Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why Black Hollywood Needs To Be Blogging and Social Networking

Over the last few months I've met too many Black entertainers and those that work with them, that aren't hip to blogging nor to the importance of Facebook Pages, Twitter, and the like. They're sleeping on the social trend and totally missing out on opportunities to expand or create their celebrity status.

So here's six reasons why Black Hollywood needs to be blogging and social networking:

REASON 1:

Black owned publications like "Ebony" and "Jet" that cater to our need for quality coverage of Black celebrity and entertainment news may soon be gone. "Essence" has been doing it's thing online for years now thanks probably to its AOL/TimeWarner ownership. But Johnson publications got into the online game late with "Ebony" and "Jet" and now is facing bankruptcy.

For generations we've taken it for granted that these iconic publications would always be around. So accustomed to reading them for free in our cultural hangouts, we forgot BUYING them kept them printing. Consequently, getting a mention or cover story in these publications can't be taken for granted by Black Hollywood anymore because they may not exit.

*Singing* "You don't what you've got til it's gone."

REASON 2:

The mess permeating the net from gossip sites must be balanced with something more substantial. Actress Gabrielle Union recently threatened to spank one particular site's ass in court since it refused to remove false information about her from its site. Get 'em Gabby!

Admittedly, we all dabble in some form of gossip, but to use it as our main source of information about Black Hollywood or anyone in general is ignorant. Other viable alternatives for black celebrity online must be created. Which reminds me....

CELEBRITY WEB SITE/BLOG MANAGERS... By linking to gossip sites you increase their prominence and page rank instead of your own. If they don't often link back to you, drop' em! Learn how SEO and page rank works.

REASON 3:

Think E! and "Access Hollywood" will fulfill our need for black celebrity news? No diss to them, but truthfully, unless you're on their "mainstream" A-list they're not covering your event nor the story detailed in that press release you so eagerly sent. And if you thought BET was coming...no diss to them either, but we all know news is not its focus and turn around time for those celebrity driven shows is long. It's the nature of the beast called "production".

*Shouting like Fishburne in "School Daze"* WAKE UP!!!

Blogs, websites, and social networking are now tools of publicity and immediate feedback from fans. Magazines and newspapers can't get a story on the shelves or published to the masses faster than a blogger or website manager can upload it to the internet. And tv news coverage is overly filtered before it makes it to air. So the angle of the story a publicist presents may be changed--and not all the time for the good.

Understandably, the push is for media coverage from outlets with the biggest audience. But even the major media outlets now rely on blogs and websites for information. They don't often credit us as sources, but if the info is from the official celebrity website or blog they do, which makes what they report more credible.

REASON 4
"Branding" is the not-so-new buzz word online. An online identity is crucial and a celeb's image, logo, music, whatever that identifies them as them must be consistent online. So, if well established names/brands like Oprah, Jet Blue, Starbucks, P.Diddy are using social networking why shouldn't those that need it most use it to upgrade their celebrity game?

The social tools not only promotes the brand, but also provide opportunities to share the celebrity's perspective. At the end of the day when entertainers take off the cloak of celebrity, they're generally just regular people with high profile jobs. Social networking and blogging can be used to allow fans and followers to see the whole person. The only person controlling how much and how long it's shared is the individual.

Reason 5
Creating a dialogue with fans online whether through social tools utimately helps increase sales at box offices, ticketmaster, and Itunes. They can also be used to get immediate feedback on new material. Fans like to know their opinions matter and what better way to illustrate that by asking for comments AND responding to them.

Too often Black celebrity fundraisers and philanthropy is only heard about it in tight Hollywood circles and thus the info is limited to those "in the know". These social tools help to further get the word out and raise money. Facebook is especially equipped to to do that. Remember, too that Obama funded his campaign by asking for $5 dollar contributions via social tools.

Reason 6
Got a product to sell? Or maybe a certain entertainer has a relatable side hustle. All of which can be promoted and sold for potentially nothing through a blog, website, and social networking for a profit.

I've got more reasons, but this blog has gotten too long. Want to know more hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. I've become a Twitter junkie so I'll definitely receive your message and respond.

2 comments:

Vicki Wagner said...

Alice,
What you have to say is very true! We all need to be our own PR agents and get the word out there! Good advice to your readers. Keep up the good work...you never know who will notice.

Dee said...

Well said again. I am officially on just about all of 'em now....next step is keeping the info current!!! ~sigh~ One step at a time...