Week 5: A Conversation with Guest Speakers Jessica Gottlieb and Babette Pepaj

By UCLA X425 Student Michael McManus

Jessica Gottlieb and Babette Pepaj prove that you can use social media to create content about almost anything, and be successful.

They publish different types of content — Jessica blogs about almost anything, including cars, family life, travel and style, while Babette has created a food social network filled with recipes and other user generated content.

Today Jessica even posted about her favorite candidate for Los Angeles mayor, and why we should vote for him. It’s fair to say neither Gottlieb or Pepaj are shy, and that probably accounts for a major part of their success. They are also not boring, and each is even willing to be a little outrageous at times. For example, Pepaj produces a weekly video series using Google+ Hangouts that can be viewed at bakespacetv.com. The most recent episode, on Thursday, featured a four-way conversation between Pepaj, two food journalists, and a young and very successful restaurant entrepreneur. Technical difficulties made for a late start for the broadcast, and apparently all four used the down time to begin happy hour a little early. Since the purpose of the live streaming video series is to talk about food, it’s not much of a stretch to talk about beer and wine as well, so they did. Some of the language got a bit salty at times, if the video blog were a movie it would probably have a PG-13 rating.

Gottlieb’s blog covers far more topics. She can switch up from talking about fashion, to cars, to travel, to living with a lifelong health condition.

One indicator of how successful both of these women have become is their high Klout score (www.Klout.com). They’ve gone out of their way to post in all the right places and cultivate a loyal following.

Both have experienced something we’ve talked a lot about in class — harsh, and often unjustified, criticism. We’ve learned that responding to your critics is almost an art in itself. First, you have to decide if you should respond, or if that will only give your critic a bigger audience. Here again, Klout score, or the lack of one, should be a factor in your decision, according to both Gottlieb and Pepaj.

Neither woman has a problem with dancing around the convergence of paid media, earned media, and owned media. They reason that everyone knows they are not the New York Times or CBS, and if they receive some type of remuneration for reviewing a product or teaming up with a brand, it’s “no harm-no foul” for their audience.

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