This April Only: Save 30% on PRO with code ROCKETSCIENCE »

Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 624,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
N E X T
Text:  A A

Strength of Social Media: Somebodies Can Be Nobodies

by   |  

The degrees of separation between the "somebodies" and the "nobodies" inch closer together: All voices count. The playing field levels. Yesterday the New York Times (and, previously, CK) pointed me to Rosie O'Donnell's blog. I hadn't been by in a while, so I stopped in.


She's off the air now–and by "air" I mean network TV. The Rosie O'Donnell Show is history and so is her turn on The View. But she's moved her "show" online–she's starred in 27 video blogs since late March. Most of them feature her alone–no script or sponsor. And no interviews, music, wardrobe, or crew. Or spit. Or polish.
Times writer Virginia Heffernan writes,

"All the videos are pure Rosie, in the sense that with their unforgiving lighting and absent production values Ms. O'Donnell, the comic-actress-host, is revealing the last of whatever she was holding back on daytime television."

The promise of social media is that anyone can be a somebody–or, as I've written in the past, anyone can be a "Who." But, correspondingly, anybody can also be a nobody.
The Times writes,
"The spectacle of her both humbled and emboldened this way brings to mind Ross Perot, Tina Brown and 'Rocky III'–the big wheels who decided it's time to return to the old gym and do something real."

The strength of emerging media is this: that everyone has a voice and can be heard. Everyone has a way of looking at things that can inform the thinking of anyone else.
At the same time, the degrees of separation between the "somebodies" and the "nobodies" inch closer together: All voices count. The playing field levels.
And the likes of Rosie–glorious with no makeup, no script, no filter–appear a little more humble, a little more honest, a little more human. It's Rosie .... it's all of us. For real.


Join over 624,000 marketing professionals, and gain access to thousands of marketing resources! Don't worry ... it's FREE!

WANT TO READ MORE?
SIGN UP TODAY ... IT'S FREE!

We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:

Loading...

Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, a monthly contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules (Wiley, 2012), which has been translated into nine languages, including Turkish, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Portuguese. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.

Twitter: @MarketingProfs
Email: ann@MarketingProfs.com.

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • Not rated yet.

Add a Comment

Comments

  • by Harry Hallman Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    "The strength of emerging media is this: that everyone has a voice and can be heard. Everyone has a way of looking at things that can inform the thinking of anyone else. At the same time, the degrees of separation between the "somebodies" and the "nobodies" inch closer together: All voices count. The playing field levels." Personally, I have take issue with these statements. It is true that everyone has a voice, but not everyone is heard. Rosie may be heard because she spent a life time building her brand, but what about Mary in North Philadelphia.? YouTube has thousands of videos but how many are really watched by more then a couple friends and family. No not everyone's voices are heard, not by a long shot. But it does make good copy to tell the general public they do.

  • by B.L. Ochman Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    Not every voice is heard: that's true. And not every video is worth watching. But what ann is saying is that Mary in North Philadelphia has the same opportunity to be heard as Lonely Girl and ZeFrank and Rocketboom and a lot of other "nobodies" (including me and ann) who became somebodies online.

  • by Lewis Green Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    I don't think you and I have the same voice that Rosie does and I would love to change homes with her. I couldn't feel less equal if even for a moment in a dream. Although social media gives us all a voice, the gap between celebrities' voices and the Average Jane are widening still. Love you Ann. But I don't think any media will ever close the gap between the rich and powerful and the average.

  • by Ann Handley Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    Thanks for the comments, all. My point is not that our reach is the same -- Rosie and the like obviously has a broader reach right off the bat because of their celebrity. But as BL says, it's about the opportunity. Who was Amanda Congdon before Rocketboom? Who was Heather Armstrong? In other words, we all have a platform from which to be heard, and we don't need a network, publisher or similar institution to grant us that. That being said, that doesn't make Mary in Philadelphia any less boring. What you do with the platform is up to you. And Lewis -- love you too! ; )

  • by Mona Piontkowski, Irvine, CA Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    My problem with Blog fame lies in the fact that does everyone who uses the Internet realize that the "bloggers" are not necessarily the experts. I love free speech as much as the next person - and everyone has the right to their 15 minutes... But how long before someone blogs "Fire" and we all head for the exits when the blogger star doesn't even know what fire really is?

