Homeless Man Benefits From a World Wide Rave

You've probably already hear the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man from Columbus, Ohio who has a terrific announcer's voice. If not, check out this amazing video:

As moving as this story is, it gets better. An article by Brenna Ehrlich in Mashable/Video about Mr. Williams and the video gives us a great case study of the power of social media.

The video really took off on Reddit, a social bookmarking site, which spread the news about Mr. Williams and spurred it to over 5 million views on YouTube.

Within a short time, according to Ehrlich, he had received 70 to 80 job offers and had appeared on CBS'The Early Show. Among the job offers he has received is one from the Cleveland Cavaliers and their sister organization, Quicken Loans.

This story is much more than just a heart warming story of a man getting a second chance. It is also about the power of social media.

It doesn't take a viral video getting 5 million viewers to make a social media campaign effective. But it does take noteworthy content that is fueled by an enthusiastic community.

Social media is more than just word of mouth. Word of mouth in the "real" world typically dies out quickly unless there is a compelling story behind it. For example, if the story is about a company that delivered truly horrible service, as was the case with United Breaks Guitars, it gives hearers something tangible to pass along.

On the other hand, the story can be about something exceptional as well. People love to hear and retell good stories. If there is a link or a video they can pass along, it makes this process even easier.

What do you think? What makes this story about Ted Williams so compelling? Do you have another story that was so compelling it created its own buzz?

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COPYRIGHT © 2010, Charles Brown

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