This is the second installment of my three-part podcast interview series. I kicked off the series with Bilerico's own Same Sex Sunday host, Phil Reese. In the interview, we learned how effective podcasts can be in getting the political word out.
But what about all the fun gay stuff? That's why I love The Six Pack, which calls itself the "'new-school' take on being gay in the 21st century." The show's hosts, Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin, offer a lighthearted view of what's happening in gay culture and politics. Let's learn how the show leverages social media to engage fans and to poke fun at... Anderson Cooper.
Interview with Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin, Hosts of The Six Pack
Before we dive into the social media side of things, can you please tell us the story behind your podcast's theme song? Who wrote it and who's the voice behind the song?
Ben: I became a fan of the Flat 29 podcast, which has really well-produced comedy jingles between segments. The guys agreed to make us a theme song - it's ridiculously catchy and I can never get it out of my head.
Dave: They're straight, but British, which is almost gay, so I was fine with having them write something for us.
Where did the idea to start The Six Pack come from? How long have you been doing the podcast? And how long have you two been teaming up?
Dave: We've worked together for a couple years in a couple different incarnations, but this is one that has really stuck. Kind of right time, right technology, and right amount of homosexual activity going on in the world.
Ben: For the record, we've only teamed up professionally, not, um, any other sort of teaming up. (Everyone always asks!)
What social media platforms are you currently using for The Six Pack to promote and connect with fans? Do you favor one platform over the other?
Ben: Facebook updates, Tweets, Foursquare tips, carrier pigeon letters... you name it and we use it.
Dave: As a comedian, I love Twitter because it allows me to get out all the crazy thoughts I have during the day and lets the fans to respond and react.
Do you have different strategies in regards to how you share content via Facebook and Twitter? Or do you share the same content on both?
Ben: We share updates about the show on both, but try to switch up any interesting links/stories between Facebook, Twitter, and our Tumblr news page.
Dave: There's more than enough negative gay stuff out there, so we stay positive, fun and hopefully funny.
You guys have some of the funniest Twitter tweets I've read, especially when you poke fun of Anderson Cooper's AC360 tweets. Who's the voice behind all this hilarious tweeting, or is this a shared responsibility?
Dave: I do most of the tweeting but everything is a collaboration one way or another. We've talked about Anderson on the show a bunch, and I really think he is a great reporter when out in the field. For some reason he hasn't responded to our interview requests.
Ben: Dave does most of the social media stuff, and I do most of the show production, but Twitter has been incredibly helpful for us to keep the audience engaged in between shows. We've also scored a bunch of our show guests by tweeting at them. Sometimes it borders on harassment, but hey, it's effective.
You have a Twitter campaign to celebrate being gay. Could you tell readers about #gayisawesome? When is it and how can someone participate?
Dave: We do #gayisawesome as sort of an extension to #itgetsbetter. We thought it'd be fun to show people why gay can be awesome right here and now, not just one day in the future. The best part is seeing what the fans come up with and sharing those with everyone else.
Ben: We do it once a month - it's cool to see #gayisawesome infiltrate the Twitterverse. The It Gets Better project has raised a lot of awareness to gay issues, but we've talked on the show about how it implies being gay is somehow negative. It's also important to send the message that being gay can be a great, interesting part of your life.
Check out this video of Ben and Dave promoting the importance of the #gayisawesome hashtag.
I noticed there is a QR Code posted on your Facebook page. For readers who don't know, a QR code is a bar code that can be scanned by smart phone camera application to unlock hidden content. Can you tell us the secret content behind the QR Code or should that remain a secret?
Dave: Download a free QR reader and find out. We can't do all the work for you.
Ben: We promise the message is safe-for-work.
Any chance for a Six Pack video cast?
Ben: Stay tuned because we've got a lot of stuff in store for 2011. We've got plans for more audio, video, apps, and just generally a Six Pack world takeover!
Dave: We've even got our people working on an all-new media. Uses brainwaves, very high-tech stuff.
Thanks so much for letting me ask you guys a few questions. I love the Six Pack and am jazzed to have the opportunity to chat with you. (well, email chat.) Earlier this year you partnered with Equality California to do a live podcast. If other LGBT organizations wanted to partner with you on a live podcast, what is the best way to get in touch with the show?
Dave: You can tweet us @sixpackage, or find us on Facebook.com/sixpackage. Oh, and then there's regular old email for you throw-back types: email@example.com
Ben: We're all about partnering up with organizations, media outlets, and other start-ups to spread the love... nothing like a good reach-around!
I hope you'll take a moment to tune into The Six Pack. Coming up, the last installment of my podcast profile interview series. I'll be chatting with Denise and Donna about their show, The Lesbian Lounge.
So tell me, what podcasts do you listen to?
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