How social media connected strangers on a train — ten years later

January 11 2012

As Inbound Marketers the blog is the fundamental tool to building your brand and your sales leads. But not every blog post has to be about business tips and tools. Often a story about a passionate group of people and how they have used social media to build their following might be of interest to you marketers out these who read this blog. I read social media marketing tips and tools stories all day long and sometimes it’s just nice to hear a great story.

Improve everywhere 300x180 How social media connected strangers on a train    ten years later

Here is one such story:


Seven or eight years ago I found out about this hilarious group of New Yorkers going by the name of Improve Everywhere. Their tagline is “we cause scenes” with the word scene acting as a pun because they create real life improve comedy sketches in front of unsuspecting people.

Long before Social media was such a buzz worthy term, these guys were using their own networks and e-mail lists to gather together groups of up to a hundred or more friends to pull off clever and involved pranks on unsuspecting New Yorkers. Check out a couple of my favorites:

Improve Everywhere quickly built a fan base through YouTube and a following due to their biggest viral stunt called No Pants subway ride where “agents” ride a subway train wearing all their clothes minus the pants. A stunt that almost landed them in jail one year, it is now repeated in cities all around the world on the same date every year in January and only continues to grow. Charlie Todd, founder of Improve Everywhere, recognized early on the power of the internet in attracting like-minded fans to his organization. He also was hitting on early viral videos before those words were even coined.

Just recently Improve everywhere posted a video about the first ever no pants subway ride when it was only a couple of agents on a single train car. In that first stunt they had a hidden video camera and caught some footage of a woman experiencing the scene first hand. What is interesting about this story is to follow the path through social media channels to see how after five years, Charlie Todd was reunited with this first witness of the first ever no pants ride. Check out the video here:

So as business owners and marketers what can we learn from this example? Does it inspire you in anyway to develop your own social strategy?

One last link for you to watch about the power of social media and Improve Everywhere. Improve Everywhere is trying to make a movie about what they have learned, and they need your help. Please watch the teaser here and if you are inspired and can help them, please make a donation:

leadsbook cover shops How social media connected strangers on a train    ten years later
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