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Tinx and the Age of the Authentic Influencer

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Tinx and the Age of the Authentic Influencer

This story was initially published in The Creators — a newsletter about the people powering the creator economy. Get it sent to your inbox every Saturday here.

I recently spoke with 31-year-old TikToker Christina Najjar (@tinx, 1.5M TikTok) who dishes out everything from dating advice (women apparently date like venture capitalists while men date like stockbrokers) to “rich mom” starter packs to random thoughts on Rihanna and her favorite foods. Tinx, who has built a brand around her lifestyle and tidbits of wisdom, talks money and power with us and explains how influencers don’t just “sit around playing on our phones all day.”

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

No More Bad Marketing

Historically influencers have been willing to promote just about anything. Kim Kardashian notoriously appeared in a 2011 Super Bowl ad for Skechers Shape-Ups, chunky exercise sneakers that were supposed to help you lose weight, as well as tone your butt and abs. Skechers ended up having to pay $40 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle a suit for deceiving customers. More recently, in November, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sued influencer Dana Chanel for allegedly deceiving consumers by posting about her own companies that ripped them off.   

Tinx says that’s changing. 

“Audiences are extremely smart now,” she says. “So they’re not going to accept just random partnerships that don’t make sense. They can spot the BS, so to speak, from a mile away.”

Tinx, for example, loves Chipotle. She started talking about how much she enjoyed the Mexican food chain on social media organically and the brand took notice, landing her a partnership where she even had a “Tinx Bowl” featured on the Chipotle app for 45 days.  

“All of the content felt so fresh and original and it was just in my mind a perfect case study for how influencer marketing should go,” she says.   

Tinx chooses not to participate in affiliate marketing, where brands pay influencers to promote their products and get paid a percentage of the sales they bring in. Instead, she says she works with brands “in a more long term, strategic way.” 

“When I first started out, I was coming at this career from an interesting vantage point because I’d worked at multiple jobs including in corporate America in my 20s and I told my manager I think that the age of the influencer who will just promote anything for a quick buck is over,” she says. 

How Tinx Got on TikTok

Tinx always wanted to make content, but she didn’t get her start on social media. Her parents, both from the Midwest, raised her and her brother in London where she attended an all-girls school, was exposed to theatre, and gained a “global perspective.” After studying English at Stanford University, Tinx worked in Gap’s retail management program and went to graduate school at Parsons for fashion journalism. She spent her 20s writing lifestyle stories as a freelancer until she started making TikToks during the pandemic. 

“It was all to do with the power of storytelling and the power of connecting with an audience through creativity,” she says of her transition from journalist to an influencer. “I started making digital content during the pandemic like so many of us in May of 2020 and, immediately, I knew it was gonna be my life’s passion.”

Now, Tinx prides herself on her mostly-female fanbase, to whom she dispenses “big sister” advice. Early on, Tinx says she got caught up with views and likes, but she’s learned that audiences care about authenticity, especially during the pandemic.  

“The things that the audience values in content creators and influencers have changed,” she says. “It used to be, ‘Oh, do they have washboard abs and are they perfect, on a trip to Bora Bora with their perfect boyfriend?’ Now it’s like: Are they authentic, are they real, what value can they add?” 

Taking Influencers Seriously

The most successful influencers are flooded with comments from haters who tell them to “get a real job.” When TikTok mogul Addison Rae’s account got “permanently banned” in October, she Tweeted a screenshot of the notice from the app with the caption “Well time to get a job.” Her account was reinstated hours later. The 21-year-old made an estimated $8.5 million on TikTok in 2021, released a single that has over 28 million streams on Spotify, and co-starred in the Netflix movie “He’s All That,” a play on the 1999 film “She’s All That.” It’s safe to say Addison Rae has more jobs than most of us.  

One of Tinx’s good friends is Emily Mariko, a 29-year-old influencer who recently went viral for posting videos of her making salmon bowls, which might seem frivolous, but people apparently want to see them. 

“It’s not just that she’s filming herself cooking,” Tinx says. “It’s the editing, it’s the filming, it’s the whole concept. When people think that content creators, it’s just so easy for them to make the content, that means they’re doing their job right because it looks effortless but it’s a ton of work.”  

While skeptics might not understand the power of influencers, Tinx knows they are here to stay: “Creators are the mouthpiece from brand to audience, they understand what’s interesting about a brand or product to an audience, sometimes better than the brand can know themselves.”

Do you have questions about the creator economy? Have you quit your job to focus on being a creator? Have you quit your job for a different reason?  Please email me at [email protected]

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Ramesh Ponnuru: Republicans can extend their midterm inflation advantage

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Ramesh Ponnuru: Republicans can extend their midterm inflation advantage

Inflation is likely to be the most powerful issue working for Republicans in this year’s congressional elections. Public concern over it has been rising fast. Republicans can plausibly blame the administration of President Joe Biden for making the problem worse by spending too much money on a pandemic stimulus program he pushed through Congress last year, and for not taking it seriously as it emerged.

But there isn’t much that Congress can do to affect the course of inflation in the short term. The Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy. Congress can (in principle!) pass legislation to make the economy more productive, but any changes would generally take awhile to have an effect.

That’s only a small political inconvenience for Republicans. Voters are more likely to want to register their anger over inflation than pore over any candidate’s plans to address it. (Elections are a blunt instrument for public control of the government.)

There are also ways that Republicans can contribute to bringing inflation down. If they did, they could both perform a useful service for the country and increase their political advantage on the issue, at least a little.

The first is simply to support monetary tightening. A large portion of recent inflation has been caused by excessive spending throughout the US economy. During the expansion prior to the arrival of Covid-19 two years ago, spending had grown by a bit less than 4% a year. Over the past year it has risen more than 10%.

Even after the Federal Reserve’s mid-March hike in interest rates, spending has been rising fast enough to keep the gap growing between actual spending levels and the pre-Covid trend. By that measure, the Fed has not yet, in effect, tightened at all.

It should be encouraged to tighten money both by raising interest rates further and, maybe more important, by announcing that its goal is to bring spending levels back to the trajectory they were on before the burst of inflation.

Central bankers are sure to face pressure to ease off, especially if tightening leads to higher unemployment. Republicans should exert countervailing pressure, pointing out that getting inflation under control is the only way to achieve sustainable high employment. The Fed has made the eventual tightening more painful by delaying it, and should not delay further. Republicans could also explore legislation to make the stabilization of spending a statutory goal of the Federal Reserve, giving that goal more credibility.

And while no one should oversell how much or how fast policy changes can address inflation by expanding supply, some such changes are worth pursuing. Former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum never made much sense as either a national-security or job-protecting measure, and his tariffs on China have largely failed to achieve their objectives. Abandoning them would, as the Peterson Institute for International Economics puts it, “provide a temporary downward shock to prices.” (It’s worth noting, however, that lifting the tariffs on China would require mounting an argument to win over skeptics.)

Congress could also remove barriers to energy production — something Republicans are already calling for — and to the automation of ports. Senator Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, has a bill that applies deregulation to transportation-sector logjams, and another one to increase housing supply. These measures would probably make the economy a bit more productive even if inflation subsides. They would also provide a way for Congress to show that it is working to bring prices down.

Finally, Republicans should block proposals that would make inflation worse. Many economists think widespread student-debt relief would have this effect, and that the Democrats’ “Build Back Better” spending legislation would as well.

Congress could also consider delaying the spending of some of the money it is devoting to infrastructure projects so that more of it happens after labor shortages and supply disruptions ease. That would produce more infrastructure improvement per dollar spent.

This is hardly an exhaustive list. The point is that when Republicans face the question, “What are you going to do about inflation?” they can offer many partial answers. Democrats would be wise to go along with some of these ideas, too, and even to propose them first. But some of them, such as the ones that involve taking on unions, are a more natural fit for Republicans.

All of these political considerations are meaningful, however, only on the margins. No matter what politicians in either party do, the cost of living is going to be front of mind for voters this fall. They’re going to take out their frustrations on the party in power.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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WCHA Final Faceoff returning for Ridder in 2023, 2024

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WCHA Final Faceoff returning for Ridder in 2023, 2024

Minnesota will play host to the next two WCHA Final Faceoff championship tournaments, the school announced Wednesday. The 2023 event is scheduled for March 3-4, 2023, at Ridder Arena.

The Gophers won the regular-season WCHA championship last season before being edged by eventual national champion Ohio State in the conference tournament final at Ridder.

The 2025 NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled to be played at Ridder Arena, as well.

GOALIES TO USA CAMP

Gophers junior Makayla Pahl and freshman Skylar Vetter have been selected to attend the 2022 USA Hockey National Goaltending Camp in Plymouth, Mich. They will join 27 other men’s and women’s goaltenders for the May 19-22 camp at USA Hockey Arena.

Pahl recently completed her best season at the U, posting a 9-1-0 record with a 1.70 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 15 games. Lakeville’s Vetter appeared in 11 games in her first collegiate season, going 6-2-0 record with a 1.57 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

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New York State Accuses Amazon of Discrimination, Just the Latest Conflict Between the Company and New Yorkers

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best amazon prime day deals 2021

best amazon prime day deals 2021

New York State is accusing Amazon of violating discrimination laws, alleging the corporation denies appropriate accommodations for pregnant and disabled workers.

The complaint, filed by the state’s Division of Human Rights and announced in a statement by Gov. Kathy Hochul, accuses Amazon of forcing its warehouse workers to take unpaid medical leave instead of adjusting their duties, as required by state law. Amazon has 39,000 employees working in 23 New York facilities, according to the state.

The state maintains that Amazon employs “accommodation consultants,” who make recommendations on how to modify duties for disabled employees, but the company empowers its managers to override those recommendations. In one case, the state claims, a pregnant worker was forced to continue lifting heavy boxes despite having asked for an accommodation. The request was denied and the worker was injured. A further request for accommodation for the injury was also denied, forcing the worker to take unpaid leave. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

Amazon’s reputation as an unsafe workplace

Amazon has struggled with a reputation for being an unsafe employer, and according to one union-sponsored study of government data, its warehouse employees suffer injuries at twice the rate of workers at non-Amazon facilities. The injuries are based in part on the company’s productivity quotas, which can demand employees skip breaks or lunch hours, and have prompted California to pass a law restricting them. Amazon says the high number of injuries were in part the result of a rapid increase in employment during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that it spent $300 million on worker safety in 2021.

Workplace safety was one of the rallying points for the Amazon Labor Union, the independent union that organized an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, and the state’s lawsuit is just the latest friction point between Amazon and New Yorkers.

Along with the unionization effort, which succeeded after similar attempts failed in other states, New York City notably rejected Amazon’s bid to build a second headquarters in Queens, New York. Queens and northern Virginia were selected after a highly publicized and lengthy search process, and while many cities were eager to shower Amazon with tax breaks for the privilege of hosting its offices, New Yorkers balked at $3 billion in incentives and the potential for increased traffic, rent increases and gentrification. (Despite noisily severing its deal with the city, Amazon has since stealthily leased huge amounts of office space while hiring thousands.)

Hochul, the former Lt. Governor who stepped in after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, is running for election as a Democrat this fall. An upstate moderate, she is looking to make inroads with progressives in New York City. Given the city’s contentious relationship with Amazon, it seems likely that taking aim at the tech giant will only help her standing among the city’s liberals.

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