Posts tagged facebook
Taking another quick break from web content and e-marketing topics, to shine a light on a harmful side effect of our nation’s current fascination with social networking services:
Researchers today disagree on whether it’s simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.
But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.
With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.
It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on. Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.
The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks.
Abby Abolt, 16, a Chicago high school sophomore and frequent Facebook user, says the site has never made her feel depressed, but that she can understand how it might affect some kids.
“If you really didn’t have that many friends and weren’t really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples’ status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset,” she said.
“It’s like a big popularity contest — who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged,” she said.
Also, it’s common among some teens to post snotty or judgmental messages on the Facebook walls of people they don’t like, said Gaby Navarro, 18, a senior from Grayslake, Ill. It’s happened to her friends, and she said she could imagine how that could make some teens feel depressed.
“Parents should definitely know” about these practices,” Navarro said. “It’s good to raise awareness about it.”
The academy guidelines note that online harassment “can cause profound psychosocial outcomes,” including suicide. The widely publicized suicide of a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl last year occurred after she’d been bullied and harassed, in person and on Facebook.
“Facebook is where all the teens are hanging out now. It’s their corner store,” O’Keeffe said.
She said the benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn’t be overlooked, however, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.
“A lot of what’s happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far,” she said.
Dr. Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, said using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect on those prone to depression.
Parents shouldn’t get the idea that using Facebook “is going to somehow infect their kids with depression,” she said.
It’s a businesses greatest fear, but may very well be their most powerful tool: viral content. Over the past couple of years, the term “viral” has reared its head exponentially more and some have yet to understand the full meaning of the term when it’s applied to marketing and the digital atmosphere. Allow us to raise the curtain for you with wikipedia’s definition of viral marketing:
“Viral marketing and viral advertising are buzzwords referring to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of virus or computer viruses. It can be delivered by word of mouth or enhanced by the network effects of the internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.”
The most important take-away of the definition: self-replicating viral processes. Next time you’re in a marketing meeting and someone blurts out “hey, let’s just make a viral video!” don’t succumb to the concept of sending it to your friends and family and expect them to send it to their associates. It is never the company or business that “makes” anything viral, it’s the audience that spreads the message. For your message to even have a fleeting chance at going viral, regardless of form, there are three requirements:
1. Make it genuine
2. Make it enjoyable
3. Make it memorable
From that point on, you are on your own, for the force is powerful and may turn against you. Social media and the closely connected internet has made it possible for negative comments to appear quicker than ever and spread like wildfire, sometimes forcing the hand of executives to act quickly and creatively for a (hopefully) appropriate response. Here are a handful of cases showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Old Spice Guy
If you have children between the ages of 12 and 24, there’s little doubt that they have heard of “the old spice guy.” Weiden + Kennedy, the ad agency for Old Spice, simply stuck a guy (well, a quite ridiculously handsome man) wearing a towel in a bathroom armed with a camera, some props, and a computer and wound up snagging the most prized Grand Prix award at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in June 2010 as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial in July 2010. Users online were given the opportunity to ask the Old Spice Guy a question and a response would quickly be posted. The message was direct, enjoyable, and comical thanks to intuitive writing, making it irresistible for people to share the videos. The Old Sprice brand was not shoved down viewer’s throats, but the videos were enjoyable, genuine, and definitely memorable.
Domino’s Pizza Fiasco
In the spring of 2009, a video of two Domino’s employees surfaced and tainted the brand’s image with sights of the workers sneezing on ready-to-serve meals and even stuffing cheese up their nose and returning it to its proper place on the dish, of course with some extra “personal” ingredients. Within several days, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other sites helped this image-destroying video rise to over a million views, putting hot pressure on Domino’s executives to take action. Eventually, an apology was posted on the company website and current employees were even asked to spread the link through their own personal social media accounts. While the decision on whether to fan the flames or let it fizzle naturally is a tough slice to swallow, the company gained high marks for taking action and playing on the customer’s side of the field.
Taco Bell’s Mystery Meat
In January, 2011, a concerned California woman filed suit against Taco Bell with false advertising claims, stating that the advertised “beef” was actually more of a “filling” and didn’t fit regulated standards for considering the substance beef. As the news media caught wind of the story and began to air segments, Taco Bell was already hard at work getting to a viable solution. The first release was to an Alabama television station (WSFA) in a written statement: “Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We’re happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit.” Well that sounds great, but if someone did a simple Google search for “Taco Bell” what would they find? At first, the results were flooded about the lawsuit, but as the Mexican fast-food giant created online content through blogs, twitter, facebook, and other accounts, the sharing of positive content overpowered the negative, drastically reducing the lawsuit-related pages coming first in a search result list. To round out an aggressive stance on their passion for real beef, Taco Bell purchased a full page ad in the Friday, January 28th edition of the Wall Street Journal headlining “Thank you for suing us” followed by a full ingredient disclosure of their product.
If you decide to try making a viral campaign, make sure the resources used have the characteristics to naturally spread and be shared and if your brand ever encounters an emotional upset by someone who has access to a computer or a lawyer, be prepared to fight back with content—and quickly.