"We're no longer six degrees from Kevin Bacon, we're three degrees from you," is a phrase I often use during my talks on networking and digital media. It's fascinating how social media have accelerated and changed the way we connect.
As Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told me, social media has "eradicated the psychological status barriers that exist between us." The Oklahoma State fraternity guys aren't going to call Kevin Durant to say, 'Come play flag football with us,'" Costolo said. "That's not going to happen, but it did on Twitter."
I've met many friends and business associates through social media. Of course, I'm not alone. Sumaya Kazi, the CEO of Sumazi, met an investor on social media and soon after he helped her secure $250,000 in start-up capital from an investment network. Jeff Slobotski credits Gary Vaynerchuk, whom he met via a Tweet, for helping to generate buzz and initial interest in his conference on innovation called Big Omaha. Tonya Hall, a radio host and social media guru, met Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee on MySpace and Vint Cerf, recognized as "a father of the Internet", on LinkedIn.
So how is it done? About a month ago, I saw a post on Facebook from an online friend named Bryan Kramer of PureMatter. His post detailed a 90-day experiment that he was spearheading, with a friend named DJ Waldow, to see if they could secure a lunch with Ellen DeGeneres by using only social media tactics to connect. They have about 10 days to go, and they've had no word yet from Ellen's team, but their effort has been impressive. DJ and Bryan have outlined an integrated and creative experiment that in my mind, with or without the lunch, has already been a success. The campaign, funded via sweat equity, received over two million impressions in the first two weeks. On Day 43, the effort was generating 800,000 impressions a day on Twitter alone.
Will the duo meet Ellen? Here's an inside look at the strategies and tactics they've been using to generate buzz:
Define A Goal. DJ and Bryan have a clear goal. They'd like to secure a lunch with Ellen, within 90 days, and raise money for a non-profit called Feeding America along the way.
Track Efforts. Campaign results are being tracked via a #90DayToEllen hashtag, website visits, videos created and funds generated.
Generate Sharable Content. People in their social media community and social superstars like Jay Baer, Ted Rubin, Kim Garst, Nick Westergaard, Peter Shankman and Robert Scoble have supported the effort and created sharable Vine and Instagram videos. The pair has a shared content calendar on box.com, and they generate blog posts and post ideas from community suggestions. They also created memes on Memecreator.org and an original Ellen song was created.
Have A Focused Approach. Campaign efforts are focused on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Create A Back-Up Plan. In the event that Ellen doesn't respond, the pair is hosting open auditions for an Ellen stand-In. Auditions are taking place on Friday, Aug. 16 in San Jose, Calif. I thought about applying, but I'm sure they won't have to settle for a brunette-bobbed California mom.
What do you think? Will Bryan and DJ secure a lunch with Ellen? Let's help out the pair and give them a Tweet with #90DaysToEllen, send them your ideas or make a donation to Feed America. Regardless of the outcome, a round of applause to a creative effort and experiment that has already been a fun and entertaining success.