AKRON, Ohio – If you live in Akron and want to share how you spend your days with approximately 9,000 people who are genuinely interested in what you do, you can sign up to Resume Everyday Akron.
Everyday Akron is an online community on Instagram that was started by Akronite Rachel Whinnery in 2016. The popular channel offers new content almost every day due to its changing list of hosts.
Hosts sign up to take control of the keyboard and camera for a week, giving subscribers a glimpse into their unique perspectives on life as they go about their business in Greater Akron.
“I don’t want to call it a one-stop shop,” Whinnery said. “But you get a little slice of Akron week after week, and you don’t have to follow 52 different people. You can simply follow Everyday Akron and get 52 different insights into the city each year.
Everyday Akron has a website and Facebook presence and Twitter so that Whinnery can share content and feature hosts. She also started an @EverydayAkronPets, because almost everyone loves a pet photo wall once in a while.
A graduate of the University of Akron, Whinnery launched Everyday Akron after interacting with similar online communities spanning Cleveland and Charlotte. As a digital marketing professional, creating and managing Everyday Akron is in her wheelhouse.
But when Whinnery first told her friends that she thought the concept was pretty cool, she had no plans to launch the site for Rubber City.
“But they kind of flipped the case on me and they said, ‘Well, you should start,'” she said. “And, you know, so many years later, and so many followers later, here it is.”
When Everyday Akron originally launched, it was Akron Peeks on Twitter. As Akron Peeks, the site started well but then went into decline, so Whinnery gave it a break for about a year, she said.
Once she was ready to get going again, copyright issues caused complications with the Akron Peeks name, so she decided to rename the site and really start over.
“Shortly after I changed it to Everyday Akron, it took off from there,” she said. “So it was really like a blessing in disguise.”
Since the rebranding in 2019, the channel’s audience has grown steadily. Instagram followers now total over 8,500, while Everyday Akron on Facebook has 1,400, Twitter has 1,700 and Everyday Akron Pets has nearly 1,200 followers.
Slots for all of 2022 were filled months ago, so Whinnery said she was building a waiting list for next year. Although there are no real requirements to be a host, anyone interested must fill out a short application.
She’s never had to turn anyone down, but she does research to make sure she doesn’t book spammers, she said.
Hosts, who run Sunday through Saturday, are only asked to follow basic guidelines, such as avoiding blatant promotions. Whinnery asks the hosts not to be “a Debbie Downer,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t talk about the tough stuff, she said. It is more important to her that the hosts are genuine.
Suggestion #1 in his short list of published guidelines reads, “You should really love that the City of Akron wants to post from the @EverydayAkron Instagram account.”
One thing Whinnery has found interesting is that people who tell her they’re too boring to host, or people she’s never heard of, are sometimes surprisingly great hosts.
“They’re doing their week and it’s amazing. It happened more than once,” she said. “And you can tell it’s not just me saying ‘I like it’. I can tell the community is really engaging with them, which is really cool.
Whinnery uses the Everyday Akron website to present other points of view on the city. Anyone with an Akron story can create a #BlogPostCard, which Whinnery posts to the Everyday Akron blog.
Whinnery also writes and publishes his own Akron-centric stories, often “listicles”, the most recent being an article about where to buy art to support Akron artists. She also publishes articles on local nonprofits and small businesses. Participants are asked to fill out a digital form and Whinnery does the rest, writing and publishing the stories.
Proceeds from Everyday Akron merchandise, currently coffee mugs, hats and stickers, go towards website hosting and marketing. She sometimes sells merchandise to raise money for non-profits like the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.
One of her goals is to see Lebron James sign up to host Everyday Akron and reach 10,000 Instagram followers, as it enables advanced features like in-stories links, she said.
But overall, Whinnery said she wanted the channel to feature more diversity.
“Whether it’s within the people hosting or places that are highlighted, or businesses in the different neighborhoods, even just different takes on a place or a concept,” she said.
The pandemic has also opened her eyes to the need for more people-to-people relationships, she said. She would like to directly connect Everyday Akron subscribers with hosts or somehow take the whole connection offline to the real world through the events she hosts.
“Because I’ve noticed a lot of people feel kind of lonely, disconnected, or isolated,” she said. “So just, you know, how can we bring everyone together in a sincere way?”
Whinnery has lived in Akron since 2008 and although Everyday Akron allows her to interact with lots of different people, she said she’s glad Akron still surprises her.
“There’s always something new to learn, something new to experience in Akron, which is pretty mind-blowing because it’s, you know, a small-big city as they say. There are still things to discover.
Register online to take back Everyday Akron for a week.