Sunday, December 2, 2012

Social Media and Corporate Hypocrisy

When the U.S. northeast was going through one of its worst storms, the American Apparel ran an add to target the customers in the northeast. Some "Smart" marketing guys in the chain thought that people are locked indoors and it could be a great idea to lure them to online market. They came up with a "Sandy" sale. The ad offended the people who took it as a cheap attempt to cash in on the misery of others. The sale was immediately blasted on Twitter. People rallied to denounce American Apparel for this insult to the people affected by the storm.
The incident shows the power of social media when people can quickly organize against a mighty corporation. This virtual organization distinguishes social media from traditional media. You can quickly overwhelm the mighty who has money and resources at his disposal. In traditional media you give equal opportunities to both parties which means that the side which has 90% following gets the 50% time. But in social media, the 90% can simply overwhelm the 10% however resourceful they may be. Social media thus offers new opportunities to denounce corporate interests which previously could easily trample upon people's dignity, feelings and social status.

We may see propping up of virtual social organizations who would fight their cause on the social media. If you were getting cheap paper from the illegal cutting of trees in Indonesia, nobody would know in USA. But recently we have seen full campaign targeted at corporations such as KFC to highlight their hypocrisy by the environmentalists. You could be in trouble on social media if you manufactured cheap goods through "Child Labor" in some other corner of the world.

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