The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Jun 20, 2012

Lauer & BieberIt’s time for businesses to finally admit that the rules for communications have changed forever, reversing the roles between media and messengers. In the past, messengers tripped over themselves to gain access to the vast audiences of print and broadcast media. Today, those same arbiters of information are tripping over themselves to gain access to the audiences of the messengers that once pursued them.

For example, consider the odd Today Show “interview” that occurred last Friday between Matt Lauer and Justin Bieber. In the ultimate “Man Bites Dog” story, Lauer (the powerful media arbiter) asked messenger Bieber (a singer looking to capitalize on The Today Show’s massive television audience) for help in attracting Twitter followers.

At 8:18 a.m., Bieber sent the following Tweet.

Five hours later, Lauer (@MLauer) had 100,000 followers. Today, he has 142,000.

So, why would a famous, television personality beg for help in building his audience? The numbers tell us the whole story.

The 5X and 10X differences lead us to the following question: “Who needs who here?”

Beyond the whole “Man Bites Dog” aspect of this story, something else is amiss. Lauer suffers from the same affliction as most companies who are attempting to use social media. He values the quantity of his audience as opposed to the quality of it.

Justin Bieber has access to Justin Bieber fans. If Matt Lauer is looking to attract screaming female teenagers, his request makes sense. If not, his new-found audience has no real value.

The world of communications has been turned upside down. Is your company dancing on the ceiling or the floor?



Hi Ron,

Cool post.I don’t follow either Matt Lauer or Justin Beiber, so I guess it made no difference to me 🙂


June 20, 2012

I concur.  I was in a waiting room and actually got to see this live (wouldn’t have otherwise).  And I thought the same thing (though not as eloquently): who is Lauer trying to reach?  He shrouded it in the ‘the power of Bieber on social media’ – but he was looking to gain followers, no matter how he got them.  He might as well buy them – they’d be just as valuable to him.

June 20, 2012

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.