Lunch With Ellen: A Social Media Experiment

Lunch With Ellen

It all started over dinner.

Friends, introduced via Twitter, finally got together for their first face-to-face meal at Thai Spice in Willow Glen, California. Totally not creepy – they did consider each other friends before they met in person, because of the interaction they already had online. They shared content. Links. Opinions. Tweets. Retweets. Facebooking. LinkedIn. You get it.

The conversation flowed from topic to topic like the wine at the table. Family, work, silly stories, Hollywood. Celebrities. “Who would you be friends with in Hollywood if you could?” Matt Damon. Penny Marshall. Angelina Jolie (really…). Donald Sutherland. And then right back around to what brought us together… social.

But not everyone was on social media. It became clear that there were two camps at dinner that night:

CAMP #1: Believed in the power of social to forge real life friendships.
CAMP #2: Believed social inhibited making real world relationships.

“You can absolutely use social to connect with anyone!”
“The friendships you make on social are not real friends, there’s no way they can be.”

The gauntlet had been thrown.

And then, the question was asked. “Would it actually be possible to reach someone everyone knew, who was so approachable yet so unreachable, using the power of social media to have lunch with them in person?”

The experiment was born.

  • The Time Frame? 90 days.
  • The Lunch Guest? Ellen DeGeneres (for her great sense of humor, celebrity status and complete unattainability.)
  • The End Game? Lunch with Ellen.

And … we built a website (of course).

Check out 90 Days To Ellen.

The plan is to publish a fresh post on that site every single day for 90 straight days … until Ellen notices … and agrees to a lunch date.

Our hypothesis: Social media can be used to create real world friendships with people you would never otherwise meet.

It is very possible we will #epicfail. But we want to prove our hypothesis badly. Like, really badly. Either way, we’ll write about it, tweet the journey and take you along for the ride. We hope you’ll help us. And now… let the countdown begin!

Game on.

–DJ, Kristina, Jackie, Bryan and Courtney

Put me in coach! Here are the players:

*DJ (me): He’s an email marketing guy with a podcast on the side. A lot of people think he’s an expert in the field (debatable.).
*DJ is married to Kristina, an obstetrician in Palo Alto, who does not do social media (although we are trying to get her started on her blog,
*Jackie: Techy geeky mom with purple hair who uses her power over social media for good (mostly).
*Bryan: Funny, random social media guy who also knows a lot about marketing and food and Gaylord Focker.
*Courtney is married to Bryan and is the writer of this ridiculousness (which I – DJ – “borrowed” from here).
*Ellen: Super famous talk show host and comedian, also funny and random and if you really don’t know who she is there is something seriously wrong with you.

How YOU Can Help

Want to help us schedule a date with Ellen! Five ways you can help:

1. Visit every single day for fresh content.

2. Share. Share. Share. Use those (big) fancy social media icons below each blog post and share with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, Pin it on Pinterest, email it. Whatever you need to do. Share! Be sure to tag Ellen (@TheEllenShow in your tweets and @ellentv on Facebook) and use the hashtag #90DaysToEllen_

3. Tell Ellen to contact us! If you know Ellen (or know someone who knows Ellen … or know someone who knows someone who knows Ellen) tell her to contact us!

4. Contribute content! Have an idea for a blog post? Maybe a cool video? Great picture? Funny/interesting/witty/awesome Ellen-attention-catching idea? Please share it with us!

5. Share what you believe. Do you think social media can foster real-world relationships, or do you believe social hinders them? Let’s debate a little in the comments of each post. Or, if you’d rather … jump over to our Facebook page and leave your thoughts there.


DJ Waldow