  • by David Reich Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    I agree with Lewis that there's a big gap between being heard if you're a celeb or just one of us. But social media at least gives "just us" the possibility of being heard, which is a good thing.

  • by Mack Collier Fri Jun 22, 2007 via blog

    "The strength of emerging media is this: that everyone has a voice and can be heard. Everyone has a way of looking at things that can inform the thinking of anyone else." Bingo. And yes, it's still a lot harder for the unknown to have his voice be heard than it is the known, but the point is, the unknown has a chance. When it goes on the internet, it's out there for anyone to find. All it takes is the right idea seen by the right person, and even a nobody can become somebody, overnight.

  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Jun 23, 2007 via blog

    What's nice about Rosie's blog is that it gives her an opportunity to talk directly and uncensored with her fan base in ways that on-air shows can't allow. I think some people have a fascination with the 'human" side of a celebrity's life - knowing that she struggles with similar issues or blow dries her hair just like "regular people" do. Some social media sites often attract "let it all hang out" content. So, whether it's Rosie, or voyeristic videos in a style like The Truman Show, people are curious and will find the outlandish, the freakish, the controversial, the entertaining and the unusual - with celebrities or just regular people.

  • by Nat@Nudge Sun Jun 24, 2007 via blog

    Hi Ann I agree we all have a voice. But what does that voice mean, and who is speaking? Companies that I have spoken to about utilising new media and online social networks raise concerns about who they are actually interacting with (do people who blog, vodcats etc - represent their core customers, or average customers?). It is quite possible that the voices we hear (particularly in regards to brands) are the most vocal supporters and detractors. And, although companies realise how important it is to engage with the most vocal (brand advocates and badvocates), the question still arises..."what about the broad middle?" some interesting news from adage...Although the survey lumped in CGM and new media with hot networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube, only 12% of senior marketers said CGM is "very important" to their marketing platforms. Still, that's a 7.5% increase from 2006. About 45% said it's somewhat important, and 14% said CGM is not important. Cheers

  • by Ann Handley Mon Jun 25, 2007 via blog

    Elaine: I liked that part of Rosie's videos, too. I appreciated her willingness to put herself out there... made her seem humbled and more "real." Nat: Good questions, Nat, and ones that I think DF blogger Scott Baradell talks about today in his post about whether blogging is necessary, or just plain nice: http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2007/06/blogging_and_your_marketing_pr.html From my perspective, I'm not sure the broad middle isn't listening, even if they aren't doing a whole lot of speaking.

  • by Valeria Maltoni Thu Jun 28, 2007 via blog

    The new 15 minutes of fame is now potentially driven by self publishers. And in response to Nat, I think that one needs to experience being at the edges and the wisdom of crowds to be interested. Content creation and distribution have been democratized, whether you like it or not. People encounter your brand experience anywhere on the Web. As a CMO, wouldn't you want to participate in crafting it?

  • by Vandana Ahuja Fri Jun 29, 2007 via blog

    Wholly agree with Ann that social media gives everybody an opportunity to voice their opinion...but carrying on the discussion further referring to the ADAGE article citing a wariness in organisations to use CGM....agreed that their resistance stems from the thought that the echo of the consumer voice may be uncontrollable, but in an era where marketers are talking about -Customer Relationship Management -Customer Lifetime Values -Increasing customer shares rather than market share -Product Customisation -Customer data warehousing and datamining and -Using customers as brand evangelists, isnt keeping the consumer voice muffled absolutely contradictory to the above?

  • by Vandana Ahuja Fri Jun 29, 2007 via blog

    Wholly agree with Ann that social media gives everybody an opportunity to voice their opinion...but carrying on the discussion further referring to the ADAGE article citing a wariness in organisations to use CGM....agreed that their resistance stems from the thought that the echo of the consumer voice may be uncontrollable, but in an era where marketers are talking about -Customer Relationship Management -Customer Lifetime Values -Increasing customer shares rather than market share -Product Customisation -Customer data warehousing and datamining and -Using customers as brand evangelists, isnt keeping the consumer voice muffled absolutely contradictory to the above?

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!