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Broadcast Social Media: Beware the bandwagon

December 6, 2010

One potent example of an ill-thought out social media idea which underlines a personal mantra of mine. Not only that, in comparison to last week’s ‘lesson’ (for ‘lesson’, read ‘brow-beating’) the example needs only a few words in comparison to my usually verbose style.

CUE: A collective sigh of relief.

That Facebook thing getting people to switch their profile pictures to cartoon characters they remembered as kids to combat child abuse.

Please. Reassure me … after reading only a few posts about social media on this blog … reassure me, you knew that Facebook campaign was just bollocks. Didn’t you?

Oh. I used *that* naughty word. Bollocks. After the Jim Naughtie ‘debacle’, you’d think I would have thought twice before using that word. Well I did. And I still used it. Because it was bollocks – the Facebook thing – not that naughty thing Naughtie did (and later Andrew Marr) did. And I spotted it a mile off. So did a handful of others. And I hope you did too, otherwise you’re losers and you shouldn’t be using social media in a broadcast environment. Tut tut.

My suspicions were first confirmed on Sunday when I saw this tweet ..

And despite a couple of Facebook pals prompting me to pause and consider whether I’d been a miserable arse about the whole thing, it was good mate Pete Faint (who you’ll hear from later this week on this blog) who emphasised the point in his own reliable and inimitable style.

And then there’s this warning from the internet to all desperate marketing types who reckon they’re got the next cracking social media idea. Getting people ‘en masse’ to change their profile picture is getting tired. Almost as tired as videoed flashmobs.

Be warned. Resist the temptation to realise tired ideas. Go with your gut instincts. And if you or one of your Facebook friends has seen or participated in a similar project, it’s probably one to avoid at all costs.

  1. I’m a member of a French-speaking forum on the internet (pretentious, moi?) and so I am now facebook friends with a number of French speaking people from France and Belgium. A few weeks before this “change your profile to a cartoon character to combat child abuse” thing there was a French-speaking version. This was the status that others had put up and that I indeed copied and pasted to my own status:

    “Jusqu’au 15 novembre, changez votre photo de profil Facebook pour un héros de dessin animé de vos années d’enfance et invitez vos amis à faire de même.
    Le but du jeu ? Ne plus voir une seule tête humaine sur Facebook mais une véritable invasion de souvenirs d’enfance jusqu’à lundi…”

    No mention of child abuse. Simply a bit of fun to eradicate human faces for a weekend. But I’ve no idea who started it.

  2. Obviously, something was lost in translation at some point, by someone.

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