Last night, Clint Eastwood spoke at the GOP convention, mostly by pretending to talk to an invisible President Obama, sitting in an empty chair next to him.
If you got a good night’s sleep last night and missed it, let me assure you that this happened and that every single word I write here is true.
Regardless of your political beliefs or like/dislike of Romney or Obama, this is something that will be remembered for a long time. Why? Well, let’s see what happened next.
Well, like with almost everything these days, things turned online. As the place where anyone can say anything and reach everyone in the blink of an eye for almost no money, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
First, we got “Eastwooding,” a meme where Eastwood pointed at different types of chairs (those of you about to celebrate your 40th birthday might agree that the choice of Pee Wee Herman’s chair Chairy was pretty funny). People added funny captions to pictures of Eastwood and the soon-to-be-famous chair. Maybe you saw the picture of a fake newspaper clipping of Abe Simpson was entitled “Old Man Yells At Chair.”
People made ever increasingly interesting/funny/pathetic attempts at humor inside the meme and it kept shifting, growing, morphing and evolving.
Then that shifted to old people pointing at chairs. And then anyone pointing to almost anything was “Eastwooding.”
Then, because this isn’t weird enough, you got President Obama, who tweeted a picture of the back of his head in a seat marked President and wrote “This seat’s taken.”
And then, we we introduced to @InvisibleObama, because in this world, you’re nothing until someone makes a fake Twitter account about you or your idea.
This all happened while you were asleep last night.
To recap: An idea to get some press, to change the news cycle from “Paul Ryan seems to know what he’s talking about though even FOX News thinks he’s lying” and “Romney’s list of things he doesn’t want to talk about keeps growing” is now “Hey! Everyone loves Clint! And Clint loves America and the GOP! Yay!”
But that event shifted the course of conversation not one, not twice, but three times overnight. Overnight.
Now, I’d suggest that a meme like Eastwooding won’t much legs and will probably be a “hey, remember this meme” two months from now. But think how these two memes will affect the presidential coverage and thus the election. Memes. Helping us determine who the next American President is.
So if you don’t think the internet is serious business, doesn’t have the power to change minds, start and destroy careers and businesses, you are wrong. If you think your business’s 12-month plan for how to manage social media is adequate, in a world in which the tech changes weekly and the ways to use it changes minute-to-minute, you’re in trouble.
And it’s only going to get worse/better (depending on how you look at it). What happens if your brand, in an effort to generate awareness or change the news cycle ends up in a similar meme-hole? What can you do about it?
Are you ready for the future? Because it’s already here. Just ask the holographic head of Ronald Reagan the GOP was planning on using this year.