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Posts Tagged ‘media’

Bill O’Reilly & Social Media: Mortal Enemies?

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly

I was watching The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News last week and heard the controversial host say something unusually distressing. One of his guests mentioned Facebook and Bill immediately rolled his eyes said something to the extent of: “I don’t even know what Facebook and Twitter are, and I don’t care.” (I have searched tirelessly on the Internet for a video or written transcript of the segment, but couldn’t find anything. I’ll keep searching.)

This sounds very bad coming from the highest-rated cable news host. Bill O’Reilly, a seasoned reporter known for his opinions and analyses of current events, doesn’t know or care about social media? Bill, if you’re reading, please accept my humble advice and change your mind about the biggest phenomenon to change the way we communicate since the mobile phone. Here’s why you should think twice about your ambivalence toward social media:

1. Social media changes the world every day, for better or worse. Barack Obama’s campaign arguably won the 2008 presidential election through its consistent participation and interaction with younger voters on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. Sarah Palin and other potential candidates currently drive their grassroots political movements through social media. And perhaps most stunningly, the recent protests in Iran over alleged election fraud was largely organized and broadcast through Twitter.

2. Social media is changing the dynamics of our modern media. Once-powerful newspapers are succumbing to bankruptcy at alarming rates. Why? The emergence of cable news is one possible explanation. But blogs and citizen journalists are attracting more and more Americans, undermining traditional media outlets and forcing them to evolve. No one could have envisioned such drastic times for newspapers and the mainstream media. Who’s to say social media won’t dramatically change the potency of Fox News or other cable news outlets within the next decade in a similarly unpredictable way?

3. Social media isn’t going away. It may change over time, but like other communication megatrends of the past few decades (the internet, personal computers, cell phones, etc.), social media is a powerful networking and conversation tool that unites friends, strangers, businesses and families. It won’t be abandoned any time soon.

4. Hundreds of millions of people use social media every day. As a news anchor, someone who reports on the prevailing trends of our society, shouldn’t you care? You alienate your viewers and listeners by saying you don’t know what Facebook is. Roughly one third of Americans actively use Facebook. This is an astonishing statistic. Many of these Facebook users undoubtedly listen to you and trust your judgement of what’s important news. How should they interpret your utter lack of interest or knowledge concerning something so revolutionary, so innovative, so vital?

Blue Helm sponsors Freedom Festival’s Vote the Voice campaign

The Jonas Brothers performed in 2009's Stadium of Fire.

The Jonas Brothers performed in 2009's Stadium of Fire.

Blue Helm is proud to work with America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, a nonprofit group that dedicates itself to promoting family, freedom, God and country. One of the Freedom Festival’s great annual events is the Stadium of Fire, an awesome celebration every 4th of July featuring past performers like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, the Beach Boys, Blue Man Group and the Osmonds. This year, Blue Helm has sponsored the festival’s successful Vote the Voice campaign—an opportunity for Facebook and Twitter fans to recommend who they would like to see perform in a future Stadium of Fire event. Here’s the most recent press release we sent out to Utah’s media about the campaign:

Provo, Utah – November 17, 2009 - America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, in partnership with Blue Helm Communications, officially released today the final online poll for the Stadium of Fire’s Vote the Voice event. After aggressive grassroots and viral lobbying among thousands of fans, the community may now choose between David Archuleta, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Bon Jovi and Eric Dodge to become a potential performer in a future Stadium of Fire celebration.

Fans must visit the Freedom Festival’s Facebook page to access a link to the new online ballot. Over 15,000 votes have been cast since October 15 to narrow the list of favorite contenders to five. The new online poll of five names is comprised of leading nominees from the last two phases of the Freedom Festival’s Vote the Voice campaign—an energetic and ongoing vote held since September on the festival’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

A unique example of how Vote the Voice has influenced the Freedom Festival’s consideration of future performers is the inclusion of southern Utah country singer Eric Dodge in the final five. The Freedom Festival was unaware of his enormous popularity among many Utah residents before Vote the Voice began. Through Facebook, Twitter and Eric Dodge’s website, fans have coordinated and lobbied to vote in strong numbers, thus securing his name among other, better-known contenders in the final five.

In another distinctive use of social media campaigning, David Archuleta’s fans dominated Twitter discussions about Vote the Voice. Their lobbying for the American Idol runner-up was so relentless, one of the largest David Archuleta fan pages on Twitter took notice and encouraged its thousands of followers to get involved.

Members of the community are encouraged to visit the Freedom Festival’s Facebook page at to learn more about how to vote for their favorite performers. Fans can also stay up to date with Vote the Voice on Twitter at

When the Freedom Festival tallies all the votes at the end of the year, it will do its very best to book its fans’ favorite performer for a future Stadium of Fire event. No guarantee of any future performer, despite the outcome of the vote, can be made.