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Social Media: A Grassroots Publicity Movement

May 8, 2018 Julia Motis

By now, most of you have probably heard about or seen a video of a scrawny, 10-year-old kid yodeling his heart out in his local Walmart in Harrisburg, IL. A few months ago, Mason Ramsey held one of his impromptu store performances when footage of his singing went viral on social media – and that was the day his life changed.

phonesThe internet, social media especially, has changed the way that information (and people) get noticed. In “the olden days,” you had to actively seek out the fame you may want. You had to go to audition after audition if you wanted to be a singer or you had to call the local TV stations to come to you if you wanted to be broadcast. Not to mention you had to have a good story or reason for them to come. But now, that has almost been flipped on its head. With one video on social media, you can get your 15 minutes of fame (or more), and all from your mobile device.

Case in point, spreading information has become a much more independent process, yet the results have the potential to be way more widespread. And the kicker is that you can do it yourself. The yodeling video was clearly taken on a cell phone and uploaded through a social app.

With such powerful tools, people can be cast into the spotlight instantly, even if that wasn’t necessarily their intention. Our friend Mason, for example, was just entertaining the small-town Walmart patrons, when all of a sudden he became a household name. Now, he has been on Ellen and the Grand Ole Opry, and he even has a record deal in Nashville.

I don’t think he was seeking widespread attention – after all he’s from a tiny town in Illinois and his concerts were usually limited to the local Walmart shoppers – but someone in his small audience took the footage and it caught on, making him an international sensation.

This just goes to show that “news coverage” can be done by anyone, anywhere. The media no longer needs to be present to get a story out there nor is any professional equipment required. Every single person with a mobile phone has the power to not only share news, but create it.

So what does this mean for the public relations industry?

It means our jobs got a little easier. Social media has become one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal because it provides an instant connection to a massive audience. We can now host events and broadcast them live on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram (to name a few). We can now share a video with a local news source, and there’s a chance it may be used in the next broadcast or posted on the station’s website. It’s helping us PR pros provide media with better and more immediate content.

This just goes to show that news coverage can be done by anyone, anywhere.

And we have the ability to get ahead of a story like never before – no longer limited by who we know and what they know – and instead, gathering information sources from everywhere and anywhere.

PR has become much more about the here and now because we have access to up-to-the-minute news and information, and mutually, we can use that to our advantage to pin our news to the wings of the hot story. So let’s relish the fact that we have the power of global connectivity to help us do our jobs better, and remember that gaining international publicity can be as easy as yodeling in Walmart.

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