Chad Ochocinco, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, was being portrayed a certain way in the traditional media.
His touchdown celebrations , name change, and trade requests got him characterized as self-absorbed, an ego-maniac, and, occasionally, a clown.
So Ochocinco took went to social media to really show what he's all about, and it has worked beautifully.
He has accounts on Facebook and UStream , but is most famous for his use of Twitter .
Ochocinco has used these outlets to display his true personality and to really connect with his fans.
"It gives me a voice, the ability to reach people directly, and for people to see who I am without the filter of the media, the critics or whomever," he said in an interview with USA Today .
Ochocinco has been able to change much of the public's perception of him from a guy who was only interested in himself to a man who is just enjoying his life and is trying to share the fun he's having with others.
He invites people to the movies or dinner with him ("If you're coming to Davids just tell the hostess you're here for lunch with Chad, its on 17th n meridian, lunch on me the blessing is on GOD" from 11/30/09) and challenges them to play him in video games ("Getting on call of duty people Estaban 85, let's play" from 11/30/09).
"I try to interact with every fan," Ochocinco says. "I try to respond to everybody."
While showing what a fun loving guy he is, the public has responded favorably.
Through his social media endeavors, he has also become an extremely marketable celebrity.
Ochocinco has come out with his own book , he became the first NFL player to get his own iPhone application , has appeared on late night talk shows , and is apparently even coming out with his own brand of condoms .
What's making him even more successful is that he is also back to being a productive player on the field (773 yards receiving and five touchdowns in 11 games), and his team is in first place in the AFC North. He’s an athlete first and foremost, and his success on the field makes him a credible figure.
Chad Ochocinco is a fantastic example of how to best utilize social media and the good that it can do someone.
He connects with people across the globe, giving them a vantage point into his life that they wouldn't have had previously, and he gives back to the community. He also has used it to create a brand name or himself. Most importantly, he changed people's perceptions of him, getting everyone to see him how he wants them to, not as how the media depicts him.
Ochocinco gets it and he's letting the rest of us in on the fun he's having.