Gender differences in response to Skittlemania

skittles from ambibambie39507's flickr pageSunday night, Agency.com relaunched the Skittles* website as a redirect to social network sites.  The main page showed a Twitter search for “skittles”.  Other links went to flickr, Facebook, and Wikipedia.

Hilarity ensued, with “#skittles” shooting to the #1 Twitter term for the day. With over 4000 blog posts and positive articles in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, the Financial Times and Advertising Age, it’s a viral marketing success story for the ages!  Emily Steel’s Skittles Cozies Up to Social Media, David Amaro’s Skittles Goes Modernista! With A Distributed Experience on Logic and Emotion and Tiphereth Gloria’s Why it takes balls to Skittle on Digital Tip are some thought-provoking discussions.

What’s particularly fascinating to me, though, is something Katrin Verclas of MobileActive.org pointed out on the Progressive Exchange mailing list: the significant gender differences in people’s reaction.

Sure enough, the pattern is there in blogosphere as well.  I classified the opinions in Skittles articles on the Google News page and a handful of the top hits on Google Blogs as positive, neutral, and negative. The results:

  • women: 6 positive, 4 neutral, 0 negative
  • men: 12 positive, 3 neutral, 8 negative

And when I say “negative”, whoa baby.  David says “By just about any rational indication, Skittles went too far.”    Noah characterizes it as “generally A Bad Idea” and “a gaffe”. Harry sees it as “social-media marketing nihilism.”  Riche thinks it’s “the worst strategic decision I have seen online in a long time.”  Yow.

There’s no easy way to know how much this reflects an actual difference in opinions.  It could be that women avoid harsh criticisms in favor of neutrally-worded posts like Allyson Kapin‘s and Shannon Nelson‘s raising questions about the effectiveness of Skittles’ strategy.  One way or another, though, it’s really striking.

twitter logoTwitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”.

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, Strategies for progressives on Twitter in The Exception

There’s an important lesson here for anybody trying to understand social media, and Twitter in particular.  Make sure you’re getting a range of opinions — as well as gender-based differences, there are also age-based differences.  In particular, if you’re getting your political news from the male-dominated “progressive” or “conservative” blogospheres (or the mainstream media and pundits who look to the big bloggers as being on the cutting edge), be aware of the possibility that you’re getting a distorted view of social network sites and their value.**

Today Skittles’ home page instead redirects to their Facebook page.  Any bets on how people will react?

jon

PS: in the credit where credit is due department, Modernista! took a similar approach with their own web site almost a year ago.  Allison Mooney’s Modernista!’s new siteless site on pfsk has more.

Skittles photo from ambibambie39507’s flickr page,
Twitter graphic from joomlatools on flickr,
both licensed under Creative Commons

* a horrible trans-fat-based chemically-tasting candy, if you ask me, although some people loooooove them.

** see for example my comments in Petitions are soooooo 20th century.

social computing
Tales from the Net

Comments (6)

Permalink

Scenarios for #topprog: your thoughts?

twitter logoLast night’s #topprog Tweetup, discussing the next steps for the new progressive Twitter hashtag, had some excellent discussions.   Chris Cardinal (aka @cacardinal) has set up a skeleton web page on topprog.org and did a great job facilitating the tweetup; he’ll be writing up a summary later today.   Somehow, though, I wound up with an action item — writing up a couple of quick scenarios for ways to use #topprog.   How’d that happen?!?!?  Looks like my meeting skills are rusty!

Still it’s a good thing to focus on.  Twitter hashtags are extremely flexible, and there are zillions of things we could do with them.  What are some of the sweet spots?  And how do we use #topprog to accomplish them?

I’ll kick things off with a couple that seem important: action alerts and events.  Suggestions and feedback  are very welcome: in the comments here, or tweeted to #topprog if it’s 140 characters or less 🙂

Continue Reading »

Personal
social computing
Tales from the Net

Comments (0)

Permalink

“Dailyish updates” (draft post for The Seminal)

Draft.  Work in progress — feedback welcome!

