3 Reasons Why Twitter is a Great Platform for Comedians

Celebrities are everywhere from the television screen to the computer screen. Social media platforms act as great venues for celebrities to relish in their own brands. This is particularly useful when your talent is yourself. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin and Katt Williams have made their way to the social media site, Twitter. Twitter, just as all social media platforms if used correctly, is an effective setting to develop and promote a self-brand. However, it is specifically useful for comedians and here are a few reasons why:

1. It’s personal.

With the increase of Internet use of mobile phones, users can tweet at any given moment. This ability allows users to get into the minds’ of whom they are following and it lets users see what they are thinking. It is personal because Twitter serves as a giant status update newsfeed. It encourages the sharing of thoughts. This is extremely helpful for comedians, because the sense of relevancy granted creates common conversation. With the “retweet” option, this ability is enhanced as users can agree or like the tweet can share with his or her own friends. For comics who get the bulk of their materials from their everyday observations (like Seinfeld for instance) will thrive on Twitter, because it fosters a casual and relevant conversation.

2. It’s functional.

In 140-characters, users are, in a sense, forced to say what they mean to say. Because there is a character limit, Twitter users don’t have the space to ramble. It is easier to keep the attention of an audience by only being able to tweet key chunks of information. For comedians, this is perfect. In their line of work, the “punch-line” is usually only one line. According to Scott Meyer’s Basic Instruction, aspiring jokesters should speak bluntly, honestly and simply. For that reason, Twitter is an ideal platform to share the punch line on.

3. It’s a showcase.

While they may be created in reality through traditional media, brands continue living on social media sites. The shelf-space granted by social media acts as a complemental point of contact to an already established message. In other words, the show does not end when the curtains close. Comedians, specifically, are able to empower their brands on sites like Twitter because Twitter is designed for users to present themselves to an audience at any time. This is great for not only developing a brand, but maintaining one.

Homer Simpson Tweets

Homer Simpson, the four-fingered father on the cartoon, “The Simpsons,” is an active Twitter member. Simpson, just recently acknowledged by a Mashable article as a “must-follow” account, proves that life exists off the screen. The television screen that is.

On today’s most relevant screen, the computer screen, social media is providing a platform for television immortality. This is made possible through the idea of connectedness, where viewers are transferring what they see on the TV screen to the Internet in his or her own context. It may be through conversation or through the function of sharing. Homer Simpson, although just one character, is a representation of the 21 year old show. In a sense, he is a mini-brand within a much larger one.

Judging by the Twitter verified checkmark, it can be assumed that @HomerJSimpson account is being managed by the show’s writers. The posts, in the trademark idiocy tone, speak to a variety of subjects on and off the show. This shows dimension to the character as readers witness him interacting in a common environment. Some may be skeptical to the idea of a fictional Twitter, but to those familiar with personal branding tactics can recognize how it works.

Homer’s Twitter account runs off on the idea of brand experiences. As illustrated in the article, “Brand Experience,” the experience is constituted by sensory triggers and can be linked to brand loyalty. In the case of Homer’s Twitter, users who follow the cartoon are exposed to the character’s personality through the personalized tweets. Fans are able to relate and connect.The tweets are comical as well, therefore users are more likely to follow the account and re-tweet (as according to The Appeal of Reality Television to Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences). Therefore, the brand is spread organically.

The success of Homer’s Twitter may not directly coincide with an increase of television viewers, but it can be attributed to the successful retainment of fans. The humorous tweets are intended to trigger audiences’ memories as a way to renew a sense of pride and ownership over the childhood experience of watching “The Simpsons.” This is also known as cognitive dissonance. The brand isn’t necessarily increasing its fan base, but it’s certainly maintaining it. This is a key social media solution for keeping a brand alive especially one older than twenty years.

Having Cake And Eating It Too: Tumblr vs. Twitter

Why pick sides when you can have both? In 2010, Singer/Songwriter John Mayer vocally announced that he was dumping Twitter for Tumblr. A fan of the artist myself and as an advocate for social media, I was intrigued as to how he justified his switch. A few questions came to mind as I continued reading.

What is the difference between Tumblr and Twitter?

Tumblr is like a giant swap meet. I personally like to think of it as an art blog. With over 22 million blogs, Tumblr is defined by its variety of content which ranges from audio and video to text and images. It is predominately visual with no text or character limit. Users can follow one another. Once you follow a blog, you will receive its updates in your homepage feed. Conversation comes in the form of asking questions and in sharing (or in Tumblr terms “reblogging”). It functions much like Facebook’s sharing or Twitter’s retweeting.

Twitter is a microblog. In 140 characters, users can share and send informative messages to his or her group of followers. Tweeting is the act of posting a status. It can be sent @somebody or it can go unaddressed. Users can read the tweets of whomever they are following. Like a blog, the tweets scroll down in a giant newsfeed, only at a much faster pace. Twitter also functions as an intermediary. With shortened link effect, users can include URLs to redirect readers to other sources.

Who might choose one over the other?

Tumblr, according to The Social Landscape, is a social-networking site, but I have to disagree. Social networking sites are only valuable through the visible networks. On Tumblr, you cannot necessarily see your followees’ (who you’re following) feeds. Only until items are reblogged do you see the original source and the makings of his or her network. Tumblr is a platform for expression. It’s best for individuals who have something to say (in more than 140 characters) and who like to share ideas.

Twitter, as a microblog, is a more information friendly venue. It is a text-oriented platform that is used primarily as a referral. Twitter itself does not allow other media to be shared on its platform. That is what the shortened link is for. For many this may be a perk. For some, it may be inconvenient.  Twitter is ideal for people on the go who may only be interested in key points of information. While Twitter is still a means of expression, it is a limited means of expression.

As a musician, is one outlet a more effective means of promotion?

