One of the most humiliating things that can happen to a public figure in their career is to be dumped unceremoniously on TV. This is exactly what happened to Conan O'Brien in January of this year, but instead of disappearing into the woodwork, he's leveraged social media to become even more of a household name.
Successfully leveraging Twitter as a platform to connect with fans, he's demonstrated that he's one of the funniest people we've ever heard. More to the point- he's funnier than his rival Leno. The tagline of his page is "I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account." With more than 850,000 followers flocking to him within about a month and 1 million fans on his Facebook fan page "I'm With Coco," fans are kept updated with video clips, photos and - of course - the humour we've come to appreciate him for.
Even though his lucrative severance package came with the caveat that he couldn't talk to the media, this hasn't stopped O'Brien from getting his message across.
The situation he was dealt could have easily heralded the abrupt end of his career. Instead, O'Brien leveraged his comedic genius on new platforms to stay connected with fans. It's helped him stay top-of-mind, build support, reinforce his brand and generate awareness for his current tour- the "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour." More importantly, social media has served as an outlet for a sense of humour which is best served when shared with others.
This is a great example of when the medium and the message are very well suited to each other.
Food for Thought: Do you think his social media presence will drive viewers to TBS when he launches his new show in November?