The revised version will (hopefully) be posted on The Seminal

Continue Reading »

political
social computing
Tales from the Net

Comments (2)

Permalink

No blank check for Wall Street: Send a message to Congress!

The $700 billion dollar bailout legislation will result in a huge expense to taxpayers — with all the benefits going to corporations and large stockholders. Most economists  think that this plan will fail to address the underlying issues that caused the crisis. And there are many other issues for concern in the bill, such as whether the mechanism to prevent excess compensation will actually work in practice.

There’s no excuse for Congress to repeat the folly of the Patriot Act and pass half-baked legislation that creates huge problems for our country. Let’s send a mesasge to Congress: rather than allowing the decision to be driven by politics, false urgency from the Bush Administration, and Wall Street greed, we should take the time to have a full debate, making sure to include the input from economists AND consumer advocates … and make sure we’re not giving a blank check to Wall Street.

Here’s how you can help.

If you’re on Facebook:

  1. Sign up as a fan and watch your “updates” for what’s next
  2. reply to the No blank check for Wall Street thread on Nancy Pelosi’s profile
  3. share this link with your Facebook friends, and ask them to reply — and to forward it to THEIR friends

If you’re not on Facebook:

  1. sign up for our annoucement email list and check your email for what’s next!
  2. email this information to your friends, and ask them to help
  3. phone or email your legislators and tell them how you feel

political
social computing
social sciences

Comments (0)

Permalink

No blank check to Wall Street: Call to action!

No blank check for Wall Street is a multi-partisan group of people demanding accountability for Wall Street for its role in the 2008 financial crisis. We welcome those who oppose a bailout as well as those support a bailout with accountability.  Please see our website for more.  Our Facebook feed is the best way to track what’s happening; updates on the campaign’s progress in the first comment.

Also posted on Pam’s House Blend

Enough feeling powerless as a “crisis” spurs the government to talk about taking $700 billion out of taxpayers’ pockets with no oversight!  I know there are a lot of people out there who are just as angry as I am. So let’s do something about it.

A couple days ago, I launched the No blank check for Wall Street activism campaign by creating a Facebook page and a web site. The goal of our campaign is to send politicians a strong message:

  • Wall Street firms and executives should be held accountable, and should not be allowed to profit from misdeeds
  • Any government spending or loan guarantees to Wall Street as part of a recovery package must not be a blank check; it must involve meaningful oversight, accountability, and fair compensation to taxpayers.

To start with, we’ll give politicians feedback directly on their Facebook pages with a wall-writing campaign. (If you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry, there are still ways for you to get involved.)  Most politicians’ Facebook pages are usually fairly quiet. When they start seeing 10, 20, 50, 100 messages a day, all letting them know that we don’t want a blank check for Wall Street, they’ll take notice — and so will the media.

Here’s how you can help:

  • most importantly: let your friends and family know – by email, text, twitter, IM, or phone.  feel free to cut-and-paste as much of this as you want!
  • If you’re on Facebook: sign up as a fan and start writing on walls
  • If you know somebody on Facebook: please forward them the link and ask them to join us
  • If you blog: please mention No blank check for Wall Street and link to the Facebook page and our wiki

Now’s the time to act. Please join us!

jon

PS: the easiest ways to stay in touch are via our Facebook feed or our announcements email list. And if you’re on other social network sites instead (Yahoo!, MySpace, SecondLife, YouTube), stay tuned: we might do something there as well.

political
social computing
Tales from the Net

Comments (1)

Permalink

No blank check for Wall Street! (DRAFT)

DRAFT!

Final version posted on OpenLeft and Pam’s House Blend

Executive Summary: please check out the No blank check for Wall Street Facebook page, add yourself as a fan, let your friends know, and blog about it.

How to help:

If you’re on Facebook, it takes next to no time to sign up as a fan.  While you’re at it, please post a link to wherever you’re reading this to your profile, and share it with your friends; and maybe even write a note about it.

If you’re on other social network sites, please check the current list.  If you don’t see your site, please help out by starting up a No blank check for Wall Street! page there as well.

