Social media destroys artistes


THE WORLD CUP has come and gone and television remote controls surrendered to the “rightful owners”. Soon Big Brother Africa will start almost at the same time as the English Premier League and the remote wars will be resuscitated.

During the soccer feast in Brazil something caught my attention and inspired me to write this week’s article.

Here is the background: A Belgian teenager Axelle Despiegelaere was photographed by Getty Images at Belgium’s games against Russia on June 22 and Korea on June 26. Her photos caught the attention of makeup giants L’Oreal and the teenager landed a lucrative contract as a model and face of the company.

Two days later Axelle fell from glory and had her contract cancelled for a Facebook post showing her with a dead animal carcass and a caption about hunting Americans. The post proved to be her demise.

Facebook can be detrimental to a career and I immediately thought of and felt for many of our artistes in Zimbabwe. Almost all our artistes, be it actors, dancers, musicians individual or as groups have Facebook accounts and my research has shown that some or most of them are oblivious of the effects of these social sites on one’s trade.

While there is Twitter and Instagram and Whatsapp I think Facebook is a favourite and at the same time the most toxic.

The cyber world is powerful and very effective. Entertainers use these platforms to market their work, their gigs and to keep their fans up to date with their progress. In time memorial it has never been this easy to connect with audiences and fans than at this day and age.

It is good for our entertainers to use Facebook to market themselves, but I feel that most of them still need to learn on how effectively they could be without destroying themselves on the same platforms.

As an artiste, it is important to understand that the moment you decide to use your Facebook account as a mouth piece for your work you need to be very careful on what you post or send out on your wall or inbox to the people who choose to follow you.

Statuses, photos and shared posts define you as an entertainer to whoever reads what you post and in most times they are irreversible.

If you decide to use your account to market your work then you certainly need to monitor your posts and avoid racist, tribal, vulgar, political posts unless they are inclined to your purpose as an artiste.

They can be picked up by the wrong eyes and later affect your career as an entertainer.

Social sites are emotional punching bags where many people drown their anger, feelings and even share personal problems. I have no qualms with that, but if you are popular and you wash your dirty linen on these sites they may grow teeth and bite you later.

Remember the world, the press, your prospective client, your fans and promoters view your posts. It is no secret that journalists today rely on sites for scoops and news, so make sure you handle what you send out as delicately as the image you want to create of yourself or your brand.

Remember that bragging and pride are not good forms of marketing. Your Facebook friends should not feel belittled by your posts.

Some consequences are basic. Dear entertainer, if you cannot write correct English then do not attempt to post in the language.

It is so embarrassing to read posts from celebrities written in broken English, wrong spellings and direct translations from local lingo.

I would suggest that you ask, check the dictionary, use auto correct or even google some words before you post on social sites.

Musicians, dancers and actors enjoy commenting on other posts forgetting that their legion of fans are informed on whatever they have commented on. It could be a pornographic site or a racist, political or tribal debate.

My suggestion is, keep your opinion to yourself if you are a public figure, especially on sensitive issues. Facebook is an open platform and not everyone would like what you post.

Some comments may be unpalatable to you. Your followers may argue and fight on your posts. You need to be diplomatic in handling such cases. Ranting back may injure your reputation.

I have observed that most groups, institution or team members believe their private accounts have nothing to do with the image of their mother group, association or organisation.

Unfortunately the opposite is true. The moment you are a member of a band or cast, it is advisable that you use social sites responsibly. Weeks ago a WhatsApp conversation between Tinopona Katsande and DJ Candice leaked into public forums. This was private, but it will always be addressed in relation to the institutions they work for.

Even if you post personally, if it’s news worthy it will be connected to your career. There is one more thing to remember too. We all trust in the delete button, but technically nothing we delete falls into a dustbin.

These gadgets are lost, stolen, sold and we send them to repair shops. They are phoenix ghosts. Take heed. Keep walking!