The Power of Living Online

After reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, I was inspired to write about a recent experience of mine with my new job.  As all of you know by now, I’m not tech savvy nor do I have a great understanding of social media.  With my new job, I’m tied to my laptop and am VERY quickly learning all about managing Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, creating a WordPress blog, and I’m on Twitter a lot.

Chris Anderson discussed how Amazon users rated an unpopular book well and caused a second-coming of success for a book called Touching the Void.  Something similar happened to me after special event held by my company last Thursday.  TRUE Studio offers “pop-up” yoga events in the city of Janesville.  Over the summer, TRUE Studio held seven rooftop yoga events called Yogabrews.  Each event was three hours long–one hour to register, set up your mat, and socialize, followed by an hour of yoga, and then a social hour afterwards where participants could have a glass of local beer with the proceeds donated to a local charity.  The same has been done recently with additional Yogabrews events, but this time it was with a Halloween-esque twist.  The events featured “glow” yoga.  The set up with similar, an hour before to socialize, and hour of yoga, and a wine/beer social afterwards.  This time, however, the room was set up with black lights and dance lights so folks could “glow” during yoga.

The first event brought in 23 people and was considered successful.  The second event that took place a week later brought in almost 40 people and it was quite amazing to see that many people “glowing” under the black lights.  During the balance portion of the yoga practice, I went up to the balcony with my phone to do a Facebook Live feed from TRUE Studio Janesville’s Facebook page.  Not very many people saw the feed while it was live, and I was really disappointed.  By morning, the video had been seen by over 400 people.  Today, the video has been seen by 1,232 people.  While I don’t work over the weekend, I’m still checking in on all of our accounts and get updates about activity on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Since Thursday, our Facebook has been visited by a heavy influx of people, TRUE Studio has been rated on Facebook 13 times by new members, classes are filling, and people are talking about us on social media.  I think the video I posted had an impact on this flurry of new activity.

At first I was leery about posting a Facebook Live feed.  The CEO and I recently had a phone conference with one of our consultants who said NEVER to post pictures or videos of classes because it could attract bad press and negative comments.  For example, yoga purists wouldn’t approve of the high-intensity music and light playing during yoga.  Many purists practice in total silence or just to a cello.  Our yoga philosophy is different, and I think it’s important for us to advertise all of the amazing new things we’re doing.  The new activity and positive things happening with TRUE Studio online is similar to Chris Anderson’s message in The Long Tail.

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About mollynolte

MSTPC grad student scheduled to graduate in May 2017. Lover of the outdoors, my dogs, autumn, yoga, and travel.

Posted on October 30, 2016, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great post! Two things came to mind as I read it.

    First, I have been teaching Zumba at the gym in town for 4 years. As an instructor, I’m sent music and DVDs with choreography from zumba.com every month; however, I tend to find more routines via YouTube searches. Sometimes it’s just the instructor in the video but more often than not it’s a full class, usually of regulars. (You can tell because they’ve color coordinated their outfits and it’s staged just for the camera, as opposed to a live class that was caught on video.)

    Anyway, sometimes the comments section can get mean about people in the group, either about their weight or lack of coordination. So I wondered if when speaking to your CEO and consultant if that type of negativity came up. You mention the yoga purist point of view, but not the idea of the class participants’ privacy concerns. Did they know they would be part of a FB live video? I’m guessing potential negative comments might be easier to monitor since it’s on the studio FB page versus the YouTube platform, but I’m curious if this is something you all will keep in mind for future videos.

    The other thing I noted was the increase in views after the fact. I can understand your feelings of disappointment when there weren’t many viewers during the live feed, but this reminded me of an interview I read with James Corden and the overwhelming response to his Carpool Karaoke segments. See part of it here: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/03/17/this-weeks-cover-james-corden. Unfortunately, the key quotes aren’t up online, but suffice it to say, I was surprised, given that he was new to the late night TV landscape, that he wasn’t worried about ratings as much as creating content that made people talk the next day, which in turn made them want to tune in more or watch on demand or online. This chatter has led these segments to go viral and have increased his popularity more than I’m sure he ever expected.

    I’m hoping the same happens with these Yogabrews events. I know I would attend if I lived near one of the locations!

