All denizens of the social media sphere know that the most utilized feature of the space is the ability to constantly share. The past week’s round up has some great examples of how different companies have shared and incited heated debates and discussions.
Good – Tweet Share
Each day a bevy of holidays you were completely unaware of reach your inbox – did you know it was National Skeptics Day? – and additionally each month is perpetually reblessed with the opportunity to champion a different cause. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Organize your Medical Information Month, Class Reunion Month, and National Roller Skating Month, just to name a few. Of course none of these great causes sets precedence over another, as they were all decreed for a purpose. However, in the vein of Social Media sharing, a great example is Fair Trade Month, promoted by Ben and Jerry’s. By going to Fair Tweets and tweeting from their form, you donate unused characters from your tweets to spreading the message about Fair Trade! What a great way to share the message!
Bad – Chili’s Columbus Day
By all social media accounts Chili’s seems to work their branding right; they constantly engage their customers and receive plenty of responses from their audience. With over a few million Facebook fans, the page receives hundreds of comments per status, jumping into the thousands with their frequently posted coupons. This may have been why on October 10th they received so much attention when they posted, “Columbus Day! ‘Like’ if you’re glad the Americas were discovered!” The post elicited 2,829 likes, 228 comments, and 35 shares. Not staggering numbers by Chili’s standards, but the conversation sparked a strong undercurrent of customer dissatisfaction. While there were no comments regarding the food or service, the general belief was that whomever was handling their account lacked the foresight to think about how the statement should be worded to ensure it was politically correct. Though the postulation was followed by a conversation that lasted fairly steadily from post time at 11 a.m. to about 8 p.m. Chili’s did not comment, instead allowing the customers to debate the question of discovery amongst themselves.
A blogger at Coherent Social Media, Neicole Crepeau wrote a thought-stimulating article about the “death” of Twitter. In short, she surmised that the efficacy of social networks was being diluted by the influx of spam within the community. When an influencer in the community reads a significant article and tweets it, it’s subsequently retweeted by engagers in the same circle. For the next two minutes posts about the same article inundate a user’s feed for two minutes – a veritable lifetime in the span of a Twitter timeline. While the content was hotly debated, what was interesting about this article was the catch-22 it presented. While it discussed the issue of an article being over shared, as with all blogs, the main goal of its being written was that it should be shared. Google-ing the article nearly ten days later the query still yields three pages of direct links back to the article, which you can also read for yourself here.
Sharing online is a way of life. Whether you choose to share a positive message or a semi-rhetorical postulation that may be taken out of context, the opportunity for your message to reach thousands of people per post is why social media is not a trend, but a way of life for PR professionals. Although articles by large influencers will inevitably be retweeted ad nauseam by those following influencers in the field, they will also trickle down to people who may not be in the field, perpetuating the spread of information and influence.