Rockstar by Association

So my dad found out I have a blog - now he gives me shit whenever I'm on my computer. "So, hows that bloooog coming matt, got a lot of readers waiting for you to post?" Sweet, dad.

But the thing is, while most of our parents understand how the internet has changed our lives, they don't realize how deeply it has become ingrained our lifestyles and relationships . For Millennials, the internet isn't just an innovation of utility, it's the single most important source of information, communication, and social capital. But I'm less concerned with the first two, right now - even my grandmother writes and receives emails.

There are two great examples that demonstrate the profound effect that the internet has on generating social capital: 1) YouTube videos and 2) iTunes download suggestions.

The internet is an early-adopters paradise - being the first person to introduce a new viral or digital phenomenon to your friends is sort of like becoming a rockstar. For those 3 minutes when your friends are cheering or laughing, it seems as if they're cheering for YOU.

The internet has made it possible for anyone to be popular - even without talent or good looks. The desire to capitalize on the talent (or stupidity) of others is what makes viral hits possible.

1) YouTube Videos

The Numa Numa video: The Numa Numa video is probably what hooked me on the concept on YouTubing in the first place. But just take a step back and realize the word-of-mouth buzz that fueled its rise to success -think of how many times some college kid was with his buddies and said "dude, you gotta check out this video."


In the case of the Numa Numa video, the viewers who "discovered" it probably benefited more than the actual chubby kid who made it. While Gary Brolsma will forever live in shame knowing that he is the Numa Numa kid (-5 social capital), the few kids who championed the video before it was an internet sensation will forever remind their friends "oh yeah, I discovered Numa Numa waaaay before it was popular" (+5 social capital).

The OK-GO music video, on the other hand, is the perfect example of how talentless people can capitalize on the brilliance of others - in other words, "talent by association." I mentioned earlier how it's possible to feel like a rockstar when you captivate your audience with an awesome new video - this is evident in the stats for "Here It Goes Again." Well over 32 million people have already watched the video - that's millions of rock-stars by association.

Showing your friends a brilliant new YouTube video is one of the most rewarding experiences that normal, talentless folks like us can have. But this idea of talent-by-association isn't just limited to viral videos...

2) iTunes Download Suggestions

One's music library has always been a source of social capital - but the rise of the Apple empire has changed the way we express our tastes. I always call Jules an "iTunes Whore" because she is a perfect example of an early-adopter who gets her rocks off via iTunes.

As noted in the Stuff White People Like, "Because of the availability of music online, a very strict social hierarchy has been created within white culture whereby someone with a large MP3 collection is considered “normal,” a large CD collection is considered to be “better,” and a person with a large vinyl collection is recognized as “elite.”

But the size of your library doesn't matter if it's stocked with terrible "mainstream" music. The iTunes store allows music elitists to discover edgy new "alt" bands - bands that will increase social capital when introduced to their friends via facebook, myspace, and of course - mix CD's.

If you think introducing the Numa Numa video to your friends made you feel like a rockstar, imagine creating a 72-minute CD packed with the freshest alternative/B-side/unsigned/emo/lyric-driven bands (as rated by iTunes) - you'll feel like Bono on a coke.-binge

Ultimately, iTunes allows any d-bag with an internet connection become a music snob - and that's why it's so revolutionary.

Everybody loves that smug feeling you get when introducing a new piece of pop culure to your friends - iTunes can make you a rockstar by association - .99 cents at a time.

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55% Follow-Up: Granite State Network

The marketing plan isn't quite complete, but I just finished up some of the creative - take a peek:

1) Drive-to-web banner spread around New Hampshire colleges and universities

2) Sample screenshot from the online network for NH students and businesses:

click to enlarge:

Back to regular blogging after exams next week.

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55% Initiative: Please Make New Hampshire Cool

I mentioned the 55% Initiative in one of my first posts. And as the deadline nears, it has become the main focus of my creative juices. Basically, our marketing professor offered the class' services to the state of New Hampshire: create a marketing campaign with the "goal of convincing 55% of new graduates to "work, play, and stay" here, as compared to the roughly 50% who currently stay." Essentially, get more NH college grads to earn and spend their salaries in the Granite State (an additional $636M over 5 years to be exact).

While the process has been exhausting, it's motivating to know that our recommendation could play a big role in the final result. I'd love to say that some of my ideas were incorporated into the 2009 launch. Businesses like Fidelity and BAE have already guaranteed support, while Governer Lynch and several state-run organizations have also signed on.

But that makes things tricky. We're not just presenting this marketing plan for a grade - that's cake. The strategy then moves to the University System of NH (the major sponsor), and up the ladder from there. So rather than just submitting a group marketing plan, I've found myself worrying more about the creative execution (I haven't kicked that Brandcenter programming just yet).

Logically, as a deadbeat copywriter, I volunteered to do the "promotion" section of the plan (glory days). So my past couple days have been spent brainstorming -trying to discover the essence of New Hampshire as a brand. I figure, who cares how you promote your product if the message sucks? So while I slave over taglines, print ads, and the content of a mock-website, I'll be sure to upload any progress.

If you've got any suggestions in the mean time - hit me with them. All you need to do is make the 6th oldest (population) state in the US look cool to college grads. Live Free or Die.

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