Unique Challenges and Problems of Social Media
User Generated Media (UGC), Social Media, Word of Mouth. These buzzwords all share common need to (equally buzzwordiness terms) “let go of your brand” or embace “marketing is conversation”.
The Second Life Liberation Army holding an American Apparel store hostage
All of this sounds very empowering, democratic and, well, also idealistic. Let’s look at some real world examples of the unqiue problems that araise from social media: 1) Facebook is now labeled by over 100,000s of users as “Creepy” and “Stalkerbook”; and 2) Second Life is being targeted by political activism of the “Second Life Liberation Front”.
The New Facebook is “Creepy”: Introduction
Let’s look at Facebook. While companies may understand the need to take criticism publicly by their own customers or userbase, how many can anticpate and listen before a crisis hits?
Facebook recently changed its inteface, basically allowing a person (via a feed) to track every new update of her/his friends – exact change in relationship status, what messages were left on what wall and by whom. Basically, this service is has been nicknamed “NetStalker 2.0”. Caffieine Marketing reports:
Even more startling, there is a Facebook group called â€œStudents Against Facebook News Feedsâ€ with over 380,000 members and over 5,000 new members being added every 30 minutes.
Countless other groups like “Facebook is getting fucking CREEPY” and “RESTORE FACEBOOK TO BEFORE IT GOT STALKER-ISH” have sprung up.
Facebook: Test, Anticipate, Engage
Facebook, an established Social Media company, has forgotten that the “conversation” is not only between Facebook members, but involves Facebook themselves as well. I assume they did user-testing before hand, but one has to wonder what feedback they received and how they adjusted to that. Did Facebook anticipate that people would be “creeped out” by personal feeds, allowing any friends to track every move you made?
Second Life Liberation Army (SLLA) – Virtual Activists in a Virual World?
The Second Life Liberation Army (SLLA), members of Second Life, are demanding that “resident players should be entitled to purchase one share in Linden Labs (which own SL)”. In essence, virtual citizens in a virtual world demanding for a voice through becoming company shareholders and protesting virtually for these demands.
With no progress towards they goal, they began “military operations” to embargo the American Apparel store in Second Life:
The SLLA selected as its first target the American Apparel Store in SL. Volunteers from the SLLA have been posted to the store and are preventing SL residents from buying any goods from this vendor.
SLLA: What should Lindin Labs do?
Luckily for Lindin Labs, the SLLA’s protest was a minorly symbolic act that was small and ineffective. At this stage, its easy and wise to ignore them. But, what if they attained critical mass?
Do you try to find compromise? Or risk either a) Alienating your userbase and making them leave; b) Hand over commerical voting shares and risk lose control of your company? In terms of SLLA’s demands – talk about a “paradaigm shift”!
Central to the viability of Facebook and Second Life is the vibrancy of the community of its members. But given the freedom and vibrancy of an online community, do not be suprised if its acts like a normal real world community, which includes improptu protest, mobÂ behavior, political activism and maybe even virtual acts of terrorism (Will we see Second Life members staging “attacks” for a Second Life political cause?).