Imagine a world where one had to wait weeks – even up to a month – to learn about the latest fashion trends, what types of champagne were popular, and who was dating whom. Imagine having to rely on your personal circle of friends to have connections in other geographic areas that could tell you what was being worn in New York and Paris so that you, anxious to be on the cutting edge, could be the first to buy it in local stores as it became available.
This scenario is some far-fetched imagination of an alternate reality. Rather, it is reminiscent of days not so long ago, before the advent of social media, when the rich and famous learned what their sphere of influence was going to be doing before the rest of the world and capitalized on that knowledge to build empires. It is not surprising, then, that the rich and famous were the first adopters of social media and that they continue to influence the world through instantaneous digital marketing campaigns waged in public social media space while engaging their own close friends and peer groups in tightly controlled and secretive social media networks of their own.
All of this is not to say that the true images placed on social media by the ultra-rich and famous not give any insight into their true lifestyles. A look into social media behemoth, @theultimatekaiser (The Ultimate Kaiser), a little-known but heavily trafficked social media platform of Hong Kong billionaire, Calvin Lo. His business dealings are largely secretive but he is incredibly wealthy and extremely powerful.
It’s difficult to determine what is placement and what is authentic in Lo’s social media but the lion’s share of what is published appears more like an artistic storyboard with an authentic look in to the life of a billionaire. The Ultimate Kaiser is designed as a place where Lo can be himself, network with his peers, and truly exhibit the components of his life not designed to sell or generate profits in the way traditional social media presences are.
On the other end of the spectrum, it may be said that the wealthy are among the most public individuals in the world, embracing trends and strategically placing their mark on products that will become trends and increase the wealth of their endorsers. A prime example of individuals who were early exploiters of social media are the Kardashians. While the family was wealthy to begin with, the women all set out on individual campaigns to dominate social media with little to offer other than pictures of their wealth and extravagant lifestyle. Devoid of particular talent, these wealthy individuals saw social media as a means of expanding their wealth by using the resources available to them rather than talent.
It is the potential for this type of placement and the ability to capitalize upon it that other rich and famous people were the first to embrace social media and, in many cases, make a career of it.