Over the last several weeks, I’ve been following some controversial people who said, wrote or did things that earned them a little media spotlight. So I thought it might be fitting to see where we stood with almost all of them.
Anthony Weiner & Weinergate
Since Rep. [wiki]Anthony Weiner[/wiki]’s resignation late last week, we’re likely to see his following slow, but not before that last-minute surge from the very public announcement. Question becomes whether the former Congressman from New York will disappear quietly now or will make a little noise before stepping into that quiet time to properly show contrition for his acts that America seems to demand from those Americans see to think have done the American people wrong.
Now just short of 84,000 followers on Twitter, @RepWeiner still hasn’t tweeted an apology there. Seems to me since the whole thing started on Twitter, that’s where an apology is needed first — not a press conference. It’s also a lot easier: 140-characters or less and you’re done.
Giffords Versus Weiner: Not Much of a Shift
I’ve examined the tragedy of the Tuscon shooting of Rep. [wiki]Gabrielle Giffords[/wiki] and the media circus around Weinergate only to find that the Congresswoman — despite a more compelling story and seemingly greater outpouring from the common American — just did not earn the same level of social media engagement. Even with new photos coming out and release from the hospital, Rep. “Gabby” Giffords with her @Rep_Giffords account falls behind Weiner and remains rock-solid steady on the following growth at a much smaller rate than Weiner.
The Original Bad Boy Keeps Tweeting #Tigerblood and His #Winning Attutide
[wiki]Charlie Sheen[/wiki] will likely remain a phenomenon that won’t be topped for sometime. His rocket booster rise to more than 4.2 million followers in such a short time, pushing him into the Top 25 compared to others who took months or even longer. His growth is now steady, hinting that growth is probably from people joining Twitter and not from massive increases. Likely @CharlieSheen approaches his plateau, although Twitter growth will keep his numbers steadily rising probably beyond 5 million eventually, but at a very slow, steady rate. Among the top twitters with most followers, he’ll likely never break through the into the top teens but remain in the twenties thanks to this unless he can pull some good controversy out.
Tasteless Jokester Finds New Audience Thanks to Firing
[wiki]Gilbert Gottfried[/wiki] always told tasteless jokes but apparently Aflac considered one tweeted joke about the tsunami in Japan just went a little too far. So that got Mr. Gottfried fired from his job in March as the voice of the [wiki]Aflac duck[/wiki]. That firing energized a following for @RealGilbert and the pace of engagement has continued.
A Corporate Non-Controversy Fails to Garner Much Traction
[wiki]J.Crew[/wiki] and its T-shirt and toenails double whammy never really got enough traction to take off on Twitter, although it did have some Facebook feedback. In a nutshell, a disputed island that the Japanese says belongs to them and the South Koreans says is theirs got labeled for the Japanese in a t-shirt to benefit the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Around the same time, an e-mail marketing piece went out where a J.Crew employee was seen painting the toenails of her five-year-old boy a neon pink, outraging the right wing she was attempting to femininize the boy.
Neither event appeared to blow up in social media since both had very little to do with social media and J.Crew responded quickly to the T-shirt criticism, withdrawing it and redesiging it with two options:
You can also see from the J.Crew statistics the steady climb remains.
Blake Shelton Continues His Popular Rise with ‘The Voice’
Nothing could sidetrack country superstar Blake Shelton, even hate speech against gays. His tweet and subsequent apology garnered 40,000 extra followers which it looks like he never lost. His weekly appearance and tweeting in conjunction with the show continues to cause a a rise in his followers. He’ll likely reach half-a-million and beyond before it’s all said and done.
No such luck for Tracy Morgan and His Hate Speech
African American Comedian Tracy Morgan tried his hand at some homophobic remarks on stage, without the minimof social media, although a local Nashville man reported it on his Facebook page. Tracy didn’t get any boost. In fact, it looks as if he might have experienced a slight slowdown, but not really significant.
Conclusions About These Controversies
In order for boosts to be felt on social media, social media must be involved. Mention social media. Use social media mentions help, as with Charlie Sheen. Avoiding controversy and not mentioning it — like J.Crew — minimizes damages.