What do yogurt and social media have in common?

A lot of yogurt is consumed in New York. Want proof? Check Instagram. Especially now that summer is in its heat, New Yorkers—realizing that it is no longer possible to sit under a roof when the sky looks as #0000FF as it does—are bringing their work and their yogurts to benches and lawns, mindlessly staring at dogs they wished they owned, and instagramming pictures of themselves and their dairy consumption. Don’t believe me? Search on Twitter. It’s 10am, 63 degrees out, and #yogurt has been used several times already today.

Proving her inner New York, a friend of mine, sprawling on one of the tiny hills of Washington Square, instagrammed her half-munched Greek yogurt between the blades of summer grass. Then, the unthinkable happens—@Chobani likes it.

Brands on social media exude a sort of Wizard of Oz effect. Nobody knows who is behind the handle, which creates a surreal feeling of celebrity. When @Chobani likes your photo, it may as well be Ricky Martin pausing on the street to pat you on the back—it’s the same rush.

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Her next reaction was guttural, primitive: she instagrammed the notification.

It practically received a virtual standing ovation.

Brands like @Chobani that understand the power of encouraging their customer base to participate in their social worlds win in the end.  Creating that connection online is priceless. For my friend, @Chobani is now a personal connection. For her friends, @Chobani has become a friend-of-a-friend. And next time that I, or any of her friends are deliberating in the yogurt aisle, that split second that it took the person behind the @Chobani handle to press the “like” button will have made all the difference.