  2. I’m intrigued by your yoga events too — you might have to start a chain! I think your experience says a lot about the power of momentum and almost sounds like Rheingold’s charts of exponential growth due to the power of networking. If every person who hears about it tells three more people, you better plan to rent a bigger space.

    I think word of mouth was a powerful influence before the dawn of the Internet, but online life has certainly amplified it. I remembered reading about how “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in 2002 was the most successful “sleeper” film ever because it started out as an unknown, low-budget underdog, but snowballed in popularity by word of mouth (here’s a Thrillist article that describes it in more detail: https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/my-big-fat-greek-wedding-the-biggest-rom-com-of-all-time). I think the big question for most people trying to push a product — whether a movie, breakfast cereal, or yoga — is how to trigger that initial momentum. Inertia takes over once it becomes a hit, but how do you get that first spark?

    It seems like your studio is well on its way to starting a movement, and congratulations on your embracing of social media!

  3. That’s a great real world story. I love the way we can still be surprised. Dealing directly with social media must be stressful especially in the world of trolls and terrible comments.

    I’m also glad your event went well. I just recently joined a Yoga studio near me and it’s definitely been a different experience. Facebook Live and live video in general is an interesting concept in the age of social networking. It’s great to get a look at events and groups of people interacting, at least from a spectator’s perspective.It’s incredible when you can see the viewership build while you’re streaming, but it has a life long beyond the minutes of live video.

  4. I can appreciate being afraid of negative comments – I constantly consider the potential outcome of something I’m going to post on behalf of the band. I have a former student who is a YouTube star (https://www.youtube.com/user/UncleKornicob). A few years ago he visited a local middle school to promote a charter school that he attended. A huge crowd of girls went all “fan-girl” and he ended up having to leave. Some of the boys from the school posted a lot of negative and mean stuff. This lead the young man to post a long “you don’t even know me so how can you be so mean” Facebook post. The response he got from industry professionals was “don’t feed the trolls.” Basically, they said that he’ll always have haters and haters aren’t all bad. They bring you attention and can make you famous.

    • interesting that it was a fangirling incident [positive attention] that led to a negative trolling reaction! I agree that he probably shouldn’t have responded, but I also don’t know what they said.

  5. Congrats on your mini-viral video! I won’t lie–I’m a little jealous. I’ve been working on my cat’s Facebook page for 3 years, and I’ve never had something get more than about 150 views. Need that Famous Internet Cat money! (And she’s the best cat ever. How many cats do you know that have been on 2 Ferris wheels?)

    Facebook is extremely fickle in whom it decides to show things to (or, more likely, not show things to). It’s algorithm is extremely hostile to people who don’t pay them to “promote” content, so it’s really cool that your video ended up as popular as it did! That’s a pretty nice feather in your cap, for somebody who claims they have no skill with social media!

    As for Live videos, from what I’ve seen, they only get a very small fraction of their total views while they’re actually live, so your experience is pretty normal. I think only followers will be notified when you go live, and most of them probably won’t drop what they’re doing. But if they’re interested, they’ll go back and check it out, then share it if they really like it.

    Negative comments. It’s the Internet; they happen. Like with any bullies, the best thing you can do is not engage them, and discourage others from engaging them. I can see where negative reviews might cause issues. But honestly, when I’m looking at a place on Yelp, I’m less interested in the negative reviews than I am in how the company responds to them (and if they respond to them at all). In my opinion, I’d rather see a negative review with a favorable response from the company than a glowing review. The former is going to be a more genuine reflection of the company than the latter.

    On a related note, my Barre studio partnered with an app called Perkville. It awards points to members who post on social media, then members can redeem the points for discounts on merchandise or classes. It really encourages people to post and review, which makes Facebook’s draconian algorithm very happy. I don’t know if that’s something your yoga studio would be interested in, but I thought I’d mention it.

  6. Awesome story! I’m glad that you were able to get traction with your video! One of the things I’m trying to break is trying new things and attempt to change how to market with social media.

    It’s great to hear that bending the recommendations a bit to suit your company paid off! I know that we’ve been told many many times to be careful about what we post on social media and it’s often difficult to try something innovative and avoid mistakes other people have encountered.

    I hope that more people are interested and that the crowd chooses to view more or attend future yoga events based on how fun it looks, which this flavor looks fun and might be a nice introduction to trying something new and then moving towards more traditional types of yoga practice.

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