Sometimes something just flies unexpectedly on Facebook and goes viral.
That something happened when Paralymic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who started her career in Walsall won her second gold of the London 2012 Olympics.
An outburst of deep joy on Ellie’s face was reflected back by all those watching and especially by those in the borough where she was born and learned to swim.
She’s moved to Swansea since to build her career but still has close ties to Aldridge in the borough of Walsall.
Straight after the race the debate was about where in Walsall the gold letter box would be. As a marketing ploy the gold letter boxes and the stamps of the winners takes some beating.
We’d spotted a picture posted on Twitter using Twitpic by a BBC reporter James Bovill of a workman painting the postbox in Aldridge High Street.
We shared it on Facebook acknowledging where it came from in the spirit of the social web. You can see the page here.
And 24 hours later the image had been liked 3,215, had been shared 273 times, commented on 117 times and had been seen by a potential audience on Facebook of 29,608. We also put on 100 new likers.
Tim Clark, a press officer at Wolverhampton City Council, recently wrote an excellent post http://twoheads.squarespace.com/comms2point0/2012/8/1/how-a-cloud-burst-took-facebook-by-storm.html on the 16-second clip of torrential rain that captured the imagination as it went viral.
The point that both make is that it doesn’t have to be polished content to work. Just something that captures the imagination.
The team behind the the Team GB Olympics team as well as GB Paralympics team know this too with a cracking use of licensed images of athletes in action, medal successes on Facebook. Every athlete and team, it seems, gets their picture added to the page with some staggering numbers of shares and likes. The Team GB Facebook page is one example. The Paralympics GB page is another.
Here’s five things it shows
1. Reporters with mobile phones can reach big numbers by putting mobile first.
2. What takes off doesn’t have to be great art.
3. Timely posts work.
4. Sharing is a good thing.
5. Paralympians are amazing people.
Creative commons licence