Just finished reading the official Groundwell book poolside in the warm CA sun. I’ve actually read the book, but before it was even close to print, that version was slightly different and incomplete than the one on bookshelves today.
Before I started at Forrester, Charlene suggested I be one on the advance readers, she stopped by, handed me a spiral bound print out, and asked me to read it and provide my input. I read the book during my trip to Hong Kong, and marked the book up, some of my suggestions I hope were helpful, I do know that one of my examples made the book. The example about Scoble’s wiki not working well was my submission.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll realize it’s based on a solid methodology, case examples, and cites data from Technographics, this is a practical version of previous social media books. Which books in particular? Cluetrain, then Naked Conversations are really desktop references and preludes to this book, I recommend all of three of these.
This Thursday, I’ll be speaking at the 10 year anniversary of the Cluetrain event, Doc Searls to give the keynote at SAP in Palo Alto, hope to see you there. I was with Shel and Robert at their book launch party for Naked, and then started to learn under Shel, he taught me a great deal. Now, I’m working with the Groundswell authors, it’s an amazing adventure.
I’m somewhat biased being a Forrester employee and working with the Groundswell colleagues, but I’ll tell you what it’s missing: tactics. This book is a strategic framework, a real methodology that tells you the right way to approach social media. It doesn’t give you specifics on technologies, and how to use them, which of course would make the book have a very limited shelf life, so the tactics will be found on blogs, twitter, podcasts, that you, and you, and you, will write.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Groundswell book, what did you like and dislike? Will you apply the POST methodology at your workplace? What did your boss say?
Related note: If you have one of my latest business cards, turn it over for a mesmerizing effect.
Left Image: An impoverished Darfur child is shown holding an LV-like purse, image sold as a T-shirt from artist, now being sued, see Hi-Res version.
Thanks to Søren Storm Hansen for bringing this to my attention.
It could have been your brand
It could have been Rolex, Lexus, Gucci, or even your brand, sadly for LV, it was theirs.
A 26 year old artist named Nadia Plesner has been sued by Louis Vuitton for brand jacking their famous purses in a anti-genocide campaign.
The artist was trying to make a point that the media cares more for Paris Hilton extravaganza’s more than the genocide in the nation of Darfur.
Nadia states her intentions for the grass roots campaign:
“My illustration Simple Living is an idea inspired by the medias constant cover of completely meaningless things.
My thought was: Since doing nothing but wearing designerbags and small ugly dogs appearantly is enough to get you on a magasine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserves and needs attention.
When we’re presented with the same images in the media over and over again, we might start to believe that they’re important.
As I was reading the book ”Not on our watch” by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast this summer, I felt horrified by the fact that even with the genocide and other ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Paris Hilton was the one getting all the attention. Is it possible that show business have outruled common sense?
If you can’t beat them, join them. This is why I have chosen to mix the cruel reality with showbiz elements in my drawing.”
LV: “Cease and Desist”
Luxury brands certainly have teams of brand police within Marketing to ensure their products aren’t being misplaced or improperly positioned, and have taken action by first sending a cease and desist letter (notice they “applaud the efforts) PDF.
Nadia: “Free Speech”
Nadia then sent a return note, stating this was her ability to self-express and claimed the logo was not referring to LV in particular (PDF).
LV files lawsuit
The letter was not met well, and LV has now filled suit against Nadia, claiming damages of over $20,000 a day, each day the campaign is continued.
The Groundswell begins
Since then the Darfur has grown in awareness, having now been on Digg, a Facebook group formed, spread in the news, and hundreds of blogs pointing to her site.
two a few options
Here’s my take, from what I can tell, Louis Vuitton (and the dog) have nothing to do with Darfur, and their brand is being dragged through the African mud. Their response is pretty standard and expected, to protect the image and brand that they’ve been working to build. I’m sympathetic to them getting brand jacked, as they’ve not done anything to occur this unwanted attention.
Option 1: Continue legal path: Continue this path and settle with Nadia, given the many lawyers they have access to and resources, they will likely win a copyright infringement for the design being on another paid product.
Option 2: Join the campaign: They could drop the suit, and work with the Save Dafur organization to help raise funds by doing events, creating a specific product, or help promote the cause. This too has it’s downsides, the brand will be brought into the human rights spotlight, and if they have any dirt in this arena (perhaps oversees manufacturing) they’ll be in turn scrutinized. Secondly, this would be a nod to activitists everywhere to brand jack major brands in order to get support –and funding, the cycle will continue.
