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posted by janrinok on Monday March 30 2015, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Pete-Seeger-singing-"when-will-they-ever-learn?-when-will-they-ever-learn?" dept.

Alison Griswold writes that in an effort to improve its tanking image, SeaWorld launched a new advertising campaign this week to educate the public about its “leadership in the care of killer whales” and other work to protect whales in captivity and in the wild. As part of that head-on initiative, someone at SeaWorld decided to invite Twitter users to pose their questions to the company directly using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. That was not a good idea as twitter users bashed Sea World relentlessly. "As easy as it is to make fun of SeaWorld here, the real question is why any company still thinks hosting an open Twitter forum could be good for public relations," writes Griswold. "So maybe SeaWorld’s social and PR folks just really have no idea what they’re doing. Even so, you’d think they’d have learned from the corporate failures before them."

Let’s review some of the times this has backfired, starting with the infamous McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter campaign of January 2012. Rather than prompting customers to share their heart-warming McDonald’s anecdotes, the hashtag gave critics a highly visible forum to share their top McDonald’s horror stories. MacDonalds pulled the campaign within two hours but they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control. Three years later the #McDStories hashtag is still gathering comments. "Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea.," concludes Griswold. "A well-meaning hashtag gives critics an easy way to assemble and voice their complaints in a public forum. Why companies still try them is a great mystery. Maybe they’ll all finally learn from SeaWorld and give this one horrible PR trick up for good."

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tynin on Monday March 30 2015, @05:53PM

    by tynin (2013) on Monday March 30 2015, @05:53PM (#164387) Journal
    • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 30 2015, @06:21PM

      by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:21PM (#164401) Homepage

      Personally I like #ItsMyMall [mprnews.org] since that one is closer to me.

      --
      T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Monday March 30 2015, @09:19PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:19PM (#164491)

      This would hardly be the first time this happened. My personal favorite was #askJPM [rollingstone.com], where users were invited to ask JP Morgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee any question, and got stuff like:

      "I have Mortgage Fraud, Market Manipulation, Credit Card Abuse, Libor Rigging and Predatory Lending AM I DIVERSIFIED?"
      "Can I have my house back?"
      "Every time another person loses their home to an illegal foreclosure, does a bell ring?"
      "Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you 'break bad'?"
      "Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?"

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 2, Touché) by No Respect on Monday March 30 2015, @05:53PM

    by No Respect (991) on Monday March 30 2015, @05:53PM (#164388)

    I'd rather spend a day at SeaWorld than 10 seconds to tweet about SeaWorld (or anything else for that matter). TL;DR don't care.

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @05:58PM (#164391)

      And yet you spent at least 10 seconds posting that message.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by davester666 on Monday March 30 2015, @06:33PM

        by davester666 (155) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:33PM (#164411)

        Of course. The babes LOVE men who post on SN.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday March 30 2015, @06:56PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:56PM (#164424) Homepage

        Which raises the question, how many people bashing Sea World are doing so just because the saw some trendy movie and think they're totally righteous?

        How many people bashing Sea World have actually been to Sea World? How many of those understand Sea World's contribution to science, research, and even care and rescue of marine life?

        How many of those people aren't also bashing every zoo, aquarium, and pet store not only here in San Diego (where I live) but where they live?

        Don't get me wrong, I think we should avoid putting animals in captivity wherever possible and I also think Sea World is a mediocre theme park better suited to tourist rubes for the admissions prices it charges. But if there's one thing I hate more than making circuses from animals it's the same self-righteous bandwagoner parrot punks who likely also protesting college rape extravaganzas and Whitey keepin' the man down from some upper middle-class gated community.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:14PM (#164431)

          Sea World's evil, but that's okay, cos Whitey's on the moon.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by jimshatt on Monday March 30 2015, @07:51PM

          by jimshatt (978) on Monday March 30 2015, @07:51PM (#164448) Journal
          We should capture those people and make a theme park: SJW World! I'd love to see them jumping through hoops.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:13PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @08:13PM (#164456)

          right on, brutha! today's social activist leaders look a lot like yesterdays evangelical ministers and populist politicians. they play their pied pipes for the power of the masses that will follow.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:00PM (#164475)

          Which raises the question, how many people bashing Sea World are doing so just because the saw some trendy movie and think they're totally righteous?

          Which raises the question, how many people bashing people bashing Sea World are doing so just because it's trendy in their tribe and think they are totally righteous?

          Social change requires informing people who were otherwise ignorant because most people are too busy living their lives to pay attention to much else. Shitting on someone because their social protest is not pure enough is just a way to make yourself feel better by putting down others.

          Go ahead, shit on a politician for taking up a cause and then dumping it once it's no longer in the headlines, but not regular people. Whatever tiny amount of self-serving benefit a regular person gets out of becoming a smidgeon more socially-consciousness is a perfectly acceptable price to pay. Nobody in this world is purely altruistic. You might have a leg to stand on if you were actually out there picketing Sea World yourself, but writing drunk and bitchy troll posts on the internet does not count.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday March 30 2015, @09:28PM

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:28PM (#164495) Journal

          How many of those people aren't also bashing every zoo, aquarium, and pet store not only here in San Diego (where I live) but where they live?
           
