I’m the type of person to see Buzz with a bit of a pessimistic eye. It’s really difficult to evaluate buzz, let alone, quantify its effects. But from a qualitative perspective, it has significant meaning, and its development online has been quite intriguing to me. Here’s an example that really makes me think: Chuck Norris, the undisputed “come out of nowhere” champion of online buzz (I haven’t seen this much flurry about one person since the Jedi Kid) is backing Mike Huckabee for president.
Here’s a guy doing relatively nothing until a few kids put up a quirky site about him and he becomes an online superstar overnight. The result? His endorsement of a presidential candidate bears more weight than the “great” Oprah Winfrey.
I can’t help but wonder what this says about the power of online celebrity status and buzz. Is it possible that we’re seeing the traditional “American Dream” concept play out online? All it takes is one big idea and you can go from rags to riches (in this case, capture the attention of a nation?) That may be going too far, but this unseen access to instant popularity is undeniable. The web may not make stars of all of us, but it sure can make stars of any of us.
Here’s an interesting graph from the article showing the power of Chuck on Huckabee’s popularity online.
Just how much weight Huckabee carries through the primaries, especially considering the strength of the candidate field, may make a clear statement about the power of online buzz, and the social power of Web 2.0.