Option 3: Redirect focus on issues: Submitted by John Bell. I enjoyed John’s option so much, that I’ve embedded it here on the post as an update. “What they could do is work with Nadia and other artists to host discussions about media focus. They could partner with a neutral party like my friends at ifocos.org to steward the conversation. Keep the discussion away from luxury brands (which is not Nadia’s point anyhow). LV can become part of teh solution without taking on the brunt of an issue they do not own.”
Option 4: Walk away: Submitted by Alison Byrne Fields: “Drop the suit. Walk away and wait for the dust to settle. This little hullabaloo will have no long term negative impact on their brand.”
I’m weighing both options here for LV, there’s really not a great way out of it for them. I believe they are collateral damage, having done no wrong to invoke this groundswell, yet this is a nod to what could easily happen to other brands.
I asked my Twitter community to voice their opinion, on the topic, here’s what was said in public
ronbailey: – why not just donate a few bucks to the cause in exchange for her NOT using LV products in her campaign?
Dan Lewis: legalities aside, I’d be mighty upset if my name were wrongly associated with genocide. the artist is morally wrong here, no doubt
Alberto Nardelli: besides LV point being morally disturbing, IP case doesn’t stand: would be like campbells suing warhol
Kim Pearson: I’m a former PR person, not a lawyer, but I’d argue that LV is doing itself more harm by its response, not protecting its brand.
Ed Saipetch: ironically in the same vain, I heard the (RED) campaign benefits retailers and product producers much much more than the AIDS fight
Rainne: I say not, b/c the artist did not use the vuitton pattern, she simply invoked its similarity.
mlogan: They turned this into a big story and managed to put themselves on the wrong side of a humanitarian crisis. Smooth
bethdunn: it’s another case of a company doing more harm than good to their brand by trying to halt something they can’t control
ronbailey: how has LV been harmed by Nadia’s campaign? – She was poking fun at celebrity culture in general, not LV in particular
ronbailey: They could have easily turned a blind eye to the whole episode.
Ok, you weigh in, If you were the CMO, what should LV do?
Update: Aug 2011, we’ve conducted a research project to analyze these social media crises, read the full report to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it.
A list of companies that were blind-sided by the internet, they didn’t understand the impacts of the power shift to the participants, or how fast information would spread, or were just plain ignorant.
Criteria of “Punk’d” includes a situation where the story would have not been told if social media was not available, or if social media enhanced the situation. Read my exclusive interview with Greenpeace on Forbes.
This doesn’t include fake blogs, companies who deliberately tried to cheat the system get their own honorable mention.
Although this punk’d list is the one to stay off, the one you want to get on is the Groundswell awards.
Update: I’ve added severity status for some of these Punk’d using the Categorization of Brand Backlash Storms)
Hi-Media, a MicroPayment company fined a MacroFine for Wikipedia Meddling
It’s rare we see examples of companies that actually do something wrong in social media then lose revenues, however in this French case the French company Hi-Media will be fined $36,000 for damages after deleting a mention of their competitors in Wikipedia found through IP tracing. (Category 4)
Greenpeace Toys with Mattel over Rainforest Deforestation
The continued trend of NGOs using social media to make statements over brands plows forward. Recently, Mattel was under attack from Greenpeace for deforestation of rain forests, turning their own assets of Ken and Barbie against them (dubbing them “Barbaric” in elaborate videos and pushing to the official Mattel FB page. As a response, Mattel shut down all commenting on their FB page, shutting the discussion down. Later, they did a few posts responding directly to the issue, and announcing a change in supply chain. I’ve taken a screenshot of their FB page should you wish to see the details. Overall, Mattel handled this matter well, other brands must take note of their approach. (Category 3)
GoDaddy CEO Kills Elephant, Then Trampled by Crowd
Although GoDaddy is accustomed to controversial marketing tactics this incident actually loses customers. CEO Bob Parsons took a video of him on a hunt in africa and then proudly tweeted about killing problematic elephants. NGOs like PETA responded swiftly requesting customers shift to new domain registers yet Parsons rebuts them on Twitter. Competitors of GoDaddy offered to donate $1 to elephant funds and reportedly raised over $20,000. In a gesture of branding, Mr Parsons gives local Africans GoDaddy hats as they carve up carcass for food –further inciting criticism. The original video has been removed, after critics rally behind raising money for elephants. It’s so rare, but this incident receives a stronger category rating as actual revenues were directly impacted. (Category 4)
