Resident pool professor Matt Giovanisci is a multimedia maestro who uses his digital chops to educate consumers and teach kids how to swim. But he might best be known as that white guy who rapped about pool chemicals.
The 30-year-old Williamstown, N.J. resident became an Internet sensation earlier this year when he portrayed a pool guy with rap-star swagger triumphantly rhyming, “I got my pool hose, vacuum and skimmer and lots of chemicals to make the water sparkle and glimmer!” Fergie-like vocals, courtesy of friend Nina Ward, harmonize further instructions: “Step one: Circulate. Step two: Clean it up. Step three: Gotta chemicalize it!” The beat is infectious. The video went viral, getting more than 100,000 views on Facebook and close to 10,000 YouTube clicks.
“I watched the numbers on my Google analytics all day,” Giovanisci recalls. “It was just fun. … It was crazy how it blew up.”
Giovanisci founded SwimUniversity.com, where consumers can learn all about pool and spa care through blogs, e-books, infographics and, yes, the occasional music video. Topics range from landscaping to robotic cleaners. He relies on his 17 years of industry knowledge to upload information onto the site almost daily.
Giovanisci was 13 when he got his first job at a local pool and janitorial supply store. He was practically running the place by the time he was 16. He then went to work for Niagara Pools & Spas with multiple locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A website Giovanisci created for his rock band, Remember Tomorrow — he was the front man/rhythm guitarist — caught the eye of his boss, who commissioned him to develop the company’s online presence.
He did a stint at a web development firm before being called back into the pool business again. Niagara Pools offered Giovanisci the opportunity to become the company’s first marketing director. Recognizing a need for a one-stop consumer resource for pool maintenance tips, Giovanisci launched SwimUniversity.com in 2007. “I wanted to marry my website design skills with the personal touch that I was giving customers in the store,” he says.
In a retail environment, he used anecdotes and stories to explain basic pool chemistry. It’s the same approach he uses on his website. “There was nothing like that online at the time,” Giovanisci says. “There really was no one solid place to find information unless you were to go on forums. I personally hate forums and I’m an Internet guy.”
In April of last year, he made the decision to leave the everyday working world to become a full-time blogger. His website attracts about 20,000 unique visitors a month. Amusing, informative how-to videos on Swim University’s YouTube channel rack up tens of thousands of views as well. Revenue comes from industry sponsors and sales of e-books and instructional videos. He recently published The Hot Tub Handbook, an illustrated tub-care guide, and he’ll soon release a DVD for hot tub yoga enthusiasts.
Becoming a major (by pool industry standards) web personality has resulted in increased attention from the consumer press. Esquire Spain recently asked permission to use an infographic Giovanisci created, titled “50 Ways to Jump Into a Swimming Pool.” Then his website nearly crashed when New York Times best-selling author and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki shared that same infographic.
Giovanisci’s digital endeavors go beyond pool care. He recently helped create Learn2Swim.org which features a series of instructional videos that show parents how to teach their children to swim. He’s also scheduled to make a presentation on social media’s role in safety awareness for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.
But his upcoming plans may be the most ambitious of all. Giovanisci’s set to launch StartSplashing.com, an online fund-raising effort with the goal of starting a multimedia campaign representing all segments of the pool and spa industry, similar to “Go RVing” or the dairy industry’s “Got Milk?” crusade.
“I think the entire industry, even the mom-and-pop stores, would invest … if they knew it would create national awareness,” Giovanisci says. “If we wait for a big corporation or a nonprofit to do it, it’ll never get done.”
StartSplashing.com will use Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing website to gather revenue.