Why BBC Dad Went Viral

March 24, 2017

 

By now we've all seen the viral BBC interview of Robert Kelly, a professor who was speaking on the impeachment of South Korean President Park Guen-hye. The political expert was making a serious point when he was comically interrupted his two young children, who burst into the room and were quickly followed by their frantic mother.

 

The blooper video has been viewed nearly 100 million times, which is about 100 million more views than it would have received had it gone off without a hitch.

 

Why? Kelly summed it up perfectly during a news conference a couple of days later at Pusan National University, where he is an associate professor.

 

"My real life punched through the fake cover I had created on television," he said. "This is the kind of thing a lot of working parents can relate to."

 

Technological improvements have accelerated the work from home trend, and many of us now telecommute from home offices at least one day per week. Other than a two-year stint at CU Times' Washington office, during which I worked from home one or two days a week, I haven't worked in an office in 12 years.

 

Because working from home is a relatively new concept, we still strive to create a traditional office environment ... or at least the appearance of one. Kelly has since confirmed that he was wearing pants underneath his suit jacket, but video conference participants are often guilty of only wearing office attire if it will appear on camera. Chances are most of your colleagues on WebEx are wearing shorts or yoga pants beneath their shirts, ties and blouses.

 

And forget about shoes. One of the funniest aspects of the viral video was that Kelly's wife struggled to herd the children out of his office because she was sliding around on hard wood floors in her socks. I've often done the same rushing to answer the phone because instead of working at my desk, I'm working at the kitchen table while my son plays within eye range on the back porch. Even as I write this post, I'm sitting cross-legged on my son's bed using my iPad, while he plays with toys.

 

Social media provides a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of celebrities and common folks alike, which levels the playing field of life. It's not enough anymore to watch leaders and entertainers deliver well-rehearsed performances on screen or stage. We also want to see their flaws.

 

Ivanka Trump has come under fire for failing to provide her social media audience with authenticity. Her posts are always perfect and posed; she never has a hair out of place nor a wrinkle to be found on her clothing or her face. There are no ketchup smears on her white cashmere sweater, no baby spit up on her black designer gown. Her kids are always adorable and well behaved.

 

We already know Ivanka is thin and rich and beautiful, and she probably does look like a million bucks every day. But we also want reassurance that she's human, just like we are. She'll never be successful in her attempt to be a voice for working mothers if she doesn't share the unglamorous motherhood moments to which we can all relate. We want to see her children acting like real kids, bursting into her office unexpectedly and ruining her big moment.

 

That kind of humility is the reason the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral a couple of years ago. We like seeing beautiful people looking like a hot mess. It makes us feel better about the hot messes we see in the mirror each morning, or the wad of spinach we find stuck between our teeth after leaving an important business lunch. We want reassurance that it's okay to be human; that we're not failures because we're not perfect.

 

The lesson here for credit union leaders is to give more than just the standard business suit photo and leadership advice. Your audience - whether it be your members or your peers - wants to know you as a person, too. Share a little personality to help you stand out from all that monotonous content. And if you experience a blooper moment like Kelly, own it. Scoop up your little munchkin and introduce her to your audience. We find these human moments to be far more endearing, appealing and memorable than perfection.

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