I’ve written before about Twitterwashing, the tactic where organisations butt in on Twitter chats in an attempt to control public conversations about them. BT is the example that springs most readily to mind, but even lovely fluffy ethical organisations make this mistake too.
“If you like it, tell all your friends. If you don’t, just tell us!” It’s a cheesy commonplace and we’ve all seen it on signs. But if you’re interested in the relationship between customers and businesses, it’s worth looking at again.
“If you like it, tell all your friends” acknowledges that word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. “If you don’t, just tell us!” is the other side of the coin: an acknowledgement that if customers tell their friends about a bad experience with a business, that has the power to hurt the business.
You probably didn’t realise it, but today is International Dyscalculia Day. You may not be sure what dyscalculia is; well, that’s the whole point of having a day about it. Dyscalculia Day is a grassroots effort organised by ordinary dyscalculia sufferers to raise awareness of this learning disability.
Twitter is full of the claim that the Green Party is “anti-science”. Some of the people making that claim are on my own feed; they’re people I like and respect. So I’m disappointed that so many of these self-appointed champions of science seem to be basing their claim on the same Times article, while others don’t bother to give any source at all.
The #amazonfail furore made me angry, but not for the reasons you might expect. I'm angry at the sheer numbers of people who put their energy into mobilising against Amazon. The whole affair showed us just how easily Twitter and blogs can be used to spread a message about a company's unacceptable actions (in Amazon's case, removing LGBT-themed books from their sales rankings) and to generate massive amounts of negative publicity. Perhaps a month after the problem was first spotted, the complaints reached a tipping point; after that, it took just a few days to give Amazon the PR headache of a lifetime.
And I'm furious that it happened this way. Perhaps I should explain why.
Maybe it was the interview on Radio Oxford that did the trick, maybe it was some kind of Gladwellian tipping point. Either way, last night’s Oxford Geek Night was the busiest I’ve seen. The upstairs room at the Jericho Tavern was crammed with people; according to the organisers, we reached the limit allowed by the Jericho’s fire regulations.