If you're wondering why WWE is so heavy in the social media game, or better yet if you're looking for someone to point the finger at, look no further than Zack Ryder. At least, that's what he claims.
To hear WWE curtain jerking jobber Zack Ryder tell it, the only reason the company is as heavily invested in social media -- Tout, Facebook, Twitter, and such -- is because of what he built with his YouTube show, Z! True Long Island Story. Initially, he created it with the idea that because he wasn't going to get pushed otherwise, he would do as much as he could without the aid of the promotion he worked for.
It paid off in spades.
Ryder gained something of a cult following and eventually shot up in popularity enough to get name dropped in promos by the likes of CM Punk during his big run breaking the glass ceiling last year. In his own words, that show "changed the business" because of how heavily WWE is pushing its social media presence, the latest example of which being last night's (March 1, 2013) episode of SmackDown.
The so-called "Social Media Special."
Why, then, is Z! True Long Island Story dead and gone? In the same interview he claimed credit for WWE's business practices, Ryder told the Busted Open Radio show on Sirius 92 the following:
"WWE came to me and said, 'We want to move this to our YouTube channel.' I was really hesitant to do it and I should have said no. That was the end of the Z! True Long Island Story in my opinion right there when I made that switch to the WWE YouTube channel at around episode 51. The fans just assumed I sold out, when I was still doing all the work and putting it on their channel and they instantly turned on it. Then WWE was editing it and taking things out, even though they said they weren't going to touch it. Then it just became a job and not fun. For the most part the last 50 were horrible, but the first 50 changed the business."
Ryder deserves a great deal of credit for his accomplishments, certainly, but the winds were blowing strongly in this direction already. Social media is here to stay and WWE choosing not to embrace it would be silly, almost as silly as Ryder taking credit for the company's choosing to do so with such force and relentless dedication.
Still, I suppose this gives fans someone to blame for the overbearing nature of WWE's use of Twitter and Tout and what not.
So, thanks for nothing, Zack!