When Shaq decided to announce his retirement via a social media network on Wednesday, I praised him for giving the info to the fans first rather than feeding it to an ESPN insider so they could break a big story and benefit from it. Had I known at the time that the way Shaq went about his business was exactly that — business — I probably would have been a bit more critical. It’s never too late.
When Shaq chose to put the announcement video on Tout.com, I assumed I was simply behind the game as far as social media tools are concerned. I was a very late entry into the Twitter world, so it was reasonable to assume that Tout was just another Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace that I had yet to hear about. Things got a bit stranger when Shaq kept utilizing Tout, which is apparently a social network that allows you to post videos that are 15 seconds or less in length. Check out this interesting info that PopDecay.com passed along on Thursday via Red’s Army:
According to Shaq’s agent Perry Rogers, the process of getting Shaq and Tout connected began last month when O’Neal discovered the site. He shared it with Rogers, who contacted CEO Michael Downing.
“Next thing I knew he was flying to Vegas to meet me,” Rogers said. “I asked him why it was so important to do this in person. And he said that the CEO of Twitter had said that Twitter wouldn’t be what it was without Shaq, so knowing what power Shaq had in this space, he knew he had to get this done.”
The two men made a deal. Shaq would announce his retirement by posting a Tout video to his more than 3.8 million Twitter followers. In exchange, O’Neal — who told ESPN he considered himself “the emperor of the social media network” — would get a seat on the company’s advisory board and get a small equity stake in the company.”
Tout.com is now littered with images of Shaq on its homepage. Big Daddy Diesel is obviously the face of the new social media tool, but now the question becomes will he pull a Brett Favre and return for another season. Tout got their exposure and established a spokesman for their company whether O’Neal actually retires or not. Shaq gets his money whether he calls it quits or not, but my guess is he comes back for the final year of his contract. After all, this is clearly a man who never passes up the opportunity to make a buck.Google+