Failure to Launch: The Sad Attempt of Companies at Social Media
True, we Filipinos may be lagging far behind in terms of technology of all sorts–robotics, genetic advancements, even nuclear breakthroughs.
This lag, however, does not at all curtail the Filipino’s use of the Internet. One only needs to look at our self-assured awards–texting capital of the Philippines, first mobile payment service, and so many other social media breakthroughs–to be convinced that we are, indeed, a growing breed of new social media users.
Yes, we may have gone so far in terms of using new social media–but how, exactly, are Filipino companies faring? Are they as fast evolving? Are they, like us, in the same level of the Broadcast-Interactive-Social Media Evolution of Communication? Or have they grown so poorly that we Internet users have practically vulperized them?
I didn’t need to go very far to answer my own question. A quick visit to my Multiply account provided more than enough enlightenment:
Whisper’s idea, obviously themed after the Kimerald Whisper commercial, is for guys to write a blog entry about why they love their girl friends, wives, partners, or anyone who uses Whisper–with the assumption that they use Whisper. The winner, decided by an elaborate 50-50 combination of online votes and critics’ judgment, will get goodies from Digital Hub.
It evidently uses the elements of the Social Media model: Multiply is the collaborative publication, Multiply users who ‘love Whisper’ co-create the content, and media buys are so cheap. And oh, include me among the passive audience. In principle, everything’s right.
But wait. The announcement of the actual contest winner‘s turnouts imply otherwise:
21 comments. If you scroll the page farther down, some comments even boldly ask if there’s a ‘Part 2’. Through it all, I can’t help but ask: was the point of this campaign nailed down? Out of the thousands of Filipino Multiply users, was the audience actually tapped? And if they were, were they tapped enough to boost product sales?
I admit, with shame at that, that I browsed through some of the entries in the recent past. The part that composes the 50%–the online votes–is a bit embarassing. Some had none, others had less than a hundred. None, however, went above this mark.
For a campaign that aimed to strike at the heart of the Filipino networking population, it certainly didn’t fair well.
Ah, another Multiply account of a well-loved broadsheet publication.
What Inquirer did, though, was different. It used the convenient and highly annoying messaging system of Multiply, where you can send a message to all your contacts. Once sent, expect everyone in the list of recipients–and I mean everyone to receive an automatic update of the same message.
Inquirer account, I dub thee a failure, not because your site looks like a malicious spam site, but because I can attest to the ineffectiveness of your campaign. I didn’t even read your message! (I got a glimpse of a promo announcement somewhere along those lines, though. )
And oh, it’s not just me. People are actually hating this so much, that they just have to comment–and no one, not even the message starter can stop it! Or, if they did, a convenient text saying the message had been deleted will be displayed. Sweet.
Personally, I think it’s the half-hearted attempt of these companies to engage their audience. Really, who would even want to write about loving Whisper–and have no choice but to write about it and only it? These are fake options being presented to us, to me for that matter.
In some counts, such as the annoying message I would often receive, it’s an abuse of an obvious flaw in the system–in this case, Multiply’s ever appearing and totally uncustomized messages. As a matter of fact, they look borderline interactive models of communication to me! Boo!
So I’m sorry, but not even winning a Macbook can force me to write about loving Whisper, at the expense of public humiliation right in the middle of my social network.