Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Unintended Viral Campaign: The Story of Cumbio from Argentina

Agustina Vivero, aka Cumbio, is a 17 year old teenager from Argentina, who became the nation's Internet and television celebrity through turning Argentina's most popular social networking site into a marketing medium. Cumbio's fotolog site is among the most viewed Internet sites in Argentina, tallying 36 million visits over the past year. 
But how did it all start? Last year, she started to invite some friends over to her family's house in the poorer part of the city. They hung out and took photos of themselves with their trademarks: big tousled hair, bright V-neck t-shirts and sneakers.
As numbers increased, they decided to move the meetings somewhere else. Local kids gathering outside got the attention of the media. She was the one to make the explanation for the new movement: "People don't understand what this is about. People are used to fame coming from television or from sports but not from the Internet, where people are posting photos and bringing together and having fun".
Floggers do not want to change the world, they want to survive and have the best possible time they can.
Cumbio was soon featured in Nike commercials, TV shows, has signed modeling contracts, and has even written a book about her life.
This is the power of online social media. This is something that shows how a blog that started through friends getting together and taking pictures can influence other people in so many other ways. Cumbio, who is openly gay and comfortable with not being model-thin is giving out a message that was only deliverable with the support of the online social media. 

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