Author: Charlie Fern

Charlie Fern Ink, LLC, is a strategic communications consultancy that provides services including public relations and publicity, tour and media management, strategic message development and deployment, media relations and media training, executive coaching, speech writing and public speaking coaching, event planning, social media strategy; cross-platform branding, and professional writing and editing with areas of expertise that include international relations, business, and diplomacy; government, education, non-profit/advocacy, music and entertainment, healthcare, biotech, technology, social media, entrepreneurial/startup and general professional communications.

On Becoming August: Allen Higgins throws down and scores big on his new album of works

Here’s a sample of the very least that you can expect from singer-songwriter Allen Higgins and his band, Becoming August:


     Higgins was born in February of 1969, smack dab in the middle of two great decades for music. He calls himself a late bloomer, because he didn’t pick up the guitar until 1986. (I’d guess that was during the last few years of high school for him, when most people our age were either playing or listening to music in our friends’ garages.)
     “I’ve always had to play catch up” Higgins said. ”Maybe that’s part of what drives me.” 
     If there’s one thing we know about this man, it’s that he doesn’t like to waste time on lame ideas.  Whatever the project, he strives to live up to the best writers and players of all time. 
     “If it doesn’t sound like a strong idea out of the gate, I usually junk it out and move on,” he said. “You’ve always got to give it your best. Otherwise why bother?” 
     His songwriting and guitar playing is the heart and soul of his band Becoming August. Check out their work on Facebook:
     Listen to the single, “Sunnyside Down,” from their latest CD, Someplace Better (available on iTunes and CD Baby): 

(Time: 2:34. Format: Country – Folk – Americana – Easy Listening – Light Rock – Multi Format)

     Diane Cortese Entertainment (Toronto, Canada) said this about Higgins: “Modern sound. Great harmonies. Solid production. Upbeat. Great musicianship. Listeners will love this!’  
     I agree with my diva partners and other sharp cookies in the entertainment industry, including Cortese. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from Mr. Allen Higgins.

A Word’s Worth.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, 
Hath had elsewhere its setting, 
And cometh from afar; 
Not in entire forgetfulness, 
And not in utter nakedness, 
But trailing clouds of glory, do we come; 
From God, who is our home. 
Heaven lies about us in our infancy. 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close; 
Upon the growing Boy, 
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows, 
He sees it in his joy; 
The Youth, who daily farther from the east; 
Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest, 
And by the vision splendid; 
Is on his way attended; 
At length the man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day.

–William Wordsworth

Facebook + privacy + data protection = Net Loss for Instagram (and me)

     I deleted my Instagram account today with mixed emotions.     
     I do not count myself among the wrinkled-nosed hipsters that the Twitterverse is heckling for lamenting Instagram’s takeover by Facebook. I would count myself among the somewhat informed professionals who study and use social media for educational purposes and business practices — people who have serious concerns about Facebook’s track record with regard to user privacy and safety and data mining practices. I continue to be uneasy about Facebook’s potential to wreak havoc on millions of lives for the sake of a business bottom line.
     Unfortunately I cannot *not* use Facebook because that’s where my friends, family, students, school(s), clients and customers live. But I can limit my use and the amount of data – specifically my 1,700-plus Instagram photos – that I allow Facebook to get its grubby hands on and exploit without my permission.

     It’s a shame, really. I liked the social, artistic, and visual marketing aspects of Instagram. And aside from the utterly addictive quality of an app that allows people to take crappy photos with their smart phones and turn them into interesting visuals, I had fun interacting with a community of individuals who weren’t necessarily like-minded but liked sharing visual art in virtual spaces. And that was enough.
     I’d grown rather fond of my own little community of mutual followers — a small, global village that I hand-picked myself: about 250 fascinating people (a vast age and demographic range), cool professionals, interesting businesses and superbly talented artists from various parts and far corners of the world. Some of my favorites:
@jeanlucr – a longtime online friend and social media rockstar from Paris, whom I am lucky to know offline, too.

