If you have been following along with us the past week or so you may have noticed me tweeting about the #FriendsofRicki and our pitch to the new Ricki Lake Show coming up in September 2012. Ricki is doing something groundbreaking. She is building a social media community around her (that’s what the #FriendsofRicki is all about with @DabneyPorte as the main architect) and she is basically involving her social media community every step of the way by airing production meetings and the like on Ustream. We have really enjoyed watching this movement grow from its infancy to something that is now very significant. This underlines the new trend where the lines between social media and television are starting to blur. Where this show differs is that the producers and everyone involved, even the star herself, really get how social media works. Their efforts to engage the public in this way are trailblazing and I look forward to see how the show evolves as a result.
To that end the producers recently decided to allow the social media community to pitch ideas to them through a one-minute video. I stumbled on the following tweet from @TeamRickiJackie: “20 yrs in TV, I have never seen anything like this. YOU could be on @rickilakeshow #friendsofricki”. Embedded in this tweet was a link to the directions on how to proceed. I figured that in 2009 since we won a similar contest offered by Sir Richard Branson, it would be fun to participate again. I liked the idea we didn’t have to beg for votes as we did back then; that this was based on merit and how it fits with their audience. We took part of our PSA that we had produced a while ago and added a new ending (do you think they noticed MaryMargaret’s hair was significantly longer at the end of the video?) and in one afternoon the pitch was off to the producers.
This past Tuesday many of the producers hosted their pitch meeting live. There were several pitches, including ours, that they played and discussed openly. I must admit that when they showed MaryMargaret’s pitch (which was second in line) I could feel my heart racing as the adrenaline was indeed flowing.
Here is the segment where our pitch was discussed among the producers.
Now they did have some audio difficulties when they were commenting on the piece but if you adjust your audio up and down you can hear some key sound bites. For example, the executive producer @LisaKridos clearly says, “That really is. . .absolutely something we’ll cover on the show.” Lisa went on to say that the old Ricki Lake show featured kids in trouble, whereas “this is more of an example of the kind of kids you want to celebrate and [MaryMargaret] is obviously doing an amazing job.” You can also hear @TeamRickiTracy say that “It showed action. . . I love the fact that you can localize it.” And finally @TeamRickiBryan came in with “. . . Twitter is on fire! Everybody loved it!!”
So that means that we will be on the new Ricki Lake show, right? Not so fast. I’m experienced enough to know that there are many variables involved here that can affect whether or not they feature us. They could pick a hero or two from our site and have a “feel good” show that doesn’t even mention us. That has happened to us in the past.
Making the Case for Kids Are Heroes
So what about that “feel-good” show? Well I guess it would be nice and probably would bring a tear or two to the audience members. But it would entirely miss the point and the parents would not be able to share the benefit of Kids Are Heroes with their children. What we have discovered is that by having kids go to our web site and having them witness many many instances of different types of kids involved with varying causes, that they start to realize that they are no different than their counterparts on the website. They see that they too can make a difference. It becomes cool to volunteer. They take some parts from one story, parts from another and build their own. As they implement their own passion the confidence starts to develop inside them. They own this idea which encourages them to persevere. They become empowered as they finish and then end up getting featured on the site themselves to influence yet another group of kids. It’s not about being a “do-gooder”. These kids are really turning into compassionate leaders. They get to meet each other on Kids Are Heroes Day and now they have a network of leaders to rely upon later in life. Kids Are Heroes demonstrates to both parents and children that with passion and some parental support, you don’t have to be connected to make a huge difference. And although many of the kids have done so, you don’t have to create a non-profit of your own. All of these projects, including Kids Are Heroes, started with a very small idea. You can get value from this by engaging at any level you wish.
MaryMargaret’s Latest Project
You may recall MaryMargaret’s “Music for Life” program where she donated 250 pre-loaded MP3 players to sick children in two area youth hospitals. Last year she and her friends donated $750 to the World Wildlife Federation as part of her “Black to Blue” project. She wanted to help the animals devastated by the Gulf Oil Spill. Her newest project is just developing. MaryMargaret will be raising funds for the “Rainforest Foundation US” which was co-founded by Sting. As written on their Facebook page, their mission is to “support indigenous and traditional people of the world’s rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights.” The name of the project is called “Rainforest Graphics” and what she plans to do is create custom Facebook covers, Twitter backgrounds and wallpapers for people to raise money. 100% of the proceeds will be donated. Her target is $1000 and she will run it through the end of October. More on that later.