If you’re a blogger or journalist, why not cover this as an emerging story?  If it pans out, you’ll have a scoop.  When you get a chance, please add your article to the coverage page.

And if you use email, please send mail to your friends and ask them to join!

Details:

Continue Reading »

political
social sciences
Tales from the Net

Comments (0)

Permalink

“Where do you get your political news?”

when reading blogs, make a point to get a range of perspectives, starting with those that are shut out from the mainstream news.

Reviewing an earlier draft of Allies in the blogosphere, one of my friends asked me for more details on this. Rather than bury it in an comment, I figured that it was worth a thread of its own — because that’ll also give me a chance to ask others the same question.

As an experiment, for the last year I’ve been getting virtually all of my political news online, mostly avoiding newspapers, magazines, and TV. At first I’d start out each day by checking Google News, the New York Times, and a few blogs on specific topics, like Juan Cole’s Informed Comment on Iraq. Then I added Yahoo! News (which gets feeds from Huffington Post and Real Clear Politics as well as CNN). This gave me some different perspectives and a few more stories but it was still pretty limited.

Continue Reading »

political
social computing

Comments (7)

Permalink

Phyllis Schafly to get Honorary Doctorate from Wash U?

The intro of the No honorary doctorate for anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly Facebook group:

Wash. U. will honor anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly at commencement. WHAT?

This is the woman who lives the hypocrisy of having a career that takes her around the country lecturing “family values” groups on how women should stay home.

This is the woman who said of husband-wife rape, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape [sic].”

This is the woman who described sex education classes as “in-home sales parties for abortions.” Do her views fit with the future the men and women of Wash U’s graduating class see for themselves and their peers? Probably not. Then why honor her with them? Wouldn’t having someone like her in the midst of Wash U’s female graduates be incongruous at best, offensive at worst?

Indeed.

When Jessica posted about this on Feministing this morning, she said there were 1100 people in the group; when I joined at 11 a.m., it was up to 1350, and as of 11:15 it’s over 1400. It’s already being discussed broadly (a Google Blog search on phyllis schlafly degree currently has 311 hits); a friend forwarded it to me from the Feminist Daily News Wire, saying “this’ll set the blogosphere on fire,” and I suspect she’s right.

The organizers have clearly thought ahead, labeling this group as a discussion group and setting up another, smaller, action-oriented group. They’ve also got contact information for University officials and the press, and some excellent tips such as (“Wash U Alums: Make it very clear to the administration that not only do you disapprove of their choice of honoree, this choice will lose them your contributions. Money talks.”) They’ve got a very clean website with links to key information, and an email list.

Looks like Wash U’s in for some excitement!

jon

political
social computing
social sciences
Tales from the Net
Uncategorized

Comments (7)

Permalink

Coverage for ‘How to respond when Facebook censors your political speech’

censored, from .mws flickr photostream, used under a creative commons licenseThe two-part series I posted on Tales from the Net and Wired’s How-to Wiki is starting to get some coverage.

Shai Sachs has an excellent piece on MyDD:

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Facebook “censorship” of free speech. The Blackadder One case I wrote about a couple weeks ago was just an early warning sign of more trouble to come. Recently Jon Pincus has been posting a series of diaries at Tales from the Net and Liminal States about his encounter with problems very similar to those Derek Blackadder ran into when he tried to organize workers on Facebook. Pincus’s posts include a very good trail of documentation of the problems he’s encountering, which make this series one of the more interesting resources on Facebook censorship I’ve seen.

Continue Reading »

political
Professional
social computing
social sciences
Tales from the Net

Comments (2)

Permalink

Grr: “Our terms of service has changed”

This morning when I went to log in to a discussion forum on Yuku (“your interests, your communities” — the next-generation, friend-enabled version of ezboard), I was greeted with:

Our terms of service has changed. Please read the new terms of service. By clicking “I agree,” you agree to Yuku’s Terms of Use.

Oh, they has* changed, has they? What changes might those be?

Continue Reading »

Professional
social computing
social sciences
Tales from the Net

Comments (1)

Permalink