While we as search marketers (and perhaps some marketers and journalists) are isolated in our own type of fishbowl and totally understand the concept of social media and what it's a potential effects are for our clients as well as the power it holds, the rest of the known world - doesn't have a clue. There's one particular group of our society, however, that should get up to speed on social media, or perhaps their agents or handlers should, that group being Celebrities.
I'm talking about most kinds of Celebrities, from Movies & TV to Sports. This demographic of people think "oh neat! let me do that" without the faintest consideration that what they put on a MySpace page can be taken totally out of context and then replayed on the internet over and over again. Something like that can take a very specifically crafted image that took years to establish and tank it within a matter of hours.
The only group of celebrities that might have a handle on social media, at least in part, are Musicians. MySpace was set up as a vehicle to help them reach out to their audiences beyond the listening of a CD or at a concert. In this way, anyone could be part of the "unpaid fan club". I covered how Werid Al has become the master of social media, compared to his peers, he's a success story that continues to impress.
This morning I came across an article about a pitcher from the Rangers (CJ Wilson), who has a Myspace page, who didn't think before he posted a comment on his other Ranger buddy's (Brandon McCarthy) MySpace page. Although the comment in his mind was totally harmless and innocent, and had no ill intent in mind, others took the comment out of context and inferred that it was racist. Since that time, the pitcher has apologized on the Lone Star Ball website, there are some comments to his apology mostly on the "accepting" side.
Yet another incident similar in nature to this MySpace snafu, the USC football team has been connected to a scandal on Facebook involving the creation of a group devoted to "White Power". Oh but wait - that was all a joke! Yes, I hear the sighs from all of you, that was mine you heard about 6:30 a.m. when I read the article.
The problem is that celebrities and athletes think this new stuff on the internet where everyone is talking and socializing is "cool", "hip", and "fun". They can reach out and touch fans in another way, so easily with services like MySpace and Facebook and they can do this - without their agents knowledge.
Very few of these celebrities really understand the power that social media wields. Some exceptions could be Rosie O'Donnell and Weird Al, but for the most part, celebrities are in their own fishbowl world and just don't care know. Celebrities have agents an publicists to handle all the "caring" parts, and to clean up their messes, so at the end of the day - it's these professionals who should be educating themselves on this medium, or employ some search marketers to handle it for them.