What do the Nicolette Sheridan versus Desperate Housewives lawsuit, controversial people rating site Unvarnished and Lil Wayne tweeting from prison all have in common? If you answered all stories you’d expect to drive you insane by the end of the week, you are correct.Â Little stories like this, though, seem to be the fuel for our very existence. We chatter about them over coffee. We send them offÂ in our Tweets. We focus on the exploits and tribulations of others as diversions from our own lives. And yet at the heart of all of this , as we know, is public relations, marketing, and brand visibility.
Last week I had never even heard of Unvarnished, but thanks to a subversive concept and an aggressive PR campaign that has been gobbled up by every major Media outlet, the website is now a much talked about brand. Touted as an honest approach to professional reputation building, Unvarnished has created a wagon-load of controversy over the last few days.Â Basically, the website’s goal is to present businesses and job hunters with a forum to rate individuals based on performance. Unvarnished’s creators claim the site presents straight-forward reviews and ratings for prospective workers. Â Naysayers claim that the site could be little more than a hurtful 21st century way to smack-talk about former employees.Â The site links through Facebook but promises employers won’t be able to access your drunken photos from Mexico. However, there are still concerns of how seriously Unvarnished will protect the privacy of its users.Â As I wandered around the preview of the site, I wondered if it would have any impact onÂ the professional social mediaÂ scene as it kind of appears to be harmless if not a tad immature.Â But none of the questions or debates of Unvarnished really matter. What Unvarnished has managed to do withoutÂ having a tangible productÂ launched (as of yet) is to place itsÂ name on the lips of talk show hosts, blogs, and news-feeds around the country. Of course, the website will have to deliver the goods if it wants to be a contender, but for right now Unvarnished has joined the ranks of buzz-worthy topics that keep us talking.