[an excerpt of a recent news article…]
#EndOfAnEraForSocialMediaPioneers : Real life has intruded on three sisters who are stars on Twitter, Facebook and other online networking sites.
LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (May 3, 2013)
IRVINE – For the first time in more than a decade, the three grown sisters are living together under one roof – IRL.
“Duh!” they practically shout in unison to the clueless reporter, expertly darting their expressive eyes from the glowing screens of their iPhones and iPads to the supposedly wired dude who is peppering them, face-to-face, with questions.
“In Real Life!!!”
For one week, the bubbly and smiley Veturis sisters – Rochelle, 31, Haley, 28, and Chelsey, 25 – are sharing a townhome in a social-media experiment aimed at goosing interest in a new Irvine Co. Apartment Communities neighborhood.
The sisters are among the best-known personalities on the local social-media circuit, each commanding huge followings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine and other online networking sites.
Companies throw tons of free stuff at them to get them to promote products – in this case, the new Los Olivos neighborhood – and attract their followers to events.
But the sisters’ era as pioneering “social media influencers” is coming to a close.
Rochelle is having her first child in mid-July.
Chelsey is getting married at the end of May and moving to Las Vegas.
Haley just completed her master’s degree in theological studies.
That sound you hear is a bazillion iPhones beeping sad farewells to the Web-obsessed siblings nicknamed “The O.C. Triumvirate.”
For although the Veturis sisters are by no means leaving the social media scene, real life has intruded on their reign as local pioneers in “tweet-ups” and other face-to-face gatherings of folks who spend most waking hours online.
But first, the sisters, who grew up in Lake Forest, have to survive living together, for a week, on the Irvine Co. dime, blasting out a flurry of live tweets and other postings to promote interest in the community that will be completed in 2014.
“We’re fighting like cats and dogs,” said Chelsey, half-joking, at a poolside tweet-up Wednesday evening that attracted more than 150 social-media enthusiasts for free drinks, food and presentations about online marketing.
“I’m the crazy bride-to-be, she (Rochelle) is crazy hormonal, and Haley is the stressed-out grad student.”
Hey, sounds like a great Facebook status update to us.
It wasn’t always this way. That’s because the Internet didn’t always exist.
But all their lives, the Veturis siblings – their father, Victor, 58, sells military memorabilia and their mother, Hilda, 58, works for the city of Costa Mesa – have done almost everything together.
Dance. Tap. Jazz. Ballet. Cheerleading at El Toro High. Soccer. Piano. Acting. Church choir.
“Our parents didn’t want us to grow up and be stage-shy,” says Haley, her iPhone 4S in its usual spot: tightly cradled in her right hand.
Now, all the virtual world’s a stage for the Veturis Three.
Haley recalls, as a little girl, playing The Oregon Trail on a Mac and being introduced to chat rooms and Napster.
Things quickly progressed for all three after that.
Rochelle was the first on Twitter, Haley the first on Facebook, and Chelsey the first on Instagram.
Now, collectively, they command more than 50,000 followers on Twitter alone.
What’s their appeal?
“All have unique personalities, and they’re good at connecting and making everyone feel part of a community – and they’re the same in person as they are online,” says Heather Cereghino, 28, who met Rochelle a few years ago on Twitter and attended Wednesday’s tweet-up.
Rochelle helped Cereghino get her first job as a social media consultant. The recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton now is director of marketing at the ACE Agency, a public relations and marketing firm in Santa Ana.
“Social media opens up a world of people you normally wouldn’t meet,” Cereghino says.
Indeed, if you ask the Veturis sisters, their love affair with social media has almost nothing to do with blasting banal details about their daily lives – an oft-cited gripe of Facebook critics and folks who are lukewarm or even downright hostile about Twitter – and more about making a difference by connecting with people.
Along with Orange County-based social media guru Ted Nguyen, who has more than 155,000 followers on Twitter and spoke at the tweet-up, two of the sisters co-hosted the first-ever “OC Social Media Summit” last May at Saddleback Church, where Haley works as – no surprise – social media manager. (Rochelle is a PR specialist at an architectural firm, and Chelsey is a competitive cheerleading coach.)
“I refer to them as Marcia, Jan and Cindy,” says Nguyen, 43, comparing the sisters to TV’s “The Brady Bunch” siblings.
“What’s really great about them is they are so inclusive,” Nguyen says. “Social media isn’t about the technology, but connecting with people and having purpose of mind and the spirit to accomplish a lot.”
In social-media campaigns tied to everything from Knott’s Scary Farm to a fundraiser for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, the Veturis sisters emphasize helping charities.
“We like the influence they have,” says Jori Hayzer, senior manager, marketing, at Irvine Co. Apartment Communities. “They have a lot of reach.”
Says Rochelle: “We truly believe that you’re either going to use your influence for good or evil, and we encourage people to use it for good.”
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