Celebrity Influencers Under Fyre?

By: Donald Smith

Last week I spoke a little on how influencers and people’s trust in them on social media. Well, after the Fyre Festival debacle that trust may have taken a hit.

First, let’s see what the Fyre Festival was supposed to be. Most of you probably had not

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“Fyre Music Festival” By Fyre Festival

heard about it before because it was an inaugural event. The music festival was supposed to be a “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience” on a private island previously owned by Pablo Escobar. It boasted a packed line-up of A-list artists such as Migos, Disclosure, Major Lazer, blink-182 and many more. Along with music, there was supposed to be “a uniquely authentic island cuisine experience” and “luxurious accommodations.” Ticket Packages for the festival started at $1,200 and some came with six-figure price tags. The festival was also endorsed by multiple celebrities via their social media channels such as Ja Rule, who was also a founder, Kendall Jenner, people might want to stop using her, Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid.


Now, come the day of the festival and all of the luxuriousness and music that was promised was nowhere to be found on the island. Instead, attendees were met with disaster relief tents and sandwiches, not submarine sandwiches. It was not until most of the guest had already arrived on the island before the festival founders released statements saying the festival was canceled. However, none of the other celebrity influencers, except Ja Rule, posted any apology for their promotion of the event. Actually, they did the opposite, they deleted any social media content on their accounts that included mention of the Fyre Festival. But, even when looking at Ja Rule’s “apology” it does not seem sincere. Only Billy McFarland showed any real acceptance of responsibility for the festival’s demise.

With the silence of the celebrities who promoted the event, is it possible to say that trust of other celebrity influencers will be lost? Personally, I am going to have to say no. Only those who have been caught up in situations such as this one will lose trust from their followers. It would not be rational to say that because Kendall Jenner and Ja Rule got caught up with this festival that Beyoncé’s or Drake’s followers will lose trust in them. Therefore, it is still okay to use celebrity influencers, as long as they have not been in the news in connection to controversies because they have been successful in driving reach and sales. Lastly, here is an article from Vogue that all influencers should take a look at before accepting someone’s offer to promote a product or event, due diligence is key.

Social Media in Higher Education

By Josh Lawson | @JoshKLawson


Social media can be a hard concept to grasp. Most people say you need to be a master in something before you try to teach it to others. That way you can reword difficult concepts to students who don’t understand it. The medium of social media is constantly evolving and expanding. It’s often used in higher education to offer social CRM, but for students. It humanizes professors and can give a sense of ownership on the content we create.


The fact that social media is changing means that whoever teaches it needs to evolve with it. The platforms will change, but the basics will always stay the same, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a time-consuming industry. You constantly have monitor several different account and hashtags, learn everything that changes with each update, and experiment with new features that each platform offers.

Many students, faculty, and sometimes even professionals have no idea how to use any aspect of social media. This means there is a huge disconnect between the brand and the consumers. The most successful accounts on social media platforms are those who show the most personality in their content, have a social CRM strategy, and act like an actual person instead of a computer generating lackluster content.


Someone who teaches social media needs to have an excellent grasp on every concept surrounding the different platforms, rather than just the numbers and analytic data about them. Yes, that information helps, but not as much as hearing what it’s actually like to work in the industry using those tools and those platforms.

The information learned from someone who has professionally worked in the social media industry is invaluable. Those skills cannot be learned anywhere else. There is something completely different about learning vicariously from someone’s experience than learning from a PowerPoints and TEDtalks without trying to explain those any further.


The skills learned with social media are based in customer service, public relations, journalism, and ethics. We learn these skills leading up to this course, or at least some of those skills. We don’t need to be learning the data and statistics for these platforms, but rather we need to be learning how to use social media in the real world.

Journey to the Center of Memes

Joshua Lawson | @JoshKLawson

The definition of a meme is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. It originated in the field of psychology, and the internet has adopted it and changed the meaning while also embracing the previous definition.

We now live in the digital age. A wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips and fits in the palm of our hand. But, instead of using that tool to learn more about the world around us we use it to spread ideas of what we perceive as funny. Some people create their own memes to share with the world, and others just look at them and laugh. picture2

The definition of memes has expanded beyond intangible thoughts, to ideas that people can see and share. They allow people to experiment with different social cues, expand problem-solving skills, and adopt different social identities as a form of improvisation in relationships. Creating memes has become a new learning activity as

Creating memes has become a new learning activity. Users have to comb through different news outlets, trending RSS feeds, and other relevant content to create a meme that other people find funny and conveys the emotions they wanted. But that doesn’t all memes are good.picture3

Some memes have malicious intent. Some memes use images they don’t have permission to use. Before you make someone into a meme, just, think if you’d be ok if it happened to you. Think if it would affect the image, or personal brand, of the person in the meme. Overall, think before you post. You may think you did all your research, but always double check.

Fake News – Yup

By: William Branch

The election was an interesting one to say the least. Trump’s, excuse me, president-elect Trump’s campaign has set precedents; resulting in an apology from The New York Times, as well as amazement from multiple news outlets and political pundits. Reasons were given as to why everyone credible seemingly got it wrong.

Recently there’s been another finger pointed.

Towards fake, internet news site.

Fake news sites similar to the ones seen on Facebook feeds and Google result’s page (example below).

Photo Cred: Facebook


Social media is rife with unverified, and unsubstantiated information. Misinformation shared from person to ‘like-minded’ person resulting in a one-sided narrative. Commonly referred to as the ‘Echo Chamber Effect’, it is the process of individuals gathering news from other likeminded individuals online or off, further enforcing their own narrative resulting in a skewed-view of facts and opinions.

