Tag Archives: Personal responsibility

Caveat Emptor – Social Media Influence, the Frye Fest and Reputation Management

This is not an echo of these words of P. T. Barnum – “As a general thing, I have not ‘duped thePT-barnum world’ nor attempted to do so… I have generally given people the worth of their money twice told.”, but rather these “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

Every generation has a Bernie Madoff, a Kenneth Lay, a Donald Trump who beguile the seekers of vast wealth, inclusion, distraction or any combination thereof to part with their money.

For Millennials, at least for this end of April 2017 weekend, it seems that person is Ja Rule, née Jeffrey Atkins, rapper, and creator of Bahamian Ponzi Scheme also known as the Frye Music Festival*** 2 May update – Federal Trade Commission violations cited and lawsuit filed.

Like so many before him Ja Rule was successful in his scam (or “not a scam” as he claims) for two reasons, he understood the raw vulnerability of the masses (even privileged ones willing to spend upwards of $250,000) and created a compelling campaign leveraging LOTS of young beautiful women (gaining more than 800k views) whose only claim to fame is to have built very successful personal brands making them social media influencers as a means of monetizing that vulnerability for personal gain.


The influencers (I think the term shills is more appropriate) among them Kendall Jenner (nearly 22m Twitter followers),  Bella Hadid (more than 750k Twitter followers), Em Rata (more than 1m Twitter followers) made out like bandits with paychecks reported to being $250,000 to stand around, or lounge in bathing suits adorning the eye with a promise of ‘come play with me’. Using Instagram they promoted, and promoted, and promoted and in doing so the money poured in. Sex, as ever, sells.

Kendall Jenner made 250K off of promoting #fryefest ,

Yesterday, April 28th, Ja Rule (allegedly) tweeted and someone posted a screen grab to Instagram that the Frye Festival was all a big ‘social experiment’ to test the mettle of participants in a Hunger Games like scenario of adversity. (Some of the related posts include drinking their own urine to survive.)

#fryefestival • Instagram

Time will tell how short the memory of the public is, and whether by association these women have negatively impacted their credibility and their future earnings, and whether Ja Rule will be the subject of both a Class Action lawsuit and criminal charges for fraud.

This goes back to my last post, less than a week old, about ethics and reputation management. The nature of social media is that everything good or bad plays out in real-time. In our Wild, Wild West of social platforms there is broader issue for Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to consider – if ‘sponsored content’ results in an abuse of the public trust by hosting the influence peddling content are you complicit?, and if so, are you culpable?, should you distance your business further from such content and somehow shift the juncture of revenue generation? If a post subsequently results in bullying, terrorism, human trafficking, stalking, domestic violence, fraud, wrongful death, or murder have your policies enabled such to take place? Will any of these potential tragic events subsequently amplified to audiences approaching 600 million people globally result in lawsuits for ‘pain and suffering’? Corporate communications professionals should be involved in risk assessment, and not simply for the sake of reputation management or avoiding crisis management. I hope that this weekend legal, executive and communications teams at various social companies are meeting to develop (or expand) policies and legal protections.

The public clamors for social influencers to more carefully examine their choices of endorsement deals, a fairy tale ending which will never happen. It is the idolization of the rich and infamous which brought these individuals to Exuma and they need to take personal responsibility for their choices.

In closing, Caveat Emptor

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 


Karmic debris

ImageThere is balance in everything – the yin and yang, darkness and light – but even as I know this, S-O-M-E-T-I-M-E-S bearing witness to karmic debris is still shocking, especially when it has followed something pleasant.

Yesterday my neighbor Kanika took me to the post office to send away a pair of Chinese Art Deco carpets to their new owner in Texas while my presence in the car allowed her to practice in anticipation of her forthcoming road test for her driver’s license – balance indeed.  But upon our arrival a young woman (perhaps 19 years of age) was screaming at the top of her lungs, dropping F-bombs like no one’s business, stomping her feet, flaying her arms and throwing things at the post clerk who had been waiting on her. The most shocking aspect of this was “you wouldn’t treat me like this if I was white!” (I have removed the expletives and made this sentence standard English for the sake of readability.) From the multi-ethnicity rest of us in line (Asian, Indian, Caucasian, Arab, Black and Latino) could be heard a shocked and audible exhale of our collective breaths. Her anger was the result of spending her entire time at the counter on her cell phone with the result of not correctly filling out the post office box request form so the clerk asked her to step aside and fill out a new one so that he could take care of those of us waiting in line – she went ballistic.  I have thought a lot about this the last 24 hours – and ultimately two things are clear to me. The first is a patent lack of personal responsibility of this young woman for how her not focusing on a task before her resulted in her own inability to accomplish the reason she was at the post office in the first place.  The resulting frustration and anger being taken out on a (very nice male) civil servant who was still shaking and visibly stressed when he came to wait on me (in turn impacting my energy so completely that by the end of our transaction my hands were shaking) was hers alone “to own”. The second is more of question – what could possibly have happened in this woman’s life to make her so angry at such a young age?  For that, I think there is likely some pretty heavy duty Karmic debris hanging on her and only she will be able to free herself. Will she even come to understand this and take the steps necessary to come to a place of peace, compassion and kindness? Obviously I will never know.

But it is curious to me hinging on a snippet of conversation related to Kanika’s forthcoming driving test about the definition of aggressive driving and subsequently road rage that we should almost immediately encounter rage of any kind.  In the hours since I recalled the words, recently expressed, by a very wise man I know:

“You know what, I know this problem because, in mariner universe, a lot of people decide to start in boat for a world tour or something like that… and some of this people leave France to forget, to leave the problem….but, in reality, if you leave something without project for future, without find a solution to your problem, wham you go back or one day, the problems go back and bigger….”

The "HMS Bounty" sails past the ChicagoHuman beings are all too susceptible to avoidance.  I had sort of ‘run away to the sea’ when I went through my divorce (1989) becoming the operations manager for the HMS Bounty (then owned by Turner Broadcasting Systems in Atlanta). Removing myself from the pain I was experiencing, and being remarkably naïve for a 29 year old woman, didn’t fix the hurt and disillusionment.  But my actions, my leaving Western New York in the first place, served as an innocent catalyst for the haunting (and often hunted) aspect I have experienced by a man I met during my first weeks working for Turner and last seen in person in 1990 or 91.  A man who has never been able to let go of knowing me despite his (now) married state, despite my expressed desire for him to leave me alone, and to stop contacting me via various social media outlets.  I didn’t understand, still do not in some regard, how a couple of museum visits, the gifts of a scarf I desired and (beautiful but) unsolicited lingerie, and a few shared meals could so negatively impact my life for nearly 24 years. I have come to own this, reluctantly, having accepted ‘there is always a bill to pay’ but it seems a steep one.  I express extreme gratitude that my particular karmic debris isn’t tied to violence though the stalker-like behavior is unsettling with each new contact he makes. The result of this experience has made me thoroughly question my judgment of even speaking to a man for years because I couldn’t foresee the impact of doing so, none of us being blessed with functional crystal balls, and in so isolating myself I have been left without the normal joys and comfort of finding a loving partner with whom to share life.

Yes, we drag cosmic flotsam around with us like the Peanuts character  Pig-Pen and his PigPen_630_largedust cloud but owning those problems and solving them rather than foisting them onto others or embracing avoidance would make our entire very connected world a much more lovely and loving.  Go do something nice today – be a catalyst for ending karmic debris!

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ via PayPal at livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you!