Merlin Mann, The Bros. Chaps & Jeff Olsen of on Online Branding: The Sound of Young America

Homestar Runner

An unusual Sound of Young America podcast: I talk with writer Merlin Mann,
Homestar Runners creators Mike and Matt Chapman (aka The Bros. Chaps), and Jeff Olsen, creative director of, at the Integrated Media Association conference in Atlanta. The (somewhat cheesy) title of the session was "Blow Up Your Brand." We chatted about how to do something on the internet that people will actually give a hoot about.

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Merlin Mann
Ze Frank
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Online Branding

It's now easy to get some attention. Something that's over the top and not usual are what really appeals to many. The use of social media marketing and networking is really making waves in the advertising world.

Selected Merlin quotes from this episode.

Great episode. I have typed some quotes from Merlin where he talks about his experiences dealing with the community that builds up around a high-profile blog. He makes a number of admirable points. I may use them in my Master's dissertation and thought that, as I had typed them, I would just share them here anyway. Enjoy. — Aiden

“If you put out great work that says a lot more about you than a press release.” [28.29]

“Creating community is not as simple as turning on comments.” [37.40]

“Anytime you turn on a community aspect it not only needs moderation of some kind, but you are obligated to listen, respond and then show how that input had an effect on what you do. and if you do that i think its very cynical.” [38.10]

“If you encourage community and social media around what you do, you need to be prepared for the day that it goes in a direction that you never expected and becomes wildly successful in a way that you are completely unprepared for. And your PR people are going to have a stroke when they see all the @ responses on Twitter. People giving a very unvarnished public opinion that you asked for.” [43.22]

“Know where you stand on that and understand that, at a certain point on the web, you give away a lot of control when you accept somebody else carrying your freight.” [43.48]