It is what led many to believe and share false stories posted as news from “hoax-writers” such as Paul Horner and hoax-sites such as the National Report. Buzzfeed reported in an article October of this year on the increase in false or misleading information on Facebook Pages. With the alarming number of occurrences where inaccurate information or outright lies are shared as truth it is very disconcerting to know that people are frequently being duped into believing such nonsense.

To combat the problem Google and Facebook recently announced that they will be putting a ban on fake-news content.

As reported by The New York Times on November 14th, Google plans on fixing their AdSense System algorithm to analyze sites based on “automated and human reviews” in order to restrict pages that “misrepresent, misstate or conceal information”. Facebook will update its Facebook Audience Network policy to place a restriction on fake news sites, specifically.

All in an effort to quell the furor around the hand fake-news sites had in ‘potentially’ influencing the election.


Wingfield, Nick, Isaac, Mike and Benner, Katie. “Google And Facebook Take Aim At Fake News Site”. TheNewYorkTimes, 14 Nov. 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/15/technology/google-will-ban-websites-that-host-fake-news-from-using-its-ad-service.html?_r=0. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.

Dewey, Caitlin. “Facebook Fake-News Writer: ‘I Think Donald Trump Is In The White House Because Of Me’”. WashingtonPost, 17 Nov. 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/17/facebook-fake-news-writer-i-think-donald-trump-is-in-the-white-house-because-of-me/. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.

Spectacles by Snap Inc

Written by: Hailey Turner

Snap Inc has officially started selling Spectacles they had announced earlier this year. Spectacles are sunglasses with a camera attached to the corner allowing for filming hands free. The glasses are being sold for $130 from vending machines being placed in select/unknown locations. With the purchase you also receive a yellow case/charger for these.


Photo Credit: The Verge 

A few specs about Spectacles

  • Battery lasts about one day
  • Can charge in the case throughout the day
  • Colors: Black, Teal or Coral
  • Plastic material
  • Work with both Apple and Android

To start filming a video the user must double tap the side of the glasses which will film a 10 second clip, this can be extended by tapping on more time filming a total of 30 consecutive seconds. One of the key features is the circle led light on the outer corner. This led light, can show how much battery the glasses have and lights up when filming is happening. Spectacles then can send the video to Snapchat on your phone in the ‘Memories’ section where you can then add filters or text and send to friends your your story.

This kind of technology is intriguing. It will be interesting to see how Spectacles with be revived into the world. I believe these being used in to creative interesting/exciting content but by a very small and select group. Personally, I do not like someone to have the ability to film in a discreet way in day to day life, I think this could cause confusion and lead to some being uncomfortable. Although the led light is there, I wonder how visible it is in direct sunlight or how noticeable it actually is. I will be very interested to follow this further and see how and if Spectacles does catch on.

These glasses are innovative, creative and unique and I believe these kind of innovations will be necessary to stay relevant in the social media driven world.


Instagram’s trying to compete with Snapchat.

By Jennifer Becan

Will it work? I don’t know.

According to an article by Adweek, Instagram is bringing people’s stories to the Explore tab. This will allow users to view stories from people they don’t already follow.

Image from: blog.instagram.com/post/151983992047/1610-stories-explore

Instagram is obviously trying to emulate Snapchat’s live stories in some way, and I can’t help but wonder why. Didn’t they already copy Snapchat when they introduced stories in the first place? Couldn’t they try for something a little more original?

On top of this, I also wonder how many users are actually interested in watching stories from people that they don’t already follow. I wouldn’t watch them. Then again, I don’t really watch Instagram stories from people that I follow in the first place.

On the other hand, according to Instagram, “more than 100 million people visit Explore every day to discover photos and videos from people they don’t yet follow.” I wouldn’t have guessed the number was that high. Additionally, there are many articles that argue Instagram’s stories feature, while a knock-off, is better than Snapchat’s.

Instagram’s bringing stories to the Explore tab could be a huge success. People could love it and go there for hours of entertainment.

Even with these points in mind, I’m still not sure how successful this will be for Instagram. Snapchat was there first. People know that and can see what Instagram is trying to do. Don’t get me wrong though, I love Instagram. It’s just that Instagram is typically for posting pictures, and that’s why I get on Instagram. To look at pictures. I don’t go to Instagram to view stories; that’s what Snapchat is for.

My guess is, people will use this for a couple of weeks just because it’s new and then return their undivided attention to Snapchat. Buy hey, I could be wrong.

Trump’s Social Media is Just as Embarrassing as his Personality

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Republican nominee Donald Trump was intentionally trying to lose the election. On a regular basis, his Twitter personality goes completely against what you’d think anyone trying to get a decent job would say, much less the largest job in America.

During the first presidential debate the most re-tweeted post was an old tweet of Trump claiming that global warming was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The four-year-old tweet became relevant when Clinton accused Trump of denying climate change. Of course Trump said that she was wrong, as he did many times throughout the debate. That’s when tens of thousands of twitter users shared the old post, proving that he had contradicted himself.

You would think that a man who is so quick to accuse his opponent of being incorrect would spend a few minutes fact checking his own social media accounts. The fact that they were posted in the first place is embarrassing enough, but the real suspicion starts to build whenever we see that so many of these embarrassing statements were never taken down.



This isn’t the only time Trump has embarrassed himself on social media. The man has a long history of ridiculous claims, slander of popular icons, and outright neglect to appear professional.

We have to know that a campaign as big and expensive as Tump’s would include staff committed to his online image. This staff would obviously have the time to clean up his social media presence, or rather make it appear exactly how they want to.

The question then becomes clear. Why would Trump intentionally sabotage himself?

I can’t answer this question, but I can say that it points to larger forces at work. America has never seen a political candidate like Trump before. His strategy appears to be completely backwards to most. We wont know until November if it worked for him, but we may not ever know whom it is truly working for.

To see more social media embarrassments from Trump click here.


Photo source