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Is Instagram Becoming a Platform for Commercials?

Influencer marketing sets the tone for Instagram and won’t go anywhere.



Lindsey Heppner, CEO and founder of the brand-influencer agency Vampped told me: “I don’t think Instagram is going to go away any time soon. I just think it’s going to re-develop itself.” 

What used to be just a place to connect and post whatever you wanted to share through images and captions, has now become a booming business for brands and individuals alike to promote products, themselves and have a side hustle. 

Lindsey finds that when there is competition, Instagram tries to update just as fast. 

“With Snapchat coming up, Instagram did Instagram stories. With Tik Tok coming along it created reels. So I feel like this platform is molding to what is happening in the world, whereas I feel like platforms like MySpace and Facebook didn’t do that as quickly.”

It goes without saying that the type of content that can easily be accessible to view can have a variety of emotional effects. 

Instagram is visual.

Getty Images/Picture Alliance

People share what they want to have seen and some accounts will promote a variety of brands. 

For many the amount of content, news and advertising can be somewhat overwhelming and discomforting. 

When Lindsey first got into the business of influencer marketing, she explains that she did it with the intent to help people, “As my first bio caption says: “God is directing my life creatively” – he is, I want to do good, I have a really strong code of conduct, not only with my friendships but also with my business.” 


Some people of faith or strict values may question what is too much to share and how much is too much. 

For Lindsey it is important that people feel safe when they come on her platform. 

She also understands who she is as a human being and doesn’t try to change that just because she’s on Instagram.

When talking about competitive platforms like Tik Tok, Lindsey is of the opinion that it attracts its own set of users, “Not everyone on Instagram is on Tik Tok. They both feel different. I think both platforms are going to live and neither of them is going to away, but I think Tik Tok is still trying to figure out how to monetize and how to better develop a platform for brands and curators to come on.” 

In total, it seems Instagram has evolved and certainly has become a platform for brand commercials. It looks as though it is here to stay and is forging its own set of niche of users and audiences both professional and personal. 

A piece of advice she shares at the end of the conversation: “You just have to be confident about what you love, because at the end of the day whether it’s your business or your branding yourself, you just have to be true to who you are and those people will come and gravitate to you.”

Watch the full IGTV interview below:

YASMINE TANRES is an award-winning television host and multi-media journalist based in Los Angeles. Originally from London, Yasmine is British with Spanish, Indonesian and Chinese heritage, has worked across Asia and Europe, and is proficient in Spanish, French and German. Her broad cultural perspective provides unique relatability to her reporting on social issues, climate change, lifestyle trends and pop culture. Buoyed by confidence and radiating sincerity, Yasmine elicits unexpected candor from her interviewees. Yasmine has worked across various digital platforms, including as an Entertainment Reporter on Fab TV and PopFuzion TV, interviewing an array of notable celebrities including Clive Owen, Seth Rogen, Emeli Sandé, Jason Mraz among others. Yasmine is the Lead News Anchor and Producer at Long Beach Local News. She started her career as a multimedia journalist at London360, the U.K.’s first youth-led news show partnered with the BBC, where she produced, self-shot, and edited content presenting compelling events of London’s diverse communities. Yasmine co-created, produced and hosted Talking TED Talks, a live video streaming podcast on Afterbuzz TV where she interviewed the speakers and affiliated experts on the myriad of topics explored in popular TED Talks. In recognition of her work, Yasmine has been prominently featured as an influential emerging journalist by Vents Magazine, Model Citizen and The Asian Today. When Yasmine isn’t out in the field, you can find her teaching or practicing yoga, engaging with her College Alumni group through charitable causes, or simply frolicking on sun-filled adventures with friends and family.

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Delta 8 THC- What’s Behind the Suddenly Very Available but Questionable Products?

“It is a significant, real world public health risk for patients who think these products are as safe and effective as natural cannabis”



AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File

The hemp boom is over, and now we’re seeing the results of an industry chasing profit margins.

“The industry is rolling into a green rush derivative,” explains pharmacologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Greg Gerdeman. He wants to educate the public on cannabis, especially when it comes to the latest fads. For instance, products containing Delta-8 THC have become popular, especially in states where cannabis is still prohibited. Delta-8′ s legality is a bit murky because its a synthetic compound, something Dr. Gerdeman says is a misdirection from the promises of both cannabis flower and industrial hemp.

In our recent conversation on the Erupt app, Gerdeman talked about Delta-8, reminding us that “D-8” is not a specific strain.

“Delta-8 flower is hemp flower that’s been sprayed with synthetic D-8, that’s what D-8 flower is.”

“D-8 occurs in very low concentrations in cannabis plants, as far as has been discovered to date,” says Gerdeman. None of it is being extracted directly, it’s being converted from something else in a synthetic process, and there’s no D-8 producing strains. Any flower you get that’s sold as D-8 flower is hemp that was sprayed with D-8 that was made in somebody’s lab.”

Gerdeman compared the current D-8 craze to the CBD boom of the past few years. There was a massive amount of CBD produced in 2019 after the farming of hemp became legal.

