Friday 09 December 2016

Digital Digest #137 – Culture Club

Breaking news: the online world has changed the way we interact with the real world. If this is news to you, then please add Digital Digest to your “safe senders” list. That being said, every once and a while, we here at “The Digest” like to take a moment and take a culture check, looking a bit more closely at how online and offline lives intersect (branded or otherwise). This may be the convergence of the digital and political, as in the second piece. Alternatively, since digital was incepted, it has always been a mainstay in cultural zeitgeists like Shark Week (see the first piece), but perhaps more novel to the holy matrimony of marriage as in the last piece.

Tech Updates:

The dangers of hitching a wagon to a shark
As this year’s Shark Week prepped for launch among the usual excitement and fanfare, little did the team at Discovery realize that trouble was lurking just below the surface, waiting to strike. As the week’s first program, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a fictional “documentary” aired on Sunday, many Shark Week fans took to Twitter and blogs to lament the shift away from Discovery’s usual educational focus. Particularly criticized was the decision by Discovery to present the program as factual, with only a small disclaimer at the conclusion acknowledging the fictitious elements. Of particular interest for marketers is the number of brands who hitched their wagons to Shark Week through opportunistic social media posts. It serves as a reminder that sometimes we need to be cautious about where we’re going to go when we don’t control the ox that our wagon is hitched to. -Vancouver Sun

How evil is “too” evil
Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has started an Instagram account, depicting him shaking hands and kissing babies- or as many are describing- propaganda. The concept of ethnocentrism and our place as Canadians to discredit this Instagram account can be discussed ad nauseum, but this political example can serve as an extreme case study for brands in crisis. At what point does a brand’s reputation become so negative that they lose license to discuss anything else? There are calamities of such magnitude that brands can only address their transgressions, lest any other communication appear to be insincere, or even worse, propaganda. -Dave Fleet

The sharknado effect: Twitter and TV programs
If you tuned into Sharknado recently, you’re probably already aware of the two-way relationship between TV viewership and Twitter. A recent study released by Nielsen reveals that trends like Sharknado aren’t just a fluke: a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of tweets and vice versa, a spike in tweets can increase tune-in rates. Nielsen also looked at the impact of tweets on TV ratings by genre, finding that tweets that had the greatest impact were related to programs in the competitive reality genre, comedy and sports. For brands, the findings underscore the importance of using Twitter as a complementary tool to drive conversation, nurture engagement and, ultimately, increase viewership. -Mashable

Forever alone? Not on Reddit
By now, you probably think you’ve seen it all: live lip-dubs, Howie Mandel orchestrated mobs and yes, even wedding proposals inspired by Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  This week, SirTechnocracy, real name Malcolm Collins, decided to pop the question a different way. Using an album of memes published to Reddit’s “Advice Animals” subreddit, Collins successfully directed his girlfriend to 18 proposal-themed pieces of art commissioned from the popular online art community, DeviantART. The posts generated more than 3,000 responses from the community – many of which were negative and questioned why Collins would share something as intimate as a proposal on the web. Collins responded to his critics almost 250 times, and defended his choice to make the proposal public in a Huffington Post piece addressing the backlash. The lesson for brands: users are increasingly blurring the lines between their offline and online lives, and those engaged in the online community simply do not fit the common stereotype of the unemployed, socially incompetent nerd any longer. As Collins notes, “The truth is that online culture reflects the full range of individuals within our society, many of whom are well-adjusted, active and successful.” -Mashable

Guest post from our Edelman Canada team.

Image credit: steve.garner32

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