I’ve been playing Blur (review on the way) and one of the coolest things is the social network interaction. Once it is set up, it’s only a few clicks to post to Twitter or FaceBook what I’ve accomplished in the game. The hashtag is #blurthegame. It’s sort of cool.
By Matt Sarrel
I had a fantastic customer service interaction with IAMS this morning. I called the 800 hotline and waited for about 7 minutes to talk to Theresa who was very helpful and courteous. I had opened a can of cat food that was rotten and wanted to report it. I was pretty sure it was a defective can. I’m willing to accept 1 defect in about 4000 that I’ve served to Nina and Sonja over their lives. Theresa took down all sorts of codes that were on the can and said they’ll send me a coupon for a free case. I’m very happy with that outcome. She also asked me a few questions about the girls, like name, breed, where I got them, etc.
This is where it gets interesting from a social media POV.
Then I twittered about the interaction. Shortly thereafter, @AskIams sent me a tweet thanking me for thanking them, saying that Theresa is good, and hoping that Nina and Sonja enjoy the case of food.
So there’s a database that links @msarrel with Matt Sarrel and that Nina and Sonja are his cats. Talk about personal.
Iams has how many customers? Let’s say several million. And they know who I am and who my cats are.
And I’m too lazy to send my few dozen customers holiday cards.
There is a real lesson here. Iams pretty much has me and the girls for life. First and foremost they make a great product. I’m willing to accept 1 bad can. No harm came, it was very obviously bad. Then they get up close and personal with me while they over-deliver on fixing the problem. Attentive and personal in the real world, on the phone, and online.
By Sarah Pike
At some point in every good dystopian story I’ve read, we find out that the miserable, benighted good guys—or the demented, unimaginative losers who should be miserable—dug their own hole. They were trying to create a utopia but ended up in a Brave New World. They gave up freedom for security and ended up forbidden to read or convene. They wanted a classless society but ended up with an identity-free one.
Facebook and Twitter are turning us into children and drones. We wanted to keep up with our friends but ended up becoming faceless recipients of, and undiscriminating fire hoses of, spew.
When was the last time you wanted everyone you knew, or sort of knew, to know everything about you? When you were a child, I hope, and needed everyone from your best buddy to your mom to the supermarket cashier to know that you drank a cup of apple juice and then peed for a really long time. I would like to say no one is interested. Alas, it seems I overestimate people. Evidently, you do want to know if I drank a cup of apple juice and peed for a really long time. Tsk.
The tragedy of coworker “social networking” has been amply covered elsewhere, largely framed in terms of the consequences of spewing personal exploits at your boss. That aside: Coworkers, I’ve seen what’s on your walls, and it makes me want to quit and have my short-term memory erased. No, what you’re doing for your dad’s birthday isn’t private, but it’s fracking boring. Would you subject me to that information in person? You are lame and without boundaries and now I can’t look at you without cringing.
Much more disturbing is that people seem to be losing their sense of what not to pass along very, very quickly. I’ve had a few embarrassing moments when someone disclosed something I’d said that I couldn’t conceive of anyone in their right mind repeating. The passers-along would never have done that pre-Facebook. But now what you tell one you tell all. I know it’s not a totally new phenomenon, but I’m seeing it more and more and I really do blame Facebook and Twitter for making “friends” a unified entity.
Then there’s the other side. I don’t need to be the focus of anyone’s life—when’s the last time you knew your real friend status? Are you her best-best friend, her second-best friend, her friend with no life who will answer the phone and talk to her when she’s wasted? There’s something insulting about getting the same friend-feed as everyone else. Call me demanding, but if you want me to know something, tell me. In turn, if there’s someone from high school I want to be back in touch with, I will find that person. The rest of the class of ‘91 can broadcast their updates right into their own navels, where they belong. If I sound a little too invested in this issue, it may be partly because there is a kernel of personal sorrow; I don’t know that anyone who wanted to find me would be motivated to look beyond Facebook anymore. My friends used to send (infrequent) personal updates, photos of their kids. Now I’m SOL on news because the only place to get them is on Facebook—and I’m not going back there.