Time Travel – or just a Clever Social Media PR Stunt?

Charlie Chaplin may be the loveable, Derby hat-wearing silent film star, who steals your heart without uttering a word in films like “Modern Times,” but the early 20th Century (and decades deceased) star was the viral buzz this week. In fact, “Charlie Chaplin” was trending on Twitter.

What makes Chaplin so tech-savvy and cool these past few days? Two words: Time travel.

I kid you not, that’s what reports are touting. Apparently a woman using what some have called a cell phone can be seen in one of Chaplin’s 1928 flicks, leading some to cry wormholes and warp speed. Take a look for yourself:

While time travel is…um….one explanation, several other theories have also popped up (after all – a carrier that gets reception back in the 1920s minus the use of satellites isn’t necessarily the most plausible scenario).

One theory: Public Relations, social media and one clever viral campaign.

Many news stories have linked the time travel buzz to this week’s 25th anniversary of “Back to the Future” and its release to DVD and Blu-ray. This account involves a lot less physics – and a dash of Hollywood promotion – that has everyone (from TIME to The Washington Post to MTV) talking.

To learn more about social media and viral campaigns follow the Orlando Public Relations Firm Wellons Communications on Facebook and Twitter.

Death of the Internet? I think not.

Prince: “The Internet’s like MTV. At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

Prince: “The Internet’s like MTV. At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

Prince is getting a lot of headlines for proclaiming the Internet is outdated. “The Internet’s like MTV,” he said to a reporter from The Mirror. “At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

He should probably take that back – along with The Black Album. Sorry Prince, the Internet will be dead when pigs fly – or doves cry.

This is especially true for people who work in public relations. Online media provides some of the most valuable targets for media relations and PR campaigns – despite being undervalued in the eyes of some clients, who think it’s all about TV and daily papers.

Online media opportunities continue to grow as the traditional media continue to deal with shrinking space and cuts in staff and budget. Internet media offers so many terrific opportunities, probably 1999 or more, including:

· Connecting directly with customers through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc.

· Reaching out to a targeted, niche audience through blogs (some of which have tremendous followings)

· Generating brand buzz and awareness through online video: YouTube, etc.

· Posting company news through online press releases (all while building SEO)

· Promoting events through community and national calendars

· Garnering the benefits of user-generated content

Who knows what the future will bring with the explosion of smart phones, iPads and the next big thing being cooked up by Apple and Google.

The (purple) reign of the Internet will last for a long time. Make sure to seize the many PR opportunities it offers.

The only thing that’s outdated for sure is this: