There are a lot of web 2.0 consultants whomake a lot of money. In fact, they make their living on this stuff. I'm goingto try to save you all the time and money and go through it in the next threeminutes, so bear with me. Started a website in 2005 with a few friends, calledReddit.com. It's what you'd call a social news website;
basically, the democratic front page of thebest stuff on the web. You find some interesting content -- say, a TED Talk --submit it to Reddit, and a community of your peers votes up if they like it,down if they don't. That creates the front page.
It's always rising, falling; ahalf million people visit every day. But this isn't about Reddit. It's aboutdiscovering new things that pop up on the web. In the last four years, we'veseen all kinds of memes, all kinds of trends get born right on our front page.
This isn't about Reddit itself, it'sactually about humpback whales. Well, technically, it's about Greenpeace, anenvironmental organization that wanted to stop the Japanese government'swhaling campaign. The whales were getting killed; they wanted to put an end toit. One of the ways they wanted to do it was to put a tracking chip inside oneof the whales. But to personify the movement, they wanted to name it.
So in true web fashion, they put together apoll, where they had a bunch of very erudite, very thoughtful, cultured names.I believe this is the Farsi word for "immortal." I think this means"divine power of the ocean" in a Polynesian language. And then therewas this: "Mister Splashy Pants."
And this was a special name. Mister Pants,or "Splashy" to his friends, was very popular on the Internet. Infact, someone on Reddit thought, "What a great thing, we should all votethis up." And Redditors responded and all agreed. So the voting started.We got behind it ourselves; we changed our logo for the day, from the alien toSplashy, to help the cause. And it wasn't long before other sites like Fark andBoing Boing and the rest of the Internet started saying, "We love SplashyPants!"
So it went from about five percent, whichwas when this meme started, to 70 percent at the end of voting. Prettyimpressive, right? We won! Mister Splashy Pants was chosen. Just kidding --Greenpeace actually wasn't that crazy about it, because they wanted one of themore thoughtful names to win. They said, "No, just kidding. We'll give itanother week of voting.
Well, that got us a little angry, so wechanged it to Fightin' Splashy.
And the Reddit community -- really, therest of the Internet, really got behind this. Facebook groups were created.Facebook applications were created. The idea was, "Vote your conscience,vote for Mister Splashy Pants." People were putting up signs in the realworld about this whale.
This was the final vote: 78 percent of thevotes. To give you an idea of the landslide, the next highest name pulled inthree.
There was a clear lesson: the Internetloves Mister Splashy Pants. Which is obvious. It's a great name. Everyone wantsto hear their news anchor say, "Mister Splashy Pants."
I think that's what helped drive this. Whatwas cool were the repercussions. Greenpeace created an entire marketingcampaign around it -- Mister Splashy Pants shirts and pins, an e-card so youcould send your friend a dancing Splashy. But even more important was that theyaccomplished their mission. The Japanese government called off their whalingexpedition. Mission accomplished: Greenpeace was thrilled, the whales werehappy -- that's a quote.
And actually, Redditors in the Internetcommunity were happy to participate, but they weren't whale lovers. A few,certainly, but we're talking about a lot of people, really interested andcaught up in this meme. Greenpeace came back to the site and thanked Reddit forits participation. But this wasn't really altruism; just interest in doing somethingcool.
This is how the Internet works. This isthat great big secret. The Internet provides a level playing field. Your linkis as good as your link, which is as good as my link. With a browser, anyonecan get to any website no matter your budget. That is, as long as you can keepnet neutrality in place.
Another important thing is it costs nothingto get content online. There are so many publishing tools available, it onlytakes a few minutes to produce something. and the cost of iteration is socheap, you might as well.
If you do, be genuine. Be honest, up-front.One of the great lessons Greenpeace learned is that it's OK to lose control, OKto take yourself a little less seriously, given that, even though it's a veryserious cause, you could ultimately achieve your goal. That's the final messageI want to share: you can do well online. But no longer is the message comingfrom just the top down. If you want to succeed you've got to be OK to losecontrol.