Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin was in the news today (The Straits Times) in an article about retirement plans for younger workers so I went to his Facebook page to see if netizens had left similar comments of annoyance there.
To my utter surprise, the cover picture of the Minister’s Facebook Page showed him holding a “You Should Be Here” blue banner and smiling gaily with three others:
I then sent him an email (his email addresses are on his Facebook page) and received a reply from the Minister himself within 35 minutes.
For the record, the Minister is “not endorsing them” (i.e. World Ventures).
[Sidenote: I am very impressed that the Minister sent me a reply so promptly and even more appreciative about the fact that he asked me what I do for a living. And yes, I am a full-time blogger]
The Minister’s new Facebook Page Cover Picture:
The Minister candidly shared with me that he manages his own Page and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised that he took action in changing the picture so quickly. He is a man of his word, it seems.
The people from this MLM company are quite adept at getting political figures to appear in their pictures with the “You Should Be Here” banner. Satirical news site, newnation.sg, ran an article last year with the headline “PM Lee revealed as member of World Ventures”. The site (newnation) is known for their brand of humorous (fake) news – as evidenced in their tagline of “50% real news”.
(Read the article here: http://newnation.sg/2014/04/pm-lee-revealed-as-member-of-world-ventures/)
And one of their readers actually bought into the story (@_@)
This is how scary it can be when political figures, or any other influential figure, agree to a photo without requesting that people lay down their props, banners, products, or any other promotional material. They become unwitting endorsers of these products and services.
My recommendation to Minister Tan Chuan-Jin was to grab a copy of ‘Public Relations 247’ by Social Media and PR expert, Andrew Chow. Chapters 8 and 9 would be extremely beneficial for any politician to read. In fact, I noticed that MP Tin Pei Ling was also at the book launch for PR 247. 🙂
When told about the Minister’s facebook picture and my email, Andrew’s advice is…
“All photos posted on social media can become marketing material for unethical business. Protect yourself with the privacy settings and prepare a standard disclaimer in case of being misrepresented. Looking at the bright side; if your social assets are leveraged by others, it means you are seen as an influencer. It can happen to anyone; the more improbable it is, the more sensational it becomes.”