Yesterday, I learned about Tebowing. I thought it was kind of clever, but maybe that was because the bar was set insanely low by the whole planking movement. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for not going on a tangent there.
To me, things in this vein usually has its entertainment value, but erodes quickly.
At first it’s a chuckle. Maybe you dig into it a bit more. If you feel like being “that guy” (as in the guy who likes to show off that they’re ahead of the curve even if it means you bought a Sega Dreamcast), you send it to people and banter about it in the office, with friends, or on social networks.
But inevitably whatever “coolness” these internet memes have wears off, except for maybe Icing as there is good schadenfreude value there, plus it inevitably leads to drinking.
Usually though, the death kiss of these memes, is the exultation of them by mainstream media. While not really the actual nail in the coffin per se, the fact is that usually within days of being embraced by mainstream media, your Mom or Aunt will then email or worse, write on your Facebook wall, with something like this:
“Hey Honey…… I saw this and thought of you. Totally something you and your friends would do! Have you done it yet? Also be sure to get a flu shot and if you can please call me as I am having problems working the DVR again.”
And just like that… you’re over it. You’re off the bandwagon. Anyone who jumps on after you left is totally uncool.
While Tebowing certainly has some juice left, in this digital age and the amount of attention it has received, we’re on borrowed time here folks. Relish the moment now before you inevitably have to do a house call to check the DVR settings.
Below is what we saw on just 30 minutes of ESPN today…
ESPN, especially during the day, is a segmented audience. But traditional media has jumped all over this story. The Wall Street Journal got in early with an interview with the site and trend’s founder.
The screenshot at the top of this article is from Yahoo.com, a site that usually drives 2+ million reads for any article in the top slide-show. But the WSJ and Yahoo are not alone. Below is a screenshot from Google News, where in basically less than two days, there are nearly 400 articles on Tebowing from all over the country. I am guessing doing a google news search tomorrow may lead to 1000 articles perhaps.
This article isn’t meant to make fun of Tebowing or the media organizations that are joining in the fun. Nor are we going to talk about Tim Tebow. This is merely some commentary about how these things go from fresh to played out in an incredibly short amount of time. The Homeless announcer is another story that sticks out that seemed to pop up, build, and then die unceremoniously in less than a week.
In the past, in a world without Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and less digital consumption of media, stories of this nature were spread mostly by word of mouth and yes, traditional media. Now that we’re all broadcasting, these things run their course much much faster.
I think what’s more incredible is seeing mainstream media’s knee jerk reaction (as outlined above) to get in early while the story still has some upside and legs. Good for them in many ways as they’re getting better at adjusting their coverage to capture what’s hot on the social web.
My guess is that Tebowing will hit its peak in 2 weeks and start it’s decline around Thanksgiving, which come to think of it is probably the trajectory of Tim Tebow’s career as well. If you’re going to get a taste of it now, you better make your move soon.