The Best and Worst of 2014 (COM0011 Blog Post #3)

It’s a wonderful time of year: the holiday spirit, great food, friends, family… and of course, “best/worst of 2014” lists. I love these things. So in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d do my part by crowning the best and worst of social media in 2014.

The Best – The Ice Bucket Challenge

This one is easy. Somewhere in a boardroom, someone said to his or her colleagues, “hey, why don’t we ask people to dump buckets of ice water on their heads for charity.” With that, The Ice Bucket Challenge was born. In just a few months, the campaign raised an astonishing $100-million for ALS research. You’d had to of been living in a cave this summer to have missed it. Everyone from George W. Bush to your neighbour was dumping ice water buckets on their head. It was the perfect mix of crazy, great visuals and built-in viral capacity (challenging three friends to follow suit). From June 1 to September 1, Facebook users shared 17 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos—videos that were viewed an incredible 10 billion times. It raised a ton of money, a ton of awareness for ALS, and inspired social media campaigners everywhere.

Honourable mention – “Purple Your Profile” campaign

By asking people to make their Facebook profiles purple, Chevy managed to raise $1-million for the American Cancer Society—and even got other big brands like Lowes on board too. Their campaign started with a moving Super Bowl ad, and took off from there. As social media expert James Whatley notes, 2014 was the year of combining social media and traditional media. In fact, more than half of this year’s Super Bowl commercials prominently featured Twitter hashtags. Clearly, big advertisers are now seeing that you fail to harness the power of social media at your own peril.

The Worst – Tweeting from beyond the grave

It’s surprising to see Apple make the “worst” list. You’d think that their tech savvy would make them social media trendsetters. Clearly that’s what they were attempting to be when they solicited various celebrities to tweet about purchasing a new iPhone 6. One such celebrity was Joan Rivers—never shy with her opinions. The problem? Her pre-scheduled tweet was sent out AFTER she died. There are few better ways to scream inauthenticity than to have dead celebrities tweet “I just bought an iPhone!” I’m guessing someone was fired for that.

Dishonourable Mention – #cosbymeme

Simply put, if you’re going to ask millions of people to meme you, be sure you don’t have terrible skeletons in your closet.

What do you think? What were some of the best—and worst—social media campaigns of 2014?

COM0015 Blog #2: The Strong vs. The Weak?

If there’s something you want to know, odds are there’s a TED talk about the subject matter. TED talks span a wide range of subjects and feature a variety of expert speakers. No wonder its Twitter account has more than 3.5 million followers.


For something to succeed online, it doesn’t need to just be good, someone has to want to share it, according to June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media. Boy do people want to share all things TED! This concept has evoluted from a single conference into a global media platform as a result of social media.

TED encouraged sharing

There are 1900+ TED Talks now online that have been viewed collectively more than 900,000,000 times.

Cohen explained that the increasing widespread use of social media naturally played a part in this process, but more importantly using the tools of the web in the best possible way to increase the sharability of content.

“Online users are exquisitely vulnerable to distraction” said Cohen.

With a rise in mobile, TED embraced the trends of their community and purposely designed their online talks to be optimized for small screen, cut long intros and started the videos strong.

TED also made sure videos are framed close to the speaker’s face. So on a mobile phone, viewers can see the emotion of what is being communicated.


And TED videos can be watched through many devices, embedded, downloaded as free podcast, etc. By embracing open (free) models they aim to reduce the barriers between the ideas and their intended audience.

A “brand” that could use a little mentoring from TED is Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby posted a photo of himself on Twitter earlier in November inviting the Internet to meme him. The entire thing was eventually deleted when fans used the web tool to highlight past accusations against Cosby.

Bill Cosby

#CosbyMeme quickly devolved into a conversation about rape and rape culture, never quite achieving the cute, wholesome captions Cosby’s marketers were likely expecting with that tip-of-the-hat photo. How they didn’t see this possible epic failure is beyond me.

This seemed like an adhoc idea and a proper S.W.O.T. analysis was not carried out. With all the negative attention (please be advised that this is a sensitive topic and offensive language is used in this video) that Mr. Cosby has been getting lately it is hard to believe this campaign was initiated. Everyone knows that it’s not just your fans that follow you on social media.

Good, bad and ugly…it’s all on social media.

Please share your thoughts on this post.