Exported from Detroit: Chrysler Fires Social Media Agency
Just as Chrysler received a very positive reaction from their superbowl ad “Imported from Detroit”, An accidental F-Bomb was released on the official Chrysler blog, which tarnishes the driving scene in Detroit. Since then the agency employee was since fired, and then the agency NMS was also fired. This is notable for a few reasons. 1) Mistakes happen, and companies that do make them often get better (Dell, Walmart, Comcast), part of social media is to fail forward, pick yourself up and move forward 2) There’s a debate if firing the employee or agency was really warranted, or if that was too extreme, see agency blog and comments, see Chrysler corporate blog. 3) The agency NMS desperately needs a Social Media Management System with workflow and keyword triggers to ensure there’s a review process. 4) Eminem is known for many F-bomb curses, and was prominently featured in the brand campaign, isn’t this consistent with the associative branding? 5) If Chrysler showed some humor, they may have emerged unscathed by then offering free driving classes to Detroit using Chrysler cars! (Category 3)
Kenneth Cole Brings Twitter Revolution to Front Door
In a self-promotional tweet that hijacked the world sensitive #cairo tag during the revolution, Kenneth Cole promotes their own spring lineup. I’m watching the Twitter backlash unfold and see blog posts emerging. No doubt this will turn to mainstream attention (update like HuffPo within 3 hours). What’s interesting is the inflammatory tweet (now deleted) came from a blackberry with “KC” tag, and then the apology Tweet used a “we”. Update: they removed the tweet and apologized on Facebook. (Category 3)
KFC employees Goes ‘Afoul’ over order request
This Australian KFC worker in the last of the 2010 punk’d listings goes ballistic after what looks like is being taunted by a customer who requests bacon, which is forbid during Islamic tradition during this period of Ramadan. In any case, it shows that consumers now can embarrass the company and employees by using simple mobile devices then putting on YouTube, which now has over 31k views. (Category 3)
Brandjacking: DKNY Stripped by PETA Anti-Fur Protesters
In a coordinated real world and online attack, PETA anti-fur protesters overtook the DKNY Facebook wall, with little or no resistance from corporate staff. Taking a page from the successful Greenpeace assaults, PETA if catching on, although has yet to develop social assets that can be used by their community in the assault. Expect PETA and other NGOs to continue to ramp up their sophistication in assaults, often much faster than brands are ready for. Brandjackings are an interesting thing. Brands spend millions on FB pages, yet PETA and Greenpeace can easily overrun investment. (Category 3)
Fonterra Dairy Soured: Brandjacked by Greenpeace, Commits Facebook Suicide
In a style similar to the Nestle’ social brandjacking campaigns, Greenpeace launches campaign at New Zealand based dairy corporation Fonterra’s apparent Facebook page. Fonterra claimed not to manage this page, however the offensive videos and posts were removed. Apparently, the entire Facebook page was eventually dismantled.(Category 3)
‘Cook Source’ Steals Recipe. Self-Immolates In Kitchen
A blogger by name of Monica Gaudio found out that ‘Cook Source’ helped themselves to one of her 2005 recipes from her blog, did minor edits and the posted it on their own website as their own original content. After confronting the editor of Cook Source, she was apparently told the blogger the content could be used anyway they wanted (sources conflict here). Regardless, Cook Source experienced a groundswell on their social media properties like Facebook, a Hitler video, and resulted in a variety of critical articles (Google counts over 65 mainstream media articles). (Category 3)
Gap Falls Into Their Own Redesign Revolt
Gap Inc, puts forth a logo redesign, but is met with severe backlash from passionate fans, critics, and media on social media channels. There were thousands of comments, logo redesign websites, Twitter spoof accounts (over 4000 followers) and even Facebook accounts setup to lead this branding revolt and over 626 results in Google News on “Gap Logo” from mainstream press. We once thought logos were owned by the brand, but clearly we’re finding that the consumers take just as much ownership in the logo. Link via Roger Harris. (Category 3)
Bait and Switch: Pantene’s Cause Marketing Backfires
A lesson in transparency: A cause marketing style campaign was launched in the Philippines, asking women to get join a Facebook page called “I Commit to Change“. Once the members joined the independent ’cause’ Pantene unleashed its branding campaign, promoting their latest products as the agent of change. Feeling duped, the women fire back, launching blog salvos, and it remains a case study in South East Asia marketing case studies and beyond. The lesson? Be up front and clear about your intentions to consumers, or risk greater brand damage and reduced trust. As told to me from Donald Lim. (Category 2)
A Polished Apple: Mac Forums Censors Critics in Forums
