Sunday, January 17, 2010
I always find it funny when the online community is struck by a new viral phenomenon. Whether it be a YouTube video, advertisement, news clip, etc. it is interesting to watch these things take on true popularity within our society. In 2004 William Hung took the country by storm with his rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs". Millions of people watched as Hung demonstrated his famous dance moves and vocals. Today, William Hung still performs live and can be followed on Williamhunt.net. Thanks to American Idol, Hung became an overnight sensation. Now 6 years later and following 2010's American Idol premiere, many are calling "General" Larry Platt the next William Hung. The 62 year old Atlanta native took the spotlight on American Idol's opening night of auditions last Tuesday. Platt's original rap song "Pants on the Ground" left the judges in fits of laughter and even led Simon Cowell to comment " I don't think this is the last we are going to hear about you. I have a feeling about you Larry ". In the wake of Platt's instant success, he is scheduled to air on several television talk shows including The View and fans can even purchase t-shirts with the phrase "Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground". According to Brenna Ehrlich of Mashable.com, Jimmy Fallon took to the stage on Friday day with his own version on Platt's "Pants on the Ground" (http://mashable.com/2010/01/15/pants-on-the-ground-jimmy-fallon/).
Given the recent success of Platt, many journalists and bloggers have taken the extra step to discover more about this overnight sensation. In her blog, Reality Rocks: Where Unscripted Television Faces the Music, Lyndsey Parker takes a closer look at Platt's personal achievements prior to his American Idol success. In her article 'General Larry Platt: A Real American Idol', Parker describes Platt's involvement with Atlanta's Civil Rights movement in the 1960's. On September 4, 2001, General Larry Platt was honored by the state of Georgia with the official Larry Platt Day. Platt was a student of Martin Luther King Jr. and participated in many non-violent civil rights groups. I find it extremely interesting that Platt's current American Idol success has brought to light his true community contributions. To see Parker's article: http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/realityrocks/301708/general-larry-platt-a-real-american-idol/
As a result from his current American Idol fame, I hope that people can look past Platt's American Idol audition and see a man that has greatly impacted his community. Unlike William Hung, who is known simply for his American Idol catastrophe, I hope that Platt will remain in the public eye and remembered for his life achievements. However, I do think that the most important thing to reflect on in the General Larry Platt phenomenon is the true ability of viral social media to connect our society with this story. Without things such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Platt would simply be another funny audition on American Idol. However, with the use of these tools, Platt has now become an American Idol celebrity. Perhaps he is only the next William Hung, but perhaps Platt will be able to create his own name based on his valuable contributions to society.
Click here for a clip of Platt of Youtube
Click here to see Jimmy Fallon's rendition of "Pants on the Ground"
" The media, communications, ad marketing landscape in which the public relations industry was developed is being knocked down [...] It is the decline of media based on a top-down model of communications. In this model, a small group of elites are briefed in advance with messages that are too often tightly scripted to brief the national newspaper, broadcast networks and newsmagazines. The message is then simplified and communicated to a mass audience via advertising or as "earned" editorial. This model, as epitomized by Youtube, Myspace, Oh My News and Wikipedia, ordinary people provide content to others. Ideas and information are passed virally. This consumer generated content alters the laws of control message. Many are calling this new social and user driven media 'Web 2.0.' "
- Richard Edelman, CEO of the largest independently owned PR firm in the world (c/o Corrine W.)