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Joe Zee and Eva Chen, patron saints of fashion social media, descended upon Austin, Texas for a smattering of speaking engagements for this year's SXSW Interactive. (That's the part where ad people throw jargon at one another, not the cool part with new bands and surprise Kanye shows.) On Monday, the two had three appearances between them. For no real reason, I made it my mission to hit them all, despite being exhausted from days of "brand activations" and "evergreen viral" and nights of dancing with Left Shark and careening around town in logo-wrapped pedicabs that accept Square.
After a forty-minute-long wait in the Starbucks line, I started with "The Fashion Networks: Where High Fashion and Mass Media Meet" at the Cosmopolitan StyleLab (in partenership with Intel and where THEY HAD FREE COFFEE) to hear Zee talk about styling post-N*Sync Justin Timberlake and his favorite emojis. After that, it was on to "How To Keep Your Social Media Game Sincere" where Eva Chen and vlogsation (I made that up, it's "video blogger" and "sensation" combined which makes me think I've been poisoned by jargon and should get home soon) Michelle Phan discussed their personal Instagram strat as well as the managing of "haters."
Phan livestreamed the entire thing on Meerkat, holding her arm out in selfie stance for the hour-long discussion. (She did switch arms a few times, and Chen graciously took the iPhone from Phan at points to give her fatigued bicep a break.) Following that, I ran to the Yahoo Style house for "Building a Brand and Standing Out in a Saturated Digital Landscape" where Zee and Chen discussed the evolution of #EvaChenPose and social platform anxiety.
In the course of my marathon, I learned a ton of in-depth details about the social media habits of the two EICs. Here, a collection of my favorite points:
- When asked "what is your spirit emoji?" Joe Zee confessed he likes the girl raising her hand but he loves the smiling poop and the gust of wind known colloquially as "the fart."
- Eva Chen's 12-week-old baby has an Instagram handle. It's private, and it's her workaround for friends and family who ask her to send them baby pictures—they're all corralled in the same place. The account has 7,000 pending requests.
- Eva Chen's baby smacked her iPhone 6 out of her hand while she was taking a picture and broke it.
- Joe Zee joins every new social platform as soon as they launch just to secure his handle. Eva Chen dropped the ball with this on Snapchat so she is not "evachen212" as she is elsewhere, but, instead "theevachen212" which she says "feels really lame."
- Joe Zee has anxiety about which platform to use when: "Is this a Snapchat moment? An Instagram moment? A Meerkat moment?" This was especially stressful during Fashion Week.
- Eva Chen's answer is simple: "If the lighting is good, it's Instagram. If it's not: Snapchat."
- Joe Zee tried Vine and he "just couldn't add it to his repertoire."
- Eva Chen initially rejected #EvaChenPose (her assistant's creation) and workshopped options including #TaxiShoeBagPic.
- One time, someone told Eva Chen on Instagram that her "hands look like a heroin addict's hands." (Her reaction: "Why do you know what a heroin addict's hands look like?!")
- Eva Chen's Instagram content ratios:
- Four to five images per day
- One picture of herself for every five to ten posts
- One picture of her child for every five posts
- Eva Chen's dream is to be a guest star on Empire.
- Joe Zee on the Yahoo! bathrooms: "I worked at fashion magazines my entire life and always had the men's room to myself. Now I work at a tech company and it's a mess."
- People regularly tell Eva Chen that they love her wedding dresses. Because they think she's Vera Wang.
- Meanwhile, people have chased Joe Zee down the street proclaiming, "You dressed the first lady so beautifully!" because they think he's Jason Wu.
- Eva Chen says there are about 15 people watching her Meerkats at a time.
- There is a golf range at the Yahoo offices, "but no one has time to use that." Meanwhile, at Lucky, there are puppies and Cronuts.