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Founding Fathers (and Monster Mothers): Gaga, The Pope, Biz, and Tom

Phil Putnam June 29, 2011 Category Agency News Social Media

This week’s social media big news roll call reads like the setup of a joke.  Lady Gaga, The Pope, Biz Stone of Twitter and Tom of MySpace (remember MySpace?) are all making big online moves, and as we approach this weekend’s annual homage to the birth of America via keg parties and explosives (genius, I’m sure), the social media headlines belong to Founding Fathers and Monster Mothers.


  • The Pope (yes, THE Pope) sent the first Papal Tweet on Tuesday.  As it was sent via Twitter for iPad, rumors of an iPope product release are sure to begin soon.
  • Mother Monstrous Lady Gaga (yes, THE Gaga) launched a Tumblr page on Monday, offering yet another platform where we can learn to love all of ourselves by watching Gaga love all of herself.  All the time.  Every day.  Incessantly.  Forever.
  • Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, announced that he is leaving Twitter in favor of a reverse-Oedipal move to resurrect Twitter’s parent company, the Obvious Corporation.
  • Friend of All, MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson wants to be your Top Friend again as new owner of the social network that he originally owned but sold to NewsCorp in 2005 for $580 Million but now is competing with his fellow co-founder and two other companies to buy for himself, making this situation almost as confusing as the last 3 MySpace layouts.

Lady Gaga making self-consumed headlines is nothing new, and speculating on what the Pope will tweet next is beyond my pay grade.  Biz and Tom, however, have my attention because they raise all kinds of fun questions about what kind of impact the persona of a Founder/CEO might have on a social network.  In my experience using MySpace and Twitter, Tom and Biz are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Tom was unavoidable, the default first friend for every MySpace user.  That thumbnail of him looking over his shoulder in that white t-shirt is immediately recognizable.  Biz, on the other hand, is, well, who?  After years of using Twitter as a segment of successful marketing campaigns, I don’t know anything about him, don’t know what he looks like, and am only moderately jealous of his way awesome name.  In both cases, being immersed in Tom’s persona and being ignorant of Biz, the founder made little to no impact on my perception of their product.  The level at which I felt I “knew” them made me no less or more likely to login and stay on.

This is just my experience, just one man’s perception, and I imagine there will be plenty of speculation about the impact of these founders’ decisions to return/leave the social networks they created.  I can’t help but wonder, though, will it make that much of a difference in either case?  What do you think?



Follow me on Twitter @PhilPutnamPath

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