A recent consumer reports publication critiques the iPhone4 as having faulty reception and antennae issues. Although widely discussed online in a variety of locations, Apple community managers have apparently censored the discussion in their own community, which only exasperates the situation as they spread it to blogs. Reading down this list, in many cases we see that censoring only makes the problem worse. Instead, companies should see this as an opportunity –not a threat to be swept under the carpet. (Category 3)
Nestle’ Sours their Facebook Page
Nestle, which has been under attack from Greenpeace members for sustainability issues has gone under attack. Apparently, junior members of Nestle’s staff (or PR firm) asked members not to mis-use the logos or risk being banned from the Facebook page. After some arguing, a groundswell overtook the page and there are thousands of critical comments, some of the ‘rudeness’ and some demanding sustainable products and threatening boycotts. There are two major issues here: A PR crises regarding rain forests and sustainability, and social media best practices. Update: Read my analysis (Category 3)
iPunk’d: Mainstream News Falls for iPad “Beta Tester” Hoax
Flamboyant CEO and internet celebrity Jason Calacanis tweeted he was an early beta-tester for iPad, and ‘leaked’ out fake specs. Mainstream media, who were hungry to break any news, published mis-stories, with a variety of accuracies. Among the over zealous journalists includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, CNN Money, Reuters, Macworld, ComputerWorld, and Joystiq (couldn’t find article), more from Valleywag. Just goes to show that any lead is a story worth starting, fact checking not required, and Jason knows how to catch a media wave. (Category 2)
Cleanup in Aisle 8: Digital Fingerprints Exposes Wal-Mart’s Paid Supporter
A vocal online supporter of Wal-Mart opening in Chicago was allegedly unearthed ties back to Wal-Mart’s PR firm. In an era of digital footprints, the IP address was matched to the agency that represents Wal-Mart, the Chicagoist has some of the alleged discussion, on display. There’s three lessons here: 1) transparency in fiduciary relationships isn’t only ethical, it’s probably the law, when lobbying for a company while on payroll on the web (although FTC regulations tend to be fuzzy in my opinion) 2) This erodes trust of communities and the social web. 3) It’s disappointing to see Wal-Mart (or it’s partners) on this list again (see below) this is a good time to send a disclosure memorandum to all agency partners. (Category 2)
Pepsi’s AMP iPhone App Encourages Guys To Score –Yet Results in a Penalty
Pepsi’s AMP brand which caters to young males created an iPhone application that arms studs with pickup lines for different categories of women. This application gives young men to categorize women (geek, cougar, band girl and beyond) and offers pickup lines, useful information to relate to them and a ‘scoring’ system after they’ve done the deed. Unfortunately, a groundswell emerged from blogs and mainstream press forcing Pepsi’s hand to remove the app –and the offensive material. (Category 3)
Honda Product Manager Crashes Into His Own Comments
An overzealous product manager at Honda promotes his own product but fails to disclose his own relationship with the company –till the community calls him out. Honda responds by sheepishly removing his posts, due to lack of disclosure and not being a company representative. It should be recognized that every employee is a representative of the company –official or not. What’s needed? Training, internal policies, and a safe place to practice. (Category 2)
Digerati Dooce Sends Maytag/Whirlpool to the Cleaners
Consumer activism or celebrity abuse? Popular blogger and Twitterati (over 1 million followers) had problems with her brand new Whirlpool machine and took to her social tools to discuss, complain, and suggest a boycott till her machine was fixed, read her chronicle, and what happened next as it spread to Forbes. Not sure what Whirlpool could have done to avoid this –all customer experiences good and bad are exposed on the social web, how does a brand know when they’re talking to an influencer? They don’t. (Category 3)
Property Manager Sues Over Moldy Tweet –Infecting Their Own Brand
A tenent in a Chicago apartment who had 20 followers in Twitter was sued by property manager for saying: “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s OK.” is being sued for $50k for defamation. As a result, this incident has received global attention on the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and major news outlets. This may have caused self-damage to Horizon as prospective customers may search Google for Horizon and see how they publically sued a customer. Horizon later issued a statement regarding their intention to “sue first, ask questions later” (Category 3)
Decrescendo For United Airlines After “Breaking Guitar” Song
A musican scorned is a scary thing –add YouTube and the whole world can see. Dave Carroll claims he saw United baggage handlers toss his custom guitar, then complained with no resolution. He turned to what he knows best, and created a song and shared it with the world. More from LA times who says that after the song started to get popular, United changed their tune from minor chords to major, thanks to Mark for submitting. (Category 3)
