Tag Archives: wealth

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.

frye

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

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Reinvention

Today I applied for roles in two Scandinavian countries, one as a consultant for an IT deployment and the other handling corporate communications for a firm in the global textiles industry. Both, as I see it, are opportunities to leverage my communications skills within spaces where I have considerable work experience but to do it outside of my comfort uprootzone.  Each company has been in business at least 165 years; which got me to thinking about reinvention and staying relevant. The ‘synergy’ of my desire to uproot, disrupt and cull the best of my first 52 years and move to a foreign country where I know absolutely no-one and I don’t speak the language and the most certain cycles of reinvention of these two companies have embraced to stay vital seems worth exploring on a more macro basis.  Disruption and migration is as old as mankind – a chief example being our history of being hunter gatherers for millions of years to ‘suddenly’ turning to settlements and agriculture about 12,000 years ago.  Setting down ‘roots’ as it were, someplace that we ‘make’ home versus wandering.

Anyone that reads this blog, or personally knows me, has already come to understand that I am a ferocious gardener.  In making something grow we nourish our souls, our bodies and (if done with reverence) also the Earth.  As ‘we’ (an ever larger segment of thinking society) school gardenFINALLY GET that our kids should know where food comes from and should be able to pronounce everything in it, that they can create beauty at the same time as they become stewards of the planet by digging in the dirt with their own hands, that an earthworm is a critical part of the ecosystem and should be regarded with a kind of spiritual partnering toward human-kinds’ very existence, that there is an opportunity to reclaim blight and turn it toward sustainable urban farming.

World Food Programme cites 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. No one should be hungry – ever – not when the richest 10 percent of adults in the world own 85 hungerpercent of global household wealth and 2% of the world’s population ‘use’ more than 50% of our collectively available resources.  In an attempt to provide foodstuffs and reclaim urban areas suddenly there are plenty of people very excited about vertical gardening.  The MacArthur Foundation, in its Fellow Program (aka Genius Awards) back in 2008 included Will Allen for his Growing Power efforts.  Stephen Ritz received a standing ovation at the 2013 Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations for his efforts with Green Bronx Machine.

ImageBut any little girl over the age of 9 or 10 who has read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s wonderful The Secret Garden understands that walls planted with espaliered trees thrive in the longer ‘season’ offered by the sun warming the brick or stone walls.

Espaliering is an ancient horticulture practice dating back to the Romans but brought to artistic merit by the Europeans during the 17th century.  ImageEspalier is French, but originates from the Italian spalliera, which means “something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against,” is the process of controlling plant growth in a flat plane, usually against a wall or fence, sometimes formed into a hedge by training the trees against a free-standing trellis or fence that eventually becomes redundant.

So, the idea that vertical gardening should be tied to left wing liberals, the über-intelligent and hippie dropouts is utterly ridiculous – for goodness sake it doesn’t take a genius to recognise that our planet is only so big, with finite and diminishing resources, GMO being thrust upon a hungry planet and a population desperate to survive.  To stretch our capacity to grow foodstuffs by espalier or vertical gardening is common sense thousands of years old. And so with companies like Green Living Technologies and folks like Will Allen and Stephen Ritz filling a void our stomachs and consciousness. I am reminded – Everything old is new again     

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AllThatINeedbizcardartfront

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