Friday, January 8, 2010

Social Media and a 2010 Boston Tea Party

At the risk of being stoned, I admit it: I believe that web social media, so far, has been a phenomenon of a solution in search of a problem,  businesses are wasting tons of money hoping to figure out a way to make money with it, and marketing consultants are the only ones doing so. This conclusion is in part supported by statistics like: over 90% of Twitter traffic is generated by 10% of the registered users; in other words relatively few people with time on their hands chatting with similarly busy people.  The assessment specifically excludes news media people and services who cleverly use it to let the "10% crowd" do some news sleuthing for them, or to generate following for their programs.


Businesses beware!   There may not be easy money to be made out of social media, but lots to lose by treating customers with contempt in an age when that news can be circulated to the world effectively and effortlessly.

To wit, the below email I received from a friend says it all.

(For wared email)
A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with United Airlines.
United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight.

Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar.

During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation. The Manager responded: "Good luck with that one, pal". So he posted a retaliatory video on youtube.

The video has since received over 5.5 million hits.

United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his response was:  "Good luck with that one, pal".

Taylor Guitars sent the musician 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video that has lead to a sharp increase in orders.Here's the video .....>


You read it right 5.5 million hits and counting.  I guess the days of telling customers to blow off are ending and social media is lending a hand. 

Well done Dave Carroll, cool song too.