Friday, May 4, 2012

Newton third law of social media

Move aside social metrics and the fancy infographics that make you go wow over social media. Lets get to the harsh reality, in a class of 40 people when Vishnu earned the award for the best student in class, 20 of the students got jealous, 5 of them felt their ego hurt, remaining were indifferent to the obvious. Soon the rumors started floating around about him being teachers pet, him washing teachers clothes and what not.

Although these stats are made up, the point is there will always be dislikes for whatever you do. No program can go without reaction. It is human nature to criticize, criticism is one of the basic emotion of human mind, there is no need for coaching in criticism. Every brand will have their set of 'critics' who will feed off negative emotions and criticize, complain and try to stop everything that is being done.

Isaac Newton was way ahead of his time when he proclaimed, 'Every action has equal answer opposite reaction', (Newton third law of motion). These law can be adjusted for social media in a slightly different way, 'Every social media promotion will have a equal and opposite comment.' There will be likes and dislikes for everything we do on social media. If you are looking forward to form a social media utopia, where everyone likes you and your social media program, here is what you can do... Forget it.

There are three possible things that are done:
1. Try to change their mind
Good idea if you are planning to get the saint of the year award. I won't say it is a bad thing, but it is a fruitless effort wasting time. Plus argument on your brand facebook page won't look nice.

2. Banning the trouble makers
It is a good policy to keep trouble makers at bay but banning just because they cause trouble is not always a good idea. Chetan Bhagat made the mistake making, #ChetanBlocks a bigger trend that him. Trouble makers can be classified into two parts, abusers and critics. If critics are making no sense, they can be put into category of abusers. Abusers can be safely blocked, not critics. Critics have a bigger fan base and a better fan following, blocking them is equivalent to spoiling the reputation in front of all of them.

3. Let them be
This strategy will mostly work if they are busy in attention seeking tactics. Once it is realized no one is paying them any attention, they soon die out. Obviously, if people are genuinely criticizing the brand or product, listen to what they are saying and work on it. Some of the biggest critics could be your biggest fans only hurt.


There will be backlash for all your grand effort, some sour grapes will give your agents a tough time. Instead of arguing with them with all your mind, move on. If the ratio of likes vs dislikes is fine (more likes and less dislikes) you need not worry. If the dislikes are more, be a bit wary. If it has all dislikes, rethink.
Social media is transparent, honest and dangerous. This is a one way street, think hard before entering it or there will be disastrous effect, some no PR could fix.