Fire Sale: Furniture Company Habitat Self-Evicts on Twitter
Stylish furninture maker Habitat jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, but this time, tags it’s self-promotionary tweets with popular trending topics such as the Iran election. What’s this the same as? Parasite marketing. As a result, the Twitter community strikes back, and Habitat retreats. To their defense, they’re just the ones that got called out -there’s a bunch of spammers doing this now. Thanks Mark for the submission (Category 2)
Contest for Bloggers Results in Asus Losing
Computer manufacturer Asus hosted a sponsored contest where bloggers could review their products –then the community could vote on the best review. Asus, not happy with the honest (but not that shiny review) review from one blogger, decided to shift the rules to benefit a more positive review. Backlash ensues, read comments, link via Ian Fogg (Category 2)
Snotty Dominos Employees YouTube Themselves To Court
Millions are grossed out by two Dominos employees who uploaded a video to YouTube of them blowing snot on pizzas at a Dominos stores. Interestingly, the crowd was able to pinpoint their location, they’ve now been fired and are facing felony charges, NYTs has more. Thanks to Josh for the tip. (Category 3, and perhaps 4 if this doesn’t get cleaned up)
Buying Friends? Belkin pays for Positive Reviews
This scandal leaves consumers not sure if they can trust the positive reviews about Belkin products. As one employee offered to pay users of Amazon’s Mechnical Turk to write positive reviews. As Belkin was exposed, they issued a mea culpa suggesting this was an isolated event, but now, it’s suggested that these orders came from executives. (Category 2, yet if the Fed gets involved, it go to Category 3 or 4)
Motrin Gets Headache From Twittering Moms
A well-intended Motrin ad launched towards baby carrying moms triggered them to revolt on twitter. On this quiet weekend it spread to blogs, YouTube, and then mainstream press. Some argue the moms were acting more like a mob, Motrin didn’t test it’s copy with the target audience up front –leaving everyone with a splitting headache. (Category 2)
CNN Falls For Rumor –Sinking Apple Stock
A rumor created by community created news site iReport that falsified CEO Steve Jobs having a heart attack spread to mainstream media website CNN, and caused a dip in stock price. User generated content will always have the risk of falsified content. (Category 4)
Exxon Mobil Brandjacked in Twitter
The twitter community (myself included) was eager to embrace “Janet” a no holds barred up front in your face corporate representative that was ready to tackle the hard issues –sometimes without grace. Unfortunately, to the Twittersphere’s surprise and Exxon, Janet, is not an official company representative she claimed to be. Read the story to unravel the multiple angles to this unique case. (Category 2)
JC Penney Brandjacked by Fake “Sex” Ad
We’re seeing more ads being created. In this case a ‘third party vendor’ (agency, I think) created this and submitted it to Cannes. JC Penney wasn’t happy and had it removed from YouTube. Unfortunately, blogs picked it up and it will never go away, video is here, I know you want to click. (Category 2)
Louis Vuitton gets Brandjacked in Anti-Genocide Campaign
Artist creates and sells T-shirt demonstrating how the media turns a deaf ear to real world tradgeies such as genocide in Dafur, infringing on LV logo. LV fires back, with lawsuit, a groundswell begins. Submitted by Søren Storm Hansen (Category 2)
Burger King exec trash talks using daughter’s email
Not sure why he didn’t just create a new email address, that would have been a lot safer. Submitted by Hilker. (Category 3)
Johnson and Johnson to bloggers: Hurry up and get dis-invited
Sounds like a mis-coordination, bad timing, and not a well thought through process that ended up getting scobleized, and Maryamized. (Category 2)
Anonymous Unmasks Church of Scientology
The church of Scientology has been criticized by an anonymous group, a faceless mass that has created videos, staged marches and protests, and is subvert the Church from around the internet. (Category 2)
Marvel nearly cuts of bloggers from Iron Man screening
Techcrunch (700,000 + subscribed) who intended to host a screening for loyal tech readers (perhaps a perfect audience of tech bloggers) were cut off by Marvel. Techcrunch is known for copy and pasting legal notes right onto the blog, fortunatly, things were quickly resolved. (Category 2)
Target-ed by Bloggers
A blogger complained about an indecent ad that portrayed as demeaning to women, complained and was shoved off by a Target representative. Story now on NYTimes, little things, can be big.
Target’s Rounders program “This is our secret game”
Target encouraged it’s premier members in the rounders program to pump up it’s brand in a Facebook group, sadly, the covert operation ended up on blogs and then mainstream media
HD DVD Decoded by Digg, unDugg, then Dugg again
Digg users publish HD code, industry freaks out, Digg maintains stance.
