Posts Tagged ‘social media’

You don’t want to do that

December 16, 2008

A splendid post from Chris Applegate entitled “20 signs you don’t want that social media project” including such gems as:

5. Client wants something edgy “like that suicide bomber viral” – but first subject to clearance by their legal department.


10. Client panics over a random blogger’s negative post about them and orders you to get it taken down. Won’t take “sorry, it’s impossible” for an answer.


20. “We want our site to be as popular as, you know, Facebook.”


I’m glad I work in internal social media…


Wisdom of the herd

December 4, 2008

An interesting trip last night to a screening of Us Now, a new documentary about how the wisdom of crowds is being applied in the real world. Lots of familiar stories – Zoba, Couchsurfing, Ebbsfleet United – and some new ones on me – a community deciding how to allocate grant money.

“Us Now tells the stories of online networks that are challenging the existing notion of hierarchy.  For the first time, it brings together the fore-most thinkers in the field of participative governance to describe the future of government.”

It’s enjoyable stuff. Clay Shirky and Don Tapscott doing their shtick, and a wide-eyed tourist arriving in scary ol’ London and meeting his couchsurfing host. Will he or won’t he be a predatory axe-murdering maniac?

But it felt a bit relentlessly upside. I had my hand up to ask a question but didn’t get picked, so here goes.

Remember Mr. Splashypants?  

Mr. Splashypants is a humpback whale. Greenpeace was launching  its “Great Whale Trail Expedition” and decided to ask the internet to name a whale. And inevitably, I suppose, the contest got gamed. Somebody suggested “Mr. Splashypants” as a name, and then somebody else broke the voting machinery and then Boing Boing, Digg, Reddit etc got hold of the story and all of us joined in the joke and “Mr. Splashypants” won the vote by a country mile.

So my worry about online networks challenging the existing notion of hierarchies is that online networks don’t promote responsibility. It’s all so damn disinhibiting. People are ruder, sillier, more destructive online than in person. Which doesn’t really fit with a new model of government.

It’s a pity. I’d really like this to be a brave new world and human nature not to be such a bitch all of a sudden, but I think it probably still is. 

Good film, though.

Steal our revolution back!

October 31, 2008
Chicago poster

Chicago poster

I took this picture on the train this morning. As you can see, it’s a poster for “London’s sexiest show” Chicago (with show-stopping smooth legs sponsored by Phillips epilators). What you can’t see is what it says in the bottom right. There are three headings at the bottom: “Watch” (fair enough), “Buy” (I guess they’re not in this for love) and “Network”.

And under Network it says

Join the growing network of worldwide fans on the show’s dedicated facebook and myspace pages.

Jesus Christ.

Now fanboyness isn’t really in my make-up, so I just don’t get this. I took a look at both, on your behalf dear reader.

Facebook first. Put “Chicago” into search and good lord there are 1,256 fans (some of them men, oddly enough. Shall we speculate on their sexuality?), five discussion topics (“Favorite CHICAGO song?”, “Who would YOU like to see starring in Chicago?”), 23 wall posts, photos, videos, the whole shebang.

Meanwhile on Myspace (the space for the Chicago show, it seems) there are 828 friends , 95 comments and the usual unbearable user interface for anyone over the age of 17.

What do we feel about this, people? A legitimate use of social media, or a horrifying cynical exercise to wring more out of fans?

I’m no purist here, but this wasn’t the internet revolution that I signed up for…