Two titans of social media, Anonymous and ISIS, are at war with each other. ISIS, as we now know thanks to a methodologically robust study from the Brookings Institute , has become a major force on Twitter with more than 25,000 active Twitter accounts (from among as many as 90,000 total accounts created) supporting its propaganda efforts. Anonymous is, in the words of V, legion and has set its sights on dismantling ISIS’s digital capacity.
Normally, I would say that before a corporation launches a campaign to create a conversation around a controversial topic, it should get all of its ducks in a row. It should be sure to identify all the ways that conversation can go wrong. And it should be sure to inoculate itself against pushback by ensuring that its own policies and accomplishments related to the topic are well publicized. If these analyses don’t raise any insurmountable red flags, then the company should press ahead. With these considerations in mind, let’s look at what happened this past week with Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign.
On a lark, I looked up the 1955 roster for the World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers. As many of you may know, Jackie Robinson was number 42 on that roster. Why did I look it up? I wanted to see who was number 47 on that team. Why number 47? Because lately, it seems that the number 47 is out to destroy the Republican Party.
According to Snapchat’s blog, "Social media companies tell us what to read based on what's most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what's important." And the hype across the media coverage of Discover is that it should hook younger audiences into reading the news. But will it succeed?
The political reaction to television can take any form, from high praise to outright rejection. When something happens on TV, public reaction materializes in short order, especially on Twitter. This past week saw two such reactions, one incredibly sad but positive, the other sparking outrage. The death of Leonard Nimoy and the reaction to Saturday Night Live’s parody of a Toyota commercial elicited such different responses. Yet, in some way, the opposite reactions might not have been predicted given the similarities in the root references if not for the differences in time lags between the Twitter reactions .
To be successful on social media as an advocacy or political campaign, you have to go where your audience is. You may love MySpace (who doesn’t with all those pretty pictures and rockin’ bands), but if your target audience isn’t there it’s a waste of your time.
While last week I cautioned against using old frames of reference when discussing things that have been transformed by new technology, this week I want to highlight the exceptions, the veritable flip-side of the coin. Where in developed countries the smart phone has transformed the notion of a phone, in the least developed countries, the transformations are happening on a much slower rate. But it is happening.
If you are stuck on old notions of “being presidential” or of phones, you will inevitably find the way President Obama engages with the public and the way people use smart phones to be out of synch with your (antiquated) expectations. The world is changing around us in dramatic ways. And as technology changes how we do things and, even, what we are able to do, our preconceived notions about how the world is supposed to work must change, too.
Cameras are everywhere. Not just security cams, but fan cams at ballparks and, of course, video cams on phones. And they are changing how we live our lives and what we can expect to remain private. Ask Mitt Romney. He’ll tell you that you can expect privacy 47% of the time.
While the schoolmarms parse data over whether #JeSuisCharlie is the most popular hashtag ever, the most popular news (not sports) hashtag ever, or the most popular one-day hashtag ever, what struck me is the disparity between news hashtags and entertainment hashtags. Is this disparity further evidence of the shallowness of the masses, of a mass sense of disinterested hopelessness, or the irresistible urge to blather on Twitter? Or perhaps people have a multitude of interests that ebb and flow in their social media chatter.