Wholefoods CEO caught being a troll
Whole Foods CEO, was anonymously trashing competitors and pumping company up on Yahoo finance boards. (Category 3)
Delta holds customers hostage
What’s worse than being held prisoner on Delta’s dirty plane? (Video), watching the crew getting off da plane. Oh, and no food, crying babies, but one talented videographer. (Category 3)
Taco Bell’s infestation crawls into YouTube
A minor rat problem moved it’s way to YouTube, spreading faster and farther than expected, a total of more than one million views for all videos. Submitted by Graham Hill (Category 3)
Facebook Party with Molson ends up with Hangover
Molson invited folks to share party pics in Facebook, including with youth, which resulted in a backlash from community and parents. Molson withdrew the campaign and went home early –no more Facebook partying for this brand.
Data storage blogger posts industry price lists, sales reps cry f#ck!
Robin Harris, one of the most well known of the data storage blogosphere posts price lists that were received from various customers.
Dell Laptop Explodes, news at 11 –via YouTube
More bad news for Dell, as laptops explode in Japan, all can see online.
ZZZ… Comcast suffers from Narcolepsy
Sleepy Techician caught on YouTube, then fired. Also see Comcast must die blog, submitted by Jeff Jarvis. (Category 3)
Hitachi “Hell” Gets The Finger
Angry customer gets bad service, writes long experience, and flips off HQ in picture, he’s also an influencer in the gaming community. (Category 2)
The Naked NOKA Chocolate Uncovered
A premium chocolatier (Noka) had a tremendous markup ($309- $2,080 per pound) of their secretly re-packaged chocolate, was exposed as a fraud and spread on blogs. And their google results is really painful. Submitted by Whitney.
AOL Holds Customers Hostage –Then Gets Canceled
This guy really bothers me, I can see why Vincent Ferrari was miffed. It’s clear, he was dealing with the customer retention department. Nothing worse than the feeling of being held hostage. Submitted by David Alston.
Airplane Fiasco’s Spread Online: JetBlue
There are so many examples, such as a YouTube testimonial about JetBlue’s 8+ hours stranded in terminal. Related: JetBlue’s CEO responds after flights are cut months later due to storm.
Starbucks Brandjacked by YouTube Video
Who wants a tasty frappuccino when there are kids starving? This was one of the first cases of brandjacking we saw.
Why we Dwell on Dell Hell
Jeff Jarvis launches blog post that sends a flurry of PR negativty at Dell’s poor service, it’s since been improved.(Category 3)
Locks were disabled using a simple bic pen cap, spread on forums and blogs, one of the earliest examples that got mainstream attention. (Category 3)
Wives of EA beg for spouses back on blog
Call HR? Forget it, call Livejournal. This early incident from a wife of a game developer complains on a blog –getting national attention from press and media. As a result, EA did make some changes to their work and lifestyles of their employees. (Category 3)
The Barbera Streisand Effect
Singer star tries to remove content from internet, it all goes downhill from there. I actually learned about this from reading my colleagues Groundswell book (Category 2)
Apple’s dirty little secret plastered over NYC
Apparently, 18 months is all the iPod will run before you’ll need to buy a new one, says this video, where street teams went around defacing ads. Submitted by David Churbuck (I got his name right this time)
Also see: 8 Groundswell Examples: News, Education, Religion, Cops, Restaurants, Music, Conferences, and Analysts
I know I’m missing others, please leave a comment, and I’ll credit you
Update: I added CNN in April 2009 to the punk’d list for their CNNbrk account, I found out later, that it indeed was not an example of a brandjacking, but instead CNN helped foster the relationship with the non-employee creator James Cox, who sent me an email and explained.
Last night, at the Blogger dinner in SF (see pics tagged ‘groundswell’), there were several discussions among the attendees from Josh, Shel, Debbie and others around their ideology and stance when it comes to the impacts of social media to companies.
Josh created a scale to help identify where peoples beliefs are, he describes it from his post as:
10 = The groundswell is such a powerful force, the people in it will always prevail. All companies can do is watch and listen. Their employees can participate, but only as independent people. Corporate efforts are doomed to fail.
7 = The groundswell is powerful, but companies have a role in it. Groups of people inside of enterprises can get together and make themselves heard. Even so, the groundswell will always prevail over their interests.
5 = Companies belong in the groundswell. They have interests just as the people do. They will set up corporate efforts — presences in places like Facebook or their own corporate blogs — and connect with their customers. They can’t shut down or co-opt people in the groundswell, but they can form meaningful relationships with them. And they can accomplish goals like marketing or collaborative innovation, if they respect that they’re not in charge.
2 = Corporations and other major institutions are powerful and will always be powerful. This so-called “groundswell” is similar to any other medium — people are there consuming it, and corporations can reach them within that medium. Flare-ups of negative publicity can be contained or at least “handled” so they cause minimal damage.