@tegold – an early Instagram connection and a favorite of mine. He’s one of the finest photographers I’ve encountered online. I’ll miss watching his odysseys unfold as he travels round the world with his lovely companion Sue (who happens to like Guiness, too).
@faithegraphy – one of my favorites and an early member of the mutual admiration society
@monstropolis – an icon in black and white
@jasonwhitely – a Texan
@quietobserver, chronicling life from an unnamed coffee shop in So Cal
@rosierazor, navigating the glorious, unpredictable and sometimes choppy sea of motherhood
@mattearley (I’ll see you on Twitter)
@merciluke, the black cat
@marlonklug, an icon
@duluku, talent on either side of the camera
@checkoh1, the orangutan
@mrjoestaples, who didn’t have to engage to be like-able
@artistasocial – a wise early adopter organization that promotes gorgeous art from Latin America.
@leviroy fabulous, fabulous avatar to go with fabulous, fabulous photos; had fun talking to her
@scotspix – irreverent dog owner with a wicked sense of humor and a knack for telling stories
@leodemonio, with the flaming L avatar
@clusterofnuts, from Colorado, who can throw down some photos, insight and banter

@jasoneichacker – I’ll see you on Twitter, too
@bananasforbourbon, who makes some of the most gorgeous food I’ve ever seen. I’m determined to be her neighbor someday.
@lovetoliveinjeddah, who has the most beautiful bunch of kids you’ve ever seen (and you know where they got their good looks)
@wfaa8 – another early adopter, a wise Texas news organization
@metsys1616, another kindred spirit
@yoursassypants – as fun as she is sassy.
@mmwine, who puts on a great show about wine across several media platforms

@vnrman, who obviously understands the power of visual elements
@nancymoon, another favorite. A PR peer who shares my affection for her last name and other celestial bodies
@sgtalbertmartin, whom I hope doesn’t have the sort of job that would put anyone’s life in jeopardy should I mention his name here
@schmutzie who is just as endearing as the name
@faceofmoon whose photos I simply adored and didn’t have to speak the same language to say so
@wonheeeee (ditto the above comment) and a stunning beauty on film, and in film
@time_tonight (ditto the above comment), and who never ceased to make me smile with gorgeous photos and the frog-and-cat story that continues to unfold.
@robdoran – New Yorker who likes red doors, captures iconic landmarks, and writes the best and most informative captions on Instagram
@nikie34c – one of my favorite people on Instagram. Period. A smashingly talented photographer whose heart shines through in photos, comments, likes and conversations.
@johncpiercy – the traveling firefighter from Canada who can capture a seagull better than anyone on IG.
@jeromeshaw – travel writer who shares a common bond with San Diego (and also happens to have a gorgeous ginger-haired daughter)
     And others whose words and images I’ll miss…and wish I had more time to tell you about here, including:


     Not a bad collection of souls, if you ask me.
     While I am awed and inspired by the ability of Instagram’s founders to turn a dream into a profit of One Billion Dollars after  551 days, still…I thought it a bit short-sighted. I saw potential for the app to become something more like Twitter — and less like Facebook.
     But, what’s done is done, and that’s that. Now, if you’re like me and intend to delete your own Instagram account, here’s some ideas, courtesy of the KDAF TV blog (Dallas, Texas):
     Export pictures: Unless you want to lose your pics, first you’ll need to back them up. allows you to download all your Instagram photos into one zip drive or send them to Flickr.
     Delete Instagram account: Once you’ve downloaded your pictures, and you’re sure they’re safe, you’re ready to kiss your Instagram account goodbye. All you need to do is visit this link to do so. (Just be absolutely positive you want to do this.)

     Consider alternatives: When you get rid of Instagram, chances are you might feel a void. Lucky for you, there is no shortage of camera apps.  I agree with the last suggestion. Every day presents new adventures and new apps to record and share them on, and I intend to explore ’em and find the best ones out there. 
     Maybe I’ll encounter some of my favorite IGers again while I’m wandering around in the ether. Until then, if any of you happen to see them around, tell ’em Miss Charlie says hello.