Thursday, July 16, 2009

Viral Journalism??

If you think Viral Marketing was the newest kid on the block, then meet its younger brother, Viral Journalism. A person, who apparently goes by the name of Fake IPL Player made more news through his blog during the much hyped IPL Cricket tournament, than the tournament itself. (

The blogger initially claimed to be part of one of the teams in the tournament, giving out news and information from inside. However by the end of the season, he refused to reveal his identity but made it quiet clear that he was an inside man but not a player.

The blog could be seen as journalism getting its most wanted desire of being freed from any kind of restriction, as without any identity to track this person, he was free to speak his mind about various issues using mostly dark humor. He made fun of a lot of high profiled players and also the corporates who own the franchises. Most of the things mentioned by the blogger were true and it was also very embarrassing for the people he was targeting and that made it all the more funny. Isn’t it ironic that the intensity of our laughter on a particular joke is directly proportionate to the level of tragedy involved in it? As long as the joke is not on you, it’s really funny.

The blog gained a lot of popularity and had 20,000 followers in a couple of weeks and many other silent observers. After each of his entry, within an hour, he would have thousands of comments on his posts. His popularity was highly intriguing as this person had no credibility to his name but was still able to be featured on BBC News. While people may forget this blogger in a couple of years, it does leave us with an exciting and interesting example of reiterating the impact and usefulness of blogs. The blogger while doing free spirited journalism was able to change people’s perception about some of the franchises in the tournament. He also very discreetly advertised a book while creating a positive image about its author.

Journalism has a way of effecting people and has been successful in doing so over many years. However, this blogger with his idea of unrestricted journalism, showed the world how with no investment, he was able to draw people to his way of thinking. He had a nation of more than one billion (India) talking about him, had news channels featuring his story and was able to become a thorn in the back for big corporate giants. Seeing his popularity, how much would a corporate person would have liked this man to talk about their brand or perhaps endorse them in his own way. Then there is also the possibility of merchandising.

Was he really an inside man or some frustrated journalist or perhaps a corporate puppet who used this blog to damage some franchises? Whatever may be the answer to that, in this age of “financial crisis”, he was able to come up with a variety of ways to earn serious money, if only he wanted to. It was his choice however not to do so but the question is..........

What Would You Have Done?