Friday, April 17, 2009

A Rant - in 30 min or less


“With great power comes great responsibility.” Uncle Ben’s words ring loudly in my ears today as I watch the video of a Domino’s executive reading a statement about how horrified the company is about the “prank” committed by two idiots and the tweets heard round the business world.  The New York Times reported brand damage…I feel like the whole issue is borne of brain damage.  

“The independent owner of that store is reeling from the damage that this is caused and it’s not a surprise that this has caused a lot of damage to our brand.” 

I am not going to write a long treatise condemning or defending the social discussion around business brand issues.  I’m sure this rant adds to a long list of conversations had by others with experiences and expertise in this area.   But maybe you haven’t seen, remember the fury of the Motrin Moms?  Surveys done later found that most (gasp) MOMs weren’t offended by the ads.  45% liked the video and 15% didn't like it. 8%, said it negatively affected their feelings of the brand, 32% said it made them like the brand MORE.

Businesses NEED to be a part of the social discussion, but they don’t deserve to be BULLIED by it.  Dominos responded well, and had to.  There will likely be no long term band damage, and in fact they may ultimately benefit from their response to this event. But I guess it just continues to baffle me why these things are given so much weight in the public discourse.

As many have learned all too painfully and personally in the social world online, your actions have ramifications in the “real world” on yourself and others.  To steal a page from the mom’s handbook – treat people as you would want to be treated, or even better, if your best friend wants to jump off a bridge, does that mean you will too?  Social media is about facilitating discussion and conversation – which may lead to valid criticism and action, but we have to be careful of rapid overreaction, condemnation and crucifixion.

We love to ridicule celebrities and sports figures that use their visibility to air their politics or personal issues as if they are of a higher authority.  Well guess what.  As Twitter prepares to get a big red O sticker today, we all have been given that megaphone to some degree.  It comes with some assembly required, but the one critical piece we need – is a filter.  Decide what you want to be, understand the power you wield, and use it responsibly.  

My point?  I dunno.  I guess with an unprecedented ability to inform and affect change, why can’t the new social reality work harder to avoid the bad things about the old one?

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