The Power of Chuck

5 12 2007

chuck_norris_facts1.pngI’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.

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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.





Tit for Tat

5 12 2007

I’m not one to blog about Presidential races, or anything political for that matter, but this one got to me.

First, a question: of all the issues that could come up in a presidential election, which one would you think would be the most important? Which one you would you like to read about?

How about this? Yes…Mitt Romney, who is running on a strict immigration policy platform had illegal immigrants working on his lawn, reportedly unbeknownst to him. Now, I understand that this is an issue, by definition of the term, for a guy running on a closed-borders immigration policy, but I take my beef with how much emphasis the press and Giuliani are putting on this. Here’s a little snippet from the article:

“As soon as we were given credible information that people assigned to work on the governor’s property were not of legal status, we acted,” Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said. “The governor has been on the road almost constantly since the beginning the year and hasn’t interacted with the people working on his lawn.”

Last year, workers said that Romney sometimes waved as they tended to the grounds, occasionally calling out, “Buenos dias,” or “Good day.” They also said Romney’s wife, Ann, brought the workers water one especially hot day.

It doesn’t matter who I’m voting for, I’d rather here the substantive issues that the candidates differ on, not whether. And I certainly don’t find it newsworthy that Ann Romney *gasp* brought the workers water on an especially hot day. Is this really what the issues have come down to? Really?

I’ll close tongue-in-cheek with a quote from one of Giuliani’s staffers regarding this whole incident:

“I think it speaks for itself.” (Katie Levinson, speaking for Giuliani’s campaign)

Yes Katie…it sure does, it sure does.





Learn a Word, End World Hunger

3 12 2007

Not since I was studying for the GRE has learning new vocabulary that you’ll never use been this fun, or made you feel so morally responsible. 

http://www.freerice.com/index.php

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Here’s hoping they actually donate the food to the hungry…