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How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

What would social media be without the cross-platform share?

We take for granted the fact that we can grab one piece of content that we like and by adding a small piece of code, automagically post a piece of music, meme, or video.  It didn’t just appear one day, it was born out of a marketing campaign necessity and was overlooked for it’s importance, at the time, by a young group of Internet marketers.  We invented the cross-platform share and never staked our claim to fame.

How It Happened

I was a noob.  I may have within my first few months of my digital career.  The one thing I had on my side was a small but well-balanced team of co-conspirators and a sound work ethic.  As a secondary sell-in from Paid Search, I offered what my version of ‘Media’ was at the time.   Not too bad, to be honest.  I had the right idea by creating an integrated approach.  The campaign capitalized on the already existing explosive traffic source from, at the time (2006), one of the 5 or 6 big hitter costume etailers.

(Behavioral) Retargeting?  You betcha, that was a buy from Fetchback in their early days when CPM was a flat $2.  On the frontside of the campaign, to acquire new traffic, we used a social media contest via Brickfish.  For continued engagement and earned media opportunity, we felt that people might have wanted to visually express their excitement for Halloween by posting a picture of their costume, from our client’s home-site, directly to Myspace.  Mind you, in 2006 Myspace was the juggernaut and Facebook was simply regarded as a wannabe.  Twitter was a zygote.  As necessity is the mother of invention and there were no plugins to do such a precise thing it was up to us to figure out in-house.

You wanted to add video, music, link or a despicably ugly background?  Piece of cake, Myspace allowed all of those within their environment and if you knew a little HTML you could download and then upload profile destroying themes.  The offsite push share was virtually unheard of and possibly completely non-existent.  Until we launched this beauty:

share button

 It wasn’t prettiest button or shareable unit, but it was ours.  The numbers were hardly provoking, but we arrived at nearly 10,000 of these push shares to Myspace for the campaign from a few million potential site visitors.  We considered it a drop in the bucket and not a worthy future pursuit.  DOH!

The Build

I couldn’t tell you to this day how it was built.  The dev guy we had at the time was a young fellow from the Republic of Congo.  At the time his English was spotty, but he was a magic man.  I don’t ever remember a particular task not being ‘figured out’ by him.  For this campaign I asked for a button to integrate on site that would grab content and push it to Myspace.   Completely dev-incompetent, I hadn’t the slightest idea how involved or time intensive my request actually was.  Luc smiled when I described the project and then coyly promised that he would have it ready (in 10 days) for the campaign launch.  The commitment I inadvertently asked of him was at least 6 days of working until almost midnight prior to the launch, but he pulled it off in only two revisions.  We pushed it live to the site and then checked weekly (from server logs) how often the code was accessed.  There were no tracking platforms for social.

In conclusion, we proved our crazy hypothesis that people did have an interest in sharing content from sites directly to their Myspace wall.  What we didn’t predict was that we would out think consumers.  If very few (if any) buttons existed, then we shouldn’t have expected usage to widespread or understood.  We were crippled by an education factor from users trust or button knowledge.  That 10,000 is a flash in the pan by new standards for quality content, but then again, the expectation for content quality has multiplied just as fast.

Damn, should have capitalized on that idea…


How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

What would social media be without the cross-platform share? We take for granted the fact...
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