At a recent meeting of industry people I saw a self-styled social media guru – they’re everywhere these days – talk about the how to use social media to make potential customers like your product. In the middle of his talk he gave an uncomfortable example of how he used social media for personal gain.
He was checking in to an upscale hotel and the bagboy left his bag on the floor behind him and walked off. Now I’d personally be thrilled in such a case – no bagboy hanging around looking for a tip – but this social media guru went one better and used this supposed gaffe to blackmail the hotel. He took a photo of his lonely bag by itself and told the clerk he was going to upload the photo to the internet and Twitter the incident. The hotel clerk sheepishly gave him a free upgrade on his room as an act of apology, and presumably to avoid negative word-of-mouth from a social media guru. He was proud of his wily dealings, but the story struck me as embarrassing. I was embarrassed on behalf of the internet marketing industry and on behalf of decent people who don’t go around looking for ways to blackmail vendors for freebies. Is this what social media is for? Read more >>