Social media is boring. Social media ideas are interesting.

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Yesterday I came across a couple of good examples of people using social media instead of talking about social media. One was Zack’s unfortunate, unexpected sex change. In this video series (for a product that will reveal itself over the next week or so) poor Zack wakes up to find his manhood has disappeared and he’s… well we’re not quite sure. This slightly absurd story presented with great writing, solid casting, and realistic performances captures your imagination right from the opening shot.

Inevitably it’s the kind of work that will generate buzz, get passed around by consumers, and build a following that will, ideally, be to the brand’s advantage. I won’t tell you the agency or the creator so as not to spoil the fun, but it’s a reminder that social media aren’t simply the platforms where we put content but rather the content itself.

The second idea to excite me was Current TV’s RFP for an agency of record. Unlike the typical RFP, Current TV released this one over Twitter. In the spirit of social media transparency, it went so far as to ask agencies to submit their responses publicly, for the world to see. And while Current TV’s Brand VP Jordan Kretchmer hedged his bets by determining a short list prior to opening up the opportunity, it’s still an experiment that does something with the medium, rather than another dissertation about the medium.

Sure someone will label both of these gimmicks, or find some way to argue they’re not true social media ideas. Yet they both do what all social media ideas need to do: get attention, be remembered, inspire participation, create community.  What’s the best stuff you’ve seen recently? <a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/cavg7qh3em” rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>

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edwardboches
edwardboches

Mike:
Thoughtful comments. And it may be a little gimmicky, but I think it still qualifies as a form of social media. Social media one one hand is about the conversation, but on another it's about the community taking, influencing, and distributing content because they want to and because it's worth their attention. We just did it with the Boston Bruins; we simply brought the gift of fun to the party already going on. It becomes good social media if it engages the community and gets them to participate. Love the cracker analogy.

Edward Boches

Mike Frizzi
Mike Frizzi

Seth Rogen. You know him. He is everywhere these days, even on the short list of celebrities I follow on Twitter. He tweeted this last night (the 23rd):

'BACK ON TRACK WHAT IS THIS??? RT: @ZackJohnson16 Seth, my story is strange but true www.zack16.com'

The tweet got me to click through. So it seems part of the campaign around zack16 clearly involves trying to involve thought leaders like Rogen. I haven't checked, but I would wager that other celebs of the sort received similar tweets...unless Rogen was a paid ambassador - I hope and think he was not.

This, to me, is a brilliant leveraging of a free commodity. As an advertising guy, I drool at the possibilities of Social Media and turn green at this application.

You are correct, this is more gimmicky than a genuine usage of Social Media - it can be more clearly defined as Social Media Manipulation. Still, all advertising is one form or another of manipulation. We are instilling a need and providing the fulfillment of that need. The medium is just a delivery service. Kind of like eating cheese and crackers just so you aren't shoveling cheese down your gullet. The cracker makes it dignified, and the use of Social Media in this application masks the manipulation as genuine social involvement. It's great stuff. I cannot wait to hook up with an ad agency and start working on applications like these. They are the present and future, but with so little past it becomes doubly exciting as the rules and the playbook are being written and rewritten on a daily basis.

Mike Frizzi’s last blog post..5 things this Twitterer could do without