I’m not the biggest fan of the hardwoods, but I AM a fan of watching real world superstars engage and utilize technology to directly converse with their fans.. So it came as a big of a surprise to me yesterday when I got a direct message from a fellow tweeter telling me to check out the_real_shaq, and give him a follow. Like most, my first reaction was, Ok, fanboy here that thinks he can lay down the law like the Phoenix Suns starting center.
Well, shut my mouth, ‘cause a quick lookup on mashable shed some light on the fact that this might in fact be THE actual real live Shaq jumping into 21 century technology and actively engaging in conversations with his fans. Are you kidding me? OutSTANDing Mr. O’Neil!
If this wasn’t enough to make a social media advocate jump up and down, the story gets even better, as reported by Adam Ostrow yesterday afternoon. To make his claim to twitter fame solid and permanent, Shaq actually reached across the great divide and actually called a fan that was in doubt as to the authenticity of ‘the real Shaq’.
Bryant Blount, aka Lord_b heard about Shaq’s tweets on a sports website and decided to give him a follow. Shortly there after, much to Blount’s surprise, the_real_shaq returned the follow. Blount then sent the message out, “Shaq has requested to follow me…boy is he gonna be disappointed.”
A bit later in the day, Blount then updated with, “still 30% skeptical about shaq tweeting…will continue to investigate and report back with any new findings.”
So far so good, nothing really wild and crazy to report here. Well, strap your seatbelt on folks; this is where the ride is about to get started. Apparently around 1am, Shaq wrote back with, “LORD B, DNT B SKEPTICAL, ITS ME GIMME A NUMBER I WILL CALL U.”
Blount’s account is set to private (meaning his tweets aren’t public to the entire world), so he took the bait and posted his phone number. Blount was sitting at is day to day, just doing his job when a blocked number showed up on his phone. He answered and got the call of his life: THE real Shaq put the rumors to rest with one phone call. After a 3-4 minute conversation that included chit chat about Twitter, the ‘fake’ Shaq, and Blount’s hometown, New Haven, CT, where Shaq played ball with some peeps, the two ended the conversation.
A few minutes later, Shaq updated with, “I just talk to my good friend lord b, hes cool, im a invite him to a game, him and his family.”
Shaq’s online marketing manager, Kathleen Hessert commented on the original Mashable post with, “Shaq is a joyful person and a riot to be around. He not only gets attention but actually attracts people – he’s magnetic and genuine. That’s why I recommended that he twitter. Frankly it suits him and he’s one of a select few who actually do care about his fans. He’s learning twitter on the run and tomorrow I’m showing him how to respond@ to a fan.”
This is outstanding. This is putting the value and interest of fans and no-fans alike on a real world map. Shaq’s managed to rack up 3000+ followers in just 3 days! His first Twit pic had more than 1300 views within the first 10 minutes of posting. If this isn’t a wake up call for any and all businesses and marketable properties that still don’t believe in the power of social media and marketing, I don’t know what is. Kudos to you, Ms. Kathleen Hessert!