0 = Corporations have power because they have money. This groundswell thing is a flash in the pan and it doesn’t matter. If it gets too far out of hand we’ll buy it and make sure we control it.
To me, the industry shifts over time: there was a lot of purist talk from 2005-2006, books, presentations and blogs came in with strong cluetrain values. Then, we started to see monetization of social media, social media optimization, and agencies, pr, and marketers getting on board.
I fall in the 5-7 range, you’ll often hear me say that companies need to let go to gain more, and that the power (trust) is in the hands of the participants, so employees should participate.
How about you? But really think it through and explain why this is your belief.
Josh has responded to some of the comments he’s already received.
While my focus is on social computing for the interactive marketer, as an objective researcher (I’ve no affiliations with any of these groups), I can’t but help but watch the parallels that are happening in other industries outside of marketing.
What’s a Groundswell? We define it as:
[A Groundswell as a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions]
I’m watching how examples of Groundswells are appearing (outside of my coverage area) on the web, and then impact the real world.
Eight Industries Impacted by Groundswells:
1) News: Where Readers Become the Editors
Digg.com is a social news site where the members submit URLs to news stories, and the community can vote them up. Although there’s some criticism of who is empowered within the group, the site sends massive amounts of traffic that can bring down servers.
2) Education: Students Rate Teachers
Perhaps one of my first Groundswell experience, Rate My Teacher has been around for some time, in fact, I used this while in college to find out which teachers were good, which were horrible, and which were easy. Students rate teachers, provide real time feedback, and in one case, even called out a teacher for doing unethical things at one school.
3) Religion: Opposing Groups Organize Against Church
This hotly debated topic came up on my radar when I noticed that a hidden entity called “Anonymous” continued to be featured on Digg.com. This is an anti-scientology group that stages videos on YouTube, and even a masked protest on the Ides of March (March 15th, today) You can see their photos on flickr. This group appears to organize and give orders via the web.
4) Law Enforcement: Citizens Rate Cops
Spurring a lot of news yesterday, this site Rate My Cop lets citizens review the experience they had with an officer, either good or bad. Yet some critics suggest this puts officers lives and families in danger.
5) Restaurants: Patrons Review Restaurants
This bay area company, Yelp, lets the patrons of restaurants rate restaurant food, service, and overall experience. I frequently use this before trying new restaurants or looking for new types of cuisine. Some savvy restaurants have signs on their door asking to be rated, it’s a new shift that puts formal restaurant reviewers in a slightly less relevant position.
6) Music Industry: Consumers Bypass Music Stores
As soon (or even before) a CD hits the shelves, it’s available for free in many file sharing services that have strong connections to cash strapped students and hubs in college dorms. These songs end up on MySpace profiles, or can even be found in file sharing services. Most music industry companies have fought them with legal action, and have made little progress. A few bands and artists are skipping the middle man and publishing songs directly on their websites.
7) Conferences: Audiences Assert Control
I covered what happened at SXSW, in summary, the audience asserted control at the conference, not at just the Zuckerberg keynote, but in three other occasions. Also learn about unconferences where the audience is in control to set the discussion topics, lead, and share.
8 ) Analyst Industry: Markets Can Self Help
I’d be truly ignorant if I didn’t put my own industry here. People come to analysts as they have answers, but people are connecting using social networks, blogs, an forums to communicate and answer problems, many of them are our clients. People want good answers to questions, and they will go to trusted sources to get them, analysts aren’t the only ones who can provide this. It’s safe to assume that the collective market has far more knowledge on social media than I do. This is certainly in my mind, an opportunity, and a threat if ignored.
A few years ago, people told me that Social Media was a fad, I think I’m going to forward them this post.
Where did I learn of the term Grounsdswell? When Charlene was recruiting me, she told me it was the name of her and Josh Bernoff’s upcoming book, Groundswell.
For the second year, I experienced the SXSW Interactive Festival, an event attended by thousands who have love for media, the web, and gadgets. SXSW is a bubble of the tech elite assembling, in many ways it’s a glimpse into the future, exposed on a Petri dish today.
[A Groundswell Occurred at the SXSW Interactive Festival as the Audience Revolted And Took Charge]
Last year, Twitter gained traction at SXSW 2007, this year, it fully ramped up to be one of the most prominent and power shifting tools of the festival –we witnessesd a Groundswell. What’s a Groundswell? It’s a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions. Dan Fost, writing for Fortune Magazine reports that this is Social media is putting an end to the passive role attendees traditionally play at business gatherings.
