Tuesday, August 16

How Twitter Helped One Man Realize the American Dream

Kris Sanchez’s story is the American Dream narrative. Writers like Horatio Alger would tell tales of protagonists like Sanchez, who through hard work and savvy strategies could rise to a place of prosperity and prestige in the United States. After starting a little Twitter account in 2009, Sanchez is now one of the most influential presences on social media, and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Over the past few years, Sanchez’s UberFacts has sent thousands of the most “unimportant things you’ll never need to know” into the Twittersphere. The brand tweets weird facts like, “Connect 4 is a mathematically solved game — The first player can always win,” and “Rapper Busta Rhymes did the voice of Reptar in the Rugrats movie.”

Now, UberFacts has accumulated more than 7.28 million followers, and was named one of the top 100 influences on Twitter.

It also makes Sanchez about $500,000 a year from sponsored links. A company called Social Reactor pairs social media influences, like UberFacts, with advertisers, who supply the social media accounts with branded content that they can link to. For every click the pages receive, the social media influencers get paid. Plus, the UberFacts app also generates about $60,000 a week from advertising.

Of course, realizing the American Dream is never easy. It’s a path steeped with challenges and foes, as Sanchez found out when BuzzFeed and Gizmodo called him out for tweeting untrue facts, amplifying the negative impact of his own mistakes.

“Facts are not generally protected by copyright law. Facts are facts — everyone is, for the most part, allowed to reproduce these. One thing Sanchez can do to protect himself is write a disclaimer before sending them out on the Internet. You can also have an opinion about these facts, such as ‘according to our research…’ in order to be a bit more forthcoming,” says David Sharifi, Prinicpal Attorney at L.A. Tech and Media Law.

Like all good tales of the American Dream though, Sanchez made something positive out of the incident.

“It was really the first time I was really publicly attacked on the Internet. And, you know, BuzzFeed is a really popular website. And it was Lindsay Lohan’s face and my face on their front page,” he said. “It was after that that I was like, okay, UberFacts needs to be treated like a real brand. It has a large following and I want to put more work in it and make it better. I just want to increase the quality of it.”

In response, Sanchez made himself CEO of UberFacts, hired a few other people to his former one-man-operation, and made plans for brand expansion. Plans for the future have even included a TV show.

In the meantime, UberFacts will continue to tweet the most bizarre factoids they can find, like the fact that “A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word ‘Facebook.'”

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