A farm field near Sisters, Oregon is readied for another hemp crop (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

“Farmers were promised the moon as though they were gonna make tens of thousands of dollars per acre growing CBD, and it was a false premise,” Gerdeman says.

Due to a skyrocketing hemp supply, with little infrastructure to turn the newly-legal crop around, the industry took a nose-dive, and experts say it could take years for the hemp market to mature.

In the meantime, all the extra hemp that was produced without a market to buy it, is being cooked and boiled into CBD products.

“It is a significant, real world public health risk for patients who think these products are as safe and effective as natural cannabis,” said Dr. Gerdeman.

You can watch our full conversation below and on the Erupt app.

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Alphabet Mafia: The Necessary Difficulty of Building Queer Spaces

With the launch of Serif, a new type of queer space is beginning to take shape, but it is harder than ever.



Growing up, Serif CEO Brian Tran never found himself at home inside of gay bars. He found it alienating that bars are the central hub of queerness.

“It really starts with what I first experienced when I first came out… I was constantly looking at what was around me… I do remember the first feeling was like, ‘I know I am gay but I just can’t identify with what I am seeing.’”

Continuing, he beckons the question that is echoed by Serif’s executive producer, Kristen Laffey, around how to build alternative queer spaces. Within our conversation, Laffey consistently reminds us about the necessity of furthering the scope of focus for queer spaces.

The undeniable truth, which both Laffey and Tran mention, is that gay bars have historically been the center of orbit of queer life. The three of us also agree that this reality has bred toxicity in the community.

Serif exists to rid of this toxicity and to replace it with a new way of community building.

“Serif is designed to be a space where LGBTQIA+ people can have meaningful connections through experiences that we produce. Through these experiences we can form connections through conversations that happen right in front of you and then you get to connect afterwards.”

Serif members are encouraged to take part in a spectrum of both virtual and in-person events. Each experience is catered to unique subsets of the community and attempts to shine a light on specific areas that are often underrepresented.

This attempt to truly create safety and equity for the entire community, as Tran points out, is at the core of the brand’s mission. We all agree that a majority of queer spaces give centralized importance to cis-gendered, gay men. Serif wants to change that.

Tran and Laffey each vocalize how exciting it is to be able to build something unique in its focus, particularly when more and more of the community becomes disenchanted with the idea of queer spaces.

But how does one manage that while attempting to launch a business? I bring up The Wing, an organization creating safe spaces for women in business, as a potential harbinger for how these spaces may collapse in on themselves. Over time, The Wing began to face endless challenges with sustainable equity, particularly for trans women. As I bring this up, the Serif leaders admit these challenges are inevitable for them as well. Tran knows Serif’s every move is being watched and dissected by the community. But this does not scare him. In fact, Serif encourages this feedback and a sense of community led evolution.

Find out more about how Serif plans to tackle this issue and more on our latest episode of Alphabet Mafia. You can watch this episode of Alphabet Mafia below as well as many others on the Erupt app.

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Striketober May Be Step One in the Employee Revolution

October is seeing more strikes than any month in recent memory, prompting many to consider the power of the employee and the future of corporate business.



Talk to anyone about the labor market and two words will immediately enter the conversation: shortages and strikes.

Although the Hollywood IATSE strike was averted over the weekend, the United States is currently seeing an uptick in strikes in almost every field. As the BBC reported last week, more than 100,000 U.S. employees are currently striking. From John Deere workers to school bus drivers to symphony musicians to Kaiser employees, strikes are taking place all over the country.

While strikes are not uncommon, this month’s strikes are notable for their labor power. The strike by John Deere employees in multiple states encompasses more on 10,000 workers who are dissatisfied with their current pay and the pay raises handed to executives.

More than 28,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon are also striking in hopes of having their new contract demands approved.

The Kaiser workers are only the latest in the health care sector to strike. More than 2,000 healthcare employees in Buffalo conducted a walkout at the beginning of the month. Those workers also cited better pay and conditions as rationales for their strike.

The strikes are arriving as the entire U.S. economy is struggling to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

Are these strikes the beginning of an employment revolution?

Throughout the pandemic, the American zeitgeist around work and employees seems to have shifted. For most of the summer, labor shortages were the highlight of economic conversation, even as more businesses began to return to work. After a sequence of government stimulus packages and expanded unemployment benefits, finding employees willing to return to pre-pandemic wages was nearly impossible in a wide range of sectors.

There appears to be a new status quo for the everyday American worker and that may prove to be a reckoning for corporate business.

On top of that, according to a Gallup poll conducted in September, opinions of unions also seem to be shifting. Union support is now officially at its highest point since 1965.

Another key element in the labor shortage and resulting strikes is the complexity of immigration. Currently, more than nine million qualified immigrants are awaiting to permanent residence in the U.S. With the U.S. Labor Department’s most recent jobs report showing nearly 10.5 million job openings, immigrants could play a key role in solving the current crises.

But solving the labor shortage issue will not alleviate the pressure placed on large businesses. As strikes continue and more voices come together to demand change for employees, the corporate world will have to respond. Its response may trigger further strikes or may bring forth a new wave of employee rights.

For now, what direction this situation heads next is to be determined.

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