Social Media Top 5: Snap Judgments and Lack of Understanding


Photo by spemss on Flickr

I spoke on a few current social media topics on my monthly appearance on Media Bullseye Radio this week. I thought I would throw a few more thoughts out there. The overall theme seems to be that people judge too quickly and rely too deeply on things they don’t understand.

Snap Judgment: Chapstick on Facebook

Quick synopsis: Chapstick starts an ad campaign, some people object to the ad on the Facebook page, Chapstick deleted comments, making it worse, AdWeek calls it a “Social Media Death Spiral.

What the hell is “Death Spiral” supposed to mean? A brand makes a mistake, people jump on them as of a single misstep will harm the company forever. I suspect something like this won’t even affect sales.

People need to count to 10 before denouncing a brand over a single mistake, especially without knowing the full background and giving the entire situation time to play out. Lots more mistakes are coming, and very few of these brands will suffer real consequences, provided the mistake doesn’t indicate a wider problem of product or company ethics (most likely this is a result of the company not empowering the social media program minders as part of the larger strategic team- but really? I don’t know). Also, many of these mistakes are dealt with or resolved in some sort of reasonable time period (and a lot of the time “reasonable time period” doesn’t mean what some social media folks pretend to know it means).

Lack of Understanding: Klout Changes Algorithm, World Ends (Again).

I was flummoxed by the reaction to Klout (“The Standard for Online Influence”) adjusting its algorithm (which it has done before) and, at the same time, affecting most everyone’s scores. The reactions (many in klout’s own blog post) revealed an ugly underworld of people desperately relying on Klout scores for business, grades, and other things that are too precious to leave in the hands of a mysterious third-party measurement.

Klout is useful in some ways, but relying on it as a sole measure of social media worth or to sell your services is– well, susceptible to the whims of whatever Klout decides to do with its mysterious algorithm.

Either/Both/Neither: Klout and Privacy?

Some friends have noted that people- some of them minors- with private Facebook accounts have shown up with Klout profiles. Is this because these people interacted publicly and Klout scraped that info to provide them with a profile? Seems likely, and it’s unclear if any terms of service or privacy laws were violated. It is, however, a reputation problem for bout Klout and Facebook, an indicator of the public nature of just about anything we post online, and brings up the question of whether it’s a violation to create accounts in absentia for people who have not (yet, presumably) joined a service? I know of no others that do this, though I suspect there may be some.

There ar elots of real issues out there in social media-land. Understanding them requires more patience than many of us are exhibiting, the wisdom to recognize the linits of tools that too many lack, and the ability to back off judgments and admit you don’t know all the facts.


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