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2011 – a hope rather than a prediction January 12, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in #fail, 2011 predictions, Behaviour, Contagious, Cwora, digital, Ecelman Digital, Edelman Digital, Quora.

Usually about this time of the year the great and the good pass judgement on what will be this year’s shiny new things that we should all cut and paste into our client presentations and PR whoring look at me documentation. Yet again I have failed to do this but here’s a couple of great examples if you haven’t found them already.

One from Edelman Digital, one from Contagious and one from Microsoft Advertising.

All very interesting and useful. And Quora has already been fêted and slated to get the shiny box syndrome out of the way early.

No, rather than do any predictions this year, I have a hope.

And the hope is that we all behave more like gentlemen in 2011.

I’ve dropped down my level of participation in the online world of late partly because of workload and wanting to spend time without my phone in hand while doing things at home but also because I’ve been bored by the boorish behaviour.

You know the sort, ranting at everything and anything, shouting #fail!! at the earliest and slightest opportunity, talking about me, me and more me and indeed those proclaiming statements of such nonsense and expecting them to be taken seriously. I’m already hearing you say, “well, it’s free speech cockface, if you don’t like it, unfollow me.” Which I have or probably will soon. So there, ner.

I was particularly moved recently watching Jeremy Clarkson’s documentary on World War II – where a small group of British army chaps took on an almost impossible task to blow up whatever it was armed with courageousness, ingenuity and gentlemanly conduct. While this was moving enough, what got me was the passage where on trying to escape, a lone gunner on a doomed ship was holding his own against the might of the German army who were literally shelling him to death. When the soldier finally perished, his German aggressor was so taken by the spirit of the man that he made sure he contacted the British authorities to pass on his complete respect and awe of this man who had stood against them. The man was awarded a special honour. It is not known of what became of the German commander who made this gesture in the midst of fierce battle.

I doubt this would happen today. We are obsessed with ourselves. Whatever the business benefits and cultural shifts of openness and connectivity social media has delivered, it has also given us a narcissistic and self-indulgent culture. And one where ranting and raving is the norm. We would be more likely to tea-bag that soldier and TwitPic it than make an astounding human gesture.

So this year, let’s try and act more like gentlemen shall we? Do the digital version of holding the door open, helping a lady with a pram navigate the stairwells of the tube and standing patiently in the queue. We should do these in real life too. Obviously.

Image from the GapingVoid Gallery.


should we be less #fail smug? March 31, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in #fail, social media.

The start of this year has brought us some memorable social media fails: Eurostar, #cashgordon and Nestle to name but a few. And how we relish kicking them when they’re down. Because:
They don’t know how to do it.
They don’t get it.
They’re arrogant.
They’re douches.
We would NEVER do that.

If you want a wonderful description of #cashgordon then have a read of this from the good folk at Made by Many. I particularly like the point that yes, the interweb will try and punk you. Because it can.

But aren’t we also getting a bit up our own arses on this? What if one of our own campaigns suffered a monumental fuck up? We are fallible. Yes, hard to believe I know. But it could happen. Would we take so much joy in our own #fail?

In the case of Nestle, the real issue was seemingly missed – especially on Twitter – by our own blinkered views. Although I’m in no way a hippy – I flaunted Earth hour this year by watching a Top Gear repeat with the lights on, phones charging, dishwasher on and many appliances on stand by – the poor gorillas and forest destruction got side-lined by our own glee at Nestle fucking up a Facebook response. I’m aware Nestle also has a long running war with NGOs after many an issue so anything they did was bound to wreak havoc regardless.

But all this smugness has another impact. Clients who are still reticent about entering into the social space are typically concerned about reputation or the notion of control. And this is still the majority no matter our own rhetoric on social media being HUGE. The #fail culture does little to overcome these barriers and we will be left with only the brave forging ahead which inhibits the growth and maturation of this exciting and game-changing space.

Perhaps if we were less concerned with our own reputations we would be sharing more #success rather than focussing on the #fail?

Image source.

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