          I'm seeing a lot of PETA stuff in the examples. Those folks do indeed protest all those things.
           
          I think the case against SeaWorld is quite a bit more clear cut simply due to the size of the animal relative to the cage.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday March 30 2015, @09:56PM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2015, @09:56PM (#164512) Journal

          OK, I'll bite. Is there any peer reviewed research that has come out of SeaWorld -- I mean, other than studies on how decades in solitary confinement makes Orcas a bit wonky in the head?

          And yes, I feel have the right to bitch about SeaWorld. I won't eat anything in my class (mammalia) for ethical reasons (mammals are pretty smart and we have a neo-cortex), nor would I torture them for other's enjoyment and some cash.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:02PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:02PM (#164889)

            I won't eat anything in my class (mammalia) for ethical reasons (mammals are pretty smart and we have a neo-cortex), nor would I torture them for other's enjoyment and some cash.

            Mammals aren't the only smart animals: birds are pretty smart too, despite that old expression "bird brain". Do you eat chicken?

            I'll eat beef and chicken like most other Americans, but I do look forward to the development of industrial-grown meat (meat grown artificially without the whole animal) so we don't have to have this ethical problem any more. In the meantime, I do try to buy more humanely-raised meat when I can (free-range chicken, etc.).

            However, I think there's a big difference between humanely growing and killing animals for food, and torturing them for entertainment and profit. Anyone who defends the latter is probably a sociopath IMO.

            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:24PM

              by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:24PM (#165064) Journal

              Yes -- many birds are smart. But I'm a classist and birds, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks are not in my class. So I eat them. Except for Octopi -- I've granted them honorary mammal status despite being so freakin' tasty. Squid though are sort of an invasive species, so I don't grant them honorary mammal status.

              • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:04PM

                by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:04PM (#165087)

                Octopi are freakishly intelligent. I heard a story about a pet store where some animal (mice I think) kept disappearing at night. They put a camera in, and found out that an octopus was crawling out of its aquarium, over to the mouse cage, opening it and grabbing a snack, and then returning to its aquarium and lifting the lid to let itself back in. Considering they're sea creatures and shouldn't have any experience with living in air on land, being able to adapt to living in a pet store and go grab other animals as snacks, including manipulating cage-door mechanisms and lids seems rather remarkable.

                As for classes, fish aren't particularly intelligent, nor are crustaceans, probably not much smarter than earthworms. Mollusks I don't think even have a brain, and are probably no smarter than a tree.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Monday March 30 2015, @11:13PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Monday March 30 2015, @11:13PM (#164548)

          How many people bashing Sea World have actually been to Sea World?

          The guy who has been leading the latest round of anti-Sea World efforts used to work at Sea World as a trainer. He was nearly killed by a whale, even though he was doing everything he was supposed to do to protect himself. He was motivated by the case of another trainer who was killed by a whale, even though she was doing everything she was supposed to do to protect herself, and that Sea World management basically blamed it on the dead trainer (probably for lawsuit, insurance, and OSHA purposes).

          How many of those understand Sea World's contribution to science, research, and even care and rescue of marine life?

          1. Approximately 0.0006% [grist.org] of Sea World's revenue goes towards conservation and rescue efforts.
          2. Sea World has put in a total of about $1 million [whales.org] annually into research and science, accounting for approximately 2% of their annual profits. According to the linked article, it looks like most of that money has gone towards research aimed at showing that locking up orcas isn't bad for them.

          So yes, I think there are some legitimate concerns that Sea World is failing to address, and the fraction of their revenue that goes to science, research, care, and rescue does not absolve their sins.

          --
          The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday March 30 2015, @06:07PM

    by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:07PM (#164393) Journal

    Alison Griswold appears unable to understand that setting the stage for "viral marketing" can result in a negative outcome for the marketeers. She doesn't see it being obvious that using an open and public forum that you do not control for your official PR campaigns does run the risk of having conversations run away from you? Such phenomenons can yet be beneficial, as even with such a risk, a business looking for a fast infusion of ideas from the public may well find value in a PR campaign that draws primarily negative comments.

    What I find most remarkable about this is that someone thought writing and publishing an article about this was a worthwhile expenditure of time, and I write this as someone who doesn't use "social media" at all.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 30 2015, @07:06PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2015, @07:06PM (#164429)

      can result in a negative outcome for the marketeers

      I wonder if everyone who can be radicalized is already radicalized. In which case this is just good PR to get the name out there. Maybe its not negative outcome.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:36PM (#164413)

    I have seen this more and more. People are using twitter to bitch about something. They usually end it with a hashtag of whatever they are mad at.

    If you have even a *hint* that your customers are usually mad. Do not give them control of your brand. They will go to town on it because you basically did not give them satisfaction before.

    I like this quote from the movie hoffa "A real grievance can be resolved; differences can be resolved. But an imaginary hurt, a slight - that motherfucker gonna hate you 'til the day he dies. " It is so true. These ex customers are *waiting* to give what you gave them...

