Reckless Communication (2016)

Copy of #TheSafeSpace column published on Wednesday the 3rd of February 2016 in the Times Of Swaziland:

The entertainment world is a dicey affair. Often the line between success and failure is a complicated mixture of talent, support, management and todays focus; communication. I love analysing the dynamics that make entertainment world spin. Through my friends, I often get a front row seat to their quests in music, fashion and other forms of creative art. Although their pursuits of happiness are vastly different, they are all bound by need to interact with an audience in order to generate positive (monetary) feedback. To achieve this, these individuals essentially have to sell themselves as products that people can buy into, which ultimately define success.
Now, when you make a conscious decision to throw yourself into the limelight, a lot of things have to change. In essence you are attempting to become a celebrity and unfortunately celebrities have to watch themselves more than the average Joe. Whereas a normal person might get to freely express an opinion on Facebook, someone in the limelight will ask themselves any of the following questions; Is this worth posting?, Will this drew me closer or further from my target audience? and Will this tweet or status update translate into sales?. If one is fond of constantly communicating provocative, random and unnecessary thoughts on public platforms, then maybe they should consider an alternative career. At this point in time, someone may be thinking, What about Kanye West or Donald Trump? My response is Look at you and look at Kanye or Trump. These two individuals that are extremely popular for saying some inappropriate things are an exception, not the rule. As an upcoming musician or fashion designer, it would be in your best interest if you dont source inspiration from reckless communicators. You simply do not have the clout, following or net worth to even begin speaking like that. In other words, you cannot afford to really tell us what you think and we will certainly not allow you to get away with it. For every Kanye or Trump, theres millions of people with failed careers simply because they thought that 1 000 Facebook likes allows them to keep it real.

The road to success starts earlier than most people realise. The minute you decide to pursue entertainment, you become a brand and we all know how brands communicate. Unlike the average Joe, you relinquish the right to get into unnecessary arguments, air dirty laundry and make discriminatory or homophobic statements. When you are dealing with an audience, especially in a small market, you cannot risk offensive statements because the consequences can be catastrophic. It is hardly rocket science but audiences respond to value, or more accurately, perceived value. You certainly do not have to be arrogant but if you are too normal or accessible or just like us early in your career then why should we be interested in your product? If we think that we can communicate more effectively than you, then why should we attend your shows? If we think we can conduct ourselves better in public then why should we buy your album? Its all about trying to constantly distinguishe yourself fam, that is what you have signed up for.

Entertainment is hardly just about a catchy stage name and nifty artwork. In essence, it is about getting as many people to spend money on you over and over again. In a world of dwindling funds, thats a tall order dont you think? So, for an audience to be drawn into your world, you need to wake up, step up your game and ensure that every time you interact with us, you give us even more reason to invest in you.

Feel free to share your comments with me through Twitter (@chr1sfleming), blog http://www.chr1sfleming.wordpress.com or email christian-fleming@outlook.com. Until we meet again, goodbye.

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