According to the social landscape, Tumblr is a prime platform for creating brand awareness. Because Tumblr offers the option to upload multimedia directly onto the blog, it acts as the ideal forum for artists. Twitter, on the otherhand, does not allow users to directly post music onto their page.

For a branding perspective, the two complement each other. Tumblr gives the option for bloggers to send automatic tweets whenever something new is posted. This is a great way to direct traffic to a more personal site. Who wouldn’t take advantage of both of these free sites?

Does John Mayer really know what he is talking about?

It is ignorant to think that Twitter isn’t useful. I Tweet Honestly, an article written July 7th, 2010, reports that Mayer, before he deleted his account, had over 1 million followers while only following 47. He left Twitter with 3.7 million followers. From first glances, it looks like Mayer was unaware of how to properly use Twitter to its fullest potential. Mayer would be smart to engage his large Twitter network directly to not only create brand awareness, but to maintain the relationship between him and his number on constituent: his fans.

Perez for President

Hard work pays off. Just look at celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton. Named by Forbes Magazine as the #1 Web Celeb for 2007, 2008 and 2009, Hilton is one of the most relevant examples of how social media, if used for what it’s worth, fosters effective personal branding. Hilton’s social media use has generated enough exposure for himself that he not only does he have a full time job, but he is also frequently presented with several other job opportunities as well.

Hilton’s claim to fame comes from his bold, scandalous Hollywood gossip blog. His vibrant personality paired with his outspoken nature has created a following, a community, around himself and his work. His apparent success has networks like Oxygen and E! calling to offer positions such as reality show host and fashion commentator. Perez is being paid to just be him, the goal of any self-brander.

Like any smart social media guru, Hilton recognizes the many communities in which he thrives. Last fall, devastating news rocked the gay community after the world learned of consecutive gay teen suicides that were prompted by peer bullying. Hilton, a homosexual himself, chose to stand at the forefront. The celeb blogger, emotionally moved by the tragic events, vowed to stop bullying himself. The vow was attention grabbing amongst the blogging community for Hilton’s trademark was his cutthroat analyzing. The change of attitude did not slow Hilton down in his devotion to the cause online.

Using his resources as a popular blogger, he has helped promote the campaign, “It Gets Better.” The campaign is a viral effort to help raise awareness and help stop suicide among homosexual teens. Hilton’s role in the campaign not only displays his values, but it also reveals a multidimensional layer to the blogger. This level of personality helps audiences emotionally connect better with the brand (in this case, the brand being Hilton). It is the idea of connectedness. It is through this connection that Hilton is able to engage his audience in order to distribute information and provoke organic arousal of the subject. More specifically, it could be in the form of a retweet on Twitter or a shared video on Facebook.

Video plays a huge role in the success of this campaign. The emotional appeal granted by the combined elements of sound and sight truly triggers a sense of obligation within the viewer. This ripple effect, facilitated by YouTube, had famous figures such as President Barack Obama, Anne Hathaway, Ellen DeGeneres and the staffs of Google and Facebook (just to name a few) making their own videos to support the cause. The response is extraordinary and the exposure of the cause is phenomenal. Before the birth of YouTube, would this even have been possible?

Hilton is the perfect example of a self-branded professional in the 21st century. It is undeniable to admit that Hilton could not have done what he has done without the capabilities of Web 2.0. Through his blog, YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook page, Hilton is able to leave an effective and frequent impression on his audience, something that was not guaranteed with traditional media. Thanks to two-way conversation and online interaction, Hilton is able to cause a stir and get people talking.

A Branding Situation

Social media has indisputably acted as the driving catalyst in the success of MTV’s reality show, “The Jersey Shore.” “The Jersey Shore” revolutionized reality television with its comical play on the New Jersey stereotype and it’s ability to capture promiscuous behavior and excessive partying on camera. The showed debuted at the end of 2009— right into the rush of Web 2.0. Television, the primary channel for the show, is most responsible for giving life to the program while social media is responsible for giving, what appears to be, the gift of immortality. In other words, social media provides a longer shelf life. For example, when the allotted 60 minutes are up, sites like Facebook and Twitter allow the entertainment to carry on in a more personalized setting.

To get a better grasp on the impact, here is a fun fact: according to an infographic on Mashable, on the night of season two’s premiere, the Jersey Shore topic was tweeted up to 16,000 times within one hour.

With a cast full of ridiculous personalities, it is hard not to watch. One particular cast member, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is the big brother of the group. Mike has easily branded himself with his signature chiseled abs and charming demeanor while his nickname “The Situation” consistently proves to be his biggest trademark. It began in season one as Mike constantly talked in third person and always cracked silly puns off his name. He was ignorantly unaware of the self-brand he was creating until the cast learned of the show’s success.

His Facebook page is a marketing nucleus. It reeks of poor promotions and contact information overload. His Twitter page isn’t much better. His default image is a head-on shot of his Adonis abs and the wallpaper background is a picture of his quirky smile and flashy jewelry. Surprise, surprise. Although you do have to hand it to the guy. Behind the thick layer of his “Situation” act, Mike is a smart man. He recognized early the conversations that were trending.  He joined these conversations and has now engaged his community of followers. He has labeled his following, “The Situation Nation,” a term constantly promoted on Twitter by a hash tag.

Whether Mike has recognized it or not, he has tapped into these communities through the idea of connectedness. According to a study called “The Appeal of Reality Television to Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences” in the Journal of Advertising Research, it was observed that young people who valued popularity and good looks felt more connected to shows like “The Jersey Shore.” These connected individuals were the ones most likely to move their interests to an online discussion on social networking sites. This discovery truly encompasses the role of communities and the idea of connectedness.

“The Situation” is making the most of his 15 minutes, but who can blame him? #SituationNation