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by snick on Monday March 30 2015, @07:19PM

      by snick (1408) on Monday March 30 2015, @07:19PM (#164433)

      A real grievance can be resolved; differences can be resolved. But an imaginary hurt, a slight - that motherfucker gonna hate you 'til the day he dies.

      ... posted on the slashdot splinter site.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @07:46PM (#164446)

        posted on the slashdot splinter site.
        SD did not listen to their customers ... us. They listened to their management and saw their viewership implode. So they backtracked but still think they can make it work.

        What is left on that site is decidedly angry about everything. They went about and drove off about 2-3k in viewers. People who probably posted quite regularly. It shows. The comments on SD are worse for it. The remaining group is not very welcoming and quick to jump over any petty thing that is slightly wrong. Their viewership will slowly dwindle. The only stories gaining any traction will be 'hot button' items where people can show off how much better they are than that other group. Not a very healthy way to run a business...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:04PM (#164479)

          > What is left on that site is decidedly angry about everything.

          Not even close. That site still gets 10x the comment volume as SN does and its hardly "angry about everything." The fact that you think it is says more about you than it does about SD. Confirmation bias FTL.

          • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday March 30 2015, @10:11PM

            by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2015, @10:11PM (#164526) Journal

            I read both daily and participate in both still. There is something about Slashdot that seems so much blander than it used to be, much less radical, and as a result, more boring. It's as if Slashdot has shifted into a rather complacent frame of mind with respect to corporate/government power -- there's still radicals (like me maybe) but increasingly, the radicals are being averaged out to background noise. Maybe it's a rise in astroturfers, or maybe it's just a changing demographic for slashdot users, but it is definitely much blander.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:03AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:03AM (#164563)

              Just to make myself feel good I'm going mention that your observation of blandness is almost the opposite of that other AC's observation of being angry about everything. There are other opposites to blandness besides anger, I'm just saying it in the other direction, that blandness is an opposite of anger.

              • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:21AM

                by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:21AM (#164569) Journal

                The old "hate isn't the opposite of love, indifference is" type deal I take it.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:06AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:06AM (#164601)

              "Maybe it's a rise in astroturfers, or maybe it's just a changing demographic for slashdot users, but it is definitely much blander."

              IMO it flat out sucks, corportate sock puppet accounts, people who continue to bash Linux and RMS but probably don't understand either. Do you think /. will ever host an .onion site?

              SN has made the bold move in the /. exodus and this includes hosting .onion hidden services. Search engines should learn from DDG's .onion site but most cling to how the web once was.

              Times have changed - sites like /. have to compete with Reddit, Ycombinator/hacker news, Schneier's blog with highly technical anonymous blog posts from the readers, large message forums, etc.

              Do you know what /. "feels" like to me? An empty house with a lot of rats coming in and sharing cheese and disease. We should all welcome SN with open arms.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:29AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:29AM (#164572)

            I don't know about you, but once I see comments about "geeks" ostracizing another subculture of "geeks", then something has horribly gone wrong.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:25AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:25AM (#164605)

              "I don't know about you, but once I see comments about "geeks" ostracizing another subculture of "geeks", then something has horribly gone wrong."

              people w/ too much time on their hands acting cerebral.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday March 30 2015, @10:01PM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2015, @10:01PM (#164517) Journal

        Beta was no a slight, it was a real grievance and it got resolved by splintering.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @09:33PM (#164498)

    Stay the fuck off twitter and other useless social platforms. The whole lot of them are useless.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday March 30 2015, @09:49PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Monday March 30 2015, @09:49PM (#164507) Journal

      Don't open the can of worms unless you have hints they will crawl in the general direction you want? ;)

      Otoh, big social platforms seems to attract the moral and mental bottom feeders ;-)

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @11:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @11:58PM (#164560)

        I see a market for a curated twitter-like service.
        Twitter is already trying to half-ass it with their anti-harassment stuff.

        I'm thinking a distributed/p2p twitter where you can 'own' the equivalent of a hashtag via public-key signing. Anyone that wants to tag their message with your curated tag has to get you to sign their message. Your own username would just be another curated-tag so if someone wanted to tweet at you, you could choose to accept their tweet or not. Probably opportunities for automation or at least delegation where people you've 'friended' can tweet at you and automatically have the tweet signed. Probably also need a way to revoke a signed tweet - maybe just a repudiation or disavow function.

        Of course there would still be room for non-curated tags that anyone can use.

        • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:23AM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:23AM (#164604)

          The trouble with those kinds of platforms is they never see adoption by normal people. If nobody visits then companies have zero desire to be there as well. The only way something like you are suggesting could happen is if the platform was co-opted and changed. But as soon as that happens people would start leaving.

          --
          SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @04:25AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @04:25AM (#164648)
    The Mall of America expected customers to post heartwarming memories of Camp Snoopy, and were surprised when "their" tag #itsmymall was enthusiastically adopted by Black Lives Matter supporters [mprnews.org]. See, the City of Bloomington is going ahead with their plan to prosecute protesters.