At least four Groundswells occurred at SXSW 2008:
1) Audience Revolt at Mark Zuckerburg Presentation
The first and foremost example was the interview of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg by Sarah Lacy, Although discussed by
hundreds of blogs and on twitter, I’ll summarize: Sarah Lacy was un-prepared to interview the young CEO, displaced the focus, and a uprising happened online and in person from the audience. They vocalized their discontent on Meebo (a chat room provided by the conference organizers), and expressed themselves using Twitter (a mobile social network and chat room), and even took charge by taking control of the questions, and then spilling it over to hundreds of blogs. Sadly, for Sarah’s reputation has been marred as an interviewer by the extensive coverage of blogs and even mainstream media. As a result, the audience took charge, revolted in discontent and hijacked the interview, later, Mark Zuckerberg held a make-up discussion off site. It’s very clear the audience took charge. You can watch the video, and read Wired’s SXSW: 2008, the Year the Audience Keynoted.
2) The Crowd overtakes a Panel
Perhaps far worse than interviewing skills was the direct challenge to the general assertion of some presenters. The speakers in the Social Marketing Strategies Metrics, Where Are They? panel, were victim to a revolution in their own session. Although I wasn’t present, I heard that the audience disagreed with the content, statements, and stance of this conservative panel and directly challenged them. One member of the audience requested to ask a question, but was denied by the panel. Defiantly, and with the crowd on his side, he asserted himself. Read the actual chat transcripts to learn more.
3) How an audience “team” improved a session
Not all the examples were negative, in Charlene Li’s presentation, apparently, one of the projectors were off center, disrupting the experience. A murmur started to bubble up in Meebo (conference provided open chat) requesting that “…somebody fix the screen”. According to Miles Sims, one member of the audience nearest the projector went over and fixed it, and a silent cheer from the crowd echod in the chat room. You can read the archives yourself.
From the Meebo Chatroom during Charlene’s Preso:
09:37 alx: can somebody fix the screen?
09:37 TheMuggler: I wish that sxsw staffer near the projector would line it up witht he screen
09:37 aebaxter: I know, I can’t see all the pictures of the revolutionaries
09:37 mstephan: I am next to it, I’ll see if I can fix it
09:38 james: nice
09:38 Miles: Good work!
09:38 mstephan: *bow*
09:38 TheMuggler: you are a revolutionary!
4) Twitter, a communication tool to track sessions, parties, and events
Perhaps in a pure social manner, Twitter became the glue of the dozens of friends that were spread out over the city at parties, to find out where friends are and people you want to meet, people were actively tweeting where they were. In many cases (myself included) it was a way to let people know where the happenings were, and to constantly keep a pulse on what the masses were up to. More than one person expressed to me that they were overwhelmed by the dozen or so tracks simultaneously, but were able to monitor through twitter, meebo, and from blogs.
SXSW is a conference made up of folks who thrive on interaction, you won’t see this type of behavior from every conference, and the conference organizers supported this behavior by providing the Meebo chat room. We should still look at how this could impact other conferences, is this just a one off, or a trend?
Wisdom of Crowds or Idiocy of the Mob?
Some are suggesting that this is an example of unruly mobs being rude and disruptive using anonymous tools. Despite the damages this could have, it’s certainly not going to go away. It will be interesting to see if conferences are going to encourage back channels (like SXSW promoted the Meebo chat rooms) or how they will embrace as they naturally bubble up due to twitter usage. It’s very clear that this groundswell can quickly do immense damage (search engine results impact client and job relations) yet it can also put the power into the hands of the customers, in this case, the audience.
Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators must monitor back channel
Recently, I wrote a post that has been passed around many conferences on how to successfully moderate a panel. I’m now adding a section suggesting that the moderator first poll his community using some of these tools, and to also monitor the back channel in real time, while not all conferences will embrace a back channel, it’s safe to assume that Twitter will be found at many tech and marketing conferences.
Moving from “Me” to “We”
SXSW was certainly a collection of creators, critics, and joiners (individuals that participate, then influence, according to the Forrester’s Technographics data) and in no way represents a larger sample of the marketplace. Conrad Hametner, shared with me that the esteemed speaker Henry Jenkins, who gave a presentation at the Festival and suggested that social media world is taking charge, the former generation the “I” generation is now being replaced by the highly networked generation of the “We” where collaboration, two-way discussions, and power of masses starts to take hold.
Jenkins is right, we’re starting to get glimpses of the future where the social tools gives to a culture shift from the “me” to the “we”.
I’ve cross posted this on the Forrester Marketing Blog