By Jenny Bridle

Last week, while the Asian Racing Conference took place in Mumbai, Fashion Week in Paris presented the new haute couture lines of the world’s top designers. What all of us plebs saw in the media was a whole lot of wow.

Of course, for those of us who are not a size 00 or possessed of earth-shattering beauty, Paris Fashion Week is amazing. We may marvel at the clothes, the accessories, and all the gorgeous people but we know none of these are or will ever be reality for us. This fact is not something to get stressed or depressed over – envy is overrated and, really, just a waste of your valuable time. What’s important is that we’re able to appreciate the magic and beauty.

AND MAYHEM 1

Twitter is like this too. Sometimes it seems truly magical.

Magic Cinderella

On January 27th, for example, North American telecommunications giant Bell Canada ran a public service campaign on various media instruments, including Twitter, whose purpose was to raise awareness and money for mental health. For every tweet, RT, and post on social media or text message that shared #BellLetsTalk, Bell Canada donated 5 cents to mental health initiatives and “ending the stigma.”

BellLetsTalk

What began a few years ago in Canada went global in 2016 with thousands taking part from all over the world. Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau played his part and so did many others. American comedian Ellen De Generes received the most RTs, almost 120k from her 59m followers and Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber received almost 80k RTs from his 74m followers.

In the end, in 24 hours, the campaign raised over $6m. The message transcended everything — content was king. And the whole exercise was a beautiful thing.

Just the day before (was it an omen?) two well-known American rap artists, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa got into a not-even-sure-what-to-call-it Twitter “feud.” What began as a provocative comment from Wiz about Kanye’s newest song, “Waves,” devolved into nastiness that included insults about who’s a better musician, their children, and various exes and o’s.

Kanye wiz

In the end, Kanye used Twitter to explain to Wiz, his own 24m followers, and the world at large what he thinks of his place in the great scheme of things.

kanye consolation

If anyone thought that was the end of the affair, they were mistaken. Not long after what seemed like the end, Kanye’s 30 tweets to Wiz were deleted and he offered his version of an apology.

https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/692449772117069824

And, if you’re asking yourself, who cares? Just wait and consider that we — along with thousands, maybe even millions of people both at the time and now — talked and are talking about this Twitter exchange. The who cares moment comes when you stop to consider that marketing 101 includes promotion and part of promotion is publicity. Sometimes, and for all sorts of reasons, negative press is good or even great for a given product.

Hello my name is

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, there are people who like to debate the merits of Twitter or just say that it’s a waste of time.

And while we shouldn’t entirely ignore these types of comments, they are surely missing the point. Twitter can be one of the most powerful communication channels available today.

it's magical

Still, twittering people have their downsides. A friend said recently that he’s frustrated by Twitterers with a few thousand followers who seem to believe they are somehow innovative and having an enormous impact on a global scale.

Andy Warhol

This is a bit like ordinary, average-looking people suffering from the delusion that they are just under appreciated or that if they wear the right clothes or the right makeup they’ll suddenly be transformed into Irina, Kendall, or Cara.

AND MAYHEM 2

Popular Tweets can be like billboards on the side of a busy road: the more people that see them (impressions), the greater the brand awareness. Consumer behaviour analytics teaches us that the moment a buyer chooses one brand over another is similar to the moment a voter makes their selection on the ballot; brand recognition goes a very long way in getting the buyer (or voter) to convert and do what you’re asking them to do even if that means choosing the devil they know.

Hello darling

Like Paris designers, it’s important to at least try putting your best face (or tweet) forward. Those of us involved in horse racing could learn a thing or two in this regard. Now — when the sport is contracting and new fans seem to be hard to find — is not the time to be dismissing Twitter as irrelevant or tweeting boring stats and comments that only hard core racing types would understand. These may have their place with die hard fans but if we want to grow the sport, we need to take to heart the lessons coming from the #BellLetsTalk campaign and the Kanye-Wiz “feud”: the size of your Twitter network does matter and content truly is king.

What do you think?