Perhaps the most interesting thing about social media isn’t what brands are doing in the new space but what individuals and small teams are creating. I’ve written here before about some of my favorites: Erik Proulx’s ability to make Lemonade the movie; Sheena Matheiken’s clever Uniform Project that raised over $100,000 for the Akanksha Foundation; Michelle Ryan Lauto’s Facebook event, responsible for thousands of New Jersey students boycotting school in protest of tax cuts.
Today I participated in another project that’s pretty cool. Len Kendall’s and Daniel Honigman’s the3six5. The simple Posterous blog recruited 365 different people around the world to each write about a single day. The3six5 is a lesson in everything from crowdsourcing to generating free content, to harnessing the collective reach of a community.
It also offers the perfect formula for brands and marketers to follow.
It takes advantage of a simple, easy to use platform
No one built a website. Instead 3six5 uses the increasingly popular Posterous. The free platform comes with its own built-in community and offers an embeddable tab on Facebook. The old way of thinking was to create something you have to build. The new way of thinking is to build something from stuff that’s already created.
It invites participation
There will always be downright remarkable content toward which we all gravitate. But no one is content just to watch anymore. More and more everyone wants to join in and create. People will give more of their time, effort and ideas than you might imagine if they feel as if they’re contributing to something bigger and worthwhile.
It markets itself
Do the math. If 365 people contribute, and they each have a few thousand followers on Twitter, each of whom has hundreds more, well, you get the picture. It doesn’t take very long for those numbers to grow. In fact after just six months the3six5 has over a million views.
Ironically, my the3six5 post was about old fashioned community, the kind that doesn’t need social media. But if you’re a brand, a marketer, a small company or just one person who wants to make something happen, this is clearly the neighborhood to live in.
What do you think? I’d really appreciate it if you shared as many one person initiated projects that you can think of. Let’s start a collection in the comments below.