Social Media Club Sydney (SMCSYD) was transformed last night, 10th November 2009, spellbound by one unique individual, the one and only MC Hammer. As programming director I was the one of the first to find out that MC Hammer was coming to Sydney thanks to Iain McDonald and his Twitter relationship with Hammer, which again shows the power of connections made in social spaces. We moved venue to the University of Technology Sydney to accommodate the format that Hammer had used with the Harvard Business School, and it gave the talk the gravity it deserved.
Hammer, listed as one of the top social media users on WeFollow is passionate about social media and entrepreneurship. What makes him so engaging is his deeply personal point of view: everything was related to his own experience with Twitter his blog, and the people he interacts with online.
Hammer’s insights are related to what he’s gained transforming his personal brand into a social personal brand
- wanting to engage directly with the audience and he tweets for himself – “never let anyone else tell your story”
- he’s a “supergeek” and is connected all the time – “I have this phone and that phone and this device and that computer”
- Likes to be at “the centre of the flow of information”
- he uses Twitter to address any issues as they arise because “perception is most important”
- if people are negative – “you block ’em”
- what you can’t touch – “you can’t touch the concept Hammer time”
- transparency is paramount, its important to be yourself
- the way he’d reinvented himself more than once from rapper > social media advocate > Harvard Business School lecturer
- the power of social media to transform the world
Hammer also spoke a lot about being an entrepreneur and music and the people he’d met and become friends with like @Ev. He did have some advice for brands not to run and hide from social but to embrace and own the space Sure, it may have been stuff we knew from our own experience or had heard before, but not like this. Hammer was transformative because he had lived every moment of it – none of it was theory, it was all personal truth.
What made it complete for me was to watch him live his personal brand, to the last degree, to talk individually to all the people who waited for photos and autographs. He responded to questions, engaged genuinely, one-on-one.
I’ll finish with a story he shared with us when commenting that he really liked my husband Mal Damkar’s tie. He told us the story of how he went to an upmarket restaurant in NYC with Ev from Twitter, and it was the kind of place that they wouldn’t let you in unless you wore a tie. Ev, being the casual kind of guy, had to go out and buy a tie to get into the restaurant. Hammer (immaculately dressed for SMCSYD in a suit, tie, shirt and cufflinks) thought this was hilarious, so he took a photo of Ev and tweeted it out.
Hammer, to me, represents the new type of social brand: radical authenticity, when social persona and reality are one.