You might know Bripeas (I get to call her Bri) from her super kawaii dance videos with her cat in the living room. And if you don’t, why aren’t you following her yet? It’s honestly the 1 minute dose of knee highs and middle fingers you need in your day. I’ve been lucky to be her friend for many years and see her online following grow from 50 followers to nearly 700 on Instagram, to over 80K loops on Vine. Her journey has been part academic, part therapeutic, but 100% keeping it real – just like Bri. More from her Q&A below:
You recently earned your Social Media Professional/Strategist certificate. What was the program like and what can others expect to learn?
I enrolled myself with University of Miami’s Social Media Education program. I completed courses for Social Media Professional Certificate and Social Media Strategist Certificate in six months. I use social media applications daily, but was not familiar with the marketing side and why businesses rely heavily on the data that is gathered from Google, YouTube or Facebook Analytics. I learned about social media publishing tools, different types of media and ways to use them to promote and sell a brand. Social media policies, legal and ethical issues that arise with social media were also addressed in the program. At the end of each section, there was a case study, a quiz and an exam at the very end of each book. It took about six weeks to receive my first certificate in the mail after completing the Social Media Professional certificate course. The school sent me my last certificate for Social Media Strategist, shortly after completing the last course.
Was it worth it?
Yes, it was worth it. Since it was all online, it allowed me flexibility to study and read all on my own time. It was also affordable and was not difficult to understand. Social media is not going away anytime soon. It gave me a business perspective and made me see that companies who do use social media to expand their businesses, are truly innovative. I do not know if I will be using social media for future jobs, but I am glad I educated myself and learned something new.
Switching gears to your online presence. You really put yourself out there. How do you deal with the haters?
Comments from viewers about my weight really made me depressed. I have always been very self conscious about my weight and outward appearance. There were also comments about my dance moves in my dance videos. In the beginning, comments did hurt me.
I had to realize that despite all the haters, I also had fans. I really had no idea how much of an impact these silly videos were. That realization outruled all the negative comments I’ve come across.
People direct message me for more dance videos. Or message me how my dance videos brightened up their day. I keep making videos because it feels good and people actually like them. One person wrote me recently and said that he looks to my videos for inspiration. Another wrote that he loved my energy and soul. These kind messages inspire and motivate me. It is full circle how we help each other, online. That feeling is priceless.
How has social media helped or hurt you personally? Therapeutically?
It has helped me come out of my shell. I never freestyle danced anywhere in public before. I consider myself a little shy and introverted. I really wanted to break down my own walls in 2016 and get used to feeling more comfortable despite feeling uncomfortable.
I also use social media as my outlet, to heal, inspire and it is my way of connecting/reaching out to people. It is amazing how I can communicate with someone who is a million miles away and also find new friends with #hashtags for common interests.
Social media can bring people together, but it can also bring distance as well. Because people can easily look up a friend’s recent life activities online, it can prevent actual face to face time. I feel that social media is sometimes used as a lazy person’s way of keeping in touch. I cannot tell you how often I hear, “Bri, I miss you! We should meet up.”…it’s been over three years now. People from my past, (ex boyfriends) use social media as a way to stalk or keep tabs on me. I basically just treat those situations like those people are flies inside my house. It is annoying, but I need to carry on. The Block feature is my best friend. I’m glad there is at least that.
Anything to watch out for?
In 2016, I was talking to a man who lived in Washington. We found each other on Vine and communicated through that app, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and text message. That carried on for six months. I had planned to take a trip to visit him so we could meet last summer. Plans fell through and I am almost certain he catfished me. He might even be a sociopath, I will never truly know. Social media can be dangerous because anyone can be whoever they want to be, online. That guy was probably crazy and I am grateful nothing happened to me. I never imagined myself ever wanting to date anyone who did not live close to me. It made me realize I would travel or would be open to a long distance relationship if I found the right person.
How has your following grown? Give me some stats on your vine/IG views.
In January 2016, I started posting dance videos on Vine, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Musically and Twitter. It became a full time job keeping up with posting and writing back messages to fans. I cut it down to posting on just a few apps now. I had a following of 762 people on Vine with over 72,157 loops. I participated in dance rants weekly where the dance community on Vine would dance to one selected song and would post their videos. Fans would revine my videos and that is how my fan base grew on Vine. My following on Instagram consists of many different types of people. Depending on the song I select or hashtags I use, it affects how many views or visitors the video for the week will have. Views on Instagram can range from 200 views to over 1,000. It is awesome when an artist will like or comment on my videos. (Just some examples – Tinashe and Selena Gomez liked a couple of my videos on Musically. Selena Gomez invited me to do a duet with her on Musically. I never replied because I was star struck and was super shy. Far East Movement and The Chainsmokers liked my videos on Instagram. Timeflies liked my videos on Vine). I like how normal people can use social media to reach out to artists and they can do the same.
How has the elimination of Vine impacted your following? Your thoughts on it?
When Vine announced they were discontinuing their mobile app in 2016, I had posted several dance videos before it officially shut down. People still added me and revined my videos. I listed my Instagram handle on my Vine profile so fans could follow me there if they wished to. I really liked Vine! I found a lot of videos there, quite hilarious. The year I decided to create a Vine mobile account, is the same year it went away! It made me sad to think it was coming to an end. But all good things come to an end, I suppose. I wonder what the next big video app will be. I guess I will have to start all over and build up my fan base on that once it becomes available! Sigh!!!
Bri has been managing social media efforts for Baby Ninja Reviews for the last 4 months. She is helping her friend build his brand which entails reviews from a father’s point of view, regarding various baby products. Super informative for new parents! (Follow – Facebook: Baby Ninja Reviews / Instagram: BabyNinjaReview for a peek). Follow Bri on Instagram at @Bripeas_831 to get in touch with her.