Social Media Explained with Donuts

What's the best way to explain to your newbie friend what social media is all about? Three Ships Media's creative director, Nuno Gomes, had an idea. He used donuts as his central theme and then created analogies that struck a chord…with over a 100,000 people. The quick whiteboard drawing that was whipped up in five minutes on February 3 has gone viral.

Doug Ray, a multimedia producer there, snapped a photo of the chart with Instagram and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. “We had a beer, a good laugh, and went home for the weekend,” said Adam Rhew of the company.

“Since then, nearly 100,000 people have ‘liked' it on Facebook, and thousands of people have Tweeted about it. We weren't trying to make anything cute or funny.

“Besides totally blowing our minds, the whole thing has been a good reminder about some best practices in online earned media execution.”

You Never Know When Something Will Go Viral
We didn't set out to make this go viral. It was Friday afternoon and we needed to blow off some steam. You just can't plan viral.

Let Go of the Reins
We didn't care about offending anyone nor did we care that this had been done before using something much less palatable than donuts (Good artists copy and great artists steal – or something like that). Sometimes controversy can be a good thing. And the only way to get there is through complete creative control. Sometimes, you have to let go of the reins to give your creative partners room to work.

Sometimes the Best Ideas are the Easiest
There are plenty of projects that can and should require hours of work. But sometimes the best ideas – and the most successful – are ones that fly off the hand. We used donuts because we had just been talking about a weekend road race in which participants ran two miles, ate 12 glazed Krispy Kremes, and ran another two miles. The whole thing took us all of five minutes.

Low Tech is OK
Sure, we could have whipped up something in Illustrator or Final Cut Pro. But in this case, the low-tech, lo-fi approach worked.

Homer Simpson would be proud.

Three Ships Media website
via [Doug Ray's Facebook]

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