Monday, February 15, 2010

Kevin Smith, Southwest, and Twitter

The first thought I had when I heard that movie director Kevin Smith sent angry Tweets over being kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight this week for being too fat was,

"Did he see our picture in the February edition of Southwest's Spirit Magazine? "

Then I started to think about what great publicity Kevin Smith is getting for his new movie "Cop Out." Sure, bloggers and tweeters and even established news organizations, including NPR, are writing about Smith's tweets and Southwest's response and what it all means.

Many of those articles include a reference to the new movie. You can't buy that kind of publicity. I'd be surprised if Smith accepted an apology from Southwest for at least another week. The movie opens on February 26th. The longer this stays in the news, the better it is for Smith. Smart man.

The Kevin Smith/Southwest incident isn't the only big Twitter incident this week. Musician John Mayer tweeted his apologies for some inappropriate comments in a recent Playboy interview. It seems that controversy and Twitter equal massive publicity.

It's just another example of how social media tools fragment along the same lines at radio, print, and television. The tool will be altered to match the existing uses of media -- good and bad -- no matter how idealistic the new technology seems when it first arrives. Remember when the Internet wasn't going to be commercialized?

This, of course, is good news for our industry. Public radio thrives because of how it contrasts with commercial radio. The more commercial values seep into social media, the more opportunity public media has to stand out and provide value.

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Blogger ben said... conducted a media study among viewers of a news clip featuring Southwest Airlines’ decision to deny Kevin Smith a seat on a flight because he was larger than their size requirements. Results found that favorability for the airline decreased among both healthy-weight and over-weight viewers. Nearly one-third of viewers (32%) indicated that they were less likely to fly on Southwest Airlines due to this incident. More in depth results can be seen at:

9:45 AM  

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