The power of new media for distributing a message

Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, recently made the news.

Within the context of protests across the United States, and indeed the world, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Alexis resigned from the Reddit board and suggested a black candidate should replace him.

Alexis Ohanian was asked by many media types for an interview.

Instead he gave an exclusive to Serena Williams on Instagram.

For those who don’t know, Alexis and Serena are married.

The topic of the discussion is obviously the main reason to watch the clip in its entirety.

And I thoroughly recommend you do.

I have found extremely enlightening.

Within the context of this blog, the intersection of digital platforms/marketing/publishing, what caught my eye was Alexis’choice in terms of the distribution of his message.

Serena Williams has, at time of writing, 12.4M followers on Instagram.

The video on IGTV has been viewed, so far,1.4 million times.

IGTV is the long form video offering from Instagram.

Why would Ohanian go to The New York Times (9.4M followers on Instagram), to The Washington Post (3.3M followers) or BBC News (13.5M followers)?

Serena Williams’ reach is comparable or a lot better to that of many of these major players in the news industry.

With Serena, gone are any issues of mistrust in the media and of how some outlets aim for a ‘gotcha’ moment.

The interview can be more constructive as both parties have discussed the issues for a long time before appearing on screen.

Serena offers the perspective of a global personality directly impacted for many, many years by this topic.

As such, the interview strikes a chord that might have been difficult to strike had the interviewer been, with respect, a less known individual.

Additionally, Serena’s followers and fans are likely to be more interested in a conversation between her and her husband than the average NYT or CNN follower.

The final result is, to me, a much more genuine and valuable conversation.

The sort of conversation that we should be having as a society.

Longer term, my belief is that Serena Williams will be a bigger media company than most of the current media companies.

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