Is It Weird That Rush Limbaugh Discovers Twitter in 2012?
March 20, 2012
"Every day that we fill with frenetic activity, to the exclusion of the important strategic questions, is a day closer to risking irrelevance in a digitally connected world."
-Greater Media Chairman/CEO Peter Smyth
That's still a favorite quote from a Peter Smyth think piece last year, "Change Agents Wanted."
I thought back to it last week when I saw this headline here on All Access: "RUSH LIMBAUGH announced on Thursday's show that he has launched a TWITTER account."
It's good to see that old dogs can learn new tricks – but what were the objections to a brand as big as his to not use social in the first place? (Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of Twitter. But that is due to the lack of return it brings local brands. So this isn't about if you're not there you're square.)
This speaks to a larger issue at hand with many brands.
When people personally see no value in the social and/or digital space – they resist participating professionally by projecting their own uninformed opinions on the use of these platforms, and unknowingly chip away at their brands' opportunities to be seen as present, open and connected to a whole new league of listeners we serve today.
As a former on-air talent who evolved to a Program Director, I can empathize with the logic that ratings and financial goals require the most attention and focus. But you can be effective in this digital and social space, too, with the elements of "Change Agents" and balance.
Perhaps we've conditioned ourselves to forego seeking assistance and asking the big questions like "How can we serve the fans socially?" or "How can we strengthen the digital space we own with the social space we rent?" because our day-to-day tasks of music logs, scheduling "van hits," talent coaching, and department head meetings are sucking our time and energy.
There may also be fear that the use of digital and social will cannibalize the "mother ship." But the more you hold onto traditional thinking – the more you're closer to a Kodak type outcome where the future was yours but fear paralyzed the brand.
So, maybe it took until 2012 for a big radio brand like Rush to realize how social can connect him with his listeners and elevate his message– just take note to how weird that sounded to his followers.
While happy that their favorite brand is now on their preferred platform – they are left oddly confused to what took the brand so long and will be corrective to any faux pas they make moving forward.
You can't do this alone (as Rush is not doing this alone) and you shouldn't try. Seek out Change Agents that are within your resources. This person can be anyone - from someone in the building related or even unrelated to the brand but native to digital and social platforms.
This could also be an intern studying this space at a local college with a great love for your brand – or even someone in your personal life that can guide you.
The only hard rule of a Change Agent is that they must always be observing and adapting to the behaviors behind digital and social trends to help elevate your name and keep your brand in the hands (and the hearts) of the fans.
You are not in this alone.
I share that all the time with our Jacobs Media clients. These are some of the best Digital and Program Directors in our industry. They have the same everyday pressures of maintaining their monster radio brands as perhaps you do.
Yet they identify that just because we live in a world that is faster, more open, and complicated with technology, a lack of privacy, and immediate accountability, they must make the time to learn how these digital and social tools offer a greater purpose – serving the relationships the radio stations build and strengthening the space they "own."
Change Agents can strengthen your talented traditional skills by merging new strategic fundamentals that will equate to creating brand impact in this space.
They can also help you measure the quality and depth of how digital and social lends to the bottom line and they will shield you and your brands reputation from coming off as dated and distant in this open and connected world. (Meaning in 2013 – you won't be announcing that you have just discovered MySpace.)
Be open to Change Agents.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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