory. It’s a good thing they’re both good at hockey so they don’t have to try their hands at the starving artist career – they’d be quite hungry, I suspect.
This summer we also got the chance to see a number of players hop on The Wally and Methot Show and get a glimpse into their personalities, as well. From Josh Norris to Brady Tkachuk to Egor Sokolov, we had the pleasure of getting to know these people better, not just the players, and, for me, that felt incredibly relatable.
Many joke on Twitter about Ottawa trying to rebuild their team based on vibes and it seems to be true. Maybe it’s because we have more mediums to get to know them better or maybe it’s because the dust is settling and the black cloud above the organization appears to be dissipating, but overall I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season and a big part of that is feeling more connected to the people under the uniforms.
On Professional Tryouts
We’re getting to the part of the offseason, right before camp, where teams are starting to announce players who will be attending camp on professional tryouts (PTO). Over the past week, we’ve seen Tobias Rieder heading to Anaheim on a PTO, Artem Anisimov to Colorado, Mark Jankowski and Jimmy Vesey to New Jersey and more.
With the idea that Ottawa was expected to add more to its roster than they have, I’d think we’ll see at least a few players invited to the main camp next week on PTOs. As the blueline is relatively busy already, if the Sens are going to bring anyone in, you’d think it’ll be up front.
Looking through the list of free agents on CapFriendly, a few names popped for me. The first name was Alex Galchenyuk. I know, I know. Why revisit this? At the end of the day, Galchenyuk is a player you can toss onto your third line and second power play unit and get something done, in a pinch. He’s someone who’s played up the lineup and down the lineup and while his skillset is a much closer match to a top six role than a bottom six role, bringing him in on a PTO certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Another familiar face would be Tyler Ennis. I loved Ennis when he was on the Sens. He was the perfect energy player, rarely out of position and can certainly be trusted with extra responsibility from time to time.
If we’re going down the familiar face rabbit hole, neither Bobby Ryan nor Zack Smith have contracts for the upcoming season but… I think those years are behind us.
Joseph Blandisi recently didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Montreal Canadiens. He spent last years shortened AHL season in Laval, where he wore an A and compiled 21 points in 28 games. He’s a 27 year old centre with 101 games of NHL experience that I’m sure could either push the kids to compete or, at worst, get a contract and head to Belleville to provide veteran leadership as a player who’s cleared the 200 game mark in the AHL as well.
None of these names are fancy or shiny, but PTOs rarely are. Nonetheless, I think we can expect a name or two to surface over the next week and I’d be happy to see any of Galchenyuk, Ennis or Blandisi join the Sens when main camp opens up.
On Logan Brown
I’d like to start this thought of by saying I’ve always been a fan of Logan Brown – likely more so than the average Sens fan.
There are a lot of knocks on Brown’s game and his development. There are claims that he doesn’t work hard enough or move his feet but the only thing lazy related to Brown is that narrative. That’s not the real problem.
The real problem has been his health. This isn’t news, even the most casual of Sens fans knows that Brown hasn’t had a full, healthy season since before he was drafted. If you don’t know this about Brown, you’d be shocked to learn he hasn’t been able to crack the NHL roster yet. After all, he’s a 6’6” centre with the softest hands and he’s put up 0.84 points per game at the AHL level.
As Development Camp has come and gone and Rookie Camp is kicking off, Brown is nowhere to be found. Without a contract, it’s been stated that if Brown can’t be moved, he’ll be off to Europe until another NHL team is ready to give him a shot.
It saddens me to say, but it’s time to cut ties and move Brown for whatever you can. He’s not going to play another game in the Senators organization and, even if it’s just a mid round pick two years in the future, Pierre Dorion should be looking to get something – anything – for the 2016 11th overall pick.
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week – Summerland Review – Summerland Review
Happy Friday! Fall is definitely starting to make its way into the region, so in case you were busy enjoying the cooler weather this week, here’s what happened in the news to catch you up before your weekend begins.
A fake news release was sent out to media outlets on Tuesday (Sept. 14) morning, announcing that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries was banning fur farms, phasing them out over the next five months and providing support for mink farmers.
But that announcement was confirmed to be false when the real agriculture ministry sent out a memo saying that they are not, in fact, banning fur farms.
Kelowna animal rights activist Amy Soranno said it was a rollercoaster of emotions and that finding out the announcement was fake was upsetting.
“There remain a plethora of reasons why a ban should indeed be implemented for environmental, human, and animal concerns,” she said.
A Princeton man called 911 on Monday (Sept. 13) after he saw someone being turned away from a local restaurant as the vaccine card regulations kicked in.
Princeton RCMP’s Sgt. Rob Hughes said the caller wanted it known that he was outraged that someone didn’t get their breakfast.
Hughes said the man blamed Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for the country “falling apart.”
A record number of patients suffering from COVID-19 is straining resources at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, according to a doctor who works there.
He said that in order to take care of and accommodate COVID patients, they’ve had to put non-emergent surgeries on hold.
At baseline, VJH only has 10 ICU beds, with nine COVID patients taking up the beds. The hospital is taking care of around 32 COVID-positive patients and has put the hospital at 30 per cent over capacity.
Convicted offender Curtis Sagmoen had been allegedly hired, then let go, by LNG Canada at its Kitimat site after locals brought forward their concerns about the new hire.
LNG Canada released a statement about the situation after Kitimat’s City Centre Mall was vandalized with the words “LNG Canada hires serial killers.”
Sagmoen has been found guilty of two separate charges involving offences against a sex worker, and he also pleaded guilty to assault in an unrelated incident involving a sex worker in Maple Ridge in 2013.
Social media harming people's access to facts: Horgan – Alaska Highway News
Social media is harming people’s ability to get factual information about their communities, the country and the world, Premier John Horgan said Sept. 17.
“That worries me a lot,” Horgan told delegates of the Union of BC Municipalities as their annual convention wrapped up Sept. 17.
The premier, who had considered journalism as a career, said unlike news produced by journalists, much of what is found on social media is not fact-checked or verified.
But, he said, as more people turn to questionable sources, news outlets lose advertising and have to lay off journalists — resulting in less verified news coverage.
“I’ve seen the erosion of local information, credible reliable, verifiable information for the public to better understand the challenges they face locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”
He said he often grumbles to friends who depend on social media for news, and often reminds them none of what they read there is verified or fact-checked.
“It is opinion that is put out into the world and then absorbed by the multiple millions depending on whether or not it starts to trend,” he said.
Horgan said citizens need accurate information but asked, “how do we do that without appearing to be the state intervening?”
“We have, I think, a tussle right now between how does the government protect open access to information and how does open access to information protect the public that is consuming that information.”
“We just don’t know where it’s coming from anymore.”
Nelson Coun. Keith Page posed the question to Horgan, saying social media has hollowed out the revenue model of traditional media outlets leading to attrition in the ranks of journalists. Further, he said, under-investment in libraries combined with the harms of social media have led to a decline in social knowledge infrastructure in B.C.
“It affects everybody here and it affects everybody out there,” said outgoing UBCM president Brian Frenkel.
After starting in Edmonton, Teamsters seeking to unionize 8 other Canadian Amazon facilities – CBC.ca
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Five Thoughts on Negotiating Through the Media, PTOs, Player Personalities & More – Silver Seven
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