By: Joseph Silver
“World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), a publicly traded company, is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on all of its programming. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.”
For those that don’t know what it is, WWE is the world’s largest professional wrestling company. They film live shows in different arenas every week. The superstars and divas (male and female wrestlers) engage in storyline feuds with each other. The action in the ring, while dangerous, is staged and choreographed prior to filming, just as with any television sitcom you may watch. Within the past few years, WWE has utilized social media to become a mainstream organization. Almost every superstar has a Twitter account where they share pictures and stories about their daily lives. This outlet has bridged the gap between superstars and the WWE Universe (a term the company uses to describe its fan base). Fans have the ability to interact with these ‘larger-than-life’ superstars, and that is the goal of their strategy; it is getting the fans to connect with the product in a new dimension.
Not only do fans connect with the superstars on Twitter, but also the superstars connect with each other, enabling fans to follow the virtual war of words using unique hashtags (i.e. #WWE, #Raw). Superstars use Twitter to “trash-talk” each other and enhance their feuds. As a Long Island native, it’s hard to write about WWE and social media without mentioning Zack Ryder. He is a superstar from Long Island who used social media to climb to the upper echelon of the WWE roster. Ryder created his own weekly YouTube show. With his creative writing and catchphrases, the self-proclaimed Internet Champion built a fan base from scratch and made a name for himself. He now has almost 1 million followers on Twitter, more than the New York Jets and New York Giants combined. More superstars and followers (as of writing this post) below:
- The Rock: 3,569,918 followers
- John Cena: 2,993,914 followers
- Randy Orton: 1,645,459 followers
- CM Punk: 1,389,705 followers
Another social media outlet that is on the rise is Tout. Tout is a website where users can upload 15-second videos for all to see. The WWE superstars have been encouraged to spend more time uploading videos and using social media in general. Some have used Tout to challenge other superstars to a match, to document their traveling experiences, and to show off how much weight they can lift in the gym. It is just another way to get an inside look at the life of a superstar and feel a personal connection to them.
WWE is a pioneer in social media. In recent months, WWE has been using celebrities such as Charlie Sheen, Mike Tyson, Khloe Kardashian, and Larry King to be “Social Media Ambassadors” on their show Monday Night RAW. Throughout the night, the “Ambassadors” would tweet about the show in an attempt by WWE to expand their fan base, increase ratings, and reach people that may not regularly watch professional wrestling.
WWE has implemented social media into their company culture. Company officials are constantly concerned with social media activity/rankings and worldwide Twitter trends. It is challenging to see where social media will take us next in regards to public relations. Twitter gives people a voice, and Tout even more so. It will be interesting to see how WWE and other companies will implement social media to reach fans around the world.
Photo courtesy of Tout.com
Joseph Silver is a junior, communication interest major. In addition to involvement with PRSSA, he is a member of the Deltones, UD’s premiere a cappella group. Joseph transferred to UD this year from SUNY New Paltz and is really enjoying his time in Delaware.