Social Media Mythbusting

College Humor is a social media icon. They make funny videos that are popular and viral both on their own site and on YouTube. Chances are you’ve seen their stuff without necessarily realising it. The College Humor CEO, the typical 20-something webtrepreneur, shared ten social media myths that you might find enlightening if trying to understand social media or trying to “seed” your stuff on social media is your thing. Otherwise they’re a bit of an insight into how the Internet works… these points are fleshed out in detail here. But the ten myths are as follows (the myths are in bold – the truths are the italics bits):

  1. People will want to watch your branded content: If your goal is 75% to entertain and 25% to sell a product, you already have a handicap” (a sub point to this one is understanding the audience of the social media outlet you’re targeting – and contextualising appropriately).
  2. People will be patient with your content “35% tune out soon after starting to watch a web video.”
  3. People will find your content
  4. The Internet is a level playing field ie. people with big readerships are more useful sharers of your content than say, this blog…
  5. We have no idea why things go viral: “…all viral videos give the user a reason to pass it on. This all has to do with identity creation: What does passing this video on say about me?”
  6. Experience beats documentation: “We have a new generation that puts documentation above experience. It’s all about Flickr feeds and Facebook status updates.”
  7. You should build your own community and tools: if you want people to share photos and whatnot, use Facebook and Flickr. You get much more exposure and reach in that way.”
  8. Keep things professional: “Show the people behind the scenes. It gives your site personality and makes it sticky. Personality drives your brand.”
  9. Traditional media is irrelevant to the web: Content creators are always working to get to TV and film — that’s where the money is.”
  10. People will create good content for you

College Humor apparently has this strategy for their content:

  • Only hit for nines and 10s.
  • The shorter the better.
  • The hook comes within the first 20 seconds.
  • Sweet spots College Humor taps into: Topical issues and “Candycorn” (cultural touchstones that everyone knows, but doesn’t actively think about).