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Have You Ever Seen an $11,000.00 Tweet?

by Mack Collier  |  
September 3, 2009

It was a Friday night in May and Amanda, as she professes often happens, was home alone and on her computer. More specifically, she was on Twitter.

And Amanda was about to leave a tweet that would set in motion a chain of events that would make her the most popular topic on Twitter, that would net her over $11,000.00 in two hours, and make her a case study for how quickly ideas spread via social media channels.
The infamous tweet that started it all was left at 9:15 pm. She stated simply: "i hereby call THE LOSERS OF FRIDAY NIGHT ON THEIR COMPUTERS to ORDER, motherf*cker."
What happened next was completely unexpected. But before I jump into the story, I should clarify that Amanda is Amanda Palmer, an indie musician that has leveraged Twitter as a platform to engage and delight her fans and followers, which now number over 45,000.
So it should come as no surprise that the above tweet became a rallying cry for her fans and followers on Twitter to join in the spontaneous festivities. Fans quickly chimed in that they TOO were losers AND at home alone on their computers on that Friday night (Amanda clarified that 'losers on their iPhones DON'T COUNT. you have to be at home, sitting on your ass, pref. in sweatpants').
Then they decided they needed a hashtag, so #LOFNOTC was quickly created. A list of demands for the government was quickly agreed upon, such as 'No taxes on coffee, or vodka'. And of course 'Everyone gets a pony' (Because everyone wants a pony).
Someone said that the #LOFNOTC needed a logo, so Amanda quickly scribbled down the logo below, and shared it with her Twitter followers. Someone tweeted that if that logo was on a t-shirt that they'd buy it. Immediately others agree, make that t-shirt, and they'd buy it.
Amanda, stunned that this is happening, puts in a hurried call to her webmaster. She informs him that her one silly tweet has now led to the #LOFNOTC hashtag being the most popular term on Twitter (in the course of an hour). She also tells him that she made a crack about making t-shirts, and now her fans were begged her to sell them to them. So her webmaster quickly threw up a site so her fans could buy the t-shirt with the logo for #LOFNOTC that Amanda had just created.
They sold over 200 in an hour at $25 a pop. Amanda recapped the night's events on her blog the next morning, and they sold another 200 t-shirts. All because of one silly tweet.

This did NOT happen because Amanda is a rockstar. This was not planned, it was spontaneous. It happened because Amanda created something and invited her fans to help her mold that creation and share in the ownership of the finished product.
To share in the ownership. To us this is 'Look what Amanda did', but to every one of the #LOFNOTC that answered Amanda's call, it was 'Look what WE did'.
'We' usually beats 'me' when it comes to social media. THAT is ultimately why this worked. How is your company moving from 'me' to 'we' with your social media efforts?

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Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier

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  • by KJ Rodgers Thu Sep 3, 2009 via blog

    That is the most incredible Twitter story I have ever heard. You are right it brings a shared ownership into the mix, and people who always feel united as they are the outsiders of the norm.

  • by Strategic Growth Advisors Thu Sep 3, 2009 via blog

    Hey, Mack. Thanks for posting this. I never knew something as mundane as Amanda's post can somehow start a Tweeter revolution. Let this serve as an inspiration to us all.

  • by gianandrea facchini Fri Sep 4, 2009 via blog

    To turn the me into a we, such a simple thing to say, so tough to do. Well, my first comment on the story above is that Amanda has far more followers than most of the corporation on Twitter and in social media. The second comment is that Twitter is for Amanda a fundamental sharing channel and not an instrumental one. Third comment is that Twitter and social media are part of Amanda's strategy and she is not there for the sake of it. Amanda is a "we" person.

  • by Dirnov Fri Sep 4, 2009 via blog

    Not sure that this is true:), but thanks for a post. Thanks

  • by Elaine Fogel Fri Sep 4, 2009 via blog

    Hey, Mack. Wow, some story. It goes to show how some ideas just take off and develop a life of their own. In the pre-technology days, remember the pet rock? :)

  • by David Meerman Scott Fri Sep 4, 2009 via blog

    I did a video interview with Amanda about this and more back in July. Check it out here.

