In Public Relations and Social Media: Gotta Watch The Blind Side

Caught the very good The Blind Side the other night, and looking forward to seeing it again. A true-life story as only Hollywood can do, The Blind Side is a movie about a kid with nothing who, with a lot of hard work and a little help from people in his community, achieved success.

Think about social media: community, crowd sourcing, public relations, protecting the brand, connecting with people, and most of all, giving and sharing of yourself and your ideas. Generosity leads to success.  the_blind_side06

In the movie a football coach persuaded his private school employers to give “Big Mike” Oher a chance in the hope that one day, he’d get a ball player in return. At first, Michael struggled. But then he got noticed. First to spot him was Mrs. Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), who took him home to live with her family. Second to catch on were his teachers.

Social media is about connecting with the real lives of people. Do you follow the same sports teams, like wine, have similar hobbies, go to the same restaurants? The more you know about someone, the better you can help them.

As they got to know him, Michael’s teachers began to realize he was learning…just not in the traditional ways. Instead of forcing their pigeonhole state mandated guidelines, they taught and tested him in a way that fit his style. Soon he began writing and testing well enough to play football. When Michael got off to a slow start at football practice, Sandra Bullock lectured the coach as only a pushy parent can do, “You got to learn something about your players.”

In public relations, you do not pitch blind. You read the blogs, the stories, the Twitter profiles; you follow and comment and learn the writer’s audience and interests, you connect. It’s about giving a reporter what they need to do their story, not just getting them to write yours.

<b>The real Michael Oher with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy</b>
The real Michael Oher with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy

Michael Oher is a left tackle, an offensive lineman responsible for protecting the quarterback and running back, a pivotal position. Public Relations and Social Media Managers, that’s what they do: they listen, monitor traffic, watch for opportunities to promote the brand (skillfully done by Michael’s little brother), and when necessary, protect the brand and its blind side.

The more successful Oher and the football team, the more connected to his schoolmates and community. The Tuohy family, the school and the community gave Michael Oher a home, an education and opportunity. If you see the movie, you will see how much he gave them right back.

In social media we share our ideas and expertise, in the hope that it will help the community, which in return, helps us. We learn what else is out there, see things in new ways, we learn how to give back, and how to watch the blind side.

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