Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Failed Social Media Experiment

Last Wednesday, while laying (or is it lying?) in bed thinking about my sister having to put her dog Curtis to sleep the next day, I had an idea that made me feel much better – how cool would it be if I could create a viral campaign whereby people the world over would tweet about pets they have loved and lost with the hashtag in memory of curtis? I don’t think my sister is even on Twitter so I don’t know if it would have been a consolation for her but I loved Curtis too and I envisioned it being the perfect way to honor his memory, along with a recognition of the power of animals in our lives (full disclosure: I am obsessed with dogs and cats).

So how would I go about creating this viral campaign when by its very nature, viral is something you can’t control? Not to mention that I am a Twitter novice who is still just trying to figure it all out. Enlisting the help of Liz (a social media enthusiast), I set about my mission. First I signed up to follow some of the biggest Twitter influentials, from Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres to Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Drew of #BlameDrewsCancer and asked them all to encourage their followers to use my hashtag – no response. Next, I asked all the JS2ers to RT my request in the hope that their followers would catch on – nothing (thanks for trying Liz, Gina, Jamie, Amy and Amanda). While I gained followers throughout the day, not one even acknowledged my request. And then it all went to hell – Farrah Fawcett died, followed by Michael Jackson and sweet Curtis didn’t stand a chance.

While it didn’t go viral (not even close), it was a valiant effort. I guess if I knew what made something go viral, I would be a millionaire, sought out by corporations the world over to consult on their marketing initiatives. But I don’t and I don’t believe anyone does. So at least it made me feel better about the passing of sweet Curtis – RIP little boy, you will be missed.

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