A Brand New World

In March 2018 the BBC reported on a leaked Facebook memo; the following quote is from the article:

‘ A Facebook executive’s memo that claimed the “ugly truth” was that anything it did to grow was justified has been made public, embarrassing the company. The 2016 post said that this applied even if it meant people might die as a result of bullying or terrorism. ’

The second Facebook isn’t in the news it finds a way to be there for reasons it shouldn’t be.

No publicity is bad publicity.

Perhaps expectations it should be something better are misguided?

Remember the ‘Super Wall’?

Give it a search today and a couple of blogs circa 2007 can still be found bemoaning its impact, while Yahoo questions remain asking if it’s better than the ‘normal’ one.

yahooquestions

The Super Wall story begins when Facebook was first made open to all and sundry of the internet:

Initially, it only attracted a certain type of demographic.

A bit of a contradiction given its position as King of Social Media today; though not so much when remembering the singular purpose it was conceived with; from the Facebook Wikipedia Page:

‘According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and used “photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the “hotter” person” ’

Facebook was aimed at the lowest and most common of the lowest common denominator.

For them, the shock value of being able to just drop whatever outrageous video, gif or jpeg into all their friends’ Feeds was hilarity Heaven.

For the rest of us turning up late to the party to see what all the fuss was about, the overly hairy genitalia laying in literal ambush risked outweighing all the features and benefits that themselves far outweighed Myspace.

And so the ‘Super Wall’ was born: somewhere for videos and pictures to be posted, and equally avoided by anyone not part of the shock-value-and-the-likewise-minded crew.

facebookpic

Facebook might appear a warm, friendly place, but never forget that adage about books and covers (image courtesy of Tobias Dziuba)

Given Facebook continues making changes it could be said that essentially then, the song remains the same.

It really shouldn’t be a big deal; any company worth its salt engages customer feedback as an ongoing process.

In reality, though, something significant has happened.

Ten years ago it was just a couple of blogs and Yahoo questions; today it’s an article on the BBC; something that doesn’t really make sense if engaging with customers is a naturally ongoing process of salt worthy companies.

In response to the news about Pages in the above link, the BBC posted this:

bbcbegs

Or, why not go visit the BBC website a couple of times of day instead of everything being about Facebook all the time?

There’s plenty going on in the real world the BBC could be reporting on, but it doesn’t get the required reaction on social media.

To counter this it pushes things like ‘Opinion Pieces’, so allowing any currently igniting topic to be recycled with the added bonus of a one-view-firelighter too.

One handy social-media-response-getting-tip is to pose a question in the post. With regards the above example, the BBC could’ve asked:

  • will this make you use Facebook less?
  • is this fair on small businesses that rely on Facebook?
  • does this make Facebook a less reliable source of news?

Any answers are irrelevant, just so long as some are given, so making others inclined to comment on them and leave one too and so on. What is relevant; how divisive the subject in question.

It can make a world of activity-grabbing difference; especially to the sub-comments section.

bnw

Header image courtesy of Quintin Gellar

The example questions used are hardly divisive at all; and looking at the numbers on the screen shot—1.4k reactions; 227 comments; 70 shares—it’s not like the BBC needs to employ such tactics.

But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t. In fact, it’s evidently fallen head-over-heels in love with the idea and for all the wrong reasons.

Example:

BBC sorry over gay conversion tweet’ is exactly how the BBC’s own story linked to here is headlined.

From the article:

‘ BBC Radio Kent tweeted: “TV Doctor Dr Ranj has told breakfast gay conversion therapy is akin to psychological abuse; Should gay conversion therapy be banned?” ’

The tweet was accompanied by a Twitter poll with choices yes or no. Surprise, surprise, there was backlash.

‘ The BBC deleted the tweet, which it said breached its own guidelines, and apologised for the offence it caused. ’

However, as the same article also says, it’s not the first time:

‘ Last month, BBC Radio Kent conducted a poll which asked: “Is it ever acceptable for people to ‘Black up’ even if it’s for charity?” ’

How calculating the BBC is being by doing this is debatable; is it simply some interns who know how to manipulate social media trying to piss off as many people as they can just for kicks; or is there a deeper agenda at work – one being passed off as needing to interact with people the way people like to be interacted with?

One thing clear, there’s no escaping the fact that whether by hook or crook (or even a bit of both) what the BBC is doing to maintain and gain social media popularity is axiom time immemorial divide et impera.

Divide and Conquer.

Something that its charter really should be clear on it not being allowed to do, it if isn’t already. 

Is good ol’ Aunty Beeb really an evil social media empire in disguise?

While the intention of this series is to show how social media works versus the perception, it continues with another example from the BBC.

Next:

Previously in this series:

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan.

CIRCLEDuckBlack

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