When the Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson returned to the WWE ring on Monday night after seven years, he brought more than his classic, in your face rants against announcer Michael Cole and fellow wrestlers The Miz and John Cena.
He also brought along an ever-expanding Twitter fan base.
A 1/2 an hour before The Rock entered t ring to announce he will be the guest host for WWE’s “Wrestlemania”, he kicked off first tweet on @TheRock :
“Finally… Twitter just got Rocked! http://say.ly/wTo8Ry”
By the end of his surprise appearance on WWE “Raw”, Johnson had over 13,000 followers and was the second trending topic on Twitter, (he was bested only by Justin Bieber who appeared in Conan and Chelsea Lately the same night).
By 4:30pm the next day, Johnson was up to 90,932 Followers in less than 18 hours, (another person who prospered on Twitter that night was Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit cover model Irina Shayk @theirishayk who according to darrenrovell “ gained 1,000+ followers since being named cover girl last night” (on David Letterman)).
Just like when Facebook exploded a few years ago, Twitter is starting to gain traction by former non tweeters like Johnson and Howard Stern.
Stern is interesting because he went from vowing he would never tweet to becoming Twitter obsessed….which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Stern routinely connects with his fans by answering questions, sending out pics, retweeting messages and connecting with Twitter savvy users like Alyssa Milano.
This kind of online relationship building could be a boon for Stern as he can now connect with people who otherwise would’ve been too afraid to be a gun his radio show est or simply have conversations with people like Milano, whom he might not have had the opportunity to talk to in person.
For Johnson, Twitter allows him to re-connect with rabid fan base who stayed loyal to him for the seven years after he left WWE for a successful film career.
For sheer branding purposes, Johnson can now keep his followers informed on future movie projects as well as charitable causes that could benefit organizations that he or the WWE champions.
However, this is not say that Howard Stern or The Rock’s fans will automatically do what they tweet.
In fact Howard Stern has caught flack from some of his Sirius XM fans, who called Tweeting “girlie” (note: they didn’t say girlie).
When Stern asked one caller, why did he think Twitter was “girlie”, the guy didn’t have an t answer.
This is not out of the ordinary.
There are many people out there who hate Twitter for no reason
It’s one thing not to understand how to use Twitter or use it and not get anything from it, but to criticize Twitter and not realize the ground breaking ability to gather information or the ease to reach people directly, is a bit shortsighted.
Stern and Johnson should be commended for breaking out of their own comfort zones and embracing this new technology.
The ability for them to relay messages to their fans in real-time will not only keep them connected, but will also create a new paradigm of brand loyalty that is yet to be fully tapped.
By the way, since writing this post an hour ago, The Rock is up to 92,615 followers.