A Very Brady Social Network

    January 25, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Greg Brady — you know, from the Brady Bunch — isn’t really Greg Brady, though Barry Williams, the actor who played the iconic character, doesn’t mind if you call him that. In fact, the character serves as an excellent brand vehicle by which Williams can reinvent himself online via a new social network for fans called The Greg Brady Project

Barry Williams

"I always reinvent myself as Greg Brady," Williams tells me in a phone interview. But Greg Brady fans should come expecting to see a lot more of Barry Williams. 

Listen to the Barry Williams Interview

"I’m well aware that most people are familiar with that name attached to my face and that’s just fine. If they come looking for Greg Brady I think they will be disappointed because it’s Barry William’s fingerprint all over the blog. But it’s also to let people know that I am comfortable with that." 

But he’s not really comfortable with calling it a Brady Bunch fan site either. Though there will be places there for fans to ask questions and discuss things like the license number of the car when the whole crew went to the Grand Canyon, or what really happened to Tiger, the site is more about current events, reconnecting with fans and maintaining relationships. 

Besides, what really happened to Tiger is addressed in his book, Growing Up Brady, which is available for purchase via The Greg Brady Project, along with Brady Bunch action figures. "I felt that when Greg Brady actually became a bobblehead, I had made it. I had arrived." 

And yes, he does have one on display. But the site’s not about merchandizing, either. It’s more about that social glue that is shared memory, or nostalgia, that bonds people together in the present. At the Greg Brady Project, fans of the show can connect to share about modern pop culture and um, "brady-ness," as Mr. Williams calls it. 

That "brady-ness" can come from anybody, which is why Williams has employed co-authors for the blog portion of the network, many of them chosen based on essay contest winners selected via his previous fan site. Interestingly, a good percentage of them are Midwestern educators.

Celebrity bloggers are on the agenda too, though.  Williams hopes to tackle the great quarterback Joe Namath, who appeared as a guest star on the show and tossed a football around with Greg – er, Barry. But getting Broadway Joe to blog may be trickier than first imagined. 

"I’ve reached out to him and I’ve only gotten so far as his publicist by this point because it turns out that Broadway Joe does not have an email address. I don’t even know if he owns a computer." 

Barry Williams The draw of celebrity, Williams hopes, will also bring more attention to a charitable cause called "Smiles Change Lives," an organization dedicated to funding much-needed dental procedures for children whose parents can’t afford treatment.

The social network is powered by MyLifeBrand, a social networking platform that integrates profiles from other networks like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, allowing access from one point of entry. Visitors to The Greg Brady Project, then, would be able to make the social network their portal to other social networks without leaving the site. MyLifeBrand has set up a similar site with the Utah Jazz professional basketball team. 

In other words, you can be MySpace hip while secretly dusting off your bellbottoms. But in case you think The Greg Brady Project is aimed at Boomers and Generation Xers looking back on fonder times, Williams says he expects the Millennials to make an appearance too, as syndication makes the Seventies transcend generation gaps.

"The fan base is all over the place. It’s multigenerational. There are people who grew up watching the show, and their parents are watching it, and their parents’ grandchildren are watching it. The fan base is people in their 20’s….This is the only way I have of really communicating or reaching out to them, and being a part of that world again." 

Listen to the Barry Williams Interview