(Spank) “Please sir, may I have another?”
The scoop as detailed by Tech Crunch:
Presidential hopeful John McCain used a well known template to create his Myspace page. The template was designed by Newsvine Founder and CEO Mike Davidson. Davidson gave the template code away to anyone who wanted to use it, but asked that he be given credit when it was used, and told users to host their own image files.
McCain’s staff used his template, but didn’t give Davidson credit. Worse, he says, they use images that are on his server, meaning he has to pay for the bandwidth used from page views on McCain’s site.
Davidson decided to play a small prank on the campaign as retribution. Since he’s in control of some of the images on the site, he replaced one that shows contact information with a statement: “Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage…particularly marriage between two passionate females.”
Lessons learned here:
1) The web matters, social networks matter – recognize
2) All together now – honesty and transparency (repeat 3 times) – especially when you are a big ol’ brand with the means and resources to do better and the delicate image that begs for pranking
3) Never underestimate the power of the little guy…hidden behind layers of cryptic acronyms and avatars lies the guy who can rally thousands (or millions) of people to expose you in a very public display (as in this case, the person offended is the founder of one of the largest news aggregators who can post his grievance before millions – oops, you stepped on the wrong “little blogger”, dude)
4) The echoes of social network chatter reverb globally, and faster than the speed of light
5) Social currency and web conversation can be great advertising and branding tactics – note Davidson’s clever add to “Discuss Election 2008 on Newsvine.com”. Nice one-two punch! Subversive, AND entrepreneurial! That kind of thinking warms my heart
6) Don’t step into the social media ring if you’re not prepared to face millions of challengers. Those good ol days of launching a mass media message bomb and stepping back to await the pavlovian response are over.
7) Actually, you will be called into the social media ring whether you want to or not. Right this moment, someone is having an experience with you. And right this moment someone is saying something about your brand. And they may have the eyes and ears of millions. Are you comfortable with what they may say?