  • by Cybertegic Thu Sep 10, 2009 via blog

    Wow, this is a pretty amazing story about the Twitter phenomenon. I also have to agree on gianandrea's third comment about Twitter and social media.

  • by Marc Crepeau Fri Sep 11, 2009 via blog

    All it proves to me is that lots of people have too much free time, too much money, and no sense of purpose. Now 400 un-needed T-shirts will languish in dresser drawers. So what? That's a revolution? If this is an example of what social media has to offer, count me out.

  • by Don Don Sat Sep 12, 2009 via blog

    Good for Amanda but I share Marc Crepeau's sentiment.

  • by Mack Collier Sat Sep 12, 2009 via blog

    Question for Marc and Don; Have either of you ever bought an article of clothing because of the logo on it? Especially a sports team? How is that different?

  • by Julie Murphy Fri Sep 18, 2009 via blog

    What really confounds, and even aggrevates, us marketers is that we try to plan activities to drive this type of behavior (purchase our product) in this fashion and so often fall flat on our face - even with decent research that says it should work. Had Amanda just concepted the t-shirt idea and told a bank that she wanted to borrow money to start this t-shirt business, they would have laughed in her face, or asked her to test market her idea. What we can learn from her is that we need to be nimble and be ready and able to react when opportunities like this arise. What she had was: an existing fan base (thousands of followers), a connection with the audience (similar Friday night lifestyles), a vendor at the ready (webmaster & t-shirt guy), and a very quick way to get the work out. In a corporation, the shirt design & logo would have to go through an arduous approval process, ensuring that is supported any current brands, the webmaster would have been unavailable (it was a Friday night) and the copy would have to be run through the legal department! Kudos to Amanda for turning her boring Friday night into a money making adventure!

  • by John Thu Sep 24, 2009 via blog

    "This did NOT happen because Amanda is a rockstar." Huh? then why did she have so many followers?

  • by The Marketing Guru Thu Sep 24, 2009 via blog

    Obviously these people just wanted to belong to something and they found it "#LOFNOTC"! Amanda found a demand and created the supply! It's perfect! She read her audience and definitely honed in on her "We" skills. Again it's simply perfect!

  • by Laney Landry Sun Sep 27, 2009 via blog

    Look at the number of followers she had. Not a big ROI. I'm sure those few rupies were traded for many hours of less than minimum wage income.

  • by DLaBerge Fri Oct 2, 2009 via blog

    This makes me want to stay home tonight to see what happens next.

  • by Lisa Fri Oct 2, 2009 via blog

    Whether or not you agree or disagree with the value of social media or the plight of sweatshop Tshirts isn't the point- the point is, negative nellies, that it's a badass story, period. It's like winning the lottery, with style. Right on, Amanda.

  • by Matt Rosen Fri Oct 2, 2009 via blog

    That is the power of the RT and hashtag! Goes to show that a creative thought can strike home with thousands so quickly. Awesome story!

  • by Cyndy Fri Oct 2, 2009 via blog

    Heh. Said out loud, the acronym sounds like "Love Nazi." Anyone wanna buy a T-shirt?

  • by Kathy Swanson Sat Oct 3, 2009 via blog

    After reading these comments, they reflect proof positive of where people are at with social media. Some are believers and others think it's just a fad. As @LeadToday says "Remember, our thoughts have a way of actually happening. Do you think about succeeding or do you think about failing?" Amen!

  • by lilikindsli Sun Oct 4, 2009 via blog

    H6O93L I want to say - thank you for this!

  • by Dawn Kinkopf Thu Oct 8, 2009 via blog

    See people are still must be destiny. Good for her and maybe there is still hope in this world.

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