As a young American boy growing up in the 70’s Evel Knievel was one of my role models. Aside from being a daredevil Evel possessed a strong understanding of marketing and engaged in a level of shameless self promotion that would have made PT Barnum proud.
When Evel was just getting started he got the crazy idea in his head that he wanted to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. No one in the media or at Caesars took him seriously. So Evel set up some fictitious corporate entities, and had his lawyers and friends, call Caesars and ABC News continually and eventually got them to believe there was something behind this Knievel stunt and they agreed to let him do the jump (ack wikipedia verification)
Despite the fact that he crashed, the campaign was a success and put him on the map, and in the eyes, minds, and hearts of the general public. So what does this have to do with social media … I’ll tell you.
Using his lawyers, friends, and family to call up Caesars and ABC is no different than using a friend network to promote and vote for your stories. I know for some people their moral compass makes this feel like gaming the system, but I don’t really see too much harm in a little puffery. In fact lots of people in the SEO world subscribe to the theory of “Fake it till you make it”.
The one caveat is you have to have it in case somebody does give you the second look. When you face plant into the ground it’s not pretty, and when your tips, tricks, secrets or suggestions don’t actually work or wrong, you end up looking like an ass.