Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yesterday was Thursday, Today is Friday

Unless you live under a rock (or simply avoid media of all types) I am sure by now you have heard of Rebecca Black and her song "Friday." In the last few weeks, Rebecca and her song have exploded due in large part to social media. Unfortunately the explosion seems to be one of disgust rather than excitement.

Mashable has a great post about Rebecca Black which gives an overview of how she became so popular. Tosh.0 linked to the video under a post entited “Songwriting Isn’t for Everyone.” After that the flood gates opened. I found out about it on Tumblr when the song was ridiculed via classic tumblr memes such as the forever alone guy.

The video for friday has received an incredible number of views, but the ratio of "likes" to "dislikes" is quite skewed. Rebecca also started a twitter account to talk with her fans, but I wonder how many of her 66,604 followers are there because they are fans and how many are there because they want a front row seat to watch the "car crash".  Rebecca Black is definitely a youtube and social media sensation right now, but unfortunately for her it is more due to the hilarity of her musical attempts than to any real talent.

To end this post, I will leave you with this lovely little video explaining Rebecca's viral success.


The Great Equalizer

Chapter 3 of Brian Solis's book Engage opens with the statement "social media is the great equalizer." The idea that social media is the great equalizer is a underlying concept for many arguments about social media today or at least is an underlying concept for many of the arguments made in my Social Media for PR class.  I think it is an important idea but it is one I have yet to talk about here. That little lapse will be solved today.

So what is meant by the statement that social media is the great equalizer? It basically means that social media has put power in the hands of the consumer. Before social media, there was a "top down" form of communication between business and consumers in which businesses said things and consumers listened. Communication wasn't really a two way street. Social media changed that and made it so small consumers could talk to big companies as well as other consumers.

When explained that way the idea of social media as a great equalizer sounds very scholarly and not applicable at all to real life. In reality people use social media as an equalizer all the time. When you purchase a product, say a TV, it dies within a year of purchase, and you go online to leave a review about it, your using social media as an equalizer.

This past Wednesday I had some friends, Christine and Melinda, who used Twitter and Facebook to express their discontent with a company named Whrrl who had a contest to give away 2 Audis during SXSW. They were upset that no one ended up winning those 2 Audis but they were lead to believe that someone would. The girls tweeted Whrrl and Whrrl responded through tweets and email. Christine and Melinda used social media to start a conversation with Whrrl and although the problem wasn't solved, they were at least able to talk directly to the company.

I sometimes think that most of the public thinks of social media as just a way to have fun and connect with others. I think that the idea that it can be used to connect with companies and express either positive or negative feelings about them often gets lost. Hopefully after reading this you will know not to write social media off as just frivolous fun, it can be useful business communication tool as well.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Personal Branding for Disney Fans

In the past week I have been researching Personal Branding for a project for school. Its a concept that in great part has come about with the emergence of the internet and the rise of social media. In case you don't know what personal branding is, its basically the concept of making yourself a brand and marketing yourself and your skills. For example, Coca-Cola is a brand owned by the Coca-Cola company. For personal branding think of yourself as Coca-Cola the company and your personality and skills as Coca-Cola (the drink) which you have to market to the public.

While I was researching this topic I kept trying to think of someone I knew that had done this successfully. At first I couldn't really think of anyone, but then I remembered a friend I had met while working at Disney. His name is Paul Chadkin, a Disney World cast member, and he has been quite successful at branding himself as your go-to Disney Parks information hub.

When it comes to personal branding, social media is your friend. Once you find your niche and decide how you want to market yourself, social media is one of the best ways to start connecting with others and getting your name out there. Paul has done this incredibly well. He has a presence on twitter and posts regularly with updates about what is going on in the Disney Parks. As a cast member, Paul has the ability to go to cast previews and hear "backstage" information which many other Disney Parks "tipsters" aren't able to do. Paul has an parks update report, called the D-Report, which he posts on his blog as well as on Disney discussion boards. In addition to his own report he also guest writes for other well known Disney fan sites such as

The fact that Paul has 727 twitter followers and is on 71 lists shows me that he successfully created a presence for himself in the very crowded Disney fandom universe. Personal branding, a concept and process which can seem very vague can really work. Paul's success, to me, proves it. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disney College Program Live Blogging Event

Will be live blogging from the Disney College Program's live presentation at the University of Texas on 3/1 at 5:00 pm central.

Update (3/2 9:30am) Technical issues (no internet access or cell signal) meant I couldn't live blog yesterday's presentation. However I am going to try again today!

Update (3/2 1:15 pm): Thanks to everyone who participated! I had a great time live blogging the event. If you want to see the transcript of the event just click the replay button in the box below.