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Social Media for the Sophisticated, Seasoned & Scared

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bill Cosby Draws Over 95,000 Viewers for U-Stream Webcast

Tonight I watched Bill Cosby debut and introduce the world to his new hip-hop album via U-Stream, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Cinch, Vimeo, 12 Seconds, and Blogtalk Radio. He pulled an impressive 97,000 viewers on U-Stream.

Although this exercise was somewhat historic, I felt that some key areas were missed in execution, in order to engage the intended target audience through the use of social media.

During the U-Stream webcast, viewers were chatting with eachother via the U-Stream chat platform. Each message contained the hash tag #BillCosby. After the webcast concluded, a colleague and I went to twitter to see if #BillCosby had become a trending topic, which it hadn't. We then checked Google Trends. It wasn't there either.

This discovery begs the questions where were the influencers, who was #BillCosby's intended audience and how can over 97,000 viewers translate to a true case study in social media influence and/or engagement.

It wasn't like #BillCosby's webcast wasn't properly promoted. It received top-billing on U-Stream's homepage. The news of Cosby's webcast and album release was publicized on outlets like Billboard, ABC News, Reuters, Entertainment Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hip-Hop Wired and the Washington Post, to name a few. The resounding message through out all of the press was that the release of Bill Cosby's hip hop album was to unite hip-hop artists for an "Emergency."

I'll say that, as far as advance publicity goes, his team gets an "A." However, for the execution of the webcast, his social media team gets a "C+" at best. With over 97,000 viewers, he didn't do enough to engage them, in my opinion. So many viewers were simply impressed with the numbers he drew alone. Though, as a social media enthusiast, I personally expected more.

Here is what I would have loved to have seen:
  • One or two key influencers from hip-hop that were a part of the discussion and could provide insight on where hip-hop began to where it is now.
  • A few chat room moderators to keep dialogue flowing in the intended direction and to reiterate what viewers were seeing and hearing. (Someone to accent the main points of discussion.)
  • More answering from the chat room and twitter
At one point, during the discussion, there were even a few hip-hop influences, like Killer Mike, that hopped into the chat room to talk to Bill Cosby and his viewers. None of them were even acknowledged by Cosby but evidence of their influence was demonstrated as some of the chat room discussion turned toward the unexpected chat room guests.

The true impact of Cosby's experiment might not be revealed until later on this week. However, I predict that he'll get slightly less post-event coverage, which will still be impressive as a whole but I doubt he'll break digital download records. After all, he's no Drake...just joking.