September 20, 2011 By blogging

The Good, The Bad and The (terrifyingly) Ugly

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In this week’s issue of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Twitter flexes its muscles and shows its worldwide constituency has developed into a powerhouse. Unfortunately, the fact that it is a is available for everyone regrettably demonstrates that it can be utilized for evil rather than good, and shows the negativity that some users bring to the digital space. Read on!

The Good – Burberry “Tweetwalk”

Burberry, the esteemed 155-year-old brand, made digital headlines this weekend as it debuted its couture on the London Fashion Week scene. The brand partnered with Twitter to create “Tweetwalk” – a backstage look at the runway where viewers would view the collection seconds before the fashionistas in the front row, in the final moments before models graced the runway via the @Burberry stream. Twitter’s UK boss, Tony Wang commented that:

“Burberry was one of the first brands to truly understand Twitter’s ability to connect people all over the world with what’s most meaningful to them.”

It is already common practice to use real-time Twitter streams during award shows, sporting events and other live-action events and it will be interesting to see which companies follow suit after seeing Burberry’s spike in not only sales but brand recognition. In addition to Twitter, the brand also harnessed digital steam by streaming the entire Spring ’12 runway show live on its Facebook page in HD. Mike Kus, the brand’s fashion photographer also shared his Instagram stream which will be available for purchase on ITunes. That’s some notoriously social media savviness in an arena where the demand for the cutting edge is as high as the heels. We like it.

The Bad – Okite

First off, I would like to note that this is not a poor Twitter practice but rather something “bad” – and potentially hilarious – that could happen to your Twitter newsfeed.

Japanese iPhone app developers have conceived an idea that would impress upon users the urgency of not hitting snooze in the morning.

Imagine being a respected professional suddenly bombarded by “LOL” and “that’s unfortunate” @replies to greet you in the early hours of the morning.

The Okite app syncs an alarm clock to your Twitter account and upon resetting your alarm for another 5 minutes, the app Tweets potentially embarrassing messages such as “I have powerful farts” and “I’m dressed as a sailor today!” Although the app is only currently available in Japanese, here’s to hoping it will be debuting in English when the iOS5 hits stores.

The Ugly – Gang Violence Incites Social Media Fear

Censorship issues are a hot topic in Social Media, all over the world. British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested shutting certain sites down during the London riots, Hosni Mubarak’s attempted to shut down Egypt’s internet, and China proposed “taming” micro blogs throughout the country; all of which sparked controversy over government censorship.

At the same time, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, journalists have been attacked and sometimes killed in the pursuit of the truth behind violent gang wars, which has resulted in self-censorship. Terror towards the media has encouraged journalists to find it in the best interest of their personal safety to keep stories off-air, and citizens have tuned into the digital airwaves via Twitter and blogs to keep each other updated to the increasingly violent crimes between cartels. In a grave turn of events last Tuesday, the Mexican cartel “Zetas” gang perpetuated the drug violence in a public lynching on a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. The terrifying scene had a note specifically addressed to “Internet busybodies” as a reminder of what would happen to those who refused to stop the online conversation. This is a chilling example of the might of social media – and what some will do to stop the powerful flow of information. Be careful!!

Twitter has become infamous as the fastest and most effective way to share information.  The Burberry Tweetwalk plan is the embodiment of proper social media practices; to build a relationship with your public in a way that allows them to feel special builds their confidence and trust in the brand. However, the attempt to control public knowledge in Mexico with the threat of physical danger is deplorable. Users who are merely scratching the surface of the capabilities of these information networks will now be less open to all of the growth opportunities these mediums can provide.

For all the ways that the constant stream of news can be employed, one can only hope that this will be the last we see of the digital intimidation tactics.