This week, media (mainstream and new, Winnipeg and international) fell in love with 10-year-old Winnipegger Maria Aragon.
This video was first posted to YouTube on February 16th, and as CBC News reports, went from 3,100 hits to over 2 million within 24 hours, after Lady Gaga herself tweeted how much she loved it.
Shortly after the viral video came mainstream media coverage, from the Winnipeg Free Press to The Huffington Post.
Local radio station Hot 103 brought Maria in studio on Thursday, where she chatted with Lady Gaga herself -- and viewership of that video went wild, too.
This is a great social media story. Perez Hilton reportedy sent Lady Gaga the link to Maria's video on YouTube; Lady Gaga liked it, and tweeted it to her 8 million followers, unleashing a wave of attention little Maria likely never expected.
Maria Aragon is a talented (and adorable) little girl -- and would have been without YouTube, Twitter, and the always hungry 24/7 media beast. But with all those things, she's talented, adorable, and a superstar... even if the latter is only for a local news cycle or two.
As for Lady Gaga...
With that little-girl's-dream fulfilling phone call on Thursday (recorded for posterity and shared online for all to enjoy), Lady Gaga won some hearts. With her invitation for Maria to sing with her on stage in Toronto a few months from now, she won a few more (and will win even more, I'm sure, at that show). And while she was at it, she got people (in this town, anyway) to stop talking about how much the new single sounds like Madonna's Express Yourself for a while.
Not bad, for 140 characters' work!
I'm not at all suggesting Lady Gaga's tweet was a publicity stunt; and even if you're suspicious of her motivations in agreeing to the phone call with Maria, I don't think you can deny that she seemed genuine, and that she absolutely thrilled that little girl.
But with that said, Maria's video does give us an excellent (and heartwarming) example of the impact social media can have in terms of publicity, given the right story.