Social Media's Fatal Flaw

This morning, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails wrote a long post on his NIN forum about why he is going to be leaving social media.

In the last number of years, NIN and Reznor have led the social media charge. They ditched their label, created one of the best ARG's out there and have been active in forums, Twitter and any new technology that helps them connect better with their fans. Like Radiohead, they released one of their albums via the web and allowed users to pay what they felt it deserved.

When I think about social media, NIN is always one of the brands that first comes to mind. They've been there, connecting with their fans on a one-to-one level, personalizing the converastion, giving access to everypart of their everyday lives. A dream for a hardcore NIN fan.

But not for Trent.

For every 100 fans, followers or comments, there are always 3-4 that go over the top. They might be racist, they might be sexist, hell, they might even be death threats. Fact is, there are psycho people out there and the anonymity of the web allows them to say and do whatever they want. You can try to get rid of them - cancel their profiles, ban their email addresses, restrict their access. But they create another profile, they sidestep your best efforts and they do whatever it takes to ruin a great discussion.

Why? Because they don't have lives. They are, in the truest sense, sad losers. And Trent has had it with them:

"I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it's now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule."

This is the dirty secret of social media - the ability to be anonymous. To say what you want without consequence. To be whatever you can't be in real life. In some cases, it's a good thing but in most cases, it allows a-holes like the ones who eventually rode Trent off social media to run wild doing whatever they want.

Is the solution networks that verify identification through government issued ID? Maybe.

But for now, social media has a problem and only a few people have spent enough time in it to realize the extent of it. We just lost one of them.


Sound Familiar?

I'm a big fan of music in spots. A great track can take an average spot and put it over the top. A bad track can take a great idea and make it terrible. If I think back to some of my favorite spots of all tie, they've all got a perfect song behind them.

So when I saw this spot from Chivas, I couldn't help but think about one that we blogged about a few months ago:

Not bad. But I still prefer this one:

What do you think?


Should GM be making new ads?

I really don't know. For a company that's just declared bankruptcy, received billions of dollars from governments across the world and is closing dealerships at an alarming rate, should they be investing in a 60 second spot with a huge North American media buy? (even though they already owe their media agency over $75 million dollars?)

When I first viewed this ad this week, it made me angry. We're not witnessing the "reinvention of GM". We're witnessing a company that failed to recognize the dramatic shift in customer desires. A management group that didn't react to cheaper competitors by building smarter, but by building bigger, less efficient cars.

Most companies would have to pay the price of going out of business. GM, with it's thousands of workers, must keep on going to keep the economy afloat. And they are being forced to make dramatic changes, I just wonder where this execution came from.

I have a feeling that it was created to help manage the negative perceptions about the company (a few that I've just shared). This spot is designed to get people thinking differently about the bad GM headlines they read every morning. GM hopes, it seems, that we will recognize that things are changing for the better and the company is going to make smart decisions in the near future - cutting down brands, building more fuel efficient cars, etc.

It just feels a bit strange and maybe slightly too soon. I've seen this spot with different groups of people and they've all had the same reaction - well that was nice. I guess I just paid for it.

I think that these perceptions will change over time and maybe GM wanted to get on the airwaves fast to move people along. But still, for a company that has just received massive amounts of public money, it seems a bit strange to be spending millions on a media buy just to tell everyone that they've changed.

We know you have.