May 2009

Do they sell #skittles at #Starbucks? (DRAFT)

Work in progress.  Feedback welcome!

Starbucks’ recent social network ad campaign is a great illustration of the kinds of dynamics I’ve been talking about in the Lessons from Skittles for poets and activists series.  In yet another example of Twitter’s buzz-creation power, the ad campaign got coverage in the NY Times and Time even before launching.  On the other hand, in Skittles and infowar I concluded that anybody engaging in Twitter-based marketing or activism should expect interference … and that’s just what happens here.

Simon Owens has a good summary on Bloggasm:

Unfortunately for Starbucks, liberal activist and filmmaker Robert Greenwald, founder of Brave New Films, came across that Times article early Tuesday morning. Greenwald, who has directed films for major studios and launched Brave New Films a few years ago, had been working for months on shooting an anti-Starbucks video that debuted on YouTube that very day. The mini-documentary features interviews with several former and current Starbucks employees and makes the argument that the company —  despite popular perception that it treats its employees well — has unfair labor practices and has aggressively fought off union organizing.

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Users: #fixreplies. Twitter: “No. Thanks for the great feedback!”

twitter logoRetweet this. If you disagree with Twitter’s decision to hide replies to ppl you don’t follow, start your replies with #fixreplies.

— @nazgul (aka Kee Hinckley), on Twitter

56000 tweets later, in We learned a lot, Twitter founder @biz admitted that the “user feedback” they had cited as part of their original decision didn’t include Twitter users who liked discovering new people or participating in various conversations.   [This isn’t not particularly surprising, since the company’s founders don’t use the service the way most users do, and these days appear primarily focused on celebrities rather than real people.]

Biz also admitted that user feedback wasn’t actually what drives their decisions:
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